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Mane scoops player of month award – 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers

Liverpool attacker Sadio Mane has been named as the PFA Fans’ Player of the month for March.

The Senegal intercontinental beat off opposition from fellow English Premier League players Lucas Digne, Wilfred Ndidi, Raheem Sterling, Jamie Vardy and Aaron Wan-Bissaka to assert the prize for the 2nd time this season.

Mane received the similar award in August, obtaining scored 3 goals in his 1st two games of the league season.

The 26-year-old, who has been in superb form for the Reds this season, scored a few goals in 4 appearances previous thirty day period.

In complete, the Liverpool attacker has scored 20 goals in 40 appearances across all competitions this season, chipping in with a even more 4 assists.

Liverpool beat Porto in the 1st leg of the Champions League last night 2-0

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Comoros, Malawi holding hope – 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers

When Comoros and Malawi clash in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match on Saturday at the Stade de Moroni, the two will be holding hope that they can attain the match correct next year in Cameroon.

Kick-off is at 14h00 (CAT).

Group B of the 2019 Afcon qualifying campaign is delicately poised with the two Comoros and Malawi holding an outside likelihood of qualifying.

Cameroon leading the standings with 8 points from four games, adopted by Morocco in 2nd place on seven points. Malawi are third in group B with four points whilst Comoros are previous with two points.

Malawi’s only win in their Afcon qualifying campaign arrived around Comoros in their very first Team B match, beating them 1- back in June previous year.

Subsequent that victory Malawi endured an embarrassing 3- reduction to Morocco away from home in September of this year and then a 1- reduction to Cameroon on October 12, also away from home.

Malawi’s most modern qualifying match was a – draw at home to Cameroon on October 16.

Comoros, on the other hand, are however to win a game in Team B and have endured losses to Malawi (1- in June 2017) and Morocco (1- on October 13 of this year).

The Comoros’ only two points in Team B have arrive from attracts against Cameroon (1-1 at home in September of this year) and most recently a 2-2 draw against Cameroon on October 16.

So it is all to play for involving Malawi and Comoros with the two their Afcon lives on the line, but they could know their destiny ahead of the come across as the other Team B game involving Morocco and Cameroon takes place on Friday, November 16.

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South Africa beat Botswana in 2018 Women’s U17 WC qualifier


by
Staff Reporter

Saturday Dec 02, 2017. 11:00


The South African U17 Women’s National Team (Bantwana) defeated Botswana 5-1 in the first leg first round of the 2018 FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup qualifier played at the Lobatse Sports Complex on Friday, 1 December 2017.

With this being a new squad, South Africa head coach Simphiwe Dludlu gave debuts to 11 players, and they did not disappoint.

Goals from Karabo Dlamini, Thambolinye Mzoneli, Miche Minnies, Jessica Wade as well as an own goal from Tshegofatso Mosotho were enough to see South Africa take a healthy lead going into the second leg which will be played in two weeks time.

Bantwana started on a high grabbing the first goal in the first minute of play through Dlamini, before Mzoneli made it 2-0 in the 15th minute.

But a minute later the hosts pulled one back when Leungo Senwelo latched on to a defence splitting pass and pushed the ball past an advancing Kaydee Windvogel in the Bantwana goals.

Four minutes before the half time whistle, South Africa extended their lead through and own goal by Tshegofatso Mosotho – leaving the score at 3-1.

In the second stanza, Bantwana continued where they left off in the first half and increased their lead to 4-1 from a Miche Minnies goal in the 56th minute.

Five minutes later South Africa was awarded a free kick and Jessica Wade took it brilliantly to beat Atang Sedimonyane in the Botswana goals.

In the 73rd minute Bantwana captain Kaylin Jordaan was adjudged to have fouled her opponent and Botswana were awarded a penalty.

Esalenna Galekhutle stepped up to take it but Windvogel pulled off a beautiful save to keep the scored at 5-1 to Bantwana.

South Africa head coach Simphiwe Dludlu made two substitutions bringing Holweni for Mzoneli and Micaela Nunens for Wade.

Bantwana travel back to South Africa on Saturday, 2 December. The second leg will be played on Saturday, 16 December 2017 at the Dobsonville Stadium.



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Cedric Bakambu becomes first African to clinch La Liga accolade – 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers


Villarreal striker Cedric Bakambu

by
Bertin Basson

Wednesday Nov 29, 2017. 14:00


Cedric Bakambu became the first African player to receive Spanish La Liga’s Player of the Month award, following his exploits in the month of October.

The Villarreal forward was presented with the accolade on Sunday, ahead of the club’s 3-2 defeat to Sevilla in which he found the back of the net for his ninth goal of the league season.

The Democratic Republic of Congo international scored six goals in four league games during the month of October – netting a hat-trick Eibar.

JEAN-MICHAEL SERI BLASTS OUSMANE DEMBELE OVER BARCELONA MOVE

The 26-year-old edged Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Valencia’s Gonçalo Guedes to the accolade, that has been in existence since September 2013 as per BBC Sport.

“Very proud to be voted player of the month!,” Bakambu wrote on Twitter.

Bakambu has scored 45 goals in 101 appearances for Villarreal since his move to Spain in August 2015.



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South Africa captain confident of 2019 AFCON qualification – 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers


Andile Jali, Thulani Hlatshwayoand Erick Mathoho during the South Africa Senior Men Team Morning © Sydney Mahlangu /BackpagePix

by
Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Nov 29, 2017. 13:30


South Africa captain Thulani Hlatshwayo has expressed confidence that his side will qualify for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

Bafana Bafana endured a torrid 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign and finished bottom of Group D behind Senegal, Burkina Faso and Cape Verde.

Yet the team made a strong start to their 2019 AFCON preliminary group, defeating Nigeria 2-0 in Uyo back in June to put themselves in a strong position to finish in the top two of Group E, which also features Libya and Seychelles.

Hlatshwayo says Bafana will bounce back from their 2018 failure: “We know how disappointed the country is about the results and we as players take the blame,” he is quoted by Kick-Off.

“As the captain I take the blame. Unfortunately I could not play play those two games [against Senegal]. I am not saying if I was there I would have made a difference because the guys who played did well against Burkina Faso.

“We would like to urge the country to support because we don’t go into a game to lose. We are there representing our families and our communities.”

The burly central defender added, “We did well against Nigeria away from home, so that’s where we have to make sure we bring smiles to South Africans. We have to make sure we qualify for AFCON.”

He also gave his backing to coach Stuart Baxter, who has been a part of two failed World Cup qualification campaigns after also being at the helm of the team when they were unable to reach the 2006 finals.

“Yes, I have confidence in Stuart Baxter. He is our coach right now and we have to give him our all,” explained the defender.



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PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Thomas Partey – Ghanaian continues to shine for Atletico – 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers


Atletico Madrid‘s players Koke Resurreccion (R) and Thomas Partey during a training session

by
Bertin Basson

Wednesday Nov 29, 2017. 13:00


Ghana international Thomas Partey has continued his stunning run of form for club side Atletico Madrid, with the 24-year-old proving his versatility in a 5-0 walloping of Levante this past weekend.

Atleti remain unbeaten in this season’s Spanish La Liga, with Partey one of their outstanding players thus far.

The midfielder-come-fullback, held his own at right-back in the club’s 2-0 win over Roma in the UEFA Champions League before starring in the same position in league success on Saturday.

Having added goals to his game in a more advanced role in midfield, Partey has since proven his worth at fullback and surely if needed – he will play as a striker too!

GERNOT ROHR EXTENDS HIS CONTRACT WITH NIGERIA UNTIL 2020https://africanfootball.com/news/735981/Gernot-Rohr-extends-his-contract-with-Nigeria-until-2020

The run of form comes as just reward for Partey who struggled for game time in the Spanish capital leading up to the current campaign.

In total, the former Mallorca and Almeria man has played 18 games this season across all competitions, scoring four goals.

Atletico return to action this evening in the Copa del Rey with a clash against Elche.



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Player Spotlight: Mario Lemina – Gabon star could start against Manchester City – 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers


Manchester United’s Marouane Fellani (L) and Southampton’s Mario Lemina in action during the English Premier League soccer match between Southampton FC and Manchester United at Saint Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, Britain, 23 September 2017.

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Tuesday Nov 28, 2017. 16:00


The highly-rated central midfielder made his first competitive appearance for his club Southampton in just over month on Sunday.

Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino introduced Lemina with 12 minutes left as the Saints beat Everton 4-1 in an English Premier League game at home.

The Gabonese international has recovered well from an ankle injury which he sustained after facing West Bromwich Albion in a league game on the 21st of October 2017.

Lemina has been one of the Saints’ best players this season having joined the club from Italian Serie A giants Juventus prior to the current campaign.

The Saints provided an injury update ahead of their away league game with high-flying Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.

A club statement read: “Mauricio Pellegrino has no injury concerns for his team’s Premier League trip to Manchester City, with long-term absentee Matt Targett the only player set to skip Wednesday’s encounter.

“The Argentine has practically a full squad to choose from at the Etihad Stadium, with Mario Lemina having made his first appearance in just over month from the substitute’s bench against Everton on Sunday.

“Lemina completed the final 12 minutes of Southampton’s comprehensive 4-1 victory over the Toffees, his first sight of action since the home meeting with West Bromwich Albion on 21 October.

“Saints’ midfield options are set to be boosted further by the return of Oriol Romeu after a one-match suspension.”

Lemina, 24, has made eight league appearances for Southampton this season.



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Dembele agent hits back at Jean-Michael Seri – 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers


by
Graeme Jackson

Tuesday Nov 28, 2017. 15:30


The agent of Barcelona midfielder Ousmane Dembele has hit back at Nice’s Ivorian star Jean-Michael Seri.

The Elephants player criticised Dembele for going on strike at Borussia Dortmund and forcing through a move to Barcelona this past European summer.

He also claimed that the mental and physical stress of this action led to Dembele’s early-season injury problems.

But Dembele’s agent Moussa Sissoko has now taken a swipe at the Nice player, telling L’Equipe: “When Seri discusses the attitude to adopt, I wonder if it would be appropriate for him to focus on how he could return to his best.

“His transfer to Barça was aborted and he may have remained on that disappointment.

“Since then, he seems missing in Nice where he is still under contract. And if I refer to his words given to Mundo Deportivo at the end of August, he himself confessed to having exploded with his leaders, whose office walls he shook after he realised he would not go to Catalonia.

“Now, rather than giving lessons wrongly or rightly, or negatively addressing Ousmane’s career, it may be time for him to focus on keeping his club in Ligue 1.

“I want to remind Seri and other critics that Ousmane Dembele went from his first professional contract with Rennes, Borussia Dortmund and FC Barcelona in less than two years.

“It’s a career plan that I wish for everyone.”



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Player Spotlight: Mohamed Salah – ‘The Egyptian winger’s goalscoring record is ridiculous’ – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Monday Nov 27, 2017. 19:00


English international Joe Gomez has described Salah’s goalscoring record since his move to Liverpool as ‘ridiculous’.

This is after the Egyptian international hit the back of the net for the Reds in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea at the Anfield Stadium in an English Premier League game.

Salah, who broke the deadlock in the 65th minute against his former side, netted his 15th goal of the season out of 20 competitive appearances for the Reds.

As a result, the 25-year-old is the league’s top goalscorer with 10 goals having joined Liverpool from Italian side AS Roma prior to the current season.

“He’s come in and he’s been a massive addition to us, unbelievable. The goals he has scored but also his general play, his link-up,” Gomez told Liverpool’s official website.

“Our whole attacking force is quality, everybody knows that, so hopefully he can keep doing it for us.”

Salah’s goal was ultimately cancelled out by a late goal from Chelsea substitute Willian, but Gomez remained keen to take the positives from an industrious performance.

“I think we battled well and were aggressive from the start. We dominated generally, created some good chances and Mo got another goal for us, then we looked like we were going to hold on,” the 20-year-old said about his club teammate.

“But it was a decent bit of a skill [from Willian], I don’t know whether he meant it or not but it’s unlucky for us and disappointing not to get all three points.

“We knew they’d have the wing-backs wide and Hazard and Morata would come and pick up the ball and do what they do,” he continued.

“We were wary of their threats and did our best to try and stop them. We had our fair bit of play as well – they had their chances but so did we.

“They’re a top side, they’re champions, so we’ve got to take the positives.”

Salah will be keen to continue his scoring form for Liverpool when they face Stock City away in a league game on Wednesday.



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Aston Villa coach challenges Albert Adomah – 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers


Aston Villa’s Albert Adomah

by
Graeme Jackson

Monday Nov 27, 2017. 17:00


Aston Villa coach Steve Bruce has challenged Ghanaian striker Albert Adomah to score 20 goals this season.

The 29-year-old netted a brace in Villa’s 2-0 win over Ipswich in the Championship this past weekend and has a tally of 10 league goals to his name.

“He’s had a wonderful return, as I’ve said now for the past few weeks,” Bruce said.

“At the start, because of the form of Andre Green, he wasn’t in the team, so it just shows you. He’s worked hard and he’s got his reward.

“Playing on the left he looks so comfortable coming in on his right foot and running across the line.

“He’s a threat and that’s 11 goals [across all competitions] he’s got which is a wonderful return.

“Long may it continue and there’s no reason now why he can’t set his sights to go and get another 10 at this part of the season.”

Villa are well in contention to make a return to the Premier League, as they are placed fourth on the Championship table.



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Player Spotlight: Cedric Bakambu – Congolese striker named best player in Spanish La Liga – 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers


Villarreal striker Cedric Bakambu

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Monday Nov 27, 2017. 16:00


The lethal striker has deservedly been named the best player in the Spanish La Liga for the month of October.

Bakambu, who was born in France to DR Congolese parents, has been in top form for Villarreal this season having scored 12 goals in 17 matches in all competitions.

The former Sochaux player grabbed a brace against Kazajistan’s Astana in an UEFA Europa League game on Thursday, before scoring against Sevilla in a La Liga match on Sunday.

La Liga announced that the DR Congo international was the October Player of the Month after scoring six goals during the month.

A statement read: “Cedric Bakambu named LaLiga Santander Player of the Month for October.

“The Villarreal forward picks up this accolade for the first time in his career after netting six times last month.

“Villarreal CF striker Cedric Bakambu has been named the LaLiga Santander Player of the Month for October.

“His goalscoring exploits last month helped Villarreal soar up the table into the Europa League qualification spots.

“The France-born Congolese star’s six strikes in October have seen him receive the award for the first time in his career.

“The 26-year-old scored a hat-trick against SD Eibar in a 3-0 victory, struck twice in a 2-1 away win at Girona FC and once in Villarreal’s 4-0 thrashing of UD Las Palmas.”

The 26-year-old collected the accolade before Villarreal’s clash with Sevilla on Sunday.

Bakambu, who was born in France to DR Congolese parents, has been in top form for Villarreal this season having scored 12 goals in 17 matches in all competitions.

The former Sochaux player grabbed a brace against Kazajistan’s Astana in an UEFA Europa League game on Thursday, before scoring against Sevilla in a La Liga match on Sunday.

La Liga announced that the DR Congo international was the October Player of the Month after scoring six goals during the month.

A statement read: “Cedric Bakambu named LaLiga Santander Player of the Month for October.

“The Villarreal forward picks up this accolade for the first time in his career after netting six times last month.

“Villarreal CF striker Cedric Bakambu has been named the LaLiga Santander Player of the Month for October.

“His goalscoring exploits last month helped Villarreal soar up the table into the Europa League qualification spots.

“The France-born Congolese star’s six strikes in October have seen him receive the award for the first time in his career.

“The 26-year-old scored a hat-trick against SD Eibar in a 3-0 victory, struck twice in a 2-1 away win at Girona FC and once in Villarreal’s 4-0 thrashing of UD Las Palmas.”

The 26-year-old collected the accolade before Villarreal’s clash with Sevilla on Sunday.



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PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Christian Atsu – Newcastle need their Ghana star to return – 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers


by
Graeme Jackson

Monday Nov 27, 2017. 13:00


Ghanaian Christian Atsu was again absent as Newcastle United slumped to a fourth successive defeat on Saturday.

The Magpies were given a chastening 3-0 beating at home by Watford, with Atsu missing a second successive match following the thigh injury he supposedly aggravate while on international duty with the Black Stars.

The loss to the Hornets is a fourth in succession for Rafael Benitez’s side, who have also been beaten by Burnley, Bournemouth and Manchester United in the sequence.

The defeat to United at Old Trafford is to be expected given the difference in the respective teams’ ambitions, but the losses against the other three will be major worries for Newcastle fans.

The club has dropped to 13th place on the log and is just four points above the relegation zone.

The good news is that Atsu is nearing a return from injury, with Benitez revealing last week that the winger is making encouraging progress.

The Magpies may even be tempted to fast-track his return when they face West Bromwich Albion in a midweek Premier League clash at the Hawthorns tomorrow night.

Short of that, they’ll definitely want him for the high profile match away to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, December 2, where Atsu’s pace and penetration on the counter attack could be a key facet of their game plan.



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PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: John Obi Mikel – Nigeria skipper criticised by academy founder – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Mikel at his Chinese club Tianjin Teda

by
Staff Reporter

Monday Nov 27, 2017. 10:00


With Nigeria captain John Obi Mikel no doubt looking forward to learning his side’s group stage opponents for the 2018 World Cup when the draw is held this coming Friday, he has been criticised by the founder of an academy he attended as a youngster.

Former Nigeria Football Federation technical director Kashimawo Laloko, who founded the Pepsi Football Academy at Agege Stadium in Lagos, believes Mikel – a product of the institution – has not done enough to give back to the youth in Nigerian football.

“Mikel was brought to limelight through our Jos centre around 1995 to 2002. We gave him the breakthrough that made Nigerians to know him,” Laloko is quoted by the Vanguard.

“He was unpolished when he came but we refined him. If not for us, maybe, he would not be where he is today but since he became a star, I have not heard that he visited the Jos centre to donate a pair of jersey to the players there. That is most unfair.

“Some former players give us money for the running of the centres but Mikel has not done such. Osaze is an example of a player who paid us because he recognised what we did for him.

“There was a time we wanted to use Mikel in a advertising campaign for the academy but he shunned us. His agent was asking us to pay a huge sum of money but Mr. Nelson could not believe it and that was how the deal fell through. I don’t think Mikel has done well for Nigerian youths.”

With Mikel currently enjoying the off season, following the completion of the Chinese Super League’s 2017 campaign earlier this month, perhaps he’ll make time to give back to those who helped his rise in the game.



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Nigeria’s Shehu Abdullahi linked to Merseyside duo – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


by
Scent ition

Sunday Nov 26, 2017. 13:00


Nigerian defender Shehu Abdullahi has been linked with Premier League duo Liverpool and Everton.

Abdullai, 24, plays for Cypriot club Anorthosis Famagusta and a source at his agent’s company has revealed growing transfer interest.

“Yes, we have offers from Spain, France, Italy and Merseyside clubs in England,” 90minutesgoal.com quote a source at player agency Mitem Sports Sprl.

“We will study which offer is best for our client, since he will be a free agent after the World Cup.”

Abdullahi is a versatile defender capable of playing right-back, centre-back and defensive midfield.

He has also represented Kano Pillars, Kuwaiti side Qadsia SC and Portugal’s Uniao da Madeira in his senior club career, and was part of Nigeria’s bronze medal-winning squad at the 2016 Olympic Games.



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Ghana’s Daniel Opare wanted by Stoke, Everton & Watford – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


by
Graeme Jackson

Sunday Nov 26, 2017. 12:00


The Premier League trio of Stoke City, Watford and Everton are reportedly keen on signing Augsburg’s Ghanaian defender Daniel Opare.

The Sun claims that Opare has a host of clubs hoping to sign him for a cut-price fee of £2.5million, given that his contract will expire at the end of the current season.

The Ghanaian’s fan club includes Stoke, Watford and Everton – who are all in need of quality full-backs – but they face stiff competition from across the continent.

The likes of AC Milan, Sevilla and Olympique Marseille are also tracking Opare, who has enjoyed a fine season for Bundesliga side Augsburg so far in 2017/18.

The German club wants Opare to sign a new deal to keep him at the WWKArena, but have so far been unable to reach any kind of agreement over terms.

Opare can play on either flank has also been on the books of Standard Liege, Porto, Besiktas and Lens in his senior club career.



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Fourth successive draw for Chiefs – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Bernard Parker of Kaizer Chiefs FC and Paulus Masehe Captain of Free State Stars FC compete for the high ball during the Absa Premiership 2017/18 game between Kaizer Chiefs and Free State Stars at Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban on 25 November 2017 © Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

by
Graeme Jackson

Saturday Nov 25, 2017. 20:07


Kaizer Chiefs racked up a fourth successive draw in the Absa Premiership after they were held 1-1 by Free State Stars at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday.

The Amakhosi had to fight back from a goal down to salvage a share of the spoils, with Bernard Parker’s equaliser cancelling out an earlier strike from Nhlanhla Vilakazi which found the net via a massive deflection from Daniel Cardoso.

Stars created the early scoring chances, with Sinethemba Jantjie shooting wide of the target from a third minute free kick, while four minutes later Thabo Maphakisa fired a dangerous ball across the face of goal which only needed the slightest touch to be turned home.

Chiefs gradually found their footing in the match and on 21 minutes they made their first clear opportunity, with the good movement of Gustavo Paez allowing him to tee up George Maluleka, but the midfield pulled his effort wide of Badra Ali Sangare’s right-hand post.

On 37 minutes they had another chance through Siphiwe Tshabalala, who cut inside from the right and beat the goalkeeper with a low shot, but the retreating Sifiso Mbhele was able to clear the goal-bound effort with a clever back-heel.

However, the defender soon succumbed to a hamstring injury and was replaced by Rooi Mahamutsa with just a few minutes to the half-time break.

The first chance of the second half went the way of Ea Lla Koto, with Jantjie opening up space for a shot from the edge of the penalty area on 53 minutes, but goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune pulled off a fine save.

Yet there was nothing the Chiefs ‘keeper could do to prevent Stars taking the lead in the 64th minute: midfielder Nhlanhla Vilakazi let fly from long range and his effort deflected off the head of Daniel Cardoso, totally wrong-footing Khune before finding the back of the net.

Stars were only ahead for three minutes, as the Amakhosi hit back through a well-worked passing move which saw Willard Katsande set up Bernard Parker, who beat Sangare with a right-footed shot.

On 78 minutes Chiefs needed Khune to make another important save, as he palmed away a sliced effort from Nyiko Mobbie which looked destined for the back of the net.

The Soweto giants ended the stronger of the two teams as they pushed hard for a winning goal, but they found Stars’ defence in an uncompromising mood. The result sees Chiefs move up one spot to sixth place, while Ea Lla Koto also improve one position to go ninth.

Kaizer Chiefs (0) 1 (Parker 67’)

Free State Stars (0) 1 (Vilakazi/Cardoso [og] 64’)

Chiefs: Khune, Cardoso, Hadebe, Ngezana, Zulu (Jayiya 70’), Katsande, Maluleka, Molangoane, Parker, Tshabalala, Paez (Zuma 65’)

Stars: Sangare, Mobbie, Keita, Mbhele (Mahamutsa 41’), Phungwayo, Masehe, Vilakazi, Maphakisa (Potsane 81’), Dlamini, Jantjie, Abrahms (Mthembu 56’)



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Africa Stars Watch: 25 November 2017 – As It Happened


Frankfurt’s Kevin-Prince Boateng (R)

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Saturday Nov 25, 2017. 18:58


It is another Saturday afternoon and AfricanFootball.com brings you an edition of Africa Stars Watch as we take a look at Africa’s finest players plying their trades in top football leagues across the globe.

We give you an update of African players’ performances across Europe on Saturday November 25 2017.

Commentary:

19:00 – We have come to wrap of our Africa Stars Watch for this Saturday and we thank you for joining us. Please check the Sunday edition of ASW live on African Football.com

18:55 – Jose Mourinho has led the Red Devils to a 1-0 win over Brighton with the absence of Bailly. Atsu’s Newcastle have lost 3-0 to Watford and Zaha’s Palace have bagged a vital 2-1 win over Stoke City.

18:50 – Bailly’s red Devils still leading 1-0 against Brighton and it is in the injury time.

18:50 – Atsu’s Newcastle are led 3-0 by Watford with three minutes to go.

18:40 – Zaha’s Palace are 1-1 at home to Stoke City.

18:40 – Aurier’s Tottenham are now level at 1-1

18:33 – Gbamin’s FSV Mainz have also finished at 2-1 and have lost against Freiburg.

18:25 – Aubameyang’s Dortmund has drawn 4-4 against Schalke in Germany at full time.

18:10 – West Brom are still leading 1-0 against Aurier’s Tottenham Hotspur. Bony’s Swansea still deadlocked at 0-0 against Bournemouth.

18:25 – Bailly’s United has scored and are leading 1-0 against Brighton.

18:00 – Dortmund have allowed Schalke to score two goals. It is 4-2 now in the Bundesliga.

17:58 – Ivorian international defender Serge Aurier is benched for their encounter against West Brom. The Lily Whites are 1-0 down at the interval.

17:55 – Ghanaian international player, Christian Atsu is missing for Newcastle United as they meet Watford. The game is at half time and it is 0-0.

17:50 – Another Ivorian international is Wilfried Zaha who is starting for Crystal Palace against Stoke City. No goals as well in the EPL tie. Half time 0-0.

17:45 – Cote d’Ivoire’s Eric Bailly is out carrying a knock for Manchester United against Brighton. No goals at Old Trafford as we get closer to the first half.

17:40 – Gbamin’s FSV Mainz against Freiburg. One goal in favour of Freiburg.

17:37 – It is the second half in the Bundesliga, Aubameyang’s Dortmund lead 4-0. Augsburg trailing -0 down against Wolfsburg.

17:24 – Aubameyang has scored in their Bundesliga encounter against Schalke 04. It is 4-0 at half time.

17:10 – Cote d’Ivoire’s Wilfried Bony is also in action for Swansea. No goals in the English Premier League after 10 minutes.Cote d’Ivoire’s Wilfried Bony is also in action for Swansea. No goals in the English Premier League after 10 minutes.

17:00 – Jean-Philippe Gbamin is in action for FSV Mainz against Freiburg in the German Bundesliga. 0-0 in the 29th minute.

16:49 – Guinea’s Naby Keita starts for RB Leipzig against SB Werder Bremen. There are no goals in the opening half.

16:30 – Ghana’s Kevin Boateng also makes his start for Eintracht Frankfurt in the German Bundesliga. The encounter is just underway.

16:20 – Gabon and Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang makes his start for the German Bundesliga side against Schalke 04. The game gets underway at 16:30.



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Nigeria not afraid of anyone, Echiejile warns Brazil and co. – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Monaco’s Nigeria full-back Elderson (left)

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Saturday Nov 25, 2017. 12:00


Nigerian international Elderson Echiejile has fired a warning to the world’s best football national teams ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals which will be hosted by Russia.

World champions Germany, European giants Spain, France, South American giants Brazil and Argentina will be amongst the favourites to win next year’s tournament.

Echiejile, who plays for Turkish side Sivasspor, believes that the Super Eagles can beat anyone with the draw for the global tournament set to take place on the 1st of December 2017.

“We are not afraid of anyone, any team,” Echiejile told brila.net.

“We just want to keep our preparation in top form, play quality friendly games and we will be ready for anyone in our group.

“This could be our time, Right now we have things going well with the team, so we are not afraid of anyone” he continued.

Nigeria came back to stun Argentina 4-2 in an international friendly match earlier this month and Echiejile stated that it is just a tip of what the Super Eagles will do in Russia.

“The win is enough motivation for everyone in the team that we can actually dispose any team at the World Cup without fear or jittery,” he added.



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SA’s Ndlovu hits out at poor officiating in UEFA club games – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta (L) and Qarabag’s Dino Ndlovu (R) in action during the UEFA Champions League group C match between Chelsea FC and Qarabag FK

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Saturday Nov 25, 2017. 11:00


South African international Dino Ndlovu is unhappy with the state of refereeing during his club Qarabag’s UEFA Champions League match against Chelsea.

Azerbaijan champions Qarabag suffered a 4-0 defeat to the English champions at the Baku Olympic Stadium with Chelsea receiving two penalties during the Group C game on Wednesday.

Ndlovu has since taken to the club’s social media account to express his frustrations. He was also given a red card against Spanish giants Atletico Madrid for an apparent dive in a Group C match.

“It was a good game in the first 20 minutes, but the referee solved the problem for us. I cannot blame anyone though, it’s futile, anything can happen,” he said.

“What can we do? It’s a good experience for the team, make no mistake. I’m not a UEFA official, I do not want to talk about refereeing.

“It’s not my problem, but they did what they did… We get red cards in the Champions League games,” the 27-year-old continued.

“And I do not understand the reason, maybe because we’re a small club, so I’m sorry.”



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Hodgson: Ivorian winger Zaha will be a wanted man in January – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Saturday Nov 25, 2017. 09:00


Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson believes that Ivorian international Wilfried Zaha will be a wanted man during the January transfer window.

Zaha is enjoying his football at the moment having scored three goals in his last five English Premier League (EPL) matches for Palace.

Hodgson, who is a former England head coach, has stated that the London-based side will receive offers for the 25-year-old winger-cum-striker.

“You can’t ever dismiss interest in any of your players,” Hodgson told the media.

“Wilfried Zaha is an obvious name, but there are other players that I wouldn’t be surprised if there were other clubs interested in.

“And we have to be prepared for that going into January.

Zaha was linked with a possible transfer to Tottenham Hotspur earlier this year, but Palace managed to keep him.

“If offers come along for players who are doing well for us and we are not particularly anxious to lose them,” he continued.

“Then we will have to make decisions on what offers are to be turned down and what could be accepted.”

Zaha and his Palace team-mates will face Stoke City in an EPL match on Saturday.



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Senegal coach Aliou Cisse irked by Keita Balde’s discipline – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Senegal coach Aliou Cisse

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Friday Nov 24, 2017. 13:30


Media reports in Senegal have revealed the reasons why striker Keita Balde was a notable absentee when they faced South Africa in this month’s 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

It is reported that the AS Monaco player’s disciplinary issues could cost him a spot in the World Cup squad as coach Aliou Cisse is unhappy with him.

Reports emerging from the Senegal Football Federation reveal that Balde’s conduct forced Cisse to axe him from the starting line-up for the double-header against Bafana Bafana early this month.

It is reported that Balde was summoned by the president of the federation to explain his sulking during the game against Cape Verde, but the player took it personal and reportedly insulted Cisse.

“After the match in Dakar, Balde travelled to France and three days later he was line up in a Ligue 1 match in Amiens,” FSF said.

“His overall behaviours also annoyed his teammates as he never interacts with anyone at locker room nor during meal times.”

Furthermore, the French-based attacker went on to fake an injury and wanted to go back to his club.

After that incident, the 22-year-old player refused to train with his Lions of Teranga teammates and faked an injury even during the match against Bafana in Dakar.



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SuperSport United boss wants South Africa to unite against TP Mazembe


Supersport United FC players celebrate after scoring against Club Africain during the semi-final return 2017 CAF Confederations Cup game between Club Africain and Supersport United FC in Tunis, Tunisia on 22 October 2017 © BackpagePix

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Friday Nov 24, 2017. 12:30


Ahead of the second leg of the CAF Confederation Cup final, SuperSport United chairman Khulu Sibiya has urged the South African football fraternity to unite.

Sibiya was speaking just a day before their clash against the Democratic Republic of Congo side, TP Mazembe on Saturday night in Tshwane.

The first leg in Lubumbashi produced a 2-1 loss for Sibiya’s men, but they are banking on home ground advantage to seal their first continental crown.

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“South Africans must unite on Saturday. It is not about whether you support Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns,” said Sibiya to IOL.

“This is about the nation as a whole. I was very amazed by the Congolese people at the weekend. They came from different places to support Mazembe.

“Even people who live in South Africa were there to support Mazembe. These people are very hostile. They are hostile even in the VIP areas.

“I’ve never seen anything like that. The stadium had the capacity of 19 000 but they took 24 000 and most of them where standing.

“It is time that our people also understand that when the team is playing in Africa it is representing the whole nation.”

The return leg will be staged at the Lucas Moripe Stadium at 20:15 (CAT) and the club has urged fans to wear blue colours to gain free entry at the venue.



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DR Congo’s Youssouf Mulumbu joins Kilmarnock – 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers


by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Friday Nov 24, 2017. 10:30


Democratic Republic of Congo and ex-West Bromwich Albion midfielder, Youssouf Mulumbu has completed his switch to Scotland’s Kilmarnock FC on a short-term deal until the end of the season.

Media reports reveal that the 30-year-old, who worked with Killie manager Steve Clarke at the English Premier League club, left Norwich City in the summer and was given a two-week trial at Rugby Park.

Apart from playing in the English Premier League, Mulumbu has also starred for Paris St-Germain and Amiens in France.

“I didn’t come to Kilmarnock just like that,” said Mulumbu to the BBC.

“I spoke with Steve Clarke and he told me everything about the club and that was a big impact that he came here.

“I worked with him for a year and I know he’s an honest manager. I know the way he trains and the way he wants to play, so it suits me and was a big affect for me coming here.

“I’m looking forward to showing the real Mulumbu. I was with Norwich for two years and it didn’t work like I wanted, so I have something to prove.”



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European giants sent scouts to watch Henry Onyekuru – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Dani Alves (L) of Paris Saint-Germain in action against Henry Onyekuru (R) of Anderlecht during the UEFA Champions League group B soccer match between RSC Anderlecht and Paris Saint-Germain at Constant Vanden Stock Stadium in Anderlecht, near Brussels, Belgium, 18 October 2017. EPA/STEPHANIE LECOCQ

by
Graeme Jackson

Thursday Nov 23, 2017. 14:00


Several European giants reportedly sent scouts to watch Nigerian striker Henry Onyekuru in action for Anderlecht in the UEFA Champions League last night.

Onyekuru, who is loan at the Belgian club from Everton, was a second-half substitute and played 25 minutes as his side succumbed 2-1 against the German giants at the Stade Constant Vanden Stock.

La Dernière Heure reported that Manchester United sent representatives to run the rule over the Super Eagles attacker, having had scouts in the stands when Onyekuru scored the winner in a 2-1 domestic triumph at Royal Excel Mouscron last weekend.

The report also states that Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla and AC Milan had spies present in Brussels on Wednesday night.

Onyekuru has yet to open his account in the UEFA Champions League after five group stage matches, but he has been exceptional in the domestic league, scoring seven goals from 14 appearances.

The 20-year-old signed with the Toffees prior to the start of the 2017/18 season.



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RB Leipzig chief: Liverpool fought harder to land Naby Keita – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


by
Graeme Jackson

Thursday Nov 23, 2017. 11:30


Red Bull Leipzig chief Oliver Mintzlaff has revealed that Liverpool fought off competition from Barcelona to sign Guinea star Naby Keita.

The dynamic midfielder has agreed a big-money deal to join Liverpool at the end of the current 2017/18 season.

Mintzlaff confirmed Barca’s interest when talking to Bild, as he said the following when asked if Jurgen Klopp’s determination to sign Keita was decisive: “That’s right, even more so because Barcelona were also interested in Naby Keita.

“This was confirmed to us by Barcelona, but obviously they didn’t try as hard as Liverpool.”

He added: “He [Keita] wanted the transfer this summer. But [sporting director] Ralf Rangnick told the team that we will not sell any players [at that time].

“This was not lip service – it was set in stone. Had we released Keita, other players might have come up with a similar idea

“It [the Liverpool move] gave the player more security, but also left us with a significantly higher transfer fee.”



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Wenger: There’s still much to come from Iwobi – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Alexandre Lacazette (right) and Alex Iwobi

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Thursday Nov 23, 2017. 11:00


There’s still much to come from Nigerian international and Arsenal FC forward Alex Iwobi.

This is according to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who feels that Iwobi has become an even better player than when he was last season.

“I think Alex is a player who grows regularly,” Wenger told London Football.

“This season, for the first time he’s adding what we want from him – goals – to his qualities, which are exceptional.

Iwobi, who struggled with an injury at the beginning of the season, has netted once in six English Premier League appearances in the current campaign.

“Overall, I think he has a good attitude and now he becomes efficient in front of goal as well. This kind of experiences like the one against Argentina will help him even more to grow.

The 21-year-old forward recently inspired Nigeria to a 4-2 win over Argentina in an international friendly match by scoring a brace.

“His finishes against Argentina showed composed finishing of a guy who knows what he’s doing, and with his left foot as well,” he continued.

“He’s worked a lot on his finishing and he’s improved a lot. Compared to one year ago, the difference is unbelievable.

There’s still much to come from him. I want him to become a better defender as well. You want him to make better quality receptions in the final third, better runs.”

Iwobi, who was nurtured in the Arsenal academy, was one of Nigeria’s key players as they qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals.

“That will come because he’s a boy who loves football, who is passionate about the game and he has a very good attitude and analysis about his own game,” the French tactician added.

“He’s just enthusiastic to play and enthusiastic to be involved. He’s a pleasure to work with. For him, the target is to keep the same attitude and the same desire to improve, he’ll move forward very quickly.”



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Omar Gaber completes MLS switch – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Mohamed Salah of Egypt (l) looks at Omar Gaber of Egypt

by
Bertin Basson

Wednesday Nov 22, 2017. 20:00


Egypt international Omar Gaber is the latest African set to ply his trade in the Major Soccer League, after penning a deal with newly formed Los Angeles FC.

The 25-year-old will officially join the LA club on-loan in the United States of America on 1 January 2018, from Swiss club Basel.

Gaber has struggled for game time since his move from Zamalek, but he will be confident to regain his form in the USA where he will link up with former Pharaohs boss Bob Bradley.

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“I joined Los Angeles FC because I want to play, that did not happen with FC Basel so I decided to leave and try my luck with another side,” he is quoted as saying.

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“Bob Bradley helped convince me and him being the head coach made the decision to join an easy one,” he added.

“I’m so happy to join Los Angeles FC they have a big project to build a very good team and I would like to be a part of that.

“I have many goals for the future one is to play again in Europe – especially the English Premier League,” he concluded.



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PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Faouzi Ghoulam – Algerian set to secure future with Napoli – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Napoli left-back Faouzi Ghoulam

by
Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Nov 22, 2017. 19:00


Algerian left-back Faouzi Ghoulam may be sidelined for the long term with a knee injury, but his future with Italian club Napoli remains headline news.

The Fennec Foxes star has been one of the most talked-about Africans stars in the transfer market, with his current contract set to expire at the end of the 2017/18 season.

Ghoulam was linked with the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and even Barcelona, with a move in the January transfer window looking very likely – until he suffered a season-ending knee injury earlier this month.

In the wake of these events, it has emerged that Napoli are very close to agreeing a new contract with the Algerian.

Tuttomercatoweb has reported that a new deal for Ghoulam to remain at the Stadio San Paolo until June 2022 will soon be inked, with confirmation of the agreement set to arrive before the end of next week.

Meanwhile, Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri has described the Algerian as one of the best left-backs in European football and has admitted that his absence has been a major blow to the team.

“The absence of Ghoulam? I think it is difficult at the moment to replace it. I would say that there are currently only one or two players in Europe capable of replacing him,” said Sarri this past weekend.

“Before he got hurt, Ghoulam was one of the top three left-backs in Europe.”



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Kwesi Appiah on why Ghana failed to reach the 2018 FIFA World Cup – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Wednesday Nov 22, 2017. 15:30


Ghana national team coach Kwesi Appiah says they had a plan to reach the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but they were unfortunate in their attempts.

The Black Stars manager revealed his thoughts on why they failed to reach the global showpiece and at the same time praised the Egyptian national team.

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He also pointed out that the North Africans had a well-executed plan for their qualifying campaign that included a lot of money from investors.

Egypt qualified to the World Cup for the first time since 1990 after finishing on top of Group E with 13 points while Ghana finished in third place with seven points.

“It’s unfortunate we did not qualify for the World Cup. Every Ghanaian is disappointed we did not qualify,” Appiah told Happy FM.

“If we come together and access where the fault is, automatically we will be heading forward.

“Egypt for instance, had a plan, they had some many investors putting in some money that they had purposely to qualify for the World Cup.”



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