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Rival backs Aubameyang to bounce back – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang and Marc Bartra

by
Bertin Basson

Wednesday Nov 08, 2017. 17:00


Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski has backed German Bundesliga rival Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to return to his goal-scoring best.

The Gabon international, who beat his counterpart to the league’s golden boot accolade last season by scoring 31 goals, has suffered a goal drought as Borussia Dortmund’s recent woes continue.

Aubameyang hasn’t scored a goal in his last five games and has now gone 476 minutes without a goal for his club across all competitions.

THOMAS PARTEY: ATLETICO COACH ALLOWED ME TO MATURE

The 28-year-old’s lack of form has coincided with a barren run for the Black and Yellows, with the club having now dropped to third on the log standings following a 3-1 defeat to their Bavarian counterparts.

“Everybody goes through these phases and the scorer’s job is the hardest one on the pitch anyway,” Lewandowski told German daily Bild on Tuesday.

“When you are on a good run, you score everything, but woe betide when it doesn’t work and you hit the crossbar instead of the net.

“Then a lot of things go through your head.

“It’s important to clear your head quickly and regain the old looseness, then I’m sure he’ll be successful again,” the Polish forward concluded.



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South Africa coach backs Sandilands and Williams – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Wayne Sandilands of South Africa

by
Graeme Jackson

Tuesday Nov 07, 2017. 18:30


South Africa coach Stuart Baxter has given his support to back-up goalkeepers Wayne Sandilands and Ronwen Williams.

One or both of the duo may well be called upon for Bafana Bafana’s 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Senegal on November 10 and 14, as first-choice goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune is an injury doubt.

“I have total confidence in both keepers, absolute confidence. I can’t remember a goalkeeper that I have not seen throw one in. I have seen Itu throw them in as well,” said Baxter, as quoted by Kick-Off.

“I remember when I joined Chiefs, they showed me a free-kick which Itu threw in and I am thinking ‘that’s going to be my goalkeeper’. I have total confidence in whoever is going to play, if Itu does not play. Whoever plays will meet the challenge.”

Khune notably missed the back-to-back defeats at the hands of Cape Verde back in September, and although his return to the team coincided with a 3-1 win over Burkina Faso last month, Baxter doesn’t necessarily believe there is a causal relationship at play.

“I don’t think in terms of ‘when he played we won and they played we didn’t win’. You have got to believe in your players and they have to believe in themselves,” added the Bafana coach.

“If we keep worrying about what’s happened in the past, then we will struggle. That’s not going to enter my world. Whoever is in goals, I believe they can do the job and he needs to know that and give every thing he’s got. I am confident, with or without Itu.”



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Timothy Weah backs legend and father to win Liberian elections


by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Wednesday Oct 18, 2017. 16:23

Timothy Weah, the son of Liberian legend and presidential candidate, George Weah, believes his father will win the elections in Liberia this year.

Timothy was speaking to the BBC in India for the U17 FIFA World Cup, saying his dad will be the right man to lead because he loves helping people.

Born in New York 17 years ago, Timothy believes his dad is under a lot of pressure when it comes to his electioneering campaigns.

In 2005, the former Paris St Germain, AC Milan and Monaco forward finished runner-up to Johnson Sirleaf in elections which ended years of civil war in Liberia.

“He is going through a lot of pressure from the media and the people, so I just said: ‘Dad, you are the best and just keep on doing what you are doing and I know you are going to win this time,'” said Weah to the BBC.

“My dad really loves and really helps his country, so I think leading the country would be the best thing for Liberia.

“This time, I feel they will get their votes’ worth and he is going to lead Liberia to a very bright future.”

In the meantime, Timothy is eyeing U17 World Cup success which could partially atone for the senior United States team’s failure to reach Russia 2018.

Meanwhile, media reports suggest that George Weah has won 39 percent of votes in first round presidential polls last week, with 95 percent of votes counted .



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Jomo Sono backs South Africa coach Stuart Baxter – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


by
Graeme Jackson

Saturday Oct 14, 2017. 11:00


South African football legend Jomo Sono has backed Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter.

Sono, who has had multiple spells in charge of the country’s national team, believes Baxter should remain in charge of Bafana Bafana even if they don’t qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

SA will only book a place at Russia 2018 if they win back-to-back matches against Senegal next month – a tall order, but not an impossible task.

Yet should Bafana fall short, it will be a third successive failed World Cup qualification campaign (SA played in the 2010 tournament as hosts) and there would definitely be calls for Baxter to lose his job.

This is not something Sono agrees with, arguing that the Englishman should be given time to build a team.

“Baxter is not a bad choice. He is a good choice for the country because he knows the players,” said Sono, as quoted by Kick-Off.

“They should give him a chance to do what he wants to do. They must not look at Baxter to lose one game and let him go.

“They should leave him there to come for second time. Leave him, give him time, there is another World Cup coming.

“If we don’t qualify for this one. Give him chance to fight to get to the next one and he will do it. He is capable of doing it and he is a good coach.”



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Jay-Jay Okocha backs Oscarine Masuluke – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


Baroka goalkeeper Oscarine Masuluke

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Saturday Oct 07, 2017. 12:00


Former Nigeria international Jay-Jay Okocha has thrown his support behind Baroka FC goalkeeper Oscarine Masuluke for the prestigious Puskas Award.

The former Bolton Wanderers ace believes that Masuluke’s last minute bicycle-kick equaliser against Orlando Pirates, in an Absa Premiership clash last season, is undoubtedly the best goal among the candidates and deserves the accolade.

The 44-year-old told FIFA’s website: “My vote goes to the goalkeeper [Masuluke], because it’s so rare to see something like that. Goals by goalkeepers are already very unusual, and last-minute bicycle kicks are too. I think it really was something very special.”

SOUTH AFRICAN GOALKEEPER ITUMELENG KHUNE SAYS BAFANA HAS TO DELIVER

It is the second year running that a South African is in-line to win the Puskas Award with Mamelodi Sundowns’ Hlompho Kekana among the contenders for the 2016 prize.

Kekana’s unbelievable strike from his own half for Bafana Bafana against Cameroon was pipped by Malaysian Mohd Faiz Subri’s outstanding swerving effort.



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Diego Maradona backs Egypt to reach 2018 WC – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Godfrey Walusimbi of Uganda tries to challenge Mohamed Salah of Egypt

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Thursday Oct 05, 2017. 11:37


Argentina and one of the world’s football icons, Diego Maradona, reveals his wish to see Egypt qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Coached by a fellow Argentine, the Pharaohs are on the verge of making history to reach the global showpiece after a 28-year absence.

Hector Cuper’s side meet the Red Devils of Congo on Sunday hoping to secure a spot in Russia, but will have to bag a win in Alexandria.

ZINEDINE FERHAT DELIGHTED TO BE BACK IN ALGERIA’S SQUAD

The Pharaohs currently sit first in Group E with nine points and are in prime position to qualify with two matches left against Congo at home and away to Ghana.

“I would like to greet Egyptian fans. I hope the Egyptian national team can qualify to the World Cup,” Maradona told ON Sport.

“I hope Egyptians can enjoy such a celebration in peace.”



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Remorseful Mathoho backs South Africa – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Eric Mathoho (L) and Daine Klate (R) of South Africa

by
Staff Reporter

Monday Oct 02, 2017. 10:00


South Africa international Erick Mathoho has backed Bafana Bafana after being withdrawn from the squad to face Burkina Faso in the crucial 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier.

The towering central defender he has to serve his two-game suspension for the red card he received in the 2-1 loss to Cape Verde last month (1 September 2017).

Motjeka Madisha of Mamelodi Sundowns has been called up to replace Kaizer Chiefs central defender Mathoho. The defender was part of the 25-man squad called up by Bafana Bafana head coach Stuart Baxter, pending a decision from the FIFA Disciplinary Committee (FDC), which sat on Friday, 28 September to deliberate on the match ban.

According to a communiqué from FIFA:

“Erick Mathoho is regarded as having breached art. 48 par. 1 c) of the FIFA Disciplinary Code by committing an act of unsporting conduct against an opponent in the scope of the match played between the representative teams Cape Verde Islands and South Africa on 1 September 2017 within the frame of the Preliminary Competition for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.”

The player Erick Mathoho is suspended for two matches including the automatic match suspension, which was served in the match played between the representative teams of South Africa and Cape Verde Islands on 5 September 2017.

The following match suspension has to be served during the match to be played between the representative teams of South Africa and Burkina Faso, scheduled on 7 October 2017.

The player is ordered to pay a fine in the amount of CHF 5,000 in accordance with art.10 c) and art. 15 of the FIFA Disclipinary Committee (FDC). Mathoho has once again apologised to the nation for the incident.

“Words fail me when I think of the incident and the red card itself, but from the bottom of my heart I want to once again apologise for my actions – to the entire Bafana Bafana team and all the football loving fans,” said Mathoho on the South African Football Association (SAFA) website.

“Let me also take this opportunity to wish the team all the best against Burkina Faso in this crucial match. I know it’s not going to be easy but I have confidence that they will get positive results. We did not do well in the last two matches but I believe we will rise again, starting with this upcoming clash. Good luck to all.”

Bafana assemble for camp on Sunday, 1 October and will face the Burkinabe on Saturday, 7 October 2017 at FNB Stadium. Kickoff is at 15h00.

South Africa played to a 1-1 draw against Burkina Faso in Ouagadougou in October last year. Dean Furman scored for Bafana Bafana.

The West Africans remain unbeaten in Group D of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, on six points – level with Cape Verde, but Burkina Faso lead the group due to a better goal difference.

Senegal lies in third position with five points, while South Africa is bottom of the table with one point.



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Goalkeeper coach backs Ghana to prevail in CHAN qualifier – 2018 CHAN


by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Wednesday Aug 16, 2017. 10:30


Isaah Najahu, the goalkeeper coach for Ghana ‘B’, has backed the locally-based Black Stars to prevail in their 2018 African Nations Championship qualifier this weekend.

Ghana will host West Zone B rivals Burkina Faso for the second leg of their final round tie at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi on Sunday.

Goals from Saddick Adams and Gideon Waja helped Ghana secure a 2-2 draw in the first match in Ouagadougou last weekend, giving them a clear edge heading into the return leg.

With two away goals in the bag, Najahu expects an improved performance from the Black Stars and is confident they will secure a place in the Kenya 2018 finals.

“We didn’t get what we really deserved per how we played in Ouagadougou,” he told the Ghana Crusader.

“We could have scored more than just two goals but that is the nature of football. You sometimes don’t get what you deserve in the game.

“The return leg comes over this weekend in Ghana and we are going to put some finishing touches to the loose ends we spotted and go for the kill. Hopefully we will find our scoring boots on the match day.”



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Former Egyptian international backs Elneny to become a regular at Arsenal – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Monday Aug 07, 2017. 15:00


Former Egypt international, Mohamed Abou-Treika has praised Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny after winning the 2017 FA Community Shield.

The Pharaohs international helped Arsenal lift their first trophy of the season after a 4-1 win over Chelsea on penalties on Sunday after the game ended 1-1.

Although he is linked with a move away from the Emirates Stadium, the 25-year-old has dismissed reports that he could be leaving Arsenal.

Following his exploits during the match, the ex-Al Ahly player believes Elneny can become a regular for the FA Cup champions.

“Elneny produced a fantastic performance,” Treika told beIN Sports.

“Announcing that he’ll stay with Arsenal is good. He proved he could compete for a regular spot in the squad.

“Arsene Wenger loves players who carry out his instructions and Elneny played as a centre-back and as a midfielder and this is definitely a positive thing for Wenger.”

The French manager has moved Elneny out of his usual central midfield role in pre-season and utilised him at centre-back during the team’s recent friendlies.

Elneny joined Arsenal from FC Basel in January 2016 and has made a total of 41 appearances across all competitions for the London-based outfit whilst netting one goa



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FIFA backs Sierra Leone FA executive


by
Staff Reporter

Sunday Aug 06, 2017. 12:00


Reports from Sierra Leone suggest that FIFA has recognised the existing Sierra Leone Football Association’s administration, despite its mandate having ended on 3 August.

According to reports, the divisions in the SLFA have deepened as the world’s football governing body says the current SLFA executive committee should remain in power.

Led by Isha Johansen, the SLFA committee will be in power until checks are carried out on current and potential SLFA members in order to allow elections for a new executive committee to be held.

Mubele opens up about life at Stade Rennais

“All current and potential SLFA executive committee members, including its President, must undergo integrity checks in line with the Fifa status and Fifa governance regulations,” said FIFA’s Vèron Mosengo-Omba.

“Until these integrity checks are done, we have no alternative but to continue with the current leadership and management of the SLFA in preparation for the general assembly.

“The first meeting of the Fifa task force will take place in mid-September in Freetown.”

Last month, it is mentioned that FIFA postponed the SLFA annual congress until a task force comprising of representatives from the world’s governing body, the Confederation of African Football, the SLFA and the Sierra Leone ministry.

Despite the backing from FIFA, the chairman of aggrieved members of the SLFA, Idrissa Tarawalley has reportedly refused to accept the current executive.



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David Obua backs Basena and Kajoba for Cranes job – 2016/17 Uganda Premier League


Ex-Kaizer Chiefs and Cranes winger David Obua

by

Wednesday Aug 02, 2017. 13:00


Former Cranes of Uganda winger David Obua has sent a message to the new Cranes technical team led by Moses Basena and Fred Kajoba.

The duo was handed the reins after coach Milutin Sredojevic left his position due to salary disputes with the country’s FA.

However, the former Kaizer Chiefs and Cranes star said they will support the two interim coaches ahead of their first task against Rwanda.

The duo was appointed by FUFA on Monday after Micho left on Saturday, citing non payment of salaries to the tune of $54,000.

Obua who has seen it with different tacticians at the helm of the side wishes the duo all the best as he posted on social media.

“Wish you well Moses Basena and Fred Kajoba. Make us proud we will all support you Guys!!!.”

Basena and Kajoba have already got their duties underway as they named a 25 man squad to start preparations for the CHAN 2018 qualifier against Rwanda.



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Black Stars coach Kwesi Appiah backs CAF changes – 2018 CHAN Qualifiers


by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Wednesday Jul 26, 2017. 15:00


Ghana national team coach Kwesi Appiah says the changes to the CAF Africa Cup of Nations will enable teams to have strong squads for the tournament.

The Black Stars manager believes days where players fake injuries and avoid playing at the tournament are now over.

Appiah was speaking in reaction to the changes made by the continental football governing body last week during a football symposium in Morocco.

It was decided that the AFCON tournament will now be staged in June/July rather than in January/February as it was the case in the past.

CAF announced the changes last week in Rabat and the changes will take effect from June 2019 as Cameroon will host the tournament.

“It is a good decision because many Clubs in Europe do not like African players because they lose them during the Competition in January,” said Appiah to GnanaSoccernet.

“I don’t think any player will fake an injury to remain with their clubs because most leagues will be over before June.”

Meanwhile, CAF has also increased the number of teams to participate in the tourney from 16 to 24, but the changes have received mixed reactions from football stakeholders such as coaches among others.

It is reported that the Black Stars mentor was in the USA monitoring the performance of Ghanaian internationals in the Major League Soccer.



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Brockie backs South Africa coach Baxter – ABSA Premiership 2016/17


Stuart Baxter, coach of South Africa

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Monday Jul 24, 2017. 18:00


SuperSport United marksman Jeremy Brockie says South Africa can do dominate African football under the guidance of head coach Stuart Baxter.

The 29-year-old player worked with British tactician Baxter at South African side United where they won two Nedbank Cup trophies.

The Zealand international believes that his former coach Baxter can turn Bafana Bafana into a force to be reckoned with in Africa.

Baxter, who was appointed in May, 2017, guided Bafana to a historic victory over Nigeria in the 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier last month.

“First and foremost, having won a hatful of trophies at domestic level in South Africa, I believe he will have more backing from the supporters and increased buy-in from the players,” Brockie told Kick Off Magazine.

“The obvious difference between managing a club, as opposed to a national side, is that Baxter doesn’t have as much time to work with the Bafana players on the training pitch.

“However, he knows the players better than before and is aware of how South African football works as a whole. The 2-0 away win over Nigeria in June was a massive boost and a great first up result for him,” he added.

“I’m looking forward to seeing Baxter and his charges build on the victory against Nigeria and, sooner than later, I’m pretty sure those types of results will be the norm rather than the exception.”

Baxter, 63, is in his second stint with Bafana having coached the national team between 2004 and 2005. He quit this role after failing to qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

He masterminded Bafana’s recent 3-0 aggregate win over Botswana in the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifier and they will now face Zambia in the next round.



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Letsholonyane backs CAF’s move to change AFCON dates


Reneilwe Letsholonyane of Supersport United during the 2017 Absa Premiership 2016/17 match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Supersport United at the Loftus Stadium, South Africa on 13 April 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Friday Jul 21, 2017. 12:30


With speculation rife that CAF could change the Africa Cup of Nations tournament dates which is staged between January and February, SuperSport United midfielder Reneilwe Letsholonyane supports the decision.

The former Bafana Bafana midfielder became the first local player to throw his support behind the proposed move by CAF members to switch the AFCON showpiece to mid-year, i.e. June/July.

‘Yeye’ said the idea will benefit national teams as that would ensure players are available, ending the club versus country issues.

Over 200 CAF delegates met in Morocco on Thursday to deliberate on issues affecting continental football.

Among issues discussed was the timing of the continental showpiece which is staged between January and February every two years.

“I buy into the suggestion of the Afcon being played in June because that would give the coaches of all national teams an opportunity to get players they want – it would be during the off-season,” said Letsholonyane.

“Sometimes African players who play in Europe really want to play at the Afcon but because they do not want to risk losing their positions at their clubs‚ they end up not coming.

“If the tournament is held in May or June‚ they would definitely come.

“Having almost all the top players from the top leagues around the world in one tournament would only serve to boost the image and level of the tournament.

“You have a three-year contract with that club and the national team is something that happens once in about two to three months.

“You spend a lot of time at your club and you will choose the club because of the many months you spend there.

“If you lose your position‚ it means sitting on the bench‚ frustration and trying to win back your position which is not guaranteed.”



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