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Man City goalie Ederson to miss Liverpool clash

Manchester City suffered a large blow ahead of Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash at EPL League leaders Liverpool with goalie Ederson dominated out by personal injury.

The Brazilian global came off at half-time for the duration of Wednesday’s 1-1 Champions League draw at Atalanta with a muscular challenge.”He is not able to play,” stated City manager Pep Guardiola at his pre-match push convention.City ended that game in Milan with right-back Kyle Walker in goal just after Ederson’s substitution Claudio Bravo was sent off 10 minutes from time for bringing down Josip Ilicic outside his box.Bravo endured an error-strewn very first season in England again in 2016/17 when City completed third in the EPL League.The Chilean has been replaced by Ederson as Guardiola’s to start with-choice stopper above the earlier two seasons as City have won the league.

Having said that, Guardiola turned down recommendations that Bravo will be a legal responsibility at Anfield on Sunday.”We have a different best ‘keeper,” additional Guardiola.”You have to respect this person. He is 34-many years-old and has expended his whole profession at the top degree.”The 1st season he was having difficulties mainly because he was new to the EPL League but the team was not at the prime degree.”All the issues were being not down to Claudio but it is easy to point the finger.”City journey to Anfield on Sunday currently 6 points behind Liverpool.Defeat by Jurgen Klopp’s team would depart City with a mountain to climb if they are to cease the Reds at last ending a 30-year hold out to be champions of England yet again.Liverpool have lost only one of their previous 50 EPL League games but though Guardiola is conscious of the task that will await his facet must they lose, he does not think it will be definitive in the title race.”It never ever ends in November,” he extra. “I know what transpires if we lose and anyone is going to say it is over, but we even now have a ton of games to play.”Expertise in sport reveals that you have to retain preventing until finally the close. That is what I want on Sunday and for the other games.”It will be more complicated when you see a team like Liverpool who dropped at the time last season and is unbeaten this season.”So you can imagine that they are not likely to lose numerous games but the season is lengthy, and a great deal of situations can come about.”

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Wilfried Zaha: Brighton a must-win clash for Palace


Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha

by
Graeme Jackson

Monday Nov 27, 2017. 18:00


Crystal Palace attacker Wilfried Zaha says his side face a must-win Premier League clash against Brighton & Hove Albion in midweek.

Bottom-of-the-log Palace travel to ninth-placed Brighton on Tuesday night and need three points to have a chance of moving off the foot of the table.

“All the players know the importance of it by now. We obviously speak about it among ourselves, so everyone knows it is a big game and we need to win it,” the Ivory Coast winger told the Palace matchday programme.

Palace and Brighton also have a fierce rivalry which dates back to a series of controversial clashes in the late 1970s under managers Terry Venables and Alan Mullery.

It will be the clubs’ first top-flight meeting since 1981.



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SuperSport star Brockie relishes Mazembe clash


Willem Mwedihanga of Platinum Stars challenges Jeremy Brockie of Supersport United during 2017/18 Absa Premiership game between Supersport United and Platinum Stars at Lucas Moripe Stadium on 12 September [email protected] Kgakatsi/BackpagePix

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Sunday Nov 19, 2017. 12:00


SuperSport United striker Jeremy Brockie is looking forward to facing DR Congo giants TP Mazembe.

South African side United will take on Mazembe in the 2017 CAF Confederation Cup final first-leg clash in Lubumbashi on Sunday.

Brockie, who recently represented New Zealand in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, is enjoying life in Africa.

“When I joined SuperSport, one of my goals was to play in a CAF club competition,” he told CAFOnline.com.

The 30-year-old is the top goalscorer in this year’s Confederation Cup having scored 10 goals.

“I have wonderful memories from visiting countries in the east, west and north of Africa this year,” he added.

“SuperSport have performed brilliantly to reach the final and now we face a very good team in Mazembe.”

United and Mazembe were part of Confederation Cup Group D. The two sides drew 2-2 in Lubumbashi and 0-0 in Pretoria.



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Sadio Mane ‘touch-and-go’ for Saints clash


Liverpool star Sadio Mane

by
Staff Reporter

Saturday Nov 18, 2017. 13:00


Liverpool head coach Jurgen Klopp has revealed that Sadio Mane will undergo a late fitness test to see if he will be able to take the field against Southampton on Saturday.

The Reds welcome the Saints to Anfield in an English Premier League encounter this weekend, with Mane eager to face his former employers.

The 25-year-old, though, is a doubt for the clash despite partaking in training following a re-occurrence of a hamstring injury – picked up while on national duty with Senegal.

Mane was duly sent home early from national duty with the Teranga Lions, who booked their place at a first FIFA World Cup in 16 years.

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: SADIO MANE – THE ‘SMILING ASSASSIN’ COULD FACE HIS EX-SOUTHAMPTON BOSSES

“Sadio, we have to wait. We will see [if he can face Southampton],” Klopp is quoted as saying at the pre-match press conference.

Mane has already missed five matches due to a hamstring issue this season.



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Mario Lemina to miss Liverpool clash – 2018 FIFA World Cup 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
Bertin Basson

Friday Nov 17, 2017. 17:30


Mario Lemina will play no part in Southampton’s English Premier League game against Liverpool this Saturday, head coach Mauricio Pellegrino has confirmed.

There was hope that the Gabon international would return to action following the international break, but the Saints boss announced that although his condition has improved over the past few days, the 24-year-old is not yet ready for selection.

The former Juventus midfielder is currently nursing an ankle injury according to the club’s official website – sustained in training.

“Mario Lemina was training well, much better than before,” Pellegrino said. “But he will not be ready to play Saturday.

“We look at his problem three weeks ago and he’s improved a lot [since then]. But it is too soon to put him on the pitch,” he concluded.

Lemina has played seven games for the Saints this season following his move from the Serie A champions.

Furthermore, Southampton ace Sofiane Boufal showed off his skills at the club’s training grounds – WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW:



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PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Christian Bassogog – Why the forward missed Zambia clash – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


epa06049960 Christian Bassogog (R) of Cameroon and Antonio Ruediger of Germany in action during the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 group B soccer match between Germany and Cameroon at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi, Russia, 25 June 2017. EPA/ARMANDO BABANI

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Tuesday Nov 14, 2017. 19:00


The forward was a noticeable absentee in the Cameroon attack as the Indomitable Lions locked horns with Zambia on Saturday.

Chipolopolo hosted Cameroon in the final 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualification (CAF) Group B match which was played at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.

The encounter was deemed a dead rubber as the two African giants had already been eliminated from World Cup contention.

Without Bassogog, the Indomitable Lions lacked some vital creative spark and they drew 2-2 with the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) champions.

Vincent De Paul Atangana, the Cameroon team press officer, explained that Bassogog arrived in the Indomitable Lions camp carrying a knee injury.

The Henan Jianye forward was then ruled out of the Group B encounter and Clarence Bitang was brought in as Bassogog’s replacement.

Reigning African champions Cameroon’s next match is against Comoros in the 2019 AFCON qualifier which is scheduled to take place in March, 2018.

Bassogog, 22, will be nursing his injury during the off season as he awaits the 2018 Chinese Super League campaign which is expected to begin next year.



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Sadio Mane out of the dead rubber clash against South Africa in Dakar – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Sadio Mane of Senegal celebrates a goal with teammates during the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers football match between South Africa and Senegal at Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane on 10 November 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Monday Nov 13, 2017. 17:30

After helping the Lions of Teranga book a spot at the 2018 FIFA World Cup on Friday against South Africa, Senegal will be without their star Sadio Mane on Tuesday night.

Coach Aliou Cisse will lead his troops for the second time against Bafana Bafana at home and will miss the services of the Liverpool forward.

Mane is out due to a recurring injury which he suffered in October against Cape Verde, and reports indicate that he has gone back to Anfield for further assessment.

The 25-year-old Reds player starred for the West Africans at the Peter Mokaba Stadium as they beat their hosts 2-0 to secure their return to the global showpiece since 2002.

“The Senegalese Football Federation informs the national and international opinion that, following the match South Africa against Senegal on Friday, November 10, 2017, in Polokwane, the player Sadio Mane was slightly felt (sic) from his old injury,” reads a statement from SFF.

“After consultations between the medical staff of the national team of Senegal and Liverpool, it was decided by mutual agreement to make it available to his club to continue treatment until full recovery.”

The Lions have 11 points from five matches – they drew two, won three and will want to beat Stuart Baxter’s men for the second time in Dakar.



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Referee explains why he gave a penalty in the Nigeria versus Algeria World Cup qualifier clash – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Monday Nov 13, 2017. 14:30


After handing the Algerians a penalty against Nigeria in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier on Friday, Gabonese referee Eric Otogo-Castane has explained his decision.

Although it was seen as a controversial penalty, Otogo-Castane says he was guided by the new laws of the game as defender Abdullahi Shehu was adjudged to have fouled Yacine Brahaimi in the box.

The Super Eagles claimed a point as they scored through John Ogu, but the replays suggest that Shehu didn’t do much to warrant a penalty being awarded.

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: JOHN OBI MIKEL – NIGERIA SKIPPER READY FOR ARGENTINA CLASH

”Expectedly, we asked questions after the game and the referee explained to us that the decision was taken based on a newly introduced law into the game, which allows for intention to be punished”, the NFF board member told Owngoalnigeria.com.

”He interpreted Shehu’s intention to impede the man, who stayed on his feet instead of going down from the tackle. ‎

“The fact that the Algerian attacker Brahaimi didn’t go down is what made the decision to look like the wrong call according to him.

”Let’s be frank he did his best considering the atmosphere he was under and especially after turning down numerous attempt by the Algerians to con him into giving them a penalty.

”Maybe Brahaimi should have been sent off before the incident which lead to the goal, but I guess he didn’t want to lose grip of the match, which a red card to the Algerian captain would have triggered.

“It’s called game management and we understand his explanation.“



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Eyes on the future as Congo, Uganda clash in Brazzaville dead-rubber – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


Frank Acheampong of Ghana challenges Nicholas Wadada of Uganda during the 2018 Fifa World Cup Qualifiers Russia on 07 October 2017 at Mandela Stadium, Namboole, Kampala. ©Ismail Kezaala/BackpagePix

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Saturday Nov 11, 2017. 09:00


Congo and Uganda will have one eye on the future when they go head-to-head in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier at the Stade Municipal de Kintélé in Brazzaville on Sunday afternoon.

Kick-off is at 15h30 local time (16h30 CAT).

The match is a mere formality with Egypt having emerged victorious in Group E – subsequently booking their place at a first World Cup since 1990.

Both Congo and Uganda were hopeful of shining on the world’s stage for the very first time, but it was not to be for either nation.

The Cranes, though, can especially hold their heads high having held Ghana to successive goalless draws, while also registering a notable 1-0 win over the Pharaohs in Kampala.

Diables Rouges have endured a tougher time, and suffered defeat in both of their previous two home matches [1-2 to Egypt] and [1-5 to Ghana], but did show great resilience in both Alexandria and Kumasi.

Despite the match being classified as a so called ‘dead-rubber’ – Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper Denis Onyango has highlighted the importance of the clash for the Cranes.

“We need to get into the habit of winning away from home so that it helps us build a winning mentality,” Onyango added.

“It may be a so-called dead rubber, but for us it means everything,”

“We are using it to prepare for other upcoming engagements and we want to finish strong and get a better seeding and draws,” he concluded.

The reverse fixture in Kampala last year ended in a 1-0 win for the then hosts. Farouk Miya with the only goal of the game.



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Egypt suffer massive blow as Mohamed Abdel-Shafy ruled out of Ghana clash – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


epa05630301 Mohamed Abdel Shafy of Egypt (R) in action against Emmanuel Agyemang of Ghana during the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying soccer match between Egypt and Ghana at Borg Al Arab Stadium in Alexandria, Egypt, 13 November 2016. EPA/KHALED ELFIQI

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Tuesday Nov 07, 2017. 20:00


Egypt are set to face Ghana without the services of left-back Mohamed Abdel-Shafy due to injury, the Egyptian Football Association have confirmed on Monday.

The 32-year-old Al Ahly defender has been withdrawn from the Pharaohs squad. This will be the first game he misses since the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign started.

According to the national team doctor, Mohamed Abou El-Ela, he revealed that Abdel-Shafy needs a week to return to full training after he picked up an injury with his club.

SCHALKE COACH EXPLAINS NABIL BENTALEB SNUB

Abdel-Shafy’s absence may present a chance for 21-year-old Karim Hafez, but coach Hector Cuper might also use Ahmed Fathi or Omar Gaber at the left-back position.

Hafez made his international debut in a friendly against Malawi in August 2015, but his only competitive appearance for the Pharaohs came against Morocco in the quarter-finals of the 2017 CAF African Cup of Nations in Gabon.

Although they have qualified for the World Cup next year in Russia, the Pharaohs will face the Black Stars on Sunday, November 12 at Cape Coast Stadium.



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South Africa suffer huge blow – Itumeleng Khune remains doubtful for Senegal clash – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Itumeleng Khune of Kaizer Chiefs 2016©Samuel Shivambu/Backpagepix

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Tuesday Nov 07, 2017. 15:30


South African national team coach Stuart Baxter will have a headache regarding the crisis in the Bafana Bafana goalkeeping department.

Bafana were dealt a huge blow when Kaizer Chiefs and national team goalkeeper, Itumeleng Khune suffered an injury in a local league game against Chippa United on Sunday.

‘Itu’ collided with Chippa’s Kurt Lentjies in their 1-0 win and was rushed to a hospital in Port Elizabeth where a scan was taken to determine the extent of the goalkeeper’s injury.

According to a statement from the Soweto giants, Khune was discharged from the hospital later on Sunday evening.

However, he remains a doubt for Bafana as they will face Senegal in their two 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers this weekend.

“The captain has a fracture to a bone in his face,” confirms Kaizer Chiefs physiotherapist David Milner.

“He will see a specialist as soon as possible and we will update thereafter.”

The 1996 African champions will need Khune as they have to bag six points from the two matches against the Lions of Teranga to book a spot in Russia at the World Cup.

Meanwhile, Baxter will now prepare with SuperSport United‘s Ronwen Williams and Orlando Pirates’ Wayne Sandilands as he awaits for Khune’s medical report.



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Chippa, Chiefs set for first cup clash in TKO quarterfinals


Bernard Parker of Kaizer Chiefs during the Absa Premiership 2017/18 football match between Polokwane City and Kaizer Chiefs at Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane on 31 October 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

by
Graeme Jackson

Friday Nov 03, 2017. 15:00


Chippa United and Kaizer Chiefs will have their first cup clash when they meet in the quarterfinals of the Telkom Knockout at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on 5 November 2017, kick-off at 15h30.

Chippa booked their place in the last eight of the TKO with a 1-0 win over Mamelodi Sundowns last weekend. The win – secured by a goal from former ‘Downs player Samuel Julies – was both their first over the Brazilians and their first win in the competition.

Chiefs, meanwhile, put in an impressive performance to thrash AmaZulu 3-0 in Durban, thanks to goals from George Maluleka, Hendrick Ekstein and Siphiwe Tshabalala. The Soweto giants have won a record 13 League Cup titles (three of them in the TKO era), though their last triumph was in the 2010/11 season.

While this will be the first cup game between Chippa and Chiefs, the teams have been regular combatants in league football since the former was promoted to the top flight back in 2012. The clubs have crossed swords eight times in the Absa Premiership, with the Amakhosi claiming five wins compared to two for the Chilli Boys.

Last season Chippa beat Chiefs 3-1 in the Eastern Cape in the first half of the campaign – with Lerato Manzini scoring two goals – but the Amakhosi claimed revenge by winning 1-0 at home in the return game.

Chippa come into the match having claimed a stunning 2-0 away win over league champions Bidvest Wits in midweek – with Julies scoring two more goals – while Chiefs were held to a goalless draw by hosts Polokwane City.



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Antunes names Cape Verde squad for Burkina Faso clash – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


Lúcio Antunes Head Coach of Cape Verde talking to the media during the 2013 African Cup of Nations Final Draw at the ICC in Durban South Africa , 24 October 2012

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Friday Nov 03, 2017. 11:00


Cape Verde head coach Lucio Antunes has announced the Blue Sharks squad for their upcoming clash against Burkina Faso.

The last match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualification (CAF) Group D will be played at the Stade du 4 Août in Ouagadougou on 14 November 2017.

The winner of this encounter will keep their slim chances of qualifying for the finals alive if the result between their Group D rivals Senegal and South Africa go their way.

Current Group D leaders Senegal and fourth-placed South Africa will play each other twice and only the group winners will qualify for the finals.

Turkey-based attackers Ryan Mendes and Garry Rodrigues have been called up by Antunes, while veteran goalkeeper Vozinha is also part of the team list.

Kick-off between Cape Verde and Burkina Faso is at 21h30 CAT.

List of 23 candidates:

Goalkeepers: Vozinha (AEL Limassol Cyprus), Márcio Rosa (Chaves, Portugal) and Mário Évora (FC Porto Sub 19, Portugal).

Defenses: Tiago Almeida (Polithenic, Romania), Carlos Ponk (Aves, Portugal), Ricardo Silva (Paços Ferreira, Portugal), Steven Pereira (MVV Netherlands), Fernando Varela (Paok Greece), Felix Mathaus Borges “Diney” (Marítimo, Portugal) and Ianique Stopira (Videoton, Hungary).

Midfielder: Danilson Cruz (Stade de Reims, France), Babanco (Feirense, Portugal), Marco Soares (AEL Limassol, Cyprus), Hélder Tavares (Tondela, Portugal), Nuno Rocha (Tosno Russia), Kenny Santos (Saint-Étienne, France).

Ryan Mendes (Kayserispor, Turkey), Garry Rodrigues (Galatasaray, Turkey), Heldon “Nhuc” Ramos (Vitoria SC, Portugal), Júlio Tavares (Dijon, France).



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Liverpool star Mohamed Salah excluded from Egypt squad for Ghana clash – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Thursday Nov 02, 2017. 10:30


Egypt coach Hector Cuper has announced his 25-man squad to face the Black Stars of Ghana in their final Group E match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers next week.

The Pharaohs coach has called up nine local-based players for the clash on November 12.

Cuper has decided to give Liverpool winger Mohamed Salah a break from playing as they have already qualified for the World Cup in Russia.

“Cuper decided to call nine local-based players for Ghana match (six from Ahly and the remaining three from Zamalek),” national team supervisor Ehab Leheta announced in a statement.

BRILLIANT KHUZWAYO HINTS AT KAIZER CHIEFS EXIT

Egypt’s 25-man squad for Ghana match:

Goalkeepers: Essam El-Hadary (Taawoun, Saudi), Ahmed El-Shennawi (Zamalek), Sherif Ekramy (Ahly)

Defenders: Omar Gaber (Basel, Switzerland) Ahmed Fathi, Saad Samir, Ramy Rabia (Ahly), Ali Gabr (Zamalek), Ahmed Elmohamady (Aston Villa, England), Mohamed Abdel-Shafi (Ahly Jeddah, KSA), Ahmed Hegazy (West Bromwich, England), Karim Hafiz (Lens, France)

Midfielders: Moemen Zakareya , Abdallah El-Said (Ahly), Tarek Hamed (Zamalek), Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal, England), Mahmoud “Trezeguet” Hassan (Kasimpasa, Turkey), Sam Morsi (Wigan, England), Ramadan Sobhi (Stoke City, England), Mahmoud “Shikabala” Abdel-Razek (Al-Raed, Saudi Arabia)

Forwards: Ahmed Hassan “Kouka” (Braga, Portugal), Mahmoud Kahraba (Ittihad Jeddah, KSA), Amr Gamal (Bidvest Wits, South Africa), Amr Warda (CD Feirense, Portugal), Amr Marei (Etoile du Sahel, Tunisia)



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Algerian legends back Rabah Madjer as national team coach ahead of Nigeria clash – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


Islam SLIMANI of Algeria Challenged by Leon BALOGUN (L) and William EKONG(R) of Nigeria during the Russia 2018 World Cup Qualifier match between Nigeria vs Algeria on November, 12th 2016 at Godswill Akpabio Stadium ©Kabiru Abubakar//Backpagepix©Kabiru Abubakar//Backpagepix

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Thursday Nov 02, 2017. 09:00


Ahead of Algeria’s clash against Nigeria in their final Group B, 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers next week, former Desert Warriors players have backed new coach Rabah Madjer.

This comes after Madjer was named national coach for the fourth time in his career on October 18 after Lucas Alcaraz was dismissed following a disappointing World Cup qualification campaign.

Ex-internationals such as Billel Dziri, who played under Madjer in the 1990s, believe the 1987 African Footballer of the Year can win over his critics.

KEITA BALDE SHRUGS OFF KYLIAN MBAPPE COMPARISONS

“The players will see his training methods and the quality of his training sessions,” he told BBC Sport.

“People say that it has been a long time since he has not coached, but he has lots of experience on the football pitch. We cannot neglect that fact.”

On the other hand, Omar Belbey, who played under Madjer at the 2002 CAF African Nations Cup, adds it could be unwise to ignore the latter’s extensive experience.

“When you have an ex-international with the career he had and all that he represents, that is a monstrous asset,” adds Belbey.

“We, the players, listened to what he had to say because he knows what he’s talking about.”

Madjer has since announced his squad for the Super Eagles clash set to be staged in Constantine on November 10, which will be followed by a friendly against the Central African Republic in Algiers on November 14.



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Thomas Partey ruled out of Ghana v Egypt clash – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


by
Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Nov 01, 2017. 18:00


Ghana’s Thomas Partey has been ruled out of the final 2018 World Cup qualifier against Egypt later this month.

The Atletico Madrid midfielder is ineligible for the dead-rubber match at Cape Coast Stadium on November 12 due to an accumulation of yellow cards.

The 24-year-old will be sorely missed by the Black Stars, having shown great form for both the national team and his club side Atletico Madrid this season.

Partey notably scored a hat-trick in Ghana’s 5-1 win over Congo in an earlier qualifier, while yesterday evening he netted his first UEFA Champions League goal in Atletico’s 1-1 draw with Qarabag.

In Partey’s absence, Ghana coach James Kwesi Appiah has handed opportunities to the likes of Nasiru Mohammed and Nana Opoku Ampomah.

Ghana squad:

Goalkeepers: Richard Ofori (Maritzburg, South Africa), Joseph Addo (Aduana Stars, Ghana), Lawrence Ati (Sochaux, France).

Defenders: Harrison Afful (Columbus Crew, USA), Daniel Opare (Augsburg, Germany), Lumor Agbenyenu (Portimonse, Portugal), Abas Mohammed (Harrisburg City, USA), Nicholas Opoku (Club Africain, Tunisia), Kasim Nuhu (Young Boys, Switzerland), Daniel Amartey (Leicester City, England).

Midfielders: Joseph Attamah (Istanbul Basaksehir, Turkey), Mubarak Wakaso (Alaves, Spain), Ebenezer Ofori (Stuttgart, Germany), Godfred Donsah (Bologna, Italy), Nasiru Mohammed (BK Hacken, Sweden), Patrick Twumasi (Astana FC, Kazakhstan), Nana Ampomah (Waasland-Beveren, Belgium), Christian Atsu (Newcastle United, England), Edwin Gyasi (Aalesund, Norway).

Forwards: Raphael Dwamena (FC Zurich, Switzerland), Asamoah Gyan (Kayerispor, Turkey), Majeed Waris (Lorent, France), Boakye Yiadom (Crvena Zvezda, Serbia).



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Celtic edge Maritzburg in midweek clash – ABSA Premiership 2017/18


Kabelo Mahlasela of Bloemfontein Celtic celebrates goal with teammates during the Absa Premiership 2017/18 football match between Cape Town City FC and Bloemfontein Celtic at Athlone Stadium, Cape Town on 17 October 2017 ©Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

by
Graeme Jackson

Tuesday Oct 31, 2017. 21:25


Jacky Motshegwa scored the only goal of the game as Bloemfontein Celtic defeated Maritzburg United 1-0 in an Absa Premiership clash at Dr Molemela Stadium on Tuesday evening.

Phunya Sele Sele move to 15 points from nine games and assume third place on the log, while the Team of Choice drop two places to 13th with nine points from their eight outings.

The teams had little to separate them in the early minutes, with the midfield battle notable for its ferocity, and chances were scarce in the opening quarter hour.

However, in the 16th minute, Celtic claimed the ascendancy through Jacky Motshegwa, as the 29-year-old took advantage of a defensive error from the hosts to beat Richard Ofori with a well-placed effort.

Maritzburg responded strongly to going behind, with the likes of Lebohang Maboe and Evans Rusike looking dangerous in attack, but they were unable to find a way through the hosts’ defence.

Celtic almost doubled their advantage in the 35th minute, with a patient build-up allowing midfielder Lantshene Phalane a shooting chance, but he struck his effort over the crossbar.

The second half continued in a similar vein to the first, with the teams cancelling each other out in midfield. Maritzburg made a bold tactical move by bringing on both Sheldon van Wyk and Pogiso Sanoka at the restart.

The Team of Choice gradually asserted control of proceedings in their search for an equaliser, but Celtic’s well-organised defence gave nothing away and were able to see out the 90 minutes without conceding.

The Bloemfontein team will be back in action this weekend when they face Platinum Stars in a Telkom Knockout quarterfinal, while Maritzburg will only play again on November 21 against Polokwane City.

Bloemfontein Celtic (1) 1 (Motshegwa 16’)

Maritzburg United 0

Celtic: Tignyemb, Letlabika (Lubisi 62’), Rikhotso, Pfumbidzai, Ndengane, Baloyi, Phalane, Hotto, Motshegwa (Mahlasela 66’), Mabena, Letsoalo (Nyondo 81’)

Maritzburg: Ofori, Onyango (Sanoka 46’), Fransman, Xulu, Ndlovu, Mokate, Maboe, Shandu, Atouba (van Wyk 46’), Saal, Rusike (Mekoa 74’)



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Ivory Coast coach Marc Wilmots calls for unity ahead of Morocco clash – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


by
Graeme Jackson

Tuesday Oct 31, 2017. 16:30


Ivory Coast coach Marc Wilmots has called for unity ahead of his team’s 2018 World Cup qualifier against Morocco next month.

The Elephants will host the Atlas Lions for their decisive Group C clash at the Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny in Abidjan on November 11.

Ivory Coast must win the match to top the group and secure qualification for a fourth successive World Cup.

Morocco, meanwhile, need only avoid defeat and they will qualify for their first global tournament since 1998.

Wilmots recently took to his official Twitter page to call for unity from Ivory Coast supporters ahead of the match.

The Belgian has come under harsh criticism for the Elephants’ form since he took over in March.

“Exactly 2 weeks before the confrontation with Morocco. All united for qualification,” Wilmots posted on his account this past weekend.



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Wydad hold Al Ahly in CCL final first-leg clash


epa05444318 Al-Ahly’s Moamen Zakaria (L) vies for the ball with Wydad’s Abdellatif Noussir (R) during their CAF Champions League group A stage football match between Egypt’s Al-Ahly and Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca at Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat, Morocco, on 27 July 2016. EPA/ABDELHAK SENNA

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Saturday Oct 28, 2017. 21:10


Al Ahly and Wydad Casablanca drew 1-1 in the 2017 CAF Champions League final first-leg clash at the Borg El Arab Stadium in Egypt on Saturday.

The second-leg encounter will be played at the Stade Mohamed V in Casablanca next week Saturday.

Egyptian giants Al Ahly applied some pressure on the Moroccan side Wydad’s defence in the opening stages of the match and they scored in the third minute.

Abdalla El Said set up Moamen Zakaria, who fired past Wydad goalkeeper Zouheir Laaroubi to make it 1-0 to Al Ahly.

But the Red Devils fans inside the Borg Al Arab Stadium were silenced in the 16th minute as the visitors equalized.

Achraf Bencharki headed home Mohamed Ounajem’s delightful cross to make it 1-1 for Wydad with the Al Ahly defence exposed.

The momentum was with the Red Devils, who pressed the Kings of Titles with the half-time break fast approaching.

However, Wydad managed to contain Al Ahly and the score was 1-1 at the interval.

Zakaria had a chance to grab his brace from a free-kick 20 minutes into the second-half and restore the hosts’ lead.

However, Laaroubi was alert and he made a comfortable save to deny the hard-working centre forward.

Al Ahly did most of the attacking in the closing stages of the match, but they found it difficult to unlock the Wydad defence.

Veteran striker Emad Moteab was introduced by Al Ahly in the latter stages.

However, Wydad stood firm at the back and the match ended in a 1-1 draw.

Al Ahly (1) 1 (Zakaria 3′)

Wydad (1) 1 (Bencharki 16′)

Al Ahly XI: Ekramy; Fathy, Nagiub, Saad, Maaloul, El-Sulaya, Rabia (Hamoudi 78′), Zakaria, Abdallah, Ajayi (Soliman 65′ Moteab 86′), Azarou.

Wydad XI: Laaroubi, Rabeh, Ouattara, Noussir, Saidi, El Karti, Nakach, Gaddarine, Bencharki, Ounajem (Khadrouf 27′), El Haddad (Doa 83′).



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Al Ahly, Wydad clash for CAFCL crown


Al Ahly’s player Emad Moteab (C) in action against Wydad Casablanca player Youssef Rabeh (R) and Amine Attouchi (L)

by
Bertin Basson

Thursday Oct 26, 2017. 14:30


Al Ahly and Wydad Casablanca will renew their rivalry in the final of the 2017 CAF Champions League this Saturday, with a place atop Africa’s footballing summit up for grabs.

The first-leg will take place at the Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria. Kick-off is at 19h00 CAT.

Having clashed in the group stages of this year’s competition, the two North African giants will do battle once more – this time in the showpiece of Africa’s premier club competition.

For the victor a place at the 2017 FIFA Club World Cup in the United Arab Emirates will be secured, alongside the honour of being crowned the continents best.

Al Ahly, who have set their sights on an unmatched ninth CAFCL crown, beat Étoile du Sahel 7-2 on aggregate to seal their place in an 11th final.

The Red Devils lost 2-1 in Sousse, but turned on the style in Egypt to register a 6-2 win. Walid Azaro with a hat-trick for the hosts.

As for Wydad, the Moroccans followed a goalless draw in Algiers with a 3-1 win over USM Alger in Casablanca as they take aim at a second CAFCL crown – having clinched the 1992 showpiece. Achraf Bencharki at the double in the second-leg.

Wydad goalkeeper Zouheir Laaroubi is under no illusion of the task facing his troops this weekend, and hopes that the Moroccan outfit will suffer limited damage in Alexandria.

“The game will be very tough and difficult, everyone knows who Al Ahly are and how difficult the games against them are,” said Laaroubi.

“Al Ahly’s victory against Étoile will motivate us to gather our strength as we prepare for the game, we want to end up with the least possible damage before the second leg in Morocco,” the shot-stopper concluded.

Azaro, who found form at the perfect time for the ‘Club of the Century’, thanked Al Ahly head coach Hossam El Badry for showing him faith, as he now aims to shoot down his fellow countrymen.

“I wanted to score in every match, but was constantly unlucky,” said the Morocco-born forward .”I thank coach Hossam for persevering with me.

“However, we have to forget what we did against ESS and focus on Wydad, who will be difficult opponents to overcome.”

The two teams claimed respective 2-0 wins in their group stage match-ups, with Wydad going on to top Group D.

The reverse fixture at the Stade Mohamed V in Casablanca is set to take place on Saturday, 4 November 2017.



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Young Nigerian duo won’t make the cut for Man United’s League Cup clash


by
Graeme Jackson

Tuesday Oct 24, 2017. 17:00


The young Nigerian duo of Tosin Kehinde and Matthew Olosunde will not be included in Manchester United’s squad for their League Cup clash against Swansea City tonight.

The 19-year-old Kehinde has impressed for United’s U-23 team so far this season, but having played a full match against Liverpool on Monday night he will not be called up to Jose Mourinho’s first team.

Another set to miss the cut is American youth international Olosunde, who is still recovering from an injury he picked up against Derby County in September.

For hosts Swansea, striker Tammy Abraham is likely to lead the line because Ivory Coast international Wilfried Bony remains sidelined with a hamstring injury.

The match at Liberty Stadium in South Wales will kick-off at 20h45 CAT.



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Argentina include Lionel Messi for Nigeria clash – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


Barcelona star Lionel Messi

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Monday Oct 23, 2017. 19:00


The Super Eagles of Nigeria are set to test their strength against Argentina in a friendly next month and the South Americans have announced their squad.

The La Albiceleste manager Jorge Sampaoli has released the list of foreign based players who are expected to line up in a friendly set for Russia.

Sampaoli has included skipper and Barcelona star Lionel Messi, Juventus‘ Paolo Dybala, Inter-Milan captain Mauro Icardi and Paris St. Germain’s Angel Di Maria.

Although the squad is yet to be complete as Sampaoli still has to announce local-based players, the encounter is set to be a thriller.

The Argentine squad:

Goalkeepers: Romero, Guzman, Marchesin.

Defenders: Marchesin, Fazio, Mercado, Otamendi, Pezzella; Salvio.

Midfielders: Biglia, Banega, Acuna, Paredes, Emiliano Rigoni, Kranevitter, Papu, Perotti.

Forwards: Messi, Aguero, Icardi, Di Maria, Dybala



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Senegal include Liverpool star Sadio Mane for South Africa clash – Premier League 2017/2018


Sadio Mane of Senegal Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Thursday Oct 19, 2017. 13:30


Senegal have announce their squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against South Africa and they have included the injured Liverpool forward Sadio Mane.

Mane has been included despite his existing hamstring strain after he was douubtful for the home and away games against Bafana Bafana on November 10 and 14 respectively.

Liverpool said the forward could be out for up to six weeks on October 10 after he damaged his hamstring in their 2-0 win over Cape Verde in Praia.

“In my mind there’s no doubt he will be with us for the double header against South Africa and that he will be 100% fit,” said Senegal coach Aliou Cisse to BBC.

“Until now, he has just been doing some individual training – running in straight lines – but from next week, he is going to train harder and start working with the ball.”

Cisse’s men need two points from their remaining two qualifiers to ensure their passage to next year’s finals in Russia.

The Lions of Teranga initially lost 2-1 to Stuart Baxter’s men in Polokwane last year, but FIFA ordered a replay after finding Ghanaian referee Joseph Lamptey guilty of match manipulation.

The replayed game will take place in South Africa on 10 November, with Dakar set to host the final qualifier four days later.



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Egypt confirms a friendly against UAE ahead of Ghana clash – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


epa06186689 Egyptian player Mohamed Salah (L) in action against Uganda player Godfrey Walusimbi (R) during the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifying soccer match between Egypt and Uganda at Borg Al Arab stadium in Alexandria, Egypt, 05 September 2017. EPA/KHALED ELFIQI

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Tuesday Oct 17, 2017. 16:30


Ahead of their final Group E, 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Ghana on November 12, Egypt will play a friendly international match against the United Arab Emirates.

The Egyptian Football Association announced that the Pharaohs will be facing the UAE in a friendly match three days before their last match in the World Cup qualifiers against the Black Stars in Kumasi.

MOROCCO TO HOST 2018 CHAN FINALS AS EGYPT QUALIFY

Coach Hector Cuper’s men have qualified for the World Cup in Russia for the first time since 1990 after beating Congo 2-1 a week ago, thanks to a brace from Mohamed Salah.

The EFA received an official request earlier from their counterparts in the UAE which was approved by Egypt’s head coach.

It is expected that Cuper will field the players who missed out on playing in the qualifiers during the team’s match against the Black Stars.



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George Lebese says its not personal ahead of Kaizer Chiefs clash – ABSA Premiership 2017/18 – Mamelodi Sundowns


George Lebese of Mamelodi Sundowns challenged by Edgar Manaka of Polokwane City during Absa Premiership 2017/18 match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Polokwane City at Loftus Versveld Stadium, Pretoria South Africa on 22 August 2017 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

by
Graeme Jackson

Tuesday Oct 17, 2017. 14:00

Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder George Lebese has said he is ready to face his former team Kaizer Chiefs in tonight’s big Absa Premiership clash.

The Brazilians will host the Soweto giants in a heavyweight clash at the Loftus Stadium, with both teams determined to lay down a marker for the rest of the season.

Lebese has strong links at Kaizer Chiefs, having spent nine years with the Amakhosi before moving to Sundowns ahead of the 2017/18 season, but he insists emotion will not affect his performance.

“Personally, for me, it’s just three points for us as a team, and it will take us where we want to be,” said Lebese, as quoted by Kick-Off.

“I’m not looking to take the game personally. It’s not for me but for the club, the players and the technical team.”

The 28-year-old also revealed that he has avoided contacting his friends at Chiefs for the past fortnight.

“It is possible for me to put everything aside, and then I’ll catch up with everything after the 90 minutes,” he explained.

“I’ve been avoiding talking to them [former Chiefs teammates] for the past two weeks, that’s how crucial this game is. So I’ll definitely speak to them after the match.”

Lebese also said he will not hold back in celebrating if he scores a goal: “I respect Kaizer Chiefs, they’re a big brand, they’ve taught me everything.

“But at the end of the day it’s entertainment. It’s about me and where I am right now, I’m in a happy place. So if I score, why not [celebrate]?”



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Niger eye Brazil scalp in Group D clash – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup


Spanish defender Jaume Mateu (L) duels for the ball against Niger’s midfielder Karim Tinni (R) during the FIFA Under-17 World Cup 2017 group D soccer match between Spain and Niger at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi, India, 10 October 2017. EPA/PRAKASH ELAMAKKARA

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Thursday Oct 12, 2017. 16:00


Niger will face off with Brazil in their third encounter at the 2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup on Friday.

Kick-off is at 16h30 CAT.

The Group D match will be played at the Fatorda Stadium in the Indian city of Margao.

Niger were thumped 4-0 by Spain in their last group match which was played in Kochi, India on Tuesday.

The defeat left the Junior Menas placed third on the Group D table with three points from two games. They are three points behind the leaders Brazil with one game left.

Karim Tinni Sanda, the Niger captain, will look to inspire the Junior Menas to victory over Brazil.

Meanwhile, Brazil secured a 2-0 win over North Korea in their last group match which was played in Kochi on Tuesday.

As a result, the Junior Verde-Amarela are placed at the top of the Group D standings with six points from two games. They have already qualified for the knockout stages.

Paulinho has scored in Brazil’s two games in this competition and he will look to help his side beat Niger.

Referee Bobby Madden, who hails from Scotland, will officiate the match between Niger and Brazil.

Niger will progress into the knockout stages if they win the game.



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Mali look to up their game for New Zealand clash – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup


Mali players celebrates during the 2017 Under 17 Africa Cup of Nations Finals match between Ghana and Mali at the Libreville Stadium in Gabon on 28 May 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

by
Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Oct 11, 2017. 10:30


Mali will look for further improvement and a place in the last 16 of the U-17 World Cup when they take on New Zealand in their final Group B match on Thursday, set for the Jawaharlal Stadium in New Delhi, kick-off at 13h30 CAT.

The Eaglets bounced back to winning form with a comfortable 3-0 triumph over Turkey on Monday, with Djemoussa Traore, Lassana N’Diaye and Fode Konate scoring the goals.

The result leaves Mali placed second in Group B with three points. Paraguay lead the way with six points, while New Zealand and Turkey are in third and fourth respectively with a point apiece.

A win will guarantee the West Africans a place in the last 16, while a draw may also be enough, depending on the other group result between Paraguay and Turkey.

Mali were much improved from their opening 3-2 defeat to Paraguay, though coach Jonas Komla believes they are still some way short of their best.

“We had worked on both offence and defence as well as our mental aspect as it was important for our players to take on any opposition with confidence,” said Komla.

“Our plans did succeed to some extent but we are not the finished product as yet. We have some more work to do.”

The Eaglets will miss Abdoyulaye Diaby for the game against New Zealand after his second booking on Monday, but Komla said the team does not depend on any individual player.

“Ours is a team effort and the collective strength of the team is going to be intact. There are others to step into the breach,” he said.



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Ghana face must-win clash in final group encounter


Ghana’s Sadiq Ibrahim (R) gestures during the FIFA Under-17 World Cup 2017 group A soccer match between Colombia and Ghana at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi, India, 06 October 2017. EPA/RAJAT GUPTA

by
Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Oct 11, 2017. 09:30


Ghana face a must-win situation in their final Group A match against India at the 2017 U-17 World Cup.

The Black Starlets will tackle the host team at the Jawaharlal Stadium in New Delhi on Thursday, kick-off at 16h30 CAT.

The West Africans opened their campaign with a 1-0 win over Colombia last weekend, but on Monday they slumped to a defeat at the hands of USA, putting their hopes of advancing into the next round at risk.

Ghana come into this game placed third on the Group A log behind America (six points) and level on three points with second-placed Colombia. India, who have lost both matches thus far, are placed last.

The good news for Paa Kwesi Fabin’s side is that a win over the hosts will almost certainly put them through to the next round – either they will move into the top two (who are guaranteed progression) or surely be ranked as one of the four best third-place finishers from the six groups.

Fabin was annoyed by his team’s lack of cutting edge in the loss to USA and hopes they will put it right when they face India on Thursday.

“We played well today and had so many chances but we didn’t take them and we got punished,” the Ghana boss lamented.

“In association football when you don’t take your chance this is what happens. I hope we can learn from this game. We’ll keep working on our goal scoring and hopefully against India we’ll be able to exhibit it on the field.”

Ghana will be without defender Abdul Razak Yussif due to the head injury he suffered in the game against USA on Monday



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Match Officials come under scrutiny following Ghana, Uganda clash – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


Frank Acheampong of Ghana challenges Nicholas Wadada of Uganda during the 2018 Fifa World Cup Qualifiers Russia on 07 October 2017 at Mandela Stadium, Namboole, Kampala. ©Ismail Kezaala/BackpagePix

by
Staff Reporter

Sunday Oct 08, 2017. 15:00


South African referee Daniel Bennett and his assistant match officials have come under immense scrutiny in aftermath of Uganda and Ghana’s goalless stalemate in Kampala on Saturday.

The Black Stars found the back of the net on two occasions during the course of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier, only for the respective attempts to be chalked off with the assistant’s flagged raised for offside.

Ghana, desperate for victory to keep the heat on Egypt, scored what looked a legitimate goal with the final kick of the game, only for the assistant to cut short their celebrations.

JAY-JAY OKOCHA BACKS OSCARINE MASULUKE

While Bennett was not at fault for the offside call, Ghana felt they should have had a clear penalty in the second stanza – with the referee taking a more diplomatic view.

Kwesi Appiah and his technical team were left fuming at the final whistle and approached the match officials in protest.

Officiating has been a hot topic of debate over the past 12 months across Africa, especially in aftermath of the charges against now disgraced official Joseph Lamptey.

Twitter users took to the social media platform to express their discontent following the stalemate in Kampala.



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Pinnick cautions Nigeria ahead of Zambia clash – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Embattled NFF president Amaju Pinnick

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Friday Oct 06, 2017. 16:00


Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) president Amaju Pinnick has asked the Super Eagles to be clinical against Zambia on Saturday.

The two African sides will clash in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualification (CAF) Group B match at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo, Nigeria.

A victory for Nigeria will see the Super Eagles ease into next year’s World Cup finals which are scheduled to be hosted by Russia, as Group B winners.

When speaking to the NFF’s official website, Pinnick urged the Super Eagles to be calm

when they take on Zambia’s Chipolopolo.

“The tendency is for teams to get uptight and tensed for this kind of match,” Pinnick said.

“I have spoken to them and the approach should be to take full control from the beginning and take the chances that come without being too anxious.

“We defeated the African champions, Cameroon, by maintaining focus and with the team imposing its game and taking the chances that came their way,” he added.

“That should be the approach for Saturday.”



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