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PLAYR SPOTLIGHT: Cedric Bakambu – English clubs to battle for Congolese striker – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

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by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Monday Nov 20, 2017. 16:00


The prolific marksman has a good season thus far in the colours of his Spanish club Villarreal, who are punishing for a top four finish in the La Liga.

Bakambu, 26, has found the back of the net eight times in 11 La Liga games and he’s among the top goalscorers in the league.

Only FC Barcelona’s Lionel Messi (12) and Valencia forward Simone Zaza (9) have scored more La Liga goals than the DR Congolese international this season.

Bakambu’s exploits for the Yellow Submarine have not gone unnoticed according to latest reports coming out of Spain.

Spanish media outlet Marca have reported that West Ham United are one of a number of English Premier League clubs interested in signing in-form Bakambu during the January transfer window.

Marca says that the Hammers made an offer for the frontman in the summer, but were unable to match the price tag put on the centre-forward’s head.

The London-based outfit are now ready to revive their interest in Bakambu, who was a key player for DR Congo during their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign.

The report adds that the Hammers’ English top flight rivals West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle United are also keeping tabs on the France-born player.

It remains to be seen whether Villarreal will agree to sell one of their most prized assets midway through the current 2017/18 campaign.

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Botswana’s most decorated clubs collide

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Botswana's most decorated clubs collide

Township Rollers celebrating the second goal dduring beMobile sponsored Botswana premier league match between Township Rollers and Extension Gunners at the Lobatse stadium on 19 March 2016. MONIRUL BHUIYAN/Backpage pix

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Tuesday Oct 17, 2017. 13:00


On Tuesday, two of the most decorated clubs in Botswana football history, Township Rollers and Botswana Defence (BDF) XI will collide in a Botswana Premier League (BPL) match.

Rollers and BDF, who have won the BPL title a record 14-times and seven-times respectively, will lock horns at the Molepolole Sports Complex and kick-off is at 19h00 CAT.

Rollers coach Nikola Kavazovic feels his team has to be tactical as they are due to meet the same opponents in the 2017/18 Mascom Top 8 Cup quarter-finals later as well.

“We are facing the hardest opponent at the moment. The reason is that we will play against them in the Mascom Top 8 and we must save some weapons for those two games,” Kavazovic told Rollers’ official website.

Tuesday evening’s match comes soon after Rollers defeated Police XI 2-0 last Saturday afternoon at Otse Police College and as such Kavazovic plans to rotate his squad.

“There are only two days to recover, so there will be changes in the team. We must use and rotate players- as many as possible since the calendar is crowded,” the Serbian added.

“We won a maximum nine points and we enter the next match without any pressure, nobody in the team will be disappointed even if we draw.

“That is how we are going to play- with a hard defense to try to keep a clean sheet for a third game in a row.”

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FAZ yet to regulate clubs’ foreign quota

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by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Wednesday Sep 20, 2017. 15:00


Football Association of Zambia’s secretary general Ponga Liwewe says there is no law in the country which regulates the number of foreign players a local club can register.

Liwewe said FAZ did not come up with the law on this issue at the beginning of the 2017 Zambian Super League season and the campaign is almost coming to an end.

“But before the beginning of the next season league we will try to put something in place so that things are done in an orderly manner in regard to foreign players in the country,” said Liwewe.

“This is very good as it can contribute significantly to the development of football in the country.

Football can be used as a source of income for the country as it is in some of foreign countries where government generates a lot of revenue from soccer.”

On the other hand, the secretary general pointed out that the FA will ensure it engages all its stakeholders in 2018 before coming up with the law so that no one will feel left behind.

Although he said it is good to have foreign players in the country, he added that there is supposed to be a way of regulating how many players a club can have.

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South Africa and Egypt to have four clubs in the CAF CL in 2018

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South Africa and Egypt to have four clubs in the CAF CL in 2018

Danny Jordaan, SAFA president

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Friday Jul 28, 2017. 10:00


Latest reports reveal that Egypt and South Africa will have four clubs in the CAF Champions League as of 2018 following changes by the continent’s football governing body, CAF.

Although South Africa only had two teams representing the country in the continental club competition, that is set to change next year.

Winners of the Premier Soccer League (Absa Premiership) and the runners-up gained automatic qualification in the tournament and SAFA boss Danny Jordaan said things are about to change.

The changes were discussed during CAF’s football symposium held in Morocco last week where CAF competitions are set to run from August-May.

‘‘If you look at what is happening in the Premier League in England‚ the first thing those clubs try to do is win the league title and if they can’t do it‚ then the next motivation is to try to get into the top four to have a guarantee of going into the UEFA Champions League‚” Jordaan said.

‘‘As you can see for both Egypt and South Africa they (CAF) have allocated four places in the Champions League and that is on the basis that these teams are strong‚ thriving and truly professional teams.

‘‘Some of our teams (in SA) can compete with the best clubs anywhere in the world. But it is not so for every country in the world.

‘‘This is something we have to greatly support and give more attention to‚ which is part of the reason why we come here (to SA) in September to address this matter.

‘‘Even professional football in this country has come a long way and it is now that it has taken a step up. It is not so on the rest of the continent.”

The changes in the South African football come after reigning African champions, Mamelodi Sundowns clinched the CAF Champions League last year.

In this year’s edition, the Brazilians are in the quarter-finals whilst SuperSport United are in the same stage of the CAF Confederation Cup.

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African clubs must focus on development says Serame Letsoaka

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by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Wednesday Jul 12, 2017. 15:00


Ex-Free State Stars coach Serame Letsoaka says African clubs must focus on development to ensure they reap success in the future.

Speaking during his visit to Swaziland on behalf of FIFA as a Coaching Instructor, the former Bloemfontein Celtic and Free State Stars coach has praised Swazi football.

Letsoaka praised Mbabane Swallows’ run in the CAF Confederation Cup after reaching the group stages this year.

The ex-Bafana Bafana assistant coach said Swazi clubs are showing their quality against South African sides.

Swallows handed Platinum Stars a 4-2 drubbing in Swaziland and drew the second leg 2-2 in Rustenburg.

Letsoaka, though, has emphasised development as a priority.

ALGERIA TO SWITCH ZAMBIA HOME QUALIFIER FROM BLIDA TO CONSTANTINE

“Here in Africa we start to focus on development when players are 15 years while it took over 10 000 hours or 10 years to nature a player to be professional,” said Letsoaka to the Times of Swaziland.

“When you start at 15 years, that player will reach his peak at about 25 years and he won’t be effective enough in elite competition or the national team.

“If you lack the basics in anything, then you will have a challenge at top level. Players had to be at their best by the age of 18 years.”

The 54-year-old added that Swaziland is a gold mine when it comes to football talent.

“Swaziland is a gold mine for talent, it’s just that is needs to be nurtured at grass root level,” he adds.

“I observed in awe as Mbabane Swallows marketed well Swazi football in Africa with their good performance in the CAF Confederations.

“With proper foundations, the country may produce players who can play well internationally and also raise the standard of football in the country.”

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