Liverpool in for Hudson-Odoi as Mane rumours continue

Liverpool even now hold an interested in Chelsea starlet Callum Hudson-Odoi amid doubts over Sadio Mane’s Anfield foreseeable future, a report claims.

Latest reports have recommended that Real have rekindled their interest in Mane with Zinedine Zidane’s return to the club as manager.

They apparently perspective the Senegal international as a ‘cheaper option’ than Chelsea star Eden Hazard or Spurs playmaker Christian Eriksen.

The report even claimed that Los Blancos are willing to offer up unsettled defender Raphael Varane in order to get the offer more than the line, but given that his present-day agreement expires in 2022, he retains a valuation of £85million.

In the meantime, Hudson-Odoi has been just lately connected with an exit
from Chelsea possessing struggled for consistent game time less than Maurizio Sarri.

Bayern Munich have been the facet most significantly connected with the England starlet, and it has been suggested they are eyeing a summertime swoop for the Chelsea and England starlet this summertime getting been seriously linked in January – but it has been proposed he could expense £35m.

SportBild have supplied an update on the condition, suggesting that Liverpool are in the hunt for Hudson-Odoi as the rumours of fascination in Mane continues.German paper Bild claimed in January that Jurgen Klopp experienced a late play to rival Bayern for Hudson-Odoi’s signature just after he made him 1 of his two major transfer targets heading forwards.

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Absa Premiership weekend wrap: Pirates only winners, Baroka continue to lead

Thabo Matlaba of Orlando Pirates and Aphiwe Lubisi of Bloemfontein Celtic during the Absa Premiership 2017/18 game between Bloemfontein Celtic and Orlando Pirates at Dr Molemela Stadium, Bloemfontein on 26 November 2017 © Frikke Kapp/BackpagePix

Graeme Jackson

Monday Nov 27, 2017. 09:30

The weekend’s Absa Premiership action produced just one winner, while Baroka FC continue to be the surprise leaders of the top flight despite going five matches without a win.

The only team to claim a win through the weekend was Orlando Pirates, who defeated Bloemfontein Celtic 1-0 away on Sunday thanks to a goal from former Phunya Sele Sele midfielder Musa Nyatama, and the result took the Buccaneers to second place on the log.

They trail Baroka FC by just one point after the Limpopo side was twice forced to come from behind to salvage a 2-2 draw at home to Platinum Stars. Bakgaga haven’t won since late September but continue to top the standings, while Dikwena have put together a five-match unbeaten run but remain second-last.

Saturday’s afternoon games saw two goalless stalemates, as Chippa United held Mamelodi Sundowns in Port Elizabeth and Maritzburg United did the same to champions Bidvest Wits in KwaZulu-Natal.

The early evening game saw Chiefs finally break their goal drought as they fought back to hold Free State Stars 1-1 at Moses Mabhida Stadium, with Bernard Parker’s equaliser cancelling out a strike from Nhlanhla Vilakazi which deflected off Daniel Cardoso.

The night games produced much more excitement and featured two strong comebacks: in Durban, Cape Town City fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Golden Arrows, while AmaZulu completed the same feat in their match away to Ajax Cape Town, with former Urban Warriors favourite Mabhuti Khenyeza netting the vital equaliser deep into injury time.

The Absa Premiership will resume with a catch-up game for SuperSport United on Wednesday 29 November, when they will host Ajax at Mbombela Stadium.

Absa Premiership weekend results

Saturday 25 November

Chippa United 0-0 Mamelodi Sundowns

Maritzburg United 0-0 Bidvest Wits

Kaizer Chiefs 1-1 Free State Stars

Golden Arrows 2-2 Cape Town City

Ajax Cape Town 2-2 AmaZulu

Sunday 26 November

Baroka FC 2-2 Platinum Stars

Bloemfontein Celtic 0-1 Orlando Pirates

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Orlando Pirates continue winless run in Absa Premiership

Thabo Qalinge of Orlando Pirates tackled by Limbikani Mzava and Nkanyiso Cele of Golden Arrows during the Absa Premiership 2017/18 match between Orlando Pirates and Golden Arrows at Orlando Stadium, Soweto South Africa on 21 November 2017 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Tuesday Nov 21, 2017. 21:43

Orlando Pirates have gone six matches without a win in the Absa Premiership after a 0-0 draw against Golden Arrows on Wednesday night at Orlando Stadium.

The hosts had a number of chances upfront, but now sit at sixth spot in the league with 15 points from 11 matches in their campaign.

Despite good touches from the hosts in the early stages of the contest, they could not test Arrows goalkeeper Nkosingiphile Gumede in the first 10 minutes.

However, three minutes later Thabo Matlaba had his powerful left-footed effort saved by Gumede.

In the 27th minute Thabo Qalinge dribbled past four Arrows defenders into the box, but was let down by his final shot at goal which went straight at Gumede who cleared the danger.

Just after the half-hour mark Pirates lost the ball in the midfield and allowed Kudakwashe Mahachi to make a dangerous run into the box, only to see his final touch swallowed by keeper Jackson Mabokgwane.

Arrows resorted to long range efforts and Mabokgwane was called to produce a fine save to deny Zolani Nkombelo in the 41st minute.

It was 0-0 at half time.

With both sides coming from the tunnel energised, it was Clinton Larsen’s men who wasted a glorious chance to score when Mutizwa’s shot was saved by Mabokgwane after beating his marker in the box.

In the 62nd minute, Pirates intensified their probe for a goal and saw a Musa Nyatama effort saved by Gumede – the rebound fell for an unmarked Justice Chabalala whose effort sailed over the cross bar from close range.

The Soweto giants tried to pull out all their tricks in search of a winner, but were unable to break the deadlock.

For the visitors, Arrows now sit at the second spot on the log table with 16 points after 11 games in the league.

Orlando Pirates: 0

Golden Arrows: 0

Orlando Pirates: Mabokgwane, Chabalala, Shitolo, Van Heerden (Memela 69′), Nyauza, Matlaba, Nyatama, Qalinge (Morrison 79′), Lorch, Makola, Gabuza (Kutumela 54′)

Golden Arrows: Gumede, Mngwengwe, Mzava, S. Dube, Nkombelo, Cele, Shongwe (Bilankulu 58′), Sibiya (Fikizolo 46′), Mahachi (Lamola 71′), Magubane, Mutizwa

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PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Khalid Boutaib – Moroccan forward aims to continue good form – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

Khalid Boutaib of Morocco

Bertin Basson

Friday Nov 03, 2017. 14:05

Yeni Malatyaspor forward Khalid Boutaïb will be aiming to continue his impressive goal scoring form when the Super League outfit take on İstanbul Başakşehir this weekend.

The 30-year-old has been in the form of his life over the past 12 months and has already scored six goals in 10 appearances for his Turkish club this season.

With a crucial 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against the Ivory Coast on the horizon, Atlas Lions head coach Herve Renard will be hoping that the towering forward will carry his form to Abidjan where a draw will be enough to book their ticket to Russia.

The French-born striker bagged a hat-trick in a 3-0 win over Gabon in Casablanca last month as the North African’s edged closer to next year’s showpiece.

Morocco last featured at a World Cup in 1998 where they suffered a group stage exit, but hopes are high that they will end their 20 year wait at the expense of the current African champions.

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Robert Matano says Kenyan national team will continue to struggle – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Thursday Oct 26, 2017. 15:30

According to an experienced Kenyan coach, Robert Matano the Harambee Stars will continue to struggle because of inexperienced coaches.

The Kenya Elite Coaches Association chairman has lashed out that the Kenyan Football Association which continues to employ poorly-equipped mentors.

In an exclusive interview with Nation Sport, the AFC Leopards coach said inexperience on the Harambee Stars technical bench is the team’s greatest limitation.

Matano believes the federation’s decision to isolate the experienced local coaches, coupled with their intolerance to alternative opinions, must change for the country to achieve any objectives in football.

“The problem with the leaders we’ve had is that coaching positions are normally dished out to those who do not deserve,” laments Matano.

“And as long as we continue that way nobody should expect any miracles. There are no short cuts in football.

“Experience is one commodity that human beings cannot buy. It is something that you acquire with time and within the current national team setup, from the top management down to the team managers, nobody has any experience in managing the team at that level.

“It is true that sometimes you learn while on the job but in our situation, we have a technical bench composed purely of inexperienced individuals.”

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Absa Premiership midweek wrap: Baroka continue to lead the way

Philani Zulu of Kaizer Chiefs challenged by Percy Tau of Mamelodi Sundowns during the Absa Premiership 2017/18 match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs at Loftus Versveld Stadium in Pretoria, South Africa on 17 October 2017 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Graeme Jackson

Thursday Oct 19, 2017. 09:30

Baroka FC continue to be the surprise leaders of the Absa Premiership following a round of midweek matches which featured impressive performances from Kaizer Chiefs, Bloemfontein Celtic, Free State Stars and Polokwane City.

Tuesday night saw two away wins, as Kaizer Chiefs eased the pressure on coach Steve Komphela with a 2-1 victory over 10-man Mamelodi Sundowns at Loftus Stadium, while Bloemfontein Celtic edged Cape Town City 1-0 at Athlone Stadium.

The Amakhosi’s win in Tshwane featured a debut goal for young defender Siyabonga Ngezana and a fine strike from veteran Bernard Parker, while Phunya Sele Sele’s Kabelo Mahlasela scored the only goal against Benni McCarthy’s Citizens, who were unable to bounce back from the disappointment of their MTN8 final loss last weekend.

The pick of Wednesday’s five matches was Polokwane City’s 3-2 away win over AmaZulu in Durban – where Rodney Ramagalela’s fifth goal of the season proved to be the difference between the teams – while Free State Stars racked up a third straight victory by overpowering Ajax Cape Town 2-0 in Bethlehem.

Baroka FC and Golden Arrows remain the top two on the log standings – and both still unbeaten – after they drew 1-1 at Peter Mokaba Stadium, Orlando Pirates bid farewell to their 100 percent home record by being held 1-1 by bottom-of-the-log Platinum Stars at FNB Stadium, and Chippa United recorded a fifth successive draw with a goalless stalemate at home to Maritzburg United.

The Absa Premiership will continue this coming weekend with a full set of fixtures, the pick of which is the Soweto derby between Chiefs and Pirates at the FNB Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Absa Premiership midweek results

Tuesday 17 October

Mamelodi Sundowns 1-2 Kaizer Chiefs

Cape Town City 0-1 Bloemfontein Celtic

Wednesday 18 October

Chippa United 0-0 Maritzburg United

Free State Stars 2-0 Ajax Cape Town

Orlando Pirates 1-1 Platinum Stars

Baroka FC 1-1 Golden Arrows

AmaZulu 2-3 Polokwane City

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Benin continue preparations for 2019 AFCON Qualifiers

Benin skipper Stephane Sessegnon

Austin Ditlhobolo

Tuesday Sep 05, 2017. 17:00

Benin have been busy preparing for the 2017 WAFU CUP OF NATIONS and 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers.

The Squirrels defeated Equatorial Guinea 2-1 in an international friendly match in Malabo, the capital city of Equatorial Guinea on Sunday.

Michael Pote opened the scoring in the 42nd minute, while Jodel Dossou doubled Benin’s lead in the 75th minute.

A minute later, the Nzalang National pulled one back through Omar Ondo, but the Squirrels held on to win 2-1.

According to Benin Web TV, Oumar Tchomogo, the Squirrels head coach was using a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Benin XI: Saturnin Allagbe- Rodrigue Fassinou- Cedric Hountondji- Junior Salomon- David Kiki -Djiman Koukou- Olivier Verdon- Jodel Dossou -Stephane Sessegnon- David Djigla – Michael Pote.

Benin will participate in the 2017 WAFU CUP OF NATIONS finals which will be hosted by Ghana between 9-24 September.

The Squirrels are scheduled to take on Togo in the 2019 AFCON qualifier in March 2018.

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Assombalonga wants to continue his scoring form – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

Congolese striker Britt Assombalonga

Austin Ditlhobolo

Thursday Aug 17, 2017. 10:00

English side Middlesbrough’s Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) international Britt Assombalonga is eager to continue scoring for the club.

The 24-year-old marksman joined Middlesbrough from English outfit Nottingham Forest last month ahead of the current 2017/18 campaign.

The talented forward hit the back of the twice as Middlesbrough brushed aside Burton Albion 2-0 in the English Championship match on Tuesday.

“I always want to score as many as I can and I was searching for that hat-trick,” Assombalonga told Middlesbrough’s official website.

“Me getting two goals is good but I always want three or four, so why settle for less?

The former Watford FC striker, who opened his scoring account for the 2017/18 season against Albion, had not scored in his first two Middlesbrough games.

“But at the end of the day we got the three points, another three points, and back to back wins is a big thing for us,” he continued.

“The Championship is tough, you have to go out there and show your dominance. I think we did that in spells but you want to do it for the full game.

“We want to keep progressing and improving, and our best is yet to come.”

Assombalonga, who scored 14 goals in 32 league games for Forest last season, has been named in the DRC squad for the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

DRC will take on Tunisia in Rades on 1 September 2017, before hosting the North African giants in Kinshasa four days later.

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Talks between BTC and Botswana FA continue

Austin Ditlhobolo

Tuesday Aug 08, 2017. 19:00

Botswana Football Association (BFA) and Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) are still locked in talks.

The two organizations are busy evaluating Botswana Premier League (BPL)’s three-year deal with BTC which expired last month.

This has been confirmed by BTC’s public relations manager Golekanye Chaba Molapisi.

“The parties (BTC and BFA) have been in contact to evaluate the three-year sponsorship which ended last month,” Molapisi told Weekend Post.

“Stakeholders including media will be updated of any developments in due course.”

BTC began sponsoring Botswana’s top flight league in 2008. Since then only Gaborone United, Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Township Rollers have won the league title.

The telecommunications and internet service provider are believed to be open to signing a new three-year sponsorship deal with the BPL.

The 2017/18 BTC Premiership season is scheduled to kick off later this month.

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36-year-old Toure wants to continue playing

Austin Ditlhobolo

Saturday Aug 05, 2017. 10:00

One of Africa’s greatest exports, Kolo Toure says he regrets not winning a major trophy during his stint with English giants Liverpool FC.

The veteran defender has had an impressive playing career – winning the English Premier League (EPL) title with Arsenal and Manchester City, and one Scottish Premiership title with Celtic last season.

The former Ivory Coast international, who is now 36, has reflected on his long successful career when speaking to Talk Sport in an interview.

“I nearly won the league with Liverpool (in 2014) and I feel privileged for that. That’s my only regret to be honest because we nearly won the Premier League and came so close twice in the final of the Europa League and League Cup,” he said.

Toure, who has spent most of the summer in Ivory Coast training and coaching within the national team set up, is a free agent after parting ways with Celtic and he is still eager to continue playing.

“I just want to carry on playing if there is a good option. But at the same time if there is a good opportunity as a coach I’d like a player-coach role to inspire young players because that is what I was doing at Celtic for the last six months,” he added.

“We spoke about me going on the staff and I was waiting for an offer to come but nothing is done yet and time is going on. I still have something to offer. I have had very few injuries and I can still bring my experience and fighting spirit. Every training I give 100 per cent – even though I wasn’t playing at Celtic I was the best trainer there.

The central defender felt that he was still part of the team even though, playing time was limited in the second half of the season as Celtic finished the campaign unbeaten.

“Once you can say maybe it was luck but twice means you have been doing something good and I feel privileged for that. I feel really proud of that. Even if you don’t play a lot you always bring something and the club knows that I brought some experience and guided the young players,” he continued.

He has gained a lot of experience working with accomplished coaches such as Arsene Wenger, Roberto Mancini, Jurgen Klopp and Brendan Rodgers, and he will consider pursuing a coaching career.

“Any club I’ve been all the managers have spoken to me about the next step and wanted me to be involved in the coaching. I love to speak to players and when I play I like to give advice: that is what I learned from players like Martin Keown, Sol Campbell, Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp,” he added.

“I can still ask their advice and speak to them because I’ve always had a good relationship with them and learned from all of them. I’ve also worked with top managers and I am so privileged to have worked with those guys and I still have contact with them.”

Toure won the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) title with Ivory Coast and he was part of the team of the tournament.

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SA look to continue dominance over Botswana

Lesego Galenamotlhale of Botswana challenged by Mohau Mokate of South Africa during 2017 Cosafa Castle Cup match between Botswana and South Africa at Moruleng Stadium in Rustenburg on 04 July 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Austin Ditlhobolo

Saturday Jul 22, 2017. 11:00

South Africa will play host to Botswana in the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifier on Saturday.

Kick-off is at 15h00 CAT.

The Southern Zone second-leg match will take place at the Moruleng Stadium in North West Province of South Africa.

Bafana Bafana recorded a 2-0 victory over Botswana in the first-leg clash at the Francistown Sports Complex in Francistown last weekend.

Ryan Moon opened the scoring for South Africa in the first-half, before Gift Motupa sealed the visitors’ victory in the second-half.

South Africa will be eager to complete a double over Botswana in front oftheir supporters in Moruleng.

The Zebras of Botswana have never qualified for the CHAN finals, while South Africa participated in the 2011 and 2014 finals.

The winner on aggregate between South Africa and Botswana will face off with either Swaziland and Zambia in the second round.

Zambia are leading 4-0 on aggregate after hammering Swaziland in the first-leg encounter in Lobamba last weekend.

Referee João Goma, who hails from Angola, will be in charge of the match between South Africa and Botswana.

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Al Ahly veteran Moteab eager to continue playing – 2017 CAF Champions League

Austin Ditlhobolo

Thursday Jul 20, 2017. 16:00

Legendary Egyptian striker Emad Moteab will soon discuss his future with the Al Ahly coach Hossam El Badry.

The 34-year-old marksman is one of the longest serving players in the current Ahly squad having made his debut for the club in 2004.

“Sure, I want to retire at Ahly. It is my home and I owe this place a lot. I can’t imagine retiring at another club after spending 22 years at Ahly,,” Meteb told Sada El-Balad TV station.

The marksman was part of Ahly side that won dozens of trophies, including three CAF Champions Leagues, three CAF Super Cups, one CAF Confederation Cup and nine Egyptian Premier League titles.

“I don’t think about announcing my retirement now, because I believe that I still have something to offer. I just need to appear in matches to assess my fitness and also to see whether to continue playing or not,” he said.

“This season is the strangest of my career, because I played just 180 minutes, and despite this limited time I was always lucky on the pitch.

“Look to tennis star Roger Federer, 36, who returned to top form despite remaining on the sidelines for months due to injury. I will keep fighting to get my chance. There will be a meeting with my coach soon to decide my future with the team.”

Moteab won three Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) titles with Egypt.

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Toure looks to continue inspiring Guinea at U17 AFCON finals – 2017 U20 Africa Cup of Nations

Djibril Fandje Toure of Guinea challenged by Aloys Fouda of Cameroon during the 2017 Under 17 Africa Cup of Nations Finals football match between Guinea and Cameroon at the Port Gentil Stadium, Gabon on 17 May 2017 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Austin Ditlhobolo

Thursday May 18, 2017. 13:00

Guinea Under-17 forward Djibril Fandje Toure produced another impressive display at the 2017 U17 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals in Gabon.

The teenager was voted Man of the Match after scoring during Guinea’s 1-1 stalemate with Cameroon in their second Group A match on Wednesday.

The draw saw Guinea remain second on the group standings – two points behind the leaders, Ghana. Toure, who scored a hat-trick against Gabon in their first game, discussed his great form.

“This is my first major competition and I’m really happy that I won the Man of the Match Award in a very difficult contest against Cameroon,” Toure told CAF Media.

“Scoring a goal and three in our first match against Gabon was a reward for the good job the coach has done on us.

“I want to thank the coach for relying so much on me and this would make us work better for the last game against Ghana.”

A win or draw for Guinea against Ghana in the final group match on Saturday, will be enough to send the former to the semifinals.

The match will take place at the Stade de l’Amitié Sino-Gabonaise in Libreville. Kick-off is at 19h30.

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