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Chicago Fire to have Fernando Torres talks in Madrid

Associates of the Chicago Fire are in Madrid in the hope they can land latest Atletico Madrid striker Fernando Torres.

Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez is scheduled to maintain talks with Torres‘ representatives on Tuesday, the sources said. Spanish radio Cadena Cope was the first to report that the Fire’s reps had travelled to Madrid.

The Fire is in pole position amid MLS teams to land Torres because they hold Torres‘ discovery rights. The Montreal Influence, the Houston Dynamo, and Sporting Kansas City are next in line need to talks crackdown.

Torres‘ agent advised Cadena Cope that the Fire are just a person of multiple teams interested in Torres.

The reality that the Fire is managed by Torres‘ previous Atletico Madrid teammate, Veljko Paunovic, is, without doubt, as well as for Chicago. But there is a person sticking point that the Fire can do almost nothing about — sources said Torres wants to be in a metropolis with hotter weather, which would point to Houston as his most well-liked place.

MLS principles stipulate that at existing only Chicago can have interaction in negotiations with Torres, but sources said Montreal has made attempts to land previous Spain intercontinental as well, while Houston is waiting around to see what comes of the talks between Torres‘ representatives and the Fire.

When asked about any opportunity fascination in Torres, Sporting Kansas City complex director and manager Peter Vermes said: “We have regarded as the player. No matter if that is off or on, I do not have a remedy for it because we’re searching for so numerous different selections at the minute. But [Torres’] name has been in the mix for confident.”

Torres, 34, will be out of agreement with Atletico Madrid at the conclusion of the latest La Liga season. He has drawn fascination from China as well, but MLS seems to have the within keep track of.

Torres has enjoyed a stellar job that has found him playing for the likes of Atletico, Liverpool, AC Milan and Chelsea. All advised, he has made 622 league and cup appearances scoring 223 goals. He was component of the Chelsea aspect that received the UEFA Champions League in 2011-12, the FA Cup that very same season, as well as the Europa League in 2012-thirteen.

At the intercontinental degree, Torres scored 38 goals in 110 appearances for Spain and was component of the aspect that received the 2010 World Cup as well as the 2008 and 2012 European Championships.

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Swansea coach hopeful that ‘frustrated’ Wilfried Bony will fire – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


by
Bertin Basson

Friday Nov 17, 2017. 14:00


Swansea City head coach Paul Clement is hopeful that Ivorian forward Wilfried Bony will find his scoring boots, with the Ivorian having struggled for fitness on his return to the Liberty Stadium.

Bony, 28, re-joined the Swans from Manchester City at the start of the season, but has yet to rattle the back of the net having struggled with injury.

Due to a hamstring injury suffered against West Ham United in September, Bony has been limited to a mere five appearances across all competitions as he tries to re-ignite what was a blossoming career.

“It is really important to have Wilfried back because he brings a lot of good energy and senior leadership to the group, which is important in difficult times,” Clement told Wales Online.

“He’s really frustrated. He wanted to come back here after the way he scored goals before he left and to carry that on for Swansea.

“But it didn’t happen that way because of what happened in between. There was the frustration of the initial injury and the second injury he picked up was from de-conditioning and a lack of football.

Clement continued: “Now we need to get it right. We don’t want to make an error and set him back again, but we want him involved as soon as possible.

“We want him out on the pitch. He hasn’t been out there anywhere near as much as we would have liked so we’ve got to get it right this time.”

Swansea return to English Premier League action away to Burnley at Turf Moor on Saturday.



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Zakri: There will be fire in Morocco – 2017 CAF Champions League


Yannick Zakri of Mamelodi Sundown 2017 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Wednesday Sep 20, 2017. 13:00


Mamelodi Sundowns striker Yannick Zakri says their CAF Champions League quarterfinal, second leg clash against Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca will not be a walk in the park.

The Cote d’Ivoirean attacker netted the winning goal last weekend as the African champions beat the Moroccans 1-0 in Tshwane.

The former Asec Mimosas forward said he knows life will be tough in Casablanca.

“It’s fire there. Fire! Arab teams are totally different when they play at home. I know it will be very difficult,” Zakri tells the IOL.

“I have played Wydad three times. I know every player there. I know how Wydad play, how they attack and defend.

“I know everything. But every game you play isn’t the same. As much as I know them, they also know me. Maybe they are working on how to stop me.”

Meanwhile, together with teammates such as Themba Zwane and Motjeka Madisha, Zakri has been included in the CAF Best XI after the first leg matches.



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Gabon fire blanks against Cote d’Ivoire – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Cote d’Ivoire winger Max Gradel

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Saturday Sep 02, 2017. 20:19


Gabon lost their third Group C match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers 3-0 to Cote d’Ivoire on Saturday at Stade d’Angondjé in Libreville.

In the wake of the loss, the 2017 CAF African Cup of Nations hosts are now sitting at number three with two points from two draws in their campaign thus far.

For the visitors, two goals from Seydou Doumbia and one courtesy of Max Gradel allowed them to walk away with the full three points.

Both sides started on a low note, but it was the visitors who had a great opportunity through Salomon Kalou, though his effort went inches past the post when he struck from a good position in the 15th minute.

The Elephants pushed to find an early goal, but defender Eric Bailly fired his shot over the crossbar as they had a better chance to grab the lead.

The hosts responded through Denis Bouanga in the 30th minute as he unleashed a shot from an acute angle, but his effort went wide on the right and goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo parried narrowly wide.

With 10 minutes towards the end of the first half, Gabonnese shot stopper Yves Bitseki was forced to produce a fine save as he denied Kalou’s header.

It was 0-0 at half time.

Just after their return from the interval, Gradel found the back of the net after turning his marker inside out in the box before firing the ball into the bottom corner with his left foot.

With less than 25 minutes to go, the Panthers nearly found an equaliser through substitute Malick Evouna as he rattled the crossbar, but the referee called for a foul after he pulled down Bailly.

In the 70th minute, the Ivorians kept pushing for the second goal, but it was Bitseki who kept the hosts in the game after denying a well struck shot by Gervinho before a rebound fell for Kalou and Seydou Doumbia.

Coach Jose Antonio Camacho’s men did not give up when Denis Bouanga saw his shot going over the woodwork after a poorly cleared cross broke to him at the edge of the box, only to hammer it over in the 76th minute.

However, a minute later, Doumbia made it 2-0 for the 2015 CAF Africa Cup of Nations winners when he received a fine pass from Gervinho and the forward took a single touch before lifting the ball superbly over the advancing Bitseki.

Although the visitors were home and dry with a 2-0 lead, Doumbia completed his brace when he netted in the 83rd minute following a delivery by Gervinho.

In the end, the hard-fought win sees coach Marc Wilmots’ troops remaining at number one with seven points from two wins and one draw so far.

However, the two continental giants are set to meet for the return leg in Bouake on Tuesday and the 2017 AFCON hosts will want to avenge this defeat.

Gabon 0

Cote d’Ivoire (0) 3 (Gradel 53′, Doumbia 77′, 83′)

Gabon: Bitseki, Manga, Palun, Obiang, Appindangoye, Tandjigora, Lemina, Kanga (Bingui 70′), Bouanga, Ameka (Evouna 59′), Boupendza (Assoumou 86′)

Cote d’Ivoire: Gbohouo, Traoré, Aurier, Kanon, Bailly, Kalou (Assale 74′), Seri (Sanogo 79′), Kessié, Doumbia (Boli 89′), Gervinho, Gradel



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I will fire Wenger after purchasing Arsenal, says Dangote


Arsenal‘s Mesut Ozil (right) celebrates scoring his side’s first goal of the game with team mates Mohamed Elneny (left) and Alex Iwobi (centre)

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Monday Aug 21, 2017. 18:00


Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote says he will make an enticing offer to buy one of the top English Premier League (EPL) clubs, Arsenal.

The richest man in Africa also stated that his first move as Arsenal owner would be to fire the club’s long serving head coach Arsene Wenger, who has been in charge of the club since 1996.

“The first thing I would change is the coach. He has done a good job, but someone else should also try his luck,” Dangote told Bloomberg.

The Gunners had a disappointing 2016/17 campaign which saw them finish fifth in the league and as a result, they failed to qualify for this season’s UEFA Champions League.

However, Arsenal’s majority owner Stan Kroenke decided to offer Frenchman Wenger, who last won the EPL title in 2004, a new two-year deal which he signed in May 2017 despite growing calls for him to leave the club.

American billionaire Kroenke rejected a takeover bid from the club’s minority shareholder Alisher Usmanov three months ago and he’s reportedly unwilling to sell the club.

However, Dangote stated that once he’s done with the construction of a new oil refinery in Lagos, Nigeria, he will approach Kroenke about buy the European club.

“If they get the right offer, I’m sure they would walk away. Someone will give them an offer that will make them seriously consider walking away,” he said.

“And when we finish the refinery, I think we will be in a position to do that.”

Dangote, who is 60, has a net worth of nearly $13 billion compared to the 70-year-old Kroenke’s $7.5 billion according to Forbes.



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Zakaria and Ajayi fire Al Ahly to Group D top spot – 2017 CAF Champions League


epa05842800 Al Ahly’s player Moamen Zakaria (R) in action against Bidvest Wits player Nazeer Allie (L) Wangu Gome (C) during the African Champions League (CAF) match between Al Ahly and Bidvest Wits at Salam stadium in Cairo, Egypt, 11 March 2017. EPA/KHALED ELFIQI

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Monday Jun 05, 2017. 07:28


Al Ahly defeated Wydad Casablanca 2-0 in the 2017 CAF Champions League Group D match at the Borg El Arab Stadium on Monday morning.

The victory sees the Egyptian giants climb to the top of the Group D standings, while Morocco’s Wydad remain third with three matches played.

The first goal of the game was scored by Al Ahly’s in-form midfielder Momen Zakaria six minutes before the half-hour marke as the home side’s pressure paid off.

This was the 29-year-old attacker’s second goal in as many Champions League matches as he continued to deliver in front of goal for the Red Devils of Egypt.

Wydad striker William Jebor had a chance to equalize on the stroke of half-time, but Al Ahly goalkeeper Sherif Ekramy denied him to ensure that the first-half ended 1-0 to the home side.

Record eight-time Champions League winners Al Ahly continued their dominance in the second-half and they managed to double their lead through Oluwafemi Ajayi.

Wydad, who won this tournament in 1992, made a mistake at the back nd Ajayi was there to make it 2-0 to Al Ahly in the 79th minute – netting his third goal in three competitive matches.

The visitors created goalscoring opportunities in the closing stages of the encounter, but Al Ahly held onto their lead and they recorded a 2-0 home victory.

Al Ahly (1) 2 (Zakaria 24′, Ajayi 79′)

Wydad (0) 0

Al Ahly: Ekramy, Fathy, Hegazi, Samir, Maaloul, Ashour, El Said (Ghaly 64′), Soliman (Rabia 82′), Zakaria, Al Sulaya, Ajayi (Moteab 87′).

Wydad: Laaroubi, Rabeh, Noussir, Lamrabat (El Haddad 65′), Atouchi, Saidi, El Karti, Khadrouf (Ondama 64′), Nakach, Jebor, Ounajem



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Ben Acheampong under fire from Egypt’s Smouha


Smouha player Ayman Ashraf (L) in action against Recreativo Libolo player Ezequiel Juliao (L)during the African Champion League (CAF) Round of 16 match between Smouha vs Recreativo Libolo at Borg Al Arab Stadium in Alexandria , Egypt, 24 May 2017

by
Graeme Jackson

Sunday Jun 04, 2017. 10:00


Ghanaian player Ben Acheampong faces legal action from Egyptian club Smouha, who claimed he reneged on a contract with them to sign for rivals Zamalek.

Smouha announced on May 20 that they had signed the 27-year-old Ghanaian from fellow Egyptian side Al Dakhleya.

But just 10 days later the player signed a contract with Cairo giants Zamalek, bringing into question where his future lies.

“We can confirm that the transfer procedure of Acheampong from Dakhleya is correct and there is a release clause worth 3-million Dollars,” a Smouha club statement read.

“We are not involved in a dispute with Zamalek or Dakhleya. Our issue is with the player himself and his agent Nader El-Sayed, and we will not give up on the release clause and the club’s rights.”

The player faces a lengthy ban if he is found to have signed two conflicting contracts with the Egyptian clubs.



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