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Eric Bailly – Ivorian defender threatened by rival’s form – 2018 FIFA World Cup – Russia


Eric Bailly (L) of Manchester United during the UEFA Champions League match

by
Graeme Jackson

Friday Dec 01, 2017. 19:00


Eric Bailly may have a tough time getting back into Manchester United’s starting XI following the impressive form shown by rival and teammate Victor Lindelof.

Though the Swedish defender has taken his time to settle at Old Trafford following a big-money move from Benfica in the European summer, he has impressed in United’s last two matches and may have jumped ahead in the pecking order for central defenders.

The Swede was composed in the 1-0 and 4-2 wins over Brighton and Watford respectively and may have done enough to claim a starting place for the big game away to Arsenal tomorrow evening.

Bailly also faces competition from the return of Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones from injury, though Jose Mourinho’s use of a back three in the win at Vicarage Road in midweek means an abundance of centre-backs is needed.

The Ivorian remains one of the Red Devils’ best ‘natural’ defenders and will surely see plenty of action, especially over the busy upcoming festive season, when games come thick and fast and squad rotation becomes more prevalent.

If Bailly doesn’t make the cut for the match at Emirates Stadium tomorrow, he is at least likely to see action in next week’s UEFA Champions League match at home to CSKA Moscow, where United will be looking to confirm their place in the last 16.



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Manyama finds form in Turkey


by
Staff Reporter

Thursday Nov 30, 2017. 09:00


Bafana Bafana international Lebogang Manyama has finally found some sort of form in Turkey, bagging a brace in a man-of-the-match display for club side Konyaspor in their Turkish Cup first-leg victory over Batman Petrolspor.

The 27-year-old, who joined the Süper Lig outfit following an outstanding 2016-17 season for Cape Town City, has struggled for game time at his new club.

Manyama, though, will be hoping that the double will spark his European career into life.

The attacker played a integral part in the game’s opener before netting his first for the club 10 minutes into the second stanza following a goalkeeping error.

CEDRIC BAKAMBU BECOMES FIRST AFRICAN TO CLINCH LA LIGA ACCOLADE

Manyama completed his brace soon after to round off a superb outing for the Turkish club who now turn their attention back to league action.

Konyaspor haven’t won a league game in the month of November, but will be hoping that the cup win will carry over into their upcoming clash against Bursaspor this coming weekend.



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Villa’s Adomah maintains good form despite Ghana snub


Aston Villa’s Albert Adomah

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Saturday Nov 25, 2017. 13:00


Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce is pleased with Ghanaian international Albert Adomah’s surge in form.

The 29-year-old midfielder has established himself as one of the key players for the English Championship side.

Adomah, who last played for Ghana in 2015, has netted eight goals in 14 league matches for Villa this season.

“I’m delighted with Albert, he’s in great form,” Bruce told Villa’s official website.

Adomah made it three goals in two league matches when he netted against Sunderland on Tuesday.

“He was a doubt before the game, we thought he had a bit of a calf problem but he wanted to play,” he added.

“And he scored another goal, which is great.”

Adomah will look to inspire Villa to victory when they face Ipswich Town in a league match on Saturday.



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Chiefs target return to winning form – ABSA Premiership 2017/18


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 24, 2017. 16:30


Kaizer Chiefs will look for a return to winning form in the Absa Premiership when they host Free State Stars at Moses Mabhida Stadium on 25 November 2017, kick-off at 18h00.

Chiefs played to a third successive draw when they were held 0-0 at AmaZulu on November 22. The Soweto side has managed just three wins so far this season and will need to accumulate points at a quicker rate if they are to challenge for top honours.

The Amakhosi are still in search of their first home win in 2017/18, having claimed just three points from five turns as hosts. Their last home game was a goalless draw against arch rivals Orlando Pirates last month.

Stars have gone three league matches without a win after they were held 1-1 at home by Chippa United on November 22. The Free State side last claimed a three-pointer when they beat Ajax Cape Town 2-0 at home in mid-October.

Ea Lla Koto have claimed six points from five away matches so far this season, though their last match on the road was a 1-0 defeat at Cape Town City prior to the last international break.

In head-to-head stats, Chiefs and Stars have met in 35 league matches since 1996. The Amakhosi have claimed 23 wins compared to just three for Ea Lla Koto, while nine matches have been drawn. The Soweto side has claimed 13 wins and suffered just one defeat in their 18 home matches against the Free State side.

Last season Chiefs claimed a league ‘double’ over Stars, winning 2-0 in the Free State in the first half of the campaign and 3-1 in the return game in Soweto. The Amakhosi have not lost a league match against Ea Lla Koto since the first half of the 2010/11 season.

Chiefs’ line-up from their 0-0 draw with AmaZulu on November 22: Khune, Cardoso, Hadebe, Ngezana, Zulu, Katsande, Maluleka, Ekstein (Tshabalala 66′), Molangoane, Páez (Zuma 83′), Parker (Jayiya 88′).

Stars’ line-up from their 1-1 draw with Chippa on November 22: Sangare, Mobbie, Keita, Mbhele, Phungwayo, Masehe, Mokhuoane, Jantjie, Maphakisa, Dlamini, Anas.



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Dortmund’s Aubameyang promises to recover his scoring form – 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers


Borussia Dortmund attacker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Thursday Nov 16, 2017. 18:30


Gabonese international Pierre Emerick Aubameyang has disclosed his readiness to score goals again for Borussia Dortmund.

The 28-year-old, who has failed to score for the German outfit in their last five games in all competitions, has accepted criticism for his struggles in front of goal.

“I played a lot and felt a bit tired, which is why I asked for a break in the Cup against Magdeburg,” Aubameyang told Bild.

“But that was not enough, the international break has done me very well again.

However, Aubameyang, who has netted 10 goals in the German Bundesliga this season, is a only a goal behind league top goalscorer Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich.

“After all, this is my job and I face this criticism, even though I do not think it’s fair,” he continued.

“And I know I have to score goals again. But even in the past there were such phases.”

The Gabon captain will be looking to recover his scoring form when Dortmund take on Stuttgart in a league match on Friday.



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PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Vincent Aboubacar – Cameroon star to take form into World Cup qualifier – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


Vincent Aboubakar of Cameroon celebrates goal during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Finals Afcon Final match between Egypt and Cameroon at the Libreville in Gabon on 5 February 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

by
Graeme Jackson

Thursday Nov 09, 2017. 13:00


Vincent Aboubacar will look to take his strong form for Porto into this weekend’s World Cup qualifiers.

The Cameroon striker has netted four goals in Porto’s last six matches, including a fine strike in a 2-0 Primeira Liga win over Belenenses last Saturday.

The Indomitable Lions will wrap up their Group B campaign in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers with a match away to Zambia on Saturday afternoon.

Aboubacar is expected to lead Cameroon’s attack in the match at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.

The West Africans will not be going to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, regardless of their result against Chipolopolo, as regional rivals Nigeria have already secured top spot in the group.

Nonetheless, the 25-year-old Porto star will be keen on adding to his tally of international goals, having already netted twice for Cameroon in this qualifying campaign.



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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

by
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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PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Vincent Aboubakar- Cameroon striker out to keep up scoring form – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Porto’s Vincent Aboubakar celebrates

by
Graeme Jackson

Thursday Oct 26, 2017. 13:00


Cameroon striker Vincent Aboubakar will look to continue his strong scoring form this season when Porto face Boavista in a league clash on Saturday night.

The 25-year-old Indomitable Lions forward has scored seven goals in nine Primeira Liga appearances this season (plus two assists), as well as three goals in the UEFA Champions League.

Vincent Aboubakar has been the main beneficiary of the fine form of fellow Africans Moussa Marega (Mali; seven goals, one assist) and Yacine Brahimi (Algeria; three goals, two assists), as well as Mexican forward Jesus Manuel Corona (two goals, two assists).

The quartet have formed a potent attacking force for Porto, who have picked up 25 points from a possible 27 in Portugal’s top flight this season.

Porto have not won the Primeira Liga since 2012/13, having to stomach a period of domination for arch rivals Benfica.

Yet with Aboubacar in fine form, they will be confident of returning the title to the Estadio do Dragao, as they already have a four-point lead over nearest chasers Sporting Lisbon.

The Indomitable Lions striker notably signed a new contract with Porto earlier this month to end speculation linking him with the likes of Besiktas and Newcastle United.

Aboubacar will also be expecting a call-up from Hugo Broos ahead of Cameroon’s impending 2018 World Cup qualifier against Zambia next month.



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PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Christian Bassogog – Cameroon star maintains electrifying form in China – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


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 Oct 24, 2017. 19:00


The promising forward has been in electrifying form for Henan Jianye in the Chinese Super League.

Bassogog, who was born in Douala, Cameroon, inspired Jianye to a 2-1 victory over Yanbian Funde on Saturday.

The league encounter took place at the Yanji Nationwide Fitness Centre Stadium in city of Yanji.

Bassogog was the hero for his side as he scored in the sixth and 48th minutes of the encounter and Jianye secured an away victory.

Prior the clash with Funde, the 22-year-old had netted during Jianye’s 3-2 league defeat to Guangzhou R&F away nearly two weeks ago.

The former Wilmington Hammerheads has now scored 10 goals in 23 league matches for the Zhengzhou-based outfit.

Jianye, who are 11 points above the relegation zone, find themselves placed 11th on the league standings with two matches left.

Bassogog will be hoping to maintain his scoring form when Jianye host Shanghai SIPG at the Zhengzhou Hanghai Stadium on Sunday.

Jianye are scheduled to take on Tianjin Teda away in their last league match of the season on 4 November 2017.

Bassogog is expected to be included in the Cameroon squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualification (CAF) Group B match against Zambia,

The final Group B encounter will be played at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola, Zambia on 11 November 2017.



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Odion Ighalo continues strong form in China – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Odion Ighalo of Nigeria celebrate his goal with Victor Moses

by
Graeme Jackson

Monday Oct 23, 2017. 11:30


Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo continued his strong form in the Chinese Super League, as he netted in Changchun Yatai’s 3-1 win over Jiangsu Suning on Sunday.

The CSL match at the Development Arena Stadium saw Jiangsu take a first-minute lead through Cameroon international Benjamin Moukandjo.

However, Ighalo brought his team level at 1-1 with a superb finish in the 29th minute.

Changchun went on to score two further goals in the second through Yu Rui and Du Zhenyu, with the latter’s set up by the industrious Ighalo.

The 28-year-old Nigerian has now netted 15 CSL goals in 26 appearances this year, making him the equal fifth-highest scorer in the division.

Ighalo is expected to be included in Nigeria’s squad for their final 2018 World Cup qualifier away to Algeria next month. The Super Eagles have already secured qualification for the finals in Russia.



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


Congolese striker Britt Assombalonga

by
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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Madagascar hoping fine form will see them down Angola


by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Friday Aug 11, 2017. 16:00


Madagascar will want to continue with their fine run in the 2018 CAF African Championship Qualifiers campaign when they meet Angola on Sunday.

The Barea of Malagasy have started their campaign en route to Kenya with a good run as they managed to book a victory over the Mambas of Mozambique.

In the opening leg, they drew 2-2 at home but bounced back to claim a hard fought 2-0 victory away in Maputo.

The win has boosted the Islanders as they chase their maiden appearance at the tournament set for local-based players in Kenya next year.

Their 4-2 aggregate win has boosted their morale ahead of this deciding encounter at home against the Palancas Negras.

However, their visitors are also banking on their form to cause an upset in Antananarivo come Sunday.

The Angolans will be hoping to reach the tournament in Kenya next year after beating Mauritius in the previous round.

A 1-0 win away and a 3-2 win in front of their home crowds ensured the Angolans booked a spot in the final round of the qualifiers.

As they enter the final hurdle, a win will boost them and ensure they make their second appearance after finishing a runners-up in CHAN 2011.

Stade Municipal de Mahamasina in Antananarivo is the venue on Sunday with kick-off set for 13:30 (CAT).

The return leg will be staged in Luanda on August 19.



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