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Roy Hodgson: Bakary Sako can play as a striker – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


Crystal Palace attacker Bakary Sako

by
Graeme Jackson

Sunday Nov 26, 2017. 09:00


Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has revealed that he plans on playing Malian winger Bakary Sako as a striker.

With the Eagles fighting against the prospect of relegation from the Premier League, former England manager Hodgson is looking for creative solutions to improve the team’s attack.

The return from injury of Belgian striker Christian Benteke is certainly a major boost, as is the continued excellence of Ivory Coast attacker Wilfried Zaha.

And rather than spend millions of pounds in the January transfer window to boost their striker options, Palace manager Hodgson reckons Sako is showing signs in training of being able to switch to a centre-forward.

“Sako has made enormous strides as a forward,” said the veteran manager.

“He sees himself as a left-winger, but we have actually been doing a lot of work with him as a centre-forward and he is a player who has definitely shown in the training sessions he is really picking up on what we are looking for.”



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Egypt, Ghana play to draw in final Group E fixture – WAFU Cup of Nations 2017


by
Staff Reporter

Sunday Nov 12, 2017. 20:10


Ghana were held to a 1-1 draw by Egypt in a 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi on Sunday, in what was a mere formality as the Pharaohs now turn their attention to Russia.

Egypt had already qualified for a first World Cup in 28 years heading into the fixture in the Ashanti region and duly end top of Group E with 13 points from six matches.

A disappointing campaign for the Black Stars ends with them having accumulated seven points from their allotted fixtures – the tally ensuring a third place finish behind both the North African’s and Uganda.

Mubarak Wakaso – back on the international stage – expressed his intent in the early exchanges with Sherif Ekramy called into action on two occasions to deny the midfielder in the opening 15 minutes.

In whole, though, it was a rather uneventful opening stanza with Egypt’s first shot on target coming in the 43rd minute. Richard Ofori with a good save to deny Mahmoud ‘Trezequet’ Ibrahim from a tight angle.

Ghana enjoyed a late flurry, but they failed in their attempts to break the deadlock with the two teams tied at 0-0 heading into the tunnel at the break.

Egypt emerged with more drive following the interval and duly opened the scoring throughMahmoud ‘Shikabala’ Abdelrazek in the 61st minute.

The playmaker’s left-footed rocket leaving the Ghanaian shot-stopper with little chance as Egypt hit the front. Trezequet with the pin-point cross as Shikabala made no mistake.

Their lead, though, would last all but three minutes as Edwin Gyasi leveled matters in the 64th minute. His shot taking a wicked deflection off Aly Gabr before whistling past Ekramy.

Ghana pushed forward in search of the winner and had a chance to seal all three points in stoppage-time, but Daniel Amartey was unable to force the ball home from close range after Richmond Yiadom’s s rasping effort was fumbled by Ekramy.

Ghana (0) 1 (Abdelrazek 61′)

Egypt (0) 1 (Gyasi 64′)

Ghana: R.Ofori, Afful, Angenyenu, Nuhu, Amartey, Wakaso, Gyasi, E.Ofori, Dwamena (Yiadom 74′), Donsah (Waris 50′), Ampomah (Twumasi 41′).

Egypt: Ekramy, Gabr, Elmohamady, Rabiea (Samir 33′), Moursy, Abdelrazek (Elsaeyd 65′), Marei (Gamal 76′), Sobhi, Hafez, Elneny, Ibrahim.



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Egypt, Ghana play to draw in final Group E fixture – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


by
Staff Reporter

Sunday Nov 12, 2017. 19:55


Ghana were held to a 1-1 draw by Egypt in a 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi on Sunday, in what was a mere formality as the Pharaohs now turn their attention to Russia.

Egypt had already qualified for a first World Cup in 28 years heading into the fixture in the Ashanti region and duly end top of Group E with 13 points from six matches.

A disappointing campaign for the Black Stars ends with them having accumulated seven points from their allotted fixtures – the tally ensuring a third place finish behind both the North African’s and Uganda.

Mubarak Wakaso – back on the international stage – expressed his intent in the early exchanges with Sherif Ekramy called into action on two occasions to deny the midfielder in the opening 15 minutes.

In whole, though, it was a rather uneventful opening stanza with Egypt’s first shot on target coming in the 43rd minute. Richard Ofori with a good save to deny Mahmoud ‘Trezequet’ Ibrahim from a tight angle.

Ghana enjoyed a late flurry, but they failed in their attempts to break the deadlock with the two teams tied at 0-0 heading into the tunnel at the break.

Egypt emerged with more drive following the interval and duly opened the scoring throughMahmoud ‘Shikabala’ Abdelrazek in the 61st minute.

The playmaker’s left-footed rocket leaving the Ghanaian shot-stopper with little chance as Egypt hit the front. Trezequet with the pin-point cross as Shikabala made no mistake.

Their lead, though, would last all but three minutes as Edwin Gyasi leveled matters in the 64th minute. His shot taking a wicked deflection off Aly Gabr before whistling past Ekramy.

Ghana pushed forward in search of the winner and had a chance to seal all three points in stoppage-time, but Daniel Amartey was unable to force the ball home from close range after Richmond Yiadom’s s rasping effort was fumbled by Ekramy.

Ghana (0) 1 (Abdelrazek 61′)

Egypt (0) 1 (Gyasi 64′)

Ghana: R.Ofori, Afful, Angenyenu, Nuhu, Amartey, Wakaso, Gyasi, E.Ofori, Dwamena (Yiadom 74′), Donsah (Waris 50′), Ampomah (Twumasi 41′).

Egypt: Ekramy, Gabr, Elmohamady, Rabiea (Samir 33′), Moursy, Abdelrazek (Elsaeyd 65′), Marei (Gamal 76′), Sobhi, Hafez, Elneny, Ibrahim.



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SuperSport United’s Kaitano Tembo to play for Zimbabwe against Barcelona legends


Kaitano Tembo assistant coach of Supersport United

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Thursday Nov 09, 2017. 18:30


The Zimbabwean Football Association has released a squad of 33 legends that will play against the Barcelona Legends at the National Sports Stadium in an international exhibition match on Sunday.

Ex-players such as the 1980 Soccer Star of the Year, David Mandigora and Rahman Gumbo will be assistants to coach Sunday Chidzambwa.

BAXTER: SA NEED TO PLAY SMART AGAINST SENEGAL

On the other hand, Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries leader Walter Magaya has been named as the chief liaison officer while Ernest Maphepha Sibanda will be the team manager.

Apart from the technical team, legends such as ex-Warriors captains in Peter Ndlovu and Benjani Mwaruwari, who both had lengthy spells in England, are part of the squad.

South African-based legend with SuperSport United, Kaitano Tembo and former goalkeepers Japhet Muparutsa and Muzondiwa Mugadza will also feature in the encounter.

Media reports indicate that the match is organised by ZIFA and the Sports Ministry, and is aimed at marketing Zimbabwe as a perfect tourist destination.

Meanwhile, the Blaugrana legends will bring former Brazil strikers Rivaldo and Ronaldinho as well as former Holland forward Patrick Kluivert.

Ex-Portugal midfielder in Deco and Spain’s Gazika Mandietta are also in the squad.



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Baxter: SA need to play smart against Senegal – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Monday Nov 06, 2017. 11:00


South Africa head coach Stuart Baxter says his charges will have to play smart against Senegal.

The two African sides will lock horns in back-to-back 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers later this month.

Senegal and South Africa are the only sides with a game in hand in Group D ahead of the final round.

Nicknamed the Lions of Teranga, Senegal are sitting at the top of group standings, while fourth-placed South Africa can only qualify for the finals if they win both games.

“We will have to pick our way through them,” Baxter told the South African media.

“They have some fine defenders and have some midfielders that can press the ball and they have front players who can do stuff on their own,” the British tactician said.

“Our movement has to move their defenders around. to unbalance them will be really, really important.”

The Lions of Teranga will qualify if they overcome Bafana Bafana in the first match at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane, South Africa on Friday, 10 November 2017.

The return leg clash is scheduled to take place at the Stade Léopold Sédar Senghor in the capital city of Senegal, Dakar on Tuesday, 14 November 2017.



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Klopp: Mane ready to play for Senegal – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


Liverpool star Sadio Mane

by
Staff Reporter

Saturday Nov 04, 2017. 09:00


Liverpool head coach Jurgen Klopp has revealed that Sadio Mane should be ready to face South Africa in crucial back-to-back 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers this month.

There were fears that the Senegal international would have to sit out of the upcoming home and away qualifiers after suffering a hamstring injury while on international duty with the Teranga Lions last month, but Mane has returned to training and could feature for his club this weekend.

Klopp stated at his pre-match press conference on Friday afternoon that the forward could play 20-25 minutes off the bench at West Ham United this on Saturday.

KENYAN SUPERSTAR VICTOR WANYAMA RESUMES TRAINING AT TOTTENHAM

“We’re trying to get in touch with the Senegal FA. Sadio is not injured anymore, but is he 100% fit? That’s different,” Klopp said.

“The ideal situation is that he doesn’t play the second game. If he can play for Senegal, I think he should – good for rhythm,” he concluded.

The 25-year-old has scored three goals in five Premier League games for the Merseyside club in a season that so far been disrupted by injury and suspension.



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DRC-born and Everton teenager Beni Baningime wants to play for England


by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Thursday Nov 02, 2017. 11:00


Although he was born in Kinshasa, Everton teenager Beni Baningime has revealed that he is yet to decide on his international future.

He is yet to decide on whether to play for England or the Democratic Republic of Congo at international level.

The 19-year-old midfielder has impressed after making his first-team debut against Chelsea in the League Cup last week before making his English Premier League bow last Sunday against Leicester City.

“I haven’t thought about that yet really,” he said to the BBC.

“My dad and I will have to speak about it. We’re focusing on the club first.

MAHMOUD ABDEL-RAZIK GETS FIRST EGYPT CALL-UP SINCE 2014

“Hopefully when we start winning – I need to get that bit done – then I will have to think about where I am going to go.”

Baningime has been at Everton‘s academy since he was nine and has emerged into the spotlight at Stamford Bridge after Morgan Schneiderlin fell ill prior to kick-off.

Caretaker coach, David Unsworth was forced to make changes and introduced him again at half-time of Sunday’s 2-0 loss at the King Power Stadium to Leicester.

“It’s just great that David Unsworth has given me the opportunity to play,” adds the player.

“He said ‘just do what you normally do with the ball’ and that gave me confidence. It was great. I would have wanted to win the game but that didn’t happen.”



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Messi advised Argentina FA to play Nigeria – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Argentina star Lionel Messi

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Monday Oct 30, 2017. 17:00


Barcelona star Lionel Messi and his Argentine teammates convinced the Argentine Football Association to play Nigeria instead of Azerbaijan and Ukraine.

News circulating in Nigeria reveal that senior national team players, led by Messi have advised AFA to settle for a friendly game against the Super Eagles.

It is reported that AFA were in talks with Azerbaijan and also engaged Ukraine for a friendly after securing a high profile friendly against the hosts of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Russia.

Nigeria were originally looking for a game against Argentina next year, but the plan was brought forward after senior players in the team decided on facing the Super Eagles ahead of Azerbaijan and Ukraine.

”It’s normal for the FA to speak with the coach, who will then inform the players through the captain about any friendly game and venue,” said South American Tim Martin toOwngoalnigeria.com.

“It’s so in Argentina because most of the players have to travel long miles because of their location.”

The two nations will meet in an international friendly in Russia on November 14.



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Dutch-born defender wants to play for Ghana – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


by
Graeme Jackson

Tuesday Oct 17, 2017. 15:00


Dutch-born defender Derrick Luckassen has expressed his desire to represent Ghana at senior international level.

The 22-year-old centre-back plays his club football with Eredivisie giants PSV Eindhoven. He was born in Amsterdam and represented AZ Alkmaar though the early years of his professional career.

Luckassen has represented the Netherlands at junior levels, but wants to honour his family heritage by playing for the Black Stars.

“My father and mother both come from Ghana, so why not, if the opportunity comes I’m ready to honor it and do my best for the country,” he is quoted by Sportsworldghana.com.

“Though I was born and raised here in Amsterdam, I won’t hesitate to play for the Black Stars despite representing Holland at the U-17, U-20 and U-23 levels. I am ready to play for Ghana.”

Luckassen will hope to be called up by Ghana coach James Kwesi Appiah for the team’s dead-rubber 2018 World Cup qualifier against Egypt next month.



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Tammy Abraham: I want to play for England! – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


by
Staff Reporter

Friday Sep 22, 2017. 15:00


Tammy Abraham has denied reports that he has promised to switch alliances to the Super Eagles, following claims by the Nigeria Football Federations (NFF) that they were close to securing the services of the towering forward.

Abraham, who was born in London, is eligible to play for Nigeria through his father and NFF President Amaju Pinnick is confident that the 19-year-old will switch allegiance from England.

The 19-year-old, though, has refuted any suggestions that he will do so ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, with the forward trumpeting his desire to represent the Three Lions at senior level.

The Chelsea striker, who is currently on-loan at Swansea City, has represented England at youth level.

ZETCHI: MAHREZ, SLIMANI & BENTALEB NOT RULED OUT OF ALGERIA

In a statement Abraham stated: “Contrary to reports in the media today I would like to clarify that I have not agreed to switch my National team allegiance.

“I can confirm I met the President of the NFF after our last game against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley on Saturday given he is a friend of my father.

“However, any suggestion that I have made a decision to change my international representation is incorrect and wide of the mark.

“I have informed The FA that I remain available for selection for England.”

(BELOW) NFF President Amaju Pinnick claimed that they we close to securing the services of the burly forward:



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Kenya to play friendly games in Asia – 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers


by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Friday Sep 15, 2017. 15:00


Kenya’s Harambee Stars will play two international friendly matches in October, 2017.

The Harambee Stars will travel to Asia where they take on Iraq and Thailand during the FIFA international break.

Kenya, who are under the guidance of Stanley Okumbi, will be using the matches as preparation for the 2019 African Cup of Nations Qualifiers and the 2018 Africa Nations Championships (CHAN) finals.

The Football Kenya Federation (FKF) made the announcement on their official website:

“The National Football team, Harambee Stars, is set to play two friendly matches away, against Iraq and Thailand on October 5 and October 8, 2017, respectively.

“The first match against Iraq is set to be played at the Basra Stadium in Iraq while the venue for the second match will be confirmed in due course.

“The friendly matches will be in preparation for the ongoing 2019 African Cup of Nations Qualifiers and the 2018 Africa Nations Championships (CHAN) set to be hosted in Kenya.

“Stars coach Stanley Okumbi is set to name his squad for the two friendly matches when he jets into the country on September 24, 2017. The coach has been in Germany for a month long coaching course,” a statement read.



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Eric Tinkler has studied Zesco United’s offensive play for Confed Cup – 2017 CAF Confederation Cup


by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Thursday Sep 14, 2017. 13:30


As SuperSport United are chasing a CAF Confederation Cup semi-final spot, coach Eric Tinkler says he is happy to be back in continental competitions.

The former Bafana Bafana midfielder previously led Orlando Pirates to the final of the same competition in 2015 as they lost to Tunisia’s Etoile Sportive du Sahel.

However, this time, the former Cape Town City manager will lead the Tshwane side against Zambia’s Zesco United in the quarter-final, first leg on Friday.

Yet to make a reasonable impact on the continental scene, Amatsantsantsa will want to emulate their cross-town rivals and current African champions, Mamelodi Sundowns and win the coveted trophy.

“I am happy to be back in CAF Competitions. I am one person who has always believed that South African clubs need to participate and do well in such competitions,” said to CAF website.

“We are at a stage of the competition where all teams are good and whatever weakness we have seen might be corrected come Friday.

“Yes, we have studied how they play but we also need to be on our A-game. We have identified a number of good players that are dangerous in offensive play.

“They are also very versatile in their formation which makes it slightly challenging to plan against them but we will be ready.”

The first-leg. quarter-final clash will be staged on Friday evening at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Pretoria and the return leg will be hosted seven days later at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.



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South African FA president says they will play against Senegal – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


SAFA President, DR Danny Jordaan

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Wednesday Sep 13, 2017. 11:30


Just after FIFA ordered the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier between South Africa and Senegal be replayed, the South African Football Association wanted to contest the decision.

However, in a meeting on Monday, SAFA decided to oblige with the ruling and have the match replayed based on ethical and moral grounds.

SAFA president Danny Jordaan spoke to the media on Tuesday at the OR Tambo International Airport as he announced their decision on the matter.

He said they will not contest FIFA’s decision to replay the 2018 Soccer World Cup qualifier between Bafana Bafana and the Teranga Lions if there is evidence of match manipulation.

“Our position is clear on the issue of match fixing and manipulation. We cannot benefit from such and take the points”, Jordaan told reporters.

“We agree with FIFA that the match should be replayed. We don’t support match-fixing. We want that to be clear.

“This is a moral and ethical matter. We asked “If this match was manipulated, do you as SAFA want those points?.”

Bafana claimed a 2-1 win in Polokwane in November 2016 after Ghanaian referee, Joseph Lamptey handed the South Africans a penalty, which was protested by the Senegalese FA.

Lamptey has since been banned from the game for life for match manipulation and Bafana are now left with one point at the bottom of Group D.



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Yaya Toure can still play key role – Kolo Toure – African Football


Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure

by
Graeme Jackson

Thursday Sep 07, 2017. 15:00


Ivory Coast star Yaya Toure can still play a key role for Manchester City this season, according to his elder brother Kolo Toure.

The younger Toure has yet to get off the bench for the Citizens in their Premier League campaign, with coach Pep Guardiola opting for Fernandinho to play in defensive midfield.

The 34-year-old former Elephants captain is now considered a squad player more than a first-team regular, but Kolo reckons he still has great value to offer.

“Yaya is a top player. For me, he has always been one of the best midfielders in the world,” Kolo said at Soccerex.

“When he was playing in Ukraine not many people were listening to me because he was in another country but I’m not surprised about his career and what he is still doing at his age.

“I think he can still play a really key role in this Man City team because his passing is one of the best in the world, he can break lines and start action from the back.

“Of course, to run is more difficult with age but if there is a runner that can fight for the ball and give him the ball then Yaya can just be the maestro from the back.”

Toure will hope to feature for Man City when they host Liverpool in an eagerly-anticipated Premier League clash on Saturday afternoon.



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Baroka, Pirates play to third successive 1-1 draw


Thabo Qalinge of Orlando Pirates is challenged by Albert Mothupa of Baroka FC during the Absa Premiership match between Baroka FC and Orlando Pirates on the 22 August 2017 at Peter Mokaba Stadium © Sydney Mahlangu /BackpagePix

by
Bertin Basson

Tuesday Aug 22, 2017. 21:32


Different season, same story, as Baroka FC and Orlando Pirates played to a 1-1 stalemate in an Absa Premiership clash at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Tuesday evening.

The two sides have now played to three successive 1-1 draws with goals from Thabo Qalinge and Abdi Banda splitting the spoils between the two sides.

Pirates threatened early on through Thamsanqa Gabuza with the burly forward unable to replicate what he did over the weekend. His 24th minute header from a Innocent Maela cross well wide.

Qalinge would fare better with his head in the 41st minute as the midfielder nodded Mpho Makola’s pin-point cross past the outstretched Virgil Vries.

Pirates 1-0 up at the break.

Bakgaga looked a better team following the interval, especially following the introduction of Siphelele Ntshangase in aftermath of his switch from Black Leopards.

The midfielder setting up Sipho Moeti after the hour mark, but the forward failed to convert as Wayne Sandilands made a good smothering save.

Baroka, though, would get their goal through Banda in the 73rd minute. The Sea Robbers set-piece frailties coming to light once more as the Tanzanian powered home from a corner-kick.

Thabiso Kutumela had a late chance to sink his former employers, but the Pirates forward could only guide his shot straight at Vries as the game ended all square.

Baroka FC (0) 1 (Banda 73′)

Orlando Pirates (1) 1 (Qalinge 41′)

Baroka FC: Vries; Kgoetyane (Mothupa 16′), Mahashe, Banda, Masenamela – Chawapiwa, Madubanya, Mosele (Mdatsane 45+4′), Kgaswane – Moeti, Motupa (Ntshangase 47′)

Orlando Pirates: Sandilands; Shitolo, Nyauza, Matlaba, Maela – Mobara (Nkosi 82′), Makola, Nyatama, Memela (Rakhale 59′), Qalinge (Kutumela 80′) – Gabuza



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Celtic and Chiefs play to a draw – ABSA Premiership 2017/18


Jacky Motshegwa of Bloemfontein Celtic and Hendrick Ekstein of Kaizer Chiefs during the Absa Premiership 2017/18 game between Bloemfontein Celtic and Kaizer Chiefs at Free State Stadium on 20 August 2017 © Frikkie Kapp/BackpagePix

by
Brian Lee

Sunday Aug 20, 2017. 17:04


Bloemfontein Celtic and Kaizer Chiefs played to a 1-1 draw in their opening 2017/18 Absa Premiership match of the season at the Free State Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Celtic saw the majority of the ball in the opening half, but poor decision making and bad passing in the final third resulted in very few decent scoring chances.

Instead, Chiefs, who saw very little of the ball, scored the game’s opening goal in the 37th minute when a Keagan Buchanan corner-kick was powerfully headed home by Erick Mathoho, 1-0.

Celtic tried to find their way back into the game, but went into the half time break trailing by a goal.

The Phunya Sele Sele nearly levelled matters three minutes into the second half, but Roggert Nyundu’s 30-yard shot was superbly stopped by the Amakhosi goalkeeper.

Nonetheless, Celtic continue to push for an equaliser and were afforded the perfect opportunity to grab one in the 74th minute when Lorenzo Gordinho handled the ball inside the box, and the referee pointed to the penalty spot.

Substitute Atusaye Nyondo stepped-up for the home team and made no mistake from the spot, 1-1.

Celtic continued to push forward after drawing level, but they could not find the winner as the two teams shared the spoils on the day.

Bloemfontein Celtic (0) 1 (Nyondo 75’ pen)

Kaizer Chiefs (1) 1 (Mathoho 37’)

Teams

Celtic: Tignyemb, Rikhotso, Ndengane, Letlabika, Hotto, Mahlasela (Masuku 83’), Baloyi (Mashinkinya 73’), Phalane, Motshegwa, Mabena, Nyundu (Nyondo 67’).

Chiefs: Khuzwayo, Masilela, Gordinho, Mathoho (Cardoso 69’), Mphahlele, Tshabalala (Chirambadare 83’), Katsande, Ekstein (Twala 77’), Buchanan, Parker, Paez.



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Madagascar and Angola play to goalless stalemate


Andoniaina Andriaminavalona of Madagascar (L)

by
Brian Lee

Sunday Aug 13, 2017. 15:45


Madagascar and Angola played to a goalless draw in a first leg, third round African Nations Championship qualifier at the Stade Municipal de Mahamasina in Antananarivo on Sunday.

It was a cagey game with chances on goal few and far between.

Both teams approached the match with a defensive frame of mind and it showed on the field with neither country venturing too far forward in attack.

Surprisingly, Madagascar (who scored four goals in their previous round of qualifying to see off Mozambique) were bad in front of goal and often gifted possession back to their opposition with poor decision making in the final third.

Angola will be the happier of the two sides with the goalless draw as they head to their home country next weekend for the return leg of this third round tie.

Angola progressed to this stage of qualifying for CHAN by beating Mauritius 4-2 on aggregate in the previous round.



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Mali and Mauritania play to a thrilling draw


Onkabetse Makgantai of Botswana and Mohamed Dellah Yaly of Mauritania during the game between Botswana and Mauritania on 10 June 2017 at Francistown Stadium,Botswana ©/BackpagePix

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Saturday Aug 12, 2017. 21:58


Mauritania and Mali played to a thrilling 2-2 draw in their 2018 CAF African Championship qualifier, first leg clash at the Stade Olympique de Nouakchott on Saturday.

The Les Mourabitones were the favourites to win at home, but failed to open up the Mali defence as the visitors had an upper hand in the opening half.

It was the Eagles who scored first on the stroke of half time, but the hosts levelled the matters a minute later.

Showing hunger in front of goal, the hosts made it 2-1 in the injury time of the first half, but they failed to clear their lines allowing Mali to cancel the lead.

It was 2-2 at half time.

Despite the four goal blitz in the dying stages of the first half, there were no goals in the opposite half as the encounter ended in a 2-2 draw.

In the wake of the result, Mauritania will hope to make their second appearance at the showpiece set for local-based players with a win next week away from home.

The second leg will be staged next weekend, on Saturday 19 August in Bamako as the Eagles will want to make book a spot in the tournament.



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Riyad Mahrez wants to play for a top-six club – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Leicester City star Riyad Mahrez

by
Bertin Basson

Thursday Aug 03, 2017. 09:00


Leicester City head coach Craig Shakespeare has revealed that winger Riyad Mahrez wants to play for a top-six club.

Mahrez, 26, has been heavily linked with a move away from the Foxes with the Algeria international expressing his desire to leave the club amid strong reported interest from Arsenal, Roma and Tottenham Hotspur.

The Foxes, though, are resilient in their quest of keeping the wing-wizard at King Power Stadium and will only let him go if a suitable bid is made. Reports suggest the club have rejected a £32 million approach from Roma, but Mahrez is reportedly keen on remaining in England.

“He wants to play for a top-six club,’ Shakespeare is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail. “If we don’t get an offer from a top-six club, he stays. If that offer comes in and it’s not enough, he stays.

“It is quite clear for me at the moment, he has made that statement but he is our player.

“I picked him for 60 minutes [vs Burton Albion], he performed. Is it doing my head in? It’s part and parcel of the transfer window. If you let it, it can affect you. But my job is to make sure the players are focused on every training session and every game,” he concluded.



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Andrew Ayew delighted to play alongside Mexican international Javier Hernandez – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Wednesday Aug 02, 2017. 15:00


Ghana and West Ham forward Andre Ayew has expressed delight to play alongside Mexican international Javier Hernandez.

The Black Stars international says the Mexican’s international and UEFA Champions League experience will be priceless for the Hammers.

Speaking to the club’s official website, Ayew says Hernandez’s arrival will boost him as a player as well adding value to the club.

“It’s good to have players to play alongside who have played for great clubs at the highest level as they know the expectations,” said Ayew.

“Players who have played in the Champions League are what I like. When you play with players you know have played to that level, especially when you too have played there against them years before, it’s good for you as a player, it’s good for the club and good for the fans, especially.

“I feel he’s going to bring a lot of fighting spirit, a lot of trouble for the other defence and we need to start training together to really know what he likes.

“When you watch games, it’s different from when you are training and you get the feeling more to know his movements, what he likes and doesn’t like and we have to adapt to him the same way he has to adapt to us.

“We will try to find the best ways for him to get goals for us.”



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Togo and Benin play to stalemate


Neeskens Kebano of DR Congo battles for the ball with Ortega Dakonam Djene of Togo (l) and Lalawele Atakora of Togo (r) during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Finals football match between Togo and DR Congo at the Port Gentil Stadium in Gabon on 24 January 2017 ©Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

by
Brian Lee

Sunday Jul 16, 2017. 19:11


Togo and Benin played to a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their 2018 African Championships qualifier at the Stade de Kégué in Lomé on Sunday.

Benin controlled the opening half despite playing away from home and took a deserved 1-0 lead into the break thanks to a 44th minute goal from Marcellin Koukpo.

The second half saw Togo playing much better and they managed to level matters in the 48th minute courtesy of a goal from Koidjo Sewonou, 1-1.

The home side had the majority of possession after that, but were unable to find a second goal as the game ended all-square.

Benin do have the advantage heading into the second leg of the qualifiers next week in Cotonou thanks to their away goal.



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Gambia and Mali play to stalemate


by
Brian Lee

Saturday Jul 15, 2017. 20:53


Gambia and Mali played to a goalless draw in the first leg of their 2018 African Nations Championship at the Independence Stadium in Bakau on Saturday.

It was not the most entertaining of games with both sides poor in front of goal and unable to create any significant goal scoring chances.

The two sides will meet again next week in Mali for the second leg where the winner on aggregate will face either Mauritania or Liberia in the final round of the qualifying campaign.

Liberia will host Mauritania on Sunday in their quest to reach Kenya for the CHAN tournament in Kenya next year.

Mali have qualified for the last three CHAN finals with their best finish coming last year when they lost to DR Congo in the final.

Gambia are one of the African sides that have never qualified for the CHAN finals.



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Tanzania, Rwanda play to 1-1 draw


by
Graeme Jackson

Saturday Jul 15, 2017. 17:28


Tanzania and Rwanda have played to a 1-1 draw in their second round, Central-East Zone qualifier for the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) on Saturday.

The match at the CCM Kirumba Stadium in Mwanza ended all square after 90 minutes, leaving the tie very much in the balance ahead of the return leg at Stade Regionale Nyamirambo in Kigali next weekend.

The Wasps claimed the lead – and a potentially vital away goal – in the 20th minute when Dominique Nshuti found the back of the net.

However, a few minutes before the break, the Taifa Stars hit back to level the game at 1-1 through Himid Mao.

The aggregate winner of the tie will face either South Sudan or Uganda in the final phase of qualifiers.



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I want to play for SA in the World Cup, says Bvuma – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Thursday Jul 06, 2017. 15:00


Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Bruce Bvuma .

The 22-year-old shot-stopper, who was nurtured in the Chiefs academy, broke into the Amakhosi first team and he made his debut against Cape Town City during the 2016/17 campaign.

Bvuma made his debut for South Africa’s senior national team, Bafana Bafana as they beat Botswana 2-0 in the 2017 COSAFA Cup plate semi-final match at the Moruleng Stadium on Tuesday.

“I was inspired by Itumeleng Khune when I saw him play in the World Cup‚” Bvuma told The Sowetan.

“Seeing him inspired me to say that one day‚ I want to see myself playing for my country and play in big tournaments. That’s when I started to take football seriously in 2010.

Bvuma and Khune, 30, could both be part of the Chiefs squad that will take part in the 2017 Bokone Bophirima Maize Cup semi-final match in Orkney, South Africa on 15 July.

“I worked hard to be just like him and now he is my teammate and I am also in the national team setup,” he continued.

“We share jokes together and he helps me in terms of goalkeeping and everything in my life.

“He guides me. I can call him anytime if I have a problem and he is always willing to help.”

Chiefs will take on Botswana side Township Rollers in a semi-final clash at the James Motlatsi Stadium. Kick-off is at 12h00 CAT.



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Esperance, Sundowns play to stalemate in Rades


Mamelodi Sundowns player Percy Tau (R) fights for the ball with Esperance player Coulibaly Fousseny (C) during the 2017 CAF Champions League

by
Graeme Jackson

Thursday Jun 22, 2017. 08:45


Title holders Mamelodi Sundowns held Esperance de Tunis to a goalless stalemate in their CAF Champions League clash early on Thursday morning.

The match at the Olympic Stadium in Rades saw the two giants cancel each other out, leading to a stalemate which leaves both in good positions to claim a quarterfinal place.

The Brazilians created the best chances in the match, with Percy Tau denied in a one-on-one situation by Esperance goalkeeper Moez Ben Cherifa, while Anthony Laffor also fluffed a good opportunity.

The Blood and Gold’s most potent attacking threat come through Fakhreddine Ben Youssef, who was twice denied by five saves from Denis Onyango.

The result sees Esperance top Group C with eight points, while Sundowns move into second, ahead of Ethiopia’s Saint George on goal-difference with both sides on five points. AS Vita are in fourth with three points.

The teams will return to CAF action next weekend, with Saint George hosting Sundowns in Addis Ababa, while Esperance head to Kinshasa to take on AS Vita.



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Arsenal the only English team Aubameyang would play for – 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers


Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang and Marc Bartra

by
Graeme Jackson

Sunday Jun 18, 2017. 14:00


According to a new report, Arsenal is the only English team Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would consider playing for.

BILD claims that Aubameyang’s only love in the Premier League is Arsenal, though the London side’s failure to qualify for the UEFA Champions League next season makes them an unlikely destination.

The Gabon star has been strongly linked with a move away from Borussia Dortmund in the European summer.

French giants Paris Saint-Germain and Italian side AC Milan have been linked with the player, as have the Premier League trio of Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea.

Aubameyang was the Bundesliga’s leading goal scorer last season, netting 31 strikes for BVB in the German top flight.



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Cameroon midfielder Arnaud Djoum says they will play for Marc Vivien-Foe


Wakasu Mubarak of Ghana is challenged by Arnaud Djoum of Cameroon during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Finals Afcon semifinal football match between Cameroon and Ghana at the Franceville Stadium in Gabon on 02 February 2017 ©Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Saturday Jun 17, 2017. 13:00


Ahead of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia, Cameroon midfielder Arnaud Djoum says they will play in memory of their fallen hero, Marc Vivien-Foe.

The late Indomitable Lions legend passed away after collapsing on the pitch during the 2003 FIFA Confederations semi-final against Colombia in France.

Despite attempts to save his life, it was later discovered that Foe suffered from a heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Under the guidance of Belgian manager, Hugo Broos, Cameroon will end their 14-year absence from the Confederations Cup when they face Chile on Sunday, 18 June.

CAMEROON ARRIVE IN RUSSIA AFTER DEFEAT TO COLOMBIA

The African champions are in Group B with Chile, Australia and Germany.

“We want to play well for him – to honour and respect what he did for Cameroon,” Djoum told BBC Sport.

“We want to show a good image of Cameroon for him first.

“In the dressing room, we try not to speak too much about it out of respect for him and his family.

“It’s something we keep really quiet but we know from each other that we have to give everything and play from heart – like he did.”

The Scotland-based midfielder made his debut under Broos at the 2017 CAF Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon and feels the connection with Foe more than others as he wears the number 17 which was worn by Foe.



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Egyptian goalkeeping legend Essam El-Hadary wants to play in Saudi Arabia


by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Friday Jun 16, 2017. 17:00


Egyptian goalkeeping legend Essam El-Hadary has expressed his interest in a Jameel League move after the Saudi Football Federation decided on a new policy regarding goalkeepers.

It is reported that the SFF has decided to allow clubs to buy foreign goalkeepers as part of the non-domestic four players list.

In the wake of that decision, El-Hadary has since expressed his approval of this decision, saying this step will not harm the Saudi National Team nor the Saudi League.

CAMEROON COACH TO MAKE MAJOR CHANGES FOR COLOMBIA FRIENDLY

Speaking to MBC Pro Sports, the 44-year-old believes the decision will help goalkeepers to develop.

“All European leagues allow clubs to buy foreign goalkeepers. This is a perfect opportunity for goalkeepers to gain experience and develop,” said El-Hadary to MBC Pro Sports.

“After this decision, I’m open to consider any offer from the Saudi league. If the suitable offer arrives, why not hang my gloves in Saudi Arabia?.”

The veteran keeper could add to four Egyptian internationals who plied trades in Saudi Arabia last season such as Sherif Hazem, Ahmed Magdy, Mohamed Abdel-Shafy and Mahmoud Abdel Moneim ‘Kahraba’.

The former Zamalek goalkeeper has 153 international caps for the Pharaohs and was part of the squad at the 2017 CAF Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon.



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Moukandjo: Cameroon didn’t play well despite victory – 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers


Benjamin Moukandjo of Cameroon celebrates goal during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Finals football match between Burkina Faso and Cameroon at the Libreville Stadium in Gabon on 14 January 2017 ©Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

by
Graeme Jackson

Monday Jun 12, 2017. 17:00


Cameroon captain Benjamin Moukandjo says Morocco made it difficult for them during their encounter on Saturday.

The Indomitable Lions edged out the Atlas Lions 1-0 in their first 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualification Group B match.

France-based striker Moukandjo says the reigning African champions fought hard for the win when speaking to the media after the match in Yaounde, Cameroon.

Cameroon’s first match at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup is against reigning South American champions, Chile in Moscow, Russia on Sunday.

“We had a good first half. In the second half, it was a bit difficult. We went back and physically we suffered,” Moukandjo told the media.

“Despite everything we held, it was important to win. We must come to Russia with full confidence. It shows that we have resources and mentality.

“We folded but we did not break. We did not deliver our best game. We are ready to approach the Confederations Cup,” he added.

“We have been preparing for a dozen days. This match is true it was a qualifying match for the next CAN 2019, it was also a preparation game to put us in legs.

“It was not easy with the climate, it was hot, but it had to adapt. In the head, we are ready to enter this competition. ”



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Celtic, Stars play to goalless draw – ABSA Premiership 2016/17


Dumisani Zuma of Bloemfontein Celtic and Rooi Mahamutsa of Free State Stars during the Absa Premiership match between Bloemfontein Celtic and Free State Stars on 17 May 2017 at Dr Molemela Stadium, Bloemfontein ©Frikkie Kapp /BackpagePix

by
Graeme Jackson

Wednesday May 17, 2017. 21:30


Bloemfontein Celtic and Free State Stars played to a tense 0-0 draw in their Absa Premiership clash at Dr Molemela Stadium on Wednesday.

The result leaves Phunya Sele Sele and Ea Lla Koto in 12th place on 28 points and 14th place on 27 points respectively – neither has secured safety from relegation.

The teams effectively cancelled each other out in the first 45 minutes, with neither Patrick Tignyemb nor Thela Ngobeni particularly troubled in their respective goals.

Celtic struggled to get the likes of Musa Nyatama, Tshegofatso Mabaso and Dumisani Zuma into space with the ball, while Stars’ attempt to sit back and hit on the counter didn’t work nearly as well as it did against Bidvest Wits last week.

The hosts saw half chances for Lyle Lakay and Lantshene Phalane, while Ea Lla Koto’s best chance came toward the end of the first half and saw Thokozani Sekotlong presented with a shooting chance, but he struck the ball wide of the mark.

The status quo continued in the second half, with the bumpy pitch at the Bloemfontein venue certainly not assisting either team in their attempts to find a way through their opponent’s defence.

In the end,the teams were forced to settle for a 0-0 stalemate which leaves them both placed above the relegation zone, but still far from safe as they head into the final round of the championship later this month.

Celtic will end the season with a match away to Maritzburg United, while Stars will host Chippa United. Both fixtures, as well as the other six in Round 30, will be played on May 27 at 15h00.

Bloemfontein Celtic 0

Free State Stars 0

Celtic: Tignyemb, Dube, Ndengane, Rikhotso, Letlabika, Lakay, Phalane, Nyatama, Hotto, Mabaso (Nyondo 80’), Zuma (Masuku 85’)

Stars: Ngobeni, Mashego, Teyise, Mahamutsa, Mbhele, Dlamini, Masehe, Makhaula, Jantjie, Sekotlong, Anas



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