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Guinea, Ivory Coastline equally qualify soon after draw in Conakry

A 1-1 draw at the Stade du 28 Septembre in Conakry on Sunday evening was adequate for equally Guinea and Ivory Coast to guide a place at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

The Syli Nationale had secured qualification ahead of the match even kicked off, with the before result amongst Rwanda and Central Africa Republic (a 2-2 draw in Butare) making sure they would finish in the top rated two regardless.

And the Elephants then claimed the similar status – they are a few points obvious of third-put place, but assured to finish ahead of them on head-to-head results ought to the groups conclude amount on points when the qualifiers wrap up in March next 12 months.

Guinea claimed the lead just eleven minutes into the match, with Mohamed Yattara obtaining the better of goalie Sylvain Gbohouo soon after some lousy defence from the site visitors.

Still Ivory Coast responded well to the setback and drew amount in the 21st minute via midfielder Jean Michael Seri, who put aside his struggles at club amount with Fulham to star for the Elephants.

The away side’s midfield triumvirate of Seri, Serey Die and Franck Kessie had been bossing the match and aided to generate several extra half-likelihood, though the score remained locked at 1-1 by the time of the interval.

The next half remained evenly well balanced amongst the groups, but the actuality that a tie would go well with equally seemed to stake any real sting out of the match amongst these West African rivals.

The Elephants would have been hoping for revenge for the defeat they endured at home to Syli Nationale in June very last 12 months, but finished up settling for a worthwhile point on the highway instead.

Guinea (1) 1 (Yattara 11’)
Ivory Coast (1) 1 (Seri 21’)

Guinea: Aly Keita, Sylla, Seka, Falette (Conte 58’), Sankoh, Naby Keita, Camara, Diawara, Kamano (Barry 86’), Kaba, Yattara

Ivory Coast: Gbohouo, Aurier, Gbamin, Kanon, Konan, Kessie (Doukoure 68’), Die, Seri, Gradel, Kodjia, Pepe (Cornet 85’)

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FC Platinum wins Zimbabwean PSL title and qualify for CAF Champions League


by
Scent ition

Monday Nov 27, 2017. 12:30


Zimbabwean Premier Soccer League side, FC Platinum have been crowned as new league champions this past weekend.

Platinum were crowned after beating Chapungu 2-0 away from home on Saturday at Ascot Stadium in Gweru.

ABSA PREMIERSHIP WEEKEND WRAP: PIRATES ONLY WINNERS, BAROKA CONTINUE TO LEAD

Coach Norman Mapeza’s men became the first side in the modern era of the league, outside of Harare and Bulawayo, to win the coveted title.

Mapeza has now lifted his second league title after he won with the now defunct Monomotapa in 2008 and said he was under pressure to bring glory to the club.

“We have been waiting for this day. We needed to get early goals. After getting them we needed to concentrate. It’s always difficult to take what people say, when you sign players,” Mapeza said to CAF.

“I was under pressure to bring glory to the club when I joined and today we did it.”

Mapeza now joins a league of achievers who have won two or more league titles along with Rahman Gumbo, Sunday Chidzambwa and Kalisto Pasuwa who won four in a row with Dynamos from 2011 to 2014.

The new champions will now represent the Southern African nation in next year’s Total CAF Champions League.



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Morocco to host 2018 CHAN finals as Egypt qualify


by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Sunday Oct 15, 2017. 19:00


The Confederation of African Football (CAF) have announced that Morocco will replace Kenya as hosts of the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN).

The continent’s football governing body, CAF unanimously decided to give Morocco the tournament ahead of Equatorial Guinea.

The awarding of the tournament to Morocco also benefits Egypt, who were awarded Morocco’s place – now freed up as hosts.

This is after Egypt were initially knocked out by their fellow North Africans in qualifying.

The announcement was made on Sunday.

A statement read: “Following the designation of Morocco as host of Total CHAN 2018, CAF Emergency Committee, meeting in Lagos, decided to qualify Egypt for the final tournament. In the playoffs in the Northern zone, Egypt was beaten by Morocco.

“It will be Egypt’s very first participation in this competition, running since 2009, which will be in its 5th edition and gather only players playing in the championships of their countries.

Meanwhile, the Emergency Committee rejected Mali’s protest and confirmed the qualification of Mauritania which will be its participating in Total CHAN for the 2nd time, after 2014 in South Africa.”

The list of 16 countries qualified for Total CHAN, Morocco 2018, scheduled for 12 January to 4 February 2018, is as follows:

North zone (2 qualified + host country): Egypt, Libya, Morocco

Eastern Central Zone (2 qualified): Ethiopia, Uganda

Central Zone (3 qualified): Cameroon, Congo, Equatorial Guinea

West Zone A (2 qualified): Guinea, Mauritania

West Zone B (3 qualified): Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Nigeria

Southern Zone (3 qualified): Angola, Namibia, Zambia



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Mikel: Why Nigeria’s Super Eagles deserve to qualify – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Nigeria midfielder John Obi Mikel

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Friday Sep 29, 2017. 14:00


Nigeria captain John Obi Mikel feels that the Super Eagles deserve to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals next month.

The Super Eagles are scheduled to host Zambia’s Chipolopolo in the World Cup qualification Group B match in Uyo, Nigeria on Satuday, October 7.

A victory for current Group B leaders Nigeria will see them win the group and qualify for the finals which will be hosted by Russia next year.

Mikel, who currently plies his trade in China for Tianjin TEDA, praised second-placed Chipolopolo, but he is confident that the Super Eagles will beat them and qualify.

The former Chelsea FC central midfielder was speaking to the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) official website.

“I must admit that I applaud the resurgence of the Zambians this late in the qualifiers. Beating Algeria home and away is no mean feat,” he said.

“We will take them very serious on 7th October because they clearly have a new spirit. It is time we wrap this up,” he continued.

“We have all shown professionalism, dedication and determination to be at the pole position in a group tagged ‘Group of Death’.

“Commendations must go to the entire team and the Coach, but we must finish it up in Uyo and secure our ticket right there.”

The match will be played Godswill Akpabio International Stadium.



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Nigeria will beat Zambia to qualify, says confident Mikel – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Nigeria skipper Mikel vs Tanzania

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Friday Sep 29, 2017. 13:00


Nigeria captain John Obi Mikel is confident that the Super Eagles will qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals next month.

The Super Eagles are scheduled to host Zambia’s Chipolopolo in the World Cup qualification Group B match in Uyo, Nigeria on Satuday, October 7.

A victory for current Group B leaders Nigeria will see them win the group and qualify for the finals which will be hosted by Russia next year.

Mikel, who currently plies his trade in China for Tianjin TEDA, praised second-placed Chipolopolo, but he believes that the Super Eagles deserve to qualify.

The former Chelsea FC central midfielder was speaking to the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) official website.

“I must admit that I applaud the resurgence of the Zambians this late in the qualifiers. Beating Algeria home and away is no mean feat,” he said.

“We will take them very serious on 7th October because they clearly have a new spirit. It is time we wrap this up,” he continued.

“We have all shown professionalism, dedication and determination to be at the pole position in a group tagged ‘Group of Death’.

“Commendations must go to the entire team and the Coach, but we must finish it up in Uyo and secure our ticket right there.”

The match will be played at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium.



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Al Ahly qualify for Champs League semis


Al Ahly player Abdalla El Said

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Sunday Sep 24, 2017. 00:03


Al Ahly overcame Esperance de Tunis 2-1 in the 2017 CAF Champions League encounter quarter-final second-leg match at the Stade Olympique de Radès on Saturday night.

The win sees the Egypt’s A Ahly qualify for the semi-finals after winning the tie 4-3 on aggregate, while Tunisian giants Esperance bow out of the tournament.

Esperance broke the deadlock after they were awarded a penalty six minutes before the half-time break.

Taha Yassine Khenissi hit the back of the net to make it 1-0 to Esperance much to the delight of the home crowd.

The score was 1-0 to Esperance at half-time and they were leading 3-2 on aggregate against the Red Devils.

Ali Maaloul tapped into an empty net to make it 1-1 for Al Ahly five minutes after the restart.

The Red Devils were dominating and Nigerian Junior Ajayi headed past Esperance gpalkeeper Moez Ben Cherifia to make it 2-0 to Al Ahly.

Al Ahly defended very well in the closing stages and they emerged 2-1 winners over Esperance.

Esperance (1) 1 (Khenissi 40′)

Al Ahly (0) 2 (Maaloul 50′, Ajayi 62′)

Esperance: Ben Cherifia, Chemmam (Errabei 70′), M’barki, Dhaouadi, Machani, Kom (Sassi 67′), Bguir, Coulibaly, Chalali, Badri (Ben Youssef 84′), Khenissi.

Al Ahly: Ekramy; Fathi, Rabia, Nagiub, Maaloul; Ashour, El-Sulaya; Moamen (Ajayi 46′), Abdallah, Walid (Hesham 82′), Azarou (Hany 92′).



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South Africa proud despite failure to qualify, says Senong – 2018 CHAN Qualifiers


by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Monday Aug 21, 2017. 16:00


South Africa assistant coach Thabo Senong has reflected on their disappointing 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifying campaign.

Bafana Bafana failed to qualify for the finals after losing 2-0 to Zambia’s Chipolopolo in the second-leg clash in Ndola, Zambia on Saturday.

Zambia advanced to the finals which will be hosted by Kenya after winning the tie 4-2 on aggregate – with the first-leg having ended in a 2-2 draw in East London, South Africa.

Senong, who was in charge of the team in the absence of SA head coach Stuart Baxter, spoke to the South African Football Association (SAFA) Media.

SAFA MEDIA: Your impressions of the match against Zambia?

Thabo Senong: It was a good match and very tough. We played well for about 70 minutes, then the energy levels of our boys started to drop, that’s when we were forced to make a few substitutions. We created chances throughout the match but we did not convert them. We are disappointed that we did not win the match and qualify for 2018 CHAN, but we are not discouraged because we still believe it was a good exercise for some players to get international experience. It was a good exercise for some young players to be in structure and also increase the big pool of Bafana Bafana. There were players that impressed and this will be a good experience for them going back to their clubs and it will contribute positively to their football.

SAFA MEDIA: It must be an exciting journey, however difficult it was, that has been travelled since the COSAFA Cup matches up to this last one in CHAN?

TS: Yes it has been. If you think about it we have worked with different groups of players throughout the CHAN qualifiers and the COSAFA Cup camps, despite the players coming in and going out of the squad, that gave us a good opportunity to give other players a chance to play at international level. So yes, it was good discoveries, and going back to their clubs these players will benefit a lot. But as the technical team, we are very proud that we have managed to unleash a lot of potential future players that that will be taken seriously by their clubs and some will be considered seriously for the main Bafana Bafana squad going forward.

SAFA MEDIA: In your view what will you count as an achievement from this whole exercise?

TS: Throughout the four matches – two against Botswana and a further two against Zambia – we have managed to give 35 players a chance to play at this level and to learn under these conditions. We have given about 15 former U20 players an opportunity to grow and learn from this kind of environment, and this will benefit the future Olympic Team, which will have players who would have played in Bafana Bafana already. The exercise will help some of these senior players because most of them are fringe players at their clubs – Sibusiso Khumalo, Kgotso Moleko, Mario Booysen – they will go back to their respective clubs with a lot of confidence, and that might help them to be considered by the respective coaches of the clubs.

SAFA MEDIA: Despite all the challenges, was this a worthwhile exercise?

TS: Despite all the challenges that we encountered, mainly of players being withdrawn from the national team after being recalled by their clubs, this was indeed a worthy exercise. I would like to say a big thank you to all the clubs that managed to release their players, and we know it was not easy, as they also had to move their programmes around to accommodate us. On the overall, this has been a good and fruitful exercise where all the stakeholders have learnt a lot. From now on we know that Bafana Bafana has a big pool of players that the head coach can always look at whenever he wants to build his team to qualify for the 2018 World Cup as well as the 2019 AFCON tournament.

SAFA MEDIA: You spoke about the U20 players being used, but what next for them?

TS: If you remember very well, this is the same exercise we used in 2015 where we used the CHAN and COSAFA Cup to prepare the 2016 Olympic Team, and it benefitted us a lot because we managed to qualify for the Olympics Games in Brazil last year. So we have used the same exercise where we have again given many U20 players Bafana Bafana caps, so with these players we are going to start the road to Olympic qualifiers next year. These players will have benefitted a lot from these CHAN and COSAFA Cup matches, with the experience they will be able to compete and qualify for the Olympic Games in 2020 in Tokyo.

SAFA MEDIA: So not only are we giving ourselves a chance in the qualifiers coming up, but also increasing the pool of Bafana Bafana.

TS: Absolutely. This was the policy that was encouraged by head coach Stuart Baxter that whenever we play these two tournaments we need to have a clear vision and policy – we must always make sure that there is 60 percent young players coming from the junior structures and 40 percent experienced fringe players from the PSL that can may be be considered for the main Bafana Bafana squad going forward and also considered by their clubs in terms of getting game time.

SAFA MEDIA: This will surely mean the youngster will not be lost in the system?

TS: All these youngsters that have been part of the COSAFA/CHAN exercise will never be lost in the system because next year in February/March they will start their route to qualifying for U23 AFCON, and will follow that with qualifications for the Olympic Games.

SAFA MEDIA: The Bafana Bafana technical team spoke of COSAFA/CHAN in terms of development, do you think that was achieved?

TS: Yes, from Day 1 we agreed that we had to focus on development, put our focus on young players and we took a big risk, which paid off. This exercise has helped a lot because we believe the likes of Sandile Mthethwa will get more game time, and the same goes for Sipho Mbule, Tercious Malepe, Jamie Webber and Masilake Phohlongo. I believe this whole exercise was about rebuilding the future Olympic team and we have achieved that.



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Namibia qualify for CHAN as they send Comoros packing


Deon Hotto of Namibia during 2017 Cosafa Castle Cup match between Namibia and Swaziland at Moruleng Stadium in Rustenburg on 04 July 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

by
Brian Lee

Sunday Aug 20, 2017. 18:19


Namibia qualified for the CAF African Nations Championship in Kenya next year after beating Comoros 2-0 in their third round, second leg qualifier at the Sam Nujoma Stadium in Windhoek on Sunday.

The result combined with their 2-1 loss in the first leg of the qualifier to Comoros in Moroni last weekend means the aggregate scored ended 3-2 in Namibia’s favour.

The first half was a rather dull affair with Comoros trying to defend their one goal advantage from the first leg.

Namibia controlled the possession stakes, but could not make their dominance pay as they entered the half time break locked at 0-0 on the day.

Ten minutes into the second half, though, Namibia did take the lead when Muna Katupose found the back of the net, 1-0.

Although Namibia would still have qualified for CHAN 2018 with the one nil scoreline due to the away goals rule, a goal from Volta in the fourth minute of injury time sealed victory on the day and their spot in Kenya, 2-0.



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Sudan qualify for 2018 CHAN finals


by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Saturday Aug 19, 2017. 21:49


Sudan defeated Ethiopia 1-0 in the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifiers on Saturday.

As a result, the Falcons of Jediane qualify for the 2018 CHAN finals after winning the tightly contested tie 2-1 on aggregate.

The Central East Zone second-leg game took place at the El Obeid Stadium in the Sudanese city of Obeid.

Neither side were able to find the back of the net in the first-half and the score was 0-0 during the half-time.

The deadlock was broken a few minutes into the second-half with Elsamani El Sawi scoring with a good finish to make it 1-0 to Sudan.

Ethiopia’s Walia ibex were unable to level matters and in the end, Sudan secured a 1-0 victory at home.

Sudan will take part in the CHAN finals for the second time as they participated in the 2011 tournament as hosts.



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Gabon withdraw, Equatorial Guinea qualify for Kenya 2018


by
Graeme Jackson

Saturday Aug 12, 2017. 21:15


Equatorial Guinea have qualified for the 2018 African Nations Championship finals on a walkover after their opponents Gabon withdrew.

The teams were set to meet in a Central Zone qualifying tie, with the first leg in Malabo on Saturday evening and the return pencilled in for Libreville next weekend.

However, the Panthers have withdrawn for as yet unspecified reasons, allowing the National Thunder to progress directly into the CHAN finals.

They join hosts Kenya and a further 14 qualifiers in the 16-team field, with the tournament set to be held from January 11 to February 2 next year.



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Green: Why Nigeria will qualify for 2018 World Cup – 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers


by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Monday Jun 12, 2017. 21:00



The chairman of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) technical and development committee chairman Barrister Chris Green has reflected on the Super Eagles’ defeat to South Africa.

Green strongly believes that Nigeria will qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals despite the team’s defeat to South Africa on Saturday.

The Super Eagles suffered their first ever competitive defeat to Bafana Bafana when they lost 2-0 in their first 2019 AFCON qualification Group E match in Uyo, Nigeria.

However, Nigeria are sitting at the top of the World Cup qualification Group B standings – having accumulated six points from two matches – with four matches left.

“It was not the result we worked or prayed for, but the truth is we have only lost one of six matches in the series, and this wake –up call has come at the right time,” Green told the federation’s official website.

“It has also come when we still have the opportunity to rectify things and prepare harder for the remaining matches of the FIFA World Cup qualifying race.

“Losing to South Africa was never in our calculation, but it has happened. Someone once said that when the going gets tough, the tough gets going,” he added.

“Now, everyone, including the technical crew and the players, know that we must work harder than we ever done, dig deeper than we have ever done and show the kind of commitment greater than we have ever shown in the two qualifying campaigns.”

“There are so many things to take forward from this game. One of them is that this type of reverse must never happen to the Super Eagles again,” he continued.

“But now, we have to focus squarely on the FIFA World Cup qualifiers because the race to the Cup of Nations would only resume in nine months’ time.

“In two-and-half months, we have classical World Cup battles with Cameroon. That is the only issue on our minds at the moment.”



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We’ll need luck to qualify for Russia 2018 – Andre Ayew – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


by
Graeme Jackson

Tuesday Jun 06, 2017. 13:00


Ghana will need a big slice of luck if they are to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, according to attacker Andre Ayew.

Ayew is adamant that his side will not give up their hopes of reaching Russia 2018, but says it is “close to an impossible mission”.

This is because Ghana find themselves five points adrift of leaders Egypt in their World Cup qualifying group.

“Nothing is impossible, but we can say it [qualifying for the World Cup] is close to an impossible mission,” Ayew is quoted by GHANASoccernet.

“I think the people that know me know that I never give up and in one game anything can change.

“So we have to say calm. We put everything in the hands of the Almighty Allah, but also in our legs because we have a lot of work to do.

“If we want to have a chance to go to Russia, then we have to win all the four games and expect that Egypt lose a game or draw two.

“So we are going to wait and see, [because] every game for us is a must win.”

For now, Ghana and Ayew will turn their attention to their opening 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Ethiopia on June 11.



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Zimbabwe eager to qualify for 2019 AFCON, says Mpandare


Willard Katsande (l) and Knowledge Musona (R)

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Monday May 29, 2017. 16:00


Zimbabwe team manager Wellington Mpandare says they want to ensure the Warriors qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals again.

The Warriors are scheduled to lock horns with Liberia in their first 2019 AFCON qualifier in Harare on the 11th of June 2017.

Mpandare has explained that KV Oostende striker Knowledge Musona and Mamelodi Sundowns forward Khama Billiat have both committed to the Warriors.

Zimbabwe, who participated at the 2017 AFCON finals, are in Group G along with Liberia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as well as Congo-Brazzaville.

“I have been talking to our boys, those based in Europe and South Africa,” Mpandare told The Herald.

“And everything is on course as far as we are concerned and the tickets have been issued for them to travel home for the big match against Liberia,” he explained.

“Of course, some people might want to concentrate on the negative issues.

“But when you talk to the boys you get a different story because they are all geared up for this and want to ensure the team qualifies for the AFCON finals again,” he added.

“Obviously, you can’t change people’s perceptions, but we are singing the same song with the boys and Knowledge and Khama are coming.

“And we are also talking to others who have never been in the team before to see if we can finalise the arrangements for them to be in for this tie.”



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Senegal qualify for knockout stages of U20 World Cup


Krepin Diatta (R) of Senega EPA/JEON HEON-KYUN

by
Brian Lee

Sunday May 28, 2017. 16:52


Senegal managed to qualify for the knockout stages of the 2017 FIFA U20 World Cup after playing to a goalless draw against Ecuador in their Group F match at the Jeonju World Cup stadium on Sunday.

The result combined with the other Group F match, which saw USA draw 1-1 with Saudi Arabia also in Sunday, sees Senegal finish second on the standings with four points.

USS top Group F with five points while Saudi Arabia finished in third place, also on four points but an inferior goal difference to Senegal.

The match itself at the Jeonju World Cup stadium produced very little in terms of goal mouth chances.

Both Senegal and Ecuador were cagey in attack and rather opted to focus on defence and not conceding a goal.

Ecuador, though, had the better of the first half and even saw an effort come off the post midway through the opening stanza.

Besides from that there was little to talk about in the first half.

The second half was more of the same with Ecuador controlling the flow of play, but still unable to create any real scoring chances.

The game did end on a sour note for Senegal who saw Cavin shown his second yellow card in injury time and consequently a red card.



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