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Bright: Botswana will be ready for AFCON qualifier


by
Staff Reporter

Friday Nov 17, 2017. 16:30


Botswana head coach Major David Bright believes that his side will be ready for their clash with Angola.

The two Southern Africa sides are scheduled to lock horns in the 2019 Afrca Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier in March 2018.

The Zebras of Botswana held Gabon’s Panthers to a goalless draw in an international friendly match in Franceville on Monday.

Bright, who was appointed last July, has explained that he is looking to build a team that can compete against top teams in the continent.

“It is not easy to come up with a winning team,” Bright told the media.

“We have to be patient and not try and take short cuts.

The former Gaborone United coach stated that he will keep changing players because of their physical conditioning as well as game plan.

“Games are not the same, so the plans will differ according to the games we play,” the experienced tactician added.

The Zebras lost 1-0 to Mauritania at home in their first Group I match last June. Angola suffered a 3-1 defeat to Burkina Faso away in another Group I game.

The group winner and runner-up will qualify for the 2019 AFCON finals.



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Kaizer Chiefs coach Steve Komphela: Brilliant Khuzwayo is ready to start against Wits – ABSA Premiership 2017/18


Brilliant Khuzwayo of Kaizer Chiefs during the 2017 Telkom Knockout Kaizer Chiefs media day at Chiefs Village, Johannesburg on 15 November 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Friday Nov 17, 2017. 10:30


Kaizer Chiefs coach Steve Komphela has dropped a hint that goalkeeper Brilliant Khuzwayo could man the goalposts when they take on Bidvest Wits in the Telkom Knockout semifinals this weekend.

The highly anticipated clash is set for this Saturday at Bidvest Stadium and Komphela says Khuzwayo could start if Itumeleng Khune arrives back from Senegal in a poor shape.

Khune travelled with Bafana Bafana to Dakar as they wrapped up their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers on Tuesday with a 2-1 loss.

The coach is concerned with Khune who played with a protective face mask on Friday after suffering a facial injury against Chippa United in the TKO quarterfinals.

Apart from ‘Itu’, Amakhosi have Siphiwe Tshabalala and Mulomowandau Mathoho who were also part of Stuart Baxter Bafana squad and Komphela will decide on using them.

“They are all ready. Brilliant is ready. Brilliant has been training well. Bruce Bvuma is also there‚” Komphela said to the media.

“The thing we can be happy about is that ‘Itu’ played without a mask (on Tuesday).

“And the only thing that we would be worried about‚ even for ‘Shabba’ (Tshabalala) and ‘Tower’ (Mathoho)‚ is that if given an opportunity to play on Saturday‚ would they have recovered?

“Because it’s killing to travel throughout Africa. But there’s nothing you can do about it.”

Komphela will want to lift the TKO Cup and bring his first trophy to Naturena after failing to do so in his first two seasons with the Soweto giants.



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Zaha ready to lead Elephants to Russia – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


by
Staff Reporter

Saturday Nov 04, 2017. 13:00


Wilfried Zaha will be aiming to lead the Ivory Coast to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, with the Crystal Palace winger having been named in the country’s 25-man-squad for their crucial clash against Morocco next week.

The Elephants welcome the Atlas Lions in Abidjan on the 11th of November, with the hosts needing nothing but victory if they are to secure a place at the upcoming showpiece.

Morocco currently lead the way in Group C with nine points from five fixtures, one more than their counterparts.

Zaha has been in impressive form for the Eagles this season and duly clinched the club’s Player of the Month accolade for October. He has also been nominated for the Premier League Player of the Month award.

Ivory Coast head coach Marc Wilmots will be hoping that 24-year-old carry his impressive form onto the international stage as the West African nation set their sights on qualifying for a fourth successive World Cup.

Moreover, the Elephants will be without Manchester United defender Eric Bailly who will miss the game through suspension.



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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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Polokwane ready for Chiefs challenge


Bernard Parker of Kaizer Chiefs and Thabiso Semenya of Polokwane City during the Absa Premiership 2016/17 game between Polokwane City and Kaizer Chiefs at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on 13 May 2017 ©/BackpagePix

by
Graeme Jackson

Monday Oct 30, 2017. 09:30


Polokwane City will look to upset Absa Premiership heavyweights Kaizer Chiefs when the teams meet at Peter Mokaba Stadium on 31 October 2017, kick-off at 19h30.

Polokwane are unbeaten in their last three league matches, having played to a 2-2 draw away to high-flying Golden Arrows on October 21. In fact, the Limpopo side were close to becoming the first team to beat Arrows, but they conceded a last-gasp goal to share the spoils.

Rise and Shine are still looking for their first home win this season, having claimed just two points from four matches as hosts. They will look to improve on that record as they aim for a place in the top half of the table.

Chiefs have taken four points from their last two league matches, first defeating Mamelodi Sundowns before holding Orlando Pirates to a goalless draw in the Soweto derby on October 21. Coach Steve Komphela will be satisfied with those results against fellow PSL heavyweights.

The Amakhosi have performed strongly away from home this season, taking 10 points from a possible 12, and they will fancy their chances of adding to that tally with this trip to Limpopo.

In head-to-head stats, Polokwane and Chiefs have met in eight league matches since 2013/14. The Amakhosi have claimed four wins compared to one for Rise and Shine, while three matches have been drawn. The Limpopo side has claimed one win and suffered one defeat from their four turns as hosts in the rivalry.

Last season each side claimed a home win over the other: Chiefs won 3-2 in the first half of the campaign, while City claimed their first victory against the Soweto giants with a 1-0 triumph in the return game in Polokwane.

Polokwane’s line-up from their 2-2 draw with Arrows on October 21: Chigova, Ravhuhali, Semenya, Mbonani, Maponyane, Seabi, Maluleke, Phiri (Tlolane 68′), Ramagalela, Musona (Mngomezulu 64′), Ndou (Vilakazi 89′).

Chiefs’ line-up from their 0-0 draw with Pirates on October 21: Khune, Ngezana (Meyiwa 74’), Cardoso, Mathoho, Zulu, Molangoane, Katsande, Maluleka, Ekstein (Paez 55’), Tshabalala, Parker (Moon 86’).



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Andre Ayew ready to lead Hammers out of trouble – 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers


West Ham’s Andre Ayew celebrates his goal against Swansea City

by
Bertin Basson

Friday Oct 27, 2017. 18:30


Ghana international Andre Ayew is ready to lead West Ham United‘s charge following his midweek heroics in the Carabao Cup.

The 27-year-old was at the double as Slaven Bilic’s men secured a memorable 3-2 come-from-behind win over Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium.

Having contributed in wins over Cheltenham Town and Bolton, Ayew was at it again as he staked his claim for a starting birth in the Hammers English Premier League showdown against Crystal Palace this weekend.

With pressure mounting on West Ham United head coach, Bilic, following the club’s stuttering start to the league season – Ayew is ready to help save the Croatian’s job.

“When you are at a club like West Ham and the results are difficult, the manager is under pressure for sure,” Ayew is quoted as saying by The Telegraph.

“But so are the players. We have to keep working hard and the manager knows the players are behind him. We will give everything we can.

“Not only for the manager but for ourselves too. We have to wear the shirt with a lot of pride. There is a fighting spirit,” he concluded.



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Eric Tinkler is ready for a big Confed Cup fight against Africain in Tunis – 2017 CAF Confederation Cup


Head coach Eric Tinkler of Supersport United 2017 Caf Confederations Cup game between Supersport United and Zesco United at Lucas Moripe Stadium on 14 September [email protected] Kgakatsi/BackpagePix

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Sunday Oct 22, 2017. 10:00


Ahead of the CAF Confederation Cup semifinal clash against Club Africain, SuperSport United coach Eric Tinkler says they are ready for a big fight.

United are fresh from lifting the MTN8 Cup in the South African domestic season last weekend and Tinkler is hoping to continue with his fairy tale.

VINCENT ENYEAMA SET TO RETURN FOR THE SUPER EAGLES

Although the South Africans travel to Tunisia slightly on the back foot after allowing the Tunisians to get an away goal in a 1-1 draw played at home last month, Tinkler banks on his players to succeed.

“I have told my players that we need to become addicted to winning like it’s some drug,” said Tinkler to CAF website

“We have to want it all the time and we need to have that mentality.

“We are bracing ourselves for a big fight but I believe in my players’ abilities and they have shown that they can thrive when put under pressure.

“Such competitions are where you judge yourself against the best and we need to step up.

“This is a trophy that I want to win as a coach and I almost did it with (Orlando) Pirates.”



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Ghana U-17s ready for USA challenge – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup


Colombia’s Brayan Gomez (L) in action against Ghana’s Emmanuel Toku (R) during the FIFA Under-17 World Cup 2017 group A soccer match between Colombia and Ghana at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi, India, 06 October 2017. EPA/RAJAT GUPTA

by
Graeme Jackson

Saturday Oct 07, 2017. 15:00


Ghana will chase a second successive victory at the U-17 World Cup when they face United States at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi on Monday, kick-off at 13h30 CAT.

The West Africans got their tournament off to a strong start when they defeated Colombia 1-0 in their Group A opener on Friday, with Sadiq Ibrahim scoring the only goal of the game.

Yet the Black Starlets coach Samuel Paa Kwesi Fabin wasn’t entirely happy with his team’s display and will want to see an improvement for their match with the USA.

“I’m a bit disappointed in the play because that’s not how we play. We keep the ball and pass it around but it looked as if we abandoned our style and we were trying to play long balls like the Colombians and it was not working for for us,” Fabin explained.

“But I’m happy because it’s the group stage and to have taken three points in your first match, it’s good, it’s very good, so I’m happy for that.

“I’ll give credit to our goalkeeper and the defence, I think they did tremendously well.”

The defence may need to be at their best again on Monday, as the USA looked a potent attacking force in their 3-0 win over hosts India. Josh Sargent, Chris Durkin and Andre Carleton scored the goals for coach John Hackworth’s side.

Ghana and USA have met twice before in the U-17 World Cup, with the Black Starlets claiming 2-0 wins in both 1995 in Quito and 1999 in Auckland.



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Against Cape Verde we’ll be ready for a fight – Senegal coach – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Aliou Cisse, coach of Senegal

by
Graeme Jackson

Thursday Oct 05, 2017. 17:00


Senegal must be ready for a fight when they take on Cape Verde in a 2018 World Cup qualifier this weekend, according to coach Aliou Cisse.

The Teranga Lions are placed third in Group D but have their fate very much in their own hands: if they win all three of their remaining games (including the re-match against South Africa after their away loss in November last year was annulled) then they will top the group and qualify for Russia 2018.

Much of the attention has fallen on the back-to-back games against SA coming up next month which will be key to Senegal’s fate, but coach Cisse knows that the immediate task of beating the Blue Sharks in their own back yard will not be easy.

“Before we talk about the match against South Africa, for which we will have time to think, I believe that there is first the stage of Praia that must be negotiated with the team Cape Verde . Today, our energy, our thought, our knowledge, we must put them for this match,” Cisse is quoted by APS.

“They (the Cape Verdeans) have every chance like us, like Burkina Faso and South Africa, to be able to go to Russia,” he said, adding that “it will be necessary to whip, to fight”.

“I see players ready to go to the fight and to realise this feat which is to go a second time to the World Cup,” concluded Cisse, who was a part of the famous class of 2002 which debuted at the global tournament.

The Cape Verde v Senegal match will be held at the National Stadium in Praia on Saturday evening, kick-off at 19h30 CAT.



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Unbeaten Arrows ready for Chilli Boys challenge


Musa Bilankulu of Golden Arrows

by
Graeme Jackson

Friday Sep 29, 2017. 09:51


Golden Arrows will put their unbeaten status in the Absa Premiership on the line when they host Chippa United at Princess Magogo Stadium on 30 September 2017, kick-off at 15h00.

Arrows extended their unbeaten start to the league season to six matches when they played to a goalless draw away to Kaizer Chiefs on September 23. The result saw the Durban side’s winning streak ended at three games.

Abafana Bes’thende have played just twice at home so far in this campaign: they drew 1-1 with Bloemfontein Celtic back in August and beat local rivals AmaZulu 4-1 earlier this month. Coach Clinton Larsen will hope for another three-pointer from his charges.

Chippa played to a third successive draw when they were held 0-0 at home by Bloemfontein Celtic on September 24. The Eastern Cape side have gone four league matches without a win and managed to score just two goals in the sequence.

The Chilli Boys have picked up just two points from three away matches this season and will have to up their game significantly if they are to claim their first win on the road in 2017/18.

In head-to-head stats, Arrows and Chippa have met in six league matches since 2012/13. Abafana Bes’thende have claimed three wins compared to one for the Chilli Boys, while two matches have ended in draws. The Durban side has won two of their three home matches in the rivalry.

Last season Arrows took four points off Chippa in the league: the Durban side claimed a narrow 1-0 home win in the first half of the campaign, followed by a 2-2 draw in the return game in the Eastern Cape which saw both Rhulani Manzini and Lerato Lamola netting braces.

Arrows’ line-up from their 0-0 draw with Chiefs on September 23: Gumede, Dube, Mngwengwe, Mzava, Nkombelo, Bilankulu, N. Cele, Sibiya (Mutizwa 67’), Mahachi (Sibeko 77’), Magubane (Jooste 82’), Lamola.

Chippa’s line-up from their 0-0 draw with Celtic on September 24: Akpeyi, Mvelase (Mbokoma 55′), Macheke, Okwousa, Konqobe, Lentjies (Masuku 64′), Zuke, Sekola (Manzini 83′), Mako, Mdlinzo, Maphanga.



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Ghana Government Minister: We are ready to host 2018 CHAN – 2018 CHAN


by
Graeme Jackson

Thursday Sep 28, 2017. 16:00


Ghana is ready to host the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN), according to the country’s Minister of Youth and Sport, Issac Asiamah.

Next year’s continental competition is without a host country after the Confederation of African Football (CAF) declared that Kenya would not be ready.

The East African nation was stripped of host rights due to falling behind schedule in their venue preparation and worries over political instability.

CAF has opened a new bidding process for the tournament, which is scheduled to be staged from 12 January to 4 February next year.

Ghana Minister Asiamah insists that the country is ready to host CHAN, having successfully staged the WAFU Cup of Nations earlier this month.

The regional competition saw 16 West African teams play a total of 24 matches across two venues – and that did not include Ghana’s premier stadiums such as those in Kumasi and Accra.

“I’m adamant Ghana is ready, at any point in time, to host any CAF tournament,” Asiamah told Asempa FM, as quoted by Joy Online.

South Africa have already declared that they have no intention of bidding for the tournament, leaving Ghana as one of the clear favourites to become the new hosts.



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Wilfried Bony ready for PL start – Paul Clement – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Wilfried Bony of Ivory Coast challenged by Merveille Bope of DR Congo during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Finals match between Ivory Coast and DR Congo at the Oyem Stadium in Gabon on 20 January 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

by
Graeme Jackson

Thursday Sep 21, 2017. 12:00


Ivory Coast striker Wilfried Bony is ready to start matches in the Premier League, according to Swansea manager Paul Clement.

Since his move back to the Swans from Manchester City, Bony has made two substitute appearances in the team’s PL matches against Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur.

On Tuesday night he was given a starting role in the Welsh club’s 2-0 League Cup win at Reading, playing 82 minutes before being replaced by Tammy Abraham.

The striker’s performance has convinced Clement that he is ready to start in the league and Bony may well feature in their home match against Watford on Saturday afternoon.

“I think he is close, he lasted over 80 minutes in this game,” Clement said after the midweek victory.

“He had a really good chance in that second half when the ball came across the box and he couldn’t direct it into the net.

“He is in good shape, he played 60 minutes for the under-23 team last week and now he has played 80 minutes in this game, so I think he is ready to start now in the Premier League.”



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Song: Cameroon will be ready for 2018 CHAN finals – 2018 CHAN


Former Cameroon captain Rigobert Song

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Friday Sep 15, 2017. 16:00


Cameroon have started their preparations for the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) finals under coach Rigobert Song.

The home-based Indomitable Lions played a friendly match against Equatorial Guinea which they won 2-1 on Sunday.

Former Cameroon and Liverpool FC defender Song says his charges played well against the National Thunder of Equatorial Guinea.

“My boys played well,” Song told the Cameroonian Football Federation’s official website.

“I’m happy with the score and the fighting spirit especially after they conceded an early goal. It shows that they were hungry for that win.”

Song believes that Cameroon will be ready for the finals which will be hosted by Kenya between 12 January and 4 February 2018.

“There is still much work to be done but we hope with many other friendly games like the one we had today, it`s possible for us to put up a good show in Kenya.”

Cameroon qualified for the finals after defeating São Tomé and Príncipe 4-0 on aggregate in the qualifiers last month.



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Sundowns, Wydad ready for quarterfinal battle


Percy Tau of Mamelodi Sundowns celebrating his goal during the Absa Premiership 2017/18 game between Free State Stars and Mamelodi Sundowns at Goble Park, Bethlehem on 11 September 2017 © Frikkie Kapp/BackpagePix

by
Graeme Jackson

Thursday Sep 14, 2017. 10:30


Mamelodi Sundowns and Wydad Casablanca will begin battle for a place in the CAF Champions League semifinals when they meet at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Tshwane on Sunday, kick-off at 15h00 CAT.

The teams’ first leg, quarterfinal clash promises to be a thrilling South v North African battle in which the competition’s title holders will seek a strong advantage to take with them to Morocco next weekend.

Wydad were one of the more impressive teams on show in the previous round: they topped a tough Group D ahead of eight-time champions Al Ahly and also have the honour of being the reigning Moroccan title holders.

However, their domestic league campaign got off to a rocky start last weekend when they were beaten 3-1 at home by rivals FUS Rabat, and they will have had significantly less time to prepare for this clash in the wake of a Thursday afternoon match against Rapide Oued Zem.

Sundowns secured their place in the last eight by finishing second behind Tunisian heavyweights Esperance de Tunis in Group C, with a record of two wins, three draws and just one defeat.

The Brazilians will be hoping to improve on their home form: they didn’t win any of the three group matches they hosted and have also lost both of their domestic home matches so far in the 2017/18 season.

Coach Pitso Mosimane will have to cope with a lengthy list of injuries, but his side’s victory away to Free State Stars in a domestic league game earlier this week demonstrated their strength in depth.

“Anthony [Laffor] is on crutches, Khama [Billiat] is injured, Leo [Castro] made it through a late fitness test, [Tiyani] Mabunda is injured. We need to make sure that we look after the team. A team that played tonight is a team I trusted. If you’re in the team of Mamelodi Sundowns, you have to play, there’s no first team and second team,” the ‘Downs coach said after the game against Stars.

The match in Tshwane will be handled by Ethiopian referee Bamlak Tessema Weyesa. The return leg is set for Saturday 23 September at the Stade Mohamed V in Casablanca. The aggregate winners will face either Ferroviario Beira or USM Alger in the semifinals.



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Polokwane ready for Celtic challenge – ABSA Premiership 2017/18


Thapelo Tshilo of Polokwane City celebrates his goal with teammates

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Monday Sep 11, 2017. 08:15


Polokwane City will look to continue their good early season Absa Premiership form when they host Bloemfontein Celtic at Old Peter Mokaba Stadium on 12 September 2017, kick-off at 19h30.

Polokwane have claimed four points from their first two matches of the campaign, with a 1-1 draw at home to provincial rivals Baroka FC followed by an impressive 2-1 away win over giants Mamelodi Sundowns – former Brazilians man Rodney Ramagalela scored a brace of goals.

Rise and Shine would have been disappointed to see their momentum disrupted by the international break, but a home clash to restart their campaign is a welcome challenge and coach Bernard Molekwa will be targeting all three points.

Celtic have had a steady if unspectacular start to the 2017/18 season, playing to successive 1-1 draws against Kaizer Chiefs (home) and Golden Arrows (away). The Free State side will want to bring up their first win as soon as possible, to ease any fears of a tough campaign.

Phunya Sele Sele coach Veselin Jelusic has yet to get the best out of his new side and will hope that a reset after the international break and the challenge of facing a feisty Polokwane brings a new level performance out of the men in green and white hoops.

In head-to-head stats, Polokwane and Celtic have met in eight league matches since 2013/14. The Bloemfontein team has claimed four wins compared to two for their Limpopo counterparts, while two matches have ended in draws. Rise and Shine have a mixed record at home to Phunya Sele Sele with two wins and two losses from four matches as hosts.

Last season Celtic took four points off City, first playing to a goalless draw in Bloemfontein in the first half of the campaign, before claiming a 1-0 away win in Polokwane in the return – Lyle Lakay (now with Cape Town City) scored the goal in what proved to be Phunya Sele Sele’s last win of 2016/17.

Polokwane’s line-up from their 2-1 win over Sundowns on 22 August: Chigova, Semenya, Tshilo, Mbonani, Hlongwane, Klaas, Manaka (Vilakazi 86’), J. Maluleke, Seabi, Mngomezulu (Booi 70’), Ramagalela (Tlolane 86’).

Celtic’s line-up from their 1-1 draw with Arrows: Tignyemb, Baloyi, Rikhotso, Letlabika, Motshegwa (Mashikinya 74′), Mahlasela, Hotto, Phalane, Ndengane, Mabena (Jembula 73′), Nyundu.



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Okumbi: Unfit Wanyama not ready for national duty – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Saturday Aug 26, 2017. 12:00


Kenya head coach Stanley Okumbi has revealed why Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Victor Wanyama was omitted from the Harambee Stars squad.

The central midfielder has been left out of the Harambee Stars squad that will face Mozambique in an international friendly on 2 September 2017.

Okumbi spoke to the Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino about the player, who is still trying to regain his full fitness.

“Wanyama was injured during pre-season and we watched him struggle against Newcastle United and Chelsea,” Okumbi told the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) website.

“I talked to him and we agreed that he be left out of the team so that he can work on his fitness.

The 26-year-old player, who is the Kenya captain, is set to miss the Harambee Stars’ clash with the Black Mambas which will be played in Maputo, Mozambique.

“I also talked to the Spurs manager and he stated that Wanyama was struggling in terms of fitness,” he added.

“The coach suggested that we give him more time to work on his fitness because he’s a little behind schedule following the injury he picked during pre-season.”

Wanyama and his Tottenham team-mates will face Burnley in an English Premier League (EPL) match at the Wembley Stadium on Sunday.



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I’ll be here – Bailly ready for Zlatan return – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Manchester United duo Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Eric Bailly

by
Graeme Jackson

Monday Aug 21, 2017. 13:00


Ivory Coast star Ivory Coast star Eric Bailly has expressed his desire to see Zlatan Ibrahimovic return to Manchester United.
has expressed his desire to see Zlatan Ibrahimovic return to Manchester United.

The Swedish striker is currently a free agent after his one-year contract with the Red Devils lapsed at the end of last season.

However, it is widely expected that he will sign a deal with the Red Devils until the end of the season once he returns to the training ground, following the knee surgery he underwent in April.

Bailly scored his first goal for United on the weekend, helping the team defeat Swansea City 4-0 away.

The Elephants defender was happy to post on Instagram in regards to Ibrahimovic’s latest fitness update.

Bailly commented: “I hope you’re almost ready to come back, Zlatan I’ll be here!”



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Sundowns ready for Polokwane clash


Sipho Jembula of Polokwane City challenges Fares Hachi of Mamelodi Sundowns during the Absa Premiership match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Polokwane City on the 14 March 2017 at Loftus Versfeld Stadium © Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

by
Graeme Jackson

Monday Aug 21, 2017. 11:30


Mamelodi Sundowns will target a second successive win at the start of the new Absa Premiership season when they host Polokwane City at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on 22 August 2017, kick-off at 19h30.

Sundowns opened their campaign with a morale-boosting 2-0 away win over Tshwane rivals SuperSport United this past weekend. Goals from midfielders Hlompho Kekana and Themba Zwane saw Pitso Mosimane’s team shrug off a shock defeat in the MTN8 quarterfinals earlier this month.

The Brazilians lost just one home match in the league last season and will be looking to keep up that kind of form as hosts, hoping that it will underpin another strong challenge for the Absa Premiership trophy.

Polokwane began their league season on somewhat of a disappointing note as they were held goalless at home by provincial rivals Baroka FC. The team clad in orange would have been hoping for a victory at home to one of the top flight’s so-called ‘minnows’, but they were unable to prise open their opponent’s defence.

Rise and Shine drew most of their away matches last term (eight from 15 games on the road) and coach Bernard Molekwa would probably consider a sharing of the spoils a very respectable result against a heavyweight like ‘Downs.

In head-to-head stats, Sundowns and Polokwane have clashed in eight league matches since 2013/14. The Brazilians have generally dominated the rivalry, claiming five wins compared to just one for Rise and Shine. ‘Downs are also unbeaten at home against City, with two wins and two draws from four turns as hosts.

The teams’ two league meetings in 2016/17 saw the Brazilians claim four points: Pitso Mosimane’s men won 2-0 in Polokwane in the first half of the season, while the return game in Tshwane ended in a goalless stalemate. ‘Downs are unbeaten in their last seven league clashes against Polokwane.

Sundowns’ line-up from their 2-0 win over SuperSport on 19 August: Onyango, Morena, Madisha, Soumahoro, Langerman, T. Zwane, Kekana, Manyisa, Lebese (Zakri 56’), Billiat, Tau (Laffor 77’).

Polokwane’s line-up from their 0-0 draw with Baroka on 19 August: Chigova, Mbonani, Tshilo, Hlongwane, Semenya, Maluleke, Seabi, Mngomezulu, Ramagalela, Mncwango (Booi 78′), Manaka (Phiri 81′).



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FECAFOOT irked by Ahmad’s statements that Cameroon is not ready for Afcon 2019


The Confederation of African Football boss Ahmad Ahmad

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Thursday Aug 10, 2017. 17:30


Cameroon have been angered by a statement made by CAF president Ahmad who said that they have to convince the football governing body regarding their readiness to host the 2019 CAF African Cup of Nations.

According to media reports, Cameroon’s Football Federation (FECAFOOT) have expressed their dismay on Monday in response to criticism from CAF boss, Ahmad over their prospects of hosting the 2019 AFCON.

Ahmad said the country’s infrastructure wasn’t ready to host the 2019 Cup of Nations and reportedly suggested he may open a bidding process to other countries to help in putting on the event.

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“The Cameroonian federation has taken note with a profound consternation the recent statements from the CAF president who claims that, in their current state, no site in Cameroon is ready to host the CAN,” said FECAFOOT in a statement sent to AFP.

“FECAFOOT is vividly concerned by the fact those opinions were passed before even the first CAF inspection mission set for August 20-28 has come to Cameroon.”

Meanwhile, the host country has launched a programme of construction and refurbishment of sports infrastructure, with FECAFOOT insisting the majority of stadiums will be completed by the end of 2018.



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Benik Afobe ready to complete with Jermain Defoe


Benik Afobe, Bournemouth v Stoke

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Saturday Aug 05, 2017. 12:00


DR Congo international Benik Afobe is confident of cementing his place in the AFC Bournemouth starting line-up.

The 24-year-old striker is competing with Jermain Defoe, Callum Wilson, Joshua King and Lys Mousset for a place in the English Premier League (EPL) club’s starting line-up.

Afobe has netted 10 goals in 46 English Premier League (EPL) games since joining the club from Wolvehampton Wanderers midway through the 2015/16 season.

“Everywhere you go there is going to be competition, whether it is League Two or the Premier League,” Afobe told the Daily Echo.

“We have got great players and have got ability in all positions, not just the strikers. For me, all I can do is score goals, enjoy my football, walk around with a smile on my face, keep working hard and be the best player I can be.

“If that’s good enough, hopefully, I can get a chance. If not, I will keep working hard and it’s a long season, I found that out last season and whenever I am on the pitch I want to score goals.”

Afobe and his Bournemouth teammates have been busy preparing for the 2017/18 campaign which starts next weekend.

Bournemouth’s first league game will be against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, 12 August 2017.



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Ayanda Patosi ready for PSL debut – ABSA Premiership 2017/18 – Cape Town City FC


Thulani Serero and Ayanda Patosi during the South Africa Mens Senior National team training session

by
Bertin Basson

Friday Aug 04, 2017. 18:00


Cape Town City attacker Ayanda Patosi has revealed that it has been easy for him to adapt to training at the club, as his Premier Soccer League (PSL) debut edges ever closer.

Patosi, 24, hails from Khayelitsha but is yet to play top-flight football in South Africa having moved to Belgium straight from the ASD Academy in 2011.

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Following six years at KSC Lokeren, Patosi is now set to make his South African top-flight debut with an ambitious Citizens outfit. Cape Town City open their MTN8 account at home to Polokwane City before taking on Bidvest Wits in the Absa Premiership curtain-raise on the 18th of August.

“It doesn’t feel weird – I come from Khayelitsha,” Patosi told KickOff.com.

“They say South Africans like to play using a lot of touches, and I grew up playing those kind of games, so it’s been easy to adapt at training. I know a few of the guys from the national team as well, and know the culture already from there.

“In Belgium it’s more physical. There the play is very direct, while here it’s different – the players play, and there are more touches. Here the entire team can play football as opposed to there,” Patosi concluded.



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Ghanaian Andrew Ayew ready for the 2017/18 English Premier League campaign


by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Sunday Jul 30, 2017. 10:09


Ghana and West ham striker Andrew Ayew says he feels good and is looking forward to the 2017/18 English Premier League season.

The Hammers forward is hoping a full pre-season will help him pick up where he left off when the Premier Leagaue campaign begins.

Ayew ended the 2016/17 season in fine form, scoring five goals in the 13 appearances after returning from the Africa Cup of Nations in mid-February.

However, he admits the pre-season is very important and says he wants to ensure he prepares well this time around.

“I’m feeling good and working hard. We had long days in Austria and now we’re just at the beginning in Germany and we have a few games to come,” he told West Ham TV.

“We’re working hard here, trying to get fit, working together and getting to know each other, so it’s sweet.

“Pre-season is something which is very, very important and, for me, I’ve not been able to have a real pre-season for a long time because of the international games.

“I have always been coming back later, so to start the pre-season with the squad is quite good.

“I think I’m going to have a month or more with the squad before the pre-season starts so it’s a good opportunity for me to get myself back together and to feel good before the season.

“I think I was getting there [to my best form]. It was not my optimum, but I was getting there bit by bit by playing games. For me, it was a shame the season came to an end because I was starting to feel better after my injury.”



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Kalou: Hertha Berlin will be ready for Europa League – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Hertha Berlin attacker Salomon Kalou

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Thursday Jul 27, 2017. 18:00


Ivory Coast international Salomon Kalou is looking forward to playing in the 2017/18 UEFA Europa League with Hertha Berlin.

Hertha qualified for next season’s Europa League group stages after finishing sixth in the German Bundesliga log during the 2016/17 campaign.

Kalou, who is 31, says he won’t have time to go out with friends because of Hertha’s tight match schedule in the new season.

“I’m not going out any more,” Kalou told Sport Bild.

“If you only play Bundesliga, you can also go out on Saturday after the game with friends and enjoy time for you.

“Now you can not afford this anymore. We have more games and we have to prepare ourselves even better,” he continued.

The quick striker, who won the 2011/12 UEFA Champions League title with English side Chelsea, is happy with the Hertha’s new signings.

“This broad squad was what we missed in the last two years. Reinforcements only mean that we have to get better again,” he said.

“We have to go to an even higher level.”



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Rohr: Nigeria’s key players will be ready for Cameroon – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


Gernot Rohr – Nigeria coach

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Friday Jun 16, 2017. 12:00


Nigeria head coach Gernot Rohr says his key players will be ready for Cameroon in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification Group B match in August 2017.

The Super Eagles are coming off a disappointing 2-0 defeat to South Africa in their first 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualification Group E match.

The highly anticipated encounter took place at the Goodswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo last weekend.

Nigeria have now switched their attention onto the World Cup qualifier against their West African rivals Cameroon, the Indomitable Lions.

“South Africa met an inexperienced and younger Eagles, that is why they won the match,” Rohr told Premium Times.

“We did not play with our main team, many of our experienced players were not in the match mainly due to injury.

“But they will be ready for Cameroon.”

The Super Eagles are sitting at the top of the Group B standings having won their first two matches and they are four points above second-placed Cameroon.

Zambia and Algeria are also part of the group. Only the group winners will book their place in the finals which are scheduled to hosted by Russia next year.



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Wakaso ready to leave relegated Lorient – 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers


by
Graeme Jackson

Monday Jun 12, 2017. 20:00


Ghana’s Alhassan Wakaso is ready to leave relegated French side Lorient, but has admitted his future is very much down to the club’s discretion.

The Black Stars man joined Lorient from Portuguese side Rio Ave back in January, but could not help them avoid relegation from Ligue 1.

Lorient were beaten 2-1 on aggregate by Troyes in the promotion playoffs at the end of May, condemning them to second-tier football for at least the next season.

Wakaso has said he would rather leave the club in search of top flight football, but understands his fate is mostly out his own hands.

“I would want to move to play at a club in a higher league but it is the club that must decide this,” he told FootballMadeInGhana.com.

“It will be difficult for me to leave because I still have a three-year contract with them.

“So even though I would like to leave, it will depend more on the club.”



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CS Sfaxien ready for Stars challenge – 2017 CAF Confederation Cup


by
Graeme Jackson

Thursday Jun 01, 2017. 17:30


CS Sfaxien will look to boost their quarterfinal hopes in the CAF Confederation Cup when they host Platinum Stars on Sunday night. The teams will meet for a Group B clash at the Stade Taieb Mhiri in Sfax, kick-off at 23h00 CAT.

The Tunisians are three-time champions of the competition, though their hopes were dealt a blow in the previous Matchday when they were beaten 2-1 in Algiers by MC Alger.

Following on from a narrow 1-0 home win over Mbabane Swallows to kick off the group stage, it hasn’t been the most convincing showing from CSS thus far.

The same can be said of their opponents, with Stars opening up their campaign with a respectable draw at home to MCA, only to follow that up with a calamitous 4-2 loss away to Swallows.

The defeat left Dikwena in last place on the standings with just one point and they really need a good showing in Sfax to revive their self confidence and boost their quarterfinal ambitions.

This match will be the first of a double-header between Sfaxien and Stars, with the return game in Rustenburg scheduled for June 21.

Sudanese referee Mahmood Ali Ismail will take charge of the match in Sfax. The other Group B clash between Mbabane Swallows and MCA will be played in Lobamba on Friday afternoon.



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