2018 World Cup: Group H preview

2018 World Cup, Group H

Dates – 19-28 June 2018

Venues – Saransk, Moscow, Yekaterinburg, Kazan, Volgograd, Samara

West African aspect Senegal will glimpse to revive reminiscences of their breathtaking World Cup debut in 2002 when they battle for ascendancy in a large open up Group H at Russia 2018. Colombia, Poland and Japan full a sturdy foursome which promises to be one of the most unpredictable at this year’s tournament.

Senegal shocked the world sixteen decades back when they initially beat reigning champions France in their opening game before obtaining as far as the quarterfinals – a feat no other African team has bettered before or given that. The ‘Teranga Lions’ are led by manager Aliou Cisse – a veteran of that 2002 team – and boast an admirable array of expertise, nevertheless Liverpool ahead Sadio Mane is the clear celebrity of their team.

Poland is not the initially identify that arrives at mind when one thinks of Europe’s strongest football nations, but the ‘White Eagles’ arrive into Russia 2018 positioned in the best 10 of FIFA’s world position and they appreciated a good qualification campaign.

Not only did they best their team forward of Denmark, but they also produced the co-primary scorer in the world-large level of competition: Robert Lewandowski’s sixteen goals ended up matched only by Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed Al-Sahlawi and UAE’s Ahmed Khalil. Adam Nawalka’s aspect is perfectly-organised, rough-to-beat and boasts loads of practical experience.

The same can be explained of South American heavyweights Colombia. They finished fourth in the notoriously complicated CONMEBOL qualification zone and have saved alongside one another the core of the team which reached the previous 8 of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Their star in that tournament was attacker James Rodriguez – the 26-year-old has not long gone on to just take the world by storm, as was envisioned soon after his incredible displaying four decades back and subsequent transfer to Real Madrid (he’s now on the books of Bayern Munich), but he stays a vital cog in Jose Pekerman’s aspect.

Japan finished best in their AFC qualification team and arrive into Russia 2018 searching to improve on their team phase exit from four decades back. Managed by Akira Nishino, the ‘Samurai Blue’ has a workmanlike team dotted with the occasional standout expertise, these types of as Leicester City’s Shinji Okazaki, Borussia Dortmund playmaker Shinji Kagawa and Eintracht Frankfurt defensive midfielder Makoto Hasebe, who also serves as the national side’s captain.

Group H fixtures (all times CAT)

19 June 2018, 14h00 – Colombia v Japan – Mordovia Arena, Saransk

19 June 2018, 17h00 – Poland v Senegal – Otkritie Arena, Moscow

24 June 2018, 17h00 – Japan v Senegal – Central Stadium, Yekaterinburg

24 June 2018, 20h00 – Poland v Colombia – Kazan Arena, Kazan

28 June 2018, 16h00 – Japan v Poland – Volgograd Arena, Volgograd

28 June 2018, 16h00 – Senegal v Colombia – Cosmos Arena, Samara

Group H head-to-heads (as for each FIFA stats database, in reference to ‘home’ team)

Colombia v Japan – P3 W2 D1 L0 GF5 GA1

Poland v Senegal – No preceding matches

Japan v Senegal – P3 W0 D1 L2 GF2 GA5

Poland v Colombia – P5 W2 D0 L3 GF8 GA7

Japan v Poland – P2 W2 D0 L0 GF7 GA0

Senegal v Colombia – P1 W0 D1 L0 GF2 GA2


Manchester United’s Juan Mata joins Cranes national team start to identify talent in Uganda

Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Tuesday Nov 28, 2017. 18:00

Ugandan Women’s national team star Jean Ssenide has teamed up with Manchester United‘s Juan Mata to stage a tournament and unearth more talent.

Following the 2016 edition of the Sseninde Women Development Cup, efforts are being undertaken to ensure a much better tourney this year.

The Crystal Palace player is the key brain through the Sseninde Foundation and has engaged Mata to help develop more players in her country.

“The preparations for a successful Sseninde Women Development Football Cup are underway,” Ssenide tells KawowoSports.

“This tournament is for young girls and women who seek a chance to play without opportunities.

“Juan Mata is supporting the 2nd edition with a common goal to help create more opportunities for those less fortunate than us.

“There is excitement as we continue to prepare ahead of the 2nd Edition of the tournament. There is a chance to show support to a unique group of women and girls who have passion and desire to play soccer but with less opportunities, this time with a campaign.”

Sseninde was recently among the panel for the BBC African Player of the Year and is currently a key figure for the national women’s football team, the Crested Cranes.

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PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Kalidou Koulibaly – Senegal’s finest named in Italy Team of the Year – 2018 FIFA World Cup

Kalidou Koulibaly, Napoli

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Tuesday Nov 28, 2017. 13:00

As he continues to help Italian Serie A giants Napoli to challenge for the Serie A title, Senegal defender Kalidou Koulibaly has been named in the Serie A Team of the Year.

Together with the likes of Juventus and former Azzurri goalkeeper, Gianluigi Buffon, the Lions of Teranga centre back has been included in the Best XI.

With Koulibaly’s excellent displays, Napoli have conceded nine goals and scored 35 as they lead the Serie A table with 38 points from 14 matches.

They are yet to lose this term and together with AS Roma, are the only two teams with a good defensive record after conceding less than 10 goals so far.

An inclusion in the team of the year comes as a massive boost for the 26-year-old defender who will hope to lead the side to glory come the end of the campaign.

Apart from Buffon, Koulibaly has been named in the Best XI with six Juve players teammates from last season such as Leonardo Bonucci, Alex Sandro, Dani Alves, Miralem Pjanic, Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala.

Napoli has Koulibaly, Marek Hamsik and Dries Merten in the squad whilst Roma’s Radja Nainggolan completes the squad and Maurizio Sarri is named the Coach of The Year.

Fresh from a 1-0 win over Udinese last weekend, they will now turn their focus to the tie against Juventus on Friday, December 1 at home.

Manager Sarri will want to bag a win and will count on Kalidou and company to secure another clean sheet to consolidate their top spot.

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New Kenya national team coach Paul Put calls for support from fickle fans

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Thursday Nov 23, 2017. 13:30

New Kenya national team coach Paul Put has appealed to the Harambee Stars supporters to rally behind the national side.

Put was appointed as the new manager on Sunday, replacing Stanley Okumbi who was demoted to the assistant’s role.

The 61-year-old manager has urged everyone associated with the national team to have confidence in him as he seeks to revive the national team.

“I have written history with small nations like Gambia and Jordan for the years I was with them. I believe that I am capable of steering Kenya achieve big things,” said Put.


“All I need is support from all quarters. I want to lead a team of 12 and not just 11. And that means that the 12th person must come from all corners of the Kenyan football scene.

“I want to see the stadium fully packed because that is the only way the players and I will know that we are working together.

Football is not just about technical knowledge, it is also about effort and sacrifice. We have quality players so with your support I know that I can deliver.”

Put’s immediate task will be to guide the team during the 2017 CECAFA Senior Challenge which will be hosted in Kenya next month.

Furthermore, his long term goals include leading Kenya to the 2019 CAF African Cup of Nations in Cameroon and the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

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South African team ropes in ex-Ugandan keeper Posnett Omony as coach – ABSA Premiership 2017/18

Posnett Omony formerly of Black Leopards FC and Humphrey Khoza from Black Leopards FC and Joel Mogorosi from Bloemfontein Celtic FC. during the Absa Premiership match between between Bloemfontein Celtic FC and Black Leopards FC at the Free State Stadium on 19 De

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Thursday Nov 23, 2017. 12:30

Ex-Ugandan national team goalkeeper Posnett Omony has landed a job in the South African Premier Soccer League as Chippa United‘s goalkeeper coach.

The club confirmed the appointment of the former glove man at the start of this week, and he was on the bench in their fixture against Free State Stars on Wednesday.

Before his appointment the former Black Leopards and Bloemfontein Celtic keeper was training keepers in the South African National First Division with Mthatha Bucks.

Over a year ago Omony became a fully trained and qualified goalkeeper coach after completing a goalkeeping course organised by the South Africa Football Association (SAFA).

Omony featured 11 times for the Cranes and also represented South African sides such as Vasco Da Gama and lately Roses United Football Club before calling it quits in 2014.

The 34-year-old will now work with coach Teboho Moloi’s bench at the Chilli Boys and will train the likes of Brighton Mhlongo and Daniel Akpeyi.

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Senior national team coach Wedson Nyirenda happy with Zambian youngsters – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Tuesday Nov 14, 2017. 18:00

Zambian national team coach Wedson Nyirenda has credited his squad of young players following the 2-2 draw against Cameroon at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium on Saturday.

The reigning African Champions came from behind twice to cancel out Patson Daka and Brian Mwila’s goals in their final Group B, 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier clash.

In the wake of the stalemate, Nyirenda says the future of the Chipolopolo side looks bright, but he wants to see an improvement.

“I am happy with the boys; I think there is a lot of hope in this team. I think the future looks good,” said Nyirenda.


“The young players accounted for themselves well, and Cameroon were equally good. This game gives us an impression of how the boys can stand the pressure of playing at home.”

Although some have been calling for the inclusion of stalwarts such as Rainford Kalaba and Nathan Sinkala, the attacking threat posed by the likes of Enock Mwepu, Daka, Fashion Sakala, Mwila and Augustine Mulenga has given hope to the Chipolopolo faithful.

The 2012 African champions will now prepare for the 2018 CAF African Nations Championships tournament in Morocco.

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Stuart Baxter: Bafana Bafana not far from being a top class team – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Bertin Basson

Saturday Nov 11, 2017. 16:00

Stuart Baxter believes that South Africa were unlucky in suffering a 2-0 defeat to Senegal in a 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Friday evening.

Bafana Bafana dominated most of the encounter, but lacked a killer edge as two moments of brilliance from Sadio Mané inspired the Lions of Teranga to victory.

South Africa forced themselves back into contention for World Cup qualification following a 3-1 win over Burkina Faso, but successive defeats to Cape Verde proved decisive as Senegal duly booked their return to the world stage.

“Difficult for the whole squad and for the whole country,” Baxter told SuperSport TV. “We dragged ourselves back into contention after two poor performances against Cape Verde…

“I think the performance in the first half – it was amazing that we went into the break two goals down because I thought we were better than them. I thought we were better than them in every department despite the fact that we didn’t have one world class act that could conjure something from nothing.

“We had to work for everything and we missed a lot of chances.

Baxter continued: “Second half we had to push for everything, they could sit and I still thought we created more than they did, but all that talk doesn’t mean anything. They beat us 2-0 and they go to Russia.

All considered, the South African head coach is adamant that Bafana Bafana are not far off the best from the African continent.

“The fact that we had more possession doesn’t impress me at all – we didn’t finish, we had big chances that we couldn’t convert.

“We are not far away from a top class team, but we have to take our chances – maybe that is the problem, a South Africa problem as well,” Baxter concluded.

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PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Christian Bassogog – Hugo Broos to build Lions team around Cameroon star? – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

epa06049960 Christian Bassogog (R) of Cameroon and Antonio Ruediger of Germany in action during the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 group B soccer match between Germany and Cameroon at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi, Russia, 25 June 2017. EPA/ARMANDO BABANI

Graeme Jackson

Tuesday Nov 07, 2017. 19:00

Cameroon head coach Hugo Broos has called for patience from the country’s fans ahead of their final 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Zambia.

The Belgian tactician included Bassogog in the squad which will take on Chipolopolo at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola on Saturday.

Bassogog, who inspired the Indomitable Lions to the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) title, has been ineffective during Cameroon’s disappointing World Cup qualifying campaign.

However, Broos has kept his faith in the 2017 AFCON Player of the Tournament as Cameroon look to defend their title in 2019 on home soil after failing to qualify for the next World Cup.

“Here in this country you don’t know the word patience,” Broos said on BBC.

“And if you want to build a good team you need to have patience,

“Accept that some games you will lose – because otherwise you will never know if that player or that way of playing is good.”

Bassogog, who was one of Henan Jianye’s star players during the 2017 Chinese Super League, definitely looks to be the future of the Indomitable Lions.

Broos is expected to build a another formidable team that can defend the AFCON title and also qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup finals.

Bassogog, 22, is the kind of player Broos is likely to build the Cameroon team around ahead of the next continental tournament.

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Algerian legends back Rabah Madjer as national team coach ahead of Nigeria clash – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Islam SLIMANI of Algeria Challenged by Leon BALOGUN (L) and William EKONG(R) of Nigeria during the Russia 2018 World Cup Qualifier match between Nigeria vs Algeria on November, 12th 2016 at Godswill Akpabio Stadium ©Kabiru Abubakar//Backpagepix©Kabiru Abubakar//Backpagepix

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Thursday Nov 02, 2017. 09:00

Ahead of Algeria’s clash against Nigeria in their final Group B, 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers next week, former Desert Warriors players have backed new coach Rabah Madjer.

This comes after Madjer was named national coach for the fourth time in his career on October 18 after Lucas Alcaraz was dismissed following a disappointing World Cup qualification campaign.

Ex-internationals such as Billel Dziri, who played under Madjer in the 1990s, believe the 1987 African Footballer of the Year can win over his critics.


“The players will see his training methods and the quality of his training sessions,” he told BBC Sport.

“People say that it has been a long time since he has not coached, but he has lots of experience on the football pitch. We cannot neglect that fact.”

On the other hand, Omar Belbey, who played under Madjer at the 2002 CAF African Nations Cup, adds it could be unwise to ignore the latter’s extensive experience.

“When you have an ex-international with the career he had and all that he represents, that is a monstrous asset,” adds Belbey.

“We, the players, listened to what he had to say because he knows what he’s talking about.”

Madjer has since announced his squad for the Super Eagles clash set to be staged in Constantine on November 10, which will be followed by a friendly against the Central African Republic in Algiers on November 14.

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Luc Eymael and Gordon Igesund gunning for the Uganda national team coaching job – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Gordon Igesund, greets the late Stephen Keshi, during the 2014 CAF African Nations Championships Group A football match between Nigeria and South Africa at Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town on 19 January 2014 ©Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Wednesday Nov 01, 2017. 10:30

Free State Stars coach Luc Eymael and former South African national team coach Gordon Igesund have been linked with the Ugandan national team coaching role.

Media reports in Uganda reveal that the Federation of Ugandan Football Association has received applications for the coaching job, but is yet to make a decision.

However, Belgian mentor Eymael and South African-born Igesund are the latest said to be in the running for Cranes coaching job according to the Daily Monitor.


The FUFA committee officially stopped receiving applications for the coaching job in the country on Sunday which is headed by Zambian legend Kalusha Bwalya.

It is mentioned that a five-man committee, which includes three FUFA members led by CEO Edgar Watson and a representative from the National Council of Sports, will now vet the applicants.

“We shall have everything in place by end of Tuesday and possibly on Wednesday we shall have an update,” Fufa spokesperson Ahmed Hussein told Daily Monitor.

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PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Christian Bassogog should be a team player for Cameroon – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

epa06035856 Christian Bassogog (L) of Cameroon and Gonzalo Jara of Chile in action during the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 group B soccer match between Cameroon and Chile at the Spartak Stadium in Moscow, Russia, 18 June 2017. EPA/YURI KOCHETKOV

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Tuesday Oct 31, 2017. 19:00

The Cameroonian international is widely regarded as one of Africa’s best youngsters.

Bassogog played an instrumental role in helping Cameroon win the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) title in Gabon.

Cameroon were then expected to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals, but the Indomitable Lions endured a poor qualifying campaign.

The five-time AFCON champions recorded one win out of five games in their qualifying group and they failed to qualify for the global tournament.

Bassogog struggling to replicate the form that saw him win the 2017 AFCON Player of the Tournament award.

The 22-year-old has been urged to become a team player by Cameroon head coach Hugo Broos.

“Bassogog has to change the way he plays,” Broos said.

“If I was 25 years younger than my age, he could never pass me.

“All the coaches master his game,” the 65-year-old Belgian tactician added.

“He just surprised people at the AFCON because we did not know him.”

Bassogog and his Cameroon team-mates will travel to Ndola to take on Zambia in their last qualifying match on 11 November 2017.

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Robert Matano says Kenyan national team will continue to struggle – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Thursday Oct 26, 2017. 15:30

According to an experienced Kenyan coach, Robert Matano the Harambee Stars will continue to struggle because of inexperienced coaches.

The Kenya Elite Coaches Association chairman has lashed out that the Kenyan Football Association which continues to employ poorly-equipped mentors.

In an exclusive interview with Nation Sport, the AFC Leopards coach said inexperience on the Harambee Stars technical bench is the team’s greatest limitation.

Matano believes the federation’s decision to isolate the experienced local coaches, coupled with their intolerance to alternative opinions, must change for the country to achieve any objectives in football.

“The problem with the leaders we’ve had is that coaching positions are normally dished out to those who do not deserve,” laments Matano.

“And as long as we continue that way nobody should expect any miracles. There are no short cuts in football.

“Experience is one commodity that human beings cannot buy. It is something that you acquire with time and within the current national team setup, from the top management down to the team managers, nobody has any experience in managing the team at that level.

“It is true that sometimes you learn while on the job but in our situation, we have a technical bench composed purely of inexperienced individuals.”

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Moses Basena demands coaching reins for Uganda national team – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Sunday Oct 22, 2017. 09:00

Uganda’s interim coach Moses Basena says coaching the Cranes has been an honour and hopes he will be handed the reins on a full time basis.

Basena’s mandate as interim coach is set to end after the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers final match against Congo early next month.

Meanwhile the Federation of Ugandan Football Associations has opened a global search for a permanent coach that will take the Cranes to another level.


The FA has roped in Zambian legend Kalusha Bwalya to help in the recruitment of Cranes coach as the FA could be trying to show how that national team stakes have risen.

“To coach Uganda Cranes is an honour that brings the best out of you. I have enjoyed my time hope it continues,” said Basena.

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Africans team up to down Everton – Premier League 2017/2018

Bertin Basson

Friday Oct 20, 2017. 10:30

Betrand Traore netted the winner as Lyon trumped Everton 2-1 at Goodison Park on Thursday evening, as the Toffees remain winless in Europa League Group E.

The Burkina Faso international finished with aplomb following a weaving run down the right flank by Ivorian Maxwell Cornet, as the French side claimed all three points on Merseyside.

Nabil Fekir, who is of Algerian descent, opened the scoring on the night before Ashley Williams leveled matters in the 69th minute.

Everton‘s joy, though, lasted all but six minutes as pressure continues to mount on head coach Ronald Koeman following a poor start to the season.

Senegal international Idrissa Gana Gueye was an unused substitute for the hosts.

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Iraq coach: Mali looked like an U-23 team – 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup – India

Mohamed Camara (L) and Abdulaye Diaby (2-R) of Mali during the FIFA Under-17 World Cup

Graeme Jackson

Thursday Oct 19, 2017. 14:00

Iraq coach Qahtan Al-Rubaye has stopped just short of accusing Mali of age cheating at the ongoing U-17 World Cup in India.

The Asian U-17 champions were given a 5-1 thrashing by their African counterparts Mali when the teams in a last 16 clash in Margao on Tuesday.

The Young Eagles enjoyed a speed and size advantage over the Iraqis, with Hadji Drame, Lassana N’Diaye, Fode Konate and Seme Camara sharing the five goals between them.

“They sometimes look like they are an U-23 team and not in the same category as us (U-17),” said Al-Rubaye in the aftermath of the match.

“It’s quite visible in the way they play, the way they shoot and their abilities, like speed and physicality.

“It’s unfair sometimes because there is a big difference between African teams and others.”

African sides have been guilty of age cheating in junior tournaments in the past. The U-17 World Cup winners in 2015, Nigeria last year had half their squad at the age group ruled ineligible for an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier by Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) screening.

Yet Mali coach Jonas Komla shrugged off any insinuations that his side may be fielding overage players.

”In football, it is important to accept the results. In a tournament of this stature, there are clear rules and testing for every player is performed before the World Cup. We have passed all the required tests and guidelines, so you have to accept it,” said Komla.

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Gibbs: Nyom the heart of the West Brom team – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

West Bromwich Albion’s Allan Nyom (left) and Manchester United‘s Paul Pogba battle for the ball

Austin Ditlhobolo

Tuesday Oct 10, 2017. 16:00

England defender Kieran Gibbs has stressed the importance of having Allan Nyom as his team-mate at West Bromwich Albion.

The two defenders are team-mates at the English Premier League side after Gibbs joined West Brom from Arsenal two months ago.

Gibbs, who is a left-back by trade, stated that Cameroon international Nyom – a full-back – has a character that brings the team ‘together off the pitch’ at the West Midlands-based outfit.

“I think they’re great lads,” Gibbs told Birmingham Mail.

“Allan Nyom springs to mind when I think of people. For me, he’s the heart of the team at the moment.

“From what I can gather over the first few weeks he’s the one getting people together more off the pitch,” the left-footed player added.

“He’s a really important character for the team.”

West Brom will travel to the King Power Stadium where they will take on Leicester City in a league match on Monday.

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This Algerian team has no soul – Hugo Broos – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Algeria’s Ghezzal Rachid fights for the ball against Zambia defender Ziyo Tembo during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between Zambia vs Algeria on September,2nd 2017 at National Heroes stadium,Lusaka in Zambia
©Sid Kalungar/Backpagepix

Graeme Jackson

Monday Oct 09, 2017. 11:00

After seeing his side claim a win over Algeria on Saturday, Cameroon coach Hugo Broos has accused the North African team of having “no soul”.

The Indomitable Lions triumphed 2-0 in the teams’ 2018 World Cup qualifier in Yaounde, with Clinton N’Jie and Franck Pangop scoring the goals.

The match may have been a dead rubber, but it was still a body blow to Algeria, who have now lost four successive matches in Group B and will finish bottom of the standings regardless of their result in the final match at home to Nigeria next month.

The result piles further pressure on beleaguered coach Lucas Alcaraz, though Broos argues that the fault lies with the players and not the team management.

“I saw an Algerian team that has many qualities but who has no soul. There is no soul in this Algerian team,” explained Broos, as quoted by Le Buteur.

“When you compare that with Cameroon, I think the difference was blatant. We fought on every ball, even in the difficult moments of the game. We wanted to win.

“I do not have that feeling for Algeria when I see it playing, even if the Algerian team may have more qualities than us.

“You know, it is not only the quality of the player that can win you a match, it is also the mentality and solidarity of the group.”

The Belgian, who guided Cameroon to the Africa Cup of Nations title early this year, added, “Of course, the problem is the players.

“We have to be frank and let this coach work until after the 2019 CAN. We are not going to say that the Algerian coach is a bad coach.

“He must be given a year and a half before being judged at the next CAN. It is the fourth coach who leads Algeria in just one year. So we have to think and acknowledge that the problem is not in the coach, but rather in the players.”

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Nigeria the first African team to secure place in Russia 2018 – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers

Graeme Jackson

Saturday Oct 07, 2017. 20:11

Nigeria have become the first African team to book a place at the 2018 World Cup after they defeated Zambia 1-0 at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo on Saturday evening.

The result – secured by a second-half goal from Alex Iwobi – ensures the Super Eagles will finish top of Group B ahead of Chipolopolo, Cameroon and Algeria.

Nigeria started the stronger of the two teams and should have opened the scoring in the 17th minute when Moses Simon played a fine low cross from the right flank, but striker Odion Ighalo wasn’t quite able to reach the ball.

The hosts suffered an early injury blow when midfield Ogenyi Onazi picked up a knock and had to be replaced by Ndubisi Agu, affecting the rhythm of Gernot Rohr’s team.

Zambia saw less of the ball but they had the better chances, with the powerful and speedy Alex Ngonga proving a real handful: just past the half hour mark he outmuscled Leon Balogun before stabbing a shot over the crossbar, while on 36 minutes he hit the post with a long-range effort which took an awkward bounce.

Nigeria responded with half-chances on the volley for all of John Obi Mikel, Ighalo and Simon, but none of them troubled goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene.

However, the Zambian ‘keeper was called into action in the 57th minute to make a superb save from a looping header by Wilfred Ndidi – the attempt looked destined for the back of the net.

The Super Eagles finally broke through in the 73rd minute, with substitute Alex Iwobi latching onto Shehu Abdullahi’s cut-back from the right flank before firing a low shot through a crowd of bodies and into the back of the net.

The Arsenal attacker’s goal proved to be the difference between the teams, with Nigeria seeing out the rest of the game in relative comfort to secure a place in next year’s World Cup.

Nigeria (0) 1 (Iwobi 73’)

Zambia 0

Nigeria: Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Shehu Abdullahi, William Troost-Ekong, Leon Balogun, Elderson Echiejile (Ola Aina 80’), Wilfred Ndidi, John Obi Mikel, Ogenyi Onazi (Ndubisi Agu 30’), Victor Moses, Odion Ighalo, Moses Simon (Alex Iwobi 66’)

Zambia: Kennedy Mweene, Simon Silwimba, Fackson Kapumbu, Ziyo Tembo, Stophila Sunzu, Kondwani Mtonga, Enock Mwepu, Chisamba Lungu (Ernest Mbewe 51’), Augustin Mulenga (John Chingandu 87’), Fashion Sakala (Justin Shonga 78’), Alex Ngonga

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Richard Ofori: Amakhosi the biggest team in SA – ABSA Premiership 2017/18 – Maritzburg Utd.

Bertin Basson

Wednesday Sep 20, 2017. 16:30

Maritzburg United goalkeeper Richard Ofori has highlighted Kaizer Chiefs as the biggest team in South Africa ahead of their clash against the Amakhosi in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday evening.

The Team of Choice have started the season in superb fashion and will now be eyeing another scalp as they welcome the Glamour Boys.

Ofori, 23, kept a clean-sheet in the club’s Absa Premiership clash against Orlando Pirates over the past weekend and will be aiming to make it two shut-outs in succession as they play host to the Amakhosi.

“Kaizer Chiefs is the biggest team in South Africa – they have a lot of fans, and they will have a lot of supporters at the stadium on Wednesday,”Ofori told his club’s official website. “But we are playing home, and the players are ready to give their all for the club and for the Maritzburg fans.

“We are on course in terms of the log, but we want to take maximum points against Chiefs in order to move forward with confidence. If we’re at our best, I believe we can surely win this game.”

Moreover, the Black Stars international revealed that he watched some of Chiefs’ matches on TV before his move to South Africa ahead of the 2017-18 season…

“When I was still in Ghana I was able to watch some of Chiefs’ matches on TV. They looked a very good team. They have a very good attack, they also play on the counter-attack and are dangerous around the 18-yard box,” he concluded.

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Drogba aims joke at Aurier – He chose the wrong team! – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

Former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba

Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Sep 13, 2017. 12:00

Didier Drogba has jokingly suggested that Ivorian compatriot Serge Aurier chose a transfer to the wrong team.

Aurier sealed a big-money move to Tottenham Hotspur from Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the transfer window last month.

And Drogba, who is a club legend at Spurs’ cross-town rivals Chelsea, says Aurier is delighted to be in the Premier League, but jokingly argues that the Lilywhites are the ‘wrong team’.

“I just spoke to him a few hours ago, he’s so happy to be in England and of course we’re going to help him,” Drogba told Sky Sports.

“He’s my younger brother so I’m going to give him some tips.

“He plays for the wrong team, but I’m happy for him, very happy for his move.”

Aurier will look to feature for Spurs when they open their Champions League campaign tonight with a clash at home to Borussia Dortmund.

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Ugbade: Nigeria the team to beat at WAFU Cup of Nations

Austin Ditlhobolo

Tuesday Sep 12, 2017. 16:00

Former Nigerian international Nduka Ugbade says the Super Eagles are the team to beat at the ongoing 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations in Ghana.

The Super Eagles defeated Sierra Leone 2-0 in their first match of the tournament thanks to two goals from Moses Okoro and Moses Peter at Cape Coast Stadium on Monday.

Ugbade feels that Nigeria’s recent performance in their 4-0 victory over Cameroon in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier in Uyo was enough boost to the Super Eagles squad at the WAFU Cup of Nations.

“Defeating Cameroon in Nigeria 4-0 and drawing them 1-1 in Yaoundé is enough boost for the team, it shows the team is good,” Ugbade said on

“Again, such a feat is capable of putting fear in any of the teams in West Africa because everyone knows the strength of Cameroon in football.”

The Super Eagles have qualified for the tournament’s group stage contest that will see eight teams divided into two groups of four teams.

Nigeria won the 2010 WAFU Cup of Nations title as tournament hosts. They defeated Senegal 2-0 in the final at the MKO Abiola Stadium.

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CAF team to assess Cameroon ahead of 2019 AFCON

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Sunday Aug 06, 2017. 11:00

According to reports, the Confederation of African Football‘s inspection team will visit Cameroon for eight days from 20 August 2017.

The aim of the delegation is to assess the country’s progress ahead of the 2019 CAF Africa Cup of Nations tournament as the country will stage the showpiece.

Cameroon government spokesman Issa Tchiroma Bakary announced the details, saying organisers should not worry.

“This inspection mission, like those that will follow throughout the process towards the deadline of the event, is not aimed at sanctioning,” said Tchiroma to the BBC.

“On the contrary, it is an opportunity for any changes and consultation in order to ascertain the state of preparedness and to readjust as necessary the strategy for the full success of the event.

“The mission will visit each of the sites selected for the event and inspect all infrastructure involved in the organisation of the event in terms of sport, hotel, roads, airport, hospitals, and telecommunications.

“Each time there is an assessment, it will be followed by a general report on future deadlines.”

Cameroon will host 24 teams instead of 16 for the first time in history and it will be held in June and July rather than January and February.

That follows changes introduced by CAF during last month’s symposium held in Morocco where Cameroon, as hosts, will be the defending champions having won the 2017 title earlier this year in Gabon.

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Zambian national team coach forgives Chama, but will discipline Kalaba – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa

Rainford KALABA of Zambia

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Friday Aug 04, 2017. 10:00

Zambia coach Wedson Nyirenda says skipper Rainford Kalaba will be called to the disciplinary committee ahead of next month’s 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Algeria.

This comes after the TP Mazembe skipper went straight to the dressing room after being substituted in the second half of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Mozambique which they lost 1-0.

Kalaba was withdrawn for midfielder Given Singuluma and the coach said Kalaba will be sanctioned during a briefing in Lusaka on Wednesday.

Chipolopolo will host the Desert Foxes on September 2 before facing the North Africans three days later in Constantine.


“We are going to discipline Rainford Kalaba. We are running an institution and discipline is non-negotiable,” Nyirenda said.

“You will see the team list. Destitution in Zambian football is because of the way we were handled by some coaches.

“We were not given good direction by some coaches. I am not going to have a soft hand on matters that will ruin them down, that will break their future, then I am a bad parent.”

On the other hand, the coach said he has buried the hatchet with midfielder Cletus Chama who also did not show sportsmanship against Swaziland last month as he went to the dressing room.

“For Cletus, he apologised after the game. He did not know what he did was wrong. He is a child. I told him that I forgave him before he even did that,” adds Nyirenda.

“I asked him a question, who I am not to forgive? I have wronged people, I have made mistakes, and people have forgiven me.

“I don’t want to be the coach who will contribute to his downfall. We will sit him down about direction in football.

“We have seen world-class stars who have fallen out of favour despite what they have done.”

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Uganda national team coach lashes at CAF for AFCON changes – 2018 CHAN Qualifiers

Phumzile Ngcatshe

Monday Jul 24, 2017. 17:00

Following changes in the CAF Africa Cup of Nations tournament, Uganda coach Milutin Sredojevic says Africa has caved under pressure from Europe.

‘Micho’ was speaking to the BBC website after CAF announced that the continental tournament will now be held in June and July instead of January and February.

The Cranes manager has since lashed out at the continental football governing body, saying that they succumbed to European pressure.


The Serbia-born manager was speaking after leading his men to a 5-1 win over Sudan in a 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifier.

“Though not directly, Africa succumbed to the pressure of Europe to have this tournament played when it’s best for them,” Sredojevic told BBC Sport.

“I have never believed some of these theories that come from Europe on having the AFCON in January and February.

“The Congress and the people who made the changes I am sure have looked at the marketing and money side of the tournament more than the quality.

“It has been so tough to qualify for AFCON with 16 teams and indeed only deserving teams could make it.”

Furthermore, the changes are set to come into effect in the upcoming edition set to be staged in Cameroon in 2019.

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Djibouti FA dissolves national team

Graeme Jackson

Friday Jul 21, 2017. 14:30

Latest reports landing at’s desk is that the Djibouti Football Federation have decided to dissolve the national team.

Reports indicate that the move is seen as a step towards stopping a string poor results in recent times.

In a statement, the FDF announced that the squad and coaching staff have been disbanded as the focus shifts to promising youngsters.


The Shoremen of the Red Sea are fresh from a 5-1 loss at home to Ethiopia in the first leg of their 2018 African Nations Championship qualifier last Saturday.

“As Team A has no result, we will focus on youth football,” said technical director Omar Ali Mohamed to the BBC.

“This is not about money problems. It is the new policy of the federation.

“Maybe we will participate in the next Under-15, Under-17 or Under-20 competitions.”

The statement revealed that the decision was necessary due to the never-ending series of bad results of the national team.

Djibouti are ranked 185th in the latest FIFA world rankings and are yet to qualify for any major international tournament.

It is not yet clear whether the move will be effective as of this weekend as they will travel to face the Walia Ibex in the second leg of their CHAN qualifier.

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Township Rollers announce 2017/18 technical team

Lawrence Majawa of Township Rollers leading a celebration during beMobile sponsored Botswana premier league match between Township Rollers and Extension Gunners at the Lobatse stadium on 19 March 2016. MONIRUL BHUIYAN/Backpage pix

Austin Ditlhobolo

Thursday Jul 13, 2017. 18:00

Serbian tactician Nikola Kavazovic has been appointed new Township Rownship head coach.

The 41-year-old tactician has coached in his home country, Tajikistan, Sri Lanka, Maldives as well as Laos.

In August 2012, the new Rollers mentor was the youngest national team coach in the world when he was in charge of Tajikistan.

Kavazovic will be assisted by Mogomotsi Mpote, who guided Popa Popa to the 2016/17 Botswana Premier League (BPL) title.

Rollers announced their new techincal team on their official Facebook page:

Introducing – Our Technical Team for the 2017|2018 Footballing Season.

1. Headcoach : Nikola Kavazovic (from Belgrade, Serbia)

2. Assistant Coach : Mogomotsi “Teenage” Mpote

3. Technical Assistant and Head of Youth Development: Dragojlo Stanojlovic (from Koceljeva, Serbia)

4. Goalkeeper Coach : Thabo “Mahala” Motang

5. Youth Coach : Leutlwetse “Luu Tshireletso”

6. Physical Fitness Trainer : Tshephang Chyna Mokaila

7. Team Medic : Patrick Rachaba

8. Team Doctor : Dr. Thusang Gure

9. Kit Manager : Tshepo Lentswenyane

10. Team Manager : Motshegetsi Mafa

Rollers will take on South African side Kaizer Chiefs in the Maize Cup semi-finals, and the winner will face Free State Stars or Platinum Stars in the final.

All games will take place at the James Motlatsi Stadium in Orkney, South Africa on Saturday, 15 July 2017.

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Jayiya joins his childhood team Kaizer Chiefs

Can Cape Town City continue to lead the way in the Absa Premiership?

Austin Ditlhobolo

Friday Jul 07, 2017. 16:00

New Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Bhongolethu Jayiya says joining the Soweto giants is a dream come true.

The 27-year-old winger, who hails from Soweto, joined Amakhosi on a free transfer after parting ways with Cape Town City at the end of last month.

Jayiya will be one of the new faces in the Chiefs team at the 2017 Bokone Bophirima Maize Cup in Orkney, South Africa on 15 July.

“I heard about the interest from Chiefs towards the end of my contract with City last season,” Jayiya told the club’s official website on Wednesday.

“This is a childhood dream becoming a reality. I am excited about this move and just want to get on to the pitch and let my feet do the talking. I am here to assist to bring back the glory days,” he said.

Chiefs’ football manager Bobby Motaung has revealed that why they signed the former Bidvest Wits and Maritzburg United winger.

“We have been in talks with Bhongo over the last two weeks and finally signed him this afternoon,” Motaung said.

“We discussed with Cape Town City and they gave us a good report about his attitude.

“We also looked at the kind of system we are playing, with his agility and experience, he will come handy.”

Chiefs and Botswana outfit Township Rollers will meet in the Maize Cup semi-final clash. The winner will face Free State Stars or Platinum Stars in the final.

All matches will take place at the James Motlatsi Stadium in Orkney on 15 July.

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