After two weeks of inactivity, the UEFA Europa League resumes on Thursday November 23, 2017 with a total 24 matches set to be played in different venues across Europe.

Everton will be seeking to revive their Europa League campaign with a first win in the when they host Atalanta from 23:05 EAT. The Toffees lie bottom in Group E after suffering three losses and one draw.

Arsenal will meanwhile be eyeing qualification into the next round when they visit FC Köln in a Group H match slated to start at 21:00. A win for the Gunners will see them through as they currently top the group with ten points, twice the number of second placed Red Star Belgrade.

Below are all Thursday's fixtures (All times are in EAT)

GROUP A

FC Astana 19:00 Villarreal

Maccabi Tel-Aviv 23:05 Slavia Prague

GROUP J

Athletic Bilbao 21:00 Hertha Berlin

Östersunds FK 21:00 Zorya Luhansk

GROUP K

Lazio 21:00 Vitesse

Nice 21:00 SV Zulte Waregem

GROUP L

Rosenborg 21:00 Real Sociedad

Zenit St Petersburg 21:00 Vardar

GROUP B

Partizan Belgrade 23:05 Young Boys

Skenderbeu 23:05 Dynamo Kiev

GROUP C

Ludogorets Razgrad 23:05 Istanbul Basaksehir

Sporting Braga 23:05 1899 Hoffenheim

GROUP D

AEK Athens 23:05 HNK Rijeka

AC Milan 23:05 Austria Vienna

GROUP E

Everton 23:05 Atalanta

Lyon 23:05 Apollon Limassol

GROUP F

Lokomotiv Moscow 21:00 FC Copenhagen

Sheriff Tiraspol 23:05 Zlín

GROUP G

Lugano 21:00 Hapoel Be'er Sheva

Viktoria Plzen 21:00 Steaua Bucharest

GROUP H

1. FC Köln 21:00 Arsenal

BATE Borisov 21:00 Red Star Belgrade

GROUP I

FC Red Bull Salzburg 21:00 Vitória Guimarães

Konyaspor 21:00 Marseille

 

Comment

Western Bulls and former giants Mean Machine, relegated after finishing in the bottom two positions during last season’s Kenya Cup will be keen to start life in the second tier on a high.

Comment

Bongi Mbonambi will make his first start for the Springboks against Italy in Padova, while Pieter-Steph du Toit returns to the starting team for Saturday’s third Test in the Castle Lager Outgoing Tour.

Furthermore, the uncapped Warrick Gelant has been included on the bench and will make his Springbok debut should he go onto the field of play during the match.

The Springbok management decided not to risk Malcolm Marx for this weekend’s match, following the shoulder injury he sustained last week against France. This means Mbonambi, who has 12 Test caps to his name, will earn his first start on Saturday.Chiliboy Ralepelle will join Gelant on the bench.

Du Toit is fit again and picked at flank, where he replaces Siya Kolisi, who is not available for this match because of the birth of his second child. The versatile Du Toit suffered concussion two weeks ago against Ireland and as a result he missed the Springbok victory over France in Paris.

The rest of the team that edged the French in the Stade de France in the previous outing is retained.

“We decided not to risk Malcolm, which means Bongi will get a well-deserved first start in the No 2 jersey,” said Springbok coach Allister Coetzee.

“Bongi has worked hard and I have no doubt he will grab this opportunity with both hands, as will Chiliboy, should he get a run.

“Warrick is in good form and his work-rate during training has been impressive. I know he will add value and I am very excited for the possibility of seeing him in action.”

Coetzee said the Italians will pose a difficult challenge at home: “We respect the Italian side, they are well coached and I know they will be up for the challenge. However, we focus on ourselves and a disciplined and clinical performance is what is needed this weekend.

“It would be important for our pack to again create a good platform of which to play from and therefore our set piece will be key in the expected wet conditions,” said Coetzee.

Eben Etzebeth will again lead the Springboks after the big lock has shrugged off a lower leg injury, which he suffered in Paris.

South Africa

15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth (captain), 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Dan du Preez, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Warrick Gelant

Comment

Zoo Kericho tactician Sammy Okoth has blamed their poor start in top flight football for a 12th place finish in the just concluded 2017 season.

Zoo, who were playing for the first time in the Kenyan Premier League (KPL), were unable to record a single win  in their opening seven matches, a run that saw them drop nineteen points in those two months.

`` A poor start to the season ended up costing us in the end. We lost about six games consecutively at the start of the season, and building back the confidence in the payers was a difficult thing that took a long while. Towards the second leg the payers picked up and we got some good results here and there, but we weren’t consistent and we found ourselves battling relegation,'' he said.

Okoth has however put the season behind him and shifted focus to the next campaign, stating confidently that they are now eyeing better performances.

``We have however learned important lessons and I believe that we shall perform better next season. Remember this was our first outing in the Premiership. It was a learning process and we have learned plenty.”

 

Comment

Nakumatt FC coach Anthony Mwangi is adamant that were it not for the financial constraints that his side has endured in the just ended season, they would have finished in a  much better position.

Nakumatt ended the campaign in 15th place with 39 points, just one more than the relegated Western Stima. They however had to undergo many challenges, with the most notable one being lack of finances to cater for their day-to-day activities due to the liquidation of their sponsors. 

Their participation in the league had also come into question at one time when the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) governing council confirmed their suspension before the Court of Appeal ordered their reinstatement.

“I think everyone knows that our club has dealt with the worst financial crisis since the club was formed. This is the major thing that affected our performance. If we would have had players training regularly and being well motivated like in previous years, I know that we could have finished in the top three positions. And I mean it. We have better quality players than many of the teams that have finished above us in the league and that is a fact. We even had our striker contending for the Golden Boot,'' said Mwangi.

``But when players are not motivated it becomes difficult to achieve results from them. Everyone from the players to the technical bench had to push themselves to do their job, but at least things are now looking up. Maybe next season things will return to normal and if that happens I know that we shall finish in the top half of the table and perhaps even challenge for top honours,” he added.

 

Comment

Gor Mahia FC head coach Dylan Kerr has given his thoughts about his first season in charge of the Kenyan club, expounding on his experience in Kenya and what he is planning for the league champions come next season.

Since taking over as the Gor Mahia head coach, Kerr lost only one match on his way to securing a 16th title for the team where they amassed a total of 74 points from 34 matches. 

“I am very grateful to the players and everyone for this achievement. Since I joined the club, it has been continuous hard work and good discipline and the results are here with us today. We deserve to win this championship,'' said the former English professional footballer.

``I had never stepped in Kenya before but I have come to love everything about the country. I now know every street in town (Nairobi) and I can tell you that I am here to stay. 

On matter to do with next season, Kerr said that he is seeking to beef up his squad so that they can be real competitors in local and continental football. The club has already been associated with a move for Ulinzi Stars ace Samwel Onyango and Ivorian forward Ephram Guikan.

``I need two strikers, one defensive midfielder, one attacking midfielder, a winger and a right-back. There are players the management and I have already identified and it's a matter of engaging their clubs. We don’t just want to dominate in Kenya, we want to compete in Africa and will accolades at that level too,” he said.

 

Comment

Harambee Stars' recent norm of depreciating in the World FIFA Men's Rankings has once again come to effect in the month of October, sliding a further nine places down in the latest standings revealed on Thursday November 23, 2017

Kenya, who were ranked 102 in October, now find themselves in 111th position. The national team was dormant in the last FIFA international week following  Zambia's withdrawal from a friendly that was scheduled to take place in Kenya.

Africa

In Africa, Senegal lead the standings, having  moved up nine places from position 32 to 23 globally. Tunisia, who have moved one spot up to 27, take the second place while Egypt (31), Congo DR (36) and Morocco (40) wind up the top five.

World

Germany meanwhile still continues topping globally ahead of Brazil and Portugal who retain the second and third spot respectively. Argentina and Belgium complete the top five in that order.

 

Comment

Harambee Stars' next 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier match in which they were to face Ghana in March 2018 has been pushed to the weekend of 3-11 September 2018.

Comment

In a match that ended prematurely due to a power blackout, Greensharks propelled themselves to second place in the table standings following a 2-0 win over Chase Sailors in a Kenya Hockey Union men's premier league match on Wednesday November 22 at the City Park Hockey Stadium.

Sharks bagged the important victory courtesy of goals by Chris Wokila and Dave Kibe's penalty stroke, which extended their dominance over the struggling Sailors side.

 The match was however not played till the final whistle due to a rare blackout at the stadium with slightly two minutes left on the clock, prompting both sides to mutually agree on ending the game.

The win takes them to second place with 46 points at the expense of Butali Warriors who as a result slide to third. The result is on the other hand a growing worry for Sailors, who have not recorded a win in their last four matches.

 

Comment

Arsenal are set to enter negotiations to bring Schalke 04 midfielder Leon Goretzka in the January transfer window, as per reports in the Guardian.

Liverpool are also rumoured to be keeping tabs on the German international as he runs out of contract at the end of the 2017/18 season. The 22-year-old has seen a steep rise in stature since his move to Schalke from Vfl Bochum in 2013. Goretzka was one of the shining lights in Germany’s Confederations Cup victory in Russia earlier this year.

An attacking midfielder by trade, with an ability to pop in goals at crucial intervals, Goretzka has been earmarked by Gunners boss Arsene Wenger as a potential successor to Santi Cazorla and a possible replacement for Jack Wilshere.

Schalke’s sporting director Christian Heidel, however, remains confident to extend Goretzka’s stay at the club despite strong interest from Premier League clubs.

“I think if Schalke had no chance to keep him I would be the first to know that,” Heidel told German outlet SportBild. “But I haven’t received that kind of information until now.

“Leon will make a decision soon without us building any pressure on him.”

Germany’s national team general manager Oliver Bierhoff dropped a massive hint earlier this month regarding Goretzka’s future by suggesting that a move to England cannot be ruled out.

“We feel that England, because of the amount of money you have with TV rights, young talented players like Leroy Sané and [Schalke’s] Leon Goretzka are moving to England and this is not good for our league but also for the quality of our game,” he said.

Arsenal will be in Germany on Thursday to play FC Koln in a UEFA Europa League group stage fixture.

 

Comment

Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have given Manchester United a huge boost at a crucial stage of the season by returning from injury, Juan Mata has told ESPN FC in an exclusive interview.

Ibrahimovic and Pogba both made their comebacks in the 4-1 win against Newcastle on Saturday -- Ibrahimovic after seven months out with a knee injury and Pogba after missing 12 games with a hamstring problem.

The busy winter fixture list will see United play nine games in December alone and Mata has revealed that Ibrahimovic, Pogba and Marcos Rojo, who has also returned after seven months out with a knee injury, have given the whole squad a lift.

"When you play for such a club, the expectation is amazing and you always have to win," he told ESPN FC. "You always have to play good and win, and, at the end of the season, lift trophies.

"The more that we are fit to play the better for everyone. Zlatan and Paul are experienced players, top players and they give us a lot of things on and off the pitch. It's a big boost for us.

"Zlatan and Marcos have been out for a long time and it's great to have them back. They trained hard, they fought hard to be back so it's really positive to see them on the pitch and see them performing well.

"With Paul the same. You know how much he likes football. He hates to be out of the football pitch, so it's been a great week for us in terms of injured players coming back. It's a big boost for the whole team and for the mentality of the squad."

Mata, 29, will celebrate his four-year anniversary at United in January and last season he added the Europa League and League Cup to the FA Cup he won in 2016.

After winning two trophies in his first season, Jose Mourinho brought in Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic and Victor Lindelof over the summer to help challenge for the Premier League and Champions League this season. And Mata believes Mourinho has built one of the most complete squads he has known at Old Trafford.

"I think at United right now we have a fantastic squad," he added. "We have a good mix of experienced players and young players, players who know the Premier League really well.

"We have signed great additions to the squad. I don't know if it's the best, but it's definitely one of the most complete squads that I have been in. We play so many different tournaments, not just the Premier League, the cups and the Champions League and we need to be ready.

"We need to have a deep squad if you want to compete until the end in every single trophy so I think the manager if happy with the squad. As a team, we feel confident and really happy with each other. I think there is a good atmosphere in the dressing room. Hopefully we can do great things together."

 

Comment

On Wednesday November 22, the UEFA Champions League will host a total of eight matches from four Groups in different venues across Europe.

Below are all the matches (All times are in EAT)

GROUP A

CSKA Moscow 20:00 Benfica

FC Basel 22:45 Manchester United

GROUP B

Paris Saint Germain 22:45 Celtic

RSC Anderlecht 22:45 Bayern Munich

GROUP C

FK Qarabag 20:00 Chelsea

Atlético Madrid 22:45 Roma

GROUP D

Juventus 22:45 Barcelona

Sporting Lisbon 22:45 Olympiakos

 

Comment

Ethiopia national team coach Ashenafi Bekele has compiled a 27-member squad that is currently training in preparations for the upcoming CECAFA Challenge Cup.

The tournament is set to be held in Kenya from December 3 to December 17 2017 in three different counties namely Kisumu, Kakamega and Nakuru.

Nine players have earned their first national team call up and will be hoping to make the cut for the final 23-man squad list due to be announced in the coming days. The seven are Welwalo custodian Bereket Amare, Adama Ketema’s midfielder Knean Markneh, Wolaitta Dicha’s striker Tsegaye  Birhanu and Dedebit’s forward Abel Yalew.

Ethiopia have been placed in Group B together with Zimbabwe, Burundi , South Sudan and majority winners Uganda. They will take on Burundi in their first match on Monday December 4 at 14:00, with their last match against Zimbabwe on Tuesday December 12 being the last in the group stages.

Ethiopia provisional squad:

Goalkeepers: Tarike Getnet (Dedebit), Bereket Amare (Welwalo Adigrat University), Tekelemariam Shanko (Hawassa Ketema)

Defenders: Girma Bekele (Ethio-Electric), Amsalu Tilahun (Fasil Ketema), Abebaw Butako (Kidus Giorgis), Anagawe Badege (Dire Dawa Ketema), Temesgen Castro (ArbaMinch Ketema), Tewodros Bekele (Mekelakeya), Abebe Tilahun (Sidama Bunna), Henok Adugna (Jimma Aba Jifar).

Midfielders: Samson Tilahun, Mesude Mohammed (Both from Ethiopia Bunna), Tesfaye Alebachew, Biruk Kalbore (Both from Woldia SC), Knean Markneh (Adama Ketema), Endale Kebede (ArbaMinch Ketema), Behailu Teshager (Ethio-Electric), Yonas Geremew (Jimma Aba Jifar), Firew Solomon (Hawassa Ketema).

Forwards: Abdulrahaman Mubarak (Fasil Ketema), Abubakher Sanni (Kidus Giorgis), Addis Gidey (Sidama Bunna), Tsegaye Birhanu (Wolaitta Dicha), Amnauel GebreMikael (Mekele Ketema), Abel Yalew (Dedebit), Dawa Hotessa (Adama Ketema).

 

 

Comment

Harambee Stars slightly new-look technical bench has unveiled a 25-man local based squad that will represent the nation in the upcoming CECAFA Challenge Cup.

The tournament is set to be held in Kenya from December 3 to December 17 2017 in three different counties namely Kisumu, Kakamega and Nakuru.

Dominating in the squad are Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards, with the Kenyan Premier League champions having produced seven while five from the Gotv Shield winning side have been summoned. 

The National Super League (NSL) has not been left behind this time round, producing one player; Benard Ochieng of Vihiga United who is among the eight defenders convened.

For their first match, Stars will face former champions Rwanda on Sunday December 3 at 16:00, in what will be the second match of the tournament. Opening the fixtures will be a match pitting Tanzania against Libya two hours earlier.

The Paul Put coached side will then clash with Libya on Tuesday December 5 at 16:00, Zanzibar on Saturday December 9 and finish their group games against Tanzania on Monday December 11.

The team is scheduled to report to camp on Sunday, November 26, 2017

Goalkeepers

Boniface Oluoch (Gor Mahia), Gabriel Andika (AFC Leopards), Patrick Matasi (Posta Rangers)

Defenders

Musa Mohammed (Gor Mahia), Charles Momanyi (Kakamega Homeboyz), Dennis Shikhayi (AFC Leopards), Jockins Atudo (Posta Rangers), Harun Shakava (Gor Mahia), Wellington Ochieng (Gor Mahia), Benard Ochieng (Vihiga United), Omar Mbongi (Ulinzi Stars)

Midfielders

Ernest Wendo (Gor Mahia), Whyvonne Issuza (AFC Leopards), Kenneth Muguna (Gor Mahia), Patillah Omotto (Kariobangi Sharks), Duncan Otieno (AFC Leopards), Ovellah Ochieng (Kariobangi Sharks), Lawrence Juma (Nzoia Sugar)

Strikers

Samuel Onyango (Ulinzi Stars), Kepha Aswani (Nakumatt), George Odhiambo (Gor Mahia), Masoud Juma (Kariobangi Sharks), Vincent Oburu (AFC Leopards), Stephen Waruru (Ulinzi Stars), Benjamin Mosha (Sony Sugar)

 

Comment

Sony Sugar winger Abdalla Hamisi is part of the 20-man squad that has been revealed by newly appointed Tanzania Head coach Ammy Conrad Ninje for the upcoming CACAFA Challenge Cup.

The tournament is set to be held in Kenya from December 3 to December 17 2017 in three different counties namely Kisumu, Kakamega and Nakuru.

Joining Hamisi in the national team is Singida United's goalkeeper Peter Manyika, who has kept clean sheets in seven consecutive games.

Tanzania, who are in Group A together with hosts Kenya, Libya, Rwanda and Zanzibar will be involved in the opening match of the tournament, taking on Libya on Sunday December 3, 2017 from 14:00.

Tanzania full squad:

Goalkeepers: Aishi Manula and Peter Manyika

Defenders: Boniphace Maganga, Gadiel Michael, Kelvin Yondai, Erasto Nyoni, Mohammed Hussein and Kenny Wilson.

Midfielders: Himid Mao, Hamis Abdullah, Mzamiru Yassin, Raphael David, Jonas Mkude, Shiza Kichuya, Ibrahim Ajiba and Abdul Hilal

Strikers: Elias Maguli, Mbaraka Yusuph, Yohana Mkomola and Daniel Lyanga.

 

Comment

A Burundi squad made up of 25 players that will take part in this year's CECAFA Challenge up has been named by national team head coach Olivier Niyungeko. 

The tournament is set to be held in Kenya from December 3 to December 17 2017 in three different counties namely Kisumu, Kakamega and Nakuru.

Burundi has been paired in Group B alongside Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, South Sudan and majority winners Uganda and will kick start their campaign by facing Ethiopia on Monday December 3 at 14:00 before taking on defending champions Uganda two days later at 14:00. 

Their third match will be against Zimbabwe on Friday December 8 which will be followed by their final group fixture against  South Sudan Sunday December 10

Full Squad

Goalkeepers: Rukundo Onesime, Nahimana Jonathan, Mutombolo Fabien

Defenders: Moussa Omar, Nshimirimana David, Ndoriyobija Eric, Harerimana Rashid Leon, Barisinze Nassor, Ndukumana Tresor, Mwenebantu John, Kamana Ismael

Midfielders: Kwizera Pierre, Duhayindavyi Gael, Urasenga Cedrick, Ndayishimiye Youssouf, Nahimana Shasiri, Hererimana Moussa, Ndikumana Moussa

Forwards: Abdoul Fiston, Moussa Mossi, Shabani Hussein, Shaka Bienvienue, Mavugo Laudit, Silim Saidi, Iddy Muselemu

 

Comment

Ahead of their crunch Champions League clash against AS Roma on Wednesday, Atletico manager Diego Simeone has come to the defense of Antoine Griezmann over his goal drought and urged fans to support him so that he can get back to his best.

The French international is currently in one of the worst spells,  having gone for eight games without scoring a goal and has managed just three goals in all competitions. The poor spell made him subject to boos by fans at the weekend after failing to find the net in the derby stalemate with Real Madrid.

'Antoine is worried and it's normal because he wants to show us his best version and he needs to score for that, said Simeone in Wednesday's pre-match conference.

'It's also true that he did a great job in a lot of matches even if he didn't score but he had a great relationship with goals in the last years so now that he's not scoring he's suffering and so does the team.

'Also, the fans get angry because he has been our top scorer in the last seasons. The kid has everything, he's an awesome player, from our side we know that we just need to support him.

'Giving him the opportunity to play and trusting him because he's a player with goals in the blood so he will naturally find his way back to it.'

'The people of Atletico Madrid have demonstrated their affection and its critical when the situation gets very negative. People have shown great appreciation for him.

'How long has he been here? Four years! He has given so much its normal for that to happen, they demand so much of him, he is an idol of the club,'' he added.

Atletico desperately need a win in Wednesday in order to keep their dreams of reaching the last 16 alive. They are currently third in Group C with only three points, four adrift of second placed Chelsea and five behind leaders AS Roma. 

 

Comment

After seeing his side extend their winning streak to 17 matches across all competitions with a 1-0 win over Feyenoord on Tuesday, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has insisted that they are only focused on winning and not about the next round.

City had already progressed to the last 16 earlier this month but still found the energy to pip Feyenoord 1-0 thanks to Raheem Sterling's 88th-minute goal which eventually sealed a top spot for them t in Group F with a game to spare.

“We play to win the games and after that we will see how things finish,” Guardiola told reporters after the match.

”It is important that City have got 15 points at this stage for the first time and we are going to go now to Shakhtar to try to finish well and to try to go and win the game.

“In the last 16, it doesn’t matter which one (you get), it always will be complicated.”

They now shift focus to their final group match against Shakthar Donetsk on December 6 where they will be without Kevin de Bruyne, the playmaker having already picked up five yellow cards this campaign.

 

Comment

On Wednesday November 22 at 18:00, Greensharks take on Chase Sailors in a Kenya Hockey Union Men's Premier League match at the City Park Hockey Stadium.

For both sides, the three points at stake are very important as they will surely have an impact in the overall look of the table standings.

Greensharks, who are currently third on the log with 43 points, go into the game well informed that a victory will see them hop up to second place at the expense of Butali Warriors. 

Sailors on their part will be even more hungrier given that they have not picked out even a single win in their last three fixtures. T

hey suffered a 3-1 loss in the hands of KCA University before being forced to a barren draw by USIU and most recently surrendered 3-0 to Butali Warriors on Sunday. 

The dip in form sees them sit tenth on the table standings with 22 points from the same number of games.

In terms of head-to head, Greensharks command the better share of points, having won 4-1 in one match in the two meetings while the other ended in a 3-3 draw.

 

Comment

Sliders tactician Felix Okoth has lamented on his side's number of wasted chances, stating that that is the sole reason why they were forced to a 2-2 draw by Vikings on Sunday November 19 at the City Park Stadium.

Charity Miller had taken Sliders ahead in the 12th minute but her goal was cancelled out by Grace Onimbo's strike fourteen minutes. Aurelia then took Vikings up for the first time in the match in 42nd minute and just as the game seemed to be going to their direction, Slider's substitute Christine Mmbone stroke late on to rescue atleast a point for her team. 

The match was however largely dominated by Sliders, who unfortunately failed to convert most of the chances they got even from close range.

``This match has been different from the last one because our energy at some point went low despite having lots of chances to convert and get a win. So I personally believe that we have room for improvement and we will definitely have a different approach to the next matches,'' said Okoth.

Up next for Sliders, who are currently sixth on the log with 21 points, is a match against Chase Amira on Sunday December 3, 2017 at the City Park Stadium.

 

 

Comment

FIFA has dished out life bans to the former presidents of the Guam, Nicaraguan and Venezuelan football associations for corruption, its ethics committee has announced.

An investigation into ex-Guam FA boss Richard Lai, a former Asian Football Confederation (AFC) official and FIFA committee member, was opened this April when he pleaded guilty to fraud in the United States.

Lai's case is significant for two reasons: one, it represents the first time the US-led investigation into football-related corruption has extended beyond the Americas; and two, because it implicates one of the most powerful men in sports politics, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah.

Sheikh Ahmad was not explicitly named in the Department of Justice case against Lai but the court papers clearly referred to him as the source of bribes paid to the Guam FA boss in return for support in AFC and FIFA elections. Sheikh Ahmad denies any wrongdoing.

The Kuwaiti resigned from his football positions - including a seat on the FIFA Council - a few days after Lai's plea but he is still a major player in Olympic circles and was instrumental in getting Thomas Bach and Gianni Infantino elected as presidents of the International Olympic Committee and FIFA respectively.

As well as the ban for Lai, former Venezuelan FA chief Rafael Esquivel and ex-Nicaraguan FA president Julio Rocha have also been banned from all football-related activities for life.

The ethics committee investigations into Esquivel and Rocha started in May 2015 when they pleaded guilty to fraud charges in the US, related to the awarding of broadcasting and marketing contracts.

These latest sanctions from FIFA come while three more ex-South American football bosses - Peru's Manuel Burga, Brazilian Jose Maria Marin and Juan Angel Napout of Paraguay - are on trial in New York having pleaded not guilty to charges of fraud, money-laundering and racketeering.

Now in its second week, their trial has already generated some remarkable headlines - including an alleged assassination of a businessman in Mexico and the suicide of an Argentinian official implicated in court - as well as shedding more light on how TV contracts and even World Cups have been awarded in recent years.

Comment

Ahead of their UEFA Champions league match against Liverpool, Sevilla have received a major setback, with dependable defender being ruled out of the tie even as they welcomed two others from injury.

Comment

Zambia national U20 head coach has revealed a 24-man provisional squad that will start training in readiness for the 2017 COSAFA Under-20 Championships that will take place in Kitwe, Zambia  from December 6-16.

The youngest player in the team is midfielder John Mulalangabo, who is just past his 14th birthday. Zambia will be seeking to reclaim the regional title which they won in 2016 after downing South Africa 2-1. They are also the most successful team in the tourney, having lifted the trophy ten times ahead of Zimbabwe who are second with six titles.

Zambia provisional squad

Goalkeepers: Prince Bwalya, Bradley Mweene, Benson Mwale

Defenders: Andrew Phiri, Victor Kasokola, Justine Mwanza, Kingsley Hakwiya, Jonathan Kapelembe, Hillary Mwiinga

Midfielders: Clinton Lubula, Prince Mumba, Muma Mumba, Niza Simutenda, Chanda Mukuka, John Mulalangabo, Ngosa Sunzu, Benson Kolala, Harry Milanzi

Forwards: Gamphani Jones Lungu, Godfrey Chanda, Paul Mwachisemu, Lameck Banda, Francesco Mwepu, Christopher Phiri

 

Comment

Total Africa Cup of Nations Cameroon 2019

Following a bidding process, the firm Roland Berger was selected to lead the audit of infrastructure and organization to host this competition. The firm has also been entrusted with the task of conducting an audit of the CAF Centres of Excellence in Cameroon, Senegal and Ethiopia.

An Executive Committee of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) held a meeting on Thursday November 16, 2017 to deliberate on certain issues concerning African football, among them involvement in the 2018 World Cup and  Ordinary General Assembly 2018.

Below are some of the matters that the committee agreed on:

Total Africa Cup of Nations Cameroon 2019

 

Following a bidding process, the firm Roland Berger was selected to lead the audit of infrastructure and organization to host this competition. The firm has also been entrusted with the task of conducting an audit of the CAF Centres of Excellence in Cameroon, Senegal and Ethiopia.

FIFA World Cup Russia 2018

The Executive Committee set up a committee to map out a kind of support that CAF can provide to African representatives at the competition. The committee, expected to hold its first meeting on the sidelines of the draw for the FIFA World Cup next month, is composed as follows:

President: Kwesi Nyantakyi, CAF 1st Vice President 

Members: Kalusha Bwalya, CAF Executive Committee member

                 Presidents of Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia FA’s

At the request of the qualified teams, the Executive Committee approved the postponement of the second day matches of the Total AFCON 2019 qualifiers scheduled for March 2018, to allow the African representatives for Russia to take advantage of this FIFA period to prepare for the World Cup.

The CAF Secretariat will be responsible for proposing an amended schedule accordingly subject to the approval of the Executive Committee.

CAF Women’s Football Symposium 

It will take place in Marrakech, Morocco from 1-3 March 2018. The CAF President will oversee the organizing committee of this historic event.

Ordinary General Assembly 2018

Due to the urgency in the implementation of certain CAF bodies in compliance with the statutes adopted last July in Rabat, Morocco, it was decided to seek the approval of the Member Associations for the holding in exceptional conditions an Ordinary General Assembly on 2 February 2018 in Morocco. This General Assembly will among other things include the election of four additional members of the CAF Executive Committee in order to put an end to the plurality of mandates. The members of the judicial bodies will also be elected.

Aiteo CAF Awards 2017

The Executive Committee validated the voting procedures and confirmed the decision of the Emergency Committee in Lagos, designating Nigerian company, Aiteo, as title sponsor of the next CAF Awards. The Awards Gala will be held on 4 January 2018 in Accra, Ghana.

Meanwhile, the CAF Executive Committee decided to abolish the position of CAF Education Officers, which had been created within each Member Association; notably, on the grounds that the conditions that justified their creation is now non-existent.

 

Comment

After three weeks of inactivity in the UEFA Champions League, action resumes on Tuesday night, with eight matches from four groups scheduled to be played in different stadia across Europe.

Defending champions Real Madrid, who are second in Group H behind Tottenham Hotspur, will be seeking to catch up with the latter when they visit Apoel Nicosia while Tottenham lock horns with Borussia Dortmund.

In Group E, Liverpool's unbeaten run will be tested by Sevilla, who are second on the log just a point behind their opponents. The other match in the group will see Spartak Moscow clash with NK Maribor in a game expected to kick off at 20:00 EAT.

Below are all Tuesday's Champions League fixtures (all times are in EAT)

TUESDAY 21ST NOVEMBER

GROUP E

Spartak Moscow 20:00 NK Maribor

Sevilla 22:45 Liverpool

GROUP F

Manchester City 22:45 Feyenoord

Napoli 22:45 Shakhtar Donetsk

GROUP G

Besiktas 20:00 FC Porto

Monaco 22:45 RB Leipzig

GROUP H

Apoel Nicosia 22:45 Real Madrid

Borussia Dortmund 22:45 Tottenham Hotspur

 

Comment

The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the world body governing football, is expected to send a delegation to Afghanistan for assessing the game’s situation, officials said Saturday.

A meeting attended by heads of football federations from 22 provinces was told that the FIFA delegation would visit Afghanistan at their request to investigate problems in Afghanistan Football Federation (AFF).

Amanullah Faizi, head of football federation for northwestern Jawzjan province, said they had sent letters to FIFA about problems in AFF.

“After repeated emails of complaints to FIFA, the organization finally responded on July 4 and pledged to investigate problems in AFF and find a solution,” he said.

Faizi said the current AFF head whose working term had completed about a year ago should pave the ground for transparent election of his successor.

He accused the football federation of highhandedness and said the body head had arbitrary removed and replaced federation heads in some provinces.

Hayatullah Logarwal, head of Kabul football federation, said they had also shared their problems with the government and other relevant organs, but to no avail.

“No one listened to our problems, so we complained to FIFA, fortunately our problems were heard by the organization that promised to send a delegation and find a solution,” he said.

Provincial football federation officials shared a copy of the email they received from FIFA with the media, in which FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura said they had received letters about problems in AFF.

She said they discussed the problem in a meeting on July 4 and decided to send a delegation to Kabul soon to help resolve the problems in AFF.

AFF spokesman Sayed Ali Kazimi rejected allegations against the federation and said the body was ready for transparent and impartial election. He said the election was delayed due to interferences form parliament members.

About removal and replacement of provincial AFF heads, he said, “Provincial football federation heads are removed or replaced by provincial football clubs.”

Kazimi welcomed the FIFA delegation’s visit to Afghanistan for resolving problems in AFF.

Comment

In about one year one from now, works of face-lifting the City Park Hockey Stadium will take place to replace the worn out turf, with popular company Greenfields likely to oversee the long awaited job.

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Athletics South Africa (ASA) has released a 38-member national Preparation Squad that will hit training in readiness for the upcoming  2018 IAAF World U-20 Championships in Tampere, Finland.

Gold medallists Tshenolo Lemao (100m), Retshidisitswe Mlenga (200m), Sokwakhana Zazini (400m Hurdles), Breyton Poole (High Jump) and Zeney van der Walt (400m Hurdles), who earned medals at the IAAF World U-18 Championships in Nairobi feature in the squad.

2018 IAAF World U-20 Championships will take place from  10 July  to 15 July 2018.

SQUAD

100 m Men - Monareng Mthembu (AGN), Tsebo Matsoso (AFS), Dlodlo Thando (CGA), Mhlenga Retsiditswe (AGN), Tshenolo Lemao (AGN)

200 m Men - Monareng Mthembu (AGN), Tsebo Matsoso (AFS), Dlodlo Thando (CGA), Mhlenga Retsiditswe (AGN), Tshenolo Lemao (AGN)

400 m Men - Zazini Sokwakhana (AGN)

1500 m Men - Dais Malebane (AGN)

400 m Hurdles Men (91cm) - Maree Linford (BOLA), Steenkamp Lourens (LIMA), Zazini Sokwakhana (AGN)

3000 m Steeple Chase Men - De Villiers Robbert (ACNW)

High jump Men - Breyton Poole (WPA)

Pole vault Men - Van der Watt Ekhardt (BOLA), Van Wyk Valco (BOLA)

Shot put Men (6 kg) - Blignaut Kayle (CGA), De Lacey Jonathan (CGA)

Javelin throw Men (800 g) - Dames Werner (ANWN), Skinner Brendan (AGN), Schlebusch Johannes (AFS)

400 m Women - Vercuiel Juli (WPA), Viljoen Marlie (AGN), Van Der Walt Zeney (AGN)

800 m Women - Weitz Simonay (CGA), Muller Niene (AGN)

1500 m Women - Weitz Simonay (CGA), Belling Taylor (AFS)

100 Hurdles Women (84 cm) - Hendricks Welmien (CGA), Erhke Tanya (CGA)

400 Metres Hurdles Women - Vercuiel Juli (WPA), Van Der Walt Zeney (AGN), Joseph Rogail (BOLA)

Shot put Women (4 kg) - Strydom Mieke (SWD)

Discus throw Women (1 kg) - Van der Walt Tharina (AFS)

 

Comment

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola hans hinted that Phil Foden and Brahim Diaz could feature in Tuesday's Champions League game against Feyenoord.

Stockport-born Foden, 17, won the Golden Ball for being the tournament's top goalscorer as England won the Under-17 World Cup in October, while Diaz, 18, has already broken through to Spain's Under-21 squad.

"They are two young players training this season. What I saw in the pre-season, the training, the World Cup, they are ready. Here in the high level we try and help the young players," Guardiola said ahead of Tuesday's Champions League Group E game against Feyenoord at the Etihad Stadium."They've shown me the same we saw when they played in the second and third team. The skills and quality are there. 

"We can help them with speed because the lack of time is higher so Phil has to fight duels against Kevin De Bruyne, against Fernandinho, against David Silva. Every day is a step to improve.

"Years ago, people had more time to think. Now it is reduced. Everything is quicker. The players are faster in all senses, physically and mentally. 

"I said in pre-season, those guys will train with us all season. They have to be ready. Sometimes the manager makes a surprise."

 

Comment

Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri is aware of the task that lies ahead of them when they take on Shakhtar Donetsk in a Champions League match on Tuesday November 21. Napoli, who have only won one of their four matches, sit third in Group F and trail second placed Donetsk by six points, with Manchester City nine points ahead of them at the top.

Speaking at a press conference ahead of the match, Sarri acknowledged the importance of the tie and urged his players to play with heart and soul so that their dreams of advancing to the knockout stages remain alive.

"We are not guaranteed to advance the round. The situation in the table is tough, there is a small opportunity for us to go ahead, we need to jump in and get to it. This is not the time to make calculations but to play with heart and soul because we cannot risk leaving the Champions League without giving our all. The level of competition is very high, and with City it's even higher,'' he said.

"On average the games are higher scoring than in the league and tomorrow we will be missing Koulibaly, who is an important player, we need to make up for his absence. Tavecchio resigning? I don't love the politics in sport, I hope in time it will be more tolerable. A reform of the calendar is inevitable, to get rid of the international breaks and gathering the national teams at the end of the season," added Sarri.

The Seria A started their Champions League campaign with a 2-1 loss to Donetsk before recording their only win against Feyenoord. Two consecutive losses to Manchester City followed thereafter to condemn them to third place.

 

Comment

The Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA)has received an enhancement of their upcoming 2017 COSAFA Under-20 Championships following the inclusion of Mopani Copper Mines as the Title sponsors for the tournament. The tourney is set to be held in Zambia between December 6 and December 16.

Mopani Mines is a Zambian registered company owned by Carlisa Investments Corporation produces and sells copper and cobalt to the international market, being one of the biggest mines and exporters in the world.

“We are thrilled to welcome Mopani Copper Mines as headline sponsors of the 2017 COSAFA Under-20 Championships and thank them for their valuable input into the development of youth football in the Southern African region. This Under-20 championship has been the launchpad for many successful careers for players from across the region and we are sure that a number of new gems will be unearthed this year as well,” says Timothy Shongwe, Chairman of COSAFA’s Competitions Committee.

Mopani Copper Mines sponsors two clubs in the Zambia Super Division League, Nkana FC and Mufulira Wanderers FC. Nkana FC’s home ground at Nkana Stadium will host matches during the MOPANI Copper Mines COSAFA Under-20 Championship.

“Mopani Copper Mines Plc is proud to be the Title sponsor for the COSAFA Under-20 Championship, during which part of the games will be played at our own Nkana Stadium in Kitwe,” says Acting Chief Executive Officer, Chris Vermeulen.

“As title sponsors, we believe this tournament will be successful and will inspire football players, especially the youth, to aim higher in life. It will also contribute to sport development in our country.

“Mopani Copper Mines Plc has a long history of supporting sports development, and football in particular, in Zambia.

“We are the proud major sponsors of the two most-decorated Super Division League football clubs, Nkana FC and Mufulira Wanderers FC and our company continues to invest in football infrastructure development at the two clubs to bring them to acceptable standards in the world. This has helped in boosting morale and performance at the two sponsored teams,” added Vermeulen.

“Mopani also sponsors a youth academy, Young Nkana FC, which contributed three players to last year’s Zambian Under-20 national team – the double winners of the African Youth Championships and COSAFA Under-20 Championships.

“The future of the sport lies in the youth, hence our decision to partner with COSAFA in sponsoring this year’s tournament.”

 

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Uganda national U20 coach Matia Lule is self-assured that his boys will put up a good fight in the upcoming 2017 COSAFA Under-20 Championships which are scheduled to take place in Zambia from 6th to 16th  December.

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Familiar trio Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa have booked their places for the final round of the African qualifiers for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup France 2018.

 Convincing home wins for Nigeria and South Africa was enough for them to confirm their spot at the final hurdle joining Cameroon in the battle for the two African representatives at next year’s finals.  

 Carrying a comfortable 2-0 lead from the first leg, Burundi were shocked by a ruthless South Africa side that returned to winning ways with a 5-0 victory in Johannesburg on Saturday to advance to the next round 5-2 on aggregate.

 A brace by skipper, Linda Motlhalo and goals apiece by Lelona Daweti, Khanya Xesi and Gabriela Salgado ensured Basetsana move closer to their dream of qualifying for their first ever World Cup competition.

 Debutant Xesi found the opener in the ninth minute after a well threaded ball by Motlhalo to give the host the lead.

 The hosts continued piling on the pressure with the trio of Motlhalo, Daweti and Salgado terrorising the East Africans.

 A good interchange of passes between Xesi and Motlhalo concluded with a fine finish from close range by Daweti to make it 2-0 on 23 minutes. From then on, there was no coming back for Burundi who struggled to deal with the pace and pressure from their hosts.

 Motlhalo’s brace made it 4-0 before the break to put the game beyond reach for the visitors before Salgado fired the final nail in the East Africans’ coffin after the break to complete the rout.

 Speaking after the match, Basetsana coach, Maud Khumalo said their plan was to go for the kill but remain compact at the back to avoid conceading on the counter.

 “Even though we had some of our players back, we had to remain disciplined in our attack because we knew they would want to catch us on the counter. We identified their strong points in the first leg and had a plan for them here at home. We are now a step closer to going to the World Cup but the final round will not be easy and we need to work extra hard to earn our place in France,” said Khumalo

 Elsewhere, South Africa’s opponent at the final round, Nigeria, overcame Morocco 5-1 in Benin City also on Saturday and progress 6-2 on aggregate. Playmaker Rasheedat Ajibade and Nyakno Monday gave the Falconets an early two-goal lead before Fatima Tagnaout pulled one back for the visitors before the break.

 Charity Reuben scored twice in the second half before Ajibade put the icing on the cake with her seventh goal of the campaign on the stroke of full time.

 Ghana striker Princella Adubea was yet again at her best scoring a brace as the Princesses downed Kenya 5-1 away in Machakos near Nairobi on Sunday to complete a double and march on 10-1 on aggregate.

 Adubea who scored four goals in the 5-0 win in the first leg a fortnight ago took her tally to seven in the campaign as the Ghanaians set a date with familiar foes, Cameroon.

 After eight minutes, Ghana led 2-0 thanks to a brace from Olivia Anokye before Adubea made it 3-0 four minutes after the break. Substitute Ernestina Abambila scored the fourth on 76 minutes before Adubea completed her brace three minutes from time.

Rachael Otolo grabbed a consolation for the Kenyans in stoppage time.

 Two teams will emerge from the African qualifiers to represent the continent at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup scheduled for 5-24 August 2018 in France.

 

Results

18.11.2017    Johannesburg           South Africa 5-0 Burundi (0-2)

18.11.2017    Benin City                Nigeria 5-1 Morocco (1-1)

19.11.2017    Machakos                 Kenya 1-5 Ghana (0-5)

Comment

Butali Sugar Warriors kept their title hopes alive this weekend with two precious victories in the Kenya Hockey Union men's Premier League.

After humbling Nairobi Sikh Union 3-1 at the City Park on Saturday November 18, Butali continued with their impressive second leg displays with a 3-0 win over Chase Sailors at the same venue. Emmanuel Simiyu struck two quick goals in the 7th  and 11th minute respectively before Arif Shah's 29th minute effort gave the lakeside club three points and three goals.

The match was then followed by the one pitting league leaders Kenya Police against Parkroad Badgers where the law enforces strode to a comfortable 4-0 win.

Samuel Wokila, Amos Barkibir, Moses Cheplaiti and Calvins Kanu were all on target for the hosts in the victory which took their point tally to 58 from 20 games. They now leave second placed Butali Warriors with thirteen points, though the latter has played a game less.

In other matches, Nakuru Sports Club settled to a barren draw with bottom placed Technical University on Saturday as Bay Club suffered two straight defeats in the hands of Multimedia University and Wazalendo Youth.

 

 

Comment

There were two Kenya Hockey Union Premier League matches played this weekend at the City Park Stadium, with Vikings forcing Sliders to a 2-2 draw as league leaders Telkom Orange held on firmly to secure a 3-2 win over a tactical Strathmore University side.

Telkom vs Strathmore

Despite leading 3-0, Telkom Orange had to hold on strong in the dying minutes as Strathmore, who had returned two goals, fought hard to find an equalizer but were unlucky to get one.

Telkom had gone into the match with a record of victories in all their opening 13 matches which they had not conceded even a single goal and looked on course to make light work of the Students, Jacqueline Mwangi opening account for them in the 7th minute after she had been spotted by Lilian Aura from long range.

Following the goal, the match's pace then slowed down as both sides sought to cut out the opposite's possession and passes especially on both wings, Gilly Okumu proving a constant nightmare to the Telkom defense with her beautiful runs and pace.

Barbara Simiyu however doubled the lead for the leaders in the 26th minute, smashing the ball into the net after being teed up by teammate Glen Namajole who had foiled Scorpions' pass in their own half.

Barely ten minutes later, Telkom were 3-0 up courtesy of Barbara Simiyu's second goal that opened a healthy lead for her side as the match went into the break.

On resumption, it was all a Strathmore affair as the Students sought to offer replies and were rewarded in the 44th minute, Okumu's shot hitting the post to find Dennise Bila who hurriedly slotted in amid an increasing Telkom defense. The goal was the first for Telkom to concede since 24th July 2016.

Barbra Atigo then further reduced the deficit eight minutes later with a goal that set up an exciting finish to the encounter. Luck was however not on the hosts' side as they failed to notch an equalizer despite frantic efforts, with the match ending 3-2 in favor of Telkom.

Vikings vs Sliders

In an earlier match at the same venue, Sliders and Vikings played out 2-2 draw in a match that was largely a balanced affair.

Charity Miller took Sliders ahead in the 12th minute but her goal was cancelled out by Grace Onimbo's strike fourteen minutes. Aurelia then took Vikings up for the first time in the match in 42nd minute and just as the game seemed to be going to their direction, Slider's substitute Christine Mmbone stroke late on to force a 2-2 draw between the two sides. 

 

Comment

Tony Pulis has been sacked by West Bromwich Albion.

Owner Guochuan Lai made the decision after witnessing West Brom lose 4-0 at home to Chelsea.

The febrile atmosphere among supporters, who chanted repeatedly for Pulis to go, was a contributing factor.

Sportsmail understands Pulis was given the news by chairman John Williams on the phone on Monday morning and West Brom will now begin the search for a successor.

Lai and Williams acted due to a run of two wins from 21 Premier League games that has plunged West Brom into relegation dangers. The club are only one place and one point above the drop zone.

Williams said: 'These decisions are never taken lightly but always in the interests of the club. 

'We are in a results business and over the back end of last season and this season to date, ours have been very disappointing.

'We would like to place on record our appreciation of Tony's contribution and hard work during a period of transition for the club which included a change of ownership. We wish him well in his future endeavours.'  

Pulis appeared to accept his fate during post-match media briefings on Saturday. 

The 59-year-old, who had dinner with Lai on Friday night, had said: 'The big thing is this is not about me, it's not about the chairman, the owners or anything else. It's about the football club and what is the right decision for the football club.'

Asked if the right decision would be for him to be relieved of his duties, Pulis said: 'I've been in the game long enough to know if you get bad runs that's what happens.'

West Brom have dismissed suggestions talks have taken place with Michael O'Neill but it is clear an fresh injection of ideas is required in the dugout.

Pulis's assistant Gary Megson will take charge of first-team affairs in the interim period, with his first match against title-chasing Tottenham on Saturday. 

Megson is a popular figure at the Hawthorns having led the club to two promotions from the Championship and was brought back by Pulis this summer to replace departing No 2 Dave Kemp. 

While no successor has been lined up by West Brom, the club are seeking a swift appointment and high among the list of candidate requirements is Premier league experience.

That would again bring Sam Allardyce into the reckoning, with Alan Pardew's name also being mentioned at the Hawthorns. 

 

PULIS' WEST BROM REIGN IN NUMBERS

37 - West Brom's average possession this season is the lowest in the Premier League.

22 - The Baggies had just 22 per cent of the ball in last month's 3-2 home loss to Manchester City.

1 - West Brom have had more possession than their opponent only once this term, at Brighton in a 3-1 defeat in September.

109 - goals scored by Pulis' side in 106 matches.

6 - number of clean sheets West Brom have kept this calendar year.

11 - games since West Brom last won.

2 - number of victories the Baggies have recorded in their last 21 Premier League fixtures, both of which came in August.

4 - the run of league defeats that signalled the end of Pulis' reign.

 

 

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