CAF Probes Cancelled Champions League Match In Egypt

File Photo

 

African Football Confederation (CAF) officials confirmed Monday that they are investigating why a CAF Champions League match scheduled for Egypt at the weekend was not played.  

Zamalek of Egypt were due to meet Generation Foot of Senegal in Cairo Saturday in the second leg of the last-32 tie with the west Africans holding a 2-1 aggregate lead.

But Zamalek decided last Friday to move the match to Sunday in Alexandria, a coastal city 220 kilometres (137 miles) northwest of Cairo, citing unspecified “security reasons”.

There were protests against President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi last Friday, but they did not prevent domestic league matches being played in Cairo on Saturday.

Generation rejected the new date and venue and turned up Saturday at the original match venue only to be barred from entering the stadium.

Zamalek pitched up at the new venue in Alexandria the following day and the referee waited 15 minutes after the kick-off time before calling off the match.

Senegalese officials insist that, according to CAF rules, a match date and venue can be changed only if both teams agree.

“The relevant CAF bodies and representatives are currently examining the situation and further information and updates will be issued in due time,” a CAF statement said.

Whichever club wins the disputed tie will join 15 others in the October 9 group phase draw and be guaranteed at least $550,000 (500,000 euros) prize money.

The losers drop to the less lucrative second-tier CAF Confederation Cup, where the minimum prize money is $275,000, half that of the Champions League.

AFP

Eighth Body Found After Morocco Football Match Flood

 

Morocco authorities said Monday they had found the body of a person missing after a flood hit a football pitch, bringing to eight the number of people killed in last week’s tragedy.

The flood took place when a nearby river burst its banks in the southern region of Taroudant on Wednesday.

A 17-year-old boy and six elderly men were killed and have since been buried, while rescuers continued the search for an eight victim who was swept away by the flood, authorities said.

The last body was found some 20 kilometres (12 miles) from the village of Tizret near where an amateur football tournament had been taking place.

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Photographs and videos shared on social media showed muddy waters carrying away people who had clambered on top of a building flattened by the flood.

Authorities have opened an investigation and the government has promised to take several measures to avoid such tragedies in the future.

Morocco’s national weather service had warned of the risk of stormy rains on Wednesday afternoon in several provinces.

The heavy downpour followed a dry spell, making the floods more violent, local media reported.

Floods are common in Morocco. In late July, 15 people died in a landslide caused by flash floods on a road south of Marrakesh.

In 2014, floods killed around 50 people and caused considerable damage in the south of the country.

Between 2000 and 2013, a series of 13 major floods killed a total of 263 people in Morocco and caused considerable damage to infrastructure worth $427 million, according to the World Bank.

A study published in 2015 pointed to multiple failures in infrastructure maintenance, prevention, warning and emergency management.

Djokovic Thrashes Murray In Open Practice Match

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic plays a forehand shot during a practice session in Melbourne on January 10, 2019, ahead of the Australian Open tennis tournament. ASANKA BRENDON RATNAYAKE / AFP

 

World number one Novak Djokovic exposed Andy Murray’s frailties in a practice match ahead of the Australian Open on Thursday, with the Scot calling it a day while losing 6-1, 4-1.

Three-time major winner Murray is on the comeback trail after missing 11 months with a hip injury which has seen him slump to 230 in the world.

He was bundled out of the Brisbane International warm-up last week in round two by Russia’s Daniil Medvedev and headed straight to Melbourne to fit in some much-needed practice.

Long-time rival and six-time Australian Open champion Djokovic offered to share a court with him, but Murray called time after less than an hour with his movement around the baseline appearing restricted.

The pair have met four times in Australian Open finals, with the Serb winning them all. This year’s edition of the season’s opening Grand Slam in Melbourne Park begins Monday.

Speaking ahead of Brisbane, Murray said “I still have some pain in my hip”, but that “I’m in a better place than I was a few months ago”.

AFP

Arsenal Concede Defeat To United

Manchester United’s French striker Anthony Martial (R) vies with Arsenal’s Spanish defender Hector Bellerin (L),  Manchester United won the game 2-1. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Arsene Wenger was honoured by Manchester United on his final visit to Old Trafford as Arsenal manager but left beaten once more on the field as Marouane Fellaini’s stoppage-time header handed the hosts a 2-1 win.

Wenger was greeted by former United boss Sir Alex Ferguson and current manager Jose Mourinho before kick-off and even presented with a glass momento.

However, the Frenchman was left empty-handed when it came to points as defeat left sixth-placed Arsenal mathematically out of the race for a top-four finish.

Fellaini rose highest to flick home the winner after Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s second-half strike against his former club had cancelled out Paul Pogba’s early opener.

United have now sealed their place in the Champions League next season and move closer to their target of finishing at least second best to champions Manchester City by opening a five-point gap on Liverpool.

Ferguson told the United website ahead of the game that his clashes for many years with Wenger’s strongest Arsenal sides over a decade ago “made the Premier League.”

But it was a sign of how far Arsenal have fallen that Wenger made eight changes from the side that drew 1-1 with Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final on Thursday as he had already given up hope of a top-four finish.

Alexis Sanchez became the latest of a number of leading Arsenal players to leave towards the end of Wenger’s reign in search of more success and more money in January.

And in his first appearance against his former club, the Chilean was heavily involved in the opening goal on 16 minutes.

Romelu Lukaku picked out Sanchez at the back post and after his header was deflected onto his own post by Hector Bellerin, Pogba had the simple task of tapping into an unguarded net.

Wenger included club record signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan, who was the makeweight for Sanchez to move in the other direction, among a side littered with youngsters.

But it was the visitors who posed the greater threat for the remainder of a soporific first 45 minutes.

Mkhitaryan dragged a shot from the edge of the box just wide before Aubameyang’s tame header was too close to David de Gea.

United suffered a blow at the start of the second period when Lukaku limped off to be replaced by Marcus Rashford.

And the hosts soon also lost their lead when Mkhitaryan pounced on some slack United defending to fire across De Gea into the bottom corner to muted celebrations despite enduring a troubled 18 months under Mourinho before joining the Gunners.

United struggled to create in their search for a winner, but Arsenal failed to heed their warning when Rashford was denied by the offside flag after Fellaini’s header came off the post a minute from time.

Moments later Fellaini rose highest once more to meet Ashley Young’s cross and the Belgian’s looping header found the far corner to leave Arsenal still without a point away from home in the Premier League this year.

AFP

Djokovic Crashes Out Of Mexican Open

Novac Djokovic Crashes Out Of Mexican OpenSecond seeded Novak Djokovic suffered a shocking defeat on Thursday night at the Acapulco International competition in Mexico.

The Serb was defeated 7-6, 7-5 by Australia’s Nick Kyrgios in the quarter-finals of the Mexican Open.

He was seen off in straight sets by his 21-year-old opponent, who produced the best performance of his career.

The one hour 47-minute clash was the first ever meeting between the pair.

Kyrgios fired amazing 25 aces in the match to edge past 12-time grand slam winner Djokovic.

The Australian faces American Sam Querrey in Friday’s semi-finals.

 

 

Keshi Gets Support From NFF Over Players Call-up

Nigeria’s football management body, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has backed former Super Eagles captain and now Super Eagles head coach, Stephen Keshi over team selection despite the loud protest by the team captain Joseph Yobo.

Yobo was very livid to learn that he was left out of the selection that will be facing the Harambee Stars of Kenya for the World cup qualification clash in Calabar last month.

Several other big players of the Super Eagles criticized Keshi’s act but Yobo who was definitely embittered was of the loudest as he openly criticized Keshi for leaving him out of the team after their victorious return from South Africa as the Super Eagles were crowned the African champions.

One official of the NFF said Stephen Keshi will always get the support of the federation as they have already resolved earlier to give him their support and allow him a free hand.

“We appointed Keshi for the Super Eagles job and we have resolved to give him a free hand to pick the players he deems fit to prosecute matches and thus far his selections have produced results,”.

According to an executive member of the NFF; Chris Green, there are several issues which is in the top drawer of the federation which has be addressed and be addressed in good time too, because it is in the interest of the federation to promote peace in the team for without peace the sole purpose of having a coach to steer the team is defeated.

Green made mention of the Yobo vs Keshi, Osaze and Keshi, Emmanuel Emenike, Danny Shittu issues as part of the issues to be addressed in meeting in Abuja.

“We are going to look at the issues objectively. A coach is a coach and is in charge of the team and can decide the players who could best play a game for him.”

“However, when players begin to complain and senior players for that matter, there is need for us to mediate because the team can only achieve more when they are united.

“Our concern is not to fan the ego of anyone, but for peace to reign in the Eagles. We appointed Keshi for this job and we believe in his ability, therefore we must do everything to make sure his job is easy and void of whatever distraction,”

It would be recalled that Joseph Yobo didn’t feature in most of the matches that Nigeria played during the Afcon 2013 in South Africa due to injury.

However, the captain who returned to his club and started playing immediately stated that he is not down with injury as he has been active for his Turkish club since the Nations cup, knocking off the issue of injury being responsible for being excluded from the Super Eagles call-up.