Leekens Resigns As Algeria’s National Football Team Coach

george-leekens-former-algerian-coachThe Coach of Algeria’s National football team, George Leekens, has resigned following the team’s early exit from the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon.

The Desert Foxes were among the favourites to win the trophy but crashed out on Monday after failing to win a game and gathered just two points from group B.

In a statement on the Algerian Football Federation’s website, Leekens said: “For the good of all I decided to quit even though I do it with heartache.

“I wish all the success in the world to the national side”.

With an impressive team that has current African Player of the Year, Riyad Mahrez and Leicester City’s Islam Slimani, the Belgian was expected to challenge for the AFCON title.

Algeria are also struggling to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The Desert Foxes are bottom of Group B, after two matches, recording a draw and a loss.

Only the group winners go through and they already trail Nigeria by five points.

“Given the pressure on the federation and the national team, I preferred to end my contract out of friendship for the president of the FAF (Algerian Football Federation) who deserves respect,” Leekens added.

The Algerian Football Federation is yet to announce who will take over from the vacant role.

Glo CAF Awards Final Shortlist Unveiled

Glo CAF Awards Final Shortlist UnveiledGabonese midfielder, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang; Algeria winger, Riyad Mahrez and Senegalese winger, Sadio Mané, have made the final top three for the 2016 CAF Awards African Player of the Year.

The trio made the cut following votes from head coaches or technical directors of the national associations, media committee, technical and football committee and a panel of media experts.

An initial list of 10 finalists was whittled down to five earlier this month, but Mohamed Salah of Egypt and Algerian striker Islam Slimani have now fallen out of the reckoning.

The winner will be unveiled at the awards gala January 5 in Abuja.

Aubameyang, won the award in 2015 and is favourite to retain it following his impressive form in the German Bundesliga this season.

Yaya Toure Charged With Drink Driving

Yaya Toure Charged With Drink DrivingManchester City’s returnee midfileder, Yaya Toure has been charged with drink driving, police have confirmed.

Police said the 33-year-old of Macclesfield, Cheshire was driving in Dagenham in east London at the time of the alleged offence.

Police said he was charged on Tuesday with driving while his alcohol level was above the legal limit.

He has been bailed and is due to appear at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court on 13 December.

The midfielder played in Manchester City’s 3-1 defeat at home to Chelsea on Saturday but the club is yet to comment.

Yaya Toure is a nominee for the BBC African Footballer of the Year 2016 for the eight time.

Yaya won the award last year and in 2012 so is chasing an unprecedented third triumph, though he faces stiff competition from Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez, West Ham’s Andre Ayew, Liverpool’s Sadio Mane and Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Algeria To Name Squad For Nigeria On November 1

Algerian Football Federation, Nigeria, Desert Foxes, AlgeriaThe Algerian Football Federation says the list of players invited for the 2018 World Cup qualifier match against Nigeria will be revealed on Tuesday, November 1.

The football federation says new manager, Georges Leekens, would unveil his plans for the Desert Foxes after the roster is announced.

Reports say regular team members such as Riyad Mahrez, Islam Slimani, Yacine Brahimi, Sofiane Feghouli and Adlene Guedioura are in the squad.

They added that Adam Ounas who was recently cleared by FIFA was also listed.

The Foxes are expected to arrive in Nigeria on November 9 for the game scheduled for November 12 at the ‘Nest of Champions’ in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital.

Leekens took over as the Desert Foxes’ coach after the Algerian football governing body sacked Milovan Rajevac.

Rajevac was relieved of his duties on Tuesday, October 11, following the team’s 1-1 draw against Cameroon.

 

Messi, Ronaldo Others Contend For 2016 Ballon d’Or

Ballon d'Or, Lionel Messi, Cristiano RonaldoFootball legend, Lionel Messi has been shortlisted alongside Cristiano Ronaldo for the 2016 Ballon d’Or award.

France Football magazine reveals that the 30-man list is being released in bunches of five players throughout Monday, October 24.

The award which has been given annually by France Football since 1956 has become the FIFA Ballon d’Or for the past six years.

Barcelona forward, Messi has bagged the honour for a record fifth time while Real Madrid’s Ronaldo has won the award three times.

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Cristiano Ronaldo

The French magazine has released the names of 30 nominees of the 2016 Ballon d’Or.

Full List
Sergio Aguero (Manchester City & Argentina)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund & Gabon)
Gareth Bale (Real Madrid & Wales)
Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus & Italy)
Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City & Belgium)
Paulo Dybala (Juventus & Argentina)
Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid & Uruguay)
Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid & France)
Gonzalo Higuain (Napoli/Juventus & Argentina)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris Saint-Germain/Manchester United & Sweden)
Andres Iniesta (Barcelona & Spain)
Koke (Atletico Madrid & Spain)
Toni Kroos (Real Madrid & Germany)
Robert Lewandowski (Bayern München & Poland)
Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur & France)
Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City & Algeria)
Lionel Messi (Barcelona & Argentina)
Luka Modric (Real Madrid & Croatia)
Thomas Müller (Bayern München & Germany)
Manuel Neuer (Bayern München & Germany)
Neymar (Barcelona & Brazil)
Dimitri Payet (West Ham & France)
Pepe (Real Madrid & Portugal)
Paul Pogba (Juventus/Manchester United & France)
Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid & Spain)
Rui Patricio (Sporting CP & Portugal)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid & Portugal)
Luis Suárez (Barcelona & Uruguay)
Jamie Vardy (Leicester City & England)
Arturo Vidal (Bayern München & Chile).

 

Premier League: Arsenal, Leicester, Man City Win Big

Premier League, Arsenal, Man City, LeicesterArsenal forward, Alexis Sanchez, scored twice and missed a penalty as the gunners won comfortably at 10-man Hull City.

Going down to 10 men in the first half made it an impossible task for the home side to come back into the game, despite Robert Snodgrass’ late penalty.

Asides Sanchez’s penalty miss, the match would also be remembered for Granit Xhaka’s phenomenal 30-yard strike in second-half stoppage time.

At the King Power Stadium, Algerian international, Islam Slimani marked his Premier League debut with two goals as champions, Leicester City eased past Burnley 3-0.

Slimani opened the scoring in first-half injury time when he rose to powerfully head home Christian Fuchs’ excellent set-piece delivery.

His second arrived straight after the interval – another close-range header following good work from compatriot Riyad Mahrez, whose low cross deflected in off Ben Mee late on to cap a resounding win.

Nigerian striker, Kelechi Iheanacho got on the score sheet as Manchester City made it eight wins out of eight in all competitions this season with a 4-0 demolition of AFC Bournemouth at Etihad Stadium.

Coach Pep Guardiola was however cautious in his reaction to having won five games in five Premier League matches. “In our world it’s better not to read. I know we’re going to lose games,” he said.

West Ham’s poor start to the season continued as they suffered a fourth league defeat, going down 4-2 at West Brom.

Liverpool had defeated Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Friday in the first game of match day 5.

Newly Promoted Hull City Shock Leicester In EPL Opener

leicester, hull city, eplThe English Premier League title holders, Leicester City have started the season on a negative note, falling a goal behind to newly promoted team, Hull City.

Hull City forward, Adama Diomande, opened the scoring on the stroke of halftime.

Two minutes into the second half, Riyad Mahrez, last season’s Premier League Football Association’s player of the year, levelled up for Leicester from the penalty spot.

Scottish midfielder, Robert Snodgrass, sealed the game for the home team in the 57th minute after a mistake by Leicester goalkeeper, Kasper Schmeichel.

However, the defending champions fought hard to get an equaliser but to no avail as Hull City claimed the first three points of the 2016/2017 campaign.

Mahrez, Vardy Dedicate PFA Awards To Teammates

Jarmie Vardy Riyad Mahrez PFA AwardsLeicester City players, Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy have dedicated their English football’s PFA awards to their teammates.

Mahrez, who is an Algerian, becomes the first African player to win a Professional Footballers Association (PFA) players award.

The Leicester City winger beat teammate, Vardy, Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Arsenal midfielder, Mesut Ozil to clinch the award.

Scoring 17 goals with 11 assists, Mahrez has been one of the main reasons behind Leicester’s phenomenal rise to the top of the English Premier League, sitting eight points clear with three games remaining.

Vardy, who has 22 goals for the league leaders was also honoured by the PFA for becoming the first player to score in 11 consecutive premier league matches earlier this season.

Meanwhile, Leicester City fans in Thailand are confident the team would lift their first league title this season.

Hundreds of blue-shirted Thai fans watched the league leaders’ 4-0 win over Swansea City on live screens in Bangkok.

The fans believed it was time to do the unthinkable in their club history.

Riyad Mahrez Wins PFA Player Of The Year

Riyad MahrezLeicester City attacking midfielder, Riyad Mahrez, has won the Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year award.

The Algerian has scored 17 goals with 11 assists in the Premier League this season and has been a key force behind the Foxes’ unheralded title challenge.

Mahrez was voted by fellow professionals ahead of fellow nominees and team-mates Jamie Vardy and N’Golo Kante, along with Harry Kane, Mesut Ozil and Dimitri Payet.

Mahrez becomes the first African player to bag the prize. He said, “Its a pleasure to achieve this award.

“I want to thank my team mates because without them I wouldn’t achieve this.

“We are like brothers, it’s everywhere on the pitch. That’s our strength.

“If sometimes we are not good, we know we are going to run and make effort for our team-mates. That is the secret of our success.

Tottenham midfielder, Dele Alli picked up the PFA Young Player of Year award in his debut season in the Premier League.

The England youngster came out on top ahead of team-mate Harry Kane, Jack Butland, Philippe Coutinho, Romelu Lukaka and Ross Barkley.

Alli has scored 10 goals in 32 top-flight games to help Spurs challenge Leicester for the title. He has also made six senior appearances for England, scoring in a 2-0 friendly win over France in November 2015.

With a crucial game on Monday night, Alli could not attend the event to receive his award but former Spurs player and manager Ossie Ardiles collected the prize on his behalf.

Ranieri, Kane Win Premier League Awards For March

Premier LeagueHarry Kane and Claudio Ranieri have won the March Barclays Premier League awards for Player and Manager of the Month respectively.

Ranieri guided Leicester City to a draw and three 1-0 wins over Watford, Newcastle United and Crystal Palace, to maintain their lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League.

He was voted for the award ahead of a managerial shortlist that featured AFC Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe (W3 L1), West Ham’s Slaven Bilic (W2 D1) and Swansea City’s Francesco Guidolin (W3 L1).

It is the fourth time Ranieri has claimed the Barclays manager award, the joint-most for an Italian alongside former Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti. Ranieri is the 15th manager to have won the award four times.

Ranieri won the award in November this season and also was awarded it twice during the 2003/04 campaign when with Chelsea.

No Leicester manager has won the award more than once in one season, although Martin O’Neill claimed it three times in a three-year period from September 1997.

Ranieri has the chance to join Joe Kinnear (1993/94 with Wimbledon) and Sir Alex Ferguson (1999/00 with Manchester United) and Ancelotti (2010/11) to have won the award three times in one season. That feat is also possible for Tottenham Hotspur head coach Mauricio Pochettino, who was named manager of the month in August and February.

Five goals in four matches won the Barclays Player of the Month award for Kane, a tally that has taken him to the top of the race for the Barclays Golden Boot with 22 goals so far.

He beat a shortlist that also included Southampton’s Graziano Pelle, Swansea City’s Ashley Williams, Leicester duo Wes Morgan and Riyad Mahrez, and West Ham United’s Dimitri Payet.

It is the third time Kane has claimed the award, after winning it in January and February last year.

 

Culled from premierleague.com

Arsenal-Leicester: Wenger Says Both Teams Under Pressure

wengerArsène Wenger says his side cannot wait for Sunday’s top-of-the-table fixture against Leicester City because it is the kind of game they relish.

Arsenal have taken 10 points from four matches against the other sides in the top five so far this season, and won 5-2 at King Power Stadium back in September.

The Foxes have lost only one Premier League match since and go into Sunday’s match five points clear at the top, but Wenger believes his side will rise to the challenge.

“What is important is to find the momentum back and that means that you win a few games,” the boss said. “After, let’s not count too much on the weakness of Leicester because they have not shown too many.

“We want to find a consistency in our results until the end of the season, because we have big game after big game now.

“What I believe is that you do not have to be a super mathematician to analyse that it is a very important game, maybe not a decisive one for the Premier League but it is not far away from that.

“The pressure is on us as well, of course. I don’t deny that but I take that in a very positive way and as an opportunity to show how strong we are.

“I think the biggest pressure in our job is to play games without pressure. This is the kind of game we want – the kind of game we relish. When you play at Arsenal Football Club, that’s what you want.

“(Leicester) are still in a position where they think they have nothing to lose. But once you are top of the league, you can also think about losing what you have.

“That is where the nerves come in a little bit. I do not know how they will respond to that.”

EPL Results: Leicester City Beat Manchester City 3-1

leicesterEnglish Premier League leaders Leicester City’s title challenge have reached unprecedented heights as they went six points clear at the top after beating Manchester City 3-1.

It was Manchester City’s first defeat in seven Premier League games as frailties in their back-line were once again miserably exposed this time by the scintillating Foxes attack.

Robert Huth turned in Riyad Mahrez’s corner to give the Foxes an early lead.

Mahrez made it 2-0 with a step-over and finish, and Huth found space to head home a Christian Fuchs corner before Sergio Aguero’s late consolation.

Riyad Mahrez ended a personal goal drought and was the first player this season to achieve a significant goals mark.

It was also the second time in his Barclays Premier League career that Huth has scored more than once in a match, last scoring a brace in February 2011 for Stoke against Sunderland.

Sergio Aguero’s late consolation for Man City was his first Barclays Premier League goal against Leicester and as a result the striker has scored against 26 of the 28 different opponents he has faced in the competition (Bolton and Burnley are the exceptions).

The defeat was Man City’s third at home this season as they continued their run of failing to beat any opponent in the top six in 2015/16.

Other Results

Aston Villa     2 – 0  Norwich City

Liverpool       2 – 2   Sunderland

Newcastle       1 – 0  West Bromwich Albion

Stoke City      0 – 3   Everton

Swansea City    1 – 1   Crystal Palace

Tottenham       1 – 0   Watford

Southampton 1 – 0   West Ham