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Zambia opens 2019 AFCON stadium with win over Sudan

Zambia's new national stadium

Zambia’s new national stadium

Zambia opened its new stadium, earmarked for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals, with an emphatic 3-1 win over Sudan on Sunday.

Zambia is in the race to host the 2019 continental soccer show piece and is up against Algeria, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire and Guinea with the Confederation of African Football scheduled to announce the winning bid on 20th September in Addis Ababa.

In the first match at the 50,000 seat National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka, in what was the first match for new coach Honour Janza, Chipolopolo raced into a 2-0 first half lead courtesy of goals from Nkana defender Christopher Munthali and a headed strike by TP Mazembe striker Given Singuluma.

Mukuka Mulenga grabbed Chipolopolo’s third after rounding off Sudan goalkeeper Elmoiz Mahgoub to fire into an open net. Sudan pulled one back from the spot at the death through Bakri Ab Elgadir Babeker in a fixture both teams were using to shape up for the start of the final group phase of qualifying for the 30th Orange Africa Cup of Nations Morocco 2015.

Africa cup of Nations 2012 winner Zambia is in Group F of Morocco 2015 qualifying and opens her  campaign against Mozambique at Levy Mwanawasa stadium in Ndola on Saturday 6th September before traveling to Praia for the second fixture against Cape Verde on 10th September.

Sudan is in Group A and hosts South Africa on the first day before games against 2013 winners Nigeria and Congo.

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Mo Diame seals deadline day transfer to Hull City from West Ham

Diame has joined Hull City

Diame has joined Hull City

Senegalese midfielder Mohamed Diame completed a move to  West Ham United for Hull City on the transfer deadline day.

After the he arrival of Alex Song at Upton Park, Hammers boss Sam Allardyce was keen of offloading Diame because alongside Song, the Hammers are now well-stocked in central midfield with Cheikhou Kouyate and Mark Noble further options.

The Daily Mail had reported that Hull City were closing in on a £3.5 million-deal, and BBC Sport has acknowledged today that a fee has been agreed between the East Londoners and the Tigers.

The move was confirmed this evening on Hull’s official website.

The 27-year-old made 71 appearances for the Hammers after arriving from Wigan Athletic. He was once sought after by the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal, but has since fallen from grace.

He will likely bring power and experience to the Hull midfield. Aston Villa had also been linked with his signature.

 

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Ivorian youngster Souleymane Coulibaly joins Italian side Bari

Souleymane Coulibably

Souleymane Coulibaly

Tottenham Hotspur have transferred Souleymane Coulibaly to Serie B club Bari 1908.

The London confirmed the deal on its website though price has not been disclosed.

The 19-year old was spotted by Spurs during the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Championship, where he was the tournaments top goalscorer with nine goals.

He also holds the record for the most goals scored in a single tournament, alongside ex-Liverpool striker Florent Sinama Pongolle.

The Ivorian had been loaned to Grosseto in 2013 and scored two goals in 12 appearances, but he didn’t manage to make a senior appearance for Spurs during his time at the club.

Bari won their first game of the Serie B season 0-3 in an away fixture against Virtus Entella. Coulibaly could be set to make his debut this Sunday in Bari’s home match against Perugia.

 

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Key African players who could make transfer deadline day moves

Tiote could join Arsenal today

Tiote could join Arsenal today

With huge swathes of players set to switch between European clubs, KickOff.com spotlights five high-profile African stars who could well make a move over the coming hours.

All of these internationals have been linked with a move during the summer but, with the minutes ticking down till the window shuts, their immediate futures remain unresolved.

Don’t be surprised to see any of this five pictured smiling with a new club jersey over the next 24 hours.

Cheick Tiote: Newcastle United, Linked to Arsenal
Anyone who watched Arsenal’s 1-1 draw with Leicester City will be acutely aware of the Gunners’ need for reinforcement in the defensive midfield position.

Mathieu Flamini has his qualities, but Arsene Wenger hasn’t always been convinced and against the Foxes the French international found himself overrun on several occasions. It was a similar story at times against Besiktas, where the Turkish giants found a little too much joy in the heart of the midfield.

The North London club have been linked with Sami Khedira and William Carvalho over the summer, but with a move for neither player forthcoming, Wenger has reportedly turned his attentions to Tiote.

The Ivorian international could give the Gunners the bite and tenacity their midfield lacks overnight. While he may lack the refinement of the club’s current crop of midfielders, the Newcastle United man would be a powerful counterpoint to Arsenal’s present options.

Lokomotiv Moscow have also enquired after the former FC Twente man and, following the departure of Lassana Diarra to Queens Park Rangers, may be keen to secure a deal.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto: Tottenham Hotspur
It’s no secret that Spurs are keen to cut their losses on Cameroon left-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto. Andre Villas-Boas didn’t fancy the defender, and seemingly, neither does his successor Mauricio Pochettino.
The new man has not only recruited a new left-back in Swansea City’s Ben Davies, but he has also extended Danny Rose’s contract at the club. With Jan Vertonghen and Kyle Naughton still on the club’s books, Assou-Ekotto surely has no place at White Hart Lane.

He featured 31 times on loan at Queens Park Rangers last season as Harry Redknapp’s side returned to the Premier League and a return to West London would seem like a logical step.

Redknapp himself has been uncharacteristically quiet in acknowledging the availability of Assou-Ekotto, however, the potential departure of Armand Traore to Crystal Palace would potentially open up an availability at left-back.

Mohamed Diame: West Ham United, Linked to Hull City
While the Upton Park faithful were delighted to see Alex Song swap Catalonia for East London, one West Ham United player won’t have been too happy to see the Cameroon international join the Hammers.
Song’s arrival all but pushes Mohamed Diame out of the team at the club. Local boy Mark Noble is un-droppable, while Diame’s compatriot Cheikhou Kouyate has made a terrific start to life in the Premier League.

The Daily Mail report that Hull City are keen to secure a £3.5 million-deal for the player, who would bring dynamism and power to the heart of the Tigers’ midfield.

Ideally, Steve Bruce had been looking to recruit Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley, but with the England international preferring to move to Aston Villa, he has turned his attentions to Diame.

Should the West African quit Upton Park for the KC Stadium, it would complete a fall from grace for a player who was once linked to the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool.

Wilfried Bony: Swansea City, Linked to Arsenal
A combination of Olivier Giroud’s injury, Alessio Cerci’s move to Atletico Madrid, Loic Remy’s switch to Chelsea and Yaya Sanogo’s all-round incompetency has meant that Arsenal head into the final day of the transfer window in dire need of a striker.
Could the Gunners find the solution they’re looking for in South Wales?

Wilfried Bony may have had a muted start to the new campaign, but he has already demonstrated the ease with which he can terrorise EPL defences and enjoys a burgeoning reputation within the English game.

In Giroud’s absence, Bony could provide the muscle and the goal-scoring instinct that many fear the Gunners will be lacking over the next four months.

The striker would surely relish the prospect of Champions League football, but would Swansea—who have stated their desire to retain the player—be willing to sell?

Andre Ayew: Olympique Marseille, Linked to the Premier League
Andre Ayew is performing well in Ligue 1 with Olympique Marseille this season.
His encouraging early-season form continued this weekend with an assist in OM’s 4-0 thrashing of OGC Nice. Not only were the former European champions effective in attack, they also used the ball well and looked like they might finally have escaped the malaise of the last few seasons.

That match might indicate that Ayew has a future under new boss Marcelo Bielsa, however, that hasn’t stopped the club offering their Ghanaian playmaker to various Premier League sides.

The Black Star is said to favour a switch to a London club—with QPR looking like potential suitors—however Newcastle United are also said to be interested. The Magpies have recruited successfully from Ligue 1 in recent years and may well be keen to add Ayew to their stable of stars to have impressed across the Channel.

However, on Sunday, the South Wales Evening Post acknowledged that Swansea City have been linked with the winger—could the Swans make a late bid for the player? Should Bony depart, the arrival of Ayew would surely help to fill the resultant offensive chasm at the Liberty Stadium.

By Ed Dove

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Gambian striker Modou Barrow joins EPL side Swansea City

Gambian striker Modou Barrow

Gambian striker Modou Barrow

Swansea City have completed the signing of 21-year-old Gambian Modou Barrow from Ostersunds FK and goes straight into the Under-21 squad for tonight’s Development League fixture against Birmingham City.

Barrow impressed during his time at the Swedish club, with Bolton Wanderers, Norwich City, Everton and Sheffield Wednesday all showing an interest in the 21-year-old.

However, his 10 goals in 19 games for Ostersunds has earned him a performance-related contract with the Welsh club. Barrow told walesonline.co.uk: ”I’m delighted to be here. I now can’t wait to get going and improve each day in training and try to score some goals.

“I like the way Swansea play football, it reminds me of how I used to play back home. I’ve watched a lot of their games on TV and I was impressed with what I saw.

“They like to give young players a chance and hopefully I can progress here.”

It is believed the undisclosed fee is of around just over £1 million, which would have been enough to secure the Gambian’s services.

 

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Mbia returns to Sevilla after impressing on loan spell

Mbia was impressive on loan with Sevilla

Mbia was impressive on loan with Sevilla

Cameroon midfielder Stéphane Mbia has returned to Sevilla after the player enjoyed an excellent season with the club last season, whilst on loan from QPR.

It’s an option that has seemingly always remained possible, even though the player himself had initially indicated he had doors open to him elsewhere earlier this summer.

But the Spanish side have secured the services of midfielder Stéphane Mbia, after the player agreed to rejoin them following his loan spell last season from QPR.

The Cameroon international, who was also recently named as captain of his international team, has signed a one-year contract with Sevilla, the club officially announced on Sunday.

Mbia became an instant darling to the Sevilla fans, scoring the last-second goal at Valencia in the semi-finals of the Europa League, which sent the team through to what would be a successful Turin final against Benfica.

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Moroccan midfielder El Ahmadi seals Feyenoord return after Aston Villa stint

Moroccan midfielder El Ahmadi

Moroccan midfielder El Ahmadi

Morocco midfielder Karim El Ahmadi has returned to his former club Feyenoord on a three-year deal for an undisclosed fee.

The 29-year-old, who still had a season to run on his contract with Aston Villa, made a £2m move to Villa Park in 2012 and made 56 appearances under Paul Lambert, scoring two goals.

El Ahmadi began his career with local club FC Twente before moving to Rotterdam giants Feyenoord in 2008.

“Karim El Ahmadi wanted to come back to the Netherlands,” said technical director Martin van Geel on Monday.
“We’re happy that we are able to add this experienced player to the squad, which gives us more options in midfield. What’s more, El Ahmadi has successfully worked with Fred Rutten in the past, while he is obviously also used to playing for Feyenoord and at De Kuip,” van Geel added.

El Ahmadi also spoke to the club’s official site.

“I’ve always said that I wanted to return to Feyenoord sometime,” said the Morocco international.

“That time has come. In my first period at this club Feyenoord was growing and that growth has continued in recent years.”

“I’m really looking forward to playing in a full De Kuip again and sharing my experience with the other Feyenoord players.

“I’m also relishing teaming up again with Fred Rutten, who was very important for me at the start of my career at FC Twente.”

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Ivorian forward Kalou snubs Arsenal interest, joins Hertha Berlin

Ivorian striker Salomon Kalou

Ivorian striker Salomon Kalou

Côte d’Ivoire forward Salomon Kalou has joined German Bundesliga Hertha Berlin on a three-year deal.

The 29-year-old arrives for an undisclosed fee from Lille, with whom he had a contract until 2016.

“After my time in England and France, I’m really excited about playing for Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga now,” said Kalou on his new club’s official website.

“The club really worked hard trying to get me and I held good talks with the club’s management. Berlin is a cosmopolitan, multicultural city and everything was right for me, not only from a sporting viewpoint.”

Kalou scored 30 goals in 67 games for Lille, but appeared to have fallen out of favour over the summer.

The Côte d’Ivoire international previously spent six years with Chelsea, scoring 36 goals, while he has been capped 67 times by his country, scoring 23 goals.

“Salamon Kalou is a top striker who has already proven his strength in the Premier League and in the Champions League,” said Hertha’s director of sport Michael Preetz.

“He has a wealth of international experience and won the Champions League with Chelsea. We’re delighted to have him.”

Kalou was a target for many English sides with Arsenal considered as a more likely destination but it appears the forward had other plans.

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DR Congo agree to host AFCON qualifier against Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone are to host their 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against the Democratic Republic Of Congo in the Congolese city of Lubumbashi on 10 September.

The match which was to be played in Freetown, was ordered to be played at a neutral venue by the Confederation of African Football (Caf) because of the ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone.

The country had already suspended all football activities before Caf ordered the match to be relocated.

The secretary general of the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) Christopher Kamara told BBC Sport he was grateful to DR Congo for their support.

“I’m pleased to state that we’ll host DR Congo in their country in the city of Lubumbashi. We are thankful to DR Congo as we contacted them at the eleventh hour and they responded positively.

“But they gave us conditions – one of which is that all officials travelling from Sierra Leone must undergo tests for Ebola and then be certified as safe by the World Health Organisation.”

Christopher Kamara added that other nations had also been contacted as potential hosts.

“We also approached other countries such as Ghana and Morocco but they never responded, so we are making use of what is available to us.”

Meanwhile Kamara said the SLFA is insisting that their match with Ivory Coast must take place in Abidjan.

“As far as we are concerned, our match with Ivory Coast will take place in Abidjan on 6 September at 17:00 local time. We have not received any letter stating that the match will not go ahead as planned.

We have made plans for our players and officers to travel to Abidjan, and if in any case the Ivorian FA wants at this point in time to change the venue, we will not accept.”

The Ivorian government has stated that it would not allow the match to go ahead leaving their football association with the options to relocate the game or forfeit it.

According to Caf regulations, once a venue has been announced and retained by both Caf and a visiting team, the organising association can only change the venue in consultation with the visiting team.

Already a 20-man squad made up entirely of overseas-based players has been named by Leone Stars coach Jonathan Mckinstry, who is currently in the UK for both the Ivory Coast and DR Congo matches.

Abdulai Bell-Baggie, of English league two side Tranmere Rovers, has been withdrawn from the squad due to injury and replaced by Sweden based Albert Kargbo.

Coach Mckinstry and the players will be travelling directly to Abidjan.

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Cameroonian midfielder Alex Song joins West Ham United on loan

Song joins West Ham on loan

Song joins West Ham on loan

Former Arsenal midfielder Alex Song has signed for West Ham on a season-long loan deal from Barcelona. 

The 26-year-old Cameroon international, wearing a Hammers shirt, was introduced to home fans before Saturday’s Premier League game against Southampton.

“I think the club has very good ambition and I hope we can maybe catch the European positions,” he said.

Song joined Barcelona in 2012 from Arsenal for about £15m with an 80m euros (£63m) release clause.

The Hammers indicated they fought off interest from “some of Europe’s biggest clubs” to seal the deal.And Song said he was impressed by the ambitions of the London club, which will move from the Boleyn Ground to the Olympic Stadium in time for the 2016-17 season.

“I need some games to be ready and get my fitness back,” he said.

“When I am 100%, I will bring the experience and I will make the fans happy, I am sure. I am lucky to be back in London, back in England and with West Ham. I am looking forward to showing everyone what I can do.

“West Ham is looking to be a very, very big club in the future. The club has a great project and it is a very big project with very big ambition.”

Song is West Ham’s eighth summer signing, following the arrivals of Mauro Zarate, Enner Valencia, Carl Jenkinson, Aaron Cresswell and Diego Poyet, as well as Senegalese duo Cheikhou Kouyate and Diafra Sakho.

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LATEST HEADLINES

Nigeria to report Schalke to FIFA for not releasing Obasi thumbnail

Nigeria to report Schalke to FIFA for not releasing Obasi

Nigeria will report Schalke to Fifa after the Germans refused to release striker Chinedu Obasi for this month's 2015 African Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Ivory Coast cleared to host Sierra Leone in Abidjan on Saturday thumbnail

Ivory Coast cleared to host Sierra Leone in Abidjan on Saturday

Ivory Coast will play their 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Sierra Leone in Abidjan on Saturday after the government made a late U-turn.
Ghana Coach Appiah rally support for the stars ahead of AFCON 2015 thumbnail

Ghana Coach Appiah rally support for the stars ahead of AFCON 2015

Kwesi Appiah is expecting his Black Stars to rediscover their shine when they meet Uganda in Kumasi on Saturday.
21 Black Stars players to train in Kumasi on Tuesday afternoon thumbnail

21 Black Stars players to train in Kumasi on Tuesday afternoon

Twenty One players have reported to the Black Stars camp that will train in Kumasi on Tuesday afternoon to commence preparations for the opening 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Ghana Black Stars to arrive in Kumasi ahead of Morocco 2015 qualifiers against Uganda thumbnail

Ghana Black Stars to arrive in Kumasi ahead of Morocco 2015 qualifiers against Uganda

Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah and his players will leave Accra this morning for Kumasi to prepare for their 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Uganda.
Zambia opens 2019 AFCON stadium with win over Sudan thumbnail

Zambia opens 2019 AFCON stadium with win over Sudan

Zambia opened its new stadium, earmarked for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals, with an emphatic 3-1 win over Sudan on Sunday.