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Nations Cup

Mali off to winning start despite Samassa dismissal

10-man Mali defeat Malawi

10-man Mali defeat Malawi

Mali record a 2-0 win over Malawi in a Group B 2015 African Cup of Nations Qualifying game despite playing most of the second half with 10-men at the Stade du 26 Mars in Bamako on  Sunday.

The match was originally scheduled for 6 September 2014, but due to heavy rains in the capital, the referee decided to postpone the game as following his pitch inspection he deemed the surface to be unplayable.

The Eagles broke the deadlock in the 52nd minute. Sako received the ball inside the area before weaving his way post a couple of defenders and directing a powerful right footed shot into the corner of the net.

The hosts though suffered a major blow 11 minutes later as goalkeeper Mamadou Samassa was sent for an early shower after he handled the ball outside the area.

Despite their disadvantage, it was the home side who looked the more likely to score next with The Flames struggling to find a way past the the hosts defensive line.

Bordeaux striker Cheick Diabaté wrapped up the win in  the third minute of stoppage time, out jumping Malawi shot stopper McDonald Harawa before heading in a cross from Sako.

Mali who ended the 2012 and 2013 African Cup of  Nations tournaments in third place next face group favourites Algeria while The Flames host Ethiopia on Wednesday.

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Cameroon make winning start in AFCON qualifier

Cameroon humble DR Congo

Cameroon humble DR Congo

Visiting Cameroon posited a 2-0 win over DR Congo in their Group D clash on Saturday in Lubumbashi.

Rising star Clinton Njie and striker Vincent Aboubakar scored in each half as the four-time African champions, wrestled the maximum points at the expense of their hosts.

The Indomitable Lions made the most of their tactical approach towards the game allowing the Congolese to dominate, whilst they resorted to swift counter attacks.

The Leopards got off well with winger Yannick Bolasie and Firmin Mubele threatening the visitors defence for the opener.

Newly appointed Cameroon captain Stephan Mbia played at an unusual defensive position partnering Nicolas Nkoulou, debutant Jerome Guihota and the young Ambroise Oyongo at the back.The Congolese pressed on but rarely troubled Cameroon young goalkeeper Fabrice Ondoa, who plays second team of Spanish giants, Barcelona.

Just before half time, Njie broke the deadlock profiting from a pass before sliding past DR Congo goalie, Muteba Kidiaba to stun the deafening crowd at the Stade de TP Mazembe.

The Congolese resumed with the same tempo but Bolasie and Mubele were guilty of spurning opportunities that came their way.

On 53 mins, Bolasie who plays for English side Crystal Palace rounded his marker before squaring Cedric Mabwati, but Mabwati blasted wide with only Ondoa at his mercy.

Two minutes past the hour-mark, Mabwati turned provider by putting Bolasie through, but Bolasie also shot wide with only the Cameroon goalie to beat.

Nine minutes from time, the Indomitable Lions sealed victory through Aboubakar, who after beating an offside trap, curled past Kidiaba to take the game beyond the hosts.

Cote d’Ivoire will face Sierra Leone in the other Group D match later on Saturday in Abidjan.

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Tunisia rally from behind to defeat Botswana in AFCON qualifier

Tunisia defeated Botswana 2-1

Tunisia defeated Botswana 2-1

Tunisia came from behind to register a 2-1 win over Botswana in their 2015 AFCON qualifiers tie at the Stade Mustapha Ben Jannet on Saturday night.

Joel Mogorosi fired the visitors ahead on the stroke of half time but Wahbi Khazri levelled matters after the break before Chikhaoui scored a later winner.

The hosts had numerous opportunities to take the lead in the first half but were let down by wayward finishing and also denied by the woodwork.

The visitors took the lead against the run of play in the 44th minute with Mogorosi finishing from the left side of the box, completing a quick counter-attack.

Defender Bilel Mohsni came close to levelling matters ten minutes into the second half, but his header was kept out by Kabelo Dambe as well as the upright.

The Botswana goalkeeper was helpless in the 75th minute as Khazri curled his freekick into the top corner to make the score 1-1.

The Carthage Eagles claimed maximum points at the death when Chikhaoui converted from the penalty spot after Ofentse Nato had handled the ball inside the box.

The win leaves Tunisia in second place behind Senegal, who defeated Egypt 2-0 on Friday, while Botswana are third with no points. 

 

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“Leave my girlfriend alone”- Mikel Obi warns Nigerian girls

MIkel Obi with his Russian girlfriend

MIkel Obi with his Russian girlfriend

Super Eagles midfielder John Mikel Obi, has denied reports that he has proposed to his Russian girlfriend, Olga Diyachenko.

In an exclusive interview with Nigerian journalist, Colin Udoh, the Chelsea player said it he will announce it publicly if when it finally happens.

“Yes, she is my girlfriend, but I have not proposed to her. If that happens, it will not be hidden and everyone will know,” Mikel said.

He also warned Nigerian girls to leave her alone, as they had already started insulting her on social media.

“I’m begging Nigerian girls to please leave her alone. Some Nigerian girls have already been attacking her (on social media) since this fake story came out.”

The 27-year-old is his camp with the national team, ahead of this weekend’s game against Congo in Calabar.

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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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Cote d’Ivoire threatens to pull out of AFCON qualifier against Sierra leone

Cote d'Ivoire prepared to forfeit match

Cote d’Ivoire prepared to forfeit match

Cote d’Ivoire could forfeit their Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at home to Sierra Leone following the outbreak of Ebola.

The match, which is scheduled to be played in Abidjan on 6 September, may now be forfeited after the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has refused proposals to relocate the affected fixtures.

Malick Tohe, spokesman for the Ivory Coast Football Federation, told BBC Sport: ”There is the option of relocating the game or even the option of forfeiting.”

However, there is thought to be sanctions from CAF if Les Elephants were to simply not take part in the fixture, and whether they would be able to carry on in their qualification group.

The setback is saddening for Africa’s largest international tournament, with one of it’s biggest footballing nations under threat in the competition due to the disease that has broke out across several African nations.

Sierra Leone have selected a squad of players who are based outside of the country for the match, whilst the nation has assured its travelling staff would be screened for the disease before being allowed to depart.

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Ivorian government refuses to host AFCON qualifier against Sierra Leone over Ebola scare

Ivorian national team

Ivorian national team

Ivory Coast will not be allowed to host their African Nations Cup qualifier next week against Sierra Leone in Abidjan because of fears over the Ebola virus, the country’s football federation announced on Tuesday.

The Ivorian government informed the football federation it will not allow the match to take place because all travel between the two countries has been banned.

“The authorities are taking no chances against a possible Ebola outbreak,” media officer Eric Kacou told reporters.

The move followed Congo’s demand that their scheduled qualifier in Nigeria next weekend be moved to a neutral venue because they are reluctant to travel to a country where there have also been deaths from the deadly virus.

Nigeria and Sierra Leone are among the countries affected by the hemorrhagic fever that has killed at least 1 427 people in the deadliest outbreak of the disease to date.

Sierra Leone and Guinea, another country where there have been over 300 fatalities, have been ordered by the Confederation of African Football to move their home qualifiers to neutral venues but the Ivorian ban is the first time a government has told its own team it cannot play at home.

Ivory Coast are scheduled to host Sierra Leone on September 6 in a Group D qualifier but must now scramble to find a new venue.

Sierra Leone have similar problems as they battle to find a country willing to allow them to host their second game in the group, against the Democratic Republic of Congo on September 10.

Guinea have moved their Group E opener against Togo on September 6 to Casablanca in Morocco.

Nigeria, where there have been five reported deaths because of the Ebola virus, are still on course to host their opening Group A match against Congo on September 6 but the Congo Football Federation has written to CAF to ask for it to be moved to a neutral venue.

“We feel it is difficult to take our players to that region. Cameroon have closed their border with Nigeria because of the outbreak which goes to shows the severity of the situation,” said Congo coach Claude Le Roy.

Ebola can kill up to 90 percent of those infected though the fatality rate in the current epidemic is around 60 percent.

Nations Cup qualifiers start on September 5-6 with a second round of games on September 10 as the group phase of the preliminaries for the finals in Morocco next year gets under way.

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Libya withdraw from hosting 2017 AFCON

Strife-torn Libya withdraw as 2017 CAN host

Strife-torn Libya withdraw as 2017 CAN host

Libya have pulled out as hosts of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations due to the security situation in the country.

Libya were originally to have hosted the 2013 Nations Cup, but for a civil war which overthrew long standing dictator Muammar Gaddafi. South Africa then staged the 2013 AFCON.

According to the CAF website, a Libyan delegation led by the country’s minister of youth and sports and included the president of the Libyan Football Federation revealed in a meeting with CAF president Issa Hayatou that owing to the unstable security situation in the country, Libya would not be able to host the AFCON in 2017.

The meeting took place on 22nd August, 2014 at CAF Headquarters in Cairo, Egypt.

Consequently, the secretary general of CAF, Hicham El Amrani, dispatched a circular on 23rd August, 2014 to all 54 member associations informing them of the decision and “opening bids for the hosting of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.”

The designation of the host for this competition will be made according to the statutory provisions of CAF, especially in conformity with articles 27 to 47 of the Regulations Governing the Application of CAF Statutes, further announced CAF.

CAF headquarters in Cairo will receive applications until Tuesday 30th September, 2014.

In addition to the government guarantee, and considering the limited time left for the organisation of the 2017 edition, the CAF executive committee will select a host country whose dossier guarantees that accommodation, transportation and hotels facilities, as well as training sites and stadiums already exist.

A new hosts for the 2017 AFCON will be decided at a meeting of the executive committee in 2015.

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CAF disqualifies Rwanda from 2015 AFCON

Rwanda disqualified from AFCON

Rwanda disqualified from AFCON

The Africa Cup of Nations organising committee disqualified Rwanda from the qualifiers for Morocco 2015 on Sunday. 

The decision followed a protest made by the Congolese Football Federation regarding the eligibility of Rwandan player, Birori Dady.

Dady had featured in the first leg of the second round qualifier between the two nations last month in Pointe-Noir.

Congo claimed that Dady, who plays for AS Vita Club in Kinshasa, has a different name and age in his passport.

A subsequent Confederation of African Football (Caf) investigation looked at documents provided by the federations of Rwanda, Congo and DR Congo and also heard a testimony from the player on 11 August at Caf headquarters in Cairo.

Whilst the Rwandan FA maintained that to their knowledge the player Dady Birori had one identity, investigations revealed that he was summoned as Etekiama Agiti Tady to join the national team of Rwanda.

Caf established that the player also uses a different age in his passport, and that the two identities referred to a single person.

They have therefore suspended the player until further notice and have banned him from playing for both his club and country.

Rwanda, who beat Congo on penalties over two legs to reach the group phase are disqualified. Congo progress to Group A of qualifying for Morocco 2015 as a replacement for Rwanda where they will meet Nigeria, Sudan and South Africa.

Vincent Nzamwita, the Rwanda FA President confirmed to BBC Sport in Kigali that he had been notified of the news.

“Yes we received communication from Caf about the disqualification.”

He however refused to reveal the next step of action.

Caf say they reserve the right to comment on whether they will impose additional sanctions at the next meeting of the Organising Committee scheduled for 17 September 2014.

African football’s ruling body also urge other “players and stakeholders to regulate the situation of dual identity.”

Caf say the decision takes effect immediately and say that if Rwanda choose to appeal, they will have to do so in accordance with Caf regulations.

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CAF okays Calabar as venue for Nigeria v Rwanda AFCON qualifier

Nigeria v Rwanda to go ahead in Calabar

Nigeria v Rwanda to go ahead in Calabar

Confederation of African Football (CAF) has confirmed that the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier between Nigeria and Rwanda will go ahead in Calabar on September 6.

The Rwanda Football Federation (Ferwafa) had written to African football’s ruling body over worries about the threat of Ebola in Nigeria but CAF has declined a request to shift the game to another country.

The Secretary General of Ferwafa, Olivier Mulindahabi said CAF rejected Rwanda’s request, saying that there are no Ebola concerns in Calabar, the venue of the match.

The other two teams in Group A with Nigeria and Rwanda are South Africa and Sudan.

Mulindahabi said: “They (CAF) told us that the game will go ahead in Calabar because there are no Ebola concerns in that part of the country, but that could change depending on the situation of the disease in that country.”

“We will continue to monitor the situation and see if we will send our team there and if we find the situation is not right to risk our players, we will definitely make another appeal to CAF, but for now, the game remains in Calabar,” he noted.

Meanwhile, CAF has ordered Guinea and Sierra Leone to move their African Nations Cup qualifiers next month to neutral territory following the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa, which has killed more than 1,000 people.

Sierra Leone had already asked Ghana to host their game against the Democratic Republic of Congo next month but have received an uncertain response.

The Ebola epidemic – the world’s deadliest so far – has killed over 1,000 people in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

The World Health Organization has declared an international health emergency as it predicts the epidemic will continue for months.

“CAF has asked the three federations to relocate matches to a neutral country their teams are hosting in the CAF competitions up to mid-September,” said a statement from continental soccer governing body.

Guinea were due to host Togo on September 5 in their opening Group E qualifier while Sierra Leone’s first home game is on September 10 against DR Congo in Group D.

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