The Benin Football Federation (FBF) has named a three-man shortlist for the post of head coach of the national team, after vetting more than 20 applications, officials announced in Cotonou on Monday.
Former Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac is one of the top favourites according to reports, following his exploits with the Black Stars at the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations in Angola and the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Rajevac was also heavily linked last week with a role on Ghana’s bench at this year’s World Cup, possibly as a technical advisor.
Frenchman Hubert Velud, who coached Togo between 2009 and 2010, also figures on the list, as well as former OGC Nice manager Didier Olle-Nicolle.
Nigeria will play their final preparatory match against World Cup bound United States of America in Florida.
USA who have been drawn with African side Black Stars of Ghana, will use this encounter against the Super Eagles to prepare for the the team that has knocked them out the two previous World Cups.
The USA Soccer Federation announced on Thursday that the game will be played in Jacksonville, Florida on Wednesday June 7.
The Super Eagles who drew goalless with Mexico on Wednesday, have met USA once and lost 3-2 in 1995.
South Africa Football Association (Safa) president Danny Jordaan says the Bafana Bafana’s disappointing 5-0 defeat at the FNB Stadium last Wednesday will be used as a reference to rebuild the national side.
Jordaan said South Africa had shown its failures when Wednesday’s match was compared with the first time Gordon Igesund’s Bafana faced the Brazilians in Sao Paulo in 2012, where the home side narrowly won 1-0.
“What we got out of last night is analysis and deep reflection for South African football to say why did we follow this path and what are the issues,” Jordaan said on Thursday.
“Last night, you saw the progression of that team, and the quality of their performance,” Jordaan said.
“We had the same coach and more or less the same players losing 1-0 (in Sao Paulo), and last night, with more or less the same coach and the same players, losing 5-0.
“That is the path the two teams followed; the one will probably challenge to win the World Cup, and the other failed to qualify.”
Jordaan said South Africa should now have learnt its lessons in the current cycle, from 2010 to 2014, to reconstruct a different path for the team going into the next one, which would end with the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
“That is what last night gave us – a good solid basis to reflect, internalise and reconstruct the goal for the next period,” he said.
Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula reacted with greater diplomacy than when the host side crashed out of the Nations Championship (Chan) tournament, following a heavy 3-1 defeat against Nigeria in their final group A clash at Cape Town Stadium in January.
“What I saw there was not a problem of coaching, it was a bunch of losers, who don’t have any respect for this country and don’t have any respect for anybody,” Mbalula said at the time.
He said he stuck by what he said about the team and believed the loss against Brazil should be a good indication of where Bafana were, and where the team needed to go.
Mbalula said South Africa had lessons to learn from the way Brazil had gone about their preparations ahead of this year’s Fifa Soccer World Cup.
He said Brazil had built a national team from the ground up by developing their talent, and they had been focused and disciplined with a clear plan to be victorious when they host the global showpiece.
“South Africa has no crisis of talent; the question is, do we have a vision, do we have a plan to build a formidable side?” Mbalula said.
“We will support Safa in the realisation of its objective; there has to be a firm foundation and discipline. We need many friendly… games and a clear plan to ensure that our national team is getting somewhere.”
Ghana’s Black Stars started their World Cup preparations on a disappointing note after they lost 1-0 to Montenegro in an international friendly played on Wednesday.
Montenegro handed Ghana a good test as the much-physical Brave Falcons came up tops before an expectant home crowd at the Stadium Pod Goricum.
Dejan Damjanovic scored an early goal from the spot past Adam Kwarasay after Ghana defender David Addy had tripped an opponent in the box.
The Black Stars were not lacking in ambition as attempts by Majeed Waris, Michael Essien, Jordan Ayew, John Boye, Sulley Muntari, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Asamoah Gyan failed to find target.
For the Ghana coach, Kwesi Appiah the competition for places is still on as he fine-tunes his squad for the World Cup in Brazil.
It was the first warm-up for the Black Stars before the May announcement of the 23-man World Cup squad.
Appiah will now look ahead as Ghana line up another international friendly against the Netherlands in Rotterdam on 31 May.
Ghana line up
Adam Kwarasey, Daniel Opare, David Addy/Samuel Inkoom, Jerry Akaminko, John Boye, Michael Essien/Kwadwo Asamoah, Christian Atsu/Asamoah Gyan, Agyemang Badu/Sulley Muntari, Majeed Waris, Jordan Ayew/Kevin-Prince Boateng, Mubarak Wakaso/Albert Adomah.
Stephen Adams, Jonathan Mensah, Andre Ayew
Seven Brazilian players have arrived in South Africa for Wednesday’s match against Bafana Bafana with the rest scheduled to arrive at OR Tambo International Airport later on Monday.
The match will take place at FNB Stadium and will kick off at 19h00.
Fred from Fluminense, Jo, a striker with Athletico Mineiro and goalkeeper Jefferson who plays for Botafogo, landed at OR Tambo Airport at 07h15 on Monday morning while Chelsea’s quartet of David Luis, Ramires, Oscar and Willian jetted in three hours later at Lanseria Airport.
The rest of the European based players, including crowd favourite Neymar, will touch down at OR Tambo at 22h00 on Monday.
The match, to mark 20 years of Freedom, will be used by both teams to unveil their new kit.
The Samba Boys will unveil their FIFA 2014 World Cup playing kit while Bafana Bafana will showcase their new limited edition Nike gear.South Africa will also be handing over the baton to the next World Cup hosts Brazil.
Sources close to former Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni have rubbished reports claiming the veteran coach has signed a contract with 2014 World Cup finalists Ivory Coast.
A report in prestigious sports daily ‘Gazzetta Dello Sport’ claimed the veteran coach has just signed a four-year contract with Ivory Coast, which would initially involve working with youth team players but which could see him take over the senior national team after this summer’s World Cup finals in Brazil.
Furthermore, it also suggested that the 75 year old Italian trainer’s right hand man in the Ireland set-up,Marco Tardelli, would also be working as his number two with the African team.
The Gazzetta report stressed his appointment would have no impact on the current Ivory Coast coach, Sabri Lamouchi. Ivory Coast are are grouped with Colombia, Greece and Japan in the first round of this summer’s World Cup.
A source close to him admitted to the Irish times that whilst it is true that Trapattoni met with the Italian Honorary Consul to the Ivory Coast in Milan this week, no deal had been concluded.
Furthermore, the consul, Fabrizio Iseni, was in no way delegated to ‘negotiate” on behalf of the Ivory Coast Football Federation.
Although it appears that some sort of tentative negotiations had been opened with Trapattoni, his advisors this evening categorically ruled out any future negotiations or deal with the Ivory Coast.
Toronto FC striker Bright Dike has been ruled out of Nigeria’s World Cup campaign after suffering a torn Achilles.
Dike had been expected to play a key role for Toronto FC in 2014 and was a candidate for the Super Eagles’ World Cup squad, but his latest injury has put an end to those dreams.
The injury comes almost two years after Dike suffered the very same problem with the Portland Timbers. He worked his way back from that injury and played well enough to attract the attention of the national side.
The 27-year-old showed some flashes of his pedigree for the Canadian club in 2013, but it was his goalscoring performance in Nigeria’s 2-2 friendly clash against Italy in November that saw him rise to prominence.
Director-General of the National Sports Commission (NSC), Gbenga Elegbeye, has urged Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi to redirect his attention towards Nigeria’s preparation for the World Cup, following the teams return from South Africa.
Elegbeye commended the Super Eagles for emerging as the third best team in the just concluded Chan tourney, and urged the Keshi-led technical crew of the national team to prepare themselves better for the World Cup so as to do the nation proud.
“The most important competition in the game is the World Cup and I am using this medium to tell them to put the Chan competition behind them and start full preparations for the World Cup that would commence in Brazil in June,” he said.
“A decent performance in the competition will put Nigerian football in the positive light and also make sports loving Nigerians happy.”
Elegbeye further assured the team of the continued support of the NSC stating that with all hands on deck, the Super Eagles will surpass the expectations of many in this year’s World Cup in Brazil.
The Pharaohs of Egypt will face Portugal in London on 25 May as part of their preparations for the 2015 African Cup of Nations qualifiers that begin in July, according to reports.
The north Africans will then travel to Russia for a friendly on 1 June.
Egypt, who have not played since the World Cup playoffs in November, will hold their first training camp of the year on 28 February.
Coach Shawki Gharib and his coaching team have been watching the Egyptian Premier League matches closely from the stands in the hope of finding some new talent.
Egypt are hoping for a new era as they prepare for the African Cup of Nations in Morocco in July 2015. They will start their preparation with a friendly against Bosnia in Austria on 5 March.
Portugal will also use the game to prepare for the world cup where they will face Ghana in the group stages.
Ghana defeated Egypt in the play offs to book their place for the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Ghana will play an international friendly against the Netherlands in the Feyenoord Stadium in Rotterdam on May 31.
The match will be part of the Black Stars’ preparations for the World Cup that begins on 12 June in Brazil.
“We have concluded an agreement to play a high-profile friendly as part of our preparations for the 2014 World Cup,” the GFA has announced on its official website
“The Black Stars will play Holland in Rotterdam in May to give us the tough test we need ahead of the World Cup.
“Holland are ranked ninth in the world and are one of the giants in football. Playing them will help the players and technical team prepare for the tournament in Brazil.
“We want to leave no stone unturned in our preparation for the World Cup and we believe the match against Holland will help us a lot in this direction”, the GFA statement said.
Ghana have been drawn in Group G of the World Cup to play the United States, Germany and Portugal