Cote d’Ivoire have maintained their position as the best-placed African country in the latest FIFA World Rankings released on Wednesday.
Egypt regained second place on the list from free-falling Ghana who drop to third, with Burkina Faso and Nigeria making up the top five.
Senegal, South Africa, Cameroon, Algeria and Tunisia round out the Top 10 and will go into Saturday’s draw as top seeds in their respective groups.
It ensures that none of the above will be pooled together in the group stages of qualifying, though there are a few big names that all will be hoping to avoid, the likes of Morocco, Mali, Guinea and Gabon.
Only the top teams in each group will advance to the final stage of qualifying which will involve a two-legged play-off tie to determine Africa’s five representatives.
But before all that, the 24 lowest ranked sides in Africa must compete just to get into the group stages.
They will play-off in a two-legged tie, with the 12 better ranked sides, namely Gambia, Mozambique, Congo DR, Togo, Liberia, Tanzania, Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Namibia, Burundi being drawn against the 12 lower ranked teams.
They are Madagascar, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Chad, Swaziland, Comoros, Lesotho, Eritrea, Somalia, Djibouti, Mauritius, Seychelles.
Mauritania have withdrawn from the qualifiers and so will not be taking part.
These 24 sides will be drawn in a two-legged tie that will be played on November 11 and November 15 this year, with the 12 teams to qualify from those matches to join the remaining 28 teams in the draw.
The 40 sides will then be drawn into 10 groups of four sides and they will play on a home and away basis in a round-robin format that will last from June 2012 to September 2013.
The ties between the group winners will be played in October and November 2013, meaning the qualification process in its entirety is two years long, taking in 154 matches.
Tottenham Hotspurs have confirmed the signing of Under 17 World Cup wonder-kid Souleymane Coulibaly.
The 16-year-old stole the show at the recent tournament in Mexico by finishing top scorer with nine goals in four games for the Ivory Coast.
His tally included a hat-trick against Brazil and four against Denmark as he equalled former Liverpool striker Florent Sinama Pongolle’s record from ten years ago in three fewer games.
The striker has been dubbed the new Didier Drogba and was reportedly being tracked by Real Madrid.
Coulibaly joins from newly promoted Serie A side Siena, where he failed to make a first team appearance.
He joins goalkeeper Brad Friedel and fellow youngster Cristian Ceballos in moving to White Hart Lane this summer.
Souleymane Coulibaly has received the award for emerging top goalscorer at the just ended U-17 World Cup which was won by hosts, Mexico.
The budding talent grabbed the world’s attention with his early scoring spree which ended him with nine of the eleven goals scored by Elephanteaux.
The Ivorians appeared set on their way to the grand finale until their fine progress was halted by France in dramatic circumstances and Coulibaly was quick to recognize the role played by his teammates in making him the tournament’s star man.
“I want to thank all those who said good things about me,” Coulibaly told Fifa’s website after receiving his accolade.
“My team-mates and I had a wonderful moment in Mexico. The defenders ignored some spaces which I exploited to score those goals. But mostly, this recognition goes to my team-mates who assisted me.”
Coulibaly lives with his father in Italy where he plays for the youth team of Siena.
Tagged as the ‘new Drogba’, a host of top clubs have shown interest in the lad, including Real Madrid and Tottenham.
Nigeria, Cameroon and Cote d’Ivoire have received a written apology from a whistleblower who alleged Caf executive members took bribes to favour the Qatar World Cup bid.
Arab-American Phaedra Almajid has been outed as the whistleblower and admitted to former World Soccer editor Keira Radnedge that she did something very wrong.
“I did something very wrong and I have to do everything I can to put the record straight. I have to clear my conscience and cannot live with these lies anymore and I am very sorry to everyone I hurt, especially all my colleagues at the Qatar Bid.”
Almajid was employed by the Qatar bid between May 2009 and March 2010 and held the position of International Media Specialist, working closely with chief executive Hassan Al-Thawadi.
Almajid confessed that she fabricated the reports because she was upset at being sacked.
Part of the fabrication included claiming the bid offered bribes to Fifa executive committee members Issa Hayatou, Jacques Anouma and Amos Adamu and that it had been considering financial support for the Argentinian federation led by Julio Grondona, Fifa’s senior vice-president.
Following her confession, she has now sent a statement of apology accompanied by a sworn affidavit of the true facts to Fifa, the Asian confederation, CAF, the Qatar FA, and the Qatar World Cup 2022 Bid Committee as well as to Nigeria’s NFF, Cameroon’s FECAFOOT and Cote d’Ivoire’s FIF.
Adamu and Reynaldo Temarii had earlier been suspended by Fifa on a separate vote-buying charges intigated by a sting carried out by the Sunday Times.
Almajid told Radnedge she had decided to make her retraction “because it is the right thing to do” and insisted she had not come under any outside pressure nor had she been offered any financial inducement.
Ivory Coast coach Alain Gouamene has blamed his team’s capitulation at the 2011 Fifa U-17 World Cup to the country’s recent political crisis.
The Young Elephants quickly raised hopes at the ongoing Mexico 2011 when its wonder kid Coulibaly Souleymane, 16, powered the West Africans to the knockout stage, scoring a record eight goals in the process.
However the then only standing African side in the tournament surrendered a two-goal lead to get beat 3-2 by France at the round of 16 stage.
But Gouamene says their eventual loss stemmed from lack of preparatory competitions as a result of the five-month post-election crisis that hit the west African nation early this year.
“After the African Youth Championship held last January, my team was plunged into a state of inactivity for five months due to the political crisis in the country,” Gouamene told the Ivorian FA website.
“I only maintained the framework of the squad and added some few professionals before we went for a two-week fine tuning in France and Mexico ahead of the competition. Nothing more than that,” he said.
However, the former Cote D’Ivoire international believes his team has a bright future.
“I’m happy because technically, my boys produced a beautiful football and this generation will be heard of in the near future,” he added.
Three second-half goals gave Brazil a convincing 3-0 victory over Equatorial Guinea on Wednesday that secured top spot in women’s World Cup Group D for the 2007 runners-up.
Erika struck in the 49th minute and Cristiane doubled the advantage at the 54-minute mark before completing a brace with a penalty in injury time.
Brazil finished Group D with a perfect nine points and a goal difference of 7-0 as they booked their place in the quarter-finals in ominous fashion.
The South American powers will play the second-placed team in Group C, either Sweden or the United States, on July 10 in Dresden.
Equatorial Guinea depart their first World Cup with zero points, having scored two goals and conceded seven.
Brazil head coach Kleiton Lima made just one change to his line-up, with Renata Costa replacing Daiane in the middle of the back three.
His Guinea counterpart Marcello Frigerio also swapped one player from the starting formation, with Laetita playing in defence in favour of Chinasa.
In front of 35,859 spectators in Frankfurt, Brazil came close to scoring just 60 seconds in, with Marta’s free-kick from the right side a bit too long for Erika as it sailed just wide of the far post.
Brazil were a bit wasteful with their cross-field passing in the first quarter-hour and Equatorial Guinea finally challenged the Brazil goal from a corner kick in the 18th minute.
Brazilian goalkeeper Andreia made a superb save a minute later after Anonman latched on to a long free-kick into the box.
Lima’s side set up further forward after half-time and it paid off straight away as the Brazilians took the lead with a magnificent goal.
Marta’s cross from the left was batted away by Guinea keeper Miriam but only just past the penalty spot, where Erika juggled the ball to her left foot and blasted home for her ninth goal in 17th appearances.
Marta was again free on the left flank shortly afterwards and the superstar set up her side’s second goal with a low cross that Cristiane flicked home at the near post.
Cristiane nearly scored again in the 63rd minute but her header went just over the bar.
The Africans remained determined to score and had a solid chance with 12 minutes to play as Anonman’s free-kick from a yard outside the box went just wide of the left-hand post, to the disappointment of the Frankfurt crowd.
Cristiane sealed the win in the 93rd minute, converting from the spot into the lower-right corner after Bruna took down Marta in the box.
It was Cristiane’s 43rd goal in 59 caps.
The 2010 Fifa World Cup hosted in South Africa has been adjudged the best ever at least in terms of revenue, Danny Jordaan, CEO of the South Africa 2010 World Cup has disclosed.
The World Cup raked a whopping $4.2 billion in proceeds to FIFA, which was 53 per cent higher than the preceding World Cup held in Germany and which accumulated $2.6 billion to FIFA.
Jordaan made the revelation at the 36th Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG) Awards Night held in Accra on Saturday.
The huge success of the 2010 World Cup, he said, has demystified the erroneous impression about the African continent – impressions which denied the continent the right to host the tournament – for hundred years.
He said since 1904 when FIFA came into being, the African continent was denied the opportunity to host the World Cup largely because of perceptions that “there cannot be a viable and profitable World Cup in Africa.”
To consider Africa an option, there were arguments that FIFA must accumulate “enough reserves because it will go bankrupt” after an African host.
Some were expecting buses to be late, others were expecting flood lights to go off intermittently during games, Jordaan narrated, and yet after South Africa 2010, the chorus has been deafening –“2010 was the best ever World Cup.”
“We will never have another World Cup like that,” he said, adding, “There will not be a World Cup where the host nation supports all teams even after it is eliminated from the group stage.”
“We will never have another World Cup where Desmond Tutu will be dancing at the opening ceremony and Nelson Mandela making an appearance at the stadium.
“There will not be another World Cup with the Octopus Paul supporting one team or the other,” he intimated.
Quoting from ex-South Africa President Thabo Mbeki, Mr Danny Jordaan said “the 2010 World Cup gave Africa its second liberation” and “made the world understand that we are equal.”
He was rapturous in appreciation of the sterling performance of the Black Stars and for making Africa proud.
“No wonder when the Bafana Bafana was eliminated the whole of South Africa became “Baghana Baghana,” he noted.
He said Africa must assert itself in its endeavor and charged African leaders to take decisions and be ready to take responsibility for those decisions.
Striker Asamoah Gyan was named the sports personality of the year in the 36th edition of the Sports Writers Association of Ghana Awards held in Accra on Saturday.
The Sunderland ace fend off competition from international teammate Richard Kingson and IBF bantamweight boxer Joseph Agbeko to emerge winner of the grand prize in a colourful ceremony held at the Banquet Hall of the State House.
Gyan also picked up the award of Footballer of the Year beating competition from Richard Kingson and Andre Ayew.
The 25-year-old gained international recognition in the year under review(2010) when his three goals helped the Black Stars to an unprecedented 2010 Fifa World Cup quarter finals berth – equaling the African record in the tournament in the the process.
His exploits at the mundial earned him a £13m move to English side Sunderland where he became an instant hit with the fans at Wearside.
Gyan, affectionately called Baby Jet, led Ghana’s attack and sent them to the final of the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola in February but lost out on the trophy to Egypt.
The ex Liberty Professionals player came second to Cameroonian Samuel Eto’o in the 2010 Caf Footballer of the year award.
His popularity became profound when his was featured by hiplife artiste Castro to produce the famous African Girls hit track.
Veteran Nigeria striker Perpetua Nkwocha has announced her international retirement.
The 35-year-old’s announcement follows the Super Falcons poor performance at this year’s Fifa Womens World Cup in Germany where they failed to make it past the group stages.
“This is certainly my last World Cup and the best time to leave the stage for the younger ones to express themselves.
“Nobody can say that l have not contributed to the growth of the game, but right now it is time to move up in life,’ she said.
Nkwocha has represented Nigeria at four African Women Championships between 2002 and 2004, winning all four, three Olympic Games tournaments and three World Cups.
She overtook Mercy Akide as the leading goal scorer at the African Women Championships, although she has failed to score at the World Cup.
It is an imbalance she is keen to redress.
“We have the game against Canada being our last but all hope for me is not lost even though l thought that by now l would have scored,” she said.
“Against France l played very deep and against Germany l played in the midfield so maybe this time around l could be placed in the good position that would enable me score.”
Ivory Coast surrendered a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 to France early Friday to crush out of the 2011 Fifa U-17 World Cup.
Two goals on any day should be enough to win a football match but the Young Elephants inability to defend well proved to be their achilles hill with their thrilling 3-3 draw against Brazil in their final group game serving enough caution.
Early strikes from inform Souleymane Coulibaly who by the way is all but certain to grab the top scorer award with nine goals in four games and Diarrassouba gave a wrong impression of a stroll in the park for the remaining African team in the tournament.
However an impetus goal from the penalty spot before the end of the first half by Yassine Benzia.
After an even first 20 minutes in the second half, Benzia became the hero of the French attack, first playing a vital part in France’s equaliser.
His piercing pass found space behind the defence of Les Elephanteux, and Lenny Nangis exhibited a tremendous burst of pace to run onto it in the left side of the box. He also showed strength and a powerful shot to hold off two defenders and blast the ball past the keeper.
Benzia switched back to scorer from provider in the 74th minute, and this time there was no question about the quality as he gathered the ball at the end of some loose play and snapped a 25-yard shot past the diving goalkeeper. The dramatic winner gives him five goals in four matches, and he is the second-top scorer in Mexico behind Coulibaly.
In the final 10 minutes, the tiring Africans pushed forward as best they could and the match opened up at both ends.
Jean-Eudes Aholou’s long-range effort screamed past the bar from a tight angle in the 80th minute and shortly after Ibrahim Coulibaly ran strongly into the French box only to be let down by his final touch when he seemed likely to test the keeper.
Things got even more harried after Nangis was sent off in the 86th minute for a second yellow card, but Côte d’Ivoire‘s Guy Bedi was unable to convert a good chance from the middle of the area in the dying seconds as their hopes drifted away.
This tournament has been one of the poorest showings by African teams with all (Congo, Burkina Faso and Rwanda) but one (Ivory Coast) leaving the competition at the end of the first round.
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