After a disappointing showing at the FIFA Club World Cup competition in Morocco, Ahly have returned to Egypt with star midfielder, Aboutreika, ready to hang his boots.
The African club champions suffered a shock 5-1 defeat by Mexico’s Monterrey three days after losing their first game 2-0 to China’s Guangzhou and Coach Mohamed Youssef and his team will start their preparations for the new Egyptian Premier League which kicks off on 26 December.
However, the coach of the side has revealed that he has failed to convince the team’s star player, Mohamed Abou-Treika, to change his mind about quitting football after the Club World Cup.
“I failed to convince Abou-Treika to retreat from his retirement decision,” Youssef told the club’s official website.
“I spoke with the player during the tournament but he confirmed that he has taken his final decision as it’s the right time to quit football,” the tactician concluded.
“Winning the African Champions League and playing in the Club World Cup in Morocco, then goodbye to football and many thanks to all,” Abou-Treika said via Twitter early in October.
The announcement came after the 35-year-old midfielder’s dream of playing in his first World Cup was dashed by Egypt’s 6-1 playoff defeat to Ghana.
South Africa will play five-time world champions Brazil on 5 March, 2014 at Soccer City in a match billed ‘The Samba Time.’
The President of the South African Football Association (SAFA), Dr Danny Jordaan said the Brazil game will officially bring to a closure the issue of ‘us hosting the 2010 World Cup.’
“The Spain game was to celebrate the success of the 2010 event and this upcoming titanic game against Brazil is to wish the next World Cup hosts all the best because 2014 should be a spectacular,” said Dr Jordaan.
“We can only do so by exposing our team to the best football brands in the world and our announcement of Brazil today as Bafana Bafana’s opponents in March is testimony to our goals of making our national side world beaters.
“Matches between Bafana Bafana and Brazil have always been keenly contested dating back to the Nelson Mandela Challenge matches and this will be the fourth meeting between the two sides. Each one of the previous matches has brought spectators to a standstill and this coming one will be no different,” added Dr Jordaan.
“Brazil are arriving in the country as Confederations Cup champions after beating Spain 3-0 in the final. They are favourites to win to next edition of the World Cup, are by far the strongest national team in the world at the moment and have some of the best technical staff in the universe in Carlos Alberto Parreira and coach Filippe Scolari,” said the SAFA President.
Dr Jordaan urged fans to buy tickets now to avoid disappointments. Brazil have worn the World Cup a record five times – 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002. They have also finished twice as runners-up in the World Cup in 1950, 1998.
“You will not get another opportunity to watch the sensational Neymar live in action before the World Cup. Give yourself a Christmas and New Year present by being a proud holder of the ticket to go and watch Bafana Bafana versus Brazil in March,” he said.
Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata has paid a glowing tribute to the late president of South Africa Nelson Mandela, after the Madiba passed away last Thursday.
Mata was a member of the Spain side that won the world cup coincidentally in South Africa and the attacking midfielder still remembers that the late Mandela was present at the stadium when they lifted their first World Cup.
Writing on his blog, the Blues ace said he was very touched by news of the death of the statesman who he described as one of the most influential men in the last decades.
“A true fighter who shall be proud to see us keeping and strengthening his legacy. He was a hero; someone who lived and fought for the world to be fair. He will always be remembered”, the Spain international said in his tribute.
The Chelsea player of the year last season also stated that: “He was someone who understood how powerful sports can be to unite people, to unite countries, no matter the race or the culture”.
Spain will take on the Holland in their first group match of next year’s world cup and Mata is already relishing the opportunity to begin their quest to defend the World Cup against a Dutch side that they beat in the 2010 World Cup finals.
With the World Champions also billed to take on Australia and Chile, another side they met on their way to winning the World Cup.
“I always remember our match against the Netherlands. And what a coincidence: our first match in Brazil will be against them. Also we repeat against Chile: we have good memories from that match in South Africa although it was though to beat them”, he added.
South Africa midfielder May Mahlangu will miss Bafana Bafana final 2014 World Cup qualifier against Botswana after being ruled out of action for four months because of injury.
He suffered an injury while training with his Swedish club Helsingborg over the weekend and will miss South Africa’s clash against Botswana in September.
The 24-year-old will also miss the rest of the season in Sweden after suffering an Achilles tendon injury.
He will undergo an operation this week to help him recover faster from the injury.
“We have noted that the injury is on the Achilles tendon. We have already scheduled a surgery next week. May be he will miss the rest of the season,” says Helsingborg club doctor Harald Roos.
The absence of the influential midfielder Mahlangu is a massive setback for Helsingborg who are chasing the league title as they are second on the league table.
Helsingborg have with 31 points after 15 games and are just a point behind leaders Malmo.
Helsingborg sports director Jesper Jansson says their main focus is to get the South African back in action as soon as possible.
“Now we are focusing only on helping him come back as soon as possible,” said Helsingborg sports director Jesper Jansson.
Mahlangu has been at Helsingborg since 2008 and was a key player in the team that won the league title in the 2011 season.
Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi has denied reports he will recall West Brom striker Osaze Odemwingie for a 2014 World Cup qualifier against Malawi in September.
In January, Osaze blasted both Keshi and the team on Twitter when he was sensationally axed from the country’s build-up to the recent Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa.
And Keshi has now said he has not reconsidered the West Bromwich striker.
“I don’t know where they got that story that am planning to invite Osaze for the Malawi game. I never said anything of such,” Keshi told MTNFootball.com
“Yes, I remember I was asked that question in Brazil at the Confederations Cup and I said, they are Nigerian players, they are still very active, the door is very open, but for now I still have some of my players. I never specifically said this name or that name.”
The former Eagles captain, who made history in February by leading his country to win the 2013 AFCON, also told MTNFootball.com that Villarreal of Spain striker Ikechukwu Uche is still a part of his plans.
“Ike Uche is still much in the team. That he is not here now doesn’t mean he is out of the team,” Keshi explained.
Zambia are embarking on a massive technical shake-up before they meet Ghana in the 2o14 World Cup qualifier in September as coach assistant Honour Janza has been axed from the team.
Janza, who was the assistant when French coach Herve Renard clinched the African Cup of Nations title for the country, has been removed from the post in a bid to boost the side before they face the Black Stars.
The Chipolopolo’s dismal showing since the turn of the year has sparked concerns over the technical competence of some of the staff which has resulted in the decision to demote Janza.
Zambia coach Herve Renard’s assistant has been replaced by Nkana coach Masautso Mwale with the hope that he will provide the support needed to help them defeat the Black Stars in September’s must-win match in Kumasi.
Football Association of Zambia said the decision was with immediate effect and was taken during a executive committee meeting held on June 27 in Lusaka.
“Honour Janza, who has been serving in that position in an interim capacity, reverts to his substantive position of Technical Director of the Football Association of Zambia to spearhead the Associations development agenda in line with the Association’s Strategic Plan,” FAZ spokesperson Erick Mwanza said.
Janza has been part of Renard’s bench since the Frenchman returned for his second spell in charge of Zambia in 2011.
He was also part of the bench of the 2012 Africa Cup winning team.
Mwale was appointed Nkana coach this year after a season-long spell at Konkola Mine Police in 2012.
Goalkeeper Samuel Okani has declared Nigeria are capable of winning the U20 World Cup in Turkey after they reached the Round of 16.
The 19-year-old Enyimba goalkeeper was excited to have kept a clean sheet against Korea Republic in a last group match on Thursday.
“After winning today (Thursday), we could be contenders for the trophy,” said Okani.
“I’m really happy we’ve made the next round, and I kept a second clean sheet in a row.”
He appeared bewildered by the attention focused on him, remaining true to his innate modesty and even appearing a little timid. He had no reason to be, because although he is the shortest goalkeeper at the tournament, he has laid down impressive credentials so far.
“I’ve always played in goal, and right from the start I only ever wanted to play between the sticks, even as a little boy,” he told FIFA.com
He is motivated by the desire to emulate his biggest idol.
“I’m amazed by Iker Casillas,” he freely admitted.
Obuh regards Okani as one of the cornerstones of his team, the kind of player he rates as irreplaceable.
“Chukwunenye is a terrific lad and he was top class again today,” the Nigerian coach said to FIFA.com, “My players look up to him.”
The 53-year-old almost certainly didn’t realise the delicious irony in his choice of phrase.
“What makes him special is his extraordinary leaping ability, and his skill and composure with the ball at his feet.”
Disaster is looming for the Super Eagles as Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) president Aminu Maigari says they will meddle in coach Stephen Keshi’s selection.
Maigari insists coach Keshi will no longer be solely responsible for selecting the squad in the wake of their disastrous outing at the Confederations Cup in Brazil.
Maigari queried Keshi’s selection for the Confederations Cup in Brazil, which Nigeria exited at the group stage, and said he is dissatisfied with the current set-up.
“The Confederations Cup is a big tournament and that’s why the other teams brought their best players,” Maigari told Supersport’s Soccer Africa show.
“Spain brought their best players, but we did not. Why would you bring a local player to play Spain at such a big stage?
‘The coach doesn’t have the sole responsibility on squad selection. We all have to contribute. This team belongs to 165 million people.
“Selections should affect all these people so we cannot continue to let this happen because we need to compete well with others.”
Maigari received widespread criticism for his revelation that the NFF will interfere with team selection.
And Keshi has been quick to assert his belief that the NFF will not meddle in team affairs.
“I understand Nigerians are emotive and sentimental sometimes but all the players that went to Brazil deserved to be there,” Keshi told BBC Sport.
“I’m the coach and I can honestly listen to constructive ideas on how we can improve as a team.
“But no-one has come to tell me who to pick and not to select. If the team fails the coach is responsible.
“As the coach, it’s my decision and responsibility. For now, the local players have earned the rights to be in the team.”
Back in February, Keshi offered to quit his post just hours after leading Nigeria to their first Africa Cup of Nations crown since 1994, following disputes with the NFF.
But he made a U-turn after an emergency meeting with Nigeria’s Sports Minister Bolaji Abdullahi in Johannesburg.
Zambia have revealed a meticulous plan to play Ivory Coast or Togo in a friendly before taking on the Black Stars in September’s must-win 2014 World Cup qualifying clash.
The Chipolopolo are also planning to camp in West Africa in a country with suitable climatic conditions as Kumasi prior to the crunch 2014 Brazil FIFA World Cup qualifier against Ghana.
FAZ general secretary George Kasengele said the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) was considering a country with similar whether patterns as Kumasi where the do-or-die qualifier against the Black Stars is scheduled to be played on September 8.
“We still have not decided on which country the team will camp because it will not make sense to camp the team in Bouake in Ivory Coast or Lagos in Nigeria where the sea level is higher than Kumasi. We are still looking at a suitable country, but it should be definitely in West Africa; we will let the nation know,” Kasengele said.
He said FAZ was also looking at the prospect of a friendly with a top African team, which he did not disclose.
“We are looking at an aspect of playing a friendly with a top African team, I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag just yet,” the FAZ official said.
But sources close to FAZ revealed that FAZ had narrowed down on Ivory Coast and Togo as potential camping sites in West Africa for the Chipolopolo ahead of the decisive World Cup qualifier against Ghana.
Ivory Coast and Togo straddle Ghana on their western and eastern borders, respectively.
A highly-placed source at Football House said they were considering camping in a location with the same altitude as Kumasi where the Group D decider will be played.
Kumasi is a four-hour drive north of Accra and is 45 minutes away by air from the Ghanaian capital.
“We are looking at camping the team in either Cote d’Ivoire or Togo; in one of those two countries centrally located towns that is in line with Kumasi,” the source said, adding; two towns in Ivory Coast have already been suggested for camp.
Ivory Coast’s administrative capital, Yamoussoukro and the country’s second largest city, Bouake are the two camping options available for FAZ.
“A final decision will depend of the type of facilities and security situation in one of those options we are looking at in Togo and Cote d’Ivoire,” the source said.
“However, should they not meet the requirements, we have an option of a third country in West Africa that we cannot name at the moment.”
There are also plans for a proposed friendly against African champions, Nigeria for Herve Renard’s men before flying into Kumasi for the crucial encounter.
Zambia and Ghana are on 11 and 12 points respectively in Group D and the Chipolopolo must beat the Black Stars to advance to the knockout stage which is the final level for the qualifiers to pick the five teams to represent Africa at the World Cup.
The final stage, first leg ties will be played during the weekend of October 11-15 and the final legs will be held during the dates of November 15-19.
Ghana midfielder Sulley Muntari will be dropped for the 2014 World Cup group decider against Zambia in September, the Finder Sports newspaper has claimed.
According to the newspaper, the AC Milan ace has still NOT apologised for throwing tantrums at coach Kwesi Appiah after this month’s clash with Lesotho.
Muntari was unhappy after he was replaced by Emmanuel Agyemang Badu during the penultimate qualifier against Lesotho in Maseru.
He refused to sit on the bench and walked straight into the dressing room, a scenario which has been hugely criticized in the local media.
According to the report Muntari subsequently confronted the coach in the dressing room over the substitution – a fact that the AC Milan player has acknowledged he did.
The incident according to the paper has infuriated the Ghana trainer who is expected to wield the disciplinary axe on the former Sunderland man.
The 28-year-old is yet to publicly show remorse for his behaviour and could suffer the consequences if he fails to apologise to the coach and his team-mates.
“Kwesi Appiah is having a serious rethink about the future of Muntari in the national team,” a source close to the Accra daily claimed.
“Only an unqualified apology can save Muntari for now but Appiah is truly disappointed and hurt by the player’s actions.”
Muntari is a reformed character who has been working as the statesman and peacemaker in the Ghana squad until the latest behavioural setback.