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Chelsea in South Africa talent search

Posted MOHAMED ALLIE in Cape Town

on  Tuesday, May 16   2017 at  17:47

An exciting initiative in South Africa will give one youngster the chance to take his training to the next level.

Coaches from newly-crowned English Premier League champions Chelsea will conduct trials in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth and Durban in a bid to unearth the next Lucas Radebe or Benni McCarthy.

The initiative is a collaboration between Chelsea and Shield, one of the country's leading deodorant brands.

Was excited

The trials, which will run until September 30, will also be aired on national television.

The winner will get the chance to train with Chelsea at their Cobham base in London.

Ian Woodroffe, international development manager of the Chelsea FC Foundation, said he was excited about the prospect of discovering a future South African star.

Improve the lives

"We know the country holds many players with a huge passion for football. This competition gives them the chance to demonstrate their passion and ability.

"The Chelsea Foundation works hard to improve the lives of young people all over the world and we look forward to extending our work in South Africa‚" said Woodroffe.

The programme is open to all South Africans‚ male and female, aged 18 years and older.

Football pyramid

Sponsors' representative Keegan Alicks said the initiative was designed to inspire ordinary people to chase the dream of champions and would run for three years.

He said: "This will give everyday people an opportunity to train with the best and move in the direction of becoming a champion.

"This is to afford aspiring professional footballers a real-life feel of what it takes to make it at the top of the club football pyramid, including hard work, practice and absolute dedication - both on and off the field."

Local coaches will help choose the winner in conjunction with the Chelsea coaches and a club legend who will also come out to South Africa. (BBC Africa)

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Ivorian Seri named best African player in France

Posted OLUWASHINA OKELEJI in Lagos

on  Monday, May 15   2017 at  13:54

Cote d'Ivoire and Nice midfielder Jean Michael Seri has been named best African player in France's Ligue 1.

The 25-year-old picked up the Marc-Vivien Foe trophy after finishing ahead of Algeria's Ryad Boudebouz (Montpellier) and Cameroon's Nations Cup winning captain Benjamin Moukandjo (Lorient).

The annual award is named in honour of Cameroon international Foe who died after collapsing on the pitch in 2003.

The accolade

Seri is the second Ivorian to win the accolade after Gervinho who won it back-to-back in 2010 and 2011.

Capped 13 times by the Elephants thus far, Seri has been influential for Nice this season, scoring six goals and providing nine assists to help them to third in the league.

Seri began his career with Ivorian giants ASEC Mimosas followed by stints in Portugal with FC Porto and Paços de Ferreira respectively.

Group stage exit

He joined Nice in June 2015 and played in all 38 league matches in his first season, scoring three goals as Nice finished fourth in Ligue 1.

Having made his international debut against Sierra Leone in September 2005, he played for Ivory Coast at this year's African Cup of Nations in Gabon where the defending champions suffered an embarrassing group stage exit.

Last year's winner, Sofiane Boufal of Morocco, played for Lille before joining English Premier League side Southampton.

Previous winners of the Marc-Vivien Foe trophy:

  • 2016: Sofiane Boufal (Morocco/Lille)
  • 2015: Andre Ayew (Ghana/Marseille)
  • 2014: Vincent Enyeama (Nigeria/Lille)
  • 2013: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon/Saint-Étienne)
  • 2012: Younès Belhanda (Morocco/Montpellier)
  • 2011: Gervinho (Cote d'Ivoire/Lille)
  • 2010: Gervinho (Cote d'Ivoire/Lille)
  • 2009: Marouane Chamakh (Morocco/Bordeaux) (BBC Sport)
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MTN signs $5m Cameroon soccer deal

Posted NDI EUGENE NDI in Yaoundé

on  Sunday, May 14   2017 at  12:24

South Africa mobile telecom MTN has agreed a three-year $5 million (FCFA 3 billion) sponsorship deal with the Cameroon Professional Football League (LFPC).

According to the agreement signed in Yaoundé, MTN Cameroon will invest $1.7 million (FCFA 1 billion) in the local soccer annually for the next three years.

MTN Cameroon CEO Philisiwe Sibiya, who penned the deal on behalf of the firm, said the company’s wish was to see Cameroon regain the dynamism and influence once associated with its football.

The five times continental champions are preparing to host the 2019 African Cup of Nations.

“The agreement that we are executing today is borne of our collective ambition to raise the performance bar of local football to the level of that of the Indomitable Lions; kings of Africa, our pride,” said Sibiya.

She said a lion’s share of the telco firm’s direct contribution would be shared among the 36 clubs of Cameroon’s top flight championships; the Elite One and Two; which will be renamed MTN Elite One and MTN Elite Two clubs.

Despite the abundance of talent, Cameroon football was hampered by economic hardship, observers say.

The launching of the on-going 2016/2017 football season, for instance, witnessed repeated postponements, largely due to logistics and financial deficiency.

Apart from bigger clubs like Coton Sport of Garoua, many Cameroonian clubs depended largely on members’ private contributions with players’ salaries often in a crisis.

LFPC President Pierre Semengue, who inked the deal on behalf of the beneficiary, said the gesture would galvanise and propel the league to greater heights.

The LFPC president said the cash would be used to raise the standards of living of local soccer players “through the disbursement of handsome salaries” which he believed would “significantly curb” the frightening wave of exodus of young talents in search of greener pastures abroad.

He urged other companies to follow MTN's example and support soccer in the country.

The firm sponsored Cameroon’s top flight leagues from 2002, but backed out in 2013 and since then, the national divisions One and Two championships have been limping due to lack of sponsorship.

Until the return of MTN, the limping league had only stayed afloat, thanks to meagre state support.

Football legends like Joseph Antoine Bell and Rigobert Song were also present at the ceremony.

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Ghanaian judge to head Fifa's Disciplinary Committee

Posted BBC Sport

on  Thursday, May 11   2017 at  20:22

Ghanaian Anin Yeboah, a supreme court judge, has been elected as chairman of Fifa's Disciplinary Committee.

He was voted in for a four-year term at Thursday's congress of football's world governing body in Bahrain.

Yeboah was a member of Fifa's Ethics Committee last year.

He was one of several Africans voted onto committees at the congress, including Rwanda's Martin Ngoga as deputy chairman of the investigatory chamber of the Ethics Committee.

Africans elected on to Fifa committees at 67th Congress:

Disciplinary Committee

Chairman: Justice Anin Yeboah (Ghana) - Supreme Court Justice

Members: Maclean Letshwiti (Botswana), Guy Akpovi (Togo), Mahmoud Hammami (Tunisia)

Appeal Committee

Members: Jean-Louis Atangana Amougou (Cameroon), Alberto Simango (Mozambique)

Ethics Committee - investigatory chamber:

Deputy chairman: Martin Ngoga (Rwanda) - Former Prosecutor General

Members: Janet Katisya (Kenya)

Ethics Committee - adjudicatory chamber:

Members: Justice Ayotunde Phillips (Nigeria)

Audit and Compliance Committee:

Members: Andrew Kamanga (Zambia)

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Fifa ratifies nine African World Cup places

Posted BBC Sport

on  Wednesday, May 10   2017 at  12:22

The Fifa Council has ratified that Africa will get nine automatic places when the World Cup expands to 48 teams in 2026 at its meeting on Wednesday in Bahrain.

The continent currently has five spots at the tournament.

A 10th African country will take part in a six-nation play-off tournament to decide the last two spots.

The Bureau of the Fifa Council made the original proposal of how it planned to allocate the 48 places on March 30.

The expanded World Cup will feature 16 teams from Europe.

Fifa members voted in January to expand the World Cup from 32 to 48 teams, starting with the 2026 edition.

Allocation:

  • Asia: 8 direct slots - increased from 4.5 (currently 46 members)
  • Africa: 9 direct slots - increased from 5 (currently 54 members)
  • North and central America: 6 direct slots - increased from 3.5 (currently 34 members)
  • South America: 6 direct slots - increased from 4.5 (currently 10 members)
  • Oceania: 1 direct slot - increased from 0.5 (currently 11 members)
  • Europe: 16 direct slots - increased from 13 (currently 55 members)

    Final two places in 2026 decided by six-team play-offs

NB: Currently teams from Asia, north and central America, South America and Oceania play-off for two places hence .5 spots above.

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New Caf president turns down salary

Posted BBC Sport

on  Monday, May 8   2017 at  15:22

The new Confederation of African Football (Caf) President, Ahmad Ahmad, says he has refused to accept a salary from African football's governing body.

His election in March ended Cameroonian Issa Hayatou's 29-year reign.

"I've refused a Caf salary for the simple reason it doesn't respect good administration," he told BBC Sport.

"The salaries of all Caf employees, from administrators to the executive committee and president, all have to be transparent."

Important point

The 57-year-old from Madagascar held his first senior Caf meetings on Monday ahead of the Fifa Congress on Thursday.

Key among the topics being discussed are how to reform Caf.

"The reform of the administration is a very important point - everyone must know what is happening" said Ahmad.

"First we must review the standards of management so that we can apply the reforms.

Ahmad says there is much work to be done - in lots of areas - to make Caf work "as it should.

"I'm sorry to tell you when I was part of the Caf Executive Committee there was no separation of powers - the judicial body, the executive one and the congress - and we have to respect the independence of each body," he continued.

"There is a big tendency to monopolise power in the executive committee.

"It has to be reviewed and reformed with new statutes for Caf so that everyone can concentrate on their proper tasks.

A full review

Ahmad has also voiced concerns about the popularity of their flagship Africa Cup of Nations tournament saying it's in danger of being overshadowed by the African Nations Championship (CHAN) which is for locally based players.

He says in light of these concerns, there will also be a full review of all the Caf competitions, and as such, a symposium will be organised to discuss the future of the events.

"The symposium will be made up of representatives from all parts of African football so we can discuss what we are going to do in all the competitions - Afcon [Africa Cup of Nations], CHAN, the youth tournaments and the women's events," he explained.

Ahmad said he was particularly keen to address issues such as dwindling numbers of spectators at recent tournaments, and players increasingly finding themselves in compromised situations with their clubs during Nations Cups.

The presidents

"We need to take into account their situation. We must ensure that the Nations Cup doesn't destroy their careers," he insisted.

"So we are going to review all of that and we will take a decision that suits everyone so that this competition is valued again and attracts more resources and attract bigger audiences in Africa."

Ahmad also spoke about giving more power to the presidents of the individual federations, describing them as the "Sovereign Body" - who "have to make the big decisions for the confederation."

Ahmad has promised to arrange a new Caf congress in due course in order to validate the proposed changes.

He also wants to look at the re-investment of Caf resources to aid the development of football across the continent, stressing that "Caf is not here to make money to enrich itself."

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Kenya's Keitany breaks world marathon record

Posted AYUMBA AYODI in Nairobi

on  Sunday, April 23   2017 at  16:24

Kenya’s Mary Keitany on Sunday clocked 2 hours, 17 minutes and 01 second to break women’s world marathon record with victory at London Marathon.

Keitany broke the 14-year-old record of 2:17:42 set by Briton Paula Radcliffe at the same course by 41 seconds. The feat was enough to also set a new national record.

Radcliffe won the 2003 London Marathon in 2:15:25 but the time was scaled down to 2:17:42 after the Briton used pacesetters in the last kilometres.

Cruising past

It was the 35-year-old’s third victory in London, having won in 2011 in 2:19:19 before defending the title in 2012 with the second fastest time in the history of marathon of 2:18:37, which was also a national record.

Keitany was simply in a class of her own when she led virtually from the start, cruising past the 20km mark in 1:03:25 as she led former Olympic and World 10,000m champion Tirunesh Dibaba by 48 seconds.

Keitany cruised past half mark in 1:06:54 and stretched her lead between her and Dibaba to 1 minute and 18 seconds when she hit the 35km mark in 1:56:20.

Zoomed past

The World record was within sight for Keitany, the 2015 and 2016 New York City Marathon champion, with 2kms to go as she zoomed past the 40km mark in 2:09:38.

Keitany, who entered the marathon history books as the greatest, edged out Dibaba, the triple Olympic and five times World champion at 5000m and 10,000m, to second in an Ethiopian national record time of 2:17:56.

Podium place

Another Ethiopian Aselefech Mergia sealed the last podium place in 2:23:08, beating Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot, who was running her first marathon race to fourth in2:23:50.

World Marathon silver medallist Helah KIprop from Kenya was placed seventh in 2:25:39 as compatriot Florence Kiplagat settled ninth in 2:26:25.

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Caf chief visits Somalia

Posted ABDULKADIR KHALIF in Mogadishu

on  Monday, April 17   2017 at  13:58

The Confederation of African Football (Caf) President Ahmad Ahmad arrived in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Monday.

Ahmad, who hails from Madagascar, is making his first visit to the troubled Caf member state since his election in Addis Ababa, last month.

The 57-year-old football chief was received at Mogadishu’s Aden Abdulle International Airport by the Somali Youth and Sports Development minister Khadija Mohamed Dirie.

Civil conflict

Also present at the seafront airport were the President of Somali Football Federation Abdigani Said Arab and other sports officials.

The Caf president was scheduled to visit sports grounds in Mogadishu in bid to encourage the game that has been affected by years of civil conflict.

His candidacy

Ahmad sent shockwaves around the football world when he defeated Cameroonian Issa Hayatou, who held the Caf position for 29 years.

Prior to announcing his candidacy in January, few had ever heard of Ahmad.

He now holds the future of the African game in his hands, a task he says he has what it takes to accomplish.