FIFA to Calm Next International Match Fixture Burden

Fifa needs to take care of the players when it plans the next international match calendar, the head of a key committee at soccer’s governing body told Reuters on Thursday.

Victor Montagliani said that the international calendar and the transfer system were among the priorities for the football stakeholders committee, which brings together representatives of the players, clubs and leagues.

The current match calendar runs until 2024 and allows for around eight to 10 international matches per year in addition to major tournaments such as the World Cup, European championship and Copa America.

Top players can easily play 60 to 70 matches in a season for their clubs and national teams.

“It’s a pretty busy match calendar, so we need to take care of the players, all of us, because at the end of the day, that’s what we’re all here for,” said Montagliani, who is also president of Concacaf.

“The Fifa staff have started collecting data in terms of people’s opinions… they have started to talk to coaches, they have talked to players, they have talked to all the stakeholders.”

The new committee, which met for the first time on Thursday, was set up after soccer’s governing body Fifa was engulfed by a series of corruption scandals.

Its members include former international players Cafu and Edwin van der Sar, AS Roma chief executive Umberto Gandini, Bundesliga CEO Christian Seifert and Philippe Piat, head of the world players’ union FIFPro.

The committee’s role includes advising the Fifa Council on “all matters relating to football, particularly the structure of the game, as well as on all technical matters.”

Relations between FIFPro and the clubs have sometimes been tense, with the union regularly complaining of clubs who do not respect players’ contracts.

In 2015, FIFPro made a legal complaint at the European Commission against the transfer system which is said was fundamentally flawed.

However, Montagliani said there was a positive mood at the meeting.

“Everybody understands that if people are coming to the committee with a zero sum game mentality, nobody is going to win,” he said.

“The game needs to be better so if the game gets better, everyone will win.

“I thought it was very good, very positive and the right attitude was there.”

 

Bafana Bafana Stars Uncertain About Match Against Angola

South Africa’s 3-1 over Guinea-Bissau on Saturday in Durban came with a price as four Bafana Bafana players are doubtful for the international friendly match against Angola on Tuesday.

Defenders Erick Mathoho (skin abrasion) and Thulani Hlatshwayo (ankle sprain) as well midfielders Dean Furman (groin) and Andile Jali (shoulder dislocation) are being monitored by the national team’s medical staff.

The quartet missed Bafana Bafana’s first training session at Sisa Dukashe Stadium in Mdantsane on Sunday night.

Mathoho and Hlatshwayo formed the central pairing in defence against Guinea-Guinea Bissau while Furman was in the heart of midfield alongside Kamohelo Mokotjo.

Jali came on as a substitute in the 58th minute, replacing Themba Zwane, but was stretchered off in referee’s OPTIONAL TIME – just a few minutes after scoring South Africa’s third goal from the penalty spot.

His place was taken was taken by Tiyani Mabunda.

Bafana will have their final training session on Tuesday night at Buffalo City Stadium at 7pm.

“It’s a concern when you have players injured but the good thing is that we have brought a good number of players with lots of quality so we will not rush these ones back. We had already said we are going to make changes so if the quartet doesn’t recover on time for the match we are still covered. After tonight’s training session, we will have to check their status with the medical team and take it from there,” said Bafana stand in coach Owen da Gama.

The South Africans arrived in East London on Sunday afternoon, while Angola landed on Monday morning.

Tickets for the match are still available at Computicket, Shoprite as well as Shoprite Checkers outlets for R60 all round.

 

Source: Supersport

Pogba Brothers Clash in International Friendly

Paul Pogba’s two elders brothers Florent and Mathias will both be in international action over the next week after being named by Guinea in their squad for a friendly international against Gabon and Cameroon.

To get ready for June’s kick off of the 2019 African Nations Cup qualifiers, Guinea will play Gabon in Le Havre on Friday and African champions Cameroon in Brussels next Tuesday.

The Guinea side has been training in Lisses, on the outskirts of Paris, this week under coach Kanfory Lappé.

German-based Naby Keita pulled out through injury, joining captain Ibrahima Traore and striker José Kanté Martinez on the sidelines.

SQUAD:

Goalkeepers: Abdoul Aziz Keita (AS Kaloum), Thomas Nguettia (Louhans Cuiseaux, France), Abdoulaye Sylla (Hafia),

Defenders: Alseny Bangoura, Alsény Camara (both Horoya), Fodé Camara (Hassania Agadir, Morocco), Sékou Condé (Amkar Perm, Russia), Florentin Pogba (St Etienne, France), Issiaga Sylla (Toulouse, France)

Midfielders: Ousmane Baldé (FK Vereya Stara Zaghora, Bulgaria), Alkhaly Bangoura (Etoile Sahel, Tunisia), Boubacar Fofana (Al Khaleej, Saudi Arabia), Mohamed Mara (Lorient, France), Ibrahima Sory Sankhon (Horoya)

Forwards: Aboubacar Demba Camara (Paris FC, France), Lonsana Doumbouya (St. Polten, Austria), François Kamano (Girondins Bordeaux, France), Alhassane Keita (Maritimo, Portugal), Mathias Pogba (Sparta Rotterdam, Netherlands), Seydouba Soumah (Slovan Bratislava, Slovakia).

 

Source: Supersport

Iheanacho Rescues Super Eagles With Late Penalty

Manchester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho’s penalty seven minutes from time secured a 1-1 draw with Senegal, preserving Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr’s unbeaten record on Thursday.

Veteran striker Moussa Sow had given the Senegalese — ranked five places higher than the Nigerians in the African football rankings — the lead early in the second-half.

That goal looked like giving the Teranga Lions a first win in their last 14 meetings, dating back to 1977, in a match watched by just over 2 000 diehard fans in Barnet.

The spectators had to sit through a pretty uneventful first 54 minutes before 31-year-old Sow struck to give Senegalese coach Aliou Cisse, one of the stars of their remarkable run to the 2002 World Cup quarterfinals, hope of ending the winless run.

Nigeria were unable to impose themselves despite Rohr selecting the likes of Arsenal forward Alex Iwobi, Leicester City duo Wilfred Ndidi and Ahmed Musa as well as Iheanacho.

However, Rohr withdrew Iwobi shortly after the hour mark sending on Oghenekaro Etebo and Isaac Success who replaced the ineffectual Moses Simon.

Cisse must have thought he had played his winning hand when he responded by sending on Liverpool star Sadio Mane with 25 minutes remaining.

However, it was the Super Eagles who were to find the wherewithal to equalise — even more impressive given that experienced hands like Jon Obi Mikel and Odion Ighalo were not picked for the squad so they could have time to settle in their clubs in China.

For Rohr, whose side play Burkina Faso in a friendly once again in Barnet on Monday, it extends his unbeaten run since taking over last August to four, including two victories in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers over Zambia and Algeria which sees them four points clear of their rivals.

The two friendlies serve as a warm-up for hosting South Africa in June in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier before returning to the World Cup fray later in the year with games against Cameroon, Zambia and Algeria.

For Senegal, Equatorial Guinea await in June’s opening round of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers before they too turn their minds to their bid to reach Russia next year with games against Burkina Faso, Cape Verde and South Africa.

They are presently third a point adrift of Burkina Faso and South Africa.

 

Source: Supersport

Cameroon Name Squad for International Friendly

Cameroon has picked the squad for their international friendly match, that will be taking place in June. Two stars has been chosen who did very well in the 2017 African Cup of Nation, defeating Egypt in the finals last month.

Marseille midfielder Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Schalke striker Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting were recalled for a friendly against Tunisia in Monastir Friday.

They were among eight of the preliminary Cameroon Cup of Nations squad who withdrew before the list was cut to 23, saying their club careers in Europe were more important.

Belgian coach Hugo Broos promised not to hold grudges against the “rebels” and has kept his word for matches against Tunisia and Guinea four days later in a Brussels suburb.

Another “rebel”, Liverpool defender Joel Matip, has ruled out playing again for the five-time African champions.

He told the London Times his international career was finished after numerous complaints about chaotic preparations for internationals went unheeded.

“My international career is finished,” he said. “I wanted to continue representing Cameroon, but promises were never kept.”

Turkey-based Vincent Aboubakar, who scored the late winner in the 2-1 final triumph over Egypt in Libreville, is among the 23 players called up.

Tunisia, quarterfinals losers to Burkina Faso at the Cup of Nations, are ranked fifth in Africa, two places below Cameroon.

Ghana are the only top-10 nation not in action between Friday and Tuesday during the Fifa international window as countries prepare for 2018 World Cup and 2019 Cup of Nations qualifiers.

New Belgium-born Ivory Coast coach Marc Wilmots will watch from the stands when the 2015 African champions play Russia in Krasnodar Friday and Senegal in Paris Monday.

Caretaker boss Ibrahim Kamara has axed misfiring English Premier League strikers Wilfried Bony and Max-Alain Gradel after a disastrous Cup of Nations defence.

The “Elephants” failed to win a group game in Gabon and were among the eight first-round casualties.

Burkina Faso, who exceeded Africa Cup expectations by finishing third, face resurgent Nigeria in London Monday.

Many Nigerians were unhappy when German Gernot Rohr was named coach last year, but World Cup qualifying wins over Zambia and Algeria silenced critics.

Watford striker Isaac Success is among six uncapped players in the “Super Eagles” squad.

South Africa have suffered from the lack of a consistent scorer for many years and hope Portugal-based teenager Luther Singh could be the long-term solution.

The striker starred at the 2017 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations in Zambia with a hat-trick against Cameroon propelling him to the leading scorer award.

Bafana Bafana (“The Boys”) host shock 2017 Cup of Nations qualifiers Guinea-Bissau in Durban Saturday, and Angola in East London Tuesday.

 

Source: Supersport

International Friendly: Super Eagles Call Tope Okeowo

Nigeria’s goalkeeping crisis has taken a new dimension as Tope Okeowo of non-league English side Peckham United has been called up to the Super Eagles for the international friendlies against Senegal and Burkina Faso.

Visa hitches means South Africa-based Daniel Akpeyi’s arrival at the camp was delayed as Ikechukwu Ezenwa is still expected in camp from Nigeria.

Carl Ikeme was the only goalkeeper in training as on Monday and Tuesday and this prompted the handlers to hand a late call-up to the former Golden Eaglets goalkeeper.

Okeowo told supersport.com that he is happy with the call-up even though it came as a huge surprise to him.

“I’m short of words and I can’t really explain what this means to me. It is a honor to be called up to the Super Eagles. I almost didn’t believe it when I received the call,” he said.

“This is not my first time playing for the national team. I was part of the 2003 Golden Eaglets squad to Finland 2003.

“Coach Austin Eguavoen was the coach then and we had the likes of John Obi Mikel, Chinedu Obasi, Chamberlain Ekrebe, Adetoro Morufu and Ezekiel Bala in the squad.

“I enjoyed that experienced but I must say I’m surprised by this call-up. I give glory to God and my lovely wife.” Okeowo added.

Nigeria will take on Senegal at Barnet FC’s ground on Thursday before meeting Burkina Faso next week Monday to round up their two-game international break.

 

 

Source: Supersport

International Friendly: Nigeria vs Senegal

Nigeria will on Thursday face Senegal in the first of two international friendlies lined up for the team in the latest FIFA international window.

The game will be played in London at Barnet FC’s ground aptly named ‘The Hive’ in what should be an entertaining clash of teams who have similar styles.

The Super Eagles and the Teranga Lions will use the game to test their readiness for the start of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations as well as the resumption of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

Senegal is looking to get back into gears after a disappointing campaign at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon.

The Lions were tipped by many to lift the title, but after a blistering start to the tournament, the were edged out by eventual champions Cameroon on penalties at the quarter-final stage.

Coach Aliou Cisse knows he has to get the Lions back on winning ways for another shot at the Africa Cup of Nations and the World Cup.

The game against a resurgent Nigerian side will be the proper test for the Teranga Lions who are four places above their Nigerian counterparts on the Fifa rankings.

Cisse has assembled a crack squad that includes Liverpool’s Sadio Mane, Kara Mbodji of Anderlecht and Cheikou Kouyate while handing maiden call-ups to Moussa Wagué (Eupen), Adama Mbengue (Orlando City) and ex-France U-20 international Opa Nguette (Metz).

Senegal is third in Group D of the 2018 Africa zone of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers with 3 points from two matches. Cisse will look to change all using the Nigerian game a cue to get his wards ready.

Gernot Rohr has rejuvenated the Nigerian squad since taking over late last year. He has won all his games in charge and seems to have instilled a sense of belief and confidence in the Super Eagles again.

The Super Eagles [below] failed to qualify for Gabon 2017 after missing the 2015 edition in Equatorial Guinea but look well on course for a place at Russia 2018.

Stanley Amuzie Believes, Super Eagles Will do Well at International Friendly

Former under-23 left-back Stanley Amuzie has thrown his weight behind the Super Eagles as they gear up for the two international friendly games, against Senegal and Burkina Faso.

The Super Eagles will engage Senegal at Barnet Football Club’s ground ‘The Hive’ on Thursday and then play the Etalons of Burkina Faso four days later.

The two friendlies in London are being used to get the team ready for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers which start in June and the resumption of the 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifiers in August.

Amuzie, who was not called up to the team for the two games, believes the friendlies will be a good test for the Eagles as Senegal and Burkina Faso are worthy adversaries.

“I’m happy we secured the games against some of Africa’s toughest teams. Senegal with all their stars will be a very good test for Nigeria while Burkina Faso are also tough as they showed at the last Africa Cup of Nations,” the Sampdoria defender told supersport.com.

“It will help prepare the team for the tough tasks ahead as we have to do all we can to qualify for the World Cup and Nations Cup.

“These kind of games are good for the players and the coaches too. It will enable them to see areas that need to be worked on.

“I believe Nigeria will do well in the games as the new coach has shown what he can do in the few games he has been in charge. I won’t be in London to cheer the team because I’ve been mandated to stay behind and train by my club.

“The team is always close to my heart whether I’m there or not. I’m always cheering them. Despite being a player, I’m also a huge fan of the team as I always pray for them to succeed.”

Brazil to Face Argentina at International Friendly

Brazil will play Argentina in an international friendly on June 9 in Australia, the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) said on Thursday.

“The stage for the game will be the Melbourne Cricket Ground, an arena with a capacity for 100 000 people,” the CBF said.

South America’s two most high profile teams frequently play friendly matches in neutral venues.

Argentina currently top the Fifa rankings, with Brazil in second