Friday, July 19, 2019

West Brom striker Salomon Rondon follows Rafael Benitez to China

West Bromwich Albion striker Salomon Rondon has followed Rafael Benitez to China to join his former Newcastle United manager at Super League side Dalian Yifang.

The 29-year-old has moved for an undisclosed fee.

Venezuela international Rondon spent last season on loan with the Magpies and scored 11 goals in 33 appearances.

He signed for the Baggies in the summer of 2015, playing 120 games and scoring 28 goals.

De Ligt denies Ronaldo influenced €75m Juventus move

Matthijs de Ligt insists his €75 million (£68m/$84m) move to Juventus was driven by personal ambition, with Cristiano Ronaldo having no influence on his decision to head for Italy.

After seeing his future become the subject of much speculation over recent months, the Netherlands international has finally brought a long-running saga to a close.

The reigning Serie A champions have won the race for his signature, with a highly-rated 19-year-old opting to take on a new challenge in Turin after heading for the exits at Ajax.

It had been suggested that a chat with Portuguese superstar Ronaldo after the UEFA Nations League final in June helped to sway De Ligt’s thinking, but he insists that is not the case.

“After the Nations League final I was already sure that I wanted to join Juventus, but it was still a big compliment to have Cristiano ask me to join here but it didn't make the difference,” De Ligt told reporters at his first press conference as a Juve player.

“I came here because Italy is one of the most traditional countries for defenders. Juventus is a great forwards step for me.

“I spoke to [Maurizio] Sarri on the phone before coming just to get to know each other. He was one of the reasons that I wanted to join here, I've heard a lot of good things about him and I like his footballing philosophy and how he prepares his defence.

“The photo of me in a Juventus shirt was taken when I was about six or seven, at that time Fabio Cannavaro was a defender that I admired. I always had a good feeling about Juventus and I've always been a fan.”

De Ligt is convinced that he has made the right call at this stage of his career, with there a desire on his part to improve his own game in Italy while adding to his collection of major honours.

He said of his ambition: “There are four competitions and we want to win them all. This is the mentality of Juventus.

“It's a big step, my first outside of my home country. I was really honoured with how the Juventus fans welcomed me and I hope that I can give a lot back.

“I'm still young but I feel like I've got a lot of experience for a 19-year-old, that's why I made this move to gain more experience and to learn from the players here.

“I'm 19, I can still improve and I want to do that. It's important to work hard every day and to learn and I hope to become a better player.”

De Ligt will be taking the No. 4 shirt at Juventus and is determined to prove himself worthy of it.

He added: “The number four for me has always been special, I wore it since the youth teams of Ajax. It has an important legacy here too at Juventus, so I hope to live up to this number.”

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Thursday, July 18, 2019

Afcon 2021 Qualifiers: Kenya in Group G with record winners Egypt

Kenya will have to face Egypt, Togo and Comoros Islands as they contest for a place in the 2021 Afcon tournament
Harambee Stars will face current Africa Cup of Nations hosts Egypt in Group G of the qualifiers for the 2021 event.
Other opponents for Kenya in the group are Togo and the Comoros Islands. The qualification ties will be staged from October 7 and will end in November 2020.
The tournament will be held in Cameroon and will also see 24 teams battle for the title since Confederation of African Football (Caf) expanded the number of teams from 16.

John Obi Mikel: Poor Nigeria ending does not damage legendary status

The Super Eagles captain has called time on his international career in inauspicious circumstances, but that does not detract from his legacy
As Nigerian football came out of its golden age in the latter part of the noughties, the larger-than-life personalities that had defined that era began to recede.
On the one hand, it meant reports of indiscipline and wilful indulgence became rarer; on the other, there were fewer polarizing figures and, as such, fewer players capable of provoking any kind of strong emotion in the minds of the public.
In that sense, John Obi Mikel is both distinct and a throwback, in that he is one of the few Nigerian footballers of the last 10 years able to elicit an impassioned reaction, one way or another.

Afcon 2019: Algeria and Senegal are on another psychological level - Belmadi

The 43-year-old has warned the final is a totally different test to their group stage clash against Senegal
Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi has underlined his team's mission is to make fans happy with victory in the final of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
The North Africans need to see off Senegal in order to rule the continent for the second time in the tournament's history.
Friday's outing will be their third appearance in Afcon finals and their first since their last triumph in 1990.

Zaha Tells Crystal Palace He Wants To Leave

Wilfried Zaha has told Crystal Palace he wants to leave the club amid interest from Arsenal, Sky Sports News understands.
The 26-year-old forward made his feelings clear after returning to Palace following his participation in the Ivory Coast’s Africa Cup of Nations campaign.
The Eagles rejected a bid of £40m for Zaha from Arsenal earlier this month, but the Gunners are expected to raise their offer in the coming days.
Unai Emery has wanted to sign Zaha since he scored in Palace’s 3-2 win at the Emirates in April and he is the Gunners’ number one transfer target this summer.
However, Eagles boss Roy Hodgson made it clear earlier this week a deal with Arsenal for Zaha is a long way off, saying: “I don’t think Arsenal have actually made a bid that has come anywhere near our valuation.
“I’m sure the player realises that if someone’s going to take him away from us, he’ll expect clubs to pay the market value. Until someone does that, there’s not much to discuss regarding Wilf.”

Barcelona Offer £90m Plus 2 Players For Neymar

Barcelona have made a £90m offer plus two players for Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar, according to Sky in Germany.
The La Liga club have given PSG a list of six players that could be included in the deal, including Philippe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembele, Ivan Rakitic, Nelson Semedo, and Malcom.
The identity of the sixth player is not yet known.
It is understood the French club want over £200m for the 27-year-old.
Sky Sports News reported on Tuesday that Neymar had told PSG he wanted to leave, while their manager Thomas Tuchel admitted on Wednesday that he knew the Brazilian was keen on an exit before the Copa America.
PSG sporting director Leonardo said last week that Neymar could leave PSG “if there is an offer that suits everyone”, while also confirming “superficial contact” with Barcelona.
Sky sources understand PSG tried to convince Neymar to change his mind and the Brazil international did not tell his club where he would like to move to.

Benfica postpone Perin transfer after Juventus keeper fails medical

The shot-stopper faces up to four months on the sidelines as his shoulder injury was discovered to be more serious than previously thought
Benfica has confirmed that they will not be completing the signing of Juventus goalkeeper Mattia Perin in the current transfer window due to a failed medical.
Perin, 26, had been set to join the Portuguese giants this week following a single season in Turin.
The two clubs agreed on a fee worth a reported €15 million (£13.5m/$16.8m), with Perin himself describing the opportunity as an "exciting adventure".

Afcon 2021 Qualifiers: Draw pairs Nigeria with Sierra Leone, Lesotho and Benin

The Super Eagles have learned their fate as they hope to make their 19th Afcon appearance in Cameroon
Nigeria have been pooled against Sierra Leone, Lesotho and Benin Republic in Group L of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations billed for Cameroon.The draw ceremony took place on Thursday evening at the plush Marriott Hotels in Cairo, with African football icons, Nwankwo Kanu, Samuel Eto’o, Khalilou Fadiga, Geremi Njitap, El Hadji Diouf and Jose Clayton in attendance.
Caf deputy General Secretary of Football and Development, Anthony Baffoe was in charge of proceedings and was assisted by Algerian football great, Rabah Madjer, Eto’o and Nigeria’s Kanu.
The 48 teams were drawn into 12 groups of four teams, in addition to the four winners of the preliminary round.

See Why Pinnick Was Removed As CAF Vice President

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), has explained why Amaju Pinnick, was removed as the 1st Vice President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) on Thursday.
A statement by Ademola Olajire, NFF Director of Communications in Abuja, said Pinnick’s tenure along with that of the 2nd and 3rd Vice Presidents ended on Thursday.
Giving reasons for Pinnick’s removal, Olajire said: “In line with Article 22 (4) of the CAF Statutes, every two years when elections are held at the CAF Congress (as took place today), the CAF Executive Committee on the proposal of the CAF President, elects a 1st, 2nd and 3rd Vice President, respectively from among its members.
“Significantly, the renewal of Amaju Pinnick’s tenure was not proposed by the CAF President because of fundamental differences on focus and direction.
“Pinnick accepted the decision of the President as it aligned with his own view having considered matters surrounding the administration of African Football which have dovetailed into the Nigerian Football space.
“He will, however, remain a bonafide member of the CAF Executive Committee to continue with his mandate as such,” the statement said.

Real Reason NFF Cannot Sack Rohr Revealed

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) will not be able to sack Gernot Rohr easily, because of what it would cost them.
Findings by DAILY POST showed that Rohr, who has one year left on his contract with the federation, has a $1million (N360m) payment clause inserted in his deal.
The NFF would have to pay him that sum if he is fired before the end of his contract.
Rohr led the Super Eagles to a third-place finish at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, beating Tunisia 1-0 on Wednesday.
But there have been calls for the 66-year-old to be dismissed, because of the poor style of play and what many perceive to be a lack of tactical astuteness.
But NFF president, Amaju Pinnick, speaking before the Tunisia match, ruled out cutting the German loose.
“He (Rohr) will remain in the job. I have complete confidence in him.
“Gernot took us to the semi-final, the target we set for him. Right now, we have a third-place match to play for and we intend to have our team leave Egypt with honour.
“There are some people that have been calling on me and the federation to sack Gernot. But I am not going to do that. In fact, Gernot is going on a refresher training period with Bayern Munich after the Nations Cup. We have a long-term plan with him.
“We have had rocky and difficult moments in our relationship, but this is normal in any relationship between two people.
“He is a good coach and we want him to remain with us. That said, we will work together on what needs to be improved upon,” Pinnick said.
Rohr has recorded 20 wins in 35 matches, drawn five and lost 10 since he took charge of the team in 2016.

Man Utd boss Solskjaer hints at Henderson frustration

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjer has explained why Dean Henderson was omitted from the club's tour of Australia.

It was believed that Henderson was staying in England to sign a new contract with United before back to Sheffield United on loan for the 2019/20 season.
Instead, Henderson was given an extended break after the U21 European Championships and will now link up with the Red Devils in China.
"Well, at the moment he's back in England training," Solskjaer said. "He had a 10-day break after he trained for us the first week, he needed a break after the Under-21s.
"Of course, we're debating whether he should travel and come with us or stay and train in England. I thought maybe it was best for him to come here.
"David [de Gea] has a temperature and fever that built up today, so didn't want to risk him getting worse. Hopefully he'll play against Inter. And Lee's injured, so we've only got two 'keepers."

Trippier thrilled to work under Simeone after completing Atletico Madrid switch

Kieran Trippier is delighted at the prospect of working under Diego Simeone after completing his move to Atletico Madrid.

England international Trippier officially joined LaLiga giants Atleti from Tottenham on Wednesday, signing a three-year contract in a deal reportedly worth €22 million (£20m).

Trippier impressed in England's charge to the World Cup semi-finals at Russia 2018, but struggled to recapture that form for Spurs last term. This led to boss Gareth Southgate having excluded the former Tottenham man from the UEFA Nations League finals that were played by England at the end of last season.

Serie A side Napoli expressed firm interest despite this drop-off in performance, while Juventus and Manchester United were also linked with a potential bid for the international. Yet it was Atleti who ultimately secured the right-back and it would seem that having the opportunity to work with former Argentina international Simeone was a major factor in Trippier's move abroad to Madrid.

"It's an amazing feeling. I've always wanted to play abroad and what a place to play," Trippier told Atleti's official website.

"A fantastic team, an unbelievable manager and I'm just looking forward to getting on with it now.

"They've been to some major finals, they've done so well in LaLiga over the years. They have world class players and a brilliant manager.

"I can't wait to work with the manager, learn from the manager and help the team be a success in the future. You can see how close he is with his squad."

De Ligt completes €75m Juventus move from Ajax

Juventus have completed the €75 million (£68m/$84m) signing of centre-back Matthijs de Ligt from Ajax on a five-year contract.

De Ligt agreed personal terms with Juventus last week that will see the defender earn €12m (£11m/$13m) per season - €8m in basic salary with €4m in bonuses.

And the 19-year-old has now finalised his move to Juve, a deal that will equal €85.5m (£77m/€96m) with additional costs, with the Bianconeri seeing off competition from a host of Europe's top clubs, including Barcelona, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain.

De Ligt's agent Mino Raiola has claimed that there was an agreement with Ajax for the defender to leave this summer if a suitable offer was made.

After Ajax and Juventus went back and forth over the price for De Ligt, the Dutch champions finally agreed to sell their in-demand teenage defender.

He arrived in Turin on Tuesday and underwent a medical on Wednesday ahead of the completion of his move.

De Ligt has become one of the most highly-coveted defensive prospects in Europe since making his senior debut for Ajax in 2016.

This past season, De Ligt helped Ajax to the Champions League semi-final, where his side fell just short of the final in a heartbreaking last-second defeat to Tottenaham.

De Ligt made 55 appearances in all competitions in 2018-19, scoring seven goals while leading his side to a domestic double.

The teenager has also become a regular at international level, having earned 17 caps for the Netherlands since making his senior debut in 2017.

Jürgen Klopp on James Milner: 'I'm blessed to manage him'

James Milner’s enduring excellence means Liverpool’s vice-captain remains an invaluable resource for Jürgen Klopp.

The upcoming campaign represents the fifth of Milner’s Anfield career and the No.7, now 33 years old, has looked as fit as ever in the early weeks of pre-season.

The Reds’ friendly wins over Tranmere Rovers and Bradford City that preceded their tour of the United States both featured impressive 45-minute run-outs from Milner, who netted twice at Valley Parade last Sunday.

And Klopp has explained why the Champions League-winning midfielder’s influence is of vital importance to his squad, both on and off the pitch.

“There have not been many,” the boss told in Indiana, when asked if he has ever worked with a player of Milner’s ilk before.

“I was blessed to have a few players like this; Sebastian Kehl, for example, at Dortmund was a more experienced player in a very young team and was a leader in that team, like Millie is. And I think Millie improved his football a lot in the last two or three years as well.

“His attitude is outstanding. Millie is a sports guy, in each sport he is doing he is brilliant. Without Millie it wouldn’t have been possible. His kind of a little bit dirty dressing-room talks, I cannot do, these things you say in the dressing room that I am not allowed to say in public. That’s the last little kick and that’s nice.

“We have so many leaders in the team: Hendo of course, Millie of course, Gini, Virg, all these guys, they are in a different way all leaders. They know what to do and they will know it for a new season.

“Millie looks again in the pre-season like [he’s in] in his early 20s; but he isn’t, he knows that, and we try to respect that. But he is not only in the game not really stoppable, in training it’s the same. All good.”

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Gianluca Mancini joins AS Roma

AS Roma have completed the signing of Italy defender Gianluca Mancini from Atalanta in a deal that could be worth up to €23 million.

Mancini  will join AS Roma on an initial one-year loan deal for a fee of two million euros but  they would subsequently have to make the 23-year-old's move permanent for an additional €13 million.

The Fiorentina youth product has been capped twice by Italy, and made 30 league appearances last season for Atalanta scoring five goals.

Stuart Dallas covered in blood after being caught in the face by Man Utd forward Anthony Martial

Leeds star Stuart Dallas was covered in blood after being punched in the face by Anthony Martial in a pre-season 4-0 defeat by Manchester United.

The play was briefly stopped before the Whites midfielder was hauled off the pitch and replaced by Bryce Hosannah.

Dallas suffered a nasty cut above his eye after being accidentally caught in the face by Martial in the second half.

And he left him bloodied on the pitch, forcing Marcelo Bielsa to make a change and send Hosannah on to replace him.

That came as another blow for the Whites boss as Leeds were already losing 3-0 when he lost his star to the injury.

Martial then went on to settle the result at 4-0, netting from the spot with 20 minutes to go.

Mason Greenwood opened the scoring before Marcus Rashford and Phil Jones also got on the scoresheet.

Bielsa's men lost their first game this summer.

They beat two sixth-tier sides last week, defeating York City 5-0 and Guiseley 2-1.

Aubameyang compares Ozil to USA star Rapinoe as Arsenal ace reveals he bleached hair after losing bet to Lacazette

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has mocked Mesut Ozil's blonde hair as he compared him to USA star Megan Rapinoe.

And the German has revealed he made a drastic change to his look because of a lost crossbar challenge bet to Alexandre Lacazette.

Ozil has admitted Arsenal star Lacazette, 28, was behind his transformation - and that he wasn't the Frenchman's only victim.

The German told Sports Direct Football: "I lost a bet. Or we lost a bet against Laca.

"Crossbar challenge yeah. Me, Sead [Kolasinac] and Shkodran Mustafi so we lost all together."

Aubameyang has laughed at Ozil's "best ever haircut" on Instagram, comparing it to that of Women's World Cup winner Rapinoe.

Robbie Savage’s son Charlie named in Man Utd’s Under-18s squad for the new season

Robbie Savage’s son Charlie, 16, has been part of the academy for a number of years, following in his dad's footsteps as a central midfielder.

But next season he will make the step up to the Under-18s as one of the club's first-year scholars.

And father Robbie tweeted to congratulate the older of his two sons.

He said: "So proud of @charliesavage48 starting as a 1st year scholar at the biggest club in the world.

"Dedication, desire and sacrifices to get to this point! Now the hard work starts."

#AFCON2019: Fuse ODG to perform at closing ceremony

Afropop singer, Fuse ODG has been named as one of the artists to perform at the closing ceremony of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON which is being hosted Egypt.
After 3-weeks of exhausting football matches full of surprises and entertainment, the curtains will be drawn down on Friday 19th July, before the final game between North Africa’s Algeria and the Teranga Lions of Senegal.

Fuse ODG took to his twitter page to announce that he will be performing at #AFCON2019 closing ceremony.

He tweeted “Touch Down Egypt with the team!! Happy to announce I’ll be performing at the closing ceremony for African Cup of Nations Finals. Me ready to rep! It’s a worldwide movement… #AFCON19#NewAfricaNation”

Steve Bruce Appointed Newcastle United Manager

Newcastle United have appointed Steve Bruce as their head coach on a three-year contract.

The Magpies who have been without a manager since Rafael Benitez left when his contract expired in June, to join up with Chinese Super League club Dalian Yifang, have quickly snapped up the Former Sunderland manager Bruce, who resigned as Sheffield Wednesday boss on Monday following talks with Newcastle at the weekend.

He will be joined by coaches Steve Agnew and Stephen Clemence, who have been part of his coaching team at some of the clubs he has worked for in the past.
Steve Bruce's appointment has led to widespread debate among fans, some of whom still feel angered by the fact that a deal could not be struck for Benitez to stay on at St James' Park after more than three years at the club.

Most of the criticisms have gone the way of the Owner Mike Ashley for his failure to properly invest alot of money needed to sign quality players to help move the club forward.

'I owe everything to Wolves' - Coady feels lucky to be part of 'mad' club growth

The skipper is at the heart of the club's pre-season tour to China, where owners Fosun have their headquarters, and is ready for the new season ahead
It’s a sign of the times when Wolverhampton Wanderers are opening a megastore in Shanghai’s prestigious Bund Finance Centre, at the heart of the city’s commercial district. But it serves as a useful indicator for the scale of the ambitions of the club’s Chinese owners, health and financial conglomerate Fosun, whose own headquarters sits next door to the megastore.
It’s a slightly surreal sight to see the famous and traditional Wolves logo plastered all over not only replica shirts but fashionable tops, t-shirts and any other kind of apparel that you might think of.
And it’s here, wedged between some of the most iconic skyscrapers in the world, in one of the world’s richest cities.

Emery eyes four new arrivals ahead of new season

The Gunners have been left frustrated in the transfer market thus far but their manager insists they are doing all they can to bolster their squad
Unai Emery insists Arsenal are looking to sign "very big, very expensive players" as the Gunners try to boost their squad ahead of the new Premier League season.
The Emirates Stadium outfit have been left frustrated in their pursuit of reinforcements so far this season having seen a series of bids knocked back or negoatiations drag on longer than expected.
Celtic have rejected two bids - the latest of which was worth £25 million ($31m)- for Scotland international left-back Kieran Tierney while Arsenal are struggling to raise the funds required to sign Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace.

Afcon 2019: Rohr targets strong finish to Nigeria's campaign

The tactician was the subject of contrasting messages from fans after the Algeria defeat, but he remains focused on finishing on a high
Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr called on his Super Eagles players to put their defeat against Algeria behind them and focus on ending Afcon 2019 on a high note.A 2-1 defeat to the Desert Foxes in the semi-final means Nigeria will slug it out with Tunisia for the third-place prize on Wednesday.
Prior to the match, Rohr has talked up the importance of getting a win against Alain Giresse’s men, while insisting his side has a bright future despite their failure to win a fourth Afcon diadem.
“We will keep focused on the third-place playoff and hope to sign off with a happy result,” he told the media.

Aubameyang jokes Ozil looks like Megan Rapinoe as he reveals his new bleach blonde hairstyle

The former Germany star lost a bet to team-mate Alexandre Lacazette and his new style has been compared to that of the USWNT star
Mesut Ozil looks like Megan Rapinoe, his Arsenal team-mate Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has joked, after the former Germany international revealed his new bleach blonde hairstyle.
Aubameyang posted photographs of the pair side-by-side on his Instagram story, writing: "Now I know how they won."
Rapinoe took home the Golden Boot as she helped the USWNT to Women's World Cup glory in France, with her netting six times over the course of the tournament, including the opening goal of the 2-0 victory in the final.

Arsenal bid for Zaha nowhere near enough - Hodgson

The Gunners are trying to prise the Ivory Coast international out of Selhurst Park but have struggled to meet the Eagles' valuation
Arsenal have not come remotely close to matching Crystal Palace's asking price for Wilfried Zaha, according to Roy Hodgson.
The Gunners are in the market for wingers and Zaha is at the top of a list containing Barcelona's Malcom and Ryan Fraser of Bournemouth .
Zaha has generally refrained from commenting on the speculation but, earlier this month, his brother Judicael made a public plea for Palace to sanction the 26-year-old's "dream" transfer .

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Bafana coach Stuart Baxter has already taken a decision on his future

Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter knows the decision he is going to take on his future‚ but he cannot reveal it just yet.

After Bafana bowed out of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) having progressed a lot further than skeptical fans at home might have predicted‚ Baxter said he knows what his future holds.

Bafana were knocked out of the tournament after they lost 2-1 to Nigeria in the quarter-finals on Wednesday night.

The coach has hinted for months now that he might leave the national team job regardless of how they performed at Egypt 2019.

At a breakfast with journalists early in the year‚ before Bafana had qualified for the Afcon‚ Baxter said he might leave even if they beat Libya - which they did in Tunisia to qualify for the tournament.

Baxter was asked as he left Cairo International Stadium on Wednesday night after the defeat against Nigeria if he knows what his decision on his future is.

“Just about‚” he responded.

Asked again if he knows‚ Baxter responded:


Asked if he could reveal it‚ he said: “No.”

After shocking hosts Egypt 1-0 in the upset of the tournament during the last-16 stage with a high-pressing game plan that was perfectly executed‚ Baxter kept the same starting XI and a 4-3-3 formation against Nigeria.

But the Super Eagles pushed Bafana far deeper and bossed the game.

“We weren't brave enough in the first half‚ the way we did it without compromise against Egypt‚ we didn't do it without compromise [against Nigeria]‚” said Baxter.

“We ended up being a bit 50/50‚ and they played in-between us. And I said at half time‚ we need to be braver‚ we need to commit to pressing‚ or we need to commit to dropping off.”

“And I also thought our possession was too ball-side‚ it was too slow. And in the second half we opened the game up better. We got into pockets where we could launch attacks from. “Even though we didn't get to those wonderful goal-scoring situations‚ we were always threatening them. And I think that's what we changed and that's what we did better‚ and we had a game in the second half.”

Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr said he knew it would be difficult for Bafana to replicate the Egypt performance for two games in succession.

So the Nigerians turned up the physical battle‚ and pace up-front to get on top in the game and stay there.

“We knew that as well. And I would have like to change [the XI] a little bit for Nigeria‚ but the confidence was so high from Egypt that I think if you change you run the risk of players not being on board‚” Baxter said.

“So we went with the same type of game. But we just didn't drop off at the right times‚ we got chasing the ball‚ and they got in-between us. And that was the threat.”

Bafana's quarterfinal appearance was the first outside of South Africa since the Nations Cup in Mali in 2002.

Tiger Woods defends his lack of golf ahead of British Open

Tiger Woods has shrugged off concerns about his lack of golf heading into this week's British Open, saying he needs to carefully manage the remaining years of his career.

Woods has played only 10 competitive rounds since winning the Masters in April and his last tournament start was at the US Open.

By the time the 43-year-old tees up on Thursday he will have gone 32 days without playing competitively.

"Last year, I played too much. I played 17 events," Woods told a news conference on Tuesday. "And a lot of it was trying to qualify for certain events.

"So this year I made a conscious effort to cut back on my schedule to make sure that I don't play too much.

"I want to play here as long as I possibly can. And you have to understand, if I play a lot, I won't be out here that long," the American former world number one said.

"So it's understanding how much I can play, prepping how much I do at home and getting ready. And that's the tricky part is trying to determine how much tournament play I need to get the feel for the shots and also understanding where my body is," Woods added.

"I'm trying to figure it out and trying to play enough golf to where that I can compete and win events."

Woods said his Masters victory took a lot out of him and he went on a two-week family vacation in Thailand after finishing tied for 21st at the US Open last month.

"It's not quite as sharp as I'd like to have it right now," he said.

"My touch around the greens is right where I need to have it. I still need to get the ball -- the shape of the golf ball a little bit better than I am right now, especially with the weather coming in and the winds are going to be changing.

"I'm going to have to be able to cut the ball, draw the ball, hit at different heights and move it all around.

"Today it was a good range session. I need another one tomorrow. And hopefully that will be enough to be ready," he said.

Woods, who has 15 major titles to his name, reiterated his view that the British Open offers one of the best chances of adding to that tally.

"It allows the players that don't hit the ball very far or carry the ball as far to run the golf ball out there," he said.

"And plus, there is an art to playing links golf.

"It's not -- okay, I have 152 yards, bring out the automatic 9-iron and hit it 152. Here, 152 could be a little bump-and-run pitching wedge. It could be a chip 6-iron. It could be a lot of different things.

"Being able to control it as best you possibly can in the air to control it on the ground allows the older players to have a chance to do well in The Open Championship."

Passenger gives police statement about 'hit' on Marc Batchelor

Police investigating the purported "hit" on Marc Batchelor have obtained a statement from a passenger who was not injured when the striker's SUV was pierced by bullets in Olivedale, Johannesburg.

"His gardener was with him in the car and we have obtained a statement from him because he is a witness," police spokesperson Col Lungelo Dlamini told TimesLIVE on Tuesday. "Fortunately he was not injured."

Dlamini said they were still searching for the suspects responsible for the murder of the retired footballer who was gunned down inside his BMW on Monday evening.

"No arrests had been made so far. We are still investigating the case," said Dlamini.

The former Chiefs, Pirates and Sundowns striker was shot dead near his home.

Dlamini said that suspects on a motorcycle shot Batchelor "before he could drive into his premises at Olivedale after 6pm".

"We believe his wife was at home at the time of the shooting."

"He was shot through the window several times and died at the scene. The motive for the attack is unknown at this stage as nothing was taken. No suspects have been identified."

Journalists, onlookers and neighbours gathered at the crime scene.

Batchelor's former teammates on Monday reminisced about the time they spent with him.

Pollen Ndlanya, who played with the towering forward, said Batchelor was a dedicated player.

"He would always redouble his efforts at training and during matches. He made an invaluable contribution to football and would always give young players advice," Ndlanya told Sowetan.

"People misunderstood him for being arrogant because of [him being outspoken]. Yes, he was short-tempered but that didn't make him arrogant."

Ex-Bafana Bafana player shot dead by gunmen

Former Bafana Bafana player and TV presenter Marc Batchelor has been shot dead outside his home in Johannesburg.

Batchelor was gunned down in Bryanston, Johannesburg on Monday evening at about 6pm South Africa’s time. The ex-footballer was said to be in the car with his gardener, when the assailants on motorbike, approached and shot him through the car’s window.

“He was shot through the window several times and died at the scene,” Lungelo Dlamini, police spokesman said.

“Police are investigating a murder case after a former soccer player, Marc Bachelor was attacked by two men driving a motorbike in Olivedale outside his house. He was shot several times and died inside his vehicle. The suspects then drove away without taking anything. The motive for the attack is still unknown. No one has been arrested,” said Dlamini.

Paul Put, the head coach of Guinea has been sacked alongside his entire staff by the country’s Football Federation after their disappointing performance at the 2019 African Cup of Nations in Egypt.

The Syli Nationale were eliminated from the competition after a 3-0 loss to Algeria in the Round of 16. During the group stage, Guinea managed a win, a draw and a loss in Group B.

The 63-year-old Belgian football coach was sacked after a Monday meeting.

“The Guinea Football Federation (FGF) have decided to amicably terminate the contract of Paul Put,"  confirmed.

Put was appointed as Guinea coach in March replacing Kanfory Sylla who was sacked following the failure of Guinea's home-based team at the African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Morocco in January.

The former Burkina Faso, Gambia and Kenya coach was tasked to qualify the Syli National for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, which he achieved but failed to guide the team to the next stage after a 3-0 loss to Algeria in the Round of 16.

Former Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey unveiled as a Juventus player

Wales and former Arsenal midfielder, Aaron Ramsey has been unveiled as a Juventus player.

The 28-year-old Welshman was officially unveiled by the Italian champions in Turin and was handed the No 8 shirt worn by Claudio Marchisio, Antonio Conte and Didier Deschamps.

'I wanted the No 8, I wore it at Arsenal and when it was free here I had to take it with both hands,' Ramsey said.

'I know Marchisio was an unbelievable player, grew up here and had a fantastic career. I spoke to him a couple of times in J Medical.

'If I can emulate what he did for Juventus I would be pretty proud of that. I know it comes with responsibilities but I am ready for that.'

You want to play football the best you can but it is not the only way to win a football game,' Ramsey added.

'At the end of the day it is about winning. But if you win playing nice football that is the way you want to win. This coach has his own philosophy and I am sure all the players here will adapt to that.'
He later added: 'When I heard that Juventus were interested in me, I thought it would be a dream to come here, as well as a great challenge.

'You can't turn down this opportunity. This is the right club for me. I hope to be a part of the history.

'I think the squad and the players and the manager have all welcomed me very nicely so far. I have spoken to him (Sarri) a few times.
'He is very approachable and easy to talk to. I am looking forward to helping my new team-mates. I am looking forward to the challenge and I hope to play my part.'

Ramsey agreed a four-year deal with the Serie A champions, which will see him earn £440,000 a week.

Nigerian basketball player Calistus Anyichie drowns in US

Calistus Anyichie, a Nigerian-born basketball player died on Sunday after he got drowned at Buttermilk Falls State Park near Ithaca, New York.

The sophomore student at Binghamton University, was a member of the University's basketball team and was majoring in political science before his death.

The body of the deceased was found at the base of a 15-foot bank, after the Crews responded to the drowning at the 300 block of West King Road at upper Buttermilk Falls State Park at around 5 p.m on Sunday.

He had attended St. Mary-Assumption High School, where he played basketball for three years, was the team captain and was also selected all-conference as a senior.

"There are no words. There is no blueprint for how to deal with such a painful loss,"  Tommy Dempsey, head coach of the Binghamton University men's basketball team, said in a statement. "We all loved Calistus so much. He was such a special young man. We are devastated."

It was also gathered that the Nigerian NBA prospect averaged 1.9 points, 2.1 rebounds and 9.1 minutes per game last season at Binghamton.

Adorable photo of Cristiano Ronaldo and his family

So cute!

Manchester United midfielder Fred gets married

Fred got married this weekend and is expected to soon link up with his Manchester United teammates on their pre-season tour. The Brazilian midfielder was a surprise omission from United's 28-man pre-season tour squad named by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer earlier this month and the club confirmed he and Matteo Darmian were both left out due to personal reasons. Fred is believed to have booked his wedding for last weekend as he had hoped to be named in Brazil's squad for the Copa America, which ended on July 7. The former Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder married Monique Salum in a more private setting last year and this year's ceremony appears to have been arranged to give the bride and groom the chance to celebrate with friends and family.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Dangote Hosts Anthony Joshua And Sister On His Boat

African richest man, Aliko Dangote hosted heavyweight boxer, Anthony Joshua and his sister, Janet on his private boat ride.

Janet Joshua wrote…

When Sir Aliko Dangote �� hosts you on his boat

Brazilian player Alessandro fails medical after testing positive for AIDS

Brazilian player Alessandro has failed a medical at Korean club Daejeon Citizen - after testing positive for AIDS.

Daejeon had completed a summer transfer for the player, who was unveiled in a club shirt.

But having undergone tests with club doctors, it was revealed that the player had contracted the disease.

Daejeon immediately cancelled their contract offer.

Once fatal, AIDS sufferers can live with the disease today thanks to medical advances.

Arsenal £25m Tierney bid rejected by Celtic

Celtic have rejected Arsenal's improved £25 million ($31m) bid for defender Kieran Tierney as the Gunners' summer transfer woes continue.

Scotland international Tierney has emerged as Unai Emery's primary target at left-back, with the north London outfit having already seen a £15m ($19m) offer knocked back.

And Goal has now learned that the Bhoys have again turned down a bid from Arsenal, with the Scottish champions unhappy with the structure of the deal, which includes a number of add-ons and clauses so as to reach the eventual £25m fee.

It is expected Arsenal will return with a third offer in the coming days as their wait for a first senior signing of the summer transfer window goes on.

Simona Halep beats Serena Williams to win first Wimbledon tittle

History was made at Wimbledon on Saturday but if you were rooting for Serena Williams, it wasn't what you hoped for.

Simona Halep became the first Romanian to win Wimbledon when she stunned the American 6-2 6-2 in what had to be one of the finest performances in a final in the tournament's recent history.

Halep needed only one more minute than the Czech, 56, to see off the 37-year-old Williams.

Her three unforced errors were the fewest in a Wimbledon final since records were kept in 1998.
"I've always been intimidated a little bit when I faced Serena," Halep, who struck 13 winners, told reporters. "She's an inspiration for everyone and the model for everyone.
"Today I decided before the match that I'm going to focus on myself and on the final of a grand slam, not on her. That's why I was able to play my best, to be relaxed, and to be able to be positive and confident against her."

Djokovic beats Federer to win fifth Wimbledon title

The 2019 edition of Wimbledon ended in a fifth – and second successive – title for Novak Djokovic, with the 32-year old winning 7-6, 1-6, 7-6, 4-6, 13-12 against Roger Federer in a gruelling four hours and 57 minutes.
The world No 3, competing in his 12th final and thus equalling Martina Navratilova's record, was denied his ninth Wimbledon crown by the Serbian as they met in their third final in SW19. Day 13 of the tournament also saw Barbora Strycova and Hsieh Su-wei take the women's doubles in straight sets against Gabriela Dabrowski and Xu Yifan, and the mixed doubles go to Latisha Chan and Ivan Dodig.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Algeria 2-1 Nigeria: Riyad Mahrez fires Desert Foxes into Afcon 2019 final


The 28-year-old’s last-minute free-kick helped the Desert Foxes overpower the Super Eagles at Cairo International Stadium
Algeria defeated Nigeria 2-1 to reach the final of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations(Afcon) on Sunday evening.
Riyad Mahrez scored the winning goal for the Desert Foxes in additional time after Odion Ighalo’s effort had cancelled out William Troost-Ekong’s own goal.
Gernot Rohr stuck to the team that defeated South Africa in the quarter-final, with Samuel Chukwueze, who found the back of the net against Bafana Bafana starting his second game in the tournament.

Afcon 2019: Nigeria will be ready for Algeria – Kenneth Omeruo

The Super Eagles are looking forward to facing the Foxes in Sunday’s Afcon semi-final in Cairo
Kenneth Omeruo is confident the Super Eagles will be ready for Sunday’s Africa Cup of Nations Cup semi-final against Algeria.The classic billed for Cairo International Stadium will see the two teams face each other for the ninth time in Afcon history.
Djamel Belmadi’s men are targeting a second African diadem, while Gernot Rohr’s side are two games away from a fourth Afcon title.
Omeruo is aware of the importance of the game and disclosed that his teammates will not be leaving any stone unturned against the North Africans.

David Luiz challenges 'amazing' Chelsea youngsters to fight for starting spot

The Blues are expected to rely heavily on their academy stars this season under Frank Lampard amid their ongoing transfer ban
Chelsea defender David Luiz has urged the Blues' youngsters to earn their spot in the first-team this season.
With the west London club in the middle of a summer transfer ban, new manager Frank Lampard is expected to give youth a chance, and Luiz has thrown down the gauntlet to Chelsea's young stars.
Billy Gilmour and Mason Mount impressed in the 4-0 friendly victory over St Patrick's Athletic on Saturday, and are just two of the club's starlets who will be hoping for more opportunities in a bid to cement their place in the starting XI ahead of the Premier League opener against Manchester United on August 11.

Afcon 2019: Algeria will do everything to qualify for final - Aissa Mandi

The Desert Foxes will square up with the Super Eagles for a chance to play in their third final of the continental tournament
Algeria defender Aissa Mandi believes his side will 'give everything' to ensure their qualification for the final of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
The Desert Foxes will slug it out with Nigeria in the semi-final of the biennial tournament at the Cairo International Stadium on Sunday in what will be the ninth time these two teams have met in the history of the competition, with a perfectly balanced record of three wins for each side and two draws.
The Real Betis defender admitted both sides have changed since their last match in a World Cup qualifier in 2017 but has assured fans his side will be prepared to give their all ahead of the match.