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Sierra Leone coach John Keister says he received death threats prior to naming his squad for the Africa Cup of Nations, which begins on Sunday in Cameroon.

The 51-year-old received two threats - regarding the inclusion of certain players - a day before announcing his 28-man squad and reported them to police in the West African country.

"I think it's very, very sad that it has to come to this," Manchester-born Keister told BBC Sport Africa.

"Whatever walk of life you are in, nobody deserves that."

Keister added: "I don't think it should get to that point where my life is being threatened because people feel players should be in [the squad] - and if they are not, this is what they are going to do."

Keister featured for several British clubs, including Walsall and non-league Margate, during his playing career and was capped by Sierra Leone between 1997 and 2003.

He is in his second spell as national coach and has led the Leone Stars, ranked 108th in the world, to the tournament finals for the first time since 1996.

"We have come a long way [so] there's no reason for [the death threats]," added Keister.

"I've got family, I look after these boys and I have a job to do. It gets me angry and for me, where I have come from and my background, I feel there is something I need to do about it.

"Regardless of the job, I need to do something about it."

His squad, including one-time England defender Steven Caulker and former Middlesbrough striker Kei Kamara, 37, will face holders Algeria, Ivory Coast and Equatorial Guinea in Group E at the Nations Cup.

Source: BBC

An Algerian Footballer, playing for MOULOUDIA SAIDA has died on the pitch after colliding with a goalkeeper, during a game played in Oran between ASM Oran vs Mouloudia of Saida.

28-Year-old SOFIANE LOKAR, a central defender collided with his goalkeeper in the 26th minute of the week 10 Algerian Championship League 2 game.

LOKAR was trying to clear a cross in the 16-yard penalty area.

The Youngster received first aid and returned to the pitch, but could not follow the game and fell down again in the 35th minute.

An ambulance took him to hospital where he passed as paramedics attempted to resuscitate him but failed.

His teammates and football community in general are devastated by the tragic loss.

 

Source: BBC

Algeria won their maiden Arab Cup with a 2-0 win against Tunisia on Saturday after extra-time goals from substitute Amir Sayoud and Yacine Brahimi in Al Khor, a victory that backs up their credentials for the Africa Cup of Nations.

It also underscores North Africa's domination in a tournament that served as a World Cup dress rehearsal for Qatari organizers.

The African champions needed 99 minutes to find the opener through Sayoud against a formidable Tunisian side, who created opportunities and danger of their own but failed to capitalise.

With the last kick of the game, talisman and Qatar-based Yacine Brahimi, clean through on goal, wrapped up the 2-0 victory in the 125th minute to deservedly crown Algeria champions after a formidable tournament.

Algeria had also left it very late in their semi-final against hosts Qatar when Youcef Belaili netted a winner in the 17th minute of injury time.

In response, Qatari club Qatar SC terminated Belaili's contract.

On Instagram, Belaili, who had been at the Doha club since 2020, wrote: "Thank you very much to Qatar SC for the moments spent by your side and a huge thank you to the fans and the management. Now I am a free agent."

On Saturday, both Algeria and Morocco demonstrated the best and the worst of North African derbies with fine build-up play and skillful combinations as well as sloppy passages of play and theatrical interludes.

There was nothing to separate the two sides in Doha until Sayoud struck left-footed in extra-time to leave Tunisia's goalkeeper Mouez Hassen no chance.

Tunisia responded with chances for Mohamed Benalarbi and Ghailene Chaalali, but Brahimi decided the match when Tunisia left their goal undefended, wrapping up a two-week tournament that replaced the Confederations Cup as a warm-up event for the World Cup.

The African continent had six representatives at the tournament, last staged in 2012 but revived by Fifa in an expanded 16-team format to include more participants from across the Arab world and test Qatar's readiness for the World Cup.

Both Sudan and Mauritania exited the competition bottom of their group, but Morocco emerged as strong contenders, scoring nine goals without conceding to be one of four teams - alongside Qatar, Algeria and Egypt - to progress unbeaten from the first round.

Algeria's Arab Cup victory, however, reinforces their credentials to defend their continental crown in January when they start their campaign Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea and Sierra Leone in Group E.

In Qatar, Africa's number side were without their major stars, including Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez.

Countries often travelled with reserve squads because clubs were not compelled to release their players for the Arab Cup, a tournament outside of the Fifa calendar.

It allowed coaches to experiment and assess a number of fringe players in a bid to prepare for next month's Nations Cup.

With Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt - whose fourth-place finished has intensified pressure on coach Carlos Quieroz - in the competition until the last day, the Arab Cup had a distinct North African flavour with fevered fans often igniting the storied rivalries in the stands.

More than 500,000 tickets were sold for the 32 matches across six stadiums, all World Cup venues, the bulk of which went to Qatari residents.

The Arab Cup allowed Qatar's 2022 World Cup organisers to test operations and stage the matches in a bio-secure way through the introduction of Fan IDs and a local contract-tracing application.

The quarter-final between Qatar and the United Arab Emirates at the Al-Bayt Stadium drew 63,439 fans, the single highest attendance ever for a sporting event in Qatar.

The tournament confirmed Qatar's hosting credentials ahead of next year's global finals, which will kick off on November 21 and mark the culmination of the country's decade of super-acceleration.

Qatar projects to spend $200 billion on infrastructure, including $6.5 billion directly on the World Cup, to stage the 28-day extravaganza next year, but the country's reputation has been tested by allegations of corruption and human rights abuses.

Source: BBC

Eritrean cyclist Biniam Girmay has been named Africa's best cyclist of the year by organisers of the La Tropicale Amissa Bongo, an annual cycling tour held in Gabon.

The 21-year-old clinched his second consecutive award ahead of South African Ryan Gibson and two of his countrymen; Merhawi Kudus and Henok Mulubrehan.

Eritreans dominate cycling competitions in Africa in almost all categories, both at the individual and at national team level.

The Horn of Africa nation has recorded six wins at the men's elite African Road Championships, more than any other country, in the last decade.

The country's biggest feat globally came at the 2015 Tour de France when Daniel Teklehaimanot became the first African to wear the polka dot jersey and Merhawi Kudus, then 21, was the field's youngest rider.

Several Eritrean professional cyclists have been recruited by clubs in Europe and South Africa over the years.

Source: BBC

Guinea and Sudan have named caretaker coaches to lead their teams at the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon, which kicks off in just four weeks' time.

Kaba Diawara continues as Guinea coach while Burhan Tia replaces Hubert Velud in charge of Sudan.

French-born former Guinea international Diawara took over temporarily after French coach Didier Six was sacked in October after Syli National failed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup.

Under Diawara, who has been handed the role for the next three months, Guinea drew 0-0 against visiting Guinea-Bissau and then lost 3-0 in Morocco. He will continue to work with Mandjou Diallo.

Diawara, who turns 46 on Thursday, made 15 appearances for Arsenal in 1999 after signing from Bordeaux. The forward went on to play for Marseille and Paris Saint-Germain before making 11 appearances on loan at West Ham.

Meanwhile the Sudan Football Association (SFA) has appointed local coach Tia for the Nation Cup, after parting ways with Frenchman Velud.

The move comes after Sudan lost all three group games at the ongoing Arab Cup in Qatar, conceding 10 goals and failing to score.

Velud had helped Sudan qualify for the Nations Cup for the first time since 2013, after being appointed in January 2020.

As well as the poor showing at the Arab Cup, Sudan also finished bottom of their World Cup qualifying group with three points from three draws in their six group games, as they played Morocco, Guinea-Bissau and Guinea.

The new interim coach Burhan Tia, who will be assisted by Mubarak Salman and Mohsen Said, has worked in the Sudan Premier League for 26 years.

Tia was also Sudan assistant coach during the 2018 Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) as they finished third in Morocco.

The Africa Cup of Nations begins on Sunday, 9 January.

Source: BBC

The Confederation of African Football (Caf) has dismissed rumours that next month's Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) could be moved away from Cameroon following the recent discovery of the new Omicron variant of Covid-19.

The new variant has led to travel restrictions being introduced by some countries for several African nations, with Nigeria, which neighbours Cameroon, the latest to be added to the United Kingdom's 'red list'.

In recent days, some media organisations have suggested the dates of the 24-team tournament could change or even the location be moved, possibly to Qatar.

Caf's director of communications Alex Siewe says neither his organisation nor leading Cameroon officials have discussed such events.

"We can't keep spending time dealing with rumours," he told BBC Sport Africa.

"We did not receive any other message or information from our leaders - nothing such as changing of dates or countries. We did not discuss such during all our last meetings."

"We are on site. We are working."

Africa's football showpiece, which has already been delayed because of the global pandemic, is due to kick off on 9 January in Yaounde with the final on 6 February.

Staff from the Caf arrived in Cameroon this week to organise the Afcon finals.

"An official delegation from Caf has been released and general secretary Veron Mosengo-Omba is joining us in two days," Siewe added.

The European Club Association, an independent body which represents clubs across Europe, has expressed its "deep concerns" regarding player welfare before the tournament, adding that the public health situation "continues to deteriorate in an alarming manner".

Source: BBC

Red Arrows have bowed out of the CAF Confederation Cup despite a two one win over SIMBA Sports Club in the second leg played this afternoon.

The Airmen fail after losing three nil in the first leg which led to a 4-2 aggregate as Simba sailed to the group stage of the competition.

The pre-group stage encounter played at the National Heroes’ Stadium saw Arrows geared to overturn the fixture as RICKY BANDA’s 45th minute cracker restored hope as the team led one nil at half time.

Arrows scored their second goal minutes into the second half, through SADDAM YUSUF making it two nil and three-two on aggregate.

When all thought parity was being restored owing to the numerous chances that the home side had, SIMBA sniffed out the signs of hope as they pulled a goal back to make it 2-1 and 4-2 on aggregate.

The 4-2 aggregate gave Simba all the bragging rights as they wait to know who they will face in the group stage of the competition.

Meanwhile Arrows become the third Zambian club to be ejected out of continental football following the dismissal of ZESCO United and Kabwe Warriors football clubs.

 

Source: ZNBC

Zimbabwe's participation in next year's Africa Cup of Nations is in danger after the board of its football association (Zifa) was suspended by the country's government-appointed Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) with immediate effect.

Football's world governing body Fifa disapproves of governmental interference in the running of member associations and has banned countries from all forms of football as a result in the past.

"This decision has been considered following several incidents of gross incompetence on the part of Zifa contrary to the national interest," said SRC chair Gerald Mlotshwa.

The reasons given for the ban include alleged sexual harassment of female referees by technical staff and allegations of fraud.

The Felton Kamambo-led Zifa board is yet to respond to the suspension, which comes two days after the men's national team ended their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign with a 1-1 home draw against Ethiopia.

Zimbabwe finished bottom of Group G, which also included Ghana and South Africa, with two points from six games.

The SRC, a statutory body mandated to regulate and develop sport and recreation in Zimbabwe, also detailed other reasons for the suspension including alleged mismanagement and lack of accountability in the use of public funds.

"We are prepared in many respects for whatever might happen," Mlotshwa added.

"If Fifa decides to ban Zimbabwean football we are prepared for that. If it does happen we look at it being a short-term measure.

"Zimbabwean football needs this opportunity just to fix itself - if we are out of international football for a year, two years, that's fine. If we are suspended from Afcon next year we are prepared for that, that is fine, we need to deal with football."

The SRC took similar action in 2019 with Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC), setting up an interim leadership and receiving a three-month suspension from the International Cricket Council (ICC).

The ICC readmitted ZC after the reinstatement of the board.

SRC board member Karen Mutasa is hoping for a more positive outcome this time.

"We would hope that Fifa would want to see the evidence that's presented to them and that they would work with us to build football in Zimbabwe, and even to assist with appointing an interim committee," she said.

Source: BBC

Former Professional Boxing Champion ESTHER PHIRI says lack of experienced trainers will affect Zambia’s World ranking in the sport.

PHIRI says there is an unprecedented poor performance among Women boxers in international fights due to lack of exposure and trained coaches.

The Former Women’s International Boxing Association -WIBA – Welterweight World Champion says there is need to integrate former boxers in the training of Athletes for international bouts.

She told ZNBC Sports News that retired Professional Boxers have a lot to offer the new generation and must be brought on board if Zambia is to regain dominance on the world stage.

PHIRI has recounted that during her prime years in the ring, her coach used to bring experienced opponents which helped her gain confidence ahead of international bouts.

She said the same needs to be done for current boxers if they are to win and attract major international bouts.

Source: ZNBC

The circus surrounding Broadcasting TV rights took a new twist yesterday after Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) obtained a court order restraining Football Association of Malawi (Fam) from continuing with awarding of contracts.

The order stops Fam from awarding contracts to Mibawa Studios as content producer and Zuku Television as the live football broadcaster in the country.

“Pending determination of the substantive matter, the defendant BE and is HEREBY restrained whether by itself, its servants, agents or assignees or through whomsoever from allowing Mibawa Television or any other company, firm or person(s) to be the Pay TV Football Host/Content Producer through Zuku TV and/or any other media platform,” part of the court order reads.

MBC Director General George Kasakula said they did not wish to disrupt Malawians from watching football in the country but justice must be followed.

“We don’t intend to take football away from people but rather give them a wider coverage on television and us, as a national broadcaster, who also did a bidding in the production of live football coverage, reportedly did well. Surprisingly, Fam decided to award the contract to another company. We are not happy, we would like the courts to do their job,” Kasakula said.

Fam Commercial Director Limbani Matola did not pick up his phone despite numerous efforts.

But the association released a statement, saying it was unable to televise yesterday’s and today’s Airtel Top 8 Cup games due to the court injunction.

“Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) has obtained an injunction restricting our content producer, Mibawa Studios from producing any football matches and our host content broadcaster.

“We are working hard to make sure that we resolve this as soon as possible,” reads part of the statement.

Zuku TV Country Director Elias Dziko could also not be reached for a comment.

However, Mibawa Television Chief Executive Officer John Nthakomwa said he was saddened by the development.

“My first reaction is that this is a sad development that Malawi has chosen to continue going backwards. This was an opportunity for teams and Fam and Sulom [Super League of Malawi] to start making some money out of the game.

“My team (staff) was already in Dwangwa ready to beam the game but we did not proceed because of the court order,” Nthakomwa said.

Kasakula challenged that MBC had the capacity to produce and televise football games live despite the busy schedule.

“We are in the process of opening a second television channel which gives us a better and viable position to beam football matches,” he said.

Lawyer David Kanyenda of Makiyi and Kanyenda Associates is representing MBC.

Source: The Times Group

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