AFCON 2017 qualifiers: nervy moments as Cote d'Ivoire book their ticket

Cote d'Ivoire players celebrating a goal Copyright -StarAfrica
AFCON 2015 champions Cote d'Ivoire will defend their title after they ensured their qualification to the 2017 Orange Africa Cup Of Nations finals.

Salomon kalou and his teammates booked their qualification ticket after a 1-1 draw to Sierra Leone at home. jonathan Kodjia broke the deadlock for the hosts with a beautiful acrobatic finish in the 37th minute.

But a goal from Kei Kamara midway through the second half raised the tension as another goal will see the Elephants out of the tournament next year.

Nevertheless, the hosts managed to hold on to the result thanks to their more experienced players and made sure they have a chance to defend their title.

CAF CL round of 16 final [Football Planet]

Distressed giants and unashamed thumbs up. The Round of 16 matches in the Champions League and CAF Cup were particularly exciting this weekend.

A weekend full of surprises in the African Champions League. The first leg of the round of 16 final was breathtaking. The poor performance of two-time defending champions, Esperance of Tunis is testament to this. The modest Chadian club Elect Sport held the Esperance of Tunis in check by 1-1.

TP Mazembe also retreated to Madagascar by 0- 0 ahead of Fosa Junior, while Horoya AC and Etoile Sportive du Sahel were left with a slap in the face.

Also, we bring you all the results of this Champions League and the CAF Cup.

And we discuss the surprise appointment of Didier Six as head of the Guinean national football team. We speak to Guinean journalist Séga Diallo.

Our Wahany Johnson Sambou has the details of these and more on this week’s edition of Football Planet.

Rugby World Cup: South Africa hopes for fairness in clash with New Zealand

Both teams are in Pool B, along with defending champions New Zealand, Italy and Canada. Hosts Japan will open the World Cup against Russia on Sept. 20 in Tokyo before South Africa face old rivals New

South Africa calls for fairness

South Africa’s Springboks on Monday called on the French referee Jerome Garces to treat them as equals during this weekend’s opening Pool B blockbuster clash with defending champions New Zealand.

Assistant South Africa coach Mzwandile Stick said that with the gap between the All Blacks and their potential rivals for the Webb Ellis Cup closing, match officials need to be consistent in how they applied the laws to all teams.

In the past, World Cup-winning All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, a wizard in the loose, was often accused of influencing referees to rule in his favour at the breakdown.

“The fans are excited by this one and looking forward to it,” former South Africa sevens specialist Stick said of the Saturday’s showdown in Yokohama.

“Hopefully the officials maybe will treat everything equally and respect the game and also respect the fans.”

South Africa topped New Zealand in this year’s Rugby Championship and Ireland are currently ranked world number one but Stick said the All Blacks remain the team to beat.

“If you look at previous history when it comes to the All Blacks, they’ve been dominating at Test level and it’s always the case that whenever they go to the World Cup they are favourites,” he said.

Recent history between the Boks, who are blooming under coach Rassie Erasmus, and Steve Hansen’s All Blacks promises to make for a tight encounter on Saturday.

“Things are a lot more balanced between us an New Zealand right now,” Stick said.

“We can’t ask for any better build-up towards the World Cup: if you look at the last three games we played against the All Blacks, in Wellington last year we won by two points, they came to Pretoria and won by two points, and then we drew against them again this year in Wellington.

“We’re looking forward to this challenge, it’s going to be a tough one… against one of the best teams in the world and given the history between the two teams.”

AFP

South Africa defeats Japan

South Africa cruised to a comfortable 41-7 victory over Japan on Friday in their final World Cup warm-up match, thanks to a hat-trick of tries from Makazole Mapimpi.

Winger Cheslin Kolbe opened the scoring with a neat finish on seven minutes, before Mapimpi ran in two easy tries from the other flank as the Springboks built a 22-0 lead at halftime in Kumagaya.

Further tries from Mapimpi and Kolbe either side of Kotaro Matsushima’s consolation and a final flourish from Herschel Jantjies secured victory for South Africa and helped soothe the memory of Japan’s famous win at the 2015 World Cup.

With this victory, South Africa laid down a tournament marker and gained revenge for defeat four years ago, while Japan must look for improvement in their World Cup opener against Russia on Sept. 20.

Africa’s representatives

South Africa and Namibia, who will be representing the African continent at this month’s Rugby World Cup, are finalising preparations that they hope will be sufficient to secure glory.

Both teams are in Pool B, along with defending champions New Zealand, Italy and Canada. Hosts Japan will open the World Cup against Russia on Sept. 20 in Tokyo before South Africa face old rivals New Zealand in Yokohama. Namibia play their first match against Italy on Sunday 22.

South Africa raring to go

South Africa, who have won the World Cup twice, are set to play their final warm-up match against hosts, Japan.

The Springboks will be wary of Japan who caused one of the biggest upsets in tournament history with their 34-32 victory over them at the 2015 World Cup in England.

“You can definitely see this is a much different team, much more fitter, much more stronger. Their systems are working and they know exactly what they are about, they know their strengths and weaknesses,’‘ said Siya Kolisi, South Africa’s captain ahead of the match.

Namibia seeks maiden victory

Namibia will be seeking their first ever World Cup victory, 20 years after they debuted at the prestigious tournament.

They are banking on the experience of their Welsh coaches to end a 19-match losing streak.

Former Wales forward Phil Davies has been in charge of a team known as the Welwitschias, a sturdy desert plant, since just before the last World Cup in 2015.

Davies works with compatriots Mark Jones (backs) and Dale McIntosh (forwards) as assistant coaches, while another Welshman, Wayne Proctor, is responsible for strength and conditioning.

“This is not a case of jobs for the ‘boyos’,” Davies stressed. “They are used to working with full-time and part-time professionals and that is what we have in the Namibian squad.”

Scrum-half Eugene Jantjies is set to play at a fourth consecutive World Cup and says the Welwitschias’ aim continues to be finding a winning formula.

“This is the best squad we have had for many years and after coming so close to winning four years ago, I believe we can create history in Japan,” he said.

READ MORE: South Africa names squad for 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan

South Africa to face New Zealand in first Rugby world cup game

South African Rugby team is already in Tokyo for the World Cup

South African Rugby team is already in Tokyo for the World Cup.The Springboks is busy training to face off the All Blacks… and they have made sure to remind the French referee to be impartial in their game with New Zealand.

The South African assistant coach said at a press conference.

“I hope, as I said, that officials will treat all teams equally, and that they will respect the game and the fans,“Mzwandile Stick, Springbok Assistant Coach.

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw has been accused on several occasions of playing at the limit in open scrums and of successfully influencing the referees to whistle in his favour.

The referees must be all the more consistent in the way they apply the rules to the different teams as the gap between New Zealand and its main opponents has narrowed.

South Africa and New Zealand will face each other in the opening match of the Rugby World Cup Pool B on Saturday.

Erasmus sees Spring Boks’ early arrival in Japan as a success

The Boks open their campaign against New Zealand in Yokohama on Sept. 21 and will also play Italy, Namibia and Canada in their pool.

South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus feels vindicated in his side’s early arrival in Japan for the Rugby World Cup, even though it will mean their stay in the country will stretch to nine weeks if they make the November 2 final.

“We have achieved a lot of the objectives we set in coming early to Japan,” Erasmus told reporters at the team’s base on Friday.

“The first was to get to know the country, the people, how things operate here, and to be comfortable in the country and we’ve achieved that.

“The second one was to get some match time against good opposition, which was Japan, and we achieved that. And then obviously the third one was to get the guys used to the climatic conditions, not just the heat, but the humidity, both in match and in training.”

Captain Siya Kolisi agrees and says the preparation work they have put in now will help them finish strongly in matches.

“We know how to handle the conditions now and the fact that our training has been very hard means it will stand us in good stead. The benefits will come through later in the games,” he said.

The Bok players will be given a few days off with their families after their final pool game against Canada in Kobe on October 8, ahead of the start of the knockout stages.

Erasmus has also praised the welcome his side has been afforded, and the enthusiasm of Japanese people to embrace the tournament.

“Something that has stood out for me – and I don’t think I’ve seen this anywhere else – is the people of the host nation wearing the jersey of the visiting team – the Springbok badge,” the coach commented.

“I think that’s been amazing to see the Japanese people wearing the Springbok jersey. I think that shows a lot of respect and I think we can learn a lot from that.

“It makes us proud to see that and I think you can be proud of how you have supported the World Cup and adopting teams that are visiting here and making them feel at home.”

The Boks open their campaign against New Zealand in Yokohama on Sept. 21 and will also play Italy, Namibia and Canada in their pool.

REUTERS

Caster Semenya to receive gold medal from 2011 world championships

Semenya was elevated to the gold medal position two years ago when Russian athlete Mariya Savinova, who sped past her on the final straight, was later disqualified for doping violations.

Olympic 800 metres champion Caster Semenya will be officially awarded her gold medal from the 2011 world athletics championships at this year’s edition in Doha, but will not be there to receive it.

Semenya was elevated to the gold medal position two years ago when Russian athlete Mariya Savinova, who sped past her on the final straight, was later disqualified for doping violations.

The South African athlete had hoped to defend her 2017 world championship title in Doha starting on Sept. 27, but was forced to withdraw with no verdict yet delivered in her appeal to the Swiss Federal Tribunal against testosterone regulations imposed on her.

Semenya is appealing the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s (CAS) ruling that supported regulations introduced by the sport’s governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

These say that XY chromosome athletes with differences in sexual development (DSDs) can race in distances from 400m to a mile only if they take medication to reach a reduced testosterone level.

Semenya has refused to be bound by these restrictions, placing a cloud over her future in athletics.

Athletics South Africa (ASA) confirmed on Thursday that Semenya would not be in Doha to receive the medal personally during an IAAF ceremony, but that a representative would collect it on her behalf.

Sunette Viljoen, who has been elevated from bronze to silver in the javelin from the 2011 championships will take part in the ceremony. Russian athlete Mariya Abakumova, the original gold medallist, was also later disqualified for doping violations.

“Congratulations to our athletes for their achievements and for being honoured as clean athletes,” ASA president Aleck Skhosana said in a media statement.

“We are happy that the IAAF now offers a chance to the rightful winners a podium celebration in front of a capacity stadium which the cheats denied them at the original competition.”

ASA say they will conduct a formal hand-over to Semenya at a later date.

Semenya now has two Olympic, three world championship and one Commonwealth Games gold medal in the 800m.

REUTERS