Coaching casualties after AFCON: Zimbabwe, Morocco, Cameroon, Egypt...

Uganda’s Sebastien Desabre is the second coach to part company with his team at the tournament after hosts Egypt sacked Javier Aguirre immediately following their shock elimination against South Afric

July 24: Zimbabwe coach resigns





Zimbabwe’s football association (ZIFA) confirmed on Wednesday the resignation of the national team coach, Sunday Marimo Chidzambga.



ZIFA said it regretted Sunday’s decision because ‘the nation and team needed his wise counsel’.



‘‘ZIFA is grateful to Mr Chidzambga for diligently availing his services and wish him well in his upcoming endeavours and trust he remains available whenever we seek his wise counsel.’‘



Sunday won 4 regional COSAFA titles with Zimbabwe and took the national team to the African Nations Cup in 2004 and 2019.



In Egypt, Zimbabwe were eliminated at the group stage, having lost against the hosts and Democratic Republic of Congo, only managing a draw against Uganda.



Rahman Gumbo and Lloyd Mtasa were given appointed in interim roles to lead preparations for the upcoming African Nations Championship (CHAN) assignment against Mauritius.



July 21: Renard quits as Morocco coach



Two-time Africa Cup of Nations winner Herve Renard quit his position as coach of with Morocco, following the country’s shock early exit at the tournament in Egypt.



“It’s time for me to close this long and beautiful chapter of my life, not without some emotion and sadness, but it is an inescapable decision made well before the 2019 Cup of Nations,” the 50-year-old Frenchman wrote on Twitter on Sunday.



Morocco were among the pre-tournament favourites with Renard seeking to claim an unprecedented third Cup of Nations title with three different countries – after successes with Zambia (2012) and Ivory Coast (2015).



But after winning all their group matches without conceding a goal, the Moroccans were bundled out following a penalty-shootout in the last-16 by outsiders Benin.



“I made that decision after having, obviously, considered it carefully. Thanks to the players, to the staff, the fans, the honest journalists and all those who demonstrated their support,” he added.



Renard took Morocco to last year’s World Cup in Russia where despite elimination in the first round, they left a positive impression.



His departure means coaches from seven of the 24 finalists have now left their jobs after the tournament in Egypt, which Algeria won by beating Senegal 1-0 in the final in Cairo on Friday.



REUTERS



July 16: Cameroon coach fired



Cameroon became the latest country to sack their coaching staff, following dismal results at the Africa Cup of Nations.



Dutch coach Clarence Seedorf and his assistant, former Netherlands striker Patrick Kluivert, were axed after the defending champions were dumped out in the last 16 after losing 3-2 to Nigeria earlier this month.



The Indomitable Lions won just one of their four matches at the tournament in Egypt, which led to calls from the country’s sports minister, Narcisse Mouelle Kombi, for the pair to be released from their contracts.



He got his wish within hours on Tuesday as Cameroon’s football federation announced it had terminated the four-year deal Seedorf had signed in August 2018.



The body said in a statement on that it had brought an end to the respective contracts of Seedorf and Kluivert “following the premature exit of Cameroon’s men’s flagship squad”.



Former AC Milan and Netherlands midfielder Seedorf was in charge for 12 matches, but won only four against Malawi, Comoros Islands, Zambia and Guinea-Bissau.



The job was his first in international football after previous brief spells in charge of AC Milan and Deportivo La Coruna in Spain.



Cameroon will host the next Nations Cup finals in June 2021, but must take part in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers that are likely to start later this year.



July 15: Guinea fires coach



Guinea, who reached the last 16 of the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt on Monday fired their coach Paul Put.



Put traded blames with captain Ibrahima Traore over tactics at the tournament and his dismissal was announced by the Guinea Football Federation who accused him of meddling in financial matters.



The Belgian, who had been in the job for 16 months, rejected the charges.



Namibia coach’s contract not renewed



Namibia’s coach Ricardo Mannetti has not had his contract renewed after the country lost all three group games.



The 44-year-old Mannetti departed after five years in charge of Namibia, an unusually long tenure by African standards, and was on Monday replaced by Bobby Samaria.



Tanzania parts ways with Amunike



Tanzania’s coach Emmanuel Amunike has been sacked by the countyry’s football federation (TFF), following the Taifa Stars’ failure to progress past the group stages at the Africa Cup of Nations.



TFF issued a statement on Monday saying it had parted ways with the ex-Nigerian international and coach.



‘‘The Tanzania Football Association (TFF) and the National Team Coach, Emmanuel Amunike, have reached a joint agreement to terminate the contract between us,’‘ read part of the statement.



Amunike has been coach of Tanzania since 6 August 2018. At AFCON 2019, Tanzania lost all three group matches against Senegal, Kenya and Algeria.



TFF which said the search for a new coach starts immediately, added that an interim boss will be unveiled on July 11.



Egypt’s ‘tactless’ coach



Egypt’s coach Javier Aguirre became the fist personnel casualty of the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations after he was sacked on Sunday, following the hosts’ elimination from the tournament.



Egypt, who are seven-time record African champions, were eliminated by South Africa in the round of 16, to the disappointment of their proud and passionate fans.



Aguirre came in for criticism for his management of the side during the African Cup of Nations, with Egypt legend Wael Gomaa accusing the Mexican of having “no tactics or strategy”.



“There is no plan, there are no players, no one knows how to defend or attack,” said fan Ahmed Mostafa outside the stadium after the loss.



“This is what the four games we played looked like. None of the players wanted to play, really. There is no spirit, nothing.”



Following Saturday’s defeat, Aguirre said he alone took the blame for the host nation’s disastrous campaign and indicated he would hold talks with the Egyptian football association over his future.



“I think the game was open and there were chances for both teams. The only difference was the goal for South Africa,” Aguirre said after the 0-1 loss to South Africa.



Thembinkosi Lorch scored the only goal of the last-16 match in the 85th minute to give South Africa a stunning victory.



Egypt’s embattled football federation



Aguirre was sacked by the country’s Football Association president, Hani Abou Rida who has also since resigned his position and asked members of the dederation’s board to do the same.



The decision had been “a moral obligation” said the Egyptian FA in a statement after “disappointing Egypt’s supporters”.



Rida had led the Egyptian FA since 2016, in a three-year reign marked by controversy, including a 2018 World Cup fiasco that saw the Pharaohs fail to get out of the group stages after losing all of their matches.



The location of the team’s training base in Grozny, the capital of Muslim-majority Chechnya, spurred widespread criticism, especially from human rights groups, over concerns of abuses by Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, supported by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.



The federation has also feuded with Salah, the reigning African Footballer of the Year and won the Champions League last month with his club Liverpool, who has accused the body of misusing his image inside the country.



Recently the reinstatement of a player who had been banned following sexual harassment charges had provoked further widespread criticism of the Egyptian FA on social media.



Uganda parts ways with ‘successful’ coach



Meanwhile, Uganda who were eliminated by Senegal in the round of 16 have also parted ways with their coach Sebastien Desabre.



The Ugandan Football Federation (FUFA) said in a statement that it had “mutually agreed” to end the Frenchman’s contract.



“The reasons for termination of the employment contract are for the benefit and growth of both parties,” it said.



Uganda, playing a bold attacking game, beat Democratic Republic of Congo in their opening game, outplayed hosts Egypt despite losing 2-0 and gave Senegal a run for their money in the round of 16 before losing 1-0.



“FUFA recognises the contribution by Mr Desabre for the improvement of the sporting and professional organisation of the Uganda Cranes inclusive of qualification to the AFCON 2019 Finals and also to the Round of 16,” said the statement.



Before being appointed by Uganda in December 2017, he coached clubs in Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Morocco and Egypt.



The 42-year-old has since been appointed as head coach for Egyptian club side Pyramids Football Club.

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Senegalese allege racism in Diack corruption verdict

Dakar residents alleged racism and said Wednesday’s verdict by a Paris court was unjust.

Senegal and the sporting world has been shaken after the former head of the world athletics body, Lamine Diack, was found guilty of corruption by a Paris court.

Residents in Dakar alleged racism and said Wednesday's verdict by a Paris court was unjust.

"As a Senegalese, I think it was an injustice to condemn him. African people are tired because if Lamine Diack was a white person, he would not be sued, arrested," said Cheriphe Toure.

"It is not normal, he is a Senegalese, he is about 80 years old and they want to put him in prison, he is tired. The trial (against Diack) is not a real trial, it's just politics."

Lamine, an 87-year-old Senegalese, was charged for his role in a scheme that allowed Russian athletes to pay bribes to keep competing when they should have been suspended for doping after they paid bribes.

Prosecutors said Diack solicited $5.5 million in bribes and paid off other officials at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to help with the cover-up.

The court handed Diack a four-year prison sentence, two years of which are suspended and a fine of $590,000.

He was also ordered to pay €5 million in damages to World Athletics (formerly IAAF) with his son and co-accused, Papa Massata Diack.

From 1999-2015 Diack was the head of the IAAF and was influential in the world of Olympic sports.

Diack's lawyers said they would appeal the verdict.

"I think if the law is valid in France, it will be overturned because it's really unfair," Abdoulaye Diagne, Coordinator of the support committee for Lamine Diack.

Africans Marking Football Around the Globe

A brief spotlight on some notable African players making an impact on international football.

Riyad Mahrez, hailing from Algeria - the Manchester City star has tested positive for coronavirus, according to the club’s spokesperson. Although asymptomatic, he is currently self-isolating.

The 29-year old 2016 Best African Player titleholder, is due to begin the Premier League season with the team's first fixture on September 21st. As yet, it is still unclear as to when he contracted the virus and whether he will be able to play.

Ansu Fati, the football prodigy born in Guinea Bissau, broke a 95-year record after only 311 days - as at just 17 years old he has become the youngest ever goal-scorer of the Spanish National Team.

The next Lionel Messi?

He made his historical mark in the winning 4 nil match against Ukraine in the UEFA Nations League on Sunday.

After he became Barcelona’s youngest goalscorer in La Liga last season and the youngest to ever score in the European Champions League, he is viewed by many as the next Lionel Messi.

Cedric Bakambu continues to shine in China. The Congolese striker added a new goal to his 2020 collection a week after scoring 4 goals in a single game.

Despite a 2-goal lead against Wuhan Zall, his team Beijing Guoan had to concede a 2-2 draw. This was thanks to a late equaliser from the other African star of the league, Ivorian striker, Jean Evrard Kouassi.

Drogba’s FIF Presidential Candidacy Bid Rejected

Didier Drogba has been announced unsuccessful at filing a FIF presidential candidacy bid.

Access Denied

International football star, Didier Drogba, received some bad news on Thursday when the Electoral Commission of the Ivorian Soccer Federation (FIF) rejected his candidacy for the presidency of the federation. "The electoral commission (...) rejects the candidacy of Mr. Drogba Tébily Didier Yves Tébily," reads a section of Article 5 of the negative decision of the commission.

Rejected but with the possibility to appeal

This rejection was based on criticisms of the former striker for several eligibility requirement breaches and highlights the challenges the star faced in trying to establish himself within the Ivorian football industry in spite of his international status, athletic track record and personal wealth — and beyond just being a player on the field.

Eligibility Requirements

Drogba, who was partly trained in France and once played for European clubs, Chelsea and Marseille, only managed to obtain sponsorship of two first division clubs — one short of the three required.

Although he does, in fact, have three club sponsors on file, the third technically did not count as it came by way of the vice-president and not the president himself who gave his support to the president of the League, Sory Diabaté (who boasts the support of six Division 1 clubs).

Interest groups also must follow the same rules as each candidate is required to obtain sponsorship of at least one of five in particular. Drogba was unable to garner support from neither the Alumni Association nor the Ivorian Players Association.

Likewise, on file, he did have the support of the association of referees (AMAF). However, it was a similar situation of falling short by a technicality as "the sponsorship" was from a person "who does not have the capacity to legally commit the AMAF," according to the electoral commission.

Public and Peer Opinion

One of the most famous and celebrated public Ivorian personalities, Didier Drogba, has been a treasure to the country's national football team and has received from many of his former teammates and peers such as Eugène Diomande, the Yaya and Kolo Touré brothers, Aruna Dindane and many others.

Many fans and peers still support Drogba

On the other hand, some of his other industry colleagues have shown support for Idriss Diallo, the former 3rd vice-president of the Fif (supported in particular by the current vice-president of the Fif), such as Cyril Domoraud, Bonaventure Kalou or Ahmed Ouattara.
Still more colleagues such as Didier Zokora, Youssouf Fofana and Abdoulaye Traore (known as Ben Badi) supported the president of the League, Sory Diabaté.

The Ivorian football icon has five days to make an appeal to the governing commission.

US Black Pro Athletes Boycott Games to Say #BLM

Pro athletes in the United States are protesting African-American man Jacob black being shot seven times by police while unarmed.

“Black Lives Matter,” a message being reiterated by professional athletes across diverse sports in the United States as stadiums see some players showing visual displays of solidarity while others are refusing to play at all as a form of protest

Basketball games were postponed as the league grappled to handle the player boycotts inspired by the most recent known racially-charged incident of 29-year-old African American Jacob Blake who was shot seven times by police officers in Wisconsin. Milwaukee Bucks led the boycott, opting out of their playoff against the Orlando Magic. The game's governing body, the NBA, later announced in a Tweet that the other matches in the series had been postponed.

Black athletes in the USA stage protest against police brutality

Three major league baseball matches were called off. The Mets clash with Miami Marlins went ahead but one player staged his own protest. Dominic Smith, New York Mets player, tearfully expressed his frustrations, "People still don't care. For this to continuously happen, it just shows just the hate in people's heart. That just sucks. Being a black man in America, it's not easy."

In addition to baseball, even tennis saw half Haitian-American champion Naomi Osaka withdraw from a major tournament to support the movement as more and more athletes use their platforms to fight racial injustice in the country.

A series of events that are reminiscent of the now blackballed American football player, Colin Kaepernick, who took a stand against police brutality against black people in the nation by taking a knee in 2016 — in line with the Black Lives Matter movement.

A dynamic movement birthed in 2013 by three black women — Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, to combat police brutality taking black lives.

Numerous black people die in incidents of police brutality each year in the USA

The #BLM hashtag has since been revived tenfold on a global scale following the slayings by the police of George Floyd and Breona Taylor in the Spring of 2020 in the United States with protests occurring across the globe demanding an end to racial injustice suffered by black people in every sphere of life.

The recent athlete boycott in the United States in a show of solidarity with the movement is yet another step in the global marathon towards true racial equality.

Fans react as Football star Lionel Messi triggers Barca departure

After nearly two decades with the Spanish giants, Lionel Messi has told Barcelona he wants to leave the club.

Some fans are protesting. But these are not the usual protesters you'd find on a political train. They are football lovers gathered outside their favourite club Camp Nou to clamour for their idol to stay.

After nearly two decades with the Spanish giants, Lionel Messi has told Barcelona he wants to leave the club.

The club confirmed on Tuesday the Argentine sent a document expressing his desire to activate a release clause that would end his contract.

"The strange thing is that he has not left the club before. It is absolutely disgraceful what this board of directors have been doing since 2010. Even with Sandro Rosell, before the arrival of Bartomeu. They have lost all valuable things at the club. Guardiola, (Johan) Cruyff and now Messi. So this ends with Messi leaving and a shameful 8-2 defeat (against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League)." 25 year old Adria Corchero, a journalist and fan of Messi said.

For Sergi Riera, a 36-year-old restaurant worker, "this cannot just be allowed. Because in the end, Messi is the little happiness that we can have right now. They must do something. They should resign and try to talk to him tomorrow (Wednesday). Anything."

Baracelona have not officially replied yet but are understood to be preparing one.

The announcement comes 11 days after Barcelona's humiliating 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals, one of the worst defeats in the player's career and in the club's history.

The defeat capped a difficult season for Barcelona - the first without a trophy since 2007-08 - and ignited one of their worst crises ever.

Messi has won a record six Ballon d'Or awards during his time at Barcelona as the top player in the world, and has helped the club win 10 Spanish league titles and four Champions Leagues.

Any club in the world, surely, would jump at the opportunity to recruit the Argentine superstar, but it remains to be seen what club can afford him and where indeed hed love to go.