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.

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