Mario Gotze returns to join Team mates after a long absence

Mario Gotze Copyright -AFP
Mario Gotze has returned to join his Borussia Dortmund team mates after missing the second half of last season due to a metabolic disorder. The 25-year old made his first appearance since February, as his side faced Japanese side Urawa Reds on Saturday in a pre-season friendly, and he is happy to be back. "Yes, it has been a superb moment, definitely. It was not so easy for me the last months, so it was a good moment for me " he said of his return.

Mario Gotze returned to Borussia Dortmund last season from Bayern in a move which was very controversial as not all the fans appreciated it. Many had seen his move to Bayern Munich as a betrayal, and while there, things didn’t quite work out well for him and he returned to his old club. And still, even after his return things didn’t quite fall into place on the pitch and got worst when he was diagnosed with the illness.

He also had this to say about his training…“I had my special program, which intensified day by day and week by week,” Gotze said.

“It was an individual plan, so I spent the last five months training, [going] running and [doing] much work in the gym. I intensified it step by step and week by week.”

“I have been in rehab for five months, so I could not train with the team and have not been with the team. So this just makes it more beautiful for me to be with the team again and train with them.”

Mario Gotze now will have a new challenge and also a new opportunity to rediscover himself as the club now has a new manager. So he will have to fight hard to prove himself and secure his position at the club.
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South African football fans cheer on from home

Football matches have resumed behind closed doors in South Africa after a 152-day stoppage due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Football matches have resumed behind closed doors in South Africa after a 152-day stoppage due to the coronavirus pandemic. Football lovers like Brian Khuzwayo in his Midrand lounge, Gauteng, now follow the games from the comfort of their homes.

"It kind of took away the look and feel of the League. Because, you know, you have to be there to feel the atmosphere, to feel, the vibe, Brian says.

All league matches take place in neutral venues in Johannesburg and Pretoria without the presence of supporters.

For Benedict "Tso" Vilakazi, a retired football player and coach, this is the time "where you really see the great coaches, not the good coaches. The great coaches because there are no fans. So you have to motivate the team", he explains.

Known for their fervour and originality, South African fans will be cheering their teams on at home this year.

The championship final is scheduled for 5 September.

Aubameyang Seals Arsenal FA Cup Win

Aubameyang leads Arsenal to FA Final Cup victory scoring twice against Chelsea which raises speculations about his future at the club.

Arsenal 2-1 Win Against Chelsea

Thousands of fans flooded the streets of London Saturday, after Arsenal captain, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, scored twice to beat Chelsea 2-1 leading the Gunners to win the FA Cup final on Saturday.

This victory secured the club’s place in the Europa League next season as they risked missing out on European football for the first time in 25 years after finishing eighth in the Premier League.

After losing the Carabao Cup final in 2018 and then the Europa League final in 2019 with Arsenal, this was Aubameyang's first time winning a trophy at the Emirates. On an individual level, Aubameyang's star has always shone brightly. His wins of the Golden Boot in both the Bundesliga and Premier League mark his status as a world-class footballer. In addition, he was also named the African Footballer of the Year in 2015.

Don't Drop the Cup!

COVID-19 hygiene measures made it so Aubameyang struggled to collect the trophy himself. He immediately seemed to find the trophy hard to hold as he struggled to take it over to his team-mates. During the customary celebratory moment when the cup is lifted into the air, the team captain dropped the iconic silverware - to the amusement of his teammates. Fortunately, the cup seemed to avoid any serious damage as Aubameyang eventually lifted the title over his head in celebration.

A resounding victory for Arsenal

This marks a record 14th time that the club has experienced this ârticular victory in its history; But perhaps, admittedly, not one that many will forget in light of the cheerful clumsiness on the part of the top scorer of the match.

Future at Club

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, also saw the lighter side of the awkward display promising the striker more wins to come if he chooses to re-sign with the club. Facing another season without Champions League football and just one year left on his contract at the Emirates, many have been speculating about the future of the Gabonese international star at Arsenal or elsewhere.

Another Blow to Drogba’s FIF Presidency Campaign

Another setback in the FIF presidency campaign for Ivorian soccer star, Didier Drogba, Tuesday when the AFI backed a rival candidate on Tuesday.

Last Leg of Campaign

Another setback for Ivorian soccer star Didier Drogba on Tuesday when the Association of the Nation's Players (AFI) announced its backing of current Ivorian Football Federation vice-president (FIF), Idriss Diallo. A harsh blow to Drogba’s FIF presidency campaign — upon officially registering to run earlier today, as this is the fourth out of the five eligible bodies to not sponsor the greatest goal scorer in the history of the national team.

Huge support from fans in spite of lack of support from AFI

The AFI statement reads, "In accordance with the majority of its members, the board of directors has decided to grant the AFI's sponsorship to the list headed by Idriss Diallo. This choice is in line with the recommendation made by two-thirds of the delegates at the end of last Friday's meeting" said the AFI in a statement signed by its secretary-general Aruna Dindane, another former international.”

Diallo also has backing from The Coaches' Association - as well as from the former internationals Bonaventure Kalou, Cyril Domoraud and Ahmed Ouattara, in the 5 September election.

In light of the recent disappointment, Drogba reiterated his platform, "Our football is not... Our football is not going well, it's no secret. That's why my team and I are committed to the rebirth of Ivorian football."

Drogba's Supporters

A sentiment shared by — both many citizens at home and Ivorian players in Europe, who are worried about the current state of national football and are perplexed by the AFI’s lack of support for the retired player.

Joël Dolou, a fan of Drogba, showed up on the scene with dozens of others to make public his avid support for the star’s presidential candidacy, "We've come to offer our support because we're not just going to limit ourselves to social networks. But to show everyone here in Abidjan, inside and the whole international community that we are indeed ready for him, we are ready for man, we are ready for Didier's 'Renaissance' project."

Still Hope

The Former Players' Association and the Referees' Association sponsor the league president, Sory Diabate while The Coaches' Association has also supported Diallo. However, there might still be hope for Drogba’s campaign as the Society of Football Doctors has not yet endorsed a candidate.

African football back in Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia

Morocco has decided to re-open its Major League Football tournament the Botola Pro 1 after four months. Tunisia and Egypt to follow in the next weeks.

Morocco decided to re-open its Major League Football tournament the Botola Pro 1, after four months away from the pitch.

Leader of the competition before Covid 19 put a stop to the Botola, Wydad Athletic Club is aiming to maintain itself at the top of the league, with only 9 games to play.

Despite its draw yesterday against Difaâ Hassani d'el-Jadida, Rival club Raja Club Athletic will try its best to catch up to Wydad, in what is expected to be a fascinating finish to the season.

But as governments have ordered Matches be played behind closed doors in order to keep social distancing in application, supporters will not be back in the stadiums anytime soon.

Football back in North Africa

Even though the coronavirus pandemic hasn't been put to a stop, the coming forthnight will see North African major league football tournaments be back to a near normal.

Tunisia's football fans will have to wait until next Sunday to see their favourite teams out on the pitch again.

Espérance Sportive de Tunis, four time CAF Champion's league champion, is well ahead of runner up Club Sportif Sfaxien.

Egypt should expect matches to resume on August 6th. Halfway into the season, Al Ahly Sporting Club is in the lead, 16 points ahead of Al Mokawloon Al Arab Sporting Club.

Other countries, such as Nigeria or the Democratic Republic of the Congo, are not willing to resume any time soon.

CAF Champion's League's final location still unkown

Matches of the Final Fours of the CAF Champion's league will no longer be played in Cameroon as expected.

Both semi finals, Al Ahly SC vs Wydad AC, and Zamalek SC vs Raja CA, will be disputed as two legged home and away matches between Egypt and Morocco.

The Final's location has yet to be announced.

Should two teams of the same country face each other, the Final will take place in the home country of the two teams.

But should an Egyptian team face a Moroccan Team, the Confederation of African Football will have to find a neutral ground.

The Africans conquering Europe [Football Planet]

The conquest of Europe by Africans.

The conquest of Europe by Africans. As the season draws to a close, many African footballers have been crowned champions in their respective championships. Leading the pack, Liverpool stars Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.

A solid defender but in fragile health. The Ivorian international is worried by his many injuries. Since Eric Bailly’s arrival at Manchester United, the 2015 AFCON winner has missed no fewer than 64 matches and accumulated more than 365 days of out of action for his club.

And then two guests on the show. Senegalese U20 international Moussa Kalilou Djitté. The Grenoble striker, who plays in the French Ligue 2, will talk about his first season in France and his ambitions for the future. Next is Ajara Nchout Njoya, one of the stars of African women’s football. We will talk about her season at club level, in Norway and the news of CAF canceling the 2020 Women’s AFCON.

Our Wahany Johnson Sambou has the details of these and more on your weekly Football Planet.