Nigeria escapes FIFA ban, Wenger in Liberia [Sport]

Amaju Pinnick takes back NFF leadership. But the NFF elections are due on September 20.

Nigeria’s football has been marred by power struggles. Amaju Pinnick, who was elected head of Nigeria Football Federation in 2014, was in a stand-off with Chris Giwa, who had appealed the result and won a favourable court ruling in June.



But FIFA only recognized Pinnick as the legitimate leader of Nigerian football and the world football governing body which does not appreciate government interference in the running of football; had last week issued an ultimatum where it said it would ban Nigeria by 11am GMT Monday.



But on sunday, the country averted the ban when it recognised the Fifa-approved head of the NFF shortly before a suspension was due to take place.



This means now Amaju Pinnick takes back NFF leadership. But the NFF elections are due on September 20.



Former Brazil football chief handed four years sentence



A former president of Brazil’s soccer federation Jose Maria Marin was on Wednesday slapped with a 4 year jail term by a U.S. judge after being convicted on corruption charges related to the bribery scandal at FIFA.



He was also fined $1.2 million dollars and ordered to forfeit $3.34 million dollars.



Marin was convicted on December 22 2016 by a federal jury on six conspiracy counts, which included racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering.



He was among the first to stand trial over what U.S. prosecutors called a sprawling scheme involving payments of more than $200 million dollars of bribes and kickbacks in exchange for marketing and broadcast rights for soccer matches.



Marin now becomes the first FIFA official to be sentenced, and he had already served 13 months in prison. But his lawyer says they’ll appeal the verdict. Listen:



Wenger in Liberia, says he’s not aware of any honor



Arsene Wenger arrived in Liberia on Wednesday evening, with the ex-Arsenal boss set to be handed the country’s highest honour from president George Weah.



Wenger, who ended his 22-year association with the Gunners in May, will be inducted into Liberia’s Order of Distinction.



But in the wake of those reports that President George Weah is to award his former football coach with Liberia’s highest honor, the former Arsenal coach has out-rightly denied having knowledge of receiving any honor in the country.



He said: “I am not aware of any honor. I just came here to visit, because I promised George that one day, I will visit Liberia, and in return, I do not expect anything like award or honor. I am happy to be here.”



This also comes after Liberians expressed mixed reactions about the purported honor, in which the award ceremony is reportedly supposed to take place in the country’s capital, Monrovia, on Friday.



It was Arsene Wenger who took Weah to Europe, signing him for Monaco in 1988.



FIFA maintains 32 teams for 2022 World Cup in Qatar

FIFA said it had abandoned the expansion plans « following a thorough and comprehensive consultation process » which led to the conclusion that « under the current circumstances such a proposal could not

The world’s football governing body, FIFA took a decision to maintain 32 teams at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, rejecting president Gianni Infantino’s proposal to expand the tournament to feature 48 teams.

FIFA said it had abandoned the expansion plans “following a thorough and comprehensive consultation process” which led to the conclusion that “under the current circumstances such a proposal could not be made now”.

“(The tournament) will therefore remain as originally planned with 32 teams and no proposal will be submitted at the next FIFA Congress on 5 June,” FIFA said in a statement.

Why Gianni wanted 48 teams

The expansion was a pet project of Infantino, who pushed the idea despite the likely need for Qatar’s neighbours to put aside a two-year blockade and help to host an expanded tournament.

“The involvement of these countries in the organisation of the tournament jointly with Qatar implies the lifting of this blockade, in particular the lifting of restrictions on the movement of people and goods,” said a feasibility study submitted to March’s FIFA Congress in Miami.

The study, seen by AFP, also claimed that a Qatar World Cup with 48 teams would generate “between $300-$400 million (265-354 million euros) of additional income”.

Specifically FIFA was counting on an additional $120 million in TV rights, $150 million in marketing rights and $90 million from ticket sales.

An announcement of the final decision had not been expected until next month’s FIFA Congress to be held in Paris ahead of the women’s World Cup that takes place in France between June 7 and July 7.

Obstacles to expansion

The news comes after Europe’s top football clubs said in March they would boycott an expanded 24-team Club World Cup — also backed by Infantino — which is planned to take place in June and July 2021, replacing the Confederations Cup tournament.

Expanding the competition for the 2022 tournament was always a complicated proposition. FIFA had sounded out potential co-hosts in the region willing to support Qatar, which is subject to an ongoing embargo by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and their allies.

Qatar’s Supreme Committee, charged with the organisation of the tournament, said in reaction to FIFA’s decision that “Qatar had always been open to the idea of an expanded tournament in 2022 had a viable operating model been found and had all parties concluded that an expanded 48-team edition was in the best interest of football and Qatar as the host nation.”

But it said there was insufficient time to make a deeper assessment before the June deadline and “it was therefore decided not to further pursue this option.”

“With just three and a half years to go until kick off, Qatar remains as committed as ever to ensuring the 32-team FIFA World Cup in 2022 is one of the best tournaments ever and one that makes the entire Arab world proud,” the Supreme Committee said.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain cut all ties with Qatar in June 2017, accusing Doha of supporting Iran and Islamist groups.

Qatar vehemently denies the charges and says Saudi Arabia and its allies are aiming to incite government change in the emirate, the world’s largest exporter of liquified natural gas.

Gulf states Kuwait and Oman have not taken sides in the crisis. However, Oman said in April it was “not ready” to host matches.

AFP

South Africa appoints first ever female national rugby coach

The union announced two other former female internationals in team management roles with ex-captain Nomsebenzi Tsotsobe to be Springbok women’s team manager and Natasha Hofmeester the Under-20 women

South Africa’s Rugby authorities on Tuesday appointed the first ever female coach of a national team, announcing that Laurian Johannes will take charge of the country’s Under-20 women’s side.

She will begin next month with two internationals against neighbouring Zimbabwe in Harare.

“This is a massive achievement for Laurian and for South African rugby, and we wish her luck in this significant role,” said SA Rugby chief executive officer Jurie Roux.

“The fact that Laurian played for the Springbok women’s team and participated in the 2010 Women’s Rugby World Cup before learning the ropes of coaching at Western Province makes this achievement even more meaningful.

“She has come through the ranks, and I hope she will inspire other former female players to enter into coaching and follow their dreams.”

The union announced two other former female internationals in team management roles with ex-captain Nomsebenzi Tsotsobe to be Springbok women’s team manager and Natasha Hofmeester the Under-20 women’s team manager.

Agencies

Ghana's president convinces Gyan to cancel retirement

Asamoah Gyan has not featured for the side since September 2017 after persistent injury problems and has also battled for game-time with his Turkish club Kayserispor.

Gyan back from retirement

Just 48 hours after announcing his international retirement, Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan has bowed to a presidential request to make himself available for next month’s Africa Cup of Nations

‘‘I have taken the request of His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in good faith, and will make myself available for selection by coach Kwasi Appiah to help win the AFCON trophy,’‘ Gyan tweeted.

Government spokesperson Eugene Arhin in a statement confirmed the president’s intervention.

“The President urged him, in the national interest, to rescind his decision to retire from the Black Stars, and make himself available for selection by coach Kwesi Appiah.”

Fans applaud Gyan’s national record

Football fans across the world are paying tribute to Ghana’s all-time leading goal-scorer Asamoah Gyan who announced his international retirement on Monday.

The news which comes a month before the start of the African Nations Cup, follows shortly after he was removed as the national team’s captain.

Striker Gyan has not featured for the side since September 2017 after persistent injury problems and has also battled for game-time with his Turkish club Kayserispor.

“Upon consultation with my family and team, and as an active footballer and captain of the national team, if the decision of the coach is to give captaincy of the tournament to another player while I am named in the team (squad) of the tournament, I wish to recuse myself from the tournament,” Gyan said in a statement.

“I also wish to retire from the national team permanently,” he said.

The 33-year-old netted 51 goals in 106 international appearances, both Ghana national team records, which includes scoring at six consecutive Nations Cup finals, as well as three World Cups between 2006 and 2014.

Social media reactions

Fans applaud Ghana's Asamoah Gyan following international retirement

Asamoah Gyan has not featured for the side since September 2017 after persistent injury problems and has also battled for game-time with his Turkish club Kayserispor.

Football fans across the world are paying tribute to Ghana’s all-time leading goal-scorer Asamoah Gyan who announced his international retirement on Monday.

The news which comes a month before the start of the African Nations Cup, follows shortly after he was removed as the national team’s captain.

Striker Gyan has not featured for the side since September 2017 after persistent injury problems and has also battled for game-time with his Turkish club Kayserispor.

“Upon consultation with my family and team, and as an active footballer and captain of the national team, if the decision of the coach is to give captaincy of the tournament to another player while I am named in the team (squad) of the tournament, I wish to recuse myself from the tournament,” Gyan said in a statement.

“I also wish to retire from the national team permanently,” he said.

The 33-year-old netted 51 goals in 106 international appearances, both Ghana national team records, which includes scoring at six consecutive Nations Cup finals, as well as three World Cups between 2006 and 2014.

Social media reactions

CAF unveils AFCON 2019 mascot [Football Planet]

Guinea’s U17 side, finalist at this years youth championship have been disqualified from participating in the next two editions of the U17 AFCON as well as the world cup in Brazil lat

Guinea’s U17 side, finalist at this years youth championship have been disqualified from participating in the next two editions of the U17 competition as well as the world cup in Brazil later this year, as they fielded two over aged players during the competition in Tanzania.

RS Berkane last night muscled a late goal in the Caf Confederation Cup first leg finals against Zamalek of Egypt. Playing their first continental finals, the Moroccans take a one goal lead into the return leg to be played this weekend.

Less than a month to the kickoff of Africa’s most prestigious football come together, Caf has officially released the mascot for the competition do not blink it is brief.

Exclusively getting the views of former premier league player George Elokobi’s views on the surge of record breaking Africans in the EPL this season and he tells us what has changed from when he played for Wolverhampton Wanderers from 2009 to 2011.