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Qatar moves to 2019 AFC Asian final, defeats UAE

By News desk

Qatari National team on Tuesday defeated the United Arab Emirates (UAE) 4-0 to advance to the 2019 AFC Asian Cup final for the first time.

Following the qualification, Qatar will face Japan in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup final on Friday in Abu Dhabi.

It would be recalled that four-time champion, Japan, yesterday, defeated three-time champion, Iran, 3-0 to reach the final.

Japan is the most successful team in the Asian Cup with four titles, followed by Iran and Saudi Arabia with three apiece.

Qatar had advanced to the semifinals for the first time by beating two-time champion South Korea.

The UAE’s biggest ever success is that it played the final of the 1996 Asian Cup.

2019 AFC Asian Cup is the men’s football championship of Asia organized by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

It would be recalled that the 17th edition of the AFC Asian Cup had kicked off in the UAE on Jan. 5.

CAF adjust Nations Cup date to accommodate Ramadan fasting

By News Desk

The dates for this year’s African Nations Cup finals in Egypt have been moved back a week, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) said on Monday, reportedly to allow players to rest after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Ramadan is scheduled to begin on the evening of May 5 and will end around June 4. Observers fast during daylight hours over this period, which can have an effect on the performance of athletes.

The expanded 24-team tournament will now kick-off on June 21 and run through to the final on July 19.

The decision was reached at an Emergency Committee meeting even as the governing body confirming shift in a circular sent to its member associations.

According to media reports, a request was made for the move by a number of mainly Muslim North African nations, including Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria, who have all already sealed qualification.

CAF also confirmed that the draw for the first round pool stage will take place in Cairo on April 12.

Fourteen countries have already booked a finals berth, including first time participants Madagascar and Mauritania, with the remaining 10 places to be decided when the qualification campaign concludes in March.



Bayern signs US defender, Richards

By News desk

The German football giant, FC Bayern, has secured the services of United State (US) youngster, Chris Richards, for four and half years.

Richards, who initially came to Bayern on loan from FC Dallas half a year ago, inked a four-and-a-half-year contract with the German record champions through 30 June 2023.

The centre-back joined the Campus last summer and played for the U-19s under the watchful eyes of Sebastian Hoeneß.

Richards, who has played 21 times for USA U-20 and scored two goal, is strong in the air, was born in Birmingham, Alabama, learned the trade mainly at the youth academy of MLS club FC Dallas.

FC Bayern Campus director, Jochen Sauer, while reacting over acquisition of the 18-year-old defender, expressed delight that his inclusion would boost the team’s chances in future.

Sauer said: “We are delighted we and FC Dallas have agreed on Chris’s transfer. Chris has given a good account of himself here over the last half year, and we’re confident he will continue to develop very well at FC Bayern. We see a lot of potential in him.”

Earlier, the defender described the contract as realization of a dream he had nursed while as a kid learning the game.

“I always dreamed of playing at a big club in Europe one day. Now I’ve actually joined one of the top clubs. I’m really very happy,” the 18-year-old said after inking the contract.

The Texans are one of the few pro clubs in the US to train their own youth players. “FC Dallas stand for the excellent promotion of talent and are ideal partners for us,” Jörg Wacker, FC Bayern München AG board member for internationalisation and strategy, said when the partnership was announced last spring.

Monaco suspends Thierry Henry over poor performance

By News desk

French football giant, AS Monaco, has suspended its coach, Thierry Henry, over alleged poor performance in the season.

The club stressed that the suspension would last until a final decision is made on his future with them.

in a short statem,ent on Thursday, the Ligue 1 club said: “AS Monaco announces that it has decided to suspend Thierry Henry from his duties as coach of the first team from this day and waiting for a final decision.

“And Franck Passi, the assistant coach will train the professional group this Friday”, the club statement added.

It would be recalled that Monaco appointed the former Arsenal and France striker last year and could only garner two points in their last five Ligue 1 encounters making the club to sit second from bottom in the table.

The principality side were also knocked out of the French Cup in the last 32 by Ligue 2 side, Metz on Tuesday, an outcome that failed to go down well with the management.

This followed a 5-1 demolition at home by Racing Strasbourg in their last league outing with the club showing no signs of improvement since signing midfielder, Cesc Fabregas, from Chelsea earlier this month.

Henry, who started out playing for Monaco and went on to enjoy a stellar club career with Arsenal and Barcelona, worked as assistant coach for Belgium for two years until 2018 but had never been in charge of a team in his own right.

Henry, 41, played for Monaco for five seasons, winning a league title with them in 1997.

Henry said earlier on Thursday that he would downsize his squad ahead of a crucial game at fellow strugglers Dijon in Ligue 1 on Saturday.

“We need guys who want to save the club, who don’t think about themselves. We’re going to war,” he told reporters on Thursday.

“But despite the results we are still alive,” added Henry, who had refused to speculate on his future at the club.

Monaco are three points from the safety zone with 15 points from 21 games.

Super Eagles striker, Musa’s mother is dead

By Olawale Abdul-Fatah

Super Eagles striker, Ahmed Musa’s mother, Sarah Moses, has passed on after brief illness.

The striker, who is mourning, announced the death of her mother on Thursday, barely a day after announcing his mother’s ailment.

Musa, who is back in Nigeria after sustaining injury while plying his trade in the Saudi Arabian league announced her death on his official instagram page.

The Guild gathered that the striker’s mother died at an Abuja hospital.


Barcelona signs €75m Dutch midfielder, De Jong,

By News desk

Spanish football giant, Barcelona Football club and Dutch club, Ajax, on Wednesday reached an agreement for the transfer of midfielder Frenkie de Jong, who will be joining the Catalan club from 1 July 2019.

The five years contract for the 21 year old midfielder amount to 75 million euros, plus a further 11 million in variables.

Confirming the agreement, Barcelona President, Josep Maria Bartomeu and Ajax CEO, Òscar Grau, were personally involved in closing the deal in Amsterdam.

Barcelona, in a statement describing the player, Frenkie de Jong is one of the Europe’s most promising midfield talents.

“At just 21 years of age, he is joining FC Barcelona after proving himself as a polyvalent player with an excellent reading of the game and ability to provide the killer pass.”

It would be recalled that the Dutchman started out in the Willem II academy, but after just one year in Tiburg he caught the eye of Ajax, who signed him to the club in 2015.

However, he was loaned back from Amsterdam to his former team to ensure he got enough playing time to fully develop as a player. De Jong then returned to Ajax to lead its reserve team, Jong Ajax, in the Jupiler League.

Boateng confirms Barcelona move

By News desk

The former Ghanaian striker, Kevin-Prince Boateng, has confirmed his shock transfer to Barcelona announcing that he is coming to club to contribute his quota towards making the club lift the league title this year.

Boateng hinted that his dream was to score against Real Madrid during the el Clasico.

The striker, who represented Ghana at different tournaments, lamented that he never had intentions of leaving the Italian club, Sassuolo.

He said: “Barca, I’m coming. I am sad to leave Sassuolo but is a great chance.

“Don’t ask me about Real Madrid… is just the past! I only want to focus on Barcelona and I hope to score at Bernabéu for the next Clásico,” the elder of the Boateng brothers added.

It would be recalled that the strike had several stints with different Club’s including AC Milan, where he scored several goals.


Nike unveils self lacing shoes, controlled with smartphone

Nike, the global sportswear giant on Tuesday launched some magic shoes that will automatically loosen or tighten when you step into them, and then adapt based on your activity.

Click here to watch Nike’s demonstration.

The Nike Adapt BB shoes, which go on sale on February 17 for $350 in the United States, are controlled by the touch of a button or a smartphone app.

“We picked basketball as the first sport for Nike Adapt intentionally because of the demands that athletes put on their shoes,” Eric Avar, Nike VP creative director of innovation, said in a statement.

Using a custom motor and gear train, “Adapt” technology enables the shoe to be automatically adjusted to the foot.

The app allows the player to load in different fit preferences — for example, game play versus a timeout.

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum is the first pitchman for the new shoe.

“That the app allows the ability to put the shoe on and touch the button, change the colors, see the percentage on the battery…it’s just cool,” Tatum said in a statement.

Nike says it plans to bring the system to shoes for other sports.

Bayern Munich mid-season training ends in disaster

By News Desk

Bayern’s mid-season training camp in Doha ended with the unfortunate news that it’s French winger, Franck Ribéry, will face a long spell on the sidelines.

Ribery sustained injury at the Qatar training camp, tearing a hamstring during their Wednesday’s evening’s internal friendly match between members of the Bayern squad.

His injury increased number of players that would be absent when second half of the Bundesliga commenced Next week.

The extent of injury sustained was announced on the Club’s website on Thursday at close of the camp.

Others on the sidelines were the Dutch flying winter, Arjen Robben, who is recovering from a thigh injury sustained before the winter break.

Also, France World Cup team member, Corentin Tolisso, was still engaging in sports rehab after rupturing his cruciate ligament few days after the season kicked off.

Liverpool striker, Sallah, retains CAF footballer of the year award

By Olawale Abdul-Fatah

Confederation of African Football, (CAF) has declared Egypt and Liverpool striker, Mohamed Salah, winner of the 2018 African Footballer of Year Award for the second time.

Sallah retained the title on Monday, defeating his Liverpool colleague and Senegal striker, Sadio Mane and Arsenal striker, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, to it.

It would be recalled that the trio vied for the title in 2018 but the Egyptian striker peeped both player to the trophy.

Chrestinah Thembi Kgatlana of South Africa was crowned African Women’s Player of the Year 2018 at the Aiteo-CAF awards, while Nigeria’s female team won Women’s National Team of the Year.

On players plying their trade on the continent, Achraf Hakimi was named African Youth Player of the Year 2018.

Mo Salah was also not surprisingly named among Africa’s Best X1 players that did not include any Nigerian.

Other players on the 11-man list were Aubameyang, Mane, Riyad Mahrez, Keita, Partey, Koulibaly, Bailly, Madhi Benatia and Aurier.

Onyango as the goalkeeper completed the Africa Eleven.

The African football body also adjudged Mauritania as the best Men’s national Team of the Year.

The coaches were also recognised with Herve Renard winning Men’s coach of the Year and Desiree Ellis, coach of the Bayana Bayana, winning Women’s Coach of the Year.