Ugandan coach drops two players ahead of Africa Nations Championship

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Uganda Cranes head coach Sebastien Desabre has dropped two players from his squad ahead of the 2018 Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) in Morocco.
Ahmed Hussein, the Uganda FA spokesman, said on Wednesday morning that after the two international friendly games against Guinea and Congo Brazzaville, the coach decided to drop Tom Masiko and Mustapha Kizza.
“The final 23-man squad is now complete, while the two players will fly back to Uganda after camping with the team in Rabat, Morocco since last week,” added Hussein.
In the first friendly match Uganda Cranes tied Guinea 1-1 and lost 1-0 on Tuesday night to Congo Brazzaville. Coach Desabre said that after the two build-up games, he has now found the patterns for the team and will continue to prepare in the few days before their opening game against Zambia on Jan. 14.
The Jan. 13-Feb. 4 tournament features 16 teams grouped in four pools. Uganda, bundled with Zambia, Namibia and Cote d’Ivoire in Group B, will be based in the town of Marrakech.
Defending champions DR Congo failed to qualify for the championship.
Although each of the 16 qualified teams will pocket 175,000 U.S. dollars, the winners will smile away with 1.25 million dollars, the runner-up 700,000 dollars, semifinalists 400,000 dollars, and quarter-finalists 300,000 dollars.
Ismail Watenga, Benjamin Ochan, Saidi Keni, Nicholas Wakiro Wadada, Joseph Nsubuga, Timothy Awanyi, Mustapha Mujuzi, Bernard Muwanga, Isaac Muleme, Aggrey Madoi, Milton Karisa, Paul Mucureezi, Allan Kyambadde, Seif Batte, Rahmat Senfuka, Taddeo Lwanga, Abubaker Kasule, Moses Waisswa, Ibrahim Saddam Juma, Muzamir Mutyaba, Shaban Muhammad, Derrick Nsibambi, Nelson Senkatuka

Source: Xinhua


Ghana coach Avram Grant: We had to be ‘faultless’ to beat DR Congo




Ghana coach Avram Grant says his side had to cut out all mistakes from their previous matches to dislodge 

The Black Stars posted a 2-1 win over the Leopards at the Stade d’Oyem to secure a semi-final berth.

It was an improved performance after losing 1-0 to Egypt last Wednesday in the final Group D match.

“We corrected mistakes we made and in the second period it was totally different,” Grant told reporters after the DR Congo game.

“We played good football. The two goals we scored were fantastic. And when we fell asleep, they (DR Congo) also scored a fantastic goal.”

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Chung Mong-joon will effect change as FIFA president

Chung Mong-joon

Chung is a former vice-president of world football’s governing body and the major shareholder of the industrial giant Hyundai.

He told the BBC’s World Football programme rival Michel Platini was not the right man for Fifa.

“If I get elected, my job is not to enjoy the luxury of the office. My job is to change it,” he added.

The 63-year-old, who is worth $1.2bn (£769m) according to Forbes, continued: “It will be very difficult for Mr Platini to have any meaningful reforms. Mr Platini enjoys institutional support from the current structure of Fifa. Mr Platini is very much a product of the current system.”

Platini declared his intention to run for the 26 February election on Wednesday, though candidates have until 26 October to be nominated.

Blatter, who has run Fifa since 1998, is standing down following a series of damaging corruption allegations against the organisation.

United States and Swiss authorities have launched separate criminal investigations into corruption at Fifa, with seven top officials indicted on bribery and racketeering charges in the US.

The Football Association has confirmed it will back Uefa president Platini’s bid for election.

However Chung, who believes he has a “good chance” of winning the election, said: “It is time that Fifa had a non-European leadership.

“Fifa became a closed organisation for President Blatter, his associates and his cronies and I want to change that.”

Chung lost his Fifa vice-presidency in 2010, to Prince Ali Bin al-Hussein of Jordan – who unsuccessfully stood against Blatter in May’s presidential election.

Meanwhile, Argentina football great Diego Maradona has said he wants to fight the “mafia” behind the corruption in Fifa, but stopped short of saying he would run for president.

The 54-year-old former World Cup winner told local television channel America: “I have to fight the mafia that still remains inside Fifa. I have to fight those who have for a long time stolen from inside Fifa.”

When asked if he would run for the presidency, he said: “I really want to be in Fifa.”

Source: BBC

World Sports: Van Persie Arrives in Istanbul

Van Persie

Fenerbahce fans have shown up in vast numbers to welcome the Dutch forward Robin van Persie who arrived in Istanbul on Sunday night to sign with the Turkish club.

Speaking to the club’s official television upon landing, van Persie said, “I am very happy to be here and join the wonderful fans.”

The runner-up of last Turkish super league season will pay Manchester United 6.5 million pounds, while the Dutch international will get more than 240,000 pounds weekly wage he had at Old Trafford.

The Dutch star underwent a medical check on Thursday afternoon in London.

Source: News Ghana

Stephen Appiah officially ends football career in Ghana

Stephen Appiah

Former Black Stars captain Stephen Appiah has officially ended his illustrious playing career for Ghana with a testimonial game played at the Accra Sports Stadium on Saturday, June 27, 2015.

The game which ended with 2-2 featured most of the soccer greats and Stars of old in the country and the world at large.

Appiah opened the scoring for the Appiah XI side in the first half but his predecessor Asamoah Gyan pulled even for the Black Stars side later on.

Frank Acheampong and Baffour Gyan also scored for their respective sides after coming on much later in the game.

Stephen Appiah 2

Inside Africa: Inspiring story of Gael Bigirimana in Burundi Written by Pat Brennan

Like many young boys all over the world, as well as also girls in recent years, I spent a considerable amount of my childhood playing football. Sometimes this was in the street where I lived. At other times I played in the park, when not chased away by an over-zealous park keeper! Playing football in my primary school yard, usually with a tennis ball and on other occasions with a marble, was a daily occurrence.

We played before school, morning break, lunchtime, afternoon break and when we could, after the school day was over. It was at school where I played my first competitive matches, representing St. Columba’s Junior School at under 11 level, in the Wallsend Junior Schools League.

During the 1990’s, playing football on the often very dry and dusty streets of Bujumbura, Burundi, was a young boy called Gael Bigirimana.

Gael is the youngest of four children, with two older brothers and an older sister. Unlike the good fortune of myself and my friends, Gael and his siblings and friends didn’t have the luxury of shoes or sand shoes, but learnt their early football skills with their bare feet. This, of course, was many decades after my childhood football games. Those days in the dusty streets of Burundi, then a few years later in Uganda, were a long way and time from Coventry, then Newcastle, England.

I have been a Newcastle United supporter all of my life. Over these last ten years and maybe longer, we have a large influx of African footballers playing here in England, as well as other European countries. Having been to Uganda five times within the last six years, I have seen first hand the popularity of English Premiership football throughout the continent of Africa, including Uganda. I was so thrilled when in the summer of 2012, before the start of this current season, my team signed a young player from Coventry City, who was born in Burundi, then spent time in Uganda, before coming to Coventry, England, with his family.

Gael Bigirimana, often referred to as Bigi, was born on the 22nd. October, 1993, in Bujumbura, Burundi. Gael’s mum came to Coventry first, followed a short time later by dad, his two older brothers and sister. This was 2004. Gael spent about two years in Uganda, where he played his first competitive match and also wore football boots for the first time. This was in a suburb of Kampala, the capital.

Soon after settling into a new life in Coventry, Gael was anxious to continue playing football as much as possible, not uncommon with countless boys and girls the world over. When aged only eleven, Gael called into Coventry City’s training ground and asked for a trial. It seems the coaches at first discouraged Gael, but being impressed by his enthusiasm and speed as he ran away up the road, thinking he was being initially rejected, the coaches called Gael back and his football career was now underway.

Through school games and youth games, Gael finally signed for Coventry City’s Academy squad. Gael signed professional in the summer of 2011 and made his debut for Coventry City soon after in the Championship League on the 8th. August, 2011. Having played many games for Coventry during the 2011/2012 season, Gael signed for Newcastle United in the Premiership on the 6th. July, 2012. Gael’s debut for my team was on the 23rd. August, just weeks after signing, against the Greek team Atromitos in the Europa Cup. His Premiership debut was on the 2nd. September against Aston Villa, with his first goal scored against Wigan Athletic on the 3rd. December. Gael is the first Burundian to score in the English Premiership, a feat he is understandably very proud of.

As a Christian and a Catholic, I wanted to know more about Gael’s own faith story, his love of God and his devotion to his faith and all it means to him in his daily life. Unlike many other wealthy professional footballers, Gael is a very humble young man, who lives a quiet and unassuming life, not attracted to fast and expensive cars and all that money can often mean too many footballers and their lavish lifestyles. I was aware Gael and his family are regular churchgoers and when they lived in Coventry, they attended the Mosaic Church, which I think is an evangelical-type Christian church. In Newcastle, Gael was anxious to share with me that he and his family attend the Newcastle Christian Life Church. When I inquired with him as to where exactly this church is, he smiled and told me it is very near our stadium, St. James’ Park. It crossed my mind that for over 52,000 fanatical supporters, this was on many occasions, their occasional place of worship.

I wanted to probe more about faith with Gael, without being too intrusive. When I asked him about what his faith truly meant to him, he told me, “It is everything, it’s what I live for. It is my life.” Wanting to try to establish in what ways and how faith fits into Gael’s busy life as a Premiership footballer, he thought for a moment before explaining to me, It’s where God puts me in this football industry.

It excites me.” I quickly sensed that for Gael, this was his personal vocation and when I suggested football was his calling and his own journey in life, he smiled and simply said “yes.” I wondered if Gael viewed his special talent and gift as his destiny in life, from as far back as those barefoot days playing on the often hot, dusty Burundian streets. His reply was very thought-provoking and spiritual. “It’s a divine gift. Nobody can take it away from me.”

I was very interested in this deeper and more spiritual aspect of this very gifted and very talented young African. I wanted to look further into Gael’s philosophy and appraisal of his specific journey in life. The answer I received was something that inspired me and captivated me:-

“God put me into this life. It’s a lesson for me. God gives me the character and the attitude to treat people well. God wants me to live with people and be an influence to others by talking to them. It is where God is taking me, to instruct others that God is Truth. God is preparing me. People like to know bigger things. It’s the way God wants me to do it. God will help me to help others to listen to the Truth. In reality, I see God as a Fact, a Truth. God can do it in my life.”

During these last few seasons in particular, here in England, as well as in other European countries and I am sure throughout world football, there have been justifiable criticisms of “some” professional footballers failing in their duties to be suitable role models to young boys and girls, who emulate their every move, action and word. We have young women who want to be seen out and about with a professional footballer and live the extravagant lifestyle that a wealthy footballer can give them.

When, however, I think of Gael Bigirimana and what he has achieved so far in his not quite twenty years, my mind turns to countless young boys and girls I have watched playing football in Uganda. Often their ball is made of old newspapers, formed into a sphere and is adequate for their purpose in being able to play football. For them, young men such as Gael are exemplary role models and someone for them all to aspire to follow in his footsteps.

Although Gael and his family left Burundi, I suspect, in rather a hurry to escape unfortunate conflict and political unrest, I felt it was very inappropriate to speak about this when we chatted at Newcastle United’s Training Ground. It has been quite apt to be talking to Gael not just about his football career to date, but also his faith and love of God, because it was the afternoon of Holy Thursday, when we met.

This is the beginning of Easter and the Resurrection. I am sure that although those far off days in Burundi would hold vivid and special memories for Gael and his family, they would also be in many respects painful and heartbreaking memories. Maybe Gael’s grandparents and other members of his family are still living and surviving in Burundi. I wanted to know if Gael’s parents had ever returned to Burundi, but again, I felt this was not an appropriate part of their life to ask about.

I suggested to Gael that with modern fitness regimes and, God willing, if he escapes serious injuries, he would hopefully have fifteen or more years at the top in his career. I think this notion mildly amused Gael when I asked him where he saw himself in fifteen years time and whether he aspired to be a football coach, or even a media pundit, he smiled and shook his head.

His reply quite staggered me in some respects, but in my short time with him, a part of me wasn’t so surprised. At present and thinking ahead to when his playing days are finally over, in answer to my question, Gael told me he wants to be a manager, but a “Faith Manager.” Gael elaborated and told me, “I want to speak to a young generation. I want to give to young people what God has given to me. It is God’s blessing to me.”

Before we concluded our chat, I asked Gael if had considered returning to Africa for a visit. Thinking he would understandably tell me he would like to visit Burundi, he told me he would love to return to Uganda, seek out his coach and thank him for all he had done to set him on his way for his football career. Whoever this very influential man is, I am sure he will know only too well the success his protege has already had.

Written by : Pat Brennan

About the Writer

His name is Pat Brennan and lives in North East England. He has visited Uganda on many occasions and met many different people there. He help to raise awareness and funds to help support the many different projects.

The writer’s website:


Avram Grant made a strange touchline disappearance on Sunday

Avram Grant made a strange touchline disappearance on Sunday

Retired FIFA referee Joseph Wellington insists Avram Grant broke now football law by dashing into the dressing room while Ghana thrashed Mauritius in the opening 2017 AFCON qualifier.

The former Chelsea boss stepped into the dressing room early in the first half when his side went 4-0 up against the islanders on Sunday.

Grant’s strange disappearance from the touchline caused a lot of stir amongst onlookers at the Accra Sports Stadium.

The 60-year-old re-emerged to Ghana’s solitary concession.

Grant later on revealed he had to dash into the dressing room to take his medication as he wasn’t feeling well ahead of the game.

Retired Ghanaian FIFA referee Joseph Wellington says no laws were broken by the strange act of Avram Grant.

“The framers of the football laws know that human beings may need emergencies, so it is perfectly legal for Avram to have done that,” Wellington told Asempa FM.

“And it’s not just coaches, even referees can leave the pitch and come back if they really have to.”

Ghana went on to beat Mauritius 7-1 in perhaps one of the most one-sided football match in history.

The Black Stars will next face Rwanda when the qualifiers resume in September.