Archive | May 19, 2015

Venus Williams arrives in Paris for French Open….

Venus Williams

“I have arrived,” writes Venus Williams on Instagram after the 15th seed touches down in Paris ahead of the French Open, which starts on Sunday. Good luck to her.

Banyana Banyana’s Portia Modise retires….

South Africa's Portia Modise

South Africa’s most capped female player Portia Modise has retired from all football with immediate effect in order to pursue a coaching career. The 31-year-old scored her 100th international goal in a 5-1 win over Algeria at last year’s African Women’s Championship (AWC) in Namibia. She also won her 117th and final cap at the tournament as Banyana Banyana missed out on World Cup qualification when they lost to Ivory Coast in the third place play-off. The South African Football Association president Danny Jordaan announced that “her new role will be to guide other players.”

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Zidane Jr saves three penalties….

getty

Luca Zidane, son of Zinedine, saved three penalties and missed one of his own as France squeezed past Belgium in a shootout at the European Under-17 Championships. The sides drew 1-1 in Bulgaria but the French prevailed to set up a final meeting with either Germany or Russia. Luca and his teammates have qualified for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile later this year.

QPR appoint Coach Ramsey on permanent basis….

QPR manager Chris Ramsey

QPR have appointed Chris Ramsey as head coach on a three-year contract. Ramsey, 53, was given the job until the end of the season in February after Harry Redknapp resigned but failed to prevent Premier League relegation. “When Chris took over the role we were already in a very difficult position,” said club chairman Tony Fernandes. “Despite our relegation, we – as a board – have been impressed with the professionalism and attention to detail he has demonstrated.” QPR have won three of Ramsey’s 14 games in charge and go into their final game of the season at Leicester bottom of the top flight on goal difference. Fernandes added: “He lives and breathes management and coaching and I am sure he will flourish in this role as we look to bounce back from this season’s disappointments. “This is a new start for us and one I am confident Chris will relish playing a major part in.” The Loftus Road outfit’s director of football Les Ferdinand believes the club need to focus on developing its youth players rather than spending heavily on new signings. “I enjoyed my time in temporary charge, despite the way the season panned out, and now I’m looking forward to the challenge of helping rebuild this club over the coming years,” said Ramsey. “I am fully aware of what this club means to its supporters and I intend to do everything possible to help build a QPR team they can be proud of.” An announcement about Ramsey’s backroom staff will be made in “due course”.

 

Allardyce set to leave West Ham….

 

West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce

West Ham United are set to announce manager Sam Allardyce’s exit on Monday, reports the Daily Telegraph. Club owners David Sullivan and David Gold, together with vice-chairman Karren Brady, are scheduled to meet 60-year-old Allardyce less than 24 hours after the last game of the season against Newcastle. Allardyce, who has been in charge since June 2011, is out of contract this summer. The Hammers are 11th in the Premier League table but have won just two of the last 15 top flight games.

 

Xavi to leave Barcelona….

getty

Barcelona’s captain Xavi Hernandez will leave the club he has served since boyhood for Qatari side Al Sadd at the end of this season, his father has announced. The 35-year-old midfielder is a stalwart of the Catalan side over recent years and one of the heroes of Spain’s Euro and World Cup-winning squads. His father Joaquin Hernandez told the Cope radio station Xavi had decided “the moment has come to say goodbye”. “He is lucky to have received a really impressive offer from Al Sadd where he can continue playing football, train as a future coach and also rest a little,” he added.

Ronaldo overtakes Di Stefano….

 

Cristiano Ronaldo moved ahead of Real Madrid legend Alfredo Di Stefano in the club’s all-time goal-scoring chart on Sunday evening. Ronaldo, 30, scored yet another hat trick in the 4-1 win at Espanyol which moved him onto 310 goals from his 299 games, and the three-time Ballon d’Or winner is now closing in on record goal-scorer Raul who left the club in 2010 with 323 goals from 741 games. Real Madrid say that Di Stefano scored 308 goals in 396 games, though official statistics place him on 307 — the club attribute a goal scored in a Copa Del Rey game against Betis in 1962-63 to Di Stefano while other outlets give it to Ferenc Puskas. Carlos Santillana, who played between 1971-88, bagged 290 in 645 games while Puskas managed 242 in 262 games between 1958-66. Ronaldo’s treble at Espanyol was the 26th of his Madrid career, which saw move two clear of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi for the all-tie record of La Liga hat tricks. On Wednesday against Juventus, Ronaldo equalled Messi once more in the battle to become the top scorer in Champions League history. The pair have been outscoring each other all season but the Portugal international has now tied Messi on 77.

REAL MADRID TOP SCORERS:

1. Raul – 323
2. Cristiano Ronaldo – 310
3. Alfredo Di Stefano – 307
4. Santillana – 290
5. Ferenc Puskas – 242

 

Okagbare apologises to Athletics Federation of Nigeria….

Nigeria’s queen of tracks Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor has apologised to the hierarchy of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) over her statements criticising the federation’s athletes development policy. AFN president, Solomon Ogba stated that Okagbare-Ighoteguonor’s apology has been received and the board of the AFN will take up the matter. “Blessing is our daughter. She has erred and when your child goes wrong, you pull her ears with your left and then draw her close to you with your right hand. “I think we have moved on from that incident and our concentration is on how to run our programs for the season,” Ogba said. Okagbare had blasted the AFN over its craze for recruiting foreign nationals to compete for Nigeria, a move she reckons is  killing our grassroot section/home based athletes.

Depay completes Manchester United medical….

Memphis Depay: Completes medical ahead of Manchester United move.

PSV Eindhoven star Memphis Depay completed a medical on Monday ahead of his agreed transfer to Manchester United., the club have confirmed. Once the Dutch international passes his medical, the final paperwork can be completed and the club said the deal will be confirmed once the international transfer window opens next month. A club statement on Monday evening read: “Memphis Depay has today completed his medical at Manchester United. We will now work towards finalizing his registration when the international transfer window opens in June.” The 21-year-old winger moves to Old Trafford after a sensational season in Holland which saw him score 22 league goals and fire PSV Eindhoven to the Eredivisie title. Depay has spoken of his delight at the move and is confident he will be able to make a big impact in the Premier League next season. “I want to improve myself but Dutch players have played also in the Premier League and I spoke with many of them,” Depay said. “I believe I can be a big player in the Premier League and I showed my ability in the World Cup. “I am very excited. I was always reading about the Premier League. It has been a big dream and one that came true.”

Referee shows five red cards in five minutes….

Referee

Four red cards, a manager sent off, riot shields on the pitch and a police escort from the ground – it was a quiet final five minutes on Sunday for Peruvian referee Ramon Blanco. In the 86th minute of Alianza Lima’s clash with Real Garcilaso, the 36-year-old may have thought he could start winding down for the afternoon until, suddenly, chaos broke out. Like a rag to a bull, the sight of red left Allianza players – trailing 1-0 – wanting more and more punishment and in Blanco, they found a man willing to dish it out. Red cards for a Gabriel Costa hack in midfield and manager Guillermo Sanguinetti’s protests, two more as an elbow and vicious kick saw Marcos Miers and Pablo Miquez hit the showers, before Christian Cueva saw red for trying to stop Blanco from reaching for a card. Not even the sight of riot police attempting to address the chaos on the pitch could fluster Blanco during his five-minute red-card bonanza. Peru’s Association of Professional Referees said Blanco was “correct” and congratulated him on a “very good job” on Facebook.  That was a view probably not shared by all as he was escorted through a scrum of media, with a vacant look on his face, and into a car driven away flanked by police cars with lights flashing.  There’s nothing like a quiet Sunday. For what it is worth, Garcilaso held on to win 1-0 and lead Peru’s top flight.

 

UEFA to ease Financial Fair Play rules….

 

Uefa president Michel Platini

European football’s governing body is preparing to relax the Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules it introduced in 2011 to stop clubs from overspending. In an interview with French radio station RTL,  UEFA president Michel Platini said FFP was “working well” but would be “eased” this summer. This followed a report in Le Parisien  newspaper on Sunday that said “significant changes” are on the table. Manchester City and Paris St-Germain were fined last year for breaching FFP. Platini’s right-hand man at UEFA, general secretary Gianni Infantino, later confirmed to the BBC that talks about FFP with Europe’s leading clubs were “ongoing”, with a “number of amendments” under discussion. “Financial Fair Play has proved successful in achieving considerable improvement in the financial health of European football,” said Infantino.

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Ghana’s Mensah facing ban over Evian transfer….

Evian's Ghanaian defender Jonathan Mensah

Ghana defender Jonathan Mensah has been handed a worldwide ban from football for four months by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) over his transfer from Udinese to Evian four years ago, BBC reports. Sources close to Mensah have told the BBC the court ruled in favour of Italian club Udinese, stating Mensah’s transfer to the French side as a free agent was illegal because the Ghanaian was still under contract at the time. Mensah’s ban takes effect from 29 April and will expire on 29 August 2015. It means Mensah will miss the start of next season but crucially for Ghana, he will also be absent from the 2017 Nations Cup qualifier against Mauritius, scheduled for Accra on 14 June. News of Mensah’s ban from all football activity comes as a double blow for the player, whose club Evian were relegated from the French top flight on Saturday. 24 year old Mensah joined Udinese from Free State Stars in South Africa after impressing for Ghana during their 2009 World Youth Cup victory. However, Mensah struggled to get into the Italian team and instead spent time on loan at Granada before his transfer to Evian. The Ghana Football Association say they have not been officially informed about Mensah’s ban as yet and are waiting to hear from the Court of Arbitration for Sport and FIFA on Monday.

Andre Ayew is the top African player in France….

 

Andre Ayew

Ghana and Marseille midfielder Andre Ayew has been named best African player in France’s Ligue 1. The 25-year-old beat Ivory Coast’s Max-Alain Gradel (Saint-Etienne)and Tunisia’s Aymen Abdennour (Monaco) to the Marc-Vivien Foe Trophy. It is set to be the last thing he will achieve as a Marseille players as he has stated he is leaving the club at the end of the season. Ayew scored 10 goals in 27 appearances for the French giants this campaign. He joined the club in 2007, going out on loan to L’Orient and then Arles-Avignon in the early part of his career before becoming a key member of the team. The tropny for the Best African Ligue 1 player was renamed the Marc-Vivien Foe Award in 2011 in tribute to the Cameroonian player who died unexpectedly while in the middle of an international competitive fixture against Columbia at the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup.

Previous winners of Marc-Vivien Foe Trophy

2014: Vincent Enyeama (Nigeria/Lille)

2013: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon/Saint-Étienne)

2012: Younès Belhanda (Morocco/Montpellier Hérault SC)

2011: Gervinho (Ivory Coast/Lille)

2010: Gervinho (Ivory Coast/Lille)

2009: Marouane Chamakh (Morocco/Bordeaux)