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Abidjan (AFP) Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure said on Thursday he won’t play for the Ivory Coast during the international break due to “family reasons”. The 34-year-old will miss Friday’s friendly with Togo and the game against Moldova on Monday in France despite having come out of international retirement last December. “Sadly, I will not be able to take part in Ivory Coast’s matches during the international week. My family needs me at this moment and I hope the fans will understand,” Toure wrote on Twitter. “I wish the teamRead More
Mogadishu (AFP) Shortly after sunrise, a group of young women arrives at a football pitch in Mogadishu, where they shrug off their hijabs — some changing underneath the billowing veil — to reveal their team kit. Young Somali men stand nearby, some disapproving but all watching closely, as the women jog up and down, dribble a worn-out ball between colourful cones and do sit-ups, less than 200 metres (656 feet) from a heavily guarded security checkpoint. The sight of young women playing football is highly unusual in Somalia, due toRead More
Johannesburg (AFP) Wydad Casablanca of Morocco and Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa, the last two winners of the CAF Champions League, will face each other in the group phase this year. Defending champions Wydad and 2016 title-holders Sundowns were placed in Group C Wednesday with two debutants, Port of Togo and Horoya of Guinea during the draw in Cairo. Sundowns were dethroned by Wydad in the quarter-finals last year, losing a penalty shootout in Morocco after both clubs won 1-0 at home. There will be another repeat of a 2017Read More
Johannesburg (AFP) Egypt striker Amr Gamal has quit reigning South African champions Wits after failing to make an impact, lessening his chances of featuring at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Wits coach Gavin Hunt on Tuesday confirmed the early end to a one-year loan deal, saying: “Amr is a good footballer, but I thought he would settle in much quicker. “I understand he is joining a Finnish club (HJK Helsinki) on loan and we wish him the best of luck there.” After a promising start, the goals dried upRead More
Johannesburg (AFP) ASEC Mimosas of the Ivory Coast flopped at home and fellow former African title winners V Club of the Democratic Republic of Congo also bowed out of the CAF Champions League Sunday. The Abidjan club, winners of the competition in 1998, looked set to succeed in a last-32 tie against Zesco United of Zambia after building a 1-0 lead on the road last week. In a dream start to the return match, ASEC doubled their overall advantage when Gbagnon Badie converted a penalty after just seven minutes. ButRead More
Casablanca (Morocco) (AFP) Morocco on Saturday pushed its bid to host the 2026 World Cup in the name of Africa despite tough competition from a joint effort by the United States, Canada and Mexico. Two days after officially submitting Morocco’s bid book to FIFA, the head of the bid committee Moulay Hafid Elalamy outlined to the press the country’s readiness and determination to host the game. “The dice has not been cast…Morocco has all the chances,” he said. The North African kingdom has pre-selected 12 cities to host the competitionRead More
Egypt's national carrier EgyptAir said Friday it would resume direct flights between Cairo and Moscow, three years after they were halted following the bombing of a Russian charter jet over the Sinai.Read More
Rome (AFP) Italian international footballer Mario Balotelli has blasted the country’s first black senator, who was elected in Sunday’s general ballot for the far-right, anti-immigrant League party. Balotelli, who was born in Palermo to Ghanaian parents and has played 33 times for Italy, has long been a target for racist abuse. He took to Instagram to target Nigerian-born Tony Iwobi, who was elected in the northern industrial city of Brescia — a major immigration hub. “Maybe I’m blind or maybe they haven’t told him that he’s black yet. Disgrace!” BalotelliRead More
Johannesburg (AFP) Wydad Casablanca of Morocco begin their CAF Champions League title defence Wednesday with coach Faouzi Benzarti confident of back-to-back successes in the elite African competition. “There is no reason why we cannot retain the title,” the vastly experienced Tunisian said ahead of a last-32 first leg at home to African rookies Williamsville of the Ivory Coast. Benzarti, the second most successful coach in CAF club competitions with five titles, drew encouragement from the African Super Cup success of Wydad last month. The Moroccans dominated the multi-national stars ofRead More
Abuja (AFP) Liberia’s President George Weah on Monday urged Nigeria to get their preparation right for the World Cup and avoid wranglings over cash that have plagued previous appearances. The former Monaco, Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan forward took office in January on a promise to turn around the impoverished West African nation. On an official visit to meet his Nigerian counterpart, Muhammadu Buhari, he praised the Super Eagles for getting to Russia, calling them “a model” for African teams to follow. “I have played with great Nigerian players, IRead More