THE Confederation of African Football is not about to lift the ban on Guinea very soon. Contrary to recent claims by the Guinea Football Federation that the temporary ban on games in the Ebola-hit country had been lifted, the CAF said no decision would be taken on the issue until its executive committee meets on Friday and Saturday in Ethiopia.
The confederation last month banned the West Africa nations of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia from hosting games because of the outbreak of the deadly virus. It said it would reassess the situation in mid-September.
On Tuesday, September 16, the CAF said the new assessment would be done in consultation with the World Health Organisation.
Guinea and Sierra Leone are competing in the final round of qualifiers for next year’s African Cup of Nations. Sierra Leone has decided to play all of its scheduled home games in Congo, but Guinea wants to host its matches.
Babayaro Carpets Nigerian Coaches
EMMANUEL Babayaro, a former Super Eagles player, does not regard any Nigerian coach as good enough to handle the Super Eagles. As such, Babayaro said he was never convinced from the onset that Stephen Keshi was the right man for the Eagles job.
“I don’t think Keshi is the man for the job. I never thought any Nigerian coach is the right person for the Eagles. And note this, it has nothing to do with their ability as coaches. As coaches they may be terrific, but I have always maintained, an average Nigerian myself inclusive, we are very sentimental people and football and sentiments don’t go together.
“That is why we have this situation where Keshi never invites the best hands, for one sentimental reason or the other. On a good day, somebody else without sentiments would have invited every other person.”
“We have to bring the players. They will create competition which at the end of the day makes every other player better,” he said.
Despite his criticism of Keshi, the Super Eagles coach, has impressed with his performance as handler of the Nigerian team from the Nations Cup to the World Cup in June this year.
Nigerian League Season Ends November 9
CONTRARY to the initial plan, the League Management Company, LMC, has said that the 2013/2014 Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL, season would now end on November 9 and not November 23.
Salihu Abubakar, chief operating officer of the LMC, made the disclosure in Abuja during the week said: “We have to come backwards to Nov. 9 because of the Nigeria Football Association, NFA, annual general meeting, AGM, on November 23. All the competition must finish before then, so we have to reschedule our matches to finish by November 9.
“Don’t forget that we must make submission by November 30 for our representation in the CAF competitions; that is the last day so we have to finish the league by November 9,’’ Abubakar said.
He, however, said that resumption of league action after a two-week boycott by the referees had brought a tight schedule for the clubs as well as the LMC.
Abubakar added that the boycott had given players the opportunity to rest, stressing that “we are going to have tough time organising the matches and going forward.
“As it is now, we have to play midweek and weekends for four weeks and we have to conclude 11 matches between now and the end of October.
“So, it is going to be hectic and tight for us and that is a big challenge.’’
Welbeck Will Improve — Wenger
ARSENE Wenger, manager of Arsenal football club of England says Arsenal “have to be patient” with new signing Danny Welbeck after his miss proved costly in the 2-0 Champions League defeat at Borussia Dortmund.
The 23-year-old England forward, a £16m arrival from Manchester United this month, shot wide when clean through with the Group D game goalless. Dortmund scored either side of half-time to secure victory. But the coach is not perturbed. “Danny will improve – we don’t have to make a problem of that,” Wenger said.
Welbeck had a very lively first half and had two or three good chances to score but couldn’t convert any. “There was one obvious one. We have to be patient with him,” the coach added.
Welbeck scored both goals as England beat Switzerland 2-0 in a Euro 2016 qualifier on 8 September. But he has not found the net at club level since scoring for United in a 3-0 Premier League win at West Brom on March 8.
After Welbeck’s miss at Signal Iduna Park, Ciro Immobile gave the home side the lead with a low shot, before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang finished another fine breakaway. Aubameyang also hit the crossbar in a game that saw Dortmund have 22 shots to Arsenal’s four.
Defeat in the opening game leaves the Gunners – competing in the Champions League for the 17th successive season – bottom of the group after Galatasaray and Anderlecht that drew 1-1.
“It’s very difficult to go into any individual assessment of any player because as a team we were not at the requested level,” Wenger said.
Arsenal faces Galatasaray at Emirates Stadium in their next Champions League game on October 1.
— Sep. 29, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT