Sunday, December 06, 2009

Who would get out of Group D?

The draw and the additional issues

Group A

South Africa

Group B
South Korea

Group C

Group D

Group E


Group F
New Zealand

Group G
Ivory Coast
North Korea

Group H


So what did you guys think of the draw? Especially for the African teams?

Did we put on a good show? Honest opinions please!

And how favorable/unfavorable was your country's group?

I think our group (Group D) is going to be so difficult for us.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

South Africa 2010: Fifa has seeded, now we await the Draw

Pot 1 (seeds): South Africa, Brazil, Spain, Holland, Italy, Germany, Argentina.

Pot 2 (Asia, Oceania and North/Central America) Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Mexico, Honduras.

Pot 3 (Africa/South America) Ivory Coast, Ghana, Cameroon, Nigeria, Algeria.

Pot 4 (Europe) France, Portugal, Slovenia, Greece, Serbia, Denmark, Slovakia.

There you are. The long drawn debate about whether France and Portugal deserved to be seeded in Pot 1 has been answered. But if the two nations had been seeded it would have created an uproar at a time when Fifa's name is not perceived in such a good light following Thierry's handball.

And the seeding of France and Portugal before that.

As it stands, the big guns are unlikely to meet anytime in the group stages with most of the 'juicy' games reserved for later.

Later today, Fifa would be meeting on Robben Island to deliberate on other key issues. More of that in a bit.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

World Cup 2010 Draw: of 8 seeds and 32 nations

Friday would see the most anticipated football event since the world cup playoffs take place in South Africa. Six months before the blast of the whistle for South Africa 2010, 32 teams will be drawn in Cape Town.

Eight of these countries would be seeded and drawn into groups of four teams. Ah, that word 'seeded' again. In recent weeks the word has become taboo in some parts of the world (read Ireland)

Previously, earning a seed meant a country would avoid facing another seeded team in the first round. But the rules and procedures change from one tournament to the other. And that's why the Fifa World Cup Organizing Committee would meet later today is the rainbow nation to determine seeding and rules for this Draw.

At first, this Committee used a team's performance in previous World Cup rankings combined with its Fifa rankings to determine the seed. For Germany '06, 3 years of Fifa rankings (2006, 2005 and 2004) were also used in addition to performances in the 2002 and 1998 World Cups.

Crucially, no matter how the Committee seeds, it must use the Fifa rankings as part of its grouping process. The latest Fifa rankings, released on 20 Nov, put Spain as best in the world with Brazil in second. The Netherlands, Italy, Portugal, Germany, France, Argentina, England and Croatia follow in that order, making the top ten.

Croatia, of course, will not be at the World Cup while hosts South Africa is also the lowest ranked team among the teams that have made it. They are 86th.

After all is said and done. I'm hoping that the Fifa meeting today would be devoid of any seeding controversies - God knows we've had too many of those in the last month already.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Glo Premier League review

Kessben extended their lead at the top of the Ghana Premier League to four points after beating second-placed Berekum Arsenals 2-0 on Sunday.

Goals from Edmund Owusu Peprah and Bismark Idan to give the home side three vital points and the early ascendancy in the race for the 2009/10 championship title.

Despite the result, Arsenals stay in third, but AshantiGold moved up to third with a emphatic 3-0 win over Liberty Professionals thanks to goals from Eugene Owusu Prempeh, Aminu Mohammed and Theophilus Anobah.

The Derby between Asante Kotoko and King Faisal ended in a 1-1 draw as Daniel Addo gave the latter the lead, before Gideon Baah netted the equalier a minute from time. Faisal also had Mickey Ofosu sent-off.

Fourth-place Heart of Lions succumbed to a 1-0 defeat at Great Olympics as Latif Mohammed netted in injury time, while defending champions Hearts of Oak lost 2-0 at Wa All Stars, despite the home side finishing the game with 10 men.

Frank Nortey Sowah and Ben Acheampong score for All Stars. John Antwi netted four goals as strugglers Eleven Wise beat Real Tamale United 4-2, with Sadat Karim netting a brace for United.

Chelsea beat Sekondi Hasaacas 2-1 and Aduana Stars were 1-0 winners against New Edubiase.

Cecafa Cup '09: Ethiopia to play first soccer game since Fifa ban

When Ethiopia take to the pitch today in their Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup opener, it would be far more than just a game for the players.

The Walyas, as the national team is known, have been banned by Fifa since June 2008 and today's match against Djibouti represents a lull in football starvation akin to what millions in back home in Ethiopia face.

I say 'lull' because Fifa had a meeting with the stakeholders of Ethiopian football last week but an impasse could not be reached so they remain banned. They can play in the Cecafa Cup because the tournament isn't a Fifa-organized one.

So, why are they banned? It's because the Ethiopian government sought to interfere with the Fifa-recognized Football Federation. This is in direct contravention of Article 14 paragraph 1 of the Fifa statutes.

A guy called Ahmed Yassin is the man the central government wanted in the hot seat while Fifa still recognises Dr. Ashebir Woldegiorgis (take your time in calling that one!) as the legit President of the EFA.

For the players who have suffered the lack of international football due to these political games, the Cecafa Cup represents an early Christmas. Indeed.

Ethiopian coach Abreham's side have been drawn in Group A with Zambia, Kenya and Djibouti. His players have been reported as saying that they dont mind what the final outcome would be: they just want to play football.

I cant help thinking that this is yet another sad story for Ethiopia who, in an ideal world, would be top of the African game. After all they were founding fathers of the Confederation of African football, having worked tirelessly to give the continent an identity through soccer - one it badly needed in the heated colonial climate of the 1950s and '60s.

This pillar of the continent's game has, unfortunately, been down the ladder for most of the past 50 years. The last time they were at a Nations Cup was back in 1982. And in relative terms, the Cecafa Cup has really been the only place the Walyas have shown any spark.

They've won the tournament 4 times and meeting Djibouti today may yet be a good thing - on paper. The men from Addis Ababa have hit ten goals past their smaller neighbours in their last two meetings and that trend may well continue.

Fifa ranks Ethiopia 131st in the world. If you think that's bad, Djibouti share the very last place in the Fifa rankings with the Pacific Islands of Cook Islands & Guam (where the hell is THAT?)

So for a romantic like myself, the resurgence of Ethiopia in African soccer would be a good rags-to-riches media story. That's why I'd be paying close tabs on today's game in Kenya.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Arsenal-Chelsea: African player rankings

The much awaited Arsenal - Chelsea game is over. The Blues won by an emphatic 3-0 at the Emirates. Here's my rankings of the African boys:


We know he's sometimes employed as a holding player but he really must limit the amount of backpasses he gives. Controlled his part of the field appreciably, though but he still needs to improve.

Appears he was told to keep tabs on Arshavin and Eduardo. He did it well and kept the Gunners' attack on full time duty. Yet he was guilty of a few bad passes that nearly cost the Blues on occasion. Made some good runs into the reds half as well. Generally, a good game.

There were derisive shouts of 'cheat' where I watched the game, yet you cannot deny the class of the Ivorian. First goal was just clinical; the second was exquisitely taken. He gave the Gunners little to worry about but his effect in 90 minutes was marked. Would have given him a 10 but he really should cut down on the dives etc.


Only misplaced two passes in the whole first half. Apart from that he played the midfield role with class. Pity Wenger changed him because of circumstances.

What's your take?

Arsenal-Chelsea: African player rankings

The much awaited Arsenal - Chelsea game is over. The Blues won by an emphatic 3-0 at the Emirates. Here's my rankings of the African boys:


We know he's sometimes employed as a holding player but he really must limit the amount of backpasses he gives. Controlled his part of the field appreciably, though but he still needs to improve.

Appears he was told to keep tabs on Arshavin and Eduardo. He did it well and kept the Gunners' attack on full time duty. Yet he was guilty of a few bad passes that nearly cost the Blues on occasion. Made some good runs into the reds half as well. Generally, a good game.

There were desirive shouts of 'cheat' where I watched the game, yet you cannot deny the class of the Ivorian. First goal was just clinical; the second was exquisitely taken. He gave the Gunners little to worry about but his effect in 90 minutes was marked. Would have given him a 10 but he really should cut down on the dives etc.


Only misplaced two passes in the whole first half. Apart from that he played the midfield role with class. Pity Wenger changed him because of circumstances.

What's your take?

10 must-know facts about African Confederations' Cup finale

The buzz in African soccer circles is not only about the Spanish El Classico or Arsenal - Chelsea but also about the first leg of the Caf Confed Cup. It's Entente Setif vs Stade Malien. Here are 10 fast facts for you.


1. They have not won anything on the continent in 21 years - the last time was when they beat Nigeria's Iwuanyawu Nationale (now called Heartland) 4-1.

2. But they are on a great run after winning the Arab Champions League back-to-back in 2007 and last year.

3. This tournament's topscorer is in the team: Abdelmalek Ziaya with 13 goals. Even though he's averaged a goal per game in the tournament in the last 10 months, Ziaya was not used in the national team's world/African cup qualifiers.

4. Two members of the national team who've just qualified for the world cup are in the team, too: Khaled Lemmouchia - the guy who bled from the missile attacks in Egypt - and goalkeeping hero Faouzi Chaouchi, unfortunately not registered on time so he shant play in today's game.

5. Setif are the second Algerian side to play Malien in this competition after JSM Bejaia. They'll hope not to be the second to be beaten!


6. Based in Bamako, they have not been in a continental final in 44 years.

7. They have a great away record this year: a loss in seven games. Setif beware!

8. Proven penalty warriors this year after beating JSM Bejaia in 25 goal shootout and Egypt's ENPPI in the semi- final.

9. Lost the first African Champions' Cup to Cameroon's Oryx Douala in Accra.

10. Malien can join the elite list of teams to win the new Caf Confed Cup since it was renamed in '04. Others are: Hearts of Oak (Ghana), FAR Rabat (Morocco), Etoile Sahel and CS Sfaxien ([twice]; both Tunisia)

Final leg of this finale is on Thursday.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Punish Essien, Muntari and Gyan now.

If you were the head of Ghana's football association, what would you do about this scenario?

You are basking in the light of world cup (and Nations Cup) qualification when suddenly, a phone call from the airport inform's you that the flight for Angola is ready for takeoff...but Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari and Asamoah Gyan are nowhere to be found. Aside there guys, everyone is accounted for and all attempts to trace the three (possibly) most valuable assets to your team are gone poof.

You dont need this right now so you make a few calls and find out that the guys actually cajoled their passports from the team manager and they're headed for their clubs as you speak.

Would you give the three the stiffest sanctions, including possible bans, regardless of their status in the team? Or would you impose fines on them? Or both? Or would you let 'em explain and then let them off? Or...

Whatever. The point is, two weeks after the three guys bounced before the friendly in Angola as a test for the coming Nations Cup, nothing has been said.

Oh, did I neglect to say that the FA launched an inquiry into what happened and to solicit explanations from the guys? Yep, that was a week ago and in that time, Michael and Gyan have written letters of apology and have asked to be pardoned.

You may have noticed that Sulley's name didnt appear in the apologies list. Dont be suprised: true to form he has not breathed a word of explanation to anyone. And it's not his first time.

As it is, it's obvious the FA are stroking the arrogant Inter Milan man and waiting for his word but I say he should be taught a lesson.

In March this year, I arrived at the dressing room area of the Baba Yara stadium after Ghana had played a dismal world cup qualifier with Benin, hoping for a sound bite or two from the boys.

Security was damn tight so I was denied access. So much for sound bites. Can you believe my anger, then, when I later heard that this same Muntari had raised a tantrum because his girlfriend had been denied entry to the players' dressing room area?

Since when were WAGs allowed into dressing rooms? And guess what? After that incident, Muntari's mother was all over the radio declaring that 'there is no Black Stars without my son'.

The righteous anger that followed countrywide was beautiful to behold. But of course, being who he is it soon blew off, though not without a lot of conciliatory statements by those close to him.

In this instance, I would expect the FA to send a stinging signal to the three that they cannot hold the nation to ransom. For me, better a dignified Black Stars than a girlfriend-toting set of arrogant nouveau riches anyday.

The coach, Milovan Rajevac, is known as a no-bullshitter. He should prove it now, not later. In case he has not been told, Muntari left the team during Athens 2004 because of some disagreements he had with some people in the system. Michael is also slowly building a reputation of not being a committed to the national team than he is at Chelsea.

This piece is getting long but I'm sure you get my point.

We need action. Now.

Wenger sees Chelsea AFCON gain in lifted Kakuta ban

The Gunners boss is weaving threads of conspiracy that are sure to raise the heat ahead of today's Arsenal-Chelsea game. He says the African Nations Cup has everything to do with the temporary lifting of Chelsea's transfer ban.

In September, the Chelsea half of London was banned from signing players until January 2011 after Fifa found them guilty of inducing Gael Kakuta to break his contract with Lens in 2007. Fifa has since cleared the Blues to add to their squad in January's transfer window, pending an appeal.

That move, according to Arsene Wenger was designed to allow his opposite number at Chelsea to sign more players and lessen the brunt of losing 4 key players to the Angola 2010 Nations Cup.

"It is no punishment," he is quoted by the Times as saying. "Until the appeal court comes forward, they [Chelsea] can buy. That suits them well."

"They used a loophole in the rules. You can't blame them for that. If it's legal, it's legal.

"I think they used the loophole because of the African Cup of Nations."

Chelsea are 8 points clear of Arsenal and if the Blues win, it would give further credence to the belief that Arsenal cannot survive the month of November, which has been their bogey month in recent years.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Arsenal-Chelsea: a Songful preview

Some say it would be a clash between brute strength and silky football when the London giants meet. In what should be one of the biggest matches in Europe this weekend, Arsenal would have to win to have any good chance at the title.

So far, Arsene Wenger has done an appreciable job of serving his exotic cuisine of attractive passing attacking football. Perhaps one player who has suprised many with the speed of his development is Alex Song Billong.

Many pro-Arsenal blogs like Arseblog, Arsenalist, Arsenalmania and Goonernet have, in recent weeks, portrayed the young Cameroonian as quite indispensable to any silverware ambitions the club may have this season. For me, that is not far-fetched at all.

I was standing behind the goalposts when Ghana lost to Cameroon in the semi of the Ghana 2008 Afcon. Alex Song was mammoth in that game as he'd been throughout the competition. Never mind his size as compared to Ghana's Junior Agogo, Michael Essien or even the bullish Sulley Muntari, the lad played like he had been doing that all his life.

Suprisingly, that Afcon was his first major international tournament. In the end he was so good he was named in the competition's Best XI.

Against Chelsea, I expect Arsene to play him especially after his Man of the Match performances against Sunderland and Standard Liege. The middle of the field was his, that much was clear. And maybe he can even get that rare goal - now that'd be special.

At 22 years and at this rate, the little man from Douala may yet be one of the best central/defensive midfielders in Europe in a season or two.

Ancelloti is likely to employ a rugged midfield - like he usually does - and apart from Song, I'm not seeing who the Arse would employ to match the strength of the blues. Gallas left the last game with eyes like a pufferfish and if he would play, Song may get some respite. Otherwise it's gonna be a tiring day for the man who was loaned to Arsenal on a £1 million from Bastia.

Personally, I'd like an Arsenal win and here's why: in an ideal world Wenger's vaunted scouting and youth development policy must be seen to be beating over Abramovich's ridiculous 'buy-and-win' way of ruling Chelsea since he arrived in 2002-3. Sadly, our planet is anything but ideal.

That said, I cant wait for the game, can you? Especially to see how Eboue fares, too.

Till later.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Why is Uefa imposing an U-21 age limit on Olympic football?

At a meeting in Nyon, Switzerland today, Uefa decided to oppose the long held tradition of fielding players under 23 years to the Men's Olympic football tournament.

The question for me is WHY?

Unfortunately, the official statement gave no reason:

"After a full discussion on the subject the PFSC unanimously agreed that the principle of participation at the Men's Olympic Football Tournament should be for under 21 players, and not for players up to the age of 23, and that there should be provision for any overage players."

Traditionally, men's football at the Olympics employs the criteria stated above (plus 3 players over 23 years for every team to enhance the talent in the teams and also to bring appeal to the competition.)

I am not clear as to why Uefa's executives want this to be done but I know they have been pushing the idea for a long time, notably after Beijing '08.

Here is a continent that does not even fully patronise the underaged football competitions - think under 17, under 20 - because they feel the dominant South American and African teams cheat by 'fielding men instead of boys' (Brazil, Argentina, Ghana, Nigeria etc).

However this is not the case for the Olympic version, as the winners of this one are pretty evenly spread across the globe.

Whatever the case may be, the International Olympic Committee wants to keep the status quo and is at moment opposed to Uefa's advances. So what we're about to witness would be a battle of political manoeuvring.

But the reality is that Uefa may yet have the last laugh at the Fifa level as they hold 8 of the 24 ruling Executive Committee seats.

Fifa would discuss this issue at its next meeting in South Africa in a week's time, after which they must submit a report to the IOC - also to convene from Dec 9-11.

From an African perspective, let's not forget that the two Olympic medals the continent has won via Nigeria and Cameroon were boosted greatly by the presence of the experienced overaged players.

At the last Beijing olympics players like Osaze Odemwingie and Oluwafemi Ajilore (Nigeria) helped their efforts at reaching the finals. And then there was the presence of Salomon Kalou, Hervé Kambou and Sekou Cissé for the Ivory Coast.

My take? Uefa should take a piss and let things be. What do you think?

Angola 2010 campfires lit as Nigeria/Ghana choose spots

After the Draw was held last week and we've seen all the occupants of the 4 groups, Angola 2010 is now gathering momentum.

Nigeria have announced that they would NOT camp in the rainbow nation as earlier decided - they've opted for Namibia instead.

According the nation's football top dogs, Namibia has similar weather conditions to Angola and so it would be better suited to the Eagles acclimatization than South Africa.

However in a differing opinion, Ghana's Football Association announced last Monday that they would prefer Nelspruit (South Africa) for their preparations for both the Nations' Cup and the world cup.

The Super Eagles are scheduled to begin camping on 28 December and coach Shuaibu Amodu says he'll start inviting players into the team for Angola in due course.

The final 23 is widely expected to be announced by the 18th of December.

Ghana have penned 27 December as the start date for their camping.

Angola 2010: Group B - Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Burkina Faso.

Group C: Egypt, Nigeria, Mozambique, Benin.

South Africa 2010: more jobs to be lost?

With the first African world cup looming ever closer, the host nation is looking at righting all internal troubles before inviting the world for the games.

But things are not looking so good on the books of the working class. The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) wants their governmment to fix the exchange rate to create more jobs.

If the world cup should be successful, the people must be content. But reports of thousands of people being thrown out of work is fostering feelings of malcontentment.

Officially, South Africa is out of recession and its mainly due to the ruling ANC's investment in roads, railways and stadia for the world cup.

And even as Cosatu predicts more than a million jobs will be lost by the end of next month, we are in for an interesting last couple of months before kickoff.

Already costs of some of the stadia have increased two-fold and many have complained about the price of tickets which they say is too expensive.

I think that's not an argument, but let's leave that for another day.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Qaddafi: right man to heal Algeria - Egypt rifts?

Sometimes the power football wields is amazing. In history we have seen the potential of the beautiful game to make things smooth between warring factions, between conglomerates (think adidas-Puma) and even among nations.

But last week we saw Algeria and Egypt threaten to boil over their final world cup qualifier. The two nations, historically unfriendly to each other, met in Sudan for the last time to decide who goes to South Africa.

Before that game, temperatures had been increasing as Egypt claimed there had been anti-Egyptian rioting in Algeria where flags had - reportedly - been burned. All this led to a high police build up in Sudan where Algeria won 1-0.

But instead of the well taken Algerian goal to end the impasse, it fuelled the flames. 32 police and 21 Egyptian fans were said to have been injured in post-match violence.

The next day, Egyptian demonstrations outside the Algerian embassy in Cairo turned violent.

Several cross-allegations were traded by both nations' governments in the following days and now the Arab League has decided to do something about it.

In what the official Libyan news agency claims is due to 'the status the Leader enjoys with both sides', Muammar el-Qaddafi has been called to mediate the issue before something nasty happens. As head of the African Union, the Colonel pushed his long-held agenda to unite Africa and this bad piece of PR certainly would not help his cause.

El-Qaddafi himself is known as a dictator in his country and some have questioned the wisdom in putting him in charge of a sensitive issue like this. Would the people of Egypt and Algeria trust him, given that their own leaders have blown this issue into a nationalistic credo to take the minds of the people of the more pressing issues of economic hardships?

However, given the Colonel's geographical location, he may yet be the best person to do the job. Satirists have also been quick to point out that the Libyan leader speaks the 'undemocratic language of the presidents of Algeria and Egypt'.

Whatever the case may be, casual football observers would hope that the Algerian amassador is reinstated and Egypt doesnt carry out its threat to move out of international football in 2 years.

Can Niang and his African brothers fire L'OM past Milan?

AC Milan v Marseille preview

There is a strong African connection in the French team's lineup: Mamadou Niang, Diawara, Taiwo, Stephan Mbia.

With three former European winners - Milan, Marseille and Real chasing two places in the next round and separated by one point, things are looking tasty in Group C.

Marseille, with 6 points, are in a comical goalscoring position because their top goal-getter is Gabriel Heinze - with just 2 goals. That's not the man you usually expect in that position but this means they need to step up their game against Milan, who are level with Real on seven points.

The last time they met in September Pipo Inzaghi upset L'OM after his two goals left the French with a 2-1 loss. At the time Milan badly needed the win because their coach's job was under threat due to a poor run.

Now, though, Milan are in very good shape and have shown they can score when they need to. Last Sunday their 4-3 win over Cagliari might have given the message that they have a leaky defence. Yet for me this is the price Leonardo's new system has to pay at times.

With his 4-2-1-3, the Brazilian has sought to make his strikeforce more potent - Pato, Ronaldinho, Inzaghi - and in doing so, he's left some gaps in the middle.

That is where Marseille may look to exploit. Niang has not been scoring much but his Rooneyesque assists have proven very effective for his team. On a good day, other players like Brandao, Diawara and Mbia can all score, but let's not forget that this game would be at the San Siro and wont be easy.

People point to the fact that Milan have not been exactly unshakeable at home this term but Didier Deschamps is a smart guy and he would have noticed that since he last played Milan who months ago, the Rossoneri won against Roma, held Real Madrid at home and have dropped just two of fifteen available points in the Serie A. The only blip was the the failure to win when FC Zurich came around.

Marseille, who lie seventh in the Ligue 1, would also be wary because Marco Borriello has returned from long term injury with goals and Pato has 4 goals from his last 6 league games. Ronaldinho is still Ronaldinho and on a good day will render the opposition useless.

This preview may suggest that Milan have it covered but let's not forget that Marseille have shown that they too can score especially after that 5-5 thriller a fortnight ago against Lyon and the 6-1 demolition of Zurich before that. As for their position at home and whether it may affect the way they play tonight, coach DD knows he has to win this one.

"That (seventh) is not a position we should expect to be in," says Didier Deschamps and yet he knows the stakes involved. Milan and Real are yet to play the FC Zurich, the whipping boys in this group so the French will do themselves some good if they win this one.

Monday, November 02, 2009

And week 3 is over!

Kessben FC have moved to the summit of the league standings after beating Eleven Wise 2-1 at the Anane Boateng Park on Sunday.

The home side who are two points clear at the top scored twice from the spot kick both through Yufa Zugah with Zakari Abdulai getting the only goal for Wise.

Great Olympics produced a wonderful performance to lift themselves off the bottom of the table as they beat AshantiGold 2-1 at the Ohene Gyan Stadium to claim their first win of the season.

Skipper Bilal Mohamed put Olympics ahead after a 15 minutes but Aminu Mohammed drew the Miners level before Eric Adjei scored the winner for the premiership returnees.

Champions Hearts of Oak managed to salvage a point at the Sekondi Stadium where they drew 1-1 with Hasaacas.

The Phobians struck the equalizer in the 75th minute through Douglas Nkrumah to cancel out Joseph Ato Bissah’s opener for Hasaacas.

Hearts will go into next weekend’s round of games as the bottom placed team.

All Stars picked their first win in the league with a 1-0 victory over Liberty Professionals in Wa. Nathaniel Asamoah's scored the match winner for the Blues who are still caught up in the drop zone after four matches.

Asante Kotoko were left frustrated at the Baba Yara Stadium as they shared the spoils with Berekum Arsenals in their 2-2 drawn game.

The result was the third drawn game by Kotoko.

Chelsea and Real Tamale United drew goalless at the Sunyani Coronation Park.

Premiership debutants, Aduana Stars picked up their first win against Heart of Lions at the Agyeman Badu I Park in Dormaa. Richard Addae's 73rd minute strike earned the homeside victory over Lions.

King Faisal were beaten 0-1 by New Edubiase United at the Len Clay Stadium. Nuhu Fuseini scored the only goal of the match.

Info courtesy: ghanafa.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The fiasco that is being shown as Nigeria 2009.

The FIFA under 17 World Cup started last Saturday. Five African teams started: Nigeria, Gambia, Malawi, Algeria and Burkina Faso.

Of the lot it seems only the host nation are doing ok. Well, they better, especially because of the disgrace they are feeding the world about Africa.

They've messed up Africa's name. As if it ain't already in the doldrums.

Last Monday, the match between Spain and the United States of America was disrupted twice due to failure of the floodlights at the Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano.

Before that, on the opening day of the tournament on Saturday, the game between hosts Nigeria and Germany was delayed by half an hour because the heavy downpour made the Abuja National Stadium pitch unplayable.

What the fuck is wrong with these Nigerians? The artificial pitch at Enugu, if constructed well, would not have had such puddles as to make the pitch unplayable.

My pal Godwin Kotey at the Tema Stadium here in Ghana, which is similar to the one being used in Enugu, says that one the MAIN advantages of the artificail pitch is that during rains, the rain must not soak it, so the game can go on.

Heaven knows that football has seen worse downpours than this that have gone on to the end. And lest I forget, the game was terminated after the 60th minute. Come on Africa, if we want the rest of the world to say good things about us and FIFA has given us four events (the Confed Cup in South Africa, the Under 20 World Cup in Egypt, under 17 World Cup in Nigeri and South Africa 2010) the least we can do is to manke them feel it's been worth it.

Someone asked why on earth FIFA would give Nigeria the rights to host a tournament. Those guys have a proven track record of fiascos. They claim to be the giants of AFrica yet so much of what they do is flawed when given the chance.

This may be a sweeping statement but people should have seen the signs early when Nigeria failed to meet the requirements of Jack Warner and his folks a couple months ago.

I was doing punditry for TV3 when this disgrace occurred. I covered my head in shame at what our big brothers are doing to the name of Africa.

Let's see the explanations they give. You can read more on artificial pitches here.

In the meantime the game went on and it ended 1-1.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Niang and his time to shine: Marseille vs PSG

The star of Olympique Marseille is undoubtedly, Mamadou Niang from Senegal. Big players, as well all know, can only lay claim to that that of 'greatness', when (and only when) they prove to be good consistently in big games.

For Olympique Marseille's Niang, this is it. France has it’s own Le Classique this weekend as the glamour clubs of the south and north, Marseille and PSG, clash at the Stade Veladrome on Sunday night.

Rivalry between the two camps crystalised in the late 80s, with arguably the most famous match taking place on the final day of the 1988/89 Ligue 1 season. Mirroring the epic events over the channel that year which saw Arsenal win the title at Anfield on the final day of season, PSG took on OM with both clubs tied on 70 points at the top of the table.

The winner-takes-all match was on a knife-edge until the closing stages, as Marseille midfielder Franck Sauzee scored a last-gasp 30-yard screamer to give the Southerners the Ligue 1 title. That winning season formed the foundation of a 5-year domination of French football by Marseille, though that ended in disgrace with the Bernard Tapie scandal in the early 1990s.

Violence has also surfaced on several occasions down the years when OM and PSG meet. During a Coupe de France match back in 1995, 146 people and 9 policemen were hospitalised after fighting broke out between the rival supporters, while the start of the 2000 French league season was tainted when an 18-year old Marseille supporter was paralysed for life after being struck by a seat thrown from the Parisians section of the Parc des Princes.

This time, Niang would face a PSG that is looking decidedly bad. Make it big, man. At least for yourself.

Credit to 101GG for the throwback!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Video: The infamous T.B. Joshua Satellites influence

Nigerian pastor T.B Joshua has been in the news for allegedly claiming that Ghana's under 20 world cup triumph was largely his doing. He has a video of himself speaking to the Satellites coach Sellas Tetteh. Here it is.

This video has sparked a furious debate as to whether spirituality should be mixed with football.

Adebayor's first name is Samuel. According to Caf

There is something in journalism and blogging called typographical errors. But some are quite beyond reproach.

If you take a second to see the website of the Confederation of African Football, it says that former Arsenal striker and now Manchester City man Adebayor is called 'Samuel'.

Just scroll to the bottom right part where you can see the opinion poll.

From what I know (and apparently, FIFA agrees with me) the lad is called Emmanuel, not Samuel. Shame on them!

And the even the question for the poll is quite silly: 'Who is currently the best player at the moment?' Too vague.

Africa...would the bigwigs ever learn that attention to detail counts for something?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hearts lose again, Kotoko, Ashgold win + league round up

Another loss - 2 nil to Faisal - for defending champions Accra Hearts of Oak in the Glo Premier league means that the knives may start coming out for the head of new coach El Yamani very soon.
Sekondi Hasaacas did enough to burst the bubble of confidence pervading through the Heart of Lions camp. They won 3-2.

Asante Kotoko played well to get a narrow 2-1 win over Eleven Wise. The reds' season-end buys were on form as goals from Abdul Ganiyu and Kabiru Imoro settled the matter.
Bechem Chelsea won 2-0 win over Berekum Arsenals in the B/A derby. Arsenals are losing their invincibility.

Liberty Professionals, after winning 5-2 on Monday against Asfa Yennega (Burkina Faso), got a goalless draw at Aduana Stars. The game was played in Dormaa Ahenkro.

AshGold have started this season well as compared to last as they got an away win. They won against All Stars 2-0 in Wa.

AshGold are joined at the top of the league by Kessben FC who also won 2-0 against Great Olympics.

As for New Edubiase United, they have announced their top flight dreams well, winning 1-0 over Real Tamale United at the Len Clay.
And this is what the league table looks like.

Yaya, Eto and Drog are the only Africans in Ballon d'Or shortlist

Yaya Toure, Samuel Eto'o and Drogba are the only Africans shortlisted in the 30 players put down for the prestigious Ballon d’Or award.

Here's the full list:

Andreï Arshavin (Russia, Arsenal)
Karim Benzema (France, Lyon/Real Madrid)
Iker Casillas (Spain, Real Madrid)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal, Manchester United/Real Madrid)
Diego (Brazil, Werder Brême/Juventus Turin)
Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast, Chelsea)
Edin Dzeko (Bosnia, Wolfsburg)
Samuel Eto’o (Cameroon, FC Barcelona/Inter Milan)
Cesc Fabregas (Spain, Arsenal)
Fernando Torres (Spain, Liverpool)
Diego Forlan (Uruguay, Atletico Madrid)
Steven Gerrard (England, Liverpool)
Ryan Giggs (Wales, Manchester United)
Yoann Gourcuff (France, Bordeaux)
Thierry Henry (France, FC Barcelona)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden, Inter Milan/FC Barcelona)
Iniesta (Spain, FC Barcelona)
Julio Cesar (Brazil, Inter Milan)
Kakà (Brazil, Milan AC/Real Madrid)
Frank Lampard (England, Chelsea)
Maicon (Brazil, Inter Milan)
Lionel Messi (Argentina, FC Barcelona)
Luis Fabiano (Brazil, FC Séville)
Franck Ribéry (France, Bayern Munich)
Wayne Rooney (England, Manchester United)
John Terry (England, Chelsea)
Nemanja Vidic (Serbia, Manchester United)
David Villa (Spain, Valence)
Xavi (Spain, FC Barcelona)
Yaya Touré (Ivory Coast, FC Barcelona)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Hearts suffer first scalp + previews

So this is what the league table looks like. After last Sunday's Glo Premier League games, the off-season champs went top. Lions did all they had to do to put two past Hearts of Oak without an answer.

Olympics 1–1 Kotoko
Wise 1- 1 All Stars
Ashgold 1-0 Chelsea
Arsenal 1-1 Aduana
RTU 0-0
Lions 2-0 Hearts
Faisal 1-2 Kessben

So, there were 12 goals scored and tomorrow there is another set of games coming up.

Kotoko – Wise
Hearts – Faisal
Hasaacas – Lions
New Edubiase – RTU
Aduana – Liberty
Chelsea – Arsenal
All Stars – Ashgold
Kessben – Olympics.
Last season, Kotoko were beaten by Wise twice (first on March 11 in Round 11 they were beaten 1-2 at home and then in Round 20 on May 24 by the same scoreline but this time in Sekondi. After signing big name local talent, Wise would be looking at another scalp.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Glo Premier League is back!

Tomorrow, the Glo Premier League is back after Accra Hearts of Oak won the last title back in July.

Hearts of Oak start with a date with Top 4 champions, Heart of Lions at the Kpando Park. For Hearts, new Egyptian coach, Ayman El Yamani will be looking for a win as he has a tough task of opening the Phobians’ campaign.

While Hearts try to retain, Kotoko will try to regain.

Newly promoted sides Great Olympics, New Edubiase and Aduana Stars will have tough opening matches.

Great Olympics, not new to the rigorous life in the premiership will mark their return to the top flight against Asante Kotoko in Accra.

For the other two elite debutants, they start out on the road away from home.

New Edubiase would play Liberty Professionals at the Carl Reindorf Park while Aduana Stars travel away to the Golden City Park to play Berekum Arsenals.

The established order will size themselves in other matches across the country.

Eleven Wise host All Stars on the first day while AshantiGold take on Berekum Chelsea at the Len Clay Stadium.

Real Tamale United will be at home to Hasacaas as the league's first derby game will come up at the Baba Yara Stadium where King Faisal battle Kessben FC.


Video: Ghana beat Brazil and quotes

Daniel Agyei, Black Satellites goalie
"I had a feeling that Maicon might miss, or I might have saved his penalty, because he took such a long time to take it"

Rogerio, Brazil coach
"I am proud of my team and the performances we have put in during the tournament. The players were excellent and we controlled the game today, even before the sending off. We wasted a number of chances in the match but when it came to the penalty shoot-out we have nothing to be upset about.

"Lady Luck plays the biggest role in shoot-outs. She deserted us and we lost the cup. We decided to take Douglas off in the first half because Ghana's left back David Addy was causing us a lot of trouble. My player was on a yellow card and I was worried he would get sent off."

Sellas Tetteh, Ghana coach
"We are worthy winners of this tournament. When Daniel Addo was sent off I wasn't alarmed as I went through the same thing two years ago in the U17 World Cup in Korea when Brazil were again the opponents.

"But we have beaten them today because we adapted our game. I have now become the first coach to lead an African team to this cherished title and I hope that I will soon be leading the Ghana first team to victory in the African Cup of Nations and then the World Cup."

The joy of winning!

Current African champions

Current World Champions

Scored most goals in Egypt

Most attacking oriented
And many many more!

Friday, October 16, 2009

How the boys did it

Ghana won the African Youth Championship with a dominant performance at the tournament in Rwanda, underlining their superiority with a 2-0 win over Cameroon in the final.

Now, Ghana have just won the WORLD Youth Championship in some shaky fashion at the tournament in Egypt. They just about underlined the superiority by beating the Selecao on penalties.

First half

Ghana started like they have done all-tournament-long, on a slow, sluggish pace. The team gave folks here the complete set of jitters. But of course, the highlight was the sending off of Daniel Addo in the 37th minute. It was a harsh and needless decision by the ref, because he (Addo) was not the last man.

Yes, Addo fouled his opponent. Yes, he deserved a yellow, but no, not a straight red.

That decision changed the way the game was played from then on. Brazil piled on the pressure but Ghana coach Sellas Tetteh’s decision not to effect a change was brave. In the end he was proved right.

Ghana, playing with ten men, went into the half-time interval on the back foot and came back in the second pretty much the same. Ghana failed to have a single shot on goal in the first 45.

Second half

Though it was pretty much the same, the Satellites started putting passes together, a massive improvement from a listless first half performance. The story of the second half was of how Brazil managed to throw away chance after chance.

Alex Teixeira should have scored yet he contrived to head wide from Diogo’s centre and Alan Kardec had a golden opportunity, but headed straight at Daniel Agyei when a ball was floated to him. Rafael Toloi eased a great pass for Alan Kardec to lead on, but he fired into the side netting. Kardec, named after a French philospher, was culpable again as he missed another chance seconds later.

As the game reached the 75th minute, Ghana were having some of the ball but still Brazil looked the more menacing. Andre Ayew, the captain of Ghana, looked unbelievably mature today, playing a style of get-pass-deliver that is quite unlike him. Emmanuel Agyemang and Rabiu were huge in midfield and goalie Daniel Agyei would surely have more than a few girls for free when he gets back.

So with this, the Satellites forced the game into extras - but not before there was more drama to be told. With the Ghana captain Dede Ayew trying to make a move into the Brazilian box, he clashed with Rafael Toloi and they both looked crocked for the rest of the game.

Extra time

More of the same but the possession was mostly Brazil didn’t looked short as Rafael was walking with a pronounced limp. Yet he stayed on and his team mate Maicon forced Daniel Agyei into a priceless save.

The stunned look on Maicon’s face could have been auctioned for millions at Sotheby’s. The save seemed to increase Ghana;s resolve and Sellas Tetteh made a change. He replaced Abeiku Quansah with Opoku Agyemang.

But it changed little and we had to go to penalties.


Brazil opened the scoring in the penalty kicks but Ghana responded with a Andre Ayew goal. Samuel Inkoom scored as well after Brazil had netted again.

The third and fourth attempts by Jonathan Mensah and Bright Addae were saved by the Brazilian goalkeeper Rafael.

However, Ghana keeper Daniel Agyei blocked Brazil’s fourth and fifth kicks to keep the Black Satellites back in contention of a major title as Dominic Adiyiah converted his kick.

Teixeira saw his shot, the sixth kick, fly over the crossbar and Ghana were handed the initiative.
And the moment glory fell on Agyemang Badu who displaced Rafael to claim for Ghana gold in a dramatic finish.

End of a great season for them

So, Ghana have done the historic double, winning the African title earlier this year and now this. Spectacular.

Line up: Daniel Agyei, Samuel Inkoom, David Addy, Jonathan Mensah, Daniel Addo, Agyemang Badu, Abeiku Quansah/Opoku Agyemang, Rabiu Mohammed/Bright Addae, Dominic Adiyiah, Ransford Osei/Kassenu Ghandi, Andre Ayew

Subs: Opoku Agyemang, Latif Salifu, Kassenu Ghandi, Bright Addae, Philip Boampong, Gladson
Awako, Opoku Agyemang, Robert Dabuo, Daniel Opare, John Benson, Joseph Addo.

'We're champions!'-

Ghana has just won the Fifa under 20 World Cup. And in some style too.

The boys were down to 10 men in the first half. Brazil pushed them to the wall in the way that we've come to know.

Second half, same story. But it went to extra time and then to penalties.

Both teams threw away a couple but Ghana did the trick.

Ghana is world champion.

More later.

The Egyptian finale starring Ghana and Brazil

Kick off time: 1800 GMT

Venue: Cairo International Stadium

The time is nigh and Ghana is in a state of perpetual flux. Ghana plays Brazil for the third time in this comeptition's history and both teams have an agenda. I've done a lot on Ghana during the course of the games, so we'll do the Selecao instead.


They have been called Egypt 2009's most complete side and it is quite understandable. Brazil have scored 14 goals in 6 games, only superceded by Spain and the team they face later today -Ghana. While others may have scored more, these guys have played a brand of football is not strange to those who know anything about the 'joga bonito'

Their record in this comepetition is well known (won 4 times and appeared severally) but I want to concentrate on coach Rogerio Laurenco (pictured).

The 37-year-old may not be the most experienced of coaches but he has shown he's the perfect man for the job. The former defender was a player himself not that long ago and when he hung up his boots in 2001 at just 30 years of age, he went straight to coaching, starting off in the youth divisions of his old playing club, Flamengo.

It's worth noting that he has the record for the most goals scored by a defender in Flamengo's history.

Today, part of his job description includes helping Brazil’s national senior team coach, Dunga while also taking charge of the country’s under-aged teams. Lourenco said:

"Of course there is pressure to win. Anyone who coaches in Brazil knows this."

Brazil's coach hopes that "facing another attacking team, like Brazil, means that the football will be better to watch" considering the two teams have scored 30 goals between them.

At this tournament the guy has whipped his team into an attacking machine spearheaded by Alex Teixeira and Alan Kardec. The captain, Giulano, also has that hold on his peers that natural captains seem to possess. In the line-up is Douglas Costa - the man who was among the most-feared before the tournament started on September 24.

Yet, he has been largely benched and has played only 3 matches and scored once. Why the coach has done that is beyond me but he's the gaffer.

What to expect

Ghana and Brazil have been here before in 1993. In that final in Sydney, Ghana took a 1-0 lead after a quarter of an hour, but Brazil equalized five minutes after the restart and sealed what was their third title with the winning strike two minutes before the end of normal time.

So, Senor Lourenco would be looking to do it again.

His team's 14 goals have been scored from all sides of the fields by different players, unlike Ghana who have had half of theirs' by Dominic Adiyiah. That means the Satellites must be wary of anybody in yellow and green.

Out of their sixteen, 11 of Ghana’s goals have come on the other side of halftime, and both Brazil and Ghana have come from behind to win twice, so don’t count out either if they start slowly.

Referee: Frank de Bleeckere, Belgium

Game on!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Egypt 2009: Costa Rica/Hungary for 3rd /4th place

Before the mega grand finale, there is always the 3rd and 4th place. I know, many of you feel that the 3rd/4th place match is completely unnecessary and should be scrapped because nobody really wants to come back on the field after missing the big one.

But hey, that's the way it is. Costa Rica play Hungary and I think these two sides have been just fantastic in the way they have approached this tournament.

Costa Rica

They came, line may others, with high hopes of doing well. The main feature of their game is an attacking spice. They also pride themselves in a tight defensive assurance and these two attributes led them to the top of the CONCACAF championships before they arrived in Egypt.

But in their first game, they were humbled by a ruthless Brazil. Dazed and bruised, the Ticos were led by Marcos Urena and David Guzman to see of Australia 3-0 in the following game. Inexplicably, coach Ronald Gonzalez's men were beaten 3-2 by the Czech Republic in the last group game.

Though they lost two of three group stages games, the guys from the CONCACAF went through and met hosts Egypt in the round of 16. They closed their ears to the partisan noise of the Arabs and beat them well by 2-0. The hosts were out and the Ticos' confidence was sky high.

And then, the quarters. United Arab Emirates had surprised everyone by getting this far and the shock could not extend to Gonzalez's boys. 2-1 it ended and it was the unbeaten Brazil Costa Rica had to face.

The performance they put up last Tuesday was Hellenic, but Rogerio Lourenco's Selecao were just too good and Alan Kardec's goal made it a double. They were keen to improve on their first-round exit last time out at Canada 2007, sadly, the hope of a historic finale was dead and so tomorrow they would have to settle for third or fourth.


Now, this is a team, that did exceed expectations in the qualfying for this tournament. The unfancied central Europeans, playing in the tournament for the first time, advanced to the semi-final, even managing to beat Spain 1-0 during the group stages.

So it is with that awareness of themselves that they descended upon Egypt. Like Costa Rica, they were beaten in their first game, 3-0 by Honduras. Like Costa Rica, they rallied in their second game and beat their opponents, South Africa by a convincing 4-0 margin.

Chief in the raid was Kristain Nemeth who has been loaned by Liverpool to AEK Athens. Hungary finished the group strongly with a 2-0 win over the UAE to go through to the next phase.

After finishing tops in Group F, Czech Republic was next in the round of 16. These two knew each other from the European qualifiers and so they played an entertaining game. It ended 2-2 after a thrilling 120 minutes and the central Europeans went through 6-5 on penalties. Heartbreak for Czech Republic, good news for Hungary.

To the quarters, where another continental foe awaited: Italy. In another show of spirit (and with some luck, too) Hungary dispatched the Azzurinni 3-2 after extra time.

Going through on thin threads might have meant they were a lucky side, but it run out when they met Ghana on Tuesday. Dominic Adiyiah used the Hungary side to increase his tally to 8. Yet, the Europeans showed more grit and got two goals but Ghana had it. It ended 3-2 for the Africans.

So, in tomorrow's game, we expected pride to be played for especially as Hungary have not been in the first four of a FIFA sanctioned tournament in over 20 years. Costa Rica have a story to tell when they go back home.

We wait and see.

Preview of the grand finale later.

Togo, Senegal travel halfway around the world and get beaten

All the talk has been of the countries that would be in South Africa. So far, 22 have booked their places.

In Africa, the qualified nations are Didier Drogba's Ivory Coast and Michael Essien's Ghana. South Africa are there by default of course.

Friendly matches have been ongoing to prep teams that are yet to make it to the World Cup. After faiuling to qualify for the mundial Senegal travelled halfway around the world to South Korea...and were beaten 2-0. South Korea took the lead against Senegal just before the halftime interval as Ki Sung-Yong crashed home a well-struck left-footed effort. (First half highlights here.) Ki Sung-Yong claimed the second in the second-half.

Thanks to 101 Great Goals for the info.

As if getting beaten by Cameroon, is not enough trouble Emmanuel Adebayor's Togo also went all the way to Japan to get lashed 5-0.

Prolific Shimizu S-Pulse striker Shinji Okazaki opened the scoring after six minutes, and Okazaki soon chalked up his double with a cheeky backheel just two minutes later.

By the 11th minute the hosts were 3-up as Catania centre-forward Takayuki Morimoto expertly controlled a cross in the box, turned his marker and fired a low shot into the bottom corner. After the break Shinji Okazaki completed his hat-trick, before Keisuke Honda wrapped up the win with Japan’s fifth at the death. Thanks to 101 Great Goals for the info.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Grande finale: Ghana - Brazil

Dominic Adiyiah is roaring his way to the Golden Boot after leading Ghana to yet another under 20 finale. But can they beat Brazil like they beat Hungary today?

As for Brazil, they coolly despatched Costa Rica through a Kardec goal.


Later today, Brazil play Costa Rica in the under 20 world cup. Before then Ghana play Hungary and being in that part of the world at the moment, I'm in the thick of a vortex of emotions regarding the game.

The main issue in Ghana in the whole of Egypt 2009 has been the contribution of Ghana's gaffer, Sellas Tetteh.

For some weird reason, the man's public ratings never seem to soar no matter what he does.

Not when he worked under Mariano Barreto in 2005 in the qualifiers for the Germany world cup. Not when he was under Ratomir Dujkovic later in that same campaign. Certainly not when he deputised for Jones Attuquayefio at Liberty Professionals for so long though he consistently led the team to good finishes in Ghana's top flight. And of course when he led Ghana's national under 17 side to Korea for the world cup and placed 4th, people went on (suprisingly) about how 'it was the boys who played well and not the coach'. Wow.

Then Sellas was elevated to the Black Stars to be assistant to Claude LeRoy. When the Frenchman was unable to give Ghana the gold in the Nations' Cup last year, Sellas was also fingered for giving bad advise.

My point is: if the man has, as we speak, led this Satellites team to the semi-final of the under 20 world cup, how bad could he be? The answer I got on my TV show this morning from my panellist Aminu Shardow was that:
''Sellas has been riding on too much luck and his substitutions have been suspect. He has a squad that has quality in depth and can be coached by anyone.''

This kind of thought was echoed by many people I spoke to on the streets. But I think this is wrong.

We have to give credit where it is due. He has done well. Did I forget to mention that he led this same under 20 team to gold early this year in Rwanda? Yeah, he did usher that side to the championship - and in some style, too.

As someone said, what the guy has done is more than can be said for the many many 'useless' foreign legion of coaches that have used Ghana's national team - and other African teams I may add - as stepping stones.

So, give to Sellas what is Sellas'!


Monday, October 12, 2009

Black Stars lose...

In 14 meetings against Benin, Ghana had won 8, drawn 5 and lost once. This stats stood until the last seconds of yesterday's game in Cotonou.

A good many people are saying the match was 'democratised'. How and why would they not say that when their team had neither lost a game nor conceded a goal in these qualifiers?

But I should say the implosion of the Black Stars was always coming - moreso in the second half. The guys just went to sleep and Benin just kept on piling the heat. Anyway Ghana have already made it to RSA so why worry? Right?

Wrong. Because we all know what football is like. Laters.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Semis sorted. Now the 4-play begins.

It's getting down to the wire in Egypt 2009. After Ghana booked a place in the semis with Hungary yesterday it was left with four teams to sort themselves not.

Brazil - Germany was not shown on tv because, as the national tv station said it was 'a problem from source'. However from the little I gleaned from various sources, the South Americans did not have it coolly at all. Germany gave 'em a torrid time but once again, the skill and character of Rogerio Lourenco's team prevailed. Brazil's Betincourt scored twice in rapid succession to lead his team on a 2-1 comeback.

With the win, Brazil are tied on 13 goals in this tournament with Ghana. Spain lead the goal scoring charts with 14, of course aided by the 8 they hit past Tahiti. But I must pay tribute to the mechanical football of Germany that has borne them the results even if not so beautiful.

The second of today's games was Costa Rica - UAE. Before the game, pundits were not clear cut on who to tag favourites because these two had all done so well to be here. Especially UAE (I'm sure Blatter would be gloating about the efficacy of the Fifa Goal projects that have increased the football development of many nations like the Emirs who were hitherto seen as backward in the sport.)

Yet, the Concacaf champions scored a winner in the final minutes of the final half of extra time to break Emirates hearts. For me, 2-1 was a cruel way to leave Egypt but hey that's the game. A little loss of concentration cost 'em. Too bad.

Well, the fixtures are set: Ghana - Hungary and Brazil - Costa Rica. I'll be bringing videos of today's games soon.


Friday, October 09, 2009

Egypt 2009: Ghana, Hungary through to semis + a tournament of too many red cards!

I can't for the life of me imagine how I previewed Italy-Costa Rica as today's match. Must be the stuff I ate last night. Anyway, on Friday there were two games.

9/10/2009: Ghana 3-2 South Korea

Goals: Dominic Adiyiah (twice), Ransford Osei (GHA) and Park Hee-Seong, Kim Dong-Sub (KOR).

9/10/2009: Italy 2-3 Hungary AET

Krisztian Nemeth (twice), Vladimir Koman (HUN) and Antonio Mazzottam, Giacomo Bonaventura (ITA)

This means Ghana play Hungary in the semi-final. Brazil vs. Germany and United Arab Emirates vs. Costa Rica are next.

Too many colours

However one of my pressing concerns has been the way the referees have been card happy. They've been stealing the show when the players must be doing that.

Check these stats:

234 yellow cards and 13 red cards in Egypt 2009.

That, for me, is simply cruel. And the championships aint even over!

Compare that to Canada 2007 where we had the folowing stats FOR THE WHOLE TOURNAMENT:

243 yellows, 12 red cards in 52 games.

Fifa must understand that these are kids who have not developed the discipline that senior teams may have, so they should let the games flow!


Thursday, October 08, 2009

Egypt 2009: The rundown for the quarters.

Egypt 2009 is shaping up nicely indeed. The fixtures for the quarter finals - starting today - read as follows:

Germany - Brazil
The Europeans got here by the skin of their teeth at the expense of Nigeria. Many people think Brazil would continue their winning streak when they meet. Some have even said the Seleçao are not operating at full power. When they do, i dont want to be the opposing team. But dont discount that fighting spirit that has seen Der Mannschaft come this far.

Italy - Costa Rica
If I were Italian, the fact that the CONCACAF champions have come this far would put the fear of God in me. With a healthy run in the tournament, Italy may yet be stopped by the slick counter-attacking football of the the Costa Ricans as well.

Ghana - South Korea
Kicking off at 1430GMT, this is a game of two teams that have got this far by contrasting means. Ghana started nicely with two wins against Uzbekistan and England, then stuttered to wins over Uruguay and South Africa.

The Taegu Warriors of Korea came out of the blocks badly with a 0-2 loss to Cameroon but came back strongly to draw with Germany and sped their way to two wins in their final games.

Ghana have never lost to Asian opposition at this level and indeed it's the first time the two sides are playing in any under 20 championships. All this - plus the fact that Korea's only defeat in Egypt came from an African team - gives us what should be a fantastic game of football.

More on the other games later.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Videos: Costa Rica, Ghana, Hungary, Italy through

6/10/2009: Egypt 0 - 2 Costa Rica
Goals from: Jose Mena, Marcos Urena (Costa Rica)

6/10/2009: Ghana 2 - South Africa 1
Goals from: Kermit Erasmus (RSA), Andre Ayew, Dominic Adiyiah(GHA)

6/10/2009: Hungary 2*-2 Czech Republic
Goals from: Mate Kiss, Vladimir Koman (HUN), AJan Voshalik, Michael Rabusic (CZE)

More videos as and when they come.


And no. I dont mean the pregnancy stuff.

The spirit with which the Black Satellites are playing is truly inspiring. 1 goal down saw coach Sellas and his boys rally to win 2-1.

Adiyiah did not look sharp before the second but boy, did he lift up his game. The peach he scored for the winner was not bad at all. His work rate was also spot on.

Osei who had said before the game that he was aiming for the Golden Boot was shut down by the Amajitas.

And now what do I say about skipper Andre Dede Ayew? His football has not blown me away yet I cannot deny his leadership potential. Yesterday he was a template study for up and coming captains everywhere. His goal was pure class. However, there's a 'but'...

DEDE MUST RELEASE THE BALL ON TIME! Too many touches spoil the broth, no? 7

But all in all, I'm impressed with the team. The way Adiyiah sprinted to shake the suspended Rabiu Mohamed was cool, but why the ref gave the number 20 a yellow card left me scratching my head.

That was not the only call by the man in the middle that confused me. The crucial one is the red card got by Agyemang during extra time. I cant help but feel that this time, the wrong calls by refs allocated to Ghana games are 'errors in judgement'. It was so clear that the player went for - and got - the ball.

In short, I aint moved by the refereeing in the under 20 championships. I'll have videos for you later.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Video: Argentina 2 - Ghana 0 in Cordoba

(International friendly, September 30, 2009)

I have been looking everywhere for the past few days for this I have it!

A Martin Palermo brace saw an under-strength Argentina see off an under-strength Ghana side and give Diego Maradona a boost before the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Videos: Satellites win + more

Sorry for the protracted absence. Severe case of non-availability. I really wanted to blog about the issues of the moment but hey....

The U-20 world cup is still on. And as usual, I got the videos from the past few days of matches. Enjoy!

3/10/2009: UAE 0 - 2 Hungary

Goals from: Krisztian Nemeth, Vladimir Koman (Hun).

3/10/2009: South Africa - Honduras
Goals from: Andile Jali and Sibusiso Khumalo (SA).

3/10/2009: Costa Rica 2 - 3 Czech
Goals from: D. Estrada, J. Martinez (COS), Jan Chramosta (twice), and Jan Voshalik.

3/10/2009: Australia 1 - 3 Brazil
Goals from: Aaron Mooy (AUS) and Ciro, Douglas Costa, Paulo Henrique (BRA)

1/10/2009: Venezuela 0-3 Spain
Goals from: Dani Parejo, Aaron Niguez and Ander Herrera (ESP)

1/10/2009: Italy 2-4 Egypt
Goals from: Ahmed Shoukri and Bogy (EGY)

1/10/2009: Trinidad & Tobago 0 - Paraguay 0

1/10/2009: Tahiti 0 - Nigeria 5