COME ON YOU SPURS!
Swansea City striker Wilfried Bony admits he has to “focus on the team” after a move away from the Welsh club failed to materialise in the off-season.
The 25-year-old was linked with a number of Premier League sides during the transfer window, with the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham credited with an interest in the frontman.
However, while there was plenty of interest in Bony, the Swans were unwilling to sell their most valuable asset.
The Ivory Coast international has struggled to get going this season, but insists his mind is on the task at hand and feels it is only a matter of time before he opens his account.
Bony told the South Wales Evening Post: “Now it’s over. Before we were talking, but now it’s over so I have to focus on the team.
“There were some chances (that I might leave), but nothing concrete. I waited and nothing happened so now I am just focused on the team.
“My head is okay. I just want to repeat or do better than last season.”
He added: “We can see from the games I played that the speculation didn’t affect me.
“I think I have started better than last season. The goals are not coming, but the team is playing well. I’m not affected and the goals will come.”
Orlando Pirates midfielder Thandani Ntshumayelo said he was feeling no pain in his thigh, following his team’s training session at the Rand Stadium on Wednesday.
Ntshumayelo, who admitted that he had erred on the side of caution during Wednesday’s session, sustained the injury during a Premiership fixture against Bidvest Wits last week and subsequently underwent an injury scan.
It has since been established that the injury is not as severe as was initially thought, with the Pirates camp confirming earlier this week that the player would be monitored closely for the remainder of the week.
“I trained well – no pain; I’m okay. I must take it easy for now. I did normal training, but because of the problem I had to take it easy. Everything is okay, I feel no pain,” Ntshumeyelo told the Pirates website on Wednesday.
The medical team at Pirates, which is trying to get Ntshumeyelo ready for the MTN8 final against Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday, is encouraged by the latest developments and the sentiment appears to be that Bibo, as Ntshumeyelo is more affectionately known, will be ready to compete against the old foe at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.
“Bibo trained well – he is maybe at 80%. We will see him again in the morning,” read a statement from the club.
West Brom goalkeeper Ben Foster has brushed off concerns that he may require surgery on the fractured thumb he sustained on England duty.
The 31-year-old was forced to withdraw from Roy Hodgson’s squad for the fixtures against Norway and Switzerland after picking up the injury during training.
Foster returned in goal for the Baggies on Saturday as they went down 2-0 to Everton, which extended their winless start to the season to four outings.
The England international admits he is treating the problem with pain-killing injections and does not think he will need to go under the knife.
He is planning to line up between the posts when Albion visit Tottenham this weekend, still seeking their first win of the new campaign under manager Alan Irvine.
Foster told the Birmingham Mail: “There was a little bit of bone that I chipped off it in training, which is a little bit unfortunate.
“Hopefully I won’t need surgery. I am managing it pretty well and getting some injections in it to kill the pain, so it’s fine.
“It is the way it is and I just have to hope it heals itself. I’m hopeful it will and the doctors are as well, so that’s that.”
After the debate over the Spurs new captain and Europe back on the agenda tomorrow night, I felt that now was the right time to congratulate and offer all our support to the Tottenham Ladies team who have made a flying start to their new campaign.
Tottenham Hotspur are looking to get back to winning ways in the Europa League against Partizan Belgrade following a loss and a draw in the Premier League.
Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa has set his sights firmly on winning the MTN8 trophy with or without his rival Itumeleng Khune present for Kaizer Chiefs.
Much has been made of Khune’s absence from the Amakhosi and Bafana Bafana squads because of injury, with Pirates goal-minder Meyiwa replacing him as the country’s captain and shot stopper.
The 26-year-old is now set to have the spotlight all to himself when the two Soweto rivals lock horns in the Wafa Wafa final in his home-province on Saturday, and he has vowed not be on the losing side.
“You can’t lose at home. Your home is your home and you just cannot lose,” Meyiwa told the Pirates website.
“The last time we went to Durban, we had big games and we won them. We are going back and the people there, are expecting the same from us. I know that; I grew up that side and it is nice to go back especially to play against Chiefs.
“All I can say is that we will be ready for this match. We will fight a lot during the match just to get a good result because at home, nobody can lose,” he added.
The match will take place at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, who beat Cape Town and Mbombela for the right to host the mouthwatering clash.
There is still the distinct possibility that the Kenya Premier League will alter its league calendar in coming seasons, although the matter has yet to be presented to a relevant forum.
KPL CEO Jack Oguda told local journalist that the matter was still on the agenda, adding that it had not been ruled out of the equation just yet.
At this juncture the KPL is not aligned to most of the more established leagues in the world, which is in conflict with FIFA international dates.
There are those who are of the conviction that the current calendar is hampering the prospects of the national team and think it might be prudent to conform with most of Europe and even parts of Africa.
Oguda also confirmed that there would certainly be a transparent consultation process with all those who might be affected by the change, suggesting that no rash decisions would be made.
“There has been talk about change and, yes it is still in the agenda but we want to get all the football stakeholders to get their input first before a decision on it is made,” Oguda told futaa.
It has been reported that there is certainly a strong lobby for the change, from some of the more influential figures in Kenyan football.
Xavi Hernandez has revealed he chose not to leave Barcelona in the off-season as he feared he coming up against them in Europe.
The 34-year-old midfielder faced an uncertain future at the Nou Camp following the appointment of Luis Enrique as the club’s new head coach at the end of last season.
Xavi, who announced his retirement from international football following Spain’s disastrous showing at the 2014 World Cup, was linked with a move to Bayern Munich, where he would have been reunited with former Barca mentor Pep Guardiola.
However, the veteran Spanish star opted to stay put in the end, and he was now admitted to rejecting numerous offers from elsewhere as did not fancy a reunion with the Catalan giants whilst wearing the colours of another team.
Speaking on a Canal Plus documentary he said: “If it was up to me I would never leave Barcelona, but obviously circumstances take control. I could have left many times, but in the end the ‘feeling’ for the club got the better of me.
“I told the club that I did not want to play for another team in Europe, I wanted to finish up playing at Barcelona, and then we will see what happens in the future.
“I did not want to play against Barcelona. I do not want to see myself in a Champions League game, playing in the Camp Nou, wearing another jersey. I want to avoid that situation.”
Xavi has racked up a record 724 appearances for the Blaugrana, but is set to make his first outing under Enrique this season at home to APOEL in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday.
Across the UK football fans are thrilled by the start of the football season as some of the world’s top footballer’s return to the field to kick off the UEFA Europa League.
Michel Vorm ready for first run-out.
Tottenham Hotspur will play their first Europa League group game of the season on Thursday night when they face Partizan Belgrade.
Summer signing Michel Vorm is expected to make his Spurs debut in Serbia.
SEE ALSO: (Images) David Beckman Arsenal: Ex England Captain’s Sons Play For Gunners.
Vorm, who moved to White Hart Lane from Swansea City for £5m in July, was not registered in Mauricio Pochettino’s squad for the Europa League playoff AEL Limassol.
However, he has since returned to full fitness and is likely to start in place of Hugo Lloris as a result.
The below picture was uploaded to Tottenham’s official Instagram account on Wednesday.
It was taken moments before Vorm and winger Andros Townsend boarded the plane to Belgrade.
Barcelona midfielder Alex Song has revealed that a talk with West Ham manager Sam Allardyce convinced him to make the move to Upton Park.
The 27-year-old joined the Hammers on a season-long loan deal during the transfer window, despite interest from a number of clubs involved in the Champions League.
And Song insists that playing Champions League football was not a priority, but rather playing regularly as part of “the project” appealed to him.
“It was very easy,” Song told The Sun. “I wanted to come back to the Premier League and when the manager spoke to me I was very happy to be part of the project.
“Some people said, ‘Why don’t you go to play for a club in the Champions League?’ But I played Champions League for nine years. For me it wasn’t important.
“I’ve many years to play there again, I am confident. I want, this year, just to play for West Ham and do my best and then we’ll see what’s happening.”
Song made his Hammers debut against Hull City on Monday night, coming on as a second-half substitute in a 2-2 draw.
The Cameroon international joined Barca from Arsenal in 2012 and went on to make 39 appearances, scoring one goal.
Chippa United are set to stick with Roger Sikhakhane as their new coach, despite initially claiming he was appointed on a temporary basis.
The Chilli Boyz are somewhat famous for their coaching merry-go-round, with Vladislav Heric having led the team back to the Premiership last term, only to have Kosta Papic replace him in the hotseat.
However, after winning just one of their opening four league matches, Papic was shown the door, with Sikhakhane then returning to the role, having previously held the club’s reins some two years ago.
Chippa had, however, announced the appointment was in a caretaker capacity, and that a full-time tactician would take over at the turn of the year.
However, the Port Elizabeth-based outfit now appear to be more than happy to keep Sikhakhane on full-time, after he led them to a 2-0 win over Moroka Swallows in his first game in charge on Sunday.
“Why should we look for a coach when we already have one that is doing a great job,” team manager Peter Katroulis is quoted as saying by Kick Off.
“For your information, we are not looking for a coach, we are happy with Roger and we will support him.
“He had a good start, we as a club are behind him and we will give him all the necessary support he needs.”
On-loan Sevilla forward Iago Aspas is relishing the prospect of European football after enduring a difficult first season at Liverpool.
The 27-year-old arrived at Anfield in July 2013 after his 12 goals during the previous campaign had helped Celta Vigo survive their first year back in La Liga.
However, Aspas failed to establish himself in the Reds’ first team, making just 15 appearances and only scoring one goal, in the 2-0 FA Cup third-round win over Oldham.
The arrivals of Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Lazar Markovic and Mario Balotelli at Anfield during the recent transfer window has pushed Aspas further down the pecking order and he was subsequently allowed to join Los Rojiblancos on a season-long loan.
The Spaniard has yet to feature for Unai Emery’s side in the league this term, but is set to get his first outing for the Europa League champions when they kick off the defence of their title against Feyenoord on Thursday.
Aspas cannot wait for the opportunity to prove his worth to the Andalusian outfit and believes the squad still contains enough quality to lift a fourth European trophy, despite an overhaul which saw nine players leave and 12 new recruits coming in during the transfer period.
“Last year I had hardly any chances [to play] and these weeks I have been getting myself ready to play these first minutes,” he said. “I like football, I live for and by football, and if I do not play, I almost die.
“The competition for places is good for the team, and that is good for everyone. Now the Europa League is coming, and that is where you will see the depth of the squad, the good team we have, and the good work that Monchi did in summer.
“There is motivation to play in Europe, to retain the trophy. It will be difficult, the road is long, but it is a dream.”
The Zimbabwe Football Association has formally approached their Zambian counterparts to join them in their bid as co-hosts of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations tournament.
ZIFA have officially entered the race for the rights to host AFCON 2017, following Lybia’s withdrawal because of political instability in the North African nation.
Meanwhile, Football Association Zambia are interested in the 2019 edition, but their neighbours are keen to pull them in to strengthen their bid against East Africans Kenya and Rwanda.
According to the Daily News, a Zimbabwean delegation led by ZIFA CE Jonathan Mashingaidze and tourism boss Karikoga Kaseke were in Lusaka for talks this week.
“We asked them to go and engage their counterparts with the view of modelling a shared model of hosting the tournament,” Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Walter Mzembi said.
“I presume Kaseke met their authorities in the tourism sector whilst Mashingaidze saw the football leaders. I haven’t been briefed on what came out of their meetings as I have just arrived from New York.”
The £11m Playmaker Arsenal Should Have Signed Instead of Mesut Ozil: Youngster Available Three Days Earlier Is Far Better Prospect
Emirates Stadium side opted for German but should have turned attention to a far better prospect who moved clubs just three days earlier.
It’s fair to say that Arsenal’s record signing Mesut Ozil is attracting a fair amount of criticism for his recent displays and whilst last term some of the flak the German received was unwarranted it’s becoming increasingly tough to show support for the former Real Madrid man.
The 25 year old returned from the World Cup finals like a man on a mission but Ozil has pretty much taken up where he left off in terms of his ineffective displays.
Four games into the seasons, and not a goal or assist in sight, will have surely left Arsene Wenger wondering if his £42.5m outlay was one that will pay off but perhaps the French manager should have directed his attention elsewhere when he opted to break the bank to bring in Ozil.
On the 2nd of September 2013 Arsenal forked out the aforementioned huge sum for Ozil but just three days earlier Tottenham brought in Danish playmaker Christian Eriksen for a fee of just £11m.
The former Ajax man is three years younger than Ozil and is arguably a player Wenger should have punted for, certainly a player who would have proven a more cost effective option.
Eriksen did initially struggle for form at White Hart Lane but over the past year has shown just what he is capable of, the Spurs man reached double figures in both goal tally and assist making in 2013/14 and is a player who will be key to Mauricio Pochettino’s push for a top four finish.
Anyone who claims that Ozil and Eriksen are not like for like talents but whilst that argument may have a shred of truth to it, it’s also clear that the Tottenham man offers a more versatile creative dimension and one that is a far better fit for the way Arsene Wenger likes the game to be played.
Without wishing any offence to Tottenham, on this occasion, you’d have to imagine that an offer from Arsenal would have been accepted by Eriksen last August so you’d have to therefore glean from this assertion that Wenger simply did not fancy signing the hugely talented youngster.
Whilst no one would deny Ozil’s obvious talents there is also no denying that complete lack of consistency the attacker has offered over the past six to nine months and perhaps more worryingly his demeanour is that of a player without the heart, or will, to turn things around.
Kwesi Appiah has slammed the way in which the Ghana Football Association handled his sacking, revealing he was informed of the decision by his family, who had read the claims on social media.
The tactician was recently relieved of his duties with the Black Stars, despite having penned a two-year contract extension prior to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
And, speaking with Football411‘s Ghana correspondent Russel Wiafe, Appiah has exclusively revealed he had to learn he was set to be fired as coach after receiving a phone call from his family.
“It is sad when you hear from the media that a coach has been sacked, and that was what happened to me,” the coach said.
“It was communicated to me last week Friday by the FA boss (Kwesi Nyantakyi) that my services were not needed so their lawyers will meet me this week to thrash out the severance fees.
“But, before I met him, I received a call from my family in London that they have heard on radio and social media that I have been fired – this is not how we do things.
“I am saddened with the approach but not sad they have sacked me. I felt I was not respected enough by the people I worked for. I knew I was not going to coach the Black Stars forever. I wish them all the best, now I will have to go back to London to be with my family.”
When asked to clarify suggestions his sacking was due to claims he was not in control of the Black Stars players, an unimpressed Appiah responded: “I never lost the dressing room! In my case, players who were showing signs of indiscipline or being disrespectful were disciplined.
“If I was not in charge, how could I have sent Sulley (Muntari) and Kevin (Prince Boateng) out of the camp? If i was not in charge, there’s no way I could have made (Michael) Essien and Kevin (Prince Boateng) sit on the bench (at the World Cup)?”
Management at the Muhoroni Youth are feeling a tad anxious ahead of this weekend’s Kenya Premier League fixture, as defender Franklyn Osama is still grappling with a muscle injury.
While Osama has been in training during the past week, the signs have still been rather imonous for the Kenyan club. The veteran defender, who has appeared in 22 of the 24 matches played this season, has told journalists that he is still feeling considerable pain and as a result he will be monitored extensively for the remainder of the week.
It seems highly likely that a late fitness test will be conducted on him before any final decisions are made in that regard.
“We are preparing well for the game, the only concern we have is Osama who picked an injury early in the game against Thika United,” Muhoroni coach Francis Baraza told futaa this week.
“He is in training and we are monitoring his situation so at the moment I can’t say he is ruled out,” added Baraza, who is still waiting for more information from his medical team.
“I am waiting for the doctor’s report and he will also be checked before we leave for the game,” added the Baraza coach.
The next assignment for the Youth is a trip to Sofapaka on Sunday, where they will try to entrench their status as one of the top ten teams in the Kenya Premier League. However, Sofapaka are not to be trifled with as they are currently first on the league standings and have not been defeated in their last four matches.
Charlton boss Bob Peeters believes signing striker Darren Bent on loan is not viable due to his wages.
Sofapaka coach Sam Timbe insists that Danson Kago still features prominently in his plans for the coming season, suggesting the midfielder had a bright future at the club.
The 20-year-old has already played in 18 league matches for the club and has netyted three times during that period. While Kago hasn’t been particularly prolific, Timbe does think that the early signs have been good.
“I am really pushing him to work extra hard while on the pitch. He has potential and we have offered him that room to improve so that he can show Kenyans what he is made of,” Timbe told futaa.
The next opportunity for Kago to prove his capabilities will present itself this weekend when Sofapaka play against a determined Muhoroni Youth at the Kenyatta Stadium on Sunday.