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Blatter Warns Africa Over W/Cup Slots

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FIFA boss Sepp Blatter says African countries must improve if they want their World Cup slots to be increased.

Six countries represented Africa at last year’s World Cup because South Africa hosted the tournament.

But the continent’s places at the World Cup will revert to five for the 2014 finals in Brazil.

This has sparked calls by some African countries for the continent’s places to be increased in future events.

But the head of the world governing body says Africa will have to work hard to have the allocation of places increased.

“All of the FIFA member countries have equal voting rights, but when it comes to the World Cup, which is the only income of FIFA, our executive committee agrees that those confederations that have the best football should have more representatives,” Blatter said in Harare.

“There are no more small national teams, everyone can beat everyone, but it’s up to Africa to prove that they deserve more [World Cup places].”

“For the future it depends on the results of African teams in the World Cup.”

Africa’s performance in 2010, where of the continent’s contenders only Ghana made it out of the quarter-finals, is the farthest an African country has gone in the World Cup.

Cameroon and Senegal also reached the same stage in 1990 and 2002 respectively.

Fifa announced in March that there will be no change in the number of qualification slots allocated to each continent at the 2014 World Cup.

The decision means that Asia keeps 4.5 places, Oceania half a place, Africa five, Concacaf 3.5 and Europe 13.

South America remain with 4.5 while Brazil qualify automatically as hosts of the 32-team tournament, as South Africa did in 2010.

In another development, FIFA President Sepp Blatter says that anyone found guilty of match-fixing in the scandal that has shaken Zimbabwean football will be given life bans.

National team players including captain Method Mwanjali told a Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA inquiry that they were paid to lose games on a tour of Asia in 2009.

FIFA anti-corruption officials will visit Zimbabwe soon to meet with ZIFA officials and the police to conclude their enquiries into the case.

Blatter was speaking on a short visit to Harare as he travelled to Durban for an International Olympic Committee meeting.

“We cannot intervene at the first stage, we must let the jurisdictional organisation of the different states [take action] and when these people are condemned and found guilty then we will suspend them for life,” he said.

“Then they will never come back to football – being officials or being players, they will be banned for life.”

Testimonies given by players to the inquiry allege that ZIFA officials worked together with Singaporean Wilson Raj Perumal to lose matches against Syria and Thailand.

A second inquiry looked at earlier tours made to Asia by Zimbabwe where they also lost to lower-ranked nations.

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Aisha Buhari Cup: FIFA, CAF Presidents Grace Kick-Off, Falcons Win 2-0

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Substitute Gift Monday handed Nigeria a sweet 2-0 victory on the opening day of the maiden edition of the Aisha Buhari Invitational Women’s Tournament in the City of Lagos.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State led eminent political big-wigs, and FIFA President, Gianni Infantino and CAF President, Patrice Motsepe led football’s top echelon, including President of NFF and FIFA council member, Amaju Melvin Pinnick, to the showpiece at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan.
Monday, interestingly a player of FC Robo Queens of Lagos, spurned in the air to meet a cross by Captain Asisat Oshoala in the 83rd minute and nodded past goalkeeper Fatoumata Karenta, six minutes after coming into the fray for Francisca Ordega.
The goal put the Super Falcons in the lead after a rather turgid day on Lagos island, with the Malians showing greater zest and desire in the opening half and returning after the recess with the same impressive fighting spirit.
The visiting Female Eagles had survived a raid on their area in the 5th minute as Nigeria looked to go into the lead with a corner, but the defence cleared. Nine minutes later, Ordega sidenetted from another quick dash upfront, and in the 18th minute, Ageusissa Diarra tested Goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie from a 30-yard free-kick.
In the second half, Uchenna Kanu sidenetted in the 67th minute, before Oshoala, who should have scored with only the goalkeeper to beat, failed to get past Karenta. In the 74th minute, Karenta again saved from Kanu.
In the 83rd minute, Monday rose highest in the box and nodded past Karenta, bringing so much excitement to the arena.
One minute into added time, Monday was again at the end of an Asisat’s assist, and looped the ball over an advancing Karenta to put huge smiles on the faces of Nigerians.

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Enyimba Appoints Finidi George As Head Coach

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The former Ajax and Real Betis winger, George Finidi, who replaces Fatai Osho whose contract expired at the end of August, has joined the eight-time Nigerian champions, Enyimba FC, on a two-year contract.
George, a legend of Nigeria’s men’s senior national team, made 62 appearances for the Super Eagles in an illustrious playing career that lasted up to fifteen years.
He was a key member of the glorious era that won the Africa Cup of Nations in 1994 and represented the country at two FIFA World Cups, the 1994 and 1998 editions.
Tidesports source reports that at club level, George won the UEFA Champions League with Ajax in 1995 and went on to play for Real Betis, RCD Mallorca, and Ipswich Town.
His first official game as Enyimba head coach will be the CAF Confederation Cup’s second preliminary round fixture against Senegalese side, Diambers FC in mid-October.
Speaking to Enyimba’s media immediately after putting pen to paper, George said, “I have to say it’s a great opportunity for the club to have this confidence in me.
“I want to thank the chairman, the members of the board, and the supporters for even thinking about me. On my own part, I will be here to just work and do the job. It’s never going to be easy but I’m here to work and make the team win.”
Chairman of Enyimba, Felix Anyansi Agwu, stated that the arrival of George represents a new chapter for the club.
“I believe that the time has come for us as a club to open up a new chapter, a chapter that will showcase the many hardwork that has been going on behind the scene and usher in lots of success.
“For us to have engaged a coach like Finidi George who is coming from Europe is a clear statement of intent about our aspirations,” Agwu said.

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Arteta Sees Light For Arsenal

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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta says he sees a bright future for the club despite suffering their worst start to a season for 67 years.
The Gunners climbed off the bottom of the Premier League table with their first goal and first points of the campaign by beating Norwich 1-0 last weekend.
However, Arteta’s position is still under scrutiny ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Burnley after spending £150 million ($207 million) on new players during the transfer window.
The Spaniard claimed after beating Norwich he had enjoyed the “best 10 days of his career in this industry” during an international break when his side was rock bottom of the table.
And Arteta was equally optimistic on where Arsenal are headed with all six of his summer signings aged 23 or under.
“I’m telling you I’m very positive most of the time. I’ve seen the light and I can see bright lights,” he said at his pre-match press conference on Thursday.
“There can be bumps in the road within that light, but I can see a lot of light.”
Arteta is also hopeful the criticism his squad suffered after defeats to Brentford, Chelsea and Manchester City will only serve to make them stronger.
“It’s tough because it hurts, because you want to see something different. But what you want is not always what happens,” he added.
“Things happen for a reason and maybe what is happening had to happen and it’s going to be really good for the club and really good for myself and everybody experiencing that situation. We have to believe that.”

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