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‘Change In Season’s Timing Can Help Bafana’

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South African FA president Kirsten Nematandani believes the proposed change to the timing of the country’s football season can aid Bafana Bafana.

Changes may see the season switch from August-to-May to a calendar year.

This is to assist local clubs in African competition, but Nematandani says it can also help the national team at the Africa Cup of Nations finals.

“The players will be able to focus on the national team since they are on a break from the league,” he said.

South Africa’s Premier Soccer League (PSL) is considering making the switch in 2014, as it tries to find a way to improve the performances of local clubs in African competition.

Stanley Matthews, the CEO of the PSL, says South Africans teams are weakened by having to register players for Caf competitions in mid-January, which is in the middle of the local season.

“Our clubs are seriously disadvantaged because by the time they get to the group stages of the continental competitions, there are two (transfer) window periods that would have passed where some players have left,” he told Tidesports source.

Even though no South African side has reached the group stages of the African Champions League since Orlando Pirates in 2006, the view is shared by a coach who has won four PSL championships.

“The proposed timing switch will certainly help our teams with their campaigns in the African club competitions,” Moroka Swallows coach Gordon Igesund said.

“We’ve had problems in the past with registering new signings and having to replace players who leave during the off-season.”

Igesund also believes that playing the season through the winter rather than the summer months will benefit local players.

“Playing in the summer months where temperatures in places like Durban and Polokwane, for example, can reach up to 40 degrees is also dangerous and the water breaks we have during each half doesn’t really help,” he said.

“In many cases the players can’t play at their optimum level because it’s simply too hot to do so but that problem could be alleviated by starting games a few hours later,” he added.

Meanwhile, Nematandani was swift to dismiss concerns that it would be too cold to attend many games during the winter months, as many fans found while watching the 2010 World Cup.

For many matches at the first World Cup on African soil, visiting fans complained of being bitterly cold.

“It won’t be an issue. During the World Cup, we went to matches in the night but in the PSL, the games will be played in the day (which is warmer),” Nematandani said Sport.

While the South African FA chief believes finishing the season at the end of a calendar year can help the national side, PSL organisers have other reasons for changing the timing.

They believe that the league is disrupted by the six-week break which comes about every two years as a number of players leave to take part in the competition.

Igesund is not perturbed by the break, one which is scheduled to next take place in 2013 as South Africa itself hosts the finals.

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Aiteo Cup: Diri Hails Bayelsa Finalists

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Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has lauded the feat of the state-owned football teams who reached the finals in the male and female categories of the 2021 Aiteo Cup.
Diri, while congratulating Bayelsa United and Bayelsa Queens for their outstanding performances, praised their indomitable spirit and resilience in surmounting the odds to qualify for the last stage of Nigeria’s oldest football competition.
Bayelsa United, who plays in the second tier Nigerian National League, on Friday defeated Premier League neighbours Rivers United 1-0 in the semi-finals, while Bayelsa Queens crushed perennial rivals Rivers Angels 5-0 to reach the women’s final.
The Governor, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Alabrah, on Saturday, described Bayelsa United as “giant killers” for defeating Premier League sides Enugu Rangers, Lobi Stars and Rivers United on their way to the final.
“The excellent run of Bayelsa United and Bayelsa Queens in this year’s Aiteo Cup is very heartwarming. Both teams reaching the finals is no mean feat. I congratulate them for making the state proud and setting a record of teams from the state playing in the finals of the male and female categories of the same competition for the first time,” Diri stated.
“By their outstanding performance, Bayelsa United and Bayelsa Queens have shown that the sporting revolution of our Prosperity Administration, which resulted in Bayelsa placing third in the last National Sports Festival in Edo State for the first time, is on course. I therefore urge them to complete their excellent run in the competition by bringing home the trophies.

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D’Tigress To Play Mozambique In Afrobasket

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Nigeria’s senior basketball team, D’Tigress, have been drawn to face Mozambique and a yet to qualify team in Group B of the 2021 Women’s Afrobasket, which holds from September 17 to 27 in Yaounde, Cameroon.
The draw was held in Yaounde last Saturday.
D’Tigress will be hoping to retain the title they won two years ago in Senegal, where they defeated the hosts in the final. A win in Cameroon will mean they have won the last three editions of the tournament.
The Nigerians will know their final group opponent when the FIBA Zone 6 qualifiers take place from August 16 to 22.
In Group A, hosts Cameroon will face Cape Verde and Kenya, while Senegal, the most successful team in the competition’s history with 11 first-place finishes, will slug it out with Egypt and Gabon in Group C.
Mali, Ivory Coast, and a team to be decided via wild card will fight for a slot in the next round in Group D.

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Ebonyi Football Fans Celebrate Nwankwo Kanu At 45

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Football fans in Ebonyi State yesterday, celebrated the birthday of formerNigerian international and Arsenal legend, Nwankwo Kanu.
The former Super Eagles skipper turned 45 yesterday.
Tidespoets source gathered  that the 1993 FIFA U-17 world cup winner, fondly called “Papillo’’ by his fans had 86 caps for Nigeria.
The former Iwuanyanwu Nationale Football Club of Owerri’s talisman scored 13 goals for Nigeria in an enviable career that spanned from 1994 to 2010.
Kanu is a recipient of the Member of the Order of the Niger (MON), an Olympic Games football gold medalist and had illustrious club careers with Ajax Amsterdam of Holland, Arsenal and West Bromwich Albion of England.
Defunct Ebonyi Angels FC of Abakaliki Defender, James Onele, said that Kanu thrilled soccer fans across the world with sublime skills and trademark passes.
“Kanu won two African Footballer of the Year awards, an AFCON silver medal, four AFCON bronze medals among other honours.
“He was the first Nigerian, alongside Finidi George to win the prestigious UEFA champions league trophy with Ajax in 1995,” said Onele.
An Arsenal FC supporter, Ejike Okoro, said the club’s fans were proud of Kanu’s achievements during his time with the English Premier League side.
“Kanu played 197 times for Arsenal, scoring 44 goals and was part of the club’s invincible team that did not lose any match in the 2003-04 EPL season.
“He was instrumental in endearing Arsenal to millions of Nigerian soccer fans, despite later dropping to lowly-rated clubs such as Portsmouth and West Bromwich Albion,” Okoro said.
A banker and football enthusiast, Chief Barry Ogoh, told active footballers to emulate Papillo in investing adequately for the ‘rainy day’.
“Kanu, Augustine J.J. Okocha, among other ex-internationals are still financially stable as many ex-internationals have become bankrupt.

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