Diego Maradona hit out at critics of his coaching after his Argentina team qualified for the World Cup and said he had issues to discuss with the head of the country’s football federation.
“For those who didn’t believe in this national team, for those who treated me like garbage (I say) today Wednesday we are in the World Cup with all the honours, beating a team like Uruguay,” Maradona said.
Argentina secured their berth at the 2010 finals in South Africa with a 1-0 away win over arch-rivals Uruguay at the Centenario, scene of the first World Cup final in 1930.
“I am black or white, I’ll never be grey in my life,” Maradona, who in Argentine eyes could do no wrong as a player, said as he criticised the media for inventing stories about differences within the national team staff.
Maradona has been under fire for most of the qualifying matches since he took charge a year ago, for inconsistencies in selection and tactical errors that left Argentina on the brink of failing to qualify.
He lost four matches and won four, including the last two against Peru and Uruguay that left Argentina in the last of South America’s four automatic qualifying berths behind Brazil, Paraguay and Chile.
Fifth-placed Uruguay play off next month against Costa Rica, of the CONCACAF region, for another place.
A week ago, Maradona gave the impression there were divisions in the national team staff, suggesting in Buenos Aires that preparations to face Peru on Saturday had not run smoothly.
He said he would only stay on for the finals on his terms, but a few days later accused the media of inventing his possible resignation.
On Wednesday, he allowed a similar doubt to fill the air when, in answer to a question about whether he would be in charge of Argentina in South Africa, Maradona would only say: “I need to talk to (Argentine Football Association president Julio) Grondona.”
He reserved his praise for his players and the small group of fans, less than 2,000, who crossed the River Plate from Buenos Aires to support the team in a stadium packed with close to 60,000 Uruguayans baying for Argentine blood.
“I want to thank the whole squad for having given me the privilege of taking Argentina to the World Cup and the people, who crossed the pond.”
Rivers United Know Confed Cup Foes, Dec 12
The Confederation of African Football has fixed December 12 for the group stage draws of the Champions League and the Confederation Cup, Tidesports can confirm.
Group stage draws for both interclub competitions were initially slated for November 16, but CAF announced a postponement via its website, a day before the event.
The draws will now be held almost a month after the initial date, as confirmed by Africa’s football governing body.
“The Group Stage draw for the 2022/23 TotalEnergies CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup will be conducted on Monday 12 December 2022 in Cairo, Egypt.
“The TotalEnergies CAF Confederation Cup will be live from 13h00 (11h00 GMT) followed by TotalEnergies CAF Champions League at 14h00 (12h00 GMT).
“Both draws will be live on CAF digital platforms and also CAF TV partners,” CAF wrote on its website.
With the development, it means Nigeria Professional Football League side, Rivers United, will find out its group opponents in the Confederation Cup Dec 12.
The media officer of the club, Charles Mayuku, also confirmed that the new date has been communicated.
“CAFCC: @Rivers United FC to Know Foes December 12th. The group stage draw was initially fixed for November 16th but had to be postponed due to some reasons.
“According to the update coming from CAF, December 12th has been fixed for the draw at its headquarters in Cairo, Egypt,” Mayuku tweeted on his official Twitter handle
Since scaling the hurdle of Al Nasr Benghazi in Libya, the club has been training at the Adokiye Amesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt, while also looking forward to the money-spinning stage of the competition.
Rivers United are in the running for the second-tier competition with 15 other clubs.
Cricket: Nigeria Team Arrives Rwanda For W/Cup Qualifier
Nigeria’s men’s senior cricket team, the Yellow Greens, has arrived Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, for the 2024 ICC Men’s T20 Africa Sub Region B World Cup qualifier yesterday.
The team arrived Rwanda via Zimbabwe, where they embarked on a week-long training tour with four warm-up games against the Midwest Rhinos cricket club in Kwekwe. Nigeria won the series 3-1.
It began with a 122 to 126 runs loss in the first game, before the Yellows Greens followed it up with comprehensive wins in the last three games, edging Rhinos by 102-59, 82-39 and a 112-111 runs.
National coach, Clive Ogbimi, expressed optimism about the impact of the training tour on the players.
“We selected a team of international standard for the tour and the chaps have learnt a lot, especially in the areas of fielding and organising play.
“You will notice that in four games, Nigeria batted first and we didn’t get last 125 runs. It shows that a little more is to be done, regarding the batting. We start well, and we must be able to finish well.
“On the other side, the batters will have to show tremendous belief in their abilities and Coach Steve and I have always emphasised that as well. Putting all of that together, we had brilliant performances from the players to win the nervy games and we hope to go to Rwanda with that winning momentum,” Ogbimi said.
Upon the arrival of all teams today, technical meetings will follow Wednesday, while actions will begin on Thursday with four games per day till December 9.
21st NSF: RSG Tasks Team Rivers To Win As Opening Ceremony Takes Place, Today
Today, Asaba, the capital city of Delta State will be at the center stage in Nigeria as President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to declare the 21st National Sports Festival (NSF) open at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba.
Before Team Rivers left her base yesterday, the State Government has charged athletes to put up impressive performance as the State Government is expecting nothing less than top position at the festival.
The State Commissioner for Sports, Barrister Christopher Green gave the charge yesterday, while addressing athletes in Port Harcourt, saying that he had no doubt that his athletes will perform credibly.
According to him, Team Rivers athletes have the potentials to top the medals table because there was adequate preparations and motivations for the festival .
“What His Excellency Governor Nyesom Wike is expecting is nothing less than first position because he has released funds for the Festival.
“ As I speak, no athlete in the State is being owed one dime, all camp allowances and other payments due athletes have been paid, consequently, what we expect in return was to the win the festival and make the state proud”, Barrister Green said.
Earlier, the Commissioner had said at different fora that he was poised to develop sports in the State in all ramifications, saying that no good athlete in the State will die in penury.
”As a Commissioner I will ensu re that I develop other Sports and not only football. Let me also say it here I am not commissioner for football, but I am commissioner for Sports.
“You all are aware that our Governor is a sports loving person, that is why he gave Sports deveploment priority and he was awarded the Power of Sports Africa (POS Africa) award”; he stated.
General Yakubu Gowon, initiated the National Sports Festival in 1973 as a platform to bring together youths from all parts of the country to compete, using sports as a tool to achieve national healing after the brutal 30-month civil war.
He saw the sports festival as a rallying point for national unity and cultural integration. It was named the Unity Games.
The maiden edition of the NSF took place in 1973 at the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.
By: Tonye Orabere
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