Tuesday, April 17, 2007

It's Not Just The Men

I'm back & not rested in the least ...
But I strive to make these African dreams come true, whining as much as possible along the way.

Strange weeks abound in the world of football, with Manchester United and Chelsea playing in a league of their own, vying for three separate titles possibly in the span of one week. The FA Cup Final at Late Wembley is set, the Champions League Final in Athens is a step away and the Premiership Super Bowl looks like a league decider, all in one week.
In France it's all decided (Lyon again), it's all over in Italy (Inter Milan) and in Spain it's all left to play for (Barca, Madrid, Valencia, the New York Yankees, Pumas, Real Zaragoza, Sevilla, Cesar's Playstation Team, etc.)

So while the stars of European club football duke it out to the finish, we turn our heads to Africa, where burgeoning football talents make their mark on the game.
It's not just Didier Drogba & Michael Essien that make African football so exciting.
It's also the women of the game, as evidenced by three African players being invited to join a Women's World XI to face China in a friendly on Saturday.

Nigerian striker Cynthia Uwak, Ghana's Adjoa Bayor and South African midfielder Portia Modise were named in the 18-member squad.

The game will take place in the Chinese city of Wuhan on the eve of the launch and draw of the Women's World Cup to be staged in the Asian country in September.

The trio will join up with reigning World Player of the Year, Marta of Brazil and three-time German winner of the award, Birgit Prinz, who are special guests at the event.

"I am very happy to be given my first call to the World XI team," Adjoa Bayor told BBC Sport.

"Playing with the world class players will give me the needed exposure to excel at the World Cup in September."

Ghana and Nigeria are the two African representatives at the World Cup in September.

Very cool to see it's not just the men who are defining the game in Africa, but the women. We'll be following the exploits of Ghana and Nigeria in the Women's World Cup.

*On another note, Goal.com has started a series documenting African footballer's trajectories through various European leagues. In this edition, they feature Africans in Spain, with usual suspects Samuel Eto'o and Frederic Kanoute profiled. But they do nicely with their work on Cameroon's Pierre Webó of Osasuna, Mahamadou Diarra of Real Madrid & Mali and Felix Dja Ettien of Levante & Ivory Coast. Well worth a look and something to follow in the coming weeks.

*This just in from Reuters: The Democratic Republic of Congo have set April 29 as the new date for their postponed African Nations Cup qualifier against Ethiopia at Kinshasa's Martyrs stadium, the country's football association said on Tuesday.

The match was postponed last month after clashes between government forces and opposition militia in the Congolese capital killed some 600 people.

The Confederation of African Football at the weekend ordered the match to go ahead even though it falls outside FIFA's co-ordinated international calendar and makes it difficult for the Congolese to call up their foreign-based players.

DR Congo go into the Group 10 match with four points from their opening two qualifiers for the 2008 final, seeking to qualify for a ninth successive Nations Cup finals.

Ethiopia, who have won one of their opening qualifiers, have not been to the tournament since 1982.

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