Monday, August 6, 2007

Quick Tidbits

On this day of personal reflection (please see my previois entry), here are some news items I've scrounged up from the Internet.

(***A small note about about my news scrounging: Trust me, I'm no fan of copying & pasting someone else's writing on this blog. But, I think it serves a valuable purpose.

One, you get a one-stop outlet for quick bites of African football news.
Two, we learn together about the complexities and beauty of the Beautiful Game in Africa. The game in the world's second-largest and second most-populous continent is too often overlooked.

There will come a time when the reporting on this blog will be first-hand. Until then, I'll set a base for information & news to enlighten both the reader and the writer. That's a good start, no?)

So let me stop blabbering & let's get on to it ...

- FIFA, football's world governing body, said today that only 18 African countries visited have soccer stadiums safe enough to allow them to host World Cup qualifiers.

FIFA officials completed an inspection of 50 of the continent's 53 football playing nations in June. They did not visit Kenya, Somalia or World Cup hosts South Africa.

The inspections follow FIFA's decision last year to insist on better safety standards at international matches, particularly World Cup qualifiers. No dates have been set for next year's Africa qualifiers.

This is bad news. The state of the stadia in Africa is cause for alarm. Now the question is, what will the nations without adequate stadiums do to get them up to par? What are the conditions on getting the stadium to safe levels?

- Frequently, news services like the BBC print articles highlighting the contribution of African players in domestic leagues around Europe. Here's such an article from today.

'There were just two African goalscorers on a quiet opening weekend in the French Ligue 1.

Morocco striker Youssef Hadji scored for Nancy as they beat Rennes 2-0, when he flicked the ball over the approaching Rennes goalkeeper in the 41st minute to seal the win.

Guinea's Pascal Feindouno salvaged a point for St Etienne, scoring from the penalty spot in the 47th minute as his side drew 1-1 with Monaco.

But it was a bad start to the season for Mali midfielder Sidi Keita of Lens as he was sent-off for a brutal challenge in the last minute of his side's 1-0 loss at Bordeaux.

Reigning Champions Lyon, who are looking for a seventh straight title, started their campaign with a 2-0 win over Auxerre 2-0 on Sunday.

There were also just two African scorers on the opening weekend in Belgium.

Ivorian striker Francois Zoko was on target for Mons Bergen, but it wasn't enough as his side lost 2-1 to Club Bruges.

The only other goal was by Paito Tambwe from Congo-Brazzaville the striker scored the opening goal for his side Lokeren in their 2-1 victory over St Truiden.

Many other clubs from around Europe are still playing pre-season friendlies and several Africans were on target in those too.

English premiership side Portsmouth beat Leicester City from a division below 3-1 with the DR Congo striker Lomana LuaLua on the score sheet.

Nigeria's Yakubu Ayegbeni scored the second for another Premiership side Middlesbrough who beat Ducth side AZ Alkmaar 2-0.

Fellow Nigerian Ikechukwu Uche gave his Spanish side Getafe an 11th minute lead as they trounced Dutch side Sparta Rotterdam 6-1.

FC Porto won the Rotterdam Cup after beating Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua 3-0 with Moroccan striker Tarik Sektioui scoring the opener for the Portuguese champions. The win was sufficient for them to finish ahead of Liverpool and hosts Feyenoord, who drew 1-1 in Sunday's other game.

Nigeria's Peter Odemwingie scored for Lokomotiv Moscow, who were beaten 4-3 in a penalty shoot-out by Italy's European Champions AC Milan, in the Russian Railways tournament.

Odemwingie had scored the third for Lokomotiv as his side led 3-1 before Milan fought back with two goals in the last three minutes to make the final score 3-3.

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