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Could this finally be Banyana Banyana’s year?

If preparation, organisation, and motivation were the measures of champions, the rest of the field might as well surrender the 2018 Africa Women Cup of Nations trophy to South Africa.

Banyana Banyana, AWCON finalists in 2012 and fourth place finishers at the last two tournaments, appear to have zeroed in on a target of winning their first-ever title, and with it their maiden trip to a FIFA Women’s World Cup.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Banyana are second only to Nigeria in number of appearances at Africa’s premiere championship for women, since the inaugural competition in 1991. Of the 12 official tournaments, South Africa have only missed one, the 1995 edition when they withdrew.

In that period, they have been runners up four times, finished third twice and fourth two times for a total of nine top four finishes behind Nigeria and Cameroon. Their points haul of 71 is second only to Nigeria, although a long way shy of the Super Falcons’ 126.

For all of the impressive numbers, the one thing they have never managed is to claim the top prize. Outside of Nigeria, who have won 10 out of 12, only Equatorial Guinea have managed that honour.6

After four near misses, Banyana now look primed to make a strong play for the top prize. And they have made no bones about it.

Of all the teams going to Ghana, Banyana Banyana can claim to be the most prepared. By the time they run out for their friendly against hosts Ghana on November 11, they would have played a total of 15 games in 2018. That is way more than any other team on the continent.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

Their results in those games have not been shabby, either. They racked up eight wins, three draws, and three losses. Those losses came against tough European and South American opposition in Sweden, Belgium, and Chile. They did beat Hungary and drew with Korea DPR, Slovakia, and Chile.

All their other wins came against African opposition, including 2016 AWCON finalists Cameroon, whom they despatched 2-1 in the COSAFA Cup final.

By contrast, Nigeria have only played eight games. Five of those were at the WAFU Cup, where they were beaten in the semifinals by Ghana, one was a friendly which they lost scandalously to France 8-0, and the other two were the two-legged AWCON qualifiers against Gambia, which they won 7-0 on aggregate.

KCCA FC head coach Mutebi attacked by ‘thugs’

KCCA FC head coach Mike Mutebi has sustained injuries after being attacked by ‘thugs’ at his residence in Kawempe, Kampala on Monday.

The Uganda Premier League-winning manager subsequently received treatment at the Nsambya Hospital, and should return to the dugout imminently.buy nike nfl jerseys cheap

“Our coach was attacked at about 2am by thugs who broke into his home,” team spokesman Moses Magero told KweséESPN. “He is out of trouble after receiving treatment at Nsambya Hospital.7

“Apart from the few cuts, Mike is not in any form of danger, and is ready to lead the team in our Uganda Premier League game against SC Villa on Tuesday.”

Mutebi guided KCCA FC to the group stage of the CAF Champions League this season.

“That’s part of life,” he told KweséESPN. “Thankfully, I didn’t sustain very serious injuries, although I had to fight and protect myself against the thugs.”

Last Saturday, KCCA FC fought from a goal down to hold league champions and table-toppers Vipers SC to a 1-1 draw at St Marys Stadium in Kitende.nfl nike jersey cheap

KCCA are currently third on the log with 12 points after six games, while Vipers SC lead with 14 points and Bidco FC are second on 13.

The other games on Tuesday will see Nyamityobora FC host Kirinya Jinja SS, while Ndejje University FC battle fourth-placed Bright Stars FC.

Bidco FC have the chance to go top when they host URA FC at the Njeru Technical Centre Stadium.

Juventus continue unbeaten start in Serie A with win vs. Cagliari

Paulo Dybala scored after 44 seconds for Juventus but they were made to struggle in a 3-1 win over a brave Cagliari team as they stayed six points clear in Serie A on Saturday.

Juventus have now won 10 of their 11 league games but they needed the help of an own goal by Filip Bradaric after Joao Pedro had equalised for Cagliari.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

Dybala gave Juve the perfect start when he received a pass on the edge of the penalty area, twisted one way and then the other and, despite slipping as he struck the ball, scored with a right-foot shot past Alessio Cragno.6

Cagliari fought back and, after having a penalty appeal for handball turned down following a VAR review, forced Juve goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny into a point-blank save to block a Leonardo Pavoletti volley.

The Sardinian side deservedly levelled in the 36th minute when Joao Pedro controlled Darijo Srna’s cross with an excellent first touch before beating Szczesny with a low drive.

But Juve were gifted a goal less than two minutes later by Bradaric who, under no immediate pressure, slid in and diverted Douglas Costa’s low cross into the net.buy nike nfl jerseys cheap

Cristiano Ronaldo, who hit the post on the stroke of halftime, laid the third on a plate for Juan Cuadrado with three minutes left after Cagliari were exposed on the counter-attack.

Juve have 31 points out of a possible 33 with Inter Milan, who beat Genoa 5-0

Why Julen Lopetegui at Real Madrid was doomed to fail — the inside story

The two most significant things Julen Lopetegui did to get himself sacked as Real Madrid manager happened before he was even appointed by Florentino Perez.

First, he failed to listen. Second, he failed to calculate.

Those who point to his team’s 5-1 thrashing at the Camp Nou on Sunday or to the Santiago Bernabeu humiliation at the hands of Levante — take your pick of moments, matches or maudlin images of the defeated Basque — are wrong.nfl cheap jerseys nike

Lopetegui, according to the Real Madrid communique that was issued, hasn’t been sacked because of a specific result or because Perez, in his wisdom, has been vigilant around the training ground and sees deep flaws in the sessions or the ideas being taught at Valdebebas. No, it is because of the “disparity between the high-quality squad and the low-quality performances” that the former Spain manager, who gave up his chance to compete for a World Cup victory for what has turned out to be a 138-day, 14-game stint in charge of Madrid, has been kicked out.6

On Thursday, May 31, he and all of his Spain squad (except the Madrid players who’d just won the Champions League for the third straight year) gathered together at Las Rozas, about 30 minutes’ drive outside the Spanish capital, in preparation for the impending World Cup. When Zinedine Zidane’s hastily arranged news conference for lunchtime that day was broadcast live on radio and television, you can forgive the 52-year-old for not being wholly attentive.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

It would have been about then that Andres Iniesta, Gerard Pique, David De Gea & Co. would have just finished training and been heading for lunch in La Residencia, which is on site at Las Rozas and a five-minute walk from the changing rooms. But if Lopetegui didn’t stop to watch the live transmission of the then-Real Madrid manager, with a glum-faced Perez next to him, renouncing his position and standing down with immediate effect, then he must have read the following day’s media coverage.

This was worldwide viral news for the 24 hours that followed, as the shock set in and it became clear that the club, which had just made history with a hat trick of Champions League victories, was looking for Zizou’s successor. It’s utterly inconceivable that Lopetegui didn’t hear Zidane’s very clear message that while Denmark wasn’t on his mind just yet, there was “something rotten” in the state of Real Madrid.

River Plate’s Copa Libertadores semifinal win could be overturned for coach interference

South America’s football governing body will investigate River Plate coach Marcelo Gallardo for allegedly speaking to his players at the break of a match he was suspended.

CONMEBOL president Alejandro Dominguez confirmed on Wednesday that the body’s disciplinary tribunal will look into a complaint filed by Gremio. The Brazilians were shocked at home by a 2-1 River victory in the second leg of the Copa Libertadores semifinal.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

The result put River in the final of the prestigious South American club tournament against Argentinian archrivals Boca Juniors or Brazil’s Palmeiras, which play later on Wednesday.

“Any complaint should be introduced to the disciplinary unit within time and form contemplated by regulations, and it will be of exclusive competence of the disciplinary tribunal,” Dominguez said on Twitter.

Gallardo acknowledged talking to his players at the break when his team was losing 1-0 to the defending champions. River had lost by the same score at home last week.

“I took that audacity because I thought the players needed it and I needed it too,” Gallardo said on Tuesday in Porto Alegre. “I broke a rule, I recognise and take responsibility, but it is what I needed and I don’t regret it.”

Gallardo was suspended for the match after being found guilty of delaying his team’s return to the pitch in several Copa Libertadores matches.nfl cheap jerseys nike

Gremio requested CONMEBOL to annul River’s victory and advance the southern Brazil team to the final. The club issued a statement saying the Argentines had violated the spirit of fair play and accused Gallardo of also communicating with his assistants by walkie-talkie, a claim that the coach denies.

After River is officially informed of Gremio’s request it will issue its defence before the CONMEBOL disciplinary tribunal. The finals of Copa Libertadores will be played Nov.7 and 28.5

Inside France’s eventful break: Deschamps turns 50, comeback results and World Cup rings

In the dressing room, Deschamps is not happy at all. The coach had rushed straight there after Serbian referee Milorad Mazic blew for half-time and yells: “We are not playing as a team. We need to put the effort in, put in more intensity.”

Paul Pogba and Raphael Varane also voice their frustration, with other players visibly fuming too. The keywords: togetherness, effort, attitude, intensity, mental strength come to the fore.

Towards the end of the first half, Deschamps had changed his tactics from his usual 4-4-2 formation into a 4-3-3 far better suited to how Germany were set up. And, before his players go back out for the second half, the coach challenges them to “show me what you can do.”
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France respond like World Cup winners and rally to win 2-1, extending their unbeaten run to 15 matches.

“In the first half, it was not us. After the break, we played like world champions,” admitted Antoine Griezmann after the game. The Atletico Madrid striker scored a brace in 18 second-half minutes, including a wonderful header, to turn the game around, pile more misery on the Germans and offer Deschamps a nice 50th birthday present.

Deschamps turned 50 on Monday and was presented with a giant rectangular fruit sponge cake with a chocolate football on top, as well as a big book full of photos from the World Cup signed by all the players. “DD” asked them to get him another present as well: a win.6

“My 50th year has been a very great year thanks to you,” he told them at the France’s team hotel in Enghien-les-Bains, not far from the Stade de France. “For it to be even better, and for me to remember even more my 50th birthday, you know what you have to do [Tuesday]. I am relying on you because I trust you. I am very happy to be with you tonight because you are a bit like my second family. So thank you.”

His team did just that. After the disappointing 2-2 draw last Thursday in a friendly against Iceland in Guingamp, they put in another performance full of character and saw another shining star performance — this time from Griezmann, five days after Kylian Mbappe had saved them.nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal

Having been 2-0 down against Iceland before Mbappe came on and bailed them out, Deschamps warned his men in the dressing room postmatch: “This should be useful to all of you. It can happen but it should not happen. You have to be aware of what we have to do so it doesn’t happen again. That’s the most important thing.”

Yet the beginning of their match against Germany was just as bad as Toni Kroos’ 14th minute penalty put them up against it.

“We can’t get into the habit of going behind. We know it. At this level, if you don’t start a game with the right aggression and attitude, you are in trouble,” goalkeeper Hugo Lloris said after the game. The memo for the two games in November, the friendly against Uruguay and the trip to the Netherlands for Les Bleus’ final Nations League group game, will be to start better.

Erik Lamela rewards Tottenham’s patience, shows his worth vs. West Ham

At points in the 12 months before that, Tottenham fans might have wondered whether they would ever see the Argentine attacker again. His spell out with an initially innocuous-seeming hip injury stretched on and on, public updates on his condition were vague, and (ultimately false) rumours spread that there might be other explanations for his absence.nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal

Eventually in November he returned, and a month later the deadline approached to choose Tottenham’s Champions League squad for the second half of the season. “We need to consider to provide one place to Erik,” said Pochettino. With no real evidence other than his own faith, the Tottenham manager was prepared to send other players on loan in order to make space for Lamela.

Sometimes it’s difficult to see why. Even after his return to the side a year ago, Lamela didn’t really ever cement his place in the Tottenham first XI. He only started consecutive games twice last season, and his inclusion from the beginning against West Ham on Saturday was the first Premier League start he’d made this term. Pochettino has spoken plenty of times about the need to be careful with Lamela, yet inevitably you might question whether he is worth the trouble.5

But in the time he has been on the pitch this season, Lamela has shown he is. The goal that would turn out to be the winner against the Hammers was the eighth he’d been directly involved in (either scoring or assisting) this season, despite spending a relatively meagre 406 minutes on the pitch. Efficient, if nothing else.
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“We believe in him, we trust in him,” said Pochettino after the game, when asked what he put the improvement in Lamela’s performances down to. “He’s more mature. It’s his [sixth] year here, he’s more relaxed, more calm. Now he needs to be more consistent.”

Beyond the goal, he was probably Tottenham’s most inventive and sparky player in a truly odd team performance. Initially Tottenham were barely able to exert any sort of style or control, and then when Lamela did give them the lead they sat deep and defended like they’d gone 1-0 up in the Nou Camp. The colours may be similar, but West Ham are nobody’s idea of Barcelona.

Kylian Mbappe driven by Didier Deschamps and desire to get better

Comparisons are probably made too frequently in football. They are easy, after all: The Mohamed Salah of last season and the one of this season is one example; the win rates of Jose Mourinho and Alex Ferguson at Manchester United is another.

Stats are measured against other stats, records against records, regardless of context, situation, time and era. Comparing one thing or person against another thing or person appears to be the go-to way of defining greatness or otherwise.

As such, when Kylian Mbappe scored four goals in 13 minutes on Sunday for Paris Saint-Germain against Lyon at the Parc des Princes, not only was it one of the greatest individual performances in any league over recent years, but it also led to an avalanche of comparisons.new nike nfl jerseys for sale cheap

You would have learned that the 19-year-old is way ahead, in terms of goals, than Lionel Messi at the same age. “Kyky,” as his France teammate Paul Pogba calls Mbappe, has scored 67 times in all competitions for club and country since making his debut for Monaco when he was 16. Messi, by contrast, had 20 at the same age. Messi had one hat trick, whereas Mbappe has two coups du chapeau and a four-goal game.7

No other player has been so great so young in terms of pure statistics (without taking into consideration other factors such as the level of the league in which he plays and PSG’s dominance), but we should stop comparing him to Messi, Thierry Henry, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ronaldo Nazario, Pele or anyone else. Instead, we should simply enjoy the development of an incredible talent because the most important thing is to let Mbappe continue his incredible progress and see how far he can go.nike nfl cheap jerseys

On Monday, when he joined the rest of the France squad at their Clairefontaine training camp, Mbappe was congratulated by Didier Deschamps for his quadruple. The French head coach watched the PSG-Lyon game on TV with his staff and could hardly believe what he was seeing. Despite following “KMB” since he was 15 at Monaco, Deschamps was nonetheless amazed by what he saw.

“He is doing things that are out of the ordinary,” Deschamps said later on Monday. “What he is capable of doing despite being so young… He is out of this world. It’s Kylian. It’s prodigious what he does and what he is capable of doing. I am privileged that he is French.”

How Genoa’s Krzysztof Piatek, ‘the new Lewandowski,’ went from unknown to star of Serie A

It’s late May 2018, and Genoa president Enrico Preziosi is sat at a table in an Ibiza restaurant with an agent who is showing him clip after clip of a Polish striker he thinks would do well in Serie A.

Goals had been hard to come by for the Grifone over the last nine months, Gianluca Lapadula took 30 games to score four, and were it not for the team’s defence they would have probably been relegated. Only Verona and Sassuolo scored fewer … So the agent has Preziosi’s attention.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

The guy in the video, Krzysztof Piatek, found the net 21 times last season for KS Cracovia. He’s being hailed as the “new Robert Lewandowski” — words which must have prompted Preziosi to have a flashback or two.8

While Blackburn fans blame the Eyjafjallajokull volcanic eruptions for grounding Lewandowski and stopping him from talking to Sam Allardyce about a move to Ewood Park in 2010, Preziosi only has himself to blame for not buying the striker when he had the chance that same year. The toy-maker came so close to having Lewandowski’s signature that La Repubblica and Sky Italia declared it a done deal.

Genoa’s manager at the time, Gian Piero Gasperini, had watched Lewandowski play for Lech Poznan against Udinese and liked what he saw. The Poland international passed a medical and was the guest of the club at the Derby della Lanterna against Sampdoria. “I shook his hand in the hotel,” Gasperini revealed to Sky Italia in 2016.

But just as everything seemed ready for completion, a now infamous statement appeared on Genoa’s website denying an agreement had been reached. The whole thing collapsed, and the stories as to why continue to conflict.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Preziosi would later bring up an eye-watering commission demanded by the intermediary brokering the transfer. However, Genoa’s sporting director at the time, Stefano Capozucca had a slightly different version of events. “When the President saw him in the stands [at the derby], he was unimpressed by his physical structure,” he said. “He was a lot less imposing a figure than he is now and didn’t look like a classic centre-forward.”

Wonderkids Okello, Poloto cut from Uganda squad

Uganda head coach Sebastien Desabre has dropped KCCA FC duo Allan Okello and Julius Poloto from the Cranes squad set to face Lesotho in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier later this week.

Okello, one of Uganda’s most promising attacking midfielders, was cut on Monday and will play no part in the upcoming double-header as the Cranes look to boost their hopes of reaching a second consecutive AFCON.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

The Cranes, who lead Group L, will host second-placed Lesotho on October 13 at the Mandela National Stadium, Namboole before the return late in Maseru three days later.

“We have trimmed the team to the final 24 after three days of testing,” Desabre told KweséESPN. “We shall embark on residential training as the professional players also start arriving [on Monday].8

Uncapped Okello, who helped KCCA FC reach the group stage of the CAF Champions League, is not downhearted after his omission.

“Although I have not made it to the final squad, this will encourage me to keep working hard,” Okello told KweséESPN. “Calling me up for the first time has motivated me.”

Milton Karisa, who joined Moroccan Premier League side Mouloudia Club D’Oujda last month, and Tout Puissant Mazembe new boy Benson Joseph Ochaya have been included.

After failing to lead the Uganda Cranes to a win against Tanzania last month in his first match in the AFCON qualifiers as head coach, Desabre is finding himself under increasing pressure to deliver results nfl nike jerseys for cheap

Denis Onyango, Salim Jamal Magoola, Charles Lukwago, Murushid Juuko, Isaac Isinde, Timothy Awanyi, Denis Iguma, Nicholas Wadada, Godfrey Walusimbi, Isaac Muleme, Joseph Ochaya, Hassan Wasswa Mawanda, Saddam Ibrahim Juma, Taddeo Lwanga, Moses Waisswa, Khalid Aucho, Allan Kateregga, Farouk Miya, Emmanuel Okwi, Edris Lubega, Derrick Nsibambi, Milton Karisa, Allan Kyambadde and Patrick Kaddu.