Author: AFP

Moreno admits Spain departure “bitter-sweet”

Madrid (AFP) – Robert Moreno admitted his departure as Spain coach leaves him with a “bitter-sweet feeling” but avoided criticising either Luis Enrique or the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) in a statement released on Wednesday.  RFEF president Luis Rubiales announced on Tuesday Luis Enrique would replace Moreno for Euro 2020 and resume the role he left in June to take care of his daughter, who died in August of bone cancer.  But Moreno appeared upset with the way the change was handled as he refused to speak to the media after Spain’s victory over Malta on Monday and reportedly left ... Read more

Mourinho pledges ‘passion’ after being named Spurs boss

London (AFP) – Jose Mourinho promised “real passion” following his appointment as Tottenham Hotspur boss on Wednesday after Mauricio Pochettino was sacked by the struggling Premier League club. The former Chelsea, Real Madrid and Manchester United manager was announced as the new boss at White Hart Lane hours after the Argentine was dismissed on Tuesday evening. “I couldn’t be happier and look forward to the challenge,” Mourinho told Tottenham’s official website.  “What can I promise? Passion, real passion. Passion for my job, but also passion for my club, that’s the way I have been all my career.” The 56-year-old, who ... Read more

Winning Zimbabwe coach quits, losing Burundi boss stays

Johannesburg (AFP) – Joey Antipas said on Wednesday he was quitting as caretaker coach of Zimbabwe, one day after achieving the best result of his four months in charge.  Zimbabwe scored a rare victory in neighbouring Zambia on Tuesday with the 2-1 win placing them second behind defending champions Algeria in a 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying group. In other matches under Antipas, Zimbabwe drew with Botswana in the Cup of Nations and recovered from a shock loss in Somalia to beat them on aggregate in a 2022 World Cup eliminator. He replaced fellow former international defender Sunday Chidzambwa, ... Read more

Delaney out as Dortmund host bottom side Paderborn

Berlin (AFP) – Borussia Dortmund will be without injured midfielder Thomas Delaney until at least January as they look to bounce back from their Bayern Munich drubbing at home to Bundesliga strugglers Paderborn on Friday. The burly Danish midfielder is out for the rest of 2019 after tearing ankle ligaments early in Monday’s 1-1 draw against the Republic of Ireland which put Denmark through to the Euro 2020 finals. Dortmund expect Delaney to return after the January winter break. There is also a question mark as to whether club captain Marco Reus will recover in time from an ankle injury. ... Read more

Lille confirm two members of coaching staff to join Mourinho at Tottenham

Lille (France) (AFP) – Portuguese duo Joao Sacramento and Nuno Santos are to leave their jobs as coaches at Lille in order to become part of compatriot Jose Mourinho’s staff at Tottenham Hotspur, the French club said on Wednesday. Sacramento, 30, was the assistant coach to Christophe Galtier in northern France. He initially joined Lille in January 2017 and worked under former coach Marcelo Bielsa, who was sacked later that year. Santos has worked as goalkeeping coach at Lille since the summer of 2018. Now 46, he was a goalkeeper on the books at Benfica in 2000 when Mourinho began ... Read more

Mourinho meets Spurs squad after being named as new boss

London (AFP) – Jose Mourinho was at Tottenham’s training ground to meet his new squad following his appointment as Mauricio Pochettino’s replacement at the struggling Premier League club on Wednesday. The former Chelsea, Real Madrid and Manchester United manager was announced as the new boss at White Hart Lane hours after the Argentine was sacked. The 56-year-old, who had been out of work since leaving United last December, signed a contract until the end of the 2022-23 season after the Spurs hierarchy acted to halt their slide down the table. The club reached the Champions League final in June but ... Read more

Africa Cup of Nations: five talking points

Johannesburg (AFP) – Defending champions Algeria were among six of the 48 contenders for places at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations who completed the first two qualifying rounds with perfect records this week. For another 10 teams, including shock 2012 champions Zambia, it was a miserable time as they lost both matches to remain pointless.   While Premier League stars Sadio Mane and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang failed to score, Senegalese Famara Diedhiou from English second-tier club Bristol City bagged a nine-minute hat-trick. AFP Sport looks at some of the nations who did well, and not so well, as the chase ... Read more

Euro 2020 format blasted a ‘scandal’ as UEFA deals with draw headache

Paris (AFP) – The format for UEFA’s continent-wide Euro 2020 has been labelled “a scandal” by Belgium star Kevin De Bruyne as European football’s governing body faces a headache to ensure all host nations who qualify get to play at home. For the first time, next year’s European Championship will be played in 12 different host cities in 12 different nations, with Wembley staging the semi-finals and final. The draw for what will be the second 24-team Euro will be held in Bucharest on Saturday, November 30. Wales became the 20th nation to secure their spot when they beat Hungary ... Read more