CALL him King Sunday III, the COSAFA King, Warrior King or whatever name with a touch of royalty and, if you are taking about Africa’s most successful regional football tournament, it’s unlikely you will get critics throwing bricks at you for hoisting him on such a pedestal reserved for revered monarchs.
When someone finally decides to pluck a leaf from Memory Mucherahowa and writes a book about the COSAFA Castle Cup in an era where possibly this regional tournament would have long staggered into extinction, there will certainly be a special page reserved for this Zimbabwean coach.
For, choosing not to do that will not just be seen as an insult to the real story of this tournament, which this year celebrated 20 years after its inaugural edition with the Warriors making history by winning a record fifth crown after demolishing bitter rivals Zambia 3-1 in the final on Sunday, but will certainly be viewed as an aberration.
Welcome back home Mhofu. And, before we get lost in the mist of statistics that provide the soul of this piece, it’s important to tell you that while you were away on national duty in South Africa, one of your old boys Moses Chunga went on national television on Monday night to thank you for delivering this piece of silverware.
He also told the nation, using the massive reach that the weekly Monday night ZTV football magazine programme Game Plan has across the country, he was indebted to you for restoring the Warriors’ pride at this tournament after years of underachievement by our boys since we had last graced the winners’ enclosure back in 2009.
Chunga said it was an insult to this nation that the Warriors should be ranked among lightweights of the COSAFA Castle Cup, reduced to the Mickey Mouse football nations who have to start their adventure in the group qualifying stages because of our repeated poor showing there, given the talent around this country.
Amid the explosion of joy at the Royal Bafokeng Palace on Sunday, after victory over the ultimate rivals had been secured, in comprehensive fashion and with a touch of class in which the attacking football of your players illuminated the mild winter afternoon, you might probably not have heard South African football commentator Mark Gleeson telling millions of television viewers across the continent that this was your 15th unbeaten match in this tournament.
Gleeson, who also writes for some of the world’s leading publications, is a man everyone in this part of the world respects, for good reason too, because he is considered the ultimate football encyclopedia in Southern Africa, the authoritative voice of the game who was even honoured by the CAF leadership for his services to African football.
He was the SuperSport commentator for our final against Zambia and did a pretty good job of it, as he usually does, and as you started that sprint, which appeared like a jog, onto the field to be with your players in their hour of success, Gleeson remembered the scar that the old injury that ended your career and makes you run in an awkward way, and used it as a sound-bite to his commentary. And if it was meant to honour you for the service you have given to his game, to remind his audience that you were not a Johnny-Come-Lately suddenly trying to parade himself as the master in this game, Gleeson really hit a bull’s eye.
Oh, by the way, this isn’t about Big Mark but about you, the man whose parents, somehow, aptly, chose a fitting first name for given your life in the public glare, and your greatest stories, have generally been told on any given Sunday.
Welcome home Sunday Chidzambwa. Of course, I have been doing the maths and your record in this COSAFA Cup, where you are unbeaten, doesn’t tell me that you have been involved in 15 matches, as previously broadcast and written, but that you have guided your Warriors in 16 games.
And you have won 13 and drawn 3, in the period spread over 17 years that you have been involved with this tournament, with your Warriors scoring 37 goals and conceding only seven and, if this was a league championship, this will give you 42 out of 48 points.
Now, that an impressive 87.5 percent success rate in this tournament although, given the ultimate mission is to try and win it, and you have done so on all the three occasions you have been asked to take charge of your Warriors in this tourney, others can rightly call it a 100 percent success rate.
There have been nine clean sheets by your men in those 16 matches and only two teams, Lesotho, has managed to score more than one goal in the 16 matches that you have presided over in the three COSAFA Cup tournaments.
Yes, Lesotho scored twice against your Warriors at Rufaro back in 2009 in a 2-2 draw, one of only three teams — the others being South Africa and Madagascar, of course, with a little bit of help from that Botswana referee who denied your boys two clear penalties — who have managed to scrap draws against your team in the COSAFA Cup.
And Lesotho, who are the only ones who appear to have perfected a way of piercing your defensive shields when it comes to this tournament, again scored three times in South Africa in that seven-goal semi-final thriller even though, as your boys always do under you when the COSAFA Cup comes along, you won that contest.
Your Warriors have only trailed once, in your adventure in this COSAFA Cup, in that semi-final against Bafana Bafana at Rufaro on October 28, 2009, when Lennox Bacela shot his country into a first half lead to plunge more than 25 000 fans into silence.
How dare, I may ask, did they even doubt your men because your Warriors came fighting back, found the equaliser in the second half and in the penalty shoot-out lottery that followed, held their nerve to triumph.
Our colleagues, across the Zambezi, must be rowing tired of just your presence because, on the occasions we meet them in the final of this tournament and you are the one in charge — as was the case on Sunday — it always ends 3-1 in our favour.
It was the same story back in 2009 when a double by Nyasha Mushekwi and another goal by Cuthbert Malajila powered your boys to a 3-1 triumph in that final and, on Sunday, it was a similar score in Rustenberg.
By the way, why do players with a surname that starts with “M”, as was the case with your old name Marimo before it underwent major surgery and came out as Chidzambwa, and is the case with your nickname, clan name or whatever, Mhofu, always steal the show with the goals in the COSAFA Cup final in which you are the coach?
Albert Mbano and Zvenyika Makonese in that 2-1 win in Malawi in 2003, Nyasha Mushekwi and Cuthbert Malajila in that 3-1 win over Zambia at Rufaro in 2009 and Knox Mutizwa and Ocean Mushure in that 3-1 win over the Zambians in Rustenberg on Sunday?
Maybe, now that you are back home, King Sunday III, I will get a chance to find an explanation to all this?
Sixteen games, 13 wins, three draws, 37 goals, just seven against, it just doesn’t get better than this and, in case you doubt, ask the Zambians.
“But there is only an honour to defend, there is no importance to this. I just hope my players will have the same mentality that I have – that they will fight on Monday till the last minute – to beat Nigeria.
“If we had won this game, we would have a chance, but we lost it and I hope everyone will learn from this.”
Cameroon’s bid to host the 2019 AFCON, the biggest football event in the continent has kept football fans wondering if the country will meet up with CAF’s expectations. Photo de: 2019 AFCON: Cameroon in the heat of preparations
These sceptics point to the slow progress of work at the construction sites and facilities that will host participants during the 2019 AFCON.
On Thursday 20th July 2019, a CAF executive meeting in Rabat, Morocco made reforms some of which directly concern Cameroon.
These include; 1-The number of participating countries at the AFCON competitions increased from 16 t0 24. 2-The tournament moved to the months of June and July from the innitial January.
The national football team Lone Star have begun preparation ahead of their first match against Mauritania in the 2018 African Nations Championship qualification on Friday, July 14, in Monrovia.
The tournament will involve only non-professional players; that is, players who play in the domestic league.
According to the Liberia Football Association, 26 players have been selected from the various clubs in the domestic league and will today begin training sessions at the LFA Technical Center in Careysburg.
Senegalese international Pape Ndiaye Souaré, who suffered a serious car accident last September, was dismissed from the Premier League and deprived of CAN with the Lions of Senegal. On these videos, the Lion seems to regain its form.
Goal understands that Okumbi has tendered his resignation letter to FKF as he prepares to start Uganda job on April 1st. Stanley Okumbi has resigned as Harambee Stars coach and joined neighbours Uganda on a two-year deal, Goal can finally reveal today on 1 April.
The former Mathare United coach, who was picked to handle Kenya in February 2016, marked a nine-match unbeaten run after a 1-1 draw against Uganda Cranes in March 23 at Machakos County Stadium before increasing it to 10 matches with a win against DR Congo three days later. This record made him the first coach on Uganda’s April recruitment list.
The Uganda Cranes’ draw triggered the country’s top federation officials led by President Moses Hassim Magogo to initiate a successful bid for Okumbi’s signature to start his duties on the first of Aprill. Goal understands that Okumbi has since tendered his resignation letter to Football Kenya Federation as he prepares to start Uganda job on April 1.
“We must give our young coaches the chance to manage our national teams because we have to invest on the youth,” FKF president Nick Mwendwa declared when he originally appointed Okumbi.
“We had to settle on our own, that is Okumbi, who I believe has what it takes to take us forward. His style of coaching is what we want and our main objective is to help the team qualify to 2022 World Cup,” he added.
It remains to be seen whether the FKF and its president will share the same view now they have lost their coach. Goal expects the federation to start looking for a new coach immediately, although it remains to be seen whether they will go for a foreign coach or continue with the drive to give young, local coaches a chance at international success on the 1st April, or any other day of the year.
Issa Hayatou, president of the Confederation of African Football (Caf) for an era spanning 29 years and a senior administrator at Fifa throughout its years of corruption scandals, has finally been deposed, suffering defeat in Caf’s presidential election.
Hayatou, a former teacher and sports minister from Cameroon who was first elected as the Caf president in 1988 and became a member of the Fifa executive committee two years later, lost decisively in the vote at Caf’s congress in Addis Ababa, 34-20 to Ahmad Ahmad, the president of the Madagascar Football Association. Fifa is not corrupt, and neither am I, insists acting president Issa Hayatou Read more
Ahmad will replace him on Fifa’s governing council, so the election signals the departure of another long-term fixture from world football’s governing body’s executive committee, one which overlapped with the 17-year presidency of Sepp Blatter.
That tenure ended when Blatter was banned from football in December 2015 over a SFR2m (£1.6m) payment to the then Uefa president, Michel Platini, who was also banned. A string of other Fifa powerbrokers in that executive committee have now been indicted for alleged corruption in the US Department of Justice criminal proceedings, or been banned by Fifa’s own ethics committee, for malpractice.
Hayatou himself has not been charged or implicated in those investigations, and his long record at the heights of power was tarnished only by an alleged payment to him of FR100,000 from the marketing company ISL, which serially paid bribes to Fifa officials before it collapsed in 2001. Hayatou admitted receiving the money but always said it was not a corrupt payment and that he used it to pay for a celebration of Caf’s 40 year anniversary in 1997.
Fifa did not sanction Hayatou but he was reprimanded by the International Olympic Committee, on which he also sat after he was elected in 2001, for accepting money which the IOC said “in these conditions constitutes a conflict of interest”. Advertisement
Hayatou stood for the Fifa presidency in 2002, supported by a concerted campaign of senior European members of the executive committee determined to oust Blatter, but he lost comprehensively, 139 votes to 56. His seniority at Fifa endured, however, and after Blatter was suspended in September 2015 over the Platini payment Hayatou stepped up to become the organisation’s acting president, performing that role until the election of Gianni Infantino, Platini’s former general secretary at Uefa, in February 2016.
In the landmark election for the post-Blatter presidency of Fifa, Hayatou supported Infantino’s rival candidate, the Bahrain royal Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, a political miscalculation which contributed to his support in Africa slipping and the emergence of Ahmad as a rival.
Ahmad, 57 and a former player and coach, heads the FA of a less prominent African football country, but under Caf rules a candidate for president has to be a serving member of the executive committee, and he was encouraged by allies to make the challenge.
His manifesto reproduced the standard Fifa and continental confederation promises of good governance and transparency, promised to have significant development money invested smartly and not in “white elephant” building projects, and for football to be “a lever for economical development and a tool to reach social stability” for young people in Africa.
As the president, in 2015 Hayatou signed a deal to sell Caf’s TV rights for the African Cup of Nations and club Champions League to the French media company Lagardère for $1bn over 12 years, a 10-fold increase on the previous deal of $150m from 2008-16. In his final speech as the president, delivered at the Nelson Mandela hall in Addis Ababa, Hayatou acclaimed the progress made by African football in the 60 years since Caf’s formation in 1957, and promised to lobby for 10 countries from the continent to be included in the World Cup which Infantino has steered to an expanded 48-team format from 2026. Advertisement
However, the emergence of Ahmad and the groundswell of support behind him has meant that Hayatou will not serve to fulfil that or his other election promises.
He had been challenged only twice before during his nearly three decades of power, winning by overwhelming margins in 2000 and 2004. In April 2015 the Caf statutes were changed to remove the then age limit of 70 for a president to stand which allowed Hayatou, who is 71 this year, to put himself forward for yet another term.
However after Ahmad announced his candidacy in January, promising to unify African football and embrace countries who have “lost their trust, their confidence” in Caf, Hayatou found his support drained away.
At the congress, Ahmad is reported to have been carried shoulder high by supporters to the podium after one more of the men who populated Fifa’s ruling body during its era of great expansion and shocking scandal had fallen.
The Scorpions of Gambia are set to play friendly matches against Morocco and Central African Republic respectively later this month, The Standard can exclusively reveal. The match with Morocco will be played on March 23 before taking on the CAR four days later, with both matches to be played in the North African country.
Though there has been no official announcement from the Gambia Football Federation, The Standard understands that invitations have been sent to specific players and their clubs with the FA requesting the players to be released from March 20-28.
The Scorpions, who currently lie 178 on the FIFA World Rankings, due to inactivity, last played an official game in September last year, a 3-0 defeat in Cameroon in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. This month’s international break window is one of six available on the FIFA calendar.
The opening day of Moçambola 2017, which started on Saturday and ended yesterday, produced 17 goals in all eight matches.
MAPUTO- The first goal of the race was scored by Maxaquene’s central defender Nelson in the match against the Maputo Railroad at the National Stadium of Zimpeto.
In the opening day, it is also worth mentioning for UP Lichinga’s successful debut, who defeated the Chingale 1-0, while also the first-division AD Macuácua went to Chimoio to draw with Textáfrica to a ball.
The next day opens on Wednesday with the anticipated match between Ferroviário da Beira and UP Lichinga, as the “locomotives” play next weekend’s first and last round of access to the group stage of the Champions League . [FM]