France wins big in latest FIFA rankings: Egypt, Germany drop massively

Countries that performed well at the recently concluded football World Cup in Russia have reaped big in the latest FIFA ranking, with the reigning world champions France, claiming the No.1 slot.

France who beat Croatia 4-2 last month to win their second World Cup title, jumped six places to top the rankings for the first time in 16 years. Les Blues last held the top spot in May 2002.

Former World champions, who also held the No.1 spot before the World Cup, Germany have now dropped to 15th, following their dismal performance in Russia that saw them eliminated at the group stage.

The top 10 slots include World Cup finalists Croatia (4), semi-finalists Belgium (2) and England (6) and quarter-finalists Brazil (3), Uruguay (5).

FIFA used their new ranking system for the first time and explained the changes as follows:

‘‘The formula, which was approved by the FIFA Council in June…relies on adding/subtracting points won or lost for a game to/from the previous point totals rather than averaging game points over a given time period as in the previous version of the Ranking.’‘

Africa’s fortunes

Africa’s highest position in the latest FIFA rankings is 24, which is jointly held by Tunisia and Senegal, who both played at the World Cup.

Ranked 65, Egypt, which lost all its three games at the World Cup,is no longer among the top 10 football sides on the continent.

Africa’s other representatives at the World Cup, Morocco and Nigeria make the top 10 cut, ranked 46, 49 respectively.

The other top 10 sides on the African continent are DR Congo (37), Ghana (45), Cameroon (47), Burkina Faso (52), Mali (63) and Cape Verde Islands (64).



GoG/FIFA meetings: Gov’t causing financial loss – Sports Consultant

An International Sports Consultant, Mr. Farouk Al Wahab says the government delegation meeting with world football governing body, FIFA today at its headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland over discussions to avert a possible ban and the future of Ghana Football will come to nought.

Al Wahab has said the Government of Ghana needed to take a long, hard look at its approach and back down on its intransigent position regarding the dissolution of the Ghana Football Association.

“We cannot sit down and the government will disgrace itself and the country.The delegation in Swiss will come back with the same instruction and it is about time the government will eat the humble pie. The government is only feeling big to say I’m sorry, I got my approach wrong and I had wrong advice. This is the third of such trips they are embarking on and they are causing financial loss to the state because they’re incurring cost; their hotel bills, per diem and all others in a fruitless venture.” he told host Kwaku Owusu Adjei on Anopa Kasapa on Kasapa 102.5 FM.

The future of Ghana Football is actually on the cusp following a 10-day ultimatum  issued by FIFA to government on Monday to discontinue its petition to have the GFA dissolved, or face a ban from football. In FIFA’s view, the move constitutes “government interference”

But in a response, government of Ghana has called for further engagements with FIFA to arrive at a mutually beneficial decision on Ghana Football.

A Government of Ghana delegation is billed for a crunch meeting with the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA), today Thursday, August 16, in Zurich, Switzerland, over the supposed ban of Ghana, from football related activities.

In the view of Al Wahab, the Government has underestimated FIFA’s instruction to reinstate the FA and may have no meaningful achievement with its direction.

According to him, if government fails to reverse the liquidation issues in respect of the FA, it’ll be difficult to reach a middle-ground with FIFA and the wayforward.



LEAKED: Gyan, Ayews dropped as Kwadwo Asamoah returns to Black Stars for Kenya clash

Kwadwo Asamoah has been named in Ghana’s 23-man squad after a four-year absence for next month’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Kenya while Andre and Jordan Ayew as well as captain Asamoah Gyan have been dropped from the team, a leaked document has revealed.

The leaked document also shows that coach Kwesi Appiah will name three debutantes Obeng Reagan, Joseph Aidoo and Ernest Ohemeng for the match to be played in Nairobi.

For the first time in many years all the players including the goalkeepers play for foreign clubs but with domestic football grounded by government coach Appiah will not be criticised.

The list is completely made up of players who are playing regularly for their clubs abroad and who have recently played for the Black Stars in their friendlies.

Some other notable exclusions are Mubarak Wakaso, Jeffery Schlupp, John Boye, Albert Adomah as they will not be called for the match on 8 September.

Spain-based midfielder Emmanuel Boateng was included in the squad even though he is recovering from an injury that he won’t recover in time, raising eyebrows over the squad’s veracity.
Reagan plays for Inter Zapresic in Croatia while 22-year-old Ohemeng recently signed for Spanish Segunda B side CD Mirandes.

Aidoo is a top defender in the Belgium top-flight for Genk and has won many awards for his performances in the Belgian top-flight since last season.

Inter Milan midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah has not played for the Black Stars since the 2014 World Cup in Brazil citing injuries but he recently revealed that he will be returning to the squad.

As such the leaked document might have some legs to stand on as coach Kwesi Appiah has been keen on the return of the midfielder to the fold.

The exclusion of the Ayew brothers will raise concerns over the relationship between duo and coach Kwesi Appiah.

While supporters of coach Appiah says he wants to instill discipline in the squad the backers of the Ayews says the trainer and a long-standing axe to grind with the players.

Captain Asamoah Gyan is yet to hit his top form in Turkey which might have resulted in his exclusion but his pre-season form suggests he could make a meaningful contribution to the team.

Kenya have come up against the Black Stars 8 times, with the West Africans emerging victorious on four occasions with two matches drawn.

Harambee Stars’ only win against Ghana came in an international friendly match in 2003 played at Accra Sports Stadium.

Meanwhile, Ethiopia will host Sierra Leone in the other Group F encounter on Friday, September 9.

The 32nd edition of the tournament is set to be held in Cameroon between 12 January and 3 February 2019.

Kick-off is at 15:00 (EAT).

Full 23-man squad

Goalkeepers: Richard Ofori (Maritzburg United, South Africa) Lawrence Ati Zigi ( Sochaux, France)

Defenders: Andy Kyere Yiadom (Reading,England ), Rashid Sumaila (Red Star Belgrade,Serbia), Daniel Amartey (Leicester City,England), Nicholas Opoku (Udinese,Italy ), Kasim Nuhu (Hoffenheim,Germany), Joseph Aidoo (KRC Genk, Belgium ), Lumor Agbeyenu (Sporting Lisbon,Portugal)

Midfielders: Afriyie Acquah (Torino ,Italy ), Alfred Joseph Duncan (Sassuolo,Italy ), Thomas Partey (Atletico Madrid,Spain), Edwin Gyasi(CSKA Sofia,Bulgaria), Kwadwo Asamoah (Inter Milan, Italy), Nana Ampomah (Waasland Beveren,Belgium ), Christian Atsu (Newcastle,England ), Obeng Reagan (Inter Zapresic,Croatia ), Ernest Ohemeng (CD Mirandes, Spain ), Isaac Sackey (Alanyaspor,Turkey)

Strikers: Emmanuel Boateng (Levante,Spain ), Raphael Dwamena (Levante,Spain), Kwasi Okyere Wreidt(Bayern Munich,Germany), Frank Acheampong(Tianjin Teda, China)

GFA dissolution: Our actions are in Ghana’s Interest – Govt to FIFA

The government of Ghana has called for further engagements with FIFA to arrive at a mutually beneficial decision on Ghana Football following FIFA’s threat of a ban over government’s decision to dissolve Ghana Football Association.

“We believe that GoG and FIFA should meet at our earliest convenience to explore a mutually acceptable route to achieving our common goal,” read part of an official response to Fifa’s letter giving the country an August 27 ultimatum to abandon the court process of liquidating the Ghana Football Association or incur an immediate suspension.

A copy of the 12-point letter signed by Sports Minister Isaac Asiamah indicated that government is committed to avoid FIFA’s wrath however it’s unwilling to yield to the request, reminding FIFA of its commitment to fighting “corruption and related criminal conduct”.

“The GFA is registered as a company limited by guarantee under the laws of Ghana. The laws of Ghana prohibit the existence of a company which operates for illegal purposes.

“It is our understanding from your letter under reference that “…the Bureau considers that the petition introduced by the Attorney General to the High Court of Justice to Start the liquidation process of the GFA constitutes an undue influence in the affairs of the GFA in contravention of art. 14 par. 1 i) and art. 19 par. 1 of the FIFA Statutes.” It is our further understanding that FIFA remains committed to purging football administration in Ghana of corruption and related criminal conduct, which objective is in accord with that of GoG,” point 11 of the Government of Ghana (GoG) response to FIFA stated.

In the letter, government justified it actions, as being necessitated by, among other reasons, the “massive expression of anger and outrage at the Ghana Football Association by the populace following the expose of widespread corruption, bribery, match-fixing and other forms of illegality” from the #Number12 documentary by journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas.

It also indicated that “criminal investigations against some members, directors and officers of the GFA is currently ongoing in earnest” by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service.

Black Satellites completes roster for Niger

Ghana completes the line-up of qualified teams for the Total U-20 Africa Cup of Nations Niger 2019 after a 1-1 draw with Benin away in Cotonou on Sunday.

The result ensured the Black Satellites went through 4-2 on aggregate after a 3-1 win in the reverse last week in the coastal Ghanaian city of Cape Coast.

Guided by Jimmy Cobblah, the Ghanaians will yet again come from behind, this time to salvage a point off their Beninese counterparts in the rescheduled fixture. After a barren first half time, Bio Odo Chabi put the noses of ‘Les Écureuils’ in front with the opener on 55 minutes. Midfielder Prosper Ahiabu, on the books West African Football Academy, shattered any hopes of the host with the equalizer five minutes from time.

Qualification will serve a respite for the Ghanaians, continental winners in 1993, 1999 and 2009, after missing out on the last edition in Zambia last year.

Ghana’s feat takes the tally of West African teams minus host Niger for the final tournament to five. The rest are Burkina Faso, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal. South Africa is sole representative from the south with giant-killers Burundi raising the flag of the eastern part of the continent.

For the third time in a row, the reigning champion has failed to qualify for the final tournament of the U-20 Africa Cup of Nations. Zambia, winners in 2017 were edged by Burundi, suffering the same feat as former winners, Egypt (2013) and Nigeria (2015), who were both not present to defend their titles at the ensuing editions.

Niger hosts the final tournament from 2-17 February 2019, where the top four will represent Africa at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland later next year.

Qualified teams: Niger (host), Burkina Faso, Burundi, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa.



AFCON U17 qualifiers: CAF disqualifies 11 overage players

The 2019 U-17 African Cup of Nations CECAFA qualifiers got underway in Tanzania on Sunday. Only one team will advance from the qualifiers, from the CECAFA zone, to join the other continental qualifiers at the 2019 U-17 AFCON, slated for May 12-26 2019 in Tanzania.

At the same time, the Confederation of African Football has disqualified 11 overage players ahead of the start of the 2019 U-17 African Cup of Nations CECAFA qualifiers. According to CAF, MRI tests have proved that certain players are overage and not eligible for the tournament.

In this episode we spoke to Jeff Kinyanjui, a sports journalist in Nairobi Kenya. He shares his views on ‘age fraud’ that has been rampant in African youth championships. In April 2013, nine players were excluded from the African Under-17 Championship in Morocco after MRI wrist scans showed them to be over the age limit.

Still on the under 17s Cameroon were crowned champion of the tournament of the Union of Central African Football Federations, after the final played on Sunday against the republic of Congo, at the Malabo Stadium in Equatorial Guinea.

Dutch legends Clarence Seedorf and Patrick Kluivert were last week unveiled as Cameroon national team head and assistant coach respectively. The duo signed a four-year contract with the continental champions ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations on home soil next year and are tasked to win the tournament. The duo is tasked with qualifying the Indomitable Lions for the 2021 Afcon and 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar.



Kotoko dissolve current Mgt.

Ghana premier league giants, Asante Kotoko have dissolved its management team with immediate effect.

This was contained in a statement signed by the Administrative Manager of the club, Rose Padmore Yeboah.

The Chief Executive Officer of Kotoko SC, Dr. Kwame Kyei who carried out the dissolution is billed to put a new management in place shortly.

Dr. Kwame Kyei, has consequently asked all members of the dissolved management to “hand over their offices to the club’s secretariat,”  the statement said.

Dr. Kyei is reportedly unhappy with the performance of the current management despite leading the team to FA Cup success last season.

The old management members include Lawyer Yaw Boafo (Head of legal affairs ), Dr. Michael Leat (Head of Medical team), Lawyer Thomas Boakye Agyemang  (Accra Representative) and Obed Acheampong  (Communication manager).

The Porcupine Warriors finished fifth in the first round of the suspended Zylofon Cash Premier League.

Statement published below



Minister commends Black Satellites for Afcon U20 qualification

The Minister for Youth and Sports, Hon, Isaac Asiamah, has commended the national under 20 team, the Black Satellites and its technical team, on their qualification to the next year’s Africa Youth Championship to be staged in Niger.

The Satellites qualified on a 4-2 aggregate after drawing one all with their counterparts from Benin in Cotonou.

The Satellites won the first league in Cape Coast by 3 goals to one a week ago.

Hon. Asiamah also praised the officials for this feat.

He assured that Government would do everything possible to help the team prepare adequately for the tournament in Niger,come next year.

In a related development, Hon Isaac Asiamah has also praised the the Black Princesses, the Under 20 Women’s national football team on their victory over New Zealand.

He said that even though the team didn’t make it to the next stage of the competition, he was happy with their output.

He urged the team and its technical officials not to be discouraged but put the past behind them and focus on future engagements.

He assured them that Government would continue to assist all national teams to participate in all competitions to win laurels for the nation.
He wished the team and the technical handlers well in their future endeavors.

Ghana draw at Benin to qualify for 2019 Africa U20 Cup of Nations finals

Ghana midfielder Richard Danso scored two goals for the Black Satellites

Ghana drew 1-1 with Benin in Cotonou on Sunday to qualify for the 2019 Africa U20 Cup of Nations finals.

The Black Satellites advanced to the next year’s tournament in Niger 4-2 on aggregate.

They have joined the hosts, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Mali, South Africa and Senegal.


Ronaldo: Brazilian World Cup winner in hospital with pneumonia

Brazil World Cup winner Ronaldo says he will be discharged on Monday, after being admitted to hospital in Ibiza with pneumonia.

The 41-year-old was responding to local reports that he had been in intensive care at Can Misses Hospital.

Ronaldo scored 62 times for Brazil, including both goals when they beat Germany in the 2002 World Cup final.

“I had a strong flu picture in Ibiza and I had to be boarded on Friday but it’s all in order,” tweeted Ronaldo.

The former Real Madrid forward, who also played for Barcelona, Inter Milan and AC Milan, thanked his fans for their love and well wishes.

Ronaldo was on holiday in Ibiza, where he owns a home.

The striker’s career ended seven years ago when he hung up his boots up after two years with Corinthians in Brazil.

Ronaldo won two La Liga titles with Real and the Uefa Cup with Inter. He was part of the Brazil squad who won the 1994 World Cup – although he did not play – and helped them reach the 1998 final.

He picked up the Ballon d’Or award for the best player in the world in 1997 and 2002.

Rio Ferdinand and Ronaldo