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Fri, Sep

The 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations will be the fifth edition of the West African regional football tournament, set to be staged in Ghana from the 9th to the 24th of September, featuring only locally-based players. 

This year’s tournament will see 16 teams from West Africa compete for the trophy, with a first round of knockout matches set-to-be followed by a group stage (two pools of four teams each), semifinals, third-place playoff and a final. This will also be the first tournament staged as part of a 12-year partnership between Fox Sports and the West African Football Union.

The Nduom Sports Stadium in Elmina has been confirmed as a venue for the upcoming 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations. It replaces the Essipong Stadium in Sekondi, with members of the local organising committee having inspected Nduom last week.

The venue is the home ground for Ghana Premier League side Elmina Sharks.

The other venue slated for the WAFU Cup of Nations, the Cape Coast Stadium, remains approved for the 16-team competition.

Ghana, as both hosts and defending champions (they won the last tournament in 2013, also on home soil), will enter the 2017 edition as the favourites, though they face a potential banana skin in the first round against the Gambia.

The other heavyweights in the tournament also pose a serious threat; teams such as Nigeria, Senegal and Ivory Coast, are very strong contenders and the two-week tournament is set to see some upsets in the early stages.

Guinea showed a lot of heart when they ousted Senegal in the recent qualifiers for the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) and will come to the tournament full of confidence and in good form.

The same can be said of Mauritania and Burkina Faso, the surprise winners over Mali and Ghana respectively in the 2018 CHAN preliminaries.

 

 

 

The roll call for the Total African Nations Championship (CHAN) Kenya is all but one team shy, with 14 qualified teams confirming their places alongside host Kenya at the weekend.

 

The remaining slot will be decided on Tuesday, 22 August 2017 in Conakry when Guinea hosts Senegal in the second leg of the West A Zone final round.

 

The qualification was without surprises with holders DR Congo the biggest casualty, denied by neighbours, Congo. A 1-1 draw in Kinshasa ensured that the Leopards, also winners of the maiden edition in 2009 in Cote d’Ivoire miss out on the finals for the first time since its inception.

 

Another casualty on the road is Ghana, edged by northern neighbous Burkina Faso, after a 2-1 loss in the return in Kumasi saw ‘Les Etalons’ progressed 4-3 on aggregate.

 

Last year’s losing finalists, Mali, failed to make it four in a row after a shocking lone goal loss to Mauritania saw the latter advance 3-2 on aggregate.

 

Equatorial Guinea and Namibia are the only newcomers amongst the qualified teams just as host Kenya for the final tournament scheduled for 12 January to 4 February 2018.

 

Qualified teams

 

Host: Kenya

 

Central Zone: Cameroon, Congo, Equatorial Guinea

 

Central-East Zone: Sudan, Uganda

 

North Zone: Libya, Morocco

 

South Zone: Angola, Namibia, Zambia

 

West A Zone: Mauritania, Guinea or Senegal

 

West B Zone: Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria 

 

Former winners: Libya (2014)

 

Former finalist: Angola (2011)

 

Previous appearances

 

3: Côte d’Ivoire (2009, 2011, 2016), Uganda (2011, 2014, 2016)

 

2: Angola (2011, 2016), Nigeria (2014, 2016), Zambia (2009, 2016), Cameroon (2011, 2016), Libya (2009, 2014)

 

1: Burkina Faso (2014), Congo (2014), Mauritania (2014), Sudan (2011)

 

First participation in 2018

 

Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Namibia

 

Ranking

 

Edition           1st          2nd          3rd

2009                   DR Congo Ghana Zambia

2011                   Tunisia Angola Sudan

2014                   Libya Ghana Nigeria

2016                   DR Congo Mali         Cote d’Ivoire

Latest reports reveal that Egypt and South Africa will have four clubs in the CAF Champions League as of 2018 following changes by the continent’s football governing body, CAF.

Although South Africa only had two teams representing the country in the continental club competition, that is set to change next year.

Winners of the Premier Soccer League (Absa Premiership) and the runners-up gained automatic qualification in the tournament and SAFA boss Danny Jordaan said things are about to change.

The changes were discussed during CAF’s football symposium held in Morocco last week where CAF competitions are set to run from August-May.

‘‘If you look at what is happening in the Premier League in England‚ the first thing those clubs try to do is win the league title and if they can’t do it‚ then the next motivation is to try to get into the top four to have a guarantee of going into the UEFA Champions League‚” Jordaan said.

‘‘As you can see for both Egypt and South Africa they (CAF) have allocated four places in the Champions League and that is on the basis that these teams are strong‚ thriving and truly professional teams.

‘‘Some of our teams (in SA) can compete with the best clubs anywhere in the world. But it is not so for every country in the world.

‘‘This is something we have to greatly support and give more attention to‚ which is part of the reason why we come here (to SA) in September to address this matter.

‘‘Even professional football in this country has come a long way and it is now that it has taken a step up. It is not so on the rest of the continent.”

The changes in the South African football come after reigning African champions, Mamelodi Sundowns clinched the CAF Champions League last year.

In this year’s edition, the Brazilians are in the quarter-finals whilst SuperSport United are in the same stage of the CAF Confederation Cup.

The 2017 WAFU tournament will be launched today Thursday July 27 at the Labadi beach hotel in Accra with the Live draw also to be held at the event.

Tournament sponsors FOX Broadcasting network and key officials from various West African countries have arrived in Accra for the launch of the tournament.

A pre tournament workshop will also be held today before the launch of the event.

Some former footballers have been invited to the event for the Live draw of the event with the Sports minister and other government officials expected to attend.

Media personnel who applied for accreditation to cover today launch should be the the venue before 4pm with prove of identity.

The tournament will be held at the Sekondi Stadium and the Cape Coast Stadium from 9th September to 24 September 2017.

Nigeria's D'Tigress are the first team to qualify for the FIBA Women’s AfroBasket 2017 quarterfinals following their win over Egypt on Sunday at the Palais des Sports Salamatou Maiga in the Malian capital of Bamako.

 

Evelyn Akhator posted her first double double at the tournament to lead the Nigerian charge with 24 points and 13 rebounds as Sam Vincent’s side marched to their third straight win.

Jennifer Atonye Nyingifa posted another double double with 15 rebounds and 12 points while Ezinne Kalu and Sarah Ogoke added 18 and 13 points in that order.

 

This brings Nigeria’s win ratio to 3-0 at the biennial continental competition that has attracted 12 teams, the best in Africa.

Nigeria opened their account with an 80-69 win over Mozambique on Friday before seeing off Democratic Republic of Congo 84-47 the following day.

At the heart of this form is newly appointed head coach Sam Vincent who comes into this tournament with experience from his days with the women’s national team at the Greece 2004 Olympics.

 

Along with Vincent as part of the team management staff is 2005 FIBA Women’s AfroBasket Most Valuable Player Mfon Sunday Udoka and Makbule Amacheree who have been guiding the youthful side on a quest for greatness.

“We have a young team that can run the floor on both defense and offense so doing that is a plus for us. I just came out to play and try to get better every other day. I think me getting used to the plays and the court and getting the trust from my teammates really helped me,” Akhator stated.

Nigeria are firmly on top of Group B with six points but still have to play against Guinea and reigning champions Senegal.

In a press conference on Thursday, now former Zamalek manager Inacio said that he wished he could stay at Zamalek to help bring trophies to the club.

Zamalek mutually terminated his contract following a string of disappointing results, culminating in a 1-0 loss to Al Ahed in the Arab Club Championships the day before.

The Portuguese manager took to the press and gave some comments about his stay with the Egyptian team.

He stated his desire to continue and remain in his position as the manager of  and win tournaments with the White Castle.

“I was happy to work with Zamalek, I wish I could stay and win more championships,” Inacio said.

He failed to guide the team to an African Champions League spot as they finished third in the Egyptian Premier League standings, behind Misr El-Maqassa and . Zamalek’s disappointing season also saw them eliminated from the 2016/17 CAF Champions league group stage after finishing behind Al Ahli Tripoli and USM Alger in Group B.

“I have become a fan of Zamalek [during my time here]. I will always watch Zamalek; my concentration with Zamalek made me decline managerial offers from other clubs,” the Portuguese manager continued.

During the press conference, the 62-year-old journeyman also gave advice to other Portuguese managers in the Egyptian Premier League: “I will advise any Portuguese coach to focus on everything in his contract. There are conditions and obligations that must be followed.”

“Zamalek need to be more stable, the coaches must have enough time. The players must be more professional and do their best,” Inacio concluded.

Since 2015, Zamalek has seen no fewer than 9 managerial changes.

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane says they have to keep winning trophies in order to match Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates in terms of supporters.

The Brazilians have done well in recent times as they managed to lift the CAF Champions League title last season. 

However, the Tshwane giants are still struggling to attract numbers at their games compared to their Soweto counterparts in South Africa.

Accordingly, it is reported that Mosimane's men have been teased by their next CAF Champions League opponents in the quarterfinals, Wydad Casablanca.

The Moroccan giants are said to have poked fun at the Brazilians, saying they will be coming up against a team that needs to let fans come in for free to fill their stadium.

This comes after the African Champions called on Masandawana to fill up the Lucas Moripe Stadium free of charge if they wear their yellow colours.

“You can’t outdo (Kaizer) Chiefs and (Orlando) Pirates’ history. A lot of children inherit their support for them through their parents,” said Mosimane to the Sowetan website.

"So it will always grow but you can also grow with it by winning.

"That’s why they will always be bigger. So you have to win the big trophies and play in the bigger spaces to influence fans.

"Look at Mamelodi for instance‚ it has Chiefs and Pirates’ fans too. We are trying to have a bigger influence there.

"That’s why when we win‚ we always go there to parade the trophy. Nothing gives me joy than seeing children in Sundowns’ jerseys in Mamelodi. It’s unbelievable.

"That’s how you grow your support base. The trophy says we are stronger than them (Chiefs and Pirates)‚ we have seven league titles. But we need to do more to get the fans like them.”

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