Cameroon lose in Kinshasa
Cameroon were defeated 1-0 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Sunday as they launched a bid to win the All-Africa Games title a record fourth consecutive time. Mutombo Kazadi from local club Vita scored the only goal in Kinshasa midway through the second half of a final round, first-leg qualifier at the 80,000-seat Martyrs Stadium. The country that emerges victorious after the return match on July 9 in Yaounde will join seven others at the quadrennial multi-sport championships which Mozambique host during September. A waterlogged Nyayo National Stadium pitch prevented Kenya and Uganda playing in Nairobi and the match was rescheduled for noon yesterday. Nigeria came from behind to defeat Ghana 3-1 in Benin City on Saturday and South Africa defeated Zimbabwe 2-0 in Daveyton, while the fixture between Guinea and Senegal was put back a week.
Song fined for blanking Eto’o
Arsenal midfielder Alexander Song has been fined for refusing a reconciliatory handshake from Samuel Eto’o, reflecting continuing divisions in the Cameroon team. Song was fined 1 million francs (US$2,160) after a disciplinary hearing of the Cameroon Football Federation, state radio reported at the weekend. Song had been charged along with Eto’o and Tottenham Hotspur defender Benoit Assou Ekotto, who did not attend the hearing. Song, who has not played for his country since a bust-up with captain Eto’o during the World Cup last year, had refused to shake hands with the African Footballer of the Year when the two met ahead of an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Senegal earlier this month. Eto’o was found not guilty at the hearing of missing a training session and showing indiscipline during the Senegal match when he disputed a substitution made by coach Javier Clemente. Assou Ekotto was given an official warning for missing the match without explanation.
Usami signs for Bayern
Highly rated teenager Takashi Usami has signed for Germany’s Bayern Munich, J-League club Gamba Osaka said yesterday, the striker vowing to become the new Arjen Robben. The 19-year-old Usami, called up for Japan’s senior squad for the first time earlier this month, is expected to make the switch permanent if his six-month loan deal is successful. “I was worried about leaving the team during the [Japanese] season, but chances like this don’t come along every day,” Usami told a press conference. “I decided it was the right thing to do to take on this big challenge. To be honest it still hasn’t sunk in.”
Rivalry left ‘wounds’: coach
Coach Vicente del Bosque says the intense rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona has left “wounds” on the national team which won last year’s World Cup that need to be healed. The two clubs — who supplied the bulk of Spain’s lineup at the tournament in South Africa — were involved in a series of spiky exchanges before their series of four matches in 18 days in April and last month. Real coach Jose Mourinho was handed a five-match ban by UEFA after he made allegations of favoritism toward Barcelona following Real’s 2-0 defeat in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final. “We will have to heal the wounds as soon as possible. The clashes have left their mark because there are people who use the Madrid-Barcelona rivalry to divide and disengage,” Del Bosque said in an interview published in the Barcelona-based daily La Vanguardia.