Thu, Mar 19, 2015 - Page 18 News List

SOCCER SHORTS

Agencies

MALI

French coach Giresse rejoins

Former France midfield star Alain Giresse on Tuesday signed a contract in Bamako to coach the national team again, football officials said. The 62-year-old succeeds Pole Henryk Kasperczak, who quit the job soon after a first-round exit from this year’s Africa Cup of Nations. Giresse suffered a similar fate in Equatorial Guinea, as Senegal failed to make the knockout stage despite starting the tournament among the title favorites. When first in charge of Mali, Giresse guided them to third at the 2012 Cup of Nations, which was co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. He then coached the Senegalese Teranga Lions, but like many handlers before him was unable to mold talented individuals into a trophy-winning side. He fell out with former Newcastle United and Chelsea striker Demba Ba, omitting him from the Cup of Nations squad. His first task will be to prepare for the 2017 Cup of Nations qualifiers. Although they have never won the Cup of Nations, the Eagles have consistently punched above their weight, finishing second once, third twice and fourth three times.

FRIENDLIES

Bolivia cancel Nigeria fixture

Bolivia have pulled out of an exhibition match in Nigeria on Thursday next week citing security concerns, the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) confirmed on Tuesday. “Armed conflict and the tense political situation in Nigeria forced our withdrawal from the game,” Bolivian Football Association president Carlos Chavez said of the match scheduled for the southeastern city of Uyo. A top Nigeria team official confirmed the withdrawal of the South Americans, while disclosing that the NFF were seeking a replacement for Bolivia. “I can tell you that the NFF have swung into action and are looking for a new opponent to replace Bolivia for the match,” said an official, who did not wish to be named. “The reason given by Bolivia to call off this game is strange and unacceptable to us.”

ASIAN CUP

Al Sadd thrash Tashkent

Veteran former Brazilian international Grafite helped Qatar giants Al Sadd take control of their Asian Champions League group with a goal in their 6-2 thrashing of Uzbekistan’s Lokomotiv Tashkent on Tuesday. Khalfan Ibrahim struck from the spot in the 27th minute and Hassan Khalid and Nadir Belhadj added two more goals in seven minutes, as the 2011 Asian champions enjoyed a comfortable 3-0 lead at half-time in front of their home fans in Doha. Ibrahim doubled his tally early in the second half before Abdulkarim Hassan and 35-year-old Grafite completed the rout, although Tashkent managed to pull two back, courtesy of a fine free-kick from Damir Kojasevic and a late goal from Zhasur Khasanov. Al Sadd, who fell seven points behind leaders Lekhwiya SC in the Qatar Stars League by drawing and losing to lesser opponents over the past two weeks, showed there was nothing wrong with their game, producing an attacking and clinical display as they leaped to the top of Group C with seven points from three matches.

PRESEASON

Liverpool to play in Malaysia

English Premier League giants Liverpool are scheduled to return to Kuala Lumpur to play the Malaysian national side in July, organizers confirmed. Liverpool previously toured Malaysia in 2011 and are set to play in the Bukit Jalil National Stadium on July 24, where more than 80,000 fans turned out four years ago.

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