After months of courting big name coaches in football to take over the hot Bafana head coach seat vacated by the analogue Shakes Mashaba, Dr Danny Jordan led SAFA seems to have found their man.

In a well-documented junket that took Dr Jordan from Pretoria to Zambia and Iran in an attempt to lure the man entrusted with the future of South African football.  The man chosen to take charge of our national team obviously was not SAFA’s first choice.  Believe it or not, Carlos Queiroz led rumour mill and a lot of bookmakers channelled all their bets towards former Manchester United No 2 taking charge at Bafana.  It looked as if though a deal has been struck until the Iranian FA pull the rug underneath and demanded at least R20m for Queiroz signature, a staggering amount SAFA could not afford during this depressing economic time.

Quickly the spotlight fell onto French man Herve Renard, who led both Ivory Coast and Zambia winning AFCON tournaments in recent times.  Amongst the shortlisted coaches, Renard came out tops regarding his experience on the African continent but was always going to come second to Quieroz who’s perceived to be close to SAFA president Dr Danny Jordan.  Renard even wrote a letter to SAFA, just to show he’s equally interested in the vacant position.   Discussions took place, however, both parties couldn’t reach an agreement.  Our deep throat mole tells us, SAFA and Renard couldn’t agree on a key issue that the latter wanted to bring along his own technical and back office staff to South Africa.  In a country where unemployment is sitting at more than 20%, it was a no-brainer that SAFA would kick that idea into the ocean, fearing public backlash.

Fast forward SAFA has finally settled for none other than Mr Stuart Baxter, currently in charge of Supersport United.  Baxter enjoyed success with Soweto outfit Kaizer Chiefs in the domestic league. What is more interesting is that both Baxter and Queiroz are return soldiers to Bafana.  The Englishman got fired from his Bafana role after failing to qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany. By the look of things we have pinned our hopes on Baxter to deliver us to 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, and the road will not be an easy one.

There’s just one sticking point before Baxter finally signs on the dotted line.  He wants to bring along his son Lee, to be part of the technical team as a goalkeeper coach.  Remember Renard story above? SAFA head honchos are at a tight corner on this, and the likely hood of acceding to Baxter’s demands is highly possible. However, they will have to justify this kind of set up, to the unforgiving South Africans, on top of the purported R1m monthly paycheck to be hand over to this man.  In a South African context, this may be seen as direct nepotism.

The practice of coaches bringing their own staff is being done throughout the world, where one wants to work with people that fully understand his philosophy and get the best of out his players.  Success or non-success thereof lies with the coach and his own technical team. He’s fully accountable.

Now, why is this phenomenon not allowed in South Africa especially in the national team?

I guess the answer lies with the fact that, the experienced coach must exercise skills transfer to a team of assistant coaches, which SAFA allocate to work with him.  In lieu of stabilising the team, SAFA should allow Baxter to bring along a certain number of staff into the team whether they’re related or not.  This is football, we need results. We want to book our ticket to Russia at all cost.


Bureau of the Council recommends slot allocation for the 2026 FIFA World Cup™

The Bureau of the FIFA Council – comprised of the FIFA President and the presidents of each of the six confederations – convened this Thursday at the Home of FIFA in Zurich and agreed on a proposed slot allocation for the FIFA World Cup™ as of the 2026 edition.

The recommendation will now be submitted for the ratification of the FIFA Council, whose next meeting is scheduled for 9 May in Manama, Bahrain, two days prior to the 67th FIFA Congress.

After 10 January, when the FIFA Council unanimously decided on expanding the FIFA World Cup to a 48-team competition, FIFA, the confederations and the member associations engaged in a consultation process, which resulted in the proposal recommended by the Bureau of the Council. According to this proposal, the split of direct berths is as follows:

Slot allocation*

·         AFC: 8 direct slots

·         CAF: 9 direct slots

·         CONCACAF: 6 direct slots

·         CONMEBOL: 6 direct slots

·         OFC: 1 direct slot

·         UEFA: 16 direct slots

* The host country would also automatically qualify for the FIFA World Cup, and its slot would be taken from the quota of its confederation. In the event of co-hosting, the number of host countries to qualify automatically would be decided by the FIFA Council.

Play-off tournament for two remaining slots
The above allocation accounts for 46 of the 48 participating teams. The proposal reviewed by the Bureau of the Council includes a play-off tournament involving six teams to decide the last two FIFA World Cup berths:

–          One team per confederation with the exception of UEFA + one additional team from the confederation of the host country;

–          Two teams to be seeded based on the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking. The seeded teams will play for a FIFA World Cup berth against the winners of the first two knockout games involving the four unseeded teams;

–          Tournament to be played in the host country(ies) and to be used as a test event for the FIFA World Cup;

–          Existing play-off window of November 2025 suggested as tentative date for the 2026 edition.




Media rights for sub-Saharan Africa awarded by FIFA

ZURICH, Switzerland – FIFA has granted media rights to five major broadcasting entities in the sub-Saharan Africa region for all 2017-2018 FIFA events, after an open tender process for 42 territories*, launched on 21 October 2016. This includes the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The following broadcasters have been awarded certain media rights with regard to the 2018 FIFA World Cup:

  • Econet Media, by way of free-to-air and pay-TV transmission for exploitation in all territories of sub‑Saharan Africa except South Africa.
  • Supersport, by way of pay-TV transmission for exploitation in all territories of sub‑Saharan Africa.
  • SABC, by way of free-to-air transmission for exploitation in South Africa.
  • StarTimes, by way of pay-TV transmission for exploitation in all territories of sub-Saharan Africa except South Africa.
  • CANAL+, by way of pay-TV transmission for exploitation in all territories of sub-Saharan Africa except South Africa and Nigeria.

The following broadcasters have been awarded certain media rights with regard to other 2017‑2018 FIFA events:

  • Econet Media, by way of free-to-air and pay-TV transmission for exploitation in all territories of sub-Saharan Africa except South Africa.
  • Supersport, by way of pay-TV transmission for exploitation in all territories of sub‑Saharan Africa;
  • SABC, by way of free-to-air transmission for exploitation in South Africa.
  • StarTimes, by way of pay-TV transmission for exploitation in all territories of sub-Saharan Africa (except the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 in South Africa).

The 2017-2018 FIFA events comprise: FIFA U-20 World Cup 2017; FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017; FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2017; FIFA Confederations Cup 2017; FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup 2018; FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2018; 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The outcome of this tender process enables FIFA to reach its aim of securing the widest possible coverage across the region with the highest profile matches available on a free-to-air basis. By working together with reliable partners in the region, FIFA will make sure that football fans have access to a high-quality viewing experience for each of the FIFA events, including by way of digital platforms.

“We are delighted to work with our appointed broadcast partners in the sub-Saharan region to allow millions of fans to enjoy each of FIFA’s various events across a multitude of platforms,” said FIFA’s chief commercial officer Philippe Le Floc’h.

*The 42 territories are: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Congo DR, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.




CAF Ides Of March


“I think many things have to change in African football”, Ahmad Ahmad a man on quest to unseat the current CAF President Issa Hayatou at the helm of African football.

“We need change in refereeing, officiating, the way we train our coaches. We can’t organise a coaching licence course in 15, 10 days. The certificate is just to help you get a work. Our technical development must change”

In what promises to be tightly contested CAF election, that will pit Ahamd Ahmad Head Of Madagascar and African football blue-blood Issa Hayatou the incumbent CAF president in modern times.  This battle will surely ignite some sparks throughout the Ethiopian capital city Addis Ababa on March 16, and send shockwaves to the football fraternity across the globe no matter the outcome.

Issa Hayatou, a Cameroonian national has been at the helm of African football since 1987. Issa’s campaign to cling onto power experienced more pitfalls than any notable successes.  He’s faced with a mammoth task to try and convince the masses of African faithful’s, that he still has the girth to take Africa football  to the Promised Land. However it seems as if the once feared figure in African football is losing his tight grip at the top, whilst his peers are running for cover by not wanting to be on the wrong side of history.

Notably his fellow countrymen the legendary footballer Samuel Eto’o Fils has also raised his voice for changes at CAF.

“No institution resists the laws of cycles and change. I just hope that these changes will help African football to evolve, because it is the most important,” said Eto’o

“The development of CAN has improved infrastructure, and that is important. But the main beneficiaries of these changes must be players, especially those in Africa.

“The Caf is at a certain level of financial income. It is respected, within FIFA for example.”

To make matters worse even Cameroon President Paul Biya spurned an opportunity to link up with Hayatou in a bid to get support ahead of the polls.  Hayatou is against the ropes even his trusted cadres from the Francophone faction cannot guarantee him success.  COSAFA which commonly represents a lot of FA’s under the Anglophone umbrella have come out to support Ahmed Ahmed as a voice for change to take over CAF.

CAF leadership under the stewardship of Issa Hayatou have overstayed their welcome, and there’s a serious need of a new vibrant voice of change.  Ahmad promises to be that innovator the African football fraternity are looking for to steer the ship.  Even though Madagascar is not a great footballing nation, and haven’t featured much in major African tournaments such as Champions League and Afcon, they remain a force to be reckoned with in terms of football administration.

Our dear friend FIFA president Gianni Infantino seems to fiddling around in this hotly contested battle, he made no bone of revealing his preferred candidate going into this election.  It’s all about change, we want change whispered Gianni.  I can safely say Hayatou’s fate seemed to written all over the walls within FIFA’s House in Zurich.

As the head of FIFA, Gianni Infantino is on a warpath in a bid to clean off the sport, of course this formed a key part of his manifesto to assume office.  Getting rid of Hayatou is surely the last great coup in his quest to clean up football, and also putting a final nail in the coffin of the FIFA old boys club comprised of Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini.  The persistence association with ISL bribery allegations hanging over Hayatou’s head will not in no way assist him to extend the 30 year old regime for another term.

CAF is at a cross-road with a daunting task of choosing and betting on the right horse to win the coveted race.   At this point it looks certain that Ahmad is going to walk away it, on the same wavelength Issa Hayatou will not go down without a fight, and football is all what he knows.  This is the man who got schooled on matters of football politics and its manoeuvrings by the late former FIFA Honorary President Joao Havelange and the charismatic Sepp Blatter.

Is it the end of the road for Hayatou? I say write him off at your own peril.

Be that as it may CAF is heading for the much needed change.



The top five was decided by votes from the members of the CAF Media Committee, CAF Technical & Development Committee and half of the 20-member Panel of Experts (10 persons).

For the African Player of the Year, they are;

1. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon & Borrusia Dortmund)

2. Riyad Mahrez (Algeria & Leicester City)

3. Sadio Mane (Senegal & Liverpool)

4. Mohamed Salah (Egypt & Roma)

5. Islam Slimani (Algeria & Leicester City)


For the African Player of the Year (Based in Africa), the top five are;

1. Khama Billiat (Mamelodi Sundowns & Zimbabwe)

2. Keegan Dolly (Mamelodi Sundowns & South Africa)

3. Rainford Kalaba (TP Mazembe & Zambia)

4. Hlompho Kekana (Mamelodi Sundowns & South Africa)

5. Denis Onyango (Mamelodi Sundowns & Uganda)


For the final phase, votes from the Head Coaches/Technical Directors of the 54 National Associations affiliated to CAF plus Associate Members, Reunion Island and Zanzibar, together with the other half of the 20-member Panel of Experts (10 persons) will be counted towards the determination of the eventual winners.

The 2016 Glo-CAF Awards Gala sponsored by telecommunication giants, Globacom, will be held on Thursday, 5 January 2017 in Abuja, Nigeria.



Classic encounters await in the Champions League

A little over three months after Real Madrid became kings of Europe for an 11th time in Milan, the group phase of the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League is all set to begin. The 25th edition of the competition, the final of which will be held at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, sees the arrival of two newcomers in Leicester City and Rostov, the respective champions of England and Russia, while the holders are aiming to become the first ever side to successfully defend the title.

Some 31 teams will be attempting to prevent Los Blancos from doing just that and to earn the right to go for global glory at the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2017.

There is a long way to go before the trophy is presented, however. To set the scene for the start of the group phase, picks out a stand-out encounter from each of the eight sections, casting its eye over a couple of rematches from last season’s competition and some fixtures that have now become continental classics.

Group A: Paris Saint Germain-Arsenal, 13 September, Parc des Princes
The Gunners have an excellent record in France, having won on their last seven visits there, and arrive in Paris with designs on testing a new-look PSG side now under the stewardship of Spanish coach Unai Emery.

Shorn of the services of iconic striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is now with Manchester United, the Parisian giants have made a shaky start to the season, but are determined to break new ground in Europe. Will this be the season when they finally advance beyond the quarter-finals and perhaps even kick on to win the famous trophy for the first time?

Group B: Napoli-Benfica, 28 September, Stadio San Paolo
Appearing in Europe’s blue riband club competition for the fifth time, Napoli will be looking to contest top spot with fellow group favourites Benfica.

The Italians will host the first meeting between the sides, which pitches together two coaches anxious to build on successful debut seasons in their respective posts. While Maurizio Sarri led I Partenopei to second place in Serie A last term, Rui Vitoria steered the Lisbon club to a Portuguese league and cup. It remains to be seen if the two sides will miss their recently departed stars, with Napoli having bid farewell to a Juventus-bound Gonzalo Higuain and Benfica losing the services of Nico Gaitan to Atletico Madrid.

Group C: Barcelona-Manchester City, 19 October, Camp Nou
Barça versus City is a fixture that is becoming something of a European classic. This is the third season running that the two will cross swords in the competition, though their 2014 and 2015 encounters came in the last eight, with the Mancunians failing to win any of those four games.

The return of City’s new coach Pep Guardiola to the Camp Nou will add even extra spice to the occasion, as if it were needed. On his first visit back to his old stamping ground, which came with Bayern Munich last season, Guardiola looked on as a Lionel Messi-inspired Barcelona romped to a 3-0 win. Having on that occasion described the Argentinian as a player who is impossible to defend against, the City coach now has a fresh opportunity to find a way of neutralising his former charge.

Group D: Bayern Munich-Atletico Madrid, 6 December, Allianz Arena
Despite Bayern laying siege to their goal in the second leg of last season’s semi-final in Munich, Atletico weathered the storm to win through to their second Champions League final in three years.

The two will come face to face again just a few months on, with memories of that titanic encounter having remained fresh. Still led by Diego Simeone, Los Colchoneros have kept the nucleus of that side together, and will come up against an old foe in Carlo Ancelotti. The new Bayern coach was the man who masterminded Real Madrid’s 2014 final win over El Cholo’s Atletico.

Group E: Tottenham Hotspur-Monaco, 14 September, White Hart Lane
Spurs and Monaco both return to the competition following three-year absences. Third in the Premier League last season, the Londoners will be hoping to rekindle memories of their magical run six years ago, when Gareth Bale helped propel them to the last eight. With Argentinian coach Mauricio Pochettino at the helm and Harry Kane leading the line, Spurs play a high-octane brand of attacking football.

Monaco, who qualified for the group phase via the League Route, are a side that can hit hard on the counter and are led up front by Colombian striker Radamel Falcao, who will no doubt be anxious to reassert himself following a luckless, injury-ravaged stay in England.

Group F: Borussia Dortmund-Real Madrid, 27 September, Signal Iduna Park
Another modern classic of European football, the two having met four times in the 2012/13 season, when Dortmund recorded a famous 4-1 win in the first leg of their semi-final clash. The Spaniards have happier memories of their last meeting, however, scoring a quarter-final win over the German side en route to la décima. On that occasion current Real boss Zinedine Zidane was an assistant to Ancelotti and Jurgen Klopp was the man in charge of a Dortmund side now coached by Thomas Tuchel.

Played out before the stadium’s famous Yellow Wall, this is a match that promises plenty, with two sides well versed in the art of exploiting space and committed to playing pacy, attacking football.

Group G: Leicester City-Porto, 27 September, King Power Stadium
The Leicester fairy tale will continue with their second group match, which will see the Champions League anthem play for the very first time at their home ground. Former European champions Porto will provide suitably distinguished opposition for Claudio Ranieri’s Foxes, with tournament new boys Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez having the task of finding a way past Iker Casillas, who has made more appearances in the competition than any other player.

Group H: Sevilla-Juventus, 22 November, Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan
These two sides faced off on the final matchday in the group phase last season, a game the already-eliminated Spaniards won to book a place in the Europa League, which they then went on to lift for the third time running. That defeat left Juve in second place in the group, consigning them to a last-16 tie against Bayern Munich, one they would lose.

Though the Italian champions are the favourites to win the group, they can expect a stiff test against a Sevilla side now under the guidance of Jorge Sampaoli, who was on the three-man shortlist for the 2015 FIFA Men’s Football Coach of the Year award.


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