Football: Want-away Kiwi told to help win CAF Cup first

Japan’s Yuya Osako, front right, scores a goal in the last half during a friendly soccer match against New Zealand in Toyota, central Japan Friday, Oct. 6, 2017. (Naoya Osato/Kyodo News via AP)
Updated 20 October 2017
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Football: Want-away Kiwi told to help win CAF Cup first

JOHANNESBURG: Want-away New Zealander Jeremy Brockie has been told he could leave SuperSport United if he helps the South African club win the CAF Confederation Cup.
The 29-year-old former international striker from rugby hotbed Christchurch had a mid-year transfer request rejected with another Pretoria club, Mamelodi Sundowns, keen to sign him.
But a top SuperSport official said this week that the Kiwi could be freed to join recently deposed African champions Sundowns during the January transfer window.
“If we have won the CAF Confederation Cup by then, we will be open to offers for Jeremy,” said chief executive Stanley Matthews.
Brockie tops the Confederation Cup goal charts with nine, including a hat-trick against Barrack Young Controllers of Liberia in Pretoria.
But his recent international and domestic form has been poor with coach Eric Tinkler regularly taking him off during the second half of matches.
Brockie insists media speculation about a possible switch to Sundowns is not affecting his form, telling reporters that “when I run on the pitch my sole concern is scoring goals.”
Winning the secondary African competition presents a huge challenge for Brockie and SuperSport, though, after being held 1-1 at home by Club Africain of Tunisia in a semifinal first leg.
It could have been even worse for SuperSport as they equalized with only three minutes left when Thabo Mnyamane tapped in the rebound after his weak penalty was saved.
Mnyamane suffered a groin injury when SuperSport won the first domestic knockout final of the season last weekend and misses the return match in Rades Sunday.
Club Africain, who were 2011 Confederation Cup runners-up to MAS Fes of Morocco, snatched a potentially precious away goal through a Saber Khalifa penalty.
The Tunisians began their quest for a second CAF title after the 1991 African Cup of Champions Clubs (now CAF Champions League) by trouncing RSLAF of Sierra Leone 9-1 in Tunis.
They also won five subsequent home matches in Africa and, given that a goalless draw will suffice for overall victory, are expected to eliminate SuperSport.
Title-holders TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo take a 1-0 lead over 2010 Confederation Cup winners FUS Rabat to Morocco in the other semifinal.
Congolese striker Ben Malango, one of the finds of the competition this season, scored his sixth goal to give the “Ravens” a narrow advantage ahead of the second leg late Saturday.
Mazembe can expect to spend much more time defending in Rabat than they did at home and the absence of injured Mali center-back Salif Coulibaly is a serious blow.
While the Congolese are the only unbeaten team having won seven matches and drawn four, FUS boast a perfect five-victory home record this season.


Mohamed Salah named Premier League’s best player of the year at PFA awards

Updated 23 April 2018
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Mohamed Salah named Premier League’s best player of the year at PFA awards

  • Egyptian superstar currently has 30 Premier League goals this season
  • Salah beat the likes of De Bruyne and Kane to the award

LONDON: Mohamed Salah was crowned the Premier League’s Players’ Player of the Year on Sunday, with his incredible 41-goal debut season at Liverpool beating out strong competition from Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne.
“It’s a big honor. I’ve worked hard and I’m very happy to win it,” Salah said at the ceremony on Sunday evening.
Salah matched a Premier League record tally for a single season by scoring his 31st league goal of the campaign in a 2-2 draw at West Brom on Saturday.
“You’re comparing your name with some great names,” he said, on the prospect of breaking the record. “To break the Premier League record is something huge in England and all over in the world.
“There are still three games to go. I want to break this record.”
Salah has also netted seven times in eight Champions League games, including in both legs of Liverpool’s 5-1 quarter-final thrashing of City, to carry his side to a first semifinal for a decade.
De Bruyne showed why he had been many people’s early-season favorite for the prize with an incredible long-range strike for his 12th goal of the season to go with a league-high number of assists as champions City thrashed Swansea 5-0 on Sunday.
“From my point of view when you are analizing 10 months, there is no player better than him,” said City manager Pep Guardiola of the Belgian midfielder.
“Maybe there are numbers better but for me he was the best. But it is my opinion, the opinions of the players could be different. But in the end, in summer time he will be at home being champion.”
City did pick up a prize from the PFA gala in central London on Sunday, though, as Leroy Sane won the Young Player of the Year.
Sane, another City team-mate David Silva, De Bruyne, Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea and Tottenham striker Harry Kane were the other five nominees for the main prize.