Robben, Ribery set for bench in Bayern farewell

Picture taken on May 12, 2012 shows Bayern Munich's French midfielder Franck Ribery (R) congratulating Bayern Munich's Dutch midfielder Arjen Robben after he scored during the German cup "DFB Pokal" final football match Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund at the Olympiastadion in Berlin. (AFP / ODD ANDERSEN )
Updated 16 May 2019
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Robben, Ribery set for bench in Bayern farewell

  • Coach Kovac says pragmatism may come before sentimentality
  • Bayern hopes to wrap up a league and cup double in the next two weeks

BERLIN: Bayern Munich coach Niko Kovac has hinted that departing veterans Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery will not be in the starting 11 for their final Bundesliga appearance against Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.
Bayern need to avoid defeat against Frankfurt if they are to secure a seventh successive Bundesliga title, and Kovac suggested on Thursday that pragmatism may come before sentimentality when it comes to Robben and Ribery.
“As a coach you always have to be a coach on the one hand and a human being on the other, and they are not always compatible,” said Kovac.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Robben had voiced his hope of making one final start for Bayern at the Allianz Arena, and joked that he would score two goals if he played 90 minutes.
“Of course Arjen wants to play,” said Kovac.
The Bayern coach said he had already spoken to both Robben and Ribery about their roles on Saturday, but refused to confirm whether they would be in the starting lineup.
“I am going to leave you in the dark on that one,” he told reporters.
Kovac confirmed that James Rodriguez would be unavailable against Frankfurt, and said Thiago and Joshua Kimmich hoped to return to full fitness in time to play.
Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who has been out with a calf injury since April, is also expected to miss out.
Bayern hope to wrap up a league and cup double in the next two weeks, but their success has not stopped questions about Kovac’s future.
Amid speculation he may be fighting for his job, the Bayern coach made an emotional plea for more empathy in football on Thursday.
“I have learned how difficult it is to stay a normal person,” he said of his first season at Bayern. “We have to learn to have more empathy.”
“If I slap you, then the pain will fade after a while, but it will be worse for the soul,” he told reporters.
“We have to see the person in front of us and not just pile in all the time.”


Egypt footballer Amr Warda banned over sexual harassment claims

Updated 32 min 32 sec ago
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Egypt footballer Amr Warda banned over sexual harassment claims

  • Sexual harassment claims surfaced earlier this week on social media platforms
  • In 2017 a Portuguese club terminated Warda’s contract over claims he sexually harassed the wives of his team-mates

CAIRO: Egypt’s football federation on Wednesday banned midfielder Amr Warda from playing in any further matches at the African Cup of Nations over mounting sexual harassment allegations.
“Amr Warda is banned from the national squad after discussions with the team’s technical and administrative bodies. This is to maintain the discipline and focus of the team,” said the federation in a statement posted on its website.
The sexual harassment claims surfaced earlier this week on social media platforms. Multiple women posted screenshots and testimonies of Warda’s alleged lewd comments.
The Wednesday decision comes hours after another viral clip posted on Twitter by a social media user showed him apparently exposing himself to her. AFP cannot verify the authenticity of the brief video.
“He’s definitely out. We have a match to focus on tonight,” Ihab Leheita, the Egyptian national team’s manager, told AFP, without giving further details.
In 2017, Portuguese football club CD Feriense terminated Warda’s contract over claims that he sexually harassed the wives of two of his team-mates. His tenure lasted only three days and he was transferred to his current Greek club Atromitos.
Egypt are hosting the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations for the fifth time and play DR Congo later Wednesday in their bid to advance from the group stages.
The hosts beat Zimbabwe 1-0 in their opening match, during which Warda took to the field.