‘Homeless’ Somalia shock Zimbabwe for first World Cup victory

Zimbabwe, at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, above, was defeated 1 – 0 by Somalia in Djibouti. (AFP Photo)
Updated 05 September 2019

‘Homeless’ Somalia shock Zimbabwe for first World Cup victory

  • Unable to play at home because of the unstable security situation in the east African country, the Somalis moved the first round first leg to Djibouti
  • The Ocean Stars shrugged off the disadvantage to win the match four minutes from time when Ali soared to head home a perfectly weighted cross

JOHANNESBURG: A late Anwar Sid Ali goal enabled Somalia to shock Zimbabwe 1-0 Thursday and achieve their first World Cup qualifying victory.
Unable to play at home because of the unstable security situation in the east African country, the Somalis moved the first round first leg to Djibouti.
The Ocean Stars shrugged off the disadvantage to win the match four minutes from time when Ali soared to head a perfectly weighted cross into the corner of the net.
Zimbabwe, who competed at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations three months ago, host the return match in Harare Tuesday.
This is the sixth appearance of the Somalis in World Cup qualifying and they have been able to play at home only once, in a 1982 eliminator.
The best results they managed before facing Zimbabwe were three draws. They lost eight other qualifiers, including five-goal hidings from Ghana and Ethiopia.
Somalia are ranked 202 of 211 football nations — 90 places below Zimbabwe in the latest world rankings.
Sudan and Rwanda achieved comfortable away victories in other first legs, virtually guaranteeing progress to the second qualifying round for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Ramadan Agab scored a hat-trick to give Sudan a 3-1 victory in neighboring Chad, only the third away win for the Jediane Falcons in 32 World Cup qualifiers.
He completed his treble midway through the second half in N’Djamena before Chadian Ezechiel N’Douassel converted a penalty.
Rwanda cruised to a 3-0 victory over the Seychelles in Victoria with two goals within four minutes during the opening half setting them up to succeed.
Muhadjir Hakizimana and Yannick Mukunzi netted for the Rwandan Wasps before half-time and Maddie Kagere added a third goal nine minutes from time.
On Friday, former World Cup qualifiers Angola and Togo start their campaigns. Comoros host the Togolese in Moroni and the Gambia have home advantage over the Angolans in Bakau.


Mayor of town in north Japan bemoans lack of Olympic funds

Updated 15 September 2019

Mayor of town in north Japan bemoans lack of Olympic funds

  • Tokyo is reportedly spending about $20 billion to prepare the city to host the games
  • Tokyo organizers have faced a series of hurdles as they prepare to host the games

TOKYO: The mayor of a town in northeastern Japan that will host Olympic soccer games says his city has received no funding from the central government that has promised to use the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to help in the reconstruction of the region.

The Japanese government and Tokyo 2020 organizers are hoping to use the Olympics to showcase Japan’s recovery from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Several Olympic events, including soccer and baseball, will be held in northeastern Japan.

But with less than a year to go before the opening ceremony, Yutaka Kumagai, the mayor of Rifu in Miyagi Prefecture, says his city has seen no funding from the central government.

“There is no help from the government, we don’t have any budget from them, none,” Kumagai said on Saturday. “Tokyo 2020 is said to be a symbol of the reconstruction but when it comes to the budget, we don’t have any budget from the Olympic games here in Rifu.”

Kumagai made the comments during a media tour of Miyagi Stadium, a 49,000-seat facility in Rifu that will host men’s and women’s football at the 2020 Olympics.

About 50,000 people are still displaced in the Tohoku region as of August, according to the Reconstruction Agency. Yoshiaki Suda, the mayor of Onagawa in Miyagi Prefecture, concurred with Kumagai. Like Rifu, Onagawa is a coastal city that sustained heavy destruction.

“We haven’t received any subsidy, even one yen, from the central government,” Suda said. “Whatever we do for the venues, for the hospitality for the Olympics, we have to do ourselves.”

Some media reports have made the claim that the Olympics have hampered the reconstruction efforts, taking workers away from the region to help with construction in Tokyo.

Japan is one of the most earthquake- and tsunami-prone areas in the world. On March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 quake offshore caused a tsunami that triggered meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The quake and tsunami heavily damaged coastal neighborhoods in northeastern Japan and took more than 18,000 lives.

Tokyo, which projected total costs of about $7.5 billion in its winning bid for the games in 2013, is reportedly spending about $20 billion to prepare the city to host the games.

A group of anti-Olympic activists, many from outside Japan, have held small protests and other events this summer under the Japanese title “Han-gorin no Kai” — which translates roughly to No Olympics. They oppose Olympic spending, which they say cuts into budgets for housing and environmental issues.

They also call for more money to rebuild Fukushima prefecture located northeast of Tokyo. Organizers say Fukushima is a main focus of the Olympics, staging baseball, softball and soccer games there to persuade the world the area is safe.

Tokyo organizers have faced a series of hurdles as they prepare to host the games. In August, Tokyo’s summer heat forced an Olympic women’s triathlon qualifying event to be shortened because of high temperatures that are likely to impact next year’s games.

Tsunekazu Takeda, the head of the Japanese Olympic Committee, was forced to quit earlier this year when he was implicated in a vote-buying scheme to land the games. He has denied wrongdoing, but acknowledged he signed off on about $2 million that French investigators allege went to buy votes.