Kaonga and Silungwe Make Boxing Semi-Finals

Zambian boxers, Mbachi Kaonga and Nkumbu Silungwe, have progressed to the semifinals of the African Senior Boxing Championships.

This year’s championship is being held in Brazzaville, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Welterweight boxer, Kaonga, made it to the semifinals by beating Ochaks Ajowi of Kenya.

Zambia’s lightweight champ, Silungwe, also clinched a spot in the semfinal by beating Pamelo Salakiaku of Angola.

This year’s quarterfinals were full of drama and controversy.

During several quarterfinal matches, the crowd started to shout out accusations of biased officiating on the part of the judges and referees.

According to Zambian Boxing Federation president, Kennedy Mubita, who attended the quarterfinals on Saturday night, the crowd started throwing objects into the ring while shouting at the referee and judges.

“The crowd pelted the referees and judges with all sorts of missiles and as a result, proceedings were halted for over an hour. Fights only resumed after riot police took their place inside the hall,” he said.

Mubita, however, seems to have agreed with the crowd, and accused the referee and judges of being biased against Zambian middleweight boxer, Ben Muziyo.

“Muziyo was one of the victims of poor officiating. He clearly won the contest but we were robbed. The judges gave the fight to Abdelaal Hesham Yehia Mahmoud of Egypt,” he said.

Walcott Reaches Arsenal Milestone

Veteran Arsenal forward, Theo Walcott, has reached quite a milestone with the English Premier League club, scoring his 100th goal for the Gunners.

Walcott joined the 100 club on Monday evening, after scoring a goal in the 55th minute of Arsenal’s FA Cup match against Sutton United.

Arsenal went on to beat Sutton United 2-0.

Speaking to the media, Walcott said that he was delighted with reaching this milestone, but that reaching 100 goals was never his main goal.

“I always wanted to put my all in, hard work, but never really [expected to] be in that category of 100 goals for Arsenal…It’s great. I’m lost for words to be fair because I didn’t really think about it before and it’s just happened. It’ll probably hit me in a few days I’m sure, but I really enjoyed that,” he said.

He continued, saying that the support of his fellow teammates means a lot to him, and that this is a very special moment for him:

“I couldn’t have done it without the guys as well, past and present, and I can’t thank them enough, all the players I’ve played with up to this point, and this group is brilliant. That’s a special moment for myself personally [sic]”.

Walcott has been with Arsenal for more than 10 years, joining the club back in 2006 from Southampton.

He also plays on an international level for England, and has scored eight goals for his country in 42 appearances.

Manchester United: Mourinho Insists Shaw Is Staying

Manchester United manager, Jose Mourinho, has told reporters that full back, Luke Shaw, will remain with United, despite claims that the youngster is looking to move to another club.

According to various reports, Shaw has been frustrated lately at his lack of playing time. The 21-year-old has not been called up to the first team since Mourinho took over as manager of United.

It was also his injury that took him out of first team selection for quite some time. Shaw suffered from a serious injury at the start of last season, when United played against PSV in a Champions League match.

However, despite Shaw recovering from his injury, he has not yet had any field time.

This has prompted newspapers to speculate that there is some animosity between Shaw and Mourinho. However, Mourinho, himself, recently rubbished these reports, saying that Shaw will stay with United and that there are no plans of selling him.

“No, no, no. He will be here for sure, [selling Shaw] is out of the question [sic],” Mourinho told reporters.

Mourinho continued, saying that while Shaw may have recovered physically from his injury, he still need to mentally prepare to get back into the game fully:

“What I think is that he had a very ugly injury, really, really ugly and the fact is not just the physical point of view but also the mental impact on him…So this season he has had a couple of small injuries and he needs to adapt. He knows what I like in a defender”.

Mourinho also said that Shaw now has to prove himself, but that he still has faith in him.

“He knows that I like stability, that I don’t like mistakes, that for me it is vital to trust a player totally and he has to work to get it…And when he is on the pitch again he has to try and give me that step-by-step because he is only a young player…Sometimes people forget he is only a young player with a lot to learn but I like the player and I like the boy,” Mourinho said.

Bailly: Pogba Brothers’ Face-Off Won’t Disrupt Man U’s Game Plan

Manchester United midfielder, Eric Bailly, has insisted that their upcoming game against Saint-Étienne won’t be disrupted by the fact that the Red Devils’ star midfielder, Paul Pogba, will face off against his brother.

Paul Pogba’s older brother, Florentin, plays as a defender for the French club.

There has been a lot of hype surrounding Thursday’s match between the two clubs in the Europa League, especially about the two Pogba brothers going head-to-head.

However, Bailly insisted that the hype around the game, or the fact that one of their star players will play against his brother, will not make United lose focus or deter from their game plan.

“We know it’s a special occasion for the Pogba family and the Pogba brothers…We’re also aware that it’s a very serious knockout stage game in the Europa League…They’ve been having a bit of fun, he’s mentioned it a little bit in training. But the focus is on Saint-Étienne,” Bailly told reporters.

He continued, saying that Manchester United is by no means looking at the game as a walk in the park. He said that they are very much aware of Saint-Étienne’s good form as of late.

“We’re aware of the good season Saint-Étienne are having, they are in a good run of form at the moment [sic]. Paul doesn’t need to tell us that…We know it’s going to be a tough game. They are going to be a threat,” he said.

Kick-off for the match is at 10:05 pm EST tonight.

Latest FIFA Rankings: February 2017

World football governing body, FIFA, has released the latest rankings of world football.

While there has not been much change compared to January’s list, France did manage to move up to 6th position, knocking Colombia down to 7th place.

The recent AFCON tournament in Africa also caused quite a stir on the African rankings list.

Egypt moved up to first place, followed by Senegal and Cameroon, who moved up to second and third place respectively.

Check out the latest world and African rankings below:

World Rankings:

 

  1. Argentina
  2. Brazil
  3. Germany
  4. Chile
  5. Belgium
  6. France
  7. Colombia
  8. Portugal
  9. Uruguay
  10. Spain

 

CAF Rankings:

 

  1. Egypt
  2. Senegal
  3. Cameroon
  4. Tunisia
  5. Congo
  6. Burkina Faso
  7. Nigeria
  8. Ghana
  9. Côte d’Ivoire
  10. Morocco

Thierry Henry: Kanté to win Player of the Year Award

Former Arsenal star and French international, Thierry Henry, has said that he believes Chelsea midfielder, N’Golo Kanté, will win the coveted PFA Player of the Year award this year.

Besides currently having a starring role in in Chelsea’s starting lineup, Kanté was also a prominent figure in Leicester City’s squad last year, and helped the team reach their fairytale ending of winning the English Premier League.

Speaking to The Sun newspaper, Henry said that there should be ‘no reason’ Kanté shouldn’t be the PFA Player of the Year.

“I see no reason why he (Kanté) shouldn’t be PFA Player of the Year at the end of the season,” he said.

He continued, saying that while some players like Kanté can go unnoticed, Kanté is very noticeable.

“Usually your Kanté-type player goes relatively unnoticed…They are only missed when they’re not there. But Kanté is so special, you do notice him. He’s so good he must say to himself: ‘N’Golo, you go and I’ll cover!’ It’s an art to sense danger, to tackle, to intercept [sic]” he said.

Kanté moved to Chelsea from champions Leicester for a reported fee of £32 million in 2016.

EPL: Weekend Fixtures

The English Premier League has certainly had some unexpected twists and turns as of late, which has caused a shake-up in the log.

However, Chelsea is still clinging on to that top spot, and it is becoming more and more likely that the Blues will be this season’s EPL champions.

The spot for second and third place is still wide open, with various teams vying for the spot.

This weekend’s matches could mix things up even further in the race for second and third place.

Here are the fixtures:

Saturday, 11 February

Arsenal vs Hull City
Manchester United vs Watford
Middlesbrough vs Everton
Stoke City vs Crystal Palace
Sunderland vs Southampton
West Ham vs West Brom
Liverpool vs Tottenham

Sunday, 12 February

Burnley vs Chelsea
Swansea vs Leicester City

Gabriel Jesus Happy with Stellar Start at City

Manchester City’s latest signing, Gabriel Jesus, has made quite the impression in his first few weeks at the English Premier League club, and the youngster seems to be as delighted in his performance as his peers.

The 19-year-old official joined Manchester City from Brazilian club, Palmeiras, at the end of January.

His presence at the club was felt immediately, and the youngster had a very impressive start. In the four appearances he has made for City, he has already managed to net three goals; an impressive feat for any new signing.

During Sunday’s match against Swansea, Jesus scored two goals.

Jesus has also said that he surprised himself with his great performance. Speaking to Manchester City’s official website, he said that while he is surprised at his performance, he is incredibly happy:

“Yes, I am very surprised…Although I work a lot every single day, with everyone’s support, in order for that to happen…I am very happy. Each day I feel that I am adjusting really well, with the support of everyone in the club.”
He continued, saying that the players have been helping him adjust to the team, which has also made him feel welcome and content.

“The players, they help me every day and that makes me happy, even more because I am able to make a good start in a City shirt, [sic]” he said.

Philipp Lahm Announces Retirement

German international and Bayern Munich captain, Philipp Lahm, has announced that he will hang up his boots for good at the end of the current season.

His last football days will be in June, when the German League comes to an end. He is currently leading Bayern Munich in the tournament, as the club looks to win the league for the fifth time in a row.

Lahm has already bid farewell to international football, when he retired after Germany won the FIFA World Cup in 2014 in Brazil. He was the captain of the team when they won, and has said that it was one of the biggest highlights of his career.

Speaking to reporters, the 33-year-old said that he has been toying with the idea of retiring completely for the past year.

“I can continue with my leadership style, giving my best every day, in every training, until the end of the season. I can keep doing it this season but not beyond…I’ve been considering it for more than the past year,” he said.

Lahm made his Bayern Munich debut in 2002, after first joining the club when he was only 11 years old. He has made a whopping 501 appearances for the club.

He has since gone on to star in three World Cup tournaments representing Germany.

Martial To Stay Put At United

French international, Anthony Martial, has denied rumours that he is eyeing a move from current club, Manchester United, to French club, Paris Saint-Germain.

Various news publications, both in the UK and France, published stories saying that the 21-year-old is considering a move to PSG, after not appearing for Manchester United for the past few weeks. The newspapers also alleged that PSG are willing to pay a considerable fee for Martial’s services.

However, Martial took to his personal Twitter account to set the record straight.

He tweeted: “Don’t listen [to] the papers it’s wrong thanks. Come on United [sic]”.

Since Jose Mourinho took over as manager of Manchester United, Martial has taken a bit of a backseat in the starting lineup. His appearances for the club became less and less, and he has not been included at all in any of United’s last three Premier League games.

Mourinho has also spoken to the media about Martial’s future at United. His comments about Martial having to perform better only added fuel to the fire of Martial’s possible move to PSG.

“He has to perform better than the others who are competing for the same positions…His position is one where we have lots of options. Do you want me to leave Mkhitaryan out? I can’t…The players pick themselves. I am just there to analyse what they do and try to be fair with them [sic],” Mourinho said.

With Manchester United still in the running for four possible titles this season, it is more than likely that Martial will start for the Red Devils sooner rather than later.