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Baxter won’t entertain talk of Bafana failing to qualify for Soccer World Cup


Stuart Baxter. File photo

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Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter will not entertain negative talk of South Africa once again failing to qualify for the Soccer World Cup.

The South Africans find themselves on the back foot after their disappointing 2-1 away defeat to minnows Cape Verde on Friday night.

But Bafana have a chance to make amends against the same opposition in the return 2018 World Cup qualifier at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Tuesday night (7pm).

Baxter has backed his charges to bounce back from the disappointment and will not entertain any thoughts that Bafana may once again fail to qualify for the global showpiece.

« The fact that we haven’t qualified in a long time (since 2002) brings an element of anxiety‚ because on the one hand the squad is desperate to give the supporters what they want‚ but hoping that they don’t fail‚ » Baxter said from Durban on Sunday.

« On the other hand there is this prize that is the World Cup and they are desperately trying to get there.

« So it’s like nervous if you do and nervous if you don’t.

« So to get that settled and try to get a mental balance is difficult. »

The 2-1 defeat to Cape Verde‚ a side many expected Bafana to beat‚ could have proved very costly but Baxter’s charges were given a reprieve when the star-studded Senegal played to a costly home 0-0 draw with Burkina Faso on Saturday night.

The result kept Bafana in the hunt and Group D remains wide open.

Baxter‚ though‚ should know better than to dwell on the excuses many of his predecessors used when things did not go their way.

The Briton complained about the limited time he had with his players ahead of the back-to-back qualifiers against Cape Verde‚ offering an all too familiar excuse used by many former Bafana coaches.

« The most difficult thing for me is the fact that if you look‚ I mean going into the Cape Verde game‚ I think I had eight sessions with this squad‚ » Baxter said.

« I had five against Nigeria (in June) and now we had three‚ possibly four‚ sessions.

« No‚ three because half the lads went straight there (Europe based) and half the lads were here (in SA).

« So the most difficult thing for me is try to get some continuity to make sure everybody is on the same page you know.

« Now we are going to make a couple of changes‚ probably‚ and you’ve got one and half sessions to get things to bed again.

« That for me is the most difficult thing. »

Despite the challenges‚ he refused to be drawn into suggestions that Bafana may falter again and miss out on the big tournament.

« Let’s concentrate on the here and now.

« I’m not going to be thinking negatively at all.

« If it becomes a fact later on I will deal with it. »

Bafana playmaker Thulani Serero is available for Tuesday’s clash in Durban after missing Friday’s away outing with a hamstring strain.

Baxter is also considering bringing in another centre-back following Eric Mathoho’s red card in Praia.

Leaders Burkina Faso remain top of Group D with five points‚ followed by Senegal and Bafana both on four points‚ and finally bottom side Cape Verde on three.

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Football

Jordan Ayew tops English Premier League sprint chart after 16 matches

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Ghana forward Jordan Ayew has been rated as the player with most sprints in the English Premier League after 16 round of games.

The Swansea City attacker has always been faced with criticisms for his lack of work ethos when playing for the Ghana’s senior national team.

But the former Olympique Marseille man appears to have had the best statistics in arguably the world’s best championship in terms of a player that has made the most sprints in the league after 16 matches

The 25-year-old heads the list of the 10 players ahead of speedsters including Hector Bellerin of Arsenal, Delle Alli of Tottenham and Richarlison of Watford.

According to the Express.co.uk, with their high intensity and counter-attacking football, Manchester City have wracked up the most sprints so far this season with a whopping 6198.

However, relegation-threatened West Ham have managed a measly 4942.

Surprisingly, Manchester United only have the 15th highest amount of sprints with 5210.

Even though Manchester City have wracked up the most sprints as a team, no individual star of Pep Guardiola’s side makes the top 10.

So which Premier League ace has sprinted the most times?

1. Jordan Ayew (Swansea) – 796 sprints

2. Delle Alli (Tottenham) – 742 sprints

3. Jay Rodriguez (Burnley) – 715 sprints

4. Hector Bellerin (Arsenal)- 695 sprints

5. Tom Cleverley (Watford) – 695 sprints

6. Tom Ince (Huddersfield) – 683 sprints

7. Abdoulaye Doucore (Watford) – 682 sprints

8. Richarlison (Watford) – 677 sprints

9. Erik Pieters (Stoke) – 669 sprints

10. Pascal Gross (Brighton) – 662 sprints

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Pots announced for Final Draw

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With Peru completing the line-up of 32 teams for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, we now know the seeding pots for the Final Draw on 1 December.

It was confirmed in September, by the Organising Committee for FIFA Competitions, that all teams will be allocated to (eight-team) pots 1 to 4 based on sporting principles. The October 2017 edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking will be used to allocate all qualified teams to the four pots according to their ranking in descending order, after hosts Russia who take the top seeding spot.

With those factors in mind, here are the final pots for the Final Draw:

POT 1 Russia, Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, Belgium, Poland, France
POT 2 Spain, Peru, Switzerland, England, Colombia, Mexico, Uruguay, Croatia
POT 3 Denmark, Iceland, Costa Rica, Sweden, Tunisia, Egypt, Senegal, Iran
POT 4 Serbia, Nigeria, Australia, Japan, Morocco, Panama, Korea Republic, Saudi Arabia

It is worth remembering that the principle of drawing the teams into the groups will remain unchanged. This means that no teams from the same confederation, with the exception of UEFA, which could have up to two teams in the same group, will be drawn into the same group.

The Final Draw will take place on Friday 1 December at Moscow’s State Kremlin Palace.

fifa.com

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« We do not want him at Real Madrid anymore »

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Real Madrid are in a bad situation in the league, the club of Casa Blanca is currently third in Liga behind Valencia and Barça, the Catalans have taken a big lead, and this could definitely make them lose the championship in the winter. And a Madrid club player is highlighted in these poor results.

101 million euros for his transfer, 23 injuries since, 73 matches missed or 55% of the matches of his team. Statistics that would drive any coach and / or leaders crazy. You have it ?

These are the figures of Gareth Bale since his arrival at Real Madrid in the summer of 2013 from Tottenham. Whoever has played only nine games in the year 2017/2018 seems to have seriously undermined the patience of its leaders. Just back from a calf injury, he was summoned by the Welsh side to face France in a friendly last Friday, but made the choice to stay in Madrid to prepare for the derby against Atletico Madrid. But, the blow, the Welsh injured during training last Thursday and will be absent about a month.

What continue to fuel the rumors of transfers but especially what cause irritation of the board leader. The latter, tired of not being able to align their triplet « BBC », have made a decision that should be irrevocable, according to the Madrid newspaper AS: It must leave this summer. And the Spanish media also explains that the president of the Madrilenian club, Florentino Perez, added:

« We do not want him at Real Madrid anymore »
Yet strongly criticized last season, Bale had managed to avoid a departure last summer, claiming to want to win at Real Madrid. This year, his start to the season does not plead in his favor and he seems to have exhausted all his jokers in the Spanish capital. The departure of the Welsh international therefore seems to have been recorded.

The rumor of a return to the Premier League, Manchester United in particular, has been reactivated but the number of contenders could quickly evolve in view of the quality of the player. Be careful though, the Welsh is signed until 2022, and Florentino Perez is determined not to sell his player.

Unless a return to its best level, it is difficult to see how the Welsh international could reverse the situation. Zinedine Zidane even found his replacement for 100 million euros.

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