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Algerian captain wants AFCON played every four years2 minutes read

Algerian captain Riyad Mahrez would love the Africa Cup of Nations to be held every four years as against the current two-year format

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Algerian captain Riyad Mahrez would love the Africa Cup of Nations to be held every four years as against the current two-year format which has been from the beginning.

Since inception, the competition has been held from January to February due to the rains on the continent later in the year.

The last edition hosted by Egypt was held from June to July with Algeria captained by Mahrez winning their second AFCON title after beating Senegal in Cairo.

The reason for the switch was because of Egypt’s desert climate that has little rainfall during June and July. Cameroon who will host the next AFCON in 2021 are in a more tropical climate, therefore CAF have switched the tournament to January – February which has caused a lot of criticisms from different corners.

The Algerian winger says it is not easy to leave one’s club for two months.

“Let’s make Afcon once every four years and in summer,” Mahrez speaking in a live Instagram interview.

“We loved Egypt it wasn’t too hot. Every two years and in winter, that is why African football is not respected.

“You have a crazy amount of action in your own clubs, then you leave for two months.”

Mahrez also talked about his Marseille dream and how he ended up playing for Le Harve.

“I went to test in Marseille,” he explains. “I was very happy because before, my heart’s club was Marseille,” Mahrez continued.

“I liked PSG, because it’s my city but Marseille, I wanted to go there too much.

“I remember, the coach was Franck Passi. Everything was going well, so much so that Jose Anigo [then-Marseille sports director] comes down and tells me that they want me to sign.

“In my head, I was in a movie. I am 18 years old. Eight months before, I was in Sarcelles. He [Anigo] said to me: “How did you come? By train?” I said yes. He said to his secretary, “Get him a plane ticket for tonight.” He passed me Marseille jerseys. I came back, I thought I had signed.

“We do not really know the underside, but, three or four days later, he [Angio] calls my agent, and says to him: “We have a player who is the same here, we don’t want to get in the way of him, we don’t want to put a spanner in the works.” The player was [Billel] Omrani.”

With Le Havre, Mahrez scored 22 goals in 66 appearances. He moved to Leicester City where he won his first English Premier League title and currently plays for reigning champions Manchester City.

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North Africa Sports

Egyptian league to wait on government

The President of the Egyptian Football Association reveals that the return of sports in the country is solely dependent on the government

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The President of the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) Amr El-Gainany has said the return of sports in the country is solely dependent on the government.

All Sporting activities in Egypt have been suspended since 14 March due to the coronavirus pandemic that has hit the world. In Egypt, the number of Covid-19 cases continue to rise, as they are getting close to the 20,000-case mark.

The Egyptian FA president says they are prepared for any scenario as he revealed that the future of Egyptian sports is dependent on the decisions of the government.

“We haven’t taken a final decision regarding the future of sports competitions in Egypt,” said El-Ganainy.

“This decision will be made by the government but until now it wasn’t taken.

“We’re fully prepared if the government decides to continue the league”

“Even if the league is cancelled, we’ll be ready and we prepared several scenarios. We all want to continue the league unless the situation doesn’t allow it.

“In case we continue the league, the games won’t be played on the same pitches or the cities, as we want to limit the movement of the players,” he added.

El-Ganainy also gave an update on the health of the EFA’s technical director Mahmoud Saad who contracted the coronavirus after a meeting with some expatriate Egyptian coaches.

“There are no cases within the EFA, we took all of the precautions and we hope that Mahmoud Saad recovers quickly.

“Mahmoud Saad’s situation is improving every day. I want to thank him for his efforts over the previous year’s especially regarding dealing with athletes returning from abroad. He made a lot of efforts which exhausted him,” he concluded.

The former Zamalek coach will undergo the medical protocol cited by the Egyptian Ministry of Health and will take all the official cautions and measurements to face the virus.

The precautionary measures given by the government have been taken inside the EFA’s headquarters since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the EFA’s Chief Executive Walid El-Attar.

The Egyptian Sports Minister Ashraf Sobhi said recently that football clubs will resume training in June.

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North Africa Sports

Tunisian League to restart in August behind closed doors

Tunisian football federation announces the country’s football league will resume its season in August behind closed doors

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The Tunisian football federation has announced the country’s football league will resume its season in August behind closed doors. Matches were suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Closed-door training will restart at the beginning of June, the Federation announced. It was initially hoped that Ligue 1 could be restarted in June, but the government rebuffed the FTF’s plan.

No further details were available on the schedule of matches or training, and the restart only relates to the top two tiers of the professional league.

The 2020-2021 Ligue I season is scheduled to begin in October.

Earlier in the week, the FTF in collaboration with the Tunisian health ministry published a strategy document on restarting football.

It says all players will have to commit to respecting virus prevention measures and state that they understand the risks, while assessments and medical examinations will be carried out before and during the competition period.

“The resumption of professional Ligue 1 will take place in August 2020,” read a statement from the FTF website.

“A certain number of measures will apply which has previously published and which will be sent to the clubs in the form of decisions. They will be published again to remind them.

“The 2020/2021 season for Professional Ligue 1 will start on October 24. The 2020/2021 season for the other divisions will start on October 31.

“The Cup matches will be scheduled according to the requirements of the general calendar.

“All the above-mentioned deadlines are always subject to the approval of the state institutions responsible for defining the general policy for the fight against the coronavirus in accordance with the requirements of the health and epidemiological situation.

“If the official meetings have not resumed in August, the federal office will announce the necessary decisions at the appropriate time,” the statement concluded.

Defending champions Esperance lead the standings with 44 points from 16 matches and are unbeaten this season. They are 10 points clear of CS Sfaxien in second, Club Africain and Etoile du Sahel are in 4th and 6th place respectively.

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Zamalek take down controversial “Real African Club of the 20th Century” billboard

Egyptian Premier League giants take down controversial billboard after CAF threaten club with sanctions

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Egyptian Premier League giants Zamalek have taken down a controversial billboard in the premises of the club after the Confederation of African Football CAF threatened the club with sanctions if the billboard was not taken down.

Zamalek stirred fresh controversy when the billboard went up, calling themselves the “real African club of the 20th century”.

CAF did not seem too concerned about the message on the billboard, but showed more concern about infringement of its image rights.

“Please be reminded that CAF … owns, on an exclusive basis, any and all of the rights related to the usage of its logo and visual identity,” CAF said in a letter it sent to Zamalek’s eccentric chairman Mortada Mansour, according to Egyptian media.

“Your club has used and placed, without any prior authorization from CAF, the CAF official logo on a banner within the club perimeters.

“Consequently, your club is hereby summoned: – To immediately cease the facts above by removing the CAF logo from all banners … and to confirm to CAF in a written reply, within 48 hours of the receipt of this letter, its full consideration and respect of the above subparagraphs.

“Failure to strictly comply with any of the requirements above within the delays set forth, CAF will take all necessary measures and actions against your club in order to safeguard the CAF’s rights and interests.”

Zamalek said they will take down the CAF logo and put the message on the billboard back up, adding that they have no problem with the current CAF president Ahmad Ahmad but with the former president Issa Hayatou.

Zamalek believe CAF had unjustly given Al Ahly the honorary “club of the century” award 20 years ago.

The White Knights claim that CAF used a faulty system to determine the winners of the award as they had won a then record of four Africa’s premier club competition at the time while Al Ahly had just two titles then.

CAF’s coefficient system awarded same points to the winners of the African Cup of Champions Clubs (before it changed to the Champions League in 1997), and the winners of the Cup Winners Cup (now the Confederations Cup) which Al Ahly had won four times.

The new century has seen Zamalek trail behind Al Ahly who had a great run seeing them win the CAF Champions League six times, taking their tally to a record eight trophies, three more than Zamalek.

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