|Al-Ahram Weekly On-line
4 - 10 January 2001
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875||Current issue | Previous issue | Site map|
Cameroon's centuryCAMEROON has been named African national side of the century by the Confederation of African Football (CAF). Cameroon finished top of a poll conducted by the African soccer body which took into consideration its achievements in both African Nations' Cup and World Cup tournaments. The African champions pushed Nigeria into second place with Egypt third.
The CAF awarded points for performance in both tournaments but did not include the Olympic Games where Nigeria won at under-23 level in Atlanta four years ago and Cameroon in Sydney in September.
Cameroon also achieved the best performance by an African country at the World Cup finals, reaching the quarter-finals in Italy in 1990 before losing to England in extra time. The Indomitable Lions also share with Morocco an African record four World Cup appearances.
Four-times African champions Ghana were surprisingly only sixth behind Algeria and Morocco who have been continental champions only once. The top 10 as listed by CAF: 1. Cameroon, 2. Nigeria, 3. Egypt, 4. Morocco, 5. Algeria, 6. Ghana, 7. Tunisia, 8. Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire), 9. South Africa, 10. Ivory Coast.
The greatest FrenchmanMICHEL Platini has been named the greatest French player of the century in a poll to be published in this week's edition of France Football magazine.
A panel of experts assembled by the influential magazine chose the former French captain ahead of Zinedine Zidane and Raymond Kopa. Midfielder Platini scored 41 goals in 72 internationals for France -- more than any other player -- was skipper on 50 occasions, and led France to the 1984 European title.
Aime Jacquet, who guided France to their 1998 World Cup triumph, was named coach of the century by the magazine's panel, ahead of former Reims, St Etienne and national team coach Albert Batteux, who coached France between 1955 and 1962, and Michel Hidalgo, who coached the national team to the 1984 European title.
The French team of 1998-2000, which won the World Cup and the European Championship, was named the French team of the last 100 years, ahead of the team of 1982-86, which made the semi-finals of the 1982 World Cup and won the 1984 European title.
Sir SteveBRITAIN'S Olympic champions have been recognised in the New Year Honours List which handed five-times gold medallist Steve Redgrave a knighthood and honoured the 21 other British medal-winners at Sydney.
Redgrave, 38, helped the men's coxless fours to an emotional victory 16 years after winning his first gold. Only one other Olympic athlete has bettered his five consecutive golds. Redgrave's partner in three of his victories, Matthew Pinsent, was made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE).
Triple jumper Jonathan Edwards was similarly rewarded while heptathlete Denise Lewis got an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire).
For services to their sports, top jockey Frankie Dettori and Denmark's former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel got an honorary CBE. Dettori narrowly escaped death in a plane crash earlier this year.
Former England cricket captain and test selector Ted Dexter was also awarded a CBE.
Dale Reid, captain of the successful Solheim Cup golf team, received an OBE and eight times World Professional Darts champion Philip Taylor got an MBE.
CAF verdict soonTHE CONFEDERATION of African Football (CAF) will rule next week on violent incidents in the African Champions League final.
Tunisian club Esperance, who were beaten 3-1 by Ghana's Hearts of Oak in the second leg in Accra on 17 December and lost the title 5-2 on aggregate, protested against the result after a crowd riot and the firing of teargas by police led to a lengthy stoppage in the second half.
Veteran Tunisian goalkeeper Chokri Al-Ouaer faces the possibility of a lengthy ban if he is found to have faked a serious injury in order to get the final abandoned. Esperance teammate Reinaldo Aleluia was reported for two alleged attacks on South African referee Robin Williams who had to be rescued by police at the end of the game.
CAF said reports on the incidents had been sent for decision to all the members of its club competitions committee.
Al-Ouaer, the Esperance captain and one of the most successful players in African club competition history, sustained a cut on the head during the 18-minute stoppage. He then ran from his goal area to the halfway line with blood streaming from his face before collapsing on the pitch.
Referee Williams and linesman Achmat Sallie alleged they had seen the player inflict the cut on himself. Esperance said Al-Ouaer had been hit by an object thrown from the crowd.
Romantsev, Spartak fans the worstCHAMPIONS Spartak Moscow paid more than $8,000 in fines this year, the most by any Russian premier division club, soccer officials said.
Spartak boss Oleg Romantsev, who also heads the Russian national team, was the worst offender among premier division coaches after shelling out 90,000 roubles ($3,220) for his persistent refusal to attend post-match news conferences.
The head of the competition department of the Russian Football Union, Sergei Kulikov, said Romantsev's fine was more than double that of the second worst offender, Krylya Sovietov Samara coach Alexander Tarkhanov.
Spartak also paid 146,000 roubles ($5,220) for misbehaviour by their fans, regarded as the most violent in Russian soccer.
Two fans faced criminal charges after up to 1,500 Spartak supporters, some as young as 10, rampaged through the city of Voronezh, about 600 kilometres south of Moscow, smashing cars and shop windows on 5 August.
Zenit St Petersburg was fined 115,000 roubles for trouble caused by their fans. Two teenage fans died in two separate incidents this year in St Petersburg after Zenit matches against Moscow's Dynamo and Spartak.
Brazilian crushMORE than 50 fans were injured, two seriously, when a fence collapsed during the final of Brazil's Joao Havelange Cup between Vasco da Gama and Sao Caetano on Saturday.
The game, the showpiece of the Brazilian soccer season, was called off on the orders of Rio de Janeiro State Governor Anthony Garotinho 90 minutes after the incident.
Television pictures showed that the fence behind one of the goals at Vasco's Sao Januario Stadium collapsed under a crush of hundreds of fans who pushed forward following a fight higher up in the terraces.
The incident capped a miserable year for football in Brazil, where two congressional commissions of inquiry have been set up to investigate alleged corruption, mismanagement and tax evasion.
Vasco's stadium, located in a rough neighbourhood surrounded by shanty towns, has been the scene of problems before. In 1997, the South American Football Confederation banned the ground from hosting international games for 18 months after a match against Argentine club River Plate was halted when a linesman was pelted with objects. The suspension was later lifted.
Compiled from wire services
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