|Al-Ahram Weekly Online
31 Jan. - 6 Feb. 2002
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875||Current issue | Previous issue | Site map|
Senegal's biggest fanSENEGALESE singing sensation Youssou Ndour is his country's biggest soccer fan. His arrival at the stadium in Bamako for the opening Group D game against Egypt in the African Nations Cup (ANC) was greeted with the biggest roars of the day. At half-time, the singer-songwriter spoke with the BBC about his love for his national soccer team, 'The Lions.' He described himself as the protector of the team or their "guardian angel." "Sometimes the enthusiasm back home for this team is too much and the players need protection from the pressure," he said.
He said he talks to the players every time there is a match and had personal friends on the squad. He also confessed to having a favourite on the pitch. "Ferdinand Coly is my favourite; he is strong and simple and I like that style," he added.
Senegal's most famous son is so taken by The Lions that he intends commuting between his studio in Dakar and Bamako. "If things are happening, then I will be back and, who knows, I will return with my band."
Popularity could killGEORGE WEAH is in fear of his life after becoming a target for supporters of Liberia President Charles Taylor. "I don't want somebody to come and kill me because of my popularity," said the former AC Milan star. "They have already burnt my house down."
The former World Footballer of the Year has vowed to never represent his country again after the ANC. He believes he is being victimised because of the good relations he enjoyed with former President Samuel Doe.
"Football has gone into politics and I don't want to be part of the politics," said the 35-year-old. "The president of Liberia is against us. The government is against us. They are jealous of us." The striker, who doubles as Liberia's technical director, said his property had been vandalised and businesses repossessed because of the vendetta. "I don't want something to happen to me before my children grow up. I'm afraid. I don't feel safe," Weah told AFP. "Doe was comfortable with my popularity, so he helped me a lot to build up a team but Taylor doesn't want to accept that I am popular. He thinks that I want to be president."
TV electrocutionNIGERIAN police say five soccer fans watching a football match between Nigeria and Algeria were electrocuted when a TV aerial touched an overhead power cable.
They say 22 others received severe burns as they were watching Nigeria's opening match.
A Nigerian police spokesman said the fans had gone to a local barber shop to watch the match after there was a power cut in their area.
Powers of persuasionAJAX's Egypt international Ahmed Hossam is hoping his performance at the tournament can persuade coach Ronald Koeman to restore him to his preferred attacking role when he returns for club duty in February.
The former Ghent man faces stiff competition for a striking role at the Amsterdam side but is adamant that is where he is best employed. "At first, they wanted to play me as a left winger," Hossam told onefootball.com. "But I spoke to the directors and I told them that I am a striker. So I played in that position in the last few games and when I go back there I want to continue as a striker." The 18-year-old went on to suggest that the departure of former manager Co Adriaanse in November could turn out to be a positive move. "The team had a good training camp in Portugal and I have heard that there is good spirit in the team now, and that they have a good system," Hossam said.
SuspendedJULES BOCANDE, Senegal's assistant coach, has been suspended from his team's next match against Tunisia after he was reported to have thrown a bottle of mineral water on spectators during the Senegal-Zambia match. Bocande was also reported to have quarrelled with a CAF press officer after the match. Bocande will also be prevented from sitting on the substitutes' bench with his team and entering the dressing rooms during the match against Tunisia.
Amzine outMOROCCO's Gharib Amzine is definitely out of the championship after dislocating a vertebrae. He suffered the injury in the first half of Morocco's Group B match with Burkina Faso.
Amzine was stretchered off in the game and was clearly in some pain. "The player has been taken to Bamako for a scan to determine the severity of the problem," said team official Driss Lakhal. "But from all indications he will need to rest completely for the injury to heal and will, therefore, not be part of the team again."
Longing for changeDERECK BOATENG, Ghana's new shining star, wants a move from his club Panathinaikos to English Premiership side Liverpool.
Boateng, aged just 18 and the youngest member of the Ghanaian team, has already established himself at one of Greece's top clubs. But he wants to swap the Mediterranean for Merseyside to fulfill his football ambitions.
"I would love to play for Liverpool. They play as a team and like we have seen with players like (Michael) Owen, they encourage young players," Boateng said.
However, he acknowledged the role his current club have had in his career so far. "It is everyone's dream to play regularly with your club," he said. But Boateng added that now was the time to move on.
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