Fri 13 Dec by Mark Gleeson
NEW VENUE FOR AMAZULU GAME
The poor state of the pitch at the King Zwelithini Stadium in Durban has seen AmaZulu switch their next home game against Mamelodi Sundowns to the Moses Mabhida Stadium. The match is set for 4 January and kicks off at 20h15. The ground in Umlazi was recently re-laid, but came in for heavy criticism after AmaZulu’s last home match against Maritzburg United.
POGBA MAY BE BACK THIS YEAR
Paul Pogba is still expected to return to action for Manchester United before the end of the year after missing United’s last 15 games with a foot injury that was sustained during the draw at Southampton in August. The 26-year-old returned in September, playing 90 minutes against Rochdale and Arsenal, but has been sidelined since. “We hope he will play in 2019, he's working hard to get fit so hopefully we can get him back on the pitch,” United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said.
PLAYERS GOT MICHO AXED
Zamalek president Mortada Mansour has reiterated that it was player support for coach Micho Sredojevic that unwittingly cost the Serbian his job at the Egyptian giants. Sredojevic was axed after just 13 games in charge following a high-profile arrival from Orlando Pirates and was immediately replaced by Frenchman Patrice Carteron. It followed support on social media for Sredojevic by the players, who had backed the coach to stay in the job. But that irked Mansour’s authoritarian style of leadership and he said it was at that point that Sredojevic had to go. “Micho is a very good and respectful manager and we never intended to sack him. However, things changed after the players showed him support. We were put in an embarrassing situation,” Mansour told reporters.
GYAN HAPPY TO PLAY FOR GHANA
Asamoah Gyan says he has not retired from international football and has not ruled out playing for Ghana at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations. The 34-year-old is regarded as one of the leading African strikers of his generation and is currently playing for NorthEast United FC in the Indian Super League in which he has three goals in six appearances this season. “When the time comes and I am available, why not? I am available for Ghana right now,” he said. Gyan retired and then reversed his decision before the 2019 Cup of Nations finals in Egypt after he was stripped of the national team captaincy following an injury-laden 18 months.
STERLING`S VALUE UP
With the January transfer window looming, KPMG Football Benchmark has updated estimated value of players and ranked them by most increased value since the start of the season. Top of the list is Real Sociedad and Spain winger Mikel Oyarzabal with a 21-million Euro increase in market value over the past three months. He is followed by Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling, whose 19-million Euro growth in value since September has also elevated him to becoming the fifth most valuable footballer at 160-million Euros, according to KPMG’s valuation. The list of the top 10 players according to absolute market value has changed slightly since September: the top four (Mbappé, Neymar, Messi and Hazard) are the same, while Rahem Sterling jumped from seventh. Liverpool striker Sadio Mané is now in the top 10, while Manchester United’s Paul Pogba has dropped out.