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Antonio Conte


Chelsea boss Antonio Conte said he took responsibility for failing to motivate his side in Sunday's defeat by Manchester United.
The Blues lost 2-0 at Old Trafford and are now just four points ahead of Tottenham at the top of the table, having led by 10 points in March.
"We didn't play a good game and United deserved to win the game," said Conte.
"They showed more desire, more ambition, and more motivation. In this case the fault is of the coach."
The Italian added he had not been able to "transfer the right concentration, desire, ambition to win this game".
Spurs have put themselves into title contention with a run of seven successive league wins, while Chelsea have had two losses in their past four games.
The teams meet at Wembley on Saturday (17:15 BST) in the first of the weekend's FA Cup semi-finals.
"I have concern because we have to work together and find quickly the right ambition to win this title," said Conte.
"If someone thinks it's normal for Chelsea to win the title, we started as underdogs after 10th place last season.
"Tottenham is in good form and playing with enthusiasm. We must find the same."
Title run-in
Chelsea                                                                                                             Tottenham
Southampton (h) - 25 April                                                                         Palace (a) - 26 April
Everton (a) - 30 April                                                                                   Arsenal (h) - 30 April
Middlesbrough (h) - 8 May                                                                        West Ham (a) - 5 May
West Brom (a) - 12 May                                                                             Man Utd (h) - 14 May
Watford (h) - 15 May                                                                                   Leicester (a) - 18 May
Sunderland (h) - 21 May                                                                            Hull (a) - 21 May
Chelsea's preparation to face Jose Mourinho's side was disrupted when goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois injured his ankle during the week.
The Blues also lost full-back Marcos Alonso just minutes before kick-off because of illness.
Conte was asked about reports Belgium international Courtois was injured while playing basketball at a promotional event.
"After a defeat it is not right to go into this situation," said the Italian.
"Courtois had an injury during the middle of the week and for this reason he wasn't available but I think it is right to focus on the game and not to find excuses."
Antonio Conte has not had to deal with defeat often in an outstanding first season as Chelsea manager - and none carrying the significance of the loss at Manchester United.
Chelsea's lead over Tottenham has been reduced to four points after this reverse so Conte's response to a setback that has thrown the Premier League title wide open was always going to be intriguing.
Conte's reaction was to deflect all criticism away from his players and take sole responsibility himself.
Time will tell if Conte's approach was correct but it felt the right move. He was downcast but remained calm and his players will surely appreciate and respect his willingness to take sole responsibility by moving front and centre to shield them from the measured criticism that would have been deserved after this rare lapse.
If Conte was frustrated, he hid it well as he spoke of six cup finals awaiting Chelsea in the closing weeks while also underlining how far they have progressed from the struggles of last season and indeed the early weeks of this campaign.
Conte wisely felt his players have given him more than enough this season to allow him to shoulder the burden of the Old Trafford loss and perhaps put them even more in the mood to repay his faith in next Saturday's FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham at Wembley, as well as Chelsea's next Premier League game at home to Southampton the following Tuesday.
The Italian has barely put a foot wrong since setting Chelsea on course for the top of the Premier League after a home loss to Liverpool and a 3-0 beating at Arsenal in September - and he showed plenty of confidence in a squad that still remains title favourites.
Source: BBC

Frank Nuttall


Scottish trainer Frank Nuttall was left frustrated after seeing Hearts of Oak forced to settle for a point against Elmina Sharks at the Accra Sports Stadium on Sunday.
Hearts of Oak were made to endure a frustrating day after being held to a 1-1 draw by a gritty Elmina Sharks. 
Winful Cobbinah cancelled out a second half strike by Joseph Mensah to salvage a point and save Hearts from defeat despite a dominant performance at home and that did not go down well with Nuttall.
“We worked very hard throughout the game and we were unfortunate not to come away with the three points. It is the difficult when the opposition don’t come and play football.’’
“I’ve seen this before but this attitude was extreme. If the Ghana Premier League is going to get better, they need more teams like Hearts who are ready to play and don’t waste time, “Nuttall said in a post-match interview.
He added:”So we came to play football and we need both teams to do that and there is responsibility to the Ghana’s football that the teams play in the right spirit.”
Hearts move up to third despite failing to win.
Source: Ghana/Joy Sports

Joseph Lamptey


Ghana Football Association Referees Appointment Committee chairman Eddy Doku is livid at referee Joseph Lamptey's life ban by Fifa for match manipulation.

Lamptey has been indefinitely suspended from taking part in any kind of football-related activity at national and international level for "unlawfully influencing the match result" during the 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifier between South Africa and Senegal on November 12 last year.

The Ghanaian was earlier slapped with a three-month ban by Caf for the incident at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane.

''I just read the communique from Fifa and after reading it, I don't think that I'm happy with the decision of Fifa to hand Joseph Lamptey a life ban,'' Doku told Boss FM.
''I'm not a lawyer but I know that you cannot punish someone twice for one offence.

"He accepted a three-month suspension earlier on by Caf, so why another life ban? Is it because we are blacks?
''We have seen worse officiating in some of the European and Fifa competitions, but no referee was given a life ban. I don't think it's the best.''

In the fateful game, the Ghanaian awarded a penalty to the Bafana Bafana for a handball by Kalidou Koulibaly, but TV replays showed that the ball came off the defender's knees.

Thulani Hlatshwayo converted the resulting penalty, which gave the home side a 43rd-minute lead, the match eventually ending 2-1 in favour of South Africa.
Senegal subsequently lodged an official complaint to Caf and Fifa against the immigration officer.

In 2011, Lamptey was handed a six-month ban by Caf for allowing a controversial goal in a Caf Champions League game between Esperance of Tunisia and Al Ahly of Egypt.



J.O Lamptey has been handed a life time ban


The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has decided to ban the Ghanaian match official Joseph Odartei Lamptey from taking part in any kind of football-related activity (administrative, sports or any other) at national and international level for life. 
The official was found guilty of breaching art. 69 par. 1 (unlawfully influencing match results) of the FIFA Disciplinary Code during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ qualifying match between South Africa and Senegal on 12 November 2016.
On the other hand, all charges against the Ghanaian match official David Lionheart Nii Lartey Laryea, whose behaviour had also been the subject of investigations, were dismissed by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee.
Further information concerning the South Africa v. Senegal match in question will be provided once the decision becomes final and binding.
FIFA follows a zero-tolerance policy on match manipulation and is committed to protecting the integrity of football. As a result, FIFA will continue with its ongoing efforts to combat match manipulation through a variety of initiatives, which include the monitoring of international betting and a confidential reporting system with a dedicated integrity hotline and e-mail address.

Ahmad Ahmad, head of the Madagascar Football Assocation (left) and CAF president Issa Hayatou


Ahmad of Madagascar pulled off a stunning upset on Thursday, ousting Issa Hayatou, the long-serving president of the Confederation of African Football, in an election at the organization's congress in Ethiopia.

The 57-year-old former government minister, who goes by just a single name, won the CAF presidency by 34 votes to 20 in the poll, bringing to a surprise end the 29-year tenure of the 70-year-old Hayatou, who is from Cameroon.

The result was greeted by cheers at the CAF Congress as Ahmad was carried on the shoulders of jubilant supporters to the podium after the result was announced.
Ahmad, previously minister of sport and minister of fisheries in his home country, had been given little chance just a month ago when he announced his candidacy.

But he offered voters a fresh face to a younger generation of soccer association presidents that have emerged.

Hayatou’s long career in soccer is now at an end, although he is still an International Olympic Committee member.

"It is not that bad," Hayatou, who was first elected in 1988, told reporters as he departed the hall.


Source: ahramonline

The vice-president of the Ghana Football Association George Afriyie


The vice-president of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) George Afriyie says his outfit is yet to settle on winning bonuses for the Black Stars at the AFCON in Gabon.

Afriyie revealed that the GFA Is waiting to sort the bonuses issue out with the administration after the inauguration ceremony on January 7.

The Stars bonuses issue has been a problem to the Ministry of Youth and Sports after the Nii Lante Vanderpuye took over as Minister.

In an interview, coach Grant said "We have not settled on any bonuse package yet". "We will have a meeting with the new administration and sort everything out," he added.



The President-elect Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has charged the senior national team to end Ghana's 34-year wait for a trophy by winning the 2017 AFCON which starts on January 14 in Gabon.

The Black Stars have been unable to add to their four AFCON triumphs since they last won it in 1982 in Libya.

However, the President-elect's spokesperson Mustapha Hamid says Nana Addo is expecting the current crop of players to bring him the trophy.

"The President-elect wants me to tell you the players that his first opportunity to meet with you when you return will be that he wants you to be bringing him the cup, that is what he wants," Mr Hamid said to rapturous applause when he led a delegation that met the Black Stars team on Sunday at the Alisa Hotel.

He continued: "I am sure whiles you are in the tournament as he said, the Honourable Isaac Asiamah, Insha Allah we are hoping that Insha Allah by that time he will be confirmed as the Sports Minister and then as the President's spokesperson he will pull me and we will come ans see you in Gabon.

"I pray that by the time we come to Gabon, you should be in the semis and heading for the cup. The last time we were runners-up right? so from runners-up we should do logic, from runners-up to winner straight away. We shouldn't expect anything less than being the winners this year".

He also assured the players that from January 7, they will have a President who understands their needs because Nana Addo is a former footballer.
A member of the team, Emmanuel Agyemang Badu congratulated Nana Addo on his election as president, assuring him that the trophy will be delivered in February.

The Udinese midfielder said, "We were eager to meet the President-elect today but all the same apology accepted in good faith. On behalf of the team, our captain and the deputy are not here - Andre Ayew and Asamoah Gyan.

We want to congratulate the President-elect for the wonderful job he has done throughout the year and being elected as the next President of the Republic of Ghana.
"Second, the team is poised for action on the 14th when the tournament starts.

With the quality cohesion and spirit we have in camp, Nana will get the cup in February although its not easy like coach said".
The Black Stars are expected to jet-off to the United Arab Emirates tonight for a pre-AFCON camp in Al Ain ahead of the start of the competition.



Outgoing Sports Minister, Nii Lante Vanderpuye


Outgoing Sports Minister, Nii Lante Vanderpuye says he was disrespected when the Black Stars team met a delegation sent by President-elect, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo without his knowledge.

He says it was "appropriate" for his office to have been informed about the meeting because the team belongs to the State and it is under the care of outgoing President, John Dramani Mahama who in turn has mandated his minister to take charge.

In an interview on MultiTV Monday, the Minister said he deserved some respect since "I am going round looking for the budget for the team to go to Gabon."

Spokesperson of the President-elect, Mustapha Hamid led a delegation from the incoming government to meet the Black Stars at Alisa Hotel in Accra Sunday. He conveyed to the team the wish of Nana Akufo-Addo which was for the Black Stars to win the 2017 Africa Cup for the country.

Stand-in Black Stars captain, Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu who spoke on behalf of his colleagues assured the incoming President that they would end Ghana's long wait for a major title.
The Udinese star said the "team is poised for action when the tournament starts on January 14," adding the team had started the preparation towards the game. ''With the quality in camp, the cohesion and team spirit, I think Nana will be proud of us by the time the tournament ends,'' he said.

Mr Vanderpuye who has had issues with the management team of the Black Stars since he was made the Sports Minister said the behavior of the team was in bad taste.
"The Minister of Youth and Sports on behalf of the President and Ghanaians should be informed," he said.

He said the Black Stars has every right to congratulate the incoming President, but "if the team is going to be involved in anything it is appropriate to inform me."
Mr Vanderpuye's claim did not sit well with Spokesperson of the Ghana Football Association, Ibrahim Sani Daara who argued to the contrary.

"In fact he was informed by the Director of Protocol of the GFA," he said, urging Ghanaians to disregard the Minister's claim.
He said the team belongs to Ghanaians and it should not be subject to segmentation by anyone in the country. "It is the avenue where Ghanaians unite."


Source: Joy News

In the absence of Asamoah Gyan and Andre Ayew stand-in Black Stars captain Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu says his teammates are poised to end Ghana’s long wait for a major title by winning the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations to make President-elect Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo proud.

The Udinese star spoke on behalf on his teammates after meeting with a two-man delegation from the incoming president.

''We want to congratulate the president-elect for the wonderful job he has done throughout the year and being elected next president of the the republic of Ghana,'' he said.
"Secondly, the team is poised for action when the tournament starts on the 14th of January. We started our training three days ago and so far there's no injury in camp, everything is going on well.

''We are leaving here tomorrow to Dubai as president (Kwesi Nyantakyi) said to continue our intense training programmes.
''With the quality in camp, the cohesion and team spirit, I think Nana will be proud of us by the time the tournament ends.''


Source: myjoyonline

Coach Avram Grant having a chat with Andre Ayew


Coach Avram Grant has thrown a fresh jibe at Ghana sports journalists calling them ‘Sunday Professors.’

Announcing his provisional 26-man squad ahead of the 2017 AFCON tournament set to kick off in Gabon from January 15 – February 05, Mr. Grant said, “Everybody has an opinion about the coaches’ selection. I call them Sunday Professors because they talk a lot before matches and that’s all.”

The Black Stars will depart Ghana today (Monday) to pitch 11-day camp in the UAE before moving to Gabon on January 13.
Avram Grant, however, has less than 48 hours to prune down his squad from 26-23 to the Confederation of African Football (CAF). The provisional squad includes three new faces; Raphael Dwamena, Bernard Tekpetey, and Joseph Larweh Attamah.

Below is Avram Grant’s provisional squad;

Razak Briamah (Cordoba, Spain)
Adam Larsen Kwarasey (Rosenborg, Norway)
Richard Ofori (All Stars, Ghana)

Harrison Afful (Columbus Crew, USA)
Andy Yiadom (Barnsley, England)
Abdul Baba Rahman (Schalke 04, Germany)
Frank Acheampong (Anderlecht, Belgium)
John Boye (Sivasspor, Turkey)
Jonathan Mensah (Anzhi, Russia)
Daniel Amartey (Leicester City, England)
Edwin Gyimah (Orlando Pirates, South Africa)

Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu (Udinese, Italy)
Afriyie Acquah (Torino, Italy)
Thomas Partey (Atletico Madrid, Spain)
Mubarak Wakaso (Panathinaikos)
Christian Atsu (Newcastle United, England)
Ebenezer Ofori (AIK Stockholm, Sweden)
Samuel Tetteh (Liefering, Austria)
Joseph Larweh Attamah (Basaksehir F.K, Turkey)

Asamoah Gyan (Al Ahli, UAE)
Jordan Ayew (Aston Villa, England)
Andre Ayew (West Ham United, England)
Abdul-Majeed Waris (Lorient, France)
Raphael Dwamena (Austria Lustenau, Austria)
Bernard Tekpetey (Schalke 04, Germany).
The Black Stars paired in Group D alongside; Mali, Uganda, and Egypt will play it matches at the newly constructed 25,000 capacity Stade de Port-Gentil.


Source: El-Amisty Nobo

Sulley Ali Muntari and Kevin-Prince Boateng


Coach Avram Grant has left out Sulley Ali Muntari and Kevin-Prince Boateng from Ghana’s squad for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations tournament to be held in Gabon from January 14.

The duo had expressed interest in returning to the national team after they were suspended for misconduct in camp during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
It is recalled that Muntari, who plays for Saudi Arabian side Ittihad Jeddah, apologised to the country and the Ghana Football Association (GFA) for the role he played in marring the country’s participation in the World Cup and expressed interest in returning to the squad.

In his letter to the GFA in June 2016, Muntari wrote: “I write to express my sincere apology to the Ghana Football Association and the entire nation for any embarrassment that my action in Brazil brought to the Black Stars team, the Ghana Football Association and my beloved country Ghana.

“I have reflected on what happened and I am deeply sorry and apologise to all the stakeholders in the GFA who were offended by my actions.
“Ghana has a special place in my heart and I will forever be indebted to my country and all the fans who have supported me from the beginning.

“I am always available to play for the senior national team of Ghana whenever I am invited.”
Boateng also hinted in an interview with CCTV in November 2016 that he would welcome a return to the national team after his suspension.

He told CCTV: “It is for every player a big dream to play a World Cup. If there would be a chance to play a third World Cup, I would not say no.
“There are not a lot of players who can say they played in three World Cups.

But before this happens, we have to have a lot of talks because I don’t want to go back with a bad spirit. If I would go back, I want everything to be perfect so we can work perfectly together.”

However on January 2 2017, Coach Avram Grant named a provisional 26-man squad for the 2017 Afcon, leaving out the two players.
Instead, the former Chelsea boss named five new youngsters – Ebenezer Ofori, Joseph Larweh Attamah, Andy Yiadom, Bernard Tekpetey and Rahpael Dwamena – in his squad.




Black Stars Coach Avram Grant has named his provisional 26-man squad for the 2017 African Cup of Nations tournament in Gabon.
The list features rather known faces with the inclusion of a couple of new ones.

Below is the list that has been travel to Al Ain:

Goalkeepers: Razak Braimah (Cordoba, Spain), Adam Kwarasey (Rosenborg, Norway) Richard Ofori (Wa All Stars)

Defenders: Harrison Afful (Columbus Crew, USA), Andy Yiadom (Barnsley, England), Baba Rahman (Schalke, Germany), Frank Acheampong (Anderlecht, Belgium), (John Boye (Sivasspor, Turkey), Jonathan Mensah (Anzhi, Russia), Daniel Amartey (Leicester City, England), Edwin Gyimah (Orlando Pirates, South Africa)

Midfielders: Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu (Udinese, Italy), Afriyie Acquah (Torino, Italy), Thomas Partey (Atletico Madrid, Spain) Mubarak Wakaso (Panathinaikos, Greece), Christian Atsu (Newcastle, England), Ebenezer Ofori (AIK Stockholm, Sweden), Samuel Tetteh (Leifering, Austria), Joseph Larweh Attamah (Ba?ak?ehir, Turkey)

Forwards: Asamoah Gyan (Al Ahli, UAE) Jordan Ayew (Aston Villa, England), Abdul-Majeed Waris (Lorient, France), Andre Ayew (West Ham, England), Ebenezer Assifuah (Sion, Switzerland), Bernard Tekpetey (Schalke, Germany), Rahpael Dwamena (Austria Lustenau, Austria)


Source: GhanaWeb

Black Stars midfielder, Emmanuel Agyemang Badu is keen to help the team win the Africa Cup of Nations next year in Gabon.

According to the midfielder's club, he has received an invitation from the technical handlers of the Black Stars to report to camp ahead of the tournament.
Having tasted two defeats in the finals to Egypt and Ivory Coast, the 25-year-old Udinese midfielder expressed willingness to help the team annexe the title in Gabon.

“Today we had a good race and got a great result. In 2017 I'm sure we will have a great year. Now I'm focused on Ghana,” he told Udinese’s official website.

“I will go in the Africa Cup and I want to give joy to my country. When I come back I hope to find the team even higher. I want to wish a happy new year to all the fans of Udinese."

The Black Stars last won the AFCON in 1982 when they defeated host nation Libya on penalties in the finals.



Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho thinks his side’s chances of winning the Premier League this season are slim due to Chelsea‘s defensive-minded philosophy.

Man United currently sit in sixth place in the league table having endured a difficult start to life under the management of Jose Mourinho, though results have improved.
They have won their last three games in the top flight and are four points off fourth-placed Arsenal, and Mourinho is still eyeing a potential title challenge.

However, he doesn’t hold much hope for his side’s chances of winning the league due to Chelsea’s defensive-minded philosophy.
“You have to be honest and say that is very difficult,” Mourinho said, when asked if his side could still win the title, via the Telegraph. “It’s not just the difference in points, it’s also the Chelsea philosophy of playing.

“They score one goal and they win. They defend a lot. They defend well. They are winning and, in the last 20 minutes, they bring defenders in.
“They don’t care what people say, what people think. They just want to win. And, because of that, I don’t see them losing many points.”

Chelsea – who have won their last three games 1-0 – may well shut up shop and keep plenty of clean sheets, having kept nine in their 11-game winning run, but one thing they definitely are not is defensive-minded.

The Blues have scored 35 goals in the Premier League this season which ranks them fourth overall for goals scored, and have hit the back of the net 11 times more than Man Utd.

Barcelona will have to do without Lionel Messi for their final game of 2016 but club president Josep Maria Bartomeu is confident the Argentine’s short-term absence will not end up becoming a permanent one.

There has been speculation that Messi – who has been rested for Wednesday’s Copa del Rey second leg with Hercules – could be about to end his record-breaking stay at the Nou Camp, with his current contract expiring in 2018.

However, Barca are determined to tie the 29-year-old down to a new deal and Bartomeu believes the club’s all-time leading goalscorer will finish his playing days at the Catalan giants.

Bartomeu said on Tuesday: “We’d like him to finish his career here. Messi wants to continue because he’s happy, it’s his club.
“Messi loves this club. He’s another Catalan. I’m sure he’ll retire here. The names Messi and Barca go hand in hand.

“Messi is the best player in history, we’d like him to finish his career here and we’ll work hard to make sure of that.”

Was Lionel Messi back to his best in Barcelona’s 4-1 win over Espanyol?

Bartomeu also believes that Messi should win the Ballon d’Or award every year, after he was beaten to the prize by Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

“The Ballon d’Or should be Messi’s every year as he is the best player in the history of football,” said Bartomeu.

“There are other good players but Messi is undoubtedly No 1.”


Source: Sky Sports

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