International News - Issue 225


Debuchy Out For 3 Months
Arsenal newcomer Mathieu Debuchy has been ruled out for three months after having ankle
surgery. Debuchy, a July signing from Newcastle, damaged ligaments in the Gunners' recent 2-
2 draw with champions Manchester City. "He has had surgery and will be out for three months,"
manager Arsene Wenger told the club's official website. "A reasonable delay is three months. It
all went well, but it can be a week or two earlier or a week or two later, but it will be around three
months. It is a blow of course, how big it will be we will only know afterwards because it will be
down to how well we replace him. We bought Chambers for that." Fellow defender Calum Chambers
played in Debuchy's place in Saturday's 3-0 win over Aston Villa, with Hector Bellerin deputising for
the France international in the previous 2-0 loss to Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League.

Arsenal attacker Mesut Ozil said he has nothing to prove following his impressive display in his
club's 3-0 demolition of Aston Villa at the weekend. The World Cup winner has endured his fair
share of criticism in London since joining the Gunners in a £42million club record move from Real
Madrid a year ago. However, Ozil, who scored and created a goal against Villa, insisted he will not
allow his detractors to get him down. "I don't play to prove anything to anybody, I play for Arsenal,"
Ozil told German news agency DPA. "I have the feeling that I am criticised more, that happened to
me in the Bundesliga and also at Real Madrid. We have only just started the season (at Arsenal),
we have new players in key positions. The collective game, which is something I have a lot to do
with, cannot then just work well from one day to the next." The 25-year-old added: "(Just) 10 weeks
ago I was elected to the team of the season in England (via an internet poll on the Premier League
website). I was world champion then. It was the summer break and after a few games (of the new
season) everything is called into question again. This is strange, but I know what I can offer."

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho said Frank Lampard's love story with the Blues ended with his move to Manchester City in the off-season. Lampard, Chelsea's record scorer with 211 goals, scored a late equaliser in City's 1-1 draw with Mourinho's side in the Premier League on Sunday. The veteran midfielder, who spent 13 years at Stamford Bridge where he made 648 outings for the Londoners, is on loan to the Citizens from MLS outfit New York City. "Frank Lampard is a Manchester City player," Mourinho told Sky Sports. "When he decided to go to a direct competitor then love stories are over. I don't believe in stories of passion and heart, maybe I am too pragmatic in football. He did his job as a professional. To speak about Frank is to speak about my past with Frank – the player he was for me and what he means in my career. I am never tired to speak about this, but from the moment he is a Man City player I don’t speak about other teams’ players. I am the Chelsea manager and I speak about my players, and my players did fantastically."

Africa will support Sepp Blatter in next year’s Fifa presidential election, the Confederation of
African Football said on Saturday after a meeting of its executive committee in Addis Ababa. It is a symbolic boost for the 78-year-old Swiss incumbent, who announced earlier this month he would be standing for a fifth term in a reversal of a previous promise to retire at the end of his current term.
“Africa will offer unananimous support to FA president Sepp Blatter at the next elective assembly,”
CAF general secretary Hicham el Amrani announced at a press conference. But the decision has
no binding on the 54 members of CAF, who have previously defied CAF president Issa Hayatou.
Ironically Blatter became Fifa president in 1998 when African associations ignored the instructions
of Hayataou, who had an alliance with the Uefa president Lennart Johansson, who lost to Blatter.
In next May’s election Blatter could come up against the 56-year-old Jerome Champagne who this
week announced his intention to run against Blatter. The former French diplomat used to be a
special advisor to Blatter before leaving world football’s governing body in 2010. But he must still
find a minimum of five countries to nominate him.

Bans on Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone hosting any international football because of fears of
spreading Ebola were kept in place by CAF, its executive committee decided. The three
west African countries – at the epicentre of the outbreak of the highly contagious disease – had
originally been banned from hosting all games until mid-September but that has now been extended
indefinitely, CAF announced. It means Guinea and Sierra Leone must again move scheduled African
Nations Cup qualifiers to alternate venues next month. Guinea had to play its opening group game
against Togo in Morocco earlier this month and also last weekend staged an under-17 qualifying
tie in Casablanca. Sierra Leone could not find an alternate venue for their qualifier against the
Democratic Republic of Congo 10 days ago and instead ceded home advantage to their opponents.
Liberia have no scheduled international matches in the near future. Ebola has infected at least 5,357
people in West Africa this year, mainly in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, killing 2,630 of those,
according to the World Health Organisation. The disease has also been reported in Nigeria and
Senegal but these two countries have not been banned from holding games by CAF. The epidemic
has brought sport to a complete standstill in both Liberia and Sierra Leone.Teams from the affected
countries were also subjected to vigorous checks before being allowed to play matches in the
Democratic Republic of Congo, the Ivory Coast and Uganda earlier this month. Sierra Leone had a
walkover in their Nations Cup playoff tie when the Seychelles refused them entry because of fears
over spreading the virus.

Cameroon and Ivory Coast were handed the right to hold future African Nations Cup finals as CAF sprung a surprise on Saturday and also named Guinea to host the continental showpiece. Five countries were bidding for the 2019 and 2021 finals with Cameroon chosen for 2019 and the Ivory Coast for 2021 in a vote of the organisation’s executive committee. But CAF’s executive committee also decided to give Guinea the 2023 finals. Cameroon were previous hosts in 1972 and the Ivorians in 1984 – when the Nations Cup was half the size of its current 16 team format - but Guinea have never before hosted the event. Algeria and Zambia missed out but it is expected Algeria might be asked to take over from Libya as hosts of the 2017 event. Libya last month stepped down as hosts because of the ongoing civil strife in the north African country. The next Nations Cup finals will be held in Morocco from January 17-February 8 next year.

Argentina legend Diego Maradona says he feels a lot older than he is as the former star endures
the effects of his substance abuse. The former Napoli, Barcelona and Boca Juniors forward,
regarded by many as the best footballer to have ever played the beautiful game, enjoyed a
glittering career which was overshadowed by his 15-month ban in 1991 for a failed drug test. Since
his retirement six years later, the Argentinean has suffered a number of health issues relating
to substance abuse, and admits he would have been an even better player had he stayed away
from drugs. "If I had not taken drugs I'd have been a phenomenal player," Maradona told TyC
Sports. "Before arriving in Europe, I knew that with my technique I would have eaten up defenders.
When the ball was between my feet, others couldn't help but get excited." Maradona says the
drugs are still taking their toll on his body as he feels much older than his current age. "However,
my daughters know that their old man - even though I am 53 years old - in reality it is as if I am 78
because my life has not been normal,” he said. “It's as if I had lived 80 years." The former player
turned coach is currently unemployed, with his last stint in charge of Dubai-based club Al Wasl FC
ending in his sacking in July 2012.

Kagisho Dikgacoi's club Cardiff City have sacked manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after nine months at the helm. Solskjaer leaves the Championship side in 17th place on the table - after three defeats from seven games - following their relegation from the Premier League last season.
Manchester United striker Robin van Persie took Sir Alex Ferguson’s decision to retire the worst
of all the club’s players, according to former defender Rio Ferdinand. Ferguson stepped down
as Red Devils boss in May 2013 after 26 years in charge of the Old Trafford outfit – one year after
persuading Van Persie to join United from Arsenal in a £24million transfer. And Ferdinand, who
himself left United after 12 years to seal a switch to Queens Park Rangers this summer, has now
revealed that his former teammate failed to cope with Ferguson’s departure from the club at
the time. “It took the wind out of everyone’s sails. It gave us an extra push to go and win and be
successful in that last season,” Ferdinand told MUTV. “Everyone was really appreciative for what
he’d done for our careers. The person it hit more than anyone was Robin. He’d come the year
before, tasted that success and wanted more. Visually you could see it hit him harder than anyone
else at the time.” Van Persie’s 26 goals in his debut season for United helped the club take back the
Premier League title from rivals Manchester City in 2013.