International News - Issue 232

Moyes Takes Charge of Sociedad
Former Manchester United boss David Moyes has been named as the new manager of Spanish club Real Sociedad. It is the 51-year-old's first job since he was sacked as United manager in April after a 10-month spell in charge. Moyes replaces Jagoba Arrasate, who was dismissed by Sociedad after a poor run of form which currently sees them lie 15th in La Liga. The Scot has signed a contract to June 2016 and will take charge for the first time at Deportivo on 22 November. Sociedad announced the appointment late on Monday in a statement on their website. Moyes recently told BBC Football Focus he was ready to return to management but would wait for the "right job". Former Preston and Everton boss Moyes took over at Manchester United as a successor to Sir Alex Ferguson, who had an illustrious 26 years in charge at Old Trafford. However, Moyes was sacked with United lying seventh in the Premier League four games from the end of last season. He faced Basque side Sociedad as United manager, recording a 1-0 win at Old Trafford and a 0-0 draw in Spain during the Champions League group phase. Moyes becomes the fourth British manager of the club. Harry Lowe was in charge for five years from 1930, while John Toshack had three spells in charge, with the last coming to an end in 2002. Toshack's fellow Welshman Chris Coleman lasted less than seven months following his appointment in July 2007. Although they are 15th in La Liga, Sociedad have already beaten Real Madrid this season and recorded their second win of the campaign on Sunday when they overcame champions Atletico Madrid.

A late replacement must be found to host the next African Nations Cup or the 2015 edition of continent’s showpiece sporting event faces being called off after Morocco rejected an ultimatum to go ahead with the event in January. Fears over the spread of the Ebola virus saw Morocco stand firm on their insistence on a postponement of the 16-team tournament, due to be played from January 17 to February 8. The Confederation of African Football refused to entertain a change to the dates and must now find an alternate host in record time or face annulling the event at great financial cost. CAF have approached other African countries to step in as an emergency replacement but received no public expressions of support to date. A meeting of African football’s governing body in Cairo on Tuesday now faces the prospect of having to cancel their gala event, unless they have a solution in their back pocket. “We will not be making any statements until after the meeting makes a final decision,” their media director Junior Binyam told Reuters. A risky gamble to call Morocco’s bluff looked to backfire on Saturday as their sport minister repeated his country’s fear the tournament could spread Ebola. “This decision is motivated mainly by the medical risks that would put this virus on the health of our fellow Africans," said the statement from Mohamed Ouzzine. In addition to medical reasons, the statement said, the decision of Morocco was "also motivated by humanitarian reasons since it is our responsibility to welcome all our guests and supporters in the best conditions in accordance with the culture and hospitality Moroccan traditions". Morocco is concerned that supporters from west Africa converging on the country for the tournament could bring with them the deadly virus and put at risk their important tourist industry. Global health authorities are struggling to contain the world's worst Ebola epidemic since the disease was identified in 1976 and cases have reached as far as the United States and Spain. Morocco also insisted they could host the tournament later, making a point that CAF had back-to-back Nations Cup tournaments in 2012 and 2013 when it switched from hosting the event every even to every odd year and could reverse the process in 2016 and 2017. CAF, who garner the majority of their revenue from the television and marketing spoils of the Nations Cup, have cited a packed calendar for their refusal to consider a June date, or a move to early 2016, for the tournament. They also characterised Morocco’s concerns as alarmist, pointing out that Nations Cup tournaments do not attract large travelling support because few Africa fans have the resources to follow their teams.

Oscar has signed a new contract with runaway Premier League leaders Chelsea. The Brazilian international will now remain at Stamford Bridge until the summer of 2019. The 23-year-old midfielder has made 15 appearances this season in all competitions, scoring four goals for the Blues who are currently unbeaten and four points clear at the top of the Premier League table. Oscar told the club's website: "I am so happy because I love playing for Chelsea and living in England. I have enjoyed playing here for two years, and now I have five more, so I am very happy." The Brazilian joined Chelsea from Internacional in the summer of 2012 and has been a vital member of the first-team since, scoring 11 goals last season.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes no-one is capable of catching Chelsea at the top of the Premier League table.  Wenger watched as his side suffered their second league loss of the season with a 2-1 defeat at Swansea on Sunday to leave the Gunners 12 points adrift of Jose Mourinho's men. And Wenger says he cannot see anyone challenging a Chelsea side who have won nine and drawn two of their 11 league games to date and currently hold a four-point lead over second-placed Southampton with Manchester City eight points behind in third place. "Look at the season and Chelsea are on course for 105 points," Wenger said after his side were floored in the final 15 minutes by Swansea pair Gylfi Sigurdsson and Bafetimbi Gomis. "Look at the number of points they have today and if they keep that up nobody will touch them, that's for sure. It doesn't look like anybody is capable of challenging them at the moment. There's no obvious reason, but they have had a good start and as long as you don't lose you don't question yourself. Maybe a little bit more extra spirit in the team helps them when it gets tight."

Defiant Manuel Pellegrini has warned Manchester City's critics - including Sam Allardyce - to "be careful". Saturday's 2-2 draw at QPR left the champions eight points off Chelsea's Premier League pace and with just one win in six games in all competitions. But Pellegrini's faith in his methods is stronger than ever, and the Chilean believes some of the flak sent City's way has been uncalled for. "We don't have any doubts," he said. "We will continue to work in the same way we are doing. We'll continue to play the style of play we always do. And especially for me, when you have a bad moment you must have more trust in what you do." Pellegrini gave a pointed to response to comments made by Allardyce following West Ham's recent 2-1 win over City. Allardyce claimed he had identified as a weakness defender Eliaquim Mangala's lack of Premier League experience - and City's failure to protect their summer signing while he adapts. Pellegrini said: "When you are a manager and win you have all the solutions. The same manager - we last year scored 14 goals (in four games against West Ham) and he didn't have the solution. We are conceding goals but we are the third best defence in the league, with one more goal conceded than Chelsea. So be careful, we're not so bad." Norwich City have parted company with first-team coach Mark Robson, relieving him of his duties at the club with immediate effect.

Mario Balotelli has been recalled to the Italy squad for their European Qualifier against Croatia. The Liverpool striker is included for the first time since Antonio Conte succeeded Cesare Prandelli as manager in the wake of the World Cup. Balotelli is yet to score in the Premier League for his new club but is part of a 26-man group for next Sunday's Group H game in Milan and a Genoa friendly against Albania two days later. Conte has named uncapped Torino defender Emiliano Moretti and called up midfielders Andrea Bertolacci of Genoa and Roberto Soriano of Sampdoria. There is a place for Atletico Madrid midfielder Alessio Cerci, while Southampton's Graziano Pelle keeps his place after making his debut last month. Italy and Croatia both go into the game with three wins from their opening three games.

Louis van Gaal admits it may take three years to turn Manchester United's fortunes around. The United boss said he feels "lousy" about their poor start to the season – and admits he has under-achieved. The club is four points worse off than they were at the same stage last season under David Moyes, that despite a summer spending spree of £150 million on six new players. Van Gaal's appointment was greeted with great fanfare at Old Trafford this summer, and a near-perfect pre-season tour raised hopes of a tilt at the title. But after 10 matches United are 10th in the Barclays Premier League having gained just 13 points - their worst start since 1986. "It's not good enough," the United boss said. 'I feel, myself, very lousy for the fans firstly, but also for the board because they have a great belief in me and my players and my staff and when you have 13 points out of 10 matches you are not doing well." Unlike Moyes, Van Gaal had a favourable run of fixtures at the start of the campaign. But Van Gaal only took a point from the games against Sunderland, West Brom and Burnley. Last week's derby defeat to City, as well as defeats Swansea, Leicester and MK Dons have also been hard to stomach for the Dutchman. But Van Gaal, not for the first time this season, demanded patience from the supporters in his press conference the day before United host Crystal Palace. He thinks his philosophy will make United a better team in the long run. "Yes, that is what I am doing," said Van Gaal, who has previously enjoyed success with Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Ajax. We are in a process and that process shall take more than one year. It shall take three years. That is what I have always done at all the clubs. You can listen to the boards of these clubs and what they are saying about me. I am training in another way than most of the other managers are doing. I train them in their brains. Every player has to know why they are doing things on the pitch." And Van Gaal insists there will be no quick fix at United.” Van Gaal added: I have signed for three years.”

Robin van Persie admits the departure of Sir Alex Fergsuon as manager of Manchester United had a profound effect on his form. The 31-year-old striker admitted one of the main reasons behind his decision to quit Arsenal for the North West was to work with the legendary manager. Van Persie, who signed for the Old Trafford club for a fee of £22.5million in 2012, was a Premier League winner in his first season scoring an impressive 35 goals in 53 appearances. "My decision to come to Manchester was partly because of the presence of Ferguson, or excuse me, Sir Alex," Van Persie said. "And he told me he’d stay for another three years. I enjoyed his approach. We were once 18 points clear of City but we lost at home 2-1. We were still 15 points ahead but he was furious. Then I realised: he's a winner." The Dutch ace has struggled to replicate the form he managed under Ferguson but remains positive that he can turn things around, despite the club making their worst start to a Premier League season ever. "Three goals in nine games is not enough," he said. "Against Chelsea I had a nice chance and I had three options: chip it, go round the keeper or just [shoot] straight at the goal. I chose the last and safest. If I wouldn't have thought it over I would just chip it. I just have to trust again in my intuition."

Brooklyn Beckham, the son of former Manchester United and England star David, has signed his first professional contract with London club Arsenal. The 15-year-old had been attracting the attention of a number of big clubs in the Premier League, yet the Gunners managed to secure the youngster’s signature ahead of their Premier League rivals. “Brooklyn is talented and he has stood out in all of the training sessions and games he has played,” a source close to the club told the Daily Star. “He has had other teams sniffing around and it was always going to be a case of when, not if, he was signed up by a big-name club. Arsenal realise he can be a huge talent. They have seen that potential and protected their asset. The club has signed him, fending off interest from Manchester United and Chelsea in the meantime. Next summer we may see him sign a big-money deal and with Arsenal.” Head coach Arsene Wenger has reportedly been very impressed with Beckham junior. "Brooklyn really has potential,” the source claimed. “Wenger was impressed with his talent, his attitude and his drive to succeed." All three of David’s sons are part of the Arsenal youth set-up, with 12-year-old Romeo turning out for the U-13s while nine-year-old Cruz features for the Gunners’ U-10 side. David trained with the Gunners in the off-season in 2012, and the former United star is said to have a good relationship with the club’s French manager."The Beckhams have a strong link with Arsenal despite David’s Manchester United past,” said the source. “David has a good relationship with manager Arsene Wenger.”

Juventus striker Carlos Tevez "richly deserves" his recall to the Argentina set-up after a three-year absence, according to club boss Massimiliano Allegri. Tevez, who has 64 international caps, netted twice in the Bianconeri's 7-0 demolition of Parma on Sunday, with one of his goals coming via a stunning solo run and finish. The 30-year-old has been included in new La Albiceleste coach Gerardo Martino's squad for friendlies against Croatia and Portugal on November 12 and 18, having failed to win the favour of former manager Alejandro Sabella. "Tevez scored an extraordinary goal," Allegri told Juve's official website. It was something he needed because it had been a while since he last scored. He's an example for the way he trains and he's celebrated his richly deserved call-up to the Argentina squad in the best possible way."

Yaya Toure has been included in the five-man shortlist for the BBC African Footballer of the Year for the sixth year in a row as he aims to retain his 2013 crown. The Ivorian midfielder was nominated alongside Borussia Dortmund forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Algerian midfielder Yacine Brahimi, Nigerian goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama and Roma forward Gervinho for the annual award, as voted for by BBC radio listeners. Yaya Toure could not help his country qualify from the group stages of this year’s World Cup, but enjoyed a stellar season with club side Manchester City, scoring 24 goals as he helped the Citizens win last season’s Premier League and the Capital One Cup. Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang did not feature in Brazil, but makes the shortlist thanks to his impressive goal-scoring form for Dortmund, having already scored 9 goals in 17 matches for his German club. Midfielder Yacine Brahimi was on song in Algeria’s record run at this year’s World Cup, and after being voted as the best African player in La Liga last season, earned himself a move to Portuguese giants Porto. Goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama kept 21 clean sheets for French club Lille last season, and produced a number of fine saves in the Super Eagles’ run to the Last 16 of this year’s World Cup in Brazil. Ivory Coast’s Gervinho enjoyed a fine season in Italy with Roma last year, scoring 12 and providing 12 assists as he helped the Capital Club finish second in Serie A, while also scoring a fine solo goal in his country’s disappointing run at this year’s World Cup. The winner of the BBC African Footballer of the Year 2014 will be announced on Monday, 1 December.

Previous winners of BBC African Footballer of the Year award:
2013 - Yaya Toure (Manchester City & Ivory Coast)
2012 - Chris Katongo (Henan Construction & Zambia)
2011 - Andre Ayew (Marseille & Ghana)
2010 - Asamoah Gyan (Sunderland & Ghana)
2009 - Didier Drogba (Chelsea & Ivory Coast)
2008 - Mohamed Aboutrika (Al Ahly & Egypt)
2007 - Emmanuel Adebayor (Arsenal & Togo)
2006 - Michael Essien (Chelsea & Ghana)
2005 - Mohamed Barakat (Al Ahly & Egypt)
2004 - Jay-Jay Okocha (Bolton & Nigeria)
2003 - Jay-Jay Okocha (Bolton & Nigeria)
2002 - El Hadji Diouf (Liverpool & Senegal)
2001 - Sammy Kuffour (Bayern Munich & Ghana)
2000 - Patrick Mboma (Parma & Cameroon)

Chelsea forward Diego Costa has been excluded from Vicente Del Bosque’s Spanish team set to face Belarus and Germany later this month. The former Atletico Madrid frontman has suffered from a number of niggling injury problems of late, and missed four of Chelsea’s matches following the last international break, causing Jose Mourinho to blame his country for his medical problems. In announcing his squad for Spain’s two upcoming encounters, national boss Vicente Del Bosque omitted the Blues forward after speaking to the medics at his club – although refused to be involved in Chelsea’s decision whether or not to play him in Saturday’s clash against Liverpool. "I have spoken to our doctors and those of Chelsea and I have decided to leave him out due to the situation with his pubis (pelvis)," Del Bosque told a news conference. He may be able to play (in) Chelsea's next game against Liverpool (on Saturday) but that doesn't mean he doesn't have some type of injury problem." Spain have struggled in their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign so far, and sit second in Group C, three points behind group leaders Slovakia. They face Belarus at home in their next qualifier on 15 November before hosting World Champions Germany in an international friendly three days later.