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Algeria aims for semis


LGERIA have set a semi-final target for the Africa Cup of Nations – but have told coach Vahid Halilhodzic he will keep his job regardless of how his team does. Algeria face a tough test at the tournament, being drawn in Group D along with favourites Ivory Coast, Togo and Tunisia. However, the Fennec Foxes’ Franco-Bosnian coach, whose contract runs until 2014, is building a team for the long term. “Halilhodzic will continue coaching even if there is failure in South Africa. It will not cost him his job if our objective is not achieved,” Algerian Football Federation

president Mohamed Raouraoua, who is also a Fifa executive committee member, told a news conference. “There will be the qualifiers for the World Cup to play straight afterwards, we do not intend to dispense with his services. He passed the first challenge to lead the team to the Nations Cup. “Halilhodzic is building a competitive young team that can play two World Cups. Let him work on the long term.” Algeria host Benin in their next 2014 World Cup qualifier in March. They have three points from their first two qualifying matches in Group H.

Black Stars depart Friday to begin camping


HE Black Stars of Ghana are expected to fly out to the Gulf Region on Friday for a training camp which will

• Gyan

Chipolopolo increases training tempo


FTER resting on New Year’s Day, African football champions, Zambia resume the final phase of intensive preparations for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in South Africa today with defender Emmanuel Mbola joining the squad. As the kick-off of the 29th edition of AFCON looms on January 19 in Johannesburg, the Chipolopolo are now targeting to build on their earlier preparations in their quest to retain the title. Before breaking off for a day, it was strict business for the Chipolopolo as the players were taken through their paces by coach Herve Renard and his technical staff. Zambia has lined up five testing training matches to

gauge the team’s readiness in the last round of preparations, starting with this Saturday’s tie against fellow AFCON finalists, Angola. “Five days into the New Year, we want to play Angola on the 5th. We are looking at that match before turning our attention to the others against Namibia and Swaziland. But the other international training fixtures against Morocco on 8th January and Norway on the 12th remain unchanged,” Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) spokesperson, Erick Mwanza said. Mwanza said the one day break on Tuesday allowed the team to reflect on the 2012 successes and refocus of the assignments that awaited them in 2013, beginning with the AFCON.

run from January 7-16, 2013. A 26-man squad together with the technical team will embark on the trip to begin preparation for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa. The squad will be pruned down to a final 23-man list for the tournament after the Black Stars’ training camp in the United Arab Emirates. Whiles in Abu Dhabi, the four-time Africa champions will play a series of international friendly matches in preparation for the continental showpiece. Coach Kwesi Appiah’s men will take on the Pharaohs of Egypt in their first warm up game on January 10. Three days later, the Black Stars will take on the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia at the same venue. The Black Stars are drawn in Group B along with Mali, Niger and DR Congo and they will be based at Port Elizabeth when the tournament kicks off on January 19.


“It’s very difficult for me to tell [whether Adebayor will travel]. At the moment, there is a dispute between him and the federation, the player has spoken about it already. “He has also said that situation is not just about the dispute that they have it is also about the fact that he doesn’t feel comfort and safety in going to the African Nations Cup. “I can’t put myself in his position to tell if he is going or not going because I respect the player, I respect the competition and if he has to go, we just have to make sure we address the problem he has.” The Nations Cup runs from January 19 to February 10.

Tunisia to charter special plane to South Africa


HE Tunisian team has reached an agreement with its official carrier to charter a special plane that will carry the official delegation of Tunisia to South Africa to compete in the finals of the 2013 African Cup of Nations. This direct flight from Tunisia to South Africa will prevent players for long layovers

during this long journey and allow them to recover quicker. The departure of the Tunisian delegation to South Africa will take place a few days after the return of the team's training preparation in the UAE and Qatar, which is scheduled to end after their last friendly match against Ghana on January 13th.

Group C match against Ethiopia on January 21. With the Portugal-based Mbola in camp, Renard will today work with 23 of the 26 players summoned for preAFCON preparations.

Bolasie dumps Congo for Palace


ANNICK Bolasie has given Palace fans a boost by turning down the chance to play for Congo in the African Cup of Nations. Team-mate KG has travelled to Africa to take part with South Africa but Yala has decided to stay with Palace during January and February. Eagles fans will be pleased as the winger is in the form of his life! He told Sky Sports: "To be honest, it would be flattering to play at the Africa Cup of Nations, but I am young and have just started my career. "I have played 24 games this year and am trying to improve on my tally of two goals and seven assists, so to leave [Palace] for a month could be difficult. Congo coach Claude Leroy admitted he is "disappointed" with Bolasie's decision. "We are disappointed and hope to count on him in the future," he said. "Yves Digba has been called on as Bolasie's replacement."

Ethiopia names three foreign Pros for SA 2013


Adebayor fears for his safety in SA OTTENHAM manager Andre Villas-Boas says Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor may decide not to travel to the Africa Cup of Nations owing to safety concerns. Adebayor was in the Togo team bus that came under gunfire during the 2010 Nations Cup, an incident that resulted in three deaths. The striker has described the attack as “one of the worst things I’ve ever been through in my life”. The 28-year-old is involved in a dispute with his national federation, however, his primary concern is whether authorities can guarantee his security will not be compromised in South Africa. Villas-Boas told Sky Sports:

He said the squad wrapped up the 2012 in business-like mood with excellent training sessions which set the Chipolopolo on course to defend the continental crown. “We are pleased with the way the team has been working. We have ended the year on a very good note; a hard working way because the squad has continued with its training in Johannesburg,” Mwanza said. The FAZ media and communications manager described the mood in camp as excellent and that there was a wonderful team spirit among the players. Mwanza said the squad was injury-free which was bonus as Renard focused on bringing out the best from the players ahead of the Chipolopolo’s opening

• Adebayor

THIOPIA has included Swedish-born midfielder Yussuf Saleh in their 23-man squad for this month's African Nations Cup in South Africa. The 28-year-old, who is on loan with Swedish top-flight side Syrianska, was one of a trio of foreign-based players named on Wednesday, reports Reuters. Coach Sewnet Bishaw also selected striker Saladin Seid, who plays for Egypt's Wadi Degla, and winger Fuad Ibrahim who is with Minnesota Stars in the second-tier North American Soccer League. Rank outsiders Ethiopia have been drawn in Group C along with Zambia, Nigeria and Burkina Faso for the Jan. 19-Feb. 10 tournament. Squad: Goalkeepers: Jemal Tassew (Coffee FC), Sisay Bancha (Dedebit), Zerihun Tadelle (Saint George) Defenders: Degu Debebe (Saint George), Biyadglign Eliase (Saint George), Abebaw Butako (Saint George), Alula Girma (Saint George), Seyum Tesfaye (Dedebit), Birhanu Bogale (Dedebit), Aynalem Hailu (Dedebit) Midfielders: Asrat Megersa (EEPCO), Addis Hintsa (Dedebit), Yared Zinabu (Saint George), Shimelese Bekele (Saint George), Behailu Asefa (Dedebit), Minyahel Teshome (Dedebit), Dawit Estifanose (Coffee FC), Yussuf Saleh (Syrianska) Forwards: Saladin Seid (Wadi Degla), Adane Girma (Saint George), Umed Ukuri (Saint George), Getaneh Kebede (Dedebit), Fuad Ibrahim (Minnesota Stars)