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Egypt, Zimbabwe get AFCON 2019 underway

first_imgEgypt have won the AFCON a record 7 times. (PHOTOS/AGENCIES)AFCON 2019Egypt vs ZimbabweCairo International Stadium, CairoFriday, 21-06-2019 @11pmCAIRO – The long-awaited 32nd Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) will get underway today, Friday, June 21st at the Cairo International Stadium in Cairo.Record winners and hosts-Egypt who were only awarded the rights to host the competition at the start of this year, will take on 4 time participants Zimbabwe in the opening game.The Pharaohs who have won the competition on 7 separate occasions enter into the game as favourites and will have added pressure as the tournament is being hosted on their home turf.With a host of stars in their rooster including Muhammad Salah, Egypt are not only expected to breeze past Zimbabwe but are also one of the strong favourites for the 2019 AFCON.For Zimbabwe, they have already encountered issues even before the kick of a first ball.On Thursday, the Zimbabwe players refused to train on Thursday until they receive their unpaid wages and bonuses. However, intervened and it is highly believed they players will honour the fixture.Zimbabwe players refused to train on Thursday.What the managers are sayingSunday Chidzambwa, Zimbabwe manager “We are among 24 other teams fighting for AFCON.“Now that we are in the AFCON group stages, we will work hard to get the best possible results in all our games.“We know how strong Egypt are especially when they play at home and the fans on their side supporting them throughout the competition.Javier Aguirre, Egypt manager“I’m a very lucky guy because as a coach and an assistant coach, and also as a player, I played a lot of international events.“I started 43 years ago knowing nothing, with no expectations nor dreams, just to play. Now, aged 60, I am almost at the opening game of a massive tournament.“To be honest, though, my mood is quite different this time. I have a lot of responsibility — the head coach of this big project. Also, in Egypt football is almost a religion. Around 100 million people here, they all love the game. It’s incredible. But I prefer it this way, really.Team newsSalah looks certain to start in his favoured right-wing position, with Marwan Moshen leading the line. The veteran striker, who plies his trade for Al Ahly at club level, scored a couple of goals during qualifying.Salah is expected to start on the right of Egypt’s attack.Mahmoud Hassan is another player to look out for in the Egypt ranks, having built up a good understanding with Salah in the frontline.As for Zambia, they are sweating on the fitness of Kharma Billiat. The Kaizer Chiefs midfielder, considered one of the Warriors’ most dangerous players, has missed a couple of training sessions and is considered a doubt.Elsewhere, Nottingham Forest ace Tendayi Darikwa is in line to retain his place.Match StatsThis will be the 5th meeting between the two sides since January 2004. In the past four meetings, Egypt has won all of them, scoring 10 goals whilst conceding 4 goals. Only one of those 4 meetings came at the AFCON finals, in Tunisia 2004 with Egypt coming from a goal down to defeat Zimbabwe 2-1.Egypt are seeking a record-extending eighth Africa Cup of Nations title. They are expected to get their campaign off to a winning start against Group A outsiders Zimbabwe, with DR Congo and Uganda the two other teams who Egypt will face in the group stage. Much of their hopes rest on the form of Liverpool’s Champions League winner Mohamed Salah. After a long season he was given time extra time to go off on holiday before joining up with the squad just over a week before the start of the tournament. Egypt won both of their warm-up matches ahead of the competition, a 1-0 victory against Tanzania was followed by a 3-1 win against Guinea last Sunday when Salah came off the bench in the second half and weighed in with two assists.Zimbabwe have yet to progress beyond the group stage at the Africa Cup of Nations in three previous attempts. In 2017 they finished at the bottom of their group but gave some very spirited showings against Senegal, Tunisia and Algeria. They qualified for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations courtesy of winning Group G, and in doing so they picked up four points against DR Congo, who they will also face in their final group fixture at the finals. Key players for Zimbabwe are expected to be striker Knowledge Musona and talented midfielder Marvelous Nakamba who has featured in the UEFA Champions League for Club Brugge.The other group A game-DR Congo vs Uganda – Saturday, June 22nd @5:30pmComments Tags: AFCON 2019EgyptJavier AguirreMuhammad SalahSunday Chidzambwatopzimbabwelast_img read more

Thats why the QB did his part to make a reunion i

first_imgThat’s why the QB did his part to make a reunion in the desert happen.“Yeah, I’ve talked to him over the years.  I think he was looking for the right fit and for a number of reasons we were the right fit and thankfully we were,” he said. “I’m always texting and calling and recruiting when I can.  I don’t know how much of a role it played, but just playing in this stadium on this grass, practicing at our facility and just kind of looking at the team, I think we kind of had everything he was looking for.”According to Gresham, Palmer played a significant role.“He did a good job recruiting me,” Gresham said. “He stayed in my phone a lot and kept giving me reminders. He sold it well, so I’m happy to make it home for the year.”As for what kind of role Gresham will play for his new team, the tight end said he was promised nothing. He said all the team guaranteed was a chance to come in, play and help the team try and get to the Super Bowl.He’s hopeful it won’t be long until he’s back on the field doing exactly that. When he does, he will put an end to what was an eventful — and sometimes frustrating — offseason. Jermaine Gresham chats with QB Carson Palmer. Photo courtesy of @AZCardinals Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact GLENDALE, Ariz. — In a lot of ways, Jermaine Gresham signing with the Arizona Cardinals made plenty of sense.The team was incredibly thin at the tight end position, and Gresham — a two-time Pro Bowl selection — could provide experience as well as ability.But in other ways, the pairing made little sense.In two years under head coach Bruce Arians, the Cardinals have rarely used the tight end in the passing game, with their leading receivers at the position in 2013 and 2014 — Rob Housler and John Carlson, respectively — combining for 72 catches, 804 yards and two touchdowns. Yet, Gresham chose to sign a one-year contract with the Cardinals, spurning a list of suitors that was rumored to include the New Orleans Saints, Oakland Raiders and Green Bay Packers.“I can’t really say, just very team-oriented and the owner and the GM did a good job selling me on what they had to offer,” Gresham said when asked why he chose the Cardinals. “It worked out well.”The 27-year-old Gresham caught 62 passes for 460 yards and five touchdowns last season. Along with San Diego’s Antonio Gates and Carolina’s Greg Olsen, he is one of three tight ends to have at least 40 receptions, 400 yards and four touchdowns in each of the last five seasons. He was available to the Cardinals at a discounted rate in large part because he is recovering from back surgery, and teams were likely unsure of whether or not he would be able to play at a high level.Like others before him, Gresham will play on a one-year contract in hopes of rebuilding his value and hopefully parlaying that into a bigger, long-term contract.The Cardinals are more than happy to play their part. In a way, Gresham can be a security blanket, for both quarterback Carson Palmer and the team itself. Prior to adding the former Bengal, the tight ends on Arizona’s roster had combined for eight catches and 109 yards, a total that rises to nine catches for 110 yards and one touchdown if you include playoffs. “I had a lot going on this offseason,” he said. “At the end of the day I find peace with playing football, so not being able to play football and dealing with all the other stuff, it was tough. But it’s all behind me now, I’m looking forward to the future now.” Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires – / 23 Top Stories The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling 0 Comments   Share   “He’s been a Pro Bowl tight end.  I felt that we needed another veteran just in case some of the young guys falter.  I like the depth in that room; I really like the depth in the room now,” Arians said. “He’s a more than adequate blocker; he’s been an excellent receiver and a Pro Bowl player.  Just putting him in our system and finding a spot for him.”Gresham was not on the field for the first day of training camp Saturday, as he is on the PUP list to begin camp. Arians said the hope is to get him on the field soon, at least for walk throughs, and then for practices when he is ready to go.When he does make his return, though, Gresham’s learning curve may be a little easier due to the fact that he has a rapport with quarterback Carson Palmer. The two were teammates in Cincinnati in 2010 when Gresham, then a rookie, caught 52 passes for 471 yards and four touchdowns.So, the quarterback knows what his new weapon brings to the table.“Yeah, it’s big,” Palmer said of the signing. “He’s a mismatch against linebackers.  He can be a mismatch depending on the safety.  He’s really, really good in the run game and can pass block against defensive ends, which is rare for tight ends.  He’s just such a big, physical presence on the field.”last_img read more