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Anthony Laffor: ‘Mamalodi Sundowns/Wydad Casablanca Clash is Crucial’

first_imgLaffor is among 23 players listed for the weekend CAF Champions League match.(Photo Courtesy: Mamelodi Sundowns)Liberian international forward Anthony Laffor says Mamelodi Sundowns’ CAF Champions League clash against Wydad Casablanca this weekend is crucial, “like a final.”Laffor is among Coach Pisto Mosimane’s list of 23 players that arrived in Morocco on Tuesday for the second-leg fixture against the title holders.“Every game for us now is like a cup final. We need to win our games, because if we make any mistakes, we are out,” Laffor told Kickoff Sports, a South African Sports media.“We know that it’s going to be hard in Morocco. We’ve been there before and we know the atmosphere. For us to be safe, we need to win our games,” he said.Sundowns are second in Group C with five points – three behind Wydad – and will be hoping to secure at least a draw.A draw will give Sundowns a chance of progressing to the knockout phase, but a victory will be an added advantage for the “Brazilians.”Sundowns’ Coach Mosimane had admitted that the match will be a tough one, and a draw will be the least thing that his team would collect in Morocco.“Wydad are a difficult team, they know how to manage the game. They play cleverly. You must be careful of penalties. They are very good in set-pieces. We conceded a goal from a corner kick the last time we played them. When the time favors them, they delay the game. They do anything. You know the North Africans. The Champions League is a different cattle of fish. It’s an awkward tournament. But we know how to play it. It has its problems with traveling,” Cooch Mosimane told Sundowns official website.The Sundowns were knocked out by Wydad in the quarterfinals of the Champions League last season.Laffor, 33, is yet to make an appearance in the new South African Premiere League season, and will be looking forward to have an opportunity in Friday’s encounter.He was linked with a move away from the club during the off-season, but said he wants to stay at the club.He was last on the score sheet on November 1, 2017, when Sundowns defeated Orlando Pirates.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Argentina hooligans: the endless cycle of football violence

first_imgWindows on the bus were shattered with players suffering cuts and breathing difficulties from the pepper spray.The presidents of both clubs insist the violence was caused by just “10 or 15 misfits,” but for sociologist Diego Murzi, hooligans — or barra bravas — are deeply entrenched in the country’s football-related activities.“In Argentina there is a football culture in which violence is legitimate, and not just by the ‘barras’ but by everyone who takes part,” said Murzi, a researcher at the University of San Martin.It was a weekend of shame for Argentine football that unfolded after authorities failed to protect Boca’s players on their bus trip across town to River’s Monumental stadium.Argentina prides itself on its feverish football fans while Boca and River are lauded for what many acknowledge as the greatest derby rivalry in the world.But it has reached the point where behavior otherwise considered unacceptable in society is even celebrated, such as xenophobic chanting, insults and threats to murder rivals.The violence is fueled by a belief that football is not “a clean game with legitimate results,” experts say.“If fans feel that the matches are won through deals amongst club bosses more than on the field, this feeling of injustice provides fertile ground for the hooligans’ violence,” Murzi, a student of football violence, told AFP.– ‘Police and political collusion’ –Off the pitch, hooligans run mafia empires around Argentine football “in collusion with the police, clubs and political authorities,” according to Monica Nizzardo, the founder of the Salvemos Al Futbol (Let’s Save Football) charity.It says 305 people have been killed in Argentina in football related violence in the last 50 years.Because of this, Argentine football authorities barred away fans from grounds in 2013, but it has made little difference. Four people this year have been killed and 137 in the last 20 years.The barra bravas were born out of a culture that viewed fighting against rivals as an expression of passion towards one’s own team.The term barra brava — which literally means violent (brava) groups (barra) — was coined in the 1940s by the press to describe hooligans.Boca Juniors fans in their home Bombonera stadium during the Copa Libertadores final first leg © AFP / Eitan ABRAMOVICHBut those street brawlers mutated into organized criminals laundering millions in dirty money, experts say.“In the 1980s they started to acquire a profile linked to crime and in the 1990s they got a commercial edge, using their knowledge of football related violence to their own benefit,” said Murzi.Hence, in collusion with first the clubs and then police, they took control of ticketing resales and then parking around the stadium, as well as food trucks and other businesses that offer attractive profits.But they have continued to expand their horizons to “activities outside the football world, like participation in political, union and criminal acts,” adds Murzi.– ‘Erroneous solutions’ –“The authorities’ approach is always the same: to think that the problem is due to a group of savages, but that’s an overly simplified perspective that leads to erroneous solutions,” said Murzi.Several times authorities have targeted the leadership of the barra bravas, jailing notorious chieftains such as the late Jose “the Grandfather” Barrita, chief of “The Dozen” hooligans from the Boca neighbourhood in Bueno Aires, or Alan Schlenker, the head honcho of River’s hooligans, currently serving life in prison.However, that didn’t prevent the hooliganism networks surviving with new leaders.“The problem is that no-one wants to put an end to criminal business in football, least of all club bosses,” says Nizzardo.Murzi says there’s no magic solution but that “investigating the collusion between hooligans and the police would be a good starting point.”“They work together. The police contribute more to the problem than to the solution.”Clubs pay for the police to provide security at matches and that’s an important source of revenue that pays police salaries.“All the police know the hooligans and it suits them for the hooligans to exist,” says Murzi, who also blames the press and politicians for feeding the beast.“If the press… says it’s a final to kill or die for and the president (Macri) says the losers will have to leave the country from embarrassment, the fans feel they have a reputation to uphold.“It would have been a surprise if nothing had happened. Argentina is a long way from being a country in which there is respect for one’s opponent, not just at the sporting level but politically too.”0Shares0000(Visited 9 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000A tightly packed cordon of police holding riot shields surveys River Plate fans as they leave the Monumental stadium following the postponement of the Copa Libertadores final © AFP / JAVIER GONZALEZ TOLEDOBUENOS AIRES, Argentina, Nov 27 – The embarrassing postponement of the Copa Libertadores final thrust Argentina’s hooligan problem back into the spotlight, as well as society’s acceptance that it is part of football fan culture, analysts say.Argentina President Mauricio Macri admitted there had been a “security failure” on Saturday when Boca Juniors’ team bus came under attack from River Plate fans hurling pepper spray, stones and sticks.last_img read more