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    DAY 6 WORLD CUP PREVIEWS/STATS/H2H: Senegal Have Never Lost A World Cup Group Game, Egypt Are Still Waiting For Their First Ever WC Win PLUS Colombia & Japan

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    Egypt forward Mohamed Salah will need to pass a fitness test to feature against Russia.

    Liverpool’s Salah sat out the 1-0 loss to Uruguay after injuring his shoulder in last month’s Champions League final.

    “He is fit. I hope he will be fit to play. In the previous match we thought he was fit but we have a final fitness test,” said Egypt boss Hector Cuper.

    Russia will be without attacking midfielder Alan Dzagoev after he pulled his hamstring in the opening game.

    Left-back Yuri Zhirkov trained individually on Sunday because of a minor ankle problem but is likely to be passed fit.

    Egypt right-back Ahmed Fathi, who captained the side in the last game, has shaken off a minor muscle problem.

    Defensive midfielder Tarek Hamed was substituted during Friday’s defeat with a back issue, but the Egyptian FA have confirmed he will be fit to face Russia.

    Russia scored more goals in the first game of the 2018 World Cup than in the whole of the 2014 tournament in Brazil, where they netted just twice in three group matches.

    Their performance against Saudi Arabia was so impressive that Russian President Vladimir Putin felt compelled to call head coach Stanislav Cherchesov during his post-match press conference, telling him to pass on his congratulations to the players.

    It wasn’t quite such a good start for Egypt, who were without talisman Mohamed Salah as they fell to a late defeat at the hands of Uruguay. However, the Liverpool star is expected to start this game, despite ongoing speculation about his fitness. At Egypt’s recent training camp in Grozny, Salah reportedly required the help of his team-mates to pull on his top.

    The Pharaohs are still desperately seeking a first World Cup win in what will be their sixth game at the finals. As for Russia, they last progressed to the knockout stage in 1986 under the banner of the Soviet Union, but victory in St Petersburg would leave them on the brink of a place in the knockout stage.

    Head-to-head

    This will be the first meeting between Russia and Egypt.

    Russia

    Russia’s 5-0 win against Saudi Arabia was the biggest victory by a host nation in an opening game since Italy beat the USA 7-1 in 1934.

    The win means that Russia have already scored more goals in this tournament than they did at each of their last two World Cup appearances – they netted twice in 2014, and four times in 2002.

    As Russia, they have failed to reach the knockout stage of the World Cup in three attempts (1994, 2002 and 2014).

    In fact, Russia have failed to win their second game at the last five World Cups – they last did it as the USSR, beating New Zealand 3-0 in 1982.

    Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia are unbeaten against African teams at the World Cup (W2, D1), including a 6-1 win over Cameroon in 1994 in which Oleg Salenko scored five.

    Russia’s head coach Stanislav Cherchesov, a former goalkeeper, made his sole World Cup appearance in that game.

    Aleksandr Golovin scored his first World Cup goal and registered two assists on his debut in the competition.

    Egypt

    Egypt are still waiting for their first win at a World Cup finals (D2, L3). No African side has played as many World Cup games without a win.

    The Pharaohs have failed to score in each of their last three World Cup matches. Their last goal was a penalty scored by Magdy Adbelghani in a 1-1 with the Netherlands in 1990.

    Their only World Cup clean sheet came in a 0-0 draw with the Republic of Ireland in June 1990.

    Mohamed Elneny completed 44 passes versus Uruguay in their first game, the most by an Egyptian player at the World Cup.

    Mohamed Salah was Egypt’s top scorer in qualifying with five goals in five appearances.

    Colombia will make late decision on the fitness of star midfielder James Rodriguez, who has been nursing a muscle problem.

    Left-back Frank Fabra was ruled out of the tournament after injuring his knee earlier this month, so Johan Mojica is set for his first competitive cap.

    Japan forward Shinji Okazaki has been nursing a calf problem in recent days and is unlikely to play.

    Mainz’s Yoshinori Muto or Werder Bremen’s Yuya Osako will play instead.

    Coach Akira Nishino could leave out Keisuke Honda, 32, who has gone 21 months without an international goal.

    Winger Takashi Inui, who will join Real Betis this summer, scored twice in Japan’s final friendly, a 4-2 win against Paraguay, and that could earn him a starting berth in Saransk.

    Head-to-head

    Colombia are unbeaten in their three previous games with Japan, winning twice.

    The most recent encounter was a group match at the 2014 World Cup which the Colombians won 4-1.

    Colombia

    None of Colombia’s 18 games at the World Cup have ended goalless. The only teams to have played more matches at the tournament without a 0-0 are the USA (33) and Austria (29).

    Jose Pekerman’s side scored just 21 times in 18 qualifiers for Russia. Only three members of their World Cup squad netted more than once – James Rodriguez (six), Carlos Bacca (three) and Falcao (two).

    They have won just two of nine games prior to this tournament (D5, L2), and their final two warm-up matches against Australia and Egypt finished goalless.

    Colombia won four games at Brazil 2014, more than in their previous four World Cup appearances combined (three victories from 13 matches). It was also the only time they have won their group.

    Los Cafeteros scored 12 times in five matches in Brazil, averaging 2.4 goals per game, a figure only Germany bettered. James Rodriguez had a hand in eight of those 12 goals (six goals, two assists).

    Juan Cuadrado registered four assists at the last World Cup, a joint-high with Germany’s Toni Kroos.

    Japan

    Japan are winless in their six previous World Cup games on European soil, losing five times.

    The Blue Samurai have never beaten a South American side at this tournament (D1, L3).

    At their five previous World Cup Cups, Japan have won their opening game just once, beating Cameroon 1-0 in 2010.

    Japan beat Paraguay 4-2 in their final warm-up game, but that is their only win in five matches this calendar year. They also drew with Mali, and lost to Ukraine, Ghana and Switzerland.

    Keisuke Honda has been directly involved in five of Japan’s six goals at the last two World Cups, scoring three goals and assisting two more.

    Honda has not scored in his last 14 international games, a run stretching back to September 2016.

    Poland defender Kamil Glik could be in contention to face Senegal as be bids to return from the shoulder injury which was expected to keep him out of the World Cup.

    The Monaco player looked set to be replaced after the injury in training but is now expected to return by the final group game – if not sooner.

    Senegal lost defender Saliou Ciss on the eve of the tournament to injury.

    Caen’s Adama Mbengue was the late call-up to replace him.

    Poland and Senegal each have a star forward on the back of a spectacular club season – Robert Lewandowski and Sadio Mane respectively.

    Captain Lewandowski was a sensation in qualifying for Poland, scoring more than anyone else in the European groups, with a record 16 goals in only 10 games – more than half of Poland’s total of 28 goals.

    He was the Bundesliga’s top scorer with 29 league goals for Bayern Munich – 41 in all competitions.

    On the eve of the World Cup, Poland’s post office released five million stamps with his name, face and RL9.

    Poland only kept two clean sheets in qualifying and had the worst defensive record of all the European group winners – and they could be tested greatly by Liverpool striker Mane.

    Mane scored 20 goals in all competitions for the Reds, including 10 in the Champions League – joint second with team-mates Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah, only below Cristiano Ronaldo’s 15.

    Senegal are managed by former Birmingham City and Portsmouth midfielder Aliou Cisse, who was their captain at their only previous World Cup – in 2002 when they reached the quarter-finals.

    Head-to-head

    This will be the first ever encounter between Poland and Senegal.

    Poland are unbeaten in their three games against African opposition at the World Cup (W1 D2). These three games have produced only one goal.

    Poland

    This is Poland’s eighth World Cup, but their first appearance since 2006. They last reached the knockout stages in 1986, failing to advance from the group stages in each of their last two appearances (2002 and 2006).

    Poland have lost six of their last eight World Cup games (W2). They have also failed to keep a clean sheet in those last eight games, their last shutout dating back to their 1-0 win against Portugal in 1986.

    Poland have won only one of their seven opening games at the World Cup (D3 L3), a 3-2 win against Argentina in 1974. In fact, they have not scored a single goal in their last five openers.

    Robert Lewandowski was the top scorer in the 2018 European World Cup qualifiers with 16 goals. He netted 57% of Poland’s goals (16 out of 28). The only other Pole to score more than one goal was Kamil Grosicki (3).

    This is Adam Nawalka’s second major tournament as Poland manager after taking his country to the quarter-finals of Euro 2016, a tournament in which Poland remained unbeaten (W2 D3). He also played in five of Poland’s six games at the 1978 World Cup.

    Senegal

    Senegal have qualified for their second World Cup, after their inaugural participation in 2002 where they reached the quarter-finals before being eliminated by Turkey.

    Senegal were unbeaten in their only previous group phase appearance at the World Cup (W1 D2), which included a victory in the opening game against defending champions France (1-0).

    Diafra Sakho was the only Senegal player to score more than one goal in the third round of African qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup. Meanwhile, no player delivered more assists than Sadio Mane in that qualifying section (3).

    This will be Aliou Cisse’s second major tournament as Senegal manager after the 2017 African Cup of Nations (quarter-finalist). He captained Senegal in their only previous World Cup appearance in 2002.

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    She Cranes Star Nuba Reveals Why She Decided To Play For Uganda Not South Sudan; Why She Regrets Giving Birth Early…

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    She Cranes player Mary Nuba

    Born in South Sudan but grew in Uganda, that’s the story of the She Cranes goal shooter Mary Nuba Cholhok who was voted as the best shooter in the just concluded Fast5 Series tournament which was held in New Zealand.

    Uganda emerged in fifth position in the tournament. theGrapevine had a chance to talk to Nuba before she went back to England for her professional career.

    Grapevine: Why did you decide to play for Uganda and not for your native country South Sudan?

    Nuba: South Sudan is still lagging behind in Netball and I’m getting old, that’s why I decided to play for Uganda’s She Cranes.

    Grapevine: What challenges have you faced so far in your career?

    Nuba: Thinking about my five-year baby who stays in Uganda yet I’m in England playing for my professional club.

    Grapevine: Then what about your husband [the baby’s father] ?

    Nuba: I’m not married, though I gave birth.

    Mary Nuba was awarded Fans player of the Fast5 Series tournament

    Grapevine: How did you manage giving birth and playing Netball?

    Nuba: I realized that later that I made a mistake of getting pregnant. But I stood on my feet, forgot all the past and decided to move on with my child and my career.

    Grapevine: How do you manage those good performances?

    Nuba: I work very hard ever day in order to achieve my goals.

    Grapevine: Where do you see She Cranes in four years to come?

    Nuba: I see She Cranes winning the Netball World cup because we have good players who are still young.

    Grapevine: Tell us about the best game in your career?

    Nuba: When we defeated South Africa in the Common Wealth games in Birmingham.

    Grapevine: Who’s your role model in the game of Netball?

    Nuba: Peace Proscovia because of the way she managed to lift her life from a poor background. She is now superstar in the game.

     

     

    By Juma Ali

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    MIRACLE: All She Cranes Players Return After Incidents Of Players Disappearing While On Duty Abroad…

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    She Cranes players and one of the start player Goal Shooter Mary Cholhok Nuba

    It was a miracle this time around after all the She Cranes players returned from New Zealand.

    It has been a habit for some Netball players to escape when the team travels for international tournaments.

    Just last month, two She Cranes players; Nakanyike Shakira, who was a Police Player and Rose Namutebi, who was a KCCA Player, disappeared in UK, during She Cranes international friendlies.

    The disappearance of these two players followed the disappearance of centre Player, Halimah Nakachwa, who disappeared in UK, in 2017 during another international friendly in UK.

    However, this time around, all the nine players who went for the first five series tournament in New Zealand, where She Cranes emerged fifth, after wining three games and losing three games, all returned with the team.

    National players disappearing while on duty abroad is also a habit in other sports disciplines like; boxing, table tennis, Rugby among others.

     

    By Juma Ali

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    It’s Time For Golola To Rest: I’m Going To Punch Him Into Retirement – General Fungu Vows…

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    Moses Golola (L) and General Fungu (R)

    General Hamza Fungu has vowed to fight Moses Golola and send him into retirement come 26th December. 2022.

    Fungu said this during the launch at Akamwesi gardens today.

    Uganda’s middle weight kick boxing champion, Golola Moses is set to face his former trainer, General Hamza Fungu on bixing day at Akamwesi shopping mail gardens.

    Golola, who is known for his many words said that he has beaten many fighters who were better than Fungu, “now look at this piglet, I’m going to show him why I’m called Golola Moses ‘of Uganda ‘  and I call upon Ugandans to come and be witnesses on that day.”

    Though Golola said that he signed a contract which allows both fighters to fight until one gets tired, officials in charge of organizing the show said they will fight K-1 style for five rounds.

    Grapevine had a chance to sit down with Golola’s challenger General Fungu and and this is what he had to say;

    theGrapevine: How are you prepared for this fight?

    Fungu: I’m well prepared but they have also given us enough time. So, I’m going to prepare more.

    theGrapevine: Why, among fighters did you choose Golola?

    Fungu: I have been asking to fight Golola for the last five years but he has been dodging me. He one time asked for 20,000 dollars to fight me.

    theGrapevine: Why do you think he accepted this time around?

    Fungu: I think this time, he has been given a lot of money.

    theGrapevine: Which tactics are you going to use to defeat Golola?

    Fungu : Golola has words but I have the tactics which will defeat Golola.

    theGrapevine: Many people have come out to challenge Golola but he finally wins?

    Fungu : He has been favoured many times.

    theGrapevine: Is it true that the contract you signed for the fight allows you to fight until one of you gets tired?

    Fungu : The contract is a disadvantage to Golola not me because I was born a fighter.

    theGrapevine: What next after this fight?

    Fungu : After this fight, I will fight three more three bouts and retire.

     

    By Juma Ali

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