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DAY 9 WORLD CUP PREVIEW/STATS/H2H: Can Nigeria Set Up A Cracker Against Argentina By Beating Iceland, Costa Rica Looking To Upset Brazil PLUS Serbia & Switzerland

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Friday 22 June

Nigeria vs Iceland (Group D) – Volgograd – 3pm
Brazil vs Costa Rica (Group E) – St Petersburg – 6pm
Serbia vs Switzerland (Group E) – Kaliningrad – 9pm
Switzerland midfielder Valon Behrami is receiving treatment for a muscle problem but is still likely to play.
Head coach Vladimir Petkovic could name the same side that drew 1-1 with Brazil, with Haris Seferovic continuing as a lone forward.
Serbia’s Luka Milivojevic may be available despite picking up a minor knock in the win over Costa Rica.
Head coach Mladen Krstajic is not expected to make major changes but he could hand winger Filip Kostic a start.
Serbia are the lowest ranked team in Group E but come into this game in pole position after their 1-0 win over Costa Rica, while the Swiss earned a creditable 1-1 draw with joint-favourites Brazil in their opening game.
The Brazilians were frustrated by Switzerland’s physical approach and also filed a complaint about Steven Zuber’s equaliser after he appeared to push Miranda before nodding home.
“Sometimes there’s a lack of recognition and that’s a pity because we played very well,” grumbled Switzerland boss Vladimir Petkovic in the aftermath of that game.
“I hope that people will take notice of us and take us seriously.”
One team that has definitely taken notice is Serbia. “We know everything about Switzerland,” stated their head coach Mladen Krstajic after their first match, which was also his first competitive game in charge of the side.
If Krstajic can mastermind a second win then the Serbs would reach the knockout stage for the first time as an independent nation.

Head-to-head
Switzerland have never faced Serbia before.
However, Switzerland and Yugoslavia have met 13 times, with the Swiss winning six of those meetings (D5, L2).
Yugoslavia won the last time these sides met, claiming a 2-1 friendly victory in Basel in September 2001. Current Serbia head coach Mladen Krstajic scored the winner that day.
Their only previous World Cup meeting was a 3-0 group stage win for Yugoslavia in 1950.
Switzerland’s last win over Yugoslavia was a 2-0 friendly victory in October 1983.

Serbia
Serbia (as Yugoslavia) have qualified for the knockout stage on three of the last four occasions when they’ve won their opening World Cup fixture.
A win for the Serbs would send them into the last 16 for the first time since 1998 (as Yugoslavia).
Their last four World Cup wins have all been 1-0.
Serbia have lost five of their last six World Cup group games, winning the other.
Aleksandar Mitrovic has scored 14 goals in his last 17 starts for Serbia.
Branislav Ivanovic made his 104th appearance against Costa Rica and became his country’s most-capped player, surpassing the record of Dejan Stankovic (103).
Aleksandar Kolorov’s goal against Costa Rica was the first direct free-kick scored by a player from Serbia or Yugoslavia at a World Cup since Sinisa Mihajlovic scored one in a 1-0 victory over Iran in 1998.

Switzerland
Switzerland are on a seven-game unbeaten run (W4, D3).
They have only lost one of their last 23 games (W16, D6), a 2-0 defeat to Portugal last October.
Steven Zuber has scored four goals and registered two assists in his last six international starts.
Stephan Lichsteiner is in line to make ninth World Cup appearance in this game, which would be a Swiss national record.
Against Brazil, Valon Behrami became the first Swiss player to appear in four different World Cup finals (2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018).
Costa Rica have scored from just one of their last 31 shots at the World Cup.


Nigeria’s vice-captain Ogenyi Onazi could return to the side after being dropped for the opening defeat by Croatia.
Oghenekaro Etebo scored an own goal in that match and could make way, while Ahmed Musa is also in contention.
Iceland could be without Johann Berg Gudmundsson, who sustained a muscle injury against Argentina.
Rurik Gislason came on for Gudmundsson in that game, and may replace him in the starting line-up.
Nigeria have the youngest squad on average at this World Cup, but the biggest concern heading into a crunch game with Iceland is that age-old problems remain. While it would be convenient to blame Nigeria’s defensive frailties in the defeat by Croatia on the relative inexperience of their squad, a weakness at set-pieces has long been the Super Eagles’ Achilles heel.
Since making their World Cup debut in 1994, 14 of the 27 goals they have conceded have come from a set-piece (52%), the worst percentage of any nation during that period, including an own goal from a corner in their group opener.
Conversely, organisation is very much Iceland’s strength, as their impressive draw with Argentina demonstrated. Expertly drilled and rigidly disciplined, they frustrated the South Americans while giving up few clear-cut chances on their World Cup debut.
Worryingly for Nigeria, Iceland also looked threatening with a direct, long-ball orientated game that could cause a discombobulated defence no end of trouble. A second defeat for Nigeria, and they are out. Howevr, a win for them will set up a final group cracker with Argentina who lost yesterday to Croatia.

Head-to-head
In their only previous meeting, Iceland triumphed 3-0 in a 1981 friendly.

Nigeria
All five of Nigeria’s wins at the World Cup have come against European sides.
The Super Eagles have won just one of their last 13 World Cup games (D3, L9), with that victory coming against Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2014.
They have failed to progress from the group stage on both previous occasions they have lost their opening game.
Nigeria are currently on a World Cup losing streak of three games, their worst run since losing four matches between 1998 and 2002.
They have failed to score in six of their last 11 World Cup matches.

Iceland
Iceland drew their first ever World Cup game against Argentina. The last side to avoid defeat in their opening two matches were Senegal in 2002.
Alfred Finnbogason has scored in his last three appearances for Iceland, though they’ve failed to win any of those matches (D2, L1).
After recording eight shots in the first half against Argentina, Iceland failed to register an attempt on goal in the rest of the match.
Kari Arnason won 13 aerial duels against Argentina, the most by any player in the opening round of matches.


Forward Neymar will be in Brazil’s starting XI for Friday’s Group E clash with Costa Rica despite hobbling out of a training session on Tuesday.
The Paris St-Germain forward, who broke a bone in his right foot in February, felt pain in his right ankle but took part in another session on Wednesday.
Costa Rica will look to emulate Switzerland’s efforts against Tite’s side, who had to settle for a point.
Los Ticos now face an uphill task to progress after losing 1-0 to Serbia.
Brazil began the World Cup as one of the favourites, but opened up in underwhelming fashion by drawing with Switzerland, despite going ahead through Philippe Coutinho’s wonderful, curling effort.
However, the five-time champions, appearing in their 21st consecutive tournament, will not worry about qualifying for the knockout phase just yet.
Unbeaten in their last 13 World Cup group games, winning 10 and drawing three, Brazil have topped their first-round group in every World Cup since 1982 and last failed to progress past this stage in 1966.
While Costa Rica will not have given up on progressing to the knockout stages for a second consecutive finals, manager Oscar Ramirez will need to retune his team offensively.
Penalty shootouts excluded, Costa Rica were one of only three sides to remain unbeaten in the 2014 World Cup but have toiled in front of goal at the finals, scoring just once in their last four World Cup games.
They sprung a surprise by progressing in a group consisting of Uruguay, Italy and England four years ago – but have it all to do now in Russia.

Head-to-head
Brazil have won nine of their 10 previous internationals against Costa Rica, losing only in a friendly in March 1960.
This is the third meeting between Brazil and Costa Rica at the World Cup, with the former inflicting Costa Rica’s first-ever defeat on them at the tournament in 1990 (1-0), before a 5-2 victory in 2002

Brazil
Philippe Coutinho’s goal against Switzerland was his 11th for Brazil – five of those have come from outside the box.
Brazil are winless in three World Cup matches (D1 L2), their worst run since June 1978, when they went four matches without a win.
Brazil conceded from the first shot on target they faced at the 2018 World Cup – from their last 13 shots on target faced at the World Cup, they have conceded 10 goals.
Brazil’s Neymar was fouled 10 times in their opening match against Switzerland – it was the most a player has been fouled in a World Cup match since 1998, when England striker Alan Shearer was fouled 11 times against Tunisia.

Costa Rica
Costa Rica’s only previous World Cup victory against South American opposition came in the 2014 tournament (3-1 vs Uruguay).
Costa Rica lost their first match against Serbia, ending a five-game unbeaten run at the World Cup finals – they haven’t lost back-to-back World Cup games since June 2006, when they lost four in a row.
Against Serbia, striker Marco Urena had just 14 touches in 67 minutes for Costa Rica, with three of those in the opposition box – his replacement, Joel Campbell, had 24 touches and four in the opposition box.

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NEWS

Magogo’s Ticket Scandal Deepens: Lawyers Pin MP Anita Among, Land Probe Boss Of Playing Dirty Tricks And Exonerating Magogo From Corruption Charges

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Moses Magogo and Anita Among

Suspended Federation of Uganda Football Association (FUFA) president Moses Magogo’s 2014 world cup ticket scandal has deepened after lawyers pinned Bukedea woman Member of Parliament (MP) Anita Among and Assistant commissioner legal advisory in the solicitor general’s office,  John Bosco Rujagaata Suuza exenorating Magogo from corruption charges.

Early this week, Suuza who also doubles as the deputy lead counsel of the commission of inquiry into land matters gave his opinion stopping the Ministry of Education and Sports from investigating Magogo on corruption charges. Suuza’s opinion comes after a directive from Janet Kataha Museveni, the minister of education and sports to the Permanent Secretary of the same ministry seeking an opinion from government’s legal adviser on the way the ministry can handle   Magogo’s issue. Lawyers presenting the petitioner who is also the Makindye west legislator Allan Sewanyana challenged Suuza’s legal opinion not to investigate Magogo.

In an exclusive phone interview with the Grapevine, Sewanyana’s lead lawyer Allan Mulindwa said that, “we cannot agree with that opinion, we have evidence that it was drafted from FUFA house. It was taken to MP Anita Among’s office and Suuza signed on it from there,” Mulindwa said. He further revealed that MP Among acted as the broker and negotiated the deal between Magogo and officers in the solicitor general’s office.

He added that they have already written to Francis Atoke the solicitor general to revise the legal opinion.

It should noted that on Tuesday morning, the Inspector General of Government (IGG) publicist Ali Munira told theGrapevive that the directorate had not yet received the written directive from the Minister of Education and Sports to investigate Magogo. When we contacted Charles Atwine the investigating officer who is handling Magogo’s corruption file at the directorate of criminal intelligence, he told us that the file is not yet closed and they are still investigating the matter. He refuted claims by Sewanyana’s lawyers that Magogo and Edgar Watson, the FUFA Chief Executive Officer refused to appear at the CID headquarters to record statements.

“It’s not true. I am the one handling that file and I have not yet summoned them,” Atwine said. Sewanyana wants Magogo to be prosecuted locally in the anti-corruption court after pleading guilty in the FIFA disciplinary committee to illegally selling 2014 world cup tickets which FIFA had given to Ugandans to go and watch the games. After pleading guilty, Magogo was suspended two months from office as FUFA president.

By Jamil Lutakome

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CRIME

Cranes Top Supporter Uncle Money Remanded For Killing City Businessman

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Uganda Cranes number one supporter Jackson Sewanyana alias Uncle Money has been charged and remanded to Luzira prison over the murder of a city businessman. 

Buganda road court magistrate Miriam Ayo Okello charged Sewanyana who also doubles as the Kasubi zone IV Vice Chairperson and Benson Senyonga, his defense secretary with manslaughter.

According to the charge sheet, the accused together with others at large on 16/08 this year killed Siraja Akim Tumusiime a city businessman.

Tumusiime, a phone dealer at Mutasa Kafeero plaza was called by Uncle Money to buy their phones. When the deceased met them at Kasubi, uncle money grabbed him by the neck to forced him into a valley while warning him that he was going to be killed. 

Abdul Mulembe, a brother to the deceased told this website that he followed uncle money with his brother until they warned him to stop following them, he feared and backed off.

He said that when Uncle Money murdered the deceased, he dumped the body at Mulago mortuary where the family picked it from.

The case was adjourned to 1/10/2019.

By Sengooba Alirabaki

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SPORTS

You Are Greedy And Dishonest, Only A Fool Will Believe That Desabre Accepted To Leave Because Whatever He Has Done, We Saw It On The Pitch – Aldrine Nsubuga Blasts Magogo’s FUFA

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Football pundit Aldrine Nsubuga who is currently the marketing director at StarTimes has blasted football governing body Federation of Uganda Football Association (FUFA) for being Greedy and dishonest to Ugandans concerning the departure of the National team the Cranes coach Sabastian Desabre.

Aldrine, who in 2012 led Save Our Soccer (SOS) pressure group that called for the resignation of the regime at that time led by Lawrence Mulindwa over poor governace and mismanagement has warned that Magogo’s FUFA are lying about Desabre’s resignation.

Today morning, FUFA released a statement saying that Mr. Desabre Sebastien Serge Louis mutually agreed to terminate his contract.

“The reasons for termination of the employment contract are for the benefit and growth of both parties. FUFA recognises the contribution by Mr. Desabre for the improvement of the sporting and professional organisation of the Uganda Cranes inclusive of qualification to the AFCON 2019 Finals and also to the Round of 16,” the statement stated

“Mr. Desabre is grateful to the people and the Government of Uganda, FUFA, Sponsors, Staff and the players that have provided him a good environment to fulfill his obligations in his first time role as a National Team Coach.

FUFA will communicate any further development about the Uganda Cranes technical staff and future programmes of the National senior team in the nearest future,” the statement concluded.

Desabre with Uganda Cranes winger Farouk Miya

ALDRINE BITTER

In response, Aldrine, via his Facebook page said, ” Desabre is out! Contract terminated.

By mutual consent.

The moment you see those words ‘mutual consent’ you know it wasn’t. It’s the language used in professional football purely for PR purposes.

It gives us the freedom and right to speculate. So we can begin now…..if you know something tell us. ‘Mutual consent’ is a white collar term used to cover ugly truths. Lets be wiser.. I will go first…

The money. The embarrassment. The dishonesty. One of the parties (FUFA or Desabre) must be guilty of committing one of those crimes which led to the pre-mature end.

Could it be Desabre who ate the.money? No.

Is it Desabre who embarrassed the nation? No.

Is it Desabre who has been dishonest? No.

Whatever Desabre has done, we saw on the pitch. Did we see everything that the players did? Yes we did..including the strike and the reasons were put in broad day light. There was nothing hidden.

That leaves FUFA – do we know everything that FUFA did behind the scenes? No we don’t. They are the only ones between the 3 parties whose actions and deeds were never fully known to the public.

Mutual.consent? Only a fool will believe that.

You think we have moved a step.in the right direction but then , as always, we conspire to kill our own progress.

Ugandan football loses another good man in the name of ? Greed. This is always the problem.. Now let me wait for the guns to be turned against me for speaking about this. It comes with the territory.

Now what do you know, tell us….we are all ears.”

MUSEVENI TO MEET PLAYERS

President Museveni will on Monday at 4pm host the Uganda Cranes contingent that returns home tomorrow from the 2019 AFCON tournament in Egypt to congratulate the team for its great performance that saw them make it to the knock out phase of the AFCON tournament for the first time since 1978.

The Cranes contingent will leave Cairo at 10.50pm on Sunday night and arrive in Entebbe on Monday morning aboard Egypt Air.

By Doreen Menezer

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