Zambia president hails Junior Chipolopolo

Zambia president Edgar Lungu has praised the nation's U20 national team for reaching the Round of 16 at the U20 World Cup in South Korea.

Junior Chipolopolo defeated Iran 4-2 in their second match to guarantee qualification after beating Portugal 2-1 in their opening match. The side have one more meaningless Group C clash with Costa Rica to play on Saturday.

Nonetheless, Lungu commended the Zambia U20s and wished them well in their future matches. He said, "As I said last Sunday when the junior Chipolopolo defeated Portugal in the opening match, team spirit and singleness of purpose can surmount any challenges we face as a nation.

"The team's flawless progression now seems to be a remarkable fairy tale. The gallant boys have again shown us another great example that when we are united and focused, we can always be a winning nation.

"I congratulate the team whole-heartedly and pledge my own and government support to their continued campaign. I have no doubt, this team is about to make history."

Rooney won't play elsewhere in Premier League

Likely departing Manchester United playing legend Wayne Rooney says he won't play for another team in the Premier League if he leaves the club in the near future.

The 31-year-old has been starved of playing time under Jose Mourinho as it seems his powers are on the wane at the highest levels of European football.

However, Everton boss Ronald Koeman has expressed his interest in Rooney's services, whose last appearance for the Red Devils appears likely to be his late cameo against Ajax Amsterdam in last Wednesday's Europa League final victory.

Nonetheless, England's highest scorer says he won't play for another Premier League club. He told the Guardian, "I've played for two Premier League clubs (Everton and Man Utd) and they're the only two Premier League clubs I'll play for.

"There are lots of offers on the table, both in England and abroad, and that's what I have to decide on. I've got some decisions to make now over the next few weeks so I will talk with my family and then I'll decide."

In 559 appearances for United since 2004/05, Rooney hit 253 goals and is the club's all-time record scorer ahead of the legendary Bobby Charlton.

Bayern to face Chelsea, Milans and Arsenal in pre-season

Bayern Munich have announced their pre-season preparation schedule which will be highlighted by games against Arsenal, AC Milan, Chelsea and Inter Milan in late July.

The Bavarians will report back to pre-season training on 1 July before beginning a series of friendly matches both domestically and abroad.

The club's official website released the itinerary, saying, "1 July (16.00 CET) Start of training (public). 6 July (18.30) Friendly away to BCF Wolfratshausen. 9 July (17.00) Benefit match in Erlangen.

"15 July Telekom Cup - 15.15 CET: FC Bayern v TSG 1899 Hoffenheim subsequently match for third place or final.

"16 to 28 July - Audi Summer Tour China. 19 July: Audi Football Summit against Arsenal (in Shanghai) 22 July: Audi Football Summit against AC Milan (in Shenzhen)

"25 July: International Champions Cup against Chelsea (in Singapore) 27 July: International Champions Cup against Inter Milan (in Singapore) 1 and 2 August: Audi Cup."

Dembele: DFB win would show BVB on track

Borussia Dortmund's star France international winger, Ousmane Dembele, believes winning the DFB-Pokal Cup final against Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday will show the club's progress.

BVB have endured a rollercoaster ride of a season but seem to have come through with flying colours by ending the season in an automatic UEFA Champions League position, after earlier beating Bayern Munich to reach the DFB-Pokal final.

As such, Dembele says that a victory over Moody Diva will be an indication that the club are heading in the right direction under coach Thomas Tuchel.   

He told reporters, "That would prove that I have really settled in. And winning in Berlin would show the fans that the team is going in the right direction, especially after this difficult season."

Dortmund appear to be strong favourites as Frankfurt's recent league form has been poor with the team picking up just one win in their last 10 matches played.

 

Akpabio Stadium ready for Eagles v Bafana

Godswill Akpabio International Stadium has been declared ready to host the crucial 2019 Africa Cup of Nations clash between Nigeria and Bafana Bafana.

The playing surface has been described as good for playing football and the Nigeria Football Federation are said to be looking forward to seeing the game played at the venue.

Chairman of NFF Technical and Development Committee, Barrister Chris Green, said, "We want to express our appreciation to the Akwa Ibom State Government and the people of the State for their co-operation in observing no activity on the pitch of the stadium.

"That has helped to retain the lush nature of the turf. The NFF is of the belief that this abstinence will be observed until after the match."

The Super Eagles face South Africa at the stadium on 9 June in what could be an influential result in a Group E which contains Seychelles and Libya.

Harare City hire 'Beefy' Ncube

Harare City have announced the appointment of Philani 'Beefy' Ncube as their new coach, as he takes over the reigns from Mike Madzivanyika.  

City Fathers have endured a tough start to the new campaign where they have won once and lost four in nine appearances in the Zimbabwe Premier League.

As such, the club took swift action to appoint Ncube while Madzivanyika will reportedly revert to the assistant role he previously occupied.

Club chairman, Alois Masepe, confirmed the news of the changes telling Newsday,  "We have restructured the technical team with immediate effect. The team has been playing well, but the results are not coming the way we expected so we felt the need for intervention and to bring in new ideas.

"Philani Ncube is our new head coach and we want Mike Madzivanyika to revert back to his previous role as assistant coach. We want to retain him in the new set-up, but it is up to him."

Roma legend Totti confirms retirement

Roma talisman Francesco Totti has confirmed that he will play his last game for the club in the Serie A clash with Genoa on Sunday.

The Giallorossi's new director of sport Monchi revealed earlier this month that Totti will retire at the end of the season, but the 40-year-old striker never confirmed it himself, until now.

Totti has been at Roma since the age of 13 and has made 784 appearances for the Italian side. He also holds the record as the oldest player to score a Champions League goal, at 38 years and 59 days.

"I already knew that he had this agreement with the club [to become a director] and that this was going to be his last year as a player before starting as a director," Monchi said, according to ESPN.

"Francesco is Roma and I'm going to ask him to be close to me. Even if I can only learn one percent of what he knows, that is already a lot."

Totti revealed via his official Twitter account: "Roma-Genoa, Sunday 28th May 2017, the last time I can wear Roma's jersey.

"I can't tell you in a few words how much these colors meant, mean and will always mean to me," he added. "I just feel that my love for football never fades: it's a passion, my passion. It's so deep I can't imagine not fuelling it any longer. Ever.

"From Monday I'm ready to go again. I'm ready for a new challenge."

Coleman not considering Palace post

Wales manager Chris Coleman has insisted that he is not thinking about taking over the vacant post at his former club Crystal Palace.

The Eagles are without a manager since the abrupt resignation of Sam Allardyce this week, which has led to speculation linking Coleman with the job.

However, Coleman remains focused on his Wales duties as he prepares them for a World Cup qualifier against Serbia next month.

The 46-year-old was a Palace player between 1991 and 1995 and previously mentioned that he would like to one day return to club management.

"I'm happy to talk about the Palace. I'd love to go back to the Palace but I'm not sure Prince Charles is ready for me just yet," he replied jokingly when asked about the Palace job by the press, according to Sky Sports.

"I had a good time at the Palace but I'm only thinking about Serbia. That's all I'm thinking about, that's all I care about. All I care about now is Wales.

"I don't think about after Serbia, I can't afford to think past one game. Lots of things have been said off the back of comments I made at the start of the campaign when I signed a new contract.

"But honestly, I cannot go into a game of football thinking: 'If we lose…' I've never thought like that. It's about making sure our boys perform like they have been. We're not far off."

Chilli Boys to go on the defensive

Chippa United head coach Dan Malesela reveals he will set his side up to avoid losing when they take on Free State Stars in the final match of the Premiership season.

The Chilli Boys are currently 13th in the standings with Free State a position behind them, but both sides are on 27 points, just one ahead of Highlands Park and two in front of Baroka FC in last place.

The advantage Chippa have is that their goal difference is vastly superior to the other three teams, meaning a solitary point will more than likely be enough to secure their top flight status for next season.

With that in mind Malesela conceded his side would be taking a cautious approach to their match on Saturday.

"We have options. Option 1, to win and option 2, to draw. This means we will be very cautious in our approach," he told the club's official website.

"This probably puts pressure on Free State Stars but also on us because they will go all out to win.

"We will be up to it. We will take a draw or a win on Saturday."

Batambuze explains Tusker and Leopards snub

Ugandan left-wing back Shafik Batambuze has revealed his decision to leave the Kenyan Premier League was motivated by money.

Batambuze impressed with Kenyan top-flight side Tusker FC in the 3-5-2 formation this season and with his contract coming to an end, 13-time champions AFC Leopards offered the 22-year-old a lucrative contract.

However, the Uganda international rejected the advances of both Kenyan top-flight sides in favor of a move to newly promoted Tanzanian side Singida United, which will be his seventh professional club in eight years.

"I am a journey man and for me what is important is the offer the team has for me," he told Capital Sports. "I will be honest, AFC Leopards approached me but once I saw what Singida offered it was an easy decision for me. 

"I have been in Kenya long enough and I know what each club is capable of financially. They couldn't match what Singida had given me."