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  • El Hadji Diouf of Senegal Says He is Not 'a Bad Guy.'


     

    El Hadji Diouf, Senegalese international, whose countrymen and women are still grateful for the stellar role he played during the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea, said: “I am not a bad guy.”

    During his football career, El Hadji Diouf developed a reputation as a bad boy of football. Now retired, the former Senegalese international tells BBC Sport's Stanley Kwenda why he believes this was unfair.

    El Hadji Diouf is a hero in Senegal. Everywhere he goes he immediately surrounded by fans both young and old. But in England, he is remembered more for his controversial antics than for his football talent.

    Diouf was aggressive, spat at opponents and confronted match officials as well as opponents, according to the BBC.

    It is a trait that followed him in the English league clubs he played for - from Liverpool and Blackburn Rovers to Bolton Wanderers, with a spell for Rangers in Scotland as well.

    'Bad loser.'

    But now in his retirement, he is telling his story.

    "I am a lion, I am a bad loser, and it's not wrong to be a bad loser," says Diouf of his often combative mood during his playing days.

    "I have got character, and I want people to respect me."

    Diouf, who has now permanently moved back to the Senegalese capital Dakar, says he often misunderstood during his playing days in England.

    "I am an easy target. It's easy to talk about El Hadji Diouf, and I let them talk, but I know in my heart I am a good guy. My family know, my population knows, my continent knows I am a good person and that's the best thing. The rest is not my problem."

    Despite this defense, Diouf admits he has done some bad things.

    When asked why, for example, he used to spit at opponents, he says: "Maybe they used to tell me something I didn't want to hear. I did that, I paid, and now it's finished."

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  • Alysia Montano Runs in 800m Race Field Championships While Five Months Pregnant

     

     

    American runner Alysia Montano stole the headlines on Thursday at the USA Track and Field Championships despite not winning the race.

    The 31-year-old athlete remarkably ran the two laps while five months pregnant with her second child, much to the delight of the crowd.

    She finished more than 19 seconds behind the winner on Thursday in extreme heat, recording a time of 2 minutes, 21.40 seconds.
    Montano, whose child is due in November, seemed to cherish the occasion as she was pictured finishing the race at the Hornet Stadium with a huge grin on her face while wearing a Wonder Woman top and a trademark flower in her hair.

    However, this isn't the first time she has done the extraordinary and competed while carrying a child.

    Back in 2014, Montano ran in the same race at the same championships while she was 34 weeks pregnant (eight months), finishing nearly 11 seconds slower.

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  • Egyptian Clubs Warned Over Qatar Crisis

    The Confederation of African Football has issued a thinly-veiled warning to Egyptian clubs to stay out of the political crisis in the Gulf.

    Long-simmering tensions between Qatar and its neighbors boiled over earlier this month when Saudi Arabia and some other Arab states cut all ties with Qatar over the oil and gas-rich kingdom's alleged support for terrorism.

    Qatar, the 2022 World Cup host nation, has rejected the accusations.

    The political earthquake in the Gulf has also affected beIN Sports - the Qatari sports network which has the sole rights in the Middle East to broadcast tournaments such as the Africa Cup of Nations and the World Cup.

    beIN Sports, which also has exclusive rights to the African Champions League and Confederation Cup, has been blocked in many Gulf countries over the crisis.

    Earlier this month, the Egyptian Football Association along with the North African country's two biggest clubs - Al Ahly and Zamalek - announced that beIN Sports journalists would face a possibility of barred from covering their games and press conferences.

    On the eve of Tuesday's Champions League match against Wydad Casablanca, Al Ahly head coach Hossam El Badry objected to the presence of beIN Sports reporters at the pre-match press conference in Casablanca.

    The statement from the continent's governing body highlighted the importance of separating politics from football and called on all "football stakeholders to uphold the principles of neutrality and independence" when it comes to politics.

    The statement said: "The guarantee of respect for these principles of neutrality and independence is part of the statutory missions of CAF and FIFA, as well as the obligations of member associations.

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  • India: People arrested for cheering Pakistan in Cricket must be immediately released

    The arrests of at least 19 people for celebrating the Pakistan cricket team’s victory over India in the final of a major tournament is another worrying sign of the erosion of freedom of expression in India, Amnesty International India said today.

    On 19 June, the Madhya Pradesh police arrested 15 people in Burhanpur district for allegedly committing ‘sedition’ by raising ‘pro-Pakistan’ and ‘anti-India’ slogans after Pakistan beat India in the finals of the International Cricket Council Champions Trophy held in London. On the same day, the Karnataka police arrested four people in Kodagu district for allegedly celebrating Pakistan’s victory. They have been accused of spreading ‘communal disharmony’. The offence of sedition is punishable with life imprisonment.

    “These arrests are patently absurd, and the 19 men should be released immediately,” said Asmita Basu, Programmes Director, Amnesty International India.

    “Even if the arrested men had supported Pakistan, as the police claim, that is not a crime. Supporting a sporting team is a matter of individual choice, and arresting someone for cheering a rival team clearly violates their right to freedom of expression.”

    The First Information Report registered by the Madhya Pradesh police states: “[The accused] chanted “Pakistan Zindabad” in support of the Pakistan cricket team…They celebrated Pakistan’s win by bursting crackers and distributing sweets…Their actions suggested that they were trying to conspire against the Indian government by supporting Pakistan in the cricket match…Because of them, there is an atmosphere of unrest in the village.” The Karnataka police, according to media reports, said that the four men arrested in the state burst fire crackers and raised slogans supporting the Pakistan cricket team.

    “These cases show just why the sedition law should be immediately repealed. This law is excessively broad and vague and makes it easy to silence people who are legitimately exercising their right to freedom of expression. Nobody should have to go to prison merely because they are accused of causing offense,” said Asmita Basu. “The sedition law has no place in a rights-respecting society, let alone one that has a proud tradition of pluralism and debate.”

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  • Barcelona Midfielder Rafinha Considers Offer to Join Arsenal'


     

    Barcelona midfielder Rafinha reportedly weighs up a switch to Arsenal.

    The Gunners are keen to strengthen, and ESPN Brazil claims the talented Barca man has been offered a deal to move to North London.

    He can play in central midfield as well as right-back, suggesting Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger may be willing to let Hector Bellerin head in the opposite direction.

    Wenger is keen to keep hold of 22-year-old Bellerin but could be persuaded to do business if he lands Rafinha, believed to be valued by Barcelona at around £26.4million.

    Rafinha, 24, started 16 games in all competitions for the Spanish giants last season and is likely to miss the start of the new campaign due to a knee injury.

    A fresh start at the Emirates could boost his chances of winning a place in Brazil's squad for the World Cup in Russia next summer.

    And the fact he can play in more than one position will delight Wenger, who switched to a 3-5-2 formation towards the end of last season to arrest a worrying slump.

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  • Anzhi Makhachkala Sign Ethiopian Midfielder Gatoch


    Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala have completed the signing of Ethiopian international Gatoch Panom. Gatoch put pen to paper a three years deal as his agent David Beshah revealed to Soccer Ethiopia. The transfer would make the ex-Ethiopia Bunna midfielder the first to get transferred from the Ethiopian Premier League to Russia.

    Gatoch had a five days trail stint with Anzhi where he scored ones. It is reported that club officials drawn interest on Gatoch induced the transfer to be completed in short period. The midfielder arrived in Makhachkala last Wednesday and completed his move earlier today.

    David told Soccer Ethiopia that Gatoch’s move to Anzhi will open doors to other Ethiopian players. “We are very delighted with the move. He is a talented lad and I knew he would seal a move to Anzhi. I hope this move would be a stepping stone to other Ethiopians to follow suit.”

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