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  1. Renard ‘posterboy’ for coaches seeking route home

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    July 17, 2019 by admin

    Rarely have any returned home to coach a leading club but it is on the back of taking Zambia to the 2012 African Nations Cup title that Renard is suddenly catapulted from overseas exile into the coaching hot seat at Sochaux.


    They sit second bottom of the standings and have taken a gamble in a bid to get out of their current quagmire – hiring a coach who might be local but is in many ways foreign to the French league.

    The move back home comes with fortuitous timing as his contract at Zambia had just months to run with the country already eliminated from the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.

    Among his last jobs in France was running a garbage collection company, cleaning empty offices at night and dreaming of a chance to make a career in football.

    When he realised as a teenager he was never going to make the grade as a top professional player, Renard coached at amateur level but never got a chance with a top division team.

    “I am not in the who’s who,” he told Reuters in an interview two years ago on the eve of the victorious Nations Cup final.

    “I took out the rubbish for eight years and now I’m about to coach in the African Nations Cup final. Football is magical right?”

    A chance encounter with Claude Le Roy, another Frenchman better known in Africa, saw him offered the opportunity to be his assistant in China, at Cambridge United in the fourth tier of English football and with Ghana’s national team.

    Renard’s first solo job was in the anonymity of club football in Vietnam but his break came when Le Roy recommended him to Zambia.


    He became their national coach in 2008 and took them to the Nations Cup quarter-finals in the tournament in Angola two years later.

    They were bundled out in a penalty shootout by Nigeria but Renard got a lucrative offer to stay on as Angola coach.

    That proved a brief and disappointing tenure but he bounced back in Algeria at top club USM Alger and had no hesitation when Zambia asked him to return in late 2011.

    Months later they were African champions and Renard an international figure, his chiselled good looks and trademark tight white shirt marking him out.

    “I always had Ligue 1 as an objective,” he told reporters as he prepared this week for his first game at home to table-topping Monaco on Sunday.

    “But I’m not a magician, I can only offer hard work,” he told France Football magazine.

    His progress will be closely watched by a posse of expatriate coaches around the developing world with similar ambitious of returning home in glory, as well as many admirers across Africa.

    His mentor Le Roy had a similar chance at Paris St Germain but his stay was all too brief.

    Philippe Troussier, who made his name in West Africa as the “white witch doctor” and took Japan to the World Cup quarter-finals in 2002, went home to a surprise post at Olympique Marseille in 2004 but lasted a half-season and has not had a major post since.

    (Additional reporting by André Assier; Editing by John O’Brien)

  2. Salary cap for youngsters would help England – Campbell

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    July 17, 2019 by admin

    Campbell, 39, who made 73 appearances for England during a 20-year playing career, said too many foreign youngsters in English academies were hampering the development of local players.


    In an interview with Reuters ahead of the publication of his autobiography “Sol Searching” next year, the former Tottenham, Arsenal and Portsmouth centre-back, said: “You cannot stop overseas players playing in the Premier League.

    “But I think there should be a salary cap for younger, youth team players.

    “Youth team players from overseas are coming into the academies and earning too much money too young and English youngsters are suffering.

    “Their salaries should be capped until there are 18 or 19 or they get to the first team.

    “It would make coming to England less attractive for foreign youngsters and give some of the English players time to learn their trade. They would not be under such severe pressure and it would allow them time to grow.

    “It would mean we could get them up to the standard to play at the highest level. It would give them time and space to develop.

    “Everyone else, the Germans, for example, have time and space. In Germany, there may be a couple of Swiss guys, or Austrian. You are not going to have 60 or 70 percent non-German youngsters at youth team level.

    “In Spain, you might have a couple of Portuguese or South Americans but you are not going to have 60 or 70 percent of players from around the world in youth teams in Spain.”


    Campbell’s career spanned the first 19 seasons of the Premier League from the time he made his debut with Spurs as an 18-year-old in 1992 until he retired in 2012 after a handful of games with Newcastle United.

    At the start of the 1992-93 season when he began his career there were less than 40 overseas players in the Premier League, and the latest estimate is that now only around 30 percent of players are English.

    Campbell, who was one of the relatively few English players to regularly feature for Arsenal during his first five seasons there after his move from Spurs, added: “When I was growing up at Tottenham, we had one overseas player, Quinton Fortune from South Africa.

    “Everyone else was British, they were English, Scottish, Welsh or Irish. If you want to get into an academy now you are competing against kids from all over the world and that’s why the money for young players should be capped.”

    He also said that England manager Roy Hodgson should play the younger players in his squad at the World Cup finals next year.

    “Win, lose or draw, it will be a fantastic experience for them. I always wished I had played in South America.

    “It will also be fantastic for the younger lads to get that experience and of playing in that tournament, so I hope they play.

    “For the younger lads to get there and not to play in it, is not the best way.

    “You have got to blood these guys in tournament play because that is how they get better. If you keep the younger guys on the bench, that’s not the best thing to do.

    “You want to get them playing, because next time around they will have the confidence and know what its all about.”

    (Reporting by Mike Collett)

  3. One dead and 80 homes destroyed in fires

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    July 17, 2019 by admin

    They have been described as apocalyptic, devastating and some of the worst we have ever seen.


    The fires in NSW have left one man dead and hundreds of homes feared destroyed, while emergency services warn there may be worse news to come.

    More than 1500 firefighters were on the ground across the state on Friday as more than 90 fires scorched through 91,000 hectares and destroyed at least 80 homes.

    A 63-year-old man collapsed from a heart attack while defending his house at Lake Munmorah on the NSW central coast on Thursday – marking the first fatality in the crisis.

    Walter Linder collapsed in his yard and despite attempts to revive him, died at Wyong Hospital.

    As residents and emergency services began returning to affected areas, Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons warned more casualties may be discovered.

    “There is a possibility that we might find people who haven’t been able to get out of harm’s way,” he told reporters.

    The fires, he said, were some of the most damaging and destructive the state has ever seen.

    Mr Fitzsimmons became visibly emotional as he addressed the media, stopping to compose himself as he praised the work of his colleagues.

    “We have the best firefighters in the world,” he said.

    But for some people’s homes, the ferocity of the fires were too great.

    Eighty-one properties are confirmed to have been destroyed and 37 damaged by blazes in the Blue Mountains communities of Springwood and Winmalee.

    But with only 30 per cent of the area so far being inspected, the RFS expects the numbers to rise.

    One local, Helen Walton, who has lived through three major bushfires since moving to the mountains said the fire – which scorched almost 2000 hectares – was by far the worst she had seen.

    But her house remains, and she vows to as well.

    “We’ll stay. Of course we’ll stay. We might have to re-landscape, though,” she told AAP.

    Springwood resident Catherine Hubbard made a terrifying escape from the bushfire that destroyed her home, seeking refuge with strangers.

    “The sun was totally blocked out and houses were burning down to the ground all around us,” she said.

    Without running water, the neighbours used buckets and wet towels – “whatever we could get our hands on” – to douse embers, knowing the house was their only refuge.

    Then came a change in the wind which cleared a path through the smoke.

    “It was a miracle, actually,” Ms Hubbard said.

    While the Blue Mountains was the worst hit region, residents of Lithgow, the Southern Highlands and the central coast also faced another tough day as blazes flared up across the state, with the fire in Balmoral running rapidly.

    In the quaint Catherine Hill Bay village near Lake Macquarie, resident Wayne Demarco surveyed the destruction caused by Thursday’s fire.

    “It looks very apocalyptic … It looks horrible with telephone poles burned to the ground and things just destroyed.”

    Two firefighters are in hospital with burns and a Winmalee man is being treated for smoke inhalation.

    But there was some good news on Friday night, with all blazes downgraded to a watch and act alert or below as humidity rises and winds drop.

    Firefighters were strengthening containment lines and getting out of control blazes in check before worsening weather conditions on Sunday and Monday.

    But Mr Fitzsimmons warned the situation remained “very active, dynamic and dangerous.”

    “The fight will continue night and day for days and, on some fire grounds, for weeks,” he said.

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott, an RFS volunteer himself, thanked those working on the NSW emergency.

    “I just want to say how sorry we are on behalf of the people and the parliament of Australia for the heartache which so many hundreds of people in NSW are currently dealing with, but how proud we are of the thousands of volunteers and full-time professionals (fire fighters),” he said at Winmalee fire station.

  4. Norwegian named as Kenya mall gunman suspect

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    July 17, 2019 by admin

    The 23-year-old was named as Hassan Abdi Dhuhulow, who the BBC said is suspected of helping to plan and carry out the attack on the upmarket Westgate mall.


    Dhuhulow was born in Somalia, but he and his family moved to Norway as refugees in 1999, according to relatives who spoke to the BBC from the Norwegian town of Larvik, some 135 kilometres southwest of the capital Oslo.

    However, other relatives denied it was Dhuhulow who appeared in security camera footage of the attack.

    “None of the men in the video is the 23-year-old,” a relative told Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

    The relative’s name or links to the suspect were not disclosed, but they reportedly live in Larvik.

    The BBC quoted one of Dhuhulow’s former neighbours Morten

    Henriksen, who described the young man.

    “He was pretty extreme, didn’t like life in Norway… got into trouble, fights, his father was worried,” Henriksen told the BBC, speaking of Dhuhulow as a teenager.

    Last week Norway’s PST intelligence agency said it had launched a probe after it obtained information about the possible involvement of a Norwegian of Somali origin in both planning and carrying out the attack.

    Norwegian investigators have been sent to Nairobi to work with their Kenyan counterparts, Norway’s PST said.

    Neither the intelligence services nor the family responded to AFP phone calls on Friday morning.

    Witnesses in the mall described how the fighters stormed the complex around midday on September 21 when it was crowded with shoppers, firing from the hip and hurling grenades at shoppers and staff.

    The gunmen coldly executed scores of people, with witnesses recounting how in some cases they called out to those wounded, then finished them off at close range.

    The siege was declared over four days later.

    Kenyan police have named four of the attackers as Abu Baraal Al Sudani, Khatab Ali Khane and one man known simply as Umayr – reportedly all Somalis, plus a Kenyan of Somali origin, Omar Nabhan. However, the names are noms de guerre.

  5. White says guilt-free after Brumbies walk-out

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    July 17, 2019 by admin

    White took the Canberra-based side to the final of the southern hemisphere competition this season and had two years left on his contract but quit abruptly last month to return to South Africa where he has been appointed director of rugby with Durban’s Sharks.


    White had been in the running to succeed Robbie Deans as head coach of Australia after the New Zealander was moved on in the wake of the British and Irish Lions series loss, but former Queensland Reds coach Ewen McKenzie was preferred despite having no experience at test level.

    White, who guided the Springboks to the 2007 World Cup win, told Fairfax media he had become “disillusioned” with the Brumbies job after being overlooked for the Wallabies.

    “I told (the Brumbies) I was feeling disillusioned with where my career was going in Australia,” White said in comments published on Friday.

    “And who says I can’t coach Australia after the World Cup? I’ve not turned my back on Australia.

    “I don’t feel guilty at all about wanting to chase an international dream, players do it all the time.”

    White, who helped turn the Brumbies from cellar-dwellers into contenders in his two years in charge, said he had felt “heartsore” to leave.

    “I know that in my heart I did my bit and I gave my 100 per cent and there was no malice or skulduggery,” he said.

    “The bottom line is I just wanted to move on. Families allow family members to move on. It happens. A lot of the guys I’ve spoken to, they all understand why it had to happen.”

    White’s walk-out left the Brumbies with two caretakers in charge in assistants Laurie Fisher and former Wallaby Stephen Larkham. The club has little prospect of finding a replacement from outside the club with pre-season training already under way.

    White will return to Canberra in May when the Brumbies host the Sharks.

    “I will enjoy it,” he said. “I’ll catch up with a lot of my friends that I’ve got in Canberra. It’s not like I’m sitting here in trepidation thinking I’m going to have to go back to Canberra,” he said.

    (Writing by Ian Ransom; Editing by Patrick Johnston)