World Soccer

REPORTS WE COULDN’T MAKE UP

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1 TIME FOR A CHANGE

While most footballer­s consider a career in coaching or the media after retiring, former Juventus, Arsenal and Switzerlan­d defender Stephan Lichtstein­er has something else in mind. “I want to do something productive,” the 37-year-old told

Reuters, after beginning a six-month internship with Swiss watchmaker­s Maurice de Mauriac. “I see some similariti­es to football. In football if not all the team is perfect you will not win. It’s the same with a watch, if everything is not perfectly in place the watch is not going to work.” The plan is for Lichtstein­er to make a watch and sell it for charity at the end of his internship.

2 LIMA LET OFF

Alianza Lima’s relegation in 2020 sent shockwaves throughout Peruvian football. Only one club, their fierce rivals Universita­rio, have won more league titles, and the idea of a league campaign without them seemed inconceiva­ble. Well, Alianza agreed, and have been appealing against their relegation ever since. Their argument was that Carlos Stein, who finished just outside the bottom three, should have been docked points for failing to pay players on time. Alianza eventually turned to CAS, who ruled in their favour, after the 2021 season had already begun. Carlos Stein’s only match was subsequent­ly wiped from the record books.

3 IN YOUR FACE

A goalkeeper from Vietnam’s second division has been banned for three games and fined ten million Vietnamese dong for his celebratio­ns during a recent clash. Pham Tran Thanh Vu was penalised for a penalty in the 88th minute of Can Tho’s clash with Cong An Nhan Dan, yet having kept the ball out – thereby preserving a point for his side – he then sprinted towards the referee and performed a knee-slide at his feet in celebratio­n. “When I re-watched the video, I realised my behaviour was totally inappropri­ate,” Vu admitted. In another twist, the referee’s failure to book Vu meant that he was also handed a ban.

4 COVID CHAOS

Not for the first time this season, COVID testing protocols led to some bizarre situations, this time in a CONCACAF Olympic qualifier between Haiti and Honduras. A number of Haiti players and staff were late for pre-match testing, meaning that their results would not arrive in time for kick-off, forcing the team to field a starting line-up of just ten players, including a right-back in goal. During the match, a negative result came back for one of their goalkeeper­s, who was then able to join the action. To their credit, they only lost 3-0.

5 IN, OUT, IN, OUT

Kwame Poku’s call-up for Ghana should have been a fairy tale. Just two years ago, the Colchester United midfielder was playing non-league football for Worthing, yet now found himself preparing for his first internatio­nal cap. Then things got rather messy: Ghanaian fans and media criticised the decision to select a player from England’s fourth tier, and Poku was subsequent­ly dropped to the “A” team – who, bizarrely, were travelling to Uzbekistan for a friendly. Ghana’s FA then performed another U-turn, and reinstated the 19-year-old for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers against South Africa and Sao Tome e Principe.

 ??  ?? Career change… Lichtstein­er
Career change… Lichtstein­er
 ??  ?? Kwame Poku…in action for League Two Colchester
Kwame Poku…in action for League Two Colchester

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