Ghana keeper reveals bribery offer

Goalkeeper Richard Kingson has claimed he turned down a $300,000 offer to throw a match when playing for Ghana at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

Kingson, 34, told the Synagogue Church of All Nations in Nigeria that the offer had been made before his team took on Czech Republic.

He claimed the bribe was to ensure that the Czechs won 2-0 – but he had rejected it after his wife pleaded with him not to lose his dignity.

Kingson told the church’s broadcast channel Emmanuel TV he had “got confused by weighing the options of getting richer by $300,000 after that match, whereas all that I would get in the event of a Ghana victory would be much less – just $3,000”.

“In the 2006 World Cup in Germany, we were about to play Czech Republic. By then they were the second best in the world.

“A Ghanaian led me to some people to take a bribe and it was this woman [his wife] who delivered me and delivered Ghanaians. I was very confused and I didn’t know what to do but I called her and told her. My wife said: ‘Richard, I love you not because of your money, so don’t get tempted by this offer to lose your dignity and credibility.'”

Goals from Asamoah Gyan and Sulley Muntari saw Ghana beat the Czechs 2-0.

It’s been an eventful week for Kingson and his wife; a few days ago he posted Facebook messages denying that his wife was a witch.

The goalkeeper wrote “My wife is not a witch” after she had allegedly confessed to a pastor that she had “bewitched” him, throwing his career and life into disarray.

Goalkeepers are different

Despite missing the grand total of one match since he arrived at Tottenham from Lyon just under a fortnight ago, French keeper Hugo Lloris is set for talks (I hesitate to use the term ‘showdown’) with his new manager, Andre Villas-Boas.

Lloris faces a battle to dislodge incumbent Brad Friedel from the team after Villas-Boas declared last weekend that the place belonged to the American.

Questioned about what Villas-Boas said, Lloris said: “Obviously it’s never nice, but we’ll see when we return to work on Wednesday.

“When I join up with the national team I concentrate uniquely on that and we’ll see about my personal situation as soon as I go back.”

Meanwhile, Friedel, said that competition was healthy and suggested that he would have handled the situation in a more adult way if he wasn’t playing.

“It’s great to have competition,” said the American. “Hugo is France’s No. 1, he’s going to want to play, I’m going to want to play, and so are Carlo Cudicini and Heurelho Gomes. I want to play, I’ve always wanted to play. I don’t sign contracts not to play. However, I would never demean the manager by spitting my dummy out if I wasn’t playing.”

I think that’s an example of what psychologists would call ‘passive aggressive behaviour’.

Protecting the vulnerable

In a move that will further highlight the paucity of talent currently available in English football, Roy Hodgson has called up Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling into his squad for Tuesday’s World Cup qualifiers against Ukaine.

Sterling has made just a handful of appearances for the Liverpool first team and only last week his manager, Brendan Rodgers, warned about the dangers of expecting too much too soon from the 17-year-old.

Rodgers was preaching caution amid suggestions that the teenager would be fast tracked from the England under-19 side to the under-21s.

“It might look great on the back pages that he is involved in the Under-21s but the reality is that this is a kid who has made great strides over the last few weeks,” said Rodgers.

“He was absolutely fantastic through pre-season. You have seen his quality, courage and attitude in games – it has been fantastic. But, for the moment, let’s just stay calm.”

Imagine his horror when he hears that Sterling has bypassed the under-21s altogether and has been drafted into the full England squad.

The decision to call up Sterling at such a young age may not simply be a recognition of his potential. His selection may also be a shrewd move on the part of Hodgson, intended to ensure that he does not switch international allegiance to Jamaica, the country of his birth.

Jamaica boss Theodore Whitmore has already stated that he wants Sterling on board for the Reggae Boyz.

“We definitely showed an interest in Sterling before and we are just waiting on him now for the go-ahead,” Whitmore told STAR Sportsafter Jamaica’s 2-1 weekend win over USA.

“I don’t want to go into any further details but, as I said, he is definitely someone we have our eyes on and it’s all up to him now.”

Goal of the day

Elkeson clever backheel in Botafogo’s 3-1 win over Nautico.

Brawl of the day

Tempers frayed at the end of Algeria’s African Nation Cup win against Libya, resulting in players from both sides becoming involved in a lengthy, but relatively non-violent brawl.

Quote of the day

“You cannot become a legend before death. But I am a living legend.”

It could only be Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who was speaking as he was honoured with his name being inscribed at the Walk of Fame of Sports at the Stadium Square in his home town Malmo.

No more for Neymar

Neymar has once again expressed his frustration with the way he was treated during Brazil’s 1-0 international friendly win over South Africa.

The coveted striker was booed by his own fans as the Selecao struggled to impress, and Neymar feels that people are perhaps expecting too much of him. For that he may be tempted to have a word with his compatriot, Pele, who has stated on more than one occasion that the 20-year-old will one day supplant Lionel Messi as the best player in the world.

“I felt sick because of what happened against South Africa. I am not a machine,” he was quoted as saying by Globo Esporte.

“I was exhausted after Friday’s match, both physically and mentally.

“I just want to keep on playing and help Santos and the national team.”

Sniffing around

Like a spurned lover who can’t come to terms with the fact that his ex has moved on to pastures new, former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez has been stirring the pot by admitting he was surprised the club did not approach him when the manager’s position became available at Anfield last summer.

The 53-year-old, who enjoyed sporadic success in his six-year spell at Anfield and who, rather unhelpfully for his successors, continues to live in Merseyside, also believes his appointment would have been well greeted by the Liverpool faithful.

“It was strange not to be approached,” he told the Irish Independent. “We know the club, the players, the Academy and we have even more experience now… the fans were positive about the idea.”

Benitez left the Merseyside club by mutual consent during the summer of 2010 after a poor season saw his team finish seventh, missing out on a Champions League place. However, as he is fond of reminding people, the Spaniard did pull off an unlikely Champions League success with the club in 2005.

“We used to play so many important games that it seemed it was normal and it wasn’t. People were talking about ‘the past’, but just a few years ago Liverpool FC was number one in Europe.”

The interview seems less a reaction to Brendan Rodgers appointment in the summer and more a reminder to the board that he is still available should the new man be discarded before the board has had time to read, let alone comprehend his 180-page dossier.

Kick off delayed

The Egyptian Sports Ministry has delayed the start of the new Premier League season for a month, after fans attacked the country’s Football Association headquarters.

Around 2,000 Al-Ahly fans stormed the building last week, demanding that the season be delayed until justice is done for fellow supporters killed after a match in February.

Their game against Al Masry in Port Said resulted in 74 deaths, most of them Al –Ahly fans.

Seventy-three people are currently on trial facing charges for their murders.

However, the Super Cup game between Al Ahly and Enppi did take place at the weekend. The match was played behind closed doors and with a number of key players absent.

Among them was Mohammed Aboutrika, who refused to play in the game in support of the club’s fans, while coach Hossam al Badry dedicated Ahly’s 2-1 win to those killed in the Port Said tragedy.

Closed shop

The Bundesliga has agreed a new broadcast agreement in North Korea with state news broadcaster Korean Central Television (KCTV), according to the Wall Street Journal Deutschland.

DFL Sports Enterprises chief executive Jörg Daubitzer said that the deal, which will come into effect from mid-September, will carry no “economic profit”.

”Our goal is to promote our product in North Korea, so the Bundesliga becomes more popular in that market,” Daubitzer added.

“There are only two options in the North Korean market, either no coverage, or one type of coverage, which is sold under value.”

The deal comes after the signing earlier this year by Cologne of North Korean striker Jong Tae-Se.

KCTV has acquired the weekly rights to broadcast one game from the Bundesliga or 2. Bundesliga, which should enliven their schedule no end.

Here’s the current daily listing for the one and only TV channel in North Korea:

The following illustrates the daily broadcasting output on KCTV daily:

  • 16:15 – Test card with time
  • 17:00 – National anthem, Opening of broadcasts and sign-on continuity, Song of General Kim Il-sung (instrumental and minus one anthem), Kim Jong-il (instrumental), followed by the programme guide and television listings for the day
  • 17:10 – KCTV Pyongyang Afternoon News
  • 17:20 – KCTV Pyongyang Weather Forecast
  • 17:30 – KCTV Daily Press Reviews (North Korea newspapers broadsheet daily news a national morning paper)
  • 17:45 – North Korea Situational Comedy
  • 18:00 – KCTV Korea News Documentary
  • 18:20 – KCTV Korea Educational Program
  • 18:30 – Music of North Korea
  • 18:50 – KCTV Children’s Program
  • 19:00 – KCTV Special Events
  • 19:40 – KCTV Korea Drama Program
  • 20:00 – KCTV North Korea Prime News
  • 20:20 – KCTV North Korea Prime Weather Forecast
  • 20:30 – North Korean films/Movie theater from Korean War
  • 22:30 – KCTV Korea Sports Programming
  • 23:00 – KCTV Pyongyang and North Korea Late News Update
  • 23:20 – KCTV North Korea Late Night Weather Report
  • 23:25 – North Korean music video
  • 23:30 – Schedule for the next day’s programming, sign-off announcement, Flag of North Korea
  • 23:35 – Fade out black, Test card