No ‘I’ in team

New Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has warned his squad they will not achieve success if they are “selfish” next season.

Presumably, the logic being, that when you’re coached by a man with an ego the size of a small planet, it’s important the players are utterly selfless and dedicated to the bigger picture.

“There is something I say at every club I go to, and I’m going to say it again when I meet the players on July 10,” he told reporters.

“It’s a sentence that I always say on the first day: If you are a top professional, if you are not a selfish person, if you put the club in front of yourself, and if you are here to work 100 percent for me, for your fellow players and for the club, we will have a wonderful relationship.

“If you are selfish, if you don’t care about the club, don’t care about the fans, don’t care about the image… we are in big trouble.”


The 50-year-old also feels he will need the full backing of Roman Abramovich upon his stint as manager of the London side.

“Sometimes you have a couple of guys that are not too keen to accept these kind of rules and this is where you have some problematic relationships, and the club in that moment either supports the problematic player or the manager,” Mourinho explained.

“If the clubs support the manager, the two little guys — gone, easy.”

Bending the rules

Ethiopia and Tunisia’s progress to the final round of African World Cup qualifying are in jeopardy as FIFA opened three investigations into player eligibility.

On Sunday, Ethiopia beat South Africa 2-1 in Addis Ababa to seemingly reach the African play-offs.

Tunisia believed they had gone through too but FIFA is considering an appeal from Equatorial Guinea, that would affect the points in Group B.

Togo are also to be investigated with consequences for Group I.

FIFA rules state a guilty teams “will be sanctioned by forfeiting the match”.

Ethiopia face accusations they fielded an ineligible player in the 2-1 victory over Botswana on 8 June in Group A.

If they are found guilty it would hand a lifeline back to 2010 World Cup hosts South Africa.

Should Ethiopia forfeit that victory against Botswana then South Africa would only be two points behind going into the final group matches in September.

Those game see South Africa host Botswana, while Ethiopia travel to face Central African Republic.

The president of the Ethiopian Football Federation, Sehilu Gebremariam, is still confident his side can progress.

“This is shocking news – but the point is that we are still leading the group, we believe that we shall still qualify for the next stage,” he told the BBC’s Newsday programme.

“We are scrutinizing the situation and we will give information to FIFA and to the public.”

Football’s world governing body is also investigating Togo and Equatorial Guinea for the same reason.

Beautiful game turns ugly

It was not the carnival opening that many people would have wanted, nor the image the organisers wished to display to the footballing community, but the violence that preceded the Confederations Cup tie between Italy and Mexico, did confirm that not everyone in Brazil is enamoured with the money being spent on staging the World Cup finals.

Hundreds of protesters in Brazil clashed with riot police near Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana football stadium on Sunday. Protesters were complaining about the high cost of the tournament and the 2014 World Cup, in a country still lacking in public services.

The ‘Let them have shiny new stadiums’ message has gone down with some people about as well Marie Antoinette’s ‘let them eat cakes’ remark did with the French public back in 1789.

A similar protest against the money being spent on the tournament took place before the opening match on Saturday. Further protests are planned across Brazil.

An estimated 600 people joined the demonstration against an increase in bus ticket prices and the use of public funds spent on the Confederations Cup and next year’s World Cup.

Riot police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.

Demonstrators held up posters reading: “We don’t need the World Cup” and “We need money for hospitals and education”.

Isco kid

Malaga playmaker Isco has confirmed that Real Madrid and Manchester City have made offers to buy him and said he will decide his future after Tuesday’s European Under-21 championships final against Italy.

The 21-year-old midfielder helped Malaga reach the last eight of the Champions League last season and has continued to make an impression with several eye-catching performances at the Euro Under-21 tournament in Israel.

Asked about offers from Real and City, Malaga native Isco told As on Monday there were offers “on the table”.

“I know that both Manchester City and Real Madrid are two great clubs,” he added. “I want what is best for me and for Malaga.”

Isco said he had not spoken to City’s new manager Manuel Pellegrini since the Chilean decided to leave Malaga and move to the Premier League at the end of last term.

However, Pellegrini’s presence at City might help swing his decision the way of the Manchester club, Isco added.

“He is a great coach who has done some impressive work at Malaga, as he did at other clubs, and I am sure things will go well for him (in England),” he said.

“It’s true that I know Pellegrini already, I know how he works and he has been fundamental in my career during the two years I have been at Malaga with him.

“It’s a point in favour that we worked together and that I know how he works but it’s not definitive.

“I am going to take a holiday (after the Euro Under-21 championships), which I need, and then decide my future.”

Historic moment

A huge moment in the history of Tahitian football tonight with the country’s first appearance at a major FIFA tournament  finals.

Tahiti, one of the world’s most remote islands with a population of only 178,000, will be playing against Nigeria, nation of 170 million in front of a global television audience of millions.

Ranked 138th by FIFA, Tahiti qualified for the World Cup warm-up tournament ahead of 2010 World Cup qualifier New Zealand by winning the Oceania Nations Cup.

There is only one professional player on the team – Marama Vahirua, a striker, who plays for Greek club Panthrakikos.

Of the 23 players, coach Eddie Etaeta said nine are unemployed, while others have day jobs as delivery boys, truck drivers, physical education teachers and accountants.

”The players are all aware there is a chasm between the professional and amateur world,” Vahirua said. ”I think tomorrow we will not be on a par with Nigeria … they have been professional for years.

”But mentally we are ready. We will fight like lions and we will do anything to represent our country.”

”They don’t want to be ridiculed, they want to show … we are up to the task,” Vahirua said.

We wish them well, but do wonder about the long term value for them or any of their Confederations Cup opponents, of such a mismatch.

You can read our interview with coach Etaeta here.

Back to the future

Eyebrows continue to be raised and heads continue to be shaken following the appointment of Joe Kinnear as Newcastle United’s new Director of Football.

Kinnear endured a volatile six-month spell as manager that ended in early 2009 after he suffered health problems. The 66-year-old has been out of the game ever since but, for some reason, club owner Mike Ashely has identified the former Wimbledon boss as the man to oversee a a revamp of United’s management structure.

Kinnear’s appointment has been seen by some as a threat to existing manager Alan Pardew, who came under pressure last season as Newcastle flirted with relegation. Despite having not spoken to Pardew yet, Kinnear denies his appointment will undermine the manager.

“I’ll sit down with Alan Pardew and talk to him about the strengths, weaknesses and what we need to be successful,” said Kinnear. “I know I’ve got more knowledge than anyone at Newcastle as a football manager.

“That’s not being disrespectful to anybody. And I know I will bend over backwards to do the best I possibly can to make Newcastle a better team than they are now. It’s glaringly clear where we need to improve, and it’ll be my job – my job – to go and buy these players to make Newcastle better. I’m a good judge of players. I’ve got a bright head, I know a good player when I see one, and can get the right players in for us to be successful. There’s no other agenda here. And if I see players at the club right now who are not good enough, then I intend to move them on.

“There are no issues whatsoever [with Pardew]. My job is quite clear: I’m director of football, he’s the manager. I’m not picking the team. That’s what the manager gets paid to do. I’m there solely to ensure he gets the best possible team out on the pitch. The tactics and the coaching are down to him. If he wants my advice on tactics and ideas, he can ask me. But he’s in charge of the team that is put out on the pitch.”

So, Newcastle fans, there you have it. Alan Pardew and Joe Kinnear: the dream ticket you’ve always wanted. One wonders whether the pair of them owe Ashley money and this is his way of them paying off the debt. More likely, Kinnear will become the owner’s eyes and ears at the club, and if recent history is anything to go by, his very loud voice.

In Kinnear’s previous, ill-fated time with Newcastle, he was responsible for one of the more colourful press conferences of the modern age (warning: language not suitable for minors).

Goal of the day

The Confederations Cup has certainly produced a number of great goals so far. If you haven’t seen Neymar’s wonder strike against Japan, do yourself a favour and check it out. On Day 2, two wonderful free-kicks graced the competition.

First there was Andre Pirlo’s wonderfully flighted effort for Italay against Mexico.

Later in the day, Luis Suarez produced a wonderful curled strike in Uruguay’s 2012 defeat to Spain.

Quote of the day

“I can guarantee you that I will no longer be coaching, I’ve had a dignified exit.”

Weeks after leading Bayern Munich to an unprecedented treble, Jupp Heynckes announces his retirement from coaching.


A Dutch court has convicted six young footballers and the father of one of the players of manslaughter in the death of a linesman who was knocked to the ground and repeatedly kicked after a youth match last December.

Judges in Lelystad sentenced the 50-year-old father to six years in prison. Five teenage players were given two-year sentences in youth detention for their roles in the attack and another was sentenced to a year.

A seventh teenager was sentenced to 30 days of detention for assault.

The fatal attack, which shocked Holland and the global football community, took place on December 2 in the Dutch city of Almere, after the home team, Buitenboys, drew 2-2 with Nieuw Sloten, which is based in an Amsterdam neighborhood.