One of the key figures of Ghana’s squad, Michael Essien, announced that he may not be able to play in South Africa this summer because of injury. He first suffered a tear in his hamstring in December, followed by a knee injury while playing in the Africa Cup of Nations.
“If I make it for the World Cup then great – if not I have my whole career ahead of me,” he told Chelsea’s official website.
“The last thing I want is to rush back and cause more problems down the line.”
“The World Cup is the best and most difficult football tournament in the world and I would rather be there fully fit,” he said on his official website.
“We will just have to wait and see. If not I’ll have to sit at home and support the team like every Ghanaian.”
It would be a huge blow for Ghana if he were to miss the World Cup, since he is a very skilled player and a big part of the team.
Having one of the better African teams weakened by injury is another issue, as Ghana is one of the more hopeful African squads that might be able to go deep into the tournament, or maybe even hoist the cup.
Togo’s appeal over their ban from the Africa Cup of Nations will be arbitrated by the CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport). The Togo football (soccer) team was banned from the tournament because of their withdrawal from this year’s event after the team was attacked by gunmen, in which two people were killed.
The CAF (Confederation of African Football) stated that the ban was imposed because the team left at the behest of the Togolese Prime Minister, which is viewed as government interference by the CAF. The CAF said the “Togo players had wanted to continue playing in Angola, but were forced to return by their country’s government.”
The attack on the team was a tragic event, so it wasn’t a surprise to see the Togo team pull out of the event. Although if it’s true that the players wished to remain in Angola and play, and only left because of the Prime Minister’s demands then the CAF has every right to suspend their participation from the next two tournaments.
The CAS has a tough case on their hand because of the circumstances. While it’s understandable that the Togo team would want to leave after the attack, if it was only to please the Togo government then action needs to be taken. Governments can’t interfere with their football federations.
Six South African Airlines have been accused of raising fares for local flights in June, when the World Cup will be taking place. South African Airways, Comair, Mango, 1time, Airlink and SA Express are the airlines under investigation.
South African Airways has already been found guilty of price-fixing in the past, being fined 55 million rand (7 million USD) in 2006.
Ticket prices along with the availability of flights is partly being blamed for a reduction in the number of foreign fans attending the World Cup. Originally estimated at about 1 million, the number has now dropped to 450,000.
If the charges are proved to be true then these airlines must be dealt with immediately. It’s obvious that the situation has already contributed to a massive decrease in expected attendance to the World Cup, which will have a big economic impact on South Africa.
It also gets in the way of having as many people as possible visit the beautiful nation and seeing all it has to offer.