SC Bastia defender Drissa Diakité put the Eagles ahead after six minutes of play, with Wydad Casablanca striker Malick Evouna driving the equaliser in the 36th minute to send the two sides on equal footing into the break.
Serie A-based defender Molla Wagué gave Mali the lead for the second time in the 57th minute, but two goals from Borussia Dortmund star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in two minutes just past the hour mark sent the Panthers in the driver’s seat for the first time in this match.
Midfielder Bakary Sako managed to level the matters with eight minutes to go for the Malians, but a last-minute goal from centre-back Bruno Ecuele Manga secured the win for Jorge Costa’s men.
The Panthers will try to keep their momentum when they face Belarus on March 30, while the Eagles will be looking to bounce back against the Black Stars of Ghana the following day.
The Senegalese striker labeled the suggestion that England perform poorly on the international stage due to the amount of foreigners in England’s top flight as an ‘excuse’.
FA chairman Greg Dyke is one of many to have claimed that the amount of players from outside England’s boarders restrict the opportunities for young English talent.
Sakho has dismissed the claim and used France’s 1998 World Cup win as reference.
“Everyone can make their own excuses to defend their own interests,” Sakho told BBC Sport.
“France won the World Cup in 1998 and the French league was full of foreigners, same with Spain who won the World Cup and Euros, and Germany too.
“I don’t see why we should shut the door on new talent coming over.”
The 25-year-old explained that it is the dream of millions to play in England and to restrict foreign players from playing in the Premier League would be unfair.
“The Premier League is one of the best leagues in the world, one which all young players dream of playing in. It would be unfortunate if some of my peers weren’t given the chance to do the same as me. There are a lot of good foreign players here,” Sakho added.
No Premier League side progressed into the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League or Europa League this season.
England’s only World Cup success came in 1966.
By: Eric Eli Adzie
Heart of Lions beat WAFA 4-3 on penalties in the Elite Cup return leg at the Sogakofe Fievie Park to progress to the next stage of the competition.
Both sides were tied 0-0 on aggregate after two legs.
Theophilus Jackson in goal for WAFA was tested early in the game with an audacious effort from Abdul Karim Ibrahim which he pared away from his goal post.
WAFA however took control of the game and pilled pressure on Lions but had no goal from their efforts until half time.
The second half began with an entertaining game as both sides made all three substitutions in search of a late winner.
WAFA were awarded a penalty by referee Maxwell Hanson in the 78th minute but it was crashed against the goalpost.
Lions on the other hand were also given an opportunity to clinch the match winner though the spot kick on 90 minutes as substitute Isaac Quansah was brought down in the box.
But Jackson once again saved the kick from Abdul Ganiyu.
During the shootout, Frank Akoto converted the winning kick.
Namibia coach Ricardo Manetti is drawing positives from his side’s 1-0 to Ghana’s home-based national team on Wednesday.
The Brave Warriors conceded late after dominating play and bothering the local Black Stars with their aerial balls.
Manetti lamented his side’s inability to take up the hatful of scoring chances created at the Baba Yara Stadium.
“I had two objectives – the first one, Namibia has always struggled especially during the qualifiers of any competition to get points away,” Mannetti said a press conference.
“Throughout the years, we always struggle in away games. I wanted to give the players a strong mentality so we chose Ghana, in my opinion, a respectable football nation that has achieved a lot on the continent.
“The second objective is that we have the Cosafa tournament in May that Ghana has also been invited for – they will take part in it so it was a good opportunity to weigh ourselves against one of the opponents in Cosafa. I have a couple of new players in the team. They did well in the league and I wanted to see how they react to the conditions outside and a type of opponent like Ghana.
“The game has opened up my eyes as to who can make it in the team but it’s unfortunate we couldn’t convert our chances especially in the first half.”
Namibia continue with their preparations by making a trip to Togo to face the Hawks in another friendly on Saturday.
Vincent Enyeama’s 100th Nigeria appearance proved an unhappy one for the goalkeeper as Uganda picked up a 1-0 win at the Akwa Ibom Stadium.
Farouq Miya scored the winner nine minutes from time in Wednesday’s friendly to dampen the occasion for Enyeama – who joined Joseph Yobo in securing 100 caps for Nigeria.
Having made a slow start to Wednesday’s clash, the Super Eagles gradually got into gear prior to the break with Ogenyi Onazi and Ahmed Musa proving threatening.
Musa felt he should have had a penalty shortly before the interval when he was brought down by Dennis Onyango.
Referee William Agbovi waved away appeals and did so again in the second half when Cologne forward Anthony Ujah tumbled under a challenge from Shafiq Bakaki.
As Uganda looked to finish with a flourish, Geofrey Massa’s trickery gave Nigeria a warning, only for Nelson Ogbonanya to miss the target.
Miya then popped up with the decisive goal after patient build-up play, Enyeama unable to prevent his team falling behind despite getting a hand to the shot.
Local Black Stars assistant coach Dauda Lutterodt admitted his side laboured to beat Namibia in Wednesday’s international friendly.
Striker Stephen Baffour climbed off the bench to score a 93rd minute goal from a melee inside the area of the Brave Warriors.
It was game the Namibians put in an impressive shift and deserved to draw.
Lutterodt in his post-match interview confessed his side were second best.
“Namibia did well in the first half. My defence couldn’t deal with their aerial ball especially in the centre of our defence,” Lutterodt said.
“At half time, we talked about that and made some few corrections and when we came on the pitch, we brought in a taller defender [Asiamah Badu] to cut out those kind of balls. That also accounted for our opponents not being able to operate.
“I don’t know if that’s the only style they have but that helped us to cut that out and gave us the chance to dominate.”
Ghana are preparing for the 2014 CHAN qualifiers this year.
The club’s officials including CEO Obed Nana Kwame Nketiah, General Manager Ralph Gyambrah and spokesperson Isaac Amponsah took the decision during a meeting on Tuesday.
Chelsea was docked points due to their failure to pay the West Africa Football Academy a fee of US$59,722 for the transfer of Solomon Asante to TP Mazembe in 2013.
The Blues dropped from the sixth position on the league log to the bottom spot after the club lost all points garnered in their domestic league games since February 4, including last Sunday’s 1-0 win over Heart of Lions.
Nigeria made its debut in the tournament in the last edition in South Africa, but the Super Eagles coached by Stephen Keshi were stopped by the Black Stars of Ghana in the semi-final.
According to CAF, 42 teams will be engaged for the draw to be conducted according to zonal distributions of the National Associations affiliated to it.
The qualifiers will start from the weekend of 19-21 June 2015 through to 28-30 August 2015 where 15 teams will emerge to join hosts Rwanda for the final tournament from 16 January to 7 February 2016.
There will be two rounds each for the qualifiers except for the Northern Zone, where the three teams will play each other on a round-robin basis with the top two qualifying for the final tournament.
The tournament is exclusively for home-based African players.
Previous winners include DR Congo (2009), Tunisia (2011) and Libya (2014).
Ghana striker Kwesi Appiah is on the verge of joining English Championship side Reading by the end of today, GHANAsoccernet.com can exclusively report.
The 24-year-old will sign for the former English Premier League campaigners by 1600 GMT today if negotiations between his club Crystal Palace and Reading end successfully.
Reading are seeking to sign the Ghana hotshot at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations to boost their attacking options even though the winter transfer window closed two months ago.
However, the Royals will be able complete the deal under the emergency loan window in England which closes at 4pm Ghana time today.
The move by the Ghana striker is meant to boost his form, fitness and readiness for the Black Stars for qualifiers for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers later this year.
Appiah hasn’t played for Palace since the start of last season, most recently scoring eight goals in 23 appearances on loan at League Two side Cambridge United.
His last competitive action was at the Africa Cup of Nations when he scored once in four appearances for beaten finalists Ghana.
Appiah impressed at the African Cup of Nations tournament in January, while has been scoring for Palace’s U21 squad in recent weeks.
It could prove to a good move for Appiah, who was on loan at Cambridge United earlier this season and a move to the Championship would be the next level of development.
The 24-year-old Ghanain striker has been flitting around the lower leagues since joining London-based Palace in 2012, most recently in a loan spell to Cambridge United, where he scored 6 goals in 19 appearances.
Third tier side Cambridge were seeking to sign the Ghana international on loan again but he opted to extend his contract with Crystal Palace.
“I think Crystal Palace have got plans for me to prove myself at a higher level. At the end of the day, my future at Crystal Palace is the most important thing, so I’ve got the task of proving myself at a higher level,” Appiah said recently.
Appiah is currently with the Ghana national team in France ahead of the friendlies against Mali and Senegal.
By Ameenu Shardow
Follow on Twitter @alooameenu
Ex Ghana captain Stephen Appiah is in Italy to handout invites to his friends to attend his testimonial match in June.
The 34-year-old is on an European tour to raise awareness about a game being organized to honour him for his selfless dedication to the Black Stars in Accra.
Appiah is hoping to use his close connections to woo a massive number of easily recognized current and past footballers into making the trip to Ghana for the event.
The testimonial game has been fixed tentatively to come off on June 13.
Appiah visited his former club Juventus at their Vinovo training facility where he met up with his former teammate and now club director Pavel Nedved.
The former Fenerbahce man is believed to have invited Nedved for his testimonial game.
There are even hints of further support for the game to be offered by Juventus including the possibility of having some of it current stars travel to Ghana for the game.
Appiah is expected to make similar trips to his other former clubs to present an invitation.
Ghanaian youngster Divine Naah took to boxing on Wednesday after being given some time off at NAC Breda.
The 18-year-old appears to have won himself a regular starting place after impressing on his debut last month.
Naah is amongst some of the few players at the club who will not be involved with their national teams during the international break.
He thus took time off to try out his boxing skills at an unnamed gym.
The Right to Dream Academy graduate is substantively a player of English giants Manchester City.
He is currently on his second loan stint at NAC Breda having played for Stromsgodset also on loan last season.
Naah is one of the foreign-based players expected to join the Ghana U20 team for the FIFA U20 World Cup later this year in New Zealand.
Crystal Palace Ghanaian midfielder Hiram Boateng has signed a new contract with the club until the summer of 2017.
The 19-year-old has agreed an extension to his current deal, continuing his long association with the club having been a part of the Palace academy since the age of eight.
Boateng made his first-team bow in an FA Cup third-round replay at Stoke City in January 2013 before appearing at the same stage of the competition, a year later, against West Bromwich Albion.
The Londoner has also had a loan spell at Crawley Town towards the end of the 2013/14 season.
Boateng said: “We’ve been talking about things since December and it got sorted out last week.
“I spoke to (Alan Pardew) quite a bit, I’ve had a few sessions with the first team and he came to watch some of our development games at Tooting and Mitcham.
“He said he liked what he saw and he wants me to kick on and get some more aspects to my game.
“It’s great being in and around the first team and it’s good watching that level of players and seeing how they cope in a Premier League game. It’s what I want to be doing soon.”
Mubarak Wakaso and Christian Atsu resumed their rivalry on the Play Station console after arriving in the Ghana camp ahead of the friendly matches against Senegal and Mali.
The Black Stars duo have been battling each other for supremacy in the football video games.
Wakaso who in recent times have been the victor appeared to be on the end of a hiding in a picture posted by Atsu on Wednesday.
The on loan Celtic player, in a shirt over boxer shorts was wearing a serious look as he struggles to come to terms to the might of his ‘small boy’.
Atsu in the posted picture had the tag: “I’m killing @mmjuniorwakaso22 in PS.”
The Black Stars are currently camping in Paris ahead of their first friendly match of this month against Senegal on Saturday.
Ghana will also play Mali next week Tuesday in another friendly.
Ghana’s home-based national team struck at the death to beat Namibia 1-0 at the Baba Yara Stadium on Wednesday afternoon in an international friendly.
Berekum Chelsea striker Stephen Baffour climbed off the bench to score late on for the local Black Stars who were second best on the day.
It was goalmouth melee and the opportunistic striker trapped the ball before firing home for the winner.
Namibia looked organized but could not break down the Ghana team which started camping only on Monday.
Head coach Maxwell Konadu, who lead a select band of players to win silver at the last CHAN tournament in South Africa, is testing his side for their 2016 qualifiers.
Ghana’s starting line-up:
Mozart Adjetety- Amos Korankye, Joshua Otoo, Emmanuel Akuoko, Alfred Nelson, Malik Akowuah, Alhassan Nuhu, Noah Martey, Yakubu Mohammed, Nathaniel Asamoah, Bernard Morrison.
Lionel Messi tops France Football magazine’s list of richest players for the fifth time in six years after hitting an estimated 65 million euros ($71.3 million) in revenue last year.
The Barcelona forward edged Real Madrid midfielder Cristiano Ronaldo in the list, with Barcelona striker Neymar, Paris Saint-Germain defender Thiago Silva and Manchester United forward Robin Van Persie completing the top five.
The French magazine, which ran its survey for the 17th time, makes its estimations by adding salaries, bonuses and advertisement revenues.
According to France Football, Ronaldo earned 54 million euros ($59.2 million) last year, while Neymar cashed in 36.5 million euros ($40 million).
A total of 12 players, including Gareth Bale (Real Madrid) and Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), earned more than 20 million euros ($21.9 million) last year.