Monday, 13 July 2009

Inamoto's hunger for a third World Cup

Veteran Japanese midfielder Junichi Inamoto is hoping that his move to French First Division side Rennes will boost his chances of playing in a third FIFA World Cup™ finals next year.

The 29-year-old - capped 71 times and scorer of four goals - was an iconic presence, aided by his dyed blond hair, when Japan co-hosted the 2002 FIFA World Cup finals with South Korea which saw the Japanese go out in the second round. However, since then Inamoto - part of the Japanese squad that won the 2000 AFC Asian Cup in Lebanon - has, like many of his compatriots who have tried to make a career in European club football, earned the moniker of 'much travelled' with Rennes being his seventh club since he signed for Arsenal in 2001.

However, Inamoto is insistent that being reunited with one of his former bosses, the fiery Frederic Antonetti, who coached him at J-League club Gamba Osaka, will get him to settle at last. "Up till now I have not stayed longer than two years at any one club in Europe," said Inamoto, who scored two of his four international goals in the 2002 World Cup.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Football World Cup 2010 South Africa

South Africa will meet all the deadlines met by Fifa and is on course to host the “best World Cup ever” in 2010, newly-elected president Kgalema Motlanthe and ruling party leader Jacob Zuma have assured Fifa boss Joseph Blatter.

This is according to a joint statement by Mothlanthe and Zuma released on September 26, relayed by South African media and recorded on Fifa’s official website. The two assured Blatter of the South African government’s full support for next year’s Fifa Confederations Cup and for the Football World Cup to be held from June 11 to July 11 2010 in South Africa.

The assurance was issued against a background of a domestic political drama in South Africa that saw the ruling African National Congress, headed by Zuma, oust Thabo Mbeki as head of government and replace him with “caretaker” president Motlanthe. Taking office on September 25, Motlanthe re-appointed highly-respected finance minister Trevor Manuel but deputy minister Jabu Moleketi, a key figure in World Cup preparations, was not on the list of re-appointed members of the executive.

According to the September 26 statement by Mothlanthe and Zuma, Blatter told the new president in a telephone conversation: “I want to thank Mr Motlanthe for taking the time today to personally inform me about the situation, as this underlines the importance of the 2010 Fifa World Cup to the South African government. I was pleased to hear from him that the 2010 World Cup is fully supported by all political and governmental authorities and that everything will be done to make 2010 an unforgettable success”. Motlanthe briefed Blatter on the composition of his new cabinet and also expressed his satisfaction with the infrastructural preparations. Blatter assured Motlanthe of Fifa’s “100 per cent support and assistance in the preparations as well as FIFA’s full confidence and trust in South Africa’s organisational capabilities”.

In an article on September 27 on, reporter Peter Pedroncelli wrote: “the political situation has transitioned smoothly to the normal state of affairs, with the new president eager to keep all matters running on the right track. The dust has quickly settled and the future is bright for a nation of proud football fans that appreciate the great honour and responsibility which comes with hosting the greatest show on earth. South Africa will be ready. The world will be proud!”

In an interview with South African daily The Citizen on September 26, government spokesperson Tiyani Rikhotso said: “As government we remain optimistic that South Africa will host a successful World Cup in 2010… the political changes will not have any negative implications for next year’s Confederations Cup and the 2010 World Cup”.

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