GOLF — AU ZIMBABWE : Maurice 7e des championnats d'Afrique par équipe

Lors des championnats d’Afrique de golf par équipe qui se sont déroulés à Victoria Falls au Zimbabwe, la sélection mauricienne a pris la 7e place (913 points), la victoire revenant à l’Afrique du Sud. Il était quatre à défendre le quadricolore, à savoir Pierre Pellegrin, François Toulet, Rakesh Channoo et Ritish Venkamah. 
Opposés aux représentants de 15 pays, les Mauriciens n’ont pas à rougir de cette prestation. « On a fait de notre mieux et les gars se sont donnés à fond jusqu’au dernier trou et dernier putt, malgré que ayons laissé beaucoup de points filer. On a fait face à de meilleures équipes que nous, mais nous avons pu réaliser une bonne prestation. Cette compétition nous a permis de nous jauger », nous déclare Pierre Pellegrin.
L'Afrique du Sud, qui remporte son huitième titre en équipe, termine avec 845 points, devant le Zimbabwe (875 points) et La Réunion (890 points). Pierre Pellegrin, qui finit à la 16e place au général, signe la meilleure performance mauricienne au niveau individuel. Le Sud-Africain Malcom Mitchell prend la première place, suivi du Zimbabwéen David Amm et de l’Égyptien Issa Abu Al Ela. 
« Je suis vraiment fier d’avoir représenté Maurice à cette compétition. Je remercie la fédération, le président Christopher Curé et le capitaine Yannick Merven pour m’avoir donné cette chance. J’ai vécu une incroyable aventure avec mes coéquipiers. C’était une bonne expérience qui m’aidera pour le reste de la saison », souligne Pierre Pellegrin.
Ce dernier est toujours à la recherche d’un sponsor afin de l’aider dans sa carrière. À savoir que le Mauricien participera en novembre au 4th Cycle Championship of TGSE Cape Town 2017, compétition qu’il a déjà remportée une fois.

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Mercedes and Hamilton on brink of F1 titles

Lewis Hamilton could be crowned Britain’s first four-times Formula One world champion in Texas this weekend while Mercedes are on the brink of a fourth consecutive constructor’s title.

The chances of Mercedes, 145 points clear of Ferrari with four races remaining, wrapping things up in Austin appear to be overwhelming.

Everything is also stacking up for Hamilton to become only the fifth driver to win more than three championships since the first in 1950, with British bookmakers offering odds of 1/50 on him taking the title.

That compares to 14/1 for Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, Hamilton’s closest rival, and 300/1 on Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas.

While the team may be celebrating on Sunday night, Hamilton may find he has to wait, however.

To do it in Austin, the Briton must finish in the top two and then see where Vettel ends up.

Hamilton currently enjoys a hefty 59-point advantage, with 100 still to be won. He must score 16 more than his German rival on Sunday to prevent the title battle continuing to Mexico City’s Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on the following weekend.

Third place is worth 15 points and will not be enough.

Even if Hamilton wins in Austin, he will be champion only if Vettel finishes no higher than sixth. If the Briton comes second, then Vettel has to finish eighth or higher to stay in the game.

Reliability, or lack of it, will be a key concern on both sides.

Vettel has failed to finish two of the last three races in Asia, one due to a first lap collision and the other a spark plug problem, and cannot afford any further unreliability on Ferrari’s part.

However, before his nightmare run the German had not finished lower than seventh since Malaysia in Oct. 2016, when he retired with damaged suspension after a collision.

He was fourth in Austin last year, when Mercedes had a one-two finish.

This year Vettel has finished all but six races on the podium and three of those outside the top three were fourth places.

Hamilton has won eight times and finished second three times in 16 races.

Austin has also been particularly good to him with four wins in five years including the last three. Vettel won with Red Bull in 2013.

Even if Mercedes dominate one-two, and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen prove to be the closest rivals, the chances are that Vettel will still finish in the top five in a race without incident.

In the constructors’ championship, Ferrari need to outscore Mercedes by 17 points to prevent them retaining the title in Austin.

The only occasion Ferrari have done that this season was in Monaco in May when Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen finished one-two while Hamilton was seventh and team mate Valtteri Bottas ended up fourth.

Rumours that Jose Mourinho will bring his own 'special one' to Manchester United are gathering momentum.

Mesut Ozil's links with a move to Manchester United continue to gather in momentum, with the latest report fuelling the suspicion that a January transfer could be edging closer.

A back page story in Friday's Daily Mirror suggesting Ozil has 'told his Arsenal team-mates' that he will link up with his former Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho at United in January comes from reliable sources and adds to the suspicion that, at the very least, one side in this simmering narrative are keen for the transfer to go through at the start of 2018.

With Ozil's Arsenal contract set to expire next summer and the German World Cup winner showing little willingness to extend his stay at the club, a January move now looks inevitable for a player who has started the last two Premier League games warming the Gunners bench.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger may be reluctant to sanction Ozil's move to a Premier League rival, but his confirmation last week that deals to sell both Ozil and his team-mate Alexis Sanchez in the upcoming transfer window were 'possible' appeared to pave the way for deals that will give Arsenal some financial return on high profile assets who will be able to officially start negotiating lucrative free transfers for next summer on January 1st. In reality, those talks will already have begun for representatives of Ozil and Sanchez, with the prospect of both ending up in Manchester now realistic.

United's local rivals Manchester City are expected to make fresh move for Chile attacking star Sanchez after a transfer deadline day deal fell through in August, but the prospect of Ozil's moving to Old Trafford may not be greeted with the same level of euphoria.

When an English Sunday newspaper broke the story that Ozil was keen to explore the prospect of a move to in late September, many United fans on social media channels reacted with a mixture of surprise and confusion.

After all, this is a midfielder who has struggled to live up to his billing since his club record £42.4m move from Real Madrid in the summer of 2013, with Arsenal fans who defended Ozil with gusto against a vocal army of critics in his first three years at the club losing faith with his limp performances in the last year and more.

Ozil's tendency to go missing in big games has been a recurring theme of his time at Arsenal and yet Mourinho has always been a firm fan of a midfielder he helped to develop at Real Madrid and these comments back in 2013 confirm just how much he admires his subtle talents.

"Ozil is unique. There is no copy of him, not even a bad copy," declared Mourinho. "He is the best No.10 in the world. He makes things very easy for me and for his team-mates with his football vision and the decisions he makes. Everyone loves him and sees a bit of Luis Figo and Zinedine Zidane in him.

"He’ll always finds the right man on the right place. So, sometimes, you don't see him, sometimes he doesn't go to screen many, many times. But when he goes he is a special player.

"If you are expecting Ozil to be super aggressive and running miles and miles side to side and to show great enthusiasm and aggressivity - this is not Mesut.

"If you are waiting for somebody who every time he touches the ball, the ball smiles and every time he makes the pass the ball goes in the right direction with the right speed and intensity - this is Mesut."

They were gushing comments from a manager who is noted for gravitating towards players who display a lion heart spirit on and off the field and while Ozil does not seem to be a 'Mourinho type-player' for so many reasons, it is clear that the Portuguese tactician has a special place in his heart for the 29-year-old who has scored 32 goals in 167 appearances for Arsenal.

Whether Ozil will now continue his Premier League career in the red of Manchester United is is a question that will be answered in the coming weeks, but this story is moving beyond the realms of tabloid and Twitter speculation as the January transfer window looms large on the horizon.

Everton fan holding child punches Lyon player

Struggling Everton could face UEFA sanctions after a supporter holding a young child appeared to punch a Lyon player in a stormy Europa League clash at Goodison Park on Thursday.

The French side won the game 2-1 but the result was overshadowed by a mass brawl in the second half when Everton skipper Ashley Williams pushed visiting goalkeeper Anthony Lopes.

In the ensuing melee, an Everton fan appeared to punch Lopes with one hand while holding a child in the other.

“There was a supporter who punched him, I think it’s not normal,” said Lyon striker Bertrand Traore who went on to score the winning goal.

“In those moments, we have to help each other, stay as a team, that’s what I tried to do,” added the Burkina Faso player.

The supporter also appeared to strike defender Mouctar Diakhaby.

Under-pressure Everton boss Ronald Koeman attempted to play down the incident.

“I do not know what happened. It started with Ashley and another defender from Lyon, there were a lot of players implicated.”

Wales defender Williams was fortunate to avoid a red card before going on to head in his team’s equaliser.

“It’s what happens, it’s football. It is what it is,” Williams told BT Sport. “It’s high emotions. We want to win the game, they want to win the game and stuff happens. That was just one of those times.”

Jose Mourinho sees only positives in defence as Man Utd manager launches attack on 'cry-baby' counterparts

Jose Mourinho defended Manchester United’s tactics after they edged closer to the knockout stages. Having been criticised for the defensive display in the 0-0 draw at Anfield last weekend, United were again far from their swashbuckling best, but Mourinho said: “We’ve played 12 matches – 10 victories, two draws, nine clean sheets. We’re not bad.

“We were the team that was positive and we were always in control. I never felt that we could concede a goal, we were very solid defensively – sometimes I feel that to be good defensively is a crime but it is not a crime. To be good defensively is one step to get results.

“We knew the Benfica pressure could not stay for 90 minutes. The amazing defensive work Liverpool did against us, Benfica could not do that for the whole game. Without any pressure, we knew the goal would arrive.”

United were without midfielders Paul Pogba, Marouane Fellaini and Michael Carrick, defenders Eric Bailly and Marcos Rojo and striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic but Mourinho, in a perceived dig at some of his rival Premier League managers, said: “I never speak about injuries.

“Other managers cry and cry and cry – I don’t cry. The way to do it is ignore the players who are injured, to give confidence to the players are available. I can cry for the next five minutes if you like. We don’t have Zlatan, Pogba, Fellaini, Marcos Rojo.” Mourinho’s injury woes could have worsened, though, with Rashford being forced off 15 minutes from time. 

“I thought it was cramps because he was running so much,” Mourinho said. “I thought it was about muscular fatigue, but he felt something in his knee, but to me it doesn’t look a big thing.”

Rashford’s free kick came from a blunder by Benfica No 1 Mile Svilar, who, at 18 years and 52 days, became the youngest goalkeeper to play in the Champions League and Mourinho revealed he had told his players to target the youngster.

“I knew how good the goalkeeper was, I told the players that,” he said. “We had a little bit of a strategy, especially on set-pieces to make him uncomfortable. He risks a lot, but only top keepers do that. He was unlucky for the goal.”

Nemanja Matic also revealed how the the United players had acted on Mourinho’s instructions.

“The manager said to us to try and shoot and get some crosses towards their goalkeeper because he was young and playing his first game,” Matic said.

INJURED MANE INCLUDED IN SENEGAL SQUAD FOR SOUTH AFRICA

The 25-year-old has been sidelined with a hamstring injury but the Teranga Lions has named him in the squad to face Bafana Bafana. Sadio Mane has been named in the Senegal squad for their crunch Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying double-header against South Africa on November 10 and 14 by coach Aliou Cisse.

The 25-year-old suffered an injury during the Teranga Lions 2-0 win over Cape Verde in Praia and has missed the Reds 0-0 draw against Manchester United and the 7-0 thrashing of Maribor.

But the west African giants' boss has dispelled rumours the talismanic midfielder will miss the doubleheader against Stuart Baxter’s side and says he is expected to be fit for both games.

"In my mind, there's no doubt he will be with us for the doubleheader against South Africa and that he will be 100% fit," Aliou Cisse was quoted by the BBC.

“Until now, he has just been doing some individual training - running in straight lines - but from next week, he is going to train harder and start working with the ball,"

Senegal need just two points from their remaining two games against South Africa and Mane’s return will be a much-needed boost in their efforts to reach the showpiece next summer.

Leicester sack manager Craig Shakespeare

Leicester City sacked Craig Shakespeare on Tuesday, just four months after handing him a permanent contract to manage the former Premier League champions, British media reported.

Shakespeare, 53, was promoted from his role as assistant coach on an interim basis following the shock dismissal of Claudio Ranieri in February and in June he was handed a three-year contract.But the 2015-16 champions have struggled this season and are third from bottom of the table with a single league win.

Monday night’s 1-1 home draw with West Brom saw Leicester’s winless Premier League run reach six matches.Shakespeare’s appointment earlier this year sparked a striking upturn in form that saw Leicester secure their Premier League status and reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Reacting to Tuesday’s development, former Leicester and England player Gary Lineker tweeted: “Was always a miracle, but it’s even more remarkable really that Leicester won the league given the ineptitude of those that run the club.”

Northern Ireland host Swiss and Republic travel to Denmark in World Cup play-off openers

THE Republic of Ireland have been drawn against Denmark in the play-offs for the 2018 World Cup while Northern Ireland will face Switzerland for a spot in the finals.

Both nations avoided four-time winners Italy and will be hopeful of booking their place in Russia next summer.

Martin O'Neill's Repbublic beat Wales last week to seal their spot as runners-up in Group D while Northern Ireland finished second to Germany in Group C.

The two-legged ties will take place between 9 -14 November, with Michael O'Neill's Northern Ireland at home in the opening leg, while the Republic of Ireland travel to Denmark.

Switzerland were unlucky not to reach the finals as winners of Group B, ending the campaign with nine wins from their 10 qualifiers.

They lost to Portugal in the final game of the group to finish behind the European champions and are the highest-ranked nation in the play-offs, sitting 11th in the rankings.

Northern Ireland lost to Germany and Norway in their final two qualifiers but still finished four points clear of Czech Republic to seal their place in the play-offs.

Michael O'Neill took them to the second round at Euro 2016 and they are 23rd in the latest FIFA rankings.

The Republic of Ireland ended their Group D qualification campaign on 19 points, the same as their northern neighbours, as Serbia topped the group.

A James McClean goal was enough for Martin O'Neill's side to win in Wales last week and secure the play-off berth at the expense of their hosts.

Denmark missed out on the 2014 World Cup but finished second in Group E behind winners Poland as they look to book their fifth appearance at the finals.

Croatia play Greece with Italy and Sweden drawn together in arguably the most eye-catching of the play-off fixtures.

It has been confirmed that NI will be at home on Thursday November 9 and away on Sunday November 12. The Republic will play in Copenhagen on Saturday November 11 with the return leg in Dublin on Tuesday November 14.

Tottenham hold Madrid while Liverpool and Man City both win

TOTTENHAM held Champions League holders Real Madrid to a 1-1 draw in Spain to remain undefeated in Group H.

Spurs went ahead in the 28th minute when Serge Aurier's cross to Harry Kane was diverted home by Real defender Raphael Varane.

However, Aurier then conceded a penalty at the other end by lunging in on Toni Kroos, with Cristiano Ronaldo converting the spot-kick to level things up.

Liverpool scored four times in the opening 39 minutes at Maribor en route to their first victory of the group stage, and their biggest ever away from home in Europe.

Having drawn each of their opening two fixtures in Group E, and won only one of their previous eight in all competitions, Jurgen Klopp's Reds blew away their Slovenian hosts in a 7-0 success.

Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho and Mohamed Salah all netted inside 19 minutes, with Salah and Firmino claiming their second goals either side of the interval before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain opened his Liverpool account and Trent Alexander-Arnold bagged a seventh late on.

Manchester City's 100 per cent start to Group F continued as they defeated Napoli 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium.

Raheem Sterling's eighth goal of the season was added to by Gabriel Jesus' close-range finish as City went 2-0 up inside 13 minutes.

City goalkeeper Ederson then saved Dries Mertens' penalty to preserve that lead and though Amadou Diawara did beat them from the spot in the second half, Pep Guardiola's side held on to make it three wins from three.

There was good news elsewhere for Liverpool as Sevilla, who began the night leading the way in their group, were stunned 5-1 by Spartak Moscow.

Spartak scored four times in the second half - through Lorenzo Melgarejo, Denis Glushakov, Luiz Adriano and Quincy Promes - to join Liverpool on five points at the halfway stage, with Sevilla one behind on four.

Tottenham are also well placed make it to the knock-out phases as Borussia Dortmund could only draw 1-1 at Apoel Nicosia, with those two teams still six points adrift of Spurs and Real.

Two errors from Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Burki led to Mickael Pote opening the scoring for the hosts, with Sokratis Papastathopoulos' equaliser at least ensuring the visitors returned to Germany with one point.

In the other game in Manchester City's group, Bernard scored twice as a Shakhtar Donetsk side that finished with 10 men overcame overcame Feyenoord 2-1.

Monaco's dreadful campaign continued as last year's semi-finalists were beaten at home by Besiktas.

An opening goal from ex-Manchester United and Chelsea striker Falcao was cancelled out by Cenk Tosun, who then scored again in the second half to earn the Turkish club a 2-1 success.

Monaco are now bottom of Group G - with just a solitary point from three games - as RB Leipzig defeated Porto 3-2, with all five goals coming in the first half.

ATHLÉTISME – NOMINATION INTERNATIONALE: Vivian Gungaram siège à l'IAAF

Le président de l'Association mauricienne d'Athlétisme (AMA), Vivian Gungaram, a été nommé représentant de l'Afrique au sein de l'International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) lors de la semaine écoulée. Sa nomination a d'abord été ratifiée par la Confédération africaine d'Athlétisme (CAA) le week-end dernier, à l'issue de son congrès tenu au Maroc. Vivian Gungaram a indiqué que c'était un honneur pour lui de faire partie de l'instance suprême de l'athlétisme mondiale, mais précise que cela n'a jamais été son objectif ou encore son ambition de siéger à IAAF. A noter que jusque là, Vivian Gungaram était consultant en formation des officiels techniques pour l'Afrique et conférencier. Il était aussi responsable de l'organisation des compétitions en Afrique.
Vivian Gungaram sera donc le premier Mauricien à faire partie de l'exécutif de l'IAAF et pour lui, ce sera un gros défi. « Je précise d'abord que cela n'a jamais été un objectif de siéger à l'IAAF et je n'ai jamais voulu y faire partie à n'importe quel prix. Ma mission, la véritable au cours de ces nombreuses années, aura été de développer l'athlétisme. Cette nomination est venue automatiquement à travers le travail que j'ai accompli. Je compte maintenant faire de mon mieux pour être à la hauteur de la confiance qui a été placée en moi », a-t-il déclaré. Vivian Gungaram a ajouté que cette nomination est une très bonne chose pour l'athlétisme africaine et mauricienne.
Le président de l'AMA est aussi d'avis que sa nomination intervient à un moment où l'athlétisme est au cœur de gros changements. « La fédération internationale a entrepris de gros changements et a donné plus d'autonomie à ses différentes confédérations. Désormais, chaque confédération a un directeur de développement, alors que par le passé, il n'y en avait qu'un au sein de l'IAAF en la personne d'Elio Locatelli. Au niveau de la CAA, c'est le Marocain Aziz Dauda qui est responsable du développement. Ensemble, nous sommes entrain de travailler pour un meilleur développement de la discipline sur le continent », a-t-il souligné.
Vivian Gungaram a aussi expliqué les circonstances qui l'ont amené à être représentant de l'Afrique sur le comité exécutif de l'IAAF. Il a précisé, que lors de l'assemblée générale élective de la fédération internationale en 2015, l'actuel président de la CAA et aussi représentant du continent à l'IAAF, nommément Kalkaba Malboum, avait été élu comme vice-président. Pour le remplacer à ce poste et selon la constitution même de la CAA, c'est le premier vice-président qui devait être nommé à la fédération internationale, soit Vivian Gungaram.
Ce dernier n'a toutefois pas accepté cette nomination surtout à un moment où le Kenya avait perdu son siège à l'IAAF lorsqu'Isaac Kiplagat n'avait pas été élu à l'issue des élections de 2015. Cette non-représentation d'une grande nation de l'athlétisme mondiale avait d'ailleurs fait grand bruit. « J'ai volontairement cédé ma place au secrétaire-général de la fédération kenyane, David Okeyo, alors deuxième vice-président de la CAA, pour siéger comme représentant au sein de l'IAAF. Surpris par beaucoup de ma décision, j'étais convaincu qu'il n'y avait rien de comparable entre le Kenya et Maurice. J'ai donc estimé que ce pays méritait ce siège », a-t-il fait remarquer.
Quelques mois plus tard toutefois, éclatait le scandale de dopage et la suspension du Kenya par l'IAAF et de David Okeyo. « C'était en novembre 2015 et depuis, l'Afrique n'était pas représentée au sein de la fédération internationale jusqu'à ma nomination. C'est donc un gros défi qui s'offre à moi et je ferai de mon mieux pour honorer cette responsabilité », a conclu Vivian Gungaram.

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