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Ancelotti Shuffling To Find Winning Napoli Hand

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Ancelotti Shuffling To Find Winning Napoli Hand

Four months have passed since Carlo Ancelotti arrived in Napoli after Maurizio Sarri’s departure for Chelsea with the promise of finding the missing piece in the jigsaw to end the southern Italian side’s near three-decade wait for the Scudetto.

The former AC Milan and Chelsea coach’s arrival was hailed by club owner Aurelio De Laurentiis as the start of a new era at San Paolo Stadium.

Under Sarri, Napoli came so close to toppling Juventus last season with a record 91 points.

Ancelotti — with a cabinet full of trophies won in five top European leagues — promised not “a revolution” but to add the finishing touches to give the team the final push.

But seven games into the Serie A campaign, Ancelotti’s side are already six points behind Juventus who are looking even stronger then ever with Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Champions League — which Ancelotti had promised would not play second fiddle to their Scudetto ambitions as it had done under Sarri — has also gotten off to an uninspiring start with a goalless draw at Red Star Belgrade.

Three-time Champions League winner Ancelotti’s side host Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool on Wednesday in the San Paolo needing a win from a tough Group C which also includes Paris Saint-Germain.

Last weekend’s 3-1 defeat to Juventus in Turin saw Napoli’s hopes of a third title and first since Diego Maradona’s days back in 1990 take a knock.

“A defeat can happen, just as Juventus can lose to Napoli, we have to keep improving but I’m convinced we’ll be competitive right until the end,” insisted Ancelotti.

There were no celebrations or fireworks in Naples as last April when a 1-0 win in Turin put Napoli within striking distance of the coveted crown.

“That night we were all convinced that the Scudetto would finally be ours. We felt invincible,” Slovak captain Marek Hamsik recalled.

‘Deserve to play’
Ancelotti’s side have now lost two league games after falling 3-0 to Sampdoria in their third match this season.

But they fought from two goals down to see off AC Milan in a comeback reminiscent of the days of Sarri’s reign.

Ancelotti, unlike Sarri, is known for tinkering with tactics and personnel, shifting away from his predecessor’s high pressing tactics.

De Laurentiis had criticised Sarri for always using the same group of players, but Ancelotti believes in giving everyone a chance, claiming “there are many players that deserve to play”.

Sarri’s attacking and defending strategy resolved around midfielder Jorginho, who followed him to Chelsea with goalkeeper Pepe Reina moving to AC Milan.

Ancelotti has transformed Sarri’s tactics, moving away from his predecessor’s preferred 4-3-3 formation to a 4-4-2 with Insigne in a more central role and Jose Callejon playing deeper.

The switch has seen Insigne lead the team with five goals.

Ancelotti has also given more importance to Polish midfielder Piotr Zielinski, who was mainly used by Sarri to substitute Hamsik.

Hamsik and Callejon, who were consistently used by Sarri during his three years, have now started games on the bench.

Ancelotti — whose last league crown was with Bayern Munich in 2017 — is convinced he will find the right formula to deliver the title to Napoli’s long suffering fans.

“The passion and the enthusiasm of this club and these fans make it all more exciting,” he said.

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Morocco And Spain To Place Joint Bid For 2030 FIFA World Cup

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Morocco And Spain To Place Joint Bid For 2030 FIFA World Cup

Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez says Spain and Morocco are discussing the possibility of placing a joint bid for the 2030 FIFA world cup.

The Spanish Premier has already held talks with Morocco’s King Mohammed the sixth about the same. If the bid were to be successful, it would present the possibility of one of the most interesting world cup showdowns ever.

According to the Spanish Prime Minister, the bid would involve Portugal as well. The first joint hosting of the world cup was in 2002. The tournament was hosted by Japan and South Korea, for the first time in Asia.

This will not be the first joint hosting bid by three countries. The 2026 FIFA world cup will be jointly hosted by the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

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Sports News

Gernot Rohr Searches For Grade A Matches To Prepare Super Eagles For AFCON 2019

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Gernot Rohr Searches For Grade A Matches To Prepare Super Eagles For AFCON 2019

Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr wants top friendlies to prepare his team for the 2019 African Cup of Nations.

The Super Eagles are already qualified for the tournament with a game to spare, and Rohr is hopeful that the team will be kept busy with at least three grade a matches.

The Super Eagles have won the AFCON three times, but they are only back in the tournament proper in four years after they failed to qualify for the last two editions in 2015 and 2017.

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African News

Tendai Mtawarira Launches Foundation In Zimbabwe

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Tendai Mtawarira Launches Foundation In Zimbabwe

South African national rugby team player, Tendai Mtawarira, nicknamed “The Beast”, has launched a foundation aimed at introducing the game to rural areas in Zimbabwe, his home country.

The Get Involved Foundation also seeks to foster social cohesion and promote education across Africa.

Explaining his motivation, Mtawarira says he represents the whole continent, and wants to inspire all youths in Africa.

Mtawarira plays for the Durban-based side, The Sharks, and the national team. He says he wants to use his foundation, launched in London on Sunday, to give African children a better chance in life through sport.

Mtawarira has played for the Springboks for the last 11 years and amassed more than 100 caps, a rare feat in the game.

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