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Since 1st March, 1999
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Milla, Abedi booted out

Johannesburg: African footballers, who supported Sepp Blatter’s successful bid for re-election to the Fifa presidency, have been dropped from the Confederation of African Football’s structures.

Roger Milla, Abedi Pele and the Ivorian-born French international Basile Boli have been removed from CAF’s football committee, while Irvin Khoza, the controversial head of South Africa’s World Cup bid, has been taken off the powerful club competitions committee.

It had been expected that many of CAF president Issa Hayatou’s vocal opponents in the run-up to his challenge for the Fifa presidency election in May would lose their positions in the various committees that helped run African football affairs. Ghana’s Abedi and Boli were high profile backers of Blatter and lobbied among African members ahead of the election in Seoul, which Blatter comfortably won.

Milla had also backed the bid by the Swiss over that of his Cameroonian compatriot, although later attempted to tone down his support of Blatter.

Moldovan to focus on club

Bucharest: Romania striker Viorel Moldovan says he has retired from international football after deciding to concentrate on his club career with French side Nantes.

“I want to focus exclusively on Nantes,” Moldovan said on Tuesday. “Sometimes I find it difficult to rush from a match to catch a plane and meet a strict deadline to play elsewhere. I don’t feel old, I just want to do a good job at Nantes. I think my decision is right.”

Moldovan said he had already notified Romania coach Anghel Iordanescu about his decision. The 30-year-old scored 23 goals in 64 matches for Romania.

Pires aims at Oct. return

Paris: Arsenal’s Robert Pires aims to return to action for the English double winners by late October, the injured French midfielder said on Tuesday.

“I would love to resume playing for the Champions League match against A.J. Auxerre (at Highbury) on October 22,” Pires told sports daily L’Equipe.

Pires suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury in March and missed the World Cup finals in Japan and South Korea. He had surgery in May and has been recuperating at a sports injury clinic in Saint Raphael, in the south of France. “I’m working hard and I’m improving every day,” he added. “Now I can drive the ball, I can run and I can dribble. I’m looking forward to this match at Highbury.”

Four for Asian triathlon

Chennai: A four-member men’s team will represent India at the Asian triathlon championship that is being held in Xuzhou, China, on September 8. They are Mahesh Shinde, a bronze medallist in the Subia Bay International triathlon, Akhil Sheikh and Rajendra Sakhare (all from Services Sports Control Board) and Syed Jabir of Karnataka, according Indian Triathlon Federation president N. Ramachandran.

He said the team had been training at the ITF Academy here for over a year now.

Henry out of Cyprus tie

Clairefontaine (France): Arsenal striker Thierry Henry will miss Saturday’s European championship qualifying match against Cyprus because of injury, France coach Jacques Santini said on Tuesday.

Henry is nursing a painful ankle and is replaced in the squad by Liverpool midfielder Bruno Cheyrou who earned his first cap for France in Tunisia last month.

Chelsea influential midfielder Emmanuel Petit is recovering from a toe injury and should be fit in time for the match in Nicosia.

The newly appointed coach is already without AS Roma defender Vincent Candela who pulled out with a calf injury on Monday. Under-21 player Sylvain Armand of Nantes, who is called into the senior squad for the first time, has replaced him.

Manchester goalkeeper Fabien Barthez, Bayern Munich defender Bixente Lizarazu and Juventus striker David Trezeguet are all out through injuries.

Mijatovic for Levante

Madrid: Yugoslav international striker Pedrag Mijatovic has joined Spanish second division side Levante on a one-year deal, the club said on Monday.

The 33-year-old Montenegrin was without a club after leaving Fiorentina at the end of last season.

n Cricket,Cheltenham and Gloucester Trophy —highlights from 6.30 am on ESPN n Cricket, tri-series — Pakistan vs Australia, live from 11.55 am on ESPN n Tennis, US Open: Men and women’s quarter finals, live from 8.00 pm and 4.30 am (Thursday) on STAR Sports

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