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Since 1st March, 1999
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Zidane returns for friendly

Paris: Zinedine Zidane returns to the France squad for their international friendly against Switzerland next week after missing out on the Confederations Cup due to club commitments with Real Madrid. His Real teammate, Claude Makelele also joins up with the same squad that won the Confederations Cup.

“We’ll need to be at full strength because this match will be a good test for our next Euro 2004 qualifying games,” France coach Jacques Santini said while announcing his 20-man squad on Wednesday.

European champions France are five points clear at the top of group I with three matches remaining against Cyprus, on September 6 in Paris, Slovenia, on September 10 in Ljubljana, and Israel, on October 11 in Paris.

Coe for IAAF council post

London: Twice Olympic 1,500m champion Sebastian Coe and leading athletes’ agent Jos Hermens will stand for election next week for the IAAF governing council. Elections for the 27-member council will be held next Wednesday on the first day of a two-day IAAF congress in Paris before the world championships start the following Saturday.

Coe was an Olympic gold medallist in 1980 and 1984. Dutchman Hermens, a former world record holder for the hour run, manages several prominent athletes including Ethiopia’s Olympic 10,000m champion Haile Gebrselassie.

Makaay officially presented

Munich: German champions Bayern Munich said they would not be taking action against Deportivo La Coruna over the protracted transfer of striker Roy Makaay as the Dutchman was officially presented at the Bavarian club Wednesday.

Makaay joined the Bundesliga champions after long negotiations with the Spanish side during which, according to Bayern sporting director Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, they forced Makaay to forego wages he was owed.

Mantu looks good

Calcutta: It couldn’t be confirmed till late on Wednesday, but a senior Bengal Table Tennis Association (BTTA) official informed that Mantu Ghosh is set to figure on this year’s list of Arjuna awardees, says A Staff Reporter. The two-time national champion was recommended by the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) last year too, but missed out.

United chasing Real’s Salgado

Madrid: Manchester United are interested in capturing Real Madrid defender Michel Salgado, whose contract with the Spanish club runs out next June, Marca sports daily reported on Wednesday.

Marca, who said United had refused to comment on their purported interest, added the Premiership champions saw Salgado as the man to bolster their back four with Gary Neville in doubt for his club’s opening league game against Bolton on Saturday after damaging a hamstring on United’s US tour.

Salgado has yet to open talks over a new contract with Real, who media reports said were looking to keep the player at least until his current deal expires. .

Ghana sack coach

Accra: Ghana have sacked coach Burkhard Ziese after just four matches in charge, ending weeks of speculation over the future of the 59-year-old German.

A Ghana Football Association statement on Wednesday said Ziese's contract had been terminated after the country's failure to qualify for next year's African Nations Cup finals.

It said the decision followed what the association considered to be a poor and unacceptable performance.

Sport on screen

Athletics: IAAF Golden League, from noon on STAR Sports
Soccer, Premier League 2002/02: Arsenal vs Leeds, from 1.00 on ESPN
Cricket, SA in England: Third Test, Day I, live from 3.15 pm on STAR Sports
Tennis, ATP Tour: Cincinnati Masters, live from 4.30 am (Friday) on STAR Sports

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