BRIEFS London, Friday ANTHONY Joshua is not even interested in discussing the possibility of facing Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury in the future. Joshua alleges that both of the unbeaten heavyweights came together to freeze him out - and they have already mapped out their future until the first quarter of next year.
Fury will face Tom Schwarz on September 14th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. And Wilder will collide in a rematch with Luis Ortiz on a date in November. Should both of them win, the rematch will take place in February. Joshua suffered his first career defeat back in June, when Andy Ruiz dropped him four times and stopped in the seventh round at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
He faces Ruiz in a rematch for the WBO, IBF, WBA, IBO world titles on December 7th in Saudi Arabia. Until he beats Ruiz, and Wilder or Fury are free to fight - Joshua is not concerned with either man. “I’ve got something to fight for now. The guys I wanted to fight are tying themselves up for a year-anda- half.
They froze me out. Wilder has [agreed] his next fight with Ortiz, his next fight with Fury,” Joshua said on AJ: The Untold Truth, which is available as an on-demand special on Sky Sports. “We take on the best competitors in the division every time. We take challenges, and Ruiz Jr was the best of the crop that was available to me. Manuel Charr, Michael Hunter? How can I fight someone like Charr? I wanted the best, and Ruiz Jr was the best. If you want to win every fight, don’t step into battle.
“All eyes on Ruiz Jr. Nobody can talk to me about Wilder or Fury - that is irrelevant. And nobody should talk to me about Wilder or Fury after I beat Ruiz Jr, because they have made it clear what they are doing. They have got the whole of 2020 booked up. Until they are free, nobody talk to me about Wilder or Fury.”
Joshua: Until they are free, don’t talk to me about Wilder, Fury! Serena, Sharapova to clash in US Open first round blockbuster IT is back to work this weekend as our representatives, across the board, in the continental clubs tournaments play their crucial return leg matches in Angola, Botswana and at home, in Tanzania. With the exception of Young Africans and Zanzibar’s KMKM, who will be playing their return leg matches away from home in Botswana and Angola respectively, the rest of our representatives will be playing their return leg matches in the comfort of their home grounds and with the support of the twelfth player, their fans.
But this does not mean that they have their work cut out or less taxing, far from it. Just like their colleagues who will be playing away from home, they will also have to work extremely hard to go through to the next round. What stands between teams that are playing at home in Tanzania this weekend and their visiting foreign opponents is that they will have to deal with pressure, from their home fans, to win their matches, and that is not easy if past experience provided by teams like Simba are anything to go by.
Simba failed to go further, after going through the group stages, when they failed to beat their first opponents, TP Mazembe in their own backyard and later fluffed the biggest opportunity of their life when they failed to capitalize on their early lead against the Congolese at their own backyard. Earlier, late in 1993, they failed to win the CAF Cup in the final in Dar es Salaam against Ivory Coast’s Stella Abidjan in the return leg match played at the Uhuru Stadium having played a goalless draw in Abidjan.
Apart from failure to change winning tactics, on the part of their chief coach, King Abdallah Kibadeni, poor planning for the match, the absence of the four S on the part of Simba players coupled with pressure from the home fans would finally lead to their defeat and loss of the coveted trophy. Botswana’s Township Rollers have already made it known to the world that they will be taking on a very, good Tanzanian team, Young Africans and that is one thing our representatives should not fall for!
For that is a tactic to make Young Africans sleep, and I’m sure Yanga know better. If they had worked hard in their four S, in the last ten days, they should roll over their Botswana opponents. The same thing can be said about KMKM, who would be playing in Angola this weekend having gone down 0-2 in Zanzibar. Two goals are not insurmountable if they had worked hard on their four S. What KMKM need to ask themselves is, if their Angolan opponents were able to score two goals against them in their own backyard, why shouldn’t they do the same?
Again, we have rich, past history in which Tanzanian clubs overturned deficit suffered at home to win and go through away from home and again, a lesson is provided by none other than Simba, who went down 0-4 against Zambia’s Mufulira Wanderers in a match played at the Uhuru Stadium in Dar and outplayed the Zambians by beating them by 5-0. If Tanzanian teams did that, there is no reason why KMKM should not do the same, after all, they are also Tanzanians.
Tanzanian clubs that will be playing at home this weekend in their return leg matches are Simba SC, Azam FC, Zanzibar’s Malindi and the new kids on the block, KMC, who drew away from home against their Rwandan counterparts. Simba are not new to the continental soccer club matches having played in two seasons. In the first season, they were knocked out in the preliminaries against an Egyptian side, but in the second season they did quite well, falling after going through the group stages.
Therefore, Simba and Young Africans are the teams most Tanzanians hope would redeem them by going beyond the group stages on account of massive experience the two clubs have in the continental clubs tournaments. Although, Simba will be playing this weekend UD Songo, who had held them to a draw in Maputo, but they have a problem with their blunt forward.
But it is my hope that the Belgian coach, Patrick Aussems, would have dealt with the problem when Simba finally gets onto the pitch, at the National Stadium tommorow. Other Tanzanian clubs which should go through include new comers to the campaign, KMC, Azam FC and of course Malindi who will be taking on their Somalia counterparts. Azam FC, who went down by a lone goal to their Ethiopian counterparts, Fasil Ketema, is a more experienced team, especially in these continental clubs tournaments and should easily go through when they play at their Chamazi Complex.
• Attilio Tagalile is a journalist/ author and media consultant based in Dar es Salaam
and can be contacted through tagalileattilio@ yahoo.co.uk