Stay safe Jeremie
Jeremie Bela’s hopes of making his international debut were frustrated by the cancellation of Angola’s friendly with Guinea-Bissau.
The Birmingham City winger had been called up by head coach Pedro Gonçalves for the nation’s double header with their African counterparts on Sunday and their appointment with Mozambique on Tuesday, October 13.
However, with both matches set to take place in Lisbon, Sunday’s clash was called off over concerns about coronavirus.
The news was confirmed in a statement on the Angolan FA website which blamed the cancellation on a failure in testing by Guinea-Bissau.
The announcement read: “The Angolan Football Federation makes public notice that the friendly game between the Palancas Negras and the Djurtus of Guinea-Bissau scheduled for 4 pm today at the Municipal Stadium of Óbidos, here in Portugal is no longer taking place.
“Failure by the opposing team (Guinea-Bissau), to one of the assumptions of the health protocol, with regard to testing Covid-19, on the eve of the game is the reason that led to the cancellation.”
Bela is also eligible for DR Congo and had been called up by Angola coach Gonçalves in 2019 but did not play.
However, he was hopeful of winning his first cap against Guinea-Bissau but will now have to hope to do so against Mozambique tonight.
Former Birmingham City goalkeeper Lee Camp is training with Sheffield Wednesday following his release from St Andrew’s.
The 36-year-old left Blues after two rollercoaster seasons and 86 appearances at the end of last term.
He did so having lost his place to Connal Trueman midway through last term and then having regained it and finished a disappointing campaign as one of the few players to perform after lockdown.
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However, it was not enough to earn him a new deal and the veteran has once again teamed up with Garry Monk, the manger who took him to Blues.
But the Sheffield Star say Camp is only training with Wednesday to maintain his fitness while he looks for a new club, with the Owls already having Cameron Dawson and Joe Wildsmith as their front line goalkeepers, although it does look as though Kieren Westwood could be on his way out at Hillsborough.
Camp dealt with huge scepticism when he first arrived at Blues in the summer of 2018, which never quite died down due to some regrettable errors.
However, penalty saves against Queen’s Park Rangers, Nottingham Forest and in the FA Cup shoot out with Coventry City earned him a certain cult hero status, particularly with Blues’ travelling support.
Camp has had a long career in the game with the likes of Derby, Nottingham Forest, Bournemouth and Cardiff City and seems intent on playing on.
Since his departure Blues have brought Neil Etheridge to the club as well as Espanyol back-up Andres Prieto.
Birmingham City have been linked with a surprise move for Cameroonian midfielder Wato Kuate.
The 25-year-old began his career at Manchester City but is now a free agent after being released by Finnish side RoPS, who questioned his commitment.
After leaving ROPS the head coach Vesa Tauriainenis reported as saying : “We had high expectations for Wato, but unfortunately as the season approached, he showed that he was not able to commit to our joint activities.
“Wato is still a young and talented player, and I hope that in the future he will get into an environment where he could develop as a football player.”
TEAMtalk say the midfielder is also being tracked by Championship rivals Sheffield Wednesday and Nottingham Forest but QPR are leading the chase and have reportedly taken him on trial.
Kuate has had a nomadic career since leaving Manchester City, playing in Italy, Israel and Turkey.
He also had an eventful spell with Dundee United in Scotland in 2017 as a 21-year-old, where he was told he would never play for the club again after a bust up with the club captain and manager.
A move to Blues seems highly unlikely given the depth of options in their midfield, particularly with a manager such as Aitor Karanka who is known to favour uber-professional, experienced options.
Kuate spent time on trial with League One side Doncaster Rovers this summer but was not signed.
Well said Aitor
Aitor Karanka admits Birmingham City’s squad will be tested when the Championship resumes after the international break.
Blues’ head coach has been able to capitalise on the regularity of only one match a week for the first month of the season.
That has enabled Blues to overcome their Carabao Cup defeat to Cambridge with an unbeaten start to the league campaign.
However, the action restarts on Saturday as Blues welcome Garry Monk and Sheffield Wednesday to St Andrew’s in what is the first of seven games in little more than three weeks.
Karanka admits his relatively stable selection process will become far trickier and that those who have not seen much football so far, will get their opportunities.
“The main thing is they have to know that everybody is going to be important because it is impossible to achieve something in this league with just 13, 14 or 16 players,” he told Blues Talk.
“It is true now we have done well and I have played more or less with the same team but from Saturday everything is going to change – all of them are going to be important for us, Saturday-Tuesday, Saturday-Tuesday to travel to Norwich, to London is going to be tough for everybody.
“All them need to be ready and all of them need to understand they will play because at the end I will always try to find the best XI on the pitch.”
Overall Karanka has been pleased with the response of his players over the last two months.
He has tried to improve confidence and self-belief, as well as paying attention to the fine detail in preparation.
“I think they are the normal things not like we are going to invent something new.
“I think everything is about respect and hard work – then for me is normal.”
Much more here.
English football is on the brink of civil war after details of a plan cooked up by Liverpool, supported by Manchester United and backed by EFL chief executive Rick Parry emerged over the weekend.
The proposal, entitled Project Big Picture, would see the Premier League reduced to 18 teams, changes to the promotion and relegation procedures between the top flight and Championship and the abolition of the League Cup.
It is suggested money would be filtered further down the football pyramid but an end to the one team-one vote structure of the Premier League would see power centralised in the hands of the ‘Big Six’.
Depending on your vantage point it’s either a valuable life-line at a time of unprecedented crisis, or a shameless land grab when EFL clubs are on their uppers.
Birmingham City have been trying to get out of the Championship for nearly a decade and their fans have been reacting.
Anthony Moreland: It’s bad for football it will mean the big clubs getting richer and most of the clubs in the EFL folding not at first but in a few seasons time
David Ramzan: Don’t trust the Premier League. Through it’s formation it was supposed to help English National Football, that never worked out.
Reece Wood: Just makes the gap between the two divisions even wider, if you’ve won your play off game you should be promoted, why should a prem team be woeful all year but then still have one final chance to stay up by playing a team with a far less superior squad in a one off game? and no parachute payment? Teams coming down would have to basically strip the first team and start again as they wouldn’t be able to afford the wages, be going from prem straight down to league 2 to start again.