Photo by ISIphotos.com
Following up on Monday’s story revealing that Bakary Soumare had decided to play for Mali, here are some other details that didn’t make it into the story:
Soumare spoke to FC Barcelona midfielder Seydou Keita about playing for Mali during the summer, when Barcelona was in Chicago to play a friendly against Chivas de Guadalajara. Keyta admitted that while he might not have recommended that Soumare choose Mali in the past, he felt very confident about the direction the team is going in now under the leadership of head coach Stephen Keshi.
If the name Stephen Keshi rings a bell, it is because he was Nigeria’s captain during the 1994 World Cup. The Mali manager helped Togo to its improbable 2006 World Cup run and he also has ties to the United States. He spent 1996 in Sacramento, California, where he worked on his coaching education while also playing semi-professionally.
As for the Nov. 19 friendly between Mali and Algeria, it remains unresolved whether Soumare would travel to Paris for that match if the Chicago Fire were to reach the MLS Cup final (on Nov. 23 in Carson, California). The Fire can’t prevent Soumare from going to the match since it takes place on a FIFA date, but Soumare is prepared to work with the Fire on a course of action if Chicago does reach the final.
Here are some other stories to get your day started:
Martins brace downs Villa
Obafemi Martins netted a pair of second half goals to lead Newcastle United past Brad Friedel and Aston Villa, 2-0, on Monday.
The victory propelled Newcastle from the bottom of the EPL standings to 14th place, while keeping Aston Villa even on points with Arsenal and Hull.
Watford’s manager steps down
What a difference a year can make. Less than a year ago Watford was cruising atop the Coca Cola Championship and looked destined to return to the English Premier League. A slump, a failed playoff bid and terrible start to the First Division season now has Watford
in last place fourth from the bottom of the table in the Championship and led manager Adrian Boothroyd to step down.
Boothroyd’s departure could spell bad news for U.S. national team defender Jay DeMerit, who has flourished under Boothroyd, but who could now be cast aside as part of Watford’s defensive struggles.
That’s all for now. Feel free to share your thoughts on these stories, and any other soccer stories from this morning and Monday in the comments section below.