FORMER Germany captain Michael Ballack claims there was a plot against him which led to him losing the national team armband.
Ballack’s international career was ended after a challenge by Kevin-Prince Boateng in the FA Cup final in 2010 ruled the then-Chelsea midfielder out of that year’s World Cup due to injury, and he never made a return.
He visited the Germany team in South Africa, but on the day he returned to Germany, current captain Philipp Lahm gave an interview in which he said he wanted to take the captain’s armband on a full-time basis.
Ballack now believes there was no coincidence regarding the timing of those remarks.
“He is an intelligent lad and you don’t just give an interview like that in such a situation,” said Ballack.
“He must have agreed it with the coach to lean so far out of the window. That is what my feeling tells me. I was the captain and I know how people behave within a group. Philipp then became captain and it was a strange situation for me.”
TWO South African teams took each other on in a pre-season friendly last season – with fans signalling which players they wanted to see via text.
Eleven million votes were cast for the 22 players chosen in the starting lineup.
The SMS-controlled sides Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs then played out a 0-0 draw in their home town of Soweto, before a penalty shootout saw the Pirates plundering a win – with Khune, the player who polled the most votes, mssing the crucial spot kick!
A SOUTH American model has promised to strip naked if her country win the Copa America.
Larissa Riquelme shot to international repute after she promised a similar scene if Paraguay won the World Cup in South Africa.
And despite her team flopping last Summer, she’s once again pledged to don her birthday suit for celebrations should they pick up a trophy in the ongoing South American contest.
EIGHT German octopuses will compete during the women’s World Cup to become the successor to Paul the Psychic Octopus.
Germany’s eight Sea Life Centres will go head to head during the tournament in the country, to see if any cephalopods can match Paul’s uncanny ability to pick the winning team from a match by picking tasty morsels from the correct box.
Salty soothsayer Paul, now deceased, correctly picked the winners throughout last Summer’s World Cup in South Africa.
Britta Anlauf, spokeswoman for Sea Life Germany, said: “We are currently conducting different skills-training exercises with the octopuses in the hope that at least one of them can forecast as well as Paul.”
SOUTH African football club Orlando Pirates have got out of a jam – being hit with a suspended fine after one of their fans threw porridge at a referee.
The Soweto side will only be hit with a 50,000 rand fine if futher incidents take place after pleading guilty to a charge of spectator misbehaviour and bringing the game into disrepute.
A supporter had hurled a handful of stodgy porridge at the referee at the end of a comfortable away win for the Pirates in Durban in January.
In October last year, arch rivals Kaizer Chiefs were handed a suspended 500,000 rand fine after angry fans threw two plastic vuvuzelas and a cabbage on to the pitch during a cup tie to protest about refereeing decisions – leading to fears of a vuvuzela ban.
NEAR permanant crock Owen Hargreaves made a shock return to action this weekend – but it was no shock to see him limping back off shortly afterwards.
The England midfielder made his first start for Manchester United in two years but suffered a hamstring injury after just six minutes.
Sir Alex Ferguson admits his gamble on Owen Hargreaves’ fitness against Wolves was a “disaster” – and now I fear the tenacious midfielder could go the same way as the likes of Dean Ashton and have to call it a day.
It’s a crying shame, England was crying out for a player with the sheer drive of Hargreaves to prop up its more glittering midfield assets over the South African World Cup debacle.
So my heart goes out to you, Owen – or at least a kidney, a pint or two of blood or some bone marrow, should you need it.
AFTER deafening the World Cup with the vuvuzela, South Africa’s football authorities could now tell their own instrument to buzz off.
Kaizer Chiefs have been punished for their fan’s behaviour in a recent match with a suspended fine, after two vuvuzelas and a cabbage were thrown onto the pitch.
Premier Soccer League’s prosecutor Zola Majavu said: “Should vuvuzelas continue to be used as missiles they could be banned.”
Kaizer Chiefs club chairman Kaizer Motaung said: “We call upon (fans) to help identify rogue elements intent on causing disruption.
“Once (they are) identified we intend to blacklist theses individuals.”
In the name of fairness, I hope cabbages are being monitored as closely.