By RON FANFAIR
Toronto FC captain, Dwayne DeRosario, is the Major League Soccer (MLS) Player of the Week.
The Scarborough native scored a goal and netted an assist in his team’s 2-0 win over the Seattle Sounders last weekend at BMO Field. He opened the scoring in the 58th minute and completed it 18 minutes later when his pass led to Jamaican-born O’Brien White placing a shot around goalie Kasey Keller.
This is DeRosario’s fifth Player of the Week award and his first in three years. He won it in 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2007.
And, the high turnover of African coaches in the run-up to this year’s World Cup has not gone down well with International Soccer Federation (FIFA) president Sepp Blatter. Three of Africa’s five World Cup teams have changed coaches in the past seven months.
“The talent of African players is at least as great as that of players from other countries, including Brazil and the Americas,” he said. “What is missing is tactics. But how can they have this if they change the coach a few months before the start of the biggest competition in the world?
“This continuity is missing because it is so important to feel the soul of the country where you are coaching and how can you do this in a few months?”
The Ivory Coast appointed former England and Mexico manager Sven-Goran Eriksson at the end of last month, having one month earlier fired Bosnian Vahid Halilhodzic.
Nigeria appointed Swede Lars Lagerback to replace Shaibu Amodu in February while South Africa named Carlos Parreira last October after firing fellow Brazilian Joel Santana.
Santana had himself replaced Parreira in April 2008 when the Brazilian World Cup winner quit for family reasons.
Blatter also predicted a bleak World Cup for the hosts unless they dramatically improve on last week’s goalless draw with North Korea.
“If they want to progress in the competition, they will have to score goals,” he said. “No goals, no moving forward.”
Blatter added that one of FIFA’s priorities is to establish professional leagues on the continent to help stem the exodus of African players to Asia and Europe.
“The African teams have always been good competitors at the Club World Championship and I am waiting for an African side to get to the semi-finals of the World Cup,” he said.
Blatter also expressed optimism that Nelson Mandela will open the World Cup in June. The former South African president, who is 91, made his last public appearance last February to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his release from prison.
“We cross fingers that Nelson Mandela can realize the dream,” Blatter said. “For the time being, he is doing well and we hope that he can do it.”