Oviedo set for Russia 2018
Left-back Bryan Oviedo is the first Sunderland player to be heading to next summer’s World Cup. The Black Cats defender came through ninety minutes as Costa Rica snatched a last gasp draw to clinch qualification for Russia 2018.
The match against Honduras had been postponed from Friday due to the effects of Hurrican Nate.
Costa Rica join Mexico as the CONCACAF nations to advance directly to the finals in Russia with a third to follow once the qualifiers conclude this week. A fourth will play either Syria or Australia in the play-offs for a spot.
Qualification brings little let up for Oviedo however, as Costa Rica travel to Panama on Tuesday to complete the ties in their group before the Sunderland man can make the 12 hour flight back to the UK.
Oviedo was excused from the Black Cats line-up after making a similar trek back from Mexico in the last international break. Sunderland face QPR at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.
Ndong and Gabon affected by dodgy orange juice
Didier Ndong came through 90 minutes for Gabon as his side were comfortably beaten by three-goals-to-nil in Morocco but the game was played out with some discomfort for those in a yellow shirt.
Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang tweeted prior to the game that Gabon players and staff had been hit by stomach complaints with a batch of dodgy orange juice drunk on the morning of the game suspected to be the cause.
Moitié de l'équipe + le staff mal de ventre incroyable le jour du match ah non c'est fort quel sacré jus d'orange ce matin— Aubameyang P-E (@Aubameyang7) October 7, 2017
Gabon can not effectively qualify for the World Cup, needing Ivory Coast to lose their final game against Morocco next month and them to beat Mali with a nine goal swing to make the play-offs. The Ivorians need a point to finish second in the group whilst victory will see them make Russia.
Didier Ndong will face former Sunderland man Stéphane Sessègnon on Tuesday night as Gabon play Benin in a friendly taking place in the south of France.
Lamine Kone was again overlooked by Côte d'Ivoire boss Marc Wilmotts as his side were held to a goalless draw by Mali on Friday. Den Haag centre back Wilfriend Kanon was declared fit prior to the game and continues to be preferred alongside Manchester United’s Eric Bailly at the heart of the Ivorian defence.
18-year-old Sunderland attacker Joel Asoro managed 16 minutes for the Swedish Under-21s on Friday as they began their qualification quest for the 2019 European Championships with a goal-apiece draw in Belgium.
Sunderland’s trio of home nations internationals will be involved in Monday’s crunch decider between the Republic of Ireland and Wales. John O’Shea and Aiden McGeady will likely start the game on the bench for Martin O’Neill’s men whilst birthday boy Jonny Williams will be in the opposing dugout.
Moyes still looking for that elusive building job
Proof that managing Sunderland can seriously damage your job prospects - just ask Paolo Di Canio - David Moyes has been speaking to the press about his hopes for a future opportunity.
Talking to the Mirror, the man with a Black Cats relegation on his CV insists he is still receiving lucrative offers for his services:
I’ve had several attractive offers - one just a few weeks ago - that I gave very careful consideration to.
Most of them have been from abroad and while I loved working in Spain at Real Sociedad, I want to make sure that my next job ticks all the boxes.
Clearly touting himself in the media to potential employees, Moyes goes on to outline those points on his CV that Sunderland fans became all too familiar with during his public outings as last season worsened:
I’m only 54. I still feel young and energised and I am also one of the most experienced Premier League managers out there. I think I’m on 499 Premier League games...
...before going to Sunderland I had one of the best win ratios in the Premier League and I still think I’ve got a lot to offer as a manager.