Football: around the world

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The Independent Online
Bolivia

Last Sunday's friendly international between and Jamaica was no ordinary football match. The fixture, played at an altitude of 12,139ft above sea level in the n mining town of Orduro, turned into something of a farce long before the home country completed their 6-0 victory.

The Jamaicans, unable to cope with the altitude, soon began to clown around on the field. On several occasions, Jamaican players burst out laughing as n players, unaffected by the thin air, sped past them. Some Jamaicans also collapsed to the ground during the match, pretending they had fainted.

When the Jamaicans got near the ball they regularly whacked it as far as they possibly could, in any direction. They also vented their frustration on their opponents, committing a number of bad fouls, and finished with nine men after Onandi Lowe and Ian Goodison were sent off during the second half.

's coach, Antonio Lopez, was livid. "We had 15 minutes of football and the rest was all crap," he complained.

Albania

The beleaguered Balkan country of Albania, battered by weeks of armed anarchy, this week named a 20-man squad drawn exclusively from Albanians playing for foreign clubs for their forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against Ukraine and Germany.

Tomorrow's "home" match against Ukraine and another on Wednesday against Germany are both being played in Granada, Spain, after Fifa banned the Albanians from playing in Tirana because of the turmoil sweeping the country.

The Albanians have, however, managed to put together an under-21 squad selected from Albanian League clubs for their two fixtures in Guadix, Spain, against the same opponents. The young players have been able to train regularly throughout the troubles, and were due to fly out of Albania on Tuesday, only one day after scheduled flights resumed at Tirana airport, which had been closed for 11 days.

Turkey

The Istanbul-based team Besiktas have imposed a club-record fine of over pounds 150,000 on their Turkish international midfielder, Sergen Yalcin, after he withdrew from the side in a protest over one of the club's directors. Sergen said he would not play again unless the director, Ugur Eksioglu, resigned.

"If Ugur Eksioglu doesn't leave the board, from tomorrow I will not turn out for training or for matches. Let him wear the No 10 shirt and play in the Besiktas midfield," Sergen said on Tuesday.

Ugur replied: "I'm 60 years old, I can't wear the team strip but there are many others who can," adding that the club would probably sell Sergen at the end of the season.

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