Football: Grobbelaar `confident'

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Bruce Grobbelaar spoke yesterday of how much football means to him as he prepared to play for his country in a World Cup qualifier - just two days before the start of his trial on match-fixing charges.

The Plymouth Argyle goalkeeper's next appearance in England will be at Winchester Crown Court on Tuesday, when he will answer charges that he accepted bribes to fix matches. He will be in goal for Zimbabwe against Togo in Harare tomorrow, but the court case, inevitably, is on his mind.

"There are things that have happened that people will realise at the end of the day what the real story is, and it will all come out in court. I am very confident," the 39-year-old former Liverpool and Southampton player said.

"Football for me is like a release, an escape. I can come out and play the sport that I love playing, and if you're getting paid for playing sport you must play it with a smile on your face."

Grobbelaar said the case had put his family under "a hell of a lot of pressure" and contributed to his father's death. "No one can tell me his death wasn't caused by this. It's very hard, but life goes on. I'm strong enough - I can shut it out."

Also in action tomorrow is the Leeds United striker Tony Yeboah, who plays for Ghana against Morocco in Accra despite only just having to returned to action after a knee injury.

"It's a life or death matter," Yeboah said. "It must be won at all cost. If it means I have to play with one leg, I will do so to ensure victory."