Sporting Digest: Football

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The Independent Online
Latvia's national coach, Revaz Dzodzuashvili, has quit his post to take over the Saudi Arabian club side Al-Ittihad. The Skonto Riga coach Alexander Starkov has taken over from the Georgian as Latvia's coach.

Benfica said yesterday that they were no longer interested in buying the Norwegian striker Sigurd Rushfeldt after being ordered by Fifa, world football's ruling body, to deliver a bank guarantee for the player. The former Birmingham City striker, the top scorer in the Norwegian league for the past two seasons, moved to Benfica from Rosenborg Trodheim early last month in a four-year deal. However Rosenborg recalled Rushfeldt from Benfica's summer training camp in Germany last month, alleging that the Portuguese club had failed to meet their financial commitments.

A footballer who died on the pitch last month had tested positive for an anabolic steroid - although the drug had not caused his death, the Romanian Sports Research Institute said yesterday. "We found traces of methandienone, an anabolic steroid which Stefan Vrabioru took several days before his death," Mia Lamor, a biochemist with the Institute, said. "But the quantity of drug we found was so small that it could not have caused his death." Vrabioru, 23, collapsed only minutes after his debut for Astra Ploiesti, playing away against the champions Rapid Bucharest. He died on his way to hospital. An inquiry into the cause of his death is still under way.

Brima Kanu, a 21-year-old player with the Belgian first division club Lokeren, died yesterday when his heart stopped following a knee operation, a club spokesman said. Kanu, originally from Sierra Leone, underwent knee surgery in an Antwerp clinic on Thursday on an injury suffered a year ago. Doctors said the operation was a success and they did not know why his heart stopped