Happy Birthday to you
In our regular Sunday feature, we bring you the names of some of the best known figures on Planet Football who will be celebrating their birthdays over the coming week.
Two legendary coaches celebrate their birthdays on Sunday in the shape of Leo Beenhakker (67) and Alain Giresse (57). The Dutchman has been in charge of Poland since 2006 and is hoping that his charges will manage to book their ticket for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. The former French midfield star has similar aspirations - he took over Gabon, also in 2006, who currently sit proudly atop Group A ahead of Togo, Morocco and Cameroon and are well on their way to qualifying for their first ever final phase.
Former Iceland coach Eyjolfur Gjafar Sverrisson turns 41 today. During his playing career, he plied his trade in the Bundesliga with Stuttgart, with whom he won the title in 1992, and Hertha Berlin.
Nikos Liberopoulos, who twice finished the season as top scorer in the Greek top flight, celebrates his 34th birthday on Tuesday. The Eintracht Frankfurt striker played no fewer than 66 times for his native Greece.
Paraguay international Salvador Cabanas Ortega (29) and US international Frankie Hejduk (35) have their birthdays on Wednesday. Cabanas and his team-mates are currently on course to qualify for South Africa 2010, while veteran Hejduk is hoping that he and his fellow FIFA Confederation Cup-finalists will also be there for the main event next year. That would be his third final phase, after he featured in the FIFA World Cup in 1998 and 2002.
Perhaps the biggest birthday name of the week is Arsenal striker Robin van Persie, who turns 26 on Thursday. He and the rest of the Dutch squad were the first European team to book their tickets for South Africa.
Another former French international will also be blowing out the candles this week - Jocelyn Angloma (44). The defender played in two UEFA European Championships and enjoyed a successful domestic career for such legendary clubs as Paris Saint-Germain, Inter Milan and Valencia.
Two Louis celebrate their birthdays on Saturday - Everton striker Saha (31) and Bayern Munich coach Van Gaal (58). The French international is currently busy preparing for the forthcoming Premier League season and hoping to qualify for next year's FIFA World Cup, while the legendary Dutch coach is looking to steer the record Bundesliga title-winners to some silverware in his first season at the helm.