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Sierra Leone: A Time To Review And Take Sport Seriously
April 12, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Joe Pessima

For over 25 years, the Leone stars of Sierra Leone have not qualified for the prestigious African Cup of Nations tournament. Although the match didn’t play on the scheduled date (with controversy of COVID-19 test result in the way), it was a day of great significance. A deeply polarized nation was brought together by football. Seven million people were in bated breath in anticipation of a history making moment – where we become the sole deciders of our footballing fate. It is without doubt our darling Leone stars pull us all together in unity of purpose without regard to our common enemies of politics, religion, region etc. How much we can learn from that!

Let me digress. Sport has a unique and an unquantifiable impact in society. Be it a community causes to the inspiring of children from deprived regions, sport influences the lives of people on daily basis. In 2011, after Cristiano Ronaldo won the European golden shoe, he sold it at an auction for £1.2 million and donated the money towards building schools in war-torn Gaza.

Sport is a mega billion-dollar industry. In 2018, the global sports market was valued at approximately 471 billion U.S. dollars (Statista Research Department, 2020). The annual New York City marathon boosted the city’s economy to the tune of $340 million. Apart from its revenue generating ability, the sports industry in America produced 456,000 jobs with an average salary of $39,000 (Economic modeling specialist Intl.).

Back to Sierra Leone and sport. The importance of sport in the lives of Sierra Leoneans cannot be overemphasized. The New Direction manifesto listed sports as one of its sub-pillars in youth empowerment. It highlighted nine action points that will be implemented within a five-year mandate of the SLPP led government. This is so because President Julius Maada Bio believes that sports play an integral role in national development.

“The Government of Sierra Leone recognizes the enormous benefit sport provides and therefore acknowledges its importance in sustaining peace, building social and national cohesion, and creating enormous economic potential (job creation, income generation and stability), especially for young people. The relevance of sport has been neglected by successive governments and the entire society” (National Development plan 2019-2023).”

As President Bio has clocked three years in Office, it is necessary that we evaluate the impact his government has created in Sports. In the 2021 Citizen’s budget, the sum of Le 2.3 billion was allocated to the Ministry of Sports to cover the thirty-six sporting disciplines. Sadly, this is an extremely meager sum when compared to the ‘youth car wash project’ that enjoys the sum of 8.0 billion Leones. It is difficult to ascertain if the Bio administration has significantly increased budgetary allocation to Sports.

However, whilst they complain about a tight national budget in justifying the inadequate allocation, the Ministry of Finance intermittently allocates king-sized amounts to selected sporting disciplines upon qualification to international tournaments. In a Press release from the Ministry of Finance, the public was informed that from April 2018 to date, “the Government has disbursed 68,318,694,632.75 to the Ministry of Sports and the National Sports Authority for the PROMOTION, DEVELOPMENT and INTERNATIONAL PARTICIPATION of different sporting disciplines in the country.”

In his manifesto to the people of Sierra Leone, President Bio made several promises in relation to sports development.  He vowed to establish sport academies and provide facilities for sports development and recreation around the country. Currently, there is no functional football academy nor has Minister Ibrahim Nyelenkeh started any project of such.

Furthermore, the President promised to establish a sports development fund. In my research, there is no existing sports development fund in Sierra Leone.

The Inter-Secondary School sports meet was one of the most anticipated events for talent sourcing and it provided valued recreational opportunities to school going children. Reactivating it and other community activities was another marvelous hope given to the people of Sierra Leone, but it is yet to be delivered upon.

Alongside the resumption of national competition for all sporting disciplines, the President also promised to build standard stadium facilities in ALL regions including Western Rural communities in order to enhance the capacity of Sierra Leoneans in sport. All of these still remain in black and white as his mandate nears the end.

Undoubtedly, though, the Ministry of Sports and NSA has enjoyed over Sixty-Eight billion Leones in financial support from the Government with little or no evidential impact to show for it. Even so, it is not too late for a change in the direction of the New Direction. It is in my opinion that the policy and legal environment for sports development have to be reviewed. Before the end of 2021, the President should commit into having a national sports transformation conference in which experts will brainstorm the way forward.

The local councils have to be included if gainful transformation is to be achieved. Right across the country, very few schools can boast of having at least two recreational facilities for different sporting disciplines. Most communities are only proud of a football field and in most cases, it is the field of these schools that double as community playground. No wonder the infrastructure in these schools wears out quickly.

Conclusively, the major problem we face as a nation is the unwillingness to start our building blocks from ground zero. To attain an enviable height in any sporting discipline, we have to catch the talents at a tender age. Physical Health Education on Fridays should be reinstated across all schools. It will take 10-20 years of planning, monitoring & evaluation and deliberate investment if we are going to talk about sustainable and life changing gains. Generations before have failed us but we owe it to the next to prepare a solid foundation. We have to provide the enabling environment that will allow talents to decide their career pathway.

For far too long, our society has regrettably regarded University degrees as the only meaningful glory children can bring to their families. This moribund policy and inflexible system has left an insurmountable pressure on government for employment opportunities. Not everybody can be a Davidson-Nicol. Sierra Leone is in dire need of Mohamed Kallons, Cristiano Ronaldos, Serena Williams, Roger Federer and Anthony Joshuas too!

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Malawi breaks 11 year jinx to qualify for Afcon
March 30, 2021 | 0 Comments

By James Mwala.

The streets of Malawi were all filled last night, as empty as the Kamuzu Stadium was however in Blantyre, where the national football team broke an 11 year jinx to make it for the finals for the Africa Cup of Nations.

The team faced Uganda, with the hosts needed a win while the visitors only sought a point to join Burkina Faso as qualifying sides from Group B.

The Ugandan cranes headed into this match, at the back of a barren draw against Burkina Faso while the Flames added a lifeline to the campaign following a 1 nil win over South Sudan, a bottom logged side in the group.

In the first leg, Uganda beat Malawi 2 nil, and that was the leverage held aside from sitting over 30 places above Malawi on Fifa rankings.

In the 15th minutes, South African based Richard Mbulu towered higher to beat Denis Onyango with a thumping header for the Flames to lead until halftime and eventually after fulltime.

Flames Coach Meke Mwase had to recall some veterans, Limbikani Mzava and Gerard Phiri Jnr, both playing in South Africa while lethal forward Gabadihno Mhango was not in the squad having accumulated two back to back yellow cards.

The visibly clear efforts by Onyango, and Emmanuel Okwi failed to cancel out the Malawi goal, with the posts to the rescue twice in similar fashion for the home side.

The writing was on the wall for the Flames who last headed for the continental showpiece in 2010 and have now made just a third cut for the tournament in history.

Eventual group winners, Burkina Faso finished with 12 points following a 1 nil win over South Sudan who finished bottom with just three points.

Malawi came second with 10 points while Uganda finished with 8 points.  

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Basketball Africa League To Tip Off Historic Inaugural Season In May
March 29, 2021 | 0 Comments

The Basketball Africa League (BAL) today announced that the league’s historic inaugural season will tip off Sunday, May 16 at the Kigali Arena in Kigali, Rwanda, with 12 teams from across Africa competing in the new professional league.  The BAL, a partnership between the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the National Basketball Association (NBA) , builds on the foundation of club competitions FIBA Regional Office Africa has organized on the continent and marks the NBA’s first collaboration to operate a league outside of North America.  The first BAL Finals will be held Sunday, May 30.

The BAL will implement robust health and safety protocols for the 12 teams and personnel traveling to Rwanda, based on guidance from the World Health Organization and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, with advice from public health officials and medical experts.

“We are thrilled that the inaugural Basketball Africa League season will take place at the world-class Kigali Arena,” said BAL President Amadou Gallo Fall.  “Through the BAL, we will provide a platform for elite players from across the continent to showcase their talent and inspire fans of all ages, use basketball as an economic growth engine across Africa, and shine a light on Africa’s vibrant sporting culture.”

“We are extremely happy to finally launch the highly anticipated first season of the BAL,” said FIBA Africa and BAL Board President Anibal Manave.  “FIBA and the NBA have been working closely together to develop protocols to address the health and safety of all players, coaches and officials.  The experience of hosting the FIBA AfroBasket 2021 Qualifiers in Rwanda late last year will contribute to a safe and successful inaugural BAL season.”

The league today also announced an adjusted competition format for the inaugural season, which will feature a total of 26 games at the Kigali Arena.  The competition will tip off with an 18-game group phase with the 12 teams divided into three groups of four.  During the group phase, each team will face the three other teams in its group once.  The top eight teams from the group phase will qualify for the playoffs, which will be single elimination in all three rounds.

Below are the 12 club teams from 12 African countries that will compete in the inaugural BAL season:

COUNTRYTEAM
AlgeriaGSP (Groupement Sportif des Pétroliers) **
AngolaPetro de Luanda (Clube Atlético Petroleos de Luanda) *
CameroonFAP (Forces Armées et Police Basketball) **
EgyptZamalek*
MadagascarGNBC (Gendarmerie Nationale Basketball Club)**
MaliAS Police (Association Sportive de la Police Nationale) **
MoroccoAS Salé  (Association Sportive de Salé) *
MozambiqueFerroviàrio de Maputo **
NigeriaRivers Hoopers BC (Rivers Hoopers Basketball Club)*
RwandaPatriots BC (Patriots Basketball Club)**
SenegalAS Douanes (Association Sportive des Douanes) *
TunisiaUS Monastir (Union Sportive Monastirienne)*

*Champion from national league that earned representation in the inaugural BAL season

**Secured participation in the inaugural BAL season through a BAL qualifying tournament

Champions from the national leagues in Angola, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia earned their participation in the inaugural season.  The remaining six teams, which come from Algeria, Cameroon, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique and Rwanda, secured their participation through BAL qualifying tournaments conducted by FIBA Regional Office Africa across the continent in late 2019.

The BAL groups and additional details about the league will be announced at a later date.

About the BAL:
The BAL, a partnership between the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the NBA, is a new professional league featuring 12 club teams from across Africa.  Headquartered in Dakar, Senegal, the BAL builds on the foundation of club competitions FIBA has organized in Africa and marks the NBA’s first collaboration to operate a league outside North America.  Fans can follow the BAL (@theBAL) on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and register their interest in receiving more information at www.theBAL.com.

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CAF Disqualifies Chad from Africa Cup of Nations qualifying
March 22, 2021 | 0 Comments

Chad was to host Namibia on Wednesday and play against Mali on Sunday.

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Chad National Team
Chad National Team

The Confederation of African Football, CAF has disqualified Chad from the rest of the AFCON 2021 qualifiers, accusing the government of interfering in the affairs of the football federation.

The Chadian Ministry of Youth and Sports stripped the country’s football Federation of its powers on March 10 following concerns over the way it was being run and a communication breakdown, and will likely now also face a ban from FIFA, CAN report.

Following the suspension of the Chadian Football Federation by the Chadian Ministry of Youth and Sports, CAF has decided to disqualify the national team of Chad from the qualifiers of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations,” CAF said in a statement.

“In line with Article 61 read together with Article 64 of the CAF Regulations, Chad is considered a loser of both matches against Namibia and Mali.”

The Confederation of African Football said it ordered Chad to forfeit two games scheduled for this week as 3-0 losses. Chad was to host Namibia on Wednesday and play at Mali on Sunday.

Chad was, however, out of contention to qualify for the final tournament in Cameroon next January and February. The country had collected just one point in their four qualification matches.

This is the first major decision taken by the new CAF leadership since taking office on March 12. Patrice Motsepe was elected unopposed becoming the seventh President of the African Football body.

Mali who has qualified for the AFCON now has 13 points in Group A. Guinea is placed second with 8 points from four matches. Guinea will host Mali this Wednesday and will qualify with a win but any other results will see them travelling to Namibia knowing it is a must-win encounter for them to book a ticket for the Cameroon expedition.

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Q & A with Malawian Soccer Star Yamikani Chester
March 20, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

Yamikani Chester is full of ambitions and still has much to offer the world of football
Yamikani Chester is full of ambitions and still has much to offer the world of football

Full of talent, hard working and ambitious, Yamikani Chester believes the world is yet to see the best of him. The international footballer has so far excelled in professional clubs in Eastern Europe and the USA but a move to a league or club of bigger standing should not come as a surprise to anyone. In a Q and A with PAV, Chester sheds light on career so far and ambitions for club football and the Malawian National Team.

May we know how the last season went for you with all the challenges?

Chester: Well, settling into a new team was tough but a task I was up for. The manager that brought me in lost his job and we had a new manager come in which proved challenging, but I overcame that and let my football do the talking. The Covid pandemic hit us all hard but we re-grouped, and I in particular did well and finished as my teams (Las Vegas Lights) top goal scorer.

You are currently in Malawi, may we know your situation with Las Vegas Lights, are you still affiliated with the club?

Chester: I signed a 3-year contract with a Czech club called MFK Vyškov, and was loaned out to North Carolina FC for a season. The following season I was loaned out to Las Vegas lights FC. A bunch of clubs from the USA, Middle East, Europe and South America were interested in my services but together with my management we believed another season in the USA will prepare me for the next challenge. But as you know, Covid threw a spanner in the works for the world of football, sports to be precise. I have one year left with MFK Vyškov.

What were some of the activities that kept busy you during the COVID 19 period, how did Chester keep fit?

Chester: Family, friends and the Lord God kept me focused. Being an African player in American professional sports, I knew I had to work twice as hard as compared to my teammates in order to prove my worth and talent, I kept going. I had a set routine every day to keep my mental and physical state in tip top shape.

Prior to Las Vegas, you were with North Carolina FC, is playing in the US league a steppingstone for you or you envisage running the course of your career in the USA?

Chester: I wanted to compete at the highest professional level possible and open the door for more Malawians to follow. My dream is to have a great professional career; be remembered in world football and make my family, friends, and fans proud.

Malawi just needs the right investments, infrastructure and the rest will follow in nurturing young talent from rough to polished diamonds, says Chester
Malawi just needs the right investments, infrastructure and the rest will follow in nurturing young talent from rough to polished diamonds, says Chester

With regards to the league in the USA, how different is it from the Czech league where you starred for MFK Vyškov?

Chester: Funny thing is that since signing in the Czech Republic, I have never played there but from what I have experienced in the USA, the professionalism, facilities and personnel are world class. To be honest, the USA has some of the best professional training facilities in the world and it is only a matter of time till the soccer scene here is at the top.

What is the state of football back home in Malawi, what is working and what is not working?

Chester: Malawi has great talent and over the years has produced great players who haven’t really transcended beyond the African borders. Our weakness is that football is viewed as a poor man sport in Malawi; the grassroots level is almost non-existent yet this is the most crucial part; the investment in football is low; the infrastructure is poor and players do not have the dietary needs nor the facilities.

A lot of work needs to be done. We have the talent, we just need the right investments, infrastructure and the rest will follow in nurturing young boys and girls talent from rough to polished diamonds. I see no reason why we cannot produce English Premier League or La Liga stars.

Being one of the privileged Malawians playing professional football, do you feel any extra pressure to be a worthy Ambassador for your country?

Chester: No pressure at all, I live my life and try to do the best I can for me, my family and fans. We only get to live this life once and let us have no regrets but rather aim for the best we can be.

I carry the responsibility on my shoulder to be a role model to others and hope others achieve more than me. The cycle must go on.

Malawi has not had any standout performance yet, the country is often absent from major competitions like African Nations cup, not even to mention the world cup, what is holding your country back, what will it take for that breakthrough moment to come?

Chester: The poor infrastructure and investment has affected us dearly as a nation. But we have learnt of our weaknesses and surely you will see Malawi, The Flames shining on the international stage soon enough. We have the talent to do so.

he momentum from a  promising season with Las Vegas lights FC  was slowed down by COVID-19.Photo credit twitter
he momentum from a promising season with Las Vegas lights FC was slowed down by COVID-19.Photo credit twitter

Does Chester have any role models who inspired him in his early days, and to thousands of young Malawians out there who want to emulate your example and success, what advise do you have for them?

Chester: I have so many role models, from Ronaldinho, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Didier Drogba, to Malawi’s Joseph Kamwendo and Esau Kanyenda to name a few.

My advice to all athletes out there is be yourself, work hard, believe in your talent and it will happen for you. Nothing worthwhile comes easy so go out there and put all your energy into that passion and don’t lose the moment. 

As we wrap this interview, any projections for 2021, what goals and ambitions for your career both at the club level and the Malawi National team?

Chester: To be honest, my management has kept me really motivated and they are working on something for me, so I hope it materializes in the way we envision it. I hope, soon enough, to be playing in a top team in a very good professional league watched by millions around the world. As for the Flames, success is our only option, I hope this will be the year we turn our fortunes around and inspire a whole nation to get behind us.

*Culled from March Issue of PAV Magazine

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New CAF President Sets out His Vision for African Football
March 19, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Prince Kurupati

Motsepe says that one of his  key priorities at the present moment is to improve CAF’s financial fortunes.Photo credit Martin Rhodes/BusinessLIVE
Motsepe says that one of his key priorities at the present moment is to improve CAF’s financial fortunes.Photo credit Martin Rhodes/BusinessLIVE

South African Patrice Motsepe, the ninth richest man in Africa is now the head of the Confederation of African Football (CAF). Motsepe won the CAF presidential race election unopposed after his rival candidates for the post pulled out while the incumbent Ahmad Ahmad from Madagascar was barred from contesting.

Speaking soon after his victory, Motsepe said he was elated to be elected. He also thanked FIFA President Gianni Infantino for offering support and believing his vision for African football. “It’s a huge honour and privilege for me… Let me thank my brother Gianni Infantino for the vision and encouragement of unity. We can only deal with the challenges of Africa and we will succeed, but will only do so when we are united.”

Motsepe said that he looks forward to a fruitful term, one of cooperation between the continental football mother body and all football associations in various African countries. “The leadership we have in Africa (and) the leadership we have of football in every country gives me confidence and inspires me… I am absolutely confident that by working together we will indeed succeed to make African football not just reach the summit but be amongst the best in the world.”

Laying out his vision, Motsepe said his first port of call in the coming year will be to visit all African countries. The aim being to strengthen the relationship between the continental football mother body and all national football associations in Africa. Motsepe said that only unity and cooperation will help Africa to attain its goals when it comes to football.

“I’ll be visiting every single country in Africa in the next 9-12 months because it is important to engage with you in your country, meet the private sector and political leadership and talk about implementation,” Motsepe said.

In addition to strengthening the ties between national football associations and CAF, Motsepe also stated that another key priority at the present moment is to improve CAF’s financial fortunes. Since 2017, CAF has been recording more expenditure over income. Cash flow figures from 2019 to 2020 showed that the continental football mother body suffered a drop in its cash reserves of $40m dollars – from $110m to $70m.

As CAF looks to the end of another financial year, projections all point to one disturbing result that is, the continuation of the downward trend in CAF’s income figures. Faced with this challenge, Motsepe promised to use his business acumen in turning the financial fortunes of CAF for the better.

“The way to get yourself out of trouble is not to cut, because if you keep cutting you get to the bone and then you cut the bone, so the recognized strategy worldwide – in commerce – is to grow… And you grow by making your football and country attractive,” he said.

He went on to stress that immediate success will lay the path for the realization of all goals set out for this term. On this front, Motsepe is earmarking the first six months of his term to be the example of what the future holds. “I want to conclude by emphasizing the urgency of getting things done because the success of the next six months will lay the foundation for the medium to long term success we require to make sure that African football is indeed globally successful and globally competitive… We want our national teams to win and succeed… Some of the meaningful results will take some time but it starts with investment in our youth and infrastructure.”  

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Kenya Canoeing team depart to Spain for Africa Slalom Canoe Olympics qualifiers
March 10, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Kenya Canoeing team left the country on Tuesday, March 9, for Spain ahead of the Africa Slalom Canoe Olympics qualifiers.

The tournament, which brings together other African teams like Algeria, DRC, Morocco, Mauritius, and Senegal, will be held on March 20th&21st in Seu D’Urgell, Spain.

The team that jets out at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport consisted of Samwel Muturi, Levias Karanja, and Daniel Chomba under coach Titus Mukundi.

According to the Kenya Rowing Federation, the team’s initial plan to travel on Saturday was aborted due to a lack of appropriate visas to travel to Barcelona via Amsterdam.

‘’The reason given for the denial of boarding was that the Spanish Embassy’s visas for the travel could not allow the team to transit through Amsterdam{ a Schengen area} which was the flight route to Barcelona. There are no other direct flights from Nairobi to Barcelona. We are disappointed that after all the visas were issued on the strength of among other documents the travel itinerary and tickets which indicated the flight route’’ said the team manager Mohammed Bashora.

Through the intervention of the International Canoeing Federation, the National Olympic Committee of Kenya, and the State Department for Sport, the team finally managed to obtain an alternative flight plan and visa for team.

Titus Mukundi charges will take part in two competitions, the Canoe 1 and Kayak 1.

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Kenya:Gor Mahia’s dominance is over
March 8, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Kenya Premier League side Gor Mahia recently have dominated the media’s headlines thanks to their outstanding performance in the domestic league.

The team bagged four titles in four years in a row, making them the most successful team in Kenyan football history with 19 titles.

During the four years, K’Ogalo represented Kenya in continental football and played the English side Everton twice, in Tanzania and at Goodison Park in the UK.

In 2015, the reigning champions finished the league unbeaten with 78 points, 20 ahead of their closest rival under the management of Briton Frank Nuttal.

Their unbeaten run was a repeat of their heroic feat of 1983, 1984, and 1985. They earned praise from people from all walks of life, and many projected Gor to dominate the local football for many years to come. Some even claimed that K’Ogalo lacks a strong opponent on Kenyan soil.

 Contrary to expectations, the team is enduring a downturn in results this season.

The 2-0 loss in the KCB hands left them languishing at position eight with 19 points. The loss handed a massive blow to their already slim title hopes.

The title race has been narrowed down to few teams such as Tusker, KCB, and AFC Leopards.

On Friday, March 5, Tusker beat Ulinzi Stars 1-0 to extend their lead at the summit, and AFC Leopards downed Nairobi City Stars 1-0 on Saturday.

KCB is now trailing Tusker with six points at position two, having played one game less, while Leopards is in position three with 28 points, and if by chance they win their two games in hand, they will jump to position two, one point behind the league leaders.

Gor’s slump in form has been attributed to financial woos that led to the departure of many first-team players before the beginning of the season. However, the rival fans believe their opponent’s lackluster performance has been caused by a lack of fans in the stadium. They said Gor Mahia fans are notorious for intimidating referees to make unquestionable decisions in their favor.

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Brazilian striker Silva scores his first goal for Gor Mahia
March 3, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Wilson Silva Fonseca
Wilson Silva Fonseca

On Wednesday, Kenya Premier League side Gor Mahia ended a four-match winless run with a 2-1 hard-fought victory over Kakamega Homeboyz at Bukhungu Stadium.

The team’s duel against their arch-rivals AFC Leopards ended in a stalemate draw on February 7, a week after stunning Bandari FC 3-1. Kenya defending champions went ahead and lost 1-0 in Nairobi to Napsa Stars of Zambia in the Caf Confederation-Cup play-off before drawing 2-2 in the return league in Lusaka.

Surprisingly, the 19th times Kenyan champions again fell 2-1 to Nzoia United over the weekend, an outcome that piled pressure on players and the technical bench.

It looked set to be another disappointing day for the reigning champions in their visit to Western when Chris Masinza put the home side ahead with thirteen minutes gone.

However, Tito Okello’s equalizer in the 56th minute sparked them to life.

A superb strike by Brazilian import Wilson Silva Fonseca in the match’s dying moments made it 2-1 for the Green Army.

Kakamega Homeboyz were reduced to 10 men after Thomas Wainaina was red-carded following an ugly battle with Gor Mahia’s attacker Sammy Onyango.

Gor is now eighth in the log after playing 11 matches, while Tusker FC, the league leaders, have amassed 32 points from 14 games.

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Kenya:Morans set to kick off early preparation ahead of FIBA AfroBasket Championships
March 1, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Buoyed by an exemplary performance at the just concluded FIBA AfroBasket qualifiers held in Yaounde, Cameroon, Kenya’s men basket team are scheduled to start early training.

Kenya Basketball Federation chair Paul Otula revealed the local-based players would report to the training camp in a fortnight to prepare for FIBA AfroBasket Championships.

The showpiece is slated for August 24-September 4 in Kigali, Rwanda.

Assistant coach Sadat Gay will manage the players in the camp until the head coach until May when the head coach Liz Mills will return from Holiday in Australia.

“She will leave behind the programme to be followed by other coaches, organise zoom meetings and advice accordingly. With technology, nothing is impossible. We will be trying out every player and will only pick the best in each and every position,” said Paul Otula.

Otula also noted plans to extend training camp and organize friendly matches to ensure the players are adequately prepared for the tournament.

The chairman said the team’s management would have to choose wisely good players from a pool of 30, both playing in the local and foreign leagues.

He further challenged the players who did not make it to the squad during qualifiers to pull up their shocks to increase their chances of selection into the final squad.

Kenya qualified for the FIBA AfroBasket Championships for the first time in 28 years after stunning the African giant Angola.

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2021 Mount Cameroon Race:North West Athletes Dominate Yet Again
March 1, 2021 | 0 Comments

Ali Mohammadou from Bui emerges victorious in the male category while Kitan Mildred wins in the female category

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Ali Mohammadou wins in the senior male category
Ali Mohammadou wins in the senior male category

Athletes from the North West Region have continued their dominance of the Mount Cameroon Race of Hope. In the 26th edition organized in Buea on February 27, the winners in the senior male, senior female, junior male and female and the veteran women all came from the North West.

The ambience that the race usually witnesses before is slowly coming back with hundreds of fans coming out to watch and cheer the athletes as they ascended and descended the “chariot of the gods”.

Ali Mohammadou from the Bui Division of the North West Region finished the race first in a time of 4hrs 32mins and 24secs. In 2019, Ali Mohammadou finished in the second position while in 2020 was not amongst the top three.

Defending male champion Godlove Gabsibuin, the most successful male athlete with five titles could only finish in the second position. He did the race in 4hrs 45mins 03secs.

The third position was occupied by Fai Elvis Ndzedzeni who did the race in 4hrs 45mins 54secs.

Ali Mohammadou who wins for the first time could not hide his joy while appreciating the efforts of all those who supported him in his goal to become a champion this year.

“I started my career in 2012 hoping to become a champion one day. When you discover your talent do it even if your father and mother do not like it. When you see someone go up and come back down from the summit respect that person. This is because it is not easy to run 42km and back,” Ali Mohammadou said.

The champion Ali Mohamadou has called for an end to the present crisis that has claimed the lives of many as to him what will solve the problem is not by fighting.

“For my athletic career, I cry because of the Kumba massacre, the Ngarbuh massacre, the mbororos massacre which means it is very painful. I train in where the violence is very high and I know the pains of this crisis,” He added.

It was a closely fought battle in the women’s category from the time the ladies touched hut 2 and back. Going up it was Cheserek Agnes from Kenya who led the race past Hut Two and reached the summit of the first position. She was closely followed by Kitan Mildred as they descended while defending champion Tatah Carine was in third.

Like last year where the Kenyans dominated the ascending, their grip of the descending of Mount Fako is still proving difficult. In the descending, Kitan Mildred was able to pass Cheserek Agness and reached Bongo Square on the first position. Defending Champion Tatah Carine who ran this year under the South West Region equally passed the Kenyan and it was a two-horse race to the finish line.

Kitan Mildred slowly jugs to the finish line and was almost caught by Tatah Carine. It was, however, the year for Kitan Mildred Ntumeku who won the race, and in doing so winning for the first time. She did the race in 5hrs 21mins 45secs.

Tatah Carine came second in 5hrs 22mins 00sec. Jepkosegei Cheserek Agness who had led the race could only finish third in 5hrs 33mins 50secs.

“I want to promise my fans that they should not be discouraged that I came second. I am going back and will come up strong again,” Tatah Carine, three-time winner of the race said.

“To the young girl, it is not good for them to just stay at home idle. It is good for them to do things and discover their talents and work towards that talent to achieve their goals.”

Kitan Mildred
Kitan Mildred

Winners of the veteran women category

There was a new champion this year in the veteran women category. Nkambi Martina Ngenjang, 53-year-old from the North West Region came in the first position. She was second in the 2020 edition of the race.

Meantime, last year’s champion Nogah Brigitte, 51-year-old from the South West Region finished in the third position, while 57-year-old Mengwi Justina from the Littoral region came in third.

Junior Male winners

Mamoudou Dahiro came first

Gabsibuin Prophet Kanjoring in second and,

Wanma Walters Mbuh in third

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Kenya Morans honored for history-making
February 25, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) chairman Paul Otula
Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) chairman Paul Otula

In conjunction with Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF), Kenya’s Sports Ministry hosted a men’s basketball team popularly known as the Morans to luncheon following their triumph in Yaoundé Cameroon over the weekend.

In attendance were the Sports Minister Dr. Amina Mohamed, Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) chairman Paul Otula and the federation’s Secretary General Ambrose Kisoi, among other officials.

The Morans jetted back into the country on Wednesday, February 24, after thrashing African giants Angola 74-73 on Saturday in a nail-biting contest in the West African country.

The historic win saw Kenya booking a ticket to the FIBA AfroBasket 2021 tournament in Rwanda after a 28-year hiatus.

The Australian Elizabeth Mills’ side also qualified for the 2023 World Cup qualifiers for the first time.

Speaking during the event, Dr. Amina Mohamed said the government is committed to supporting the team’s activities before and during the tournament slated for August this year.

Dr. Amina said the Ministry would fully facilitate the team’s pre-competition camp by ensuring that all the team and competition prerequisites’ training needs are addressed promptly.

The Ministry will also cover the cost of participation.

“Yours has been a story of exceptional triumph and outstanding growth; the team and players’ needs are of the utmost priority to our operations. We want to keep you motivated and to reward you for honoring the flag of our beautiful country,” said Dr. Amina.

According to the KBF Secretary General, Kenya can become one of the continent’s basketball powerhouses if proper systems are implemented.

“We have learnt that we have a lot of talents in this country, and we need to have a well-coordinated way of bringing these talents together. Given good preparations and facilitation, the team can perform much better,” Kisoi said.

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Kenya:Gor Mahia and Napsa Stars fans exchanged words online
February 23, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Gor Mahia’s faithful have engaged in a heated discussion with their Napsa Stars counterpart following the Caf Confederation Cup’s former exit.

Injury time penalty awarded to the Zambian side in the second leg of the Caf Confederations Cup play-off in Lusaka on Sunday denied the Kenyan champions opportunity to progress to the group stage.

 Gor alias “husbands” flew to Zambia hoping to overturn a 1-0 defeat in Nairobi a week ago. The Kenyan 19 times champions took the lead in the 17th minute following Samuel Onyango’s cool finish. However, their celebration was short-lived as Austine Banda equalized for the Pensioners a minute later.

Forward Clinton Miheso restored Gor’s lead in the 20th minute, but a 90+6 minutes spot-kick put the last nail on the Kenyan side coffin after defender Geoffrey Ochieng committed a foul on Jimmy Mukeya inside the box.

Irate Gor Mahia fans slammed the South African referee Lebalang Mokete claiming the spot-kick was awarded outside the added minutes.

“The penalty was awarded when the game was already over, and the 90+4 was done. We were robbed,” said Wiclife Majiwa.

“That was match-fixing. The match played beyond the 4 minutes added time. The

 penalty was unjustified and a good referee won’t have awarded it under the circumstances.

 The referee behaved as if he had been compromised to ensure Gor Mahia lost the match by all means possible,” added Fredrick Ochoro.

Napsa Stars fans maintained that the referee’s decision was right in rejoinder, calling their opponents crying babies.

“When you play all those delaying tactics and think that referee is not taking note…The referee has the right to top up even 5minutes on additional minutes depending on stoppages during the additional time. Bad luck for our brothers, next time you will react reasonably, not like how you did at our home ground,” said Ben Kumwenda.

“The husband lost it in Kenya; how can you lose at home? Zambian teams rarely lose at home,” reiterated Felix Kampamba.

“Point of correction, how can a husband cry like a baby? I think he sent a wife to play for him this time,” Daliso Jere taunted Gor Mahia fans.

On the harassment of match officials, the Pensioners’ diehards slammed Gor Mahia players for acting unprofessionally.

Gor Mahia players reportedly descended on the centre referee after the final whistle, a behavior that could earn the club a ban and a hefty fine from CAF.

In a draw conducted on Monday by CAF, Napsa was placed in Group B alongside RS Berkane of Morocco, JS Kabyile from Algeria, and Cameroon’s side Coton Sport.

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Tanzania:Simba SC sting Al Ahly in the Caf Champions League
February 23, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Tanzania’s Simba SC on Tuesday registered 1-0 over the reigning African Champions Al Ahly FC in the Caf Champions League match played at Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Dar es Salaam.

Miquissone’s thunderous strike in the 29th minute was enough to grab three points for the host and grabbed the summit of group A with six points.

Simba’s first match in the competition was against a much-fancied DR Congolese side, Vita Club.

Mutshimba Mugalu secured a 1-0 hard victory for the Kings from the spot-kick after Vivien Assie Koua committed in the 58th minute.

Vita Club piled pressure on the visitors but could not break the well-organized Simba’s defence.

On the other hand, the Egyptian champions thrashed Al-Merreikh of Sudan 3-0 in Cairo.

The Tanzanian next match is against Al-Merreikh on March 5, while Al Ahly will take on Vita Club on the same day.

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African schools football competition to kick off in DR Congo
February 21, 2021 | 0 Comments

Through football, you can teach respect for adversaries and rules, learning how to play as a team, how to win and lose.

FIFA President Infantino with DR Congo President Tshisekedi
FIFA President Infantino with DR Congo President Tshisekedi

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, February 21, 2021/ — FIFA and the African Union have agreed to launch a schools football competition following a meeting in Kinshasa between FIFA President Gianni Infantino and the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Félix Tshisekedi, who is also the current Chairperson of the African Union (AU).

The two presidents, who had initiated discussions last week by videoconference, met at the Palais de la Nation in the DRC’s capital to further their productive talks of the previous days, and central to their exchange was the need to use the power of football to improve lives and to harness the possibilities it offers to instil positive values in young people.

On this subject, both the FIFA President and the AU Chairperson agreed to use the framework of the existing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the African Union, FIFA and CAF, to organise schools football competition across Africa, which will kick off in the DRC. To initiate the project, a protocol was signed this afternoon between FIFA and the Ministry of Sports and Leisure of the DRC.

“President Tshisekedi is passionate about football, and I’m delighted that we can work together to give hope to all children across Africa thanks to football,” the FIFA President said at the conclusion of the meeting. “Together, FIFA, AU, CAF and our member associations will develop competitions and training for the youth through football, because football is more than a sport, it is a school of life. Through football, you can teach respect for adversaries and rules, learning how to play as a team, how to win and lose. With this schools championship we plan to make these values, which are already strong in Africa, even stronger.”

Subsequently, the FIFA President also had the opportunity to visit the offices of the Congo DR Football Association (FECOFA) and to meet with FECOFA President Constant Omari, the FECOFA executive committee and several representatives of the football community of Congo DR.

*SOURCE Fédération internationale de football association (FIFA)

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FIFA President kicks-off African visit with stadium inauguration in Mauritania
February 18, 2021 | 0 Comments

Upon arrival, the FIFA President was welcomed by the President of the Mauritanian Football Federation (FFRIM) Ahmed Yahya
Upon arrival, the FIFA President was welcomed by the President of the Mauritanian Football Federation (FFRIM) Ahmed Yahya
Upon arrival, the FIFA President was welcomed by the President of the Mauritanian Football Federation (FFRIM) Ahmed Yahya
Upon arrival, the FIFA President was welcomed by the President of the Mauritanian Football Federation (FFRIM) Ahmed Yahya
NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania, February 17, 2021/ — FIFA (FIFA.com) President Gianni Infantino has arrived in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, the first stop on an itinerary that will see him visit FIFA member associations in several African countries along with heads of state and African Union (AU) Chairperson Félix Tshisekedi over the coming days.

Upon arrival, the FIFA President was welcomed by the President of the Mauritanian Football Federation (FFRIM) Ahmed Yahya, and travelled to the Stade Municipal de Nouadhibou to officially inaugurate the venue which was featuring a new artificial turf pitch that received FIFA Forward support.

“We have enjoyed some impressive youth football in a modern and well-equipped stadium which is a very good and concrete example of how FIFA Forward funds are used to develop football all over the world, and particularly in Africa,” the FIFA President said following the inauguration, which was also attended by Taleb Ould Sid´Ahmed, the Mauritanian Minister of Employment, Youth and Sports.

“FIFA is very proud that the FIFA Forward programme was used to invest in the new Stade Municipal de Nouadhibou which and is an excellent setting for the CAF U20 Africa Cup of Nations. I compliment the FFRIM and its President Ahmed Yahya, and also CAF, on staging this competition especially given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The competition is a great platform to showcase the amazing young talent of African football, and I look forward to seeing who will take the U20 trophy.”

“This facility, both the stadium and the technical centre, are important facilities for the development of football in Mauritania, and I would like to thank FIFA for helping to make this project come to life through FIFA Forward,” FFRIM President Ahmed Yahya added.

Stade Municipal de Nouadhibou, along with Nouakchott’s Cheikh Boidiya Stadium and Stade Olympique, is currently hosting the CAF U20 Africa Cup of Nations, which runs from 14 February until 6 March 2021. In staging the event, CAF also benefitted from FIFA COVID-19 Relief Fund support with funding provided for the maintenance and running of stadiums, as well as training of referees and security officers for tournaments.

On the pitch, CAF’s WAFU B champions Ghana recorded a 4-0 success against CECAFA runners-up Tanzania, before Morocco’s Young Atlas Lions, returning after a seven season hiatus from the competition, faced Gambia’s Baby Scorpions.

*SOURCE Fédération internationale de football association (FIFA)
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Sofapaka to sign one player before the transfer window deadline
February 18, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Sofapaka President Elly Kalekwa
Sofapaka President Elly Kalekwa

Kenyan Premier League side Sofapaka FC will sign one local player before the transfer window shuts, announced the club.

The 2009 champions are bolstering their squad following the poor start to the season.

Sofapaka President Elly Kalekwa said they have wrapped-up their transfer business for foreign players after attaining the set quota of five.

Batoto Ba Mungu recently completed the signing of Burundian midfielder Bizimana Amissi and goalkeeper Abdoul-Moubarak Aigba.

Amisi turned out for Rukinzu FC, and Moubarak joined from AS OTR Football Club in Togo. They signed a two-year deal each.

Burundian David Nshimirimana had also joined Ken Odhiambo charges.

“We have now closed our business to sign foreign players because we have reached the required quota, we already had two in our squad, and since none of them is going out, we are done with the business,” said Kalekwa.

At the beginning of this month, Sofapaka released seven players deemed surplus to the requirements.

Those axed included Nigerian duo Promise Chinonso and Michael Karamor, Ghanian import Jedinak Nana, goalkeeper Isaiah Wakasala, defender Faina Jacobs, midfielder David Simiyu and Bryson Juma.

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Kenya:Gor Mahia have lost fear factor
February 15, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Something is not right with the Kenyan Premier League side Gor Mahia FC following a series of poor performance.

The club is enduring downturn in results including 1-0 shock defeat in the hands of Zambian side Napsa Stars.

The Lusaka based club defied odds to beat their opponents in a Caf Confederation Cup pre-group stage encounter in Nairobi on Sunday. The result left Gor’s chances of advancing further in the competition hanging by the thread ahead of Second leg next week.

Playing against the Kenya’s defending champions is not the way it used to be. There used to be a fear factor from local teams as well as those across the continent.  Going up against Gor Mahia especially in the Kenyan soil used to be a hard task for several coaches and players.

For instance, former Zamalek FC head coach Christain Gross had expressed his fear of meeting the Kenyan giant ahead of their opening CAF Confederation Cup Group D match in February 2019. In deed Gor registered a memorable 4-2 win in Nairobi despite losing away a fortnight later.

“It’s always good to start the group stage with a victory. Gor Mahia game is going to be difficult but we have to give our all, whether the game is at home or away”, said Gross.

The 19 times Kenyan champions also ended 2015 season unbeaten and set a new Kenya Premier League record for points with a total of 78 points among many others records.

However, both small and big teams are no longer afraid of facing Gor Mahia as they believe they can win and bag three points against them.

Early this year, the club was bundled out of the CAF Champions League after being blown away by Algerian giants CRB Belouizdad 8-1 on aggregate.

Locally, the team also lost to minnows Vihiga United, a result that left many fans astounded.  Gor now sits in the 6th position, ten points behind the league leaders Tusker FC with two games in hand.

The club’s current poor run of results has been attributed to financial woos and rotational of coaches.

Former Gor Mahia coach Steven Polack said the team will register positive results if only the management stops exodus of players due to financial issues every season.

“Bringing too many players at once doesn’t help, as it takes time for them to gel together and that is the problem Gor Mahia is suffering from. The team will take time to regain consistency which we had built during my time [as the coach] because almost all the key players left, and now they have new players and also a new coach, it will take them time to get started,” said Polack.

Last season, several players quit Gor Mahia including defender Joash Onyango, goalkeeper David Mapigano, Lawrence Juma, Wellington Ochieng; Elvis Ronack, Kennedy Otieno, Boniface Omondi, Peter Odhiambo, Dickson Ambundo, Juma Balinya, Clinton Okoth, Edwin Lavatsa, Shafik Batambuze, and Jackson Owusu.

The British tactician left the club on mutual consent after guiding them to their 18th league title in the abandoned 2019/20 season.

The club’s secretary general Sam Ochola further linked the spate of bad results to rotation of coaches.  According to Ochola, players have had a hard time trying to adapt to different styles and mentality of coaches working with them on an interim basis. 

This season alone the club has been managed with three coaches. The first one was Brazilian Roberto Oliviera Goncalves who was sent packing over alleged lack of CAF coaching requirements.  After Goncalves was suspended by CAF, Sammy “Pamzo” Omollo was appointed on an interim basis. Now the team is under the management of Portuguese Carlos Manuel Vaz Pinto.

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African Union and FIFA commit to build on positive results and to accelerate collaboration
February 12, 2021 | 0 Comments

Two years to the day of signing a Memorandum of Understanding between the two organisations, African Union (AU) Chairperson Félix Tshisekedi and FIFA President Gianni Infantino (www.FIFA.com) have discussed an action plan that will accelerate several aspects of the agreement aimed at contributing for the benefit of African society, and, in particular, younger generations.

“I was delighted to speak with AU Chairperson who is a passionate football fan, and as FIFA and the AU have been working together for some time now, I am sure that under Félix Tshisekedi’s leadership our organisations will find ways to reinforce our joint efforts in many areas such as our ‘Football for Schools’ education project, the fight against match manipulation and any form of corruption, as well as safety and security at football matches across the continent,” the FIFA President said.

 “We are encouraged by FIFA’s willingness to engage with Africa, and to use football as a force for good across the continent, and by working as close partners with the AU to ensure that we are playing our part in the continued development of the sport across the African continent,” the AU Chairperson and President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo said.

Speaking by videoconference prior to the FIFA Club World Cup final, the two leaders discussed a range of initiatives from the role that football through education can play in developing life skills for children, be that respecting rules and showing respect to match officials, or by encouraging teamwork and cooperation in order to succeed. It was agreed that both AU and FIFA shared a mutual vision for education through football, and further discussions to identify opportunities are now being planned for a face-to-face meeting between both leaders in Kinshasa in the near future. 

The call provided the FIFA President with the opportunity to follow-up on previous discussions with H.E. Félix Tshisekedi’s predecessor, H.E. Cyril Ramaphosa, and to assure the new AU Chairperson that FIFA and football remain totally committed to maintaining the close cooperation and teamwork that has been built up between both organisations in the past two years.  

The FIFA President also outlined the FIFA COVID-19 Relief Plan, while also stressing the important investment made to support the 54 African member associations through FIFA Forward, which has already delivered close to 300 projects across the continent since Gianni Infantino’s first election in 2016.

*SOURCE Fédération internationale de football association (FIFA)

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Kenyan : seven players axed from Premier League side Sofapaka
February 10, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Sofapaka FC have confirmed they have parted ways with seven players including three foreigners.

The huge cull is the first sign of coach Ken Odhiambo’s overhaul of the playing squad at the Batoto Ba Mungu.

Those released include Nigerian duo Promise Chinonso and Michael Karamor, Ghanian import Jedinak Nana, goalkeeper Isaiah Wakasala, defender Faina Jacobs, midfielder David Simiyu and Bryson Juma.

Chinoso and Nana have failed to find the back of the net this season for the club as well as Karamor.

The club’s president Elly Kalekwa disclosed that the seven were dropped over poor performance. Kalekwa said the players failed to show any sign of improvement despite being given enough time.

“They were issued with performance letters asking them to improve but almost ten rounds into the season, they haven’t. We have a new manager and these changes were expected,” he said.

According to Kalekwa, plans are underway to ship in new players to fill the slot of the foreigners following the opening of the international window transfer.

“The three slots left by the foreigners will be filled by deserving imports. This time round, we will buy tried and tested players who will live up to the expectations placed on them. It is expensive to bring in players and pay salaries without the employer getting value for the money,” he added.

Batoto Ba Mungu have performed dismally since the 2020/2021 season kicked off in October. They sit in the 10th position with eleven points after playing nine games. Ken Odhiambo’s charges have only won three games, drew and lost two and four times respectively.

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African Union Chairperson and FIFA President discuss ongoing strong collaboration
February 5, 2021 | 0 Comments

Gianni Infantino stressed the important role that Africa plays in global football.

Infantino
Infantino

ZURICH, Switzerland, February 5, 2021/ — Thursday, during a call that preceded the 34th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU), AU Chairperson H.E. Cyril Ramaphosa and FIFA President Gianni Infantino spoke of the positive momentum generated between both organisations in the past two years as well as the strong institutional bonds forged between the AU and FIFA for the benefit of the African people.

Reviewing the progress made since both organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding in February 2019, the two leaders discussed various topics, including plans to boost African Football with a particular focus on infrastructure (stadia, football pitches), football academies and competitions, but also on the fight against match manipulation, as well as safety and security at football matches across Africa.

The joint #SafeHome campaign from August 2020 between the AU and FIFA, with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Confederation of African Football (CAF), where the four organisations addressed the important issue of domestic violence, which was exacerbated by COVID-19-related lockdowns and stay-at-home measures by launching a successful awareness-raising campaign is a further testimony of the close collaboration between the AU and FIFA. A number of Africa-based FIFA Legends supported the campaign via video awareness messages which were distributed on social and traditional media. Both the AU Chairperson and the FIFA President also recognised the opportunities that education through football can bring through the FIFA Football for Schools programme which is being coordinated globally via the FIFA Foundation.

Having visited 35 African countries in the last few years, Gianni Infantino stressed the important role that Africa plays in global football, and how that needs to be strengthened in future. This role has been supported with strong investments via the FIFA Forward programme which has already delivered close to 300 projects across the continent.

The rollout of the FIFA COVID-19 Relief Plan, supporting football across Africa during the pandemic, has also been significant and continues to play an important role to keep football alive in the continent.

Related to COVID-19, vaccination processes will also be crucial in the months ahead. In this respect, the FIFA President reiterated his support for fair access to vaccines for all, a message that he had passed to a global audience earlier this week at the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, in the presence of the WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The FIFA President thanked the AU Chairperson for their continued support, and assured his AU counterpart that the strong relationship forged between both organisations in the past two years will continue when Félix Tshisekedi, the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, will assume the role of African Union Chairperson for a one-year term during the aforementioned Assembly, which takes place on 6 and 7 February 2021.

*SOURCE Fédération internationale de football association (FIFA)

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PHILADELPHIA 76ERS: JOEL EMBIID NAMED EASTERN CONFERENCE PLAYER OF THE MONTH
February 3, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Embiid became just the third 76er ever to average 35 points and 10 rebounds over a five-game stretch. Photo by Rocky Widner-NBAE via Getty Images
Embiid became just the third 76er ever to average 35 points and 10 rebounds over a five-game stretch. Photo by Rocky Widner-NBAE via Getty Images

Cameroon’s Joel Embiid, who plays for the Philadelphia 76ers has been named as the Eastern Conference Player of the Month for the games played in December and January.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) announced the result today and Joel Embiid who is in his fifth NBA season collects the accolade for the second time in his career.

Embiid joins Hall of Famers Allen Iverson (four times), Charles Barkley (twice), Moses Malone (twice) and Julius Erving (three times) as the only 76ers players to win the award multiple times.

“In 16 games between December and January, Embiid averaged 28.3 points (fourth in the NBA, second in the East), 11.1 rebounds (ninth in the NBA, sixth in the East), 2.8 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.3 blocks in 31.7 minutes per game,” said Halima Djigo, APO’s Senior Media Relations Manager in a communiqué to Pan African Visions

“He was one of three NBA players to average 25 points and 10 rebounds through the season’s first month-plus, joining Western Conference Player of the Month Nikola Jokić and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo. The 76ers were 14-2 in Embiid’s 16 games and are 15-6 overall on the season, leading the Eastern Conference.”

According to Djigo, Embiid is the only player in the NBA with multiple 40-point, 10-rebound double-doubles. Embiid made 152 free throws during the season’s first month-plus, ranking second in the NBA while leading the league in free throws made (9.5) and attempted per game (11.3). “He was the only player in the league to make 16 free throws in multiple games. Iverson and Malone are the only 76ers ever to make at least nine free throws per game for an entire season,” She said.

Between Jan. 20-29, over a five-game span, Embiid averaged 35.6 points and 10.4 rebounds, while shooting .560 from the field and .429 from three-point range as the team went a perfect 5-0.

He became just the third 76er ever to average 35 points and 10 rebounds over a five-game stretch, joining Hall of Famers Wilt Chamberlain and Barkley.

The Sixers are 14-2 in the games Embiid has played. In 506 minutes when he’s been on the floor, they also have a stellar +13 net rating. In 507 minutes without him, that number falls to -4.03. On-off numbers can be noisy, especially so early in a season, but it’s clear how impactful Embiid has been when following the Sixers every game. 

Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers. Photo by Tim Nwachukwu-Getty Image
Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers. Photo by Tim Nwachukwu-Getty Image

On Jan. 12 vs. Miami, Embiid tallied a season-high 45 points (16-23 FG, 13-13 FT), 16 rebounds, four assists and a career-high five steals in the team’s 137-134 overtime victory. It was his ninth career 40-point, 10-rebound game, adding his 10th such performance eight days later on Jan. 20 vs. Boston.

About the Philadelphia 76ers

The Philadelphia 76ers are one of the most storied franchises in the National Basketball Association, having won three World Championships, earning nine trips to The Finals and making 50 playoff appearances over 71 seasons. The Philadelphia 76ers organization is a Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment property.

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CHAN 2020: Mali Beats Guinea 5-4 on Penalty Shootouts, Seal CHAN Finals
February 3, 2021 | 0 Comments

Mali qualifies for its second CHAN finals after participating at the 2016 Finals.

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

The Eagles of Mali are reaching their second CHAN finals after that of 2016
The Eagles of Mali are reaching their second CHAN finals after that of 2016

The Eagles of Mali have qualified for the finals of the Africa Nations Championship, CHAN. The team coached by Kanfory Bangoura has had an almost perfect record in the competition, drawing just one of the games played with no defeats.

Mali defeated the Syli Nationale of Guinea 5-4 on penalty shootouts after the game had ended 0-0 on 90mins and extra-time. Morlaye Sylla, Guinea best player in the competition missed the first penalty for the Guineans, a costly one as his missed penalty was the nail in the coffin for the team.

It was a tuned down performance for the Eagles against Guinea as they were beaten to ball possession, passing and pass accuracy as the Guineans bossed the midfield. Guinea had countless opportunities to score but could not bury them.

It should be recalled that Mali finished top of Group A that contained the mighty intermediate Lions, Burkina Faso, and Zimbabwe. The team collected 7 points in their three group games. In the quarter-finals, the team struggled to beat Congo Brazzaville on penalty shootouts.

Mali is participating for the fourth time at the CHAN competition. The team previously reached the finals in 2016 but were beaten in the finals. Mali will play the finals of the Africa Nations Championship on February 7 at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaounde.

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CHAN 2020: Cameroon’s Chances Against Morocco at the Semi-Finals
February 2, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Banga Solomon, the hero for the intermediate lions
Banga Solomon, the hero for the intermediate lions

It has been a competition to remember for the intermediate Lions of Cameroon. The team has already created history for themselves and will look to create another history as they face the Atlas Lions of Morocco.

It promises to be fireworks at the Limbe Omnisport Stadium this Wednesday, February 3, as it will be Cameroon’s first participation at the semi-final stage. The boys of Coach Martin Ndtoungou Mpile arrived Limbe this Tuesday after playing their previous games in Yaounde and Douala.

The team will be counting on the support from the fans in the region to cheer them on to victory, something which Coach Mpile has called for.

But what chances does the Intermediate Lions have? They confront a Moroccan side that has looked comfortable in the competition. Being defending champions, the team has experience at this level of the competition.

“We are serene. If we got here it is because we showed a couple of things, so it is up to us to go to the finals. It is a make or breaks without a second chance,” Coach Martin Ndtoungou Mpile told journalists in his pre-match press conference at the Limbe Omnisport Stadium.

“It is a new game and what we wish to implement is not what we will unveil here. We are here to win and get to the finals by making life uncomfortable for our adversaries.”

Cameroon should be wiry of Sophiane Rahimi and El Kaabi. Both players for the Moroccan side have scored two goals each and were on target during the quarter-finals 3-1 victory against Zambia. Morocco is a long-ball specialist and in all of their games tends to dominate the ball possession. The team had 65 per cent of the possession against Zambia.

For Cameroon, they were relying on Banga Solomon and Etame Ngombe in the group stages. For Solomon Banga, he is the leading goal scorer for the team with two goals. But for the quarter-finals, Yannick Djeng and Felix Oukine starred for the intermediate Lions. The four players including goalkeeper Haschou Kerrido have been excellent.

If Cameroon is to outsmart Morocco, they have to work on their finishing. Against DR Congo, the team had 14 shots and just 3 on target, while Morocco had 12 shots, 5 were on target against Zambia.

Sophiane Rahimi, the dangerous man for Morocco
Sophiane Rahimi, the dangerous man for Morocco

In the whole competition, Cameroon has score 4 goals and conceded twice, with two of the goals coming in the quarter-finals. Morocco on their part boasts 9 goals and just 3 conceded. They have scored more than two goals in two of their games thus far.

The intermediate Lions against the Atlas Lions is certainly a game not to miss. One thing is guaranteed, a Lion will be playing the CHAN final on February 3. Will it be the Lions of Cameroon or the Lions of Morocco? Only time will tell.

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World NTD Day: Africa says No to Neglected Tropical Diseases
February 2, 2021 | 0 Comments

Speak Up Africa, Basketball African League, Ecobank Group, Tongoro, Observateur Ebene, Fatou Guinea, the No to NTDs Civil Society Network, African journalists and RBS Crew take action to end Neglected Tropical Diseases

DAKAR, Senegal, February 1st, 2021,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- On the second ever World NTD Day, spearheaded by policy and advocacy action tank Speak Up Africa, high-level stakeholders, private and civil society organizations, artists and the media united to say No to Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).

First launched in 2020, World NTD Day was introduced to mark the global fight against Neglected Tropical Diseases, a group of diseases that affect more than 1.5 billion people globally. Approximately one third of those live in Africa.

To mark the occasion, the No to NTDs Civil Society Network coordinated iconic landmarks across Senegal, Niger, Guinea and Benin to shine orange and violet, the World NTD Day campaign colors, for the day to highlight the importance of all countries working together to fight NTDs. The Monument de la Renaissance in Senegal, the Place de la Concertation in Niger, the Monument du 22 Novembre in Guinea and the Etoile Rouge in Benin are among the many monuments worldwide that have light up.

To end Neglected Tropical Diseases in Africa and globally, we must increase the awareness around these diseases. We are so proud to have been part of this movement and to have lit up the Monument du 22 Novembre in Guinea. Solidarity is key to eliminate this group of diseases, and people and our communities must know that every action against NTDs, resonates on the continent and globally. » highlighted Salomon Dopavogui, Executive Director of Jeunesse Secours and Vice President of the No to NTDs Civil Society Network.

Furthermore, private sector organizations showed their support for the cause, with pan-African banking group Ecobank stepping up to end NTDs by raising awareness amongst its employees and clients across Francophone Africa. “As a private-sector organization, we recognize how important it is to lend our voice to the fight against NTDs, which affect millions of Africans. NTDs are diseases of inequity that also negatively impact Africa’s development as a whole, and we hope that other organizations are able to join us and end the neglect” commented Carl Manlan, Chief Operating Officer of the Ecobank Foundation.

In Dakar, Senegal, Speak Up Africa, Yard and RBS Crew worked on a participative fresco to inspire and inform the general public and the youth on the fight against NTDs. Drawn at the foot of the Renaissance Monument, the painting of this fresco convened Rajah Dioury Sy, Director of Special Olympics Senegal; Amadou Gallo Fall, President of the Basketball African League; Carl Manlan from the Ecobank Foundation; and Sarah Diouf, fashion brand founder and creative director of Tongoro. To further increase awareness, social media personalities Observateur Ebene and Fatou Guinea joined the celebrations and participated in the painting of the fresco while sharing the importance to act against NTDs with their millions of online followers. “Neglected tropical diseases disproportionately impact women and girls in Africa and I am delighted to participate in the fight against these diseases. For Africa to thrive, we must collectively act to end NTDs.” affirmed Sarah Diouf, Founder of Tongoro, while painting the fresco on the court.

Civil society organizations (CSOs), as part of No to NTDs Civil Society Network, also marked World NTD Day through communication and advocacy campaigns. Activities across Francophone Africa included:

  • Social mobilization and awareness sessions held with schools and key stakeholders, including journalists and youth representatives in Senegal
  • Capacity-building meetings and conferences in Benin and Guinea
  • Interactive broadcasts and public conferences in Burkina Faso
  • Conferences with key stakeholders, film screenings and TV debates in Niger

It’s excellent to see so many like-minded organizations from different countries and sectors join the call to end NTDs. As CSOs, it is our job to hold leaders accountable, mobilize communities and voice concerns of the marginalized, and with such incredible support this year, we are optimistic that we can beat NTDs, together!” added Dame Ndiaye, President of the No to NTD CSO Network.

Speak Up Africa has also partnered with 7 journalists from Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo for the “Lines of Impact” project, which seeks to build capacity for reporting on NTDs, and create high-quality in-depth coverage of these widespread diseases. “Neglected Tropical Diseases continue to affect millions of people in Africa – often in poor communities that lack access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities. Although these debilitating diseases affect people’s lives, they remain under-reported in the media. As journalists, we must shine the light on marginalized people living with NTDs and work closely with civil societies to amplify their voices and ensure that ‘No one is left behind’.” underlined Adbullahi Tsanni, an independent scientific journalist from Nigeria who participated in the project.

This year, partners from around the global, and across sectors are joining together to commemorate the day. “NTDs, affect the poorest and most marginalized communities, and we must ensure that these people continue receiving necessary and life-saving treatment. It’s inspiring to see so many of our partners come together by saying No to NTDs to support this common vision. Together, with this support, we can beat NTDs.” ended Yacine Djibo, Executive Director, Speak Up Africa.

For further information on World NTD Day, partners involved, and how to get involved in the day, visit www.notoNTDs.org/worldNTDDay.

Distributed by  African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of Speak Up Africa.

Notes to Editors

About Speak Up Africa

Headquartered in Dakar, Senegal, Speak Up Africa is a strategic communications and advocacy organization dedicated to catalyzing leadership, enabling policy change, and increasing awareness for sustainable development in Africa.

Through our platforms and relationships and with the help of our partners, we ensure that policy makers meet implementers; that solutions are showcased and that every sector – from individual citizens and civil society groups to global donors and business leaders – contributes critically to the dialogue and strives to form the blueprints for concrete action for public health and sustainable development.

About the No to NTDs Movement

The “No to NTDs” movement, led by Speak Up Africa, aims to increase awareness, prioritization and national commitment to accelerate the control and elimination of NTDs in Africa. For more information, visit https://www.notontds.org/

Find out more on:

Website: www.speakupafrica.org/
Twitter: @SpeakUpAfrica1
Facebook: @SpeakUpAfrica
Instagram: @speakupafrica
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/speak-up-africa
Journalist WhatsApp Group: +221 77 187 76 94

Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

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CHAN 2020: Eagles of Mali Set for Semi-Finals
January 31, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

The Eagles of Mali have booked a spot at the semi-finals of the ongoing Africa Nations Championship. A 5-4 penalty shootout saw the boys of coach picking up that much-deserved ticket into the semis.

The game was evenly balanced between both sides as Mali was looking to reach the semi-finals once more while Congo Brazzaville was looking at crossing the quarter-finals for the very first time.

Samake, Kyabou, Samabali, Doumba and Coulibaly all scored for Mali as Congo will be ruing that Mapata has his penalty kick wide. Even if it had gone on target there was a possibility that it would have been saved as the goalkeeper for Mali went the right way to the penalty kick.

Mali is aiming to replicate their best performance in the competition. In 2016, the Eagles finished runners-up as DR Congo won the competition that year.

It should be recalled that Mali topped Group A that consisted of Cameroon, Burkina Faso and Zimbabwe. The team finished with 7 points, as Cameroon ended on the second position with 5 points.

Before reaching the quarter-finals, Mali won Burkina Faso 1-0 in their first group game. They then followed that up with a 1-1 draw against Cameroon on matchday two before beating Zimbabwe 1-0 on Matchday three.

Mali will play the semi-final against the winners of the game Guinea v Rwanda. That game will be played at the Limbe Omnisport Stadium on February 3. Guinea will face Rwanda on January 31 at the Limbe Omnisport Stadium.

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CHAN 2020: Lions Roar to Sink Leopards, Qualify for Semis
January 31, 2021 | 0 Comments

Yannick N’Djeng and Felix Oukine goals were enough for the Intermediate Lions to book a spot at the semi-finals of the CHAN.

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

The intermediate Lions of Cameroon have qualified for the semi-finals of the ongoing Africa Nations Championship, CHAN. This victory for the boys of Coach Martin Ndtoungou Mpile means the team have qualified for the semi-finals for the very first time.

DR Congo, who had earlier disputed and ordered for s second COVID-19 test to be done on the squad after it was reported that some thirteen persons had contracted the virus, took the lead at the 21st minute of play through Makabi Lilepo, a player for AS Vita Club.

The lead would not last long though as Cameroon powered back to get an equalizer. Yannick N’Djeng of AS Fortuna brought the game to 1-1 after scoring the equalizer for Cameroon at the 29th minute.

Cameroon will then move ahead as the game reached the first 45-minute mark. Felix Oukine, a player with Cotonsport of Garoua scored Cameroon’s second goal of the game at the 41st-minute mark.

Cameroon’s best performances have always been ending at the quarter-finals stage. In 2011 and 2016, the team could not go further than the quarter-finals stage as they were eliminated on both occasions.

This was the third meeti8ng between the DRC and Cameroon, with the game always ending in favour of the intermediate lions during the first half of play. This is the first time Cameroon is scoring at the quarter-finals after losing their previous games to Ivory Coast (0-3) after extra time and in 2016 lost 7-8 during the penalty shootout to Angola as the game had ended 0-0.

The playing style of the intermediate lions has been greatly appreciated across various sporting platforms in the country. “This is what we called Lionheart. I last saw this in 2017 (when Cameroon won the AFCON),” one sports analyst wrote.

Cameroon will thus face the winner of the game between defending champions Morocco against Zambia on February 3 at the Limbe Omnisport Stadium. Morocco faces Zambia this January 31 at the Douala Reunification Stadium.

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CHAN 2020: DR Congo Boss Fumes At Mishaps in COVID-19 Tests
January 31, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Florent Ibenge, Coach of the DRC
Florent Ibenge, Coach of the DRC

The Coach of the Leopards of the Democratic Republic of Congo Florent Ibenge says what happened to the team before they faced Cameroon for the quarter-finals was quite unfortunate and could even be seen as criminal.

Florent Ibenge was speaking after the game as his side was beaten 2-1 by the Intermediate Lions of Cameroon. DRC had their hopes up of making it to the semis after Lilepo had opened the scoring for the Leopards at the 22nd minute.

The team could not maintain that lead as Cameroon equalized through Yannick N’Djeng at the 29th minute and completed their comeback at the 41st minute through Felix Oukine.

“We did not work as we could so we should think of getting better in the next competition. I do not want to be political but what happened to us was not nice,” DR Congo Coach Florent Ibenge told journalists in a post-match press conference.

“Negatively I took drugs when I was not sick, we had an issue. We were declared COVID-19 positive, players did not play whereas they were not sick. It is not good. It is even criminal.”

Coach Florent Ibenge went on to add that: “We did not have Zambo Zombo in the game, which made him not to play. Congratulations to Cameroon. 13 players were declared COVID-19 positive. We were tested at 11 pm and we got results at 2:30 pm, this is not fair. I think it is not nice and it gives a bad image of Cameroon. At this time I will tell you that there was counter expertise. Our results went to a laboratory that is not approved by CAF and the results were not valid because the results by CAF latter proved different.”

The team despite being eliminated from this competition is already looking ahead of the next edition. “I congratulate the lions, we are going back home when we were not prepared to go out at this level but we will be back and prepared for the next competitions,” Florent Ibenge said.

DR Congo eliminated from the CHAN by Cameroon 2-1
DR Congo eliminated from the CHAN by Cameroon 2-1

DR Congo remains the most successful nation of the ongoing Africa Nations Championship. The country has won the competition twice; in 2009 and 2016. This elimination will surely lead to questions being asked about the future of the Coach but not had been made in this direction by the DRC Football Federation.

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“Another Brazilian coffee farmer,” fans react to Gor Mahia’s new signing
January 29, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Kenyan defending champions Gor Mahia FC on Friday announced the signing of Brazilian striker Wilson Silva Fonseca.

According to the club, the forward used to ply his trade with Fortaleza FC before completing a move to the Kenyan side.

“We are pleased to announce the arrival of striker Wilson Silva Fonseca from Fortaleza FC, Brazil,” announced Gor Mahia.

In footage shared by Gor Mahia TV official on YouTube, the Brazilian was seen being received by Gor Mahia’s coach Vaz Pinto, training staff, and players.

Silva is the first signing since the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Premier League opened the mid-season transfer window on Monday, January 25.

Gor is looking forward to beef up their squad following mixed-up results since the beginning of the 2020/2021 season. They are in 7th position after playing seven games, winning four and losing three.

Silva is the second Brazilian player to sign for the record Premier League winners. The first was Giovani Rodriguez Bissolli, who signed in 2013 but was sent packing before making any appearance after the technical team reported that he could not fit into the then coach Zradvko Logarusic’s system.

The news about the new signing has drawn criticism from fans who have revealed that they do not believe in the player’s ability.

“This one also should be a farmer, a good player from Brazil cannot cross all countries from Asia, America, and Europe to sign for a poor team in East Africa that cannot pay even salary in time,” said Emmanuel Fungo.

“Not all Brazilians are footballers. Do you remember the other fake one?” paused Kevin Kimutai.

Some demanded to see a clip of Silva playing football saying Giovani Rodriguez Bissolli’s signing was a total comedy.

“Rejects from Brazil will not perform at Gor; that’s a waste of Money,” reiterated Ogambi Chris.

Spencer Odera added, “The last time I saw Giovanni Rodgriguez. No worthy player from Brazil would set foot in Kenya for a struggling club like Gor. Another Brazilian coffee farmer!”

The angry fans hit out at the club’s chairperson Ambrose Rachier saying Gor Mahia does not need a striker but defenders and midfielders. They further challenged him to promote local talents.

“They are quick to sign a striker, yet there is a lot to be done in the defense,” said Kennedy Ojijo.

“We are now losing it. How can we hire a tourist from Brazil when our young talents are here? What is the purpose of paying millions of money to outsiders when we can train our youths to that level?” Asked Ben Black.

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CHAN 2020: A Look at the Quarter-finalists
January 28, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Haschou Kerrido
Haschou Kerrido

The 6th edition of the Africa Nations Championship has reached its climax stage. Eight teams have qualified for the quarter-finals stage and will be battling for the four available spots at the semi-finals.

Host Cameroon, defending champions Morocco, and two times champions DR Congo have all made it to the quarter-finals with hopes of winning the competition. The quarter-finals have been scheduled to begin this Saturday, January 30 and Sunday, January 31.

Pan Africa Visions now looks at how the various teams qualified for the quarter-finals stage of the competition.

Cameroon

The team finished second in Group A with 5 points behind table-toppers Mali, who finished with 7 points. The intermediate Lions began the competition with a 1-0 win over Zimbabwe. Banga Solomon scored for the boys of Martin Mpile at the 72nd minute.

In their second encounter, the team came up against Mali. Banga Solomon was on hand again to get the opening goal for Cameroon. He scored at the 6th minute, his second goal of the competition. With Burkina Faso winning its second encounter, Cameroon needed just a draw to qualify, something which they succeeded in achieving though at a cost of finishing on the second spot.

Mali

The Eagles of Mali headed into group A as underdogs to Cameroon, but that didn’t dither them. They began strongly as they won Burkina Faso 1-0, with Bagayoko scoring the side’s only goal of the game. They then followed that win with a 1-1 draw against Cameroon.

With 4 points gotten in the opening two games, the team knew that a victory against Zimbabwe guarantees them a spot at the quarter-finals and possibly winning the group. A Diallo goal at the 11 minutes of play ensured that Mali beat Zimbabwe 1-0 and at the end finishing as winners of Group A.

DR Congo

The leopard of the DRC is the most successful nation in the competition. The team easily won Group B with 7 points. A 1-0 victory against neighbours Congo Brazzaville ensured that the team got off to a winning start. That victory against Congo was followed by a 1-1 draw against Libya. In their last game against Niger, Kabangu and Obenza were on target as DR Congo defeated Niger 2-1.

DR Congo has been hit with the Coronavirus as the coach and some players have fallen prey to the virus. But in the quarter-finals, the coach and some of the players have been cleared to be present for their quarter-final encounter.

Congo

The Red Devils of Congo Brazzaville finished as runners-up to DR Congo. The team ended with 4 points after 3 games. A 1-1 draw against Libya on matchday two and a 1-0 victory against Niger ensured that the team qualified for the quarter-finals.

Morocco

The Atlas Lions of Morocco are defending champions. A Jabrane penalty at the 27th minute gave Morocco all 3 points on matchday one against Togo. They then followed that with a disappointing 0-0 draw against Rwanda. They picked up their groove on matchday three as they dispatched Uganda 5-2, the highest goal-scoring game so far. Morocco will be hoping that they can defend their title they won the last edition at home. No country has been able to win the competition for two consecutive times.

Morocco is the defending champion
Morocco is the defending champion

Rwanda

The Amavubi of Rwanda qualified for the quarter-finals as runners-up to Morocco in Group C. The team had a total of 5 points in their group. Rwanda began the tournament with a 0-0 draw against Uganda. That was followed by a 0-0 draw against defending champions Morocco. The team had to come from behind to win Togo 3-2, with goals from Niyonzima, Tuyisenge and Sugira.

Guinea

The Syli Nationale finished as Group D winners, only on goal difference. A 3-0 spanking of Namibia ensured that Guinea got off to a winning start. That was followed by a 1-1 draw against Zambia. With Tanzania winning its second game, Guinea needed just a draw to qualify for the quarter-finals. The team had to come from behind to pick up their qualification ticket.

Barry who scored two goals in the first game against Namibia opened the scoring for Guinea at the 4th minute, through a penalty. Majogoro then equalized for Tanzania at the 23rd minute and then took the lead at the 69th minute. A Kantabadouno goal at the 82nd minute gave Guinea the much-needed equalizer, one that ensured they will be playing quarter-finals game this year.

Zambia

The Chipolopolo of Zambia finished as runners-up in Group D. the team that was based in Buea began with a 2-0 victory against Tanzania on matchday one, with goals from Sikombe (64mins pen), and Chabula (81mins). They then had a draw against Guinea on matchday two before concluding their group game against Namibia. The game against Namibia ended 0-0, with the draw good for a quarter-final ticket.

Quarter-final fixtures

Mali v Congo (30 January – 5 pm) at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium, Yaounde

DR Congo v Cameroon (30 January – 8 pm) Japoma Stadium, Douala

Morocco v Zambia (31 January – 5 pm) Reunification Stadium, Douala

Guinea v Rwanda (31 January – 8 pm) Limbe Omnisport Stadium

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