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Nigerian stars win gold for Bahrain at Asian Games



Nigerian stars win gold for Bahrain at Asian Games

Nigerian-born Bahrain sprinter Edidiong Odiong on Sunday won gold at the 18th Asian Games women’s 100m final at the 76,127-capacity Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The 21-year-old, who ditched Nigeria for a lucrative deal with the island country in 2015, dipped late to finish in 11.30secs to become Asia’s fastest woman.

Although Odiong, who won the 400m event at the 2013 African Youth Athletics Championships in Warri and represented Nigeria at the 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships in Oregon, United States, switched her international allegiance to Bahrain in 2015, she was cleared by the International Association of Athletics Federations to compete for her new owners the following year.

Abbas Abubakar, Salwa Naser (Ebelechukwu Agbapuonwu) and Kemi Adekoya had earlier dumped Nigeria for cash-rich Bahrain.

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Naser won the women’s 400m gold after finishing in 50.09secs while India’s Hima Das arrived in 50.79secs to claim silver.

The 20-year-old, who ran 50.06secs to win silver in the London 2017 World Championships, has won four legs of the Diamond League Series this year. She has so far won three gold for her adopted country since she started competing for them after her first success at the 2014 Arab Junior Athletics Championships in Cairo.

In men’s 100m Nigerian-born runner Femi Ogunode claimed silver in a time of 10 secs.

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First among equal: Rwandan female referee, Salima Mukansanga, to make FIFA World Cup history in Qatar



Top Rwandan female referee, Salima Mukansanga, is on the verge of history as she has been selected among 36 top-notch referees to officiate at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Mukansanga is one of only three female referees appointed by FIFA for the Qatar 2022 Mundial which include France’s Stephanie Frappart and Japan’s Yoshimi Yamashita.

During the 2021 African Cup of Nations in Cameroon in January, Mukansanga also made history when she became the first African woman referee to ever officiate at the tournament when she took charge of a Group B game between Guinea and Malawi.

The 34-year-old Mukansanga is one of the most respected female football officials in African football and has already taken charge of games at the Women’s World Cup, Africa Women’s Cup of Nations and the CAF Women’s Champions League.

“We are very happy that we have been able to call up female match officials for the first time in the history of a FIFA World Cup,” FIFA Referees Committee chairman, Pierluigi Collina, said while announcing the referees on Thursday.

“This concludes a long process that began several years ago with the deployment of female referees at FIFA men’s junior and senior tournaments.

“In this way, we clearly emphasise that it is quality that counts for us and not gender. I would hope that in the future, the selection of elite women’s match officials for important men’s competitions will be perceived as something normal and no longer as sensational,” the Italian said.

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Aribo’s goal not enough as Frankfurt edge Rangers in Europa Leage final. See how other Africans fared



As the 2021/2022 football season comes to an end, the Europa League ended in grand style with African players turning up for their club sides. Of course like every final of a sports game, there would be winners and losers, That’s just the way it is.

Now let’s take a further look at how Africans fared in the game.

The final was between the Scottish side, Rangers, and a German opponent Eintracht Frankfurt ended 5-4 after a penalty shootout in favour of Frankfurt.

Defenders Calvin Bassey and Leon Balogun both Nigerian and their national teammate and forward Joe Aribo were on the Rangers side for the night. Amad Diallo, an Ivorian, and Zambian Fashion Sakala were also part of the squad.

The match ended all square in regular time after Nigerian attacker, Joe Aribo gave Rangers the lead in the 53 minutes. The lead however only lasted for 12 minutes as Frankfurt equalized in the 69 minutes through …., setting up the match for extra time-time.

Nigeria’s Joe Aribo gave Rangers the lead in the 57 minutes in the Europa League final against Frankfurt.

Both sides passed up opportunities in the extra 30 minutes before substitute Aaron Ramsey missed his spot-kick and the German side converted all of theirs as the Ibrox side fell short, just as they did in 2008.

The winning side, Eintracht Frankfurt had players of African descent who represent France. Right-back, Evan N Dicka, and defender Almamy Touré are among the French-based Africans on the Frankfurt side.  Moroccan Aymane Barkok also plays for the team.

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End of Era: Barcelona striker Aubameyang retires from international football with Gabon



Barcelona striker and Gabon captain, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, has announced his retirement from international football after 13 years of active service to the national team.

Aubameyang departs as his country’s all-time leading goalscorer with 30 goals with just weeks before Gabon are due to kick off their qualifying campaign for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.

The former Arsenal striker played 72 times for his nation and was the team captain for several years but following an early exit from the Africa Cup of Nations in January in Cameroon, Aubameyang hinted he would now focus on his club career.

While announcing his international retirement in an open letter to Gabon football fans on Wednesday, the 32-year-old Aubameyang said:

“After 13 years of pride in representing my country, I announce that I am ending my international career.


“I would like to thank the Gabonese people and all those who have supported me in the good like the bad times.

“I will keep a lot of good memories like the day I made my debut at Romnisports, or the day I came back from Nigeria with the African Ballon d’Or.

“Sharing it with all the people was an unforgettable moment. I thank our President, his Excellency Ali Bongo Ondimba who has always supported the Panthers and has always worked for football to evolve in our country.

“I would also like to thank all my coaches, staff and the players that I have come across during this career.

“Finally, I thank my father who gave me the desire to do like him, hoping to have made him proud by wearing our colours.”

However, Aubameyang’s international retirement has polarised many in the central African country as some people think the timing is not auspicious as the Panthers begin their next Afcon qualifiers in a few week’s time.

Losing the national team captain so close to the qualifiers is also seen by many as a let down as many of the young players in the team look up to him for leadership and inspiration.

Aubameyang was at the heart of the Gabon team when it reached the quarter-finals of the 2012 African Cup of Nations to equal their best performance in international competitions.

His last tournament with Gabon in the 2021 Afcon in Cameroon was a disappointment when he contracted Covid at the start of the competition and had to withdraw from the tournament without playing a game after being diagnosed with heart lesions.

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