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Africa XI of UEFA Champions League Matchday 36 minutes read

Mane and Salah lead strike force.

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Africa 11 from UCL 3rd round

The third round of the UEFA Champions League group stage has concluded with Liverpool, Mancity, Tottenham and PSG all recording big wins. Mancity and PSG currently top their groups with 3 wins out of 3 games. Impressive stats.

We take a look at the performance of Africans at the Champions League third round as they represented their respective European club sides. We’re putting the best performers into an African XI of the third round.

Goalkeeper

Andre Onana (Cameroon) – Ajax 

The 23-year-old made some good saves in his side’s 1-0 loss to English club Chelsea and couldn’t do much about the goal he conceded. It was a decent all-round performance from the shot-stopper.

Ajax's Cameroon goalkeeper Andre Onana makes our 3rd Round Africa 11
Ajax’s Cameroon goalkeeper Andre Onana holds the ball during the UEFA Champions League Group H football match between Ajax FC Amsterdam and LOSC Lille, at the Johan Cruijff Arena, in Amsterdam, on September 17, 2019. (Photo by Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP)

Defenders

Serge Aurier (Ivory Coast) – Tottenham Hotspur

The Ivorian had a good game as he helped his side to a clean sheet in a 5-0 win over Red Star Belgrade. He also assisted Erik Lamela’s fourth goal and slowly becoming a mainstay in this Spurs team. 

Tottenham Hotspur defender Serge Aurier makes our 3rd Round Africa 11
Tottenham Hotspur defender Serge Aurier during the UEFA Champions League, Group B football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Red Star Belgrade on October 22, 2019, at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, England – Photo Ian Stephen / ProSportsImages / DPPI

Brian Idowu (Nigeria) – Lokomotiv Moscow

The Nigerian defender was on the losing side as Lokomotiv Moscow saw an early goal advantage slip as they lost 2-1 to Juventus. He did, however, leave his mark on the game as he stood firm against the duo of Paulo Dybala and Juan Cuadrado.

Lokomotiv's Brian Idowu makes our 3rd Round Africa 11
Lokomotiv’s Brian Idowu holds the trophy as he celebrates his team’s victory in the Russian Super Cup match against Zenit St. Petersburg, in Moscow, Russia. Vladimir Astapkovich / Sputnik

Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal) – Napoli

The big centre back who is arguably Africa’s best defender, had a good game with perfectly timed tackles and interceptions as Napoli claimed a 3-2 win at Salzburg.

Kalidou Koulibaly of SSC Napoli makes our 3rd Round Africa 11
Kalidou Koulibaly of SSC Napoli during the Serie A TIM match between SSC Napoli and Hellas Verona at Stadio San Paolo Naples Italy on 19 October 2019. (Photo by Franco Romano/NurPhoto)

Achraf Hakimi (Morocco) – Dortmund

Hakimi was on the end of a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Inter Milan but still offered his team chances with his runs from deep. The Moroccan played all 90 minutes and made some vital tackles.

Achraf HAKIMI makes our 3rd Round Africa 11
Achraf HAKIMI (DO), Portrait. Bundesliga, 8th matchday, Borussia Dortmund (DO) – Borussia Monchengladbach (MG), on 19.10.2019 in Dortmund / Germany. AFP

Midfielders

Riyad Mahrez (Algeria) – Manchester City

The 2019 AFCON winner played all 90 minutes and assisted Raheem Sterling’s fifth goal in a 5-1 win over Atalanta. He also carved a few openings for himself and was a constant threat on the right side of the City attack.

Manchester City's Algerian midfielder Riyad Mahrez makes our 3rd Round Africa 11
Manchester City’s Algerian midfielder Riyad Mahrez controls the ball during the UEFA Champions League Group C football match between Manchester City and Atalanta at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, northwest England on October 22, 2019. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)

Thomas Partey (Ghana) – Atletico Madrid

The Ghanaian midfielder is fast becoming a key member of the Atletico Madrid set up and gave another solid showing in their 1-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen.

Atletico Madrid's Ghanaian midfielder Thomas Partey makes our 3rd Round Africa 11
Atletico Madrid’s Ghanaian midfielder Thomas Partey kicks the ball during the UEFA Champions League Group D football match between Atletico Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid on October 22, 2019. (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP)

Naby Keita (Guinea) – Liverpool

The midfielder made his first start since his return from injury and played all 90 minutes in a comfortable 4-1 win for the Reds.

Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita makes our 3rd Round Africa 11
Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita (8) back in action after an injury during the Champions League match between Liverpool and FC Red Bull at Anfield, Liverpool, England on 2 October 2019. Photo Craig Galloway /ProSportsImages / DPPI

Strikers

Youssef El Arabi (Morocco) – Olympiacos

The Moroccan forward scored the opening goal for Olympiacos and came close to adding a second before German giants Bayern Munich rallied back to win the game 3-2.

Yousef El Arabi makes our 3rd Round Africa 11
22 October 2019, Greece, Athen: Soccer: Champions League, Olympiakos Piräus – Bayern Munich, Group stage, Group B, Matchday 3 at Georgios-Karaiskakis Stadium. Youssef El Arabi (l) of FC Olympiacos cheers for the 1-0 victory. Photo: Angelos Tzortzinis/DPA

Sadio Mane (Senegal) – Liverpool

The in-form Senegalese attacker got a goal and an assist in a dominant 4-1 for Liverpool over Genk. He continued his impressive form this season and is the club’s top scorer.

Liverpool striker Sadio Mane makes our 3rd Round Africa 11
Liverpool striker Sadio Mane during the UEFA Champions League, Group E football match between KRC Genk and Liverpool on October 23, 2019, at Liminus Arena in Genk, Belgium – Photo Nigel Keene / ProSportsImages / DPPI

Mohamed Salah (Egypt) – Liverpool

The reigning African footballer of the year made a return from injury and scored the fourth goal in a comfortable 4-1 win for Liverpool.

Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah makes our 3rd Round Africa 11
Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah during the UEFA Champions League, Group E football match between KRC Genk and Liverpool on October 23, 2019, at Liminus Arena in Genk, Belgium – Photo Nigel Keene / ProSportsImages / DPPI

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Weah forecasts grim future for African sports post-COVID-19

Liberian president and former African and World Footballer of The Year warns of struggle in sports post Covid-19

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Liberian president and former African and World Footballer of The Year George Weah has warned that the future of sports on the African continent after the coronavirus will be “bleak”.

Speaking at a recent special webinar organized by the Africa Sports Ventures Group, Weah said that the organizing of sports events or competitions behind closed doors or with minimal crowds will result in a major reduction in sponsorship revenues as companies reduce spending in the wake of coronavirus-inflicted losses.

In his opinion, this poses a huge threat not just to individual sporting clubs across the continent, but also to the league structures within which they exist.

“The lifeblood of sports consists mainly of attendance fees and sponsorships – where these no longer exist, many clubs will collapse and many leagues will close permanently,” said President Weah.

“It is my considered opinion that the future of sports in Africa after Covid-19 is bleak, and is not guaranteed to recover. There will be an urgent need to resuscitate football and other games.

“Health and recovery of our economies take absolute priority, however it is important that the global funding being raised should recognise the social importance of sport.”

However, head of sport at the South African Broadcasting Corporation, Gary Rathbone believes that social media can bring clubs much-needed income as they try and get back into playing again.

“There’s an opportunity for many leagues and many sports federations to start engaging with their consumers via the digital space,” said Rathbone.

“In many American sports, big international leagues, Formula One, consumers can subscribe directly to content without paying for a TV subscription, and there’s an opportunity here on the continent now if federations can start doing that.

“There are around 300 million people with smartphones across sub-Saharan Africa. If you look at big football clubs in Africa so many of them are not exploiting the digital space on social media. It’s a huge opportunity to monetise the content that they have with advertisers or subscription fees.

“If a club has a million fans and say a quarter of them subscribe for just 50 cents a month, that’s $125,000 a month – much greater than any broadcast TV revenue that they might have got,” he concluded.

The online event, in collaboration with UNESCO, featured presentations from experts, athletes, administrators, marketers and government officials aimed at dealing with the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.

Some of the suggestions included a stronger digital presence, new partnerships in social development, the inclusion of some of Africa’s traditional sports in the mainstream and staging more events on the continent.

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Southern Africa Sports

Zimbabwe FA rules out pay cut for national team coach

Zimbabwe FA say Zdravko Logarusic will not be asked to take a pay cut despite the crippling effect of the coronavirus pandemic

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Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) president Felton Kamambo has revealed that national team coach Zdravko Logarusic will not be asked to take a pay cut despite the crippling effect of the coronavirus pandemic.

ZIFA says they are still in a comfortable financial position to meet Logarusics’ monthly salary as per contract. Less than a month after he took over as the Warriors coach, football in the country went into lockdown.

Logarusic had earlier said he does not feel comfortable receiving his salary when he has not worked for it and wants international football to resume very soon.

Kamambo said the contract with expatriates should not be affected by footballs inactivity, but says it will be discussed when the board have their meeting.

The ZIFA president does not expect drastic decisions to be taken regarding Logarusic’s salary.

“We did our plan before hiring him so we will continue to pay our coach according to our contract. I am not expecting the board to make drastic charges on that.

“We are happy that for the first time the association is able to meet their financial obligations regarding the coach’s welfare. We don’t owe him any cent. We also don’t owe any of our staff members any money. ZIFA had gained notoriety for not paying coaches and at one time it even cost us a run in the World Cup qualifiers. But those are now things of the past. We have opened a new leaf as the association,” said Kamambo.

Kamambo also said ZIFA is trying to be transparent with its finances.

“We already have US$500 000 for the remaining six months. But we will not just spend because it was availed us a bit early. We will continue to operate the way we were doing so that by the time football returns we will be prepared to cater for all the national teams that have competitions that are currently on hold.

“We cannot have a situation where ZIFA are known as crybabies, seeking for resources at the eleventh hour every time. We have to (make a) budget and stick to that. So, the money we received will go to usual operations which include national teams travel, junior leagues as well as staff,” Kamambo said.

The ZIFA president said the COVID-19 relief package they requested from FIFA will be used to assist their affiliates.

“When the money comes, we will assist all our football affiliates. We will have a board meeting in two weeks’ time which will address all these issues related to the coronavirus and its effects on our game.”

ZIFA have provided $2 000 to each elite referee to help during these trying times, according to Kamambo, the funds were from savings in the organizations coffers in the first half of the year.

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East Africa Sports News

Kenya and Norway set for virtual athletics battle

All is set for a long-dsitance showdown between Kenya and Norway at the Impossible Games next month

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All is set for a long-dsitance showdown between Kenya and Norway at the Impossible Games taking place next month. The race will be held in the memory of the late Maurie Plant, who was one of the most significant figures in Australian and world athletics.

Plant died on January 19 this year at St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne after being on life support for three weeks. He had suffered multiple strokes and kidney failure. The 66-year-old was a former agent, team manager and BBC broadcaster.

Team Cheruiyot will be led by middle-distance star and reigning 1500m Diamond League Champion Timothy Cheruiyot of Kenya. He will be joined by 2017 world champion in the 1,500m and reigning African 1,500m champion Elijah Manang’oi as well as 800m specialist Edwin Meli.

Team Ingebrigsten is made up of three Norweigian brothers, Jakob, the European 1,500m and 5,000m champion and Henrik and Filip, who are currently training in Norway.

Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Sports Amina Mohammed disclosed that the virtual race that pits Kenya against Norway, will see the two teams battle it out in an innovative new format over 2000 metres at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi and the Bislett Stadium in Oslo, Norway respectively.

“The race will be staged simultaneously at the two cities with the two teams not getting to meet each other owing to the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Amina while unveiling Team Cheruiyot at the Nyayo National Stadium.

Oslo Diamond League meeting director Steinar Hoen has described the race as “the first virtual race at such a level in the history of athletics”. Both teams will start with five runners and end with three, and the winner will be the team with the best overall time from their top three runners.

A Wanda Diamond League exhibition event, the Impossible Games was conceived by Bislett Games organizers to allow this year’s Oslo Diamond League meeting go ahead under Norway’s coronavirus regulations.

Instead of the usual, elite-level hunt for Diamond League points, the Impossible Games will instead showcase the innovative spirit of athletics with a series of set-piece exhibition events.

Beyond the 2000m battle, the programme is taking shape for the Games, which will take place at Bislett Stadium on June 11.

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