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Afrobasket Qualifiers: D’Tigers Coach, Mike Brown, Releases 20-Man Provisional Squad List

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Mike Brown, the new coach of the national basketball team, D’Tigers, on Friday released a 20-man provisional list for the 2021 Afrobasket qualifiers slated for Kigali, Rwanda from Nov. 27 to Nov. 29.

The Media Officer of Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) Board, Afolabi Oni, who made the disclosure, said that Brown who would officially start his voyage with Nigeria submitted the list of the players.

“The list features seven players who participated in the 2019 FIBA World Cup where Nigeria qualified for the Olympics in Tokyo.

“The team’s Captain, Ike Diogu will lead the legion which includes 29-year-old Stan Okoye (Gran Canaria), Ben Uzoh, Ike Iroegbu, Talib Zanna, Ekpe Udoh and Michael Eric.

“The 2015 NBA winner with Golden State Warriors, Festus Ezeli will be on the flight to Rwanda for a chance to represent Nigeria for the first time ever alongside a member of the 2015 Afrobasket winning team, Mike Gbinije,” he said in a statement.

Oni added: “After missing the final 12-man team to the World Cup, France-based Ike Nwamu will make another return to the team alongside Tonye Jekiri.

“Also, Christopher Obekpa, Braxton Ogbueze, Mike Efevberha, Obinna Emegano, who at some point featured during the team’s 2019 qualifiers series.

“Chima Moneke who has averaged 12.3 points and 5.8 rebounds in 4 games for Orléan in the French league has also been called up for the first time.

“He, alongside Zaid Christopher Hearst-Okpalannaka who plies his trade in the second tier of the French league.

“Other new faces who will hope to earn their first cap include Real Betis power forward, Obi Enechionyia alongside Ogbunu John and Rasheed Sulaimon who plays for Casademont Zaragoza.”

The full list:

  1. Stan Okoye, Small Forward, Club Baloncesto Gran Canaria (Spain)
  2. Ikechukwu Nwamu, Shooting Guard, Cholet (France)
  3. Ike Iroegbu, Point Guard, Capital City Go-Go (NBA G League, USA)
  4. Talib Zanna, Centre, Hapoel Tel Aviv B.C (Israel)
  5. Chima Moneke, Power Forward, Orléans Loiret Basket (France)
  6. Obinna Enechionyia, Power Forward, Real Betis (Spain)
  7. Micheal Gbinije, Shooting Guard, BC Nevėžis (Lithuania)
  8. Obi Emegano, Shooting Guard, Baloncesto Fuenlabrada (Spain)
  9. Mike Efevberha, Shooting Guard, JA Vichy-Clermont Métropole (France)
  10. Michael Eric, Centre, Turk Telekom Basketball (Turkey)
  11. Tonye Jekiri, Centre, Club Deportivo Saski-Baskonia (Spain)
  12. Rasheed Sulaimon, Shooting Guard, Casademont Zaragoza (Spain)
  13. Zaid Hearst-Okpalannaka, Shooting Guard, Antibas (France)
  14. Ekpe Udoh, Centre
  15. Ben Uzoh, Point Guard
  16. Christopher Obekpa, Centre
  17. Ike Diogu, Centre
  18. Braxton Ogbueze, Guard
  19. Festus Ezeli, Centre
  20. John Ogbunu

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North Africa Sports

Mahrez Bags Hat-trick in Man City’s 5-0 Thrashing of Burnley

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Algeria’s Riyad Mahrez scored in the sixth minute in Manchester City’s 5-0 thrashing of Burnley to grab his 100th goal in the Premier League and joined five other African in the exclusive club list.

The goal ensured he became the sixth African player to reach the milestone after Didier Drogba, Emmanuel Adebayor, Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane.

Mahrez would add two more goals to complete a hat-trick as Man City hammered Burnley at the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League on Saturday.

The win is the fourth straight time Pep Guardiola’s side have beaten the Clarets at home by that scoreline.

City had netted just 10 goals in their opening eight games, raising concerns from Guardiola about their finishing but they looked back to their sharpest best — helped by poor defending from Sean Dyche’s team.

Algerian Mahrez set City on their way in the sixth minute, finishing off a flowing passing move with his trademark cut in from the left and drive into the far corner.

There was a similar finish for the second after Mahrez picked up the ball in space in the area after Burnley had been caught out by a quick throw in.

Benjamin Mendy made it 3-0 in the 41st, volleying home his first goal for the club at the back post after a fine cross from Kevin De Bruyne.

Burnley, weakened by injuries and with Bailey Peacock-Farrell in goal instead of the sidelined Nick Pope, enjoyed some relief from the pressure after the break with Jay Rodriguez forcing a save out of Ederson with a well-struck effort from a tight angle.

But Ferran Torres added the fourth goal, slotting home after the overlapping Kyle Walker had found Gabriel Jesus in the box and the Brazilian flicked it to his Spanish team mate to convert confidently.

Mahrez completed his hat-trick, his first for City, in the 69th minute, heading home Phil Foden’s cross.

It could have been 6-0 had an effort from Jesus not been ruled out for offside by VAR and a shot from De Bruyne not crashed against the post.

Burnley also lost 5-0 at City last season in the Premier League, in the FA Cup in January, 2019 and in the league in 2018.

Broadcasters BT Sport said the last time a team beat the same opponent by five or more goals in four successive games was Notts County against Port Vale between 1893 and 1907.

“It’s been tough here the last few times we have been without doubt,” Dyche said.

“The media have been on about it and I don’t know whether they planted it in the players’ minds!

“The first goal is really poor. The game plan is almost dismantled by our own doing. 2-0 down here is really difficult as they grow with confidence and they are a top team without a doubt. We know the stats and facts of playing these sides.”

Guardiola was pleased his team had bounced back from last week’s defeat by Tottenham Hotspur and City moved up to eighth, six points behind leaders Liverpool.

“It was important to come back with a victory in the Premier League. One more game,” the Spaniard said.

“We play a lot of games, so to play 90 minutes and maintain a good level is not easy but there are always things to improve on.”

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We Were Billed “$213,000 Just to Cut Grass” at the National Stadium – Nigeria’s Sports Minister

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Sunday Dare, Nigeria’s Minister of Youth and Sports Development has disclosed the ministry was billed N81m ($213,000) to mow the grass and weed at the MKO Abiola Stadium, in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory.

The Minister made this disclosure at a seminar organised by the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN).

Dare said the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) quoted the sum of N81m naira to the Ministry. The ministry, he said, is running on a lean purse and couldn’t accept such a huge quote, particularly considering the public outcry that will greet such move.

“We approached AEPB to come see what can be done to clear the grass and weed in the stadium and they told us it will cost us N81m.

“If we tell Nigerians we used N81m which is not even available, there will be an outcry. The funds are not really there for us and that is why we are partnering with private investors to bring back the key components of our infrastructures,” he said.

The MKO Abiola Stadium, Abuja is Nigeria’s biggest sporting edifice. It was commissioned in 2003 prior to the African Games tagged COJA. The stadium was reportedly built with N53bn and has an over 60,000 capacity mainbowl which is one of the biggest in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Various Nigerian national teams have been using the stadium but poor maintenance has been an issue, as the facility is struggling to live up to its early spectacle.

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North Africa Sports

Nigeria Fall On Fifa Ranking, Egypt Rise

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Nigeria on Friday slipped three spots to 35th position on the latest FIFA ranking.

The Super Eagles had failed to win the double-header 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying fixture against Sierra Leone, drawing 4-4 at home and 0-0 away.

Nigeria is the fourth best country on the continent with Senegal retaining the no. 1 spot, followed by Tunisia and Algeria in the second and third positions, respectively.

Meanwhile, Egypt moved three places up to 49th on the rankings. The Pharaohs defeated the Togolese national side twice in the AFCON qualifying fixtures this month.

On the AFCON qualifying table, Egypt is tied on eight points with surprise package Comoros, after beating Togo 1-0 and 3-1 in the 3rd and 4th rounds respectively.

The Pharaohs are five points clear of third-placed Kenya, while Togo is rooted to the bottom with a solitary point.

Egypt jumped one place among African countries to the 6th position, behind Senegal (20), Tunisia (26), Algeria (31), Nigeria (35) and Morocco (35).

Belgium lead an unchanged top four national teams, including France, Brazil and England.

The best mover in the new ranking was Equatorial Guinea, jumping 10 places to the 134th place, while the biggest drop belonged to Libya, who fell nine spots to 111th place.

FIFA world rankings (October world ranking in parenthesis):

1. Belgium (1)

2. France (2)

3. Brazil (3)

4. England (4)

5. Portugal (5)

6. Spain (6)

7. Argentina (8)

8. Uruguay (7)

9. Mexico (11)

10. Italy (12)

Top ten African teams:

20. Senegal (21)

26. Tunisia (26)

31. Algeria (30)

35. Nigeria (32)

35. Morocco (39)

49. Egypt (52)

50. Cameroon (53)

52. Ghana (48)

57. Mali (56)

58. Burkina Faso (58)

Top five Arab teams:

26. Tunisia (26)

31. Algeria (30)

35. Morocco (39)

49. Egypt (52)

59. Qatar (57)

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