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Anthony Joshua Must Knock Out Tyson Fury or Lose – Ex Champion

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Carl Froch, a former super-middleweight world champion, has said the only way unified heavyweight boxing champion, Anthony Joshua, can beat Tyson Fury is by a knockout.

Froch, an English former professional boxer who competed from 2002 to 2014, added that Joshua would be outboxed by Fury.

Fury and Joshua are said to have ‘verbally agreed’ an undisputed title clash next year.

Fury is already the bookies’ favourite for victory following his stunning dismantling of previously undefeated American Deontay Wilder.

But Froch, who retired in 2014 after back-to-back KO’s of big Brit rival George Groves, isn’t ruling out a stunning stoppage win for Joshua.

“I think the only way that Anthony Joshua can win this fight is by stoppage,” Froch said in a recent interview.

“He can’t outbox Fury, who is too good at range. He throws punches from all angles and he’s so awkward.

“But Joshua is an Olympic gold medallist with strong fundamentals and he’s got combination punches with real aggression.

“If he produces the same finishing instinct that he’s shown in past fights, then he can beat Fury.

“AJ can get him out of there, I think he can, because you saw bursts of his aggression in the Kubrat Pulev fight.

“If AJ maintains that, there’s a chance he could stop him, but the problem is, if he doesn’t stop Fury then he’s going to lose on points.”

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West Africa Sports News

Ex-internationals Mourn Late Nigerian Goalkeeper, Joe Erico

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Nigeria’s ex-internationals on Thursday mourned the demise of Joe Erico, a former Green Eagles goalkeeper, describing him as a mentor who lived a life worthy of emulation by up and coming starlets.

The 72-year-old former NEPA FC of Lagos FC goalkeeper died January 20 after a brief illness.

Wahidi Akanni, a former NEPA FC player, described the late coach as a perfect gentleman on and off the pitch.

“Erico was one of the most patient and respectable coaches. Whenever there is an issue, just talk to him and he will sort you out. His death is a big loss to Nigeria.

“He lived for football, and he was always ready to impact knowledge. It is sad that he is no longer with us. Young players have a lot to learn from him.’’ Akanni said.

Sharing the same view, Dosu Joseph, a former Super Eagles goalkeeper, described Erico as a brilliant coach who mentored him as a young player.

“He trained me. He mentored me. Erico made me who I am today, plus the grace of God. It is sad that he is gone. We usually don’t want our loved ones to die.

“My sympathies to his family. Times like this can be trying and we can only pray for strength. I hope we get remembered before we die, because Nigeria does not honour its heroes while they are alive.

“That is why that act of heroism is reducing. If it’s not beneficial, nobody is willing to give it a 100 percent chance. That’s why young players are mindful about what they can achieve while they are active,’’ he said.

Also speaking, Emmanuel Babayaro, a former Super Eagles goalkeeper, described Erico’s demise as a huge loss to the Nigeria football family.

“I was with him around November 2020, he was an all-rounder. When it comes to football and human management, he was particular about ensuring that things went smoothly.

“I can attest to the fact that he was a good man. Football was his life, and he gave his best, I pray young starts will be as humble and kind as Joe was.

“I pray for his children and wife, that God will keep them and grant them the fortitude to bear the loss. But we should always check on our patriots. We still have a lot to learn from them.

“We still have some of them living and we should take advantage of their knowledge. Let’s engage them and tap from their experience. These are the likes of Christian Chukwu, Adegboye Onigbinde, they still have a lot to give.

“These are men that played selflessly for their fatherland. Experience, they say, can’t be bought. Erico is gone with his knowledge. We should take maximum advantage of those that are still here,’’ he said.

President-General of Nigerian Football and other Sports Supporters Club, Dr. Rafiu Ladipo, said he was saddened by the death of Joe Erico, a former national team goalkeeper and assistant coach.

Ladipo said that the late Erico, popularly known as ‘Jogo Bonito Exponent’ was an icon who gave his best to Nigerian football as a player, goalkeeper and trainer.

“It’s sad to hear that Joe Erico is dead; sincerely, the news of his death has left me in a sorrowful mood. He was an icon whose love for Nigeria football cannot be overemphasised.

“He gave his best and active part of his life to football as a player, goalkeeper, trainer and coach both at the local FC and national team.

“Erico was an amiable person, very jovial, friendly, gifted in soccer and passionate about the success of our soccer. The football family, we his friends, his family and the nation will miss him,” Ladipo said.

Ladipo noted that Joe Erico, Stephen Keshi and Shuaibu Amodu were the three coaches that took the national team to Mali 2002, and unfortunately have all died.

According to him, the late goalkeeper and trainer introduced a style of play in his days on the pitch, which stood him out, and made significant contributions to football career of known players.

“He did a lot for us, most of our national players like Sunday Oliseh, Dosu Joseph, Samson Siasia, Emmanuel Amunike, Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Mutiu Adepoju and others, who later became professionals, passed through him,” Ladipo said.

He prayed for Erico’s soul to rest in peace and for God to grant his family fortitude to bear the irreplaceable loss, while extended his heartfelt condolences to the wife and children.

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North Africa Sports

Mahrez, Man City Go Second after 2-1 Win over Aston Villa

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Algerian international, Riyad Mahrez, played for 18 minutes as Manchester City dig deep to beat a hard-fighting Aston Villa 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.

The victory, their sixth consecutive, pushes Manchester City, who began the season on a low, to the second place of the English Premier League (EPL) table but with a game in hand.

Man City moved to 38 points, above Leicester City on goal difference, with Manchester United on 39 points after a 2-1 victory playing at Fulham later on Wednesday.

After both sides had created plenty of openings, Bernardo Silva put City ahead in the 79th minute with a brilliant left-footed finish after Rodri had robbed Villa defender Tyrone Mings.

Rodri had come back into play from an offside position and Villa Manager, Dean Smith, was given a red card for his protests at the referee.

Ilkay Gundogan made sure of the three points with a 90th-minute penalty after the ball struck Matty Cash’s arm in the box.

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Central Africa Sports News

CHAN2020: Africa’s Festival of Football, Music and Culture

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When the African Nations Championship kicked off at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium, Cameroon showed the world a glimpse of what Africa deeply entails.

Beyond football, Africa’s beauty is richly defined by its excellent culture and art.

Africa stands out for its glitz and glamour, and when football, the most followed sport on the continent comes knocking, expression becomes compulsory – a watchword.

COVID-19 has denied the world of many things, but 2021 has shown it may come with a difference. And in the first month of the new year, Africa is treating the world to the spectacle it missed months ago.

Like the opening ceremony of the African Nations Championship was not enough, competing national teams, fans and players have shown the cultural strength of the continent, and you can’t but admire it.

From the most beautiful local drums, to the rhythmic dance steps and music, Africa has shown itself through CHAN.

As teams score, there is a clear elucidation of the wealth of artistic beauty the continent possesses. While players’ hairstyles are a form, their celebrations are another show of undisputed cultural creativity and credibility.

On green-lush grasses, jerseys blend with music and style as players toil with swivelling arms and legs, chasing the round leather, sweating to bring glory to their nations. Realistically, the glory doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, as their cultural suaveness keep stealing the headlines.

The first six games of the competition produced four goals, in what showed how tough, and sometimes, drab football can be on the continent, but fans had been treated to a cultural spectacle, beyond the round leather.

Tanzanian players sing from the dressing room as they match on to the pitch, and just when you think they faze their opponents, Congolese players are in a queue-like fashion, passing on the dance steps from front to back. It’s a festival of art and culture for Africans.

Cameroon is treating the world to a carnival of football, with beautiful displays mostly seen so far. However, beyond the game is the serene and tranquil ambience brought by fans and players, who have taken every opportunity to show why Africa is the seat of entertainment.

What you may not see in the AFCON is the cultural diversity and understanding shown by players, as many European-born footballers represent African countries.

It is a sight to behold for the many players of dual nationalities who are not yet exposed to the full bloom of Africa’s flowers, but these African-based players dueling for the CHAN prize, are themselves, a sight to behold- the flower itself.

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