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FIFA Grants German-Born Akpoguma Clearance To Switch To Nigeria2 minutes read

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The International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), has granted the application of Kevin Akpoguma to switch his international allegiance from Germany to Nigeria.

The President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Melvin Pinnick announced this via his personal Twitter handle on Monday evening.

“I’m extremely happy to announce that @FIFAcom has just granted Hoffenheim defender and former German U-20 national team skipper Kevin Ufuoma Akpoguma permission to make his switch to Nigeria with immediate effect,” Pinnick tweeted.

The NFF had earlier announced in the statement on Wednesday that the 25-year-old defender Hoffenheim defender, who was not invited for the friendly matches against Algeria and Tunisia – had joined the Eagles camp in Austria to familiarise with the team while awaiting FIFA clearance.

Akpoguma, who has a Nigerian father and a German mother, had in 2018 first signified his intention to play for the Eagles.

Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr has revealed in September that he had convinced the defender to play for Nigeria.

Born in the western German town of Neustadt an der Weinstraße, Akpoguma started his professional career at Karlsruhe SC and also played for Fortuna Düsseldorf.

He represented Germany from U-16 level to the U-21s, and captained the German U-20 side at the 2015 U-20 World Cup in New Zealand, helping the Europeans beat a Nigerian side 1-0 in the Round of 16.

He was the captain of the German U-20 team that reached the quarter-finals of the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand.

“It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. I am now at an age where I have already gained experience at European level with TSG and feel ready to play for my homeland,” Akpoguma told Hoffenheim’s official website last week.

“It makes me incredibly proud and I am positively excited. I’m real
ly looking forward to getting to know the team.”

The centre-back made 18 league appearances for Hoffenheim last season, helping them to finish sixth in the campaign. He has made three league appearances for them this season.

He becomes the latest player to follow in the footsteps of Cyril Dessers, Ola Aina, Tyrone Ebuehi, Kingsley Ehizibue, Maduka Okoye, Brian Idowu and Joe Aribo who all switched allegiance to Nigeria under the watch Gernot Rohr.

North Africa Sports

Egyptian, 75, Becomes World’s Oldest Soccer Pro

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Egyptian grandfather Ezzeldin Bahader has been recognised as the world’s oldest professional soccer player after completing a second full match just short of his 75th birthday.

Bahader was awarded the title by Guinness World Records on Saturday evening after missing a penalty kick as his team, 6th October FC, lost 3-2 to El Ayat Sports club in the Egyptian third division.

The former amateur player, who turns 75 on Nov. 3, scored a goal from the penalty spot in his debut match on March.

He planned to play a second 90-minute match the same month to claim his record, but the suspension of sports activities to contain the spread of the coronavirus put his plans on hold.

Bahader had previously told media he was 75, which he attributed to “rounding up”.

Having him on the team had allowed 6th October FC to gain sponsors and publicity, he said.

Some of Bahader’s six grandchildren attended Saturday’s match, chanting “Come on, Grandpa” from the touchline.

“I dream of being able to break my own record one more time, just to make the competition a little harder,” Bahader said, though he is now out of contract.

The record was previously held by 73-year-old Israeli Isaak Hayik.

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East Africa Sports News

Peres Jepchirchir & Jacob Kiplimo Win World Half-Marathon Titles

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Kenya’s Peres Jepchirchir and Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo won gold medals at the World Athletics Half-Marathon Championships in the Polish seaside city of Gdynia.

27-year-old Jepchirchir earned her second world title in the half-marathon discipline and broke her own women-only world record by 16 seconds in 1:05:18. In a race marred by falls, Jepchirchir kept her cool and her balance to stay clear of the following pack.

The first incident occurred at the 9km mark. Running on the downhill section of the 5440-meter loop towards the water, defending champion Netsanet Gudeta tripped trying to make the sharp left turn to the road along the seafront. The Ethiopian hit her left knee hard and scraped both her hands. Although she bounced up quickly, she had lost valuable time and was five seconds back when the leaders hit the 10-kilometer mark in a blistering 30:47.

Disater struck again at the 18km mark when reigning TCS New York City Marathon champion Joyciline Jepkosgei of Kenya and Ethiopia’s Ababel Yeshaneh tangled their legs with both women crashing to the pavement. Yeshaneh, the world record holder with a 1:04:31 personal best, fell hard landing on her right shoulder.

As the three front runners Jepchirchir, Ethiopian Yalemzerf Yehualaw and Germany’s Melat Kejeta made the slight right turn onto the carpeted finish straight built on a platform on the beach, Yehualaw lost traction due to the surface change and slipped. Although she did not fall, her momentum was interrupted just enough for Kejeta to pass her and take the silver medal in 1:05:18, a new European record for an all-women’s race. Yehualaw got the bronze in a personal best 1:05:19.

“I’m feeling good,” said Jepchirchir in her post-race interview. “I thank God for the energy he has given me today. It’s unbelievable; I was not expecting it (a new world record) but God planned for me.”

Jepchirchir will enjoy only a week’s rest after her record-breaking victory as she will immediately begin preparations for the Valencia Marathon on December 6.

“My season is not yet complete,” she said. “I still have Valencia Marathon in December so I’ll prepare for that. I think this win gave me a lot. I’d like to run 2:17 or 2:18 for the marathon.

“This pandemic was difficult and it affected a lot of people. I used this time to train, I didn’t stop my training because I was trying to reach my shape.

“I am so happy with this. It’s a gift to all the Kenyans, to my family. I am going to rest now for one week to recover then I’ll continue training for Valencia,” she concluded.

Meanwhile, 19-year-old Kiplimo won his first global title setting a championship and Ugandan record of 58:49. Prior to the meet, he had only run one half-marathon, but it was only a national-class race in Uganda and he had never really been tested at the distance.

50 minutes into the race, Kiplimo began to pull away from Kibiwott Kandie of Kenya who would have to settle for second place. 5,000 and 10,000m world record holder Kenya’s Joshua Cheptegei, who was in third, was passed by Ethiopia’s Amedework Walelegn and had to settle for fourth at the finish.

Running along the seafront to the finish, Kiplimo maintained his pace and cruised to the finish in 58:49, a new championships record. Kandie crossed second in 58:54 becoming the first man ever to run three sub-59:00 half-marathons in the same year. Third went to Walelegn in 59:08, a personal best.

“After five kilometers I know I was going to win,” an elated Kiplimo said in his post-race interview while wearing a surgical mask. He continued: “It was great to win.”

The team titles went to Ethiopia (women) and Kenya (men), and both individual champions earned $30,000 in prize money. Jepchirchir also earned a $50,000 world record bonus.

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East Africa Sports News

CAF President Ahmad Congratulates Mwenda on FKF Re-Election

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President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Ahmad Ahmad has written to congratulate Nick Mwendwa on his re-election as Football Kenya Federation(FKF) president.

In long awaited elections held at Nairobi’s Safari Park Hotel, Mwenda won a landslide victory with 77 votes from the 85 cast with closest challenger Omondi Aduda managing only five votes. Herbert Mwachiro managed to get three while Dan Mule and Boniface Osano got zero votes.

“I was not surprised when I learned about your brilliant re-election as the head of the Football Kenya Federation, thus confirming the high performance and the high efficiency of your work since 2016, the year of your first taking office, and I hasten to present you my most warm and sincere congratulations,” Ahmad said.

“On behalf of the Executive Committee of Caf and personally, I wish you every success in your endeavours.

“This second term, which you obtained by an impressive majority, is the demonstration that your entire term has been appreciated and strongly supported.”

“Considered as one of our youngest National Association president, you represent a role model and an example of pride to follow for African sports youth, and I remain convinced that you will continue all of your actions with the same vigour and the same determination,” the letter added.

“I encourage you on this path to success which reflects the prestigious ambition of the Kenyan nation which has made the sport a national priority.

“Kindly accept, Mr President, dear friend Nick once again my warm congratulations and friendly greetings.”

On his part, Mwenda was quick to extend the olive branch to his rivals after what had been a particularly bitter and often fractious contest.

“I am very humbled for the overwhelming win we scooped as Team Blue,” he said.

“I knew going into the elections that I will retain my seat but I didn’t know I will do it with such an emphatic style, I thank the delegates for giving me another mandate to lead them and I promise I will achieve my targets in the next four years.

“I also want to ask those who were competing against me, and even those who lost in various positions here today [Saturday] I am welcoming them to my side, let them come we work together, let us put our heads together to improve our football.

“I cannot do this on my own or with the team you have given me, I need everyone on board so we can achieve our set targets.

“We have several targets we must achieve in the next four years, I want to see Kenya in the World Cup, for both men and women national teams, I know it might sound like a dream or even a joke, but we can make it, we need proper planning and that is why I want everyone on board.”

The 41 year old was keen to hit the ground running urging haste.

“We are starting work immediately, on Monday it will be business as usual at the secretariat, we don’t have time to waste, we have wasted time-fighting in courts but now that we are done with elections, then it is time to give back and fight for football, we want to make sure football is back with a bang.

“The overwhelming win is a clear indication that delegates have trust in our management, they have trusted us again with football, and we will do our best to make sure that everyone enjoys every bit of football in the country.”

Mwenda also assured fans that the federation was still engaing the government in order to find an acceptable and safe way to restart the league.

“We are still talking to the government and I want to request them to help us open football but under protocols set by the Ministry of Health and start the league matches,” he said.

“We want to make sure our league starts in November 20, because it is the only date that can allow us to finish the season well on time, we don’t have much time left, we want to have a cautious approach towards resuming football and that is why we are pleading with the government to guide us, we will continue to talk to them.”

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