Formula One is considering making a return to Africa with four countries currently under consideration. Speaking on Thursday, Commercial Managing Director, Sean Bratches revealed that the Moroccan city of Marrakesh and South Africa’s Kyalami circuit are keen on hosting a race.
Rwanda and Nigeria have also expressed an interest.
“It’s a marketplace in which we would like to race,” Bratches said at a Sport Industry Breakfast Club event, two days after Formula One announced the return of the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort in 2020 after a 35-year absence.
Morocco and South Africa have hosted world championship Grands Prix in the past, Casablanca in 1958 and South Africa in East London in the 1960s and Kyalami 20 times between 1967 and 1993.
“We race on five continents now and the last habitable continent that we don’t race in is Africa,” said Bratches.
“We’ve been having very productive conversations in South Africa and to a lesser extent in Morocco about bringing a grand prix… we’re on it. It’s really important to us.”
Bratches said there was a “high degree of interest” from Morocco in a circuit race in Marrakesh, with the authorities seeing Formula One, owned by U.S.-based Liberty Media, as an economic engine for growth and tourism.
The all-electric Formula E series already holds an annual street race there.
Yath Gangakumaran, Formula One’s director of Strategy and Business Development, told reporters that Rwanda and Nigeria were also keen to be involved in fan events.
“I think Rwanda in particular have seen the benefits of the Arsenal sponsorship deal,” he said. The Premier League club has had a ‘Visit Rwanda’ logo on players’ left shirt sleeves since last year.
“There’s a lot of interest not just for races but for actuations throughout the continent.”
Aston Villa sign Tanzania captain Mbwana Samatta
27-year-old becomes first Tanzanian to play in the English Premier League
English Premier league side Aston Villa have completed the signing of Tanzanian striker Mbwana Samatta for £10m on a four-and-half-year deal, subject to a work permit and international clearance.
The 27-year-old scored 10 goals for Genk in all competitions this season including a goal against Liverpool at Anfield in the UEFA Champions League group stage.
Villa manager Dean Smith hailed the signing “I’m really pleased we have managed to bring Mbwana to the club, he has scored goals throughout his career and I’m looking forward to working with him.”
Samatta makes history as the first Tanzanian to play in the Premier League but will be unavailable for Villa’s home match against Watford on Tuesday.
Samatta who is captain of the Tanzanian national side expressed his joy at making the move “I’m so excited, it’s a huge step for me in my career. It’s a big step for the country too. Everyone was looking for a Tanzanian to play in the Premier League.
“I know a lot about Aston Villa. I used to watch Gabby Agbonlahor when he was here.”
Samatta is Villa’s third signing of the January transfer window following loan signings of midfielder Danny Drinkwater from Chelsea and goalkeeper Pepe Reina from AC Milan.
Kenyan U-20 rugby star Brighetti switches to Italy
Michele Brighetti set to feature in 6 Nations Tourney for European giants
Kenya’s under-20 Michele Brighetti is set to switch sides and make his debut at the 2020 Six Nations U-20 Championships, following his call-up to the Italian 24-man Under 20 side. Brighetti has featured in the Kenya U-20 squad, known as Chipu, that played at the World Rugby Under-20 Trophy in Brazil in July 2019.
Brighetti’s Italian ancestry and the fact that he has not played for the Kenyan senior rugby team means that he enjoys some latitude to switch national sides. According to World Rugby regulations on switching unions (Regulation 8), a player who has not featured in a senior national side may appear for a different country if he meets the eligibility criteria to do so.
The player seeking to change national sides would need to be born in the country he seeks to play for or have at least one parent or grandparent born in the country in question. The third and last criteria would be that he has ‘completed thirty six consecutive months of residence immediately preceding the time of playing’.
Michele is the son of former Kenya Scorpions international and Nondies Rugby Club player, Marco Brighetti. The youngster left Kenya in 2019 to join the Accademia Nazionale “Ivan Francescato” in Italy.
The school is an elite player development rugby academy in Italy run within the Federazione Italiana Rugby: They customarily select the best U-16, U-18 and U-20 players who are considered good prospects and can eventually be developed into future senior national team players.
Kenya’s Malkia Strikers to Make Triumphant Return to Olympics After 16-year Absence.
Kenya’s female volleyball side, the Malkia Strikers, are slated to make a triumphant return to the Olympics following a long, cold 16-year absence. They secured their place at the 2020 Summer Games after trouncing Nigeria in three sets, 25-15, 25-21 and 25-12 in Yaoundé, Cameroon on Thursday evening.
The Kenyan team last qualified for the Olympics in 2004 and needed the win against Nigeria to clinch the single available spot for Africa and one of only twelve team slots at the women’s volleyball games in Tokyo.
The final win marks an end to their stellar performance in Yaoundé, where they have won all their games against Egypt, Botswana and arch-rivals, Cameroon- Africa’s flagbearer at the last Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
The team featured exceptional talent such as Kenya Pipeline’s Sharon Chepchumba, who was named Africa’s best attacker at the Africa Women’s Club Volleyball Championships held in Egypt in March 2019. Just three years ago, she was named the Most Valuable Player at the Kenya national and East Africa secondary school games.
Kenya now joins seven other teams (Japan, United States, Brazil, China, Russia, Italy and Serbia) to have qualified so far. Four more slots remain to be filled from Asia, North America, South America and Europe: The winners will be determined by various qualifier games currently underway until 12th January 2020.