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‘From Goals To Match Winners,’ African Top Performers In The Premier League So Far8 minutes read

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We’ve so far witnessed two match weeks in the English Premier League this season, and African players have played a huge part of the action.

From scoring goals – including match winners – to making assists, and leading from the front, to lining up defensively or coming off the bench for their respective sides.

Five of the 23 goals in the opening week’s set of matches were scored by African players. And 17 African players featured in the just concluded match week two, accounting for three of the 44 goals scored.

But, with only 18 matches played in total, some of the African contingent have no doubt made early statements of intent.

With some displays already grabbing headlines…

News Central sports looks at a few of the them who have shone brightly for the continent.

Sadio Mane (Liverpool and Senegal):

After starting both games for Liverpool – their 4-3 win against Leeds United – and twice finding the back of the net against Chelsea at Stamford bridge. Sadio Mane looks to have picked up from where he left off last season, playing a huge part to end Liverpool’s 30-year-wait to bring the title to Anfield, albeit in a season delayed by a pandemic.

The reigning African Footballer of the year caused problems for Chelsea’s back line at the weekend, forcing a red card on Andreas Christensen after the Blues defender wrestled him down to reduce Frank Lampard’s side to 10 men. He also showed determination and quick reaction to score his second at the bridge, following a mistake by the Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.

If Liverpool are to retain their title, Mane is sure to be front and centre of things, alongside his other African teammates.

One of whom is…

Mohamed Salah (Liverpool and Egypt):

Salah opened his account with a hat-trick against Leeds – the first to be registered this season, and the Egyptian has so far, as always, looked nothing short of dangerous for Jurgen Klopp’s side. Salah’s electric presence and goals have been crucial for Liverpool since he joined them in the summer of 2017, helping them to both a domestic title and European glory in the Champions League in 2019. And many of their fans, especially those in Africa, will hope the goals keep coming and in double figures this season.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal and Gabon):

The Arsenal captain got on the score sheet in their opening game of the season against Fulham on 12 September which the Gunners won 3-0, before putting pen to paper three days later on a new contract to keep him at the Emirates Stadium – a priority accomplished for  manager Mikel Arteta after the Gabonese striker’s exploits in the Gunners FA final and Community Shield trophy-winning victories.

Aubameyang has already started repaying that confidence back, providing the assist for Alexandre Lacazette’s opener at home against West Ham in their second game at the weekend. And should Arsenal have a crack at a title challenge this season, Aubameyang will be the obvious target man.

Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace and Ivory Coast):

It took only 13 minutes for the Ivorian to grab a winner for Palace against Southampton on match day 1, before scoring a second-half brace at Old Trafford against his former club Manchester United. Zaha’s future has been the subject of lots of speculation in recent years, having been linked to moves away from the club and the 27-year-old has never been one to be shy about his intentions.  

Palace manager Roy Hodgson will be hoping to keep Zaha at Selhurts Park by the close of the transfer window on 5 October, but with such match-wining displays, a move, though hard to see based on his current high market value – especially in a pandemic – might not be entirely ruled out for an eager talisman like Zaha.

Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City and Nigeria):

Not one known for scoring many goals, Ndidi helped Leicester City keep a clean sheet in their 3-0 win at newly promoted West Brom on the opening weekend, whilst starting in the centre of a defensive back-four set-up for the Foxes. He also had the same placement in Saturday’s 4-2 win over Burnley at the King Power Stadium.

But a position his manager Brendan Rodgers explained is temporary: “Wilf is a player that I have real confidence in,” said Rodgers.  “He played the position [centre-back] very well and he has the attributes to play there. We don’t want him there for a long period of time.”

Ndidi’s tackling ability and pressing in midfield may not have been entirely missed, but likely to be in more demand as a main stay for Leicester City and whatever their ambitions for the season might be.

Other mentions…

Jeffrey Schlupp (Crystal Palace and Ghana):

Schlupp has looked good on the left flank both wins for Palace, and he provided the assist for Andros Townsend’s opener at Old Trafford. Schlupp’s contributions to the Palace attack has also helped flourish the combination between fellow countryman Jordan Ayew and Wilfried Zaha upfront.  

Cheikhou Kouyate (Crystal Palace and Senegal):

AnotherAfrican in the Palace starting set-up. The 30-year-old centre-back showed solidity at the back at home against Southampton and away against Odion Ighalo’s Manchester United.

Yves Bissouma (Brighton & Hove Albion and Mali):

The 24-year-old started both games Brighton this season, but now faces a three-match after getting sent off in their second with a straight red card for catching Newcastle’s Jamal Lewis in the face from a high black-heeled kick.   

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NC Exclusive|Kambale Musavuli on #CongoIsBleeding

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International Law Expert Liborous Oshoma on Ngozi Okonjo Iweala’s Appointment as WTO Chief

November 9th, 2020 is when the final decision and the last stage before Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala resumes as the new Director-General of the World Trade Organisation. But the United States still insist on backing South Korea’s Trade Minister instead. An Expert in International Law, Liborous Oshoma explains America’s stance.

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COVID-19: NCDC Announces 150 New Infections In Nigeria

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The Nigeria Centre For Disease Control (NCDC), has announced 150 new COVID-19 infections in the country.

The NCDC made this known via its verified wedsite on Thursday.

Nigeria continued in its fight against COVID-19, it has conducted about 620,758 tests since the first confirmed case was announced in the country.

The public health agency also recorded two COVID-19 related deaths in the last 24 hours in the country.

It said that the 150 new cases were reported from nine states of the federation.

The NCDC added that the total umber of infected people in the country has jumped to 62,521.

It also announced that it has successfully treated and discharged 154 patients from isolation centers across the country after they tested negative to the virus.

“Our discharges today include 66 community recoveries in Lagos State managed in line with new case management guidelines.

“A breakdown of cases by state can be found via covid19.ncdc.gov.ng,” it said.

According to the agency, within the last 24 hours, Lagos, the country’s epicenter recorded 89 new cases, while Rivers, Ogun, Bayelsa and Kaduna reported 19, 11, 9 and 8 cases respectively.

Among other states with new infections were Plateau with 8 infections, Taraba three , Osun two and Delta one.

“Until date, 62,521 cases have been confirmed, 58,249 patients discharged and 1,141 deaths recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT),” it stated.

The public health agency said that a multi-sectoral national Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), activated at Level 3, had continued to coordinate the national response activities.

The NCDC said that disregarding the prevention measures for COVID-19 put individuals and people around them at risk of getting infected with the virus.

“When you take responsibility to limit the spread of the virus, you protect the vulnerable as well.

“The fight against COVID-19 requires our collective effort,” it advised.

It stated that cloth masks protect an individual if they were properly worn and cared for.

“Wear a mask properly, wash your cloth face mask after use and handle your mask with clean hands.

“Learn to make your own face mask via covid19.ncdc.gov.ng/media/files/DI…,” it said.

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