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Injured Liverpool star selected for AFCON tournament

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AFCON 2019
Liverpool's Guinean midfielder Naby Keita vies with Huddersfield Town's Dutch midfielder Juninho Bacuna during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Huddersfield at Anfield

Naby Keita has been named in a 25-man preliminary squad by Guinea for next month’s Africa Cup of Nations finals despite a thigh injury that kept him out of Saturday’s Champions League final.

The Liverpool winger hurt his adductor in the early stages of Liverpool’s semi-final first leg clash at Barcelona on May 1 with manager Jurgen Klopp saying the injury would keep him out for eight weeks.

That effectively ruled him not only out of the last month of Liverpool’s season but also seemingly participation for Guinea at the Cup of Nations in Egypt, which starts on June 21.

Guinea are entitled to call up Keita a fortnight before the tournament and have their own medical team examine him and will be hopeful that the 24-year-old has made a sufficient recovery to be able to compete at the finals, where Guinea are in Group B with Burundi, Madagascar and Nigeria.

Liverpool take on Tottenham in the Champions League final in Madrid on Saturday.

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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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CHAN: Burkina Faso Defeat Zimbabwe, Gain First Points

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The Stallions of Burkina Faso ran out 3-1 victors over the Warriors of Zimbabwe on matchday 5 of the ongoing African Nations Championship.

Burkina Faso who had lost 1-0 to Mali in their opening fixture, started as favourites on Wednesday night and were quick to fire the first salvo.

Issouf Soso scored on the 14th minute before Partson Jaure drew the Zimbabweans level just nine minutes later.

In the second half, Clavert Kiendrebeogo put the Burkinabes ahead again on the 53rd minute before Ismahila Ouedraogo scored the third and final goal of the game on the 67th minute.

At the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium, Cameroon played a 1-1 stalemate against Mali. Salomon Banga drew the first blood for the hosts before Issaka Samakke scored a sublime free-kick before the break to draw the Malians level.

Cameroon and Mali are tied on points on group A with a goal difference of plus one after two matches.

Cameroon will face Burkina Faso in the third and final group game while Zimbabwe will hope to pick their first point of the tournament against Mali.

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Cameroon’s Joel Embiid Creates New Record for Philadelphia

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Cameroon’s Joel Embiid has become the first Philadelphia 76ers player to record 45 points, more than 15 rebounds and over 5 steals in a single game since 1974.

Embiid, who played college basketball with the Kansas Jayhawks, created the record in Philadelphia’s 137-134 defeat of Miami Heats.

The Cameroonian 2014 draft for Philadelphia has so far had a good season with fans of the 76ers hailing his work rate and aggression.

Embiid’s teammate, Danny Green also created a franchise record of nine-three pointers from his total of 29 points.

The Cameroonian impressed and was all over the court as fans are already mouthing a possible MVP nomination for him.

“I’ve got a goal. I want to win the championship and I can’t do it alone,” Embiid said.

Nigeria’s Gabe Vincent and Precious Achiuwa impressed for Miami in the game with Vincent scoring 24 points in his first career start, while Achiuwa made his first start since being drafted in the top 30 picks during the off season.

Achiuwa, born in Port Harcourt, Southern Nigeria, scored 17 points and 13 rebounds in what’s the highest of his freshly-starting NBA career.

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