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Nigeria-South Africa Renew Football Rivalry in CAF Confederations Cup

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After overcoming the stiff opposition presented by Rivers United of Port Harcourt, Enyimba have been drawn with South Africa’s Orlando Pirates as Nigeria renews its football rivalry with South Africa.

Enyimba will face Pirates, ES Setif of Tunisia and Ahli Benghazi of Libya in the group stage of the competition.

The People’s Elephants are the only Nigerian football club left on a continental sojourn after PlateaubUtd and Kano Pillars got knocked out at the preliminary rounds before Enyimba overcame Rivers.

Recall that Rivers defeated Bloemfontein Celtics in the second preliminary round of the competition before losing to Enyimba.

Nigeria and South Africa have a historical rivalry in football with both national team games and club engagement getting great following on the continent.

While no Nigerian club made it to the group stage of the CAF Champions League, two South African clubs, Mamelodi Sundowns and first-timers, Kaizer Chiefs will play in the more prestigious competition.

Both nations, however have one team each in the Confederations Cup.

See full CAF Confederations Cup draws below;

GROUP A
Enyimba
ES Sétif
Orlando Pirates
Ahli Benghazi

GROUP B
RS Berkane
JS Kabylie
Cotonsport
NAPSA Stars

GROUP C
Etoile Sahel
CS Sfaxien
Salitas FC
ASC Jaraaf

GROUP D
Raja CA
Pyramids FC
Nkana FC
Namungo SC/Primeiro Agosto

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West Africa Sports News

Tributes as 21-year-old Ivorian Player, Willy Ta Bi, Dies of Liver Cancer

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Italian club, Atalanta, and the Ivorian Football Federation (FIF) are mourning the demise of 21-year-old midfielder, Willy Braciano Ta Bi, who died after a long battle against liver cancer.

Willy Ta Bi, who joined Atalanta from Ivory Coast’s Asec Mimosa in 2019 and immediately helped the team win the Italian youth title, the Primavera, died in his homeland on Tuesday.

In a statement on their website, Atalanta said: “President Antonio Precassi and the whole Atalanta family are deeply saddened by the untimely death of Willy Braciano Ta Bi.

“A cruel destiny interrupted a dream that began with the Nerazzurri shirt in January 2019 too soon.

“He only needed a few months to carve out a leading role in the Primavera and help bring the Scudetto back to Bergamo, but above all to leave a great memory.”

Former Ivory Coast and Chelsea striker, Didier Drogba, also paid tribute to Ta Bi on social media.

“Ivory Coast, the football world are mourning you, you fought against this damn disease as you fought on the pitches like a real boss, a leader!!!!,” he wrote.

Juventus midfielder Dejan Kulusevski, who was also part of that youth team at Atalanta, also paid tribute to his ex-teammate on Instagram: “Rest in peace, brother”.

18-year-old Manchester United’s new Ivory Coast-born winger, Amad Diallo, who joined the Old Trafford side from Atalanta, posted a picture of them embracing on Instagram and wrote: “Now sleep in peace, friend.”

Ta Bi captained the Ivory Coast at youth level and represented his country at the Francophone Games in 2017, with Drogba posting a video of a passionate team talk given by the youngster.

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Exclusive: Why New Players Struggle In The Super Eagles – Rohr

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Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr has said getting a grip of the competition in the Nigerian national team prevents many new players from impressing when they join the team.

In an interview with News Central TV’s Tolu Shotade, the Franco-German spoke on a number of issues, ranging from his snub of the players in the NPFL to the chances of an African team winning the World Cup.

On why he hardly gives players opportunities when he invites them, Rohr said the players meet a group on the ground and many of these old players know one another and have formed a good bond.

He said this makes it more difficult for newbies to make an entrance into the team. He however cited some new players that have been given a chance in the Super Eagles, like TSG Hoffenheim German-born Super Eagles defender, Kevin Akpoguma.

On local league players, he said there are many factors plaguing their growth, remarking that the standard of the league is not as high as what’s obtainable in Europe.

“The stadiums in Europe are better and many African teams, especially West African teams don’t have this kind of pitches. Although, North African countries like Morocco have good stadiums, ” he said.

He said it will take a miracle for an African nation to win the World Cup because African players are not playing in big European teams. He cited the example of France having four players in Bayern Munich as a sign of what it takes to win the World Cup.

Rohr said there may be new faces in the Super Eagles as he mentioned Union Berlin attacker, Taiwo and Awoniyi Almeria’s Sadiq Umar as likely call ups to the team as Nigeria prepares for its two final qualifiers.

He said the team will do its best to make it to the next Africa Cup of Nations as he admitted that anything short of a final place finish will mean regression.

Rohr posited that Nigeria has a lot of strikers including Awoniyi, Umar, Onuachu, but said the former has struggled to find his feet in the Super Eagles.

Rohr, in the interview also weighed in on the protection of his players as he cited Victor Osimhen’s case with Napoli as one of such situations he needs to stand behind the player and make them feel better.

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East Africa Sports News

Badminton: WBF Cancels Men’s Doubles for Uganda Open

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The World Badminton Federation (WBF) has canceled the men’s doubles draw for the 2021 Uganda International Badminton Open Championship.

The CEO of Uganda Badminton Association (UBA), Simon Mugabi, said that the global body had confirmed the cancellation.

The competition takes place from Thursday to February 28 at the Lugogo Indoor Arena in Kampala.

“The men’s doubles event has been canceled as there are less than eight entries,” Mugabi said.

Governing body rules state there must be eight or more entries for international series tournaments such as the Uganda event.

The tournament will be the first international championship to take place in east and central Africa this year.

The championship will feature men’s and women’s singles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles.

Mugabi said all players taking part will be subject to COVID-19 tests.

“All players will have negative COVID-19 tests if they are to be allowed to participate. We also plan to have all players staying in one hotel,” added Mugabi.

Players from Uganda, the U.S., Nigeria, Kenya, India, Germany and Ghana have registered to take part in the tournament.

Gergely Krausz of Hungary and Myanmar’s Thet Htar Thuzar, who were the 2020 winners in men’s and women’s singles draws respectively, have not registered to defend their titles.

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