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Nigeria’s D’Tigers, D’Tigress Get Olympic Opponents

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Nigeria’s male and female basketball teams, D’Tigers and D’Tigress have gotten their opponents ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Both teams got their group draws on Monday, after months of waiting.

D’Tigress, Africa’s sole representative at the Olympics have been drawn with the United States, Japan and France in a difficult group.

D’Tigers have drawn Australia, and the winners of the Olympics Qualifying Tournaments in Croatia and Belgrade, Serbia Republic.

Nigeria picked up Olympic tickets through the FIBA tournaments and have proven to be the best team on the continent after consistently good performances.

At the 2004 Olympics, which was D’Tigress last appearance, the team also drew the United States as they got eliminated from the group stage.

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East Africa Sports News

U-20 AFCON: Debutant Uganda to Play Ghana in Final after 4-1 Trashing of Tunisia

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Derrick Kakooza on Monday scored a hattrick as debutants Uganda continued with their dream run at the Total Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), beating Tunisia 4-1 at the Olympic Stadium in Nouakchott to book a date against Ghana in Saturday’s final.

Earlier in the day, Ghana pipped Gambia 1-0 to reach the finals.

Kakooza, duly named man of the match, moved clear of Ghana’s Precious Boah in the race for the Golden Boot, his hattrick against the Tunisians taking his tally to five. He scored one in the first half and two in the second, adding on to Richard Basangwa’s early opener.

According to a report in the CAF media outlet, the CECAFA regional champions led 2-1 at the break, Basangwa’s left foot causing all the damage for the Tunisians with a goal and an assist.

The forward broke the deadlock in the fourth minute with a brilliant strike on the half volley. He picked up a cross from the left, took a deft touch to loop the ball over Mohamed Aziz Guesmi’s reach, before rifling a low shot into the box.

The Ugandan Hippos were not showing any signs of stage fright despite this being their first ever time at the tournament and were taking the Tunisians by the horns from the opening minute.

They, however, had to make unexpected changes when Najib Yiga who had started as the left-footed swinger of a three-man midfield went down injured and Ivan Bogere was summoned to replace him. This necessitated a change in shape for the Ugandans.

Despite the change in strategy, they were still on top of their game and pressed Tunisia into committing mistakes. The Ugandans worked hard and ran all over the pitch, closing down the spaces for the North Africans.

They were two goals up after 36 minutes and it was Basangwa who hurt them again. The forward picked up the ball on the left, drove into the box before cutting back a cross that Kakooza gleefully tapped into an empty net for his third of the tournament.

But Tunisia halved the deficit just two minutes on the turn, when Adam Benlamine tapped into the net from close range after goalkeeper Jack Komakech had pushed Chiheb Labidi’s flick off a Zied Berrima corner against the upright.

Uganda almost snapped back their two-goal advantage a minute to the break when Bobosi Byaruhanga pinched the ball off the Tunisians in midfield, before playing Isma Mugulusi through, the midfielder’s ferocious shot coming off the bar with keeper Elias Imed left rooted to his spot.

At the start of the second half, Tunisia made changes in front, Nabil Makni coming off for Hamdi Abidi. The substitute almost came in with a bang just a minute after coming on, his towering header off Mohamed Amine Ben Zghada’s cross from the left going inches over.

But the Ugandans got themselves back in comfortable space just two minutes later, Kakooza scoring his second with a looping header after his run behind the defense was picked out by the impressive Byaruhanga.

With a comfortable two-goal margin, the Ugandans eased the pressure with the Tunisians looking lost for answers. A good interchange of passes at the edge of the box saw Uganda almost score a fourth, but Bogere’s shot after a backheel flick from Steven Sserwadda went over.

Tunisia tried to find their way back into the match and they were inches close in the 71st minute, but were denied when Musa Ramathan cleared off the line. Keeper Komakech had been beaten by Abidi as he came out to pick a cross, but the substitutes header was cleared before it crossed the chalk.

Off the resultant corner, Uganda were away on the counter attack and they made it 4-1, putting the game to bed. Skipper Gavin Kizito looped the ball forward and Bogere controlled and put Kakooza through, the forward striding through on goal to slide in the fourth and his fifth of the tournament.

There was no way back for the young Carthage Eagles as Uganda took control of the tempo of the game, calming down the pace and managing the time well.

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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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