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Arsenal-Bound Partey Arrives Black Stars Camp Ahead of International Friendlies3 minutes read

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New Arsenal signing Thomas Teye Partey has arrived in the camp of the Ghana national football team, The Black Stars, at the Xanthe Resort and Spa in Antalya, Turkey.

The 27-year-old midfielder who moved to English Premier League side Arsenal in a £45million deal from Spanish club Atlético Madrid on transfer deadline day has joined his colleagues in camp ahead of Ghana’s International friendlies against Mali and Qatar.

Also joining the team in the camp are Kassim Nuhu, Alexander Djiku, Bernard Mensah, Joseph Aidoo and Tarique Fosu who was handed a late call up by Coach C.K Akonnor. Their arrivals increase the number of players to nineteen. Coach C.K Akonnor on Tuesday, October 06, 2020, held his first training session with the squad at the Emir Sports complex in Antalya, Turkey.

Akonnor who will be taking charge of his first match in charge of the Black Stars will miss the services of four players invited for the games.

First choice goalie and deputy captain, Richard Ofori of South African side, Maritzburg United is out due to constraints in visa acquisition.

Sporting Lisbon left-back Lumor Agbenyenu and in-form striker John Antwi of Pyramids FC in Egypt may also miss the game under similar circumstances.

Ajax Amsterdam midfielder Kudus Mohammed is also out of the squad after suffering an injury and was absent from the Ajax starting team that played against FC Groningen in the Dutch Eredivisie over the weekend.

Akonnor has decided not to call up a replacement for Ofori and will stick with the goalkeeping pair of Lawrence Ati Zigi and Razak Abalora for both games. Ati-Zigi made his senior national team debut for Ghana, starting and playing 90 minutes in a friendly match against Iceland that ended in a 2–2 draw. The St. Gallen of Switzerland keeper is in line to win only his third cap if he plays on Friday and admitted that the team training has been of the highest level.

“It was a little bit intense because I traveled yesterday and I came at dawn, so it was exhausting but, a very good training,” he said.

“It’s a great opportunity for me. I just have to stay focussed and work hard and hopefully everything is going to be fine and we see the way forward.

“It’s actually a different group of players. Here, there are totally different players from different clubs so it’s not really the same compared to my club. But seeing the quality of players we have here, I think we going to a have a great game and a great time here.

“It’s an important game for us and we have to focus on this game, take everything serious, stay together and we will have a great game ” Ati Zigi added.

The team will hold another training on Wednesday as preparations continue for Friday’s game against the Eagles of Mali before they battle Qatar three days later in Antalya, Turkey.

The two games form part of Ghana’s preparations ahead of the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualification games in November against Sudan.

North Africa Sports

Egyptian, 75, Becomes World’s Oldest Soccer Pro

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Egyptian grandfather Ezzeldin Bahader has been recognised as the world’s oldest professional soccer player after completing a second full match just short of his 75th birthday.

Bahader was awarded the title by Guinness World Records on Saturday evening after missing a penalty kick as his team, 6th October FC, lost 3-2 to El Ayat Sports club in the Egyptian third division.

The former amateur player, who turns 75 on Nov. 3, scored a goal from the penalty spot in his debut match on March.

He planned to play a second 90-minute match the same month to claim his record, but the suspension of sports activities to contain the spread of the coronavirus put his plans on hold.

Bahader had previously told media he was 75, which he attributed to “rounding up”.

Having him on the team had allowed 6th October FC to gain sponsors and publicity, he said.

Some of Bahader’s six grandchildren attended Saturday’s match, chanting “Come on, Grandpa” from the touchline.

“I dream of being able to break my own record one more time, just to make the competition a little harder,” Bahader said, though he is now out of contract.

The record was previously held by 73-year-old Israeli Isaak Hayik.

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East Africa Sports News

Peres Jepchirchir & Jacob Kiplimo Win World Half-Marathon Titles

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Kenya’s Peres Jepchirchir and Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo won gold medals at the World Athletics Half-Marathon Championships in the Polish seaside city of Gdynia.

27-year-old Jepchirchir earned her second world title in the half-marathon discipline and broke her own women-only world record by 16 seconds in 1:05:18. In a race marred by falls, Jepchirchir kept her cool and her balance to stay clear of the following pack.

The first incident occurred at the 9km mark. Running on the downhill section of the 5440-meter loop towards the water, defending champion Netsanet Gudeta tripped trying to make the sharp left turn to the road along the seafront. The Ethiopian hit her left knee hard and scraped both her hands. Although she bounced up quickly, she had lost valuable time and was five seconds back when the leaders hit the 10-kilometer mark in a blistering 30:47.

Disater struck again at the 18km mark when reigning TCS New York City Marathon champion Joyciline Jepkosgei of Kenya and Ethiopia’s Ababel Yeshaneh tangled their legs with both women crashing to the pavement. Yeshaneh, the world record holder with a 1:04:31 personal best, fell hard landing on her right shoulder.

As the three front runners Jepchirchir, Ethiopian Yalemzerf Yehualaw and Germany’s Melat Kejeta made the slight right turn onto the carpeted finish straight built on a platform on the beach, Yehualaw lost traction due to the surface change and slipped. Although she did not fall, her momentum was interrupted just enough for Kejeta to pass her and take the silver medal in 1:05:18, a new European record for an all-women’s race. Yehualaw got the bronze in a personal best 1:05:19.

“I’m feeling good,” said Jepchirchir in her post-race interview. “I thank God for the energy he has given me today. It’s unbelievable; I was not expecting it (a new world record) but God planned for me.”

Jepchirchir will enjoy only a week’s rest after her record-breaking victory as she will immediately begin preparations for the Valencia Marathon on December 6.

“My season is not yet complete,” she said. “I still have Valencia Marathon in December so I’ll prepare for that. I think this win gave me a lot. I’d like to run 2:17 or 2:18 for the marathon.

“This pandemic was difficult and it affected a lot of people. I used this time to train, I didn’t stop my training because I was trying to reach my shape.

“I am so happy with this. It’s a gift to all the Kenyans, to my family. I am going to rest now for one week to recover then I’ll continue training for Valencia,” she concluded.

Meanwhile, 19-year-old Kiplimo won his first global title setting a championship and Ugandan record of 58:49. Prior to the meet, he had only run one half-marathon, but it was only a national-class race in Uganda and he had never really been tested at the distance.

50 minutes into the race, Kiplimo began to pull away from Kibiwott Kandie of Kenya who would have to settle for second place. 5,000 and 10,000m world record holder Kenya’s Joshua Cheptegei, who was in third, was passed by Ethiopia’s Amedework Walelegn and had to settle for fourth at the finish.

Running along the seafront to the finish, Kiplimo maintained his pace and cruised to the finish in 58:49, a new championships record. Kandie crossed second in 58:54 becoming the first man ever to run three sub-59:00 half-marathons in the same year. Third went to Walelegn in 59:08, a personal best.

“After five kilometers I know I was going to win,” an elated Kiplimo said in his post-race interview while wearing a surgical mask. He continued: “It was great to win.”

The team titles went to Ethiopia (women) and Kenya (men), and both individual champions earned $30,000 in prize money. Jepchirchir also earned a $50,000 world record bonus.

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East Africa Sports News

CAF President Ahmad Congratulates Mwenda on FKF Re-Election

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President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Ahmad Ahmad has written to congratulate Nick Mwendwa on his re-election as Football Kenya Federation(FKF) president.

In long awaited elections held at Nairobi’s Safari Park Hotel, Mwenda won a landslide victory with 77 votes from the 85 cast with closest challenger Omondi Aduda managing only five votes. Herbert Mwachiro managed to get three while Dan Mule and Boniface Osano got zero votes.

“I was not surprised when I learned about your brilliant re-election as the head of the Football Kenya Federation, thus confirming the high performance and the high efficiency of your work since 2016, the year of your first taking office, and I hasten to present you my most warm and sincere congratulations,” Ahmad said.

“On behalf of the Executive Committee of Caf and personally, I wish you every success in your endeavours.

“This second term, which you obtained by an impressive majority, is the demonstration that your entire term has been appreciated and strongly supported.”

“Considered as one of our youngest National Association president, you represent a role model and an example of pride to follow for African sports youth, and I remain convinced that you will continue all of your actions with the same vigour and the same determination,” the letter added.

“I encourage you on this path to success which reflects the prestigious ambition of the Kenyan nation which has made the sport a national priority.

“Kindly accept, Mr President, dear friend Nick once again my warm congratulations and friendly greetings.”

On his part, Mwenda was quick to extend the olive branch to his rivals after what had been a particularly bitter and often fractious contest.

“I am very humbled for the overwhelming win we scooped as Team Blue,” he said.

“I knew going into the elections that I will retain my seat but I didn’t know I will do it with such an emphatic style, I thank the delegates for giving me another mandate to lead them and I promise I will achieve my targets in the next four years.

“I also want to ask those who were competing against me, and even those who lost in various positions here today [Saturday] I am welcoming them to my side, let them come we work together, let us put our heads together to improve our football.

“I cannot do this on my own or with the team you have given me, I need everyone on board so we can achieve our set targets.

“We have several targets we must achieve in the next four years, I want to see Kenya in the World Cup, for both men and women national teams, I know it might sound like a dream or even a joke, but we can make it, we need proper planning and that is why I want everyone on board.”

The 41 year old was keen to hit the ground running urging haste.

“We are starting work immediately, on Monday it will be business as usual at the secretariat, we don’t have time to waste, we have wasted time-fighting in courts but now that we are done with elections, then it is time to give back and fight for football, we want to make sure football is back with a bang.

“The overwhelming win is a clear indication that delegates have trust in our management, they have trusted us again with football, and we will do our best to make sure that everyone enjoys every bit of football in the country.”

Mwenda also assured fans that the federation was still engaing the government in order to find an acceptable and safe way to restart the league.

“We are still talking to the government and I want to request them to help us open football but under protocols set by the Ministry of Health and start the league matches,” he said.

“We want to make sure our league starts in November 20, because it is the only date that can allow us to finish the season well on time, we don’t have much time left, we want to have a cautious approach towards resuming football and that is why we are pleading with the government to guide us, we will continue to talk to them.”

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