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‘Rose from the dead.’ Other interesting facts about Cameroon’s new coach, Rigobert Song

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Rigobert Song Bahanang, born on the 1st of July 1976 was a Cameroonian former professional football player, who is the current manager of the Cameroon national team.

Internationally, he played at a record eight Africa Cup of Nations tournaments and served as a captain in five.

He holds a record for most consecutive games played in the tournament with 35 first-team games. He has won two CAF Africa Cup of Nations titles in 2000 and 2002.

Aside from Zinedine Zidane, Song is the only player to have been sent off in two different World cups, once against Brazil in 1994 and against Chile in 1998. He also holds the record as the youngest player ever to be sent off in a World Cup aged 17.

He was nicknamed “Big Chief” by Turkish fans; he is the Uncle of fellow Cameroon defensive midfielder, Alex Song.

He was falsely reported to have died after a near-death cerebral attack on October, 3rd 2016, that came through a stroke in Yaoundé, Cameroon that had him in a coma for two days.

He is happily married to his long time girlfriend and the love of his life, Gabrielle Esther Nnomo Mballa and they have four beautiful children together.

Aside from Zinedine Zidane, Rigoberto song is the only player to have been sent off in two different world cups; Brazil 1994 and Chile 1998.

In late 2015, Song was reportedly close to signing a managerial deal with the Chad national team but for unknown reasons, it was never finalised.

Song is the country’s most capped player, after making 137 appearances for the Indomitable lions.

After sacking the former head coach of the Cameroon national team Antonio Conceicao, who led the indomitable lions to a third place in the just concluded African cup of nations 2022, is being replaced on the instruction of the country’s President Paul Biya, by Rigobert Song.

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Simbine wades in on Omanyala, Tebogo “Africa Sprints King’ debate

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South African sprint sensation, Akani Simbine, has weighed in on the “African Sprint King” debate between Africa’s fastest man and Commonwealth Games champion, Ferdinand Omanyala of Kenya, and Letsile Tebogo of Botswana on who should rightfully hold the title.

Simbine who defeated Omanyala in the 100m at the Atlanta City Games on Sunday, shared his thoughts in an interview with Track and Field network on whom between him, Omanyala and Tebogo is the best sprinter in Africa.

Simbine who is regarded as one of Africa’s and world’s best sprinters in history, while reacting to Omanyala’s recent declaration of himself as the king of sprints on the continent pointing to his African record and title as well as his Commonwealth gold medal, said he was waiting for the Paris Olympics to know whom among them should wear the crown.

The claim by Omanyala had put him on a collision course with Tebogo, the world 100m silver and 200m bronze medallist.

Tebogo, in an earlier interview, had said Omanyala is yet to prove his claims where it matters following his semi-final exit at the Tokyo Olympics and seventh place finish at the 2023 World Championships where the 20-year-old won two medals.

“To me, it does not make sense if you are the African champion, but where it mattered the most, he could not step in,” Tebogo had fired at Omanyala.

To prove his point, Simbine dusted Omanyala to take the track in the 100m at the Atlanta Games in a world leading time of 9.90 while the Kenyan was second in 10.00.

In the interview, Simbine simply said:

“I am waiting for that conversation, I never left. We will see,” suggesting he should be among those being discussed, especially with the Paris Olympics on the horizon.

Simbine, a former African champion and record holder, had had those two titles were taken away from him by Omanyala who set a new mark of 9.77 in 2021 while he is also the 100m African champion.

But based on current form, Simbine trumps both Omanyala and Tebogo in 100m given he is the first to dip under 10 seconds this year.

His 9.90 came after he had managed 10.01 on two occasions, both recorded in April when he finished first, while Omanyala ran 10.03 at the Kip Keino Classic where he finished a disappointing fifth, before improving it to 10.00 in Atlanta.

Tebogo meanwhile managed 10.13 in his first 100m of the season at the Los Angeles Grand Prix last weekend.

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Moroccan steeplechase star El Bakkali aims for gold at Paris Olympics

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Morocco’s steeplechase champion, Soufiane El Bakkali, says he is aiming for the gold medal at the upcoming Paris Olympics after clinching victory in the 3000m at the 15th Mohammed VI International Athletics Meeting on Sunday with a season’s best time of 8:09.40.

At the meeting which was part of the Diamond League series, El Bakkali narrowly edged out his fiercest rival, Ethiopian Wale Getnet, who clocked a time of 8:09.78, and Kenyan Amos Serem, who completed the race in 8:10.82.

“Despite my long absence due to injury, I always kept hope. I trained intensely to win this victory, which was not easy,” El Bakkali stated after the race.

He added that he adopted a different race strategy for this event as anticipation builds for the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris.

El Bakkali who said he is acutely aware of the high expectations from Moroccan supporters, called on fans to continue their support as he aims to secure the gold medal.

The fourth stage of the Diamond League brings together athletes from all over the world, including Olympic champions and world champions.

El Bakkali’s victory in Marrakech marks a significant milestone in his preparation for the 2024 Paris Olympics, where he aims to defend his Olympic title in the steeplechase.

The Mohammed VI Meeting in Marrakech is one of Africa’s premier track and field events, attracting many of the world’s top athletes and El Bakkali’s victory was a testament to his strong form as he gears up for the Olympics where he will face formidable competition from athletes like Getnet and Serem, who pushed him hard in Marrakech.

With the Olympics just under 67 days away, the Moroccan said the victory boosts his confidence, confirming that his training is on track.

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