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Stakeholders disagree with Rugby Africa over World Cup Qualifiers’ locations

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Some African countries and stakeholders in the continent have accused African rugby’s governing body, Rugby Africa, of ignoring the interests of the game in the continent for commercial reasons.

The accusations came on the heels of a decision to host forthcoming 2023 Rugby World Cup qualifiers in France.

In July eight African teams will compete in a tournament in two French cities, Aix-en-Provence and Marseille, for one automatic ticket to the finals set to be hosted by France in September next year.

This will be the first time in the history of African rugby that its World Cup qualifiers have been held outside continental borders and the decision has been met with discontent in Africa.

Namibia, one the contenders, has raised objection about the decision, saying they are “dissatisfied” with the decision.

“We did request Rugby Africa to revisit their decision,” Namibia’s rugby president Corrie Mensah said, but “the outcome was to remain with France as host.”

Kenya and Zimbabwe had made bids which Rugby Africa described as “strong”, but it resolved to hand France the hosting rights.

Responding to the allegation, Rugby Africa in a statement claimed that its “main goal is to keep growing and progressing and taking our rightful place on the international stage,”

“In collaboration with our members and partners, Rugby Africa needs to invent new ways and create new opportunities to grow its revenue and redistribute it in African rugby.”

Helen Buteme, former Uganda women’s international, told newsmen that Rugby Africa “doesn’t have the interests of African rugby at heart”.

“There is no justification whatsoever for taking what is our biggest tournament to a European country,” she added. “Africa needs this tournament while France does not.”

Namibia will be gunning to make a seventh consecutive appearance at the world tournament, after making their debut in 1999.

The other teams set for the qualifiers, slated for 1st July to 10th July, are Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Algeria, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Ivory Coast.

The runners-up will have another chance to the World Cup after a final four-team round-robin global qualifier to be held in November.

 

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How Super Eagles players, Bassey, Iwobi disunited Man U

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It was a Nigerian affair at the revered Old Trafford stadium as the Super Eagles duo of Calvin Bassey and Alex Iwobi combined to deny Manchester United all three points in the EPL match played on Saturday as Fulham beat the Red Devils 2-1 at home for the first time since 1963.

United’s hopes of qualifying for the Champions League were further put on hold as defender Bassey scored his first goal for Fulham in the 65th minute from a corner before Iwobi did the unthinkable when he scored in added time to earn an unlikely victory for the away side.

The much maligned England defender, Harry Maguire, thought he had rescued a point for United when he pounced on a rebound in the 89th minute to cancel the Bassey’s strike.

But Iwobi, however had plans as he pounced on Adama Traore’s pass to wrong foot Cameroonian goal keeper, Andre Onana, to seal thr famous win for the London club.

And typical of Nigerian football fans, the joke of the win was turned on Onana in the spirit of the age-long rivalry between Nigeria and Cameroon.

While some bantered the Eagles duo saying they did to Man U what they could not do to Ivory Coast in the final of the 2023 AFCON, others taunted Onana, bragging that Nigeria will always beat the Indomitable Lions both at national team and club levels.

Meanwhile, another Nigerian eligible player, Tosin Adarabioyo played alongside Bassey in the Fulham defence and was rock-solid as well.

Read what some social media users posted after the match;

“Onana escaped Nigeria in Ivory Coast. Calvin Bassey and Iwobi just hunted him to Manchester United to give him his own share of the two goals he escaped” – Wisdom Ezrah

“Iwobi and Bassey saw Onana and thought they were playing against Cameroon” – Anselem Ekene

“Iwobi and Bassey made sure Manchester United paid for their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations” – Dan Ifeanyi

“Cameron will always be under Nigeria when it comes to football be it on African soil or Europe. Well done guys” – Aliyu Salihu

“Onana went to eliminate Cameroon early enough so that he could rush back and finish Manchester United completely” – Bomario Tam

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Kenyan President Ruto promises Kiptum’s widow new house, job, Ksh.5m cash

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Kenya’s President, William Ruto, has promised that the State will build a new and befitting house for the family of late marathon world record holder, Kelvin Kiptum.

Ruto who made the pledge while speaking during Kiptum’s burial ceremony held on Friday at the Chepkorio Showground in Keiyo South, Elgeyo Marakwet County, said government will give the family another house in addition to the one built on Kiptum.

Apart from the new house, President Ruto said the government would give every support to Kiptum’s family in honour of the pride and glory the late marathoner brought the country.

He also pledged to give Kiptum’s widow, Asenath Rotich, automatic employment and Ksh.5 million cash to support her and the two young children left behind by Kiptum.

The new house will be in addition to the two three-bedroomed houses the government constructed for the late world marathon champion and his father in a record one week.

In his address at the funeral ceremony, President Ruto eulogised Kiptum as an “ambitious, disciplined and focused” sportsman, highlighting Kiptum’s humility, noting that he overcame all challenges facing him to become an icon.

“He had more reasons not to succeed than he had to succeed. But he worked against the odds. He could have said ‘I come from a village that is not well known, or I come from a family that cannot cater for me’ or he does not have running shoes… you heard he ran barefoot in his earlier days.

“He didn’t see those as impediments to his ambition and his success. I say Kelvin, even in his death, is speaking to us as Kenyans that we may not have gold, we may not have so much… and that should not deter us from being the great country that we must be.

“All of us as the people of Kenya must love this country enough to be able, to make Kenya great,” Ruto said.

The late Kiptum died in a tragic road accident along the Elgeyo Marakwet-Eldoret road alongside his Rwandan coach Gervais Hakizimana on Sunday, February 11.

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