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Africa to the World: Stars to watch this weekend in Europe’s top leagues

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This weekend, Africa’s finest foreign football exports will take to the pitch for their respective clubs around Europe and as usual, are expected to show the African spirit.

In England, Liverpool’s trio of Mohammad Salah, Saido Mane and Naby Keita will represent the African contingent when they tackle Manchester City on Saturday in the FA Cup semi final which will rekindle their rivalry a week after their rip-roaring 2-2 draw in the league.

In the EPL proper, Arsenal slayer a week ago, Zambian Enock Mwepu will hope to lead Brighton to a repeat of the 2-1 win against the Gunners when they confront Tottenham.

While in the Serie A, Victor Osimhen, Kalidou Koulibaly and Andre Zambo Anguissa of Napoli will look to bounce back from their shock 3-2 defeat by Fiorentina when they host Jose Mourinho’s Roma, hoping to get back their title chase back on track.

We bring you a preview of African stars when they file out for their clubs this weekend.

Mohammad Salah, Sadio Mane, Naby Keita: Liverpool

The Reds’ African contingent will once again have their hands full when they take on Manchester City with Algerian Riyad Mahrez in tow, for the second time on one week.

Jurgen Klopp has so much faith in Salah and Mane, but could also rely on Keita to come on at some point against Pep Guardiola’s men.

Having kept Mane and Salah on the bench for the majority of Wednesday’s 3-3 draw with Benfica in the UEFA Champions League, Klopp is likely to start the forwards in Saturday’s Wembley showdown.

Enock Mwepu: Brighton & Hoves Albion

After a man of the match performance against top four chasing Arsenal with a goal and assist in Brighton & Hove Albion’s 2-1 shocking win at the Emirates Stadium last week, Enock Mwepu will again hope to start when the Seagulls seek another scalp offTottenham Hotspur, another top four contender.

Malian midfield maestro, Yves Bissouma, may likely play a part in this match with Graham Potter’s team looking to throw a spanner in the works of another top-four contender this weekend.

Hakim Ziyech: Chelsea

With Thomas Tuchel expected to rotate his squad in Sunday’s FA Cup encounter with Crystal Palace, Ziyech could start at Wembley Stadium against Patrick Vieira’s in-form side.

The Moroccan was the match-winner in last season’s semi-final success against Manchester City, something he will hope to replicate against the Eagles who will have Wilfred Zaha, Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise in their rank.

Having already scored the winner in the second Premier League meeting between both clubs, Ziyech will back himself to flourish as the Blues hope to end the year on a positive note.

Ademola Lookman, Kelechi Iheanacho: Leicester City

The duo of Ademola Lookman and Kelechi Iheanacho are becoming important players for Leicester City as was witnessed in their contributions in City’s 2-1 win over PSV in the Europa Conference League on Thursday.

Lookman who came off the bench to create the assist for City’s winning goal, will be hoping to start against Newcastle United after a strong showing in Eindhoven.

In the absence of the injured Jamie Vardy, Iheanacho will also hope to see his chances of making the starting eleven at St. James’ Park brighter after his strong showing on Thursday.

Kalidou Koulibaly, Victor Osimhen, Andre Zambo Anguissa: Napoli

The trio of Koulibaly, Osimhen and Anguissa will want to banish the ghost of last week’s 3-2 defeat
Napoli suffered in the hands of Fiorentina to get their title dream back on track.

Koulibaly and Osimhen were part of the defeat but Anguissa missed out through suspension, and the two are likely to play from the start when in-form Roma visit on Easter Monday.

Osimhen will miss out due to an injury he copped towards the end of the match.

The Nigerian forward scored and assisted in the Fiorentina defeat but his efforts were not enough for the Naples outfit as they fell to a fifth defeat at their home.

Samuel Chukwueze: Villarreal

Chukwueze will be hoping to build on his heroics in Villarreal’s elimination of Bayern Munich on Tuesday, where he scored the crucial goal that took his Spanish side to the UEFA Champions League semi final, as the Yellow Submarines clash with Getafe.

Unai Emery’s men may be perfoming at an high level in Europe but have been off-form in La Liga, claiming only four points from their last 15, leaving them eight points behind Real Sociedad in sixth spot.

Chukwueze will be hoping to notch his sixth goal in La Liga if he can get one past Getafe.

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Cameroon keeper Onana throws more jibes after World Cup controversy

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Cameroon’s first choice goalkeeper, André Onana, has thrown more jibes on the country’s football authorities following a controversy that rocked the team at the FIFA 2022 World Cup in Qatar which led to his being thrown out of the team camp.

The Inter Milan shot stopper who fell out with coach Rigobert Song and FECAFOOT boss, Samuel Eto’o after Cameroon lost to Switzerland in their first match, took to Twitter on Thursday to share a new cryptic message which has further heightened the scandal that rocked the team at the World Cup.

Onana who returned to Cameroon for his holidays after leaving Qatar following his omission from Cameroon’s starting XI in their 3-3 draw against Serbia, shared a message which many think is a subtle shade on Eto’o, Song and other members of the football federation.

Writing in both French and English, the 26-year-old former Ajax keeper said:

“In a world where lying is the most common thing, telling the truth makes you a revolutionary. But in the end, time will put everything in its place,” he said.

Onana got into trouble when he challenged Song on his team training methods and following an altercation, Eto’o tried to intervene and settle the rift between them failed, he was initially suspended for the Serbia game but after the match, Onana left Qatar in anger.

He later released a statement saying that he didn’t find will ‘on the other side’ to solve problems.

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Cameroonian FA boss, Samuel Eto’o apologises for attacking Algerian cameraman during World Cup

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Football legend and current President of the Cameroonian Football Federation (FECAFOOT), Samuel Eto’o, has apologised for violently attacking an Algerian cameraman and Youtuber influencer outside a stadium at the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

A video of the assault had gone viral on Tuesday where the former Real Madrid and Barcelona star was seen hitting the cameraman in the face after he had requested for an interview with the Cameroonian football boss shortly after Brazil’s 4-1 victory over South Korea in a second round match which was played on Monday.

However, following serious backlash and condemnation from football fans and officials, the former forward took to his official Twitter page to tender an apology.

“On last 5 December, after the Brazil-South Korea match, I had a violent altercation with a person who was probably an Algerian supporter,” Eto’o wrote.

“I would like to apologise for losing my temper and reacting in a way that does not match my personality. I apologise to the public for this unfortunate incident.

“I pledge to continue to resist the relentless provocation and daily harassment of some Algerian supporters. Indeed, since the Cameroon-Algeria match on 29 March in Blida, I have been the target of insults and allegations of cheating without any evidence.

“During this World Cup, Cameroonian fans have been harassed and pestered by Algerians on the same subject. I would like to mention that the scenario of Algeria’s defeat was cruel but perfectly in line with the rules and ethics of our sport.

“All the appeals made by the Algerian Football Federation to the competent jurisdictions have been rejected. I, therefore, call on the Algerian authorities and Federation to take responsibility to put an end to this unhealthy climate before a more serious tragedy occurs,” he added.

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