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Meet the African coaches heading to Qatar World Cup

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The World Cup holding in Qatar in November will throw up an interesting history as there will be four African coaches leading their nations to the Mundial.

This will be a departure from past World Cups where African teams are often tutored by foreign coaches who are seen as superior to local coaches.

But in Qatar 2022, out of the five African countries that will fly the continent’s flag at the world soccer fiesta, four of them will be coached by homegrown gaffes.

Cameroon, Ghana, Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia will represent the continent but apart from Morocco, the other four will have local coaches in their dugouts.

Cameroon

Not many gave former defender, Rigobert Song, a chance to lead Cameroon to the World Cup, especially after the Indomitable Lions lost 0-1 at home to Algeria in the first leg of the final qualifiers.

But the four times African champions pulled the chestnut out of the fire in the second leg in Blida by defeating their host 2-1.

Song who was only appointed after the AFCON im February, is one of only the third African players to have played in four FIFA World Cups (1994, 1998, 2002 and 2010), along with teammates Samuel Eto’o and Jacques Songo’o.

The 45 year-old led Cameroon to two Africa Cup of Nations triumph in 2000 and 2002 as captain of the squad.

Ghana

Though he was born in Germany to Ghanaian parents, Otto Addo is another local coach who will lead an African team to the Mundial.

The former Bramfelder SV, Hannover 96, Dortmund and Mainz 05 defender was appointed to take over the Black Stars after their disappointing outing at the 2022 AFCON where they were bundled out by debutant Comoros.

Addo set to work, assembling a bunch of hungry players led by Arsenal midfielder, Thomas Partey, and the team displayed such resilience by pipping the Super Eagles of Nigeria over to legs to pick the World Cup ticket.

The 46-year-old has thus become the first Ghanaian footballer to qualify for the World Cup both as a player and as a coach.

Senegal

Senegal coach and former midfield maestro, Aliou Cissé, no longer needs long introductions when it comes to African football.

After being in charge of the talented Senegalese team for over seven years, Cissé led the team to conquer Africa at the last AFCON in Cameroon in February, beating Egypt via penalties in the final.

The continental title was the first for the West African nation after many years of asking, including the pain of losing the 2019 final to a Ryad Mahrez inspired Algeria.

During his player days, Cissé was a midfield lynchpin for French clubs like PSG and Lille. He also played for English clubs Portsmouth and Birmingham in the premiership.

He captained Senegal to a famous 1-0 victory over France at the 1998 World Cup hosted by the European nation.

Tunisia

Tunisian coach, Jalel Kadri, has become the most popular man in his country after successfully leading the North African country to Qatar 2022.

The 50-year-old has a proven track record as his international managerial career has taken him to Saudi Arabia where he coached Ansar Al Madina club.

He also had a stint in Lebanon and was the head coach of Libya’s Al-Ahly Tripoli, before returning home to coach JS Kairouan in the Tunisian league, before he was appointed head coach of the Carthage Eagles.

Kadri is now tasked with leading the Eagles as far as possible at the World Cup in Qatar.

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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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