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The Good and The Bad: How African stars performed in Europe last weekend



Over the weekend, African soccer stars took to the field for their respective European clubs in different leagues and competitions.

Some churned out impressive displays while others had outings they would rather forget.

A handful of the players made crucial contributions for their clubs while others found themselves on the losing side.

We bring a review of the African players who were too good for their European teams as well as the ones who were not so good.

Too Good

Mohamed Elneny: Arsenal

The Egyptian midfielder once again showed his importance for Arsenal with an assist in the Gunners 3-1 thumping of Manchester United at the Emirates.

After a man of the match display at Stamford Bridge a week earlier, Elneny was instrumental to Arsenal overall outing with a sterling performance in the middle of the park alongside Granit Xhaka.

He also provided the assist for the third goal scored by Xhaka in the 70th minute, a which has once again propelled Arsenal into the top four in the EPL with a Champions League qualification looking likely after their direct rivals, Tottenham Hotspur dropped points against Brentford.

Mohammed Kudus: Ajax

Ghanaian star Kudus was also good for Dutch Eredivisie runaway leaders Ajax as he provided the assist in the 88th minute in his club’s 1-0 defeat of NEC in the game played on Saturday.

His fellow African in the team, Sebastien Haller of Ivory Coast played the whole duration of the game but had little impact.

Karl Toko Ekambi, Alexander Djiku: Lyon

The Cameroonian players make tje good list as they conteibuted positively to Lyon’s 5-2 defeat of Montpellier in the French Ligue 1.

Ekambi scored one goal and provided an assist, netting as Lyon’s third goal in the 68th minute before providing the assist for captain Houssem Aouar’s goal in the second minute of added time.

Moses Simon: Nantes

Simon who was unarguably Nigeria’s best player as the 2021 AFCON in Cameroon, picked up from where he stopped as he helped his modest French club Nantes came back from 2-0 and 3-2 down to claim a 5-3 win over Bordeaux.

The Nigerian claimed an assist to draw his club level at 3-3, before claiming his side’s fourth goal as his teasing cross forced Bordeaux defender Ricardo Mangas to turn the ball into his own net.

Edoaurd Mendy and Hakim Ziyech: Chelsea

Senegalese shot stopper, Edoaurd Mendy and retired Moroccan Moroccan international Hakim Ziyech were instrumental to Chelsea not losing a third straight match at the Stamford Bridge.

Mendy was at his best as he stopped West Ham’s relentless onslaught as the Blue ran out 1-0 winners while Ziyech who replaced Ruben Loftus-Cheek in the 76th minute played a key part in the only goal scored by Christian Pulisic in added time.

Too Bad

Alex Iwobi: Everton

Everton Super Eagles midfielder Iwobi was too bad for Everton against Liverpool that fans of the club took to social media to question if he is really the nephew of former Eagles and Bolton Wanderers midfield magician, Austin ‘Jay-Jay” Okocha.

Iwobi was preferred on the left side of midfield by Frank Lampard but he contributed next to nothing as Everton slumped its 11 loss in their last 12 Premier League away games, including each of the last seven in a row, making it their longest run of consecutive away defeats since a run of eight between April and October 1994.

The Toffees ended the day in the relegation zone for the first time since 6th December 2019.

Mohamed Salisu: Southampton

The Ghanaian defender had a mixed bag of game as he scored an own goal as Southampton 2-2 draw against Brighton to share the points.

Salisu’s own goal gave Brighton a two-goal advantage before Southampton recovered and scored twice through James Ward-Prowse.

Emmanuel Dennis, Hassan Kamara: Watford

Nigeria’s Dennis and Ivory Coast’s Kamara combined for Watford’s 28th-minute goal in against Manchester City but it was not enough to save them from a 5-1 thumping at the Etihad Stadium.

Dennis has now been directly involved in 52% of Watford’s 31 Premier League goals this season, scoring 10 goals with six assists to his name.

Victor Osimhen: Napoli

Osimhen played the full 90 minutes as Napoli’s Serie A title hopes went up in smoke as they lost 3-2 to 14th-placed Empoli, after leading 2-0 at a point.

The lanky forward failed to find the back of the net yet again, though he had his six shots, the poorest return for the striker whose previous worst performance this season came at home games against Hellas Verona in November.


Nigerian couple makes history with Paralympic qualifications



Nigerian para-table tennis players, Kayode Alabi and Ifechukwude Ikpeoyi, have made history by becoming the first African couple to qualify for the Paralympic Games in Paris in 2024, after securing their maiden ticket at the ITTF African Para Championships in Giza, Egypt.

Alabi came out tops in the men’s Class Six category to qualify for his first Paralympic Games, while his wife also picked her maiden ticket in the women’s Class Five.

At the qualifying tournament, Nigerian players dominated in the men’s singles category and claimed the bulk of the tickets, with four of the six entrees making their Paralympic Games debut.

Nigeria also added extra tickets in women’s Classes Nine and Five in successive sessions, with Kehinde Lawal and Ikpeoyi topping their events as champions.

Other athletes who picked tickets for the Paralympic Games include Olufemi Alabi and Victor Farinloye, who both competed in the men’s Classes 10 and Eight at the last games in Tokyo.

Others are Isau Ogunkunle, Bolawa Akingbemisilu, Kayode Alabi and Abiola Adesope who all won their respective classes and will be on the plane to Paris.

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Sorry Namibia pounded 96-0 by France in Rugby World Cup



Namibia’s participation at the ongoing Rugby World Cup in France took a big dent when they were trounced 96-0 by the host who reached the quarter-finals of the competition with their biggest-ever win.

The one-sided Pool A encounter on Thursday evening at the Marseille’s Stade Velodrome saw France running up the huge score against the Africans, showing the gulf in class between the two teams.

In the match, Damian Penaud scored a hat-trick, while Jonathan Danty, Charles Ollivon and Louis Bielle-Biarry all scored twice to make mince meat of their opponents.

Thibaud Flament, Dupont and substitutes Baptiste Couillard and Melvyn Jaminet also scored, while Thomas Ramos kicked 12 conversions.

The host nation made 12 changes from their 27-12 victory over Uruguay, bringing back their big names and from the first whistle, dominated and outclassed a sorry Namibian side.

But it was not all good news for France as skipper Antoine Dupont was forced off the field with a head injury and will be sweating on his fitness ahead of the quarter-finals match.

Dupont was struck by Namibia captain Johan Deysel in the side of his head a few minutes into the second half and immediately left the field, being taken to hospital for a suspected fractured cheek.

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