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

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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.

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Kenya’s Edwin Kibet wins 2023 Lagos City Marathon

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Kenyan long distance runner, Edwin Kibet Koech, has won the 8th edition of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon held in Nigeria on Saturday.

The 39-year-old Kibet finished the 42km race in two hours, 14 minutes and six seconds to beat Ethiopia’s Dekeba Shefa and fellow Kenyan, Bernard Sang, who finished second and third respectively.

For his feat, Kibet took home the grand prize of $50,000, while Shefa and Sang carted home $40,000 and $30,000 respectively.

In the female category, Alemenseh Guta of Ethiopia was the first woman to cross the finish line, with compatriot Kebene Urisa and Kenya’s Naomi Maiyo coming second and third respectively.

The annual event sponsored by one of Nigeria’s elite financial institutions, Access Bank, was recently upgraded by the world athletics body to a gold label, meaning that the winners of both the men and women’s races have also qualified for the marathon events at the 2024 Olympics scheduled for Paris, France.

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Nigerian tech billionaire, Dozy Mmobuosi, set to acquire Sheffield United in £90m deal

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A Nigerian tech billionaire, Dozy Mmobuosi, is reportedly on the verge of acquiring English football club, Sheffield United, in a deal said to be in the region of £90 million.

Sheffield United which is in the English championship, is likely to gain promotion back to the English Premier League as it is in the top three of the second tier of the league.

The Blades’ push for promotion back to the EPL this season suffered a glitch after they were hit by a transfer embargo last month amid financial difficulties but if the sale is successful, they would have enough funds to go into the transfer market.

The sale deal has been confirmed by the English Football League (EFL) in a post on its website, where it said the issue relates to the non-payment of a transfer fee that was owed.

The EFL said the embargo which prevents Sheffield from buying a player for the next 18 months unless they win promotion, was imposed because the Blades failed to keep up payment instalments on signings.

“This included payments to Liverpool for forward Rhian Brewster, who was signed in October 2020 for £23.5m.”

The Blades current owner, Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, has been struggling to maintain the funding needed to keep the club going and was understood to be open to selling the club.

And that has opened the door for the Nigerian billionaire whose company, Tingo Mobile, is valued at around £7 billion, to make a bid to buy the club.

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