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

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The last weekend was one of mixed fortunes for a number of African soccer players across Europe, with some proving to be too good while others were just too bad in action for their respective sides both in the leagues and various competitions.

Top of the good category were Sadio Mane and Mohammed Salah of Liverpool as well as Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy and Hakim Ziyech, who helped their teams to the English FA Cup final.

Others who also made the good category were Nigerian duo of Joe Aribo and Calvin Bassey as they helped Rangers defeat eternal rivals Celtic to reach the Scottish Cup final.

The same could not be said of Arsenal’s Nicholas Pepe whose team continued its losing streak in the EPL, as well as Leicester City”s pair of Ademola Lookman and Kelechi Iheanacho whose team gave up a one goal lead to lose 2-1 to Newcastle.

Overall, it was a remarkable weekend for African stars in Europe as we bring you a preview of the good and the bad of Africa’s export to European football.

The Good

Sadio Mane, Mohammed Salah: Liverpool

Senegal star Sadio Mane was instrumental for Liverpool’s defeat of Premier League rivals Manchester City, in the FA Cup semi-final on Saturday.

The mecurial forward was too good and scored twice, in the 17th and 45th minutes, to ensure the Reds progressed to the final with a 3-2 victory.

Mane who was voted man-of-the-match was complimented by Salah’s all-round display as they dismantled City with three first half goals before Pep Guardiola’s men managed to pull two goals back in the second half but the damage had already been done by Mane and gang.

Joe Aribo, Calvin Bassey: Rangers

The Nigerian duo of Joe Aribo and Calvin Bassey were instrumental as Rangers defeated Celtic in the Scottish FA Cup semi-final to reach the final.

Midfield maestro Aribo and enterprising left back Bassey were outstanding in the match and both picked up yellow cards in the feisty encounter but that did not matter much as they contributed their shift for the win.

Their compatriot Leon Balogun abd Zambian striker Fashion Sakala were both introduced as substitutes late on in the game.

Taiwo Awoniyi: Union Berlin

Bullish Nigerian striker Taiwo Awoniyi returned to the scoresheet as Union Berlin registered a 2-0 victory against Eintracht Frankfurt in the German Bundesliga, scoring his 13th goal of the season.

The striker who suffered a goal drought that saw him go some matches without a goal, opened the scoring in the 17th minute before Grischa Promel added the second three minutes later.

Edouard Mendy, Hakim Ziyech: Chelsea

Chelsea’s pair of Edouard Mendy and Hakim Ziyech were on the winning side as they outclassed Crystal Palace 2-0 in the second FA Cup semi-final played on Sunday.

While Mendy played out the full duration of the match and keeping a clean slate in the process, Ziyech came on in the 77th minute for Mason Mount as the Blues cruised to the final, with reward being a May 14 final where they will face Mane and Salah’s Liverpool.

Yves Bissouma, Enock Mwepu: Brighton & Hoves Albion

Malian midfielder Yves Bissoumsa and Zambian forward Enock Mwepu were instrumental to Brighton beating Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday to take another scalp off a top team in the EPL after their 2-1 away win at Arsenal a week earlier.

While Bissouma protected Brighton’s defence and was also impressive in breaking up the Spurs attacks as well as driving forward when they were attacking, Mwepu made sure the Tottenham backline had no moment of rest with his runs and trickery upfront.

The Bad

Nicolas Pepe: Arsenal

Just like the Arsenal team in general, the duo of Cote d’ivoire striker, Nicolas Pepe, could not live up to expectation as the Gunners suffered a third straight defeat at Southampton in the EPL.

Pepe’s introduction in the 70th minute for Nuno Tavares, could not alter the scoreline in favour of the Gunners as he was practically lost in the game as Arsenal chased an equaliser that did not come.

Maxwel Cornet: Burnley

Ivorian striker Maxwel Cornet makes the bad as he made an unwanted history by missing a penalty as Burnley ended up drawing 1-1 against West Ham United in London.

Cornet made history by becoming only the third Burnley player to fail to convert a penalty in the Premier League, after Scott Arfield (September 2014 vs Crystal Palace) and Matthew Taylor (April 2015 vs Leicester City).

Cornet also entered the history books as he missed the 50th spot-kick West Ham have conceded at home.

Ademola Lookman, Kelechi Iheanacho, Patson Daka: Leicester City

Ademola Lookman could have made the good list after scoring Leicester’s only goal but ended up on the losing side with a 2-1 defeat to Newcastle.

However, the Nigerian made a personal career-best stat as he has scored in each of his last three Premier League starts for Leicester.

But the same could not be said of Zambian striker Patson Daka who has failed to score in his last 12 matches for the Foxes in all competitions.

He was replaced in the 78th minute by Kelechi Iheanacho who did not fare any better.

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Sports

Former Gabon captain Aubameyang joins Saudi clubside Al Qadsiah

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Former Gabon national team captain, Pierre Emerick, has joined newly promoted Saudi Pro League side, Al Qadsiah, on a two-year contract after the expiration of his contract with French Ligue 1 side, Marseille.

The 35-year-old former Arsenal forward spent just one season with the French side, scoring 30 goals in 51 games before moving to the Saudi club.

Aubameyang joined Marseille after struggling for form amid fitness issues at Chelsea, where he bagged just three goals in 21 appearances following his move from Barcelona.

Aubameyang’s move to Saudi Arabia is coming on the heels of former Real Madrid defender Nacho who signed a contract with Al Qadsiah who finished top of the Saudi First Division League last season to gain promotion to Saudi’s top-flight.

Aubameyang also joins a number of high-profile players playing in Saudi Arabia, which includes Brazil forward Neymar.

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Sports

Sex scandal rocks Cameroon Volleyball Federation as officials accused of assaulting underage players

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Sex scandal rocks Cameroon Volleyball Federation as officials accused of assaulting underage player

A raging sex scandal is currently rocking the Cameroon Volleyball Federation ((FECAVOLLEY), which has seen officials scampering to deny the allegations.

According to local media, the Federation has been enmeshed in sexual misconduct involving coaches and underage players leading to a public outcry for investigation and transparency.

A whistle blower had raised an alarm with accusations that several young players, aged between 16 and 18, were impregnated by national team coaches, prompting a severe backlash and calls for an in-depth investigation.

However, in a statement on Friday, the Federation strongly denied the allegations involving sexual misconduct within its ranks.

In the statement, FECAVOLLEY addressed the claims head-on, distancing itself from the individuals involved and asserting its commitment to the ethical management and development of volleyball in Cameroon.

“The Cameroon Volleyball Federation, under the leadership of Mr. Julien Serge Abouem, wishes to inform both national and international public opinion that FECAVOLLEY is not involved in the tumult of moral affairs prevalent in the media, especially on social networks,” the statement said.

The scandal had come to light following revelations made by a professional player in an open letter where she condemned what she called the pervasive “droit de cuissage” (right of first night) and “organized debauchery” allegedly endorsed by the federation’s president.

The player’s accusations extended to the behavior of certain coaches whom she claimed were engaged in the harassment and sexual abuse of young female athletes.

The situation got worse when a sports journalist, Richard Naha reported that five underage volleyball players were currently pregnant as a result of relations with federation officials.

However, FECAVOLLEY’s statement vehemently denied any involvement with the indicted officials, referring to them as impostors who falsely claim to be associated with a so-called Cameroonian Federation of Volleyball.

“These individuals will not find a platform for expression at FECAVOLLEY, which continues to pursue its development plan harmoniously,” the statement added.

“FECAVOLLEY invites the necessary support for the implementation of public policies in the field of sports and physical education,” it noted.

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