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UEFA CL: Nigeria’s Chukwueze shines as underdog Villarreal go past Bayern but Mendy, Ziyech couldn’t fly with Chelsea



It was a night of mixed fortune for African players as the return leg of Quarter Final matches of the UEFA Champions League took center stage on Tuesday night.

On the heroic side was Nigeria’s Samuel Chimerenka Chukwueze of Villarreal scored a late goal in the clash against Bayern Munich of Germany to take the Yellow Submarine into the next round of the competition. The first leg of the tie ended in a 1-0 victory for the Spanish side and Munich was in a better place after taking the lead in the return leg but substitute Chukwueze had other ideas.

Villarreal’s victory is by all standards an upset given the pedigree of Bayern Munich in the elite club completion. The German side had won the competition seven-time while Villarreal’s best run in the competition was a semi-final stop in the  2005/2006 season when they lost out to Arsenal on a 1–0 aggregate scoreline following Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann’s save of Riquelme’s last-minute penalty.

With Bayern’s pedigree and quality, it is not surprising that it took an African “hammer” to put final nail on the German side’s coffin.

Since the Yellow Submarine was founded, several players from Africa have represented the outfit, with names like Ikechukwu Uche (Nigeria), Karl Toko Ekambi (Cameroon), and Cedric Bakambu (DR Congo) coming to mind.

Others Africans who currently ply their football trade with Villarreal are Boulaye Dia (Senegal), Arnaut Danjuma (Nigeria), Serge Aurier (Cote d’Ivoire), Aissa Mandi (Algeria), and of course Nigeria’s Samuel Chukwueze

Real Madrid Vs Chelsea

In the other quarter-final tie of the UEFA Champions League on the night. The most successful side in the history of the competition, Real Madrid of Spain hosted Chelsea FC of England who are the current champions of the competition.

There were no African goal scorers in the tie which ended 3-2 in favour of Chelsea, Real Madrid progressed into the next round of the competition with a better goal difference because the first league ended 3-1 in favour of the Spanish side.

The two sides however both have a rich history of African players who have done their colours. While there are no player player of African nationality in Madrid’s current Champions League squad, there were Africans who gave good accounts of themselves on the night on Chelsea’s side. The Blues goalkeeper, Edward Mendy plays for the African Champion – Senegal, while Hakim Ziyech of Morocco also gave his best for the Londoners on the night.


Kenyan President Ruto promises Kiptum’s widow new house, job, Ksh.5m cash



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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World Athletics President believes late Kiptum would have broken 2-hour marathon mark



World Athletics President, Lord Sebastian Coe, believes late Kenyan world marathon record holder, Kelvin Kiptum, would have become the first person to run a competitive marathon in under two hours.

The 24-year-old Kiptum died alongside his Rwandese coach, Gervais Hakizimana, in ghastly car accident on February 11, along the Eldoret-Ravine road in Keiyo South Sub-County, Elgeyo Marakwet County.

Kiptum became a world marathon record holder when he set a time of 2:00:35 in the Chicago Marathon in October last year after switching to running the marathon from shorter distance races a year before.

At the London Marathon, he set a record pace and improved his personal best time by 50 seconds to beat the 2:01:09 record set by fellow Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge, widely considered the greatest marathoner of all time.

He was laid to rest on Friday in a state burial and while sending his eulogies, Lord Coe believes Kiptum would have been the first athlete to to break the two-hour barrier in an official race.

“It is a frustration to all of us that we won’t witness what I truly know he was capable of,” Lord Coe told BBC Sport Africa.

“For sure he would have broken it. I will remember Kelvin from my time I spent with him just before Christmas in Monaco when he was celebrated in our Athlete of the Year awards.

“He spoke from the heart about the world record and, sadly, he spoke about his future.

“I watched him run in Chicago on television and he had a beautiful style. It was economic, fluid and graceful. He looked like a proper runner,” Lord Coe said.

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