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Africa to the World: Stars to watch this weekend in Europe’s top leagues

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Another footballing weekend is here and presents an opportunity for African soccer stars to strut their stuff in their different club sides in Europe.

As the European football season gradually draws to an end, there are lots of African players who are either in line to win their various leagues while some are doing everything possible to help their teams avoid the drop.

We bring you a preview of the continent’s stars who are expected to feature for their respective clubs around the world this weekend.

Edouard Mendy, Hakim Ziyech: Chelsea

Senegal’s Chelsea shot stopper, Edouard Mendy, may have had really tough few weeks but Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel still trusts him enough to retain him as the club’s number one and will once again be in goal for the clash against Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Stamford Bridge on Saturday hoping to keep a rare clean sheet.

 

Last weekend’s defeat by Everton meamt the Afcon winner has kept only one clean sheet in his last four Premier League games, a situation he hopes to change against  Wolves who have not found the back of the net in their last three games.

The match is a must win for Tuchel and his boys if they are to put a daylight between them and Arsenal breathing down their neck for the third spot in the league table.

The other African at Chelsea, Moroccan Hakim Ziyech may likely play a bit part role in the match as he he likely to come off the bench at some point.

Ismaila Sarr, Emmanuel Dennis: Watford

Watford’s relegation from the top flight could well be confirmed this weekend but their African contingent of Ismaila Sarr and Emmanuel Dennis and their colleagues could yet stave off the evil day when they face Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

The Hornets are facing a losing battle with 10 points separating them from 18th-placed Everton who have a game outstanding but they can as well to end with some respectability.

Last weekend, Palace’s Wilfried Zaha netted the winner in their 2-1 come from behind victory against Southampton which took the team up to the 12th position. The goal was also the Ivory Coast international’s 13th of the season.

Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Joel Matip: Liverpool

Liverpool could go top of the league if they beat Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday night which will heap pressure on Riyad Mahrez and his Manchester City teammates who host Newcastle United on Sunday.

The indefatigable trio of Salah, Mane, and Matip are likely to play from the off against Antonio Conte’s men who need a victory to stay within touching distance of Arsenal in fourth.

For Mahrez, it remains to be seen how  Pep Guardiola deploys his men to react to Wednesday’s last gasp defeat by Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League semi final.

Geoffrey Kondogbia: Atlético de Madrid

Geoffrey Kondogbia returned from suspension for Atletico Madrid’s 2-0 defeat by Athletic Club last weekend and is in line for a run out in the all important clash against league winners Real Madrid in the Madrid derby.

Diego Simeone’s troops are three points ahead of fifth-placed Real Betis and need a result of any kind against their fierce rivals to hold on to fourth spot.

With Real Madrid’s La Liga title already confirmed, Los Colchoneros will hope to catch Carlo Ancelotti’s men on a rare bad day.

Ismael Bennacer, Franck Kessie: AC Milan

AC Milan need a response if they hope to usurp Inter Milan who have now jumped to the top of the league table after a 4-2 comeback victory over Empoli on Friday night.

Bennacer and Kessie are important players in Stefano Pioli’s team and they should be part of the party against Hellas Verona as the Rossoneri aims to win a first Scudetto since 2011.

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Egypt announces plans to bid for 2036 Olympic games. Will they get it?

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Egypt’s youth and sports minister has revealed that the North African country will apply to host the Summer Olympic Games in 2036.

According to a statement by the ministry on Saturday, the bid would make Egypt the first Arab or African nation to host the event if successful.

The Minister, Ashraf Sobhi, and President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi gave the green light to apply. He added during a reception for International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach in Cairo.

Although the process of applying to host the 2036 Olympics has not begun, there are reports of interest from countries including Germany, Mexico, Turkey, Russia, India, and Qatar.

The Olympic bidding process begins with the submission of a city’s application to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) by its National Olympic Committee (NOC) and ends with the election of the host city by the members of the IOC during an ordinary session.

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Zambia FA launches investigation into alleged sexual abuse in women’s national team

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The Football Association of Zambia (FAZ), has set up a probe panel to investigate allegations of sexual assault in the women’s national team after several claims by the media citing some players.

The Secretary General of the Federation, Adrian Kashala, who inaugurated the panel on Friday, said its mandate was to unravel the truth behind the allegations that have rocked the country’s women’s game.

In the past few weeks, accusations have been rife on social media with claims that some players of the Shepolopolo were selected to play in the national team after allegedly being asked to give “sexual favours” to unnamed officials in the football association.

“Although at FAZ we have no record of official complaints brought from anyone on the allegations, we consider the allegations very serious and have opened an inquiry into the matter,” Kashala said in a statement.

“We shall collaborate with the Zambia police and other stakeholders in dealing with this matter,” he added.

The statement asked anyone with useful information and evidence of sexual abuse among female national team’s players to report to the association.

“We have since written to the Zambia police to invite anyone with evidence to help with investigations. The nation shall be notified of the outcome of the inquiries once concluded. Until then we shall provide no further comment,” Kashala said.

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