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



The past weekend was a defining moment for many African football stars for their respective European clubsises as many of them had cause to celebrate while for others, the weekend ended in tears.

It was a sad weekend for Nigerian trip of Emmanuel Dennis, William Troost-Ekong and Oghenekaro Etebo and their Senegalese colleague, Ismaila Sarr whose club Watford were relegated from the English Premier League to the Championship while Alex Iwobi was on hand to help his club Everton beat Leicester City at the King Power Stadium to brighten their chances of staying up.

Africa News Watch takes a look at the good and bad performances African stars had over the weekend with a special focus on the EPL.

Too Good

Eddie Nketiah, Mohamed Elneny: Arsenal

The Black Stars of Ghana is doing everything possible to get Arsenal striker, Eddie Nketiah, to switch nationality to enable him play for the West African country at the Qatar World Cup later in the year and Ghana coach Otto Addo and his coaching crew will be delighted at his performance at the weekend when he fired two quick goals past Leeds United to further brighten the Gunners’ top four chances at the end of the season.

Nketiah put the Gunners 2-0 up after 10 minutes, becoming only the second Arsenal player to score twice in the opening 10 minutes of a Premier League game after Nwankwo Kanu against Sunderland in October 2002.

Mohammed Elneny, on the other hand, was once again a colossus in the middle of the pack as he and Granit Xhaka broke down every attack by Leeds as Arsenal romped to a nervy 2-1 win.

Alex Iwobi: Everton

The Super Eagles forward was magnificent as he had an assist in Everton’s 2-1 against Leicester City to propel them away from the bottom three in the table which would preserve the club’s unbroken 68-year Premier League stay.

Iwobi’s assist for Vitalii Mykolenko’s opener gave the Toffees an early lead in the sixth minute with the result meaning that Everton have won an away top-flight match for the first time in 15 games since beating Brighton back in August in their third game of the season. The win also saw the Toffees ending their run of seven consecutive away defeats.

Wilfried Zaha: Crystal Palace

The Ivorian star was the architect of Watford’s return to the English Championship with the only goal in the game.

The win for Crystal Palace confirmed the Hornets’ relegation from the Premier League with Saha registering another record in his career with the Eagles.

Zaha is now the first Palace player to score both home and away versus Watford in a league season since the in 2011-12 in the Championship.

Yves Bissouma: Brighton & Hove Albion

The Malian midfielder Bissouma was on for the full 90 minutes as Brighton pumped four goals past Manchester United on Saturday.

Bissouma and his teammates were too good for the Red Devils as they claimed a huge 4-0 victory which means the Red Devils will not play in the UEFA Champions League this season.

The win was also Brighton’s biggest ever top-flight victory in their history in their 356th match.

Too Bad

Emmanuel Dennis, William Troost Ekong, Oghenekaro Etebo, Samuel Kalu, Ismaila Sarr, Hassane Kamara, Edo Kayembe: Watford

Nigerian stars Emmanuel Dennis. William Troost-Ekong, Oghenekaro Etebo, and Samuel Kalu, as well as Senegalese star, Ismaila Sarr, Ivory Coast’s Hassane Kamara and Edo Kayembe of DR Congo will play in the English Championship next season as they suffered relegation with Watford after going down 1-0 to Crystal Palace.

Watford have been relegated in consecutive top-flight campaigns for the first time since a run of three seasons ending in relegation in 1987-88, 1999-00, and 2006-07.

Edouard Mendy: Chelsea

Chelsea was cruising to a win leading 2-0 lead against Wolves when Senegal goalkeeper, Edouard Mendy conceded twice as the game ended in a 2-2 draw, shattering his dream of keeping a rare clean sheet.

The draws means the Stamford Bridge landlords have failed to win a Premier League game in which they were 2-plus goals ahead for the first time since October 2020 vs Southampton (3-3), having won 24 consecutive such matches prior to Saturday.

Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah: Liverpool

The fearsome African star forwards were a shadow of themselves as they had little impact as they came from behind to draw 1-1 and shared the sold with Tottenham Hotspur.

Salah made his 250th appearance for Liverpool this evening and despite failing to score in the game, he has still scored 155, more than any other Premier League player in all competitions since making his debut for the Reds in August 2017.

Patson Daka, Ademola Lookman, Kelechi Iheanacho: Leicester City

The Zambian striker, Daka, scored Leicester City’s only goal but the goal did not help City going down to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Everton at the King Power Stadium.

His 11th-minute equalizer means all of his Premier League goals for the Foxes have come at the King Power Stadium, four of which have come in starts. Kelechi Iheanacho was not involved in the game while Wilfred Ndidi is still injured and is out for the rest of the season.


CAF postpones 2023 Afcon to January 2024 due to weather concerns



The Confederation of African Football (CAF), has postponed the 34th edition of the African Nations Cup (AFCON), which was scheduled to hold between June to July of 2023 in Ivory Coast, to January and February, 2024.

The reason for the postponement, according to CAF President, Patrice Motsepe, is due to concerns over weather conditions in the West African country which experiences heavy rainfall during the period.

While addressing the CAF Executive Committee meeting in Rabat, Morocco, on Sunday, Motsepe said the decision was also to align the continent with the European football calendars.

Motsepe also said the decision was further motivated by weather concerns following a report by the Ivorian Meteorological Agency which predicted heavy rainfall in many parts of the country designated for the tournament.

The agency, in a report presented to CAF, had noted that Ivory Coast which has a tropical climate, has the peak of its rain season between June and July and most parts of the country is always at the height of the rainy season.

This is the second time the AFCON will be rescheduled at the beginning of the year since it was moved from January/February to June/July by former CAF President Ahmad Ahmad.

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Nigerian ‘Last Stylebender’, Israel Adesanya, beats Jarred Cannonier to retain UFC middleweight title



Nigerian fighter, Israel Adesanya, “the Last Stylebender” , has retained his UFC middleweight title with a win via unanimous decision.

Judges scored the bout 49-46, 49-46, 50-45, all in favour of the Nigeria’s over his challenger, Jarred Cannonier in the UFC 276 bout which took place at the T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada this morning.

The 32-year-old Nigerian has now defended his middleweight championship for the fourth time after he defeated Kelvin for his middleweight interim title in 2019.

The ‘Last Stylebender’ he has defeated the likes of Robert Whitaker, Martin Vettori, Paulo Costa, Yoel Romero including his win against Jarod Cannonier.

Adesanya is one of top fighters of African descent in the UCF, the list includes Abu Azaitar was given the nickname Gladiator who holds a 14-1 MMA record, Sodiq Yusuff and Kamaru Usman who are both Nigeria and Cameroonian, Francis Ngannou, nickname: Predator.

Adesanya is reportedly set to a guaranteed purse of $1.8million from the fight after he earned around $1.1million in his last bout against Martin Vettori. UFC will earn approximately $82.5million from PPV sales and Israel will receive 30% of the PPV shares which could make this the highest earnings of his career.


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