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Ballon d’Or: Do African nominees, Mane, Salah, Mahrez, Haller, Oshoala stand any chance?



It is pleasant news that five African players have been nominated for the Ballon d’Or award with Egypt and Liverpool forward, Mohamed Salah, topping the list.

Other African stars, Sadio Mane of Senegal, Algerian Riyad Mahrez, Ivory Coast striker, Sebastien Haller and Nigerian Super Falcons and Barcelona striker, Asisat Oshoala, also made the shortlist released on Friday.

So far, former Liberian captain, George Weah, is the only African to have won the Ballon d’Or award which he picked up in 1995 while playing for AC Milan.

With the five African stars nominated to battle the likes of France and Real Madrid striker, Karim Benzema, and his national team mate, Killian Mbape of PSG, it is left to be seen if the continent stars stand any chance of following in Weah’s footsteps.

Here, Africanewswatch takes a look at the five and their chances of picking the prestigious award.

Mohamed Salah

This is the fourth time the Egyptian forward will be getting a Ballon d’Or nomination with his best finish being fifth position in 2019. In 2018, he was sixth in 2018, and seventh in 2021.

This could be Salah’s best chance of winning the award after scooping the Premier League PFA Players’ Player of the Year Award last seasonThe Liverpool striker scored 31 goals in all competitions (23 in the league) and 15 assists for Liverpool to win the Premier League Golden Boot Award as the Reds won the FA and Carabao Cups and reached the Champions League final.

Mohamed Salah with his PFA award (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Mohamed Salah with his PFA award (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

The only setback to an otherwise fantastic season was Egypt losing the 2021 Afcon to a Sadio Mané inspired Senagal in Cameroon as well as missing the 2022 World Cup.

Sadio Mané

Sadio Mané’s status as the reigning African Player of the Year should propel him to give the award a big shout following his brilliant form for club and country.

The Senegal and Bayern Munich strike star netted 23 goals for Liverpool in the EPL, won the FA and Carabao Cups, reached the final of the Champions League, led Senegal to her first Afcon trophy before ending with the African Player of the Year.

African player of the year,  Sadio Mane (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

African player of the year, Sadio Mane (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

To add to a spectacular year, Mane was instrumental to qualifying Senegal for the Qatar World Cup at the expense of Egypt.

Three years ago, Mane was also nominated for the Ballon d’Or where he finished fourth behind Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Virgil van Dijk.

Riyad Mahrez

Algerian captain and Manchester City winger, Riyad Mahrez is another African star who has been nominated for the Ballon d’Or after a fantastic season for the EPL Champions where he scored 24 goals and notched up nine assists as Pep Guardiola’s men romped to the Premier League title.

He also scored crucial goals as Man City reached the semi finals of the Champions League and the FA Cup.

Riyad Mahrez is also in with a shout (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Riyad Mahrez is also in with a shout (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

He could, however, not replicate his fine club form for Algeria following a dismal outing at the Afcon in Cameroon as they were eliminated in the group stage.

Mahrez has been nominated for the Ballon d’Or three times before now.

Sebastien Haller

From every indication, Sebastien Haller of Ivory Coast is an outsider when it comes to winning the Ballon d’Or even with his impressive outing for Ajax last season.

He was the Dutch club’s highest goal scorer with 34 goals and seven assists in all competitions and won the Eredivisie Golden Boot Award after scoring 21 league goals.

Sebastien Haller may just be making up the number (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Sebastien Haller may just be making up the number (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

But the newly signed Borussia Dortmund forward did not have a great run for the national team as the Ivorians were knocked out of the Afcon by Egypt in the round of 16.

Asisat Oshoala

Nigeria’s Super Falcons and Barcelona forward, Asisat Oshoala is the only African female player nominated in the women’s category, following a fantastic season with the Spanish team where she scored 20 goals and took home the women Pichichi award.

Oshoala was a strong force in the Barca attack as they won the league, Super Cup and Copa de la Reina titles.

She also won the female version of the African Player of the Year for the fifth time, the first by any player in the continent.

Asisat Oshoala is the first African woman to be nominated for the  Ballon d'Or (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Asisat Oshoala is the first African woman to be nominated for the Ballon d’Or (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

However, her chances of winning the Ballon d’Or got slimmer after the Super Falcons failed to retain their Women’s Africa Cup of Nations crown in Morocco where she played only one match after suffering an injury in their tournament’s first match.


Nigeria’s John Obi Mikel retires from football as one of African most decorated stars



Former Nigerian international footballer, John Mikel Obi has retired from the sport after a boisterous career both home and abroad.

The 35-year-old Nigerian started his career at the age of 12 when picked as a talented footballer by over 3,000 young talents to play in Pepsi Football Academy. Mikel would later have his professional career in Norway, England, China, Turkey, and Kuwait.

His most successful club career stint was at Chelsea football club of England which he joined after a dramatic transfer battle between Chelsea and Manchester United.  Mikel enjoined eleven years of stay at the London club where he won 2 Premier League titles, 3 FA Cup, 1 Football League Cup, 1 FA Community Shield, 1 UEFA Champions League, and 1 UEFA Europa League.

On the national stage, Mikel won the Africa Cup of Nations with the Super Eagles of Nigeria in 2013 and a third-place finish in 2006, 2010, and 2019. He was also the captain of Nigeria’s Summer Olympic team that won bronze in 2016

Meanwhile, there have been congratulatory messages and accolades to the former Nigerian star by his former clubs, football bodies, and colleagues.


His personal honour includes FIFA World Youth Championship Silver Ball in 2005, CAF Most Promising Talent of the Year in 2005, Chelsea Young Player of the Year: 2007, and 2008, He was part of the CAF Team of the Year in 2005 and 2013, Africa Cup of Nations Team of the Tournament in 2013, and ended as African Footballer of the Year runner-up: 2013.

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(VIDEO) Big shame as Mali women’s basketball players fight following World Cup match loss



It was a show of shame on Monday when two members of Mali’s women basketball team at the ongoing FIBA Women World Cup in Sydney, Australia, threw caution to the wind and engaged each other in fisticuffs afterafter the team was defeated 81-68 by Serbia.

The two players, Salimatou Kourouma and Kamite Elisabeth Dabou, were caught on video going at each other’s throat during a post-match interview with Serbian player, Sasa Cado, in the post game mixed zone and was captured by a Serbian news camera.

Prior to the shameful fight, Mali which is lowest-ranked side at the tournament at number 37 in the world, had lost their first four games of the tournament and were no longer in contention for the knockout stage.

They even managed to set a record by losing to hosts Australia by a 118-58, a whopping 60 points difference.

Meanwhile, basketball’s world governing body, FIBA, in a statement on Tuesday, says it has opened an investigation into the fight.

The two Malian basketball players engaging in a shameful fight

The two Malian basketball players engaging in a shameful fight (Photo Credit: SNA)

The statement issued by a FIBA spokesperson, confirmed it was aware of the incident.

“FIBA acknowledged today that there was an altercation between Mali players in the mixed zone following the Group B game Serbia-Mali at the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022.

“Following the incident, FIBA has opened an investigation. Once the investigation is concluded, FIBA will decide on any applicable disciplinary measures.”

Mali was only a late replacement for at the World Cup after the Nigeria withdrew from the tournament due to administrative issues around the sport in their country.

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