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Too Good, Too Bad: How African stars performed in Europe last weekend

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There is excitement in the air as the new football season kicked off in most countries over the weekend following three months of hiatus.

While the Italian Serie A and Spanish La Liga is yet to come on stream, the English Premier League, the German Bundesliga, the French Ligue, the Belgium Jupiler League and the Turkish Süper Lig more than served the excitement fans were waiting patiently for.

African players were in action in some of the leagues and while some stood out and contributed to their team’s success, some could not hold the can as they failed to live up to the expectations.

AfricaNewsWatch X-rays some African stars and their performances for their clubs across Europe in the last weekend.

Too Good

Sadio Mane (Senegal/Bayern Munich)

The Senegalese AFCON winner announced his return to the Bundesliga in style as he opened his goal account with a debut goal for perennial champions, Bayern Munich, in their 6-1 thumping of 6-1 win Eintracht Frankfurt.

Bayern were already 2-0 up when Mane jumped highest to nod home a cross from former Arsenal winger, Serge Gnabry at the Deutsche Bank Park.

Sadio Mane is doing great things already for Bayern Munich (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Sadio Mane is doing great things already for Bayern Munich (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

The 30-year-old Lion of Teranga vice captain would go on to make a meaningful impact in the match with his hold up play and overall contribution.

Henry Onyekuru (Nigeria/Adana Demirspor)

Nigeria and Super Eagle star, Henry Onyekwuru is slowly carving a niche for himself as a journey man as he started another loan spell with Adana Demirspor in the Turkish Süper Lig on a high.

Onyekwuru who was in action for the whole duration of the match against Giresunspor on Sunday, got a well deserved goal in the 82nd minute as Demirspor ran out 3-2 winners in the pulsating game.

Onyekuru’s goal had levelled the scores at 2-2 before Rahmetullah Berisbek scored the winner as the Blue Lightnings kicked off their season on a positive note at Cotanak Sports Complex.

Achraf Hakimi (Morocco/PSG)

The Morocco international picked up where he left off last season with a goal and an assist as Paris Saint Germain kicked off their 2022/2023 Ligue 1 crown with a 5-0 walloping of Clermont Foot.

Achraf Hakimi picked up where he left off for PSG (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Achraf Hakimi picked up where he left off for PSG (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

The former Inter Milan defender got PSG’s second goal and went on to contribute massively for the team’s victory.

Joseph Paintsil (Ghana/KRC Genk)

Ghana international, Joseph Paintsil, was in scintillating form for KRC Genk in the Belgian Jupiler League and capped it with two goal as his team beat Eupen 4-2 win at the Cegeka Arena on Saturday.

The 24-year-old Black Star got the first goal for Genk in the 3rd minute and doubled the lead in the 9th before two goals by Patrik Hrosovsky and Mike Tresor Ndayishimiye sealed the team’s second victory of the season to take them to second position on the log after three rounds of matches.

Too Bad

Joe Aribo (Nigeria/Southampton)

Nigerian midfielder, Joe Aribo would have wished for a better debut in the English Premier League when Southampton had the misfortune of facing Tottenham Hotspur in their first match of the season.

The Nigeria international who wa given his first competitive debut by coach Ralph Hasenhuttl had only one shot on target in the 73rd as the Saints suffered 4-1 thumping.

Joe Aribo had s debut to forget (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Joe Aribo had s debut to forget (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Aribo, who moved to Southampton from Scottish giants Rangers, could not exert any influence the team which also had Ghana defender, Mohammed Salisu, score an own goal to underscore the pressure they faced against Tottenham.

Taiwo Awoniyi (Nigeria/Nottingham Forest)

If the Nigeria international striker had been expecting a dream debut in the EPL, it was quite the opposite as he endured a frustrating afternoon on his Nottingham Forest suffered a 2-0 defeat against Newcastle United on Saturday.

The 24-year-old Awoniyi who had a spectacular last season with Union Berlin in the Bundesliga with 15 goals, was brought on for Sam Surridge three minutes after the hour mark, but could not make any impact as the Reds lost courtesy of goals from Fabian Schar and Callum Wilson.

Wilfried Zaha (IvoryCoast/Crystal Palace), Jordan Ayew (Ghana/Crystal Palace)

The duo of Ivory Coast winger, Wilfried Zaha, and Ghanaian forward, Jordan Ayew, were on the losing side as Crystal Palace lost their league opener 2-0 against in form Arsenal at Selhurst Park on Friday.

A goal in each half from Gabriel Martinelli and an own goal by Marc Guehi late in the match condemned Palace to their first defeat of the season.

Wilfred Zaha had a bad opening EPL day (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Wilfred Zaha had a bad opening EPL day (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Nigerian eligible player, Eberechi Eze and Mali international, Cheick Doucoure, were also part of the Palace squad, while Arsenal duo of Mohamed Elneny and Nicholas Pepe were unused substitutes.

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

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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

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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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