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Former Super Eagles star, Amunike tips Osimhen to win African Footballer of the Year 2023

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Victor Osimhen is back with a bang (Photo Credit: Napoli FC)

Former Nigerian star, Emmanuel Amunike has tipped Napoli striker, Victor Osimhen to win the 2023 African Player of the Year after the Super Eagles forward finished eighth in the 2023 men’s Ballon d’Or list.

Amunike, himself a former winner of the African best player award in 1994, believes Osimhen has done enough to win the gong last won by a Nigerian player in Nwankwo Kanu in 1999.

But to win the award, the 24-year-old Osimhen will have to fend off competition from 30 of Africa’s top players including Mohamed Salah, Achraf Hakimi, Andre Onana, and other top stars on the continent.

But Amunike, who was instrumental to the discovery of Osimhen, believes his protege has what it takes to pick the award this year following his 8th place finish in the Ballon d’Or ranking, after an outstanding season in the Serie A where h he scored 26 goals to help Napoli win their first Italian title in 33 years.

“We hope he wins the CAF award with what he has done for his club and the national team,” Amunike, a former Barcelona star, said in an interview with BBC Africa Sports.

“Regardless of not playing at the World Cup held in Qatar last year, he has been able to establish himself as a worthy contender,” the Afcon winner said.

“There is no doubt about his character, in terms of his desire and zeal to achieve something, succeed and win.”

Amunike, who discovered Osimhen during an under 17 tournament, said his zeal and enthusiasm endeared the young forward to him.

“As a coach at youth level, that was something that made me admire him. That is one of the best attributes for a player to make it to the highest stage.”

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Professional Fighters League names Cameroonian fighter Ngannou new Africa boss

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The Professional Fighters League (PFL) has named Cameroonian Mix Martial Arts fighter, Francis Ngannou, as its African chief.

The announcement which was made during the unveiling of the African chapter of the PFL in Lagos, Nigeria also saw PFL Africa joining PFL Europe and PFL MENA as part of PFL’s network of regional leagues that is becoming the Champions League of MMA.

“The Professional Fighters League is excited to announce PFL Africa, the third international fight franchise as we continue on our path to becoming the Champions League of MMA,” PFL CEO, Peter Murray, said during the ceremony.

“Africa is home to some of the greatest fighters in the world, including our league Chairman Francis Ngannou and some of the greatest fans in the sport.

“PFL Africa aims to serve the great fans with premium content while strengthening the PFL global footprint in what has for too long been an underserved market.

“Alongside our great investment and broadcast partners we cannot wait to kick off PFL Africa League action in 2025.

“PFL is a global powerhouse in MMA and is regarded as the fastest-growing sports league worldwide.

“PFL Africa will introduce an engaging sport-season format with a regular season, playoffs and championship featuring top African fighters with all events, for the first time, hosted in Africa,” Murray said.

On his part, Ngannou stated, “I am excited and honoured to serve as Chairman of PFL Africa, a league that will shape the very foundation of African MMA.

“As we have seen, there is a great wealth of talent in Africa just waiting to be given the global stage. I am so proud to give back to my homeland and to provide great content to a region with such a passionate and diverse fanbase.”

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Eritrean cyclist Girmay nicks third Tour de France victory

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Eritrean cyclist, Biniam Girmay, has created another record after he cycled to his third victory at this year’s Tour de France in a mass dash for the line on Thursday to extend his lead in the sprint points race.

The history-making Girmay who became the first black African to win a stage on the Tour on the third day of this year’s edition at Turin, was again first on stage eight with his third triumph so far.

In the race which also had Yellow Shirt holder Tadej Pogacar who fell off few meters to the finish line, Girmay proved fastest in a bunched sprint finish in stage 12 as he topped the podium ahead of Wout van Aert and Pascal Ackermann.

Girmay now has 328pts to Jasper Philipsen’s 217 with few real sprint stages remaining, with the exception of the one on Friday.

In achieving the feat, Grimay also extended his lead in the green jersey points battle, opening up a likely unassailable 111-point advantage over Jasper Philipsen.

After the race, Girmay, 24, who rides force Intermarche-Wanty, said:

“The green jersey gives me wings – I feel super fast. It’s in the head. I’ve had my ups and downs in recent seasons but I changed things this year and it’s working.”

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