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Sadio Mane marks 100 Senegal caps with brace in 2026 World Cup qualifiers

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Senegal’s captain, Sadio Mane celebrated his 100 caps for the African champions with a brace as they began their 2026 World Cup qualifying campaign with a 4-0 victory at home against South Sudan on Saturday.

The Teranga Lions were on fire right from the kickoff of the Group B encounter when Tottenham midfielder, Pape Matar Sarr opened scoring after just 40 seconds.

Four minutes later, Mane got into the groove by scoring Senegal’s second on a night he was marking his century as a player for the national team.

19-year-old Lamine Camara, making his debut for the Lions, added a third before the former Liverpool star nicked his second from the penalty spot late on.

It could have been worst for South Sudan but for a goal ruled out after Habib Diallo was judged to be offside.

Senegal sit top of Group B ahead of DR Congo on goal difference after the opening round of matches. Their next match will be against Togo in Lome on Tuesday.

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Osimhen in big trouble following outburst against Eagles coach Finidi George

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Super Eagles and Napoli striker, Victor Osimhen, has found himself in big trouble with Nigerian football fans following his outburst in which he attacked the national team coach, Finidi George.

Osimhen had, in an Instagram live video on Saturday, attacked George shortly before the coach tendered his resignation and stepped down as Super Eagles head coach.

The controversy erupted was ignited following comments made by George regarding Osimhen’s recent performances and attitude on and off the pitch.

George, an ex-Eagles winger who had illustrious career with the national team where he won the 1994 Nations Cup and played at two world cups, had criticized Osimhen’s work ethic and commitment, suggesting that the young striker needed to improve his professionalism.

The former Ajax and Real Betis player who was appointed in May, had come in for severe attacks after he led the Eagles to two uninspiring 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches, drawing 1-1 with South Africa in Uyo and losing 2-1 to Benin Republic.

In his frustration, George, in a statement, blamed some players including Osimhen for the team’s poor performances.

Angered by the criticism, Osimhen, went on a tirade, calling out the gaffer and ended up saying he has lost any respect he had for George.

“I have lost every respect I have for him,” the angry forward said in the Instagram live video.

“It’s disheartening to hear such comments from someone I once looked up to,” he continued.

“I have always given my best for the Super Eagles and my club. To be criticized in this manner by Finidi George, someone who should understand the pressures and challenges we face, is very hurtful. I have lost every respect I had for him.

“I am focused on my development and helping my teams achieve success. What we need is encouragement and constructive feedback, not public denigration from those who have walked this path before us,” he stated in anger.

However, the outburst did not sit well with fans of the Super Eagles with many Nigerians calling for his ban from the team.

A former Super Eagles goalkeeper, Idah Peterside, who took exception to Osimhen’s attitude, described the tantrum as irresponsible and called for his expulsion from the national team.

According to Peterside, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), should take action to curb similar actions in the future.

“I think action should be taken, or he (Osimhen)
should be banned from playing for the national team,” Peterside wrote on social media.

“If we allow this kind of thing to continue, it would not augur well for Nigeria. The men who have served and given everything to our great country. So sanity must be brought to our football.”

Peterside also called on Osimhen to apologize to George for his actions.

“Osimhen needs to come outside and apologize for the things he said to Finidi, Peterside said on social media.

“Finidi George is a legend, You don’t just widen your mouth and say things that are unpalatable. If you have issues with the man, pick up your phone and call him. That’s what responsible people do.

“Osimhen has just shown a bit of irresponsibility, and that’s unexpected. I think the NFF should call Osimhen and ask him to apologize. He has to apologize for saying things.”

“Our national team is sacred; days when we wore the jersey, we respected it, and people that went before us. He’s not the first, and neither would he be the last. He should come out openly and apologize openly to former footballers, NFF, Finidi, and Nigerians,” former goalkeeper stated.

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Lost to Europe: Players of African descent who will light up Euro 2024

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Europe’s elite football tournament tagged Euro 2024, which kicked off on Friday, will see close to 50 players of African descent showcasing their talents at the European Championship, highlighting the now famously held maxim of “global reach and unity of football.”

But in the real essence of the word, these African talents have been lost to the European countries because instead of seeing them playing at the African Cup of Nations, we are resigned to watching them strutting their stuff for European countries.

This year tournament holding in Germany, features one of the largest representation of players of African descent, highlighting the rich diversity and multiculturalism inherent in modern football.

Africanewswatch.com takes a look at some of the big name players of African heritage who will light up the Euro 2024 tournament.

Kylian Mbappe (France/Cameroon/Algeria)

If the Cameroonian football authorities had been successful in persuading Kylian Mbappe to switch allegiance to the West African country, his silky skills would have graced the African pitches, but it was a case of too late as he had already made up his mind to play for France at the time Samuel Eto’o and Fecafoot made moves to lure the highly talented player.

The former Paris Saint-Germain star is one of the players expected to shine in the Euro competition but his international career could have taken a different path had he chosen to represent his parents’ countries.

With a Cameroonian father and a mother of Algerian descent, Mbappe could even have played for the Algerian national team but the new Real Madrid signing opted to represent his birth country, France, on the international stage.

Bukayo Saka (England/Nigeria)
Nigeria’s loss was England’s gain as with Bukayo Saka growing to become one of the best footballers currently playing at the highest level.

Born in London to Nigerian parents, the Arsenal star has never hidden his love for Nigeria and on several occasions, mentioned that he would have loved to play for the West African country but the lack of connection saw him instead adorning the Three Lions’ jersey.

At only 22, Saka brings versatility to the England side and has quickly become one of the most exciting young talents in football, known for his speed, creativity and tactical intelligence.

Romelu Lukaku (Belgium/DRC)

Everyone knows Romelu Lukaku and what he can do! The bulky former Chelsea striker will compete in his third European Championship for the Belgian national team, instead of filing out for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where his parents originally comes from.

The AS Roma star’s father was an ex-international himself who played for the Leopards, and one would have expected his more accomplishmed son to toe his path but unfortunately, his two sons opted to represent Belgium with Lukaku being the Red Devils’ all-time leading scorer with 85 goals, with the chance to adding to his tally in Germany.

Jamal Musiala (Germany/Nigeria)

Jamal Musiala is perhaps, one of the standout players in Germany’s squad for the Euro 2024 tournament, but if the Nigerian Football Federation had had it’s way some few years ago, he could have been a silver medallist at the last Afcon along with the likes of Victor Osimhen and Ademola Lookman.

The Bayern Munich star had a Nigeria father while his mother is German with Polish roots and could have even played for Poland or England where he was born.

A product of Chelsea academy, Musiala played for both England and Germany at the youth level before committing to Die Mannschaft in 2021.

Johan Bakayoko (Belgium/Ivory Coast/Rwanda)

One of the hottest footballing prospects in Europe, Johan Bakayoko was born in Belgium to an Ivorian father and a Rwandan mother and was eligible to play for any of these African nations, but decided to represent his country of birth.

Had he opted to represent either, defenders and goalkeepers in the continent would have been reeling at his sight as Bakayoko is known for his brute strength, versatility, and sharp attacking instincts, coupled with fierce shots.

Memphis Depay (Netherlands/Ghana)

Memphis Depay has been around for ages but many do not know that he has roots in Ghana through his father, and could have played for the Black Stars if the country had succeeded in persuading him to change allegiance from the Netherlands.

At the Euro 2024, Depay is expected to bring his unique blend of skills and flair to the Netherlands’ campaign with his technical prowess, powerful shots, and creative playmaking.

Jeremie Frimpong (Netherlands/Ghana)

Jeremy Frimpong is another Dutch player with Ghanaian roots who have been mesmerising defenses in Africa, but rather will now be tormenting opponents at the Euros.

Known for his blistering pace and attacking prowess from the right-back position, Frimpong brings a dynamic energy to the Dutch squad.

His defensive tenacity coupled with his ability to join the attack seamlessly makes him a formidable presence on the pitch.

Eduardo Camavinga (France/Angola/DRC)

Camavinga has even stronger roots in Africa, having been born in a refugee camp in Cabinda, Angola in 2002, to an Angolan-Congolese father and a Congolese mother who fled the civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. His family moved to France when he was just two years old.

Now 21, the midfielder has emerged as a key player known for his composure on the ball, tactical awareness and ability to dictate play in midfield. Camavinga’s skillful dribbling and precise passing have provided crucial support to France’s midfield stability and attacking prowess.

Leroy Sane (Germany/Senegal)

Leroy Sane’s father was a former Senegalese international and many had thought his son would toe his path and play for the West African team.

But he opted to play for his adopted country and the Euro 2024 which will be hosted on home soil will present Sane with the chance to show the world dynamic and explosive talent.

Known for his blistering pace, technical skills and goal-scoring ability, Sané is a formidable winger who poses a constant threat to opposition defences.

Lamine Yamal (Spain/Morocco/Equitorial Guinea)

The 16-year-old Barcelona star is the youngest player in the competition and could have added such flair to African football if he had opted to play for either of Morocco where his father hails from and the country of his mother, Equatorial Guinea.

Born in Spain, Yamal had represented the country at the youth level before being called up to the senior national team despite attempts by Morocco to persuade him to play for the North African country.

William Saliba (France/Cameroon)

Arsenal defender, William Saliba is one of the finest centrebacks in world football, and even if he doesn’t appear to entirely have the confidence of France boss Didier Deschamps, few in England doubt Saliba’s qualities after another season in which he’s played a key role in an Arsenal title challenge.

He was long sought after by Samuel Eto’o and the Fecafoot but by that time, it was already too late as he had decided to pitch his tent with the French national team.

Antonio Rüdiger (Germany/Sierra Leone)

The Germany international defender has never hidden his love for Sierra Leone, his mother’s homeland, and has invested heavily in charity projects in the West African nation.

Rudiger even celebrated with a Sierra Leonean flag at Wembley after winning the recent Champions League final as Real Madrid dispatched Borussia Dortmund, and regularly makes trips to the country.

Nathan Aké (Netherlands/Ivory Coast)

Manchester City defence lymchpin, Nathan Ake may be one of the standout players in the Dutch squad but he could have been doing it for Ivory Coast his late father, Moise, came from.

Ake was once courted by former Elephants boss Marc Wilmots, before ultimately plumping for the land of his birth.

Aurélien Tchouaméni (France/Cameroon)

Real Madrid’s versatile player,
Aurélien Tchouaméni, is another one who escaped from playing on home turf and will be showcasing his talent at the Euro in the colours of France.

Tchouaméni who has a Cameroonian heritage, has grown to become an integral part of the French team and has blossomed into a world-class central midfielder, helping Real Madrid win its 15th Champions League title a couple of weeks ago.

Tchouameni was born in France to two Cameroonian parents and could have been the Indomitable Lions’ midfield general had he not opted to represent Les Bleus.

Rafael Leão (Portugal/Angola/ Sao Tome)

Portuguese forward, Rafael Leão, could have played either for Angola, the country of his father, or Sao Tome where his mother hails from but opted to represent Portugal where he was born.

The 25-year-old has become one of the most complete strikes since leaving Lille for AC Milan in 2019, scoring loads of goals for the Italian side and the Portuguese national team.

Honourable mentions:

David Alaba (Austria/Nigeria), Eberechi Ezeh (England/Nigeria), Noah Okafor (Switzerland/Nigeria), Marc Guehi (England/Ivory Coast), Ezri Konza (England/DRC/Angola), Joshua Zirkzee (Netherlands/Nigeria), Yvon Mvogo (Switzerland/Cameroon), Brice Samba (France/Congo-Brazzaville),
Dayot Upamecano (France/Guinea-Bissau), Manuel Akanji (Germany/Nigeria),
Benjamin Heinrichs (Germany/Ghana), Cody Gakpo (Netherlands/Ghana), Brian Bobby (Netherlands/Ghana), Kevin Danso (Austria/Ghana), Kwadwo Duah (Switzerland/Ghana), Michael Folorunso (Italy/Nigeria),
Kobbie Mainoo (England/ Ghana), Ousmane Dembélé (France/Mauritania, Senegal, Mali), Nico Williams (Spain/ Ghana), Jérémy Doku (Belgium/Ghana), Loïs Openda (Belgium/Morocco, Congo)

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