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South Africa miss out on 2023 Rugby World Cup

Posted BBC Sport

on  Wednesday, November 15   2017 at  18:28

France will host the 2023 Rugby World Cup after beating rival bids from South Africa and Ireland.

South Africa had been expected to win the vote after an independent review recommended they stage the tournament.

However, at a World Rugby Council meeting in London on Wednesday, France was chosen to hold the 10th event.

France - the main host of the competition in 2007 - won in the second round of voting, with 24 votes compared to 15 for South Africa.

Selection process

Ireland, which staged matches in 1991 and 1999, was eliminated after getting eight of the 39 votes in the first round - France picked up 18 and South Africa 13.

South Africa hosted the World Cup in 1995, when the Springboks beat New Zealand 15-12 in the final.

England backed the Irish bid but Wales supported South Africa and Scotland went with France. The head of the Irish Rugby Union Philip Browne said he was "very disappointed" with that.

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont described the selection process as the "most transparent and comprehensive" in the organisation's history.

Our evaluation

"I am delighted for France. They have run a World Cup before and I think it will be an exciting World Cup," he said

"We feel for the first time that within World Rugby we have put the results of our evaluation out to the general public."
South Africa beat England in the 2007 final when France last hosted the tournament

Last month, South Africa had ranked highest in the independent review after the three bids were judged on five categories...

Same number

From the above criteria, South Africa scored 78.97 per cent, France was second with 75.88 per cent and Ireland was third with 72.25 per cent - but members of the World Rugby Council voted to select France.

Bernard Laporte, president of the French Rugby Federation (FFR), had criticised the original report, saying it contained a "certain amount of incompetence" and was "laughable".

"We are not rated as well over doping because they tell us we are too strict," Laporte told AFP in an interview last week.

"On security, we have the same number of points even though there are 52 murders a day in South Africa - it's crazy."

After the decision to award France the 2023 World Cup, Laporte said: "This World Cup is for all of French rugby. The economic impact will be for them. With the reforms that we have committed, we needed this World Cup."

Rugby World Cup hosts

  • 1987: Australia and New Zealand
  • 1991: England (main hosts), Wales, France, Ireland and Scotland
  • 1995: South Africa
  • 1999: Wales (main hosts), England, Scotland, Ireland, France
  • 2003: Australia
  • 2007: France
  • 2011: New Zealand
  • 2015: England
  • 2019: Japan
  • 2023: France
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BBC African Footballer of the Year 2017 vote opens

Posted BBC Sport

on  Sunday, November 12   2017 at  14:11

The five-man shortlist for the BBC African Footballer of the Year 2017 has been revealed.

Contenders Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Naby Keita, Sadio Mane, Victor Moses and Mohamed Salah were unveiled during a special live launch broadcast in London.

Cameroon's 2017 Africa Cup of Nations winner Arnaud Djoum was part of the panel to discuss the nominees, as were Nigeria's 1996 Olympic football champion Emanuel Amuneke and Jean Sseninde of Uganda's national team and Crystal Palace ladies squad.

The winner of this year's award will be announced on December 11, live on BBC World TV and BBC World Service Radio, starting from 17:35GMT.

The BBC Sport and BBC Africa websites will also carry the announcement.

Borussia Dortmund and Gabon striker Aubameyang is on the shortlist for the fifth consecutive year, while Liverpool's Senegalese star Mane is nominated for a third time.

Scoring charts

The rest of the nominees - Guinean Keita (RB Leipzig), Nigeria's Moses (Chelsea) and Salah of Egypt (Liverpool) - have never been on the shortlist before.

Despite their Nations Cup triumph in February, no Cameroonian has made a list selected by a combination of Africa-based journalists and coaches, and BBC staff.

Aubameyang, 28, has had an outstanding 2017, scoring 35 goals for Dortmund, with whom he won the German Cup.

The Gabonese became the first African to top the Bundesliga scoring charts outright and only the fourth player in Bundesliga history to hit over 30 goals - a feat that helped him become the sole African on Fifa's Player of the Year shortlist.

Best midfielder

Joining Aubameyang in the Bundesliga team of the season was Keita, the Guinean midfielder who startled everybody with his form for RB Leipzig in a brilliant debut season for both - as the new boys finished second in the league.

The 22-year-old scored eight goals and made seven others en route to being voted the best midfielder in the division and earning an African record transfer fee to Liverpool, who he will join next July.

Crowned Liverpool's Player of the Year, Mane, 25, was also one of just two Africans to make the Ballon d'Or shortlist.

He also shone as Senegal reached their first World Cup since 2002. A clinical victory over a South Africa at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane sealed their place in Russia, with Mane key to the Teranga Lions' victory with both assists in a 2-0 win.

Liverpool's then-record buy finished his first season at the club as the joint top scorer as the Reds qualified for the Champions League with only their second top-four finish in eight years.

Attacking instincts

After so many years on the Chelsea sidelines, Nigeria's Moses finally established himself at Stamford Bridge - and the wait was worth it as he ended the season as a regular starter, a Premier League champion and with an FA Cup runners-up medal.

Moses was reborn under coach Antonio Conte, who spotted qualities that previous Chelsea managers hadn't, as he converted into a right wing-back with natural attacking instincts and defensive diligence. He also helped Nigeria qualify for Russia 2018.

Mo Salah was King of the Pharaohs in 2017 - scoring a dramatic stoppage-time penalty against Congo to fire Egypt to their first World Cup since 1990 while also having a hand in four of the North Africans' five goals as they finished runners-up at the Africa Cup of Nations.

He also performed at club level - scoring 15 goals and making 11 others as Roma finished Serie A runners-up behind Juventus before starting his Liverpool career in equally impressive fashion, with 12 goals from his first 17 games.

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Morocco's Wydad crowned African champions

Posted BBC Sport

on  Sunday, November 5   2017 at  12:27

Wydad Casablanca of Morocco became African champions for a second time when they defeated Al Ahly of Egypt 1-0 on Saturday in the second leg of the African Champions League final.

Walid El Karty scored the only goal on 69 minutes to give the home team a 2-1 aggregate triumph after they forced a 1-1 draw in the Egyptian city of Alexandria last weekend.

Achraf Bencharki, who equalised in the first leg, set up the goal with a deflected cross for El Karty to score his third goal of the competition.

The victory bridged a 25-year gap for Wydad, who conquered Africa for the first time in 1992 when they defeated Al Hilal of Sudan.

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Wydad pocketed a record $2.5 million and are guaranteed at least another $1 million by competing at the Fifa Club World Cup in the United Arab Emirates during December.

Although Ahly dominated possession and territory during the goalless opening half, Wydad came closest to breaking the deadlock with 30 minutes gone.

A long clearance from goalkeeper Zouheir Laaroubi set in motion a move that ended with a deflected shot from Abdeladim Khadrouf rattling the crossbar.

Relieved Ahly had a great chance to take the lead four minutes later when first-leg scorer Moamen Zakaria broke clear to go one-on-one with Laaroubi.

But the Egyptian was thwarted by Wydad's keeper who used both hands to make a brilliant block.

Wydad Casablanca coach Hussein Amotta has led his team to seven wins out of seven at home in the Champions League this season

Falling behind

Smoke from flares enveloped the pitch as the second half started in the Moroccan commercial capital, making visibility temporarily difficult for the near-capacity crowd.

Wydad were more adventurous as the half progressed, using the flanks to put pressure on Ahly, and forcing their first corner with 58 minutes gone.

Morocco-born Walid Azaro, battling to make an impact as the lone Ahly striker, was withdrawn on the hour by coach Hossam El Badry with Ahmed Hamoudi taking his place.

As the second leg drifted into the final quarter, play continued to be confined mainly to midfield with Wydad in pole position thanks to the away goal.

With 69 minutes gone the deadlock finally ended as El Karty struck with his point-blank header evading Ahly captain and goalkeeper Sherif Ekramy.

El Badry reacted to his team falling behind by introducing veteran striker Emad Meteab and winger Walid Soliman as he sought the goal that would level the final on aggregate.

But it was Wydad who came closest to scoring in a frenetic finish.

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Ethiopia's Tola and Kenya's Cheruiyot win Frankfurt Marathon

Posted BRIAN YONGA in Nairobi and Agencies

on  Sunday, October 29   2017 at  14:19

Kenya's Vivian Cheruiyot on Sunday won the Frankfurt Marathon in a time of 2hours 23 minutes 35 seconds.

It was the 34-year-old's first full marathon victory since she moved from the track, lowering her personal best set in London.

Ethiopia's Shura Tola (2:05:50) led his country mates in a 1-2-3 finish in the men's race. Kenyan men suffered in the race with Martin Kosgey finishing fourth.

Cheruiyot was the most successful woman runner and first Olympic champion ever to stand on the start line of the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon, having made her marathon debut with 2:23:50 for fourth place in London this April.

Looked strong

With the pace setters doing a great job as they were tasked to run 1:10:00 by halfway to be in the bracket of smashing the course record, Cheruiyot ran her own race, passing 10km in 33:25.

At halfway, Cheruiyot running in a big group of pace setters clocked 70:07 and she looked strong going on to pass the 25km in 1:23:20 despite the windy conditions.

She was 2:30 minutes ahead of a group of five, passing the 30km mark in 1:40:14, slightly inside the course record but she was out of gas, slowing down at 35km in a split time of 1:40:14 to make it impossible for her to break the course record.

However, she went on to make history by winning the race in style by obliterating her Personal Best time of 2:23:50 she ran in London on her debut, lowering it by 25 seconds.

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Former player Rabah Madjer returns as Algeria coach

Posted BBC Sport

on  Thursday, October 19   2017 at  15:03

Algeria have brought back former player Rabah Madjer to succeed the sacked Lucas Alcaraz as national coach, the Algerian federation said on Wednesday.

Madjer, 58, becomes the country's fifth national coach in three years and takes the role for the fourth time.

A poor 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign cost Alcaraz his position as he was sacked after just six months in the role earlier this month.

Madjer is recognised as one of the greatest African players of all time.

His crowning

He is best remembered for his nonchalant back-heeled finish for Porto as the Portuguese side beat Bayern Munich 2-1 in the 1987 European Cup final, prompting his crowning as African Footballer of the Year some months later.

He also captained Algeria to their sole Africa Cup of Nations triumph and was named player of the tournament as the Desert Foxes won the 1990 event on home soil.

Algeria's then record goalscorer when he retired from internationals in 1992, Madjer scored another famous goal as the North Africans beat eventual finalists West Germany 2-1 at the 1982 World Cup.

He also played at the 1986 finals in Mexico but failed to score as Algeria, who had become the first African team to qualify for two World Cups in a row, exited in the group stage once again.

After the end of a playing career that also incorporated spells in France, Spain and Qatar, Madjer first took charge of his country in 1993 but quit after failing to lead the team to the following year's World Cup and Nations Cup.

Eight games

He was appointed again in 1999 but left the post without overseeing a single game before then taking charge from 2001 to 2002, a year when he quit once more after overseeing Algeria's first-round exit at that year's Nations Cup.

Madjer's aim on his return will be to take the team to the 2019 Cup of Nations in Cameroon, with their next qualifier coming against The Gambia in March.

Before that, they must complete their failed World Cup campaign with a fixture against Nigeria next month and try to improve on a run of two wins in eight games.

Three years ago, Algeria were one of just two African teams to reach the knock-out stage at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, impressing in defeat against champions Germany in the Round of 16.

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Tunisia top African rankings for first time since 2002

on  Monday, October 16   2017 at  18:55

Tunisia return to top spot in Africa for the first time since 2002

Tunisia have moved top of Fifa's African rankings for the first time in 15 years.

The last time the North Africans were ranked the best team on the continent was back in January 2002, a position the Carthage Eagles had assumed the previous July.

Lowest spot

Managed by Nabil Maaloul, Tunisia - who need just a point at home to Libya next month to qualify for the World Cup - replace Egypt at the top of the African standings.

Earlier this month, Egypt reached the World Cup for the first time since 1990.

Meanwhile, fellow African sides Eritrea and Somalia share the lowest spot in the rankings - 206th - with four other nations.

Africa's top 10 on October's Fifa rankings - global ranking in brackets:

  1. Tunisia (28)
  2. Egypt (30)
  3. Senegal (32)
  4. DR Congo (35)
  5. Nigeria (41)
  6. Cameroon (42)
  7. Morocco (48)
  8. Ghana (52)
  9. Burkina Faso (55)
  10. Cote d'Ivoire (61)
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Morocco to host Chan 2018 tournament

Posted NDI EUGENE NDI in Yaoundé

on  Sunday, October 15   2017 at  13:06

Morocco has been designated to host the 2018 Total African Nations Championship (Chan), the Confederation of African Football (CAF), said in a statement on Sunday.

The statement said Caf’s emergency committee met in Nigeria on Saturday and ‘unanimously decided’ to grant the organisation of the tournament to the Royal Moroccan Football Federation.

The meeting was presided over by Caf president Ahmad Ahmad.

Kenya was on September 23 stripped of the right to host the Chan tournament due to inadequate preparedness and security concerns over a disputed presidential contest.

Their willingness

Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia and Morocco had officially expressed their willingness to replace Kenya.

“The candidacy of Morocco was preferred to that of Equatorial Guinea, another country to have submitted a valid application,” the CAF release read in part.

It said the Ethiopian Football Federation did not provide the government's letter of guarantee, “which is a mandatory document required by the rules of application of the Statutes of the Caf”.

All qualified

Total CHAN, is a competition that brings together 16 national teams exclusively of players featuring in the national championships of their respective countries.

Fifteen countries; Republic of Congo, Libya, Morocco, Cameroon, Nigeria, Zambia, Uganda, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Mauritania, Sudan, Cote d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Guinea and Namibia have all qualified for the tournament which will take place from January 12 to February 4, 2018.

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Kenya and Cameroon qualify for women's volleyball semis

Posted NDI EUGENE NDI in Yaoundé

on  Tuesday, October 10   2017 at  16:03

Defending champions Kenya and hosts Cameroon have qualified for the semi-finals of the ongoing 2017 Women's African Nations Volleyball Championship in Yaoundé.

The Volleyball Lionesses of Cameroon secured their semi-final ticket following their 3-1 defeat of Algeria in a Group A encounter at the Palais de Sports Arena on Monday evening.

The Kenyans booked an early semi-final ticket after they beat DR Congo 3-0 in a Group B match.

The East Africans’ triumph over DR Congo was their third straight win at the competition and also made the Malkia Strikers the only team yet to lose a single set.

The Kenyans also recorded victories over Nigeria and Senegal on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

Last group match

The semi-finals of the nine countries tournament will be played on Friday, with the final following 24 hours later.

The championship is also serving as the qualifier for the 2018 World Women's Volleyball Championship with top two teams from the continental competition will confirm berths to the 2018 FIVB Women's World Volleyball Championship in Japan (September 29- October 20).

The competition was due to resume Tuesday with Kenya facing Tunisia in their last group match, while DR Congo take on play Nigeria in the same pool.

In Group A, three-times champions Egypt will flex muscles with the dark horses Botswana.