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Kenya's Keitany breaks world marathon record

Posted AYUMBA AYODI in Nairobi

on  Sunday, April 23   2017 at  16:24

Kenya’s Mary Keitany on Sunday clocked 2 hours, 17 minutes and 01 second to break women’s world marathon record with victory at London Marathon.

Keitany broke the 14-year-old record of 2:17:42 set by Briton Paula Radcliffe at the same course by 41 seconds. The feat was enough to also set a new national record.

Radcliffe won the 2003 London Marathon in 2:15:25 but the time was scaled down to 2:17:42 after the Briton used pacesetters in the last kilometres.

Cruising past

It was the 35-year-old’s third victory in London, having won in 2011 in 2:19:19 before defending the title in 2012 with the second fastest time in the history of marathon of 2:18:37, which was also a national record.

Keitany was simply in a class of her own when she led virtually from the start, cruising past the 20km mark in 1:03:25 as she led former Olympic and World 10,000m champion Tirunesh Dibaba by 48 seconds.

Keitany cruised past half mark in 1:06:54 and stretched her lead between her and Dibaba to 1 minute and 18 seconds when she hit the 35km mark in 1:56:20.

Zoomed past

The World record was within sight for Keitany, the 2015 and 2016 New York City Marathon champion, with 2kms to go as she zoomed past the 40km mark in 2:09:38.

Keitany, who entered the marathon history books as the greatest, edged out Dibaba, the triple Olympic and five times World champion at 5000m and 10,000m, to second in an Ethiopian national record time of 2:17:56.

Podium place

Another Ethiopian Aselefech Mergia sealed the last podium place in 2:23:08, beating Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot, who was running her first marathon race to fourth in2:23:50.

World Marathon silver medallist Helah KIprop from Kenya was placed seventh in 2:25:39 as compatriot Florence Kiplagat settled ninth in 2:26:25.

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Caf chief visits Somalia

Posted ABDULKADIR KHALIF in Mogadishu

on  Monday, April 17   2017 at  13:58

The Confederation of African Football (Caf) President Ahmad Ahmad arrived in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Monday.

Ahmad, who hails from Madagascar, is making his first visit to the troubled Caf member state since his election in Addis Ababa, last month.

The 57-year-old football chief was received at Mogadishu’s Aden Abdulle International Airport by the Somali Youth and Sports Development minister Khadija Mohamed Dirie.

Civil conflict

Also present at the seafront airport were the President of Somali Football Federation Abdigani Said Arab and other sports officials.

The Caf president was scheduled to visit sports grounds in Mogadishu in bid to encourage the game that has been affected by years of civil conflict.

His candidacy

Ahmad sent shockwaves around the football world when he defeated Cameroonian Issa Hayatou, who held the Caf position for 29 years.

Prior to announcing his candidacy in January, few had ever heard of Ahmad.

He now holds the future of the African game in his hands, a task he says he has what it takes to accomplish.

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Cameroon FA in turmoil as Lions falter

Posted NDI EUGENE NDI in Yaoundé

on  Monday, April 3   2017 at  16:30

The dismal performance by the Indomitable Lions is causing a storm in the Cameroon Football Federation (FECAFOOT).

FECAFOOT last week announced an investigation into what has been largely described as a humiliation of the five times African champions.

The national federation's executive committee members were Monday due to discuss the wanting performance by the team that only last month won the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon.

The emergency meeting was likely going to unveil the findings of the investigation and apportion sanctions.

Second outing

The Indomitable Lion lost 2-1 to Guinea's Syli Nationale in a friendly at the Edmond Manchtens Stadium in Brussels on March 28.

The loss was their second outing since defeating Egypt 2-1 at the final of the Africa Cup of Nations.

Speaking at a post-match press conference, the head coach Hugo Broos disclosed that the players missed their lunch before the match “because the hotel was not paid”.

The Belgian tactician has threatened to quit, blaming “the unprofessional attitude” of football authorities in Cameroon.

My future

Broos said he had grappled with several problems since signing a two-year contract with the Cameroon FA in February 2016.

“We deserve respect. So, I have to think about my future with Cameroon,” the 64-year-old Broos said, revealing that some staff who helped the team win the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations had not been paid.

FECAFOOT first vice-president Alioum Alhadji admitted that there were “a few bills” that were not paid on time.

“The bulk of the bill was paid by the Federation….There are two parties involved; the Federation and the Coordination. Responsibilities will be established and sanctions meted out," Alhadji promised.

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Cameroon soccer legend Song back home

Posted NDI EUGENE NDI in Yaoundé

on  Sunday, April 2   2017 at  13:28

Cameroon soccer legend Rigobert Song was Saturday treated to a rousing welcome on his return home after close to six months of hospitalisation in France.

A huge crowd gathered at the Yaounde-Nsimalen airport Saturday evening to welcome the man they fondly call “Manyang”.

The former captain of the Indomitable Lions was flown to France for medical treatment after suffering a stroke on a Sunday morning.

Was stretchered

Song granted a brief press interview on his return, saying he had no recollection of what happened before he was stretchered out of the country.

He, however, thanked Cameroonians for their prayers, singling out the First Family for their role in facilitating his travel to France.

The former Liverpool and West Ham defender captained the national football team for 10 years before handing over the baton to Samuel Eto’o in 2009.

He retired

The 40-year-old Song won the African Nations Cup with Indomitable Lions twice; against Nigeria in 2000 and against Senegal in 2002.

Song in 2010 became the first African player to feature at four World Cup competitions; in 1994, 1998, 2002, and 2010 when he retired from international football.

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Indomitable Lions' head coach mulls over quitting


on  Wednesday, March 29   2017 at  15:26

The head coach of the Indomitable Lions, Hugo Broos has said he is seriously considering quitting the 2017 African champions side over what he describes as “the unprofessional attitude” of football authorities in Cameroon.

Speaking during a post-match press conference after the Guinea-Cameroon friendly in Belgium on Tuesday, Hugo Broos said he has not been working under appropriate conditions.

“The team is working well but the officials [of the federation] who have to organise some things are not available. Today we did not receive our meal because the hotel was not paid. We deserve respect. So, I have to think about my future with Cameroon,” Hugo Broos told the radio sports service of the Cameroon Radio Television (Crtv).

The Belgian football tactician disclosed that some staff who helped the team win the 2017 Africa Cup of nations have not been paid.

Though Hugo Broos did not mention names or the amount Cameroon owes the staff, Pan African Magazine, Jeune Afrique recently reported that the coach who earns a monthly salary of FCFA 29 million ($48,000) hasn’t been paid for seven months.

Cameroon went down 2-1 to the Syli Nationale of Guinea in an international at Edmond Manchtens Stadium in Brussels, Belgium on Tuesday.

The game was the second outing of the five times African champions since winning the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon last month.

The boys of Hugo Broos had defeated Tunisia 1-0 four days earlier in their pioneer outing since defeating Egypt in the final of the Gabon expedition.

Both matches are a build-up to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in June and four rounds of Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers between August and November.

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Zambian teacher blows his whistle to global fame

Posted MICHAEL CHAWE in Lusaka

on  Monday, March 27   2017 at  18:41

Janny Sikazwe, 37, is a Zambian Fifa referee who caused a social media frenzy in his soccer-loving nation after officiating at the last Africa Cup of Nation (Afcon) final between Cameroon and Egypt.

Cameroon beat Egypt in the Gabon final on February 5.

Sikazwe was only the second Zambian referee to officiate at continental competitions after the late Kabalamula Chayu in the 1980s.

A quick perusal of social media platforms like Facebook revealed such comments as; "even if Zambia is not in this year’s competition, I'm watching Afcon finals because of Janny!!!."

A red card

Sikazwe has won himself global acclaim after officiating at four Afcons and the World Club Cup in Japan between Real Madrid and Kashima Antlers of Japan in December 2016. He made headlines when he famously did not give Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos a red card for a foul in the final.

Sikazwe is a teacher of mathematics and physical education at Lukanda Secondary School in the small central district of Kapiri Mposhi -a transit town on the way to the Great North Road that leads to the north of Zambia and the Tanzanian border.

Very optimistic

In his capacity as a teacher, he has been elevated to work at the district level in a much more administrative role than actual classroom teaching.

After doing rounds of Afcon competitions, Sikazwe was setting his ambitions higher.

"After doing Afcon, there is really little to look forward to in this career,” he said.

"They're seven of us shortlisted for the Russia 2018 World Cup, I’m very optimistic to make the list."

He says he sets targets in his life and follows them step by step.

Sikazwe spoke about his memorable moments in his career as a referee, which he traces way back from his days as a young adult in 1999.

"One of them was when I did the Under-17 World Cup in 2015 which was between Belgium and Mexico and of course the [Real Madrid] World Club Cup and that led to the 2017 Afcon finals. So for me, that's steady progress. I want to take one step at a time."

Career and life

Asked how he handled the pressure and other challenges that come with his career and life, Sikazwe says: "I have challenges, but I usually seek to remain calm and sort the problem one by one and still maintain focus on my targets."

In respect to controversial refereeing decisions, Sikazwe says: "If am right, I always stick to my guns. Whatever [critical] comments people make about me, I choose to take those as a blessing for me and I still push forward."

Sikazwe says he has a big heart and his wish is to accommodate everyone and their divergent views.

His biggest ambition is to officiate the Fifa World Cup final.

Physical fitness

He told the Africareview he takes his physical fitness seriously.

"My physical training gets strenuous depending on the size of the match or tournament. Right now [in Lusaka], I'm helping my colleague from Botswana do his training ahead of duties even if mine is not due any time soon."

Physical fitness is a top priority for me, he says.

Sikazwe feels African referees were ripe to handle such big tournaments as the World Cup.

"Africa is getting there, to the apex; our standards are of international levels. The future of Africa is bright."

A proud owner

The married father of three [two sons and one girl] loves his nshima [maize meal bread] and sardines, locally called kapenta.

Reading from pictures splashed on Facebook, Sikazwe is a normal "boy who loves his toys".

The Fifa referee is a proud owner of an impressive fleet of cars parked at his residence.

The ever smiling, lanky sportsman is usually mobbed for selfies by his fans whenever he appears in a public.

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Kenyans rule Uganda cross country contest


on  Sunday, March 26   2017 at  19:10

Kenyans Sunday reaffirmed their position as a global athletics power house by winning the overall title of the 42nd edition of the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Kampala, Uganda.

Ethiopia were second in a contest that also saw Ugandan Jacob Kiplimo bag the first gold medal for his country in men's junior 8km race.

Running in the third race, the 16-year-old Kiplimo raised the hopes of Ugandans that had been thwarted following a poor performance in the first two races in which they finished in the fourth and eighth positions.

Kenya's Geoffrey Kamworor retained his title after winning the 10km senior race.

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Nigeria friendly with Burkina Faso cancelled


on  Saturday, March 25   2017 at  17:14

Nigeria's friendly with Burkina Faso on Monday in London has been called off after several Burkina Faso players failed to gain visas to enter the UK.

According to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) "seven players in the Burkinabe contingent failed to secure entry visas into the United Kingdom".

The match was scheduled as part of Nigeria's build-up for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against South Africa in June and the World Cup qualifier against Cameroon later in the year.

Qualifying campaigns

"The match in question is called off due to no fault of either the organisers or the Nigeria Football Federation. We will announce further plans for the Super Eagles' preparation for these two important qualifying campaigns in due course," top NFF official Chris Green said.

The Super Eagles drew 1-1 with Senegal on Thursday night after Kelechi Iheanacho's late penalty cancelled out Moussa Sow's opening goal at the Hive, home of English fourth tier side Barnet.

The NFF say they are "extremely disappointed" the match on Monday has been called off but insist that the "objectives of satisfying the technical team's desire of squaring up against tough, physical African opposition and fostering team bonding and organisation were achieved".

Close of work

"There is no British Embassy in Ouagadougou, and officials of the Federation Burkinabe de Football had been shuttling between Accra and Ouagadougou for visa processing," the NFF explained in a statement.

"FBF (Burkina Faso Football Federation) sources said the Embassy in Accra told them last week to proceed to Morocco (where The Stallions played the Atlas Lions on Friday) and that the visas would be issued there.

"However, the applications were still pending at the British Embassy in Morocco as at close of work on Friday, the last working day before match day in London.

Two editions

"The Burkinabe Football Federation - on Friday 24 March 2017 by 7pm UK time - telephoned the match organisers [Eurodata] to say some of their players and officials were unable to secure entry visas into the United Kingdom and therefore would not be able to honour the match."

Three-time African champions Nigeria have failed to qualify for the last two editions of the Africa Cup of Nations.

But under new manager Gernot Rohr, who took charge in August, the Super Eagles got off to a flying start in their 2018 World Cup qualifiers, recording a 2-1 win in Zambia and a 3-1 victory at home against Algeria.

Surprising results

Nigeria's six points, coupled with some surprising results in the other games, leaves them with an early four-point lead in their 2018 World Cup qualifying group ahead of Cameroon and Zambia.

Burkina Faso finished third at the recent Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon and lost 2-0 to Morocco in Friday's friendly. (BBC Sport)