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Zambia Makes World’s Top 50 List

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The CAF Africa Cup of Nations has left its mark on the latest edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, with Zambia, who won their first continental title in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, climbing to 43rd. This is the first time since February 2001 that the side, coached by Herve Renard, have made it into the top 50.

Despite losing on penalties in the decider, Côte d’Ivoire (15th, up 3) remain Africa’s highest-positioned team. Aside from the two finalists, third-placed Mali (44th, up 25) as well as host nations Gabon (45th, up 46) and Equatorial Guinea (110th, up 41) have made considerable ground.

Changes are also to be seen in the top ten, with Germany (2nd, up 1) bumping the Netherlands out of second place to take up position behind Spain, and Portugal (6th, up 1) and Italy (8th, up 1) also making headway. Denmark have moved into the top ten (10th, up 1), pushing Argentina down to 11th.

All of these changes in the FIFA/Coca-Cola Ranking are due to the devaluation of matches from previous years, as no top-ten team has played a match in the last month.

The balance of power between the confederations remains relatively unchanged: UEFA has 27 teams in the top 50 (down 1), CONMEBOL has nine, CAF six, CONCACAF four (up 1), the AFC four and the OFC zero.

The results of 51 international matches have been taken into account in compiling the current edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola Ranking, of which 32 took place as part of the CAF Africa Cup of Nations and 19 were friendlies.

The next FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking will be issued on 7 March 2012, one week earlier than originally planned.

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Tokyo 2020: Naomi Osaka Beats China’s Saisai In Straight Sets

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Japan’s Naomi Osaka returns a shot to China’s Zheng Saisai, during their Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games women’s singles, first round tennis match at the Ariake Tennis Park in Tokyo .
Japan’s Naomi Osaka won in straight sets on her highly-anticipated return to court at the Tokyo Olympics yesterday, while world number one Ashleigh Barty crashed out in the first round.
Osaka, the star of the opening ceremony, defeated China’s Zheng Saisai 6-1, 6-4 in her first match since taking an eight-week break for mental health reasons.
“I feel like more than anything I’m just focused on playing tennis. Playing the Olympics has been a dream of mine since I was a kid,” said Osaka, chosen as the first tennis player to light the Olympic cauldron on Friday.
“I feel like the break that I took was very needed, but I feel definitely a little bit refreshed and happy again.”
The Australian Open champion had not played since May, when she walked out of Roland Garros, saying that media commitments were harming her mental health.
Osaka showed few signs of rust as she reeled off the opening five games on the Ariake Coliseum centre court, which likely would have been packed to capacity if not for a spectator ban because of coronavirus restrictions.
The second seed broke the 52nd-ranked Zheng for a 2-1 lead in the second set and closed out an 87-minute victory on her third match point.
The 23-year-old Osaka is attempting to become Japan’s first Olympic tennis champion. She will play Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic in the last 32.

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Insurance FC Records Second NNL Win On Return

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Bendel Insurance recorded their second win in a row since returning to the second tier of Nigeria National League with a 1-0 win over Abia Comets on Saturday at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium.
Defender Tanimu Benjamin scored the only goal of the encounter in the 26th minute to hand the hosts the maximum points.
Both results have brightened their chances of qualifying for the Super 8.
According to Tidesports source, the Edo State Government in June withdrew the team from the competition after several of their players were injured by home fans during their game against Remo Stars in Ikenne, Ogun State.
On their return, Insurance pulled off an away win over Holy Arrows in Enugu before the win at the weekend 
“I am happy with the goal and the overall performance from the boys. Our aim is to return to the topflight and we are working hard to achieve it,” goal scorer Benjamin, who was injured in the violence at Ikenne, said

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Karagumruk To Pay Musa N1bn Annually

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Super Eagles captain, Ahmed Musa was on Thursday unveiled by Turkish Lig 1 side, Fatih Karagumruk, having signed the winger on a two-year deal with an option to extend the deal for another year.
Tidesports source gathered that the financial details of the deal were undisclosed by both club and player, Musa will earn about$2.5million (N1.02billion) annually with a weekly pay of $40,000, with bonuses.
Karagumruk were promoted to the Turkish topflight in the 2019/2020 campaign, ending a 35-year wait for a return to the Super Lig and want to remain there, thus, the acquisition of star players like Musa.
“It’s a good deal no doubt, the club wanted Musa because of his wealth of experience, having played at the World Cup and the UEFA Champions League. Since they were promoted to the topflight two seasons ago, their major aim is to remain in the Turkish topflight and also win games against the big sides like Galatasary, Fenerbahce and Trabzonspor and they believe Musa can help them achieve their goals. That’s why they signed him for $2.5million annual salary, besides bonuses and allowances,” a close friend of Musa said.
It was also reliably learnt that there were financial incentives for Musa, if the club qualified for European competitions, and if he ended up as their highest scorer at the end of the season.
Musa, in an interview with newsmen said Karagumruk’s ambition was a major reason he joined them.
“I was very impressed with the team’s philosophy, style of play and it’s clearly an ambitious club.

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