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AFCON 2017: Kone Sounds Warning For B/Faso

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Defender Bakary Kone
has said that Burkina Faso must resolve pay issues as well as learn to cope with pressure if they are to regain their best form.
After the Burkinabe reached the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations final, expectations were high for this year but the team exited at the group stage.
Kone told our source that the team “self-destructed” because of the pressure and he also blamed a row over bonuses.
“Qualifying for 2017 starts soon, we must not repeat our mistakes,” he said.
“We went as favourites in 2013 and had a good run to the final. But in 2015 when people expected so much from us we didn’t play well because we pressed the self-destruct button.
“The squad arrived in Equatorial Guinea very disorganised and didn’t concentrate on the football because of other problems.
“Once the federation refused to pay players the bonuses they are owed from previous games, it had a bad effect on the team at a major tournament.
“This time we need to make sure we get the build-up right.”
The Burkina Faso Football Federation (FBF) is desperate to get the team back on track by ensuring qualification for their fifth successive Nations Cups appearance.
German coach Gernot Rohr has been appointed as the new coach, replacing Belgian Paul Put who departed after the 2015 tournament.
“A new coach means a fresh beginning but the last manager made significant progress until he suffered from the usual African disorganised problems,” Kone added.
“Organisation is crucial and it’s only when the new coach gets the right organisation in place that he will achieve success.
“He’s been around Africa and knows so much about the continent but he needs to have all the necessary support, professionalism and backing to succeed.
“If these things are not in place we are going to keep running around in circle without making any progress.”
The immediate task for the Stallions, who lost out to Algeria in the 2014 World Cup qualifying play-off, is to stay focused on the 2017 Nations Cup qualifiers, starting in June.
Burkina Faso are in Group D alongside Uganda, Botswana, Comoros Islands and Kone, who plays his club football in France for title-chasing Lyon, is sure they can emerge winners from the group.
“We played Comoros in a friendly game last year in Marseille and it ended in a difficult 1-1 draw,” Kone said. “Countries like that can’t be underrated because in African football other teams are also making big progress.

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Athletics: Okagbare Begins Preparation For Tokyo 2020

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Blessing Okagbare, yesterday started her preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics at the National Trials.
The opening day of the Tokyo 2020 National Trials will see Okagbare competing in the 100m against highly rated Grace Nwokocha
Okagbare, the 8th time national champions is the favourite to win the event again, but Grace Nwokocha remains one of her biggest threats.
The American-based track queen won the championship from 2009 to 2014 and returned to win the 2016 edition after missing out in 2015.
Despite her qualification for the Olympics, Okagbare will be hoping to continue her winning streak and go to the Olympics in high spirits.
Apart from the 100m finals expected to take place in the afternoon, there will be shotput men final with all eyes on  Chukwuebuka Enekwechi.

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LAA Holds Lucrative Track Meet, Next Week

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The Lagos State Athletics Association has announced it would be holding a lucrative Athletics Meet on Thursday, June 24, 2021, at the Teslim Balogun Stadium.
Yussuf Alli, who is the Meet Director for the Lagos Open Athletics Championship, made the disclosure on Wednes-day even as he revealed that arrangements were in top gear to have an elite cast of athletes in the one-day meet.
According to Alli, the Lagos Open Athletics Championship will simultaneously serve as a qualifying window for the Tokyo Olympics as well as a preparatory event for athletes that have already qualified for the sporting showpiece.
“This is another fantastic window for those seeking to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics as well as those seeking quality competition to stay in shape for the Olympics,” Alli said.
“The Lagos State Athletics Association, which is one of the most vibrant in the country, is out to organise a world-class event that would be the talk of the town as we count down to Tokyo,”  he added.
The list of events to be competed for at the Lagos Open Athletics Championship include, the 5,000 meters, 400 meters hurdles, 100 meters, 800 meters, 400 meters and 100 meters.
There would also be quality action in the 4×100 meters open, 4×100 meters open and 4×400 meters mixed relay.
Long jump, High jump, Triple jump, Shot put as well as  4×100 secondary schools relay and 4×100 secondary schools relay have all been pencilled down for the maiden Lagos Open Athletics Champion-ship.
Organisers have assured that the top three finishers across all the events will receive handsome prizes for their efforts.

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S’ Falcons Bow To World Champions

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The Super Falcons of Nigeria lost 2-0 to world champions, USA, in their final Group game at the 2021 Summer Series in Texas, USA.
The result means the African champions failed to win any of their three matches at the invitational tourna-ment, drawing one and losing the other two.
Kristen Press gave the Americans the lead on the stroke of half time, and before Lyn Williams killed Falcons hope of getting a draw with the second goal on the dot of 90 minutes.
With the victory, the world number one has now gone 42 games without tasting a defeat .As for the Falcons, the aim of participating in the Summer Series was to prepare them for a crucial 2022 African Women’s Champion-ship eliminator against perennial rivals, Ghana in October.
The African Women’s Championship will serve as qualifiers for the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

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