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Madagascar, Others Qualify For AFCON Finals

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Madagascar has qualified for the African Cup of Nations finals for the first time by beating Equatorial Guinea 1-0 in Vontovorona.
Thailand-based midfielder Njiva Rakotoharimalala, 26, scored the only goal
They became the first team to qualify for a place in the finals that have now been expanded from 16 teams to 24.
They were later joined by Egypt and Tunisia in qualifying for the finals in Cameroon next June and July.
Madagascar’s win moved them to 10 points in Group A with two matches left to play.
The games was played in Vontovorona after Madagascar were banned from using the Mahamasina Stadium in Antananarivo for “three matches or three months”.
The suspension was imposed by the Confederation of Africa Football following a stampede at the national stadium in September, when one person was killed and nearly 40 others were injured.
Madagascar become the 40th different nation to qualify for the Nations Cup finals.
Senegal left it late to get the win they needed in Sudan to clinch a place in the finals alongside Madagascar from the group.
Lorient’s Sidi Sarr scoring in the 86th minute just three minutes after coming on in Khartoum as a substitute.
Egypt and Tunisia helped each other to qualify for next year’s expanded finals as they both won in Group J.
Egypt secured a 2-0 win over eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) thanks to a header from Ahmed Hegazi after 19 minutes and a well-worked team goal finished by Marwan Mohsen early in the second half.
The Pharaohs’ qualification was confirmed later on Tuesday as Tunisia maintained their 100% winning record with a 2-1 victory over Niger 2-1 in Niamey.
Sfaxien’s Firas Chaouat scored two goals in a four-minute period in the first half on his international debut for Tunisia.
Niger’s Youssef Oumarou grabbed what turned out to be a consolation for the hosts.
There were two drawn matches in Group B as Comoros grabbed a 2-2 draw against visiting Morocco and Malawi held Cameroon to a goalless draw in Blantyre.
El Fardou Ben Mohamed, who plays for Serbian side Red Star Belgrade, opened the scoring after just eight minutes to give Comoros a shock lead.
The Moroccans then fought back with two second-half goals from Khalid Boutaib and Nordin Amrabat to take the lead.
The hosts kept battling and Ben Mohamed was on target again in injury time to earn a point for Comoros.
The results means that Cameroon top the group with eight points, but they qualify automatically as hosts, leaving just one more place up for grabs from the group.
Morocco lead the way in the race to the finals on seven points, Malawi move to four points and Comoros are on two – with all the teams having played four matches.
Three teams remain in contention to qualify from Group C after Gabon beat hosts South Sudan 1-0 and Burundi held visiting Mali to a 1-1 draw.
Midfielder Andre Biyogo Poko, who plays in Turkey for Goztepe, won the match for Gabon with a goal five minutes after half-time.
Gabon played without Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after he did not travel with the team to Juba. No official reason has been given for his absence.
Burundi took the lead in Bujumbura through striker Fiston Abdul Razak before Mamadou Fofana levelled the score for the visitors.
Algeria missed out on the chance of qualifying from Group D as they lost 1-0 in Benin.
The match-winner was scored by Sessi D’Almeida, who plays in the fourth tier of English football with Yeovil Town, after 16 minutes.
Benin held on for the win despite playing the final 35 minutes of the match with 10 men after veteran Stephane Sessegnon was shown a red card.
Togo managed to take advantage of Algeria’s slip with a late 1-0 win in The Gambia – Fulham’s Floyd Ayite with the winner in injury time.
Guinea and Ivory Coast remain the favourites to qualify from Group Hdespite both being held to away draws.
Ivory Coast were held to a goalless draw in Bangui by Central African Republic while in Kigali it was 1-1 between Rwanda and Guinea.
Guinea took the lead in the first-half by Jose Kante but Jacques Tuyisenge ensured the points were shared with a late equaliser.
The Syli Nationale had to play the second half without Liverpool’s Naby Keita, who had to be helped from the pitch with an injury.
Wins for both Guinea and Ivory Coast would have taken both teams through to next year’s finals.

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CAF Mulls Super League Idea

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The Confederation of African Football [CAF] is discussing the idea of introducing an African Super League, a continental competition which would likely replace the current CAF Champions League and hopefully boost revenue for the organising body.
The revelation was made as CAF President Patrice Motsepe issued a statement outlining the changes and reforms the new leadership is making to ensure African football is globally competitive and self-sustaining.
The idea has taken shape even despite the disastrous European Super League [ESL] proposal earlier this year, which caused major controversy before being banned after most founding member clubs bowed to fan pressure and pulled out.
“ExCo [the CAF executive committee] may have to discuss and consider new CAF competitions which may generate additional funding or income for CAF, its member associations and bodies and also contribute to African football becoming globally competitive and self-sustaining,” Motsepe was quoted as saying by Tidesports source.
“In this regard, we are assessing and [are] in preliminary discussions to start an inclusive and broadly supported and beneficial CAF African Super League. We have been following the attempts by some top European clubs to form a Euro Super League and will learn from their experience and pitfalls.”
CAF is looking to boost income after recent forensic auditing revealed that the organisation has been beset by financial irregularities.

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NPFL: Rivers United’s Coach Praises Players

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The Chief Coach of Rivers United FC of Port Harcourt, Ndubuisi Nduka, has praised his players after a 1-0 win over Katsina United FC in the match day 28 of the Nigeria Professional Football League ( NPFL) in Port Harcourt.
He stated that his boys (players) gave all their best  to ensure they secured the maximum three points for the team, and described the encounter as very tough. 
Nduka, said this on Sunday, during a post match interview with sports journalists, after the Pride of Rivers, defeated their opponents  1-0, at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt.
According to him, what made the match more difficult for his players was that they failed to utilise goal opportunities they created in the first half of the game.
The only goal of the game came in the 77th minute by home boy, Malachi Ohawume, who made his goals four for this league season.
“It was a tough game; I think our boys gave it all.
What made it more difficult for us was the chances we lost especially in the first half, “ Nduka said.
He explained that the second round of the league is always difficult because every team is fighting to be at top and some are fighting not to be relegated.
“At this point and time of the league, the second round, we are stretching to the finishing point.
“It is always difficult and if you remember the position of Katsina United, they are not safe so they are looking for where to pick points, so I gave kudos to my boys as they secured three points for us, “ he stated. 
Rivers United is now 4th on the log after 28 matches with 48 points.

By:  Kiadum Edookor

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Hockey Championship: Team Rivers’ Performance Excites Coach

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The Head coach of Team Rivers State, (female) hockey, Comfort Nya, has commended her players after they defeated team Edo, 3-1 in the ongoing, 2021 Mabisel National Hockey Championship (MNHC) in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. 
She, described the match as one of the toughest games they have played, saying that the calibre of players she saw in the team Edo lineup was intimidating.
Nya said this on Monday in her post match interview with sports journalists, after their first victory in the championship, at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Sports in Port Harcourt. 
According to her, their first game in the championship was difficult because of the heavy downpour, adding that they could not play well but today they are awesome.
“It was a tough one, honestly speaking I would not tell lies, and the players I saw in team Edo lineup are old and good players and my girls are just upcoming.
“I was thinking of draw or let them just play but with this result I am so happy with their performance, “Nya said. 
The coach further explained that their next outing will be against team Kaduna, they are going to do more better.
“Our first game was disturbed by heavy rainfall, they could not play well but today they have performed well.
“In our next game against team Kaduna, we are going to do better,” She stated..

By: Kiadum Edookor

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