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Ivory Coast, Morocco Qualify Too

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A 3-0 win over Niger has put Ivory Coast through to the Finals of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.
Goals from Serge Aurier, Max Gradel and Wilfried Kanon did the damage for the Elephants, who now are guaranteed to progress thanks to a better head-to-head record against Group K rivals Madagascar, no matter what happens in the final round of matches.
However, there was a shock in Group F as Cape Verde beat already-qualified Cameroon 3-1.
They came from a goal behind, Pierre Kunde scoring first for the Indomitable Lions, thanks to Kuca, a Macky Bagnack own goal, and a fine third by Ryan Mendes.
A key factor in the game was the strong Atlantic wind, which was at the backs of the Cape Verde players in the second half.
Their forward players were frequently able to pounce on long balls pumped forward and tear into the Cameroon defence.
This was very much how Cape Verde scored their third, Mendes gathering the ball near the halfway line and bursting past two Cameroon defenders before slotting neatly home.
Morocco played out a drab 0-0 draw against Mauritania, having learned earlier in the day that they had gone through without needing to play.
This was due to a late fightback from two goals down that kept Burundi in the hunt for qualification with a 2-2 draw against CAR in Bujumbura.
In the other early kick-off on Friday, Guinea-Bissau made sure they still had a mathematical chance of qualifying with a 3-1 win over Eswatini in Lobamba.

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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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