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International Football

VIDEO: MARADONA RECALLS HIS FIVE MOST MEMORABLE WORLD CUP MOMENTS

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One thing is for sure whenever Diego Maradona holds court: there are bound to be fascinating anecdotes and insights aplenty, not least when the topic of conversation is the ins and outs of the game itself.

Only too happy to answer FIFA.com’s request to look back at his five most memorable FIFA World Cup moments, El Diez kept the conversation flowing for the best part of an hour, waxing lyrical about his first goal at the competition, his first and only red card, the Goal of the Century and a couple of other notable slices of Maradona magic.

Courtesy of FIFA.com, we bring you some of the choice quotes that did not make the final cut of the video that accompanies this article.

 

 

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18 June 1982
Argentina 4-1 Hungary: His first World Cup goal

“I just wanted the ball to go in, nothing else. We’d lost our first match against Belgium and we were up against it.

“I’d scored goals at the U-20 World Cup but you can’t compare that to the feeling you get when you score at the World Cup proper. It’s like your mum coming and giving you breakfast in bed. It’s pure happiness, like when I used to give my mum a kiss on the lips. There are so many things that go through your head.”

 

 

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2 July 1982
Argentina 1-3 Brazil: A red card for kicking Batista

“I spoke about it years later with Batista and I’ve said it to Falcao too. At 3-1 they started to make fun of us and I don’t like losing one little bit. He said to me: ‘No, Diego. That’s just the football we feel inside us’.

“But you know what? If I was three goals up and started singing ‘Ole! Ole! Ole!’ as we stroked the ball around, then you’d get pretty mad too. If you’ve got a bit of blood in your veins, you’re going to get fired up. But yes; I kicked the wrong player. Unbelievable!”

 

22 June 1986
Argentina 2-1 England: The Goal of the Century

“I never scored another goal like it. I’ve scored a few that were very difficult to put away, but this was in a World Cup.  It was every kid’s dream.

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“We all dreamed of dribbling past the lot of them, including (Peter) Shilton. I still don’t understand what he did.

“I don’t know if ghosts or a UFO came down and took him away. He just left the goal wide open for me. I just went past him and that was it!

“‘I never tire of watching it,’ as my mum used to say to me whenever I caught her watching the goals on TV.

‘Come on, Mum! Watching the goals again!’ And she’d say to me that watching her son score that goal made her feel totally relaxed. ‘You go if you want. I’m going to carry on watching your goals’.”

 

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24 June 1990
Argentina 1-0 Brazil: A magical assist for Claudio Caniggia

“The Brazilians blamed Alemao for that goal, but I got past him pretty quickly. The one I really shrugged off and used my elbow on to stop him getting at me was Dunga. So, it’s not Alemao’s fault but Dunga’s. He let me get past him.

“When Cani (Claudio Caniggia) scored, I thanked God, my mum and all the saints in the world. He barely celebrated.

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“He just raised his fist. Pow! As if it were nothing. When I saw him afterwards, I said to him: ‘Listen, right here in the cold light of day: did you see what you did today?’ He said: ‘Yes, I scored a goal’. ‘No, you didn’t! You reduced a whole stadium to silence!’

“Out of respect for the Brazilians, I put the Brazil shirt on when I went back to the dressing room. It was Careca’s. He’s my friend. But I felt as if… not as if we’d robbed Brazil but that they deserved to go through instead of Argentina.    They pinned us back the whole game but we won. That’s why football is the most beautiful sport in the world.”

 

 

3 July 1990
Italy 1-1 Argentina (Argentina win 4-3 on pens): Beating Zenga from the spot

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“It was pretty strange because when we went to penalties, the Italians were telling me on the pitch that they should have won the game. (Luigi) De Agostini and (Walter) Zenga told me a draw wasn’t a fair result. But in a match like that it’s not a question of deserving things, is it? They had their views and I had mine!

“I’d just missed [a penalty] against Yugoslavia. So, when I walked from the centre circle to take my kick I said to myself: ‘If you miss this, you’re an idiot. If you miss, you’re a wimp, you’re the worst. You can’t betray all the people that love you – Mum, Dad, my brothers, the people of Argentina, everyone!’ But then I got the better of Zenga and on we went. It was me who knocked the Italians out.”

 

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Amokachi, Adebayor and Amanda Dlamini confirmed for CAF African Schools Championship Finals

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African football legends, Emmanuel Adebayor, Daniel Amokachi and Amanda Dlamini are some of the top names that have been confirmed for the Continental Finals of the CAF African Schools Football Championship 2024 scheduled in Zanzibar between 21 – 24 May 2024.

The CAF African Schools Football Championship is the school’s competition that includes over 44 African countries with over 800 000 participants of Boys and Girls under the age of 15.

This is the second edition of the competition that is not only focused on Football but also on a number of programmes including Young Referee’s Programme, Young Reporter Programme and Safeguarding. 

Adebayor, CAF Player of the Year in 2008, represented Togo at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany for their only appearance at the tournament. Ex-striker for Arsenal, Manchester City, Real Madrid, and others, the Togolese star has had a successful career, earning over 85 caps with Les Eperviers.

Nigerian football star Amokachi played 42 international matches for the Super Eagles. He participated in the 1994 and 1998 FIFA World Cups and was part of the team that won the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations in 1994 and the Olympic Games in 1996.

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Former Banyana Banyana (South Africa) captain Dlamini played in two TotalEnergies CAF Women’s Africa Cup of Nations competitions where they finished third and second in 2010 and 2012, respectively. She is one of the few footballers, both in the men’s and women’s national teams to reach 100 caps.

Dlamini recently made history when she became the first female to be part of the world commentary feed at the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations Cote d’Ivoire 2023.

Also on the list are local stars Abdi Kassim Sadalla, former Tanzanian National Team Captain, and Hilda Masanche, Head coach of the Tanzania U17 Women’s National Team.

The Legends will feature in various activities to promote and support football development among African youth.

The finals will bring together talented young players from across the continent, providing them a platform to showcase their skills and passion for the game.

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-CAF

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International Football

Nigeria’s Nnadozie, Malawi striker, Chawinga scoop top awards in France

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Malawi striker Tabitha Chawinga and Chiamaka Nnadozie of Nigeria have been named the best player and best goalkeeper respectively in the French women’s league.

Chawinga wasted no time in making an impact upon her arrival in France after joining Paris Saint-Germain from Inter Milan in less than one year.

 The Malawi captain joined PSG in the summer of 2023 and has quickly showcased her talent, resulting in the top award on Monday night.

She played 25 matches, scoring 18 goals and providing 10 assists while donning the iconic red and blue jersey.

As a semifinalist in the UEFA Women’s Champions League, PSG’s number 22 became the first Malawian to score a goal in a European competition.

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Meanwhile, Nnadozie has had an exceptional season with Paris FC which had led to dethrone Christiane Endlerthe – long standing best goalkeeper in the French women’s top-flight.

The Nigerian goalkeeper boasts 10 clean sheets in 28 appearances in the French league.

For the first time in her career, Nnadozie has been recognized in this category, ending the dominance of Endler, who was named the best goalkeeper in the French league from 2019 to 2023.

Chawinga and Nnadozie’s achievements highlight the growing influence of African players abroad as their performances will pave the way for future generations of footballers from the continent to shine on the global stage.

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What a twist of fate! Before now, Morocco and Algeria were  allies

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When FIFA Suspended Morocco for Supporting Algeria’s Independence

Despite Morocco’s historical solidarity with Algeria, the regime continues to politicize sporting events in search of opportunities to undermine Morocco’s territorial integrity.

Algeria continues to push with its obsessive tendency to undermine Morocco’s territorial integrity despite the country’s long-standing solidarity with its National Liberation Front (FLN) in international sporting events.

Last week, the Algerian regime confiscated the jerseys of a Moroccan club RS Berkane ahead of a CAF Confederation match in Algeria due to the fact that they featured a full map of Morocco.

The decision drew outrage from Moroccans and international observers who decried Algeria’s politicizing of sporting events and its constant search for opportunities to undermine Morocco’s territorial integrity.

On Saturday, Algerian journalist and political analyst, Oualid Kebir, took to social media exposing the regime’s disregard for Morocco’s historical support for the Algerian FLN in international sporting events.

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Kebir highlighted Morocco’s “heroic” and “strong supportive stances” during Algerian’s challenging times during French occupation. “Morocco’s historical and heroic stance at that time is added to the honorable and strong supportive stances at that time towards Algeria,” the post read. 

Kebir’s statement referred to Morocco’s Royal Football Federation (FRMF) organizing a match in 1958 against the FLN team despite the fact that the team was not recognized by FIFA. The team consisted then of French Muslim (Algerian) players who had been suspended by the French Football Federation.

FIFA’s justification at the time for punishing Morocco was due to the licensing of the FRMF clubs to play against the FLN team. 

“Today, the military regime disguises ingratitude and compels Algerian clubs and sports teams to refuse to play and confront their Moroccan counterparts who display the map of Morocco on their jerseys!” Kebir wrote, decrying Algeria’s ungratefulness to Morocco’s historical support.

“This is the reward for standing with us during difficult times?!” he stressed.

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Attached to the post was the official document from FIFA outlining its decision to revoke the affiliation of the FRMF due to Morocco’s authorization of its clubs to play matches against the Algerian national team, despite FIFA’s objections. 

Algeria’s blatant attacks on Morocco’s sovereignty have especially peaked over the past days with the country staunchly attempting to politicize yet another sporting event.

One such event occurred during the Arab Championship this week, where the Algerian U-17 national handball team withdrew in protest of Morocco’s jersey featuring a full map of Morocco that includes its southern provinces. 

After the Confederation of African Football (CAF) announced RS Berkane to be the winner of the Sunday match, Algeria relentlessly appealed the decision, losing the appeal in the process.

However, the regime announced that they would take their case to a higher court, alleging that the jerseys include a political symbol.

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In January 2023, Algeria orchestrated a similar attack on Morocco through the African Nations Championship (CHAN). During the tournament, the Algerian regime denied the Moroccan team the right to participate and defend their title, while using the tournament’s opening ceremony as a political platform to express support for the Polisario Front. 

-Morocco World News

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