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FOOTBALL WORLD UNITES IN WISHING SIR ALEX FERGUSON WELL

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Messages of support poured in for Alex Ferguson after the legendary former Manchester United manager was left fighting for his life following emergency surgery for a brain haemorrhage on Saturday.

According to AFP, news of his operation was made public by his old club, with a United statement cautiously optimistic about the prospects for the 76-year-old, the most successful manager in British football history.

“Sir Alex Ferguson has undergone emergency surgery today for a brain haemorrhage,” the statement said.

“The procedure has gone very well but he needs a period of intensive care to optimise his recovery. His family request privacy in this matter.”

According to the Daily Mail, an ambulance was called to the Scot’s home in Cheadle, near Manchester, in northwest England at 9:00 am local time (0800 GMT) on Saturday

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Concerns for Ferguson’s health started to mount when it was announced his son, Darren, the manager of English third tier club Doncaster, would miss his side’s League One match against Wigan on Saturday because of “family reasons”.

“It is tragic. I am going to find out how he is as soon as I possibly can,” said Everton manager Sam Allardyce, a longstanding friend of Ferguson’s, after his side’s 1-1 Premier League draw at home to Southampton.

“Obviously I knew it was extremely serious when I knew his son Darren didn’t attend his own game at Doncaster today,” the former England boss added. “I hope he has a full recovery.”

Southampton manager Mark Hughes, who made his name in football as a United striker during the early years of Ferguson’s time at Old Trafford, said: “I only just got a little whisper earlier on. I was hoping it wasn’t true. I wish him all the best.”

David Beckham, perhaps the most high-profile player Ferguson managed at Old Trafford, was among several United players past and present who took to social media to offer their support to the ‘boss’.

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On Instagram, with a picture of him as a youngster alongside Ferguson, Beckham wrote: “Keep fighting Boss… Sending prayers and love to Cathy and the whole family x @manchesterunited.”

Former United striker Wayne Rooney said on Twitter: “Get well soon Boss. Thoughts with all the family at this sad time. #AlexFerguson.”

There was a particularly heartfelt message from Edwin van der Sar and his wife, Annemarie.

Van der Sar who was United’s goalkeeper when Annemarie, suffered a brain haemorrhage in 2009 from which she has since recovered.

“Devastated about the news about Sir Alex and knowing all too well about the situation ourselves. Stay strong and hope together with everyone you recover. Edwin & Annemarie,” said the couple’s Twitter post.

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Michael Carrick, a current United midfielder, said he was “absolutely devastated”.

He added: “All my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. Be strong Boss.”

The sympathy extended beyond those with United connections, with Vincent Kompany, the captain of recently crowned English champions Manchester City, summing up the mood of many messages from rival clubs when he said: “Hang in there Sir Alex. Thoughts are with the family and close ones.”

Away from football, Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, tweeted: “My thoughts are with Alex Ferguson and his family – wishing him a full and speedy recovery.”

Ferguson retired five years ago when he stepped down as United manager, having won a staggering 38 major trophies in just over 26 years in charge, including 13 Premier League titles and two European Champions League triumphs during his time at Old Trafford.

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He was back at United’s home ground last week to present a commemorative vase to old rival Arsene Wenger, who steps down as Arsenal manager at the end of the season.

Ferguson had planned to retire at the end of the 2001/02 campaign but changed his mind after speaking to his wife Cathy and their family.

But the death of his wife’s twin sister in 2012 provided Ferguson with what he later wrote was a “watershed moment.

“I felt that, after all those years during which Cathy had put me first, it was time that I took care of her needs,” he explained.

Prior to arriving at Old Trafford, Ferguson, enjoyed considerable success as manager of Aberdeen, helping interrupt Glasgow giants Celtic and Rangers’ Old Firm dominance of Scottish football.

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Ferguson, a former Rangers striker, won three Scottish championships, four Scottish Cups and the 1983 European Cup Winners’ Cup in charge of the Dons.

It was a similar story at Old Trafford, where his United teams ended Liverpool’s dominance of the domestic game, with the highlight of Ferguson’s time in charge a 1999 treble of Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup titles all in the one season.

 

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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