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Stage Set For FIFA Best Awards Tonight –

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Stage Set For FIFA Best Awards Tonight -

As the Africa’s premier sports event, the Africa Cup of Nations gets into its third matchday in Cote d’Ivoire, the City of London will be hosting the 2023 FIFA best Awards.

The prizes will be for best men’s player and best women’s player from last season. It is the equivalent of France Football’s Ballon d’Or. Last year,

Argentina’s mercurial footballer, Lionel Messi was the main winner as he was the hero of Argentina’s World Cup win in the previous year. Again, he is among the top three tonight, contesting with his former club mate at PSG, Kylian Mbappe and Manchester City in-form striker, Erling Haaland.

Barcelona and Spain star Alexia Putellas won best women’s player. But it is Spain’s Women’s World Cup winner, Aitana Bonmati who is highly favoured to win the  women’s prize.

It will be all Spanish stars on the podium as the two other shortlists are Barcelona’s Jenni Hermoso and  Real Madrid’s Linda Caicedo.

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The period in which achievements are considered for the men’s awards is from 19 December 2022 to 20 August 2023 – so excluding the 2022 World Cup – while for women’s awards it is the period from from 1 August 2022 to 20 August 2023.

Other awards to be handed out at the London ceremony will be, best men’s and women’s goalkeeper, best men’s and women’s coach, the Puskas Award for best goal, the Fifa fair play award, and the Fifa fan award.

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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South Africa plans for ‘Mother-of-all-Battle’ in final Olympic qualifier with Nigeria –

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South Africa plans for ‘Mother-of-all-Battle’ in final Olympic qualifier with Nigeria -

Banyana Banyana game plan was to either beat the Super Falcons at home as they did two years ago in Lagos or earn a draw in Friday’s first leg match of Olympic qualifier in Abuja.

 

That did not happen as Rasheedat Ajibade’s penalty kick earned Nigeria an outright 1-0 win over South Africa – a first win since the Super Falcons’ 1-0 win in Limbe, Cameroon in 2016.

 

But according to an account in the South African Football Association website, “Banyana Banyana will have to give it all in the second leg.”

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It reported that Banyana Banyana came back from the first half break a much more improved side but failed to convert the few chances that came their way.

 

“Outstanding goalkeeper Kaylin Swart had to work overtime to deny the hosts from extending their lead.

“Despite creating numerous chances for an equaliser, the game ended 1-0 for the Super Falcons.”

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The two African giants will lock horns for the second leg on Tuesday at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria where coach Desiree Ellis’ charges will be hoping to overturn the deficit.

 

Coach Ellis believes they are still in the game and can turn things around in the second leg on Tuesday.

“Look, we said it was going to be a tight game but we are hopeful of overturning this result in the second leg.”

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“We are still in the game. We created a couple of chances, a penalty decided the match but the game is not over.

 

“I thought in the second half we raised our game a lot and created good chances and could have equalized.

 

“Maybe we could also have gotten a penalty at the end when Jermaine was fouled but I’m very proud of the team and we will take it back to Pretoria,” said Ellis.

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Nigeria’s Super Falcons on slippery path to Paris 2024 –

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Nigeria’s Super Falcons on slippery path to Paris 2024 -

Nigeria’s Super Falcons beat Banyana Banyana of South Africa 1-0 in their first leg of the final qualifiers for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. The return leg comes up on Tuesday in Pretoria.

The South Africans consider the result a good one going into the final qualifier.

Skipper of the side, Rasheedat Ajibade scored the lone goal from a penalty spot in the 43rd minute.

It is Nigeria’s first outright defeat of South Africa since 2018 when Nigeria excelled in an ensuing penalty shootout after a goalless draw in the final match of the Africa  Cup of Nations in Ghana.

In their next two matches.

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First, they pulled off a big upset beating Nigeria 4-2 to win the Aisha Buhari Cup in Lagos in September 2021 and followed up with another 2-1 win in a Group C match at the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco.

 

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Tragedy hits South African football as international player is shot dead! –

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Tragedy hits South African football as international player is shot dead! -

Former South Africa junior international Luke Fleurs, who played for the country’s most popular club Kaizer Chiefs, has been killed in an attempted hijacking in Johannesburg, police officials confirmed on Thursday.

The 24-year-old was shot in the chest at a petrol station on Wednesday night and the assailants drove off in his vehicle.

“While waiting to be served by the petrol attendant, he was confronted by two armed males,” police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Mavela Masondo told reporters, adding no arrests had yet been made.

Centre back Fleurs played every minute for South Africa at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021, and that same year was called up to the senior team for World Cup qualifiers against Ethiopia, though he did not make it off the bench and was uncapped.

“We woke up to the heartbreaking and devastating news of the passing of this young life. This is such a huge loss for his family, friends, his teammates and football in general. We are all grieving this young man’s passing,” South African Football Association president Danny Jordaan said in a statement.

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South Africa’s Minister of Sport, Arts & Culture, Zizi Kodwa said he was “saddened that yet another life has been cut short due to violent crime”.

Fleurs joined Chiefs from SuperSport United in October, having come through the Ubuntu Football Academy in Cape Town.

-Reuters

 

 

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