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BREAKING: FIFA Bans MKO Abiola Stadium, Abuja (See more)

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MKO stadium

World football governing body, FIFA has slammed an indefinite ban on Moshood Abiola National Stadium Abuja from hosting international matches.

The ban on Wednesday came after irate Nigerian fans invaded the stadium on Tuesday following their nation’s failure to qualify for the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar

On Tuesday, the newly renovated turf hosted the final leg of the Nigeria vs Ghana World Cup play-off but the Ghanaians snatched the ticket from their host in a dramatic fashion through away goal rule.

Angry Nigerian fans invaded the pitch after a 1:1 draw against Ghana forcing players and officials to run for their lives into the changing room.

FIFA medical officer Dr Joseph Kabungo who had a cardiac arrest on his way to the dressing room was rushed to the hospital but he passed on.

Joseph suffered a cardiac arrest during the commotion and was pronounced dead soon after.

Dr Joseph Kabungo is CAF medical committee member who was also recently appointed to the FIFA medical committee. He served as the Zambian team doctor from 2003 to 2016.

It is not clear what other sanctions FIFA and the regional body CAF could mete out to the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF for failing to provide adequate security for the game but the two bodies frowned at fans’ encroachment into the field of play

It could be recalled that the Confederation of African Football (CAF) disciplinary committee in May 2006 sanctioned Nigeria with a $5,000 for poor crowd control at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna, where the Super Eagles hosted Egypt in a Gabon 2017 African Nations Cup qualifier in March.

The organisers of the match allowed a crowd of over 40,000 inside the stadium designed to hold 25,000 spectators.

The Super Eagles and the Pharaohs drew 1-1 in that encounter, with the Egyptians subsequently defeating Nigeria 1-0 in the return fixture to stop the Eagles from qualifying for the competition.

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Thiago Silva gives Neymar nickname

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Chelsea defender, Thiago Silva, has heaped praise on Paris Saint-Germain’s Neymar, calling him a ‘magician’.

Neymar has been in astonishing form so far this season for PSG.

The former Barcelona star scored 11 and assisted eight goals in 11 appearances for the Parisians.

Neymar was also on target for Brazil in their 5-1 win over Tunisia in an International friendly tie on Tuesday.

Speaking after Brazil’s victory over Tunisia, Silva said at his post-match press conference (via PSG Talk):

“Neymar is amazing, a magician, he had big injuries, but this year he was able to prepare well during the holidays.

“I was with him in Brazil, and I saw him. Neymar is doing everything to help PSG.”

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Five things to know about CAF Confederation Cup

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African debutants Future FC of Egypt and Royal AM of South Africa will be among 48 clubs challenging CAF Confederation Cup title-holders Renaissance Berkane of Morocco this season.

While the length of the continent separates them geographically, Future and Royal share the advantage of being well supported financially by owners desperate to make an impact in Africa.

Berkane will not be easily conquered, though, in a season that kicks off on Friday, having reached three of the last four finals and won two.

Here, AFP Sport lists five things to know about a competition launched in 2004, which is the African equivalent of the UEFA Europa League.

Berkane buoyant

Based in the northeastern citrus growing region, Berkane are known as the Orange Boys and have shown consistent improvement since a disappointing Confederation Cup debut seven years ago.

They lost the 2019 final on penalties to Zamalek, beat another Egyptian club, Pyramids, in the next title decider and edged Orlando Pirates of South Africa on penalties in the 2022 final.

Moroccan clubs usually hire local, north African or European coaches, but the latest Berkane success came under the guidance of Florent Ibenge from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Royal revel

Durban-based Royal burst on to the South African scene last season, finishing third in their Premiership debut, ahead of traditional giants Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs.

They subsequently lost Malawian coach John Maduka, who moved to top-flight rivals Maritzburg United, while leading scorer Victor Letsoalo was transferred to another Premiership outfit.

But the departures have not stopped a club funded by TV personality and businesswoman Shauwn Mkhize from being among those setting the pace in the new league season.

Future bright

Cairo club Future changed owners, changed its name from Coca-Cola FC, and finished fifth in their Egyptian Premier League debut last season.

Confederation Cup slots go to the clubs finishing third and fourth, but the CAF deadline for entries fell midway through the season so Future qualified as they were fourth at that stage.

Former Zamalek goalkeeper Mahmoud ‘Genesh’ Abdel Rahim is the best known member of a squad that includes stars from Cameroon, Ghana, Madagascar and Tunisia.

Nigerian hurdles

The closest a Nigerian club came to winning the competition was in 2005 when now defunct Dolphins finished runners-up to Moroccan opponents FAR Rabat.

No team from the most populous country in Africa has reached the final since and the chances of Kwara United or Remo Stars doing so this season are slim.

Kwara will face Berkane if they eliminate Douanes of Niger while Remo have a tough preliminary hurdle to clear in the shape of FAR.

Sfaxien struggle

Tunisian team CS Sfaxien hold the record for Confederation Cup titles with three, but they have performed poorly in recent campaigns.

They made a humiliating exit in the qualifying phase three seasons ago, and exited in the quarter-finals the following year and in the group stage last season.

Unless Sfaxien improve under coach Karim Dalhoum and captain/goalkeeper Aymen Dahmen, the chances of the trophy coming to Tunisia for a sixth time are remote.

AFP

 

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Man City sign Dortmund’s Akanji in £17m deal

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Manchester City strengthened their injury-hit defence on Thursday by signing Swiss international Manuel Akanji on a five-year deal from Borussia Dortmund.

Akanji will provide the Premier League champions with extra defensive depth after recent injuries to center-backs Aymeric Laporte and Nathan Ake.

“I am delighted to be here, and can’t wait to get started,” Akanji, who cost City a reported £17 million ($19.7 million) told the club’s website.

“City have been one of the best teams in Europe over the last few seasons. They are brilliant to watch, play an exciting brand of football and compete for trophies year in, year out, so coming here feels like the perfect next step in my career.”

The 27-year-old spent four-and-a-half seasons with Dortmund after joining from Basel in 2018.

Akanji is City’s fifth summer signing after former Dortmund team-mate Erling Haaland, Kalvin Phillips, Sergio Gomez and Stefan Ortega Moreno.

Both Akanji and Haaland could face their former club on September 14, with Dortmund due to play City at the Etihad Stadium in the Champions League group stage.

AFP

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