2018 Sports Review [2]: Africa tests authority of sports governing bodies

In this article, we continue to review the highs, lows and notable sports takeaways over this year.

Beyond football, Africa’s athletes had such an impressive year, notably Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge, who ran the fastest marathon in history, in September, and was eventually named Male Athlete of the Year by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).



In this article, we continue to review the highs, lows and notable sports takeaways over this year.



FIFA clashes with African nations



Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone violated FIFA’s rules of non-interference by political authorities, earning the wrath of the global football governing body.



Ghana and Nigeria settled their differences with FIFA, agreeing to work with the organisation to fight corruption and resolve leadership disputes respectively.



READ MORE: FIFA imposes its will on Nigeria, Ghana over football management disputes

Sierra Leone, on the other hand, were banned by FIFA in October, after they defied calls to reinstate the federation’s president Isha Johansen and general secretary Christopher Kamara.



The federation officials are accused of corruption by government officials and were removed from their positions, a move that FIFA protested.



FIFA who do not tolerate interference by governments in the respective country football federations are conducting investigations into allegations of match-fixing in Sierra Leone and Ghana.



Ghana Football boss exposed, banned



In October this year, FIFA handed former Ghana Football Association president Kwesi Nyantakyi a life ban, the climax of a fall from grace for a man who was one of the most powerful football officials on the continent.



Nyantakyi, a former member of FIFA’s General Council, was found guilty after being filmed by an investigative journalist in a hotel room appearing to take a $65,000 bribe from a supposed businessman seeking to sponsor the Ghanaian football league.



ALSO READ: Malawi football chief Nyamilandu elected to FIFA council

IAAF vs Caster Semenya



One of the biggest athletics stories on the continent this year was the introduction of new regulations for female classification by IAAF.



The regulations,which regulate women who naturally produce testosterone levels above five nanomoles per litre of blood, were protested by South Africa and its star athlete Caster Semenya.



READ MORE: IAAF refuses to soften stance against Semenya

Harnessing basketball talent in Africa



The National Basketball Association’s (NBA) relationship with the African continent continues to grow, and was in September, cemented by an endorsement from Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame in his capacity as African Union chairman.



The NBA, which features several players from the African continent, organises several boot camps to identify talent and has an off-season initiative where it organises a show match between Team Africa and the rest of the world.



Fashionable African teams



Nigeria’s Super Eagles grabbed all the headlines ahead of the World Cup, when their new jersey was voted the ‘most beautiful’ at the tournament in a Sky sports poll.



In August, South African club side, Kaizer Chiefs also made fashion headlines when sports magazine FourFourTwo said they have the best kit of the 2018/19 season.



The magazine which ranked the top 20 kits for the new season, called the new Kaizer Chiefs outfits ‘delightful’.



ALSO READ: Winners, losers and questions facing African football in 2018

CAF Competions produce quarter finalists

African Champions League last day of play in the group stages produces some spectacular statistics with current holders Esperance and TP Mazembe making the cross over. Quarter finalist of both African

African Champions League last day of play in the group stages produces some spectacular statistics with current holders Esperance and TP Mazembe making the cross over.

Raja of Casablanca crashes out of the group stage as six other North African teams book places in the last 8 of the Confederations cup.

Spanish football is on the move to increase it’s fan base in Africa, the competition’s managing director has been canvassing potential ties on the continent.

Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Piere Aubameyang all in the top five goal scoring chat in the English top flight.

Aubameyang 'visits' Wakanda with Black Panther mask in Arsenal win

He pulled on a Black Panther mask after his second goal and Arsenal’s third. The strike sealed qualification in a tense game.

Gabonese international and Arsenal forward Pierre Emerick Aubameyang was in hot form Thursday night as the English premier league side qualified for the quarter-finals of the Europa League competition.

Despite his two goals helping the Gunners to a three – nil victory over French side Stade Rennes, it was Aubameyang’s celebration that has attracted reactions on social media.

He pulled on a Black Panther mask after his second goal and Arsenal’s third. The strike sealed qualification in a tense game.

Supporters at the Emirates Stadium were on tenterhooks after Arsenal lost the first leg 3 – 1 in France. The hosts got off to a quick start as Aubameyang opened the scoring on the fifth minute mark.

Maitland-Niles doubled the lead on the 15 minute mark before Aubameyang sealed the deal with a 71st minute goal. Then he donned the Black Panther mask to celebrate with the fans and team mates.

The club’s Twitter handle titled a photo of mask-wearing Aubameyang and team mate Sead Kolasinac ‘WAKANDA FOREVER’ – in reference to the refrain used by people in Wakanda, the imaginary country where the marvel film Black Panther was staged.

CAF president issued U.S. visa amid denial reports

The three-month visa is issued by the U.S. embassy in Cairo with the issue date being March 14 and June 12 expiration date.

President of the Confederation of African Football, CAF, Ahmad Ahmad was finally granted a United States visa after reports of him being denied gained currency.

The BBC reported on Thursday that a CAF spokesperson had confirmed that Ahmad was denied a visa to attend a FIFA council meeting.

“I confirm the information. The (CAF) president will be in Cairo,” the spokesperson is quoted as saying. But on late Thursday, a photo of Ahmad’s visa was released – reportedly by CAF.

The three-month visa is issued by the U.S. embassy in Cairo with the issue date being March 14 and June 12 expiration date.

Ahmad serves as vice-president of the FIFA council set to meet today in Miami. The top brass of World Football are expected to be in attendance.

FIFA, Qatar to discuss expanding 2022 World Cup

According to media reports, Oman and Kuwait could be chosen to host some of the games of the expanded tournament.

FIFA is keen on seeing the World Cup extended from 32 teams to 48 in the next edition.

It’s a feasible change, according to a study conducted by the technical teams of the football governing body.

But there’s a condition. Qatar will have to accept the idea to co-organise the event with at least one of its neighbours.

The number of matches will increase from 64 to 80, which would be intense for a single country to bear.

According to media reports, Oman and Kuwait could be chosen to host some of the games of the expanded tournament.

A FIFA delegation will meet in Miami, United States on Friday with officials from the host country of the 2022 World Cup.

The organizing committee of Qatar declined to comment on the feasibility study. But its spokesman confirmed Qatar’s presence at the Miami meeting.

According to officials, an increase in the number of teams at the next World Cup could generate additional revenues of between 300 and 400 million dollars, including 120 million in television rights.

Reuters

Zidane returns to Real Madrid's training pitch

Zidane returns for a second spell as coach with plans to rebuild the Spanish giants.

No time to waste for the Frenchman. Zinedine Zidane held his first training session with Real Madrid’s squad on Wednesday.

It follow his reappointment to manage the club on Monday, March 11.

Zidane returns for a second spell as coach with plans to rebuild the Spanish giants. The team has fallen into crisis since he left in May after winning an unprecedented third straight Champions League.

Zidane also won a Liga title in 2017 among nine trophies before standing down having taken the club to the European summit.

But they have endured a miserable season in his absence, first sacking Julen Lopetegui and then Santiago Solari.

Real president Florentino Perez has again turned to Zidane, who stepped in for Rafa Benitez in 2016.

Zidane then quickly guided the team to Champions League glory, but this time he will be without the club’s all-time top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo.

Reuters