NBA opens new facility in Rwanda

Expanding the Junior NBA Leagues in Morocco and Rwanda builds on the NBA’s commitment to the development of the African continent

The National Basketball Association, (NBA) Africa has launched a new basketball court in Rwanda’s capital Kigali.

The initiative is intended to expand Junior NBA programs, teach life skills and build new basketball courts in the East African nation.

The programme is part of a new, multiyear partnership, announced last month in Morocco, that uses its transformative power of basketball to empower Moroccan and Rwandan youth and their communities.

“The NBA is using this program the junior NBA to build leadership, life skills for the kids here and a sense of community. You know the game of basketball brings communities together and kids playing the game of basketball together is something that builds team work and awareness of your neighbour and allowing them to do what they were born to do and that’s being great,” said retired NBA basketball player Jerome Williams.

Expanding the Junior NBA Leagues in Morocco and Rwanda builds on the NBA’s commitment to the development of the African continent.

This year, the NBA plans to reach more than 51 million youth in 75 countries through league play, in-school programming, clinics, skills challenges, and other outreach events.

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Kenya's Keter sets new Urban Train record

The 5km road distance has only been recognized as a world record event since November 2017.

Kenya’s Robert Keter has set a new world record. Keter beat a high class field to win the Urban Trail Lille 5km on Saturday, November 9th.

“I’m very happy, very happy”, Keter said.

The athlete sprinted away from the field in the closing stages to cross the finish line in 13:22. This is seven seconds better than the previous mark.

The 5km road distance has only been recognized as a world record event since November 2017.

Although Keter is now the fastest time since then other runners had bettered the time previously.

The fastest time ever recorded for the distance was Sammy Kipketer’s 13:00 clocking in 2000.

Keter’s new record is subject to ratification.


CAF scraps controversial $1 bn deal with French outfit

CAF said it had no choice but to cancel the deal after two court judgments went against it.

African football’s ruling body has scrapped a $1 billion television and marketing rights deal with Lagardere Sports in the wake of separate judgments that it breached competition rules, but Lagardere said it would fight to enforce the contract.

The French-based company called the Confederation of African Football’s (CAF) move “unlawful, unreasonable and unjustified” and said it would defend its agreement with CAF that runs from 2017 to 2028.

It suggested that it may accept changes to the terms of the deal but that if all else fails it would seek compensation in cash.

CAF said it had no choice but to cancel the deal after two court judgments went against it.

A Cairo court ruled last November that the agreement breached “Egyptian competition rules because Lagardere was appointed as CAF’s exclusive agent for marketing and media rights for an uninterrupted 20-year period without any open tender,” CAF said in a statement on Friday.

The court fined CAF 100 million Egyptian pounds ($6.2 million).

The Competition Commission of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (CCC) had also found in 2017 that the agreement infringed competition regulations.

“Given the above developments, CAF had no choice but to terminate the agreement,” it said.

“Termination of the agreement is the legal consequence of the judgments of Egyptian courts and the recommendations and imminent decision of the CCC,” it said.

Arnaud Lagardere, managing partner at the French firm, said it would fight CAF’s move, accepting changes if necessary – or seeking cash compensation for the lost business.

“We have here a very, very strong case and we’ll do whatever it takes either to maintain the contract, deal with more changes or get a significant amount of cash,” he said in a statement to reporters on Friday.

“This is really unfair and even if I know that no one should be too candid or naïve in this business, I think we don’t deserve such a treatment.”

Lagardere Sports did not directly address the court or the CCC’s view that its agreement breached competition regulations.

Lagardere has been involved in television production of CAF events for almost two decades.

Broadcasters said planned coverage of next week’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, which Lagardere was responsible for, had been cancelled. Such cancellations have occurred previously, although usually for logistical reasons.


Congo: Les taureaux de Brazzaville win rugby championship

The first edition of the Doppel Rugby championship was played in Pointe Noire in the Republic of Congo. Les Taureaux de Brazzaville won the competition 15-12 ahead of Les Barbar de Pointe Noire.

The competition kicked off on high gear on Saturday November 1 as the scourging sun welcomed the players on the artificial turf.

A round robing tournament that pitted all five teams against each other.

After day one games Les Intouchables rugby club finished 5th with 4 points

Congolies Rugby club got 11 points on 4th spot, while Stade de Brazzaville finished in 3rd spot.

The top two teams Les Taureaux de Brazza and Les Barbars de Pointe Noire were positioned for the finals.

An intimidating atmosphere, Sunday night the visiting bulls from Brazzaville take a step ahead of their opponents prior to the finals.

Then came hostilities. A tight scoreline that saw three points making all the difference in the championship.

The organizers of the competition say the goal has been attained and such championships will change the story of the sports in the country.

Les Barbar de Point Noire crashed in front of Les Taureaux by 12 to 15. A window to better prepare for the second edition which will likely be coming up next year but before that, they hope to file in a handful of players to the Red Devils who will take on the Indomitable lions in their next international rugby match.

Keep Dreaming, Keep Believing: Rugby skipper Kolisi tells South African children

Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe, who scored the Springboks’ tries in Saturday’s final against England, were among the first group of players to land at OR Tambo Airport.

King Kolisi arrives

South Africa’s Rugby World Cup winning captain Siya Kolisi urged underprivileged children in the country to “keep dreaming and keep believing” as he carried the Webb Ellis trophy through thousands of fans on the team’s return home on Tuesday.

Kolisi led the Springboks to victory in Japan when they beat England 32-12 in the final in Yokohama on Saturday, a third title for the country after 1995 and 2007, and the first under a black captain.

His rags-to-riches tale has been inspirational for many, and the raucous welcome the side received showcased the full range of the Rainbow Nation as fans from all walks of life spent hours waiting for a glimpse of the players as they emerged in groups from different flights.

The biggest cheer was reserved for Kolisi, who grew up in an impoverished township and has written his name not only into rugby folklore but also into the history of South Africa as a beacon of hope for those who face a bleak future.

“The kids must keep dreaming and keep believing,” he told reporters. “Anything can be overcome. When I was young, I was just focused on going to training each day, preparing myself for the opportunity just in case it ever came.

“I am proof it can be done. We don’t want it to be so tough for anybody else, we want to make it easier in the future.”

Kolisi said the players felt the support from back home during their time in Japan, with a TV screen in their hotel constantly replaying videos from fans, or images of ordinary South Africans celebrating their victories.

First batch arrives

Members of South Africa’s Rugby World Cup-winning team arrived home on Tuesday and thousands greeted them with a huge cheer at Johannesburg’s international airport.

Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe, who scored the Springboks’ tries in Saturday’s final against England, were among the first group of players to land at OR Tambo Airport.

As he emerged into view in the arrivals hall, Mapimpi held his hands up and clasped them together as the crowd roared. Kolbe was recording the scenes on his cellphone.

Teammate Damien de Allende, with his gold medal draped round his neck, pumped his arms in the air in front of the fans wearing Springboks jerseys who packed the hall. Duane Vermeulen, the player of the match in the final, dished out high fives to fans.

People were also crammed together on the balconies overlooking the arrivals area — there was no room to move anywhere — and a giant South African flag hung on one wall. The smiling players had to be shepherded through the crowd by a police escort.

Mapimpi’s inspirational story

Mapimpi, like Kolisi, provided one of the heartwarming stories for the South Africa team. He grew up poor, went to an unfashionable school, and was overlooked for all of South Africa’s youth teams and only made his international debut last year at the age of 27.

He scored six tries at the Rugby World Cup in Japan, the second-highest number at the tournament, including South Africa’s first in a final.

“It’s amazing for me. I’m proud of myself, I’m proud of the team, I’m proud of the South African people, I’m proud of my fans, I’m proud of my family,” Mapimpi said. “I don’t have a lot of words. I don’t know what I can say. It’s amazing.”

Flanked by South Africa’s minister of sports at the official arrival news conference, Mapimpi also made the politician gasp — and his teammates chuckle — when he uttered an expletive on live TV while remembering a grueling fitness session in the buildup to the World Cup.

Springboks receive support from stars

He added that the team had also been inspired by messages from tennis great Roger Federer, whose mother was born in South Africa, and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

“I am a huge Federer fan, so when he sent the message it was special. Tom Brady as well, that was amazing for us as a team.”

What next

The Boks’ next encounter will be against an as yet unnamed opponent in the 2020 June International window, and Kolisi is hopeful that the core of the World Cup-winning side will be kept together.

“We would love to stay together as a team, but that will be down to the coach. A lot of us have committed to staying in South Africa for that,” Kolisi said.

Inspired by the story of Kolisi, who rose from a poor township to lift rugby’s biggest prize, the Springboks of 2019 have been compared to the team of 1995, which won South Africa’s first World Cup at home in front of Nelson Mandela nearly a quarter of a century ago. South Africa also won the World Cup in France in 2007.

Kolisi’s team has returned home to countrywide celebrations and will take the World Cup on a five-day tour of the nation starting on Thursday.


Gabon skipper Aubameyang is Arsenal's new captain

Speaking to the press, manager Unai Emery said the club had four captains of which the first was Aubameyang.

Gabonese international Pierre Emerick Aubameyang has been named new skipper for English Premier League side, Arsenal; the club website confirmed late Tuesday.

The forward will be taking over the title from fellow teammate, Granit Xhaka, who was stripped off the captaincy following an incident with Arsenal fans weeks back.

Speaking to the press, manager Unai Emery said the club had four captains of which the first was Aubameyang. “We have now Aubameyang, Hector, Lacazette and Ozil – they are the four captains, and first is now Aubameyang.”

The player recently celebrated being the fastest to score 50 goals for the North London side. He joined Arsenal in 2018 for a then club record transfer fee of 56 million pounds according to reports.

He has 40 league goals so far. 22 of which won him joint top goal scorer last season along with Liverpool duo of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane. He has nine and a goal in Europa and Emirates Cup respectively.