Rugby World Cup: South Africa march into Semi final after beating Japan

South Africa had been stunned by that ‘Miracle in Brighton’ but with victories over both Ireland and Scotland this World Cup, Japan no longer held any element of surprise.

In what was a first World Cup quarter-final for the Japanese, neither an entire nation seemingly now besotted by rugby, nor a raucous 50,000 crowd packed into Tokyo Stadium, could carry the hosts to victory.



“Test match rugby is all about creating opportunities and capitalising, but unfortunately they kept us out and with their set-piece… they played well,” Japan skipper Michael Leitch said. “Credit to them.”



It was always going to be an enormous ask for Japan to replicate what has been their greatest moment on a rugby field — beating South Africa 34-32 in a World Cup group match in Brighton, England, four years ago.



South Africa had been stunned by that ‘Miracle in Brighton’ but with victories over both Ireland and Scotland this World Cup, Japan no longer held any element of surprise.



“Honestly, it was exactly what we expected,” South Africa’s captain Siya Kolisi said. “We knew what Leitch and his boys would bring today.



“They came for us in the set-piece and it took a lot out of us to keep fighting. Credit to my boys for keeping going.”



Lines were clearly drawn, with both Japan and South Africa knowing precisely what they had to do to reach next weekend’s semi-final against Wales – this was always going to be a battle between the Boks’ forwards and the Brave Blossoms’ lightning backs.



The first half was close — mostly due to South Africa’s profligacy with the line at their mercy — and the teams had gone in with only two points separating them after an unconverted fourth-minute try by winger Makazole Mapimpi was countered by a Yu Tamura penalty for Japan.



But in the event, after an exhilarating first 40 minutes, the Japanese team ran out of energy, ideas and, finally, hope.



They had not been tackled as fiercely this World Cup as they were on Sunday night. Nor had they faced such a disciplined, well-organised defence.



“We knew how fast they can play,” Kolisi said. “They have a style that is fearless so we knew we had to get up… that is what we pride ourselves on, our hard-working defence.”



Where the South Africans had been careless early on – they could have gone in at halftime three or four tries to the good – they tightened everything up in the second period to devastating effect.



Faf de Klerk, who had helmed the South Africans artfully throughout, added a second try on 66 minutes and Mapimpi added his second four minutes later.



Pollard converted one try and slotted three penalties in the second period, all unanswered.



Japan could never hope to maintain the frenetic pace with which they had harried South Africa early on and departed the tournament beaten but with a whole new army of fans for their exciting, free-flowing rugby.



“Japan is only going to get stronger,” said Leitch, a try-scoring veteran of that pivotal match in Brighton four years ago.



“I am extremely proud of what we have done. We have done the country proud.”

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London now Paris: Rwanda signs tourism promotion deal with PSG

Under the deal, PSG will promote Rwandan products, while messages promoting Rwanda will be displayed on its women’s team kit and in the club’s stadium.

Rwanda signed a deal on Wednesday with French soccer club Paris St Germain to promote tourism in the east African nation, its second such agreement since last year.

“We invest part of our tourism revenues in strategic collaborations such as the one with Paris St Germain because we understand the positive effect they have on the overall perception of the country globally,” the Rwanda Development Board’s chief executive, Clare Akamanzi, said in a statement after the signing.

Akamanzi did not say how much Rwanda would pay for the deal. A source close to the French club said it was worth between 8 and 10 million euros.

Under the deal, PSG will promote Rwandan products, while messages promoting Rwanda will be displayed on its women’s team kit and in the club’s stadium.

PSG said on Twitter that it had signed a deal “inviting the world to participate in the remarkable transformation of Rwanda”.

Last May, Rwanda signed a sponsorship and tourism promotion deal with the English soccer club Arsenal.

Rwanda earned $380 million from tourism in 2018, the central bank said last month, and was forecast to earn $405 million this year. It expects to earn $800 million by 2024, mainly from conferences and high-end tourists who trek with gorillas.

REUTERS

Messi wins 2019 Ballon D'or award, Mane fourth

Big disappointment for Africa as Sadio Mane fails to win the 2019 Ballon D’or. The trophy was awarded to Lionel Messi. It’s the Argentine’s sixth title.

Africa still waiting for the day an African player will win the Ballon D’or award after George Weah’s success in 1995. The 2019 edition was won by Argentine Lionel Messi. Sadio Mané came a distant fourth.

A whole continent was waiting for Sadio Mané or Mohamed Salah to cherish his dream of a second Golden Ball. But Africa’s hopes was dashed once again on Monday when the trophy was awarded to Lionel Messi during a ceremony held at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, France. It was sixth Golden Ball won by the Barcelona striker, who surpassed his rival Cristiano Ronaldo as the player with the most award.

Worse, despite his exceptional season, Senegalese striker Sadio Mané failed to reach the podium while his Egyptian team-mate in Liverpool, Mohamed Salah, finished in fifth place in a highly talked about ranking. The podium was completed by the Dutchman Virgil Van Dijk and Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo.

The group stage of CAF’s inter club tournaments kicked off over the weekend. First with the Champions League, which started last Saturday. The start of the tournament was marked in particular by the very fine performance of two-time defending champion. Esperance of Tunis, who defeated Raja Casablanca 2-0, and are already leading Group D thanks to a better goal difference ahead of JS Kabily, who also won at home by 1 goal to nil against AS Vita Club of DR Congo.

The group stage of the Confederation Cup also kicked off on Sunday. All the results are to be found on our website. The competition was an opportunity for the coach of Beninese club FC ESAE to outline their objective of participating in the Confederations cup. Egyptian club Pyramids FC are making waves in their maiden appearance in an African inter club competition by beating Enugu Rangers of Nigeria 3-2 at their own back yard

Ballon d'Or: Senegal's Sadio Mane hopes to win 'childhood dream of mine'

Mane has had an impressive calendar year, winning the Champions League, the Premier League Golden Boot after bagging 22 goals and finishing second in the league and African Cup of Nations.

Senegal and Liverpool forward Sadio Mane has dreamed about winning the prestigious Ballon d’Or, and many on the African continent are hoping this dream becomes a reality on Monday.

Mane has had an impressive calendar year, winning the Champions League, the Premier League Golden Boot after bagging 22 goals and finishing second in the league and African Cup of Nations.

The Senegalese talisman is one of five African players that made it to the 30-man shortlist for this year’s best football player.

READ MORE: Five African players who made 2019 Ballon D’Or nominees list

Mane’s chances

The Ballon d’Or is an annual football award presented by France Football. It has been awarded since 1956.

“The fact that I am listed as one of the nominees is due to the fruits of the work that I’ve been putting in for a long time,’‘ Mane said about the Ballon d’Or shortlist.

“And if I am able to distinguish myself amongst this collective then of course, the Ballon D’Or, has always been my dream. And when a dream comes true, it is always exceptional.

Rooting for Mane

Ivory Coast’s Didier Drogba believes Mane has done what it takes to be the second player from the African continent to be named world’s best football player.

‘‘It is possible Mane can emulate George Weah, but it would have been possible before. There are many players who have well represented the African continent, like Samuel Eto’o,’‘ Drogba said.

Mane says he is flattered by such praise from African football legends.

“Eto’o, Drogba, they are legends in Africa and to hear what they are saying about me, it is always nice.”

“All of the Senegalese people, my friends, my family, would be so happy, I would be so happy.’‘

Weah is the only player from the continent to have won the award in 1995, and many commentators have argued that the prize is biased against African players.

READ MORE: Mourinho says Cameroon’s Samuel Eto’o should have won Ballon d’Or

Uganda's Cheptegei breaks world 10km record in Valencia

The long distance runner posted a time of 26 minutes 38 seconds, smashing a 2010 record set by Kenya’s Leonard Komon by six seconds.

Joshua Cheptegei set a new record after winning the 10km road race in Valencia, Spain on Sunday morning.

The Ugandan long distance runner posted a time of 26 minutes 38 seconds, smashing a 2010 record set by Kenya’s Leonard Komon by six seconds.

Starting out behind compatriots Stephen Kissa and Abdallah Mande, a determined Cheptegei reached 6km in 16:02 and 7km in 18:42. He forged on, reaching 8km in 21:37, when it became clear that the world record was within reach.

The 23-year old is also the reigning 10,000m champion- a crown he won in Doha in October, having won the 10km cross country world title in Denmark in March.

“What a year it has been,” he said. “I can’t believe it.

africanews

FIFA president Infantino on tour in Africa

Gianni Infantino, FIFA’s president is on a week long tour in Africa where he has been visiting and promoting football in some nations. On the fourth day of his tour his delegation made a stop in Mapu

Gianni Infantino, FIFA’s president is on a week long tour in Africa where he has been visiting and promoting football in some nations.

On the fourth day of his tour his delegation made a stop in Maputo, Mozambique where he visited the country’s prime minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosario, himself a football enthusiast and former national player at youth level.

The two leaders shared views on the benefit of sport, and football in particular, as a tool for social inclusion and education, for the millions of young people in the country.

The president’s tour had earlier kicked off on November 24th in Madagascar, arguable the rising football star nation on the continent. Accompanied by CAF president Ahmad and a delegation from FIFA as well as special adviser to CAF’s president Samuel Eto’o, the delegation met with the President of the republic as well as Malagasy football federation delegates and he is quoted to have said “We intend to do great things for African football, restoring the hope of many and bring smiles to the faces of millions of children in Africa.”

The story was different in Lesotho when the delegation was received on the 26 th of November by his Majesty King Letsie III and Prime Minister Dr Thomas Thabane. The role football can play in the country, particularly as an effective tool for education – a key priority of the government dominated exchanges.

The apex of Infantino’s visit clearly was in Lubumbashi on November 27th when the FIFA delegation was forced to drop their corporate outfits and change into FIFA’s emblematic red adidas jerseys in the presence of thousands who showed up to celebrate the 80 th anniversary of TP Mazembe.

Infantino, Ahmad, Eto’o all up against Mazembe greats including team president Moise Katumbi.

An early goal was scored by Youri Djorkaeff, with a second being added by FIFA President Infantino, resulting from a pass from Samuel Eto’o. Team TP Mazembe fought back in the second half, halving the deficit before the final whistle.

It was an unforgettable reception as activities continued late into the night.

Yesterday November 28th the FIFA team was in Angola where they visited the presidency and in a press conference Infantino pledged 6 million USD grant to Angola in aid for infrastructure project development.

The FIFA president said that the grant will be applied over the next four years to youth and women’s football infrastructure development.

Today Friday November 29 the team is expected in Brazzaville, the republic of Congo where Infantino is expected to visit the newly constructed site for the Congolese football federation. He is also expected to meet with the president of the republic.

The delegation will also visit FIFA’s head office for Central Africa which is located in Brazzaville.