Seydou Keita: "I might be back to Mali..."

Seydou Keita (AS Roma) Copyright -Via AS Roma official twitter
Since 2015, Seydou Keita didn't play for the Malian national team. AS Roma's midfielder didn't announce his international retirement however, Mali's technical staff didn't call him yet.

After the World Cup qualifying games' draw, the player showed his motivation to join his teammates in such a big challenge. Mali will be playing against Morocco, Gabon and Ivory Coast.

In an interview with CAF official website, Seydou Keita said: "Playing with Mali once again? Why not? Mali is still in my heart and I'm proud that I've been playing since my early ages with the national team".

He added: "Our group is really tough. We will have to prepare very well for each one of our three opponents".

Former FC Barcelona player affirmed that he's not against a potential return to the national team: "I know that people are expecting many things from our team. I believe that we have all the resources and all the chances to qualify. Actually, we have a great squad that makes me inspired and confident. We can also improve ourselves in the upcoming period".

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COVID-19: Buhari tests negative, top aide tests positive

Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari has tested negative to COVID-19. This comes as his Chief of Staff Abba Kyari tested positive for the disease.

Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari has tested negative to COVID-19. This comes as his Chief of Staff Abba Kyari tested positive for the disease. The test was carried out on the President on Monday by the Nigeria Centre for Disease and Control (NCDC).

However, fears are emanating that the Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari who has tested positive for the dreaded coronavirus disease may have transmitted the virus to more people including Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi, Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, Special Assistant to the President on Media, Garba Shehu; Minister of Special Duties, George Akume; Minister of State for FCT, Ramatu Tijani; Geoffrey Onyeama, and other dignitaries and visitors at the prayers held on March 17th, 2020 for the deceased mother of the Kogi State Governor.

Kyari who represented President Buhari at an event, had traveled to Germany in March 7th where he he held meetings with Siemens group on the Nigeria electricity expansion programme.

It is presumed he probably contracted the disease, from there. He returned on March 14th, three days before he attended the Fidau prayer.

The cheif of staff submitted himself voluntarily for testing and was informed of his status on Monday. He has since then gone into isolation and treatment.

Nigeria which had only one case of COVID-19 when the pandemic hit the country on February 28 now has 40 confirmed cases.

Globally, the disease has affected 192 countries with more than 329,000 cases. In Africa, 42 out of the 54 countries that make up the continent are affected.

CHAN postponement: what impact for CAF and Cameroon?

News are now focused on the Coronavirus pandemic which is upsetting everything, even the African Nations Championship is affected.

News is now focused on the Coronavirus pandemic which is upsetting everything, even the African Nations Championship is affected..

After the qualifiers for the African Cup of Nations, it’s the turn of the African Nations Championship to suffer from the Coronavirus. After a period of hesitation, Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) finally decided to postpone the tournament. This decision was inevitable due to the rapid spread of the disease in Africa.

And now it is time for questions. What are the consequences after the postponement of CHAN? Does the decision have a cost? Is it a surprise for Cameroonians? We will discuss this later with a Sports Marketing specialist, Frank Ghislain Onguene who will be speaking with us from Yaoundé, Cameroon.
The health crisis is hitting footballers particularly hard, with salary cuts, unemployment and conferment.

Beninese international Fabien Farnolle spoke to Football Planet about his daily life as an unemployed player. You’ll hear more about it later in the programme.

IOC to consider postponing Tokyo Olympics

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is to consider postponing the Tokyo Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is to consider postponing the Tokyo Olympics, the body announced on Sunday, although it made clear that an outright cancellation of the event was “not on the agenda”.

The development follows mounting criticism from athletes and sports officials over the IOC’s stance on the coronavirus pandemic.

Consultation with Japanese public authorities, global sports officials, broadcasters and sponsors will deal with “scenario planning” for the July 24-August 9 games, the IOC said.

This includes “the scenario of postponement”, it added.

The change in strategy followed a conference call with IOC president Thomas Bach and executive board members.

Bach has previously said that organisers are fully committed to opening the games on July 24 – despite athlete training, qualifying events and games preparations being disrupted more and more by the virus outbreak.

Coronavirus arena: CAF president's message; football, health, solidarity

This piece will focus on the impact on sports given a raft of incidents that have been undertaken.

The coronavirus epidemic continues to disrupt life across the world. The disruption is much lesser in African countries that have recorded cases as compared to for example Italy where the entire country is almost in a lockdown.

The impact on gatherings is an area that most African governments have moved to control. From the playing of football matches behind closed doors, the banning of scheduled sports events and even in the case of Kenya banning athletes from leaving the country.

Our main coronavirus hub is seized with major developments around the epidemic. This piece will focus on the impact on sports given a raft of incidents that have been undertaken.

CAF president’s COVID-19 statement

President of the continent’s football body, Ahmad Ahmad on Friday shared his coronavirus message which ranged from administrative measures by the body, decision on competitions and Africa’s role in combating the pandemic.

  • All competitions suspended i.e. AFCON 2021 qualifiers, CHAN 2020, club competitions
  • CAF 42nd General Assembly scheduled for Cameroon in April postponed
  • CAF staff to work from home till end of March, staring March 20
  • All decisions in interest of global safety
  • World must united to combat the scourge
  • Condolences to all those that have lost loved one
  • Africa must play its part in the fight against the virus

Zimbabwe suspends cricket

Cameroon suspends CHAN

The Championship of African Nations, CHAN, a CAF organized competition has been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. The tournament was meant to take place in Cameroon in April 2020.

The local organizing committee after a meeting on Tuesday (March 17) announced the decision to suspend the competition which was slated for between April 4 – 25.

Cameroon currently has 10 confirmed cases of the coronavirus even though government has yet to impose restrictions on sporting events as at today.

CHAN is a version of the African Cup of Nations but is reserved for players that ply their trade on the continent. The current champions are Morocco who beat Nigeria in the final of the last tournament in 2018.

Namibia’s football body had confirmed that they were withdrawing their participation from the competition. CAF last week suspended all 2021 Cup of Nations qualifiers over the pandemic. FIFA had also advised last week that all international matches be halted.

Tanzania suspends annual Uhuru torch race

Tanzania president John Magufuli announced over the weekend that an annual torch race has been suspended over the coronavirus outbreak. The president said he had taken the decision “after consulting with the Vice President and Prime Minister.”

“I have decided to temporarily suspend the Uhuru torch race until coronavirus is contained. The money which was set for the race should now be directed to preparedness of the facilities for addressing possible coronavirus cases,” he said.

At the time of the statement, Tanzania had not recorded a case. On Monday, the first case was confirmed. The victim is a woman aged 46 who arrived in the country on 15th of March 2020 and was isolated Mt. Meru Hospital, reports said.

The Uhuru Torch (Swahili: Mwenge wa Uhuru, literally “Torch of Freedom”) is one of the National Symbols of Tanzania. It is a kerosene torch. It symbolizes freedom and light. The 2020 edition was set to kick off from Zanzibar.

Countries suspend football leagues

Botswana and South Sudan all announced similar bans. Ethiopia has also banned public gatherings including sporting events whiles Ivory Coast has followed suit, both on Monday.

Ghana became the eight African country to have its football league suspended after the president announced a ban on public gatherings on Sunday evening.

Shortly after, the football association in a statement said it had suspended all football competitions across the country. “Public gatherings are banned in Ghana. Funeral gatherings shouldn’t have more than 25 people,” President Akufo-Addo announced.

Algeria became the seventh African country on record to have suspended its league on Sunday. The measure forms part of nationwide lockdown on sporting competitions.

Other countries that have suspended football competitions officially are: Egypt, Morocco, Kenya, DRC, Gabon, and Sudan. The South African league body said it was meeting to decide on a way forward after President Ramaphosa announced a ban on public gatherings.

Meanwhile the continent’s football governing body, CAF, and the world body, FIFA, have all advised that competitive fixtures be suspended in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

Statement: FIFA recommends all international fixtures be halted

In light of the current situation concerning the Coronavirus, the Bureau of the FIFA Council has decided that the general football rules which normally oblige clubs to release players for national team matches will not apply for the up-coming international windows in March/April.

The situation is rapidly evolving across the world and various international travel restrictions have already been imposed by different public authorities.

FIFA understands that to hold the matches under current circumstances might not only present potential health risks to players (and to the general public) but would also, most likely, compromise the sporting integrity of such matches insofar as certain teams may be deprived of their best squads whilst others may not.

To avoid any unnecessary health risks and also situations of potential sporting unfairness, we therefore recommend that all international matches previously scheduled to take place in March and April should now be postponed until such time that they can take place in a safe and secure environment, both for players and for the general public. The final decision on this issue rests with the respective competition organisers or relevant member association in case of friendlies.

CAF to go ahead with competitive fixtures

CAF to go ahead with competitive fixtures

While the World Health Organization has declared that the coronavirus has moved from epidemic to pandemic status, more worrying than ever, the Confederation of African Football has decided to maintain the programming of all its competitions, namely, the qualifiers for the CAN 2021 scheduled for 25-31 March, and the CHAN 2020 to be held from 4 to 25 April.

A decision taken on the basis of daily reports from the WHO, which prove that no African country to date has been declared high risk contrary to the evolution of COVID-19 worldwide. 

Present in a dozen countries of the continent with 111 confirmed cases, the pandemic is advancing at chameleon-like pace in Africa while there are more than 100,000 confirmed cases worldwide with thousands of deaths.

Some countries, such as Kenya, have travel restrictions in place for sportsmen and women, which for sure could reduce the participation of some key days that national teams might need to win matches during the qualifiers for the AFCON 2021. Under these conditions, is it still possible to organise these competitions?

The spread of the Coronavirus in recent days has compelled several countries on the continent affected by the COVID-19 to take drastic measures.

This is the case of Algeria, which has cancelled all public events, especially sports. Morocco has decreed that all future football matches will be held behind closed doors. The same goes for Egypt.

Statement: Kenya Athletics issues directives

Following a directive from the GOK (Government of Kenya) and due to the global outbreak of the Covid-19 virus, AK has suspended all clearance and travel to international events for athletes & athlete support personnel until further notice.

In a bid to safeguard the athletes and consequently the country from the virus, we urge all athletes to cancel travel arrangements for the next one month pending further communication. We apologize for any inconveniences caused.

Statement: World Football Summit postponed due to coronavirus outbreak

In the light of the ‘COVID-19’ outbreak, which has been officially declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), we have been forced to take the difficult decision to postpone the celebration of WFS Africa, scheduled for March 17-18 in Durban, South Africa.

After closely monitoring the evolving coronavirus outbreak and assessing the risk to our visitors, we have concluded, together with the provincial government of KwaZulu-Natal, our Main Partner, that this is the only way to guarantee the well-being of all our visitors.

During the last few months we have strived to put together an event of the caliber that the African football industry deserves. We were extremely excited with our first-ever African summit and looking forward to welcoming the continent’s most relevant leaders and stakeholders. This decision is heart-breaking for the WFS team.

We want to thank all our speakers, business partners, exhibitors, delegates and members of the media for your enthusiastic support and apologize for any inconvenience. We would also like to underline the solid leadership demonstrated by the South African government and the crucial guidance provided by our Main Partner, the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government.

We look forward to continue growing our partnership in order to build the best possible platform for the African football industry to meet. We will keep monitoring the situation closely while exploring options to reschedule WFS Africa for July-August 2020 depending on the global evolution of the outbreak. Further details will be confirmed as soon as possible.

March 11: FIFA reschedules Congress in Ethiopia

Football’s world governing body, FIFA, has rescheduled its 70th Congress that was scheduled for May 2020 at the African Union’s headquarters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. The event has been moved to September 2020 in Addis Ababa.

An official FIFA statement issued on Wednesday (March 11) read in part: “On account of the spread of COVID-19, numerous international bodies and public health authorities have advised against the organisation of international events.

“Concerns over the health and well-being of participants, as well as travel restrictions in many countries, have resulted in the cancellation or postponement of many such events in various parts of the world.

“Mindful of this, and given the wish of FIFA to organise a Congress which all member associations are able to attend, the Bureau of the FIFA Council has decided to reschedule the 70th FIFA Congress from Friday 5 June 2020 to Friday 18 September 2020 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.”

In June 2019, FIFA announced Addis Ababa as host of the gathering of world football governing body’s supreme legislative body, the FIFA Congress. The announcement was made at the end of the 69th Congress which took place in the French capital, Paris.

“In addition, the FIFA Council meeting planned for Friday 20 March 2020 has also been rescheduled to a date yet to be confirmed in June-July 2020 at the Home of FIFA in Zurich or via video conference,” the statement concluded.

Agnes Keleti, the world's oldest living Olympian [Grand angle]

The story of the world’s oldest living Olympian Agnes Keleti.

The story of the world’s oldest living Olympian Agnes Keleti. Keleti turned 99 years old in January in her home city of Budapest. She won 10 medals in gymnastics – including five golds – across the 1952 Helsinki Games in Finland and the 1956 Melbourne Olympics in Australia.

Her family paid a heavy price during the Holocaust, which she survived thanks in part to assuming a false identity and working as a maid. Her Olympic memories she says does not centre on her athletic prowess but rather on the travel opportunities her sporting career afforded.