WINDHOEK, June 7 (Xinhua) — Namibian president Hage Geingob on Monday applauded the country’s footballer Peter Shalulile for being awarded the 2020-21 Premier Soccer League (PSL) Player of the Season and Players’ Player awards.
Shalulile, who is a striker at PSL side Mamelodi Sundowns, was presented with his awards virtually on Sunday evening.
On his Twitter account, Hage congratulated Shalulile, describing him as a brilliant footballer who is making his country proud.
“For [Shalulile] to be recognized by coaches and peers as footballer and player’s player of the season is a demonstration of his consistency, hard work and excellence. I congratulate this brilliant footballer for making Namibia proud,” said Geingob.
The president also congratulated Shalulile’s compatriot Deon Hotto for his award as the Last Man Standing and outstanding player during last month’s MTN8 Cup
WASHINGTON, June 6 (Xinhua) — Christian Pulisic converted an extra-time penalty as the United States won the inaugural Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Nations League final by beating Mexico 3-2 on Sunday.
The Chelsea attacker sent a powerful spot-kick into the top-right corner after he was brought down by Carlos Salcedo in the 108th minute at the Empower field.
Mexico had the chance to force the match into a penalty shootout when Mark McKenzie was deemed to have handled the ball inside the box in the penultimate minute of extra time.
But backup U.S. goalkeeper Ethan Horvath, who replaced Manchester City shot-stopper Zack Steffen when the latter was injured in the 69th minute, dived to his right to save Andres Guardado’s spot-kick.
“It’s a perfect way to end the season,” said Pulisic, who eight days earlier helped Chelsea beat Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League final. “I’m so proud of this group. We needed everyone today and it was a phenomenal performance.”
Porto winger Jesus Corona gave Mexico a dream start by intercepting an errant McKenzie pass in the opening minute and rifling an angled finish past Steffen.
The U.S. equalized through 18-year-old Borussia Dortmund midfielder Giovanni Reyna, who fired in from close range after Weston McKennie’s header rebounded off the post.
Mexico regained the lead in the 79th minute when substitute Diego Lainez cut inside and lashed an unstoppable left-footed shot into the bottom right corner.
But Juventus midfielder McKennie drew the U.S. level again, meeting a Reyna corner with a back-post header nine minutes from time.
Officials stopped the match for around three minutes in second-half stoppage time because of discriminatory chants.
Originally scheduled to be completed in June last year, the first edition of the continental tournament was postponed by a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
TOKYO, June 6 (Xinhua) — About 3,500 out of more than 40,000 volunteers have withdrawn from their role as city guides for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Japan’s state broadcaster NHK said that according to the withdrawal numbers released by nine out of the 11 hosting prefectural governments that recruited city volunteers, Chiba Prefecture topped the list with 1,083 withdrawals by the end of last month, followed by Miyagi with about 800 and Fukushima with about 630.
The total is expected to increase when Tokyo and Saitama Prefecture confirm their numbers, NHK reported.
It said that many withdrew because of concerns about the risk of COVID-19 infections and the others said that they no longer had any reason to participate because overseas spectators were not allowed to enter Japan during the games.
Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto revealed earlier this week that about 10,000 people have withdrawn as Tokyo Olympic volunteers, accounting for more than 10 percent of the 80,000 people who signed up to do volunteer work at venues and other locations.
PARIS, June 6 (Xinhua) — Defending champion Rafael Nadal reached another milestone at Roland Garros on Saturday, as the 13-time French Open champion claimed his 103rd match win in Paris to beat Roger Federer’s record of 102 wins in the Australian Open, setting a new win record in a single Grand Slam tournament.
The 13-time Roland Garros champion defeated Britain’s Cameron Norrie 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 to set up a round-of-16 match against Italy’s 18th seed Jannik Sinner.
Nadal had already played Norrie twice this season without dropping a set, and his victory in Paris improved his head-to-head record with Norrie to 3-0.
“Today I had in front a player who is having a great season. I went on court knowing that could be a tough match, and for moments it was like this. I’m happy to win in straight sets,” said the 35-year-old, who converted six of his 12 break points to close out the victory.
The Spaniard has now won 32 consecutive sets at the clay-court major, dating back to the second set of his 2019 final victory against Dominic Thiem.
Novak Djokovic was another man who made history on Saturday, as the top seed needed only one hour and 32 minutes to breeze past Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania 6-1, 6-4, 6-1 to reach the last 16 in Paris for a record 12th consecutive year – breaking a tie with archrivals Nadal and Roger Federer.
Next up for the Serbian is 19-year-old Lorenzo Musetti of Italy, who came through a five-setter against compatriot Marco Cecchinato earlier in the day. The pair have never met before on the Tour, but Djokovic spoke highly of the teenager.
“We did practise this season on this surface, a couple of times in Monte Carlo, and other tournaments. I really like how he plays,” the world No.1 said of Musetti. “He’s got a lot of firepower from both forehand and backhand. He can play with a lot of spins. He’s got great feel [and] comes to the net.”
“He is a big challenge to me. So there is no question I have to go out playing at a high level, because he will not have much to lose,” the 34-year-old added.
In contrast to the easy wins for Nadal and Djokovic, Roger Federer had a tough battle late in the night as the eighth seed had to play three tiebreaks to dispatch Germany’s Dominik Koepfer 7-6(5), 6-7(3), 7-6(4), 7-5 to secure a spot in the last 16.
“I wasn’t sure after the second set how much was left in the tank, so, you know, it was a good battle until then,” said the Swiss, who turns 40 in August. “I thought this win was very important for me. I clearly hadn’t practised three hours 35 (minutes), because that’s obviously always pushing it. I pushed as much as I could, as we thought reasonable. But this today was I think a huge step forward for the team, and for all of us.”
The 20-time Grand Slam champion sealed the victory after three hours and 35 minutes when the clock approached 1am local time.
Federer will play Italian ninth seed Matteo Berrettini in the next round. The Madrid runner-up hit 52 winners in his 7-6(6), 6-3, 6-4 victory over South Korea’s Kwon Soon-woo to reach the fourth round at Roland Garros for the first time.
In the women’s draw, Elina Svitolina became the seventh top-seed to see her campaign end in the opening week, as the Ukrainian fifth seed was outclassed 6-3, 6-2 by Czech player Barbora Krejcikova.
Reigning champion Iga Swiatek overcame a break in the opening set to see off Anett Kontaveit 7-6(4), 6-0 to stay on track to defend her title.
Eighth seed Swiatek, fourth seed Sofia Kenin and seventh seed Serena Williams are the only three survivors of the women’s high-ranked seeds.
“I’m really happy that I’m playing consistently and I’m just trying to approach every match the same way, as I did last year,” said Swiatek, who arrived in Paris with a title-winning victory in Rome.
The 20-year-old, who plays Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk in the fourth round, has now won 20 successive sets at Roland Garros.
“Many players struggle after coming back, after winning a Grand Slam, so I’m really happy that I’m able to handle it,” added the Pole.
Last year’s runner-up Kenin, the highest remaining seed, rallied from one set down to beat fellow American Jessica Pagula 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.
WINDHOEK, June 2 (Xinhua) — Namibia’s boxing wonder kid, Jeremiah ‘low Key’ Nakathila on Wednesday sent a stern warning to America’s Shakur Stevenson ahead of the Interim WBO World Super Featherweight title scheduled on June 12 in Las Vegas.
“I am ready, it is time to put Namibia and Africa on the map. We are ready to have a world champion again,” Nakathila said during a press briefing and send-off event in Windhoek on Wednesday.
Nakathila, who boasts of a 21-1-0 record, is set to go toe to toe with USA’s Stevenson who boasts of a 15-0-0 record. The winner of the fight will face Jamel Herring for the WBO super featherweight title later in the year.
“I am not intimidated by Stevenson’s preparations ahead of the fight. What I can tell you is, be ready to celebrate,” he said.
Speaking to the media, Nakathila’s promoter, Nestor Tobias said their preparations ahead of the fight were fruitful, and they managed to have good opponents for Nakathila.
“He sparred with both orthodox and south-paw partners. We will not underestimate Stevenson and he should not underestimate us as well, as we will go for his blood,” he added.
Tobias said the Namibia team will leave for America on June 4 , so that he and his fighter can acclimatize before the fight.
ABUJA, May 31 (Xinhua) — Sultan Adekoya jogged into a courtyard surrounded by several two-story buildings still under construction in the Egbeda area of Lagos, Nigeria’s most populous city, to join other kids and adults for a routine boxing drill.
Warming up for the day’s training, the 12-year-old boy did a little bit of shadow boxing, building his arm strength, and practiced fast-moving footwork on the red clay ground, while awaiting the instruction of his coach Taiwo Adegbite, who was busy correcting the moves and punches of other trainees who arrived earlier before him.
Adegbite, also known as Coach Tipo, described Adekoya as a “strong and very hardworking kid” with an enviable talent in boxing.
Videos of Adekoya’s extraordinary performance in training and competitions have gone viral online. Nigeria’s Minister of Youth and Sports Development Sunday Akin Dare said on social media that “there is gold in this kid.”
“People know him very well. He is doing really well,” Adegbite, the coach, told Xinhua, noting that Adekoya has so far fought in over 60 amateur boxing competitions, including exhibition bouts, and won them all.
In 2016, the kid fighter was presented a World Boxing Council (WBC) belt after emerging as the Most Promising Boxer at the WBC Cares, an exhibition bout partly sponsored by the WBC. At least 40 young boxers, aged 5-16, participated in the competition in Lagos.
Adegbite said he has every confidence in Adekoya, who still has the same passion he had about seven years ago.
“Sultan came on his own during one of my training sessions outside my house,” the coach said. “He was just walking on the streets when he saw us. He was five years old back then.”
“He ran up to us and picked my gloves without permission. He started throwing jabs and hitting people,” Adegbite said.
Adekoya was told to bring his parents along with him. “I was surprised to see him arrive early in the morning with his parents,” the coach said. “They agreed that he could learn to box. Since then he started training.”
“I love boxing. I want to take boxing as my career,” Adekoya told Xinhua in an interview, listing Nigeria-born British boxer Anthony Joshua and American boxer Floyd Mayweather as his idols.
From Monday to Friday, he goes for training after school, and during weekends, he trains all day and sometimes attends boxing competitions.
Born and raised in the neighborhood of Egbeda, a low-income suburb of Lagos, Adekoya lives with his parents, and a kid sister, inside a small rented room in a compound housing 15 other families.
“Sultan has brought fame to our family. A lot of people point at me at the bus stop and say: ‘That is Sultan’s dad going over there,'” Tosin Adekoya told Xinhua at the small room housing his family, showing all the medals, certificates and trophies Adekoya has won over the years, including the WBC belt.
The 40-year-old auto mechanic expects a good offer for his son to help the boy’s career “100 percent.”
According to Coach Tipo, boxing in Nigeria is next to soccer in terms of popularity, but unlike soccer, the boxing culture in the west African country is not well-developed; promising boxers always lack necessary support.
He said although several Nigeria-born boxers have claimed their fame internationally or regionally, few of them were “made in Nigeria by Nigeria.”
Adegbite said a major challenge facing grassroots boxing classes like his Tipo Boxing Academy, which was founded about nine years ago, is that they do not have a gym with proper boxing equipment to better train boxers. They train outdoors.
He said he is doing all these because he has a passion for boxing, as he has so far no sponsors and all the trainees under his tutelage can’t afford to pay.
“If I say that I want to charge some money and you bring your boy that has the talent and is willing to learn. If I tell him to bring money and he couldn’t afford it, he will just keep the talent at home,” Adegbite said. “These kids don’t even have enough money to eat.”
Greater investment is needed in boxing, in anticipation of a brighter and rewarding future for the sport in Nigeria, Adegbite said.
ACCRA, June 2 (Xinhua) — Ghana’s U-23 men’s football team has departed for Japan for international friendlies against the Olympic teams of Japan and South Korea, the Ghana Football Association announced through its official website on Wednesday.
Even though the Black Meteors failed to secure a ticket of the quadrennial Games, Ghana will use the test matches to prepare for the next African Games scheduled in Accra in 2023.
Ghana will face Japan in two matches scheduled on June 4 and 8 respectively in Tokyo before traveling to South Korea to play on June 12 and 15.
LAGOS, June 1 (Xinhua) — The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) on Tuesday confirmed the eventual qualification of Nigeria’s table tennis star, Quadri Aruna, for the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.
In a letter addressed to the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) and the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF), Gabor Felegyi, the ITTF competition director, said Aruna, who competed for Nigeria at the 2012 Summer Olympics and 2016 Summer Olympics, is expected to join 85 others across the globe to compete in the men’s singles event at Tokyo Olympic Games next month.
“It is with great pleasure, I advise the qualification of Quadri Aruna to compete in the table tennis Men’s Singles event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, on the basis of World Ranking allocation according to the June 2021 ITTF Olympic Qualification Ranking,” Felegyi said in the letter made available to Xinhua in Lagos, Nigeria’s economic hub.
He added that the NOC is expected to confirm Aruna’s participation on or before June 16.
With this development, Aruna will be making his third appearance at the Olympic Games. It was at Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil that Arena stunned the world with his performance as the first African to reach the quarterfinal after edging out some of the best players in the world including former world number one, Timo Boll of Germany before losing to the eventual winner, Ma Long of China in the quarterfinal.
Already 64 players have so far been confirmed for the men’s singles event while the remaining six slots are expected to be allocated as wildcards.
NAIROBI, May 29 (Xinhua) — World champion Frenchman Sebastien Ogier is among 58 drivers entered for World Rally Championship (WRC) Safari Rally Kenya, marking its return to the WRC calendar for the first time in 19 years.
According to an entry list released by world governing body FIA on Friday, Ogier, who won the world title last year as part of the WRC Toyota Yaris works team, will feature in an event that will see 24 foreign drivers and 34 locals compete in the rally from June 24 to 27 in Naivasha, 91km west of the capital Nairobi.
All the three factory teams in Rally1 cars, Toyota, Ford and Hyundai, will field all their top drivers, who will be complemented by the entry of 11 of their second-tier Rally2 cars.
“It is a fantastic entry we have. These are unknown drivers locally coming to an unknown territory. We have had a challenge with the weather recently and will return to the route on Saturday for more inspection,” deputy clerk-of-course, Nazir Yakub, said in a statement released on Friday.
Finland’s Kalle Rovanpera, the 20-year-old son of former WRC champion Harri Rovanpera and a teammate of Ogier, will be the youngest driver on show with 2021 WRC Portugal Rally winner Elfyn Evans and Takamoto Katsuta completing the WRC Toyota Yaris factory team line-up.
Sobieslow Zasada, who finished second in the 1972 Safari Rally when it was billed as the “toughest rally in the world”, is the eldest entrant at 91 years and will be returning to the event for the first time since 1972 in a Ford Fiesta ST Rally3 car.
The star-studded rally will also witness the talents of 2019 WRC champion Ott Tanak, Dani Sordo, Thierry Neuville and Pierre-Louis Loubet will lead the charge for the Hyundai Mobis WRC team.
Local interest will be headlined by six-time Safari winner and ARC Equator Rally champion, Carl Tundo in a VW Polo Rally2 with Onkar Rai and Tejveer Rai the other top Kenyan drivers in the German carmaker’s stable.
National champion Baldev Chager (Mitsubishi EVO X), Ravi Soni (Mitsubishi Evo X) and McRae Kimathi (Subaru Impreza N12), who is the son of former driver and current Safari Rally chairman Phineas Kimathi are other domestic drivers who will be on show.
According to the organizers, seeding for the starting positions will be made later.
WINDHOEK, May 29 (Xinhua) — Namibian sprinter Beatrice Masilingi won the Athletics Gauteng North League in the women’s 200m race in a time of 22.28 seconds in South Africa on Saturday.
Her compatriot Christine Mboma took second place in 22.73. The Third place went to South African athlete Justine Palframan in a time of 22.98.
Speaking to Xinhua after the event, Masilingi said she is happy with the result. “I am very much happy with my performance. I am feeling good,” said Masilingi who will be representing Namibia at the summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Mboma on the other hand said that she is also happy but wanted to won.”I am happy although I wanted to win. Congratulations to my friend and mate Beatrice,” said Mboma who will also be representing Namibia at summer Olympic Games.
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