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2022 World Cup: Draw for African preliminaries out

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In Cairo on Monday, the draw for the first round of African qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar was made.

See fixtures below:

Ethiopia vs Lesotho

Somalia vs Zimbabwe

Eritrea vs Namibia

Burundi vs Tanzania

Djibouti vs Eswatini

Botswana vs Malawi

Gambia vs Angola

Liberia vs Sierra Leone

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Mauritius vs Mozambique

Sao Tome &bPrincipe vs Guinea Bissau

South Sudan vs Equatorial Guinea

Comoros Islands vs Togo

Chad vs Sudan

Seychelles vs Rwanda

The ties will be played over two legs in September, with the team mentioned first playing at home in the opening leg.

The 14 winners will join the continent’s top-ranked 26 sides, who have been exempted from the initial round of qualifiers, in the next draw.

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This draw is to be held on a date still to be decided.

Those 40 teams will then be split into 10 groups of four for the second qualifying round.

The 10 winners of those groups will then be drawn against each other in home-and-away fixtures, with the five victors advancing to Qatar 2022.

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All Africa’s 54 member-countries are entered.

Nigeria, Senegal, Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco picked the five African tickets to the last World Cup, held in 2018 in Russia.

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Nigerian basketball player, Michael Ojo is dead

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Nigerian-American basketball player, Michael Ojo has passed away after suffering a heart attack during training in Belgrade, Serbia.

The 27-year-old who previously played for Red Star Belgrade was reportedly having an individual practice at Partizan’s stadium when he collapsed on Friday, August 7.

Local media said he was rushed to the hospital from Partizan’s stadium but showed no signs of life and was confirmed dead.

“We are deeply saddened by the news”, Red Star’s spokesperson Igor Vujicin told AFP.

The Lagos-born who was 7ft 1in tall and weighed 22st played for Florida State University in the United States, before starting his professional career in Belgrade, Serbia with FMP for a year after which he played two seasons for Crvena Zvezda.

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He won the 2018 ABA SuperCup as well as the ABA League and the Serbian League in 2019. Ojo was a free agent this summer.

Ojo had been without a club since June 30 but was training with Red Star.

Red Star Belgrade released a statement mourning the shocking loss of their former star.

“The sudden and shocking death of Michael Ojo has deeply affected everyone — players, coaches and the management of a club that accepted him from the first day, and that he considered his own,” Red Star said.

His former teammates and EuroLeague also extended condolences to Ojo’s family, teammates, coaches, “and many fans who enjoyed his performances”.

 

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Aubameyang to commit future to Arsenal with three-year-deal

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Emerick Aubameyang

Arsenal are close to agreeing a new contract with FA Cup hero Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after a breakthrough in talks with the forward, writes Dan Kilpatrick.

Following months of negotiations, the 31-year-old is believed to have verbally agreed to a new deal until 2023, thought to be worth more than £250,000 a week. Barring any late hitches, Aubameyang is now expected to commit his future to the club in a major boost to manager Mikel Arteta.

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The club captain has scored 70 goals in 109 appearances since signing from Borussia Dortmund for £56million in January 2018 and he has proved indispensable for Arteta, most recently with a match-winning performance in last Saturday’s FA Cup Final win over Chelsea.

Aubameyang is set to be joined in north London next season by Willian, with the Chelsea winger close to agreeing on a three-year deal with Arsenal, believed to be worth in excess of £100,000 a week.

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The Gunners are also eyeing Lille central defender Gabriel Magalhaes and want a central midfielder, with Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partey among their targets.

A number of fringe players are expected to depart this summer, with AC Milan target Lucas Torreira and Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who is wanted by Everton and Brighton, among them.

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Sane begs Alaba to shun Man City, stay at Bayern

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Former Ex-Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness believes any move away from the German champions would represent a step down for David Alaba.

Manchester City are among a number of clubs linked with the defender of late, with just 12 months remaining on his contract.

Former City star Leroy Sane has urged Alaba to stay at Bayern, while Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge recently insisted he’s confident of the Austrian’s stay.

“I can only say from my own experience that the last million is not that important,” he told DAZN and Goal.

“He gets a secure job here, a lot of fun, home, a lot of love from the fans and acceptance, which he would have to work for at another club.

“There is no club that is as familiar, cosy and pleasant as FC Bayern. For him, it would perhaps be a step forward financially, but in all other areas, it would be a step backwards.

“And according to my feeling, at least the clubs he would like to go to have never knocked, fortunately. And that’s why I hope that he will stay.”

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