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World Rally Championship Returns To Kenya

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Motor sport enthusiasts will once again next week get a chance of enjoying racing cars in the worlds toughest race.

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday said, it had taken the country years of negotiations and preparations to bring back the World Rally Championship (WRC) event after an 18-year absence.

“My hope and my prayer is that the manner in which we shall conduct ourselves over the next few days will be such that everybody will accept and understand that the Safari Rally is now here and is here to stay, and we’re not likely to lose it,” President Uhuru said.

He however, said, ” it will depend on not only with how you all perform, all the agencies involved will perform but how Kenyans themselves will behave,” the President said.

President Uhuru presented brand new rally cars to young Kenyan drivers Hamza Anwar (22), McRae Kimathi (26) and Jeremy Wahome (22). The three drivers are sponsored for the WRC Safari Rally by Safaricom and Kenya Airways.

According to organisers, 58 drivers have been confirmed for the event, 24 of them foreigners with the most prominent being Frenchman Sébastien Ogier who has claimed seven WRC titles in the last eight seasons.

The event, will take place in the scenic town of Naivasha in Nakuru County. It was restored to the WRC calendar following an intensive campaign led by President Uhuru.

Rose Wachuka, the Chief of Staff at the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage, it is a “moment of pride” for Kenya.

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Gambia and Equatorial Guinea in Afcon last eight line-up

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It’s quite rare for one of the central tenets of Christian evangelism to entwine with the Africa Cup of Nations. But at the end of nearly three hours of toil, sweat and matyrdom, they fuse: Jesus saves.

Not, on this occasion, the Christ child but the boy Owono.

The 20-year-old goalkeeper Jesus Owono dived low to his right to repel Falaye Sacko’s penalty.

The block brought joy to the Equatorial Guinea side and misery to Malians.

“It’s historic for us to get this far and it comes after excellent work by my players,” beamed Equatorial Guinea coach Juan Micha.

At 61 places beneath Mali in the Fifa rankings, Equatorial Guinea had upset the odds and progressed to the last eight at the Cup of Nations for the first time since 2015 when they hosted the event.

Back then it was a 16-team affair split into four pools of four and the top two from each group advanced to the last eight.

The expansion to 24 sides in Egypt in 2019 brought the configuration of six groups of four with the top two advancing to the round of 16.

Four of the best third-placed teams also moved into the knockout stages.

Equatorial Guinea, drawn with defending champions Algeria as well as Cote D’Ivoire and Sierra Leone in Group E, were expected to scramble along this route into the second phase.

But they finished second behind the Ivorians after beating Algeria and Sierra Leone.

Equatorial Guinea will again have to deploy doggedness to destroy Senegal’s title aspirations.

Favourites

Aliou Cissé’s men boast the accolade of Africa’s top-ranked team and the 2019 beaten finalists are into the last eight for the third consecutive tournament after a laboured 2-0 win over Cape Verde.

Their encounter on Sunday evening will take place at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaoundé after the Confederation of African Football – which organises the tournament – deemed the pitch unsuitable at the Stade Japoma in Douala. The semi-final slated for Douala has also been switched to Yaoundé.

However, Cameroon’s quarter-final against Gambia in Douala on Saturday afternoon will go ahead. The hosts will be the favourites against a team appearing for the first time at the tournament.

“We’re happy,” said Gambia’s youth and sports minister Bakary Badjie after the last-16 victory over Guinea in Bafoussam.

“We’re grateful to the players for putting up such a strong fight. The whole country from the president right down appreciate what the players have done.

“As debutants there were doubts about Gambia’s ability to go past the group stages and here we are in the quarter-finals. We encourage the boys to keep up the fight.”

Weight

Gambia – the lowest ranked nation at the tournament – could profit from the extra weight bearing down on the Cameroon team since the Olembé Stadium tragedy.

But the disaster could also galvanise a squad eager to pay homage to fans who became victims of their yearning to see their footballing heroes.

After that clash in Douala, Burkina Faso face Tunisia in the northern city of Garoua. The north Africans were depleted by Covid related absences before their last-16 clash.

But they rallied to see off a Nigeria side who appeared hamstrung by their burgeoning status as title contenders.

“It was a tough game against Nigeria but we can’t think we’re done,” said Tunisia striker Issam Jebali. “There will be another hard game to come.” That will probably be in the semi-final.

Burkina Faso have battled valiantly but Tunisia were savvy against the vaunted Nigerians and should possess sufficient nous to dispatch a hearty but limited outfit.

By contrast, a battle royal looms on Sunday afternoon between Egypt and Morocco led respectively by veteran coaches Carlos Queiroz and Valil Halilhodzic.

The Moroccans dominated Group C and in the last-16 showed character and resilience to come from behind to beat Malawi 2-1.

The Egyptians could hardly be called the Pharaohs. They edged past Guineau Bissau and Sudan 1-0 after losing to Nigeria in their opening game in the pool stages.

A penalty shoot-out after a 0-0 draw took them past Cote d’Ivoire to set up the clash. Queiroz hailed the result on social media.

RFI

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Nearly 3,000 Athletes in Beijing For Olympic Winter Games

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Hundreds of sports teams totaling  2,828 athletes from various countries have started arriving in Beijing china for the upcoming XXIV Olympic Winter Games.

This upcoming international winter multi-sport event is scheduled to take place from 4 to 20 February 2022 in Beijing. China is preparing for the Games across three zones: Beijing, Yanqing and Zhangjiakou.

All three Winter Olympic villages in Beijing, Yanqing and Zhangjiakou were open on Thursday, welcoming Games participants from all over the world.

There are 139 pieces of fitness equipment of 27 different types at the Yanqing Olympic and Paralympic Village, helping athletes maintain peak physical condition during the Games.

A menu of 678 dishes will be provided, and around 200 will be available each day in the three villages.

Despite multiple challenges, China has made thorough preparations. Advanced Winter Olympic venues and an intelligent Winter Olympic Village are ready. Professional volunteers, medical and security services are available.

Nearly 3,000 athletes from approximately 90 countries and regions will participate in the event, with the largest number of events and gold medals in the history of the Winter Olympics. Some countries have this year sent delegations to attend the Winter Olympics for the first time.

The forthcoming 2022 Olympic Winter Games will mark the second time Beijing has hosted the Olympics following the 2008 Summer Olympics.

It will also make Beijing a city that has hosted both the Summer and Winter Olympics.

In 2008, I took part in the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games as the President of Polish Handball Association, and was deeply impressed by Beijing’s preparations for the event in all aspects and the hospitality of the Chinese people.

The successful holding of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games will inspire people around the world to overcome challenges brought by the pandemic and jointly create a better  post-COVID world.

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Rwanda Looks to Pakistan To Improve Cricket

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Cricket sport in Rwanda could be destined for a bright future as the local handlers are aggressively engaging other countries where cricket is highly developed.

H.E Amir Muhammad Khan, the High Commissioner of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and Musaale Stephen  the President of Rwanda Cricket Association on Wednesday held productive and forward looking discussions around further advancing the game of cricket in Rwanda.

Unlike Rwanda where cricket gained ground in 1999, the history of cricket in Pakistan predates the creation of the country in 1947. The first international cricket match in what is Pakistan today was held in Karachi on 22 November 1935 between Sind and Australia.

In 2021 Pakistani cricketers, due to their outstanding performance throughout the year bagged the most number of ICC awards and several players succeeded to secure spots in the ICC Teams of the Year.

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