Connect with us

Sports

AFCON 2025: Preliminary round draw holds today

Published

on

By Francesca Hangeior

Preliminary draw for the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations will be held today at the Confederations of African Football headquarters in Cairo, Egypt.

CAF made this known in a statement released on its official website by its Communication Department on Monday.

Advertisement

According to the governing body, following the conclusion of the 34th edition of the competition, the draw for TotalEnergies CAF AFCON, Morocco 2025 preliminary round, is set for Tuesday.

It stated that the draw would be conducted at 14h00 local time (12h00 GMT).

The statement read, “The preliminary round will include the eight lowest-ranked teams according to the FIFA ranking:

“Somalia, Djibouti, Sao Tome, Chad, Mauritius, South Sudan, Liberia and Eswatini.

Advertisement

“The matches will be played on home and away basis during the FIFA Window of March 18 to March 26.

“The four preliminary round winners will join the 44 exempted teams for the group stage.”

The just concluded 2023 AFCON was held in Côte d’Ivoire and won by the host team, the Elephants.

They defeated the Super Eagles of Nigeria 2-1 in the final of the tournament.r

Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement

Sports

Outrage after French MP says Israelis not welcome at Olympics

Published

on

By

A French hard-left MP sparked a political row Sunday by saying Israeli athletes were not welcome at the Paris Olympics because of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, which one senior minister said had “hints of anti-Semitism”.

France Unbowed (LFI) lawmaker Thomas Portes was “putting a target on the backs of Israeli athletes”, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin told broadcaster France 2, echoing criticisms made by a major Jewish group earlier Sunday.

Yonathan Arfi, head of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France, said Israeli athletes were “already the most in danger at the Olympic Games”, referencing the 11 “murdered by Palestinian terrorists” in 1972 at the Munich Games.

In a post on X, Arfi branded Portes’s comments “irresponsible” and accused him of “legitimising Hamas”, the Palestinian militant group whose October 7 attacks on Israel sparked the Gaza war.

Portes had said at a rally in support of Palestinians that “the Israeli delegation is not welcome in Paris. Israeli sportspeople are not welcome at the Paris Olympic Games” and called for “mobilisation” around the event.

He later told the Parisien newspaper that “France’s diplomats should pressure the International Olympic Committee to bar the Israeli flag and anthem, as is done for Russia”.

“It’s time to end the double standard,” Portes added.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a limited number of Russian athletes will be allowed to compete in Paris as individuals and not under their country’s colours, and only after being vetted to ensure they have not expressed support for the war.

• Gaza war divides left –

Opposition to Israel’s campaign in Gaza was a centrepiece of LFI’s campaign ahead of European elections last month.

The territory’s Hamas-run health ministry said Sunday that almost 39,000 people had been killed in the fighting, most of them women and children.

Perceived ambiguity in LFI’s response to the October massacre broke apart an alliance of left-wing parties, which grudgingly reformed for this month’s parliamentary polls but has since struggled to find common ground despite coming first.

Beyond Darmanin and the Jewish group, Portes also came under attack from nominal parliamentary allies in the Socialist party and conservatives.

“Of course Israeli athletes are welcome, like all sportspeople from all over the world. Not for who they are but for what they do,” Socialist MP Jerome Guedj posted.

Some LFI lawmakers came out in support of Portes.

“The Israeli flag, stained with the blood of Gaza’s innocents, should not fly in Paris this summer,” MP Aymeric Caron wrote.

Israel’s football team is set to play its first Olympic match against Mali in Paris’ Parc des Prince stadium on Wednesday, two days before the opening ceremony.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s office said Sunday that he would attend Friday’s boat parade on the river Seine and a commemoration for the Israelis killed in Munich in 1972.

AFP.

Continue Reading

Sports

Popular Heavyweight Star Banned From Boxing For Two Years

Published

on

By

Robert Helenius has been handed a two-year ban for failing a drug test after his fight with Anthony Joshua last year.

Finland’s Helenius according to report tested positive for the female fertility drug clomifene in a sample provided to Ukad the day after his knockout defeat by Joshua.

He has denied intentional doping and blamed Ukad’s findings on the consumption of contaminated eggs and chicken.

But Ukad said Helenius “was unable to provide any evidence that the eggs and chicken meat he had consumed in advance of the bout originated from hens that had been administered clomifene”.

Recall that Helenius was provisionally suspended on 18 September 2023, and with the date of his ban backdated to then, will be eligible to fight again on 18 September 2025.

‘The Nordic Nightmare’, who was knocked out in the seventh round – stepped in to face Joshua after initial opponent Dillian Whyte returned an “adverse analytical finding” in a Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (Vada) test before the fight.

Helenius also returned an adverse finding in a test administered by Vada a day before the Joshua defeat, although the result was not known until two weeks after the fight.

Clomifene can be used to boost testosterone levels in men and is banned inside and outside competition by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada).

British welterweight Conor Benn failed two Vada tests for clomifene in the build-up to his fight with Chris Eubank Jr in October 2022.

Benn denies intentionally taking the drug and said it was ingested through contaminated food.

Continue Reading

Sports

Ex Barcelona, Spain defender Marc Bartra ends relationship with model girlfriend Jessica Goicoechea

Published

on

By Francesca Hangeior

Former Barcelona and Spain defender Marc Bartra and his model girlfriend Jessica Goicoechea have reportedly ended their relationship, according to Spanish journalist Abel Planelles.

According to Mirror UK, the couple, who had been together since 2001, gained attention earlier this year when Goicoechea revealed their unusual “sex deal” on a Spanish talk show.

During an appearance on “La Resistencia” in May, Goicoechea shared details of their intimate arrangement.

“If we don’t do it one day, you have to do it twice the day after,” she explained, with Bartra present in the audience. The pact was reportedly devised to maintain their connection during periods of separation.

Despite their attempts to keep the relationship alive, Planelles reported that the couple’s romance has now “broken”. However, he added that they remain on good terms.

He stated, “From what those around me tell me, there is no bad vibes, there is no bad relationship. In fact, on the contrary, there is a good relationship.”

The couple’s journey has been tumultuous, with previous breakups and reconciliations. They went public with their relationship in November 2022, shortly after Bartra’s divorce from journalist Melissa Jimenez, with whom he has three children.

Goicoechea, a successful model and influencer with 1.8 million followers, began her career at 15 and has since launched her own fashion collection and cosmetics brand.

Bartra, 33, who currently plays for Real Betis, is known for his stints at Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund, where he was involved in a traumatic incident when the team bus was hit by a bomb blast.

While their relationship has ended for now, Planelles suggested that reconciliation isn’t impossible.

“They follow each other, they get along well, but it is true that the relationship has ended. You never know if there might be a second chance or a third chance, but right now the relationship between the footballer and the influencer would be broken,” she said.

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2024 Naija Blitz News