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Ghana qualifies for AFCON after defeating Central African Republic



Ghana has qualified for the 2024 AFCON after defeating the Central African Republic at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium today, September 7, 2023.

Both teams came into the game hoping to qualify, with Ghana needing a draw or a win and the Central African Republic needing a win to ensure their participation in next year’s tournament in Côte d’Ivoire.

Ghana started the game dominating possession as expected, but without creating any clear-cut chances.

A cross over the top of the Black Stars’ defense caused Lawrence Ati Zigi to come off his line, but the Ghanaian goalkeeper failed to get the ball, leaving a gaping goal for Louis Mafouta to tuck in the first goal of the game on the 25th-minute mark.

The Black Stars kept seeing more of the ball after going down, but struggled to create clear scoring opportunities.

However, Mohammed Kudus took matters into his own hands on the stroke of halftime, converting a direct free kick after Osman Bukari was fouled in the Central African Republic’s defensive half.

The second half started in the same fashion as the first, with Ghana dominating proceedings but failing to find the cutting edge.

Antoine Semenyo, Ernest Nuamah, and Gideon Mensah were introduced as the game progressed in Ghana’s bid to secure a win, which eventually paid off.

Semenyo and Nuamah combined after the former pounced on a defensive error to set up the Lyon man to slot home the winner in the 87th minute.

The result means that Ghana topped the group with 12 points, while Angola came second with 9 points after they drew goalless with Madagascar in Luanda.

The top two teams in the group qualify for the 2023 AFCON, which will be played in Côte d’Ivoire in January 2024.

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Ghana face Liberia in friendly match in Accra Today



Ghana will play Liberia in a friendly match at the Accra Sports Stadium on Tuesday afternoon, with kickoff scheduled for 4 p.m. local time.

The Black Stars enter the game with high spirits following their recent victory over the Central African Republic in Kumasi. In that match, the Central African Republic posed a significant challenge initially, threatening to deny Ghana a spot in the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations.

However, Ghana’s Right to Dream Academy graduates, Mohammed Kudus and Ernest Nuamah, turned the tide with two crucial goals, securing a victory and Ghana’s 10th consecutive AFCON qualification.

Now, all eyes are on Liberia, a team that did not manage to qualify for the AFCON. Nevertheless, they cannot be underestimated, as they will be eager for a memorable victory against Ghana.

Historically, Ghana hold the upper hand with an impressive eight wins out of 19 games played against Liberia since their first encounter in 1972. Notably, Liberia emerged victorious in their last encounter, defeating the Black Stars 2-0 in a friendly match in Monrovia.

This time, Liberia aim to replicate that success in Accra, where the Black Stars have sometimes faced challenges in defeating opponents compared to Kumasi. Both teams view this friendly as part of their preparations for the upcoming 2026 World Cup qualifiers set to kick off in November.

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Spanish FA president Rubiales resigns over Hermoso kiss



Luis Rubiales has resigned as president of the Spanish Football Federation following criticism for kissing Spain forward Jenni Hermoso at the Women’s World Cup final presentation ceremony.

Hermoso, 33, said the kiss after Spain beat England was not consensual and she filed a legal complaint last Tuesday.

Rubiales said he had submitted his resignation to federation acting president Pedro Rocha in a statement.

“I cannot continue my work,” he told Piers Morgan on his television show.

The 46-year-old has also resigned from his position as vice-president of Uefa’s executive committee.

The fallout from the kiss has engulfed Spanish football in recent weeks and overshadowed Spain’s World Cup win, with Rubiales ignoring repeated calls to resign.

On Friday, a prosecutor filed a complaint with Spain’s high court – following Hermoso’s testimony on Tuesday – against Rubiales for sexual assault and coercion.

Rubiales claimed the kiss was “mutual and “consensual” but had been provisionally suspended by football’s world governing body Fifa.

“After the quick suspension carried out by Fifa, plus the rest of open proceedings against me, it is evident that I will not be able to return to my position,” Rubiales’ statement read.

“Insisting on waiting and holding on is not going to contribute to anything positive, neither to the federation nor to Spanish football.”

Rubiales said he hoped his departure would boost Spain’s joint bid with Morocco and Portugal to host the 2030 World Cup.

He added: “I have faith in the truth and I will do everything in my power to prevail.

“My daughters, my family and the people who love me have suffered the effects of excessive persecution, as well as many falsehoods, but it is also true that on the street, more and more every day, the truth is prevailing.”

Some 81 Spain players, including all 23 World Cup winners, said they would not play for the national team again while Rubiales was in his position.

World Cup-winning manager Jorge Vilda – considered a close ally of Rubiales – was sacked on 5 September amid the scandal, with Montse Tome named as his successor.

Politicians, footballers and celebrities have spoken out against Rubiales, while protesters gathered at the federation’s headquarters last month to demand his resignation.

Spain’s acting Labour minister, Yolanda Diaz, posted on X (formerly Twitter): “The feminist country is advancing faster and faster.

“The transformation and improvement of our lives is inevitable. We are with you, Jenni, and with all women.”

Irene Montero, Spain’s equality minister, added: “It’s over.”

Asked by Morgan whether something in particular finally led him to resign, Rubiales said he spoke to his family and listened to the advice of friends.

“My father, my daughters, I spoke with them – they know it’s not a question about me – and some friends very close to me said to me ‘Luis, you need to focus on your dignity and to continue your life because if not, you are going to damage people you love and the sport you love’,” Rubiales said.

“This was a question of not only me. An attitude towards me can affect third parties [that are] very important. It was the intelligent thing that I had to do.”

On Sunday, Hermoso received a warm welcome from supporters and team-mates of her domestic club, Pachuca, before their 2-1 win against Pumas in the Liga MX women’s league in Mexico.

The 33-year-old unveiled a mural on the walls of the Hidalgo Stadium celebrating her achievements with Spain in the Women’s World Cup, and was also given a framed jersey with her number 10 on it.

Source: BBC

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CAR coach “curses” Black Stars to AFCON doom after losing qualifier in Kumasi



Head coach of the Central African Republic Raoul Savoy says the Black Stars will be up for another humiliation when they take to the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.

The Black Stars secured a ticket to the competition to be staged in Ivory Coast following a 2-1 win over CAR at the Baba Yara Stadium on Thursday evening.

After Mohammed Kudus had equalised just before the break, the game seemed to heading for a draw till Antoine Semenyo and Ernest Nuamah combined to give the Black Stars the win.

The defeat also means CAR will have to wait another time to play at the continental showpiece as they finished third in Group E.

According to Savoy, the Black Stars were hugely favoured by the referee on the day and were handed so many privileges by the officials.

He believes Ghana could be in for another disaster if they take the performance on Thursday to Ivory Coast.

“Your next AFCON will be like the last one,” a trusted Savoy said as he left the press room at the Baba Yara Stadium.

The Black Stars were booted out in the group stage at the last AFCON in Cameroon after picking up just one point from their group.

Then playing under Milovan Rajevac, Ghan lost to Morocco in their opening game and drew against Gabon before suffering a defeat to Comoros.

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