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Footballers among those killed in Libya floods

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The Libyan Football Federation announced that Shaheen Al-Jamil was among the players who lost their lives in the floods

The devastating floods in Libya have claimed the lives of a number of elite footballers, according to the Libya Football Federation.

The floods, caused by Storm Daniel, resulted in two dams bursting, sweeping away large parts of the port city of Derna.

The internationally-recognised government in Tripoli says at least 2,300 people have died, while the eastern administration – which controls Derna – says more than 5,300 bodies had been found.

Thousands more are reported to be missing.

The LFF has officially announced the deaths of four footballers in the region – Shaheen Al-Jamil, Monder Sadaqa and brothers Saleh and Ayoub Sasi.

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Sadaqa played for Derna-based Premier League side Darnes, where the Sasi brothers were part of the youth team. Al-Jamil recently signed for Al-Tahaddi, another Premier League team in the city of Benghazi.

BBC Sport Africa understands that another footballer, Ibrahim Al-Qaziri, also died in the floods. He had played for several Libyan Premier League sides and was most recently at second-tier Nusour Martouba.

Darnes are one of two teams playing in Derna along with Al-Afreky, another club in Libya’s second-tier known as the First Division.

The club’s stadium, one of the landmarks of the city, has suffered significant damage in the flooding, having recently been rebuilt having been destroyed during the civil war.

In an official statement via social media, the LFF mourned the loss of the players and all victims of the disaster, saying “We belong to Allah and to Him we shall return”.

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The federation also announced it would suspend meetings scheduled to take place in coming days to allow it to prepare for upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

A number of clubs in the country have undertaken humanitarian initiatives to help flood victims, including sending convoys carrying equipment and foodstuffs to the affected area.

BBC Sport Africa has learned that Libyan clubs Al-Ahly Benghazi and Al-Hilal have asked the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to postpone their forthcoming matches in the African Champions League and African Confederation Cup respectively.

Al-Ahly are scheduled to play ASEC Mimosas of Ivory Coast on Sunday.

Al-Hilal are set to face Rwanda’s Rayon Sport on Friday, with Al Hilal club official Ali Al Sharif telling the BBC, “the situation is really not suitable for playing football in light of the disaster that befell us”.

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-BBC

 

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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International Football

Two Moroccan football players lost at sea, says club official

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Abdellatif Akhrif, IRT player reported missing off the coast of M'diq this Saturday, July 6, 2024. © COPYRIGHT: IRT

Two Moroccan players from top-flight soccer side Ittihad Tanger have been missing at sea since Saturday after strong currents drifted their small yacht, a club official said on Sunday.

They were in a group of five players from the club who went cruising off the northern city of Tangier when strong currents and heavy winds drifted their yacht away as they were swimming in deep waters, club deputy president Anass Mrabet told Reuters.

“Three players have already been rescued on Saturday, while research is still ongoing for the missing Salman Harraq and Abdellatif Akhrif,” he said.

The players did not have buoys on them when they jumped from the small yacht to swim, he said citing recounts by rescued players.

While Akhrif, 24, is already a full member of the squad, Harraq, 18, was about to move up to the senior team this year, Mrabet added.

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Ittihad Tanger have been in the Moroccan top flight since 2015 and won the league title for the first and only time in their history in the 2017-18 season. However, they have struggled in the lower half of the standings in recent years.

-Reuters

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International Football

FIFA launches ‘Football Manager’ World Cup with $100,000 in prize money

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FIFA's Chief of Global Football Development and former soccer manager Arsene Wenger speaks during the 74th FIFA Congress at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center, in Bangkok, Thailand, May 17, 2024. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha/File Photo

FIFA will host its first ever FIFAe World Cup of Football Manager this year to crown the best virtual manager on the highly-popular video game, world soccer’s governing body said on Thursday.

FIFA is partnering with Sports Interactive, the developers of the game that has sold millions of copies and has also been used by several football clubs to scout players and opponents thanks to its extensive database.

Players will compete for $100,000 in prize money in the final event from Aug. 29 to Sept. 1.

“This competition requires participants to demonstrate a profound understanding of football strategy and tactics,” said former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who is the ambassador for the esports event.

“Success demands not only mastery of game mechanics but also in-depth football knowledge, making this format a fascinating blend.”

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FIFA said in the inaugural year of the event, selected member associations will be invited to be represented at the final event.

Member associations from all six confederations are expected to be invited while players can sign up on FIFA’s website.

-Reuters

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Former Italy international Roberto Baggio robbed at gunpoint

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Former Italy international Roberto Baggio was assaulted and robbed at gunpoint at his home in northern Italy while watching his country’s match against Spain in the Euro 2024 tournament on Thursday, local police said.

Burglars broke into Baggio’s house near Vicenza, hit him on the head with a gun butt and locked him and his family in a room while they stole jewellery, watches and cash, daily Il Corriere della Sera reported. It said he suffered a deep wound.

“Luckily, the violence I suffered only resulted in a few stitches, bruises and a lot of fear. Now it is to overcome the fear,” Baggio was quoted as saying by Italian news agency ANSA.

Baggio, 57, played for clubs including Juventus (JUVE.MI), opens new tab, AC Milan and Inter Milan. He also played 56 times for Italy, scoring 27 goals, and is widely seen as one of his country’s all-time greats.

After the robbery, Baggio, widely known as the “divine ponytail”, was treated at a local hospital where he received stitches for the head wound, Italian media reported.

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Italy lost to Spain 1-0 on Thursday and now must avoid defeat by Croatia to guarantee progression in the tournament.

-Reuters

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