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2020 Africa sports review: Football, Athletics, Basketball

Michael Oduor, Africanews journalist   -  
Copyright © africanews
Oduor, Michael/

African Football

The year 2020 started rather well at the foot of the Egyptian pyramids. The world's top soccer players came to celebrate the new year during a friendly match organized by the president of African Confederation Ahmad Ahmad: The opportunity to launch a year full of events.

But neither the African Cup of Nations nor the Olympic Games were held as planned in Cameroon or in Tokyo.

Within a few weeks in January, a virus from China emptied the stadiums, interrupted the competitions, changed the habits to all sports and furthermore, impacted the fans.

Mega scandal

The Malagasy Ahmad Ahmad Ahmad was stopped while campaigning for his re-election as the head of the CAF. He was then suspended for 5 years by the FIFA for corruption and embezzlement of funds. The Issa Hayatou's successor had no choice but to withdraw leaving the interim president, Omari to contest.

One of his close relatives, the Senegalais Augustin Senghor  had enough time to position himself too and will face other competitors like the ambitious Patrick Motsepe from South Africa , Ahmed Yahya and the revenant Jacques Anouma.

Another scandal involved Lamine Diack, former head of the International Athletic Federation was convicted in September of corruption and sentenced to 4 years in prison for Russia doping.

2020 Athletics

2020 has also seen some of the greatest athletes crowned in various races. The East African long distance runners once again exploited all the marathon races and even broke world records. Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda and eliud Kipchoge of Kenya stood firm to defend their countries in breaking world records in their respective races.

Other milestones

In soccer, the African Champions League final was postponed many times until this final confrontation between the two largest Egyptian clubs. A late goal f rom Mohamed 'Afsha' Magdy gave Al-Ahly a dramatic 2-1 victory over Zamalek to be declared the Champions.

In addition, the Nigeria's Victor osi,hen transfers from Lille in France to Naples in Italy broke the history to become the most expensive African playerin a deal worth almost 80 million euros.

Nigeria's basketball player become for the second time in a row the Greek's NBA player of the year.

Giannis Antetokoumpo aui has just signed with milwaukee bucks a 5-year extension at $230 million, making the defender one of the 5 highest paid basketball players in history.

Departed icons

2020 also saw many stars die, some from Coronavirus while other due to natural causes.

One of Africa's greatest abroad; the Senegalese Pope Diouf went to France as a journalist and later became the President of the Olympiaue Marseille; the man who brought to the scene, Mamadou Niang and Didier Drogba amongst others, was struck by by the novel coronavirus and later died at the age of 68 years.

Stephen Tataw, captain of the Indomitable Lions World Heroes of the 90's, along with Roger Milla or Francois Omam-Biyik, also died in the middle of summer.

Just before Anele Ngongca the Bafana Bafana player died at his prime time, struck down through a car accident.

The sporting fraternity furthermore lost two legends. Kobe Bryant an icon at the Los Angeles Lakers together with his lovely daughter died in a helicopter accident

We also have Diego Maradona who just died recently. The Argentinean footballer left an indelible mark on the African continent. His joy of playing, his extraordinary character has always fascinated many Africans and the entire world. His disappearance reminds us of the Argentina vs England match in the World Cup where the hand of God was obviously came to work.

Maradona had the opportunity to meet the Tunisian referee who officiated the controversial world cup final. A remarkable moment in the history of football.

He admitted that he had doubts about the validity of Maradona's infamous 'Hand of God' goal, but said the football legend's second strike in the game was a "masterpiece"