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Review: Africa's notable names on various sports in 2021

Africanews journalist Michael Oduor presenting sports review of the year   -  
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Africanews

CAF

2021 has been a year full of sporting activities ranging from football, athletics, basketball, boxing activities like the UFC and even the World safari rally making a comeback to Kenya.

-Motsepe elected CAF president-

2021 has seen the election of South African tycoon Patrice Motsepe elected Confederation of African Football (CAF) president.

The 59-year-old Motsepe, a highly successful businessman but a man who had little experience in soccer administration, now has a seat at the sport's top table but also the challenge of turning around FIFA's most troubled confederation.

The South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe, is dreaming of giving Africa its first World Cup.

CAF's finances were also shredded in a FIFA-requested forensic audit in 2019 that found extensive irregularities, and CAF president Ahmad Ahmad was banned from soccer last year for financial misconduct, preventing him from standing for re-election.

-The exceptional 'Lions of Teranga'-

Football is sometimes played on the sand and Senegal has discovered a passion for Beach Soccer. African champions in Saly, the Lions of Teranga had a fantastic start at the World Cup in Russia at the end of August. They failed to reach the finals after having beaten fantastic Brazil in the quarter-finals.

Senegal has also been an impeccable team in the world cup pre-qualifications and this also goes to their beach soccer team after they emerged as the continent’s winners.

Senegal won without trembling the 10th edition of the CAF with a 4-1 victory and their third successive title.

Ten African teams have qualified for the FIFA World Cup playoffs next year in March. DR Congo, Ghana Mali and Egypt joined the Lions of Teranga and the Pharaohs in the prequalification games in 2022.

The continent will be represented by five teams which will be decided in March on a two-legged play-off in March.

While waiting for the end of the World Cup qualifiers in Qatar, the African Cup of Nations will head to Cameroon next month. This was launched by the CAF almost a year ago.

-Tokyo Summer Olympics-

The Tokyo Olympic stadium went up in jubilation this year despite the raging deadly coronavirus pandemic.

The world was focused on the country of the rising sun last summer.

Africa relied as often on its Kenyan athletes, led by Eliud Kipchoge, who retained his marathon title.

Marathon world record-holder Eliud Kipchoge stormed to gold in one of the standout performances at the Tokyo Olympics, with the curtain set to fall on the highly unusual Games.

A succession of big names have failed to perform at the postponed 2020 Olympics but Kenya's Kipchoge showed his class in Sapporo, kicking on the closing stages and clocking 2hr 08min 38sec to retain his 2016 title.

The notably Africa’s best won race, the 10,000-meter race was won by Selemon Barega beating the two Ugandan favorites Cheptegei and Kiplimo.

The race also witness a new champion, Namibia's Christine Mboma, who won a silver medal in the 200m at just 18 years old.

She represents the future of the continent, as does triple jump bronze medallist Hugues Fabrice Zango, the first Burkinabe to stand on an Olympic podium.

-African-born UFC champions-

In the rings, African fighters have turned everything around in 2021.

Lots of gratitudes go to Nigerians Kamaru Usman and Israel Adesanya, Congolese Junior Makabu and especially to Francis Ngannou, the MMA heavyweight champion who returned to Cameroon as a hero.

Francis Ngannou has been the next big thing in the UFC heavyweight division for several years. Just about everyone believed greatness was within the powerful Cameroonian challenger's reach if he could ever put his prodigious talents together.

In March, Ngannou stopped Stipe Miocic with ferocious punches early to a devastating 2nd round knockout to claim the American Mixed Martial Arts League (MMA) heavyweight title at UFC 260.

Israel Adesanya dominated Vettori at UFC 263 in June, earning a unanimous decision to remain undefeated in the middleweight division.

The crafty UFC middleweight star left no doubt in the rematch, pummeling Vettori with a flurry of kicks to the head and legs to defend his title.

-World Rally Champion makes a comeback-

Finally, in 2021, the continent returned to its mechanical tradition, with the World Rally Championship (WRC) returning to the Kenyan tracks after a 19-year absence with the mythical "Safari".