Salah faces hectic 2021 with Egypt, CAF to elect new president

Liverpool sharpshooter Mohamed Salah will be a star in demand during 2021 with Egypt wanting him not only for World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, but also the Olympic Games.

The record seven-time African champions face between six and eight World Cup matches and two in the Cup of Nations as the continent plays catch-up after 2020 schedules were severely affected by the coronavirus.

Qualifiers for the Olympics are permitted three over-age players in a tournament otherwise restricted to under-23 footballers and Salah tops the Egyptian wish list as they plan for Tokyo.

Here, AFP Sport outlines what lies ahead for African football with a new Confederation of African Football (CAF) president set to be elected in March after incumbent Ahmad Ahmad was banned for five years by FIFA.

World Cup

Salah and fellow former African Footballer of the Year Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will come face to face in Group F where Gabon are likely to pose the biggest threat to Egypt.

Libya, who cannot play at home because of a violent struggle for political control of the oil-rich country, and off-form Angola are also in the section and only the team finishing first survive.

African champions Algeria, Tunisia, Nigeria, Cameroon, Mali, Egypt, Ghana, Senegal, Morocco and the Democratic Republic of Congo are seeded to win the 10 groups and reach the two-leg final phase.

Cup of Nations

Among the last 10 champions, 2012 title-holders Zambia are in most danger of missing the 24-team tournament in Cameroon, which has been put back one year to the beginning of 2022 because of Covid-19.

The Chipolopolo (Copper Bullets) are last in a group where defending champions Algeria have already qualified, Zimbabwe lie second and Botswana third.

Zambia have lost three of four qualifiers and host Algeria and visit Zimbabwe during March as they try to avoid missing three consecutive Cup of Nations finals.

Nations Championship

Hosts Cameroon hope to emulate 2018 champions Morocco and win at home a 16-team competition reserved for footballers playing in their country of birth.

It will be a tough task for the Cameroonians, though, after a change of coaches and disappointing warm-up results for the January 16-February 7 tournament.

Qualifying was riddled with shocks and Algeria, Ghana, the Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Senegal were eliminated while former champions Tunisia withdrew after securing a place, citing fixture congestion.

Olympic Games

Africa has collected two gold, a silver and two bronze medals from the last seven Olympic Games football tournaments with Nigeria winning in 1996 and Cameroon emulating them four years later.

Neither country will be in Tokyo, however, with Egypt, the Ivory Coast and South Africa the African representatives.

It will be the 11th appearance by Egypt — a record for an African nation — and their best showings were finishing fourth at the 1928 Amsterdam and 1964 Tokyo Games.

Champions League

Al Ahly of Egypt will not only defend the Champions League title, but also face Renaissance Berkane of Morocco in the CAF Super Cup, and try to improve a poor FIFA Club World Cup record.

The greatest threats to the Red Devils in the Champions League are likely to come from Cairo neighbours Zamalek, Casablanca clubs Raja and Wydad and Esperance Tunis.

Ahly have regularly flopped in the Club World Cup, losing nine of 12 matches in five appearances, including a 5-1 trouncing by Mexicans Monterrey.

Confederation Cup

Berkane defeated expensively assembled Egyptian outfit Pyramids in the 2020 final and both look among the strongest contenders again.

Etoile Sahel of Tunisia, the only club to win all five current and past CAF competitions, and 2015 Confederation Cup runners-up Orlando Pirates of South Africa could go far.

Champions League last 32 losers join the African equivalent of the UEFA Europa League at the playoffs stage and they could include CS Sfaxien of Tunisia, winners of the Confederation Cup a record three times.

CAF presidency

Malagasy Ahmad was a hot favourite to secure a second term as CAF president until FIFA barred him from all football activities for five years.

A FIFA statement said the 60 year old had “breached his duty of loyalty, offered gifts and other benefits, mismanaged funds and abused his position as the CAF president”.

With Ahmad sidelined, Ivorian Jacques Anouma, Mauritanian Ahmed Yahya, Senegalese Augustin Senghor and South African Patrice Motsepe will contest the election in Rabat on March 12.

TV blackout

Football followers in the many African countries where Johannesburg-based SuperSport provide coverage of CAF competitions will be hoping for the end of a blackout with the Nations Championship looming.

CAF last year ended a $1 billion (815 million euros) contract with French company Lagardere, due to run until 2028, after a Cairo court said the agreement breached Egyptian competition rules.

SuperSport, who screened matches along with Canal+ (French) and BeIN Sports (Arabic), said they could not continue as they had signed a contract with Lagardere.

Source: News24

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Joe Biden is Not President Elect

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 11:38 AM PT – Thursday, December 17, 2020

You won’t hear it said anywhere else, but until the joint session of Congress and the Senate meet on January 6 —  Joe Biden is not the president elect.

One America’s Pearson Sharp has more on how President Trump could still be declared the winner of the 2020 election.

RELATED: White House continues election fight despite Senate Majority Leader McConnell

The post Joe Biden is Not President Elect first appeared on One America News Network.

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Egypt begins voting to elect new parliament

A man casts his ballot at a school used as a polling station, during the first round of Egypt’s parliamentary elections in Giza, Egypt, October 24, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

October 24, 2020

CAIRO (Reuters) – Polls opened in Egypt on Saturday for parliamentary elections that will stretch over several weeks and are set to be dominated by supporters of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

A first round of voting will end on Sunday, with a second round on Nov. 7-8. Run-offs will take place in late November and early December.

The polls are being held under a new electoral law under which 50% of 568 contested seats will be allocated to pre-selected lists, a system critics say benefits Sisi’s backers.

The remaining contested seats will be allocated to individual candidates, and Sisi can appoint up to 28 legislators directly.

Mostaqbal Watn (Nation’s Future), which in August won nearly three-quarters of the contested seats in an election for Egypt’s Senate, an advisory body, is the favourite to come out top.

Sisi has overseen a sweeping crackdown on political dissent since leading the ouster in 2013 of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Mursi, who was freely elected in 2012 before mass protests engulfed his rule.

Both Islamists and liberal opponents have been targeted.

Supporters say the measures have been necessary to stabilise the country and carry out economic reforms that have won praise from many economists and international financial institutions.

As Sisi has consolidated control, interest in politics has dropped, with electoral turnout gradually declining.

(Writing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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Student unions cost £165m a year but only one in 10 undergraduates turn out to elect staff, report reveals

Student union staff cost £165m to employ but only one in 10 undergraduates turn out for their elections, a new report has revealed, as Sajid Javid warns the British tradition of free speech is under threat.

Taxpayers and students spend the sum every year on the wages of 600 full-time officers who are meant to represent the voice of students on campus, according to the analysis of 138 unions by the Adam Smith Institute.

However, only 11 per cent of students on average turn out to vote for aspiring officers in student elections, the report found – despite efforts to encourage them to engage with the process through “freebies” such as complementary pizza and discounts at student shops.

In addition, a mere 56 per cent believe their student union does a good job of representing their academic interests, the analysis found.

Student unions banning speakers deemed to hold controversial opinions and blocking the sale of particular publications on campus are some of the issues raised in the report, which the authors say shows that unions are “highly political organisations with little claim to a democratic mandate”.

Mr Javid, the former Chancellor and Home Secretary, said the practice of “silencing” those with whom “an intolerant minority” disagree is part of a worrying trend at universities across the UK.

“British universities are meant to be places of open debate and intellectual freedom. Their proud tradition of liberalism is foundational for bringing students into contact with new and challenging ideas. That tradition is under threat,” he said.

“In student unions across the UK, an intolerant minority is seeking to silence those they disagree with under the banner of no-platforming and safe spaces.

“Their campaign of censorship is an assault on one of our most precious and fundamental rights – freedom of speech. Championing students by protecting legal free speech should be one of the higher education sector’s top priorities.”

The report said the Office for Students, an independent public body, should become the main regulator of universities when it comes to issues such as free speech on campus.

Universities Minister Michelle Donelan said: “This report raises serious concerns about the funding and operation of student unions. For instance £160m could support a lot of bursaries.

“It is vital students have a voice but the report highlights there are also issues around the extent to which student unions represent student cohorts and their needs.”

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UK Liberal Democrats elect Ed Davey as new leader – POLITICO

Ed Davey is the new leader of the Liberal Democrats | Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images

Davey pledges to reach to all voters, regardless of their Brexit stance.

LONDON — Ed Davey has been elected leader of the U.K. Liberal Democrats, beating fellow MP Layla Moran and promising to take the party to “national relevance.”

Davey, MP for Kingston and Surbiton, got 42,756 votes against 24,564 for Moran, the party announced Thursday. He succeeds Jo Swinson, who stepped down after the party’s disappointing result in the December 2019 general election when she failed to get re-elected.

In his acceptance speech, Davey said he would reach out to all voters, regardless of their position on Brexit.

“Whether you’re from the north, south, or somewhere in between, whether you voted for Brexit or Remain, or just wanted the whole thing settled, whether you voted Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat, SNP or Plaid, my message for you is this: I will travel up and down our country to meet you,” Davey said.

He also recognized the party “has lost touch with too many voters” and must “face the fact of three disappointing general election results.”

“The truth is voters don’t believe the Liberal Democrats want to help ordinary people get on in life … nationally voters have been sending us a message, but we have not been listening,” he said. “It is time to start listening.”

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