By Adedapo Adesanya
The Basketball Africa League (BAL) has announced a multi-year partnership with Flutterwave, making the payments technology company an associate partner of the newly inaugurated league.
The BAL season kicked off on Sunday at the Kigali Arena in Kigali, Rwanda, with 12 teams from across Africa competing in the new professional league and the first BAL Finals will be held Sunday, May 30.
Flutterwave, which was founded in 2016 and recently named among Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Companies, provides innovative payment solutions to more than 290,000 businesses and has an infrastructure reach in more than 33 African countries, including Rwanda, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
The partnership will leverage the BAL and Flutterwave’s shared commitment to driving economic growth across the continent through the launch of a digital campaign that will provide select African entrepreneurs and small businesses with the opportunity to travel, connect and engage with other African markets.
Speaking on this, Flutterwave Chief Commercial Officer, Mr Ifeoluwa Orioke, stated that, “As a lifelong basketball fan, I am excited that we are able to team up with the BAL as it tips off its inaugural season.
“There’s progress going on in Africa, and this is the time to tap into the enthusiasm of young people to unite the continent and open doors for young Africans through sports.”
On his part, the President of BAL, Mr Amadou Gallo Fall, said, “Technology plays an important role in basketball and our ability to make our content and products accessible and convenient for fans to consume.
“This partnership also reflects our ambition to play a role in the industries that will shape the continent’s economic growth, facilitate entrepreneurship and strengthen the continent’s position on the global stage.”
Champions from the national leagues in Angola, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia earned their participation in the inaugural season.
The remaining six teams, which were picked from Algeria, Cameroon, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique and Rwanda, secured their participation through BAL qualifying tournaments conducted by the Federation of International Basketball Association (FIBA) Regional Office Africa across the continent in late 2019.
Manchester United Sack Solskjaer as Carrick Takes Over
By Dipo Olowookere
The top English football club, Manchester United, have sacked their manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, after a run of poor results.
The club in a statement confirmed this development on Sunday, thanking the manager, who is a legend of the club because of his exploits as a player, for his services.
Solskjaer gave a hint of his imminent sack on Saturday after a defeat to struggling Watford by 4-1 at Vicarage Road when he waved goodbye to the away side after the match.
While doing this, the club’s assistant captain, Bruno Fernandes, gestured to the United fans that the fault of the crisis in the dressing room was not the coach’s alone but the entire team.
This was echoed by the team’s shot-stopper, David De Gea, in his post-match reaction when he blamed the players too for the poor performances in recent games.
But it was very certain that the Watford game would be Solskjaer’s last in charge of the club and this was officially announced on Sunday in a statement.
The club further said a former player of the Man United and one of the backroom staff of Solskjaer, Michael Carrick, will take charge in the interim until a permanent manager is announced.
“Manchester United announces that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has left his role as manager.
“Ole will always be a legend at Manchester United and it is with regret that we have reached this difficult decision. While the past few weeks have been disappointing, they should not obscure all the work he has done over the past three years to rebuild the foundations for long-term success.
“Ole leaves with our sincerest thanks for his tireless efforts as Manager and our very best wishes for the future.
“His place in the club’s history will always be secure, not just for his story as a player, but as a great man and a Manager who gave us many great moments. He will forever be welcome back at Old Trafford as part of the Manchester United family.
“Michael Carrick will now take charge of the team for forthcoming games, while the club looks to appoint an interim manager to the end of the season,” the statement disclosed.
Mamador Splashes N6.5m on Nigerian Athletes
By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel
Nigerian athletes who won medals at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics have been rewarded with the sum of N6.5 million as a congratulatory gift from Mamador, the premium food brand from PZ Wilmar and producers of cooking vegetable oil.
They included the winner of Nigeria’s first Olympic wrestling medal (silver), Blessing Oborududu, and Ese Brume, who got the bronze medal on the long jump, while the Paralympic teams consist of Flora Ugwunwa, Bose Omolayo, Folashade Oluwafemiayo and Latifat Tijani.
The sum of N1.5 million was given to Ese Brume, and Blessing Oborududu, while the sportsmen of the Paralympic team, who all won para-powerlifting gold medals at the games, were rewarded N5 million to commend their outstanding performances, totalling N6.5 million.
During the presentation of the cheques to the medalist at an event held in Lagos, the Managing Director Mamador Group, Mr Ipsit Charkrabarti, congratulated the stars on behalf of its parent company, PZ Wilmar.
Noting that the athletes have made the country proud, he said, “Mamador as a brand has been able to celebrate womanhood and the culinary strength of Nigeria cuisines for many years. Now it is time for us to express our honour and pride to celebrating the sports stars.”
On her part, the Head of Marketing Mamador Group, Mrs Chioma Mbanudu, reiterated the company’s full support for sport as it plays a unifying role for the human society, portraying the essentiality of discipline, goal setting, leadership, among others.
The cheque was presented by the Finance Director Mamador Group, Mr Amra Kuma, and collected by their representatives of the teams.
The gesture is in furtherance of the company’s corporate social responsibility sequel to a few months ago when the company organized a special edition program, Mamador August Women Meeting, that enabled a platform for women from all walks of life and social class to discuss, share experiences, encourage, and support each other in achieving fulfilment in their chosen endeavours.
Richest Nigerian Athletes
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, is endowed with great sporting talent. It is home to world-beaters. Thousands of Nigerian athletes have made it big in the sporting scene, from boxing, soccer, basketball, athletics, and many other disciplines.
Big names in football have played in the top European leagues, while others brush shoulders against the best in the NBA, the world’s most lucrative basketball championship. It is normal that Nigerians are always following the progress of their own, and are constantly betting on various sports on bet9ja and other top bookmakers operating in the country.
We’ll be looking at the richest of them in this article.
- Anthony Joshua – Net Worth $80 million
Anthony Joshua is a professional boxer born in Watford, Hertfordshire in England and then returned to Nigeria. He has won the unified world heavyweight title two times. To add to the title, he has had IBF, WBO, and IBO since December 2019 and previously between 2016 to June 2019.
From 2015 to 2016, he held the commonwealth heavyweight title. His current net worth stands at $80 million, becoming one of the richest boxers in the world.
- Mikel Obi – Net Worth $60 million
John Obi Mikel, a Nigerian professional footballer, currently plays for Stoke City in England. Obi Mikel commenced his career in Nigeria, where he played for Plateau United. He has played for Chelsea in England, Lyn in Norway, Chinese club Tianjin TEDA, EFL championship club Middlesbrough, Trabzonspor in Turkey throughout his career so far.
Obi Mikel assisted Chelsea to lift two premier league titles, three FA titles, FA community shield, UEFA champions league, football league cup. In 2013, he won the Turkish cup while playing for Trabzonspor and the African cup of nations with Nigeria’s national team.
- Odion Ighalo – Net Worth $43 million
Odion Jude Ighalo is a Nigerian professional footballer currently playing for Saudi Club Al Shabab. Odion began his career in Nigeria, where he played for Nigerian clubs Prime and Julius Berger. In 2007 he moved to the Lyn club in Norway.
The Nigerian national has played in various football clubs, including Watford in England, Chinese club Yatai, Manchester United in the English premier league, and Shanghai Greenland Shenhua.
- Obafemi Martins – Net Worth $41 Million
Obafemi Martins currently plays for Wuhan Zall in the Chinese super league. He left his country at the age of 16, and since then, he has played in various top clubs in Europe. He has played for Inter Milan before moving to the EPL side, Newcastle United.
Obafemi’s former employers include Vfl Wolfsburg, Rubin Kazan, English club Birmingham city, and Seattle club in the United States. He has won Serie A titles, 2 Italian Cups, and the Italian super league throughout his career.
- Victor Moses – Net Worth $27 Million
Victor Moses currently plies his trade for Spartak Moscow in the Russian top tier, but he’s on loan from English giants Chelsea. He started his football career at Crystal Palace and has played in numerous clubs in Europe, including Wigan Athletic, which marked his premier league debut. Other clubs include Chelsea, Liverpool, Stoke City, and West Ham United.
He has won various trophies throughout his career, including premier league title, FA Cup, and 2 UEFA Europa League with inter Milan, where he spent some time on loan. He helped the national team in winning the African cup of nations in 2013.
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