Federer Beats Murray To Win 7th Wimbledon Title

Roger Federer finally equaled Pete Sampras’ record at the All England Club, and won his 17th Grand Slam title overall, by beating Andy Murray 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 Sunday.

“It has worked out so many times over the years here at Wimbledon that I play my best in the semis and the finals,” Federer said. “I couldn’t be more happy. It feels great being back here as the winner.”

Once Murray’s forehand landed wide on match point, Federer collapsed to the grass with tears welling in his eyes. He got up quickly and shook hands with Murray at the net.

Up in the players’ box, Federer’s wife and twin daughters cheered and smiled as he took his seat to await yet another Wimbledon trophy presentation.

“When the roof closed, he played unbelievable tennis,” Murray said.

Federer is now 17-7 in Grand Slam finals, including 7-1 at Wimbledon. Murray dropped to 0-4 in major finals, with three of those losses coming against Federer.

“It’s amazing. It equals me with Pete Sampras, who’s my hero,” Federer said. “It just feels amazing.”

Besides Sampras, 1880s player William Renshaw also won seven Wimbledon titles, but he did it at a time when the defending champion was given a bye into the following year’s

final.

Sunday’s match was the first Wimbledon singles final to be played with the roof closed. The roof was first used at the All England Club in 2009.

Britain has been waiting 76 years for a homegrown men’s champion at the All England Club, and the expectations on Murray were huge. Thousands of fans watched the match on a huge screen on “Murray Mount,” but left the grounds still waiting for a British winner.

Inside the stadium, Prince William’s wife, Kate, sat in theRoyal Box along with David Beckham, British Prime Minister David Cameron and a slew of former Wimbledon champions.

Many of them left a bit disappointed as well.

“Everybody always talks about the pressure of playing at Wimbledon, how tough it is,” Murray said. “It’s not the people watching. They make it so much easier to play. The support has been incredible, so thank you.”

With his victory, Federer regained the No. 1 ranking from Novak Djokovic, allowing him to equal Sampras’ record of 286 weeks as the top-ranked player.

“I never stopped believing. I started playing more, even though I have a family,” Federer said. “It all worked out. I got great momentum, great confidence and it all came together.

So it’s a magical moment for me.”

Murray is coached by eight-time Grand Slam champion Ivan Lendl, the only other man who lost his first four major finals.

At the start of the match, Murray was the one dictating play and winning the tough points. He broke Federer in the first game of the first set, and then broke again late before

serving it out. It was the first set Murray has won in his four major finals.

The second set was much more even, and both had early break points that they couldn’t convert. Federer, however, finally got it done in the final game of the set, hitting a backhand drop volley that Murray couldn’t get to.

Both held easily to start the third set, but then the rain started abruptly, suspending play for 40 minutes. Shortly after they returned, it turned into a one-man show.

With Federer leading 3-2, they played a 26-point, 20-minute game in which Federer finally converted his sixth break point– after Murray had slipped on the grass three times. Federer lost only five points on his serve in that set.

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Serena Williams Claims 5th Wimbledon Title

Serena Williams was crowned Wimbledon champion for the fifth time on Saturday as the American subdued a brave fightback from Polish third seed Agnieszka Radwanska to win 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 in a dramatic final.

Serena, who pockets a cheque for £1.15 milllion ($1.78 million), is the first woman over 30 to win Wimbledon since Martina Navratilova in 1990 and she needed all the experience gathered over her illustrious career to survive a remarkable revival from Radwanska.

After being completely out-classed for the first set and a half of her maiden Grand Slam final, Radwanska had Serena on the ropes before the sixth seed finally recovered her composure to reclaim the Venus Rosewater Dish in just over two hours on Centre Court.

Williams has now equalled her sister Venus’s tally of five titles at the All England Club, but more significantly the 30-year-old’s 14th Grand Slam crown is her first at the majors since her last Wimbledon triumph in 2010.

Inspired by the painful memory of her shock French Open first round exit against Virginie Razzano last month, Serena has spent the last month in a determined bid to reestablish her primacy. It is mission accomplished, but only just.

Radwanska had been so severely affected by an upper respiratory illness over the last few days that she withdrew from the doubles and cancelled her pre-match media commitments.

The 23-year-old, the first Pole to reach a Grand Slam final for 73 years, recovered sufficiently to play, but she might have wished she was back in her sick bed in the first set.

Serena’s success has its foundations in a serve so powerful and accurate that John McEnroe describes it as the greatest the women’s game has ever seen.

Williams has backed up McEnroe’s view throughout this year’s Wimbledon, hammering down hammering down 24 aces in her semi-final win over Azarenka to break the record of 23 she set earlier in the tournament.

She was quickly back in the groove in the final and bludgeoned the first of 17 aces — taking her final tally for the tournament to a remarkable 102 — to clinch the opening game.

Serena was equally powerful with her groundstrokes and converted her third break point for a 2-0 lead.

She broke again in the fourth game and, although sympathetic cheers echoed around Centre Court when Radwanska finally got on the scoreboard, it wasn’t long before Williams closed out the set in just 36 minutes.

After looking out of sorts in the first set, a brief rain delay offered Radwanska a chance to regroup, yet it seemed any hopes of a revival had been snuffed out when Serena broke to love in the third game of the second set.

But to her credit Radwanska kept fighting and, finally unfurling the subtle shots which have proved so effective over the last fortnight, she converted her first break point to level in the eighth game.

Serena looked vexed by the Pole’s changes of pace and nerves seemed to get the better of her as she surrendered the set with a succession of errors at 5-6.

On cruise control for so long, Williams was now being forced to battle for every point.

She thumped down four successive aces to hold serve and stepped up the power to land the decisive break for a 3-2 lead.

When she bagged another break with a delicate drop-shot, Serena celebrated as though the title was hers.

Moments later it was and she was soon clambering into the players’ box to celebrate with Venus and the rest of her family.

It was Williams’ 14th Grand Slam singles crown and allowed Victoria Azarenka, who she defeated in the semi-finals, to reclaim the world number one spot.

It was not only the title she got at Wimbledon. She also set a record for serving the greatest number of aces.

She surpassed the 100 aces mark on Saturday, making her the biggest server of aces in both the men’s band women’s tournaments this year.

The American reached the landmark in the fourth game of the third set of the final against Agnieszka Radwanska when she served four in a row for a ‘golden game’.

Williams had stood at 85 aces going into the final and she has now surpassed even Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber who ended his campaign on 98.

 

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2013 Africa Cup of Nations fixtures

Fixtures and results of the qualifying campaign for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations finals in South Africa.

Second Round:

The 14 winners from round one go into the hat with the 16 finalists from the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations. The draw – which will be divided into two pools of 15, based on performances at the past three Nations Cups – will be made in Johannesburg on 5 July and the ties will be played over two legs on 7-9 September and

12-14 October. South Africa qualify for the 2013 tournament as hosts.

First Round:

  • 29/02/12: Ethiopia 0-0 Benin
  • 15-17/06/12: Benin 1-1 Ethiopia
  • Ethiopia go through on away goals after the tie ended 1-1 on aggregate
  • 29/02/12: Rwanda 0-0 Nigeria
  • 16/06/12: Nigeria 2-0 Rwanda
  • Nigeria win 2-0 on aggregate
  • 29/02/12: Congo Brazzaville 3-1 Uganda
  • 16/06/12: Uganda 4-0 Congo Brazzaville
  • Uganda win 5-3 on aggregate
  • 29/02/12: Burundi 2-1 Zimbabwe
  • 17/06/12: Zimbabwe 1-0 Burundi
  • Zimbabwe go through on away goals after the tie ended 2-2 on aggregate
  • 29/02/12: The Gambia 1-2 Algeria
  • 15/06/12: Algeria 4-1 The Gambia
  • Algeria win 6-2 on aggregate
  • 29/02/12: Kenya 2-1 Togo
  • 15-17/06/12: Togo 1-0 Kenya
  • Togo go through on away goals after the tie ended 2-2 on aggregate
  • 29/02/12: Guinea Bissau 0-1 Cameroon
  • 16/06/12: Cameroon 1-0 Guinea Bissau
  • Cameroon win 2-0 on aggregate
  • 29/02/12: Chad 3-2 Malawi
  • 16/06/12: Malawi 2-0 Chad
  • Malawi win 4-3 on aggregate
  • 29/02/12: Tanzania 1-1 Mozambique
  • 15-17/06/12: Mozambique 1-1 Tanzania
  • Mozambique go through 8-7 on penalties after the tie ended 2-2 on aggregate and level on away goals
  • 15/06/12: Egypt 2-3 CAR
  • 30/06/12: CAR 1-1 Egypt
  • CAR go through 4-3 on aggregate
  • 29/02/12: Madagascar 0-4 Cape Verde
  • 15-17/06/12: Cape Verde 3-1 Madagascar
  • Cape Verde go through 7-1 on aggregate
  • 29/02/12: Liberia 1-0 Namibia
  • 15-17/06/12: Namibia 0-0 Liberia
  • Liberia go through 1-0 on aggregate
  • 29/02/12: Sao Tome 2-1 Sierra Leone
  • 16/06/12: Sierra Leone 4-2 Sao Tome
  • Sierra Leone go through 5-4 on aggregate
  • 29/02/12: Seychelles 0-4 DR Congo
  • 15-17/06/12: DR Congo 3-0 Seychelles
  • DR Congo go through 7-0 on aggregate

Preliminary Round:

  • 15/01/12: Sao Tome 1-0 Lesotho
  • 22/01/12: Lesotho 0-0 Sao Tome
  • Sao Tome advance 1-0 on aggregate
  • 06-08/01/12: Seychelles – Swaziland
  • Seychelles advance after Swaziland withdrew

 

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Arsenal FC Cancels Nigeria Visit

The much anticipated pre season visit of English Premier League giants, Arsenal FC, where they are scheduled to play a friendly match with Nigeria’s Super Eagles on August 5 have cancelled.

The club’s marketing director, Angus Kinnear, said on its official website that the unfortunate decision was taken because of the complexities linked to the planned game against the Super Eagles.

“Bringing a top-level club to an international market is always complicated and logistically challenging,” Mr. Kinnear said.

“With the proposed match in Nigeria planned for early August, we could not get comfortable on everything needed to satisfy our requirements, so we have reluctantly taken the decision to postpone the team’s visit,” he added.

The marketing director stated that Arsenal has “a huge and loyal following in Africa,” and “are sorry that the team will not be visiting this summer.”

“However, we have a long-term commitment to Nigeria and we are already making plans for a visit next summer,” he said.

“In addition, we also have some exciting forthcoming activities planned with our commercial partners in Nigeria – Emirates, Airtel and Malta Guinness, which will kick off in the next few weeks,” Mr. Kinnear said.

Emirates are the official sponsor of Arsenal, and the presenting partner of the Arsenal 2012 Tour.

In a same vein, the divisional senior vice-president, corporate communications of the club, Boutros Boutros, said that “Emirates shares Arsenal’s disappointment that the team’s visit to Nigeria has been postponed. We look forward to working with Arsenal to bring the Club closer to its loyal Nigerian fans through new initiatives over the coming months.”

 

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I Will Not Renew Deal With Arsenal Says Van Persie

Arsenal captain Robin van Persie, today said he will not renew his contract with Arsenal Football club.
“I’ve thought long and hard about it, but I have decided not to extend my contract,” he said. “Unfortunately in this meeting it has again become clear to me that we in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal should move forward.”
Reacting to the confirmation from Van Persie, the Club released a statement saying “We have to respect Robin’s decision not to renew his contract.” “Robin has one year to run on his current contract and we are confident that he will fulfil his commitments to the Club.” “We are planning with ambition and confidence for next season with Arsenal’s best interests in mind.

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Nigeria Climbs Up FIFA Ranking In Africa

Nigeria have found it way back into the the top 10 of Africa’s FIFA Rankings following a good month of June.
Two wins and a draw in the month of June have continued the national team’s steady upward trajectory after falling off the top 10 in May.
The country is now ranked 10th in Africa and 58th in the world, two places up from their worldwide June ranking and one up on their continental ranking.
They also made similar progress the previous month, climbing three places to 60th.
Ivory Coast maintain their stranglehold on the continent’s top position despite failing to make any progress.
The story is the same for most of Africa’s top 10. The leading seven countries; CIV, Ghana, Algeria, Libya, Mali and Zambia, held on to their places.
Egypt toppled Tunisia from 7th and Sierra Leone dropped out of the top 10 to 13th.
AFRICA’S TOP 20:
Rnk   Afr. Rnk    Team
16    1           Ivory Coast
33    2           Ghana
35    3           Algeria
39    4           Libya
40    5           Mali
41    6           Zambia
42    7           Egypt
43    8           Tunisia
45    9           Gabon
58    10          Nigeria
59    11          Cameroon
61    12          Senegal
65    13          Sierra Leone
68    14          South Africa
71    15          Morocco
73    16          Central African Republic
75    17          Guinea
78    18          Benin
79    19          Cape Verde Islands
85    20          Ugand

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Spain Makes History As They Clinch The Euro 2012 Cup

Congratulations to Spain, they have become the first team to win 3 straight major titles and the first to win back-to-back EURO titles. They marched straight into the history books with a magnificent 4 – 0 defeat to Italy in Kiev.

David Silva’s first-half goals from and another from Jordi Alba gave the Spaniard’s a first half confidence lead, which was later crowned with late efforts from substitutes Fernando Torres and Juan Mata.

Victory in the final also represents a triumph for 61-year-old coach Vicente Del Bosque, the first man to lead any team to the World Cup, European Championships and European Champions League crowns, the latter with Real Madrid in 2000 and 2002.

It was all too much for Mario Balotelli, who marched straight down the tunnel at the end and angrily shrugged away efforts from Italian officials to get him to stay, before returning for the presentation ceremony.

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Airtel Signs Partnership With Arsenal Football Club

Arsenal Football Club and African mobile network operator Airtel, today signed a three-year partnership agreement. The deal provides Airtel with the opportunity to utilise the Club’s merchandising, hospitality and content rights in five countries, Nigeria, Zambia, Ghana, Uganda and Rwanda.

The agreement will help the north London side reach some of its 42million fans across the continent. Airtel customers in Nigeria, Zambia, Ghana, Uganda and Rwanda will have the opportunity to win match tickets to watch this summer’s pre-season tour fixture and receive exclusive Club content and news direct to handsets. In addition to the agreement, Airtel will be designated as the official mobile operator of the 2012 Arsenal Tour to Nigeria.

Arsenal will also support the Airtel Rising Stars football program, an annual, multi-country grassroots soccer initiative that offers young boys and girls the opportunity to play compete and showcase their talent to selectors in their respective countries. The selected youngsters get an opportunity to get the best-in-class sports training during a residential clinic organized by Airtel and her partners. The Gunners will provide UEFA-trained coaches to assist with training in each of the five markets and at an Arsenal Coaching Clinic for up to 50 footballers.

Airtel Africa Chief Marketing Officer, Andre Beyers said “Football fans across Africa are known for their passion of the great game. Arsenal’s exciting style of play and a history of working with the best talent from Africa will enrich this partnership and offer a wealth of opportunities for upcoming players and fans. The partnership provides an impetus to the Airtel Rising Stars in some of the countries that have produced amazing young talent and whose youth teams have gone on to win FIFA Youth and Olympic tournaments.’’

Arsenal’s Head of Global Partnerships Vinai Venkatesham added: “I am delighted to welcome Airtel into our family of Commercial Partners. This is the second long-term partnership arrangement to arise from the continent and we look forward to developing a number of exciting initiatives with Airtel, starting with our forthcoming tour to Nigeria in August. This underlines the depth of our following in Africa and how the profile of the Club continues to grow internationally.”

It is the Club’s second pre-season tour to Africa, having played a fixture in South Africa in 1993. The 2012 visit will feature a game between the Arsenal first-team and the Nigerian National Team the Super Eagles on Saturday 5th August. Airtel is in the process of finalising arrangements that will give selected consumers a chance to watch the match and interact with the team in Abuja. The details of the promotion will be announced soon.

 

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David Beckham Out Of Olympic Squad

Beckham, having done so much to bring the London 2012 Games to the UK, was highly anticipated to be selected as one of Team GB’s three over-23 players.

However, Pearce has reportedly opted for Manchester United veteran Ryan Giggs, Liverpool forward Craig Bellamy, and – the surprise pick – Manchester City defender Micah Richards.

The British Olympic Association [BOA] has always stressed that Pearce is under no pressure to select Beckham, with BOA chief executive Andy Hunt recently stating: “He will make the best call he can, on merit. I am not putting any pressure on him whatsoever to pick anyone.”

Former Manchester United and Real Madrid star Beckham currently plays Major League Soccer in the US, and is widely acknowledged not to be one of Team GB’s strongest candidates for an over-23 slot.

Pearce has been to watch Beckham in America to view his form for LA Galaxy, and now Beckham has revealed he has not been chosen for the 18-man squad.

“Everyone knows how much playing for my country has always meant to me,” Beckham said. “I would have been honoured to have been a part of this unique Team GB squad.

“Naturally I am very disappointed, but there will be no bigger supporter of the team than me.”

 

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SUPER EAGLES BEAT AMAVUBI’S OF RWANDA BY TWO GOALS

The Super Eagles of Nigeria this evening defeated the Amavubi’s of Rwanda by two to nothing at the U. J. Esuene stadium in calabar.   Ike Uche and Ahmed Musa’s goals at either side of the break handed Nigeria the two-goal win and saw them progressed to the final round of the 2013 African Nations Cup qualifiers.

Uche fired in from inside the box after Rwanda failed to deal properly with a corner kick, and Musa hooked in a volley from Uche Kalu’s knockdown. Read more

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SOUTH SUDAN BECOMES FIFA MEMBER

(Reuters) The newly independent state of South Sudan became the 209th member of FIFA on Friday, when it was voted into full membership of world soccer’s governing body by delegates at FIFA’s annual congress.
South Sudan, which ceded from Sudan in 2005 and became fully independent last July, joined the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Read more

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