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South Africa lose, Mali edge seven-goal thriller at ongoing FIFA U-20 World Cup

South Africa’s Amajita lost 1-0 to South Korea in a hard-fought Group F encounter that was affected by torrential rain

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Mali U-20 national team pose for a picture

South Africa’s Amajita lost 1-0 to South Korea in a hard-fought Group F encounter of the FIFA U-20 World Cup that was affected by torrential rain in Tychy, Poland. With just over 20 minutes remaining, a deflected cross into the South African penalty area looped high into the sky, and it was Kim Hyunwoo who found the corner of the net with a clinical header.

South Africa U-20 player vies for the ball
A South Africa U-20 player vies for the ball during a recent match at the ongoing FIFA U-20 World Cup. Photo credit: FIFA

The Koreans comfortably saw out the game, and head into their final Group F clash with already-qualified Argentina. South Africa face a must-win clash against the two-time FIFA U-20 World Cup winners Portugal in Bielsko-Biala.

South Africa U-20 Team Lose to South Korea
South Africa U-20 Team Lose to South Korea at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland. Phot Credit: FIFA

Elsewhere, Mali came from behind to defeat Saudi Arabia 4-3 at the Gdynia Stadium in arguably the most entertaining match of the competition so far.

Saudi Arabia raced to a two-goal lead after just 20 minutes thanks to Feras Albrikan running loose behind the Mali defence and Hassan Altambakti converting a penalty. Mali pulled one back after Saudi goalkeeper Abdulrahman Alshammari’s gifted the ball to Sekou Koita, who fired into an empty net.

Mali U-20 players celebrate a goal as they defeated Saudi Arabia 4-3 at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland. Photo Credit: FIFA

Mali entered the second half looking dangerous, levelling the game in the 54th minute through Ibrahima Kone. However, nine minutes later Saudi Arabia regained the lead through Khalid Alghannam.

Still, Mali were unbowed. First Boubacar Traore tied the match once more from a blistering angled drive before Mohammed Camara struck a 90th-minute winner, guiding home Koita’s curling cross. Mali have four points from two games and a great chance of progressing to the quarterfinals. They face group leaders France in their final match.

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Conservation News & Stories

Namibia plans to auction wild animals to raise money for conservation

An agriculture ministry report said 63,700 animals died in 2018 because of deteriorating grazing conditions brought on by dry weather

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Namibia plans to auction wild animals to raise money for conservation

Namibia has authorised the sale of at least 1,000 wild animals – including elephants and giraffes – to generate $1.1 million for conservation.

“Given that this year is a drought year, the [environment] ministry would like to sell various type of game species from various protected areas to protect grazing and at the same time to also generate much needed funding for parks and wildlife management,” environment ministry spokesman Romeo Muyunda told AFP.

The authorities declared a national disaster last month, and the meteorological services in the country estimate that some parts of the country faced the deadliest drought in as many as 90 years. 

“The grazing condition in most of our parks is extremely poor and if we do not reduce the number of animals, this will lead to loss of an animals due to starvation,” Muyunda said.

In April, an agriculture ministry report said 63,700 animals died in 2018 because of deteriorating grazing conditions brought on by dry weather.

Namibia’s cabinet announced this week that the government would sell about 1,000 wild animals.

They include 600 disease-free buffalos, 150 springbok, 65 oryx, 60 giraffes, 35 eland, 28 elephants 20 impala and 16 kudus — all from national parks.

The aim is to raise $1.1 million that will go towards a state-owned Game Products Trust Fund for wildlife conservation and parks management.

The government said there were currently about 960 buffalos in its national parks, 2,000 springbok, 780 oryx and 6,400 elephants.

The auction was advertised in local newspapers from Friday.

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Africa News & Updates

Africa’s top scorers ready to slug it out in Group B at the AFCON 2019

Let us run the rule over the Group B hopefuls and assess their prospects in the biennial African football showpiece

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Nigeria's AFCON 2019 squad

The sharpest shooters in 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying, Odion Ighalo of Nigeria and Fiston Abdul Razak of Burundi, will come face to face in Group B at the finals this month. While Ighalo and his Super Eagles team-mates are favoured to top the four-nation table and advance to the knockout stage in Egypt, Abdul Razak and the Swallows may struggle.   

Burundi are the lowest ranked of the 24 sides at the June 21-July 19 tournament and the best they can be expected to hope for is third place below Nigeria and Guinea and above Madagascar. The countries finishing first and second are guaranteed round-of-16 slots while the best four of the six third-placed teams also qualify.

Let us run the rule over the Group B hopefuls and assess their prospects in the biennial African football showpiece:

Burundi

The tiny central African country secured a first appearance at the expense of favoured Gabon despite drawing four of six qualifiers.

Algeria-based Abdul Razak starred with six goals at an average of one per match — a total bettered only by Ighalo, who netted seven times. But having tormented the defences of Mali, Gabon and South Sudan, can he wreak more havoc against the Nigerian and Guinean defences?

Olivier Niyungeko, who has succeeded where a string of foreign coaches failed, chose Burundians based in 13 countries and also picked one local, goalkeeper Jonathan Nahimana.

Verdict: an early exit looms

Guinea

A squad coached by Paul Put hope poor dress rehearsals will be transformed into a grand opening night against Madagascar. Warm-up losses to lower-ranked opponents the Gambia and Benin in Morocco could sow self doubts and there has also been the distraction of injured midfield star Naby Keita.

He injured a thigh playing for Liverpool at Barcelona in the Champions League semifinals and admits to “not yet being fully fit”.

Put, who took outsiders Burkina Faso to the 2013 final, will expect a lot from Ibrahima Traore, a winger based in Germany whose footwork can bewilder even the tightest defences.

Verdict: Quarter-finals a realistic goal

Madagascar

Like Burundi, the Indian Ocean islanders who are making their Cup of Nations debut will eye third place and qualification as one of the four best teams in that position. French coach Nicolas Dupuis has worked wonders with a side that got to Egypt by finishing above Equatorial Guinea and Sudan, and he also coaches a lower-league club in his homeland.

He believes practice makes perfect, saying: “Madagascar used to play three or four matches a year and we’re going nowhere. We now make full use of every international window.” Dupuis has also convinced France-born Thomas Fontaine, Romain Metanire, Jerome Mombris and Jeremy Morel to represent a country they are linked to through parents or grandparents.

Verdict: reaching second round would complete a fairytale

Nigeria

The three-time champions are back at the Cup of Nations after unexpectedly lifting the trophy in 2013 and then failing to qualify for the next two editions. They should take advantage of a kind draw and cruise into the second round, but Nigerian supporters will expect much more from a team coached by experienced German Gernot Rohr.

When the Cup of Nations was last staged by Egypt in 2006, the Super Eagles finished third behind the host nation and the Ivory Coast. Apart from former Watford forward Ighalo, Spain-based Samuel Chukwueze could be a major threat having scored regularly for Villarreal in La Liga last season.

Verdict: Anything less than a semi-final place will be considered failure

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Africa News & Updates

Ramaphosa under investigation over graft allegations in South Africa

Cyril Ramaphosa is under investigation by the country’s anti-corruption watchdog

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is under investigation over graft allegations.

The South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is under investigation by the country’s anti-corruption watchdog over a 500,000 Rand donation to his campaign fund from a company facing extensive graft allegations, the presidency said Wednesday. Ramaphosa, who was re-elected last month, has staked his reputation on fighting corruption in South Africa.

But his party has continued to face wide-ranging corruption claims against senior figures and even the president himself. The inquiry against him centres on opposition complaints about a payment from Bosasa, a company that corruptly won huge government tenders under Zuma’s tenure.

Related: Apartheid-era police officer in South Africa to face trial over 1971 murder

According to the South African presidency, the country’s ombudswoman Busisiwe Mkhwebane has issued Ramaphosa with a notice to respond to allegations that he violated the executive ethics code. “It is served on an individual when they are implicated in an adverse or detrimental manner in a current investigation,” the president’s spokeswoman Khusela Diko said.

Ramaphosa has told parliament that the payment in October 2017 was to his son Andile for consultancy work for Bosasa, which was renamed African Global Operations. But he later said it was a donation towards his own campaign to become a leader of the ruling ANC party, a hard-fought battle in which he beat Zuma’s chosen candidate.

Ramaphosa, who is under investigation and promised to pay back the campaign funds, has until 21 June to respond to Mkhwebane. Diko said the President will be allowed to question the complainant, leader of the official opposition Mmusi Maimane and other witnesses.

Related: Macky Sall rejects graft allegations against brother

The ANC, which has ruled since the end of apartheid, battled numerous corruption scandals under Zuma. Recent years have also seen the country struggle with sluggish economic growth, record unemployment levels creeping towards 30 per cent, poor service delivery and poverty.

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