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2023 AFCON: Increase in prize money vital to closing gap – Patrice Motsepe

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On the eve of the Nations Cup, Caf announced that the overall champions would receive $7 million (£5.5 million) in prize money, a 40% increase over the previous Afcon.

According to the head of the Confederation of African Football (Caf), more prize money has helped lower-ranked teams succeed in the current 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.

Patrice Motsepe was speaking ahead of the quarterfinals, which began in Ivory Coast on Friday.

Holders Senegal, 2022 World Cup semi-finalists Morocco, and past champions Egypt and Algeria were among the early departures.

On the eve of the Nations Cup, Caf announced that the overall champions would receive $7 million (£5.5 million) in prize money, a 40% increase over the previous Afcon.

“Many of the players [at Afcon] don’t earn the same money, and I have learned over the last 20 years, if you increase the money that goes into the pockets of the players, and tell them ‘We have increased the prize money’ it inspires them immensely,” Motsepe told BBC Sport Africa.

“There’s also more money going to academies into football development and some of the results of the investments we can see now but we will see many in future. So the future looks bright.”

A number of so-called “smaller” nations achieved surprising outcomes in Ivory Coast, notably Namibia, which defeated Tunisia, Mozambique, whose comeback tie led to Ghana’s exit, and Equatorial Guinea, which upset the hosts 4-0 in the group stage.

Only four of the eight quarter-finalists had ever won the Africa Cup of Nations, and this tournament produced 105 goals in 44 games, an Afcon record.

African football ‘must be valued’

Motsepe is happy that the Nations Cup has been so exciting to watch.

“For all of the nations in Africa, the quality of football has increased enormously,” Motsepe said.

“We need to get the spectators to enjoy watching our football. It’s got to be appealing, it’s got to be attractive, it’s got to be exciting – because then it has a commercial value.

“And we can use some of that commercial value to pay our players and our technical teams and the coaches and the administrators.

“I must just say I’m proud, and I don’t know who’s going to win. I can tell you the 54 nations in Africa have each been a winner.”

Aside from the enjoyable football in Ivory Coast, there has been great acclaim for the outstanding calibre of officiating, with Motespe noting the boost it offers to African football’s reputation.

“The quality of our referees, the quality of our match commissioners, the quality of our linesman and the quality of our VAR (Video Assistant Referee) has been world-class.

“And the integrity, the independence, and the African referees – we are confident – are as good as the best in the world.

“One of our important aims is that African football must be recognised and be respected because of what we do on the field of play to be as good as the best in the world.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done. But at the end of the day, we are all judged by our results.

“When an African nation is champion of the world, then we will get the acknowledgement we deserve.”

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Thomas Partey returns from months of injury as Arsenal thrash Sheffield United

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The victory moves Arsenal two points behind leaders Liverpool. It maintains the Gunners in the championship fight, while Sheffield United is 11 points from safety with only 11 games left. Arsenal scored after just five minutes, and the only surprise was how long it took them. They broke United open down the left before cutting the ball back for Odegaard, who scored from 10 yards out. The advantage was doubled in the 13th minute when Bukayo Saka's low cross was deflected into his own net by Bogle, who got his legs tangled with the ball deflecting off his ankle, and it was immediately extended when Martinelli hammered in via a deflection after Jakob Kiwior's cut back.

Thomas Partey returned from injury as Arsenal won their eighth Premier League game in a row, defeating Sheffield United 6–0 at Bramall Lane.

The Gunners were ahead 3-0 after 13 minutes and 5-0 at halftime against the league’s worst team.

Mikel Arteta’s squad scored goals through Martin Odegaard, Gabriel Martinelli, Kai Havertz, Declan Rice, and Ben White, as well as an own goal by Jayden Bogle.

The victory moves Arsenal two points behind leaders Liverpool.

It maintains the Gunners in the championship fight, while Sheffield United is 11 points from safety with only 11 games left.

Arsenal scored after just five minutes, and the only surprise was how long it took them. They broke United open down the left before cutting the ball back for Odegaard, who scored from 10 yards out.

The advantage was doubled in the 13th minute when Bukayo Saka’s low cross was deflected into his net by Bogle, who got his legs tangled with the ball deflecting off his ankle, and it was immediately extended when Martinelli hammered in via a deflection after Jakob Kiwior’s cut back.

During the first half, Havertz made it 4-0 by tucking into the bottom corner after a Martinelli through pass.

Arsenal sliced through United at will, and on 39 minutes, Rice finished low past the exhausted home goalie Ivo Grbic.

The visitors did not let up after the interval, as another well-executed play resulted in right-back White blasting powerfully past Grbic with his left foot.

The Gunners are the first English league team to win three straight away games by five or more goals, while United, who appear bound to relegation, are the first to lose four consecutive home games in all competitions while surrendering five or more goals.

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Maybe he wants an autograph – Asamoah Gyan hits back at NDC MP

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Speaking to Radio XYZ, Mr. Dafeamekpor said that the former Black Stars captain was a longtime follower of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) who did not desire glory for their opponents. In reaction, Asamoah Gyan stated that the NDC MP is only seeking attention for his autograph. "Perhaps he wants an autograph. Do not worry. "I will sign one for him soon," the former Sunderland attacker joked on X (previously Twitter).

Asamoah Gyan, former Black Stars captain, has replied to charges made by Member of Parliament for South Dayi, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor, that he purposely missed a penalty during the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

He claimed that Gyan’s vital miss in the quarter-final match against Uruguay, which would have made Ghana the first African team to reach the World Cup semi-finals, was politically motivated.

Speaking to Radio XYZ, Mr Dafeamekpor said that the former Black Stars captain was a longtime follower of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) who did not desire glory for their opponents.

In reaction, Asamoah Gyan stated that the NDC MP is only seeking attention for his autograph.

“Maybe he wants an autograph. Do not worry. “I will sign one for him soon,” the former Sunderland attacker joked on X (previously Twitter).

The former Black Stars captain has faced a storm of criticism after being selected to the NPP manifesto committee.

The 38-year-old will lead the party’s Youth and Sports subcommittee, reporting to Vice President and NPP flagbearer Dr Bawumia.

Despite the attacks, Asamoah Gyan says he is motivated and ready to give his share to country building.

As Africa’s leading World Cup scorer with six goals, he is determined to use his knowledge to restore Ghanaian football.

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Jose Peseiro has resigned as Nigeria’s head coach

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He agreed to an extension till the end of the tournament after lowering his compensation from $70,000 to $50,000. Despite guiding Nigeria to the AFCON final, which they lost 2-1 to host country Ivory Coast, both sides chose to separate ways. Peseiro congratulated the NFF and those who helped make his term unforgettable, including Sir Amaju Pinnick, President Ibrahim Gusau, General Secretary Mohammed Sanusi, Secretary Dayo Enebi, and all of the staff and players.

José Peseiro, the head coach of Nigeria’s national side, the Super Eagles, has stepped down after his contract with the Nigeria Football Federation expired.

In a statement posted on X, the Portuguese coach acknowledged his thanks for the chance, saying, “We completed our deal with the NFF yesterday. It was an honour and privilege to coach the Super Eagles. It’s been 22 months of incredible devotion, sacrifice, emotion, and enthusiasm. We feel fulfilled.”

Peseiro’s original contract with the NFF expired shortly before the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Ivory Coast.

He agreed to an extension till the end of the tournament after lowering his compensation from $70,000 to $50,000.

Despite guiding Nigeria to the AFCON final, which they lost 2-1 to host country Ivory Coast, both sides chose to separate ways.

Peseiro congratulated the NFF and those who helped make his term unforgettable, including Sir Amaju Pinnick, President Ibrahim Gusau, General Secretary Mohammed Sanusi, Secretary Dayo Enebi, and all of the staff and players.

“We would like to express our gratitude to Sir Amaju Pinnick (the president who signed us), President Ibrahim Gusau, General Secretary Mohammed Sanusi, Secretary Dayo Enebi, the NFF, all the Staff, and especially all the PLAYERS, with whom leading has been a great pleasure.

“Guys, we are thankful; it has been a privilege to be part of this family. We will miss you, but we will always be there for you, no matter where you are. A big hug to all of you.”

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