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I made a mistake: Spanish football president apologises for kissing world cup star

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Luis Rubiales, the president of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) on Monday apologised for kissing star player Jenni Hermoso on the lips after Spain won the Women’s World Cup.
 

Rubiales, 45, kissed Hermoso on the lips after she collected her medal, provoking an immediate global reaction.

“Certainly I made a mistake and I have to acknowledge that,” Rubiales said in a video posted on social media by Spanish television.

“It was done without any ill intention in a moment of the highest exuberance. Here we saw it as natural and normal but outside it has caused a commotion.”

“I have no choice but to apologise and to learn from this… and when representing the federation take more care,” he said, adding that he thought the furore was “idiotic”.

Earlier Spain’s sports minister on Monday had demanded that Rubiales apologise.

“I think it is unacceptable to kiss a player on the lips to congratulate her,” acting minister Miquel Iceta told Spanish public radio.

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“The first thing he has to do is to give explanations and make apologies, it is the logical and reasonable thing to do,” Iceta said.

The minister added that while the 1-0 victory over England on Sunday in Sydney was “a moment of intense emotions”, public officials “have to be extremely careful because we are giving a message to society and the message is equal rights, it is respect”.

‘Spontaneous’ 

Rubiales on Monday stressed that he had a “magnificent relationship” with Hermoso.

On Sunday, the player posted a video on Instagram showing the celebrations in the changing room in which she responded to teasing from team-mates by saying: “I didn’t like it, eh!” while laughing.

Later on Sunday the RFEF released their own quotes from Hermoso.

“It was a totally spontaneous mutual gesture because of the immense joy that winning a World Cup brings,” Hermoso was quoted as saying.

“The president and I have a great relationship. His behaviour with all of us has been outstanding and it was a natural gesture of affection and gratitude.

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“A gesture of friendship and gratitude cannot be gone over so much, we have won a World Cup and we are not going to deviate from what is important.”

Spain’s preparations for the World Cup were thrown into disarray last September when 15 players sent an email to the RFEF saying they did not want to be considered for selection.

Their protest was aimed chiefly at coach Jorge Vilda and his methods, including complaints that he was too strict.

Rubiales supported Vilda and only three of the 15 were recalled for the World Cup.

AFP

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Oshoala, Nkwocha, Adesanya, Kamaru make ESPN’s best 25 African athletes list

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The Nigerian quartet of Asisat Oshoala, Israel Adesanya, Perpetua Nkwocha, and Kamaru Usman have been listed among the best 25 athletes from Africa in the 21st century by the prestigious US cable sports channel ESPN.

 

 

Oshoala and Nwokocha are female football players while Adesanya and Usman are mixed martial arts (MMA) male fighters.

 

Ethiopia’s long-distance runner Kenenisa Bekele, who dominated the 5,000 and 10,000-metre track races throughout the 2000s and held the world record in both distances until 2020, occupied the number one position on the list.

 

Oshoala secured the ninth spot, while Adesanya occupied the 15th position. Nkwocha and Usman took the 20th and 23rd spots respectively.

 

Oshoala was honoured for her exploits as a six-time winner of the ‘African Women’s Footballer of the Year’ award and for taking “African women’s football to new heights”.

 

Nwokocha was also recognized for her ruthlessness in front of goal. The attacker scored 80 goals in 99 appearances for the national women’s side, won the ‘African Women’s Footballer of the Year’ honour on four occasions, and is a five-time African Women’s Cup of Nations champion.

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Adesanya and Usman were recognized for their reign in the middleweight and welterweight divisions respectively for four years (2019 to 2022).  They also have similar records of being two-time champions with five successful title defences in the UFC.

 

Adesanya, based in New Zealand, had previously been predicted as the “next big thing” in MMA.

 

Other notable mentions on the list include Samuel Eto’o, Yaya Toure, Sadio Mane, Casper Semanya, and Osi Umenyiora, an American football player of Nigerian descent who won two Super Bowls with the New York Giants.

 

 

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VIDEO: Falcons players rescued after getting stuck in elevator in France

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Some players of the Super Falcons of Nigeria escaped an elevator crisis in Bordeaux, France on Saturday.

 

In a now-viral video of the incident, at least seven players were trapped in the malfunctioned elevator awaiting help at Hotel Mercure in Bordeaux.

 

The Super Falcons are representing Nigeria at the Paris 2024 Olympics women’s football event.

The team arrived in Bordeaux on Thursday from Sevilla, Spain, where they had been fine-tuning preparations for the Olympics.

 

While returning to their hotel rooms, however, the players were stuck in the elevator for minutes due to a technical glitch.

 

“God abeg o,” a player retorted in pidgin English as they awaited an emergency rescue that arrived minutes into the video.

 

“If I survive this one, see that stares, if I no pieces am,” another player promised as they were being evacuated from the elevator.

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Asisat Oshoala, Tochukwu Oluehi, and Uchenna Kanu were some of the players identified in the footage.

 

The Paris 2024 Olympics will begin on June 26 with an opening ceremony on the Seine River in Paris. The Super Falcons will face Brazil in their opening match on the same day in Bordeaux.

 

Randy Waldrum’s Falcons are drawn in Group C alongside Brazil, Spain and Japan

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Argentina beat Colombia to win Copa America

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Argentina beat Colombia to win a record 16th Copa America but the game was marred by the kick-off being delayed by 80 minutes because of trouble outside the ground in Miami.

 

Lautaro Martinez struck in the second half of extra time from Giovani lo Celso’s through ball to secure the win.

 

Captain Lionel Messi was left in tears when he had to be replaced midway through the second half after injuring himself while chasing for the ball – but was celebrating his country’s third successive major tournament at the final whistle.

Kick-off was delayed because of chaos outside the Hard Rock Stadium.

 

Organisers said ticketless fans tried to get into the ground, leaving some fans waiting for hours in the Miami heat for the gates to open.

Fans and police officers and security clashed with several arrests made. Several supporters needed treatment from paramedics.

 

On top of that the half-time break lasted for 25 minutes because of a concert by Colombian popstar Shakira on the pitch, a move that was criticised by Colombia boss Nestor Lorenzo beforehand.

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It was a game of few clear chances in hot, humid conditions, with Colombia’s Jhon Cordoba hitting the woodwork in the first half.

 

Argentina thought they had taken the lead with 15 minutes to go but Nicolas Tagliafico’s effort was ruled out for offside.

 

Martinez would end up as the hero – and win the Golden Boot with five goals.

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