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Angola’s Petro De Luanda Wins 2024 Basketball Africa League Championship

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Angola’s Petro de Luanda today defeated Libya’s Al Ahly Ly 107-94 to win the 2024 Basketball Africa League (BAL) Championship, which took place at BK Arena in Kigali, Rwanda and reached fans in 214 countries and territories in 17 languages.

Petro de Luanda, the 2022 BAL runner-up and one of two teams to have participated in all four BAL seasons, is the first sub-Saharan African team to win the BAL Finals after previous champions from Egypt and Tunisia.

Following the game, BAL President Amadou Gallo Fall and President of FIBA Africa Anibal Manave presented Petro de Luanda with the BAL Championship Trophy and Al Ahly Ly forward Jo Lual-Acuil Jr. with The Hakeem Olajuwon Trophy for winning the 2024 BAL Most Valuable Player Award and The Dikembe Mutombo Trophy for winning 2024 BAL Defensive Player of the Year.

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Petro de Luanda went 5-2 during the Kalahari Conference group phase in Pretoria, South Africa, and the Playoffs, defeating Senegal’s AS Douanes and South Africa’s Cape Town Tigers in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively, to advance to the Finals. Nigeria’s Rivers Hoopers defeated the Cape Town Tigers 80-57 in the third-place game yesterday.

Lual-Acuil Jr. is also the 2024 BAL Scoring Champion and was named to the 2024 All-BAL First Team and All-BAL Defensive Team after leading Al Ahly Ly to a 5-4 record during the Nile Conference group phase in Cairo, Egypt, and the Playoffs, recording per game averages of 21.1 points, 9.9 rebounds and 1.6 blocks.

Several former NBA players attended games throughout the 2024 BAL Playoffs and Finals, including BAL Ambassadors and NBA Africa investors Luol Deng (South Sudan), Ian Mahinmi (France; ties to Benin) and Joakim Noah (grandfather from Cameroon); 2015 NBA champion Festus Ezeli (Nigeria), and New York Knicks President of G League Operations Pops Mensah-Bonsu (Ghana).

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UPDATED: Ex-Italy Footballer Roberto Baggio Hospitalised After Robbery Attack

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Italian football legend Roberto Baggio has been hospitalised after being attacked by armed robbers who stormed his home.

The intruders locked his family up while they watched last night’s Euro 2024 match between Italy and Spain.

According to Daily Mail Sports, Baggio, 57, was at his home in Altavilla Vicentina, a small town in northern Italy about an hour’s drive from Venice, when a gang of five broke in around 10pm local time on Thursday night.

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Italy lost the game to Spain by a lone goal.

While Baggio, known as Il Divin Codino (The Divine Ponytail), tried to fight off the attackers, he was hit in the head with the butt of a gun before he and his family were locked in a room.

READ ALSO: Euro 2024: Roberto Baggio Robbed At Gunpoint

The robbers stole watches, jewellery, and money from the isolated estate where Baggio and his family have lived for 15 years.

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The exact value of the stolen items is not currently known. The robbery reportedly lasted 40 minutes.

After the robbers left, Baggio managed to break his family out of the locked room. He had to go to a hospital in Arzignano, about eight miles from his home, to be treated for his forehead injury, which required stitches.

While none of his family were physically hurt, they were left terrified by the incident.

Investigating police have been handed CCTV footage to assist in their inquiry.

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Speaking to Italian media through his agent Vittorio Petrone, Baggio said, “First of all, my family and I would like to thank everyone for the great love we have received. Thank you very much.”

“In similar circumstances, anything can happen, and fortunately, the violence suffered only generated a few stitches to my person, bruises and a lot of fear. Now all that remains is to overcome the fear.”

Petrone told Italian media, “The lightning attack, in full light, did not allow the activation of all the best security systems with which the villa is equipped.

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“Now, from what happened, we will further strengthen the daytime detection systems throughout the entire perimeter.

“Only when you are hit do you realize the wounds left by an episode of violence and oppression suffered in your home, together with his family Roberto once again amazed me with the clarity and strength of spirit he expressed immediately following the attack he suffered.

READ ALSO: Tinubu Flies Private Jet To S’Africa, Avoids Faulty Presidential Aircraft

“I am sure that Roberto will once again be the pillar on which his entire family can lean to leave this brutal attack. The investigators are working intensely to bring the culprits to justice.”

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Baggio spent his entire 22-year sporting career in Italy, playing for Juventus, AC Milan, Inter Milan, and other clubs.

He won two Serie A titles and is considered one of the world’s greatest players.

A 1985 injury led him to convert from Catholicism to Buddhism, although he married his long-time partner Andreina Fabbi in a Catholic ceremony in 1989.

The couple has three children: Valentina, born in 1990; Mattia, born in 1994; and Leonardo, born in 2005.

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Euro 2024: Roberto Baggio Robbed At Gunpoint

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Italian football legend, Roberto Baggio, has been robbed at gunpoint while watching his country’s national team play Spain at the ongoing Euro 2024.

According to Italian outlet Corriere dello Sport, about five armed robbers burst into Baggio’s house near the northern city of Vicenza around 10pm local time on Thursday.

One intruder hit Baggio on the head with the butt of a gun when the 57-year-old confronted them.

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The robbers then locked him and his family in a room while they stole cash, jewellery and watches during the raid, which reportedly lasted for about 40 minutes.

READ ALSO:Residents Protest, Burn Tyres In Osun Community Over Alleged Imposition Of Monarch

Baggio had a “very brief” scuffle with one of the intruders.

The retired footballer suffered a “deep wound” after being hit on the forehead with the weapon.

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However, Baggio was later taken to hospital and received stitches for the wound.

Baggio’s were not harmed during the raid.

Meanwhile, the match between Italy and Spain ended 1-0 in favour of the La Roja.

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FIFA Rankings: Super Eagles Fall Eight Places After Dismal World Cup Qualifiers

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The Super Eagles have fallen by eight places in the latest FIFA rankings, moving to 38th globally following a dismal outing in the race for the 2026 World Cup.

Nigeria lost to the Benin Republic for the first time and had before then drawn South Africa – all games in the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers for Africa – leaving their hopes of reaching the competition hanging in the balance.

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In FIFA’s latest ranking released on Thursday, the Super Eagles are now 5th in Africa, falling two steps behind on the continental pecking order.

Morocco moved up one place as the best team in Africa, placing 12th globally. They are followed by Senegal (18th), Egypt (36th), and Cote d’Ivoire (37th) in second, third, and fourth respectively on the continental rankings.

Argentina, France, Belgium, Brazil, and England in that order occupy the first five positions globally.

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