An Israeli footballer, Sagiv Jehezkel, has been arrested and fired by his Turkish club, Antalyaspor, after dedicating a goal to hostages abducted by Hamas.
Daily Mail reports that Turkish police detained and questioned him on Monday over a message he displayed on his bandaged wrist saying ‘100 days, 7.10’, during a top-tier match alluding to the passage of 100 days since the October 7 Hamas attack in Israel.
Jehezkel, 28, was reported to have held his clenched fist aloft to display the message after scoring a goal for his team against Trabzonspor in Turkey’s Super League on Sunday.
The president of his Turkish club, Sinan Boztepe, disclosed on X that Jehezkel had been removed from the club for the act.
He wrote, “Sagiv Jehezkel, who was seen to have acted against the national values of our country by sharing the writing on his wrist after scoring the goal has been decided to be excluded from the squad by the decision of the board of directors.
“Our Board of Directors will never allow behavior against the sensitivities of our country, even if it results in a championship or a cup.”
The Turkish Football Federation supported the decision of the club in a post on its official X handle which read, “We condemn the completely unacceptable behavior of football player Segiv Jehezkel in the Bitexen Antalyaspor – Trabzonspor match. We find Bitexen Antalyaspor’s decision to exclude the player from the squad appropriate.”
The Turkish Minister of Justice, Yilmaz Tunc, in a post on X also disclosed, “Antalya Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has launched a judicial investigation against Israeli football player Sagiv Jehezkel for the crime of ‘inciting the public to hatred and hostility’ due to his ugly action supporting the massacre committed by Israel in #Gazze after the goal he scored.”
However, former Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett slammed the arrest and removal of Jehezkel from the club in a tweet on X, describing the situation as “unbelievable”.
He wrote, “This is Turkey 2024. Shame on you, Turkish government.”
Despite the severe consequences, Israeli media reported that Jehezkel did not regret making the gesture, and said, “It was a gesture for the Israeli hostages in Gaza, a humanitarian gesture.
‘It was important to me to point out that they have been in captivity for 100 days. I didn’t want to provoke anyone. I know Turkish feelings, it was just a gesture.”
Yehezkel is reported to have been released pending a trial, and a private plane has been sent from Israel to pick him and his family up so they could return him home.
Nigeria’s Basketball Team Withdraws From Afrobasket Qualifiers Over Lack Of Funds
Nigeria’s basketball team popularly called the D’Tigers has withdrawn from the Afrobasket qualifiers window over lack of funds.
D’tigers made this announcement on Wednesday evening after it complained of not getting funding from the Federal Government.
The PUNCH reports that President Bola Tinubu, in January, cleared the outstanding payment that FG owed the Super Eagles and other sporting teams of the country.
According to a statement on the X handle of Tinubu’s Media Centre, on Sunday, the payment entails the clearing of the senior national team coach salaries running up to 15 months, payments of allowances and promises due to the senior national teams, females, and Under-20 national team.
The statement reads, “President @officialABAT has approved the payment of N12 billion outstanding backlog for Nigeria’s National teams of various sports, which includes Super Eagles and others.
“The payment entails the clearing of the senior national team coach salaries running up to 15 months, payments of allowances and promises due to the senior national teams, females, and Under-20 national team.”
However, D’Tigers on its X handle wrote, “Despite several 2020 Olympians committing, D’Tigers forfeit this AfroBasket Qualifiers window due to lack of funds from the government.”
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Recall that in 2022, former President, Muhammadu Buhari, approved the withdrawal of Nigeria from international basketball competitions for two years.
A statement issued by the then Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Ismaila Abubakar, said the presidential directive followed the intractable crisis that has dogged and crippled the development of basketball in the country in form of the leadership crisis at the Nigeria Basketball Federation.
The statement said the decision to withdraw the country was made to concentrate efforts by the government towards revamping the sport from the grassroots as well as domestic leagues which have become moribund.
The sports ministry also said an Interim Management Committee will also be set up to oversee the management and development of the domestic basketball leagues in the country to further address other related issues around the development and advancement of the game in the country and to utilise the period of break to address all contentious issues among stakeholders.
FULL LIST: AFCON 2025 Preliminary Draw
The preliminary draw for the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations has been held today at the Confederations of African Football headquarters in Cairo, Egypt.
The draw followed the conclusion of the 34th edition of the competition hosted by Ivory Coast.
The preliminary draw had the eight lowest-ranked teams according to the FIFA ranking: Somalia, Djibouti, Sao Tome, Chad, Mauritius, South Sudan, Liberia and Eswatini.
The teams will play on home and away basis during the FIFA Window of March 18 to March 26.
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Below is the full list of the AFCON preliminary draw:
Somalisa Vs Eswatini
Sao Tome Vs South Sudan
Chad Vs Mauritius
Djibouti Vs Liberia
The just concluded 2023 AFCON was held in Côte d’Ivoire and won by the host team, the Elephants.
They defeated the Super Eagles of Nigeria 2-1 in the final of the tournament.
Emerse Fae Confirmed As Cote d’Ivoire Head Coach After AFCON Triumph
Emerse Fae was on Monday rewarded for guiding Ivory Coast to the African Cup of Nations title as interim coach by being given the job full-time.
“Emerse was until now interim coach and has just been confirmed today as full coach,” the Ivoirian federation boss Idriss Diallo said.
The Elephants were facing elimination when they fired veteran French coach Jean-Louis Gasset in January after winning just one of their three group games.
The next day, results fell the hosts’ way and they squeezed through as the last of the four best third-placed teams. Fae, a former Ivorian international who had never coached before, took over.
Fae oversaw an incredible turnaround.
In the last 16, the Ivorians came from behind to beat holders Senegal on penalties. Then, playing much of the match with 10 men, they came from behind to beat Mali in extra time in the quarter-finals.
After beating the Democratic Republic of Congo 1-0 in the last four, they came from behind once more to beat Nigeria 2-1 in the final and lift the trophy.
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