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Sir Mo Farah to pull on his boots for #Game4Grenfell charity football match honouring victims




Sir Mo Farah will swap his running spikes for football boots to play in a charity match in aid of victims of the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Britain’s greatest athlete joins a stellar line-up of celebrities and stars of the game, with funds raised going through London Community Foundation to the Evening Standard Dispossessed Fund before being distributed to survivors and towards community projects.

Farah will join actor Damian Lewis, singers Olly Murs, Tinie Tempah and Marcus Mumford and former footballers Alan Shearer, Les Ferdinand and David Seaman in Saturday’s match.

Four-time Olympic champion Farah said he was left “heartbroken” by the tragedy and issued a rallying cry to Londoners to get behind the #Game4Grenfell match at QPR’s home ground, Loftus Road, and show “we haven’t forgotten about them”.

Farah, who grew up in Hounslow, said: “The whole world was shocked by what happened at Grenfell Tower but, as a born-and-bred Londoner, it was properly heartbreaking to see. I just hope that this match shows the community that we haven’t forgotten about them and that we will do everything we can to support the surviving victims.”

He quipped that normally he “wouldn’t be nice about a London club that isn’t Arsenal”, the team he supports, but paid tribute to QPR for aiding survivors and helping rebuild the community. After the fire in June, the club turned its ground, which is minutes from the tower, into a relief centre distributing aid. It hosted counselling sessions and provided free summer school training sessions for child survivors and others at the Westway Sports and Fitness Centre.

Farah, who won his last track race in Zurich on Thursday, said: “It’s great to see everything that QPR is doing to help. I grew up in a part of London that wasn’t posh and was quite tough at times. But sport has that power to bring people together, from all backgrounds. That’s what football is doing here. It’s great to see.”

Farah said he was at a training camp in France preparing for the World Athletics Championships when the fire broke out. “I remember seeing the footage on the news and not believing what I was seeing. It was like it was a disaster movie, just shocking. I think every father would see something like that and just think, ‘What if that was my family?’ Everyone is thinking the same thing — this can never be allowed to happen again.”

With refugees among the victims and survivors, he said the fire made him think of when he came to Britain aged eight after fleeing war-torn Somalia to join his father. He said: “It is not what should happen when people come to the UK for a safe haven. As a Londoner, and someone with a family, it did make it so hard to see what happened.

“People have come together to help the community to recover and that’s what this match is all about.”

He said the fact that 180 households left homeless were still in hotels 10 weeks on was “concerning”. “The situation may be complicated, but we need to support the victims and help them get their lives back on track as soon as possible. New and fair housing is the first step.” More than 2,000 complimentary tickets will be given to those directly affected by the fire, including families, the emergency services, volunteers, residents and others who helped with recovery efforts.

Tickets for #Game4Grenfell, which kicks off at 3pm on Saturday, are £15 for adults, £5 for concessions. To buy, call the QPR box office on 08444 777 007 or visit, where you can also donate. The match will be aired exclusively on Sky 1 and Pick.


Mohamed Salah of Egypt crowned 2017 CAF African Player of the Year



Egyptian international Mohamed Salah has been crowned the 2017 African Player of the Year by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) at a ceremony in Accra, Ghana.

The player beat off competition from Liverpool teammate and Senegal international, Sadio Mane and 2015 winner Pierre Emerick Aubameyang of Gabon and German side, Borussia Dortmund.

Mane came in second, whiles Aubameyang was third. Sala’s win capped a good evening for Egyptian football as the national team won “Team of the Year” and coach Hector Cuper was named “Coach of the Year.”

The full list of winners on the night is as follows:
Egypt and Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah as 2017 African Player of the Year
2nd place – Sadio mane of Senegal and Liverpool
3rd place – Pierre Emerick Aubameyang of Gabon and Dortmund.
Platinum award to Ghana president Nana Akufo-Addo & Liberia president-elect George Weah
Female footballer of the year: Assisat Oshoola of Nigeria
National team of the year: Pharaohs of Egypt
Young African footballer of the year: Patson Daka (Zambia)
Coach of the Year: Hector Cuper of Egypt
Club of the year: Wydad Athletic Club of Morocco
Football Leader of the Year: Ahmed Yahya.
Women’s National Team Of The Year 2017: Bayana Bayana (South Africa)
CAF Legends Award: Ibrahim Sunday (Ghana)

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Briefing Room

Somalia once again to host international soccer matches



VOA — The Somali Football Federation (SFF) has announced plans to host international games beginning next year because of improving security, the head of the body has announced.

President of the SFF, Abdiqani Said Arab, says the time has come for Somalia to organize home games in the country’s soccer stadiums in 2018.

“Due to the betterment of the security situation in Somalia we have decided to stage our home games at home,” Arab said in a statement.

“The Somali people have the right to watch their national team play at home and we have to make that happen now that the country is going ahead.”

Arab said his federation will first invite East African soccer national teams to play friendly matches with the Somali national team.

He said staging friendly matches will be followed by hosting regional soccer tournaments, such as the CECAFA (Council for East African and Central Africa Football). SFF has not released the dates and fixtures of international matches to be played at home for next year.

Somalia hosted its last international match in Mogadishu in 1988. Following the collapse of the state in 1991, the Somalia national soccer team was forced to play its home games abroad in a neutral country, mainly in the region, like Djibouti and Ethiopia, denying it the all-important home advantage that other teams enjoy against opponents.

The Confederation of African Football chief Ahmad Ahmad approved Somalia’s plan to host international soccer games when he visited Mogadishu in April.

Somalia soccer has made steady development over the years despite the country’s difficulties.

In April 2012, a suicide bomber killed both the head of the Somali Olympic Committee, Aden Yabarow Wiish, and the president of Somali Football Federation, Said Mohamed Nur. But in December that same year, the SFF completed installing an artificial turf at Mogadishu stadium. Two years later in December 2015, the soccer body had showed the first-ever live stream of a football game on TV.

And in August this year, it was a bright night for Mogadishu as the first soccer game was played at night in more than 30 years.

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Wayzata’s Khalid Hussein is the Star Tribune Metro Boys’ Cross-Country Runner of the Year



The Wayzata cross-country team motto — “With the end in mind” — fit senior Khalid Hussein like a pair of broken-in shoes.

A lingering knee injury diminished Hussein’s offseason training and even sidelined him for the Trojans’ season-opening meet. But he returned to form as the linchpin of a deep, talented lineup. He led Wayzata’s state championship defense and became the Trojans’ fourth individual champ in the past seven seasons. He extended a special senior season into December by taking 10th at the Nike Cross Nationals in Portland.

Hussein’s efforts earned him the Star Tribune’s first Metro Boys’ Cross-Country Runner of the Year award.

“I was ready for the moment, “ Hussein said of his performance at the Class 2A state meet held Nov. 4 at St. Olaf College in Northfield. He won by overtaking Roseville’s Acer Iverson for good in the final 800 meters. As a junior, Hussein lost in the last 100 meters.

“When Iverson made his big move, I thought about last year,” Hussein said. “But I told myself to stay patient and to trust in myself and my training. So it felt good to know that no one in the state could out-kick me.”

Hussein covered the 5,000-meter course in 15 minutes, 22.6 seconds, a time that ranks second among Trojans’ champions of recent vintage. Josh Thorson, Connor Olson and Jaret Carpenter — runners who inspired Hussein — also won titles since 2010 and only Olson (15:17.1) was faster. Wayzata coach Mark Popp hailed Hussein as “probably the most talented” of the quartet.

“It’s pretty cool to uphold the tradition,” said Hussein, who has committed to the Gophers.

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