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Egypt Edge Sudan to Secure Last 16 Berth

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Egypt have secured a last 16 berth at the Total Energies Africa Cup of Nations after they defeated old rivals Sudan 1-0 at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaounde yesterday night.

Pharaohs defender Mohamed Abdelmonem scored the only goal of the game, seeing his side finish as runners-up in Group D behind Nigeria and advance into the knockout phase of the AFCON.

Despite the defeat, the Falcons of Jediane actually move up to third place on the log, but their tally of just one point will not be enough to see them join the Pharaohs and Super Eagles in advancing.

They join bottom-of-the-log Guinea-Bissau in early elimination.

The match got off to a frantic start, with the teams trading chances within the opening five minutes: Egypt’s Mohamed Elneny and Mostafa Mohamed both spurned good opportunities, while Sudan’s Mohamed Hussein sent an effort into the stands after good build-up play.

The Pharaohs then settled into a pattern of sterile dominance, bossing possession without really threatening the Falcons’ defence. Star man Mohamed Salah was unable to find his top form, notably failing to control a brilliant pass into the penalty area from Abdallah El Said in one of the rare instances in which the heavyweights looked like scoring in the opening half hour.

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Egypt clicked through a couple of gears and duly claimed the lead on 35 minutes, with Abdallah El Said’s corner kick allowing Mohamed Abdelmonem to score with a free header, giving Sudan goalkeeper Mohamed Mustafa no chance whatsoever.

Egypt kept Sudan on the back foot through the remainder of the first half, but did not add to their lead, leaving the game 1-0 in favour of the seven-time AFCON champions at the interval.

The Falcons of Jediane made a triple change at the start of the second half, with Yasin Hamed and Abbas Omer introduced to try and spark their attack, while goalkeeper Mustafa succumbed to a knock suffered in the first 45 and was replaced by Ali Abu Eshrein.

After an initial bright period for Sudan, Egypt reasserted control and created several half- chances to add to their lead, the best of which was spurned by Amr El Solia, who shot over the target with only the goalkeeper to beat on 66 minutes.

Sudan offered little in attack – with only a momentary fumble from Egypt goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy giving them a glimpse of a goal with 10 minutes to play – and in general they were easily held at bay the Pharaohs.

Egypt, as Group D runners-up, will face the winners of Group E (Ivory Coast are the current leaders) in their round of 16 clash, set for the Japoma Stadium in Douala on Wednesday 26 January.

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Foreign News

Spain Donates 4.4m Doses of J&J COVID-19 Vaccines to Nigeria

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The Government of Spain has donated 4,400,000 doses of Johnson and Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccines to Nigeria.

The Spanish Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Juan Sell, said during the handover of the vaccines to the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) on Tuesday in Abuja that “this is the largest COVID-19 donation to any African nation.

Sell said that the donation was in fulfilment of Spain’s commitment to supporting developing countries in ramping up vaccination against COVID-19.

He added that “in 2020, the world was faced with the challenge to develop an effective vaccine. In 2021, the challenge evolved to the production and distribution of the vaccines. Today in 2022, we need to put these vaccines within peoples’ reach.

“As we want to leave the acute phase of the pandemic behind, we cannot linger, and there are lessons to be learnt.

“One of the lessons is the need to improve global mechanisms for technology transfer to decentralise the production of health products in all regions, Africa in particular. And that is why Spain has joined the WHO Technology Access Group.

“And that is also why the EU launched Team Europe Initiative on manufacturing and access to vaccines, medicines and health technologies in Africa, with one billion euros, and that will benefit Nigeria.

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“We need to protect, safeguard and invest in health and health workers, and this is the effort line that Spain is co-leading in the framework of the Global Action Plan, and we have committed 300 million euros for further donations and projects to strengthen public health systems.”

Dr Faisal Shuaib, the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of NPHCDA, who received the donation on behalf of Federal Government, thanked the Spanish Government, saying the gesture came at a time when the country needed it most.

Shuaib used the opportunity to call on eligible Nigerians who were yet to be vaccinated to do so.

According to him, continued vaccination will create a scenario that will ensure that even when the virus continues to evolve, the severity of the disease will reduce over time as human immunity increases due to vaccination.

The EU Ambassador to Nigeria, WHO and UNICEF country representatives all commended Nigeria in its efforts to vaccinate eligible Nigerians. (NAN)

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Portugal Reports 14 New Confirmed Monkeypox Cases, Total at 37

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Portugal’s health authorities yesterday reported 14 new confirmed cases of monkeypox, bringing the total tally of confirmed cases to 37.

In neighbouring Spain, health authorities in the region of Madrid confirmed four more cases yesterday, raising the total to 34.

There are another 38 suspected cases of monkeypox in Madrid.

Monkeypox, which mostly occurs in west and central Africa, is a viral infection that was first recorded in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 1970s.

Symptoms include fever, headaches and skin rashes starting on the face and spreading to the rest of the body.

The virus is not as easily transmitted as the SARS-CoV-2 virus that spurred the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Experts believe the current monkeypox outbreak is being spread through close, intimate skin on skin contact with someone who has an active rash.

That should make its spread easier to contain once infections are identified, experts said.

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Ukrainian Military Warns of Activities on Belarusian Border

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Belarus, which has so far not taken an active part in the Russian-Ukrainian war, is massing forces on the border, according to information from Kiev.

“The Belarusian armed forces are conducting increased reconnaissance and have deployed additional units in the border area.

The Ukrainian general staff said this in its situation report yesterday.

According to the report, the danger of missile and air attacks on Ukraine from Belarusian territory remains.

Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko has not participated with his own troops in the war Russia is waging against Ukraine.

However, Russian troops were allowed to use the country as a deployment area for the attack.

Kiev, therefore, does not see Minsk as neutral, and fears a potential intervention by Belarusian soldiers on Russia’s side of the conflict.

Lukashenko, who was scheduled to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea Resort town of Sochi yesterday, has always denied such intentions.

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