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Mali crowned their qualification to the play-off round of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers with a 1-0 victory over Uganda Cranes in Agadir to finish unbeaten in Group E, dropping points in only one match.

Kalifa Coulibaly scored in the second consecutive match, striking the solitary goal in the 19th minute that handed them maximum points against the Uganda Cranes. Koulibaly had also scored in the 3-0 thrashing of Rwanda last week that earned them qualification.

Mohamed Magassouba’s men finished the group phase with 16 points from five wins and a draw, an away 0-0 result against Uganda.

The Cranes finish second in the group with nine points. Kenya and Rwanda will round up the group when they clash in Nairobi on Monday. - Confederation of African Football

Fahad Bayo scored the equilaser in the 88th minute. Photo via The Observer


Uganda Cranes have been effectively been eliminated from the FIFA Qatar 2022 World Cup Qualifiers following a 1-1 draw with neighbours Kenya at St Mary's Stadium Kitende. Uganda's fate was sealed and stamped after a comfortable 3-0 Mali win against Rwanda in Kigali a few hours later. 

Uganda had to win both its two remaining matches against Kenya today and Mali on Sunday. But after 5 games, Mali tops group E on 13 points and advance to the next round while Uganda on 9 points, Kenya on 3 points, and Rwanda on 1 point have all been eliminated. 

According to the qualifying format, the team that finishes top of the group advances to the third round. In this round, ten teams that top all their respective groups will be drawn into five home-and-away ties. The winners of each fixture will advance to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

In the first opening minutes of the game played today, both Uganda and Kenya created a few scoring opportunities. However, in the middle of the match, both teams threatened each other's goal but Kenya created more chances. 

In the 20th minute, an effort by Kenya’s captain Michael Olunga was cleared by Cranes keeper Charles Lukwago before Joseph Okumu’s shot was also saved by Aziz Kayondo. Uganda also missed a chance when defender Bevis Mugabi’s effort went over the bar.

Uganda’s coach Micho Sredojević made two substitutes after halftime to boost the team’s creativity. He introduced Milton Karisa who replaced Steven Mukwala while Ibrahim Orit replaced defender Aziz Kayondo. Although Uganda looked keen to score, the opponents were the luckiest when in the 62nd minute, Olunga broke the deadlock with a free header off Kenneth Muguna’s free-kick.

Micho made two other substitutions in Yunus Sentamu and Okello as the hosts started the quest for an equalizer but the Kenyans were smart to deny Uganda a chance. In the 88th minute, Kenya’s goalkeeper Brian Okoth made a blunder that surrendered an equalizer to Uganda. Okoth lost possession to Crane’s Fahad Bayo who scored an equalizer.

Engin Fırat, the head coach Harambe Stars said his team had many chances to secure victory but failed to utilize them. Micho said that his side played well but they were denied by the opponents who played a defensive game. - URN/The Observer

Photo Anadolu Agency


Uganda's Victor Kiplangat and Kenya's Sheila Jerotich won the 43rd edition of the Istanbul Marathon on Sunday.

Kiplangat finished the 42-kilometer (26 miles) run in two hours, 10 minutes, and 18 seconds in the men's category.

Kenya's Robert Kipkemboi trailed five seconds behind Kiplangat to be the runner-up and Solomon Mutai from Uganda came third as he finished the men's race seven seconds behind the leader.

In the women's category, Sheila Jerotich from Kenya came first in two hours, 24 minutes, and 15 seconds.

Her countrywoman Jackline Chepngeno finished in second place, covering the distance in two hours, 24 minutes, and 21 seconds. She was followed by Ayantu Abdi from Ethiopia in two hours, 24 minutes, and 45 seconds.

A total of 20,000 people participated in the public run categories, while 54 elite athletes ran in the competition.

The marathon, a long-distance running race and the only intercontinental marathon in the world, was held in three categories: the 42,195 meters (138,435 feet) run, as well as the 15-kilometer (9.3 miles) and eight-kilometer public run.

Those who finished first, second and third in men's and women's categories got $35,000, $20,000, and $10,000, respectively.

Intercontinental Istanbul Marathon

The idea of running from Asia to Europe, first proposed by the daily Tercuman in 1973, was realized in 1979 upon the initiative of a group of German tourists.

The Istanbul Marathon, which is included in the "Gold Label Road Races" of the World Athletics Association (IAAF), is among the most popular marathons in the world.

The race kicked off at 9 a.m. local time (0600GMT) in the Altunizade neighborhood of Uskudar district on the Asian side of the Turkish metropolis, and ended at Sultanahmet Square, on the European side. - Emre Asikci, Anadolu Agency

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