On this day, 24 September 2017 (Exactly 2 years ago today), the Black Stars of Ghana were crowned Champions of the West African Football Union (WAFU) Cup of Nations in magnificent style after they mauled arch-rivals Nigeria 4-1 at the Cape Coast stadium to retain the trophy which they won in 2013- the last time the tournament was hosted.
Two goals from Stephen Sarfo, a goal each from Vincent Atinga and Winful Cobbinah sealed the victory for Ghana but the Nigerians pulled one back through Ali Rabiu in the 90th minute.
The game got off to a good start and although the rains came down in the early hours of the day that did not deter the fans from enjoying what as a real football spectacle.
After several attempts from both teams to score Stephen Sarfo found the net in the 44th minute to put Black Stars B in the lead right before half time.
The Nigerians attempted to rescue the game in the 2nd half but pushing men forward left them venerable led to two penalties which were expertly taken by Stephen Sarfo and Vincent Atinga in the 60th and 77th minute respectively.
Winful Cobbinah put the icing on the cake on the stroke of full time to make it 4 but there was time left for Nigeria to grab the consolation goal in added time.
On this day 24 September 1988 (Exactly 31 years ago today) Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson broke his own 100m world record with a time of 9.79 at the Seoul Olympics; but was disqualified two days later for use of drug stanozolol.
The Men’s 100 meters at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea ended in controversy after world champion Ben Johnson of Canada defeated defending Olympic champion Carl Lewis of the United States in a world record time of 9.79, breaking his own record of 9.83 that he had set at the 1987 World Championships in Rome.
Two days later, Johnson was stripped of his gold medal by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) after he tested positive for stanozolol, and his record of 9.79 seconds was deleted.
The gold medal was then awarded to Lewis, who had run 9.92. On 30 September 1989, following Johnson’s admission to steroid use between 1981 and 1988, the IAAF rescinded his world record of 9.83 from the 1987 World Championship Final and stripped Johnson of his World Championship gold medal, which was also awarded to Lewis.
Accordingly, Lewis’s 9.92 from the Olympic Final was also deemed to be the official world record, breaking the 9.93 mark that Calvin Smith had set in 1983 and Lewis had since equalled twice.
Smith also participated in this race and originally finished fourth, but was elevated to third place and awarded the bronze medal, and Linford Christie of the United Kingdom, who originally won the bronze medal, was elevated to silver.
The other participants in this race, in order of finish, were Dennis Mitchell of the United States, who would go on to win the bronze medal in this event in Barcelona; Robson da Silva of Brazil, who won bronze in the 200 meters in Seoul; Johnson’s teammate Desai Williams, a bronze medalist in the 4 x 100 meter relay in Los Angeles four years earlier; and Ray Stewart of Jamaica, who won a silver medal in the same relay at the Los Angeles Olympics.
It would take eleven years for an athlete to run a “clean” 9.79 in the 100 meters, which was accomplished by Maurice Greene in Athens, Greece in 1999.
On this day 24 September 2018 (Exactly a year ago today) In a glittering ceremony that saw a host of footballing stars descend on London’s Royal Festival Hall, home to London’s Symphony Orchestra, the beautiful game’s chief conductors were coronated at The Best FIFA Football Awards in the United Kingdom’s capital.
Luka Modric and Didier Deschamps were awarded the leading honours for The Best FIFA Men’s Player and Men’s Coach respectively, after their outstanding years and notable contributions at the 2018 FIFA World Cup tournament. Legendary Brazilian forward Marta and first-time nominee Reynald Pedros were rewarded as The Best FIFA Women’s Player and Women’s coach respectively.
After Gianluigi Buffon picked up the inaugural The Best FIFA Goalkeeper Award at previous year’s ceremony, Thibaut Courtois was crowned his replacement after the new Real Madrid man’s outstanding year with Chelsea and stunning performances at Russia 2018.
The FIFA FIFPro World11 included two of Courtois’ former Blues team-mates and four of his current Los Blancos colleagues. Luka Modric was joined in the star-studded XI by club team-mates Marcelo, Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane with David De Gea, Dani Alves, Eden Hazard, N’Golo Kante, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi completing the star-studded line-up elected by thousands of players from across the globe.
The players had their say, and so did the fans, who voted for the Puskás and FIFA Fan Awards, with Mo Salah the ultimate winner of the Puskás Award thanks to his outstanding goal against Everton. Peru supporters scooped the third Fan Award, thanks to the South American country’s dedicated and fanatical following at the World Cup.
In an evening sprinkled by show business, with star of small and large screen Idris Elba hosting proceedings, it was a heart-warming story fit for Hollywood that saw the FIFA Fair Play Award handed to Lennart Thy. The German forward missed a week’s training and a match for his then side VVV-Venlo in the Dutch Eredivisie to donate stem cells for potentially life-saving treatment for a patient battling leukaemia.
Musical entertainment was provided by Big Shaq – of ‘Man’s Not Hot’ fame – and British rock god Noel Gallagher, the latter of whom brought the house down with a performance of Don’t Look Back in Anger. One of the best musicians of his generation, in a venue fabled for its musical history, then watched on as the orchestrators of wonderful music on football pitches the world over were honoured as The Best in London.
The Best, in full
Men’s Player: Luka Modric
Women’s Player: Marta
Men’s Coach: Didier Deschamps
Women’s Coach: Reynald Pedros
Goalkeeper: Thibaut Courtois
Puskás Award: Mo Salah
Fan Award: Peru supporters
Fair Play Award: Lennart Thy
World11: David De Gea; Dani Alves, Marcelo, Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane; Eden Hazard, N’Golo Kante, Luka Modric; Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi.
STORIES: GEORGE MAHAMAH