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Human rights, Ronaldo robbed: Four things that happened in sports last week

Yes, Paul Onuachu scored a 92nd minute winner in Porto Novo against Benin but Nigeria already qualified before the first whistle. Tiny Luxemburg also defeated…

Yes, Paul Onuachu scored a 92nd minute winner in Porto Novo against Benin but Nigeria already qualified before the first whistle.

Tiny Luxemburg also defeated Republic of Ireland 1-0 in Dublin (worthy of note) so no boasting or whipping of sentiments.

Romelu Lukaku scored his 39th goal in 31 Belgium matches and the man-mountain did not utter a word even as France and Spain, present and former World Champions respectively, stumbled.

There were other deserving stories this weekend and we take a look at four of such stories.

Countries protest against Human rights abuse in Qatar

We are leading with this because we are talking about human rights here, human lives matter the most and everyone should join the cause. This development will also make the journey towards next year’s Qatar 2022 World Cup interesting to the media.

The whole of Europe is still unhappy that corrupt Sepp Blatter’s FIFA awarded the quadrennial Mundial to Qatar… scratch that, that’s conspiracy theory propagated by the English who like to talk about ‘football coming home’ (attention: football is home anywhere it is played!) after only two of 18 ‘promised votes’ were awarded the Three Lions in their 2018 World Cup bid.

The true story, however, is that European nations have taken arms against Qatar and it started by- genuine surprise- Norway. On Thursday, the Scandinavian country wore T-shirts with the words “HUMAN RIGHTS” in solidarity with dead and suffering migrant workers before their qualifier against Gibraltar. Migrant workers form bulk of employees constructing stadiums for the global event. The work is not the issue, but the deaths, abuse and flagrant human-trafficking the country has done little about. An estimated 6,500 workers have died since the gulf nation won the rights in 2010 and many more are being abused.

Not to be outdone, Germany joined the protest then Netherlands (or Holland) joined few days later. Expect more countries in upcoming games. Qatar is not a country that likes to keep things to chest, firing back that only 37 workers have died and talked up legislation supporting change of working conditions. Apparently it is just in the books, people (countries) need to see real change or we could have a football war by next summer. Who ever thought football would be the place for World War 3?!

A nation was robbed, Ronaldo storms off

Caveat: Nobody used a gun. It was, however, the absence of goal-line technology and Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system in… Europe. Surprised? The continent that places a premium on use of gadgets to ensure fairness goofed and it happened in a FIFA organized event, the Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

ith the game locked at 2-2, Portugal captain and record goalscorer, Cristinao Ronaldo, poked a cross beyond Serbia goalkeeper and it was all but certain to be the winner. While the ball crossed the line Stefan Mitrovic cleared regardless and with the linesman watching, no goal was given!

Turned out the stadium had neither goal-line technology nor VAR to award the goal, in Europe! And everyone thought Africa was the backward continent!

Well, Cristiano Ronaldo’s remonstrations fell on deaf ears and he was cautioned by Dutch referee Danny Makkelie (who amazingly apologized to Portugal after the game). The frustrated 36 years old Juventus man did an updated Drogba vs Ovbredo 2009 act by protesting unabashed, threw his captain armband on the floor and stormed off the pitch with a minute left on the clock. Talk of superstar omega tantrum!

Israel Adesanya bites the Western curse, loses BMW endorsement

Did moving up a weight class and subsequent loss to Jan Blachowicz freeze Israel Adesanya’s stability? Was it the urge to regain fight confidence and challenge the reason for the Nigeria-New Zealand (If there is anything like that because Nigerians love familiarization, no offense to Madam Abike Dabiri) fighter? He is still a World Champion for Pete’s sake!

It all started on Wednesday, the middleweight champion was trash-talking and used the word ‘rape’ to describe how he’d destroy Kevin Holland in a now-deleted Instagram video. In his defence, the 31 years old was responding to even harsher words from Holland (no rape mentioned but still expletives-laden) but the word caught the eye of the western world, New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister, Grant Robertson, rebuked him and that was the start of his troubles. Despite many passionate pleas online and offline- even to the gods, BMW dropped him as its New Zealand ambassador and if he has more endorsements, they might come for him.

This is not the Last Stylebender’s first western blunder, previously using the twin towers of 9/11 terrorist bombing as analogy last year ahead of his UFC 248 fight with Yoel Romero. We (as Madam’s aide) hope the West can forgive and let Adesanya off this morally hypocritical slippery slope. We wish him mental strength and victory in his fight for survival against a culture that takes rape serious.

Say no to rape.

Frappart makes more history

When the phrase “what a man can do, a woman can do even better” is in action, it is a thing of joy. Therefore it was a win for women all over the world when France’s best female referee Staphanie Frappart led the teams out in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers encounter between Netherlands and Latvia.

She becomes the female to referee a men’s World Cup qualifier, adding to her firsts as first female to take charge of a men’s UEFA Champions League match in December. The highly respected no-nonsense referee is also the first female referee to have overseen a major men’s European final when she took charge of the UEFA Super Cup clash between Liverpool and Chelsea in September 2019. She has also refereed in Ligue 1, France’s men’s premier league, and it is hoped that she would be part of the Qatar 2022 World Cup party next year. Her presence could be the perfect example for cultures that hold back women with backward legislature to rethink the future.

Honourable mentions: The Gambia and Comoros are the newest entrants that have qualified to participate in the next Africa Cup of Nations set to take place January 2022 in Cameroon.

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