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Algeria see off Tunisia in extra time to win Arab Cup
18 December 2021, 9:15 PM

Extra-time goals by substitute Amr Sayoud and Yacine Brahimi gave Algeria a 2-0 win over neighbours Tunisia in the Arab Cup final at the Al Bayt Stadium on Saturday.

It added the Arab crown to the Africa Cup of Nations title Algeria won in 2019, and will defend in Cameroon next month.

The 31-year-old Sayoud made his international debut in Algeria’s opening game of the tournament but did not play again until coming on just past the hour mark in the final.

His thunderous 99th-minute shot gave Tunisia goalkeeper Mouez Hassen no chance and turned Sayoud into an instant national hero.

Brahimi scored on a breakaway with the last kick of the game as Tunisia pushed everyone up for a last-gasp corner and he raced away unchecked after the ball was cleared by the Algeria defence.

Both countries were playing without their European-based players and looked tired at the end of the 18-day tournament but kept pressing for goals against the backdrop of a raucous atmosphere delivered by a capacity 60,456 crowd.

The tournament was designed as a dress rehearsal for next year’s World Cup. It has been the first time fans have packed into some of the stadiums the Gulf Arab state built in preparation for the global showpiece tournament.

Thousands of fan-filled cars decorated with Algerian, Tunisian and Qatari flags headed north along the desert expressway leading to Al Bayt stadium, around 50km north of the Qatari capital.

The stadium, which resembles a giant black and white Bedouin tent like those traditionally used by nomadic tribes in the Arab gulf, will be the venue for the World Cup’s opening match.

Tunisia struck the crossbar through Bilel Ifa in the 14th minute and Algeria goalkeeper Rais Mbolhi had to tip Naim Sliti’s effort over the top in a bright start for the underdogs.

But Algeria should have led when Tayeb Mezaini had the goal at his mercy in the 21st minute but put his effort wide.

Algeria had the better of the possession but the best opportunity of the second half went Tunisia’s way, as Seifeddine Jaziri led a last-minute counter-attack but put his shot into the side netting.

Algeria finally made the breakthrough in extra time, although they needed more saves from Mbolhi to keep their lead intact.

Dutch flock to the shops before expected Christmas lockdown
18 December 2021, 8:00 PM

The Dutch hit the shops on Saturday as they prepared for a Christmas lockdown that is expected to close all but essential stores from Sunday, as the health minister said authorities were “extremely worried” about the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

The main shopping street in Leiden, 20 kilometres from the capital The Hague, was thronged with people looking for last-minute gifts. Some stores, selling toys or luxury skin care and cosmetics, had queues outside.

“It’s normally busy before Christmas but this much busier than usual,” cosmetics shop manager Ali Windster told Reuters.

Municipal authorities in the port city of Rotterdam urged shoppers via Twitter to stay at home because the city centre was “too busy”.

The government is meeting on Saturday with its health experts, who have recommended the closure of all non-essential shops, schools, bars, restaurants and other public venues.

“We are extremely worried,” about the possible spread of the Omicron variant, Health Minister Hugo de Jonge told journalists earlier on Saturday.

Stocking up on cosmetics in Windster’s Leiden shop was Carla Nekeman, who said she was preparing for a strict new lockdown.

“I am getting a lot of the stuff I need that I can’t get in the supermarket,” Nekeman said. “I’ll have to stand in line everywhere.”

Health ministry spokesperson Axel Dees told Reuters there would be a government press conference to announce new measures at 7 p.m. (1800 GMT). He did not comment on the types of measures that would be announced.

Broadcasters NOS and RTL reported that the lockdown, which will also see hairdressers and gyms close their doors, would start early on Sunday morning and run until January 14.

It would come after the government on Tuesday extended the 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. closure of bars, restaurants and most stores, introduced in late November, until January 14.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte said then that Omicron could be the dominant coronavirus variant in the Netherlands by January.

On Saturday the National Institute for Public Health (RIVM) reported a total of over 2.9 million COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic with 20 420 reported deaths. On Saturday the institute reported 14 616 new infections in 24 hours.

The feared new wave of Omicron infections would further burden the country’s strained healthcare system, which is already postponing most routine care and cancelling all but urgent operations in order to cope with COVID-19 patients.

Olympic champion Jacobs says he will run 200 metres in 2022
18 December 2021, 7:06 PM

Italy’s double Olympic champion Lamont Marcell Jacobs said on Saturday he would try out the 200 metres in some races next year, moving up from his usual 100m speciality.

Jacobs, who has yet to compete since winning the 100m and 4x100m at this year’s Tokyo Olympics, plans to return to competitive action in Berlin in February.

“This year I’ll try the 200 metres in a few races,” he told Italian daily La Stampa in an interview, adding it was too soon to suggest he might double up at the Paris Olympics in 2024.

“It’s one thing to run the 200 metres at a meeting, it’s another to do it at the Olympics also running the 100 metres and the relay,” he said.

Jacobs said his training had been going so well that “it scares me a bit to be in such top form in mid-December.”

He will head for Tenerife after Christmas for a spell of winter training with a fellow sprinter to be chosen among four or five candidates including “a couple from England”.

Jacobs, 27, also said that next year he will marry his girlfriend, model and influencer Nicole Daza, and would like to participate with her on a reality TV show.

“A series on us could be interesting because it would show people what the life of an athlete is like away from the track,” he said.

Tanzania yet to record a case of Omicron, says weather changes behind spike of flu-like symptoms: Government
18 December 2021, 6:14 PM

The Tanzanian government says it doesn’t believe the recent spread of flu-like symptoms, headaches and fevers in the country is a new wave of COVID-19. This, as an increasing number of countries around the world are detecting cases of the new variant, Omicron.

For about two weeks now doctors in Tanzania have admitted to treating large numbers of patients with flu-like symptoms, and headaches and fevers.

The Ministry of Health says recent weather changes are behind a spike in such cases in the country, and has ruled out a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It says it is monitoring the situation closely.

Some doctors in the country say There has been alarm among the public because only around 2% of Tanzanians have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

This is further compounded by recent reports that the majority of the country’s citizens do not seek medical attention even when infected with COVID-19 and only seek it when in critical condition.

Addressing the country’s COVID-19 situation, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa says Tanzania is yet to record a case of the latest COVID-19 variant Omicron.

A 40-year-old man, who was allegedly found Omicron positive after returning to India from Tanzania on December 10 recently tested negative.

With case figures on the latest coronavirus wave rising around the world, the government here says it is not taking any chances and has called for the public to be vigilant.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began there have been around 26 000 infections and 734 coronavirus-related deaths reported in the country according to official figures.

Tanzania has yet to release any recently updated figures on COVID-19, but it says its daily sample tests show that there are no COVID-19 cases related to the Omicron in the country. -Reporting by Isaac Lukando

Le Clos claims silver medal in 100m Butterfly at FINA Championships in Abu Dhabi
18 December 2021, 6:10 PM

South Africa’s Chad Le Clos has claimed a silver medal in the final of 100 metres Butterfly at the 15th FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships in Abu Dhabi.

Le Clos, who won gold in the event in four consecutive championships, had to concede his title to Italy’s Matteo Rivolta.

Le Clos adds silver to the bronze medal he won earlier in the championships.

 

 

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