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Italy goalkeeper Buffonto to play final game for Juventus

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Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon will play his final game for Juventus on Saturday after 17 years with the club.

The World Cup winner, 40, will lift his ninth Serie A title against Hellas Verona at the Allianz Stadium.

Buffon said he changed his mind about retiring 15 days ago and has received job offers on and off the pitch.

“Next week, after two or three days of reflection and serenity, I will take my decision,” he said.

Buffon is facing a Uefa ban for comments made about English referee Michael Oliver, who sent him off during the Champions League quarter-final defeat by Real Madrid last month.

Speaking at a news conference on Thursday, he said he was “sorry for offending the referee”.

“If I saw the referee again, I would give him a hug and say that he should have taken more time with that decision,” said Buffon.

“With the feelings, emotions and disappointment of the situation, I behaved in a way that was not usual for me. After that match, I went beyond the limits with the things I said about the referee and I apologise for that.”

Buffon, who joined Juventus from Parma in 2001, has ruled out joining another Italian club, saying he does not want to play in a “minor league” and could take a six-month sabbatical.

He said: “Fifteen days ago, I was already an ex-player. Now I’m not sure any more. Proposals have arrived for some new challenges on and off the pitch. The most important off the pitch is from Juventus.”

Buffon has captained Juventus to a seventh straight Serie A title and fourth consecutive Coppa Italia triumph this season.

“Saturday will be my final match for Juventus and to end this journey with two cups and with the president and the entire Bianconeri world by my side, will be very special,” added the Italian.

Wojciech Szczesny, who moved to Turin from Arsenal in 2017, will succeed Buffon in goal next season.

Buffon, Italy’s most capped player with 176 appearances, retired from national team duty after they failed to qualify for the World Cup in November.

He said he will not play on 4 June in a friendly against the Netherlands, adding he will “stay away from the national team”.

Crime

Nigeria Football Federation boss Amaju Pinnick under fresh corruption probe

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Several properties belonging to top officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), including its president Amaju Pinnick, have been seized in a fresh corruption probe.

The latest investigation and seizures are being carried out by the country’s Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission’s (ICPC).

The ICPC has published a newspaper advertisement about the properties seized – half of which belong to Pinnick.

According to the statement published in the Nigerian papers one of Pinnick’s properties is in London.

It comes amidst wide-ranging claims over how money meant for football development allegedly disappeared.

“We can’t go into further details beyond the fact that many officials of the NFF are under investigation,” ICPC spokesperson, Rasheedat Okoduwa said.

“It’s basically because what they have is in excess of what they have earned.”

The ICPC has also taken control of properties belonging to the NFF second vice-president Shehu Dikko and the general secretary Muhamed Sanusi among others.

Source: BBC

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24 Hours Across Africa

Rwanda ban Burundi,s music star ahead of annual festival

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Burundian musician Jean Pierre Nimbona, popularly known as Kidum, has told the BBC he is confused by Rwanda’s decision to ban him from playing at the upcoming Kigali Jazz Fusion festival.

Kidum is one of Burundi’s biggest music stars and has performed in Rwanda for the past 16 years.

But a police official phoned the musician’s manager to warn that he would only be allowed to make private visits to Rwanda.

“[My manager was told] Kidum is not supposed to perform, tell him to leave. If he comes for private visits fine, but no performances,” the musician told BBC’s Focus on Africa radio programme.

The mayor of Rwanda’s capital said that in this instance permission had not been sought from the authorities for him to perform at the festival in Kigali.

Kidum was a leading peace activist during Burundi’s civil war between 1993 and 2003 and used his songs to call for reconciliation.

The 44-year-old musician said he had never had problems with Rwandan authorities until recently when three of his shows were cancelled at the last minute – including one in December 2018.

That month Burundi had banned Meddy, a musician who is half-Burundian, half-Rwandan, from performing in the main city of Bujumbura.

Kidum said he was unsure if the diplomatic tensions between Burundi and Rwanda had influenced his ban.

“I don’t know, I don’t have any evidence about that. And if there was politics, I’m not a player in politics, I’m just a freelance musician based in Nairobi,” he said.

He said he would not challenge the ban: “There’s nothing I can do, I just wait until maybe the decision is changed some day.

“It’s similar to a family house and you are denied entry… so you just have to wait maybe until the head of the family decides otherwise.”

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