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FIFA free Rice to play for England.

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West Ham midfielder Declan Rice is free to play for England after world governing body FIFA confirmed his switch from Ireland.

The highly rated 20-year-old, who was born in London but qualified for Ireland via his paternal grandparents, considers himself “to be of mixed nationality” and played three times for Ireland.

But because they were friendlies it left the door open for him to change allegiance and last month he announced his intention to do so, a move that has now been ratified by FIFA.



FIFA can now confirm that the change of association of Declan Rice from the Republic of Ireland to England has been approved,” said a spokesman for the world governing body.

After representing Ireland at youth level, Rice went on to make three senior appearances last year, including games against France and the United States ahead of the World Cup.

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However, speculation over his long-term international future mounted after he became a West Ham regular under Manuel Pellegrini this season.

In completing the switch, Rice follows in the footsteps of Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish, who made the same move to England in 2016.

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“My pride at wearing the Irish shirt was always 100 per cent genuine,” Rice said in a statement last month. “Ultimately, it is a personal decision that I have made with my heart and my head, based on what I believe is best for my future.”

After gaining FIFA approval it now seems likely that Rice, who has started every one of the 26 Premier League matches he has featured in this season, scoring two goals, will be fast-tracked into the England set-up.

England manager Gareth Southgate names his squad for this month’s Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Montenegro next week.

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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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24 Hours Across Africa

Zimbawe’s doctor goes missing after masterminding strike

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Fearless Zimbabwe’s minister of health has called on the government to address insecurity lapses that has lead to the disappearance Peter Magombeyi, the head of a doctor’s union, who disappeared on Saturday.

Fears are rising over the fate of Zimbabwe medical doctor Dr Peter Magombeyi after he sent a message to say he had been abducted in that country by unknown persons – apparently for demanding a “living wage”.

An AFP report earlier on Sunday quoted the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctor’s Association (ZHDA) as saying Magombeyi had not been heard from since he sent a WhatsApp message on Saturday night saying he had been “kidnapped by three men”.

Zimbabwe doctors, who earn a miserly equivalent of about R3 000 are on strike to press for better wages, equipment and medicines in state hospitals.

The ZHDA has reportedly accused state security forces of abducting the doctor because of his role in organising work stoppages.

This week some doctors said the death of deposed Robert Mugabe, 95, in a Singapore hospital on 6 September was an indication of how bad health services in Zimbabwe

“Dr Magombeyi’s crime is only to ask for a living wage for his profession. This is a reflection of the troubles born out of refusal to implement Political Reforms.”

The Zimbabwe government led by Emmerson Mnangagwa has not publicly commented on the doctor’s disappearance

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