African Players in Europe: Ghana’s Sulemana Stars for Doomed Saints

Football - Premier League - Southampton v Liverpool - St Mary's Stadium, Southampton, Britain - May 28, 2023, Southampton's Kamaldeen Sulemana celebrates scoring their second goal. (Reuters)
Football - Premier League - Southampton v Liverpool - St Mary's Stadium, Southampton, Britain - May 28, 2023, Southampton's Kamaldeen Sulemana celebrates scoring their second goal. (Reuters)
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African Players in Europe: Ghana’s Sulemana Stars for Doomed Saints

Football - Premier League - Southampton v Liverpool - St Mary's Stadium, Southampton, Britain - May 28, 2023, Southampton's Kamaldeen Sulemana celebrates scoring their second goal. (Reuters)
Football - Premier League - Southampton v Liverpool - St Mary's Stadium, Southampton, Britain - May 28, 2023, Southampton's Kamaldeen Sulemana celebrates scoring their second goal. (Reuters)

Ghana international Kamaldeen Sulemana scored a stunning goal for relegated Southampton as they bowed out of the Premier League after a thrilling 4-4 draw with Liverpool at the weekend.

The 21-year-old forward ran from inside his own half at Saint Mary's Stadium before firing into the bottom corner from outside the area.

Sulemana twice came off the bench at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, helping Ghana beat South Korea but unable to prevent them losing to Uruguay and being eliminated after the first round.

Here, AFP Sport highlights African headline-makers in the major European leagues:

ENGLAND

Kamaldeen Sulemana (Southampton)

Sulemana scored his first two goals for the Saints in a thriller against Liverpool. Signed in January from Rennes, his impact came far too late to save the club from relegation. He gave a glimpse of what could be a promising future against the Reds. After slotting past Caoimhin Kelleher to open his account for the club, he scored a spectacular second goal.

Taiwo Awoniyi (Nottingham Forest)

Awoniyi continued his sparkling end-of-season form as the Nigerian struck for the sixth time in four games in a 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace. Awoniyi became the first Forest player since Stan Collymore to score in four consecutive Premier League games as his hot streak kept Steve Cooper's men up.

GERMANY

Sebastien Haller (Borussia Dortmund)

Borussia striker Sebastien Haller had a day to forget as his side drew 2-2 at home to Mainz, gifting Bayern Munich an 11th straight Bundesliga title. Haller, who had scored five goals in his previous three games, stepped up to take a penalty early in the first half with his side one goal down. He hit a tame effort at Mainz goalie Finn Dahmen, and the visitors doubled their lead soon after. Haller scored in injury time but had his goal chalked off for offside as Dortmund threw away a chance of breaking Bayern's decade-long title stranglehold.

Ilhas Bebou (Hoffenheim)

Hoffenheim striker Bebou scored a second-half goal as his side drew 1-1 at Stuttgart, snuffing out any chance of being drawn into a relegation battle. Hoffenheim came into the final round facing a slim mathematical chance of being demoted to the second division for the first time in their history. Bebou headed his side in front with 15 minutes remaining, his seventh goal in 19 league appearances this season.

ITALY

Victor Osimhen (Napoli)

The star Nigerian forward took his chart-topping Serie A goal tally to 25 -- four more than closest rival Lautaro Martinez of Inter -- by scoring twice for champions Napoli in a 2-2 draw at 11th-placed Bologna. There has been constant speculation that Osimhen will make a close-season move to the Premier League.

SPAIN

Amath Ndiaye (Real Mallorca)

A tough task for mid-table Mallorca at La Liga champions Barcelona became even more difficult when Senegalese winger Ndiaye was red-carded after only 14 minutes. The visitors were already one goal behind and went on to lose 3-0 with Guinea-Bissau-born Ansu Fati scoring twice.



UEFA Promises More Clarity for Fans and Players on Refereeing Decisions at Euro 2024

 France's Antoine Griezmann, right, and France's William Saliba head the balls during a training session in Paderborn, Germany, Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (AP)
France's Antoine Griezmann, right, and France's William Saliba head the balls during a training session in Paderborn, Germany, Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (AP)
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UEFA Promises More Clarity for Fans and Players on Refereeing Decisions at Euro 2024

 France's Antoine Griezmann, right, and France's William Saliba head the balls during a training session in Paderborn, Germany, Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (AP)
France's Antoine Griezmann, right, and France's William Saliba head the balls during a training session in Paderborn, Germany, Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (AP)

Clarity for players and spectators and zero tolerance for serious foul play and dissent — that’s what referees have been tasked with at the European Championship.

UEFA had already announced last month that it would do more to explain decisions to teams, requiring in turn that only captains can approach the referees to discuss them.

And that was emphasized on Wednesday at a media briefing on refereeing guidelines for Euro 2024 that took place at Munich’s Allianz Stadium, two days before host nation Germany kicks off the tournament in the same venue against Scotland.

"Only the captain will approach the referee, the other players they have to think about (playing). That’s it, finish," UEFA managing director for refereeing Roberto Rosetti said.

UEFA has promised that the referees will attempt to give the captains an explanation of key incidents during the match, including what was discussed with VAR.

Any teammate ignoring his captain’s role and approaching the referee showing any sign of disrespect or dissent will receive a yellow card.

Fans, meanwhile, will also get a better understanding of VAR decisions as they will be broadcast on the giant screens in stadiums.

"This is something new. I think it’s very, very, very interesting," Rosetti said. "So we want to give, after the opinion of VAR, a technical explanation for the public. In live, simultaneously, the UEFA expert will prepare the explanation, a technical explanation about what happened in the specific situation.

"For example, on-field review, the referee awards a penalty for handball...technical explanation: Germany number nine touch the ball with his left arm which was in an unnatural position above the shoulder and making his body bigger."

Rosetti has met with all the teams participating at Euro 2024 and their coaches to present the refereeing guidelines for the tournament, including hammering home that any dangerous tackles will be severely punished.

"One of the most important priority in refereeing guidelines is to protect the players," Rosetti said. "To protect the image of the game, but in particular to protect the safety of the main actors of the games.

"We showed them a couple of clips that we are asking to the referees to be very strong in these kind of situations," he added. "So for such situations we asked to the referees to be zero tolerant because this is something that we cannot accept."