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Stephens sees success of black women inspiring new generation

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Former U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens believes the current cohort of young black women at the top of the game bodes well for the future of African-American involvement in tennis.

Stephens beat Olga Govortsova on Thursday to reach the third round at Flushing Meadows, where she will play compatriot and 23-times Grand Slam champion Serena Williams.

The days when Williams and her sister Venus were the exception as women of colour playing at Grand Slams are long gone and Stephens thinks that will only inspire more black girls to give the sport a go.

“I think it’s awesome,” Stephens told reporters. “Right now … leading our sport on the women’s side is African-American women, which is amazing.”

“From Naomi (Osaka) to Coco (Gauff), Venus (Williams), Serena (Williams), Maddie (Madison Keys), myself, and then the younger girls coming up.

“I think there is an amazing opportunity to get more women of colour in this sport. Because you can see now there are so many amazing players playing … and obviously tennis is giving us so much in our lives.”

Stephens, who won the U.S. Open title in 2017, was wearing a face mask with the words “No Justice/No Peace” emblazoned on it to draw attention to racial injustice in the United States.

Her mask had echoes of the statement Osaka, the daughter of a Japanese mother and Haitian father who grew up mostly in the United States, is making with her protective gear at Flushing Meadows this year.

The 2018 champion is wearing a different face mask for each of her matches featuring the name of a Black American in an attempt to bring the issue of racial injustice to a wider audience.

Frances Tiafoe, the Black American world number 82, who earned his own spot in the third round on Thursday, has been impressed by the campaign.

“Naomi, that’s my guy… She’s special on and off court, what she stands for. I have been a fan ever since she popped off in the Open here a couple years ago,” Tiafoe said.

“Always nice and quiet. But to see her use her platforms and go crazy, it’s special. You tip your hat off to that.”

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Austin Eguavoen reveals he was a master tactician before AFCON (Video)

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Newly trending video posted on ATHLST’s YouTube channel shows Super Eagles coach Austin Eguavoen breakdown Nigeria’s football philosophy and his preferred playing style while looking back at some of Nigeria’s most historic teams.

It’s a much watch.

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AFCON: Super Eagles to face Tunisia in next round

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The Super Eagles of Nigeria will square off with Tunisia in the round of 16 stage of the African Cup of Nations following the North African nation finishing one of four best losers at the group stage.

The Carthage Eagles lost 1-0 to Gambia on Thursday night to finish third in Group E on three points, but this was good enough for Tunisia to scramble into the knockout rounds.

Both Eagles met at the bronze medal match at AFCON 2019 in Egypt with Nigeria getting the better of Tunisia 1-0 thanks to Odion Ighalo’s goal.

The teams will face off in Garoua on Sunday at 8 pm.

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NFF to allow Eguavoen remain Super Eagles’ coach

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The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has said Augustine Eguavoen can keep the national team job on a permanent basis if he wants.

The 56-year-old stepped in on an interim basis after Gernot Rohr was sacked in December.

Eguavoen has so far impressed at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, with the Super Eagles winning all their Group D fixtures.

However, he was supposed to hand over to Jose Peseiro after the tournament.

But ESPN reports that the NFF is having second thoughts about that.

“We will have to leave him there, unless he doesn’t want the job,” an NFF source said.

Eguavoen is currently the NFF Technical Director, but the football house would allow him handle both roles.

“What we are even thinking of right now is to give Eguavoen the two jobs. The national team plays about 10 matches a year, so during those times when they are not playing, he can carry on with his other responsibilities.

“Coaching is very touch and go. Right now, he has a stable job being Technical Director where he gets paid by FIFA. To leave that for being a coach where things can change any moment and he can get fired would be very risky.

“That is why we want him to keep the two positions. So, whatever happens, he has shown that he can excel in both and if anything happens with the coaching, he can go back to just being technical director,” the official added.

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