Henrikh Mkhitaryan has signed for Arsenal on a long-term contract in a deal which sees Alexis Sanchez join Manchester United

Henrikh made 39 appearances while at Manchester United, scoring five times and was part of their UEFA Europa League winning squad last season. He is the captain of the Armenian national team and is their all-time top scorer. He has also received the Armenian Footballer of the Year award eight times.

The 29-year-old midfielder started his career with Armenian side FC Pyunik, where he won the Armenian Premier League on four occasions. He then moved to Ukraine where he played for Metalurh Donetsk, before joining Shakhtar Donetsk, where he made 72 appearances, winning the Ukrainian Premier League three times. In 2013, Henrikh transferred to Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga, where he made 90 appearances, during which time he was part of the 2014 German Cup winning squad.

On his move, Henrikh said: “I’m very happy that we could finish this deal and I’m very happy to be here. It’s a dream come true because I’ve always dreamed of playing for Arsenal. Now that I’m here, I’ll do my best for this club to create history.”

Arsène Wenger added: “Henrikh is a very complete player. He creates chances, he defends well, he can absorb distances and he’s very committed as well. I must say he’s a player who has all the attributes.”

As part of the transfer, Alexis has joined Manchester United.

Alexis scored 80 goals in 166 appearances during his time with us. He was part of two Emirates FA Cup-winning squads (2015 and 2017), scoring in both finals. “We thank Alexis for his contribution to the club. We welcome Henrikh to Arsenal Football Club and wish him well for his time with us. The deal is subject to the completion of regulatory processes and Henrikh’s squad number will be confirmed soon,” Arsenal.

Adapted from www.arsenal.com

Ronaldinho retires from football as the former Barcelona, PSG, AC Milan and Brazil superstar calls time on a glittering playing career aged 37

By Press Association Sport Staff

Brazilian World Cup winner Ronaldinho has retired from football, his brother and agent has confirmed.

Ronaldinho, 37, has not played for a professional team since leaving Fluminense in 2015.

The former Barcelona star, part of the triumphant Brazil 2002 World Cup squad, won the Champions League in 2006 – a year after having collected the Ballon d’Or.

Roberto Assis confirmed the news of his brother’s decision in a column for Brazil media outlet O Globo and revealed plans for farewell tribute events following the 2018 World Cup.

‘He has stopped, it is ended,’ Assis said. ‘Let’s do something pretty big and nice (for his farewell) after the Russia World Cup, probably in August.

‘We will do various events in Brazil, Europe and Asia and, of course, we are arranging something with the Brazilian team as well.’

Assis, who confirmed sponsors Nike would also be involved in Ronaldinho’s farewell events, added: ‘The fact that he has been Barcelona’s ambassador for 10 years makes it a lot easier out there. He is wanted there and here (back in Brazil).’

Ronaldinho started his career with Gremio before moving to Paris St Germain in 2001. After leaving Barcelona, the Brazilian also had a spell at AC Milan where he won the Serie A title in 2010/11.

MTN Uganda announces National Grassroots Football Development Program to Provide Kits to Needy, Local Village Teams

Program set to give support to local footballers in Central, Eastern, Northern and Western Uganda

900 football kits and soccer balls expected to be distributed to over 66 football teams

First phase expected to be worth UGX 50,000,000 with the program expected to be carried out annually

MTN Uganda today morning officially unveiled its Grassroots Football Development Program where it will support local football teams countrywide with kits. The pilot program will see MTN Uganda acquire over 900 football kits which will be donated to football teams across the country covering all regions of Uganda.

In the first phase of this initiative MTN has invested over Ugx 50 million and it will see over 66 village football teams acquire new, quality football uniforms and soccer balls. The program was unveiled by the MTN General Manager for Sales and Distribution Mr. Keith Tukei who was ecstatic about the potential of the program in developing the game:

“The initiative is aimed at enhancing football playing experiences amongst children across the four regions of Uganda. Our aim as MTN Uganda is to grow the game of football, create inroads in spotting and identifying young, local talent and uplifting this talent to a national level”.

Speaking at the launch, Valery Okecho the MTN Manager for Corporate Communications stated: “Football as a sport unites us all. The love for the game challenges our team at MTN to continuously seek ways to supply talent towards national excellence. This program is aimed at supporting young footballers who felt that their talent would lead them nowhere, who had no hope of exporting it from the dusty playgrounds in the countryside to national recognition. We do this in tandem with the pre-existing grassroots football development initiatives spearheaded by the local football governing body. It is our strong belief that through this support we shall develop a nation full of confident, talented footballers not only from Central Uganda but also from Northern, Eastern and Western Uganda”.

The Grassroots program was envisaged after MTN Uganda Senior officials noticed there were lots of local, village teams playing with promise, participating and excelling in local tournaments but lacked the basic football kits like a team jersey or even a standard soccer ball.

“This program is really personal for us as a company, seeing kids and the youth alike out there enjoying themselves was touching. We thought to ourselves why not take this talent and nurturing it by supporting it using this program. When we talked to the local footballers, most of them had never won a new kit nor even played with a new ball. We therefore look forward to creating extra motivation to the footballers to train and have a great playing experience” Mr. Keith Tukei said.

Grassroot football teams that are talented, have a good track record, show promise, participate in local football tournaments and are not part of the top flight teams in the national league will be targeted through this program. It is expected that this initiative will be carried out annually.

For teams that are interested in benefitting from this program, they will have to officially register using a certain criteria that will look into their performance, promise and good conduct. The team should not be participating in any of the organised football leagues.

“In Uganda, grassroots football is used by some as a recreational activity, for others as a sport and for most as an avenue to express their talent. However many don’t see this talent go through to the next level. It is therefore our hope that through this program more local footballers will be discovered by the larger clubs and eventually play for the national team” Mr. Keith Tukei said.

Beneficiaries will be seen to be competitive, represent the MTN brand and espouse its values, will henceforth be brand ambassadors and observe good conduct. Using its Regional Business Managers, MTN Uganda will scout for new talent and beneficiaries in the course of their field visits. This project is being implemented by the Sales and Distribution team.

The Uganda Sports Press Association (USPA) hailed this initiative by MTN Uganda. “As USPA we welcome this initiative to develop football from the grassroots because Uganda is full of potential but most of the talent remains untapped. We thank MTN for giving young footballers across the country a platform to showcase their potential and also for giving them a chance to dream and dream big. As a sports journalists’ body we are happy when sports grows because it means that our sector is moving in the right direction” read a statement signed by Mr. Patrick Kanyomozi the General Secretary of USPA.

Internationally, FIFA supports Grassroots Programs by offering everyone the chance to play football, without discrimination and without the need for major infrastructure. With its core statement of ‘Grassroots football is football for everyone, by everyone, everywhere’ MTN Uganda’s program is in line with supporting the development of grassroots football by facilitating the much needed football kits that are a preserve of a few.

The MTN Group abides by its Brand Mission of making customers’ lives a whole lot brighter. In line with this mission the program will indeed make the lives of all footballers brighter.

Bunamwaya FC crowned 2017 Challenge Cup Winner

Ugandan Olympic Hopeful Brolin Mawejje encourages participants to effect positive change in their communities

This weekend, US-based Ugandan snowboarder Brolin Mawejje presided over the 2017 Jedidiah Foundation Challenge Cup finals that saw local team Bunamwaya FC emerge victorious after beating Katanga FC 3 goals to 1.

The weekend games, that were played at Bunamwaya Aggrey Stadium in Kampala Uganda, mark the end of the Far From Home Challenge Cup, organized by Jedidiah Foundation and sponsored by Team Visa member and Ugandan snowboarder Brolin Mawejje.

Born in Uganda, Mawejje is a recent college graduate and aspiring orthopedic surgeon. He is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Health with hopes of becoming a surgeon in Uganda after his athletic career.

As a member of Team Visa, he is attempting to become the first ever Ugandan snowboarder in history to participate in the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.

Commenting about the football tournament, Mawejje thanked Visa for their support that has given him the tools and resources to achieve his goals both on and off the field of competition.

“I thank all the teams that participated in this tournament and encourage them to maintain the sense of togetherness that they have cultivated and use it to effect positive change in their communities,” he said.

Omunyeeto upbeat ahead of festive season rally

Rally ace Ambrose Byona popularly referred to as ‘Omunyeeto’ is feeling positive and cheerful ahead of the festive season rally at Festino in Mukono.

The Hima cement sponsored ace said he is ready to show power and deliver victory for his team on Boxing Day sprint.

Ambrose Byona and Derick Lubambula, the navigator pose next to their Hima Cement sponsored Mitsubishi Evo 9

Organisers say all is set for the Festino City rally and once again, all roads will for another year running will lead to Mukono at the Boxing Day (December 26th) Rally Sprint.

Organizers told his website that this year’s track has been slightly elongated from 5 Kilometres to 8.3 Kilometres.

Speaking at the Launch, Federation of Uganda Motorcross President Dusman Oki, said:

This year’s sprint is going to be better for many reasons and one of them is that we are expecting many drivers to participate.

We are glad for the return of Ponsiano aka ‘Mafu mafu’ Lwakataka and his rivalry with Arthur Blick is set to light up the day, so, personally I pledge to give the winner between the two over the two circuits 0.5 million Uganda shillings.

Oki argued the fans on that day to stay far away from the track so as no accident reports emerge on that day.

The closing date for registration of the drivers ends on December 23rd, that is, 3 days before the D-day.

Our major emphasis has been put on security and we ensure you that we are going to deploy many security personnel as possible,” he added.

Tusker Lite Backs FUBA 3*3 Tournament with 100m Sponsorship

Federation of Uganda Basketball Association (FUBA) has this morning unveiled a 100 Million Uganda Shillings package with Uganda East African Breweries.

Announcing the partnership at a Press briefing held at Uganda Olympic Committee in Lugogo, FUBA president Ambrose Tashobya said: “We have got a credible partner who we are proud to bring on board. We are very pleased with the trust and willingness that UBL under their Tusker Lite beer brand has not only opened their generosity to us but has embarked on a relationship with FUBA- one which we intend to keep.”

Estella Muzito, head of Beers at UBL hands over the 100m dummy cheque to FUBA President Ambrose Tashobya during the announcement of the Tusker Lite sponsorship

The 100 Million is going to be halved, 50 million going to cater for the upcoming FUBA 3*3 tournament which runs from January to March next year. The other half will go to the National Basketball League which is expected to start in March up to November. Speaking on behalf of UBL, Estella Muzito, the head of Beers reiterated their support in sport and particularly the rate at which basketball fans and its popularity is on the rise.

“This is a partnership with a fast-growing Sport together with the fast-growing Brand. Tusker Lite not only appeals to this target demography but also took advantage of introducing Ugandan basketball lovers to the 3*3 basketball formation that will bring a different vibe and aura to the sport. We have no doubt that the venues selected and the FUBA management will make it a jam-packed and electrifying series of games come 2018,” Muzito remarked.

Team Visa’s Brolin Mawejje in Uganda to officiate over 2017 Jedidiah Foundation Challenge Cup

Mawejje’s ultimate goal is to become Uganda’s first Olympic Winter Games snowboarder

US-based Ugandan snowboarder Brolin Mawejje is currently on a visit to Uganda where he will officiate over the 2017 Jedidiah Foundation Challenge Cup finals that will be played on the 15th to 17th December 2017 in Kampala.

Mawejje who moved to Lincoln, Massachusetts at the age of twelve, is a recent college graduate and aspiring orthopedic surgeon. He is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Health with hopes of becoming a surgeon in Uganda after his athletic career.

As a member of Team Visa, he is attempting to become the first ever Ugandan snowboarder in history to participate in the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.

Emily Kaiga, Visa’s Corporate Communications Director for East and West Africa, Visa said: “Brolin embodies our core values – acceptance, partnership and innovation – and his career so far is a testament to the philosophy of never giving up. We hope he will inspire those participating in the 2017 Jedidiah Foundation Challenge Cup to follow in his footsteps.”

“The support I have received as part of Team Visa thus far has been an invaluable contribution towards my preparation for the upcoming season of competition,” Mawejje stated.

Commenting about the football tournament, Mawejje said: “I am honored to officiate over the 2017 Challenge Cup. By providing youth the opportunity to participate in an activity they enjoy, I hope it establishes a platform on which they can nurture their sense of self, continue to build relationships and enhance the sense of community,” he added.

Team Visa was founded in 2000 to provide athletes with the tools and resources to achieve their lifelong dreams, both on and off the field of competition, regardless of their origin or background. In Africa, Uganda’s Brolin Mawejje and Seun Adigun, Ngozi Onwumere, Akuoma Omeoga, who make up the Nigerian Women’s Bobsled team, are the only athletes signed up under the team.

Adellah Agaba takes over as Betway Uganda Country Manager

Betway Uganda has a new Country Manager, we can confirm. Latest info reaching our desk has it that Adellah Agaba who has been Public Relations Officer (PRO) of Betway Uganda has been promoted to the position of Country Manager for the same company.

She confirmed to us that she is new country manager of the betting company and said it was humbling for her.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank God for always humbling me with his favor and provision, everyone that has had a hand in this journey, thank you. The new challenge we take it on together, and i pray for support and love as we start the New Year. Everything we do, is for the love of the game. Join the winning family,” Adellah said.

Adellah Agaba

MTN Marathon participants can access results, certificates online

Sunday 19th November witnessed another Y’ello wave as twenty thousand Ugandans turn up to run for charity. About 20,000 participated.

Certificates and time posted available on https://www.mtn.co.ug/en/services/value-added-services/Pages/MTN-Marathon.aspx

56% of the registered runners contributed towards maternal health while 44% contributed towards reducing cancer in schools

The results for all registered participants in the MTN Kampala Marathon are now available online. The results include the time posted for each runner, giving an opportunity for participants to view how they performed. The link to the results can be accessed through the MTN Uganda Website (www.mtn.co.ug/marathon) . On top of people viewing their results, they can also download certificates through the provided link.

The management of MTN Uganda was on Sunday humbled by the massive turnaround at the 14th edition of the MTN Kampala Marathon that took place at Kololo Independence Grounds, Kampala.

Speaking to a section of the press following the close of the marathon, The Chief Marketing Officer of MTN Uganda Mr. Olivier Prentout was elated at the turnout: “This was our 14th edition of the MTN Kampala Marathon and we as management, staff, partners, and sponsors were all truly impressed by the numbers of not only those who registered to run but also well-wishers, marathon enthusiasts and corporate companies that turned up”, stated Mr. Olivier Prentout.

This year, the MTN Kampala Marathon was extra special as it allowed participants to select a cause they would prefer to run for. The Chief Marketing Officer revealed that they would soon disclose the results of this drive: “We are still in the process of collecting all the data and we shall make an announcement soon of how much Ugandans were able to contribute in total and to which cause. Be sure that we shall share this information”, he stated.

Proceeds from the MTN Kampala Marathon will be channeled towards the improvement of maternal health and replacing of asbestos roofing in some key schools within Kampala to reduce the risk of cancer. From the initial statistics, 56% of the registered runners chose to contribute to maternal health while 44% selected reducing cancer in schools.

On the MTN Uganda Facebook page, comments from fans reflected the words from the MTN Uganda Senior Management. Ivan Chris Kiwanuka commented “It was massive” while David Bagonza reflected on the ‘home wins’ by stating “Ugandans have represented this time”.

At the elite end of the marathon, there was an improvement shown by Ugandan runners compared to previous editions when it came to results in the full 42km marathon and the half marathon 21km category. Whereas Kenyans took top honors in the elite 42k race for men and women races, Ugandans took 13 out of the 15 available slots in the Top 5 positions of the 42k, 21k and 10k race for both men and women.

This indeed was a better showing by Ugandans from previous events and this showed how important the MTN Kampala Marathon is in providing an avenue for Ugandans breakout marathon runners to show their talent and potential before selection for bigger marathon events like IAAF circuits and other international events.

Moneywise, it was the Kenyans who took home the majority of the total prize money in the 42k category for both men and women as they took home UGX 45,000,000 in combined prize earnings out of the UGX 80,000,000 on offer for the Top 5 finishes.

The MTN Kampala Marathon was sponsored by Huawei, Stanbic Bank, Vision Group and Rwenzori Water.

Rugby’s new passionate frontier: Africa

The number of female rugby players in Africa has seen a 50% increase between 2016 and 2017

LONDON, United Kingdom, November 13, 2017/ — The World Rugby Council opened today in London and will vote on Wednesday for the country to host the 2023 World Rugby Cup. South Africa is very likely to win.

When it comes to the world’s biggest rugby nations, it would be easy to assume that the most fanatical supporters would be in the old guard countries of international rugby. England, New Zealand and South Africa all come to mind but few can rival the passion and energy of African rugby.

In a continent known for great footballing nations, the oval ball has been Africa’s best kept love affair for decades and one that continues to blossom. The number of registered players on the continent jumped up from 770 000 to over a million in the last year alone. In 2013, World Rugby’s “Get Into Rugby” initiative attracted 22 000 players, in 2017, that number was 384 000.

The number of female rugby players in Africa has seen a 50% increase between 2016 and 2017. In 2017, 20% of rugby players in Africa are women and girls.

These numbers are echoed by the real passion and dedication of African rugby fans across the continent. Madagascar is a perfect illustration of this passion. With rugby as their national sport, they have more rugby clubs per capita than any other country with 160 Rugby clubs in the capital city alone. Their national team, made up of amateur players, always fills the Mahamasina Municipal stadium with passionate fans.

This surge of interest seems likely to continue with 22 000 schools now including rugby in their curriculums across Africa, up from 20 000 in 2016. Africa is rapidly becoming the world’s largest youth pool with 60% of the continent’s population under the age of 24 and that number is predicted to grow.

Additionally, new teams are rapidly rising up the ranks. Algeria founded their rugby federation in 2015 and entered the Africa Bronze Cup for the first time in 2017. After a surprise performance, the Algerian national team reached the final against a Zambian team that had been undefeated since 2002. They went on to win the competition, a mere two years after their federation’s inception.

With South Africa likely to be announced as the host for the 2023 Rugby World Cup this week and the African Gold cup in 2018, the profile of African rugby has never been higher and the continent’s governing body for rugby is rising to the occasion.

As a result of this spotlight and Africa’s huge potential for the sport, Rugby Africa has partnered up with Africa’s leading media relations consulting firm, the APO Group. The partnership was formalised by APO Group’s CEO, Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard and The Chairman of Rugby Africa, Abdelaziz Bougja at the World Rugby’s annual executive council meeting in London on November 12th 2017.

APO Group count Facebook, DHL, Uber, General Electric and Societe Generale as some of their many clients and bring world leading expertise to bolster Rugby Africa. APO Group’s wealth of experience, global and pan-African, will be an invaluable part of raising the profile of African rugby globally as well as promoting the sport across the continent.

“We will devote our efforts to bringing a new dimension to the discipline in Africa and beyond the regional borders,” says Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, APO Group’s CEO. “In addition to the initiatives we’ll undertake to build momentum and engage and inspire new audiences, we will use our expertise in media relations to put the spotlight on African rugby and reach thousands of potential fans.”

This enthusiasm is shared by the Chairman of Rugby Africa, Abdelaziz Bougja: “We are very excited to have APO Group joining us as Official Partner. It was important for us to team up with the ideal partner: a company sharing the values of integrity, respect, tolerance, discipline and passion commonly associated with rugby.”

This partnership perfectly embodies the future of African rugby, it is the story of huge opportunity made up of Africa’s huge pool of young players paired with the economic potential of a booming sport for Africa and the world. This partnership, and Africa’s perfect economic and demographic landscape mean that African rugby is undoubtedly the one to watch for many years to come.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of AFP Services