Sports
Photo by Hakeem Adam.

In Photos: This Is What Africa's First Baseball Olympic Pre-Qualifier Looked Like

Burkina Faso establishes themselves as a thrilling prospect at the first African pre-qualifier for the 2020 Olympics.

It's no secret that sporting talent is well distributed among Africans, both at home on the continent and in the diaspora. Across all disciplines including football, tennis, sprinting, long distance running and now to winter sports like bobsled, you will find African athletes displaying stellar physical and mental performances at the top level and simply thriving. Baseball, which has traditionally been an American sport, might soon be the next place where African athletes will display their magnificence.

Back in March at the KOSHIEN Baseball Field in Accra, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Ghana's national baseball teams in locked horns for a chance to qualify for the only African spot in baseball at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The tournament which was organized by the Ghana Baseball and Softball Federation.

Ghana, the host team, were the top-seeded team coming into the tournament, ranked at number three in Africa. With a healthy home support cheering on, the Rising Stars approached the contest with the same fierce spirit of song and dance that their colleagues in football have made the nation known for globally. However, it did not quite come together for them with Burkina Faso, the underdogs, proving to be the much more tactically disciplined opponent, taking advantage of Ghana's lack of pace on the field. The Upright Men, which were also the youngest team, completely dominated the event—beating both teams they faced to top the group and make it to the next round of qualifiers as champions of West Africa. They exhibited a high level of professionalism and teamwork, making intelligent plays to get past the more experienced Ghanaian and Nigerian teams while thoroughly enjoying themselves in the process. Nigeria also recovered from their loss to Burkina Faso on the first day of the tournament and made it through at Ghana's expense, beating them in a closely contested final game.

Regardless of the results, the qualifiers proved to be a great exposition for the sport that is very much on the fringes in these parts. For someone completely new to baseball like myself, it was refreshing to witness the young men from Burkina Faso send the crowd wild with their home runs. Photographing the event gave me a deeper appreciation of the efforts of all involved who are keen to make the most of the opportunities the game could provide them.

It's still a long road ahead to Tokyo, but take a look at the possible African history-makers at the Olympics in 2020 below.


Photo by Hakeem Adam.

Photo by Hakeem Adam.

Photo by Hakeem Adam.

Photo by Hakeem Adam.

Photo by Hakeem Adam.

Photo by Hakeem Adam.

Photo by Hakeem Adam.

Photo by Hakeem Adam.

Photo by Hakeem Adam.

Photo by Hakeem Adam.

Photo by Hakeem Adam.

Photo by Hakeem Adam.

Photo by Hakeem Adam.

Photo by Hakeem Adam.

Photo by Hakeem Adam.

Hakeem Adam is an instinct creative in love with beautiful sentences and the angst of communicating complex ideas in poetry. He frequently expresses this angst in simple sentences on his blog. He also loves to talk about African film and music classics on his platform, Dandano. Keep up with Hakeem on Twitter at @mansah_hakeem.

popular

Nike Has Unveiled a New Nigeria 2020 Kit—and It's Just as Striking as the First

The Super Eagle's new kits are an impressive follow-up to the 2018 design.

Nike and Nigeria have done it again.

On Wednesday, the sporting brand unveiled a brand new Nigeria kit. This comes after the success of the wildly popular World Cup kit from 2018 which seamlessly fused streetwear with athletic function. The famous design was even nominated for the Beazley Design of the Year Award the year of its release.

The 2020 design is just as striking, featuring an angled, hand-drawn green design on top of a cream base. The Super Eagles's football crest is placed at the top front of the jersey, with the signature Nike swoop underneath. Matching sock sets were also unveiled for both colors of the jersey.

Keep reading... Show less
popular
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 14: UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman (L) punches Colby Covington in their welterweight title fight during UFC 245 at T-Mobile Arena on December 14, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Usman retained his title with a fifth-round TKO. (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)

'I’m More American Than Him,' Says Nigerian UFC Champion Kamaru Usman After Crushing MAGA-Supporting Opponent

Ahead of the match, Usman promised to make his opponent feel "the wrath of every immigrant in this country," and he delivered.

On Saturday, Nigerian-born fighter Kamaru Usman, also known as "The Nigerian Nightmare," won the the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) welterweight title after he dealt a crushing blow to his MAGA-supporting opponent Colby Covington.

Covington, an over-confident Trump devotee, went as far as to tell the president that he would deliver the champion belt to the White House in his honor. He sported the infamous red cap to press appearances and on the day of the match, and even poked fun at Usman's Nigerian heritage, asking "What has [Usman's] family ever done for America beside serve in the Federal penitentiary?" Unsurprisingly, the fighter garnered the full support of the president and his white supremacist following.

Usman, however, got both the last word and the last blow—which he delivered directly to Covington's jaw—during the UFC 245 match. Following his knockout win at the 4:10 mark of the fifth round, Usman sat down for a post-fight interview, in which he addressed Covington's bigoted behavior as well as the white nationalists in attendance who chanted "USA! USA!" as his opponent walked into the ring. Usman stated that the cheers were actually meant for him, as he was the one who displayed what it meant to be a real American:

Keep reading... Show less
News Brief
Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images.

Black Coffee Is on a Mission to Raise Funds for Coronavirus Relief Efforts

The South African musician is raising funds in an effort to donate a million rands to organizations fighting the COVID-19 outbreak.

DJ Black Coffee is on a mission to help raise funds for organizations fighting to curb the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.

Having already raised 90 000 rands (approximately USD 5000) in just five days for the government's Solidarity Fund, the South African artist wants to raise a total of 1 million rands (approximately USD 55 000), according to reports by TimesLIVE.

Keep reading... Show less
popular

Veteran Somali Musician Ahmed Ismail Hussein Has Died

Considered one of the founding fathers of contemporary Somali music and affectionately known as 'Hudeydi', the musician has passed away from the coronavirus at age 92.

Veteran Somali musician Ahmed Ismail Hussein has passed away at the age of 92 according to reports by the BBC.

Considered one of the founding fathers of contemporary Somali music, the musician passed away in London, England, after having tested positive for the coronavirus.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.