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The Captain of Sierra Leone's National Soccer Team is Paying Heavily for Missing a Penalty

Umaru Bangura's house has been badly damaged by fans.

On Sunday, Sierra Leone faced off against Liberia in the second leg of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers. The match took place in front of a vibrant crowd in Sierre Leone's capital city, Freetown. After Kei Kamara scored the first goal of the match and put the team in the lead, hopes were high that Sierra Leone would win on home soil. However, the game came down to penalties and when the captain of Sierra Leone's national team and FC Zürich midfielder, Umaru Bangura, went in for the winning shot, Liberia's goalkeeper, Ashley Williams, made an impressive save and the talented 18-year-old ultimately took Liberia through to the group phase of the qualifiers.

In any competitive sport, there has to be a winner and a loser. However, in spite of that knowledge, soccer fans especially have been known to take their frustrations out on soccer stadiums, the fans of other teams and sometimes the players on the team they're rooting for.

Following Sierra Leone's loss to Liberia, fans took to Bangura's home in Freetown and pelted it with stones, leaving it badly damaged. It is also reported that there is now a song (mocking the player's penalty miss) doing the rounds on the country's airwaves. Had the player scored successively in the 95th minute, Sierra Leone would have tied 3-3 in terms of their aggregate scoreline and advanced to the next stage based on away goals.

Speaking to the BBC, Bangura said that, "[It was] one of the worst days of my life. I can't even go outside because I didn't expect this kind of hostility towards me." The player also added that, "I did my job by stepping up as the captain to take the spot kick. I am really disappointed. But at the same time I wish to say sorry [and] beg for their forgiveness."

Photo by Oupa Bopape/Gallo Images via Getty Images

South African Rapper Costa Titch Dies While Performing on Stage

Costa Titch, who was only 28, collapsed on stage in the middle of a festival performance.

South African rapper Constantinos Tsobanoglou, popularly known as Costa Titch, died over the weekend after collapsing onstage during a music festival performance. He was only 28.

Titch was performing at the Ultra South Africa concert near Johannesburg, when collapsed while on stage. The rapper regained consciousness but in quick succession collapsed a second time. Following his second collapse, emergency responders, and members of his team tried to revive him, but their efforts were unsuccessful. It is not yet clear what caused him to collapse.

Following the chain of events, Costa Titch’s family members confirmed the tragic news of his passing on his official Instagram account.

Ever since the news broke, fans shared their condolences on social media, and praised the artist for his musical ability.

Akon, who signed Costa to his label Konvict Muzik, also shared some heart warming words on his instagram account in respect to the late artist.

“I remember when Babs played me his record for the first time. I was convinced that he was going to make an impact in this world. Costa Titch had a vision that I knew for sure would take over the music industry globally and was on his way to doing just that when god’s plan intervened. It’s been a sad day but what makes me feel better is that I know he died doing what he loved doing the most in this world. God bless you COSTA!!!!!,” Akon wrote.

Before he passed, Costa had released the remix to his commercially successful “"Big Flexa" song. The rapper was also known for records like “Super Star” and “Goat." In 2020, he released his debut album, Made in Africa. Here's what OkayAfrica wrote about it at the time:

"Made in Africa doesn't do much to introduce the listener to the person behind Costa Titch. It's not that kind of album. As mentioned previously, it's made up of bangers and has plenty of guests. Almost every song is designed to be a single. So, there aren't any deep cuts in which the artist digs deep into his personal life to share heartfelt stories and vulnerability. The only instance is the song "Holy Rain" in which he reflects on his ongoing rise to the top of the SA hip-hop food chain—from being Cassper Nyovest's dancer to being tasked with 'saving the game.'"

Our thoughts go out to all of his loved ones.

Photo Credit: Showmax

Who are the 'Real Housewives of Nairobi?'

The ‘Real Housewives’ franchise turns to Nairobi, Kenya for a debut season, parading five of the country’s wealthiest women.

East Africa will finally have a taste of popular reality franchise The Real Housewives, after successful editions in Durban, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Lagos, and Abuja. Coming to Showmax on February 23 asThe Real Housewives of Nairobi,the streaming service may have struck reality TV gold, taking the show to different African countries and cementing continuity with more seasons.

With Real Housewives of Nairobi just around the corner, fans can count on the endless amounts of drama every Thursday. The reality TV show will follow the lavish lives of five women in Kenya drawn from media, entertainment, and entrepreneurship, orchestrating their own dynamic while observing the through-line and cues that have come to make the show an obsessive watch.

This East African iteration is produced by D&R Studios, and is part of The Real Housewives franchise licensed as a format by NBCUniversal Formats. Discover the cast members who will undoubtedly have our attention for weeks to come.

Susan Kaittany

Not new to the limelight, Kaittany first cut her teeth with fame as a teenage model, crowned Miss Earth Kenya in 2004. The title allowed her to compete with other contestants from around the world in the Miss Earth pageant in the Philippines. Her strong passion for beauty and fashion made her abandon her law profession for the hospitality industry.

Creating Posh Palace, a multi-million beauty empire that houses hair salons and spas in Nairobi, Kaittany has emerged as one of Kenya’s prominent beauty entrepreneurs and socialite. Her penchant for statement hairstyles suggests rich visuals when Real Housewives of Nairobi arrives. And she stays in touch with runway fashion by walking for Kenyan womenswear brand Aulgah Nato for their latest collection.

Vera Sidika

If there’s anyone Real Housewives of Nairobi needs on the show, it’s surely Vera Sidika. As one of Kenya’s most talked about celebrities, Sidika enjoys brewing controversy with her opinions which have landed her on gossip blogs and entertainment magazines. Last year, she made headlines for removing her butt implants due to medical complications, warning young women to love their natural bodies.

While her presence on social media has a stronghold in Kenya, the 33-year-old first picked up media notoriety as a video vixen. Her stint with reality television came when she was featured on Nairobi Diaries in 2015, a series that put her on screen alongside entertainers and socialites. As a businesswoman, she launched her herbal slimming tea Veetox in 2017 as well as a beauty parlor in Mombasa the following year.

Married to singer Brown Mauzo, Sidika has a daughter with one more child on the way.

Sonal Maherali

Sonal Mahreali is a mom of four who has cemented herself as a top luxury vlogger in Kenya. She launched her YouTube channel—where she shares videos on lifestyle, fashion, luxury travel, shoes, and lots more—in 2016.

It needs to be said again that Sonal has an obsession with high-end, luxury shoes. And while she’s calm and soft-spoken, she’s revealed that for Real Housewives of Nairobi she could get out of character if necessary. Maherali is married to Aly Maherali, the CEO of Executive Healthcare Solutions (EHS), the firm that represents Aetna International in Africa.

Maherali also has her own luxury clothing and shoe line, Simba Maharani.

Minne Kariuki

Those familiar with Minne Kariuki as Mariah from the Showmax originalSingle Kiasi won’t be surprised by her appearance on Real Housewives of Nairobi. Her character on the show has all of the Real Housewives tonal beats: living in a high-end apartment, drinking champagne, and traveling in private jets to luxury destinations. Importantly, she will be bringing the shade and sassiness to Kenya’s version of the Real Housewives.

The youngest of the cast members, Kariuki is married to artiste Charles Miugai, aka Lugz Kenya, with whom they have two daughters.

Lisa Christoffersen

Tanzanian-born Danish businesswoman Lisa Christoffersen has her heels at the intersection of interior design, African art, and curated luxury safari experiences.

Christoffersen is the founder of Lioness Rally, the first women-only rally team in Kenya, and Lifestyle Nairobi, an artisanal space in Nairobi’s diplomatic hub of Gigiri, featuring an art gallery, restaurants, spa, organic shops, and fashion houses.

Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Rema Sends Solidarity Message to the 5 Iranian Women Arrested for Dancing to His Music

Rema has spoken out in support of five Iranian girls who were arrested for dancing to his music.

Nigerian Afropop star Rema, sent out a message of solidarity to five Iranian young women who were reportedly arrested for releasing a video dancing to his music.

On International Women’s Day, which occured on March 8th, the women created a buzz online after they released a video showing themselves dancing to the global smash "Calm Down." In the video, the women were wearing no headscarves, while slightly exposing midriffs.

According to reports, the Iranian government soon caught wind of the video, and began looking for the girls. On March 9th, the Shahrak Ekbatan Twitter account—an account that belongs to activists from the Ekbatan area—first alerted the general public by posting the dancing video online and stating that authorities had been asking residents in the area if they knew the women.

"They looked for CCTV footage of Block 13 to identify the girls who were only dancing and were not involved in any political activity. Police were seen checking the footage and questioning the guards," the account said.

Earlier this week, the Ekbatan-based activists reported that the women had been detained and forced to make an apology video, dressed in regalia that completely covered them from head to toe. The news soon caught the attention of Rema, who tweeted out a solidarity message in support of the women earlier this week.

Although it is unclear how long the Iranian women were detained for, the Shahrak Ekbatan Twitter commented under the Twitter thread, stating that the girls were apprehended for about two days.

Historically, Iran girls have faced a number of restrictions that have limited their freedom. Some of these restrictions include legalities that require them to cover their hair and dress modestly in public.

Although there have been demands to abolish the compulsory headscarf rule, no progress has been made in that regard, and the rule is still in effect.

News Brief
Photo by Kwame Adzaho-Amenortor

Ghana Holds State Funeral For Christian Atsu

Ghanaian soccer player Christian Atsu's family and loved ones come together to pay their respects at his funeral at the State House in Accra, Ghana.

Ghana held a state funeral for soccer legend Christian Atsu in Accra on Friday (March 17th). Atsu, who played for the Turkish club Hatayspor, passed away last month after massive earthquakes rocked Turkey. (Those earthquakes, which began on February 6, have killed more than 50,000 people.)

The ceremony was presided over by Ghana's president Nana Akufo-Addo, who joined the soccer star's friends, family, fans, and colleagues to send off Atsu. During the ceremony, the coffin was draped in Ghana's flag's colors and placed under a white tent.

During the ceremony, Atsu's widow Marie-Claire Rupio tearfully shared her last respects to the Ghanaian hero.

"In life, I loved you, in death, I do the same. It breaks my heart to lose you. You did not go alone. Part of you in me left with you. Your love is still my guide, though I cannot see you. Your smile, your love, I see in my children’s smile... You did not leave alone—a part of me went with you. Your love continues to guide me... You seemed immortal. Your smile, your love, I see you in the smile of our children."

After weeks of searching, Atsu's remains were recovered near the destroyed building where he lived in Antakya, Turkey on February 18.

Atsu—who was 31 at the time of his death and who had just joined the club last year—began his career in 2011 and quickly became known as one of the Black Stars' best players, adopting the name "Ghanaian Messi." He went on to play for several European clubs, including Chelsea, Newcastle United, Al-Raed, and Hatayspor, among others.

During his career, Atsu represented the Ghana national football team and garnered over 60 caps and 10 scored goals. At the height of his career, Atsu also participated in several international tournaments with Ghana, including the Africa Cup of Nations and the FIFA World Cup. The celebrated Ghanaian sportsman was known for his well-times space, his ability to dribble strategically, and the way he created scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates.

Atsu leaves behind his widow and three children.

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