From the Estádio do Dragão in Porto to California in the United States to the Kigali Arena in Rwanda, the weekend sprung up so many sporting excitements that would most likely stick on the minds of many for so long.
With Monday now upon us, and the weekend now, gone, we take a look at some of these big stories that made gave the weekend some colour.
This is, the Weekend’s Big 5
5: INSIDE THE BERNABEU – Zidane Speaks Up Concerning Real Madrid Departure
After previously managing Real Madrid from 2016-2018 before returning 10 months later in March 2019, and then resigning again barely a week ago after they failed to win a trophy during the 2020-21 season, Frenchman, Zinedine Zidane has come out to reveal that he left the Spanish giants because the club no longer had faith in him.
In an open letter to fans, published by Spanish media outlet AS, Zidane who played for Real from 2001 to 2006, won three consecutive Champions League titles and a La Liga title in his first period as manager added that he was leaving because he feels he no longer has the support of the club to build something in the medium or long term.
4: THE AFRICAN COURT KINGS – Zamalek Wins Inaugural Basketball Africa League
On Sunday, Egypt’s Zamalek Sporting Club defeated Tunisia’s US Monastir 76-63 to win the inaugural Basketball Africa League (BAL) Championship, which took place at the Kigali Arena in Rwanda.
Following the game, the BAL announced the first recipients of the league’s end-of-season awards, which honour pioneering African NBA Legends Hakeem Olajuwon (Nigeria), Dikembe Mutombo (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Manute Bol (South Sudan).
Walter Hodge (Zamalek) was named the Hakeem Olajuwon BAL Most Valuable Player after leading his team to an undefeated 6-0 record with per-game averages of 15.5 points, 5.7 assists and 5.0 rebounds. Anas Osama Mahmoud (Zamalek) was named the Dikembe Mutombo BAL Defensive Player of the Year after recording per game averages of 6.7 rebounds and 2.8 blocks. Makrem Ben Romdhane (US Monastir) received the Manute Bol BAL Sportsmanship Award for exemplifying the ideals of sportsmanship and camaraderie.
3: HASHTAG ‘MENTAL HEALTH’ – World Number 2 Osaka Refuses To Speak To Press
World number two, Naomi Osaka came under heavy scrutiny on Sunday for refusing to speak to the media after winning her first-round game against Romania’s Patricia Maria Tig in straight sets, 6-4 7-6 (7-4). The Japanese who was fined $15,000 (£10,570) for her actions, currently faces expulsion from the French Open and future Grand Slams if she continues to refuse to speak to the media.
She had earlier revealed before the tournament that she would deliberately avoid press conferences during the French Open, hoping that any fine money she incurs will go toward a mental health charity, and added that she often felt that people have no regard for athletes mental health – especially during pre-match or post-match interviews.
2: RECORD BREAKING FEAT – Ese Brume and Chioma Ajunwa’s Long Jump Record
After having jumped 6.75m, 6.83m, 6.83m, 6.88m, and 6.83m respectively at the Chula Vista Field festival in California, Ese Brume leapt a massive 7.17 meters to break Chioma Ajunwa’s long jump record of 7.13m set at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.
Ajunwa’s record which stood for 25 years, was the African women’s long jump record. Brume who is a three-time African senior champion in the long Jump, had her 7.17 meters jump become a National Record, Personal Best for her, an African Record and a World Lead in 2021.
1: 2012, 2021 – Chelsea wins 2nd UEFA Champions League
Nine years after club owner Roman Abramovich was rewarded with Chelsea’s first-ever Champions League trophy, his was on Saturday night rewarded again as the Blues got crowned champions of Europe, thanks to Kai Havertz’s goal at the end of the first half which was enough to earn Chelsea victory over Pep Guardiola’s revered Premier League champions.
In a thrilling encounter, which was witnessed by 14,000 fans inside the Estádio do Dragão in Porto, Chelsea denied City their first-ever Champions League title – a remarkable coaching achievement by Thomas Tuchel, who replaced club legend Frank Lampard in January.