Dec 18, 2017 Last Updated 2:47 PM, Dec 18, 2017
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The Confederation of African Football (Caf) will give US$500,000 to each the of the continent's World Cup teams.

Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia will receive the money ahead of next year's finals in Russia.

"The financial package will be used in order mainly to strengthen and improve the technical supervision of each team," a Caf statement read.

The move is the first decision taken by a special committee set up to work with the five qualifiers.

The ad hoc committee chaired by the Caf vice-president, Kwesi Nyantakyi from Ghana, met for the first time ahead of the World Cup draw in Russia on 1 December.

The other committee also has Caf executive committee member Kalusha Bwalya and presidents of the five presidents of the football associations of the World Cup-bound teams.

In addition, Caf will provide each nation with specialised technology to help measure the physical performances of sportsmen and women.

 

Italy have sacked coach Giampiero Ventura after the four-time champions failed to reach the World Cup for the first time since 1958.

The Azzurri lost a play-off with Sweden 1-0 on aggregate to spell the end of 69-year-old Ventura's 17-month tenure.

Ventura said his record was "one of the best of the last 40 years".

"I lost only two games in two years," he told Italian television show Le Iene before the Italian Football Federation fired him on Wednesday.

Ventura replaced Antonio Conte in June 2016, and was described as a "master of football" by Italian football federation president Carlo Tavecchio.

However, Italy took one point out of a possible six against Spain in qualifying and also drew at home to Macedonia.

"I can only apologise to the Italians, not for the will or effort but for the result, which as I know is the main thing," said former Napoli and Sampdoria boss Ventura after Italy's World Cup hopes were ended.

When he was appointed he was given a two-year deal which would have taken him to the end of the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia.

At the time, Tavecchio called Ventura an "innovative" coach with "limitless experience" who had helped many players reach the national side.

More than 20 police officers were injured in Brussels when celebrations over Morocco's qualification for football's World Cup turned violent.

The Moroccan national side qualified for the 2018 tournament in Russia with a 2-0 victory away to Ivory Coast on Saturday, topping their group.

Belgium has a large Moroccan community and fans hit the capital's streets after the game.

Damage included a burnt car, smashed glass and looted shops, police said.

One witness posted video to Twitter of a water cannon being used on a crowd. Police said it was used on a group of about 300 people, some of whom were throwing stones.

Calm had returned by 21:30 local time (20:30 GMT), a reporter for the AFP news agency said.

Belgium’s Interior Minister Jan Jambon condemned the riots, tweeting (in French) that they constituted "unacceptable aggression in the centre of Brussels".

He added: "Living together means respect, also for the police who are committed to our safety day and night."

In the Netherlands too, large groups of fans from Morocco or of Moroccan background celebrated in the streets. Some celebrations there turned violent, with the police in The Hague tweeting (in Dutch) that some people threw things at officers.

In Rotterdam, dancing fans set off flares in red and green, Morocco's colours.

Meanwhile in Morocco itself thousands of fans celebrated in the streets of Marrakesh, Casablanca and other cities.

Russia has signed a deal to build two nuclear power plants in Nigeria, as Africa's largest economy seeks to end its energy crisis.

Russian state-owned company Rosatom will build one in the south, the other in the centre, sources at the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission told the BBC.

The deal's exact worth is unknown, although some reports suggest it is likely in the region of $20bn (£15bn).

It is one of a number that Rosatom has been eyeing on the continent.

The company is also involved in discussions in Ghana and South Africa.

An initial agreement with the latter to build a plant was ruled unlawful in a South African court earlier this year.

The deal in Nigeria was reached after a long period of negotiation, with the two countries signing their first intergovernmental nuclear co-operation agreement in 2009.

Nigeria hopes the plants, which will initially be operated by Rosatom before they are handed over, will help deal with the country's energy deficit.

According to World Bank figures, more than 40% of the country was without mains electricity in 2014.

Nigeria is one of Africa's largest oil producers, but much of its oil wealth has been squandered over the years.

Corruption at all levels has left the country out of pocket, and producing a fraction of the energy its 180 million citizens need.

Construction of the new power plants is expected to begin in the next two years.

Egypt's President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has given a bonus of $US85,000 to each of the players who clinched a place at the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia.

A 2-1 win over Congo Brazzaville saw them qualify for the global showpiece for the first time since 1990.

The president announced the reward on Monday as he met the Argentine coach Hector Cuper and the players.

"Maybe we don't play beautiful football but we are at the World cup and that's the most important thing," Cuper said.

Al-Sisi had special praise for match-winner Mohamed Salah, who scored a penalty in injury time to secure the qualification.

"I am proud of all the players but especially of Mo Salah who was brave enough to take the crucial penalty," the president said.

"Also thank you to coach Cuper who has made our dreams come true."

Liverpool forward Salah was already looking ahead to Russia.

"We are determined to make the country and continent proud in Russia," Salah said.

"I am very happy to lead Egypt to a World Cup after 28 years and to make a 100 million proud of us."

The Pharaohs have won a record seven Africa Cup of Nations titles but have only been to the World Cup twice in 1934 and 1990 and are yet to win a game at the finals.

 

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