Christian Benteke is due to have a medical at Liverpool today ahead of his £32.5m transfer from Aston Villa. Benteke, 24, joined Villa from Genk in 2012 for £7m, scoring 49 goals in 101 games. Liverpool made a move for the striker after receiving funds from the £49m sale of Raheem Sterling to Premier League rivals Manchester City.
Four-time world player of the year Lionel Messi linked up with Gabonese president Ali Bongo Ondimba on Saturday to lay the first stone at a future Africa Cup of Nations venue. The Barcelona star, who won a treble of Spanish title, Copa del Rey and European Champions League last season, officially started the building process at the Port-Gentil stadium, which will host Africa Cup of Nations matches in 2017. The ceremony took place on a wide sandy ground where the stadium will be built. It was the Argentine forward’s first visit to Gabon and he signed autographs on team jerseys worn by his fans, before proceeding with the laying of the first stone, accompanied by the president. “When I was in Barcelona a few years ago, I met Messi who had told me that he would come to visit me in Libreville,” said the Gabon president. “It’s a promise he made me. He is a man of honour who just kept his word.” The new stadium will have a capacity of 20,000 and is expected to host matches from November 2016 in the build-up to the tournament. Port Gentil is Gabon’s second city.
Nigeria international defender Kenneth Omeruo is set to join Turkish Super Lig side Kasimpasa on a season-long loan deal from English champions Chelsea. The 21-year-old spent last season on loan at English Championship side Middlesbrough, where he made 22 appearances in all competitions. The Super Eagle, who joined Chelsea in January 2012, was determined to fight his way into Jose Mourinho’s plans this season but has opted for a move to Turkey instead. BBC Sport understands Omeruo will have his medical at Kasimpasa on Tuesday before signing a deal, which includes an option for the Turkish club to buy him at the end of the loan. Omeruo has come a long way since joining the Stamford Bridge outfit from Belgian side Standard Liege – developing on loan at ADO Den Haag in Netherlands in an 18-month spell from 2012 to 2013, becoming an international regular and making his mark at Middlesbrough. The centre-back was first called up by Nigeria in January 2013 and he went on to play at that year’s Africa Cup of Nations, helping the Super Eagles win the trophy, and at the World Cup the following year. At that time he was also starring at English Championship side Middlesbrough, who he joined in January 2014. He made 14 appearances in his first loan spell and after agreeing another season-long loan deal at the club he returned for a second spell to help Middlesbrough’s push for promotion in the 2014/15 season. An integral part of the Super Eagles squad which reached the last 16 at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Omeruo has also represented Nigeria at the FIFA U-17, U-20 and the 2013 Confederations Cup.
Nigeria edged closer towards qualification for the 2016 Rio Olympics with a 2-1 victory over Congo Brazzaville in Port Harcourt. It was sweet revenge for Nigeria whose senior side lost 3-2 to Claude Le Roy’s Congo last year in a 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier – a result which ultimately denied the Super Eagles a place at the finals and a chance to defend their title. Nigeria boast a proud Olympics football record, having won gold medals at the Atlanta Games in 1996. They also finished runners-up at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where current Nigeria under-23 coach Samson Siasia (pictured) also coached the ‘Dream Team’ in China. On Sunday, it was Junior Ajayi who proved to be Siasia’s match winner, scoring both goals just after half-time, in front of 35,000 home fans. Le Roy’s Congo pulled one back in the 68th minute – but Nigeria held on to seize the first leg advantage in the under-23 level third-round qualifier. The return match is scheduled for early August and the overall winners qualify for an end-of-year tournament in Senegal from which the top three teams out of eight go to Rio.