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Why we stopped Uzoho from playing – Anorthosis

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Super Eagles goalkeeper, Francis Uzoho’s, ongoing police probe into an alleged certificate forgery was responsible for his exclusion in last weekend’s match between his new club Anorthosis Famagusta against Nea Salamis.
Although the youngster who manned the goalpost for Nigeria at the Russia 2018 World Cup was cleared by the Cypriot FA to feature in what would have been his second match for Anorthosis, the club opted to leave him out account of psychological considerations.
Indeed, Uzoho admitted during the week that he had been left shattered, as he had to spend time with the police at the outset of controversies over the medical certificate he was issued by the club before his debut.
Uzoho was at Famagusta police headquarters on Thursday, as Cyprus Sports Organisation (KOA) launched an investigation into a protest by Appollon FC regarding the keeper’s health certificate.
Appollon alleged that the mandatory health card issued to Uzoho was counterfeited, as he arrived in Cyprus just an hour before KOA closed for work on February 1st, and there was no way he could have collected the certificate before the match.
However, while Uzoho was allowed to walk out of the police station without any further incident, his club’s vice-president, Dr. Kyriacos Yiangou was arrested and issued a three-day detention fiat.
Consequently, Anorthosis disclosed that Uzoho had to be dropped from Saturday’s game because he was obviously not in a good psychological condition.

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CHAN 2020: Ambassador charges Eagles to fly over Sparrow Hawks

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CHAN 2020: Ambassador charges Eagles to fly over Sparrow Hawks

Nigeria’s Ambassador to the Republic of Togo, His Excellency Joseph Olusola Iji on Friday made a passionate win-the-match plea to the Home-based Senior National Team, Super Eagles B who arrived in Lome, Togo by mid-day of the same day.

The Eagles will take on the Sparrow Hawks of Togo on Sunday in a first leg, second round qualifying match of the 2020 African Nations Championship billed for Cameroon.

Ambassador Iji who addressed the team at their La Concorde Hotel abode on arrival, said a win would surely make the return game a lot easier for the Eagles and for Nigeria.

He said: “I am so happy to receive you and our sincere wish here is for you to go all out for a win. I’m sure that would make the second leg less burdensome. We plead that you do our country proud and as you know, Nigerians have faith in you to do the needful.

“Please do it right as that would make His Excellency, Mr. President happy; make the Sports Minister happy and myself extremely happy. And of course for you an easier second match and peace of heart for Nigerians.

“Be business-like for the love of the country and sports.”

The Ambassador received the team himself and led the convoy from the airport to the hotel, assisted by the Embassy Protocol Officer, Mrs Rita Eki Nwogwugwu.

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EPL: Pogba among Man United trio out for West Ham clash, James doubtful

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EPL: Pogba among Man United trio out for West Ham clash, James doubtful

Manchester United are still without injured trio Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw for Sunday’s Premier League trip to West Ham United, while Daniel James is a doubt, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said.

Pogba picked up an ankle injury in a 1-1 draw with Southampton before the international break, while Martial and Shaw not featured since United’s league defeat by Crystal Palace on August 24.

“Not really, no,” Solskjaer said when asked if Pogba and Martial would be fit for the weekend’s match. “They’ve not been training yet so I don’t think so. (Luke) won’t be ready.

Welsh winger James, who has scored three goals in five league games this season, suffered a knock in a 1-0 win over Leicester City last weekend and was unavailable for Thursday’s Europa League victory over Kazakh side Astana, reports Reuters.

“Daniel James? I don’t know,” Solskjaer added “He’s not trained the last few days. Hopefully, but not sure. We’ll have a recovery day with everyone tomorrow and we’ll see on Saturday.”

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FIFA tells Iran: Women have to be allowed into stadiums

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FIFA tells Iran: Women have to be allowed into stadiums

The ban on women attending soccer matches in Iran is “unacceptable” and must be lifted, says FIFA president Gianni Infantino.

The head of football’s world governing body said in a statement that FIFA’s position is “clear and firm” and that women “have to be allowed” into football stadiums in the country.

Iran’s ban on women attending sports stadiums was put in place shortly after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Amnesty and Human Rights Watch (HRW) have both called on football’s world governing body FIFA to end the ban.

CNN has reached out to the Iranian Football Federation (FFIRI) and Iranian government for comment.

Infantino’s call comes shortly after the death of Sahar Khodayari, a female fan who set herself on fire after she was denied access to a soccer stadium in Tehran.

“I am hopeful that the Iranian Federation and the Iranian authorities were receptive to our repeated calls to address this unacceptable situation,” Infantino said in a statement.

“I contacted them several times in the recent past and so has the FIFA administration. We have a delegation of FIFA members in Iran at the moment and I am looking forward to hearing good news from them.

“We understand there are steps and processes that need to be taken before this is done in a proper and safe way but now is the moment to change things and FIFA is expecting positive developments starting in the next Iran home match in October.”

In June, FIFA sent a letter to the FFIRI, requesting a timeline that would allow women to be able to buy tickets for World Cup qualifiers, Reuters reported.

Iran’s men’s national team takes on Cambodia in a World Cup qualifying game on October 10.

Dubbed the “Blue Girl” on social media, after the colors of her favorite Iranian soccer team, Esteghlal, Khodayari, was charged with “openly committing a sinful act” by “appearing in public without a hijab” when she attempted to enter a stadium “dressed as a man” in March, according to human rights group Amnesty International.

Khodayari appeared in a Tehran court earlier this month. When the case was adjourned, she poured gasoline over herself and set herself on fire. She died on Monday September 9.

Iran’s Judiciary has been asked to investigate the circumstances surrounding Khodayari’s death, the country’s semi-official Fars News agency reported last week.

The news agency also said her father had claimed that Khodayari suffered from mental illness and had “stopped treatment against her doctor’s repeated warnings.”

Her death sparked anger both in Iran and across the world.

Activist Maryam Shojaei, whose brother Masoud Shojaei is the captain of Iran’s national football team, told CNN that she has written eight letters to Infantino to inform him of the current challenges faced by female soccer fans in Iran.

“I think FIFA is the one to blame and if they enforced their own human rights and gender discrimination rules, Sahar would have been alive today,” she told CNN.

FIFA responded, saying it “refutes any suggestion it has been inactive in the fight for these women’s rights in Iran. We are working with the Iranian Football Association in the hope and expectation that women will be in attendance at future games beginning with the FIFA World Cup qualifiers in October.”

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FIFA tells Iran: Women have to be allowed into stadiums

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FIFA tells Iran: Women have to be allowed into stadiums

The ban on women attending soccer matches in Iran is “unacceptable” and must be lifted, says FIFA president Gianni Infantino.

The head of football’s world governing body said in a statement that FIFA’s position is “clear and firm” and that women “have to be allowed” into football stadiums in the country.

Iran’s ban on women attending sports stadiums was put in place shortly after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Amnesty and Human Rights Watch (HRW) have both called on football’s world governing body FIFA to end the ban.

CNN has reached out to the Iranian Football Federation (FFIRI) and Iranian government for comment.

Infantino’s call comes shortly after the death of Sahar Khodayari, a female fan who set herself on fire after she was denied access to a soccer stadium in Tehran.

“I am hopeful that the Iranian Federation and the Iranian authorities were receptive to our repeated calls to address this unacceptable situation,” Infantino said in a statement.

“I contacted them several times in the recent past and so has the FIFA administration. We have a delegation of FIFA members in Iran at the moment and I am looking forward to hearing good news from them.

“We understand there are steps and processes that need to be taken before this is done in a proper and safe way but now is the moment to change things and FIFA is expecting positive developments starting in the next Iran home match in October.”

In June, FIFA sent a letter to the FFIRI, requesting a timeline that would allow women to be able to buy tickets for World Cup qualifiers, Reuters reported.

Iran’s men’s national team takes on Cambodia in a World Cup qualifying game on October 10.

Dubbed the “Blue Girl” on social media, after the colors of her favorite Iranian soccer team, Esteghlal, Khodayari, was charged with “openly committing a sinful act” by “appearing in public without a hijab” when she attempted to enter a stadium “dressed as a man” in March, according to human rights group Amnesty International.

Khodayari appeared in a Tehran court earlier this month. When the case was adjourned, she poured gasoline over herself and set herself on fire. She died on Monday September 9.

Iran’s Judiciary has been asked to investigate the circumstances surrounding Khodayari’s death, the country’s semi-official Fars News agency reported last week.

The news agency also said her father had claimed that Khodayari suffered from mental illness and had “stopped treatment against her doctor’s repeated warnings.”

Her death sparked anger both in Iran and across the world.

Activist Maryam Shojaei, whose brother Masoud Shojaei is the captain of Iran’s national football team, told CNN that she has written eight letters to Infantino to inform him of the current challenges faced by female soccer fans in Iran.

“I think FIFA is the one to blame and if they enforced their own human rights and gender discrimination rules, Sahar would have been alive today,” she told CNN.

FIFA responded, saying it “refutes any suggestion it has been inactive in the fight for these women’s rights in Iran. We are working with the Iranian Football Association in the hope and expectation that women will be in attendance at future games beginning with the FIFA World Cup qualifiers in October.”

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Football Leaks: Suspected hacker charged in Portugal

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Football Leaks: Suspected hacker charged in Portugal

A man linked to the Football Leaks disclosures which prompted investigations into the Manchester City and Paris St-Germain clubs has been charged with 147 offences in Portugal.

Rui Pinto, 30, is accused of crimes relating to unauthorised access to data and attempted extortion.

He says he acted in the public interest and should not face trial.

Football Leaks was set up to expose alleged corruption in the sport by releasing confidential documents.

Pinto was held in January in Hungary on a European arrest warrant issued by Portugal and later handed over to the Portuguese authorities.

What are the charges?

The charges mostly relate to alleged illegal access to data, aggravated extortion, violation of correspondence and computer sabotage.

The prosecutors in Portugal said in a statement that Pinto “used various computer programmes and digital tools to enter, in an unauthorised and anonymous manner, the computer systems or email boxes and remove content from it”.

Pinto, a Portuguese national, has been described as a “computer genius” by local media.

His defence lawyers characterise their client as a “very important European whistleblower”

A trial date is yet to be announced.

What is Football Leaks?

It was launched in 2015 to uncover alleged corruption taking place in football, reports the BBC.

Football Leaks provided millions of documents and more than 3.4 terabytes of information to media outlets in the European Investigative Collaborations (EIC) consortium.

The documents were used as the basis for media reports that made damaging allegations against England’s Manchester City and Paris St-Germain (PSG) of France.

Europe’s football governing body, UEFA, later launched investigations into the finances of both clubs following the leaks.

PSG successfully fought against an investigation through the courts, while the Premier League side has taken the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport . Both clubs denied any wrongdoing.

Earlier this year, French prosecutors said they had collaborated with Pinto on their own investigation, using material provided by him.

And this week his lawyer William Bourdon said his client’s evidence had led to “inquiries disclosing criminal activities in the football world”.

“And at the same time, Pinto is still in jail,” he told Germany’s Der Spiegel news magazine.

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F1 leader Hamilton no longer a follower on Instagram

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F1 leader Hamilton no longer a follower on Instagram

Lewis Hamilton leads the way in Formula One and the Mercedes driver is not a follower on social media platform Instagram either after changing his routine.

The Briton told reporters on Thursday that a decision to delete all the accounts he follows had made a significant difference to his life.

“I think I just wanted kind of a fresh slate,” he explained at the Singapore Grand Prix.

“I just noticed that for me… you wake up and the first thing you do is turn on your Instagram and check what’s happening. You’re always catching up and I just decided to change.

“I wake up now and I have a bit of a read, I start my day differently and I’m hardly ever on it and this has made a big difference to my life, personally.”

The five times world champion, whose interests outside of Formula One include music and fashion, has never been shy about sharing his life with his fans.

He has 12.8 million followers on Instagram and 5.6 million on micro blogging site Twitter, where he still follows almost 850 people.

“Sometimes obviously people come up and say: ‘Hey, you’re not following me but you follow that person’,” he said. “So now I don’t follow anybody and no one can complain.

“But I still follow everyone closely, I look at everyone’s Instagram particularly within my sport just to see what they’re up to and I still support people.”

Hamilton, who is well on the way to his sixth title, said before the sport’s August break that he wanted to read and meditate more, reports Reuters.

The winner of eight of the season’s 14 races so far is 63 points clear of team mate Valtteri Bottas in the overall standings.

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Europa League: Greenwood spares United’s blushes, Arsenal thumps Frankfurt

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Europa League: Greenwood spares United’s blushes, Arsenal thumps Frankfurt

Teenager Mason Greenwood’s first senior goal ensured Manchester United made a winning start to their Europa League campaign against Astana at Old Trafford.

On a night the 17-year-old will never forget and with the visitors from Kazakhstan threatening to hold out for a draw, Greenwood produced a clever finish in front of the Stretford End to become United’s youngest scorer in Europe.

Brazil midfielder Fred hit the bar from 25 yards before forcing a fine save from a free-kick, while England forward Marcus Rashford wasted a string of chances against the European minnows, who did not register a shot on target.

But frustration turned to celebration when Greenwood, who has been at United since the age of six, popped up with the winner.

Greenwood’s goal was the highlight on an otherwise scrappy night for United, who were far from convincing against a team that had come through qualifying to make the group stage.

And Goals from academy gradates Joe Willock and Bukayo Saka helped Arsenal overcome a difficult test against Eintracht Frankfurt and begin their Europa League campaign with a victory.

Willock put the Gunners in front with a deflected shot in the first half before Saka smashed in his first senior goal for the club in the 85th minute.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang added a third two minutes later as Arsenal ended their three-game winless run, reports the BBC.

RESULTS

Group G: Porto 2-1 Young Boys; Rangers 1-0 Feyenoord

Group H: Espanyol 1-1 Ferencvarosi; Ludogorets 5-1 CSKA Moscow

Group I: Gent 3-2 St Etienne; Wolfsburg 3-1 Oleksandriya

Group J: Borussia Moenchengladbach 0-4 Wolfsberger / RZ Pellets; Roma 4-0 Istanbul Basaksehir

Group K: Slovan Bratislava 4-2 Besiktas; Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-1 Braga

Group L: Manchester United 1-0 Astana; Partizan Belgrade 2-2 AZ

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D’Tigers ranked 23rd best team in the World

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D’Tigers ranked 23rd best team in the World

D’Tigers have moved  up 10 places to the 23rd in the World in the latest FIBA ranking released after the 2019 FIBA men’s World Cup in China.

The senior men’s team who became the first country in the world to qualify for the World Cup won 3 games and lost 2 during the competition to finish 17th out of the 32 participating team.

The Alex Nwora tutored side who have qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are still ranked number 1  in Africa ahead of Angola, Tunisia, Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire who are ranked 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th respectively.

While reacting after the ranking was published, Nigeria Basketball Federation President, Engr Musa Kida said the latest feat was the right reward for hard work put in place by the federation and the team during the qualifiers and World Cup preparation which culminated in a good outing in China.

“We are really excited with this announcement. It shows that the world has continued to pay attention to Nigerian basketball after many years of playing second fiddle.

“Although, I believe that we deserve more than being 23rd best team in the world based on our current form, but it is a process. The federation is excited that we are on the right track and we will continue to push harder in our resolve to record more successes.”

USA still hold on to the number 1 spot while current World Champion, Spain are ranked 2nd ahead of Australia who climbed 8 places to 3rd spot.

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Brazil friendly, a distraction for Eagles – Amokachi

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Brazil friendly, a distraction for Eagles – Amokachi

…says AFCON qualifier more crucial

 

Former Super Eagles striker, Daniel Amokachi, has issued a strong warning that playing an international friendly against Brazil next month in Singapore could cause distraction for the Nigerian national team from their opening match of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

With  Nigeria  set to play Benin Republic at the start of November, Amokachi is of a view that it would have been better for Nigeria Football Federation to arrange build-up matches with African teams, rather than take up the October 13 fixture against Brazil.

Although the former Club Brugge of Belgium, Besiktas of Turkey and Everton of England all-action attacker admitted that playing Brazil adds prestige and profile to Nigeria’s football image, the former FA Cup winner with Everton is of a view that the game will not offer the Eagles much in terms of conditioning, tactics building and acclimatizing ahead of the AFCON 2021 series, in which they will also play Lesotho few days after the opening tussle with West Coast neighbours, Benin Republic.

‘The Bull’ told Brila FM: “Ordinarily, I will say a friendly against Brazil is a good idea, but the timing is not right. We have qualifiers in the African Nations Cup coming up, so we should play countries from Africa, not South America or Europe.

“We have to get our players used to the tough conditions of playing in Africa and the physical nature of the game here, but we cannot get that from playing Brazil in Singapore.

“It was the same mistake we made at the Nations Cup, because our players were not used to the African style of play, which is different from what they experience with their clubs in Europe.

“We should start playing African countries in friendly matches, rather than go for prestige games that will not benefit our players for their coming qualifiers for the Nations Cup.”

Incidentally, the player-turned-coach, who scored 13 goals in 44 appearances for the Eagles, got one of the goals that helped Nigeria get victory over Brazil at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, USA, when his effort helped seal a semi-finals’ win, but he insists playing The Samba Boys should not be about pride alone, but getting something useful from the game in terms of a build-up.

He argued further that the array of Eagles’ youngsters could face similar problems they had at this year’s AFOCN in Egypt, where he reckons that the physical style of African football and the weather conditions, all of which are different from what majority of the Nigerian players are used to at their various bases in Europe occasioned the team’s inability to win the competition.

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NPFL: Kwara Utd pip Lobi in Okowa pre-season tournament

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NPFL: Kwara Utd pip Lobi in Okowa pre-season tournament

Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa yesterday unveiled the Nigerian Professional Football League preseason tournament at the budding Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba, the state capital, with a charge on catch-them-young strategy.

This came as Kwara United and Lobi Stars of Markurdi lock horns on the stadium’s pitch of play for the finals of the Governor’s tournament and the former won the fourth edition.

The Governor, who said the state will continue to sustain its leading role in sports, maintained that hospitality will remain its watchword.

Represented at the ceremony by his Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu, the Governor was elated that his name, “Governor Okowa’s Preseason Torunament,” which symbolises Delta State, on the logo, will further enshrine the name of the state on sports’ goldmine.

He charged the young professionals of the two finalist football clubs to make the event a unifying factor and an edifying tournament that will bring succour to Nigerians, despite the economic quagmire.

At the last blow of the encounter after the count of 90 minutes, which resulted into penalty shootout, and Kwara United defeated Lobi Stars 1-0.

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