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Table tennis: African stars hunt for glory in Budapest

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The search for glory by African stars continues as the 55th World Table Tennis Championships serve off today at the Hungexpo in Budapest, Hungary.

With only three players from Africa making the seeding list in the men and women’s singles events, the highest ranked African star – Aruna Quadri of Nigeria has been seeded 22 while his continental arch-rival – Egypt’s Omar Assar is rated 40th in the list.
The only African seeded in the women’s singles is continental champion – Egypt’s Dina Meshref seeded 34th among the 64-women’s seeding list.

In the history of the World Championships, no African has made it to the quarterfinals and this year all eyes will be on Aruna Quadri and Omar Assar, who have both been knocking at the pinnacle of global table tennis with their outstanding performance at various ITTF-organised tournaments.

 

For making the seeding list, the trio of Quadri, Assar and Meshref will start their campaigns from the main draw (round of 128) of the singles event, while others will have to work their way into the elite round from the preliminary round as they have been drawn in groups.

Also, the mixed doubles seeding list, Nigeria’s pair of Segun Toriola and Olufunke Oshonaike have been seeded 21st among the 32 seeded pairs in the event.

Toriola and Oshonaike are rated ahead of the Egypt’s duo of Omar Assar and Dina Meshref who are seeded 24th.

In the doubles’ seeding, Egypt’s Ahmed Saleh and Mohamed El-Beiali are the African pair listed in the men’s doubles seeding list while Egypt’s Dina Meshref and Yousra Helmy are also listed in the women’s doubles seeding list.

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Sports

Sterling dropped after Gomez bust-up

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Sterling dropped after Gomez bust-up

R

aheem Sterling admitted “emotions got the better of me” after being dropped for England’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro following a clash with team-mate Joe Gomez.

 

 

The Football Association said Sterling had been dropped “as a result of a disturbance in a private team area”.

 

 

The Manchester City forward, 24, then took to social media to confirm “a five to 10 second thing” with Liverpool’s Joe Gomez, 22, in the England camp.

 

 

But he added the pair were now “good”.

 

 

Sterling and Gomez had an on-field argument during the Reds’ 3-1 Premier League victory at Anfield on Sunday.

 

“Both Joe and I have had words and figured things out and moved on,” Sterling said via his Instagram account on Tuesday.

 

“We are in a sport where emotions run high and I am man enough to admit when emotions got the better of me.

 

“This is why we play this sport because of our love for it – me and Joe Gomez are good, we both understand it was a five to 10 second thing… it’s done, we move forward and not make this bigger than it is.”

 

 

“Let’s get focus on our game on Thursday,” Sterling added.

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Eagles ready for Benin, Lesotho –Osimhen

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Eagles ready for Benin, Lesotho –Osimhen

S

uper Eagles Striker, Victor Oshimen, has declared that he and his colleagues are prepared to wreak havoc on their opponents Benin Republic in 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers taking place today at the Godwill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo and in Maseru in few days to come.

 

 

Oshimen told journalists that he was hundred percent ready for the tie against the Benin Republic on Wednesday along with Samuel Chukwueze, Samuel Kalu and others in camp.

 

”Well, I’m ready and hundred percent ready and I’m not the only player that can score in the team, we have Chukwueze,  Kalu and of course our captain Ahmed Musa right here now with us.

 

 

“The confidence in camp is really high; we are looking forward to the game,” he said.

 

 

The Lille forward also stated that ”coming back to Uyo feels good and it’s like a home for them and they are ready to give their best to make the fans happy” he concluded.

 

 

Meanwhile Oshimen has also hinted that he would love to play in the Spanish La Liga.

 

 

The striker has been an instant hit at Ligue 1 club Lille with nine goals and two assists in all competitions since his transfer from Belgian club Sporting Charleroi.

 

“I am a big fan of La Liga,” the Super Eagles striker told L’Equipe.

 

 

“It’s my dream to play there.”

 

 

Only recently Spanish media linked him with a big-money move to Barcelona.

 

However, Osimhen has a contract with Lille till 2024 and he will respect it despite the speculations about his future.

 

 

“I’ve always been willing to take the next step, but I’m in Lille,” he maintained.

 

 

“I love the people. If big clubs keep an eye on me, it’s great for me, but it’s up to the club to decide if I stay or leave. I will not object.”

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U-23 Eagles secure lifeline after Zambia win

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The U-23 Eagles on Tuesday secured a heart-warming 3-1 victory against Zambia at the ongoing U-23 Africa Cup of Nations to put their quest for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games ticket back on track.

 

 

The coach Imama Amakapado-led team came from behind to secure the win that put them second on the group B table behind South Africa who defeated Cote d’Ivoire 1-0 earlier in the day.

 

 

Patson Daka gave Zambia the lead as early as the 12th minutes with Orji Okwonkwo restoring parity four minutes later.

 

 

Kelechi Nwakali put Nigeria ahead in the 65th minute from a freekick that beat all the defence line before Taiwo Awoniyi, who joined the team after the opening day loss to Cote d’Ivoire, secured the comprehensive win.

 

 

A win against South Africa in the final game will secure qualification for the semifinal and a step closer to one of the three tickets earmarked for Africa.

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AFCON 2021 qualifiers: Aribo, Simon out of Benin clash

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My contract not a problem for now, says Rohr

 

 

T

wo Super Eagles forwards, Joe Aribo and Moses Simon, might likely be out of the team’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Benin Republic scheduled for Wednesday, November 13, at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo.

 

 

Speaking with the media on Tuesday, the coach of the team, Gernot Rohr, said the the new Super Eagles sensation, Aribo, arrived late on Monday and might not be ready for the game while Simon has been busy with his club, Nantes of France.

 

 

“Aribo arrived Abuja last night (Monday) and this morning in Uyo (Tuesday) so he is likely to be rested for this game,” Rohr said.

 

 

“This is a game I must not gamble with, I have to be careful with everything to make sure we get everything right against Benin.

 

 

“Apart from Aribo also Simon will not be dressing against Benin because of his full engagement with his club.

 

 

“You will bear with me that he needs rest because I think he has been busy playing week in and out for his club. He has to rest and get fit for the next game.

 

 

“All the players are important and I hope to give each of them their rightful respect.”

 

 

Aribo has been a sensation since making his debut; he scored  against Ukraine and Brazil in recent friendly games.

 

 

Meanwhile, Rohr has made it clear that he is not thinking about the renewal of his contract with the Nigeria Football Federation.

 

 

Rohr added: “I have to work; the contract is not a problem. I think by the end of the year, I will discuss with the FA. No distraction for me, but it’s time to have a new project to win the next AFCON, we need to be at the next World Cup as well.”

 

 

Also speaking at the press briefing, Nigeria Professional Football League champions, Enyimba’s defender, Ifeanyi Anaemena, has called for more call up for players in the domestic league to the national team.

 

 

While appreciating the coach for extending an invitation to him after Bryan Idowu pulled out of the game against Benin and Lesotho, he said calling more of the home-based players into the Super Eagles will help develop the league.

 

 

“I must say a big thank you to coach Rohr for giving me the opportunity to be in the team against Benin game. Seen how things are been going in the NPFL it has been a great privilege for us the players to play for the national team.

 

 

“It will also be a big improvement if NPFL players are given more opportunity to be part of the national team which I believe will go a long way for us,” he said.

 

 

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Sports

Channels Track and Field Classics begins today

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Y

oung athletes from over 50 secondary schools in Lagos State would converge at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos for the second edition of the Channels Track and Field Classics which begins today.

 

Already, more schools are going to be part of this year’s event according to the technical director of the tournament aimed at discovering more talented athletes that will represent Nigeria at future international championships.

 

“We want to use this classics to restore our lost glory in athletics. It usually takes about five years to train athletes to stardom. We are projecting that athletes discovered from this classics will represent Nigeria at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, France” Amike said

 

This year’s competition is expected to be an improvement on that of last year where key talents like Fatola Adedoyin and Alimat Alowonle who went on to represent Nigeria at the Africa Youth Games were discovered.

 

Invited secondary school students from both the private and public sectors across the six (6) educational districts of Lagos State are expected to attend the two-day meet meant for athletes who are below 17 years.

 

Events to feature in the competition includes 100, 200,400 and 800 metres races. And also the 4X100 and 4X400 relay races. Alonside long jump, high jump and short put.

 

The overall aim of the competition is to scout, discover and develop talents that abound in the secondary school system.

 

About 49 secondary schools took part in last year’ inaugural championship which recorded some outstanding results.

 

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Sports

Philips whips Gaddafi, Ekpeyong crashes

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Abayomi Philips began his second leg campaign at the NTF International Junior Championships in Abuja on a brilliant note, as he thrashed Gaddafi Yakubu 6-0, 6-1 to move into the second round.

 

 

Philips, who claimed his sole ITF Junior title of the season yet in Accra, Ghana, in August, will continue his push for a second title, when he takes on David John, who produced a fine performance to beat Britain’s Abdulraheem Isa 6-2, 6-4 on Court 4 of the National Tennis Centre.

 

 

Elsewhere, last week’s boys singles runner-up, Musa Mohammed, claimed a comfortable 6-3, 6-2 victory over Joseph Peter to set up a meeting with Elisha Olowogbile, a 3-6, 6-4, 2-0 (rtd) winner over Michael Emmanuel.

 

 

Michael Osewa prevailed 6-2, 3-0 (rtd) over Mustapha Kabir, who retired due to injury midway through the second set, while Gabriel Friday secured a tight 7-6(4), 7-5 victory over David Ekpenyong.

 

 

In the girls field, Rebecca Ekpenyong, who reached the semifinals in the first leg last week, suffered a shock first round exit today, as she was beaten 6-3, 6-3 by Omolayo Bamidele.

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Confed Cup: Enyimba, Rangers get tough draws

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E

nyimba’s bid to reclaim glory in Africa will face a stern challenge from Algeria’s Paradou AC and Moroccan side Hassania US Agadir after they were drawn in Group D of the Caf Confederation Cup on Tuesday.

 

The Peoples’ Elephant will also face San Pedro of the Ivory Coast in their group.

 

Having last tasted continental glory in 2004 when they bagged the Caf Champions League, Enyimba have struggled to replicate that feat in Africa.

 

They now have to navigate past fellow West Africans San Pedro and also deal with the North African duo of Paradou and Hassania Agadir for a continental title.

 

Also seized with North African opponents are Enugu Rangers who were drawn in Group A where they will travel to Egypt twice to face Pyramids and El Masry.

 

They also face Nouadhibou of Mauritania who are making their debut in the Caf Confederation Cup group stages.

 

 

Rangers might fancy their chances of topping this group against their opponents who have all not won continental silverware.

 

The Caf Confederation Cup draw also saw South African side Bidvest Witsbeing pooled in Group B where they will come up against Djoliba of Mali, Guinean heavyweights Horoya and El Nasr of Libya.

 

It is the first time for Wits to participate in the Caf Confederation Cup group phase and the South Africans might want to make a statement given their superior financial standing against their opponents.

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Sports

Falcons goalie defects in France

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…Alaba seeks assylum

 

T

his is one story the Nigeria Football Federation will hate to come out – Super Falcons goalkeeper Alaba Jonathan is now seeking asylum in France after she defected in Europe.

 

SCORENigeria learnt that the Bayelsa Queens star made the final squad to this year’s World Cup in France, but did not return with the rest of the squad to Nigeria after the country exited the tournament in the Round of 16.

We further gathered that she was later apprehended by the police in Belgium who then handed her back to France, where her visa originated from.

 

Jonathan has since said she is seeking asylum after she was harassed and threatened by top NFF officials in France at the heat of the pay strike the African champions embarked on.

 

The NFF are also in hot water with the French embassy after they failed to produce the goalkeeper on the team’s return to Nigeria.

 

Several officials contacted on this refused to comment.

 

At France 2019, Jonathan, 27, was third-choice goalkeeper behind Chiamaka Nnadozie, who took over as No 1 in France, and Tochukwu Oluehi, who was the star at last year’s AWCON in Ghana.

She was on the squad to the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup and also represented Nigeria at the U-20 World Cup.

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U-23 AFCON: Nigeria bounces back, beats Zambia 3-1

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U-23 AFCON: Nigeria bounces back, beats Zambia 3-1

Nigeria revived their semifinal qualification hopes in the ongoing U-23 Africa Cup of Nations with a 3-1 win over Zambia at Al Salam Stadium, as the Group B match day 2 convened on Tuesday.

The Olympic Eagles returned from behind to grab maximum points and raise their tally to three points, leading Cote d’Ivoire on goal difference, and one shy of group leaders South Africa. Zambia follow in order with a lone point before the final round of group games on Friday.

Patson Daka gave Zambia the lead after 12 minutes, ending a brilliant solo effort sending the ball past Adamu Abubakar to give Chipolopolo advantage.

But Zambia’s joy was shorty lived when Orji Okwonkwo restored parity just four minutes later, tapping the ball from close range following a corner. The first half ended with sides tied at 1-1.

Nigeria skipper Kelechi Nwakali took the lead for The Olympic Eagles sending a beautiful free-kick that wronged Zambia’s goalkeeper Mangani Banda after 65 minutes.

And deep into injury time Taiwo Awonyi made use of a swift counter attack to add Nigeria’s third of the night.

Leaders South Africa face Nigeria at Al Salam Stadium while Zambia takes on Cote d’Ivoire in a simultaneous kick off on Friday.

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Former Madrid coach slams Ronaldo for his on-field behaviour

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Former Madrid coach slams Ronaldo for his on-field behaviour

Former Real Madrid boss Fabio Capello has slammed football legend Cristiano Ronaldo for being upset after he was taken off the field by Juventus manager Maurizo Sarri in the Serie A side’s 1-0 win over AC Milan.

The Portugal International was clearly upset and in fact, walked straight down the tunnel after he was substituted in the 54th minute of the match.

Capello, while interacting with ‘Sky Sports Italia’, criticised Ronaldo for his behaviour and went on to claim that “he hasn’t dribbled past anyone in three years”.

The Italian football manager added that it was not nice of someone of the stature of CR7 to just ignore his teammates and walk away, reports the Statesman.

“[Cristiano] is a great champion, nobody argues with that, but he hasn’t dribbled past anyone in the last three years,” Capello told ‘Sky Sport Italia’ as quoted by ‘Marca’.

“At the moment he isn’t at his best and it is normal to replace him. Sarri doesn’t need to be brave or show his personality to make that change. It’s not nice that he didn’t sit on the bench [after being taken off] and argued with Sarri.

“One has to be a champion even when he is replaced, not only when things are going well. He must respect his teammates,” he added.

Further reports claim Ronaldo even left the stadium a few minutes before the final whistle. Later, Juventus boss Maurizo Sarri revealed that Ronaldo was not fully fit and hence was taken off the field.

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