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Tokyo 2020: Coaches want more international exposure

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resident, Track and Field Coaches Association of Nigeria (TATCAN), Godwin Ogogo has called for more international training for Nigerian athletics coaches for the country to excel at international competitions.

 

Ogogo made the call on Saturday in Abuja at the end of the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) training course for 24 coaches at the Mashood Abiola National Stadium.

He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that good coaching and early preparations were imperative for Nigeria to return to the good old days of  dominance in athletics in Africa.

“I think for us to return to the good old days when we dominated athletics on the continent, we need to focus on proper coaching and early preparations for competitions,” he said.

 

Ogogo maintained that exposure of coaches to modern coaching techniques was key to grooming athletes that could win medals for Nigeria at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and other athletics competition.

He explained that the just concluded IAAF Level 1 Athletics Coaches Education Certificate Course was organised to train the trainers in modern coaching techniques in line with international best practice.

 

“The IAAF coaching course (level 1) is a programme by the world athletics body to train coaches to be able to develop and produce athletes that will make impact in the world of athletics,” he said.

The IAAF coaching instructor said that the two weeks coaching course covered 22 events including sprints, middle and long distance races, throws, hurdles and jumps.

He expressed optimism that proper implementation of the coaching system across the country, would see Nigeria taking over athletics in Africa and the world at large.

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EPL: VAR denies City late victory; wins for Liverpool, Arsenal

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EPL: VAR denies City late victory; wins for Liverpool, Arsenal

Gabriel Jesus had an injury-time goal ruled out by VAR as Manchester City dropped points at home for the first time since December 2018 with a 2-2 draw against Tottenham.

Raheem Sterling headed City ahead in the first half, but Erik Lamela swiftly equalised from distance.

Sergio Aguero flicked home before Lucas Moura nodded in soon after coming on.

Jesus then swept home in injury time, but it was ruled out for a handball by Aymeric Laporte.

It was a frustrating result for Manchester City in their first home game of the season, particularly after beginning their title defence with a 5-0 win at West Ham last weekend.

Earlier, Liverpool beat Southampton to secure an 11th successive top-flight victory and equal their best-ever Premier League winning run – despite a late blunder by goalkeeper Adrian.

With the European champions leading 2-0, Liverpool’s number two keeper – starting in place of the injured Alisson – cleared the ball against the shin of substitute Danny Ings to gift the Saints striker a goal against his former club.

Sadio Mane had given Liverpool the lead at the end of the first-half with a delicious arrowed finish from the edge of the penalty area after Saints had gone close on three occasions.

Adrian, who was passed fit despite an ankle injury in a collision with a pitch invader following the UEFA Super Cup win over Chelsea, had kept out Maya Yoshida’s header while Che Adams spurned two chances to equalise, reports the BBC.

And Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored the winner as Arsenal defeated Burnley to record successive victories at the start of a Premier League campaign for the first time since 2009.

French striker Alexandre Lacazette marked his return from injury as he impressively held off Erik Pieters and shot between the legs of goalkeeper Nick Pope to put the Gunners ahead after 13 minutes.

Ashley Barnes levelled the match two minutes before half-time, converting at close range from Dwight McNeil’s deflected pass for his third goal in two matches.

The hosts, who handed full debuts to £8m defender David Luiz and Real Madrid loanee Dani Ceballos, saw an immediate response ruled out for offside after Reiss Nelson appeared to have completed a slick passing move with a confident finish into the roof of the net.

RESULTS

Arsenal 2 – 1 Burnley

Aston Villa 1- 2 Bournemouth

Brighton 1-1 West Ham

Everton 1-0 Watford

Norwich 3-1 Newcastle

Southampton 1-2 Liverpool

Man City 2 -2 Tottenham

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Knee injury puts Osaka’s US Open title defence in doubt

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Knee injury puts Osaka’s US Open title defence in doubt

World number one Naomi Osaka will “probably” defend her U.S. Open title, even if it means defying her doctor’s orders, she said after retiring from the Cincinnati Masters with a knee injury on Friday.

Osaka was trailing American Sofia Kenin in the third set of their quarter-final in Cincinnati when she sought treatment on her heavily-strapped left knee.

After briefly returning to play, the Japanese star retired with Kenin leading 6-4 1-6 2-0.

Osaka’s withdrawal comes after Serena Williams, the woman she beat in a tumultuous final at Flushing Meadows last year, pulled out of Cincinnati with back problems.

The injury has also loosened Osaka’s grip on the top ranking, with world number two Ash Barty poised to reclaim it if the Australian makes the final.

“I really don’t know what’s going on with my leg right now,” Osaka told reporters.

“It sucks, especially since I didn’t want to get injured this close to the Open, and now I’m kind of worried a little bit.

“The thing is, my pain tolerance is really high, so that’s usually why I play through things that apparently I shouldn’t.”

Osaka said she “felt it wasn’t safe” to continue against Kenin ahead of the U.S. Open starting Monday week.

“I feel like this might have that one percent chance of me not being able to play, and that’s what’s concerning me.

“In the end, I’m going to play even if the doctor says no, probably.”

Osaka’s retirement sent Kenin through to face fellow American Madison Keys in Saturday’s semi-final.

Keys faced only two break points in beating Venus Williams 6-2 6-3 in the evening encounter.

Barty will face Russian veteran Svetlana Kuznetsova in the other semi-final after rallying to a 5-7 6-2 6-0 victory over Greek Maria Sakkari.

The Australian had surged to a 4-1 lead in the first set before she stumbled with unforced errors, with Sakkari lifting to take control through a slew of backhand winners, reports Reuters.

Barty cleaned up her game in the second set, however, recovering the backhand slice that had deserted her in the opener.

“It was important for me at the start of the second set to go back to basics and what worked before,” the 23-year-old Barty said.

“I had to serve well, and not give her too many looks at second serves. I tried to bring in my slice to change the tempo of the match.”

Kuznetsova outlasted Czech third seed Karolina Pliskova 3-6 7-6(2) 6-3, having been a set down with her opponent serving for the match.

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I’ll never be a politician like Weah –AMOKACHI

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I’ll never be a politician like Weah –AMOKACHI

Ex-international Daniel Amokachi, in this interview with CHARLES OGUNDIYA, faults the Nigeria Football Federation for giving the Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr, a semi-final target at the last Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt. Excerpts…

 

 

What is your take on Alex Iwobi signing for Everton, a club you played for during your active days…

 

This is a young man that has a lot of talents. Arsenal was a good club, but Everton did a lot of crazy signings this season, same thing they did about three seasons ago and it never paid off. Sometimes it is not smart to keep on signing and signing; they signed about six players this season.

 

Super Eagles star Samuel Chukwueze has signed with Jay Z’s sports management label Roc Nations Sports.

 

What do you think other young players can do to command such market value?

 

It is about what you are, Chukwueze is a young player who has shown a lot of potential.

 

If you watched him from his first game in Spain, then you would know that this young player has something we have not seen in Nigeria players in recent years. And I think business is business. Jay Z is someone who has eyes for business and that shows a lot about that young man.

 

He should just keep doing what he knows how to do best and allow other younger ones coming behind to know there are lot of things to gain. But it is a shame that we keep acting as if sport is not a business in Nigeria.

 

In your generation you played with passion and   even when you lost people would applaud the performance unlike nowadays that even in victory, people still complain. Why is this?

 

 

It is the generation, you and I can’t help out to solve the situation. It is not just about Nigeria, it is global. They just need to keep doing the best they can do, and keep collecting the huge money that we are seeing now in football, and we that watch them should keep enjoying what they are playing.

 

 

You started your career from the local league and rose through the ranks before traveling abroad, but now it is difficult to have our local league players playing in the national team, how do we go back to the old days?

 

 

It has to do with the administrators because they are the ones that give the coaches coming to the country instructions on what to do, and conditions to work with. I was blessed to work with the late Amodu Shuaibu, Austin Eguavoen and late Stephen Keshi, and I know their enthusiasm when it comes to the home-based players because they all came through the ranks.

 

That’s the difference     between them and those coming from outside. Most people coming from outside are not Nigerians, they are not passionate about the players playing at home, they are just here to do their job and get paid, not like our own who are passionate on developing the players back home.

 

They know the talents that Nigerians possess especially if you go deep, we have the quality that can help. In 2013, we practically won the AFCON with home-based players; they qualified us for the championship and won it for us. Four or five players from the Nigerian league were starting games and that says a lot about the coach.

 

But everyone knows how these foreign coaches go about their job and you can’t blame them. We just keep hoping that the coaches will consider the players especially the young ones that are coming from the home front, and let them get a chance in the team.

 

But Westerhof was a foreign coach when he was in charge of the Super Eagles and he was able to discover home-based players like you…

 

 

That’s why I said it has to do with the mind-set of the person coming; Westerhof knew what he was doing. Before coming to Nigeria, he had already done some research about the country. He knew the quality of the players back at home and that’s what still happens till today.

 

There is no coach that will come to Nigeria without knowing full well that he will get to the semi-final or final, that’s the minimum as long as you know the right thing to do. If you want to prepare Egusi (melon) soup, and you get the right ingredients, you will get a good soup, same as leading the Super Eagles.

 

 

Would you say you are impressed with the quality of performance of the Super Eagles at the 2019 AFCON?

 

The quality of players is there, we got the third place because of the character and determination of Nigerians not because of the quality of football that we played, and that’s just the truth of it. I don’t know how true it is, but the coach said that he was given a semi-final target, for me as an ex-international and a Nigerian, that’s a big joke.

 

 

For a country that already won the title three times, played in the final several times and also won the bronze for many times, I think it’s a joke that we are giving a coach a semi-final target, it shouldn’t be, but that’s the situation in which we found ourselves. We just have to keep hoping and praying to get the best; that’s what we are known for in Nigeria.

 

What’s your impression about Gernot Rohr as a coach of the Super Eagles?

 

 

I don’t have any say about the coach, I only talk about the quality of football which tells a lot.

 

What will you say about Nigerian players playing in the English Premier League that started a week ago?

 

 

The EPL is the most watched league in the world, at the same time the bookies are still giving it to Manchester City, Liverpool. There is no difference in the two teams, as everything is still going for them. We just talked about Everton with all their crazy signings, Tottenham Hotspur is a team that you can always put your money on and think okay, as long as they don’t have a rough patch along the line.

 

But surprise wise, I don’t think we are going to have any surprises, because the two the teams (Manchester City and Liverpool) will continue battling with it. For now they are the best in the EPL, manager wise, quality and the formation they play, they are the best all round.

 

How far have you gone with your NGO?

 

 

My NGO is called Daniel Amokachi Foundation, it’s been around for like forever. It is not something new but I decided to keep it quiet. I joined the government and did a lot in the last year. I have been working with my partners in Turkey and we have been doing a lot of free medicals.

 

Not just that, we treat and give drugs and there is educational aspect of it; we have visited a lot of schools, donated stationery and helped out in giving scholarship to the young ones that cannot afford to pay their fees, something I do from my own pocket. It is something that we will continue to do because Nigeria is a country where we all need a helping hand.

 

It’s unfortunate that we cannot get all the things done at a go. We should just continue to do what we have to do to make as many people as possible happy.

 

 

I am so glad to see some of our young players like Ahmed Musa doing a lot of things for the society, Shehu Abdullahi and Oghenekaro Etebo, those are the young ones doing a lot of good things.

 

 

I just hope the younger ones are seeing this and also make more foundations to help Nigerians out. I want to tell those guys to continue doing what they are doing and also we need others to join them.

 

You decided to keep your foundation quiet, why? I decided to do that because what you do is between you and God and I have to give account to God too. I grew up in a home where things were done quietly. My dad had been doing same thing and we learned from him while growing up.

 

 

We are just seven in my family but my father has raised over 30 people up to the university level. I thank God for giving me the grace to be able to do it. I have been doing it since 1993 and I will continue to do it. I have seen life and luxury is nothing to me now.

 

If I have N10, I am happy to put N6 or N7 into helping people.

 

I am grateful to God for helping me and I pray that He keeps nourishing me so I can do more. Your mates and colleagues from different parts of the world are already going into politics. George Weah is now the President of Liberia, Didier Drogba recently announced his plans to go into politics.

 

Are we going to see Amokachi going into politics in the nearest future?

 

I am not a politician but I have been involved in several campaigns especially last year, but to become one, I don’t have the strength to be a politician. Only few politicians know who God is.

 

If you know who God is, it is difficult for you to go into politics.

 

If you know the kind of cartel and syndicates they have to be part of as politicians, then it is difficult to serve God. I do not want to jeopardise my relationship with God so I don’t think politics is for me.

 

 

As a Brand Ambassador of BetBonanza, what should we expect and hope it won’t affect your integrity if things go wrong?

 

 

I have been a brand ambassador for an agency in the past, but things didn’t go well as planned, so I decided to stay back, but when the CEO of BetBonanza called me, our first discussion was to ask him how real and what does it entail, because they must service the need of people who put their resources into the business.

 

We had a fruithful discussion; he gave me his name for me to investigate which I did, and I was able to know that he has been around for a while, in fact from when betting came into Nigeria.

 

He has worked with different agencies until God gave him the resources to start his own outfit. Its not just about starting an agency, you must know what it entails and that’s part of our discussion. As an ambassador, I just pray I don’t see the dark side like I did in the previous one.

 

They have to do the right thing, and it is our job to keep pushing them to do the right thing and satisfy the customers.

 

 

 

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NSCDC, Army dominate volleyball teams

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NSCDC, Army dominate volleyball teams

Nigeria Volleyball Federation has released the list of players to represent Nigeria at the 2019 All Africa Games in Rabat, Morocco; and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), the Nigerian Army as well as the Nigeria Police Force made the cut.

 

Nigeria will face Morocco, Mauritius and Botswana in Pool A in the men and women categories at the games. According to the list released by the Technical Director, Nigeria Volleyball Federation, Martins Melandi, the team consists of 12 men and 12 women.

 

Three foreign players have been included in the men’s team they are: Arinze Nwachukwu (Fenerbahçe, Turkey), Uchenna Ofoha (Netzhoppers, Germany), and Samuel Ogwuche (Asaria, Libya) and nine home based players who participated at the Division one and Premier League. They will be coached by Japheth Nuhu and Taiwo Oladipupo.

 

The women’s team has one foreign player, Mercy Promise (Cyprus) and eleven home based players tutored by one time Most Valuable Player in Africa, Usman Abdullah and former Kano Super Star player, Moses Babamusa.

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Real aim to wrest title from Barca as La Liga begins

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Real aim to wrest title from Barca as La Liga begins

Spanish La Liga kicks off this weekend and Real Madrid will be desperate to dethrone arch rivals Barcelona. It was a season to forget for Los Blancos as Real ended 2018-19 without a silverware.

 

Signs of impending doom were obvious when former talisman Cristiano Ronaldo departed the Bernabeu and it wasn’t long before things started falling apart.

 

Julen Lopetegui, who lost his job as Spain boss in order to take over at the Bernabeu, lasted all of 137 days as Real Madrid manager before a 5-1 Clasico hammering sealed his fate, while Santiago Solari failed to steady the ship before he was thrown out. With Zidane back in charge and the Galactico tap turned back on, the policy of youth has been shelved for ‘today’ solutions ahead of 2019/20.

 

They have splashed something in excess of €300m and they are still haggling to bring PSG talisman Neymar. After making kissy faces at each other for so long, Madrid and Hazard are now finally together. How the reality of how the dream works out will define Los Blancos’ season. But for a late self-implosion, Barcelona might have been treble winners in 2018/19.

 

However, nearly is nowhere good enough for a club that is not only accustomed to winning everything but also setting the standards for beautiful, aweinspiring football. Antoine Griezmann, Firpo and Frenkie de Jong have been added while the Neymar saga rumbles on. Nevertheless, the shape of their season will be determined by how they get the best out of their leader Lionel Messi.

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Okwaraji granted me my first interview!

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Okwaraji granted me my first interview!

Time flies. I have tried not to write about myself in the past 15 years of writing a column. It has been a huge experience from ‘Sports Slam’ to ‘Sports Slaming.’

 

I will not bore you, dear readers, with the experiences over the years but circumstances have compelled me to flash back to how it all started. During one of my visits to Punch Newspapers to submit weekly entries for their match predictions, I was privileged to have met Mr. Paul Bassey, then the Sports Editor of Punch Newspapers. And so when I was ready to start work, I was eager to write sports like Sports Bassey and many other top sports writers at the time.

 

Incidentally, my mentor had moved to Champion Newspapers and rather than employ me to work with the Champion, he gave me a note to Mr Abimbola Akinloye (now late), who took over from him as the Sports Editor of The Punch.

 

 

That was August 9, 1989 and he engaged me immediately as an intern. Next day, August 10, my boss, Mr Akinloye, asked me to speak with a patriotic midfielder, Samuel Okwaraji, whose behavior and actions were different from other players. He was to play his first Nigeria match at the then dreaded National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.

 

Of course I was jittery but I followed Mr Gbenga Bakare, a senior colleague, to the National Stadium for the last full training session of the Super Eagles before the anticipated encounter with the national team of Angola.

 

After the training session, it was late Stephen Keshi I met first, spoke with him briefly and pleaded with him to connect me with Okwaraji, Keshi gladly did and I conducted my first interview session to actualize the very first major assignment on the job. I ran back to the Punch office to file my story. My editor and other senior colleagues were happy with me.

 

Two days later, I was at the National Stadium for the match but left just after the first half. I got to the office with conflicting reports on the state of health of Okwaraji. I saw the playback and was alarmed. That night he was confirmed dead.

 

The then Editor, Mr Ademola Osinubi, now Managing Director, Punch, sent me out to the Eagles camp at Durbar Hotel, Mile 2. I was awake all night taking to players, coaches and his roommate, Ademola Adesina, over the cause of death and Okwaraji’s last moments. Adesina told me that Okwaraji was too eager to play the match as he woke up very early to perform a little workout in the room.

 

The Okwaraji story was the start of my career. And so every year, as August 12 approaches, I remember Okwaraji and the beginning of my journalism career.

 

Monday marked 30 years. A doctor with the Eagles at the time, Dipo Odunuga, spoke about the patriotic zeal of the player. He was very patriotic. Oduguga said: “He won’t collect ticket refund or match bonus from anyone.

 

I recall one day when his bonus was practically forced on him, he simply took the money and shared it to area boys at the hotel. “After his death, players became cautious by selecting games they would play to avoid such incident.

 

It was a time we were thinking his patriotic zeal would be imbibed by some other players but rather, players now feel the country is not worth dying for because nothing was done for Samuel (Okwaraji) despite dying on active service for his country.”

 

It is indeed sad that nothing concrete has been done to truly immortalize Okwaraji and spur other players to give their all for the country.

 

The football federation should be able to do something tangible annually for a player who died on the pitch while playing for the country. The family, especially the mother, should be taken care of while there should be a proper yearly activity to make the entire citizenry remember the fallen hero.

 

The disposition of the football authorities is not good for the current players who will conclude that the country is not worth dying for. No doubt, Okwaraji deserves better and the attitude of the federation must change on how best to immortalize fallen heroes and players who gave their all to the country in their active years. Other examples are Stephen Keshi, who won the Nations Cup as player and coach, and the late Amodu Shaibu who qualified the country for two World Cups and made waves at club and national levels. The list is endless

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Arsenal, WorldRemit launch Future Stars second edition

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Arsenal, WorldRemit launch Future Stars second edition

Arsenal and online money transfer service, WorldRemit, are offering one male and one female football coach from Africa or the Americas the chance to attend an exclusive training programme with Arsenal Football Development coaches in London.

 

Now in its second edition, the “Future Stars” programme was developed by WorldRemit and Arsenal to celebrate the positive impact that grassroots youth football coaches have on their communities, helping the children they train to develop life skills both on and off the pitch. Future Stars is free to apply for and open to youth team (under 16s) coaches from across Africa and the Americas.

 

WorldRemit will sponsor two winners, one male and one female, to fly to London for a personalised coaching programme with Arsenal Football Development coaches.

 

Through the programme, 20 shortlisted coaches will be rewarded with Arsenal shirts for their youth squad. According to the organiser, entries are now open on www.futurestars.worldremit. com or via a chatbot on the WorldRemit Facebook page until September 4.

 

To enter, coaches simply need to complete a short application form explaining why they deserve to be granted this unique training opportunity and how they would use it to build a lasting legacy of positive change through football. It further stated that from the online applications, 20 coaches will be shortlisted to receive Arsenal youth shirts for their team.

 

The selection criteria will be based on the commitment of the coach to improving the lives of their community, the impact the coach has had on young people within their community and the strength of the coach’s proposal to pass on their training on their return home.

 

Andrew Stewart, Managing Director for the Middle East and Africa at WorldRemit, said: “Our customers work hard every day to send money home to support their communities. Inspired by them, we developed the Future Stars programme with Arsenal to shine a spotlight on youth community coaches who use their passion for football to build a better future for others.”

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FIFA bans Siasia for life

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FIFA bans Siasia for life
  • We are not aware, say Siasia, NFF

 

Former Super Eagles coach, Samson Siasia, was yesterday sanctioned by FIFA Adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee for bribery and corruption.

 

According to a release by the committee, which stated that it has found Mr Samson Siasia, a former official of the Nigeria Football Federation, guilty of having accepted that he would receive bribes in relation to the manipulation of matches in violation of the FIFA Code of Ethics.

 

“The formal ethics proceedings against Mr. Siasia were initiated on February 11, 2019 and stem from an extensive investigation into matches that Mr Wilson Raj Perumal attempted to manipulate for betting purposes,” the statement read. “This large-scale investigation was conducted by FIFA via its competent departments and in cooperation with the relevant stakeholders and authorities.

 

 

“In its decision, the adjudicatory chamber found that Mr Siasia had breached Art. 11 (Bribery) of the 2009 edition of the FIFA Code of Ethics and banned him for life from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level. In addition, a fine of CHF 50,000 has been imposed on Mr Siasia.

 

“The decision was notified to Mr Siasia today (yesterday), the date on which the ban comes into force.”

 

However, both Siasia and the Nigeria Football Federation have denied knowledge of the sanction claiming they had not received any notification from FIFA either prior to the investigation or during the investigation.

 

Speaking on the sanction, Siasia, who is still working so hard to get his mother released from the hands of kidnapers for almost three weeks, said he was never contacted. According to the former international, he was not aware of anything and there is no way an investigation would be carried out about him without his knowledge.

 

Siasia however said he would be meeting with the media on Saturday at the National Stadium, Abuja, to say his own part of the story, vowing to clear his name.

 

Also, speaking with our correspondent, the image maker of the NFF, Ademola Olajire, said the federation was not informed and it would have to look at the situation. It would be recalled that former Super Eagles assistant coach, Salisu Yusuf, was also banned recently over bribery and corruption relating to the game.

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Barcelona line up final offer for Neymar

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Barcelona are reportedly preparing to make a final offer for Paris Saint-Germain attacker Neymar as the Spanish champions look to bring the Brazil international back to Camp Nou. Neymar’s future remains the subject of much speculation with the 27-year-old widely expected to leave the French capital before the end of the European transfer window.

 

Both Barca and Real Madrid continue to be linked with the South American, who is allegedly so keen to leave Paris that he is prepared to accept a huge pay cut to secure a return to Spain.

 

According to RAC1, Barca are lining up a final offer for the attacker which will include Philippe Coutinho, Jean-Clair Todibo and Nelson Semedo in addition to a cash sum. Coutinho has been strongly linked with a move away from Camp Nou this summer. Todibo, though, only joined the Catalan giants in January, while Semedo has developed into an important first-team player for the club.

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12th African Games: NWF unveils formidable team

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The Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF) on Thursday unveiled a formidable team of athletes and officials that will represent the country at the 12th African Games in Morocco.

 

The team, which comprised 16 athletes, 5 coaches and 2 officials, was presented to the media at a brief but colourful ceremony at the Dynamite Wrestling gym in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State – where the wrestlers have been training ahead of the Games for the past one month.

 

The NWF had earlier planned to present 26 athletes at the multi-sport tournament in Morocco, but the decision of the hosts to adopt the Olympic weight classes due to inadequate funding meant Nigeria will be fielding only 16 wrestlers.

 

Reigning Commonwealth champions Odunayo Adekuoroye (57kg), Blessing Oborodudu (68kg) and Aminat Adeniyi (62kg) top the list in women wrestling, which also include African Champions Blessing Onyebuchi (76kg), Mercy Genesis (50kg) and Bose Samuel (53kg).

 

In the Freestyle event, 5-time African champion and captain of the team Amas Daniel (65kg) is joined by veteran and highly-decorated Sinivie Boltic (125kg), African champions Soso Tamrau (97kg), Melvin Bibo (86kg), Welson Ebikwenimo (57kg), as well as the very prolific Ogbonna John, a 3-time African cham-pion himself.

 

Two-time African champion Emmanuel Nworie (77kg) tops the list of Greco Roman wrestlers, which also has two bronze medalists on the continent; Ikechukwu Robinson (60kg) and Tochukwu Okeke (87kg), as well as debutant Alfred Pakistan (67kg). At the 2015 Games in Congo Brazzaville, wrestling accounted for 19 medals (9 gold, 5 silver and 5 bronze). The athletes and officials are expected to depart Nigeria for Morocco on Wednesday, 21st August.

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