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D’Tigress retain Afrobasket championship title

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D’Tigress retain Afrobasket championship title

 

N

igeria’s national team D’Tigress on Sunday retained the FIBA Women Afrobasket Championship after they defeated hosts Senegal 60-55 points in the final.

 

The Nigerian lasses were the defending champions going into the championship and never disappointed as they became the first team to win back-to-back FIBA Women’s AfroBasket titles since Angola followed up their 2011 triumph with another in 2013.

 

 

It was a hard-fought battle for the Nigerians as they survived a late onslaught from the hosts who were close to snatching the victory from them with a late rally.

 

 

The champions opened the game outstandingly as they won the first quarter 14-10 and followed that up with another 18-14 in the second quarter.

 

 

They won the third quarter 16-13 but were shocked to see their opponents raced to early lead in the last quarter. The Senegalese won the quarter 18-12 but the Nigerians held on to end the game 60-55.

 

 

Evelyn Akhator was again the biggest contributor as she hit  14 points. Promise Amukamara and Ezinne Kalu were the other players with double digits as they slammed 12 and 13 points respectively.

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UEFA League: Ronaldo reacts angrily after pitch invader grabs him

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UEFA League: Ronaldo reacts angrily after pitch invader grabs him

Cristiano Ronaldo reacted angrily after he was grabbed by a pitch invader at the end of Juventus’ 2-0 win at Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday.

The Portuguese, 34, gave Juventus the lead in the 75th minute with his 128th Champions League goal, before Gonzalo Higuain added a second late on.

After the final whistle, a fan ran on to the pitch and put his arm around Ronaldo as he tried to get a selfie.

Ronaldo pushed the fan away before security staff intervened, reports the BBC.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner, who held his neck after the incident, had hugged another fan who came on to the pitch during the match.

Juventus had already qualified for the last 16 as group winners.

It was Ronaldo’s third goal in as many games and his ninth of the season.

“I feel good – the annoyance I felt has passed and the team is in good shape,” he said after the game.

“Today we played a good second half. We are all growing and even I personally felt better today, more confident, and I hope to continue like this.”

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Europa League: We’ve come through sticky patch, says Solskjaer

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Europa League: We’ve come through sticky patch, says Solskjaer

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Manchester United have “come through a sticky patch” and insists his young side have “always believed” in themselves.

Recent victories over Tottenham and Manchester City gave United back-to-back league wins for the first time this season and lifted them to within five points of the top four.

Despite boasting an impressive record against fellow ‘top-six’ sides, United have lost to Crystal Palace, West Ham, Newcastle and Bournemouth this term, and draws against newly-promoted sides Sheffield United and Aston Villa raised question marks over Solskjaer’s future, reports Sky Sports.

However, the Norwegian remains confident his players will improve with experience and believes they have come through a difficult period.

“Consistency is vital in football if you’re going to win trophies and this young team need to learn how to put on performances when they don’t feel like it, when they don’t feel great,” the United boss said.

“You don’t feel great every single time that you walk onto the pitch and we’ve had some games this year where we’ve not been able to perform as well as we would have liked.

“That’s a learning curve and I’m sure these young boys in the next couple of years will improve and hopefully for the rest of the season.

“We’ve come through a sticky patch with bad injuries and bad results and we’re looking brighter now.

“Results are the proof in the end but inside we’ve always believed what we are doing. There’s going to be ups and downs but we are on the right track.

“I see these boys every single day in training and what their attitude is, as well as the skills and the quality they’ve got, so I’ve not been that worried.”

United still without Pogba

United return to action on Thursday night when AZ Alkmaar visit Old Trafford in the Europa League, with top spot in Group L up for grabs between the two sides.

Midfielder Paul Pogba – who has not played since the end of September – remains out as he continues to recover from an ankle injury.

“It is too early for him to play against Alkmaar,” Solskjaer said. “He’s working hard to get fit so hopefully we will see him in 2019.

“Let’s get Paul fit and back in form. Paul will play loads of games. For me, he’s one of the best players in the world and we’re looking forward to having him back.”

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Andy Ruiz Jr ‘a disgrace to boxing’ in loss to Anthony Joshua, says Frank Warren

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Andy Ruiz Jr ‘a disgrace to boxing’ in loss to Anthony Joshua, says Frank Warren

Andy Ruiz Jr “brought disgrace to himself” and boxing by being in “no fit state” to fight in his loss to Anthony Joshua, said promoter Frank Warren.

Ruiz Jr, 30, weighed 20st 3lb for the fight in Saudi Arabia, more than three stone heavier than Joshua, who gained a wide points win to regain the IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles.

“This was ridiculous. When eyebrows were being raised at the weigh-in he literally was the elephant in the room,” said Warren, who promotes Tyson Fury but was not involved in this bout.

“Just because you’re a heavyweight it shouldn’t mean you don’t have an obligation to display a degree of athletic intention.

“Ruiz Jr brought disgrace to himself and the sport by failing to prepare to any sort of level. Joshua must’ve wondered which chin he was supposed to aim for.”

The Mexican-American was a full stone heavier than he had been in his first fight against Britain’s Joshua in June, when Ruiz Jr caused an upset with a seventh-round stoppage victory, reports the BBC.

However, after their second bout, he said “three months of partying” had left him in poor condition and that he “should’ve trained harder”, “was overweight” and “didn’t move how I wanted to”.

Warren added: “What we ended up with was a fella who scoffed himself out of being world champion and a spectacle that suffered as a result.

“It’s a bit late after the event to say you partied too much and regret carrying so much weight.

“If he turned up like that for a non-title fight, the promoters and TV executives would be rightly hacked off over a fighter coming in so out of condition.

“Spare a thought for those punters who had a punt on the champion, who had every right to believe he had put the graft in.

“Professional athletes have a responsibility to ensure a level playing field on behalf of those who pay for the privilege of watching.”

Unbeaten Fury, 31, is set to fight WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder in the United States in February after their first meeting in December 2018 ended in a controversial draw.

Warren is certain that Fury, who has previously held all the titles 30-year-old Joshua now has, would have beaten Ruiz Jr inside the distance.

“Tyson wouldn’t have been dancing away from Ruiz, he would’ve done a job on him and stopped him,” said Warren.

“I saw Ruiz saying he had achieved his dream. Well, if his dream was to win the titles then stuff himself stupid and lose them at the first time of asking, then his dream has become a reality.

“King of the heavyweight division to Burger King in the space of six months.”

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I won’t allow any NFF member to force players on me –Rohr

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I won’t allow any NFF member to force players on me –Rohr

Super Eagles Manager, Gernot Rohr, has declared that he has not mandated any  member of the Nigeria Football Federation to invite players on his behalf.

A top chieftain of the NFF reportedly  met with Queens Park Rangers of England midfielder, Eberechi Eze, with a view to convincing him  to pledge his future to Nigeria but Rohr insisted  he did not sanction anyone to approach any player.

Rohr has said would not bow to any pressure from his employers to force Eze or any other player on him.

Rohr stressed: “I will never ask the NFF publicly to approach any player for our team. We have our processes and it certainly doesn’t include sharing such information publicly.”

A cross section of Nigerian fans and soccer pundits reacting to the issue had said the task of inviting players should be left with the team’s gaffer.

The current situation might further severe the situation between both parties as Rohr has publicly asked for some of his unpaid allowances and salaries, the comment which later earned him a query from the soccer authority.

Rohr’s contract ends June 2020 and there strong indications that the 66 year old may walk away if there is no increment in his salary and allowances.

DR Congo has quietly been making enquiries about the Franco-German coach but his employers said he was still in contract with them.

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‘No regrets benching Osimhen against Chelsea’

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‘No regrets benching Osimhen against Chelsea’

Lille coach Christophe Galtier has said he has no regrets benching his key players including leading scorer Victor Osimhen in their last group match against Chelsea at the Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.

Osimhen was an unused substitute as Lille lost 2-1 at Chelsea to finish bottom of Group H with one point.

In a  post-match press conference  Galtier said it was a tactical decision to rest some of his big stars including Jonathan Ikoné and captain Jose Fonte because of the busy days ahead of the squad.

”I wouldn’t say I have regrets regarding my choices. Obviously, as you said, we’ve got some tough fixtures coming up, Montpellier then a Cup game and Monaco. There was in effect nothing to play for in this game, so I don’t have any regrets,” Galtier told reporters.

”I am also happy I managed to give some players the chance to start in this competition.”

”Our objective is clear for the next three games, that’s what we are focusing on. We’ll see what happens starting from Friday with Montpellier.

”There have been a lot of games back-to-back as well since November.”

Osimhen was named in Lille’s starting line-up for Champions League games five times this season, and was on target against Chelsea and Valencia on matchday two and four respectively.

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Sports Minister promises to turn Dambe to national sport

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Sports Minister promises to turn Dambe to national sport

The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, on Tuesday received members of the Dambe (traditional wrestling) association in Abuja and promised to turn the sport into national event.

Dare promised to restructure Dambe in order for it to compete favourably with other sports, while commending the founders of the association for taking the sport to other parts of the country.

The Minister who had addressed the fighters in Hausa language before speaking collectively to the delegation, said: “I grew up in the northern part of the country and Dambe was predominantly a northern sport for fun.

“I commend you for making something out of nothing.  You have taken the sport to other parts of the country and that is highly commendable.”

The minister who expressed delight that the founders of the association are young people, said, that has been the main goal of the ministry.

Dare stressed that they really want to see youths who use their brains, hands and innovative minds to do something for themselves and the country as a whole.

He added: “What you have done is very encouraging and we  are going to leverage on what you have done as co-founders.”

“You need to create domestic league of Dambe fighters and make it more competitive in nature. Dambe gives us another opportunity to keep the youth busy and take them off crime because it engages their mind and makes them productive.”

He also assured that Dambe would be brought into the fold of traditional sports so as to create structure and bring added benefits to it.

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Iheanacho targets more records with Leicester

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Iheanacho targets more records with Leicester

Leicester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho is aiming to help his side break more records this season.

The Nigeria international played a key as the King Power Stadium outfit set a new club all-time best of eight consecutive Premier League wins.

Iheanacho, who endured a torrid time at the start of the campaign, as he found game-time difficult to come by, has been in excellent form lately for the Foxes.

The 23-year-old scored the match-winner in his first English top-flight game against Everton and went on to deliver another outstanding display against Aston Villa, where he found the back of the net and provided an assist.

The victories ensured Brendan Rodgers’ men are second on the league table with 38 points from 16 games, six above reigning champions Manchester City.

Iheanacho believes the Foxes can further extend their winning streak and make their fans joyful as Christmas draws near.

“It’s very good to be a part of this great squad. I’m happy to be part of it and going forward we have fantastic players and great quality,” Iheanacho told LCFCTV.

“Everyone is buzzing, everyone is happy. It’s a fantastic record and we have a great manager and great staff.

“I feel we can win the next game and we’ll keep going and get more records. There have been good Christmas presents so far, we’ll keep going and get more wins.”

Reacting to his sparkling performance against Aston Villa on Sunday, he said: “On a personal level, I’m excited, scoring again and assisting Jamie [Vardy].

“So I just need to keep going and keep the level up, working hard in training to make sure I keep my head up.

“It was a great performance from the whole team. I think we were all over them. We stuck to our plan and got spaces all over the place and we got the goals so it’s brilliant

“We’ve been great this season, we just need to keep going, keep our heads down. This one is done now and we’re looking forward to the next game.”

Iheanacho, who has four goals in four games this term, will hope to maintain his form when Leicester slug it out with Norwich City on Saturd

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2022 World Cup qualifiers: Eagles know foes Jan 21

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2022 World Cup qualifiers: Eagles know foes Jan 21

The Super Eagles opponents in the second round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup will emerge at a draw slated for January 21 in Cairo, Egypt, New Telegraph can report.

In a press release on Wednesday, the Confederation of African Football announced that the ceremony scheduled to take place at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Cairo, Egypt would see 14 winners from the first round join 26 top-seeded teams including Nigeria to form 10 groups of four (based on the December 2019 edition of the FIFA Rankings.

This second round, which will be played on home and away basis, will begin in March 2020 and conclude in October 2021.

The 10 winners of these groups will then advance to the third round scheduled for November 2021.

They will be drawn against each other with the five eventual winners progressing to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which will be played between November 21 and December 18, 2022.

Nigeria have featured at six World Cups including the last three editions in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Their best performance was reaching the knockout rounds in 1994 and 2014.

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AFN Crisis: NOC sets up 4-man committee

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AFN Crisis: NOC sets  up 4-man committee

The Nigeria Olympic Committee during its board meeting which is part of its Annual General meeting on Wednesday set up a four-man investigative panel to mediate in the crisis rocking the Athletic Federation of Nigeria (AFN).

According to Phemmy Adetula, Public Relations Officer of NOC the panel has Barrister Francis Orbih, President of Badminton Federation as chairman with Binga Margaret, President, Taekwando federation, Toyin Aluko and Emmanuel Nweri as secretary.

According to Adetula, the NOC cannot afford to close its eyes to happenings in the AFN. The Olympic movement and solidarity is known for peaceful co-existence. So, for this simple fact, athletics as a sport  including other federations in the country must enjoy a peaceful environment without any rancour as they prepare for the forthcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan next year.

He said the committee was mandated to report its findings within the shortest possible time to NOC.

Also, the NOC hosted its first Patrons Forum.

The objectives of this Forum is to further highlight our roles, expectations as Patrons of the Olympic and Commonwealth movement amongst other vital issues that is affecting our sport.

In attendance were Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, representative of HRM Oba Saheed Elegunshi, Alhaji Ibrahim Galadima, Rt. Hon Marc Wabara, Mrs kofo Nwokedi and Maj. Gen. Adamu Dyeri.

The Annual General meeting of the NOC will take place today at the Starview Palace Hotel in Abuja.

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26 Ikoyi Club smashers hit Accra today

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26 Ikoyi Club smashers hit Accra today

…for international tournament

 

A total of 26 tennis players from Ikoyi Club will travel to Accra, Ghana for an international tennis contest to be hosted by Accra Lawn tennis Club.

The three-day tournament which starts this evening ends on Sunday with the top players of both clubs competing for honours.

Some of the players billed for the trip are Olaniyan Babatunde, Nwaokolo Ekenedilichukwu, Ebhohimen Pascal, Okoronkwo Banabas, Ajayi Olakunle, Effiong Iyang, Alawiye Kolawole, Okubena Abimbola, Ayorinde Bola, Jibuna Walter, Lawal Aminat, Eledu Hilary, Oduntan Kayode and Okwuosa Chinedu.

Our correspondent learnt reliably that the Ghana trip is being sponsored by Zenith Bank, Rainoil Ltd. Air Peace, Chief Mike Nwokoni and the members of Ikoyi Club Tennis Section.

The International tournament which took place last year in Nairobi, Kenya is aimed at fostering bilateral business relationship within the ECOWAS region.

The chairman Ikoyi Club Tennis Section, Bimbo Okubena, said the event was one that many members look forward to every year.

Okubena said: “You meet people, make new friends and compare notes in all things we do respectively in our clubs.

“I am very happy that the series of competitions we played are enough to keep us fit for the games in Accra.

“Our sponsors have been very fantastic and this time, they are again there to support us for this tournament.”

The club members will start arriving back in Nigeria from Saturday and the last batch will arrive Sunday.

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