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FIBA World Cup: D’Tigers ready to roar past Russia

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FIBA World Cup: D’Tigers ready to roar past Russia

…host Argentina, Korea in Group B

 

 

Nigeria’s national men senior basketball team, D’Tigers, will start their quest for a memorable outing at the FIBA World Cup in China today as they face Russia in the opening match. The team will also contest against Argentina and Korea in Group B. The Alex Nwora’s team has been labelled as one of the most talented Nigerian squad ever assembled given their imperious form heading into the tournament and which also sees them rise significantly on the world rankings to the seventh position, which is an all-time high for the country.

 

Remarkably, D’Tigers were the first team to qualify after a dominant qualification campaign and have not taken their foot off the gas by winning the 2019 Peak International Invitational Tournament in China where they outplayed Montenegro in the final with a 89-86 points.

 

 

Heading to the World Cup, D’Tigers are ranked 33, but have defeated better ranked countries in their tune-up games despite the fact that much is expected of the team back home.

 

Recall that D’Tigers defeated Dominican Republic, who were ranked 18th in the world twice, Canada (23), Poland (25) and Montenegro (28). Among the players are some veterans of the national team, including the prominent figures in Nigeria’s victory at the Afrobasket a couple of years ago, as well as some of the best young players in the world’s game.

 

 

The players chosen to fight Nigeria’s battles in China are Team captain, Ike Diogu, a regular throughout the qualifying series alongside Ike Iroegbu, Benjamin Uzoh, Al Farouk Aminu, Zanna Talib and Stanley Okoye. Also, following a series of impressive performances in the friendlies, Stockton Kings’ Vincent Nnamdi, booked a spot in the team alongside new kids such as Chimezie Metu,

 

Jordan Nwora and Joshua Okogie while Udoh Ekpe and Michael Eric also made the team. Baring his mind on the game against the Europeans, Nwora, who rose to prominence by leading Cape Verde – perceived as minnows – to beat Nigeria in the 2013 Afrobasket, anticipated a very difficult, but al so believes ‘victory is not impossible,’ against the world’s 10th best ranked team.

 

 

However, Nwora, who after weeks of preparation, is upbeat with the calibre of talents at his disposal, the team can only reach for the skies. He said: “It’s going to be a tough challenge for us, but we have the ability and the talent to match up their skill set. It’s going to be a good one. What we are trying to do is to make sure that we prepare and get ready for the competition.” Meanwhile, Diogu has said Russia will be a good test for D’Tigers level of preparedness for the tourney, which will afford the team the opportunity to assess itself. He said: “I have been telling everybody, one through fifteen, we can match up with anybody in the world. We just have to execute, play hard and I think the odds will be in our favour.”

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Augsburg’s Finnbogason nets stoppage-time equaliser to shock Bayern

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Augsburg’s Alfred Finnbogason scored a stoppage-time goal to snatch a 2-2 draw against a wasteful Bayern Munich on Saturday and deny them the top spot in the Bundesliga.

 

The Bavarians had only themselves to blame for failing to win for the second straight matchday, having squandered a bagful of chances and hit the woodwork in what was largely a one-sided affair against their lowly opponents.

 

Bayern remain in third place on 15 points but could drop further behind leaders Borussia Moenchengladbach, on 16, who play Borussia Dortmund later on Saturday.

 

VfL Wolfsburg remained second, also on 16, after Wout Weghorst scored an 82nd-minute equaliser that rescued a 1-1 draw against RB Leipzig, who are fourth on 15.

Schalke 04, on 14, can also overtake Bayern, if they beat Hoffenheim on Sunday.

Augsburg shocked Bayern with a goal after 28 seconds with Marco Richter volleying in from a Rani Khedira header.

 

To make matters worse, central defender Niklas Suele had to be taken off a little later after suffering what looked to be a knee injury.

Yet Bayern forward Robert Lewandowski continued his stellar scoring run to bring them level in the 14th minute.

He headed in a perfect Serge Gnabry cross for his 12th league goal. He has now scored in each of their eight league games to equal the record set by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang four years ago.

 

Gnabry, who also hit the post late in the first half, curled a superb left-footed low shot past Augsburg keeper Tomas Koubek in the 49th to give Bayern, who travel to Olympiakos in the Champions League next week, the lead.

Koubek then made a string of superb saves to deny Kingsley Coman, Lewandowski as well as Philippe Coutinho.

 

Substitute Thomas Mueller could also have sealed their win in the 90th minute but he fired wide from 13 metres.

 

They were punished for it in stoppage time as Finnbogason tapped in from a cutback to earn a point for his team and make it two league matches without a win for the Bavarians.

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JUST IN: Eagles out of CHAN

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JUST IN: Eagles out of CHAN

Nigeria’s home-based Super Eagles have failed to qualify for next year’s African Nations Championship (CHAN) despite beating Togo.

However, the 2-0 result they got at the Agege Stadium, Lagos on Saturday was not enough having lost the first leg 4-1.

The ouster from the tournament for local players in Africa is coming on the heels of the failure of the Super Falcons to qualify for next year’s Olympics in Tokyo, Japan after being beaten by Cote d’Ivoire.

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2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup watched by 1. 12bn viewers

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2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup watched by 1. 12bn viewers

The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup held from June 7 to July 7 in France was watched by 1.12 billion viewers across all platforms.

According to world football governing body FIFA, linear TV accounted for the majority of the global audience.

It said 993.5 million viewers watching at least one minute of coverage on a TV set at home.

This was an increase of 30 per cent on the audience for the 2015 edition held in Canada, which reached 764.0 million.

An estimated 481.5 million people accessed coverage of France 2019 on digital platforms, equivalent to 43 per cent of the total audience reach.

The digital audience, which overlaps with the linear TV audience, was up considerably on the estimated 86.0 million in 2015.

The final match between the US and the Netherlands was the most watched FIFA Women’s World Cup match ever.

It had an average live audience of 82.18 million, up by 56 per cent on the 2015 final audience of 52.56 million.

This reached a total of 263.62 million unique viewers (one-minute reach), which accounted for 22.9 per cent of the overall tournament reach.

Over the 52 matches played in nine host cities across France and broadcast in 205 territories around the world, the average live match audience was 17.27 million viewers.

This is more than double the 8.39 million average of Canada 2015 and this can be attributed to the greater distribution of matches on higher profile broadcasters in many countries.

With the distribution of matches, many participating teams’ matches drew record audiences in their home territories, such as Brazil, France, Italy and the UK.

“More than a sporting event, the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 was a cultural phenomenon attracting more media attention than ever before and providing a platform for women’s football to flourish in the spotlight.

“The fact that we broke the 1 billion target just shows the pulling power of the women’s game and the fact that, if we promote and broadcast world-class football widely, whether it’s played by men or women, the fans will always want to watch,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Publicist Sport Entertainment (PSE) compiled the consolidated audience figures for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019.

It was based on audience data and scheduling gathered from official television auditing agencies in markets around the world.

It also came from FIFA’s Media Rights Licensees (MRLs), and from non-captured (out-of-home and digital) audience data provided by Nielsen.

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England beat Australia 40-16 to make Rugby World Cup semis

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England beat Australia 40-16 to make Rugby World Cup semis

England are into the World Cup semi-finals for the first time in 12 years as they ruthlessly dispatched old rivals Australia.

Two first-half tries in four minutes from Jonny May on his 50th cap helped establish a 17-9 half-time lead before a sensational score from Marika Koroibete brought the Wallabies to within a point.

But prop Kyle Sinckler smashed through from Owen Farrell’s flat pass as England regained control, the fly-half landing 20 points with his boot to crush Australian hopes before Anthony Watson applied the coup de grace with a late interception try, reports the BBC,

It was England’s best performance of a World Cup when they have seldom been tested, the decision of coach Eddie Jones to start Farrell in place of George Ford vindicated by a seventh successive win over his home country.

Four years ago England were sent packing at the group stage from the tournament they were hosting by Michael Cheika’s side.

But with the young back-row combination of Tom Curry and Sam Underhill outstanding, this was sweet revenge, a last-four meeting with New Zealand or Ireland in a week’s time the rich reward.

Australia came out fast and battered away at the England defence, the men in white forced into 30 tackles in the first three minutes, Christian Lealiifano’s penalty reflecting the early balance of power.

But after England had twice wasted overlaps in the opposition 22, they struck twice in quick succession to stun the Wallabies.

First Farrell went left after Watson had made inroads down the right, and with the defence stretched Curry committed the last man before putting May into the corner.

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Mandzukic: Man Utd target not training with Juve

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Mandzukic: Man Utd target not training with Juve

Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic is not training with his team-mates due to an agreement he has with the club, says head coach Maurizio Sarri.

Speaking ahead of Juventus’ Serie A match against Bologna on Saturday, Sarri said: “In this moment Mario Mandzukic is not training with the group due to an agreement he has with the club.”

Mandzukic, who is a target for Manchester United in the January transfer window, attends Juventus’ training centre but works apart from the first-team squad, reports skysports.

Sky in Italy say Mandzukic, 33, who is yet to make an appearance for the Italian giants this season, will be available for transfer in January.

United made a late move for the Croatia international at the end of the summer transfer window, after a move for his team-mate Paulo Dybala collapsed, but ended their pursuit on Deadline Day.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the United manager, has this week told Sky Sports pundit – and former team-mate – Gary Neville that he is “sure” the club will bring in new a signing in January “at the right price”.

And speaking last month, Solskjaer made clear bringing in a striker was a priority after United’s failure to replace Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez.

“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know it’s a forward we’re going to try to recruit next time,” Solskjaer said. “We’re looking for some creativity and goals, but they [potential signings] have to be the right one.

“There were strikers available [in the summer] but not the ones we wanted. We couldn’t get the one we wanted.”

United considering Can bid in January

United are considering a move for former Liverpool midfielder Emre Can in January, Sky Sports News understands.

The 25-year-old Germany midfielder spent four seasons at Anfield before leaving on a free to join Italian club Juventus at the end of the 2017/18 campaign.

It is understood Juventus would want in the region of £35m for Can, who is yet to start under Sarri this season.

Can, like Mandzukic, was omitted from Juventus’ Champions League squad – despite receiving assurances he would be included.

“The fact that I am not in the Champions League squad is extremely shocking for me, mainly because I was promised something different last week,” Can said in September.

“I had talks with other clubs [in the summer] and one of the conditions for me to stay was to be part of the Champions League squad. Then they phoned me and told me, in a conversation that didn’t even last a minute, that I was not on the list and they didn’t give an explanation.

“That makes me angry and furious, they haven’t been honest with me. If I knew about it earlier, I would not have stayed at Juventus.”

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Musa, Etebo, Aina to return for Benin

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Musa, Etebo, Aina to return for Benin

Super Eagles captain Ahmed Musa, Oghenekharo Etebo and Ola Aina will return for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against the Squirrels of Benin in November. Musa, Etebo, and Aina missed out from Nigeria’s 1-1 draw against the five-time World Cup champions, the Samba Boys of Brazil, in an international friendly game at the weekend, due to various injuries. The team coach Gernot Rohr who seems to be worried about the injuries to some of his key players, told Brila Fm that he hoped they would be fit for the big task ahead of the team.

“Now what will happen with all these injured players back? “If Musa can come back, if Aina can come back and if Etebo too can come back, so we will see what can happen with the top players for these impactful games,” Rohr added. The three-time AFCON champions will host Benin on November 11 before facing Lesotho on November 19.

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Lagos Open Tennis: Gallant Oyinlomo Qaudre loses to Ukrainian star

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Lagos Open Tennis: Gallant Oyinlomo Qaudre loses to Ukrainian star

The only Nigerian standing in the ongoing 2nd leg Lagos Open Tennis, Barakat Oyinlomo Quadre was unable to survive the superior power of her Ukrainian opponent, Strakhova Valeriya in their quarter final match decided Friday afternoon at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan. Morroco-based Quadre, who had on Thursday broken a record as the only Nigerian woman player to have qualified to the quarter final level of the ITF World Tour in Lagos, played a determined game against the Ukrainian. This earned her a 7-5 win in the first set; an early break that she failed to sustain and consolidate on. Strakhova, however, forcefully came back to take the game out of Quadre as she won the remaining two set, 6-3, 6-1. The pulsating match lasted 2 hours 35 minutes. In other quarter final results in the women’s singles, top seed Mendez Seone from Austria lost 6-4, 0-6, 0-6 to 6th seed Bhatia Riya. The match lasted 1hour 45mins. Tournament fifth seed, Bhosale Rutuja from India, upset Samir Sandra from Egypt, who is the tournament’s number 3 seed in straight set of 6-2, 6-0 to book a semi final ticket. Brazilian Luara Pigozzi who was runner up in the final last week failed to make it to the semi final as she was defeated by Nastja Kolar from Slovenia in 2-6, 6-5, 5-7 game. In the men’s singles, Zimbabwe’s Takanyi Garanganga beat Frenchman Gianni Mina 6-0, 6-4. Calvin Hemery from France defeated Benjamin Lock in straight set of 6-3, 6-0. Tunisian Aziz Quakaa defeated brother Dougaz 5-7, 6-4, 4-2. Semi final matches are scheduled for Saturday with the grand finale coming up on Sunday. Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is expected to declare the competition close.

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Enyeama tips Osimhen for Lille success

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Enyeama tips Osimhen for Lille success

Former Nigeria and Lille OSC goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama has thrown his weight behind new kid sensation Victor Osimhen to excel at the club. Enyeama, who spent seven seasons with Les Dogues, made 118 appearances for the club.

On Thursday, Osimhen was named the Ligue Un player of the month for September, becoming only the 10th player to win the award. Meanwhile, Enyeama who is the second Lille player to win back to back Player of the Month awards – the other being Eden Hazard – told www.brila.net what the 20-year-old forward must do to reach his full potential.

“He is doing well, he only needs to keep his head down,” Enyeama stated. So far this season, Osimhen has now scored seven goals in nine league appearances for the club.

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Ajayi’s confidence boosted after Brazil draw

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Ajayi’s confidence boosted after Brazil draw

West Bromwich Albion defender Semi Ajayi admitted his confidence has received a boost after helping Nigeria secure a 1-1 draw against Brazil last Sunday. The 25-year-old was handed a starting role in the encounter, partnering William Troost-Ekong at the heart of the Super Eagles’ defence.

The former Rotherham United defender shone in the game, keeping the starstudded attack of the South Americans at bay to help the West Africans secure a famous draw against the fivetime world champions. Ajayi, who returned to West Brom on Tuesday after the international break, is looking to carry on with the impressive showing for the Baggies.

“I’m feeling really good. The [Brazil] game went really well. I’ve given myself a lot of confidence coming up against the big stars. Hopefully, I can carry that form into our league game during the weekend,” Ajayi told the club website. “You want to play against the best players and test yourself.

If you can come out of that with a good performance and a good result then that is even better so the trip went really well. “I don’t really focus on their names, it is more about what they do on the pitch. I felt like myself and my teammates dealt with their threats really well and it is something we can take a lot of pride from.”

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Sunday Dare: Dangote, Baba Ijebu ready to drive sports development

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Sunday Dare: Dangote, Baba Ijebu ready to drive sports development

Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare, in an interview with CHARLES OGUNDIYA has said the move by the country to have a good outing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games started on Tuesday, October 15, with the meeting with the Nigeria Olympic Committee, federation presidents and other stakeholders…

 

 

Since coming to office as the sports minister, you have been moving around the country, what have you been able to achieve?

I have been able to go around, in terms of not just familiarization but also trying to get identify some of the key areas I would be pursuing. When you talk about sports development, you talk about infrastructural rationalization without which you cannot talk about development. I am also interested in the equipment that we have. I have been able to get the sense of what obtained in the country. I am not happy that over the years we have not had a maintenance culture, in terms of maintenance and management of these facilities, which has deprived our athletes of the necessary structure they need to train and we just have to pay attention to restoring some of these major facilities. I am not talking about the football pitches and the terraces alone, I have also been to the indoor sports hall, I have seen a couple of areas like the weightlifting gym, the table tennis and so on. After what happened in Morocco, we could see that we are very strong in wrestling, table tennis, badminton and others like that so we need to bring back some of these sporting facilities and government is committed to doing that by working with the private sector.

What prospects do you foresee in terms of sports development in  Nigeria?

Actually the future of sports development in this country rests on three major sectors, one is  developing a business model around sports in this country, that is bringing private money and funding the public/private ownership. The second leg is creating some kind of sports funds that will take care of welfare, the grants, the stipends for the elite athletes and for the local athletes. The third leg has to do with the facilities and infrastructure; we must bring what we have back to standard. For instance this country should have nothing less than a dozen world standard football pitches, but right now we can only speak of about two but I can tell you confidently from the  engagement I have had – I just finished the second private meeting with Alhaji Aliko Dangote and I can tell you clearly that  there is massive progress.  Recently, I had a one hour meeting with Chief Adebutu Kessington (Baba Ijebu), solid promises, we are set on a road that is irreversible but will bring the changes we need; they will be incremental.

These problems already piled up from the last 20 years, but I can tell you that we are taking those steps to correct them and Nigerians will begin to see these facilities come back. These are the three major areas that will bring back the sport development we desire in this country.

You came to Lagos to witness the training of a private athletics club, the Making of Champions, what’s the fate of private initiatives like that?

I had to cancel my flight to really come and see the athletes and see those behind MoC and the fact that I was there was a validation that MoC is blazing a trail that I want to see happening in this country. If we have about 12 MoCs with the same kind of model across the country, then we can be sure that our talents scattered all over the country will be well trained and this should be a major partnership between the government and the private sector. At the MoC, we are looking at three or four athletes that are Olympic Games athletes and they are very young. Like I said the ministry will give them full support; we are going to partner with them. Not only that, we are going to look at other outfits with the same model across the country, bring them together because we are trying to also look at a model in which we coordinate and give them support. That’s another public/private partnership.

You watched the Super Eagles game against Brazil recently.  With the performance, would that serve as benchmark to what to expect against Benin and Lesotho when the 2021 AFCON qualifiers begin in November?

I will start from the Super Eagles, what we have are a bunch of talented young players and we have an opportunity of breeding a new set of superstars. They have been playing week-in-week-out for their professional clubs across the world, we need to keep them together, and also nurture them together. What we saw on display was excellent display of skills, these are players with abundant talents, I have no doubt about them and we have already seen the areas they need to improve which I am sure the coach, Gernot Rohr, would have looked into, but by and large we have seen that they are a dream team. I have no doubt that when we meet Benin, the boys will get the victory.

At the 2019 African Games in Morocco, you promised to set up an endowment fund to cater for athletes, how far have you gone?

I did say that and conversations are going on at the moment. We need to have private engagements, we need to have corporate engagement and individuals, this is progressing as we envisaged. Remember that Chief Iwuanyanwu was the chairman of the National Sports Endowment Funds, we want to take off from that place. There is a board and we are going to have a new chairman, however, we want to make it independent and bring in more people with financial clout that could put money into the fund. Eventually, that fund is supposed to take care of the athletes by way of sustenance, their health insurance, and also provide grants for the elite athletes and also would help directly and indirectly to upgrade the facilities and equipment that we have across the country. So that fund is coming back, repackaged with a new drive and vision. We have some people within the country that have never been involved directly in sports, we are pulling them to come in to do this for our sports development.

A year to the Olympics, from what you have seen so far, are we sure of medals in Tokyo?

I am an optimist, and it is too early to call in the scores of this country. The preparations for the Olympics actually start immediately after the completion of one, so beyond what we see in Morocco and Doha, these athletes have been going for different tournaments and competitions. Individually, they have been training hard, that’s the preparation, they only come to championships as a group to compete and from what we saw in Morocco is a benchmark, same thing as what happened in Doha. It took us seven years to get another medal at the World Athletics Championships in Doha, but there were lessons learnt from the competition. This time around we are not starting too late and not too early too, we have about nine months to go, and we are all ready. Recently I requested all the federation presidents to submit their reports, update on camping, training and the athletes they are looking a. Based on the experience we had in the past, we are going to focus on the area we have competitive advantage, where we have athletes on the world stage already. We are not looking at 20 sports but seven or eight. I had a meeting with the NOC and all the federation presidents and the secretary in Abuja on Tuesday so that we all could be on the same page. We are going to be professional about this, so Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, Nigeria will not be going there to try, but we are going there to compete for the gold, bronze and silver.

How early are we going to see the camping and also the funding for the Games?

Basically if we have the funds, we are going to do maybe six months of camping. In the past we usually had three months, but this time around we are looking at five months, and that journey from the administrative aspects started last week Tuesday, when we brought all the key stakeholders and the drivers –  that is the federations – we started that process and we are going to have camping in three or four different locations depending on which sports. We are going to be focusing on sports that we can really compete and then we go there and compete.

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