- Iheanacho, Ajayi, Ebuehi return
Super Eagles Manager Gernot Rohr has dropped goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi from his squad for international friendly with Ukraine scheduled for Dnipro Arena on September 10.
Akpeyi was Super Eagles first choice at the 2019 African Cup of Nations but his place in the team for the tie with Ukraine has been taken by Fortuna Dusseldorf of Germany goalkeeper Maduka Okoye who got his first international call up.
Leicester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho and Semi Ajayi who were dropped at the eve of the last AFCON were also handed a return to the team for the friendly. Right back Tyrone Ebuehi who missed the tournament due to injury was also in the 23-man list released on Wednesday.
The German tactician also dropped midfielder John Ogu and picked Joe Aribo from Glasgow Rangers, Scotland for the first time.
Skipper Ahmed Musa will lead the squad and new Everton winger Alex iwobi will also play a part in the tie.
Goalkeepers Francis Uzoho and Ikechukwu Ezenwa, defenders William Ekong, Kenneth Omeruo, Leon Balogun and Jamilu Collins, midfielders Wilfred Ndidi and Oghenekaro Etebo and forwards Victor Osimhen, Moses Simon, Henry Onyekuru and Samuel Chukwueze have also been called.
Ukraine is rated number 25 on the FIFA ranking while Nigeria is 33rd.
23 EAGLES FOR UKRAINE FRIENDLY
Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (Anorthosis Famagusta, Cyprus); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Heartland FC); Emil Maduka Okoye (Fortuna Dusseldorf, Germany)
Defenders: Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy); Tyronne Ebuehi (FC Benfica, Portugal); Chidozie Awaziem (FC Porto, Portugal); William Ekong (Udinese FC, Italy); Leon Balogun
Tennis: ATP fines Kyrgios $113,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct
Nick Kyrgios left court to smash two racquets in a bad-tempered Cincinnati Masters defeat by Karen Khachanov after which he called the umpire “a tool”.
Later on Thursday, Kyrgios was fined $113,000 (£93,254) for five separate incidents of unsportsmanlike conduct.
The ATP says it is also considering additional action, which could result in further fines and even a suspension.
The Australian, 24, walked off court against the wishes of umpire Fergus Murphy after losing the second set.
He slammed two racquets on the floor in a corridor and in the third set engaged in repeated disputes with Murphy.
Russia’s Khachanov, 23, dominated the deciding set to win 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 and reach round three.
Khachanov, who plays Lucas Pouille in the last 16, said Kyrgios has “great talent” but “sometimes the head is not in the right place”.
Kyrgios clashed with Murphy at the Washington Open two weeks ago and also swore at the official at Queen’s in June.
During the second set in Cincinnati, Kyrgios made clear he felt the shot clock – which counts down the seconds allowed between points – was being started too early, and visibly lost composure.
He delivered an expletive-laden rant at Murphy, stating the Irish umpire was “the worst, hands down”.
He was handed a court violation at the end of the second set, when he walked off court for less than a minute to smash two of his racquets.
When Khachanov closed out the decider, Kyrgios told Murphy he was “a tool” and chose not to shake the official’s hand.
Kyrgios, who won his sixth career ATP singles crown two weeks ago in Washington, also complained last week in Toronto in an apparent dispute over why he could not have a white towel during a match.
The world number 27 was fined in May after he kicked a bottle, threw down his racquet and hurled a chair before defaulting in the final set of a match at the Italian Open, reports the BBC.
He was fined £13,766 for unsportsmanlike behaviour at Queen’s in June.
In 2016 he received an eight-week ban for his behaviour at the Shanghai Masters when his efforts were questioned during defeat by Mischa Zverev.
Tokyo 2020 qualifier: FIFA appoints Malian, Ivorian officials for Super Falcons
World football-ruling body, FIFA has appointed officials from Mali to take charge of the 2020 Olympics Women’s Football Tournament qualifying match between Nigeria and Algeria in Blida on Wednesday, August 28.
The Algeria Football Federation has scheduled the match for the Stade Mustapha Tchaker in Blida (outside Algiers), to kick off at 7pm Algeria time (same time as in Nigeria).
Teneba Bagayoko will be the referee, with her compatriots Mariam Coulibaly (assistant referee 1) and Djeneba Dembélé (assistant referee 2) also on duty. The fourth official will be Dorsaf Ganouati from Tunisia while Mana Dzodope from Togo will serve as Referee Assessor and Oumou Kane from Mauritania will be the Match Commissioner.
For the return leg in Nigeria, which the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has scheduled for the Agege Stadium, Lagos on Tuesday, September 3, starting from 4pm, FIFA has appointed Zomadre Kore from Cote d’Ivoire to be the referee.
Her compatriots Lou Ta (assistant referee 1), Denise Akoua (assistant referee 2) and Fatoumata Kra (fourth official) will join her on the assignment. Ghanaian Emmanuella Aglago will serve as Referee Assessor and Cameroonian Souadatou Kalkaba will be Match Commissioner.
Head Coach Thomas Dennerby has been drilling 30 home-based Super Falcons in training sessions at the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja for the past one week, with a half dozen overseas-based professionals expected to join the team before they fly out to Algeria on Sunday, August 25.
Nigeria has not participated in the Women’s Football Tournament of the Olympics since Beijing, China in 2008. The Falcons failed to qualify for the 2012 Olympics in London and the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
30 FALCONS IN CAMP FOR ALGERIA
Goalkeepers: Jonathan Alaba (Bayelsa Queens); Christy Ohiaeriaku (Delta Queens); Tochukwu Oluehi (Rivers Angels); Chiamaka Nnadozie (Rivers Angels)
Defenders: Glory Ogbonna (Ibom Angels); Chidinma Okeke (FC Robo); Abidemi Ibe (Bayelsa Queens); Ugochi Emenayo (Nasarawa Amazons); Margaret Etim (Rivers Angels); Maryam Ibrahim (Nasarawa Amazons); Maureen Okpala (Confluence Queens); Joy Duru (Nasarawa Amazons)
Midfielders: Peace Efih (Rivers Angels); Osarenoma Igbinovia (Bayelsa Queens); Amarachi Okoronkwo (Nasarawa Amazons); Cecilia Nku (Rivers Angels); Adebisi Saheed (Bayelsa Queens); Cynthia Aku (Rivers Angels); Regina Otu (Pelican Stars); Celine Ottah (Bayelsa Queens)
Forward: Adejoke Ejalonibu (Nasarawa Amazons); Rafiat Sule (Rivers Angels); Joy Bokiri (Bayelsa Queens); Alice Ogebe (Rivers Angels); Nneka Julius (Edo Queens); Tessy Biahwo (Bayelsa Queens); Lola Phillip (Nasarawa Amazons); Mary-Magdalene Anjor (Bayelsa Queens); Rofiat Imuran (Sunshine Queens); Joy Jerry (Bayelsa Queens)
Dortmund ready to break Bayern Munich’s Bundesliga stranglehold
Champions Bayern Munich are preparing for their toughest Bundesliga season in years with title rivals Borussia Dortmund looking to avoid another mid-season slipup and break the Bavarians’ seven-year Bundesliga stranglehold.
Bayern, who last failed to win the title when Dortmund were champions in 2011-12, kick off the season against Hertha Berlin on Friday, having bolstered their defence with World Cup-winning French duo Lucas Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard.
Overall, though, they have been less successful than Dortmund in the transfer market, having failed to sign several players of their choice, including Manchester City’s Leroy Sane.
The arrival this week of 30-year-old winger Ivan Perisic as a replacement for departed veterans Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben was seen by many as a desperate Plan B before the transfer window closes on September 2.
Coach Niko Kovac, who led Bayern to the domestic double in his first season, knows very well what it is like to be considered second rate.
His arrival last year as a relatively young coach after big names, including Pep Guardiola and Carlo Ancelotti, had led Bayern over the previous seasons was seen by many as a cheap option.
Kovac was desperately clinging on to his job in December when Dortmund were nine points clear of Bayern but a recovery after the winter break and a slump in form from their title rivals helped secure the double.
“I was also a plan B (last season),” Kovac joked this week. “And then I won the double. (On Perisic) we acted within this short time frame.”
Perisic was signed after City’s Sane needed surgery for cruciate ligament damage and a potential move to Bayern fell through.
“We will make sure that until September 2 we will hopefully welcome another player,” said Kovac.
Dortmund do not need to wait until September, having locked up many of their transfer targets before they hit the beach for the summer holidays.
The moves of Germany internationals Julian Brandt and Nico Schulz as well as Belgium’s Thorgan Hazard were all announced within days of the end of the season in May.
World Cup winner Mats Hummels then returned to Dortmund after his spell at Bayern with all four of coach Lucien Favre’s transfers having instant starting potential.
“We had the clear strategy to quickly wrap up our transfers so as not to get pushed into bidding for players,” Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke said.
“We wanted clarity early. I think (sports director) Michael Zorc did it really well.”
Having beaten Bayern to win the German Super Cup earlier in August, Dortmund will be brimming with confidence when they host Augsburg on Saturday.
“Obviously Bayern are best placed for the league title but we want to be a strong challenger and fight for it as well,” Favre said.
AfroBasket: Nigeria through to semis
Nigeria is through to the semi-finals of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Women’s AfroBasket after a 79-46 win against Congo.
The match, which took place at the Dakar Arena in Senegal, was concluded not too long ago.
More details later…
Ghanaian star, Badu, hospitalised with blood clots
Ghana midfielder Emmanuel Agyemang Badu is in hospital in Italy with blood clots in his lungs.
His Serie A club Hellas Verona said he was admitted on Wednesday evening after being diagnosed with pulmonary microembolism.
He said on Thursday morning that he “was doing much better.”
The 28-year-old is expected to remain in hospital for a few days for further observation.
Ageymang Badu is on loan at Hellas Verona, with and obligation to buy, from Italian rivals Udinese.
He was not in the Ghana squad for the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt after only returning to action in March, following an 11-month injury, reports the BBC.
Hearn warns Ruiz Jr to honour Saudi venue for Joshua fight
Eddie Hearn has warned Andy Ruiz Jr he must honour the contract for his rematch with Anthony Joshua in Saudi Arabia after the Mexican-American insisted the bout would take place in the United States.
On Monday Joshua’s promoter held a press conference to confirm the fight will take place in Diriyah on the outskirts of the Saudi capital, Riyadh, on 7 December and confirmed Ruiz Jr had “100% signed the contract for this fight”. Yet, speaking in an Instagram live video on Wednesday as he travelled to Mexico City to film an advert, the 29-year-old WBO, WBA and IBF champion claimed that details of the rematch had yet to be announced.
“I know everybody’s talking about the fight and all but we got the real news coming soon,” he said. “The fight is going to happen soon. I’m trying to give hope, give motivation to all my people.”
Asked about hosting the rematch in the USA, Ruiz Jr said: “Of course. It’s going to be on my terms, our terms, we’re going to bring it back here in the United States.”
Those comments were given short shrift by Hearn who claimed that the man who stopped Joshua in the seventh round at Madison Square Garden in New York at the start of June would have to honour their deal, reports The Guardian.
“The contract for the rematch was signed prior to the first fight,” he told Sky Sports. “They are both signed at the same time. There is no other contract. We have to let him know the time, date and venue which we have done. That’s it. They are contractually bound for the rematch.
“There are no conversations between the two teams about not doing the fight. I don’t perceive a problem. He signed a contract with us that he was absolutely over the moon with, that gave him the opportunity of a lifetime. He will 100% honour that contract.”
Hearn added: “His choice is to have a legal battle that could put him out of boxing for years, or to defend his belts for a lot of money against a guy he has already beaten. There isn’t any doubt he will take the fight.”
Udeze, Lawal fault LMC over delay in league kick-off
Ex-internationals, Ifeanyi Udeze and Dimeji Lawal, have faulted the decision of the League Management Company not to start the 2019 Nigeria Professional Football League season before the commencement of the continental competitions organised by the Confederation of Africa Football.
Three of the country’s representatives on the continent, Enyimba, Kano Pillars and Niger Tornadoes, started their campaign in the CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup over the weekend with all recording mixed results.
While NPFL champions, Enyimba lost 1-0 away to Rahimo of Burkina Faso, AITEO Cup winners, Kano Pillars, recorded a slim 3-2 victory at home against Asante Kotoko of Ghana, giving their opponents a two away goals advantage, both Champions League games.
It was the same situation with relegated Niger Tornadoes campaigning in the Confederation Cup as they lost 2-1 at home to Santoba FC.
Speaking on a radio programme monitored in Lagos, Udeze said the clubs performed woefully because they lack proper preparations going into the competition.
“We have been having the same situation because our clubs are not always ready for the competition,” Udeze said.
“There was no league and they are not in any competition mood going into the CAF Cup, and really affected them.”
While speaking with New Telegraph, former Shooting Stars of Ibadan Team Manager, Dimeji Lawal, said there was need to harmonise the country’s football calendar to conform with other leagues on the continent.
He added: “Let me give an example of Kano Pillars, they played in the playoff, played in the AITEO Cup till the final, no time for the players to recuperate and they moved to the Champions League immediately.
“There was no proper preparation for them because apart from the needed rest, they should have been in a competition mode.
“If we look at the South African league, they have ended their season and cup competition long time ago and already resumed for the new season, which is not the case have.
“Enyimba and Rangers have been at home playing just friendly games and how do you expect them to perform well on the continent? There is need to have a proper calendar so we can have good representation on the continent.”
African Games:FG tasks athletes on discipline
President Muhammadu Buhari has told athletes representing the country at 12th African Games starting on Monday in Rabat, Morocco to be disciplined and return with clean medals.
The President who was represented by the Secretary to the Federal Government. Boss Mustapha at the handover and farewell ceremony which took place at the National Stadium, Abuja on Wednesday tasked the athletes to desist from any act that could dent the country’s image at the Games.
Although he charged them to go for gold, he warned them to shun drugs and maintain the integrity of the country by competing clean in Morocco.
The SGF said a whole 180 million Nigerians were behind them as well as wishing them good luck as they depart for the Games.
“We are fully behind you. We will ensure that the welfare of the team is well taken care of. You are the eyes of the country at the global committee, so go out and be a worthy ambassador of Nigeria, ” he advised.
Receiving the athletes in line with the International Olympic Committee’s requirement, the President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, Habu Gumel, reminded the athletes to put up a good performance as the Games would be used as qualifiers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
A total number of 308 athletes comprising 154 male and 154 female athletes will be representing Nigeria in 22 sports at the Games that ends on August 31st.
Nigeria placed second on the medal table at the last edition in Congo Brazzaville four years ago.
Zenith Bank salutes D’Tigress over q’final ticket
…charges team to go for cup
The sponsors of the annual Women Basketball League, Zenith Bank has congratulated the women national team, D’Tigress, for picking quarterfinal ticket with ease at the ongoing FIBA AfroBasket championship taking place in Dakar, Senegal.
D’Tigress whipped Tunisia 75-26 in the group’s opening match and also in the second match, the 2017 AfroBasket defending champions walloped Cameroon 106-39 to book a quarterfinal place in the continental basketball competition.
Group Managing Director of Zenith Bank, Ebenezer Onyeagwu, said the feat achieved so far by D’Tigress was not a surprise.
He said “We are aware that our girls are the best in Africa. We congratulate the team for getting this far but it is obvious that the tournament is just beginning for top teams like Nigeria.
“The higher you go, the tougher it gets and so we expect D’Tigress to double their efforts in the final stages so that the trophy will come back to Nigeria.
“D’ Tigress have a crop of professionals, some of whom were part of the Zenith Basketball League which we have sponsored for 15 years running. We are confident that the team has all it takes to go all the way in Senegal.”
Incidentally, Evelyn Akhator, Nigeria’s top performer in the first match against Tunisia with +24 efficiency,13 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, three steals and one block, is a product of Zenith Women Basketball League.
Other top national women team players who were part of the league are Nkechi Akasiki, Nkem Akaraiwe, Upe Atosu and Chioma Udeaja.
FIBA World Cup: D’Tigers depart for China Monday
The country’s men’s basketball team, D’Tigers, will depart for Beijing, China, the venue of this year’s FIBA World Cup on Monday, August 19 to participate in the championship.
Secretary of the Nigeria Basketball Federation, Mrs. Adebisi Afolabi, said the D’Tigers who arrived in Lagos on Tuesday from their United States of America camp would use the remaining of the week to train and engage the local teams in warm up matches.
She says that the team will address a press conference before the end of the week to state their plans for the World Cup
D’Tigers are in Lagos for the final phase of training ahead of the World Cup, after weeks of camping in America, with head coach, Alex Nwora, outlining how the squad will continue their preparation with his batch of 15 players in the penultimate squad list.
The initial list of 44 players invited to camp in the US was pruned to 15 as Nwora’s programme hits home stretch, with team captain, Ike Diogu top of the roster in camp alongside Uzoh Benjamin Chukwukelo.
Also in the squad that landed in Lagos are Ike Ireogbu, NBA rising star, Okogie Joshua Aloiye, Nwamu Ike, Nwora Jordan Ifeanyi, Aminu Al Farouq, Stanley Okoye and Vincent Nnamdi Gabriel.
Others are Ekpe Udoh (Utah Jazz), Chimieze Metu (Sam Antonio Spurs), Zanna Talib, Aminu Abdul Alade, Akindele Jeleel Ayodeji and Michael Eric, who now have the task of making the final list of 12 to China 2019.
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