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Sports minister: Nigeria to build on African Games’ success for Olympics



Sports minister:  Nigeria to build  on African Games’  success for Olympics

Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare, has said he will work with critical stakeholders to ensure Team Nigeria build on its good run at the ongoing African Games for an impressive showing at the Tokyo Olympic Games next year.

The Minister said the athletes had demonstrated uncommon doggedness and patriotism as they are claiming laurels in Morocco.

He said the performance of the athletes had also shown that there are abundant talents in Nigeria who only need to be encouraged to reach a global standard.

He said he was impressed with Team Nigeria showing after they moved from eighth position to third in just four days.

He said: “I have seen the areas that we won gold, we also won silver and bronze, we are going to look at all of them and support their development. We will work with all the federations and Nigeria will excel as we prepare for the Olympics.

“The performance of the team in Morocco has been superlative, we have witnessed a ruthless execution of talents on the part of Nigerians, most of them youths and we have seen the result of discipline and also patriotism.

“Most of these athletes don’t earn as much as their counterparts in other climes, but we have seen patriotism and this time around, the government has taken care of them.

“For those that have won, they have received cash gift and others will also receive theirs.”

He also reiterated his decision to develop other sports as he said he would not be minister of football.

Speaking with our correspondent who currently is in Rabat, Dare said he would be working with the various federations and look at way of developing other sports.

He however expressed his joy on the achievements of the team so far while also promising them more of government supports going forward.

“The fact that I am in Morocco and watched games like weightlifting, athletics and others is a signpost of where my direction will be,” he said.

“I will not be a minister of football, but I will elevate other sports, although football will also not suffer.

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FIFA appoints Wenger to senior role



FIFA appoints Wenger to senior role

Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is returning to football after he agreed to become FIFA’s new chief of global football development.
The move ends speculation linking the Frenchman, 70, with a return to management as Bayern Munich boss.
Wenger left the Gunners in May 2018, after 22 years in charge, three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups, reports the BBC.
“I very much look forward to taking on this extremely important challenge,” he said.
Wenger’s new role at the world governing body will help to develop men’s and women’s football, as well as technical aspects of the sport.
He will now be a member of the technical panel of the International Football Association Board, and chairman of FIFA’s Technical Study Group.

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Cameroon 2021: Eagles come from behind to beat Togo



Cameroon 2021: Eagles come from behind to beat Togo

Nigeria’s Super Eagles needed to dig deep in order to overcome the Squirrels of Benin 2-1 in an opening match of the race to Cameroon 2021.

The Group L game played at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo saw the home team going behind to an early goal from the visiting team before rallying to secure victory which took them to the top of the group following a draw in the other match between Sierra Leone and Lesotho in Freetown which ended 1-1.

The Eagles now head to Lesotho for their second match on Sunday while Benin hosts Sierra Leone.

In some other Nations Cup 2021 qualifying matches played on Wednesday, Central African Republic (CAR) and Malawi began their campaigns with victories at home.

CAR scored the first goal of the group stages after just five minutes when Vianney Mabide, who plays in Morocco for Kawkab Marrakech, struck in the 2-0 win over Burundi.

The second goal came late in the game and was scored by France-born Louis Mafouta, who plays in the French fourth-tier for RC Grasse.

The other two teams in Group E Morocco and Mauritania play each other on November 15.

Malawi’s winner came from Orlando Pirates forward Gabadinho Mhango in the 67th minute as they beat South Sudan 1-0.

Mhango picked up a pass from Gerald Phiri Jr before beating two defenders inside the area and then firing in a fierce shot that South Sudan keeper Majak Mawith was unable to hold as the ball spilled into the net.

It was, however, a difficult game for Malawi as they struggled to find any fluidity early in the game while South Sudan will draw some positives from the match as they twice were denied by the woodwork.

The other two teams in Group B are Burkina Faso and Uganda.

Cameroon qualify for the finals as hosts but are taking part in the qualifying campaign to gain competitive match practice so just one team from Group F will progress to the finals.

The top two sides in the remaining 11 groups will all advance to the 2021 finals in Cameroon.

Wednesday’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations results:

Namibia 2-1 Chad (Group A)

Malawi 1-0 South Sudan (Group B)

CAR 2-0 Burundi (Group E)

Cameroon 0-0 Cape Verde (Group F)

Guinea Bissau 3-0 Eswatini (Group I)

Nigeria 2-1 Benin (Group L)

Sierra Leone 1-1 Lesotho (Group L)

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United defender misses Jose Mourinho



United defender misses Jose Mourinho

Victor Lindelof admits he misses his former manager Jose Mourinho being in football, following his departure from Manchester United last season.

Mourinho has been out of managerial work since being sacked by United in December 2018, after he oversaw the club’s worst start to a campaign in 28 years.

The Portuguese, 56, has been linked to various roles in world football since then and Lindelof, who won the Swedish Golden Ball award for the second consecutive year this week, says he would like to see him back managing at the top level again in the future, reports Sky Sports.

“He is, after all, one of the world’s best coaches and he is supposed to have a job at one of the biggest clubs. I miss him in football,” Lindelof told Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet.

“He’s a great coach and a great person, whom I owe a great deal. It was he who gave me the chance here, who brought me into everything.”

Speaking to Sky Sports, Mourinho was critical of Lindelof’s performance in United’s 2-0 defeat away at West Ham in September, claiming that the defender can be “bullied” by attackers and is weak in aerial battles.

The centre-half, who Mourinho signed from Benfica for £30m in 2017, was unfazed by the comments at the time, and maintains that he owes his ex-manager a debt of gratitude for bringing him to the Premier League.

“I have all the respect in the world for him and appreciate everything he has said and done for me, from scolding to a hug.

“Even if I did not agree, at the time… he has very great charisma, you had great respect for him.

“He’s won everything. When he says something, you listen.”

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s believes Sunday’s 3-1 win over Brighton was his team’s best performance of the season.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s believes Sunday’s 3-1 win over Brighton was his team’s best performance of the season

Lindelof missed United’s 3-0 victory over Partizan Belgrade in the Europa League due to a back injury but played the full match in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sides’ 3-1 triumph over Brighton in the Premier League.

The 25-year-old has featured 11 times in all competitions so far this term, establishing himself as a first-team regular at centre-back for United alongside record signing Harry Maguire.

In September, Lindelof signed a contract extensionat the club, which will keep him at Old Trafford until 2024.

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I stopped hitman from killing our national team keeper – Ex-Colombia striker



I stopped hitman from killing our national team keeper – Ex-Colombia striker

Former Colombia and Newcastle striker Faustino Asprilla says he had to convince a hitman not to kill Paraguay goalkeeper Jose Luis Chilavert after a World Cup qualifying match in 1997.

Asprilla told Colombian television channel TelePacifico that the gunman called his hotel room after he and Chilavert were both sent off in the match, which Paraguay won 2-1, reports the BBC.

“Are you crazy?” he recalls saying.

“You will destroy Colombian football. What happens on the pitch stays there.”

Asprilla, who was speaking on a documentary to celebrate his 50th birthday last weekend, was one of the top names in Colombian football in the 1990s, scoring 20 goals in 57 appearances for his country.

Colombia defender Andres Escobar was shot dead outside a bar in Medellin in 1994, in apparent retribution for an own goal he scored days earlier that hastened the country’s exit from the World Cup in the United States.

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Thiem beats Djokovic as Federer gets ATP Finals campaign on track



Thiem beats Djokovic as Federer gets ATP Finals campaign on track

Dominic Thiem stunned Novak Djokovic to become the first player into the semi-finals at the ATP Finals in London.

The Austrian won a thriller 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 7-6 (7-5) to advance, ensuring Djokovic and Roger Federer will fight for the other place when they meet in their final group match on Thursday.

Federer, who had lost his opening round-robin match to Thiem on Sunday, had earlier got his campaign on track, reports the BBC.

He beat Italy’s Matteo Berrettini 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 to keep alive his hopes.

The results set up an enticing winner-takes-all battle between 16-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic and 20-time major winner Federer, who played out an epic Wimbledon final in July that the Serb eventually won.

The top two players in each group after the round-robin stage progress to Saturday’s semi-finals.

The event, which is taking place in London for the penultimate year, features the top eight male players of 2019.

Thiem’s daring approach pays off

Losing a close first-set tie-break sparked the turnaround for Thiem, who broke early in the second to race to a 3-0 lead and made his mark with an exciting mix of one-handed backhands and inside-out forehands.

He racked up 51 winners, compared to 28 for Djokovic, but also hit 51 unforced errors in a fearless display of attacking tennis in what turned into the best match of the tournament so far.

Thiem broke in the first game of the deciding set and immediately backed it up with a difficult hold. He was broken back in the sixth game and then successfully challenged a line call at 30-30 in the 10th game which prevented the Serb from having a match point.

The Austrian then broke Djokovic to love in the next game but failed to serve out the victory, instead finding himself in another tie-break and trailing 4-1.

But Thiem, a French Open runner-up for the past two years, recovered once again to seal victory on his second match point when the Serb netted a forehand.

“This was a very special match, what I practised all my life for, an epic one in front of an amazing crowd and beating a legend of our game,” Thiem, 26, said.

“It is a match I will probably never forget.

“I stayed in the match. It is special to come back from a set down, especially in a tie-break.

“I stayed offensive all the time even when it didn’t always work out. I’m proud I reached my goal of the semi-finals.”

Federer got over defeat by ‘hanging out with kids’

Third seed Federer has failed to qualify for the last four in the season finale on just one occasion despite this being his 17th competition.

After failing to beat Thiem in his opening group game, the match with Djokovic will now decide Federer’s progression to the semi-finals.

Federer, who said he will “hopefully play a bit better” when he comes up against the Wimbledon champion, is chasing a seventh title in the Finals, having withdrawn from the Paris Masters in October in order to “pace himself”.

Last year, Federer lost to Japan’s Kei Nishikori in his opening group match and he said it gave him “some experience” to draw on before Tuesday’s crucial win over Berrettini.

“There’s no reason to be down on yourself,” said Federer. “There were plenty of ways to get through that loss. Just hanging out with my kids did it for me.

“I didn’t think everything was bad in that first match. I was ready and prepared today and that’s what matters the most.”

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U-23 AFCON: Olympic Eagles bounce back to reckoning



U-23 AFCON: Olympic Eagles bounce back to reckoning

* Beats Zambia 3 – 1

Cup holders Nigeria returned to contention for a place in the semi finals of the 3rd Africa U23 Cup of Nations when coming from a goal down to steamroll Zambia 3-1 in Cairo on Tuesday.

With a quarter of an hour gone, it appeared to be going away for the defending champions as they sat pointless and at the bottom of Group B, but goals from three former U17 World Cup winners shot Nigeria to second in the group and with a good chance of toppling leaders South Africa when both clash at the same Al Salam Stadium on Friday evening.

Zambia, who drew 0-0 with South Africa in a southern African derby on the opening day, were given a morale-boosting shot when Patson Daka, who also features for the country’s senior team, Chipolopolo, scored in the 11th minute to increase the worries of Nigerians.

However, Orji Okwonkwo levelled for the Olympic Eagles five minutes later, and then Kelechi Nwakali, captain of the Nigeria U17 team that won the FIFA World Cup in Chile four years ago with Okwonkwo also a major act, slammed in a superb free kick in the 65th minute to put Nigeria ahead for the first time in the tournament.

Germany-based forward, Taiwo Awoniyi, who also won the U17 World Cup, in 2013, and who arrived in Egypt only on Sunday night, made it three on the stroke of 90 minutes to make the Nigerians breathe easier.

South Africa, 1-0 winners over Cote d’Ivoire in the group’s earlier match, top the pool with four points (following their 0-0 opening day scoreline with Zambia), and will contend with the inspired Nigerians on Friday.

Cote d’Ivoire, on three points like Nigeria but with less number of goals, will battle Zambia, with only one point, on Friday.

Victory against South Africa will steer Nigeria into the semi finals, and closer to a ticket to the Men’s Football Tournament of next year’s Olympics in Tokyo.

The three top-placed teams at the tournament will qualify to represent Africa in Tokyo.

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Ministry to fish out talents from NYSC camps – Dare



Ministry to fish out talents from NYSC camps   – Dare


inister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, has disclosed that his ministry be  using open trials at National Youth Service Corps  orientation camps to discover new athletes that can compete in continental and global sports events.


Dare made the disclosure while fielding questions from newsmen after his visit to the NYSC Orientation Camp in Keffi, Nasarawa State for the ongoing Batch C – Stream One orientation.


Dare said:“This is a newly designed open trials for our youth corps members. We are working out the final details, which is why I brought Mary Onyali, we believe that perhaps, some of the sportsmen and women who are in camp today were too busy trying to read to pass their courses, and get a degree.


“Most of them now are in camp and are a bit more relaxed, we can give them an opportunity to exhibit the talents they have and even if this camp only produces a single talent, we would have succeeded in trying to groom new talents for this country.


“So, it’s going to happen as open trials at all the camps across the country and once we have the talents, we bring them together for another trial, and from there, we can send them to the federations who would develop them and present them to the ministry for championships and competitions.” 


On the incentives for the athletes who will be discovered at the open trials,  he said, “you know that we have the adoption campaign which is going to be launched very soon.


It is a national adoption campaign for sports facilities but also, we have the ‘Adopt an Athlete’ campaign. Once we find a few of our talented athletes in this camp and other camps across the country, we will plug them into our Adopt an Athlete campaign and once you are adopted as an athlete, you will be supported for training, kitting and a few others things you need.


It is a program that we think will excite so many budding talents that are here and I hope the youth corps members will take advantage of that, then we can grow a new tribe of sportsmen and women for the country,” Dare said.

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Zenith Bank/Delta Principals’ Cup: Finalists emerge today from two centres



Zenith Bank/Delta Principals’ Cup: Finalists emerge today from two centres
  • Sponsors hail last four teams




he two finalists for the 2019 edition of the Delta State Principals’ Cup football competition sponsored by Zenith Bank Plc will emerge today.



The tournament which started on September 30 is a developmental Secondary Schools competition revived only three years ago courtesy of a partnership arrangement involving the Ifeanyi Okowa-led administration and the Zenith Bank. The tournament was in limbo for close to three years.



Over 850 teams started the competition which produced one winner in each of the 25 Local Governments in the state before the Zonal stage where eight quarterfinalists emerged.



Today at the Kwale Township Stadium, Zappa Secondary School, Asaba from Oshimili South LG will clash with Destiny Secondary School from Ughelli North LG in one of the semifinal ties.



In the second semis slated for the Ughelli Township Stadium, College of Commerce from Warri South LG will clash with Okotie-Eboh Government School from the Sapele LG in an encounter that promises to be explosive due to the previous run of both sides in the competition.



According to the Head of Technical Committee of the competition, Lucky Sunday, the two matches will start at 2pm in Kwale and Ughelli respectively.


Meanwhile, Sponsors of the tournament, Zenith Bank, has congratulated the last four teams of the 2019 edition of the competition.


Group Managing Director of the bank, Ebenezer Onyeagwu, hailed the feat achieved by the four teams remaining in the competition.


“Over 850 schools started the preliminaries and so the last four teams standing have done well. They are all winners and deserve to be commended. We are happy to be helping in the development on these young kids who are the future stars tomorrow,” Onyeagwu said.



Earlier this week, sponsors of the competition, Zenith Bank, boosted the morale of the semifinalists by providing them with new kits.



Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba is the venue of the final match scheduled to take place on November 21.



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AFCON 2021: Nigeria vs Benin …‘Eagles must replicate club form’



AFCON 2021: Nigeria vs Benin …‘Eagles must replicate club form’


uper Eagles players have been enjoined to replicate their clubs’ form in their African Cup of Nations qualifying match against Benin Republic today.


The Nigerian side will today face the Squirrels of Benin in the opening game of the AFCON qualifying series at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo Akwa Ibom State.


Former Eaglets John Obuh said the Eagles are expected to defeat their west African neighbours because of the quality in  the team, saying most of the players have been doing well at their various clubs and that should reflect in the way they play today. “I know quite well that they will do well because of the way they perform in their various clubs. We have to believe in the Eagles; you can see that they have also been playing well in their continental engagements.


“They have good players abroad playing very well, so, we just have to make sure we give them the support for them to progress,” he said.


Nigeria’s former midfielder, Mutiu Adepoju, has also charged the team to go all out for a win today.

“Well, this is a qualifying match not a friendly game and Nigerians should expect victory from the Eagles against Benin Republic. It is also important to win their first game in the qualifiers, so, I expect victory,” he said.


“The coaches are there to give the players the practices and training they need to put their best in the game and for them not to underrate their opponents”.

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Sterling dropped after Gomez bust-up



Sterling dropped after Gomez bust-up


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



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



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



But he added the pair were now “good”.



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


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


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


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



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

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