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Ambassador Mamman commends Olympic Eagles

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Ambassador Mamman commends Olympic Eagles

The Ambassador of Nigeria to Sudan, His Excellency Musa Mamman, on Thursday evening praised players and officials of the U23 National Team, Olympic Eagles, for an impressive outing against their Sudanese counterparts in a 2019 U23 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match in Omdurman. Speaking when he visited the players, Ambassador Mamman lifted the spirit of the players with kind words, saying that even though they lost the encounter by a lone goal, they fought hard and were certainly not disgraced.

“I am here to convey to you the goodwill message of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR). Even though we lost, we played a very good game and I have confidence in our ability to overturn the deficit and win by a clear margin in the return leg next week.

“You have the ability and the capacity to qualify for the championship. I urge you to be firm and resolute as you look forward to the second leg because about 200 million Nigerians are behind you in this campaign.” A goal at the end of the first half by Walla Edin Musa condemned the Cup holders to defeat at the Al Merriekh Stadium on Thursday night, but the Nigerians fought hard and created several chances of their own in the encounter.

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EPL: Arsenal strike back to end winless run at West Ham

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EPL: Arsenal strike back to end winless run at West Ham

Arsenal came from behind to end their nine-match winless streak as Freddie Ljungberg enjoyed his first victory as interim manager at the expense of his former club West Ham.

Eighteen-year-old Gabriel Martinelli marked his full Premier League debut by side-footing an equaliser which cancelled out Angelo Ogbonna’s deflected first-half opener at London Stadium.

Within nine minutes, Nicolas Pepe had curled a magnificent second into the top corner and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fired in a third reports the BBC.

The salvo turned the game on its head and piled the pressure on West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini, whose side have taken four points from their past nine league games and conceded three times in three successive home games.

The Hammers remain a point above the relegation zone in 16th and face a trip to third-bottom Southampton on Saturday. Arsenal move up two places to ninth.

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Ex-United star, Herrera, among 36 players cleared of corruption

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Ex-United star, Herrera, among 36 players cleared of corruption

Paris St-Germain midfielder Ander Herrera is among 36 players who have been cleared of fixing a match between Levante and Real Zaragoza in 2011.
Zaragoza won the game but were accused of paying Levante players 965,000 euros (£812,851) to lose so they could avoid relegation in the 2010-11 season.
Leganes coach Javier Aguirre and ex-Atletico Madrid captain Gabi Fernandez were also among those who stood trial, reports the BBC.
All 41 people accused were found not guilty of sporting corruption.
In a statement, the court cited a lack of evidence.
However, two former Zaragoza officials were convicted of fraud.
The judge found former president Agapito Iglesias and former financial director Javier Porquera guilty of using 1.73m euros (£1.46m) from Zaragoza’s accounts to pay players relegation bonuses.
They were issued a jail sentence of one year and three months but are unlikely to serve jail time due to Spanish rules over suspended sentences for first-time offenders.

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UEFA League: Messi, Pique out of Barca squad to face Inter

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UEFA League: Messi, Pique out of Barca squad to face Inter

Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique have been left out of the Barcelona squad for Tuesday’s Champions League game against Inter Milan with coach Ernesto Valverde set to ring the changes.
Barca sealed top spot in the group with a win over Borussia Dortmund last time out, although Inter are still playing for their place in the round of 16.
Inter must equal or better Borussia Dortmund’s result against Slavia Prague to book their place in the knockout stages for the first time since 2012, reports ESPN.
In addition to Messi and Pique, Sergi Roberto has also been given a rest, while Jordi Alba, Nelson Semedo, Ousmane Dembele and Arthur Melo are all injured.
Alba and Semedo are both back in training but have not yet been cleared fit to return to competitive action.
Dembele is out until February and the club have given no timeframe on how long Arthur is expected to be sidelined with a groin problem.
Messi, Pique and Roberto have been rested ahead of games away against Real Sociedad on Saturday and then at home to Real Madrid in the first Clasico of the season on December 18.
Argentina international Messi has been in dazzling form recently. His hat trick against Mallorca, which came five days after he’d won his sixth Ballon d’Or, took his tally to 12 league goals in just nine starts this season.
With so many regulars absent from the squad, Valverde has called up six players from the B team among the travelling party.
Forwards Ansu Fati and Carles Perez have been regulars with the first team this season, while goalkeeper Inaki Pena, defenders Ronald Araujoand Dani Morer and midfielder Riqui Puig have also been called up

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Liverpool star Mane is ‘new Ronaldo’, not like Messi – Danny Blind

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Liverpool star Mane is ‘new Ronaldo’, not like Messi – Danny Blind

Former Ajax and Netherlands manager Danny Blind believes Liverpool forward Sadio Mane is the ‘new Cristiano Ronaldo’ and described him as a ‘super modern player.’
Mane has been in sensational form in Jurgen Klopp’s team this term, notching in 13 goals across all competitions with Liverpool sitting at the top of the Premier League.
The Senegalese forward finished fourth in this year’s Ballon d’Or voting and he is still in the running for the African Footballer of the Year award.
Blind, father of former Manchester United defender Daley, sees Mane as a complete player who has “all the qualities” an attacker should possess.
“Sadio Mane is the new Ronaldo in world football. As an attacking player he is absolutely fantastic. I can go through all his qualities – and he is superb in every aspect,” Blind told the Mirror.
“He can score with his left foot, right foot and with sensational headers. He can give brilliant assists, he is an incredible athlete, and I could go on even more.
“Mane is the super modern player. If you look at his skills, that is one great thing, but he is able to combine that with astonishing sprints right throughout the game.
“That requires so much power. You have to be incredibly strong both physically and mentally. Sadio has it all.
“I don’t compare Mane to [Lionel] Messi. I think Sadio is much more like Cristiano Ronaldo in his very best years.”
After being an unused substitute in Liverpool’s 3-0 win over Bournemouth on Saturday, Mane will be hoping to help the reigning European champions end their Champions League group campaign on a flying note against RB Salzburg, reports goal.com.
Liverpool lead Group E with 10 points from five games, a point above second-placed Napoli and need at least a draw to secure their place in the Round of 16.

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WADA hands Russia four-year ban

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WADA hands Russia four-year ban

*Affects 2020 Olympics, 2022 World Cup

Russia has been handed a four-year ban from all major sporting events by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada).

It means the Russia flag and anthem will not be allowed at events such as the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and football’s 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

But athletes who can prove they are untainted by the doping scandal will be able to compete under a neutral flag, reports the BBC.

Wada’s executive committee made the unanimous decision in a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland.

It comes after Russia’s Anti Doping Agency (Rusada) was declared non-compliant for manipulating laboratory data handed over to investigators in January 2019.

It had to hand over data to Wada as a condition of its controversial reinstatement in 2018 after a three-year suspension for its vast state-sponsored doping scandal.

Wada says Rusada has 21 days to appeal against the ban. If it does so, the appeal will be referred to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas).

Wada president Sir Craig Reedie said the decision showed its “determination to act resolutely in the face of the Russian doping crisis”.

He added: “For too long, Russian doping has detracted from clean sport. The blatant breach by the Russian authorities of Rusada’s reinstatement conditions demanded a robust response.

“That is exactly what has been delivered.

“Russia was afforded every opportunity to get its house in order and re-join the global anti-doping community for the good of its athletes and of the integrity of sport, but it chose instead to continue in its stance of deception and denial.”

But Wada vice-president Linda Helleland said the ban was “not enough”.

“I wanted sanctions that cannot be watered down,” she said. “We owe it to the clean athletes to implement the sanctions as strongly as possible.”

A total of 168 Russian athletes competed under a neutral flag at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang after the country was banned following the 2014 Games, which it hosted in Sochi. Russian athletes won 33 medals in Sochi, 13 of which were gold.

Russia has been banned from competing as a nation in athletics since 2015.

Despite the ban, Russia will be able to compete at Euro 2020 – in which St Petersburg will be a host city – as European football’s governing body Uefa is not defined as a ‘major event organisation’ with regards to rulings on anti-doping breaches.

How did we get here?

Rusada was initially declared non-compliant in November 2015 after a Wada-commissioned report by sports lawyer Professor Richard McLaren alleged widespread corruption that amounted to state-sponsored doping in Russian track and field athletics.

A further report, published in July 2016, declared Russia operated a state-sponsored doping programme for four years across the “vast majority” of summer and winter Olympic sports.

In 2018, Wada reinstated Rusada as compliant after the national agency agreed to release data from its Moscow laboratory from the period between January 2012 and August 2015.

However, positive findings contained in a version courtesy of a whistleblower in 2017 were missing from the January 2019 data, which prompted a new inquiry.

Wada’s compliance review committee (CRC) recommended a raft of measures based “in particular” on a forensic review of inconsistencies found in some of that data.

As part of the ban, Russia may not host, or bid for or be granted the right to host any major events for four years, including the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

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Bahrain stun Saudi Arabia to lift Gulf Cup title

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Bahrain stun Saudi Arabia to lift Gulf Cup title

Bahrain clinched the Arabian Gulf Cup title for the first time with a 1-0 victory over Saudi Arabia in the final on Sunday.

Mohamed Al-Rumaihi netted the second-half winner for Bahrain to end their 49-year wait for a maiden Gulf Cup title.

Saudi Arabia captain Salman Al-Farag missed a first-half penalty, reports Reuters.

The Saudi team have now lost in the final four times in the last six editions of the competition and have not won the title since 2004.

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I’m coming for you, Joshua tells Wilder

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I’m coming for you, Joshua tells Wilder

…as Ruiz demands rematch

 

A

nthony Joshua would “love” the opportunity to unify his world heavyweight belts in a clash with Deontay Wilder, but insists he will not rush into any fight having seen off Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.

 

 

The Brit boxer, 30, reclaimed the WBA, IBF and WBO titles he lost to the Mexican-American on June 1, coming through the rematch at the Diriyah Arena to the north-west of Riyadh to win comfortably on a unanimous decision.

 

 

Joshua put together a cool and calculated performance to avenge the only defeat thus far in his professional career, which now stands at 23 victories from 24 bouts.

 

 

And, having become a two-time heavyweight champion, thoughts quickly turned to his desire to unify the division. That entails a potential bout with WBC title-holder Wilder, who is scheduled to meet Tyson Fury in their rematch in February.

 

 

Asked if he has sights on a possible unification bout, Joshua said: “Yeah, definitely. I would love to. It’s hard to keep them, to unite them. I’m sure PBC [promoters of both Ruiz and Wilder] were desperately rooting for Andy to win. But we came and put a spanner in the works. We’ll see what happens.

“If I’m chasing it, like in a fight I’m chasing the right hand, I’m chasing the left hook, it may come crashing down. And I realise that chasing a fight wasn’t to my benefit. So I’m just going to let the path take its course.

 

“I’ve got amazing people around me, a great team, and when the opportunity presents itself to be undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, you know me by now, I’m going to take the challenge.”

 

However, Wilder said early Sunday that a unification bout “would never happen”.

 

Joshua’s win against Ruiz, under the rain and in front of a capacity 15,000 crowd in Diriyah, was viewed by many as redemption for his shock loss in the summer. Back then, the unbeaten champion was expected to cruise past his opponent – a late replacement for Jarrell Miller – but he was knocked down four times en route to a TKO in the seventh round. It is considered one of the greatest upsets in boxing history.

 

Yet, having slumped to defeat and having climbed back to the summit, Joshua rejected suggestions it has been a year of lessons and learning.

 

“What have I learned? Nothing new,” he said. “It’s just what I’m built for. I just like fighting. It’s a shame, because everyone likes me fighting when I’m winning, but hate me when I lost. For me personally, looking at myself in the mirror, I just love fighting.

 

“I didn’t learn anything new. Before boxing I was a little fighter, I started boxing and I continued to fight. I just learned that I still love the game, that’s all it is.”

 

Meanwhile,  Ruiz Jr has called for a rematch again after Anthony Joshua won back an array of world heavyweight titles in Saudi Arabia on Sunday, but the Mexican-American cannot expect to be at the front of the queue.

“Who wants to see the third trilogy fight right here? In Saudi Arabia baby,” Ruiz called out to the crowd at the Diriyah Arena.

 

Joshua had sounded receptive to the idea – “if you heard, we’re going to do it a third,” he said – but promoter Eddie Hearn would not be drawn after a bout won clinically on a unanimous points decision against a flabby-looking opponent.

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CAF Confed: Enyimba beat San Pedro

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CAF Confed: Enyimba beat San Pedro

E

nyimba Football Club returned to winning ways at Enyimba International Stadium, Aba on Sunday, as they narrowly beat FC San Pedro of Ivory Coast 1-0 in the Group-D second match of the ongoing Total CAF Confederations Cup.

 

Striker, Martins Esule, scored in the 64th minute to give the Aba club the win, after coming on a substitute in place of striker, Sampson Obi, who never had the best of game following a general lackluster performance from the entire team.

 

The People’s Elephant lost their first match in Group-D 2-0 to Hassania Agadir, in the city of Agadir in Morocco, which left them bottom of the group, after the other teams in the group, FC San Pedro played a draw with Paradou Athletic Club of Algeria in the city of San-Pedro, in Ivory Coast.

 

FC San Pedro will no doubt be disappointed with the result, as they will feel that they could have picked up the maximum points from the fixture had they taken their chances throughout the game, after dominating  Enyimba in the first half.

 

 

The lackluster performance from the Usman Abd’Allah led Enyimba was very visible by the reactions of the fans, and did not go without consequences as Ifeanyi Anaemena, the team’s dependable captain, was ruled out for three weeks after he sustained an injury and was  replaced by Abiodun Adebayo.

 

Reacting to his team’s performance, Coach Usman Abd’Allah, said he is happy his team got the required three points notwithstanding the performance which was never perfect.

Abd’Allah however said that the 2PM schedule for the match was no excuse for their poor first half performance.

 

He stressed that the team had too many injuries  coupled with the injection of new players who are yet to understand other players in the team fully.

 

The Enyimba coach however assured the fans that the team will improve from game to game and will not waste much time to get to their required level where all supporters will be happy to watch.

 

Enyimba Captain, Ifeanyi Anaemena said that the first half performance of the team which everyone complained about in Morocco which repeated in the match against San Pedro is something the team will always improve on with time.

 

 

Anaemena who confirmed his the gravity of his injury to the press added that getting the three points after such poor performance in the first half is very important as points are very precious in a group competition.

The goal scorer, Martins Esule, said he is delighted to have helped the team gain the required three points.

 

Esule who is gradually becoming a local hero for always coming up with goals from the bench, said he usually reads the game properly before coming as he most have observed the errors in the game.

He dedicates the victory to the fans and expressed his gratitude to the Almighty God for giving him the grace to always deliver for Enyimba.

 

Meanwhile, Enyimba Chairman, Felix Anyansi-Agwu, debunked the rumours that the 2PM time of the match has to do with lack of flood light at the Enyimba Stadium. He said the stadium is fully ready to even host night matches.

Anyansi-Agwu explained that the time for every CAF match is determined by CAF, stressing that Enyimba is not in control of the time.

He however added that the timing affected both the turn out of spectators and the performance of the players.

 

The Head Coach of FC San Pedro, Khemaies Labidi, said his team played very well and will always improve because they are young players.

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Iheanacho scores as Leicester bury Villa

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Iheanacho scores as Leicester bury Villa

Kelechi Iheanacho continued his revival after he shone again as Leicester City recorded their eighth straight English Premier League win courtesy of a 4-1 win at Aston Villa.

 

Iheanacho scored a goal and provided an assist, just as he had done in the dramatic win against Everton.

 

The striker, who started his first EPL game this season at Villa, first set up Jamie Vardy to open scoring in the 20th minute, before he himself netted from the first post on 41 minutes.

 

He has now scored two goals and provided two assists in the league.

 

It is the form that originally got Leicester to splash 25 million pounds on him.

Leicester City remain second on the table with 38 points from 16 matches, eight points behind leaders Liverpool.

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AFN crisis sad for athletics – Gusau

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AFN crisis sad for athletics – Gusau

…accuses Sports Ministry of taking sides

 

The embattled president of the Athletic Federation of Nigeria, Ibrahim Gusau, has said the ongoing crisis in the AFN is sad for the sport in the country especially with Olympic Games just few months away.

 

Speaking at a press conference organised in Lagos on Sunday, the president said everything they were doing as a board has been with the best interests of athletes in mind and an innate desire to develop athletics in Nigeria.

 

 

He said they are open to discussion while also calling on all Nigerians to ask questions as there are so many left unanswered.

 

 

Meanwhile, Gusau has accused the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development of taking sides in the ongoing crisis rocking the federation.

 

He said the ministry did so by endorsing the board meeting that took place in Abuja recently leading to the suspension of the president by seven other board members.

 

“It is common knowledge that the AFN is having misunderstandings, especially within the board of the federation.

“It is also obvious that the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports has taken sides by issuing a press statement endorsing the purported board meeting held on Tuesday, December 3, in Abuja.  If this is not interference, one wonders what is,” he said

 

Reacting to some of the issues raised by the ministry of sports which claimed that Gusau actually convened the Abuja meeting, the president said he couldn’t have call for a meeting and likewise be absent from such.

 

 

Citing several documents and instances, he said his problem with the ministry started after he submitted himself to the several security agencies in the country to be investigated over the overpaid World Athletic’s  $135,000.

 

 

He added: “On the inauguration of our board in July, 2017, I was confronted with an allegation in respect of USD150,000 paid to the AFN.  I was accused of mismanaging the funds and in keeping with the President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to accountability and transparency, I submitted myself to the relevant agencies for investigation.

 

“The individual reports exonerated me from any culpability but raised questions which the agencies are diligently pursuing.

 

“My action in submitting myself to be investigated laid the foundation for the misunderstandings being experienced in the AFN today.

 

“This is part of the reasons we seek autonomy to enable us increase the funding base of the Federation.  The sponsorship deal signed with Puma attests to the capacity of this Board to attract private funding for sports from within and outside the country.

 

 

“The autonomy we are talking about is in so far as administering the Federation is concerned and had always been in existence in the statutes of the AFN, the CAA and the WA.”

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