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CAF CC: Ibenegbu confident of Rangers’ victory against AS Pelican

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CAF CC: Ibenegbu confident of  Rangers’ victory against AS Pelican

R

angers International midfielder, Ikechukwu Ibenegbu, is confident that the club will secure victory in their CAF Confederation Cup opening match against Gabonese side, AS Pelican.

 

The seven-time Nigeria Professional Football League champions were drawn bye in the first round after getting to the group stages of the competition last year.

 

Speaking with our correspondent before the team’s departure, Ibenegbu said they are battle ready for the game and want to get a good result in Libreville.

 

“We are not going to Libreville to watch the beauty of the city but to ensure we get a good result that will make the return leg in two weeks’ time a mere formality,” the former Enyimba midfielder said.

 

“As a new player in Rangers, I hope to bring my experience of playing on the continent for over a decade to bear, if selected by the coach, to help us achieve our set target for the season.

 

“Rangers are a very big team on the continent and my joining them is to contribute my little quota towards making it a continental champion again after over four decades.”

 

Rangers departed the country on Thursday for the Gabonese capital, Libreville, for the first leg, first round encounter with competition’s first timers and runners-up of 2019 Gabon Championnat National Division 1.

 

Also speaking about their chances, caretaker manager, Coach Benedict Ugwu, who was in the coaching crew last season, said club has their work cut out at Stade D’Angondje, Libreville, Gabon.

 

After winning 11 and losing one in pre-season friendly games as well as a weeklong close camping exercise in Anambra state, the squad seem to have blended well.

 

Coach Ugwu said on the fixture; “I have a strong belief that with the talents at our disposal and the training regime we have gone through in the pre-season, we shall come back with a good result by God’s grace.

 

“We don’t know much about our opponent but our preparations have always been to play against any opponent.”

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Gulf Cup semis: S’Arabia triumphs over Qatar, Bahrain downs Iraq

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Gulf Cup semis: S’Arabia triumphs over Qatar, Bahrain downs Iraq

Saudi Arabia have defeated hosts Qatar 1-0 to set up a showdown against Bahrain in the final of the 24th Arabian Gulf Cup.

Forward Abdullah Alhamddan scored the match’s only goal when he powered home a header in the 28th minute.

Despite creating a host of chances, Qatar’s Maroons were unable to find the back of the net and keep their title hopes alive.

Earlier on Thursday, Bahrain also booked their place in Sunday’s final after a nail-biting win on penalties against three-time winners Iraq.

Qatar and Iraq will vie for the third place at the biennial regional football tournament, reports al-Jazeera.

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Brighton’s Maupay piles misery on Ljungberg’s Arsenal at Emirates

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Brighton’s Maupay piles misery on Ljungberg’s Arsenal at Emirates

*Newcastle out gun Sheffield United 2-0

Rome was not built in a day and Freddie Ljungberg is discovering Arsenal’s decline has hardly been a short-term issue either. It will take a prodigious effort, whether from the new interim head coach or anyone else, to whip this group of players into shape and that impression was confirmed in the starkest terms.

Brighton dominated most of Ljungberg’s first home game in charge, fully deserving the win given to them by Adam Webster and, 10 minutes from the end, Neal Maupay. Arsenal were unable to build on Alexandre Lacazette’s equaliser and many more non-performances like this will strengthen the case for the managerial situation to be resolved as soon as possible, reports the Guardian.

Ljungberg had taken to the dugout in a thick bench jacket that kept the critics who, irrelevantly, had questioned his choice of attire at Carrow Road on Sunday guessing. Whether or not he had discarded the grey sweater this time, he certainly needed his team to be smarter.

To that end he made three changes from the side that had hung on at Norwich: Lucas Torreira had finished that game well so replaced Matteo Guendouzi, while the selections of Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Héctor Bellerín for Shkodran Mustafi and Calum Chambers were unsurprising.

The low-key nature of the opening stages was more noteworthy. Ljungberg was made to feel perfectly welcome but there was not quite a hero’s reception; nor was there anything approaching a full house, although there was more life inside the Emirates than for Unai Emery’s last rites against Eintracht Frankfurt seven days earlier.

And it was a homecoming when Steve Bruce was appointed Newcastle manager but, in a different way, this was a happy return to where it all began for him.

Twenty-one years after his managerial career commenced at Bramall Lane Bruce inflicted a first defeat since September on his former club Sheffield United to continue Newcastle’s renaissance. They are now 11th which, after Bruce’s traumatic first few weeks, feels like dizzying heights.

If this was a case of pilfering the points, with Sheffield United dominating much of the match, goalkeeper Martin Dubravka outstanding and Jonjo Shelvey’s clinching goal controversial, Newcastle nonetheless had much to savour.

Defenders have proved their best form of attack this season but, with Allan Saint-Maximin scoring Newcastle’s first goal and Andy Carroll setting up the second, their forwards finally contributed.

Two Uniteds have more in common than just the suffix. Each is managed by a lifelong fan and Chris Wilder and Steve Bruce turned to talismanic locals as they altered their attacks.

Wilder gave his captain, Billy Sharp, a belated first Premier League start – at 33 he became the oldest English outfield player to make a full debut in the division since 2007 – while Bruce sprang a surprise by bringing in Carroll. It was 3,264 days and the best part of nine years since his previous start for his hometown club, a few weeks before his £35m move to Liverpool.

RESULTS

Arsenal 1 – 2 Brighton

Sheff United 0 – 2 Newcastle

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AFN crisis: You can’t be autonomous, Ministry cautions faction

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AFN crisis: You can’t be autonomous, Ministry cautions  faction

The Ministry of Youth and Sports has said the Athletic Federation of Nigeria cannot declare itself independent, insisting it has statutory responsibilities to supervise over all sporting association including the AFN.

The AFN, on Wednesday, at an Extra-ordinary Congress in Awka, Anambra, declared its autonomous from government, saying its action was backed by the statutes of the World Athletics.

The Awka Congress provided a new twist to the crisis rocking the federation after the AFN President Ibrahim Gusau, who had earlier been purportedly suspended by a faction of the board, superintended over the General Assembly Meeting.

Seven members of the board had on Tuesday met in Abuja where they announced the suspension of Gusau for misappropriation of funds and abuse of power.  It also set up a probe panel to investigate the culpability of the embattled administrator.

However, in a dramatic twist to the development, a day after his suspension, Gusua led the Congress to declare the federation autonomous of government.

In a release made available to New Telegraph and signed by the Permanent Secretary, Olusade Adesola, the ministry said it approved the decision of the AFN board which suspended Gusau and advised the embattled administrator to cooperate with the investigative panel.

It said that the Abuja meeting was duly convened and its decision is binding on the federation.

The sports ministry also insisted that the AFN must comply with the rules which puts it and its operations under the supervision of the ministry.

“Following from the above, the Ministry cautions the erstwhile President to subject himself to the outcome of the proceedings. We also encourage the Board to continue to carry out the affairs of the Federation in accordance with extant rules and regulations.

“The FMYSD hereby reinstates that it has statutory responsibilities for the formulation, supervision, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes on Sports administration in the country.

“In the discharge of these responsibilities, the Ministry through the 38 National Sports Federations under its supervision ensures the compliance with laid down Rules and Regulations of the Code of Governance, which the constitution of the National Sports Federations recognizes.”

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Pinnick blasts Rohr for publicly demanding for salary

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Pinnick blasts Rohr for publicly demanding  for salary

Nigeria Football Federation President Amaju Pinnick has criticized Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr for publicly demanding for his salary.

The football administrator denied that the Nigerian Federation is owing the Franco-German despite claims he is being owed salary for three months.

Rohr’s public request has led to the Nigerian Federation issuing him a query over his utterances.

Pinnick said : ”We don’t owe you, you cannot come out to say that we are owning you salary. We pay you, an employee, and you must respect the employer because we pay you salary religiously.

”If they pay you, you don’t come out to say they pay you. There are some things you don’t say.”

Rohr has a contract with the Nigeria Football Federation until June 2020 and can begin discussing with interested clubs or countries next month if his contract is not extended.

The former Bayern Munich defender reportedly earns approximately $50,000 every month as coach of the Super Eagles.

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Rohr unveils plans for Eagles’ next friendly game

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Rohr unveils plans for Eagles’ next friendly game

Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr, has revealed his plan to include new players to play in next friendly game.

The manager, believed with the new plans Nigeria will experience skyrocket changes in their gameplay and style.

According to the 66-years-old,  he expect the request should be done for the Super Eagles upcoming international friendly match during the international windows of 2020.

“With the next FIFA window, we will be in the qualifiers for the (2022) World Cup, so it will not be the moment to try new things with players we have never seen before,” Rohr said on Brilla FM.

He further stated, “You never know what can happen, we will see because I think before the FIFA [World Cup] qualifiers, we would have perhaps a friendly, this is the moment to test new players.”

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Curtain falls on Senforce Insurance Tennis Masters

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Curtain falls on Senforce Insurance Tennis Masters

Today is the final day of tennis hostilities as the ongoing first edition of Senforce Insurance Brokers Tennis Masters comes to an end at the Ikoyi Club 1938 in Lagos.

The tennis competition began on Monday and it is staged for the top eight players in the club as part of year-ending events for the tennis section led by Bimbo Okubena.

After the round robin prelims, Nishant Abbi, Gbenga Familoni, Labisi Abayomi and Ezomo Imokhuede were the last four players in Group A of the singles while Sesan Dada, Emeka Azinge, Bola Ayorinde and Charles Mozie emerged from Group B.

Number one seed, Azinge and second seed, Dada are some of the smashers to watch out for as final round of games began last night to precede today’s Grand Finale.

Tennis Section Chairman, Bimbo Okubena, said the tournament was explosive from the very first day.

“There is no easy game because it is an event meant for the top players in the club. We have had so much fun in the past few days and I believe the final will be very entertaining as well,”Okubena said.

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Everton boss slams Iwobi, teammates

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Everton boss slams Iwobi, teammates

Everton manager Marco Silva has criticized the display of Alex Iwobi and his club teammates following Wednesday’s 5-2 thrashing against Liverpool in a Premier League clash at Anfield.

Iwobi and his teammates went into the 235th merseyside derby against local rivals Liverpool following their poor run of results which has seen them pickup just four wins from 14 games.

The Toffees however could not cope with the intensity of Jürgen Klopp’s side as the 5-2 loss saw them drop into the relegation zone, thereby piling more pressure on Silva.

The under-fire Portuguese coach didn’t hide his frustration, hence,labelling his players not good enough after the loss.

“We cannot concede goals in the way we conceded. The way we conceded was not good enough, we should be more brave,”

“It is really tough for us to be in the relegation zone but if you are there you are making the same mistakes. I’m not here to talk about the fight of the players, our opponent was more brave than us. We should do better, of course, we were not good enough.”

“We are making some mistakes which put us under big, big pressure. The type of mistakes we are making is because the players are playing under big pressure because of the position in the table.

“They are making some mistakes that are not normal for the level we are.”

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Landmark book on Super Eagles out

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Landmark book on Super Eagles out

The long anticipated book on Nigeria’s lead sports brand, the Super Eagles, will be available to the public later this month.

The book titled: “Super Eagles @70…Soaring on the Wings”, is written by Kunle Solaja and it is endorsed by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) which also acquired the title rights.

The book is a compendium and is written in lucid and infographic manner offering virtually every information that a football follower, researcher or reader may desire about the Nigeria’s national football team since its inception through the composition of the famed “UK Tourists” in 1949.

The book expectedly traced the history of the team from the days of UK Tourists through the Red Devils, to the Green Eagles and then to Super Eagles.  It is a literary celebration of 70 years of the Nigeria’s senior football squad.

The book at the same time celebrates 60 years of the nation’s supreme football –governing body, the Nigeria Football Federation’s affiliation with the continental body, CAF and the world body, FIFA in 1959.

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ValueJet plans big for Remo Ultra-Marathon

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ValueJet plans big for Remo Ultra-Marathon

The historic  city of Sagamu will be agog this weekend as top athletes from across the world  converge  to participate in the maiden edition of the Value Jet Ultra Modern race .

  Speaking ahead of the race,   ValueJet Head of Operations  Mrs Yewande Cole, said the race is one of the company’s numerous ways to create bond among Nigerians and the world at large. “The Ultra-Marathon is first of its kind in Africa and we  are elated that  our company  is responsible for  bringing  youths  together to harness their talents. I’m confident that  we all are in for a good time on Saturday.

  “Our chairman,  Kunle Soname, is  a sports inclined personality who is very passionate about the race, so participants and fans alike would witness a world class event.”

  On  whether the race would be sustained, she assured that adequate plans are  in place to  stage   the marathon  yearly.

  The winners of the 50km ultra-race in both foreign and local categories will pocket   2,000 dollars, while the second  and the third placed runners will get 1,500 dollars and 1,000 dollars respectively.

  For  the Nigerian local 5km run, the winner will receive N500,000,  runner-up  N300,00,00, while the second runner-up will take home N150,000.

  Meanwhile, rave of the moment and hip hop  artiste Afeez Fashola, a.k.a. “Naira Marley” along with other top music artistes  will perform live at  the 50km race in Sagamu.

  According to the  Project Director, Seyi Johnson, Naira Marley would perform alongside the winner of “City People Music Award” Slimcase.

  About 4,000 athletes from 35 countries are expected to  participate in the 50km road race  which is reputably the largest in the series.

  Johnson, said  Naira Marley, Slimcase, CD Q and others would spice up the event as part of the  side attraction at the Sagamu International Stadium.

   “The marathon will be spiced up with lots of entertainments   because we don’t want it to be boring.

  “Artistes such as Naira Marley, Slimcase, CD Q and others will be performing  and  everybody will  be greatly entertained because we are expecting a full house.

  “The race will be plug and play starting  from the stadium with  the marathoners rounding  the route five times.

   “We are look forward to seeing  athletes  conquer the 50km race because the route is different from what we are used to” he concluded.

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How I will trounce Ruiz –Joshua

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How I will trounce Ruiz –Joshua
  • Ruiz: I’ll die protecting my titles

 

Anthony Joshua has opened up on his gameplan to prise the world heavyweight titles back from the clutches of Andy Ruiz Jr on Saturday.

Joshua is in Saudi Arabia for his rematch with the Mexican after June’s incredible upset in the USA.

The 30-year-old has opened up on his tactics for the fight, in order to nullify Ruiz’s power, and he even admitted asking his opponent for any tips on how to get the better of him.

‘For me, take centre. If I’m six inches in front of Ruiz, all takes for a man to miss a punch is six inches,’ he told reporters. ‘So sometimes you haven’t even got to be running around the ring.

‘I asked him upstairs, I said: “How do I beat you, then?” He says: “Mate, you should move around a little.”

Meanwhile, Joshua insists that he won’t be celebrating should he regain his belts on Saturday evening.

‘This time, I am not here to put on a show, just to win,’ he told reporters.

‘Look at the undercard – I fought most of those guys and won. I have been around the block in a short space of time. I am definitely experienced and I know what I am doing.’

World heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr has said he fulfilled a lifelong dream when he triumphed over Britain’s Anthony Joshua in June and he would “die trying” to defend his belts in the title rematch in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.

Mexican-American Ruiz produced one of boxing’s biggest upsets when he dethroned the previously undefeated world champion Joshua with a seventh-round stoppage at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

“I have been doing this since I was six and it is finally paying off,” Ruiz told the BBC. “There is no way I am going to let these belts go, I will die trying.

“It has been a roller-coaster and now that I made the dreams come true there is no way I will let these go.”

Ruiz, however, said he would not ‘underestimate’ Joshua and that he had his own strategies to counter the former Olympic champion.

“I know he lost weight and that he will try and box me around,” Ruiz added. “So it’s my job to prevent that.

“(In the June bout) I was the one who had the strength, the one backing him up. When I jabbed I pushed him away.”

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