igeria senior men’s basketball team, D’Tigers, will seek to revive their hope for a memorable outing at the ongoing FIBA Men’s World Cup as they battle Argentina in a crunchy clash.
D’Tigers started the tournament on a losing note against Russia in Wuhan losing 82-77 and are in for a tougher challenge as the South Americans are one of the teams that are highly-rated for this tournament.
Having posted one of the most impressive results heading to the tournament, the 2015 Afrobasket champions were primed to cause a major upset against the Russians who had to fight back from eight points down in the fourth quarter for the crucial victory.
Now, Alex Nowra reckons that his side must not repeat some of the flaws that saw them lost their first match acknowledging the Argentines would provide a sterner test for his side.
Nwora would not blame any of his players for the loss to the Europeans but rather heaped praises on his team for their efforts in the match.
Nwora reacted after the match noted that the Nigeria side are very young side and reckoned they still has a lot to learn.
“We’re a very young team and have a lot to learn from this game,” he said.
D’Tigers last group game is scheduled for Wednesday against South Korea.
Stephens eyes Olympics, return to form in 2020
Sloane Stephens said she is ready to turn the page on a disappointing 2019 and shift her focus to climbing the world tennis rankings to qualify for next year’s Tokyo Olympics.
The 26-year-old American, who won the U.S. Open in 2017 and reached world number three in 2018, struggled this year, failing to make the final at any tournament and falling to world number 25.
“I’m excited to start a new season because midway through 2019, I was ready for it to be over,” Stephens told Reuters in an interview after hosting a tennis clinic at the Ritz-Carlton in Marina del Rey, California.
“So I’m just looking forward to 2020 and I’m ready for a fresh start. I literally have nothing to lose, a lot in front of me and nowhere to go but up,” she said.
“For me it’s a good position to be in.”
High on her list of goals for 2020 is making her second consecutive appearance for Team USA at the Olympics, she said.
“I made one before, which was really cool, and I’d obviously love to make a second one and play for my country,” she said.
To do so, she will need to deal with a grueling WTA schedule, made even more difficult with the extra playing time and travel needed in an Olympic year.
“Managing the ups and downs throughout the year is a pretty big goal,” she said.
“It’s about staying healthy and happy, enjoying my tennis and not getting too burnt out at the beginning of the year knowing that it is a very long season,” she said.
Stephens said she has no lingering issues with the foot injury she suffered in 2017 that required surgery and sidelined her for 11 months.
Despite her on-court struggles, life off the court has been more upbeat with her engagement to U.S. men’s national soccer team and Toronto FC forward Jozy Altidore, whom she began dating in 2016.
“I have a fresh mind and am feeling a lot better on and off the court,” she said.
“I think will allow me to have better results.”
Euro 2020 roundup: Croatia survive Slovakia scare to join Germany in finals
Germany, Croatia and Austria all sealed their places in the Euro 2020 finals with wins on Saturday, while a draw in Northern Ireland also confirmed qualification for the Netherlands.
Croatia’s 3-1 win over Slovakia means they top Group E, but the 2018 World Cup finalists got a scare when Robert Bozenik put the visitors ahead after 32 minutes in Rijeka.
Two goals in four minutes from Nikola Vlasic and Bruno Petkovic settled the hosts’ nerves near the hour mark, before Ivan Perisic sealed victory with a spectacular finish, volleying into the top corner on the stretch with 15 minutes to play, reports The Guardian.
Things were more straightforward for Germany in Mönchengladbach, where the hosts beat Belarus 4-0. Matthias Ginter’s backheeled finish from Serge Gnabry’s cross gave Germany a half-time lead, and Leon Goretzka doubled their advantage shortly after the break, rifling a low shot home from a short corner.
Midfielder Toni Kroos then stole the show with two fine goals as Joachim Löw’s side sealed qualification from Group C.
The Real Madrid midfielder sidefooted home clinically from the edge of the area on 55 minutes, and added a second late on after twisting beyond two defenders. Manuel Neuer denied Belarus a consolation from the penalty spot, tipping Ihar Stasevich’s effort round the post.
Austria secured a top-two finish in Group G with a 2-1 win over North Macedonia in Vienna. Stefan Lainer was the star man for the hosts, the Gladbach right-back setting up David Alaba with a terrific through ball after seven minutes, then bundling home a second from a corner early in the second half. Despite Vlatko Stojanovski’s late consolation, Franco Foda’s side held on to ensure their place at the finals.
In Saturday’s other games, already-qualified Poland beat Israel 2-1 in Jerusalem.
Robert Lewandowski was on the substitutes’ bench for the first hour, with Grzegorz Krychowiak and Milan striker Krzysztof Piatek getting the goals in his absence.
Elsewhere in Group G, an own goal from Igors Tarasovs condemned Latvia to defeat in Slovenia – their ninth loss out of nine in this campaign.
Belgium emphatically secured top spot in Group I, beating second-placed Russia 4-1 in St Petersburg. Eden Hazard scored twice after his brother, Thorgan, had put Roberto Martínez’s side ahead. Romelu Lukaku added a fourth, lashing the ball home from the edge of the area, before Georgiy Dzhikija scored for the hosts.
The group whipping boys, San Marino, remain without a point after losing 3-1 at home to Kazakhstan – but they scored their first goal of the campaign through Filippo Berardi, whose cool finish on the break sparked scenes of joy in Serravalle.
Olympics ouster: Minister charts new course for football
Minister of Sports Sunday Dare has expressed profound displeasure at the sliding fortune of Nigerian football following the failure of Dream Team to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games.
The minister wrote on his Twitter account that it was important to chart a new course for the game. “Nigeria’s game against S.A. (South Africa) which ended in a draw concentrates the mind.
Time to take a look back and find out where the rain began to beat us. Like I said before, our football needs a return to the basics of grassroot football, pristine sports admin, sound technical coaching…,” the Minister tweeted early on Saturday morning.
“Government will take appropriate steps and in a timely fashion to improve our football fortunes. Current outcomes offer the opportunity to review, restrategize and develop a long term plan for football development. We will dust up great ideas already abandoned and implement.”
“Nigerian football across the spectrum will benefit from this new outlook which will involve critical stakeholders. Government, mindful that Nigeria is a football nation will be bold in embracing best practices in modern football.”
Cameroon 2021: Eagles land in Maseru, ready to fly over Crocodiles
Nigeria’s Super Eagles have landed in the capital of Lesotho, Maseru for Sunday’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match against that country’s senior team, known as Crocodiles. The Crocodiles themselves have just returned from Freetown, where they earned an inspiring point in a 1-1 draw with the Leone Stars on Day 1 of the campaign on Wednesday.
On the same day, the Super Eagles edged Benin Republic 2-1 in an intense encounter at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo to go top of the qualifying pool. France-based duo of Victor Osimhen (from the spot) and Samuel Kalu (angled low drive) secured the win for Nigeria after the Squirrels had taken a second minute lead through Stephane Sessegnon.
The chartered Max Air aircraft that flew the delegation had a stopover in Angola but safely arrived in Maseru on Saturday afternoon, and players and officials were immediately ferried to their Avani Lesotho hotel. Nigeria were scheduled to have the official training at the match venue – Maseru-Setsoto Stadium – at 7pm Lesotho time (6pm in Nigeria) on Saturday.
Sunday’s encounter will kick off at 6pm Lesotho time (5pm in Nigeria), and it is exactly one year to the day that the Super Eagles secured a 1-1 draw with South Africa’s Bafana Bafana in Johannesburg to grab a ticket to this year’s Africa Cup of Nations finals in Egypt, where they finished third and with the bronze medals. Team doctor Ibrahim Gyaran confirmed to thenff.com that there are no injuries within the 23-man playing body.
The Confederation of African Football has named 41 –year old Botswanan official, Joshua Bondo as the referee, with Bondo’s compatriots Meshack Medupi, Mogomotsi Morakile and Tshepo Mokani Gobagoba as assistant referee 1, assistant referee 2 and fourth official respectively. Johannes Jakob Vries from Namibia will serve as match commissioner while South African Carlos Henriques will be referee assessor.
Messi told me to shut up- Brazil coach
Brazil head coach Tite said he was told to shut up by Argentina captain Lionel Messi in the friendly clash between the South American rivals. Messi returned from a threemonth international ban to lead Argentina past Brazil 1-0 thanks to his 13th-minute goal in Riyadh on Friday.
Argentina star Messi missed Argentina’s previous four matches due to a suspension for accusing CONMEBOL of favouring hosts Brazil – who won their semi-final meeting – at the Copa America and he was in the thick of the action against Tite’s Selecao. Messi and Tite exchanged words in the opening half, with the Barcelona superstar seen putting his fingers to his lips as the Brazil boss complained to the referee.
“I complained because he [Messi] should have been shown a yellow card and he told me to shut my mouth and I told him to shut his mouth,” Tite said.
“And that was it.”
Kwara Utd beat Ekiti Utd 2-0 in pre-season friendly
Kwara United on Saturday produced convincing performance to brush aside visiting Ekiti United 2-0 in friendly encounter at the Kwara Stadium Complex, Ilorin. The homers started the encounter impressively with the duo of Oliver David and Fabiyi John making superb runs.
They eventually scored the opening goal in the third minute through Joshua Agboola who was assisted by Sunday Owoyemi. Ekiti United tried to restore parity almost immediately when Savior Francis delivered a glorious pass for Afeez Yusuf, but Kwara United goalie Abdullateef Yusuf produced a brilliant safe.
Dede Mogarah had the chance to increase the tally for Kwara United in the 30th minute when he found himself one-on-one with goalkeeper Wale Makanjuola, but his shot was parried away. The first half, however, ended with Kwara United leading with a lone goal.
On resumption, Kwara United changed their pattern to more attacking one and their game impressed the fans at the stands. Kwara United netted their second goal in the 68th minute through Abdulsallam Abdussallam who benefitted from a good pass by Issah Magaji. Ekiti United would have pulled one back in the 75th minute when they were awarded a free kick, but Bello Babatunde missed the chance.
Euro 2020: Belgium thrashes Russia as Wales keeps automatic qualification ticket alive
Eden Hazard scored twice as Belgium continued their perfect record in Euro 2020 qualifying with a thumping win over Russia.
The Red Devils, who had already qualified, were three goals up by half-time through Eden Hazard’s double and a strike by his brother Thorgan. Romelu Lukaku then added a fourth before Georgi Dzhikiya netted a late consolation for the hosts. Belgium will play their final Group I qualifier at home to Cyprus on Tuesday, reports the BBC. Russia, who had also already booked their place at the finals, were blown away in the first half following a scintillating attacking display from Roberto Martinez’s side.
The away side took the lead midway through the first half when Thorgan Hazard picked up his brother’s pass, cut inside and fired into the top corner.
And Wales eased to a comfortable win in Azerbaijan to ensure their bid to qualify automatically for Euro 2020 will go down to the wire. Kieffer Moore headed the dominant visitors into an early lead, which was doubled when Harry Wilson nodded into an empty net after Daniel James’ fierce swerving shot rebounded off the crossbar and post. Wales maintained their control in the second half and, although Moore and Wilson missed the best chances to extend their advantage, it mattered little as Ryan Giggs’ side coasted to victory.
If Slovakia fail to win away against Croatia in Group E’s other game later on Saturday, Wales will qualify automatically with victory over Hungary in their final fixture in Cardiff on Tuesday.
They are already guaranteed a play-off place thanks to Sweden’s win over Romania in Group F on Friday. But having suffered so many agonising qualifying near misses in the past, Wales will be eager to take the lottery of a play-off out of the equation by beating Hungary to secure what would be only their third appearance at a major tournament.
In Nicosia, John McGinn’s fourth goal in two Scotland games secured a morale-boosting victory in Cyprus and moved Steve Clarke’s side above their hosts into third in Euro qualifying Group I.
But it came after an early let-off when Georgios Efrem’s shot hit the crossbar and appeared to land over the goal line. Ryan Christie curled home a wonderful finish for his first Scotland goal before Efrem volleyed a fine leveller. McGinn’s close-range strike earned the first back-to-back wins under Clarke. While Scotland can no longer qualify for Euro 2020 through the group, the head coach set the target of a third-place finish before their play-off in March. To meet his target, victory in Cyprus was a must, but was far from a formality.
Squash: 12 year-old wins two categories, defeats number one seeded player
Mistura Durosinlorun, 12, defeated the number one seeded player Favour Utukpe in the U-16 category at the final of the 2019 edition of the Ex-Squash Pros Diaspora.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 3rd edition of the Ex-Squash Pros Diaspora served off at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere from November 14 to 16. Durosinlorun told NAN that defeating the number seeded player would further boost her confidence during tournaments. “I’m so excited I won; last month, when we met at a tournament, Favour won, then I made up my mind to keep pushing.
“I know I need to sustain this so I need to train harder to remain consistent, and I intend to give it all it takes,” she said. NAN reports that 14-year Utukpe lost 3-1 to Durosinlorun. Temitope Olusoji, a player who came to watch the finals, attributed Utukpe’s loss to her new found love for social media.
“Since she got her phone, she began to cut down on the number of hours she trains for. “That phone distracted her, if she probably didn’t have the phone she would have won,” she said. In her defence, Utukpe told NAN that, she feels miserable losing to Durosinlorun at the finals.
Cameroon 2020: Eagles arrive Lesotho
Nigeria’s Super Eagles have arrived Maseru ahead of their Nations Cup 2020 qualifier against Lesotho.
The Group L game comes up tomorrow with the Eagles hoping to cement their grip on top spot after their come from behind 2-1 win over Benin on Match Day One on Wednesday at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo.
On the same day, Lesotho pulled off a surprise result after holding Sierra Leone to a 1-1 draw in Freetown.
The Lone Star will be in Cotonou to face the Squirrels of Benin in their second game of the qualifying series.
The top two sides in 11 of the 12 groups will all advance to the 2021 finals in Cameroon.
Cameroon qualify for the finals as hosts but are taking part in the qualifying campaign to gain competitive match practice which means just one team from Group F will progress to the finals.
Euro 2020: Gomez, Henderson withdraw from Three Lions v Kosovo
Defender Joe Gomez and midfielder Jordan Henderson have pulled out of England’s squad before Sunday’s final Euro 2020 qualifier in Kosovo.
Gomez, 22, picked up a knee injury in training, while Liverpool team-mate Henderson, 29, has a viral infection.
Forward Raheem Sterling is available again after being dropped for the 7-0 win over Montenegrofollowing a clash with Gomez at England’s training camp, reports the BBC.
Gomez was booed as he came on as a substitute at Wembley on Thursday.
England manager Gareth Southgate has said he will have no hesitation in naming Manchester City’s Sterling, 24, in the starting line-up for the match in Pristina (17:00 GMT kick-off).
The Three Lions have already qualified as group winners for next summer’s tournament.
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