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FIBA World Cup: France stun holder USA in quarterfinal

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FIBA World Cup: France stun holder USA in quarterfinal

Holders the United States suffered a shock 89-79 loss to France in the quarter-finals of the Basketball World Cup in China on Wednesday.

The US had won the past two World Cups and not lost in 58 international games, a run stretching back to 2006.

France were 51-41 ahead in the third quarter before the United States moved into a 72-65 lead, but the French fought back to take the victory.

Evan Fournier scored 22 points, while Rudy Gobert finished with 21.

France will play Argentina in the semi-finals on Friday, with Spain taking on either Australia or the Czech Republic in the other match.

This will be the first time the United States have failed to win a medal at the World Cup since 2002, when they finished sixth.

Apart from winning the past two World Cups, they have also won the past three Olympic titles.

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Messi wins record sixth FIFA Best Player award

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Messi wins record sixth FIFA Best Player award

Lionel Messi has been named the Best Men’s Player at the Best FIFA Football Awards, beating Cristiano Ronaldo and Virgil van Dijk to the annual prize.

Messi has another 12 months to celebrate but again found the game’s top prizes out of his reach. Barcelona won La Liga once again as Messi was the top scorer across Europe and provided the most assists in Spain’s top flight.

However, a semi-final second-leg collapse at Anfield saw Barca miss out in the Champions League once again as Liverpool scored 4-0 to seal a remarkable 4-3 aggregate win.

On the international stage, Messi suffered another semi-final exit as Argentina lost 2-0 to Brazil in the Copa America in July before beating Chile in the third-place play-off.

After nine years at Real Madrid, Ronaldo moved to Juventus last summer in a deal worth £100million looking for a new challenge at the age of 33 and was named Serie A’s most valuable player 10 months later after winning the Scudetto.

Ronaldo finished as club’s top scorer in every domestic competition he competed in before leading Portugal to UEFA Nations League glory over the summer.

The forward scored a hat-trick in the semi-final win over Switzerland before captaining the final win over Netherlands in Porto.

Van Dijk is widely regarded as the best centre-back in the world and since he joined Liverpool, the club have been transformed from a vulnerable defence to among the best in Europe, culminating with their Champions League triumph in June of this year after finishing as runners-up 12 months prior.

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Eagles’ 4-1 loss to Togo: NFF, LMC under fire

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Eagles’ 4-1 loss to Togo: NFF, LMC under fire
  • Gara-Gombe, Lawal seek better league

 

The Nigeria Football Federation and the League Management Company, the organiser of the Nigeria Professional Football League, have come under severe criticism after the Super Eagles Team B 4-1 defeat against the Hawks of Togo in the final qualifying round of the 2020 African Nations Championship in Cameroon.

Nigeria was drawn bye in the first round and was expected to defeat Togo or at least get a reasonable result but was disgraced by the Togolese, making the second leg an uphill task for the coach Imama Amapakabo-led team.

Speaking with New Telegraph, former Gombe State Football Association chairman, Ahmed Gara-Gombe, said the NFF and the LMC should take the bulk of the blame as the absence of active league has affected the quality of the players in the league.

“You can only reap what you planted, we are lucky that it was not more than 4-1 because they are better than us on the day,”Gara-Gombe said

“We don’t have a league at the moment and the essence of the CHAN is for an opportunity for the players in the league to be exposed.

“The result is the reflection of what our football is going through at the moment and we just have to forget everything, come back and organise our league.

“I was not surprised with the result, I will say we are lucky to get such result because I was expecting worst defeat.

“The NFF on their part are supposed to be in charge of the amateur league from where we are going to get players for the elite league but they are not doing their job, and that’s why we have been having half-backed players in the league.

“The standard and management of the league is zero, and this has affected our performance, both with the CHAN team and the country’s clubs on the continent.”

A former international, Dimeji Lawal, has absolved the coach of the team, Amapakabo of any fault in the loss.

Lawal said they didn’t plan for the game due to lack of ongoing league season as he called on the NFF and the LMC to find a way of starting the new season as soon as possible.

He added: “The first thing is to improve the domestic league.  The team has not been involved in any competition in the last three months, they go around playing pre-season matches but it could be tiring and you cannot compare such matches to a proper competition like the league.”

Meanwhile, Gara-Gombe and Lawal has called for the proper improvement of the league and quick resumption to enable the players to be strong enough to perform well in continental games.

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Eagles beg Nigerians after flop, promise CHAN ticket

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Eagles beg Nigerians after flop, promise CHAN ticket

The Super Eagles Team B has promised Nigerians of qualification for the next African Nations Championship despite the heavy loss against Togo in the first leg of the final qualifying round.

The last CHAN silver medalist was beaten 4-1 by the Hawks of Togo on Sunday with the second leg in October now an uphill task.

While assuring Nigerians of overturning the result in the second leg, the team has apologised to Nigerians for the shameful defeat while promising to repay the Sparrow Hawks in bigger coins in the second leg and claim the Cameroon 2020 ticket.

Addressing a disappointed Nigerian Ambassador to Togo, Joseph Olusola Iji, after the match, Ezenwa said what had happened on Sunday evening had gone to the past as the team would redeem itself in the final leg of the fixture on October 19.

“We have been truly honoured by your fatherly care for us since we arrived in this country,” Ezenwa said.

“The Embassy has ensured everything worked for our comfort here. We are pained that we could not reciprocate with a good result from this match.

“As a team, we apologise for what has happened. What we are saying to you and Nigerians is that we are sorry and that we would make it up by securing the ticket. Kindly exercise some patience with us. What we are saying in one sentence is that we will qualify; it is not over yet.”

The Ambassador who had promised the team dinner in his residence kept to his promise in spite of the result at Stade de Kegue.

The leader of delegation, NFF Board Member, Ganiyu Majekodunmi, said: “Your Excellency, I can tell you that this is far from the expectation of the Federation. But these young ones have truly shown remorse. They were so dejected to leave their hotel again.

“Please understand that it was a deliberate move to field largely a young team because we are also looking to the future and this team has faced difficult games in the past and came off successful. And I am sure that given what I have seen of them, the ultimate goal to get to Cameroon in 2020 would be achieved.”

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CHAN: Amakapabo insists Eagles can turn table against Togo

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CHAN: Amakapabo insists Eagles can turn table against Togo

Home-based Super Eagles Coach, Imama Amapakabo, has expressed confidence that the team can still qualify for CHAN 2020 finals in Cameroon despite the 4-1 defeat suffered in hands of Hawks of Togo last Sunday.

The defeat put the Super Eagles on a tight rope as they will require a 3-0 victory in the return leg match on October 19 to qualify.

Imama however said his team will not give up hope as qualification for Cameroon 2020 is not over yet.

“It is wrong to think that this match would determine which team goes through. We know there is a second match and no two games can ever be the same. From now until October 19, it is still quite some time away to make amends and produce the right form for the work ahead,” he maintained.

“It is after the match in Nigeria that it can become clear who qualifies.”

He also insisted they did not take Togo for granted.

“No, we never underrated our opponents. That would have been a foolish thing to do in football,” he argued.

“The truth is that we fielded mainly a young team that could not really live up to expectations technically compared to the senior players in the Togolese side who have gained experience over the years.

“However, we have taken this as a learning curve moving forward and awaiting the return match.”

Meanwhile, skipper of the team that lost 4-1 to Togo in the first leg of CHAN 2020 qualifier, Mfon Udoh, has stated that the team’s unwarranted mistakes and failure to follow the coaches instructions were responsible for the heavy defeat.

Udoh who was unhappy with the 4-1 scoreline said that the Super Eagles still have an outside chance of qualifying to the next round of CHAN if the players show some level of concentration in the second leg.

“We were very unfortunate to lose, we didn’t play according to the instructions of the coaches, too many mistakes and lack of concentration but the deed has already been done. We have enough time to correct all our errors.

“We have been wounded, bruised and back are against the wall but we’ll fight back like wounded lions and regain our pride, the pride of African football.”

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Igali hails Team Nigeria’s World Championships feat

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Igali hails Team Nigeria’s World Championships feat

President of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation, Daniel Igali, has lauded the performance of the country’s wrestlers at the just-concluded Senior World Wrestling Championships in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.

Nigeria’s Odunayo Adekuoroye (57kg) booked an Olympic ticket and also won a bronze medal – her third in the tournament’s history – while Blessing Oborududu (68kg) and her namesake Onyebuchi (76kg) both came very close to winning medals and qualifying for next year’s summer Games in Tokyo, Japan.

The NWF boss said he was more satisfied with the team’s overall performance rather than their results.

“I think the team as a whole did extremely well. In fact, the results don’t even properly tell the story of how these athletes wrestled here (Kazakhstan),” the World and Olympic champion said.

“Odunayo Adekuoroye was superb. She was exceptional, unfortunately, we didn’t win the title as we had hoped to in this tournament, but hopefully, we are postponing it for the Olympics.

“Blessing Oborududu wrestled her heart out and was just unfortunate to have had a 2-2 (criteria) score in the semi-finals of the repechage against the Japanese Olympic champion (Sara Dosho) and didn’t quite qualify, but placed 7th in the World in her weight class.

“If you look at it, everybody wrestled very well. Mercy (Genesis) had close to 35 people in her weight class (50kg), and placed 18th. We had two people in the top 8 in the world, which is marvelous for a team such as ours. So I am really happy with the performance of the girls.”

Nigeria’s delegation to the World Championships, which is led by Igali himself, is expected back in the country on Tuesday via a Turkish Airline flight.

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Minister tasks NBBF on international success

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The Minister of Youth and Sports Development , Sunday Dare,  on Monday in Abuja met with the Executive Board of the Nigeria Basketball Federation led by Musa Kida and tasked them on winning more international laurels for the country.

While addressing the board members present, the Minister tasked the Musa Kida led federation to double their efforts to achieve more successes on the international stage.

The meeting according to the ministry is part of the ongoing drive by the Minister to get all federations on the same page ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and training plan for the male basketball team D’Tigers, who have secured a ticket and the Women’s team D’Tigress, with three more games in the qualifiers, were discussed at the meeting.

There were also discussions on NBBF’s financial situation with a view to exploring new funding options as well as a report submitted by NBBF in response to a request by the ministry.

The Minister expressed excitement over the qualification of the D’Tigers for the Olympics and pledged the ministry’s support towards NBBF’s preparation for the games.

“Nigerians are now beginning to take note of the excellent performance of the various basketball teams and are eager for more,” Dare said.

In his response , the NBBF President thanked the minister for his support throughout the World Cup  in China while expressing gratitude to His Excellency,  President Muhammadu Buhari for his support.

Kida reminded the minister about the women’s qualifiers for the Olympics starting in November.

He said the various leagues were on course while announcing the commencement of the Men’s Premier League in October which will enable Nigeria to present a team for the newly introduced FIBA Africa/NBA African championship.

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Lionel Messi wins FIFA Best Men’s Player Award

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Lionel Messi wins FIFA Best Men’s Player Award

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi won the best men’s player at the Best FIFA Football Awards in Milan as Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo and Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk missed out on the top prize.
It is the sixth time Messi has been voted the world’s best, after wins in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015.
The 32-year-old Argentine helped Barcelona win La Liga and reach the semi-finals of the Champions League.
United States forward Megan Rapinoe won the best women’s player award.

Klopp gets coach prize ahead of Guardiola and Pochettino

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was named men’s coach of the year after a season in which they beat Tottenham 2-0 to lift the Champions League.
The Reds also finished second in the Premier League with 97 points – the third-highest tally recorded in the competition.
Klopp was nominated for the award along with two other Premier League bosses – Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola and Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino.
“It is great, nobody expected this 20, 10, five, four years ago that I would be standing here,” said Klopp, whose team have won all six league matches at the start of the 2019-20 season.
“We know what an incredible job you [Mauricio Pochettino] did and what Pep did. I have to say thank you to my outstanding club Liverpool FC.
“To the owners thank you, they gave me an incredible team. I have to thank my team – as a coach you can only be as good as your team is. I’m really proud of being manager of such an incredible bunch of players.”
In accepting the award, Klopp announced that he is joining the Common Goal initiative set up by Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata. It means the Reds boss will donate 1% of his salary to the charity, which pledges to “generate social change and improve lives”.

Alisson and Bielsa are also winners

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson was also a winner as he took the best goalkeeper prize ahead of Manchester City’s Ederson and Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa won the fair play award after he ordered his team to allow Aston Villa to score an uncontested equaliser during their 1-1 draw in their Championship match in April.
Bielsa’s side had gone ahead controversially when the Villa players stopped as they expected the ball to be kicked out of play when Jonathan Kodjia was injured, before the Argentine intervened.
Eighteen-year-old Daniel Zsori won the Puskas award for the best goal with his spectacular 93rd-minute overhead kick for Debrecen against Ferencvaros, just after he came on as a substitute for his Hungarian league debut in February.
His strike beat Messi’s chip from the edge of the penalty area against Real Betis and Juan Quintero’s powerful 30-yard free-kick for River Plate against Racing Club, reports the BBC.

Fifa Fifpro Men’s Team of the Year

Goalkeeper – Alisson (Liverpool/Brazil)

Defenders – Matthijs de Ligt (Ajax and Juventus/Netherlands), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid/Spain), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool/Netherlands), Marcelo (Real Madrid/Brazil).

Midfielders – Luka Modric (Real Madrid/Croatia), Frenkie de Jong (Ajax and Barcelona/Netherlands), Eden Hazard (Chelsea and Real Madrid/Belgium)

Forwards – Kylian Mbappe (Paris St-Germain/France), Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus/Portugal), Lionel Messi (Barcelona/Argentina)

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CHAN 2020: Eagles apologise for Togo thrashing, promise comeback

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CHAN 2020: Eagles apologise for Togo thrashing, promise comeback

Super Eagles B have apologised to Nigerians for the poor result they posted against Togo on Sunday in an African Nations Championship qualifying match. The players, led by Eagles A goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa apologised to Nigerians for the shameful outing and promised to repay the Sparrow Hawks in bigger coins in the second leg and claim the Cameroon 2020 ticket.
Sparrow Hawks of Togo thrashed the Eagles 4-1 in a first leg, second round qualifying match of the 2020 African Nations Championship despite the Eagles being the first on the scoresheet after only eight minutes.
Addressing a disappointed Nigerian Ambassador to Togo, His Excellency Joseph Olusola Iji after the match, Ezenwa said what had happened on Sunday evening had gone to the past as the team would redeem itself in the final leg of the fixture on October 19.
“Sir, we have been truly honoured by your fatherly care for us since we arrived in this country. The Embassy has ensured everything worked for our comfort here. We are pained that we could not reciprocate with a good result from this match. As a team we apologise for what has happened. What we are saying to you and Nigerians is that we are sorry and that we would make it up by securing the ticket. Kindly exercise some patience with us.
“What we are saying in one sentence is that we will qualify; it is not over yet.”
The Ambassador, who had promised the team dinner in his residence, kept to his promise in spite of the result at Stade de Kegue.
“We are all pained but I understand how it works in sports; sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. I ask that you put this result behind you and work towards the ultimate goal of qualifying. The only way to make all Nigerians happy again and give back our voice to us in this country is that you beat them well when they visit Nigeria. And I am sure that you can achieve that.”
The leader of delegation, NFF Board Member Alhaji Ganiyu Majekodunmi said: “Your Excellency, I can tell you that this is far from the expectation of the Federation. But these young ones have truly shown remorse. They were so dejected to leave their hotel again.
“Please understand that it was a deliberate move to field largely a young team because we are also looking to the future and this team has faced difficult games in the past and came off successful. And I am sure that given what I have seen of them, the ultimate goal to get to Cameroon in 2020 would be achieved.”

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FIFA Football Awards: Bolt tips Van Dijk ahead of Messi, Ronaldo

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FIFA Football Awards:  Bolt tips Van Dijk ahead of Messi, Ronaldo

Athletics legend, Usain Bolt, spoke to FIFA.com about the chances of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi or Virgil van Dijk in the The Best FIFA Football Awards which takes place today.

 

 

 

FIFA.com: Usain, you recently announced you had relinquished your quest for a football career. Can you tell us about that decision, and could you be persuaded to give it another shot?

 

I love playing football but at my age and with all my other commitments, it was difficult to dedicate the time required to make it a success professionally. I will continue playing at celebrity and charity events like Soccer Aid.

 

If you’d attempted a career as a professional footballer as a teenager, instead of one as an athlete, how far do you think you could have gone in football?

 

 

It is hard to say. As much as I love football, I have no regrets as my T&F career has brought me a lot of success. I would not change anything.

 

 

Cristiano, Messi and Van Dijk are the three finalists for The Best FIFA Men’s Player award. Who do you think deserves it this year?

 

 

All three are wonderful players. I think Messi and Ronaldo have won this award five times each. Van Dijk just won the UEFA Award and based on the success of Liverpool last season it may be his turn. As a Manchester United fan, I would probably vote for Ronaldo!

Who do you think had the better career: Cristiano or Messi?

 

 

Both of them! I hear a lot of people have this debate but both of them are footballing geniuses. I have always been a big Ronaldo fan and I admire the way he has been successful in different leagues – England, Spain and now Italy.

 

Cristiano and Messi are both approaching the end of their careers. Who do you foresee taking over as the best player in the world?

 

There are a lot of exciting young players – Mbappe, Neymar Jr., Jadon Sancho. It will be interesting to see how the former Ajax players Mattthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong do at their new clubs, as well as Eden Hazard at Real. I am friends with Raheem Sterling, Paul Pogba and Leon Bailey and hope they can keep playing well.

As a wearer of Manchester red, what do you think of Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford?

 

Paul Pogba is a world-class player and Marcus Rashford is developing into one. I hope we can build a team around them to get us back to the top. It has been a difficult start for us this season, but hopefully we will find our rhythm and secure Champions League football for next year. I am a big Manchester United fan.

 

As the fastest man in history, you must appreciate what the rapid Kylian Mbappe did at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia and does for PSG?

 

 

Mbappe is a great player. He has speed, skill and can finish. He is still young but could play in any team in the world.

If you could choose three footballers, past or present, to run a 4×100 metres relay race with you, who would they be?

Ronaldo, Mbappe, Bale.

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Fashanu warns Tammy Abraham

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Fashanu warns Tammy Abraham
  • “Think before you choose England over Nigeria”

 

 

F

ormer Wimbledon FC striker, John Fashanu, has warned Chelsea’s current sensation, Tammy Abraham, to beware of being lured to play for the Three Lions, The English senior national team.

 

 

Fashanu who once choosed England over Nigeria told young Tammy during a television programme monitored in Abuja to learn from mistakes made by Nigerians like him, Gabriel Agbonlahor, late Ugo Ehiogu, Nedum Onuoha and Jordon Ibe, who only played few matches for England because of stiff competitions.

“So, I say to Tammy, think very well. When I went to play for England I could have played 100 games for the Super Eagles.

 

 

 

“But I got to play only two games for England (in 1989). Understand that if you are going to play for England, you are going to play four or five matches only because competition is stiff,” Fashanu told Tammy.

 

 

“When I got to Nigeria myself and I came three times, I realized that Nigeria football and English football are completely different. Nigerian football was taken from the Brazilians but football in England is rough, bullish and aggressive, completely different. That was many years ago,” Fashanu said.

“I realized that I could not play the Nigerian football. I was happy that as a black Nigerian, I would be able to break into the English national team.

 

”Possibly one of the best and biggest country in the world certainly then it was wonderful. To play with Paul Gascoigne, Peter Shilton, they were legends.

 

Abraham has scored seven Premier League goals in the current 2019/2020 season and was not considered for the 2018 World Cup by England.

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