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Furniture company, Lifemate, boosts event

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orld-class host of the biggest freestyle football tournament in Africa, Feet ‘N’ Tricks International Limited, has added Africa’s leading furniture company; Lifemate Furniture Limited, as sponsor for its final stage of the 2019 African Freestyle Football championship.

 

 

The event which is set to take place on the September 14th and 15th 2019 at the Balmoral Convention Centre, Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos is going to be one of its kind, with esteemed guests from different parts of the world coming together to celebrate the beauty of Freestyle Football.

 

Feet ‘N’ Tricks is committed to building awareness on freestyle football – a globally recognized sport – in Africa while simultaneously discovering and nurturing exceptional talents. The freestyle competition made its debut edition in 2017 and has since provided amazing opportunities to its participants.

 

Founded  in Nigeria in 2002, Lifemate Nigeria Limited is a multinational furniture company that engages  in six large production categories spanning home furniture, office furniture, kitchen cabinets, etc.

The spokesperson, Lifemate Nigeria Limited on the sponsorship said: “There’s an incredibly strong alignment between our organization and Feet ‘N’ Tricks’ commitments to promoting high-impact sports activities throughout Africa, and the world at large. The company is delighted to work with Feet N’ Tricks, following its much-lauded success of the African Freestyle Football Championship since 2018”. Lifemate will continue to actively support the organisation’s drive.”

 

 

The Chairman Feet ‘N’ Tricks International Limited, Valentine Ozigbo, also said: “This is a wonderful time in our company’s journey. This sponsorship is an affirmation to the growing interest in Freestyle Football in Africa and we look forward to creating an exciting experience for our freestyle football talents, partners and esteemed guests. We are deeply excited.”

 

The 2019 African Freestyle Football Championship tournament commenced with the regional auditions, which took place in Lagos, Warri, Owerri and Abuja with over 200 freestylers, and select freestylers qualifying for the final stage.

 

 

Qualified participants will battle for the for the national championships title on the 14th of September while freestylers from other African countries will be live to partake in the African Freestyle Football Championship on the 15th of September, at the Balmoral Convention Center, Federal Palace Hotel, Lagos.

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Cameroon 2021: Senegal start well as other African heavyweights struggle

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Cameroon 2021: Senegal start well as other African heavyweights struggle

Senegal showed their teeth on the opening day of qualifiers for the 2021 African Cup of Nations but other continental heavyweights struggled to find form on Wednesday.

Nigeria could only scrape a 2-1 home win over tiny neighbours Benin while Cameroon were held to an embarrassing home draw by the Cape Verde Islands.

Cameroon are hosts of the next finals but are also participating in the qualifying competition, reports Reuters.

Assan Cessay scored two goals in two minutes for the Gambia, who went onto cause an upset by winning 3-1 in Angola to secure their first away victory in a Cup of Nations or World Cup qualifier.

There were also wins for the Central African Republic, Guinea Bissau, Malawi, Namibia and Sudan and a potential valuable away point for the small mountain kingdom of Lesotho, who drew 1-1 in Sierra Leone.

Senegal, runners-up in this year’s Nations Cup in Egypt, beat Congo 2-0 at home with first-half goals from Sidy Sarr and Habib Diallo as Sadio Mane provided an assist.

Nigeria went behind after nine minutes in Uyo where Stephane Sessegnon scored for Benin but a penalty from Victor Osimhen and the winner from Samuel Kalu ensured a narrow win.

It is the fourth time in five games that goal-shy Cameroon have played out a goalless draw in a stuttering start for new coach Toni Conceição.

Angola were ahead after two minutes through Wilson Eduardo but were hit by a double from FC Zurich striker Cessay before Sulayman Marreh added a third for Gambia on the stroke of fulltime.

Gambia had not won in 39 previous away qualifiers, including losing in Luanda two months ago in the 2022 World Cup preliminaries.

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Ex-Super Eagles player,Dickson Etuhu, found guilty of match-fixing

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Ex-Super Eagles player,Dickson Etuhu, found guilty of match-fixing

A Swedish appeals court has found former Nigeria international Dickson Etuhu guilty for attempted match-fixing.

The Court of Appeals in Stockholm said in a release on Wednesday said that it was clear that Etuhu and an unnamed former player tried to influence AIK keeper Kyriakos “Kenny” Stamatopoulos to fix a match in Sweden’s top division in 2017, reports the BBC.

Etuhu, who played for several English clubs including Manchester City, Sunderland and Fulham, escaped a jail sentence but was instead fined and sentenced to serve probation, without further details being made public.

The 37-year-old, who left AIK Solna in 2016, says he will be appealing against the ruling at the Supreme Court.

The court said that “the content of what the men submitted to the player (Stamatopoulos) was so clear that it should be considered a criminal offer of bribe.”

Etuhu had intially been acquitted by a court last year but that was appealed by prosecutor Johan Lindmark, who told local Swedish newspaper ‘Expressen’ that he was satisfied with today’s outcome.

“It was with satisfaction that I received the verdict today,” Lindmark said.

“I had appealed on the grounds that I thought the court of law would change and was not surprised when I saw the verdict.”

Etuhu played 20 times for the Super Eagles including at two Africa Cup of Nations in 2008 and 2010 as well as the World Cup in South Africa.

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Rohr vs NFF: Much ado about nothing

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Rohr vs NFF: Much ado about nothing

It is obvious, even if they will not admit it, that the Nigeria Football Federation hierarchy and Super Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr are not on the best of terms. The two parties cannot seem to agree on anything these days: from salary payments to contract renewal and squads, the two parties have been knocking heads lately. The once chummy relationship between Rohr and NFF President Amaju Pinnick is apparently on the rocks and it looks inevitable that the two will soon ‘file for divorce’.

At first, the noise was about Rohr’s salaries. While the German insisted that he was owed several months in back wages, the NFF claimed they owed only one month. After some back and forth, the arrears were cleared and everything seemed to be back on track. But then came the issue of Rohr’s contract which expires in June next year. Normally this should not be a big deal: the contract is either renewed or not. However, speaking about it on television recently, Pinnick opened another can of worms.

The NFF boss announced new terms for a contract extension, with a key condition that the coach must focus more on the Nigeria Professional Football League and spend more time in Nigeria. Notably, this had not been an issue in Rohr’s first two years in charge and Pinnick had appeared to be satisfied with the coach’s work. “Rohr’s contract is due for renewal in June and we don’t have any issue with him right now,” Pinnick said in a Channels TV interview last week.

“(If we’re to offer a new contract) we’ll strengthen the clauses that domesticate Rohr himself in Nigeria and to our leagues. He needs to go round, watch some of the leagues.” Pinnick has played the perfect politician’s game right there, claiming there is no issue while clearly highlighting that it is no longer business as usual with Rohr.

The German, never one to back down from any battle even if it’s one which he cannot win, in typical fashion stood his ground when confronted with Pinnick’s quote on the eve of his team’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Benin Republic. Rohr denied knowledge of any contract talks as he spoke to the press in Uyo ahead of Wednesday’s fixture against the Squirrels. “No he (Amaju Pinnick) did not speak about it at all. But I know that he has sometimes a different opinion like me,” Rohr said.

“But that is football. I never accepted to make a choice coming from the officials. My choice is to take the best players. “Unfortunately, we could not take more players from the league because they did not play (the NPFL went on a long break). So it was difficult for them to be fit.

The CHAN team also did not qualify. This is also proof that perhaps they missed competition. “I am sure that they have good players here. One of them is Ifeanyi Anaemena from Enyimba who replaces (Bryan) Idowu who could not come. Instead of searching out a player from Europe we picked this young boy. “We try all the time to give the best.

I know that some people may not be happy about my choice but it is my choice and it is always honest.” The key bone of contention here appears to be the need to have more NPFL players in Rohr’s squad going forward, although there is probably a lot more to it than meets the eye. Squad selection should not be a problem since it is the coach’s prerogative. The buck stops at his desk and he gets to get the credit or blame depending on results.

If Rohr and his assistants have not seen players in the NPFL good enough to be in his plans for now, so be it. He is the head coach and he knows the quality of players he needs to get results. A lot has been said about including home-based players in the Super Eagles regularly, but the truth remains that senior national teams are meant for a country’s best players. It’s common knowledge that Nigeria’s best players are based in Europe, the Mecca of world football. Almost every single footballer on earth with ambition wants to take his career to the big leagues of Europe (the English Premier League, the Italian Serie A, the Spanish LaLiga, the German Bundesliga and the French Ligue 1), including players currently in the NPFL.

It is from these championships that Rohr regularly draws his squad from. Where is the problem? Of course if an exceptional talent emerges in the NPFL, Rohr should give him a shot but it remains the coach’s call. Personally, I do not believe Rohr has been a raging success with the Super Eagles.

I felt the team should have done better at both the World Cup in 2018 and AFCON this year, the two tournaments he has attended. But he has his good sides: he has brought a lot of young players through and his squads are not usually filled with players who got in through the back door.

His press conferences and interviews are usually open, engaging and enlightening too. For the sake of the national team and the whole of Nigerian football, the NFF and Rohr should sheathe their swords and work together in harmony.

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Why I make late substitutions in games – Rohr

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Why I make late substitutions in  games – Rohr

Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr has lifted the lid on why he makes late substitutions in games.

Most of the substitutions by the German tactician often take place towards the end of the match.

The Super Eagles boss, however,  slated that his decision was to ensure he does not make mistakes and gives ample time for the players in the starting XI to make an impact.

“I always try to give the starting XI enough time to express themselves,” Rohr told the media.

“I also have to be very sure that the player I want to take off has done all he can during his time on the field of play.”

Nigeria will take on the Republic of Benin in their opening Group L Africa Cup of Nations qualifying game at Godswill Akpabio Stadium on Wednesday.

The three-time African champions will thereafter travel to Setsoto Stadium to slug it out with Lesotho in their second group match on Sunday.

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AFCON 2021: Eagles pip gritty Squirels

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AFCON 2021: Eagles pip gritty Squirels

…as Osimhen, Kalu shoot Nigeria to Group L lead

 

Super Eagles started their 2021 African Cup of Nations qualifying campaign on a winning note after they defeated the Squirrels of Benin republic at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium on Wednesday.

The victory moves the Super Eagles top of Group L after one round of fixtures, with Sierra Leone and Lesotho having played out a 1-1 draw in Freetown at the same time.

Striker Victor Osimhen scored a second half penalty to cancel out Stephane Sessegnon’s early goal  and Samuel Kalu produced a sublime efforst later in the game to earn the Eagles the victory.

Gernot Rohr made four changes to the side that executed the last international game versus Brazil, with Daniel Akpeyi, Wilfred Ndidi, Ola Aina and Samuel Kalu afforded starting spots in Uyo.

Nigeria suffered a blow after just three minutes in when some sloppy defending allowed Sessegnon to slot past  Akpeyi and put the visitors ahead.

Gernot Rohr’s troops were stunned following Benin’s goal, and they struggled to regain their composure in the aftermath of their West African neighbours going in front.

The Super Eagles only settled as half-time approached with Samuel Chukwueze hitting the frame of the goal in the 40th minute.

The three-time African champions weren’t to be denied, though, as Victor Osimhen dispatched a penalty on the stroke of the break after Ola Aina was fouled.

Rohr’s men started the second-half the brighter of the two sides without really making Fabien Farnolle work in the Benin goal.

The hosts completed the comeback just after the hour mark. Bordeaux wideman Kalu beat a couple of defenders and shot past Farnolle, who had no chance as the effort was cleanly struck and well-placed.

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Eagles still lack cohesion – Sodje

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Eagles still lack cohesion – Sodje

Ex-international Sam Sodje has said the Super Eagles Manager Gernot Rohr still has a lot of work to do on his team following their performance in their 2-1 win over Benin Republic in a 2021 African Cup of Nations qualifying match on Wednesday.

The former West Brom of England defender told our correspondent after the game that the team struggled in all departments and lacked cohesion in the encounter.

He said although there were no minnows in African football anymore, the Eagles should have asserted their authority on their opponents with their performance.

“Of course the team needs to improve in so many areas; it is difficult to mention a particular department but they need to play more as a team. We saw that there were no enough communication and cohesion and they were generally scrappy but I am sure the coach has noticed some of the mistakes and will work on them going forward,” he said.

However, the former Reading star hailed the players’ mentality, praising them for coming from behind to record the victory.

“We didn’t start the game very well but credit must be given to the team for overcoming that setback to record victory. In football, result is what that is matter not the way you play and it is good that they were able to defeat Benin Republic today,’ he said.

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Qualifying for OQT is not negotiable – Otis

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Qualifying for OQT is not negotiable – Otis

As Nigerians eargerly anticipate the commencement of the FIBA Africa pre-Olympic qualifiers, head coach of senior women national team, Otis Hughley says the team is fully focused on the task ahead. After masterminding the team to the 2019 Afrobasket title which has seen the D’Tigress climb to the number one spot in Africa according to the latest FIBA ranking, Otis said qualification for the 2020 Olympics Qualifying Tournament (OQT) is not negotiable. Speaking from the team’s base in Maputo, Hughley confirmed that preparation is going on as planned with all invited players ready to give their best when they start their pre-qualifiers campaign.

“We are aware of the task ahead of us. The culture of basketball is fast growing in Nigeria and the people are expecting us to win everytime we file out. These expectations have continued to spur us to want to give our all and represent the country the best that we can.”

Speaking further, Hughley said, “We must continue to show the world that we deserved to be the best in Africa and also become one of the best in the world.” According to him, the team ranked 16th in the world can get better and climb higher while achieving greater things as a group.

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GOtv Boxing Night Mini: Boxers talk tough

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GOtv Boxing Night Mini:  Boxers talk tough

Boxers billed to fight at the maiden edition of GOtv Boxing Night Mini have been speaking of their preparations ahead of the event billed to hold on Saturday at the Rowe Park Sports Complex, Yaba, Lagos. Typically, the boxers’ comments have been marked by boasts about their abilities and how such would swing things in their way.

Some of the boxers scheduled to be in action are Rilwan “Real One” Oladosu, reigning West African Boxing Union (WABU) lightweight champion; Rilwan “Baby Face” Babatunde, West African Boxing Union (WABU) welterweight champion, Waheed “Showmax” Shogbamu, Ola Adebakin and Cynthia “Omo Bobby” Ogunsemilore.

Oladosu, who is billed to take on  Adebakin in a national lightweight challenge, declared himself ready, willing and able to see off his opponent without fuss.

“ I am unstoppable. Tell Adebakin that he will see hell. I don’t even need to exert myself. I’m sufficiently prepared and he’d feel the full force of my preparation,” he said.

The lesser known Adebakin, however, responded that while he is an underdog, he will show Oladosu that underdogs can bite and dangerously, too. He bragged that he will inflict on the WABU champion his first defeat as a professional.

“Real One might be better known, but that will count for nothing when we step into the ring. He isn’t familiar with me, but did know him well, including his weaknesses. I’m ready to exploit this and put him where he belongs: on the canvas,” he bragged.

WABU welterweight champion, Rilwan “Baby Face” Babatunde, is also in war mood,  issuing a strong warning to his opponent, Dennis “The Range” Mba.   He said he has seen media reports quoting Mba as threatening him with defeat, something for which he would make him pay. “I’ve seen him boast in media reports, but he’ll be sorry at the end of the fight. He’d be treated like every other opponent who’s been foolish enough to face me,” he said.

Waheed “Showmax” Shogbamu and Semiu “Jagaban” Olopade have similarly swapped boasts, with the former vowing to leave his opponent in tears and blood.

Also, Ogunsemilore, who is billed to take on take on Omowunmi “Mummy’s Pet” Akinsanya in a national super featherweight challenge, said she expects to win the bout and improve her fight record.

“I am well prepared for this fight and I am primed to ensure Akinsanya continues to remain a “Mummy’s Pet” in the ring. I really need the win in order to show that my nascent boxing career is really progressing,” she said.

Also on the bout card is a national cruiserweight challenge between Kabiru “KB Godson” Towolawi and Tunji “Germani” Olajide.

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Abuja J5 ITF tennis:Abua, Ibrahim secure slots in second round

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Abuja J5 ITF tennis:Abua, Ibrahim secure slots in second round

Nigeria’s Canice Abua advanced to the second round of the NTF International Junior Championships Wednesday following a straight-sets victory over Ghanaian 6th seed, Desmond Ayaaba, in Abuja.

Abua, who surprisingly claimed the ITF Junior title last week is bidding for a back-to-back successes  thus stretched his win streak to six matches at the Nigerian capital. Up next for the star prospect is Rubi Toba, who outclassed Bulus Bulus 6-2, 6-0 in an all Nigeria clash.

Elsewhere, 2nd seed, Assil Boussayri of Morocco, brushed Kumabo Kundams of India 6-1, 6-0 to set up a meeting with Nigeria’s Gabriel Friday. 5th seed, Joshua Aji, eased past Ghana’s Ivan Wularu 6-2, 6-2, while Wilson Igbinovia defeated Musa Sani 6-2, 6-3.

Also, homeboy Suleiman Ibrahim, a qualifier, was in superb form against Habila Haggai, of Morocco dropping just a game in a comprehensive 6-0, 6-1 victory to also advance to the second round, while Ojo Fredrick was rock-solid against Friday Ismaila, winning 6-4, 6-4.

India’s Siddharth Tirupati suffered his second straight first round defeat, as he was beaten 6-3, 7-5 by Nigerian qualifier, David Dawariye

In the girls field, 3rd seeded Ivorian, Blanche Minet began her campaign on a good note, as she defeated Nigeria’s Joy Samuel in straight sets 6-0, 7-5 So also was French teenager, Iantsatiana Ratovondrahona made light work of Naomi Samuel for the second consecutive week, winning 6-0, 6-2 to stretch her head-to-head superiority over the Nigerian to 2-0.

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Ex-Eagles midfielder guilty of match-fixing in Sweden

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Ex-Eagles midfielder guilty of match-fixing in Sweden

Former Nigeria international Dickson Etuhu has been found guilty of attempted match-fixing by a Swedish appeals court. The Court of Appeal in Stockholm said in a release on Wednesday that it was clear that Etuhu and an unnamed former player tried to influence AIK keeper Kyriakos “Kenny” Stamatopoulos to fix a match in Sweden’s top division in 2017.

Etuhu, who played for several English clubs including Manchester City, Sunderland, Preston, Blackburn and Fulham, escaped a jail sentence but was instead fined and sentenced to serve probation, without further details being made public. The 37-year-old, who left AIK Solna in 2016, says he will be appealing against the ruling at the Supreme Court.

The court said that “the content of what the men submitted to the player (Stamatopoulos) was so clear that it should be considered a criminal offer of bribe.” Etuhu had intially been acquitted by a court last year but that was appealed by prosecutor Johan Lindmark, who told local Swedish newspaper Expressen that he was satisfied with Wednesday’s outcome. “It was with satisfaction that I received the verdict today,” Lindmark said.

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