Cote D’ Ivoire freestyler, Abdoul Titi Kone is one of the top stars expected to be on parade as the 2019 edition of African Freestyle championship comes to a close this weekend in Lagos.
The Balmoral Convention Centre of the Federal Palace Hotel in Lagos is the venue of hostilities where so much thrills will be displayed in the event organised by the Feet and tricks International Limited. Kone won the African title last year and all eyes will be on him in this edition.
He will have to wade off stiff challenge from Yousef Riesco of Egypt and Abdullah Emad of Sudan.
Riesco and Emad were second and third respectively last year. Obanor McCarthy who won the 2017 edition of the national event is also expected to stage a stiff opposition in an attempt to reclaim the crown from Blessed Ezeakabudu, who won last year. The Chairman Feet ‘N’ Tricks International Limited, Valentine Ozigbo, said all was set for the finals. “We have had so much fun this term and we expect that the finals will be better than that of last year,” Ozigbo said
Eaglets shove aside Korea, ready for World Cup
Golden Eaglets of Nigeria showed class as they defeated South Korea 4-2 in their second friendly game played at HWT Sports Academy in Sao Paulo on Wednesday evening.
Samson Tijani’s shot outside the box was headed into goal by Divine Nwachukwu in the 6th minute. It was an early goal, but the South Koreans were not rattled by the goal. Rather, they attacked their more illustrious opponents and were rewarded by a penalty theee minutes later after Usman Mohammed fouled Hong Sungwook inside the box.
Steven Sunday in goal for Nigeria streched full length in an attempt to stop the low drive penalty taken by Oh Jaehyeok, but he could not stop the kick from.
It was 1-1 after 10 minutes. The Koreas were all over the Eaglets, piling pressure, winning the balls in the midfield tussle and launching attack after attack, but their efforts only yielded some corner kicks and some shots on goal, which failed to beat Sunday. The Koreans were rewarded with another corner kick in the 40th minute and this time around, it was well taken by Lee Taeseok and Choi Minseo rose highest to nod the ball into the net and give the Asians the lead 2-1. The lead only lasted for a minute as the Golden Eaglets equalized through a goal mouth scramble. Olakunle Olusegun was well positioned to hit a low drive into the net.
Monsur Abdulsalam and Divine Nwachukwu gave way for Akinkunmi Amoo and Jabaar Ibraheem at the begining of second half. The fresh legs gave the Eaglets fresh initiatives in the attack. When it appeared that the game was headed for a draw with five minutes remaining, Jabaar set up Olusegun again with a defence splitting pass and the attacker dribbled both the defender and the goalkeeper to make it 3-2 for Nigeria in the 86th minute.
Eaglets saved the best goal for the last when Jabaar laid a pass for Charles Etim at the edge of the box and the defender hit the ball with a curly shot that sailed into the net to give Nigeria a 4-2 victory.
Amapakabo picks Ezenwa, Ibrahim, 18 others for Togo
Head Coach Imama Amapakabo has unveiled a list of 20 senior home –based professionals to take on Togo’s Sparrow Hawks in Saturday’s 2020 African Nations Championship qualifying final leg in Lagos.
Super Eagles’ goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa tops the list, with Nasarawa United’s stormy forward Sunusi Ibrahim and Akwa United’s Ndifreke Effiong, who netted a brace for the U23 team in the 5-0 defeat of Sudan in Asaba in September, also selected.
Kano Pillars’ ace Nyima Nwagua, Fatai Gbadamosi of Shooting Stars and Lobi Stars’ trio of Ebube Duru, Sikiru Alimi and John Lazarus make the list, alongside goalkeeper Adamu Abubakar of Wikki Tourists and Enugu Rangers’ Anthony Shimaga are included.
Nigeria has a mountain to surmount at the Agege Stadium, Lagos on Saturday, with Togo having won the first leg by a handsome 4-1 scoreline in Lome.
20 EAGLES TO WRESTLE DOWN SPARROW HAWKS
Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Heartland FC); Adamu Abubakar (Wikki Tourists); Theophilus Afelokhai (Enyimba FC); Nwagua Nyima (Kano Pillars); Stephen Manyo (Enyimba FC); Ifeanyi Nweke (Kano Pillars); Ifeanyi Anaemena (Enyimba FC); John Lazarus (Lobi Stars); Reuben Bala (Enyimba FC); Ifeanyi Nweke (Kano Pillars); Ebube Duru (Lobi Stars); Daniel James (Plateau United); Sikiru Alimi (Lobi Stars); Olisah Ndah (Remo Stars); Anthony Shimaga (Rangers International); Fatai Gbadamosi (Shooting Stars); Ibrahim Olawonye (Rangers International); Ndifreke Effiong (Akwa United); Samuel Mathias (Akwa United); Sunusi Ibrahim (Nasarawa United); Mfon Udoh (Akwa United)
Obaseki, Pinnick attend funeral mass for former NFF Vice President, Obaseki
The President, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, and Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo, were among the dignitaries who attended the funeral mass for late former NFF Vice President, Chief Oyuki Obaseki.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Pinnick led a delegation of the NFF, including the Vice President of the Federation, Seyi Akinwummi, to the funeral mass held at the United Baptist Church, Benin on Thursday.
Speaking at the mass, Obaseki commended the exemplary lifestyle of his late uncle, saying he was glue that held the family together.
Obaseki said: “A limb has fallen from the family tree. He represented so much and impacted the state and the nation positively.”
The governor thanked everyone who commiserated with the Obaseki family during the time of their grief.
In a sermon entitled “Put your Life in Order”, Rev. Osama Usuanlele, Prelate Spiritual Head of United Baptist Church, said it was appointed once to die, and after that, judgement.
Usuanlele said there was no particular age to die, urging believers to do good things while on earth.
“People will be remembered for what they did while on earth; so do what will add value to your life and to people’s lives”.
Late Obaseki was former National Chairman of the Nigerian Football League (NFL) and Vice President of the Nigeria Football Federation.
He became a registered member of Arsenal FC as far back as 1971 and was at various times, Chairman of Bendel Football Club.
His remains were later committed to mother earth at his residence in Benin.
Man United will reinforce squad in January – Solskjaer
Manchester United will try to sign one or two players in the January transfer window to improve their chances of finishing in the top four but will not spend big on transfer fees and wages, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said.
United are 12th in the Premier League ahead of Sunday’s home game against league leaders Liverpool after a poor start to the season that has been further disrupted by injuries to key players.
Solskjaer sanctioned the departures of forwards Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez in the close season without reinforcing United’s attack and the Norwegian also has goalkeeper David De Gea and midfielder Paul Pogba out injured, reports Reuters.
“We’re looking at one or two new signings. We’re one or two players light,” Solskjaer told Sky Sports here. “If the right ones are available in January then we might do something. If not, these players will give everything (for a top four finish).
“I’m not going to go down the route of bringing players in on big contracts and big fees if they’re not the right ones for the whole group and for the future. The money is there to strengthen in January and in the summer.”
United started the season with a 4-0 win over Chelsea but have scored five goals in seven league matches since and Solskjaer said an injury to forward Anthony Martial, who has not played since August, was a factor in their struggles.
“There’s many reasons, but one of them is injuries to Anthony,” the 46-year-old former United player said. “Creating chances has been a challenge for us with teams dropping deep.
“But we’re practising patterns every single week. When we get the players fit, I’m going to make Marcus and Anthony score those scruffy goals, as that’s what I did.”
Mba: Nigeria’s Nations Cup hero eyes return after two years out
Nigeria international midfielder Sunday Mba is keen to find a route back into football following an inactive two years.
The 30-year-old, who scored the Super Eagles’ winning goal in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations final, was released by Turkish club Yeni Malatyaspor in September 2017.
Mba has not played competitively since his last appearance against Sivasspor in May 2017, but believes he still has plenty to offer.
“As a free agent things are not really that easy, but you can only be hopeful,” he told BBC Sport.
“My desire is to get back into club football and I am working hard to start playing again.
“Football is everything I have and I cannot just give up. I believe there’s something out there for me.”
Mba played for both Enugu Rangers and Warri Wolves in the Nigerian top flight before switching to French club CA Bastia in January.
He left for Turkish side Yeni Malatyaspor in July 2015- where he netted eight goals in 55 appearances.
Out of the spotlight and keen on a return to competitive action, Mba understands the challenge that lies ahead.
“First you’d need the luck to find someone that believes in you and ready to give you a chance,” he said.
“I’ve continued to stay in shape, train daily and be physically ready for any opportunity.
“I still have something to give and will continue to stay mentally and physically ready.”
Despite playing all three matches at the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil, his international career stalled and he missed out on the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Mba scored twice to help his country’s B side to success at the regional West African Football Union (WAFU) Cup title in 2010.
He has scored three goals in 16 appearances for the three time African champions.
Boxer Day dies after suffering brain injury
Boxer Patrick Day has died aged 27 – four days after suffering a brain injury in a fight against Charles Conwell.
The American was put into a coma on Saturday after he was knocked out in the 10th round of his super welterweight bout in Chicago, reports the BBC.
Promoter Lou DiBella confirmed Day had died on Wednesday “surrounded by his family, close friends and members of his boxing team”.
“He was a son, brother, and good friend to many,” said a statement.
“Pat’s kindness, positivity, and generosity of spirit made a lasting impression with everyone he met.”
Day was taken from the ring on a stretcher after the conclusion of the fight on the undercard of Oleksandr Usyk’s heavyweight victory over Chazz Witherspoon in the US.
“Patrick Day didn’t need to box,” the statement from DiBella Entertainment continued. “He came from a good family, he was smart, educated, had good values and had other avenues available to him to earn a living.
“He chose to box, knowing the inherent risks that every fighter faces when he or she walks into a boxing ring. Boxing is what Pat loved to do. It’s how he inspired people and it was something that made him feel alive.”
Fellow American Conwell, 21, wrote an emotional letter to Day following the fight.
“I never meant this to happen to you, all I wanted to do was win,” he said.
“If I could take it all back, I would. No-one deserves this to happen to them.”
Day won 17 of his 22 fights, with four defeats and one draw.
In July, Russia’s Maxim Dadashev and Argentina’s Hugo Santillan both died following injuries sustained during fights.
“It becomes very difficult to explain away or justify the dangers of boxing at a time like this,” the statement continued.
“This is not a time where edicts or pronouncements are appropriate, or the answers are readily available. It is, however, a time for a call to action.
“While we don’t have the answers, we certainly know many of the questions, have the means to answer them, and have the opportunity to respond responsibly and accordingly and make boxing safer for all who participate.
“This is a way we can honour the legacy of Pat Day. Many people live much longer than Patrick’s 27 years, wondering if they made a difference or positively affected their world. This was not the case for Patrick Day when he left us.”
Boxing announcer Michael Buffer was among the first to pay tribute to Day, describing him as a “wonderful young man”, before adding “everyone in the boxing community is crushed”.
WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman said boxing had lost a “brave, kind and wonderful friend”.
Current Eagles can be great as ’94 squad – Bonfere Jo
Former Super Eagles coach, Bonfere Jo, believes the current national team has the capacity to achieve success like the 1994 and the 1996 squad that won the football event of the Atlanta Olympic Games.
Bonfere was the assistant coach to Clement Westerhof who won the Africa Cup of Nations in 1994 while he was in charge of the 1996 team that won Africa’s first Olympic Games gold medal.
Speaking with New Telegraph, the coach said the team, had shown, with the game against Brazil recently, that they are a great side.
The coach led the then U-23 team to a 4-3 defeat of Brazil in the semifinal of the football event of Atlanta Games and tipped the national team for greater things, he however advised them to work harder to achieve their potential.
“It is a bit difference, I led the U-23 team against them 23 years ago, but now the full national team played a 1-1draw with them,” he said.
“If you work very hard as a coach and with quality players, you can always get result, so that’s what Nigeria should continue to do.
“If you have good players and good man in front of them, then you can reach very high as a national team, otherwise it will be nothing.
“They have to work very hard as a team to achieve a greater height they deserve. They have all the opportunity to reach that height but hard work is quite necessary.”
Super Eagles are scheduled to face off against Benin and Lesotho in November as they begin their journey to the 2021 AFCON.
FIFA to pay Uzoho’s wages worth €20,548
FIFA will be responsible for Francis Uzoho’s wages for the entirety of the time he will be out of action, as part of their compensation scheme to clubs whose players suffered injury during international break.
The Super Eagles goalkeeper, suffered a horrific injury that will sidelined him for six months when he was on duty with Nigeria in their international friendly clash with Brazil in Singapore on Sunday.
The Super Eagles medical team however confirmed that the player would sit out of the actions for about six months , which means he might not play for the club again this season.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s friendly with Brazil was sanctioned by the world football governing body, coupled with the fact that the game was played on a date on the FIFA international match calendar and both teams did not make more than six substitutes each.
Therefore under FIFA’s Club Protection Programme, clubs whose players suffer injuries while in action for their country are compensated and the maximum daily compensation has been set at €20,548.
Although the money will be fixed salary that the club was pay to the player for that period and the player must be sidelined for more than 28 days before a claim can be processed.
CHAN Eagles can overrun Togo – Amapakabo
Coach of Super Eagles home-based team, Imama Amapakabo, has made it clear that the side must not fail as they continue their preparation ahead of the crunch clash with Togo in the second leg of the final qualifying round for the 2020 African Nations Championship.
The National Team B were battered 4-1 by the Sparrow Hawks of Togo before inflicting another defeat on the team when both sides met at the WAFU/FOX Cup of Nations in Senegal in recently.
Speaking at the team training camp in Lagos, Amapakabo said they have a big work on their hands and must be ready.
“We have a big job at hand, and I have been drumming it into the ears of the players that we cannot afford to fail,” the former Rangers of Enugu coach said.
“The Togolese won 4-1 on their home ground; nothing says we cannot do better on our own home ground.
“We have to be focused and determined. We must create chances and put them away, because we cannot afford not to be at the African Nations Championship,” said Amapakabo.
Meanwhile, the team continue to prepare themselves for the crucial task scheduled for this Saturday at the Agege Stadium, Lagos.
Amapakabo and wards have been training at the FIFA Goal Project, National Stadium, Abuja since returning from their expedition at the WAFU/FOX Cup of Nations in Senegal last week.
Nigeria finished as runner-up at the last edition of the African Nations Championship staged by Morocco early last year.
The winner over two legs between Nigeria and Togo will book a slot at the 6th African Nations Championship finals scheduled for Cameroon in June 2020.
Real ready to hijack Chukwueze deal from Barca, Atletico
Real Madrid are ready to snap up Nigeria’s Samuel Chukwueze ahead of rivals Barcelona and Atletico who have also shown interest.
Our correspondent learnt from a Spanish transfer market website Fichajes that the Los Blancos were considering a swoop for the Villarreal wonder kid to replace Wales star Gareth Bale if he leaves the capital outfit in the upcoming transfer windows.
Chukwueze has been on the radar of Atletico who attempted to prize him away during the last summer transfer window while Barcelona have already pencilled him down as alternative to Neymar should they fail to land the Brazilian next summer.
Bale has become increasingly unpopular at the Satiango Bernebue and has been tipped for a move away from the club.
Sources said Real were willing to allow the former Tottenham star leave after a deal to Chinese club Jiangsu Suning fed through at the last minute in the summer transfer window.
Fichajes also claimed that Los Blancos were combing the market for a winger and Chukwueze has emerged as a low cost alternative to replace Bale.
It has been suggested that Villarreal are resigned to losing Chukwueze at the end of the 2019-2020 season, with a host of clubs, including Liverpool, keen to sign the winger.
A prized move to a more glamorous club is on the cards for the Diamond Academy product, having impressed for club and country over the last one year.
Chukwueze dazzled for the Golden Eaglets at the 2015 FIFA U17 World Cup and was snapped up by Villarreal in August 2017 after turning 18.
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