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Tokyo 2020 ticket: D’Tigers face Côte d’Ivoire in crunch tie

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Tokyo 2020 ticket: D’Tigers face Côte d’Ivoire in crunch tie

D’Tigers on Thursday arrived in Guangzhou in time for their classification game against Cote d’Ivoire.

Having narrowly missed out of the second round ticket, the team has now set their sight on picking an automatic ticket to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Head Coach, Alex Nwora said that with the victory against Korea on Tuesday, there was everything to fight for starting with the important game against their West African rivals.

“The team has continued to improve and we hope to step it up on Thursday. Tunisia, Senegal, Angola and Côte d’Ivoire will all be desperate to get the Olympic ticket. So we must get our acts right and get the job done.”

During the final phase of the World Cup qualifiers, Nigeria defeated Côte d’Ivoire in Lagos 84-73 points before suffering an away 72-46 points defeat in Abidjan  to hand the Ivorians a World Cup qualification lifeline.

Nwora said all records are now in the past with all teams in search of a ticket to Tokyo.

“We have played each other in the past but this is different. The stakes are now high and we are all aware of that. All the games we played in the past will count for nothing at this stage.

NBBF President, Musa Kida said considering the financial implications of prosecuting the Olympics Qualification Tournament (OQT), it’s important for the team grab the only ticket on offer for Africa at the World Cup.

“Inviting players, camping them and playing the OQT will involve money which can be channeled to developing basketball back home. The boys are fully aware of what is at stake and the need to continue their winning run.”

For D’Tigers to stand a chance of qualifying, they must win their games against Côte d’Ivoire and host- China to emerge as the highest placed team in Africa having enjoyed a better points deficit compared to the other four African teams.

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La Liga considers legal action over new El Clasico date

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La Liga considers legal action over new El Clasico date

La Liga is considering legal action after the postponed El Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid was rescheduled for December 18 by the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).

The match was set for 12:00 BST on Saturday in Barcelona but was postponed at La Liga’s request due to fears of civil unrest.

There was a week of protests in Barcelona after nine Catalan separatist leaders were jailed earlier this month.

La Liga had proposed December 4, reports the BBC.

Both clubs put forward Wednesday, December 18 after being asked to agree on a new date by RFEF’s competitions committee, who signed off the decision on Wednesday.

The first round of the Copa del Rey is set to take place on the same date.

“La Liga doesn’t agree with the competition committee’s decision to stipulate  December 18 – after an agreement was reached between Barcelona and Real Madrid, despite La Liga’s objections – as the date in which the postponed Clasico should be played,” La Liga said in a statement.

“We are studying the documentation that we have recently received regarding the process in which the decision was taken.

“This is in order to evaluate taking possible legal action and against whom it should be tabled, before the relevant and opportune public organisations or legal organisms.”

Barcelona and Real Madrid disagreed with La Liga’s earlier call to switch the game to Madrid.

Catalonia is a semi-autonomous region in north-east Spain and in a referendum on  October 1, 2017, declared illegal by Spain’s Constitutional Court, around 90% of Catalan votes cast backed independence. Turnout was 43%.

The nine separatist leaders were convicted of sedition over their role in the referendum and handed jail sentences of between nine and 13 years by Spain’s Supreme Court.

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JUST IN: This weekend’s El Clasico shifted to Dec 18

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JUST IN: This weekend’s El Clasico shifted to Dec 18

This weekend’s El Clasico match between Barcelona and Real Madrid has been shifted to December 18.

The announcement was made by the Spanish Royal Football Federation (RFEF) Competition Committee on Wednesday.

The match was supposed to have taken place at the Camp Nou this weekend but had to be postponed due to the political unrest in Catalonia.

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UEFA League roundup: Mbappé, Sterling score hat-trick in PSG, City routs

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UEFA League roundup: Mbappé, Sterling score hat-trick in PSG, City routs

Kylian Mbappé came off the bench to grab a second half hat-trick and inspire Paris Saint-Germain to a runaway 5-0 victory at Belgium’s Club Brugge in the Champions League on Wednesday.

The win kept up their 100% record in Group A with the French team on nine points at the halfway mark and on the cusp of qualification for the next phase, a comfortable five points ahead of second placed Real Madrid, who won 1-0 against Galatasaray in Turkey.

Juventus forward Paulo Dybala scored twice in three minutes late in the game to give the Turin side a 2-1 win over Lokomotiv Moscowafter the Russians had taken a shock first-half lead, reports The Press Association.

Aleksei Miranchuk stunned the Juventus Stadium by putting the visitors ahead after half an hour of the Group D match despite the home side having 70% of possession in the first half.

Lokomotiv’s blanket defence frustrated the Serie A champions until Dybala equalised with an exquisite shot from outside the area in the 77th minute and the Argentine struck again three minutes later to complete a dramatic win.

In the other game in Group D Atlético Madrid substitute Álvaro Morata scored a late second half header to give his team a 1-0 victory over Bayer Leverkusen.

Bayern Munich needed two goals from their top scorer Robert Lewandowski to sneak past hosts Olympiakos 3-2 on Tuesday and remain top of their Champions League.

The win lifted Bayern to nine point from three games. Tottenham crushed Red Star Belgrade 5-0 to move up to second place on four, one ahead of the Serbs.

And in Group C, Shakhtar Donetsk and Dinamo Zagreb played out a 2-2 draw, with Dodo’s 75th-minute equaliser.

And on a night of firsts for Manchester City, they could savour Raheem Sterling’s maiden Champions League hat-trick. If the only red card of Phil Foden’s career was a footnote, a superlative display by Sterling, who epitomises Pep Guardiola’s quest for perpetual, exponential improvement brought another milestone in his development. It was all the more remarkable as it came in 11 minutes and as he had already played a part in City’s first two goals. They scored five to give them a five-point lead in Group C. It was quite a turnaround after trailing to Atalanta. If Sergio Agüero’s double gave City a further reason to be relieved he escaped unhurt from a car crash last week, even he was overshadowed by Sterling.

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UEFA League roundup: Mbappé, Sterling score hat-tricks in PSG, City routs

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UEFA League roundup: Mbappé, Sterling score hat-tricks in PSG, City routs

Kylian Mbappé came off the bench to grab a second half hat-trick and inspire Paris Saint-Germain to a runaway 5-0 victory at Belgium’s Club Brugge in the Champions League on Wednesday.

The win kept up their 100% record in Group A with the French team on nine points at the halfway mark and on the cusp of qualification for the next phase, a comfortable five points ahead of second placed Real Madrid, who won 1-0 against Galatasaray in Turkey.

Juventus forward Paulo Dybala scored twice in three minutes late in the game to give the Turin side a 2-1 win over Lokomotiv Moscowafter the Russians had taken a shock first-half lead, reports The Press Association.

Aleksei Miranchuk stunned the Juventus Stadium by putting the visitors ahead after half an hour of the Group D match despite the home side having 70% of possession in the first half.

Lokomotiv’s blanket defence frustrated the Serie A champions until Dybala equalised with an exquisite shot from outside the area in the 77th minute and the Argentine struck again three minutes later to complete a dramatic win.

In the other game in Group D Atlético Madrid substitute Álvaro Morata scored a late second half header to give his team a 1-0 victory over Bayer Leverkusen.

Bayern Munich needed two goals from their top scorer Robert Lewandowski to sneak past hosts Olympiakos 3-2 on Tuesday and remain top of their Champions League.

The win lifted Bayern to nine point from three games. Tottenham crushed Red Star Belgrade 5-0 to move up to second place on four, one ahead of the Serbs.

And in Group C, Shakhtar Donetsk and Dinamo Zagreb played out a 2-2 draw, with Dodo’s 75th-minute equaliser.

And on a night of firsts for Manchester City, they could savour Raheem Sterling’s maiden Champions League hat-trick. If the only red card of Phil Foden’s career was a footnote, a superlative display by Sterling, who epitomises Pep Guardiola’s quest for perpetual, exponential improvement brought another milestone in his development. It was all the more remarkable as it came in 11 minutes and as he had already played a part in City’s first two goals. They scored five to give them a five-point lead in Group C. It was quite a turnaround after trailing to Atalanta. If Sergio Agüero’s double gave City a further reason to be relieved he escaped unhurt from a car crash last week, even he was overshadowed by Sterling.

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FIFA U-17 World Cup: Expect a fantastic team – Garba

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FIFA U-17 World Cup: Expect a fantastic team – Garba

W

ith the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup taking centre stage from this weekend in Brazil, coach of the Golden Eaglets, Manu Garba, has assured Nigerians and the World of a fantastic team performing better than they did at the U-17 Africa Cup of Nations played in Tanzania early this year.

 

After finishing champions in 2013 and 2015, the Eaglets failed to defend their title in 2017 as they failed to qualify. They however finished fourth at the African U-17 Championship behind Angola, who beat the favourites 2-1 in the match for third place.

 

Nigeria have been grouped in Group B alongside Hungary, Ecuador and Australia with their opening game coming up against Hungary on Saturday, October 26.

 

Speaking with FIFA.com, Garba, said they had the trophy in sight once again.

 

“Everyone should get ready to see a fantastic Nigerian team that play great football and have the trophy in their sights,” Garba said.

 

“Ecuador, Hungary and Australia are undoubtedly strong teams that we respect, but we are record-breaking world champions and I was involved in two of our title wins.

 

“The will to win every game is part of the DNA of every Nigerian team, and my team here in Brazil is no exception.”

 

Indeed, Garba was head coach when the African side clinched victory in the United Arab Emirates in 2013, and served as Yemi Tella’s assistant six years earlier.

 

Meanwhile, the assistant coach of the team, Uduka Ugbade, has declared that the team must work very hard if they are to qualify from their group as they begin their quest for a record sixth title.

 

 

Ugbade said they must be wary of the teams in their group, while also charging the players to be hardworking and never underrate their opponents.

 

He told www.brila.net that, “As the most successful team in the U-17 world cup from the past and to this present, it’s so funny that now we are meeting Hungary again since 1985 that we met them in the quarter-finals.

 

“And you know Ecuador as well, we are not going to say they are an easy country to deal with and football is on the rise in Australia as well. So we have a very big work to do to sort these teams.”

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Iwobi can’t play as Everton’s number 10 – Bent

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Iwobi can’t play as Everton’s number 10 – Bent

F

ormer Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa striker Darren Bent believes Alex Iwobi does not have the quality to play in the number 10 role for Everton.

 

The Nigeria international was deployed to the attacking midfield position in the Toffees’ 2-0 victory against West Ham United last Saturday and featured for 87 minutes before making way for Gylfi Sigurdsson.

 

 

The former England international lauded the performance of the 23-year-old but claimed he is not good enough for the central attacking midfield role.

“He’s a funny one as for me he works really hard,” Bent told Football Insider

“Any player would want him in their team as he works so hard but my only issue with him is that if you’re going to play that No.10 role you need to have better quality on the ball.

 

 

“For me, too many times, he’ll pick the wrong option as he’ll shoot rather than pass or overshoot his pass, so if you’re going to play a No.10 it needs to be someone like Sigurdsson.

 

“He’s got that kind of technique, which he showed with the second goal, that means he can play No.10 and Iwobi, for a manager, he is a manager’s dream as he works really hard but to play No.10, you need to have more quality.”

 

 

Iwobi has scored two goals and provided one assist in eight appearances since his summer switch from Arsenal.

The utility player will be expected to play a role when Everton take on Brighton and Hove Albion in their next league game on October 26.

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NFF defies minister on redeployment of women dept head

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NFF defies minister on redeployment of women dept head

T

he Nigeria Football Federation  has defied the order of Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, on the redeployment of its Head of Women Department, Ruth David, who was allegedly fingered for the exit of Super Falcons coach Thomas Dennerby.

 

 

The connected lady  has now been named as the Head of International competitions in the Glass House.

 

 

David was Head of Women’s football during which time she was alleged to have frustrated Dennerby causing the Swedish coach to walk out on the women’s national team.

 

 

In Dennerby’s absence, Nigeria scandalously crashed out of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to Cote d’Ivoire.

 

 

And now as head of international competitions David will also oversee the Super Falcons.

 

“This appointment is against the orders of the minister as she is still very much involved with a technical aspect of the NFF, more or less the same role she was playing as head of women’s football,” an official of NFF said

 

“She ought to have been redeployed to the administrative or the accounts department, but certainly not a related competitions position.”

 

Top officials made entreaties to the minister when the order to redeploy her was made.

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Osimhen clever, dangerous, Chukwueze warns Valencia

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Osimhen clever, dangerous, Chukwueze warns Valencia

…as Lille host Valencia in Champions League today

 

…eagles striker can wreck any team – Esin

 

 

S

uper Eagles striker Victor Osimhen will be looking forward to scoring his second UEFA Champions League goal and lead his French side Lille to their first victory in the tournament when they confront Valencia today and his national teammate Samuel Chukwueze warned the Spanish side the striker could wreck them.

 

 

Osimhen announced his arrival on the big stage when he scored Lille’s only goal in their 2-1 loss to Chelsea on Match Day 2 to the admiration of Blues coach Frank Lampard who rated the Nigerian as the biggest threat for his side in the encounter.

 

 

Lille Metropolle has been the slaughter slab for Osimhen where he has scored eight of his side 12 goals on that ground ands it remains to be seen how Valencia will stop the rampaging striker.

 

Chukwueze knows all about the qualities of the Lille number seven, having played together with him in the Golden Eaglets, Flying Eagles and Olympic Team before they were promoted to the Super Eagles and the youngster has warned the Spanish side to watch out for his teammate.

 

 

 

“He is a great player, he has a lot of speed and [eye for] goal, he reads [the opposition] very well. He is a very complete forward,” Chukwueze told Spanish online news outlet, Superdeporte.es.

 

Ex-international, Etim Esin, believes Osimhen has proved he can hold his own against any team in the world and challenged the striker to maintain the consistency.

 

“Osimhem is a huge talent; he is proving that he can become one of the biggest forwards in the world and you saw the way he played against Chelsea in their last match in the Champions League, he showed class.

 

 

“I look forward to another fantastic showing from him when they play on Wednesday again. I want to see that consistency because that is what is important for a youngster. He needs to keep working hard and Champions League is a big stage for him to show the world he is getting to that level where he will be regarded as one of the best,” he said.

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Champions League: Salah returns for Liverpool

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Champions League: Salah returns for Liverpool

M

ohamed Salah has returned to Liverpool training ahead of their Champions League meeting with Genk on Wednesday.

 

 

There is, however, no Trent Alexander-Arnold for the trip to Belgium, with the England right-back having remained in Liverpool due to a virus.

 

 

Egypt star Salah missed Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United due to an ankle injury sustained before the international break but is now poised to feature in the midweek encounter.

 

 

Divock Origi took his place at Old Trafford, where a late Adam Lallana strike was sufficient to preserve the Reds’ undefeated record in the Premier League but not enough to maintain their remarkable sequence of victories.

 

 

It seems that the 27-year-old, who scored 27 goals in 52 outings last term, could be back in the starting XI in Genk, despite the club playing their cards close to their chest when discussing his condition in recent days.

 

 

This will come as a major boost to the team, who missed his presence at the weekend.

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Zenith Bank Women’s Basketball League Final 8: First Bank, Air Warriors cruise to semis

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Zenith Bank Women’s Basketball League Final 8: First Bank, Air Warriors cruise to semis

T

he two top teams at the 2019 Zenith Bank Women’s Basketball League Final 8 both qualified for the semi-finals of the competition with emphatic wins at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium, Lagos on Tuesday.

 

Having both topped their groups with 100 percent win records, First Bank and Air Warriors eased towards an anticipated confrontation in the final with big victories over Black Gold and Plateau Rocks as expected.

 

The Elephant Ladies, who are on a quest for their 10th national title, thrashed Black Gold 90-32 in the first quarter-final to claim their fourth straight post-season victory.

 

 

Grace John had a game-high 17 points and added four assists to power favourites past the underdogs who have now lost all of their four Zenith Bank Women’s Basketball League National Final 8 games.

 

Ifunanya Okoro contributed 16 points, five assists and five rebounds as the champions cruised into the last four stage.

 

Air Warriors, who won all their three games to top the Group B table, ruthlessly dealt with Plateau Rocks 103-50 points.

 

Murjanatu Musa of Air Warriors scored an impressive 26 points and bagged two assists and 12 rebounds to drive her team to victory against the team that finished bottom of Group A.

 

The semi-finals are billed for Wednesday with the final scheduled for Thursday.

 

The champions of the competition and runners-up will represent Nigeria at the FIBA Africa Zone 3 Champions Cup qualifiers in Cotonou from 28 October to 3 November.

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