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Xenophobia: Fashanu calls for global action

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Xenophobia: Fashanu calls for global action

…laments killings of Nigerians, others

 

As the air is heated up by the Xenophobic attacks on Nigerians by South Africans and destruction of their businesses in that country, former football star,John Fashanu, has said he is saddened by the development. Fashanu, a successful businessman, who is a lover and a global advocate of peace as United Nations’ International Ambassador, in his Abuja Sun City Villa did not hide his emotions over the situation he described as evil, barbaric, demonic and hellish.

The philanthropist and heavyweigh public figure, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to take immediate action to find safety for Nigerians while asking the South African President to call his people to order. He also called on United Nations, African Union and all concerned global leaders to rise up to stop this wickedness and witchcraft about to erode peace from the African Continent. Furthermore Fashanu spoke up against any form of attack meted or being meted on the blacks globally, stating that the blacks are richly blessed and that there is no crime in being a black. The former Wimbledon of England striker also emphasized the urgency of bringing to complete justice the perpetrators of this evil without delay.

In conclusion, he expressed his deep condolence to the families of the victims and urged Nigerian youths to follow the best pragmatic approach to finding justice rather than the violent counter attacks of businesses seen to be related to South Africa in Nigeria to avoid further e scalation.

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Sunday Dare: Dangote, Baba Ijebu ready to drive sports development

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Sunday Dare: Dangote, Baba Ijebu ready to drive sports development

Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare, in an interview with CHARLES OGUNDIYA has said the move by the country to have a good outing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games started on Tuesday, October 15, with the meeting with the Nigeria Olympic Committee, federation presidents and other stakeholders…

 

 

Since coming to office as the sports minister, you have been moving around the country, what have you been able to achieve?

I have been able to go around, in terms of not just familiarization but also trying to get identify some of the key areas I would be pursuing. When you talk about sports development, you talk about infrastructural rationalization without which you cannot talk about development. I am also interested in the equipment that we have. I have been able to get the sense of what obtained in the country. I am not happy that over the years we have not had a maintenance culture, in terms of maintenance and management of these facilities, which has deprived our athletes of the necessary structure they need to train and we just have to pay attention to restoring some of these major facilities. I am not talking about the football pitches and the terraces alone, I have also been to the indoor sports hall, I have seen a couple of areas like the weightlifting gym, the table tennis and so on. After what happened in Morocco, we could see that we are very strong in wrestling, table tennis, badminton and others like that so we need to bring back some of these sporting facilities and government is committed to doing that by working with the private sector.

What prospects do you foresee in terms of sports development in  Nigeria?

Actually the future of sports development in this country rests on three major sectors, one is  developing a business model around sports in this country, that is bringing private money and funding the public/private ownership. The second leg is creating some kind of sports funds that will take care of welfare, the grants, the stipends for the elite athletes and for the local athletes. The third leg has to do with the facilities and infrastructure; we must bring what we have back to standard. For instance this country should have nothing less than a dozen world standard football pitches, but right now we can only speak of about two but I can tell you confidently from the  engagement I have had – I just finished the second private meeting with Alhaji Aliko Dangote and I can tell you clearly that  there is massive progress.  Recently, I had a one hour meeting with Chief Adebutu Kessington (Baba Ijebu), solid promises, we are set on a road that is irreversible but will bring the changes we need; they will be incremental.

These problems already piled up from the last 20 years, but I can tell you that we are taking those steps to correct them and Nigerians will begin to see these facilities come back. These are the three major areas that will bring back the sport development we desire in this country.

You came to Lagos to witness the training of a private athletics club, the Making of Champions, what’s the fate of private initiatives like that?

I had to cancel my flight to really come and see the athletes and see those behind MoC and the fact that I was there was a validation that MoC is blazing a trail that I want to see happening in this country. If we have about 12 MoCs with the same kind of model across the country, then we can be sure that our talents scattered all over the country will be well trained and this should be a major partnership between the government and the private sector. At the MoC, we are looking at three or four athletes that are Olympic Games athletes and they are very young. Like I said the ministry will give them full support; we are going to partner with them. Not only that, we are going to look at other outfits with the same model across the country, bring them together because we are trying to also look at a model in which we coordinate and give them support. That’s another public/private partnership.

You watched the Super Eagles game against Brazil recently.  With the performance, would that serve as benchmark to what to expect against Benin and Lesotho when the 2021 AFCON qualifiers begin in November?

I will start from the Super Eagles, what we have are a bunch of talented young players and we have an opportunity of breeding a new set of superstars. They have been playing week-in-week-out for their professional clubs across the world, we need to keep them together, and also nurture them together. What we saw on display was excellent display of skills, these are players with abundant talents, I have no doubt about them and we have already seen the areas they need to improve which I am sure the coach, Gernot Rohr, would have looked into, but by and large we have seen that they are a dream team. I have no doubt that when we meet Benin, the boys will get the victory.

At the 2019 African Games in Morocco, you promised to set up an endowment fund to cater for athletes, how far have you gone?

I did say that and conversations are going on at the moment. We need to have private engagements, we need to have corporate engagement and individuals, this is progressing as we envisaged. Remember that Chief Iwuanyanwu was the chairman of the National Sports Endowment Funds, we want to take off from that place. There is a board and we are going to have a new chairman, however, we want to make it independent and bring in more people with financial clout that could put money into the fund. Eventually, that fund is supposed to take care of the athletes by way of sustenance, their health insurance, and also provide grants for the elite athletes and also would help directly and indirectly to upgrade the facilities and equipment that we have across the country. So that fund is coming back, repackaged with a new drive and vision. We have some people within the country that have never been involved directly in sports, we are pulling them to come in to do this for our sports development.

A year to the Olympics, from what you have seen so far, are we sure of medals in Tokyo?

I am an optimist, and it is too early to call in the scores of this country. The preparations for the Olympics actually start immediately after the completion of one, so beyond what we see in Morocco and Doha, these athletes have been going for different tournaments and competitions. Individually, they have been training hard, that’s the preparation, they only come to championships as a group to compete and from what we saw in Morocco is a benchmark, same thing as what happened in Doha. It took us seven years to get another medal at the World Athletics Championships in Doha, but there were lessons learnt from the competition. This time around we are not starting too late and not too early too, we have about nine months to go, and we are all ready. Recently I requested all the federation presidents to submit their reports, update on camping, training and the athletes they are looking a. Based on the experience we had in the past, we are going to focus on the area we have competitive advantage, where we have athletes on the world stage already. We are not looking at 20 sports but seven or eight. I had a meeting with the NOC and all the federation presidents and the secretary in Abuja on Tuesday so that we all could be on the same page. We are going to be professional about this, so Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, Nigeria will not be going there to try, but we are going there to compete for the gold, bronze and silver.

How early are we going to see the camping and also the funding for the Games?

Basically if we have the funds, we are going to do maybe six months of camping. In the past we usually had three months, but this time around we are looking at five months, and that journey from the administrative aspects started last week Tuesday, when we brought all the key stakeholders and the drivers –  that is the federations – we started that process and we are going to have camping in three or four different locations depending on which sports. We are going to be focusing on sports that we can really compete and then we go there and compete.

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CAF Confederation Cup: I’m under pressure to qualify for group stages –Abdallah

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CAF Confederation Cup: I’m under pressure to qualify for group stages –Abdallah

Enyimba FC head coach, Ibrahim Abdallah, has disclosed that he is under pressure to qualify the club to the group stages of the CAF Confederation Cup.

The Nigeria Professional Football League champions dropped to the second tier of the CAF competitions after they were eliminated from the Champions League by Al Hilal of Sudan in the final qualifying round.

Enyimba will have to beat TS Galaxy from South Africa to qualify to the group stages of the Confederation Cup, a competition they played to the semifinal stages two years ago.

Speaking after his side played a 1-1 draw against MFM in Lagos on Wednesday, Abdallah said he is looking forward to securing qualification to the group stages before thinking of the next game.

“I think the main pressure is going to be how to make it to the group stages and from there making it out of the group and then the pressure would continue again for the quarterfinal, semifinal,” he said.

“We want to do much better than we did last time we played in the competition (playing in the semifinal). The most important thing now is that we want to qualify for the group stages.

“So if I happen to pass that, then probably I will be in the final, but it’s not something we have to start talking about now, the most important thing is the pressure to qualify, so that’s where we put our mind.”

Meanwhile, the coach has expressed happiness with the fast approaching league commencement date.

It would be recalled that the League Management Company announced November 3 as the new resumption date for the 2019/2020 league season.

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Tottenham, Watford clash, others live on GOtv

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Tottenham, Watford clash, others live on GOtv

series of exciting Premier League, LaLiga and Serie A matches will be available on GOtv this weekend.

For as low as N2,600, customers on lower GOtv packages – Plus, Value and Lite – can step up to GOtv Max to enjoy the select premium matches from the top football leagues which will be broadcast live on SuperSport.

The Premier League returns on Saturday, 19 October after a two-week international break. The match between Tottenham Hotspur and Watford at the White Heart Lane will air live on SuperSport Select 2 at 3pm. Spurs are currently besieged by crisis after losing two of their last five Premier League matches, as well being defeated in their recent League Cup and UEFA Champions League fixture. The team led by Maurico Pochettino is currently ninth on the table. Watford, on the other hand, are languishing at the bottom of the table, despite changing their managers. The return of Enrique Sánchez Flores does not seem to have improved the fortune of the Honets

The pick of the LaLiga games is the encounter between Eibar and defending champions, Barcelona. The game, which kicks off at 12pm on Saturday will be live on SuperSport Select 4. Eibar, who have the third best defense in the LaLiga, will aim to lengthen their unbeaten run from four to five games when they host Ernesto Valverde’s men at the Estadio Municipal de Ipurua. The Catalans, who started their title defense in sloppy form, will be aiming for a win to enable them topple leaders, Real Madrid, who are only two points better.

Also on Saturday, Atletico Madrid will host Valencia in their ninth game of the season at the Wanda Metropolitano in the Spanish capital.  The match will air live at 3pm on SuperSport Select 4.

The day’s schedule will be rounded off with the broadcast of the match between Mallorca and Real Madrid on SuperSport Select 4 at 8pm. Real have shaken off their indifferent early season form and currently top the table in Spain.

In the Serie A, defending champions, Juventus, will seek to widen their advantage over Inter Milan when they host Bologna at Juventus Stadium in Turin. The match will be live on SuperSport Select 5 at 7:45pm. In their last match, the defending Serie A champions defeated their major rivals Inter Milan 2-1 away from home to seize the leadership of the league from Antonio Conte’s team.

On Monday, 21 October, the Premier League action returns as Arsenal travel to Bramall Lane to battle newly promoted Sheffield United. Arsenal will seek to continue their climb up the table. The currently occupy the third place on 15 points, just one behind incumbent Premier League champions, Manchester City.  The match will be aired live on SuperSport Select 2 at 8pm.

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Edo State Sports Commission Law: Obaseki, a man of vision –Dudu-Orumen

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Edo State Sports Commission Law: Obaseki, a man of vision –Dudu-Orumen

Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has been described as a man of vision and a passionate supporter of sports in the state.

Barrister Godwin Dudu-Orumen, Chairman of Edo State Sports Commission(ESSC), made the declaration on the heels of the signing of the commission bill into law on Tuesday by the governor.

The ESSC boss said Governor Obaseki’s decision to scrap the Sports Council and replace it with the sports commission, reflected his understanding of the fundamentals of modern sports administration and the need to align Edo State with global best practices in sports. He stated that by his action in creating the sports commission and working assiduously to ensure that it became a legal entity, Governor Obaseki had cemented for himself, a place of honour in the annals of sports not only in Edo State but in Nigeria as a whole.

“It takes man who understands modern trends in sports administration to take the bold step of creating a sports commission. Governor Obaseki like all men of vision, understands that the sports council is no longer adequate to fulfill the needs of a rapidly expanding and increasingly complex sports industry. He has by creating  the Edo State Sports Commission and signing it into law, ensured that sports in Edo State will not only thrive but will become a reference point nationally and internationally. We thank the governor for this laudable step and assure him that at the Edo State Sports Commission, we will work tirelessly to deliver on our mandate,” Dudu-Orumen said.

He was also appreciative of the effort and commitment of members of the Edo State House of Assembly led by Speaker Frank Okiye in passing the bill into law in good time.

“I have nothing but respect and admiration for Speaker Okiye and his colleagues in the Edo State House of Assembly for running with the vision of the governor and for making valuable inputs in the bill. I thank them for making the commission become a reality,” Dudu-Orumen stated.

The ESSC chairman also thanked the media for its support and commitment in seeing the commission become a legal entity.

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Nig vs Togo: Pick right players, Oparaku tells Amapakabo

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Nig vs Togo: Pick right players, Oparaku tells Amapakabo

 

Ex-international, Mobi Oparaku, has advised the coach of Home-based Super Eagles, Imama Amapakabo, to start players who are technically and tactically ready as they attempt to snatch the ticket to the 2020 African Nations Championship from the Sparrow Hawks of Togo today.

The Nigerian side fell to a scandalous 4-1 defeat to Togo in the first leg in Lome last month and they are now looking forward to overturning that deficit in the second leg which comes up today at the Agege Stadium, Lagos.

Oparaku said the team could achieve their ambition if only the coach uses the right players.

“Amakapabor has to be very careful in picking his players and giving instructions in a tactical and technical manner to the team because they may go there and mess up and they will start exhibiting what they want, neglecting what the coach has instructed,” he warned in an interview with Saturday Telegraph.

Oparaku challenged the players to exhibit strong tactical and technical discipline by playing to the coach’s instructions.

“The problem of today’s players especially those in the national team is that when they are called up to play for the team they start to feel like they are on top of the world. I want the players to listen to Amakapabo; it is going to be a tough game but they can overturn the result and qualify for CHAN,” he said.         

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Emmanuel Amuneke: Eagles’ youthfulness, big plus for Nigeria

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Emmanuel Amuneke: Eagles’  youthfulness, big plus for Nigeria

…says NFF should take advantage of youngsters

former Golden Eaglets coach and former international, Emmanuel Amuneke, has urged the Nigeria Football Federation to take advantage of the youthfulness of the current Super Eagles to raise another golden generation for Nigeria.

Amuneke, speaking to Saturday Telegraph exclusively noted that it was clear that another golden generation was in the offing for Nigeria but so much work was required to enable this to be a reality.

The former international was part of Nigeria’s golden generation of footballers. He scored the country’s two goals in the 2-1 win over Zambia in the AFCON ’94 final in Tunisia. He also scored Nigeria’s only goal in the in the 2-1 defeat against Italy at the USA ’94 World Cup.

Amuneke told our correspondent from his base in Spain that the likes of Victor Osimhen, Samuel Chukwueze, Alex Iwobi, Joe Aribo, Samuel Kalu, Winfred Ndidi, Henru Onyekuru and Francis Uzoho are big assets to the country.

He said: “What we are experiencing now is a big surge of quality players breaking into the team and doing very great with so much promise.

“I can confirm that this scenario was similar to our time in the 90s which people refer to as the golden generation. We achieved so much because we were together for very long period of time. The understanding came naturally and we were all friends.

“The current boys might even get better because about 10 of them are between 19 and 23, so they can still serve for eight to 10 years and play in two or three World Cups for Nigeria.”

The former international who took Tanzania national team to their first AFCON in 39 years only last summer said the NFF would have to work closely with the handlers of the Eagles to get the best from these youngsters.

“These guys will make their mistakes but they will get better and because of the years ahead, it’s a plus for the team. The NFF should monitor  and motivate them because the maturity is not there yet but it will set in gradually but I’m certain that Nigeria is going to be great in a few years because we are yet to see the best of the current team,” Amuneke added.

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Man Utd v Liverpool: Red Devils will have to wait a week to improve – Klopp

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Man Utd v Liverpool: Red Devils will have to wait a week to improve – Klopp

Manchester United “will have to wait a week” if they want to change their season, says Jurgen Klopp.
Klopp’s Liverpool travel to Old Trafford on Sunday eight points clear at the top of the Premier League and 15 points ahead of 12th-placed United, reports the BBC.
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said it is the “perfect game” to motivate his struggling side.
Klopp said: “I don’t think there are a lot of teams who would love to play against us at the moment.”
The German added: “It looks like Manchester United is the only team that wants to play us, and we have to make sure that is a misunderstanding.
“I would do the same if the situation was the other way around. This is the game [where] we can change the world; that is the way I would prepare [for] it.
“They are in a situation that they don’t like and they want to change it. We just have to make sure that if they want to change it, they start a week later and that’s all.”
United’s only victory in their past five games was a penalty shootout win over Rochdale in the Carabao Cup, and their form has increased pressure on Solskjaer.
Klopp said he wants every manager to have “as much time in the world” but added that “no club is willing to wait for success”.
Solskjaer actually won two more points from his first 29 matches in charge of United than Klopp did after taking over at Liverpool in 2015.
Asked about the comparison, Klopp said: “After my 29 games, there was not 100% agreement I was the perfect manager for Liverpool.”
He added: “I have no clue about his position. It’s not important what you are writing, really.
“It’s more important what the board are telling him. I don’t have an opinion.”

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Osimhen wins French Player of the Month award

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Osimhen wins French Player of the Month award

Lille’s Nigeria international Victor Osimhen has been named September’s French Ligue 1 Player of the Month.

The 20-year-old striker, who joined the club in August from Belgian side RSC Charleroi, scored twice and provided two assists in five matches last month as Lille climbed into the top five.

“It’s been an amazing time at this club and to get this award is surreal,” Osimhen told BBC Sport.

“I’m grateful to those who voted, thankful to my teammates, our backroom staff and the entire Lille fans for the love.

“I never expected this to happen so soon but I guess this is what comes when you are surrounded by great players, loved ones and the blessings of God.”

Osimhen saw off the challenges of Monaco’s Algerian international Islam Slimani and veteran Nantes defender Nicolas Pallois to the monthly honour awarded by the Player’s Union (UNFP).

He succeeds Angola-born Rennes midfielder Eduardo Camavinga, who won the August award and became the youngest ever winner at the age of 16.

An incredible two months for Osimhen in the colours of Lille has resulted in eight goals in 11 appearances for the northern club.

He also scored on his full debut for Nigeria in a 2-2 friendly draw against Ukraine in September.

Osimhen was the top scorer as Nigeria clinched a fifth Under-17 World Cup title in 2015 with 10 goals in Chile, which saw him win the Golden Boot and Silver Ball.

After the tournament he decided against joining English side Arsenal, to sign with the 2009 German champions Wolfsburg in January 2016, but injuries and lack of opportunities restricted him to 16 appearances for the club in all competitions before moving to Belgium.

Osimhen was also part of the Nigeria side that won the Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations in Senegal in November 2015, which also qualified them for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

His exploits saw him crowned the 2015 Confederation of African Football (CAF) Youth Player of the Year.

He has played for Nigeria at all levels, from Under-17 to the full senior side, for whom he has won seven caps.

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Chukwueze has potential to be great – Elaho

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Chukwueze has potential to be great  – Elaho

A former Super Eagles left winger, Friday Elaho, has paid glowing tribute to Samuel Chukwueze, a player whose style reminds fans of the retired winger’s dazzling runs down the left channel in his heyday in the national team. Elaho stated that the young winger has the potential to be great if he continues to play the way he does at the moment.

Chukwueze, who has been a revelation since breaking into the national team at July’s African Cup of Nations in Egypt where the Super Eagles picked a bronze medal, also dazzled in the international friendly match against Brazil on Sunday, and Elaho noted that this is just a sign of things to come.

“Chukwueze is a great prospect and if he continues on this trajectory, he has a good career ahead of him. You can see the way he plays, he has no fear; he carries the ball to the opponents and causes confusion through the left flank. That is also the way he plays in Villarreal and he has transferred that to the national team,” the ex-Eagles star stated.

Elaho who was a member of the Super Eagles side that won a silver medal at the AFCON in Algeria in 1990, however advised the 20-year-old star to be calm at all times and not get carried away by his early success.

He said: “My only advice to him is to be hardworking and calm. Those are very important elements in a successful football career. He can’t afford to be carried away at this stage in his career. If he remains committed and focused, he will have a great career.”

The former Bendel Insurance and Brondy of Denmark star also took time to assess the current Super Eagles following their penultimate friendly match against Ukraine and the recent one against Brazil. Both matches ended in draws with the team putting up good performances on both occasions.

“The current team is good, and another thing they have going for them is that they are very young. In another two to three years, they will be more mature and that is when we will see the best of them. My only hope is that they remain consistent,” Elaho added.

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Osimhen valued at 48m Euros

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Osimhen valued at 48m Euros

Victor Osimhen is “the sensation of the moment” in the French Ligue 1 and this could well see his club Lille sell him for a staggering 48 million Euros or more, according to a top commentator.

Osimhen reportedly cost Lille 12 million Euros when he switched in the summer from Belgian club Sporting Charleroi.

A total of eight goals in all competitions including the UEFA Champions League could now see the striker make a big money move soon.

“The club (Lille) are already rubbing their hands because if he continues like this, the clubs will stand in line for him at the end of the season,” French football expert Sirik Geffray told Sporza.

“You know how English clubs are, for example. Then his price of 12 million Euros could be three or four times.”

He added: “He is the sensation of the moment .

“A striker who has not yet turned 21 and who did not have to struggle when he made the switch from Belgium to France, where he was expected to first learn the ropes.

“The talk now is that he is already ready for a step higher because he is already a finished article.”

Leading Spanish sports newspaper AS have already reported that Osimhen tops FC Barcelona shopping list as a replacement for Luis Saurez.

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