Another Brazil, Nigeria clash comes quickly as five-time world champions, Golden Eaglets of Nigeria tackle Sao Paulo FC in a friendly game on Monday, as part of their preparations for this year’s FIFA U17 World Cup finals starting in Brazil on October 26.
Having settled down in the city of Sao Paulo and gradually adapting to the high altitude weather, the Nigerian side will file out against Sao Paulo FC’s U17 team at the Saropoca Sports Complex at 3pm local time, which is 7pm Nigerian time.
Speaking to thenff.com in Sao Paulo after breakfast on Sunday, Head Coach Manu Garba disclosed that the friendly game will be a good test for the players, to see how they are quickly settling down to the task ahead when the global championship kicks off in a fortnight.
“The team will play Sao Paulo FC and we want to see how they are adapting to some of the things learnt in the training sessions since we came to Sao Paulo,” Manu Garba said.
“The friendly game against Sao Paulo FC is one of the friendly games we have lined up for the team. The team will play Japan next in another friendly game before the end of the week,” he added.
Nigeria will begin her quest for honours at the 2019 FIFA U17 World Cup with a game against Hungary on October 26.
Non-league clubs equal penalty shootout record with 34 spot-kicks
A non-league cup match has equalled the record for the longest penalty shootout in English football.
Taunton Town and Truro City needed 34 spot-kicks to separate them after drawing 2-2 in the Southern League Challenge Cup second round.
They equalled the record set in an EFL Trophy match between Chelsea’s under-23 side and Oxford Unitedin 2016, reports the BBC.
Taunton finally won the shootout 12-11 when Jack Rice netted their 17th penalty to send his side through.
The two sides finished 3-3 after the regulation first five penalties, and both scored with their next five in sudden death.
Each team missed their 11th penalty and scored from the next three before appearing to lose their nerve.
Both missed kicks 15 and 16 and Truro’s Austen Booth also missed his side’s 17th to allow Rice to finally settle the tie with the fifth opportunity his side had to wrap up the shootout.
“Thirty-four minutes, 34 penalties and then I had to rebuild the penalty spot afterwards. It was mad,” Taunton chairman Kevin Sturmey, who doubles up as head groundsman, told BBC Somerset.
“We had two opportunities to win it on penalties 32 and 33 and missed them both; one would have been signalled a wide in cricket.”
The 34 kicks might equal the English record, but it’s small fry compared to the longest shootout anywhere.
The world record at a professional level was established in 2005 when a Namibian Cup tie was settled after 48 spot-kicks.
In that game, KK Palace held their nerve to defeat the Civics 17-16 following a 2-2 draw.
Taunton do not have a game on Saturday, having previously been knocked out of the FA Trophy.
Their next fixture is a friendly with Bideford on Tuesday and a relieved Sturmey added: “There’s definitely not going to be a penalty shootout.”
Dina Asher-Smith wins top sports award after historic World Championships success
British sprinter Dina Asher-Smith has been named Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year for 2019.
The 23-year-old became the first British woman to win a major global sprint title when she stormed to victory in the 200m at the World Championships in Doha in October.
It is the second successive year that Asher-Smith has claimed the accolade, reports the BBC.
England’s netball team won the Team of the Year award after finishing third at July’s World Cup in Liverpool.
They had also won the same award in 2018 after claiming a memorable gold at the Commonwealth Games.
As well as 200m gold, Asher-Smith also won 100m and 4x100m silver, making her the first athlete, male or female, since Mary Rand in 1964 to win three medals at the same global championships.
Katarina Johnson-Thompson, who ended her wait for her first global outdoor title by winning heptathlon gold at the World Championships, finished second.
Horse rider Khadijah Mellah won the Young Sportswoman of the Year. The 18-year-old won the all-female Magnolia Cup at Goodwood in August aboard 25-1 outsider Haverland.
Swimmer Alice Tai won the Disability Sportswoman of the Year after finishing the World Para Swimming Championships in September as the competition’s most decorated athlete, winning six golds from six races.
I’m coming out of retirement – Floyd Mayweather
Floyd Mayweather is teasing yet another comeback.
The former multi-division boxing world champion posted a photo on his Instagram account late Friday night with his hands tapped and with him wearing boxing trunks. The caption read: “Coming out of retirement in 2020.”
The timing of the statement seems bizarre after he told Reuters earlier this week he was done with the “very brutal sport” of boxing. The 42-year-old Mayweather stated that he’s had calls to return to boxing, but “my health is my health” while noting “a lot of fighters have died” inside the ring in the past few years.
It’s unclear from the post what type of comeback Mayweather, who finished with a 50-0 professional record including a win over the UFC’s Conor McGregor in 2017, is talking about, reports the New York Post.
He had told Reuters he plans to focus on his chain of Mayweather Boxing + Fitness gyms and his promotion company. An hour earlier, Mayweather posted a photo of him sitting alongside UFC President Dana White saying they were working together to “bring the world another spectacular event in 2020.”
Mayweather also retired in 2015, only to comeback to fight McGregor. There have been recent rumors of Mayweather returning for rematches with Canelo Alvarez and Manny Pacquiao and McGregor has made overtures for another fight. His last bout technically was an exhibition against Japanese kickboxing star in Tenshin Nasukawa in on December 31, 2018 thay ending with Mayweather winning by first-round TKO.
Mayweather didn’t rule out doing more fights similar that.
“I’ll still travel and do exhibitions. I make great money doing exhibitions — between 10 and 30 million dollars,” he told Reuters. “I think I make more doing that than most fighters make fighting.”
National teams’ failure: Thank God for Super Eagles
Like a raging fire at a plastic factory, failure ripped through Nigerian football in the last few months. That failure nearly consumed everything in its path except for the Super Eagles.
From the Super Falcons to the Golden Eaglets, the CHAN Eagles and the Olympic Eagles, every Nigerian national team that participated in any competition in a period of few months did not succeed.
The senior women’s national team got eliminated from the race to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics after losing to Cote d’Ivoire on aggregate in the qualifiers. Despite fielding a strong team of some of Africa’s finest women’s footballers, the African champions could not overcome their West African rivals.
The Super Falcons’ ouster followed a crisis which eventually led to the fractious exit of their Swedish head coach Thomas Dennerby, who had earlier in the year managed the team to a less-than-stellar outing at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.
More woes were to follow for Nigeria as the home-based Super Eagles were unable to qualify for the African Nations Championship. The team, coached by Imama Amapakabo, lost scandalously to tiny Togo 4-1 in Lome in the first leg of the qualifiers and a 2-0 win in Lagos was too little, too late. The team will not be attending a tournament whose final they reached just last year in Morocco. In fact, this is the first time Nigeria will be missing CHAN since 2014.
In between the two CHAN qualifying matches, the Eagles lost again to Togo at the West African Football Union Cup where they failed woefully, completing Nigeria’s shame and bringing negative attention to the Nigeria Professional Football League.
As if that was not enough, the Golden Eaglets came up with their worst FIFA U-17 World Cup performance since 2003.
The Eaglets hardly ever disappoint but they did so in large doses in Brazil in November. Their tendency to start poorly only to finish strong finally caught up with the Nigerian youngsters as they lost 3-1 to Holland in their round of 16 clash.
The Eaglets had come from behind to beat Hungary 4-2 and Ecuador 3-2 and still won their group despite a 2-1 defeat to Australia.
But the chaotic play of Manu Garba’s boy could not survive an organised Dutch side in the round of 16. The five-time champions were on their way home early.
Perhaps the most painful of the poor Nigerian results was the U-23 team’s elimination from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Amapakabo, after overseeing that CHAN farce, was somehow still allowed to lead the Olympic Eagles to Egypt for the U-23 Africa Cup of Nations, which served as the qualifying tournament for the Tokyo Games.
All Nigeria needed to do was finish in the top three among the eight participating nations. But that was too much of a tall order for Amapakabo and his team as they scored in and won only one of their three group games.
The team that won bronze at the last Olympics will not be going for this one.
In the midst of all the negativity, the Super Eagles faced two 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Benin Republic and Lesotho. Two matches you would expect the three-time African champions to win against their underdog opponents.
But the Super Eagles also toyed with disaster before pulling through. They conceded first in both games before beating Benin 2-1 in Uyo and Lesotho 4-2 in Maseru.
The Super Eagles prevented total disaster for the country and the Nigeria Football Federation but the poor results prompted the sports minister Sunday Dare to speak out and seek solutions.
Like an oasis in the middle of the desert, the Super Eagles provided some temporary succour but it was not enough.
After the 0-0 draw against South Africa that ended the U-23s participation in Cairo, Dare tweeted:
“Nigeria’s game against S.A. which ended in a draw concentrates the mind. Time to take a look back and find out where the rain began to beat us. Like I said before, our football needs a return to the basics of grassroot football, pristine sports admin, sound technical coaching…
“Government will take appropriate steps and in a timely fashion to improve our football fortunes. Current outcomes offer the opportunity to review, restrategize and develop a long term plan for football development. We will dust up great ideas already abandoned and implement.
“Nigerian football across the spectrum will benefit from this new outlook which will involve critical stakeholders. Government, mindful that Nigeria is a football nation will be bold in embracing best practices in modern football.”
Big words, but Nigeria has always had the right words. It is the right action that has been lacking over the years.
If Dare goes ahead to make an attempt to rebuild Nigerian football and other sports from the ground up, results will improve and sportsmen and women will be better for it.
The minister is hopefully on the right path and he is ready to drag the NFF along.
“Football :Yesterday I led the Ministry of Youth and Sports in a meeting with the NFF,” he tweeted on Tuesday. “A single agenda meeting: to provide an explanation to the country as to why we suffered several failures recently – towards taking appropriate and far reaching steps to improve Nigerian football.”
Please take these ‘far-reaching steps’, oga minister.
Akpeyi suspended in South Africa
Super Eagles goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi has been ruled out of Kaizer Chiefs’ Telkom Cup semifinal clash against Maritzburg United slated for Sunday at the Mbombela Stadium.
Akpeyi manned the posts in Super Eagles’ back to back wins in the 2021 AFCON qualifying matches this past week.
However, the goalkeeper will sit out of the cup clash after receiving his fourth booking of the season in the Amakhosi’s 3-2 win over Orlando Pirates.
The 33-year-old who was outstanding for Kaizer Chief in the round of 16 and quarter-finals of the competition, has left head coach Ernst Middendorp in search of a suitable replacement.
“It’s something we know, the next game against Maritzburg on November 24, Akpeyi can’t play, so we have to go very clearly into it,” Middendorp told kickoff.com.
“We don’t have Erick Mathoho available, so we have little time to look into it.
“We are looking into what their strong side is in terms of the setup and elements, then we’ll try to prepare ourselves to be successful in that game.”
Akpeyi has made eight appearances for the Amakhosi this season keeping four clean sheets in the process.
Ighalo, Iwobi, Ndidi, Uzoho shortlisted for 2019 CAF Best XI
The Nigerian quartet could be rewarded for their impressive displays this year, having been nominated for the continent’s best XI
Former Nigeria international Odion Ighalo, Alex Iwobi, Wilfred Ndidi and Francis Uzoho have been shortlisted for the 2019 Caf best XI.
Shanghai Greenland Shenhua striker Ighalo delivered impressive showings at this year’s Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
The former Watford forward scored five goals in the competition to win the Golden Boot award and helped the Super Eagles clinch their eighth bronze medal before his retirement from international duty.
Leicester City combative midfielder, Ndidi has been a consistent performer for both club and country, finishing as the 2018-19 Premier League top tackler.
Everton midfielder Alex Iwobi and AC Omonia goalkeeper Uzoho also played key roles for the Super Eagles in Egypt and will hope to make the final team.
The Caf best XI will be announced in a ceremony on January 7, 2020.
CAF best XI
Goalkeepers: Moez Ben Cherifia, Yassine Bonnou, Mohamed El Shenaway, Sylvain Gbohouo, Rais M’bolhi, Edouard Mendy, Richard Ofori, Andre Onana, Denis Onyango, Francis Uzoho
Defenders: Youcef Atal, Serge Aurier, Mehdi Benatia, Ahmed El-Mohammadi, Lamine Gassama, Faouzi Ghoulam, Achraf Hakimi, Ahmed Hegazi, Kalidou Koulibaly, Christian Luyindama, Issa Mandi, Joel Matip, Noussair Mazraoui, Yassine Meriah, Youssouf Sabaly.
Midfielders: Andre-Frank Anguissa, Ismael Bennacer, Sofiane Feghouli, Idrissa Gueye, Tarek Hamed, Alex Iwobi, Wahbi Khazri, Naby Keita, Franck Kessie, Wilfried Ndidi, Riyad Mahrez, Thomas Partey, Mubarak Wakaso, Victor Wanyama, Hakim Ziyech.
Forwards: Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, Jordan Ayew, Anis Badri, Cedric Bakambu, Youcef Belaili, Baghdad Bounedjah, Odion Ighalo, Sadio Mane, Moussa Marega, Mbaye Niang, Nicolas Pepe, Mohamed Salah, Islam Slimani, Percy Tau, Wilfried Zaha.
FIFA Beach Soccer W/C: Nigeria not afraid of Brazil – coach
Nigeria’s coach to the 10th FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup finals taking place in Paraguay, South America,Coach Audu Adamu , has said they will not be afraid of Brazil when they meet in the group stage.
Adamu said they had gained experience from this year’s Copa Lagos at Eko Atlantic, in which the Eagles beat world champions, Brazil 6-5 to emerge runners-up behind Senegal.
He enthused that his players would take confidence from their 6-5 win over Brazil, as well as with a 3-2 victory against England, and build on that gain in Paraguay, where he believes his lads have enough inspiration to gun for global glory.
Adamu stated: “I am happy with the win over Brazil, it says a lot. Beating the world champions is a sort of confidence for the boys. We’ll head for the World Cup with renewed belief and confidence in our own abilities.
“I am impressed with how we played despite the obvious shoddy preparations we had. We did well to play and fight against some of the best teams in beach soccer.”
A special preview by fifa.com acknowledged Brazil as ‘the originators of beach soccer’ and highly rated to repeat as winners as they did in Bahamas two years ago, while Portugal are rated second overall on the cards, thereby limiting Nigeria’s chances of a top-two finish in the group.
Mourinho eyes January move for Osimhen
Newly-appointed Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho has joined the league of coaches that are interested in signing Nigeria international Victor Osimhen who currently plays for French club Lille . According to the report by Jeunes Footeux, Mourinho is ready to table an impressive deal for Lille when the January transfer window opens to lure Osimhen to England. Mourinho replaced Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham on Wednesday, November 20, and the Portuguese has started preparation for his first game against West Ham United. The former Chelsea and Manchester United manager has been given the mandate to save the club from going down this season as they currently occupy 14th position on the standings. Mourinho believes the 20-year-old Nigeria striker can support Harry Kane upfront in his squad next year.
Osimhen has been impressive this season for Lille in all competitions scoring seven goals in the League as well as scoring against Chelsea in the Champions League. He has also been superb for Super Eagles since Odion Ighalo retired from the national team after the 2019 African Cup of Nations in Egypt. Meanwhile, Lille might not want to sell Victor Osimhen in January 2019 considering how superb he has been for them this season.
Earlier, Legit.ng had reported how Nigeria’s Super Eagles cruised to 4-2 win over Lesotho in their 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at the Setsoto Stadium in which Osimhen scored brace. The three-time African kings got the game started on a flat-foot as they allowed the host to take the lead in the 11th minute through a superb header from Masoabi Nkoto.
Patrick Pascal: Eagles have survived rebuilding process
…says Osimhen, Kalu, Chukwueze can wreck any team
- ‘It’s time for consolidation’
Super Eagles coordinator Patrick Pascal has said the team has surpassed rebuilding stage and now in the process of consolidation.
The former international said every aspect of the current side is good and the coach crew is now working on perfection as they prepare to rub shoulders with the best teams in the world.
He said the youngsters in the squad were proving their mettle and the national team is benefiting from their regular playing time at their various clubsides abroad.
“We expect the kind of result the Eagles recorded against Lesotho from a team that is gelling. We cannot say we are rebuilding a team again; we are set to keep improving in all areas because we have a set of very young players who are playing every week for their clubs. The likes of Victor Osimhen, Samuel Chukwueze, Samuel Kalu, Alex Iwobi are doing well in Europe and that reflects in the way the national team is growing.
“If you are in the national team, you would be excited to work with these players not only because they are talented but their determination and commitment is something that will make the squad great,” he said.
The former Shooting Stars of Ibadan defender is not surprised about the growing reputation of one of his players Osimhen, saying the striker had shown he was the future of Nigerian football since his time at U-17.
“Osimhen is one player that has made everyone in the national team happy but I am not surprised. He scored 10 goals in U-17 World Cup for Nigeria and his performance in the U-23 team where he scored three goals against Libya proved that he was ready for the big stage. He has been doing well for Lille and now he makes sure Nigeria does not suffer after Odion Ighalo retires,” he said.
Nigeria came back from one goal down to beat Lesotho 4-2 and Pascal said Eagles would how recorded more goals had they played on a natural pitch.
“Some clubs would have released these players because of artificial pitch. Eagles have the capacity to score more goals but they were slowed down greatly by the pitch, ” he added.
Musa sponsors 100 students to university
Super Eagles captain Ahmed Musa has announced he will be sponsoring 100 students at a university in the Nigerian city of Kano.
Musa has made the gesture to mark his ambassadorial role for the Skyline University.
Despite its size Kano and being the commercial centre of northern Nigeria there is a real lack of opportunity for education, which many simply cannot afford.
On social media, the former Kano Pillars forward said the sponsorship is designed to “promote this vision of becoming anything you want to be in life as long as you can dream it.
“So, I am pleased to let you know that I would be sponsoring 100 students at this university. Yes! 100. Details to follow shortly.”
It is the latest charitable gesture the 27-year-old has made in the city and across the region.
During his summer breaks he regularly donates food, mattresses as well as making financial contributions.
He follows in the footsteps of former Nigeria captain Joseph Yobo who handed out 300 educational scholarship awards to students in the country’s Niger Delta region back in 2007.
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