Overseas-based professional players, Tom Dele-Bashiru and Orji Okonkwo have joined the camp of the Nigeria U23 team, Olympic Eagles preparing for next month’s U23 Africa Cup of Nations taking place in Egypt.
Earlier, midfield lubricator Kelechi Nwakali, who captained the U17 National Team to World Cup glory in Chile four years ago, had rejoined the squad that he helped secure victories over Libya and Sudan in the qualifiers to earn Nigeria a berth at the finals in Egypt.
Okonkwo, who plays for Canadian side, Montreal Impact joined the rest of the team on Monday as the overseas-based professionals continued to stream into camp ahead of this week’s departure to Egypt.
His arrival has given Head Coach lmama Amapakabo and his assistants more attacking options ahead of the tournament.
The Olympic Eagles are expected to the leave shores of the country on Thursday for the tournament which holds November 8-22 in Cairo, with Nigeria playing in Group B which also has Cote d’Ivoire, Zambia and South Africa.
Another foreign-based professional in camp is Tom Dele-Bashiru, who featured for the U20 National Team, Flying Eagles, at the FIFA U20 World Cup finals in Poland in the summer.
The 20-year-old midfielder plies his trade with English Premier League side Watford FC, and was born in the city of Manchester, England to Nigerian parents. He scored Nigeria’s third goal as the Flying Eagles obliterated Qatar 4-0 in their opening game of the FIFA U20 World Cup in Poland.
Tokyo 2020 qualifier: Kalu, Akhator top D’Tigress list for tourney
IBA Africa 2019 Most Valuable Player, Ezinne Kalu, top the list of 14 players invited by D’Tigress coach, Otis Hughley, for the last phase of the 2020 Olympics Qualification Tournament billed for Belgrade between February 6 and 9, 2020.
Apart from Kalu, the team also has other usual suspects like Evelyn Akhator who has been a mainstay of the team since the appointment of the coach years back.
Louisville University guard, Elizabeth Balogun, who was not released by her school for the pre-OQT got another invitation from D’Tigress handler alongside Nigeria based Musa Murjanantu who emerged as the Zenith Bank Women Basketball League Most Valuable Player after guiding Air Warriors of Abuja to their first ever league title.
Virtus Eirene of Italy small forward, Ifunanya Ibekwe, Promise Amukamara (Charnay Basket Bourgogne SUD, Frace), Sarah Imovbioh (Basket Namur Capitale, Belgium) and Spain based Elo Edeferioka who plies her trade with CB Vigo have also earned a recall.
Others include point-guard, Upe Atosu currently studying and playing for Butler University in the United States of America.
Pallas Kunaiyi Akpannah may be on course to continue building her fledging national team career after debuting for Nigeria at the pre-qualifiers in Maputo, Mozambique in November while others like Aisha Balarabe and team captain, Adaora Elonu have all been included on the list.
Nigeria is grouped alongside host- Serbia, World Champions- USA and Mozambique with two Olympics tickets on offer.
Kamaru breaks opponent’s jaw, retains title
igerian-American mixed martial artist Kamaru Usman retained his UFC welterweight title in Las Vegas after a hard-fought win against US challenger Colby Covington on Sunday, December 15, knocking him out in the final stages of the fifth round.
The Nigerian, 32, broke Covington’s jaw with a huge punch in the third round.
But it wasn’t an easy victory for Usman as he and his challenger engaged in an all-out war for nearly five full rounds before the Nigerian Nightmare finished off his opponent in style.
After an early exchange of blows and kicks, the fight took a turn in favour of the champion in the third round after catching Covington with a strong blow that broke his jaw.
But the challenger relentlessly continued to fight on and looked like he could secure a win based on the judges’ decision. Covington before the fight had received a video message from the Trump family as they urged him to win the belt.
However, Usman had other plans as he dropped Covington twice in the final minute, then finished the fight with hammer fists on the mat.
He was cheered on by fellow Nigerian UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya as they both celebrated his victory together.
The victory means Usman has successfully defended his welterweight title for the first time in his career.
He won the title in Las Vegas when he defeated defending champion Tyron Woodley after five rounds to become the new champion.
Troost-Ekong suffers defeat with Udinese
illiam Troost-Ekong featured as Udinese continued their unimpressive form with a 3-1 defeat to Juventus in Sunday’s Serie A game.
The Super Eagles star, who was afforded his 14th league appearance, was one of the standout players for the White and Blacks as they extended their winless run to five games in the Italian top-flight at the Allianz Stadium.
In his quest to help his side clinch a positive result against the champions, the 26-year-old centre-back made two key tackles and had an 85% successful pass rate in the encounter.
However, Cristiano Ronaldo’s brace and Leonardo Bonucci strike ensured the Stadio Friuli’s outfit continued their miserable run of form, despite a late effort from Ignacio Pussetto.
The defeat condemned the White and Blacks to 17th on the Serie A table with 15 points from 16 games.
Troost-Ekong will hope to help Udinese bounce back from the setback and brighten their hopes of avoiding relegation at the end of the season when they take on Cagliari on December 21.
Eagles’ star linked with Spurs, Barcelona
…as Remy hails Osimhen’s performance for Lille
arcelona, Tottenham and other European powerhouses are jostling to sign Super Eagles forward, Victor Osimhen, following his impressive performance for French side Lille.
Lille President, Ebenezer Bajela, hints at the striker’s possible departure in the nearest future.
Osimhen sealed a transfer move to the French giants in the last summer from Belgian top side RSC Mouscron for a fee worth of €15 million.
The 20-year-old has since moved on to become a popular figure in Christophe Galtier’s squad, scoring nine goals and recording two assists in 16 league appearances.
“There is already interest for him,” the president said. “He is a player who is in his ascending curve and also a young player, who has just arrived.
“It is not only that the door is closed for this winter, I would also like to keep it closed for this summer.
The idea concerning it is to keep it one more season.”
Osimhen missed a vital penalty against Montpelier -his first- but Lille cruised to a victory on Saturday thanks to Renato Sanchez’s goal.
Meanwhile, report has it that former Chelsea star, Loic Remy, has hailed Nigerian sensation Victor Osimhen, following the striker’s impressive goal-scoring run for Lille.
The Frenchman, who shared the locker room with Mikel Obi and Victor Moses at Chelsea, relished the joy of playing with the Nigerian star.
Lagos City Marathon: Runners thank Sanwo-Olu, Access Bank for paying registration fee
housands of runners who are beneficiaries of the Executive Governor of Lagos State Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s decision to pay their registration fee for the 2020 Access Bank Lagos City Marathon have expressed their profound gratitude to the Governor and other sponsors supporting runners to participate in the race slated for February 8, 2020.
“After having so much fun and imbibing the culture of running and general exercise from participating in first four editions of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon, Iwas looking forward to participating in the fifth until they introduced fee. I gave up my dream ofrunning the fifth edition until the cheering news came last month after the press conference that Governor Sanwo-Olu has stated that he will pay on our behalf. I was glad when I heard the news. I followed up and got a form free. I thank the Governor for making my dream come true. God bless him” Iyabo Lawal, a student of a tertiary institution, told our correspondent.
Free from the first edition in 2015, the management of Access Bank Lagos City Marathon, now an IAAF Silver Label Race, had to introduce registration fee in compliance with IAAF/AIMS regulations for all label races.
A registration fee of N5,000 was introduced for the full marathon and the 10km race for Nigerians, while foreigners will pay $100 for any of the races.
Access Bank, the headline sponsors, Seven-up Bottling Company, Revolution Plus Properties and other sponsors and partners are paying registration fees for thousands of runners.
Edward Johnson,another beneficiary, thankedthe Lagos State Governor and Access Bank for sponsoring the race and supporting runners.
“Access Bank may not fully understand the magnitude of what they have done by sponsoring this race” Said Aisha Ibrahim. “They have promoted the culture of exercise. Most of my friends and family that were obeseare now fit and trim thanks to the culture of running triggered by Access Bank Lagos City Marathon. I thought I will miss the 2020 edition until the Governor and Access Bank promised to pay on our behalf”.
Others runners who picked the free form at the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon Village at Teslim Balogun Stadium or from the sponsors also thank Governor Sanwo-Olu and the sponsors for supporting runners and making their dreams come true.
Over 80 players for Marvico badminton tourney
ith Sunday Dec 15, being observed as arrival date, activities marking the 2nd edition of the Marvico Group of Companies annual badminton championship holding in Obazu Autonomous Community in Mbieri in Mbaitoli LGA, Imo State from December 15 to 30, 2019, would serve off today with over 80 players in attendance
The completion which holds at the badminton courts close to the football field in Obazu, is being played in accordance with the world standard in both the singles and doubles events.
Championship sponsor, Nnamdi Iroegbu, the Chief Executive Officer of Marvico Group of companies, who disclosed this in Lagos at the weekend, said his vision and desire of getting the youths of Obazu gainfully engaged in not only sports but other human endeavour, informed his sponsorship of the championship for the second time running irrespective of what it costs to organize the competition.
“It has always been my vision, desire, zeal and dreams to see the youths of Obazu excel in life. That is why I am doing all these no matter what it costs,” he said.
He also revealed that handsome cash awards have been set aside for winners as well as consolation prizes for other categories
Chief Iroegbu gave thanks to His Royal Highness, Eze Francis E Ajunwa, the Eze of Obazu Autonomous Community for not only believing in him but mobilising Obazu youths for the programme..
He also gave Kudos to the town planner, Iheanyi Abaekwume, the president of Obazu Town Union for ensuring that the championship goes on well as planned.
WBF Bout: NBB of C Lauds GOtv Boxing Night
resident of the Nigerian Boxing Board of Control (NBB of C), Rauf Ladipo, and Secretary-General of the boxing body, Remi Aboderin, have commended the sponsors of GOtv Boxing Night for their plan to stage the World Boxing Federation (WBF) Intercontinental heavyweight title bout in Lagos.
The high-profile match, which will see Nigeria’s Onos “Godzilla” Ehwariemi take on Argentina’s Ariel “Chiquito” Baracamonte, is the headline encounter of the nine-bout show holding on December 28, at the Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos.
Speaking over the weekend, Ladipo described the WBF bout as an indication of progress Nigerian Boxing has made.
“The WBF is a prestigious world boxing body. That a WBF title bout is holding in Nigeria is a clear indication of the progress the sport has made,” Ladipo said.
“Huge credit should go to GOtv, which has provided enormous support for boxing over the last five years, and, of course, Mr. Adewunmi Ogunsanya, Chairman, MultiChoice Nigeria, for making this a reality.”
Aboderin, the body’s Secretary-General, is of the same persuasion. He stated that the WBF title bout is the biggest bout to be staged in Nigeria in decades, adding that it is a big plus for Nigerian boxing and the country itself.
He added: “We have not had such a high profile fight in Nigeria for a while. The NBB of C is really happy with the support for the sport by GOtv, whose intervention since 2014, has given boxing a lifeline.”
Aboderin, who is also President of the West African Boxing Union (WABU), called on other corporate organizations to emulate GOtv, which he said has demonstrated commitment to youth development via boxing.
GOtv Boxing Night 20 will feature three other title fights.
The event will also feature live musical performances from rave-of-the-moment, Zlatan; Mayorkun and Oritsefemi
De Bruyne inspires Man City to comfortable win over Arsenal
n inspired first-half performance from Kevin De Bruyne has guided Manchester City to a 3-0 victory over Arsenal in Sunday’s Premier League fixture at the Emirates Stadium.
The playmaker contributed two brilliant individual efforts and one assist for Raheem Sterling as Pep Guardiola’s side made light work of their hosts in North London.
While City close the gap between themselves and second-placed Leicester City to four points, Arsenal remain in ninth position, seven points adrift of Chelsea who fill the last top-four spot.
The afternoon could have turned out differently for Freddie Ljungberg’s team as Gabriel Martinelli almost opening the scoring within the first 60 seconds, only for Ederson to make a smart stop at his near post.
However, after receiving a pass from Gabriel Jesus, De Bruyne set City on their way with a sublime first-time effort into the roof of the net from just inside the penalty area.
Arsenal were offering a threat at the other end through the lively Martinelli and Nicolas Pepe, but it was not long before De Bruyne went from goalscorer to provider.
The playmaker broke down the left-hand side before firing a low pass across the penalty area for Sterling, who had the relatively simple task of converting from six yards out.
An injury to Sead Kolasinac contributed to a lull in the action shortly after the half-hour mark, and the Gunners would have been hoping to reach half time facing just a two-goal deficit.
However, before the enforced alteration could be made, City went further in front as De Bruyne turned away from Matteo Guendouzi before curling a sublime effort into the bottom corner from 20 yards.
Gusau to face AFN panel on Wednesday
mbattled president of the Athletic Federation of Nigeria, Ibrahim Gusau, has been given Wednesday December 18, to appear before the panel set up by the federation investigating allegations of financial impropriety, misapplication of funds and breaches of the AFN constitution against him.
In a letter dated December 13, 2019 and signed by Oluwole Afolabi, chairman of the investigative panel, Gusau was asked to appear before the committee at 10.00am at the AFN Board room, MKO Abiola National stadium, Abuja.
“You are kindly requested to attend the meeting with relevant documents to buttress your submissions,” the letter read.
Gusau was said to be suspended by a faction of the federation for breaching some articles of the federation’s constitution including article 6.1.4 which demands at least a 60-day notice must be given before any form of congress can convened.
The president however convened the congress exactly 29 days to the date of the congress in Awka, Anambra state, where he was given a clean bill by the chairmen and secretaries that attended the congress.
Gusau is also expected to account for the over N92m he has collected from the federal government for some of the championships held between 2017 and 2019.
The committee, according to sources will be interested in how the sum of N35m was expended at the last IAAF (now World Athletics) World Championships in Doha taking into consideration the world governing body for the sport was 100% responsible for the travel and accommodation (including feeding) of all 25 athletes Nigeria presented at the championships.
“World Athletics also subsidised by 55% the accommodation of 14 officials coaches and board members) Nigeria was entitled to take to the competition,” said a source familiar with the organisation of the championships.
The committee will find out why athletes and coaches are still being owed $300 each despite the huge approval by government.
“The committee will also like to find out why Gusau failed to pay the 86 youth and junior athletes that participated at the African Youth and Junior championships in Abidjan in April this year despite getting N13m from government for the competition,” the source added.
Gusau will also be required to explain why the AFN entered into an agreement with sportswear manufacturer, PUMA without the knowledge and consent of the board as well as the secretary general who is the custodian of the federation’s documents, records and properties.
EPL: Greenwood saves United as Vertonghen ends Wolves unbeaten run
Manchester United substitute Mason Greenwood scored a 77th-minute equaliser to deny Duncan Ferguson a second successive win as Everton’s interim manager.
Everton looked set for back-to-back league victories for the first time since April when Victor Lindelof turned Leighton Baines’ first-half corner into his own goal after VAR ruled David de Gea had not been impeded by Dominic Calvert-Lewin as they jumped at the near post.
It took 18-year-old Greenwood to come off the bench and rescue a point for United with a fine shot from the edge of the area to follow up his two goals in the Europa League against AZ Alkmaar on Thursday.
Everton’s fans were delighted at the end though, singing Ferguson’s name in tribute to the Scot’s impact since replacing sacked Marco Silva, reports the BBC.
Despite the cold and rain, Ferguson spent most of the game in nothing more than a shirt and tie, and long after the final whistle went over to acknowledge the visiting fans.
And Jan Vertonghen scored a dramatic late winner as Tottenham ended Wolves’ 11-match unbeaten Premier League run to narrow the gap on the top four with victory at Molineux.
Vertonghen headed in from a corner in injury time, after Wolves’ relentless approach had been rewarded as Adama Traore thumped in a deserved equaliser from the edge of the box midway through the second half.
Following a breathless opening period, Lucas Moura’s mazy run and exquisite finish into the roof of the net had put Tottenham ahead after eight minutes.
Spurs had to withstand intense pressure as Wolves chased an equaliser, but it was they who went closest before half-time as Eric Dier struck the post from Dele Alli’s delightful, dinked pass.
Tottenham goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga produced an excellent save from Romain Saiss’ header in the closing stages as Jose Mourinho’s visitors hung on, before Vertonghen’s decisive goal.
Victory sees Tottenham climb to fifth, three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea who they face next Sunday (16:30 GMT).
Man United 1 – 1 Everton
Wolves 1 – 2 Spurs
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