The 2019 edition of the Higher Institutions Football League, ended in grand style with University of Calabar, Malabites defeating defending champions UAM Tillers (5-4) on penalties in Lagos, Saturday, to emerge champions of the league’s second edition.
It was sweet revenge for the Malabites, after a re-enactment of the 2018 finals, which they lost to UAM Tillers.
UAM Tillers started the game on the front foot and showed flashes of why they deserve a place in the finals. In the 16th minute, the efforts of the lads from Makurdi, paid off, as captain, Assen Shater, with jersey no 10, closed out a brilliant pass with a superb finish.
The defending champions dominated play for most of the first half despite playing with 10 men after Dolumon Anikyongu got sent off following a second yellow card.
UNICAL Malabites however, came into the game in the second half and got a goal in the 62nd minute from substitute Ngaji Mojafu. Despite the equalizer, UAM Tillers created the most chances in the second half, but had to settle for a draw at the end of full time.
The game ended 5:4 on penalties in favour of UNICAL Malabites at the end of regulation time.
Speaking during an international press conference organized before the match, Director, PACE Sports and Entertainment Marketing, Sola Fijabi, said that he is impressed with the huge support that the league has garnered and sustained since its launch especially during the second season “It is heart-warming to deliver a bigger, bolder and even better second season as promised. We are especially happy that the league did not only create an engagement platform for brands and several stakeholders, but it also unified students across Nigeria in the delightful spirit of sportsmanship, our expansion of teams to 32 and our very impactful coaching clinic are some of the many strides that we achieved in the season.
We are extremely prepared for the 2020 edition and we are hopeful that like this second season, subsequent editions of the league will continue to have positive impact on sports and education in Nigeria” Fijabi concluded.
Speaking after the final match, President, Nigerian University Games Association (NUGA) Prof Stephen Hamafyelto expressed satisfaction about the organization and execution of the second edition “This edition has really proven that we are here for the long term. We have once again delivered on the promises we made regarding standards, discipline even fair-play, especially as it concerns delivering a bigger and better league season”
We are glad that the league has not only given a voice and a face to football talents across the country and in various institutions, but is also providing hope and a veritable platform of success for the numerous talents that are being discovered” He added.
32 teams participated in the 2019 HiFL season. UNILORIN Warriors emerged as winners of the Third Place Playoff after defeating OAU Giants in a thrilling encounter, which ended 4:3 on penalties.
The Higher Institutions Football League is organised by PACE Sports and Entertainment Marketing in partnership with the Nigerian Universities Games Association (NUGA). The league is sponsored by Stanbic IBTC, Indomie Nigeria and Premier Cool.
Harry Kane’s touching tweet response to Pochettino’s sacking
Gaffer. I’ll be forever thankful to you for helping me achieve my dreams. We’ve had some amazing moments in the last 5 and a half years that I will never forget. You were my manager but my friend as well and I thank you for that relationship. Good luck with your next chapter! 💙
World’s Richest Club revealed, Real dethroned
The world’s richest football clubs have seemingly been revealed, and there has been a dramatic shift of power at the top of the rich list.
On Sunday, Forbes revealed the four clubs expected to top the annual Deloitte Money League, which ranks the world’s richest football clubs.
The ranking is only set to be released in January next year but, with the world’s biggest clubs having all released their financial data, the top four have seemingly been revealed ahead of time, reports soccerladuma.co.za.
According to the report, Los Blancos, who came out on top last year, have now been dethroned by arch-rivals FC Barcelona heading into the year 2020.
The Catalan giants rise to the top after seeing their revenue grow from €690 million (R11.2 billion) in 2018 to €852 million (R13.8 billion) in 2019.
Conversely, Real’s revenue increased by only €6 million (R97 million) from €751 million (R12.2 billion) to €757 million (R12.3 billion).
Manchester United and Bayern Munich, who were ranked third and fourth, respectively, in 2018, are expected to occupy the same positions in next year’s Deloitte Money League.
The Red Devils’ annual turnover was reported to be €732 million (R11.9 billion) while Bayern’s comparative revenue amounts to a reported figure of €652 million (R10.6 billion).
Despite the above rankings, the report also revealed that Real are in “better health” than Barca when considering player wages and earnings before interest, among other factors.
Spurs name Mourinho as new manager
Jose Mourinho has been appointed Tottenham manager, succeeding Mauricio Pochettino who was sacked on Tuesday.
Former Chelsea and Manchester United boss Mourinho has signed a contract until the end of the 2022-23 season, reports the BBC.
“The quality in both the squad and the academy excites me,” said the 56-year-old Portuguese. “Working with these players is what has attracted me.”
Spurs Chairman Daniel Levy said: “In Jose we have one of the most successful managers in football.”
Tottenham reached the Champions League final last season under Pochettino but lost to Liverpool in Madrid.
The Argentine, who was appointed in May 2014, failed to win a trophy in his time in charge of the north London club with Spurs’ last silverware being the League Cup in 2008.
Levy added: “He (Mourinho) has a wealth of experience, can inspire teams and is a great tactician.
“He has won honours at every club he has coached. We believe he will bring energy and belief to the dressing room.”
Mourinho still lives in London and won three Premier League titles and one FA Cup in two spells at Chelsea, while he won the Europa League and Carabao Cup with Manchester United.
He has also previously managed Portuguese side Porto – where he won the Champions League – Italian club Inter Milan, with whom he claimed a league, cup and Champions League Treble, and Spanish team Real Madrid, who he led to the La Liga title.
Mourinho has been out of work since being sacked as Manchester United manager in December 2018.
He takes over a Spurs side that are 14th in the Premier League and without a win in their last five games.
Mourinho has turned down a number of job opportunities, including in China, Spain and Portugal, since leaving Old Trafford.
Redknapp: Blame players for Pochettino’s sacking
Tottenham’s sacking of Mauricio Pochettino was ‘out of order’, says Jamie Carragher, while Harry Redknapp insists the players got the Argentine sacked.
Pochettino was sacked by Tottenham on Tuesday evening after five years in charge of the club following a poor start to the season, which has seen them win just five matches, reports Sky Sports.
Despite failing to win a trophy, Pochettino led Spurs to top-four finishes in four of his five seasons – as well as their first Champions League final in the 2018/19 campaign.
In a statement released by Tottenham, chairman Daniel Levy said a change had to be made in the “club’s best interests”.
Sky Sports News understands former Chelsea and Manchester United manager, Jose Mourinho, is a serious contender to replace Pochettino.
Carra: Sacking out of order
Tottenham’s decision to sack Pochettino is “really strange” and “out of order”, according to Sky Sports’ Jamie Carragher.
“It’s a massive shock. There’s no doubt Spurs have made a poor start to the season and had a poor 2019 domestically, but I think the job Mauricio Pochettino has done is miraculous,” Carragher said on Sky Sports News.
“The timing is very strange. I’m shocked that it’s a sacking and when I first heard the news I thought it may have been a mutual agreement.
“The fact he’s been sacked – I find that really, really strange and I also think it’s a bit out of order considering the job he’s done.
“I think he should have been given until the end of the season to try and get Tottenham back where they should be and where Tottenham should be really is not actually in the top four.
“I’m not trying to patronise them, but in terms of finances and what Pochettino’s done with the financial restraints he’s had at that club is just unbelievable.
“Tottenham should be a top-six club but he’s made them a top-four club and also a club who almost won the title, almost won the Champions League.
“People may say he never won anything, but considering what he had at his disposal, in terms of the size of the squad, just shows Pochettino’s quality as a manager. He certainly deserved to see out the season and get as close as possible to the Champions League.”
Jamie Redknapp, also speaking on Sky Sports News, believes it won’t be long for Spurs to strike, and gave an insight into what life with Levy is like.
“I was surprised. They’ve had an awful start to the season, and towards the back end of last season. Pochettino has to take responsibility, he’s the manager.
“I was at Tottenham for a number of years, and Daniel Levy is not an easy man to work for, whether you’re a player or a manager. That goes without saying, and Pochettino has probably done well to last five years. But Daniel Levy is probably thinking: ‘I’ve given this guy five years, and what have we won?’ The answer to that is nothing.
“There are other managers, you would think, in that period, who would have won trophies with that squad. They’ve got a team full of internationals, from top to bottom.
And what about Mourinho? Sky Sports pundit Redknapp would be intrigued to see if Tottenham would give the former Chelsea and Manchester United boss the money he usually desires.
“Daniel will have undoubtedly spoken to loads of managers, spoken to the players. When I was at Spurs he’d always converse with the players, asking them what they think, he’d always want to know what they’re thinking. There will be no doubt at all he’d have a manager in place. I’d be surprised if they don’t strike quickly.
“Jose would be the candidate that everyone would look at; he’s out of work right now, he’s a winner, his pedigree is as good as anyone’s in world football. Is he the right fit for Tottenham? It’s interesting, as Jose likes to spend money, and Daniel doesn’t, and Jose would want to get some really big names into the building.
“He likes experience, and isn’t really one for playing young players, but you can’t argue with what he’s done in the game, right now he would be the outstanding candidate. There aren’t many out-of-work managers who could live with his pedigree.”
Harry Redknapp: Players got him the sack
“When people talk about the players all loving him, if they love him that much, maybe they should have all started playing a bit better,” Harry Redknapp said on Sky Sports News.
“They’ve got him the sack, at the end of the day. They haven’t performed well enough, that’s why he’s lost his job. If they all loved him so much, perhaps they should have done a bit better for him.
“That’s why you get the sack. They’ve had one Champions League final; if you look back at the run, everything went their way a little bit. They’ve not won a trophy in five or six years with an incredible set of players.
“People say they need a better squad; have a look at them, they have four international full-backs, internationals all over the place, England internationals, all kinds. And up front they’re not short either. They’re massively underachieving at the moment.”
Redknapp also believes Spurs may go for Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers.
“Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti? They tried to get Ancelotti when they sacked me. I knew they’d spoke to him while I was still at the club! So they’ll have spoken to somebody,” Redknapp said.
“They’ll probably like Brendan Rodgers but I don’t know if they’ll get him. They spoke to Brendan when they sacked me, as well! So that’s a possibility.
“It has come as a shock and I didn’t see it happening, but they’ve obviously pushed the panic button.
“I’ll be honest, it’s been relegation form over the last 24 or 25 games. Tottenham not making the Champions League this year would be a disaster in Levy’s eyes and Joe Lewis’ eyes, with the money they’ve spent on the stadium and the training ground.
“They’re not fools. They’re very clever men, and have probably looked at it and thought: ‘The way we’re going, we’re not going to make the top four.’
“They’ll have someone in mind, they’ll have spoken to somebody, I know how they work. They’ll have spoken to somebody, and have someone in line ready to come in. They’re not the type to say: ‘Oh, where do we go now, let’s have a look.’ All their work will have been done behind-the-scenes already.”
Asked if he would be open to a return to Spurs, Redknapp added: “Of course I would! But I’m a realist, I don’t live in cuckoo land, the chances are very slim.
“If Daniel rung me tomorrow I’d walk there, of course I would, but it’s not going to happen.”
Shorunmu: Eagles will get better
ormer Super Eagles goalkeeper trainer Ike Shorunmu has backed Nigeria’s senior national team that the team will with time get its balance right as the team continue to concede goals in match situation following consecutive games where the team have conceded goals.
Shorunmu speaking in a chat with www.brila.net said the team has shown how good they can be with the ability to score goals and win games despite conceding and believes the team will get it balance right with time to reduce the rate at which the team concede goals.
“In as much you’re trying to cover your net, there is tendencies a little bit of mistake can come around for you to concede a goal. But the most important thing is that the team is winning which is very important. And when you’re winning it comes with confidence to the whole team that it won’t come against the team.”
I clashed with Messi, Cavani confirms
aris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani has confirmed there was a heated exchange with Lionel Messi during Uruguay’s 2-2 friendly draw with Argentina on Monday amid claims he offered to fight his opponent.
With Uruguay leading at the time thanks to a Cavani goal, Messi reacted angrily to a foul from combative midfielder Matias Vecino.
After a confrontation, Ole claims that Cavani asked Messi: “Do you want to fight?” to which the Barcelona star reportedly replied: “Whenever you want, whenever you want.”
The pair were eventually separated by Uruguay’s Luis Suarez, a team-mate of Messi at Barcelona, while defender Diego Godin also offered a conciliatory arm around the shoulder.
When asked about the flashpoint incident after the game, Cavani confirmed that there was a confrontation between the pair but he downplayed the severity of it.
“Yes, that’s football,” he told reporters. “That’s what the Clasico matches [between Argentina and Uruguay] are like. That’s football.”
Argentina went on to equalise through a Sergio Aguero header, but were pegged back minutes later by Suarez’s free-kick.
It was Messi who had the last laugh, however, converting a stoppage-time penalty to ensure the spoils were shared.
FIFA names Eaglets for MVP awards
Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets had a dismal outing at the U-17 World Cup but a member of the side Ibrahim Said will have something to remember after he was nominated for tournament award.
Said has been nominated for the goal of the tournament award.
Said found the net three times for the five-time U-17 world champions during the recently concluded tournament in Brazil but the pick of his goals was his second strike in the 85th minute against Ecuador on October 29.
With the Manu Garba led side trailing 2-1, the attacking midfielder restored parity with a fabulous curling shot from the edge of the area.
Challenging the Nigeria U-17 international for the individual accolade are MVP of the 2019 U-17 World Cup Gabriel Veron (Brazil), Golden Boot winner Sontje Hansen (Netherlands), Silver Boot winner Nathanael Mbuku (France), Diego (Brazil), Diego Duarte (Paraguay), Matias Godoy (Argentina), Degnand Gnonto, Gaetano Oristanio (both Italy) and Santiago Munoz (Mexico).
Voting closes next Monday 25 November at 15:00 CET and FIFA will reveal the winner of the best goal scored during the tournament in Brazil on that same Monday.
Unity, team spirit gave us victory over Lesotho – Chukwueze
uper Eagles’ winger, Samuel Chukwueze, has said unity and team spirit gave the team victory over their Lesotho counterparts in the first leg of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier decided in Maseru last Sunday.
The Nigerians were 0-1 down in the 11th minute after Masoabi Nkoto’s goal but came back to run away with a awesome 4-2 victory against the Crocodiles.
The Villarreal winger who was in action at Setsoto Stadium said their best was yet to come after the resounding victory on Sunday evening.
Gernot Rohr’s men were ruthlessly dominant as they cruised to a comfortable victory in another tough encounter of AFCON 2021 qualifier.
The scoreline was brought to balance through Alex Iwobi’s 26th-minute equaliser before Samuel Chukwueze’s 39th minute handed Nigeria the first-half lead.
Speaking after the encounter, winger said the Super Eagles never panicked when Lesotho scored because the victory in Maseru was assured.
“We never panicked. We knew we had what it takes to overturn the early goal, we just stayed calm and played our normal game,” the 20-year-old winger said.
“It was a little difficult at first because of the pitch but once we got our rhythm, we got better as the games progressed.”
Chukwueze also attributed unity and team-spirit as the secret of Super Eagles’ mental strength over their counterparts.
“I think we see each other as brothers. We are always looking after each other on and off the pitch. This helps us also on the pitch especially in matches. We never give up.
“We are also very talented and I think the best is yet to come from us. We will keep improving. Hopefully it will also pay off on the pitch,” The Villarreal striker said.
Troost-Ekong: Eagles can win 2022 World Cup
uper Eagles defender William Troost-Ekong has disclosed that the dream of the current team is to win the World Cup and surpass the record of the much talked about 1994 squad.
Troost-Ekong told journalists that winning the World Cup was the only target and also surpassing the achievements of the 1994 squad.
“Everyone talks about the 1994 squad but I think football has changed a lot since then, when you watch the game, now, it’s different from what it used to be,”
“We have quite a young team, and we can do even more than the older generation have done”, he said.
“That’s our next target, we are focusing on the African Cup of Nations until March next year when we are going to play the World Cup qualifiers, and of course, everyone will want to do better than what we did in Russia. ”
Troost-Ekong was a member of the Super Eagles squad that won the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Republic of Benin 2-1 and Lesotho 4-2 in Maseru last weekend.
Zenith Bank/Delta Principal’s Cup: Ugbade, Udeze, Agali to grace final
Three prominent former national football stars have been primed to be at the final of the 2019 edition of the Delta State Principals’ Cup sponsored by Zenith Bank.
The former internationals are Nduka Ugbade, Ifeanyi Udeze and Victor Agali.
According to the Commissioner for Basic and Secondary School Education, Partrick Ukah, the former football stars will be at the final as special guests.
Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba is the venue of the final billed for November 28 between College of Commerce, Warri and Zappa Mixed Secondary School, Asaba.
Ukah explained that the presence of Ugbade, Udeze and Agali would be a boost to the final ceremony.
Ukah said:’We want the young footballers to see some of their heroes live and we will create opportunity for the former stars to speak to the kids.
“It is a tradition to bring former stars for the final which will also be attended by various top dignitaries across all spheres of life.
“We are indeed happy the final is here after such an interesting journey so far. We are going to make it glorious.”
Already, the state government and the sponsors, Zenith Bank are planning exciting time for the finalists and fans of the game.
The bank has concluded arrangements to shower the best three teams with gift items on final day.
To qualify for final, Zappa Mixed Secondary School defeated Destiny International School, Ughelli, 1-0 while College of Commerce Warri defeated Okotie -Eboh Grammar School Sapele 5-0.
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