…insists Eagles’ll take maximum points
Super Eagles skipper Ahmed Musa has voiced out the concerns of his teammates who will play on the synthetic pitch when they face Lesotho in Maseru in their second 2021 African Cup of Nations qualifying match on Sunday.
Eagles will be looking to consolidate on their 2-1 win over Benin Republic in their campaign opener in Uyo when they face Lesotho on Sunday but the Al Nasr of Saudi forward said it was going to be a difficult game for his side because they will play on a surface that they are quite unfamiliar with.
”We are going to play on an artificial pitch; it is not that easy because some of the players are not used to playing on synthetic pitch.
”But we know what everybody expects from us so we are going there to do our best to win,” he said.
Ranked 138th in the latest FIFA ranking, Lesotho registered an impressive 1-1 draw against hosts Sierra Leone (117th) in their Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers Group L opener in Freetown and Musa insisted his side could pick all points in Maseru.
”As you can see, it was a tough game for the team today but at the end of 90 minutes, we have three points so we are going over there to have another win because we know that the game is going to be very tough.”
Musa played a bit part role in the victory over Benin Republic after he came on late in the game and the skipper said he had no problem with playing from the bench if that would help the team.
“For me, I don’t have to play. If the coach wants me to play I will play but if he does not, I won’t. For me, I advised we can start the team that played against Brazil because they played very good.
“As you can see, the young players are coming up and we have to give them a lot of chance. Maybe Musa is not going to be here for a long time so we have to start grooming lots of them.
“Captaincy changes nothing for me,” he said.
Crisis tears another federation board apart
Gymnastics TD resigns over wrangling in GFN
arely a week after the board of the Athletic Federation Nigeria AFN was factionalised, another federation, the Gymnastics Federation of Nigeria GFN may tow the same line.
This is because of the Pillar of GFN, Coach Anthony Asuquo, has resigned his position as Technical Director on the board.
Asuquo in a letter addressed to the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, said his resignation was due to constant wrangling between him and the current leadership of GFN.
The Coach revealed in the letter that the bone of contention was the money $760 about N273, 600 he borrowed the federation to get a ban lifted following GFN’s failure to pay an international affiliation fee.
He said when he requested for a refund of the money from the current board of the GFN, it refused to pay him.
The letter reads, “It is with great pleasure and having done a soul searching exercise that entails a lot retrospective review that confirmed that I am only a nominal member on the board of GFN, I hereby inform you that I have resigned from the board with immediate effect.
My decision to borrow out the money is borne out of the love I have for sport. I am grateful for the few periods I served as the technical representative on the board.
“My action became necessary being a passionate gymnast; I have previously voiced out some actions/inactions of the board especially the President that contradicts the values and norms of a true stakeholder. My action was wrongly viewed and I was tagged “a prodigal son.”
“I lend the federation money to pay Gymnastics Federation of Nigeria international affiliation fee to lift the ban placed on GFN, the sum of 600 Swiss Franc which amounts to 760 USD and in naira 273,600 only.
“The money was paid through my Keystone bank domiciliary account in the presence of the former Secretary General, Ngozi Amayo and the federation account officer named Soliu Alfa. Please, I am requesting for my refund from the GFN.”
Ndidi credits Leicester’s run to Rodgers’ magic
eicester City defensive midfielder, Wilfred Ndidi, has lauded the management style and approach of Coach Rodgers as well as the club’s structure.
According to Ndidi, the structure at Leicester is top notch and also the coach is a good motivation to the team’s success.
”I’m happy at Leicester City because the club has a good ambition and structure; they are actually doing so much. More so, my coach, he is very good; he interacts with the players, he makes us to understand what we have to do and how to do them.
“It is not about playing the game and be talented, you will have to show it and have the confidence and show the personality of who you can really be on the pitch,” Ndidi told brila.net.
The Nigerian also believes Leicester City are capable of playing even better than they are now following their electric start to the season.
Joshua keen to defend his titles in Nigeria
nthony Joshua has revealed his desire to defend his world heavyweight titles in Nigeria.
The 30-year-old, who is of Nigerian heritage, said he began to dream of a fight in Africa after visiting the country earlier this year.
He said: ‘People had been telling me I should go back for ages. I went to the ghettos of the ghettos where it’s not all about egos and beef, it’s about people who are hungry to survive.
‘Africa’s rooting for me for sure, so I would definitely love to fight there.’
Mourinho drops Kane, others for Bayern clash
ottenham manager Jose Mourinho is set to rest some of his players for Spurs’ final Champions League group match, away at Bayern Munich on Wednesday.
Last season’s beaten finalists Spurs are second in Group B and have already secured their place in the last 16, behind group winners Bayern.
Mourinho has already said he will rest top goalscorer Harry Kane.
“I can say that Harry Kane will not play, but who will play, I need to think,” said Mourinho.
“The Bayern match will be one when I am going to rest some players.”
Tottenham, then-managed by Mauricio Pochettino, were embarrassed in the home match against Bayern in October, losing 7-2 in London, before the Argentine was sacked last month.
Mourinho, a Champions League winner with Porto in 2003-04 and with Inter Milan in 2009-10, was in charge for Spurs’ match against Olympiakos and, despite falling 2-0 behind, a 4-2 victory secured their place in the knockout phase.
Tottenham, seventh in the Premier League, are playing seven times in December and their next two league matches are away at sixth-placed Wolves on Sunday and then at home to a Chelsea side who are fourth on 22 December.
Liverpool make Champions League round of 16 with win over Salzburg
iverpool clinched their place in the Champions League round of 16 with a 2-0 victory away to FC Salzburg on Tuesday, thanks to goals from Naby Keita and Mohamed Salah.
Like last season, Jurgen Klopp’s side went into their final group match without qualification assured and needed at least a point to guarantee their progression in the competition they won.
And both sides squandered numerous chances, with Salah and Salzbug’s Erling Haaland — who had scored in every Champions League game this season — were the most guilty parties.
However, the breakthrough did come when Keita headed past a group of Salzburg defenders into the net from Sadio Mane’s cross on 57 minutes.
Less than a minute later, it was 2-0 when Salah somehow found the net from an incredible angle after rounding goalkeeper Cican Stankovic.
The result means Liverpool finish as group winners — ahead of Napoli, who beat Genk 4-0 to secure their qualification — with 13 points.
Etebo for talks with Stoke boss over lack of action
igerian Stoke City midfielder Peter Etebo has expressed frustration over his lack of game time under Micheal O’Neil since returning from injury.
The Nigeria international was a regular starter under previous manager Nathan Jones but has find himself out of the team since returning from three weeks injury.
Etebo has missed all Stoke City games O’Neill has managed and it is appearing the new boss doesn’t fancy him in his new set up.
O’Neill previously claimed that ‘Peter hasn’t really been at the levels since he came back from injury and it’s difficult to start him’.
Reports has now have it that the player is now ready to seek a showdown talk with his manager regarding the issue.
The former CD Fierense of Portugal player has made 11 league appearances for Stoke City this season.
Slovenia fire Nigerian for impregnating club President’s daughter
Nigerian player name withheld has been sacked by second division side in Slovenia for impregnating the daughter of the club’s President after just six months with the side.
The player, whose identity is still under wraps according to GhanaSoccerNet said he was fired for ‘gross misconduct and indiscipline’ over the pregnancy which he has claimed full responsibility.
GhanaSoccerNet stated that four Nigerians registered with the club are Bede Osuji, Temitope Nelson, Gerald Chiyoke and Sulaiman Adedoja but it is uncertain which of them is involved in the pregnancy issue.
The player, who fears public backlash over the situation, has returned to Nigeria after his ordeal and he is worried over the girlfriend and her pregnancy.
The player is considering FIFA action against the club following the decision to sack him over reasons he feels are unjustified after joining the club just in May.
“I signed a three-year deal with the option of another year but last month I ran into trouble when my girlfriend who happens to be the daughter of the president said she was pregnant for me.”
” The club got to know about it and summoned me for a meeting. I got there and admitted that I am responsible for the pregnancy and I was told to stay at home and not to be seen around the club premises until I am instructed to return.
” A week later I was called to the office and told that my agent has been informed about their plans to terminate my contract for gross misconduct and indiscipline. The news came to me as a surprise because I have not been found wanting in any area since I arrived the club six months ago,” he said
The Nigerian player says he is considering legal action at FIFA over the claims of the club that he went beyond the boundary set for players of the club.
Usman ready to defend UFC title Sat
arely a week after Nigerian-Briton Anthony Joshua reclaimed his world titles, another Nigerian Kamaru Usman, a mixed martial arts fighter ,will this weekend in Las Vegas, United States defend his Ultimate Fight Championship title against another top rival Colby Covington.
Both fighters, who have been tagged ‘bitter rivals’ and men on a mission to claim bragging rights into the early hours of Sunday, with Nigerian fans expected to root all the way for Usman, as he makes his first defense of the UFC welterweight belt.
The two have shared bad blood for the better part of a year and will finally lock horns inside the Octagon.
Fans of Usman in the US and his country home Nigeria will hope for another glorious night when the highly-rated Mixed Martial Arts fighter goes against former interim champ, Covington in the main event of UFC 245.
After winning five of his first six MMA fights, Usman entered the UFC by winning season 21 of The Ultimate Fighter, and he has turned away every opponent in front of him since.
After dominant main event performances against Demian Maia and Rafael dos Anjos in 2018, Usman was awarded a title shot against Tyron Woodley at UFC 235 in March who he beat convincingly to become champion.
In contrast his opponent, Covington made his UFC debut as a 5-0 fighter in Aug. 2014, and he’s gone 10-1 in the Octagon.
Covington won the interim UFC welterweight title at UFC 225 but was stripped of the title due to being unable to unify the belt because of injuries.
Paralympian internet sensation Hamato visits Nigeria
io 2016 Paralympian and internet sensation, Ibrahim Hamato will be part of the Egyptian team coming to Nigeria for the maiden Valuejet Para Table Tennis Open holding on December 19 to 21 in Lagos.
Hamato, 44 is an Egyptian Para table tennis Champion, winning several honours over the years, including the silver medals in the African Para table tennis Championships in 2011 and 2013.
Hamato lost both his arms as the result of a train accident when he was 10 that in an interview with CNN the Egyptian said “In our village, we could only play, at that time, table tennis and soccer that’s why I played both. It was logic to play soccer first due to my case; then I played table tennis as a challenge.
Hamato has also won an appreciation award under 6th Edition of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Award for the category of athlete who achieved success in sports despite major humanitarian challenges after earning second place and winning the silver medal during the African Para table tennis Championships in December 2013.
According to the project consultant, Sunday Odebode, the presence of Egyptian team who are one of the top playing nations in Africa would add glamour to the tournament holding at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium.
“We are excited to have Hamato in Lagos because he has been an inspiration to a lot of people across the world and we believe his presence in Lagos would again inspire special athletes to aim high despite their challenges. It promises to be exciting and we cannot wait to have some of the top teams already confirmed for the championship in Lagos. Preparation is ongoing to ensure a hitch-free tournament and we believe hosting this kind of the competition will put Nigeria on the world map and give our players the chance to test might with some of the best in Africa in readiness for Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in Japan,” Odebode said.
Over N10.8m ($30,000) will be at stake as players compete in 44 titles in singles and team events.
Pellegrini ‘not worried’ about relegation after loss to Arsenal
West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini is “not worried about relegation” from the Premier League even though his side are above the bottom three by only a point.
Monday’s 3-1 home defeat by Arsenal was a seventh loss in nine games.
The Hammers travel to third-bottom Southampton on Saturday knowing defeat could leave them in the drop zone.
“In our last five games at home we got one draw and conceded three goals in our last three. I am more worried about that,” said the Chilean.
Some people within the club believe Pellegrini, 66, could lose his job if the Hammers are beaten at St Mary’s, reports the BBC.
However, the club have repeatedly stressed they like to honour contracts, and the deal Pellegrini signed in May 2018 does not expire until 2021.
The Hammers have spent all but one season in the top flight since 2005. This is their eighth campaign since their last promotion and they have never finished below 13th.
Following their controversial move to the 60,000-capacity London Stadium in 2016, Hammers Chairman David Sullivan has give Pellegrini – appointed to succeed David Moyes in 2018 – around £165m to build a squad capable of challenging for European qualification.
Yet, with the exception of the bottom three, West Ham have the worst goal difference in the Premier League. Only four clubs have conceded in excess of their 28 goals, half of which have come in the past six games.
Striker Sebastien Haller, their £45m record signing, has scored once since August and after starting on the bench against Arsenal, the Frenchman made no impact after he was introduced 20 minutes from time.
Pellegrini accepts that, as manager, “you take responsibility for results”.
“For 65 minutes there was only one team on the pitch,” he added. “But we must score the second goal to decide the game. If Arsenal had scored three times from seven chances, that would be different. The game was decided in three minutes. We need to concentrate more, be more consistent and more solid.”
There were thousands of empty seats visible at the final whistle after a game in which the Hammers had led through Angelo Ogbonna’s deflected header, only for three goals in nine second-half minutes from Gabriel Martinelli, Nicolas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to transform the game.
Those West Ham fans who were left greeted the end of the match with whistles and jeers.
Nevertheless, Pellegrini says they are still behind his team.
“If you get one point from five games at home and concede three goals in three games, you can’t expect them to be happy and not to boo,” he said.
“But I don’t agree the fans are not behind the team. There are 60,000 here for every game. If they weren’t behind the team, the stadium would be empty.”
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