Victor Lindelof admits he misses his former manager Jose Mourinho being in football, following his departure from Manchester United last season.
Mourinho has been out of managerial work since being sacked by United in December 2018, after he oversaw the club’s worst start to a campaign in 28 years.
The Portuguese, 56, has been linked to various roles in world football since then and Lindelof, who won the Swedish Golden Ball award for the second consecutive year this week, says he would like to see him back managing at the top level again in the future, reports Sky Sports.
“He is, after all, one of the world’s best coaches and he is supposed to have a job at one of the biggest clubs. I miss him in football,” Lindelof told Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet.
“He’s a great coach and a great person, whom I owe a great deal. It was he who gave me the chance here, who brought me into everything.”
Speaking to Sky Sports, Mourinho was critical of Lindelof’s performance in United’s 2-0 defeat away at West Ham in September, claiming that the defender can be “bullied” by attackers and is weak in aerial battles.
The centre-half, who Mourinho signed from Benfica for £30m in 2017, was unfazed by the comments at the time, and maintains that he owes his ex-manager a debt of gratitude for bringing him to the Premier League.
“I have all the respect in the world for him and appreciate everything he has said and done for me, from scolding to a hug.
“Even if I did not agree, at the time… he has very great charisma, you had great respect for him.
“He’s won everything. When he says something, you listen.”
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s believes Sunday’s 3-1 win over Brighton was his team’s best performance of the season.
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s believes Sunday’s 3-1 win over Brighton was his team’s best performance of the season
Lindelof missed United’s 3-0 victory over Partizan Belgrade in the Europa League due to a back injury but played the full match in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sides’ 3-1 triumph over Brighton in the Premier League.
The 25-year-old has featured 11 times in all competitions so far this term, establishing himself as a first-team regular at centre-back for United alongside record signing Harry Maguire.
In September, Lindelof signed a contract extensionat the club, which will keep him at Old Trafford until 2024.
WADA hands Russia four-year ban
*Affects 2020 Olympics, 2022 World Cup
Russia has been handed a four-year ban from all major sporting events by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada).
It means the Russia flag and anthem will not be allowed at events such as the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and football’s 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
But athletes who can prove they are untainted by the doping scandal will be able to compete under a neutral flag, reports the BBC.
Wada’s executive committee made the unanimous decision in a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland.
It comes after Russia’s Anti Doping Agency (Rusada) was declared non-compliant for manipulating laboratory data handed over to investigators in January 2019.
It had to hand over data to Wada as a condition of its controversial reinstatement in 2018 after a three-year suspension for its vast state-sponsored doping scandal.
Wada says Rusada has 21 days to appeal against the ban. If it does so, the appeal will be referred to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas).
Wada president Sir Craig Reedie said the decision showed its “determination to act resolutely in the face of the Russian doping crisis”.
He added: “For too long, Russian doping has detracted from clean sport. The blatant breach by the Russian authorities of Rusada’s reinstatement conditions demanded a robust response.
“That is exactly what has been delivered.
“Russia was afforded every opportunity to get its house in order and re-join the global anti-doping community for the good of its athletes and of the integrity of sport, but it chose instead to continue in its stance of deception and denial.”
But Wada vice-president Linda Helleland said the ban was “not enough”.
“I wanted sanctions that cannot be watered down,” she said. “We owe it to the clean athletes to implement the sanctions as strongly as possible.”
A total of 168 Russian athletes competed under a neutral flag at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang after the country was banned following the 2014 Games, which it hosted in Sochi. Russian athletes won 33 medals in Sochi, 13 of which were gold.
Russia has been banned from competing as a nation in athletics since 2015.
Despite the ban, Russia will be able to compete at Euro 2020 – in which St Petersburg will be a host city – as European football’s governing body Uefa is not defined as a ‘major event organisation’ with regards to rulings on anti-doping breaches.
How did we get here?
Rusada was initially declared non-compliant in November 2015 after a Wada-commissioned report by sports lawyer Professor Richard McLaren alleged widespread corruption that amounted to state-sponsored doping in Russian track and field athletics.
A further report, published in July 2016, declared Russia operated a state-sponsored doping programme for four years across the “vast majority” of summer and winter Olympic sports.
In 2018, Wada reinstated Rusada as compliant after the national agency agreed to release data from its Moscow laboratory from the period between January 2012 and August 2015.
However, positive findings contained in a version courtesy of a whistleblower in 2017 were missing from the January 2019 data, which prompted a new inquiry.
Wada’s compliance review committee (CRC) recommended a raft of measures based “in particular” on a forensic review of inconsistencies found in some of that data.
As part of the ban, Russia may not host, or bid for or be granted the right to host any major events for four years, including the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Bahrain stun Saudi Arabia to lift Gulf Cup title
Bahrain clinched the Arabian Gulf Cup title for the first time with a 1-0 victory over Saudi Arabia in the final on Sunday.
Mohamed Al-Rumaihi netted the second-half winner for Bahrain to end their 49-year wait for a maiden Gulf Cup title.
Saudi Arabia captain Salman Al-Farag missed a first-half penalty, reports Reuters.
The Saudi team have now lost in the final four times in the last six editions of the competition and have not won the title since 2004.
I’m coming for you, Joshua tells Wilder
…as Ruiz demands rematch
nthony Joshua would “love” the opportunity to unify his world heavyweight belts in a clash with Deontay Wilder, but insists he will not rush into any fight having seen off Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.
The Brit boxer, 30, reclaimed the WBA, IBF and WBO titles he lost to the Mexican-American on June 1, coming through the rematch at the Diriyah Arena to the north-west of Riyadh to win comfortably on a unanimous decision.
Joshua put together a cool and calculated performance to avenge the only defeat thus far in his professional career, which now stands at 23 victories from 24 bouts.
And, having become a two-time heavyweight champion, thoughts quickly turned to his desire to unify the division. That entails a potential bout with WBC title-holder Wilder, who is scheduled to meet Tyson Fury in their rematch in February.
Asked if he has sights on a possible unification bout, Joshua said: “Yeah, definitely. I would love to. It’s hard to keep them, to unite them. I’m sure PBC [promoters of both Ruiz and Wilder] were desperately rooting for Andy to win. But we came and put a spanner in the works. We’ll see what happens.
“If I’m chasing it, like in a fight I’m chasing the right hand, I’m chasing the left hook, it may come crashing down. And I realise that chasing a fight wasn’t to my benefit. So I’m just going to let the path take its course.
“I’ve got amazing people around me, a great team, and when the opportunity presents itself to be undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, you know me by now, I’m going to take the challenge.”
However, Wilder said early Sunday that a unification bout “would never happen”.
Joshua’s win against Ruiz, under the rain and in front of a capacity 15,000 crowd in Diriyah, was viewed by many as redemption for his shock loss in the summer. Back then, the unbeaten champion was expected to cruise past his opponent – a late replacement for Jarrell Miller – but he was knocked down four times en route to a TKO in the seventh round. It is considered one of the greatest upsets in boxing history.
Yet, having slumped to defeat and having climbed back to the summit, Joshua rejected suggestions it has been a year of lessons and learning.
“What have I learned? Nothing new,” he said. “It’s just what I’m built for. I just like fighting. It’s a shame, because everyone likes me fighting when I’m winning, but hate me when I lost. For me personally, looking at myself in the mirror, I just love fighting.
“I didn’t learn anything new. Before boxing I was a little fighter, I started boxing and I continued to fight. I just learned that I still love the game, that’s all it is.”
Meanwhile, Ruiz Jr has called for a rematch again after Anthony Joshua won back an array of world heavyweight titles in Saudi Arabia on Sunday, but the Mexican-American cannot expect to be at the front of the queue.
“Who wants to see the third trilogy fight right here? In Saudi Arabia baby,” Ruiz called out to the crowd at the Diriyah Arena.
Joshua had sounded receptive to the idea – “if you heard, we’re going to do it a third,” he said – but promoter Eddie Hearn would not be drawn after a bout won clinically on a unanimous points decision against a flabby-looking opponent.
CAF Confed: Enyimba beat San Pedro
nyimba Football Club returned to winning ways at Enyimba International Stadium, Aba on Sunday, as they narrowly beat FC San Pedro of Ivory Coast 1-0 in the Group-D second match of the ongoing Total CAF Confederations Cup.
Striker, Martins Esule, scored in the 64th minute to give the Aba club the win, after coming on a substitute in place of striker, Sampson Obi, who never had the best of game following a general lackluster performance from the entire team.
The People’s Elephant lost their first match in Group-D 2-0 to Hassania Agadir, in the city of Agadir in Morocco, which left them bottom of the group, after the other teams in the group, FC San Pedro played a draw with Paradou Athletic Club of Algeria in the city of San-Pedro, in Ivory Coast.
FC San Pedro will no doubt be disappointed with the result, as they will feel that they could have picked up the maximum points from the fixture had they taken their chances throughout the game, after dominating Enyimba in the first half.
The lackluster performance from the Usman Abd’Allah led Enyimba was very visible by the reactions of the fans, and did not go without consequences as Ifeanyi Anaemena, the team’s dependable captain, was ruled out for three weeks after he sustained an injury and was replaced by Abiodun Adebayo.
Reacting to his team’s performance, Coach Usman Abd’Allah, said he is happy his team got the required three points notwithstanding the performance which was never perfect.
Abd’Allah however said that the 2PM schedule for the match was no excuse for their poor first half performance.
He stressed that the team had too many injuries coupled with the injection of new players who are yet to understand other players in the team fully.
The Enyimba coach however assured the fans that the team will improve from game to game and will not waste much time to get to their required level where all supporters will be happy to watch.
Enyimba Captain, Ifeanyi Anaemena said that the first half performance of the team which everyone complained about in Morocco which repeated in the match against San Pedro is something the team will always improve on with time.
Anaemena who confirmed his the gravity of his injury to the press added that getting the three points after such poor performance in the first half is very important as points are very precious in a group competition.
The goal scorer, Martins Esule, said he is delighted to have helped the team gain the required three points.
Esule who is gradually becoming a local hero for always coming up with goals from the bench, said he usually reads the game properly before coming as he most have observed the errors in the game.
He dedicates the victory to the fans and expressed his gratitude to the Almighty God for giving him the grace to always deliver for Enyimba.
Meanwhile, Enyimba Chairman, Felix Anyansi-Agwu, debunked the rumours that the 2PM time of the match has to do with lack of flood light at the Enyimba Stadium. He said the stadium is fully ready to even host night matches.
Anyansi-Agwu explained that the time for every CAF match is determined by CAF, stressing that Enyimba is not in control of the time.
He however added that the timing affected both the turn out of spectators and the performance of the players.
The Head Coach of FC San Pedro, Khemaies Labidi, said his team played very well and will always improve because they are young players.
Iheanacho scores as Leicester bury Villa
Kelechi Iheanacho continued his revival after he shone again as Leicester City recorded their eighth straight English Premier League win courtesy of a 4-1 win at Aston Villa.
Iheanacho scored a goal and provided an assist, just as he had done in the dramatic win against Everton.
The striker, who started his first EPL game this season at Villa, first set up Jamie Vardy to open scoring in the 20th minute, before he himself netted from the first post on 41 minutes.
He has now scored two goals and provided two assists in the league.
It is the form that originally got Leicester to splash 25 million pounds on him.
Leicester City remain second on the table with 38 points from 16 matches, eight points behind leaders Liverpool.
AFN crisis sad for athletics – Gusau
…accuses Sports Ministry of taking sides
The embattled president of the Athletic Federation of Nigeria, Ibrahim Gusau, has said the ongoing crisis in the AFN is sad for the sport in the country especially with Olympic Games just few months away.
Speaking at a press conference organised in Lagos on Sunday, the president said everything they were doing as a board has been with the best interests of athletes in mind and an innate desire to develop athletics in Nigeria.
He said they are open to discussion while also calling on all Nigerians to ask questions as there are so many left unanswered.
Meanwhile, Gusau has accused the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development of taking sides in the ongoing crisis rocking the federation.
He said the ministry did so by endorsing the board meeting that took place in Abuja recently leading to the suspension of the president by seven other board members.
“It is common knowledge that the AFN is having misunderstandings, especially within the board of the federation.
“It is also obvious that the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports has taken sides by issuing a press statement endorsing the purported board meeting held on Tuesday, December 3, in Abuja. If this is not interference, one wonders what is,” he said
Reacting to some of the issues raised by the ministry of sports which claimed that Gusau actually convened the Abuja meeting, the president said he couldn’t have call for a meeting and likewise be absent from such.
Citing several documents and instances, he said his problem with the ministry started after he submitted himself to the several security agencies in the country to be investigated over the overpaid World Athletic’s $135,000.
He added: “On the inauguration of our board in July, 2017, I was confronted with an allegation in respect of USD150,000 paid to the AFN. I was accused of mismanaging the funds and in keeping with the President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to accountability and transparency, I submitted myself to the relevant agencies for investigation.
“The individual reports exonerated me from any culpability but raised questions which the agencies are diligently pursuing.
“My action in submitting myself to be investigated laid the foundation for the misunderstandings being experienced in the AFN today.
“This is part of the reasons we seek autonomy to enable us increase the funding base of the Federation. The sponsorship deal signed with Puma attests to the capacity of this Board to attract private funding for sports from within and outside the country.
“The autonomy we are talking about is in so far as administering the Federation is concerned and had always been in existence in the statutes of the AFN, the CAA and the WA.”
Chinese club chases Troost-Ekong
top Chinese Super League club are preparing a move for Super Eagles assistant captain William Troost-Ekong.
Respected French agent of Cameroonian descent, Ivo Chi was spotted in the stands during Udinese’s Serie A match against Napoli on Saturday at the Dacia Arena (Udine).
Allnigeriasoccer.com has been doing some digging on Chi’s presence at the stadium and it is confirmed that the German-based intermediary, who has close ties to Cameroon legend Samuel Eto’o and scouts for a Chinese club, came to run the rule over Troost-Ekong.
The Chinese club were impressed with the performance of the Nigeria international and are interested in bringing him to China as from the January transfer window.
Ekong extended his contract with Udinese in November, keeping him at the Bianconeri until the end of the 2022-2023 season.
Before the 26-year-old inked a new deal with Udinese, he was receiving 400,000 euros per season, and he is set for a big pay day if his move to China materializes.
The Dutch-born center back previously represented clubs in Netherlands, England, Belgium, Turkey and Norway.
Joshua’s victory restored confidence, says Ogun gov
gun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, on Sunday, felicitated with world heavyweight boxing champion, Anthony Joshua, for reclaiming his belts in a rematch with Mexican opponent, Andy Ruiz Jnr.
Abiodun noted that the Sagamu, Ogun State-born boxer made Nigerians proud by his victory and restored confidence that the nation will be great again.
Joshua had, on Saturday night, defeated Ruiz in a 12-round bout held in Saudi Arabia, making him to regain the titles lost to same opponent back in June.
“I congratulate Anthony on this successful outing. May he continue with the winning streak ad infinitum,” Abiodun said while congratulating the boxer on Sunday.
In a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin, the governor said Joshua displayed the “Ogun standard of excellence” by reclaiming all the titles in the rematch with Ruiz.
According to him, the fight kept sleep away from the eyes of many admirers of AJ worldwide, especially the people of Ogun State.
He noted that the professional boxer outclassed his opponent over 12 rounds “to compensate them (admirers) and reassured us that hard work pays.”
Abiodun attributed the outcome to the manifestation of God’s love for the people of the state who prayed ceaselessly for Joshua that the nightmarish experience of New York earlier in the year be reversed.
He said, “God still answers prayers. We return all the glory to God Almighty for granting our hearts’ desires and ceaseless prayers for our brother, Anthony Joshua, to regain the IBF, WBA and WBO titles.
“All of us in the state, irrespective of our religious affiliations prayed for his success. That the feat happened in Saudi Arabia doubly excites me. God answered us.”
“My joy is unquantifiable,” the governor said, adding: “our government has always dimensioned sports as not only a unifying factor but a socio-economic imperative.”
He also lauded Anthony Joshua for his determination, hard work, resilience and focus which he described as virtues ingrained in the DNA of Ogun people.
“He has made us proud by exhibiting these traits and the can-do spirit of Ogun people,” Abiodun added.
The governor noted that Joshua’s victory should inspire other aspiring champions of Ogun State origin to do more.
He said, “On our part, we would provide the necessary incentives to all our ambitious young men and women to become world champions in all considerable areas of sports – not only in boxing.
“We are poised to fix our stadia, upgrade facilities, train sportsmen and women, motivate coaches and develop talents starting from the grassroots.”
Abiodun called on all stakeholders to be concerned about hunting for and developing talents.
The governor noted that with sports, more people would be pulled out of poverty, while insecurity, social strife and crimes would be kept in check.
Nigerians must learn from Joshua – Buhari
resident Muhammadu Buhari has described Saturday night’s triumph by the World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Anthony Joshua, as a lesson all Nigerians must learn about Keeping faith with hope.
President Buhari was reacting to Joshua’s come-back victory after an earlier defeat by Andy Ruiz Jnr., noting that to fall once does not mean all hope is lost, adding that the world champion’s victory had brought more glory to Nigeria.
The President, in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, on Sunday morning, however rejoiced with Joshua, commending him for bringing joy to millions of Nigerians, home and abroad.
“President Muhammadu Buhari thumbs up World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Anthony Joshua, for regaining his belts Saturday night in a rematch with Mexican, Andy Ruiz Jnr.
“The President rejoices with Joshua, saluting him for bringing joy to millions of Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora, who had rooted for him to regain the titles he lost about six months ago
“The downfall of a man is truly not the end of his life. There’s always another, and better day. This is a lesson we must all learn from you as a country,” President Buhari tells the comeback world champion.
He wishes Anthony Joshua well as he seeks to bring more glory to Nigeria, and to the boxing profession.
American varsity’s coaches poach talents in Lagos
wo football coaches from leading universities in United States are due in Lagos this month, with offers of all-expense paid trips abroad and scholarships to a number of talented secondary school students to attend tertiary institutions in the US after a three-day talent hunt programme.
The programme will take place at First Bank Field, Satellite Town, Lagos from December 20 to 22 under the aegis of USA-based Angels of the World (AOTW), an NGO that has former FC Ebedei of Sagamu striker, Machael David (Omasaro) among its directors.
David said the programme, First College Showcase in Nigeria, would afford six young footballers opportunities to exhibit their passion for football and education as the coaches take notes.
The successful among the players would get opportunities to attend University of California Santa Barbara, USA fully-paid athletic scholarship, which the AOTW co-founder said would aid discovery of Nigeria’s next super stars.
David was scouted playing for Santana Boys of Ojo, under the care of Coach Iyke Anyaji and took him to FC Ebedei, where he was given the opportunity to travel abroad.
“God used football to take me to America to save my life. I am now committed to helping children all over Africa to discover who they were created to be,” he said while narrating a blood ailment that almost claimed his life.
“Whoever has a school boy who possesses what it takes to be one of the few to be selected should encourage such to join the others who want
to impress the scouts,” David concluded.
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