Thursday, February 28, 2019

Odion Ighalo, wife and children visit Disneyland Park

Super Eagles and Shanghai Greenland Shenhua striker, Odion Jude Ighalo shared these adorable family photos of his wife Sonia and their three children as they visited the Disneyland Park.





Ex-Super Falcons Star, Okalanwa's Husband Is Dead


Former Super Falcons player, and an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Admichi Okalanwa, is bereaved, Sun News reports.

The former Rivers Angels and Pelican Stars of Calabar central defender lost her husband, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Madu Obinwanne, to the cold hands of death.

ASP Obinwanne, aged 50 years, died on January 29, 2019, during a brief illness.

Until his death, Obinwanne, a Masters Degree holder in Public Administration and International Law, worked in several police formations. He was once a lecturer at the Police College Training School, Ikeja, Lagos.

According to information made available to our correspondent, there will be a Christian wake in honour of the deceased in Lagos, on April 9, with the burial fixed for April 12, 2019, at his home town, Umuaku, Isiochi in Abia State.

The late ASP Obinwanne is survived by his wife, Adimchi, three children and other close relatives.

Tyson Fury and wife Paris welcome fifth child


Tyson Fury and wife Paris have welcomed their fifth child on Thursday morning.

The British heavyweight boxer, who is currently training for his next bout, took to social media to reveal the couple’s good news.

Fury didn't give too much away, though, posting a picture of the new arrival on his Instagram story accompanied with three emojis - a baby son, a crown and the world.

Wife Paris also took to her Instagram page to reveal the birth of their new son, though they are yet to reveal the child’s name.

She posted: “Our new edition. A baby boy born this morning at 7:30. 3 weeks early but perfect in every way we all doing well. Here together with @gypsyking101 happy and healthy thank god.”

The new arrival takes their brood to five.

NFF Congratulates Buhari on Re-election

Amaju Pinnick
Amaju Pinnick
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Wednesday congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari, on his re-election as President and Commander-In-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
In the early hours of Wednesday, the electoral body, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared President Buhari successfully re-elected along with his running mate, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
“The NFF is excited by the victory of President Buhari. We attribute all the successes that we have had in football in the past four years to His Excellency, working closely and in unison with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and other key members of his administration.
“The Government of President Muhammadu Buhari has been providing the conducive environment necessary for the game of football to thrive in our dear country and we believe that the next four years will be even more fruitful for Nigerian football,” NFF President Amaju Melvin Pinnick, said.
Pinnick, who alongside NFF General Secretary Mohammed Sanusi is attending the FIFA Executive Football Summit in Rome, Italy, said the various accomplishments of Nigerian football locally and internationally in the past four years, on and off the field, could not have seen the light of day without the active support and encouragement of the Buhari administration.
“We will always remain very grateful to His Excellency and his Government. We have received the maximum support from the administration. We will work even harder in the next four years to take Nigerian Football to even higher heights of excellence.”
In the past four years of the Buhari administration, Nigerian Football has blossomed on and off the field, with FIFA and CAF appointments for Nigerians more than ever before. Pinnick himself became the first-ever 1st Vice President of CAF from Nigeria.
He is also a Member of the Organizing Committee for FIFA Competitions, and President of the organizing committee for the AFCON – CAF’s flagship competition.
Other Nigerians such as Justice Ayotunde Phillips (Ethics Committee, Adjudicatory Chamber) and Shehu Dikko (Football Stakeholders Committee) are in FIFA, while Senior Advocate A. U. Mustapha is president of the CAF Appeal Board. Samson Adamu (Director of Competitions) and Christian Emeruwa (Head of Safety and Security) have lead roles in CAF.
Pinnick’s deputy, Seyi Akinwunmi (Youth Competitions); Dikko (Inter-Clubs and Club Licensing); Ahmed Yusuf (Technical and Development); Ibrahim Gusau (CHAN); Ifeanyi Ubah (AFCON); Obinna Ogba (Futsal and Beach Soccer); Peter Singabele (Medical) and; Chisom Ezeoke (Women’s Football) are all in CAF committees.

Falcons Beaten 4-1 by Austria

Falcons
Nigeria’s Super Falcons lost 4-1 to Austria in the opening match of the Cyprus Invitational Tournament yesterday at the AEK Arena,  Larnaca.
The reigning African champions had the misfortune of playing one player down following the sending away of goalkeeper Tochukwu Oluehi in the fifth minute for handling the ball outside the box.
Despite that initial setback, Falcons were able to resist the Austrians for the first 45 minutes. But that resistance cave in in the second half for them to concede four goals in that half.
Tor Nina Burger gave the Austrians the lead three minutes after the break as the Europeans finally make their numerical advantage count.
They pilled more pressure on the Falcons and doubled their lead through Nicole Billa  a minute before the hour mark.
Barcelona Ladies of Spain star Asisat Oshoala reduced the deficit for Nigeria firing home Anan Imo cross in the 65th minute.
Laura Feiersinge restored Austria’s two-goal lead  when she scored off a fine corner kick from Elisabeth Mayr in the 72nd minute.
Jennifer Klein extended Dominik Thalhammer’s  side lead eight minutes from time when  she scored  her first international goal through an assist from Elisabeth Mayr.
In the group’s other fixture, Belgium defeated Slovakia 3-0 in a one sided game.  The Super Falcons will face Slovakia in their next game in the competition on Friday.

PREMIERSHIP
Arsenal 5-1 Bournemouth
South’pton 2-0 Fulham
Chelsea 2-0 Tottenham
Cry’Palace 1-3 Man Utd
Liverpool 5-0 Watford
Man City 1-0 West Ham

COPA DEL REY
R’Madrid 0-3 Barcelona

Lagos Media Marathon Will Enhance Ambode’s Road Races Revival, Says Alli

Athletics legend, Yussuf Alli, has described the decision of the Lagos chapter of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) to organise a road race as one of the best things that happened to marathon and road races since Governor Akinwunmi Ambode revived the culture in February 2016 with the Lagos City Marathon.
“The media is the fourth estate of the realm because journalists set agenda and we follow. The decision to organize a road race which is open to all Nigerians with special prizes for journalists and non-journalists will make millions of Nigerians embrace the culture of running, I am so happy with the decision.”
Alli who was within the Top 10 ranking in the world during his active years in the men’s long jump alongside legends like Carl Lewis and Mike Powell for a decade is now the poster face for the organisation of top road races across Nigeria, including the Lagos City Marathon which is an IAAF Bronze Label race, Okpekpe Road Race, Aba Half Marathon and others.
He said that when media practitioners sing the gospel of walking, jogging, running, general exercise and its immense health benefits more and more citizens will embrace it thus leading to a healthier and more productive workforce and less spending by the government on healthcare.
He added: “ Since Governor Ambode revived the culture of marathon in 2016 with the Lagos City Marathon, there has been an upsurge in the interest of Lagosians and Nigerians alike in road races and marathon, so with the media coming in now, that will even help further.”
Alli said he would be more than willing to also help with the Lagos Media Marathon to make it a success right from its first edition.
The Lagos City Marathon General Manager commended the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, and other relevant bodies that are involved in the planning of the Lagos Media Marathon fixed for May 1, 2019.

The Lokosa Example in NPFL

When Junior Lokosa picked up the first ever Eunisell Boot Award, for emerging the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL’s) 2017/18 season highest goal scorer with 19 goals, the then Kano Pillars FC hitman not envisage the career-defining boost it would have on him in the next couple of months.
For his performance in Nigeria’s top football league, the 25-year-old was presented with a glittering trophy and a cheque for N3.8million from one of the nation’s foremost chemical and specialty fluid management companies.
The publicity and media hype he got from achieving this feat reverberated beyond the shores of the ‘Giant of Africa’ catching the attention of international clubs.
First, he went for trials in Asia, with a Chinese club and Europe (Bulgarian and Norway) but failed to secure any concrete contract. Then came a major breakthrough when the current African champions, Esperance Sportive de Tunis, decided to give Lokosa a chance.
The Tunisian club offered him a two-and-a-half-year contract on January 14, 2019.
“It was only after the Eunisell Boot was awarded to me, along with all the publicity that my career turned around,” Lokosa stated, while speaking on how Eunisell’s involvement helped to boost his career.
And even though he has just spent barely a month with the prestigious Tunisia giants, his exposure has opened his eyes to the positive impact big business can have on the “Beautiful Game”.
Lokosa now believes that with more sponsors emulating Eunisell, clubs and players will be the major beneficiaries, and the standard of the game will improve across the country.
The role and benefits of the private sector cannot be over emphasised in the growth of the world’s most popular sports in Nigeria.
However, he is not the only one with this view as stakeholders are also of the opinion that private participation in football is non-negotiable as without it, the game will continue to go round in circles with no real progress.
Highlighting some of these benefits, China Acheru, a broadcaster and former spokesman of Dolphins FC (now Rivers United) reiterated this posits.
According to him, the private sector brings a different feel to how football/sports are run, adding that there is more accountability, better financial management and better planning and ultimately a better product for the fans to enjoy.
Acheru decried what he described as “the overbearing hands of government on football,” as what presently obtains. This, according to him must be reduced.
“There is a saying that goes, government money is free money, and that is probably why state-owned football units are run without accountability or checks and balances.
“As the Nigeria Professional Football League currently is, there are FC Ifeanyi Ubah, Remo Stars, Kada City, MFM and Go Round FC. One side of the coin is owning football clubs and bringing about professionalism in the way these clubs are run and the other is collectively affecting the growth of football.
“The private participation brings a sense of organisation/responsibility and attention to details. These hardly exist in the current setting.
“Nigerian football actually needs the private sector to grow and they must come in form of financiers and managers of the game.
“But for the private sector to come in and effectively help in the development of football, the game must truly be private,” he said.
Acheru also added that with the private sector, the structure of these football clubs will be more visible. A well-run football club means development from the grassroots to the pro-ranks.
On sponsorship, he added: “The NFF is about football development but the norm, especially in Nigeria, is that the federation sits back, waits for government money, then organise the FA Cup in respective states.
“Financial partners are major decision makers as far as the products the sponsor are concerned. The right people putting their money in football can decide how they want the game run.
This means funds are available for the FAs to really fulfill their role of development of football from the grassroots.”
Also speaking specifically on how private partners can come in to ensure this development takes place, Harry Iwuala, Head Special Projects, League Management Company (LMC), the firm that oversees the running of the professional league in the country, pointed out that private participation in football development comes in many variants.
“In league football, there’s private participation by way of club ownership/part ownership, there’s also participation by ownership of facilities such as we see with Rojenny, Power Mike Sports Centre and so on; and you also have participation by ownership of broadcast facilities which is provided for production and distribution of match broadcast signals.
“In broader terms, private participation is viewed from sponsorship and partnership with rights owners such as title rights/category exclusivity, club shirts, stadium naming rights, broadcast sponsorship and partnership as well as vending rights.
“At the end of the day, football development can only come about when there is funding to hire staff (playing, technical and backroom), build facilities (playing fields, training gyms, equipment etc.).
“The chief objective of sponsorship and partnerships is to generate revenue to drive the business of football and at the end, make profit. In Nigeria and elsewhere, private participation is desired either in ownership of clubs and facilities to reduce government influence and in sponsorship to generate fund to run quality competition and reward for players.”
Highlighting the impact of sponsorship on Tunisian football, Lokosa said: “Esperance is a big brand backed by several sponsors across diverse sectors of the Tunisian economy such as automobile, hospitality and the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industry.”
The 25-year-old noted that global brands have now turned to football’s top stars like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to boost their marketing strategies, adding that companies in Nigeria can also emulate this act, to advance a sport that brings joy to the heart of many people in the country.
A very good example of the impact of sponsorship on football is the popular English Premier League, which has been elevated to a global behemoth in no small measure to the money put into it by Sky Sports.
Only last year the satellite broadcast company splashed a staggering £3.58 billion (N1, 682,600,000,000) for a three-year deal to broadcast the league around the world.
From this amount, the 20 clubs in the elite league shared £2.42 billion (N 1,137,400,000,000) from the TV sponsorship deal. And because of this enormous sponsorship fee, the clubs are able to use the money to attract some of the best players to the Premier League because of the huge salaries they can offer them from their share of the billions.
For instance Manchester United was able to land Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal by offering him wages of £350, 000 a week, far above what the Gunners offered him.
So while we are not expecting the NPFL to become a trillion naira business over night the earlier the private sector join the bandwagon the sooner they and football fans will enjoy the fallout from the mutually benefitting partnership

El Clasico Live on GOtv Max on Saturday

Spanish aristocrats, Real Madrid, will on Saturday host their eternal rivals, Barcelona, at the Santiago Bernabeu in the 178th El Clasico. The famous rivalry between the two teams, which takes centre stage in Round 26 of the 2018/19 La Liga season, will be broadcast live and exclusive to GOtv MAX subscribers on SuperSport Select 4 (channel 34) at 8:45 pm.
This would be the second LaLiga clash between the two rivals this season following the 5-1 win for Barcelona in October.
Barcelona, the defending champions and current league leaders, will be buoyed by their 4-2 victory away at Sevilla last week. The Los Blaugrana, who are seeking their 18th win of the season, will be led into battle by captain Lionel Messi, who currently tops the LaLiga goal chart with 25 goals.
But Real Madrid cannot be dismissed as no-hopers despite their patchy form this season. The Los Blancos, currently third on the log, trail Barcelona by a massive 12 points. Santiago Solari’s men will be encouraged by their hard-fought 2-1 win against Levante last Sunday and will need no other motivation to halt, even temporarily, their rival’s progress.
They will rely on their talented strike force of Karim Benzema, Vinícius Jnr. and the resurgent Gareth Bale to deliver the much-needed goals. Form, however, rarely matters in the El Clasico, as it is a game traditionally runs on passion and near-tribal rivalry.
Chief Customer Officer, MultiChoice Nigeria, Martin Mabutho, explained that the broadcast of the high-profile match to GOtv MAX subscribers is a way of giving football fans access to the best Spanish football live.
“Real Madrid and Barcelona are the most famous teams in Spain and have huge following in Nigeria. Being the home of La Liga, we are delighted to bring to our subscribers the El Clasico on GOtv MAX,” he said.
Mabutho urged GOtv subscribers, especially those on GOtv Plus, Value and Lite packages, to take advantage of the “Top Up” campaign and upgrade to GOtv MAX by paying a reduced fee of N2, 500 in order to have access to the game and other exciting programmes.
This weekend’s LaLiga matches will kick off with the clash between Rayo Vallecano and Girona on Friday at 9 pm. The match will air live on SuperSport Select 4.
Saturday’s games include: Espanyol versus Valladolid (showing at 1 pm on SuperSport Select 2 and 4); Villarreal versus Alaves (showing at 4:15 pm on SuperSport Select 4); Huesca versus Sevilla (showing at 6:30 pm on SuperSport Select 4).
Games to be broadcast on Sunday are Eibar versus Celta Vigo (showing at 12 noon on SuperSport Select 2 and 4); Real Betis versus Getafe (showing at 4:15 pm on SuperSport Select 4); Real Sociedad versus Atletico Madrid (showing at 6:30 pm on SuperSport Select 4); and Valencia versus Athletic Bilbao (showing at 8:45 pm on SuperSport Select 4)
Week 26 matches will be rounded off on Monday when Leganes take on Levante (showing at 9 pm on SuperSport Select 4).

Okocha shocked over court arrest order



Former Super Eagles captain, Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha yesterday said he was never contacted over his alleged failure to pay income tax before a Lagos court issued a bench warrant for his arrest.
Many local and international media celebrated the order by a Lagos High Court in Igbosere for Okocha’s arrest earlier in the week.

He was taken to court by the Lagos State Ministry of Justice on a three-count charge bordering on failure to furnish a return of income.
But Okocha spoke for the first time yesterday when he told The Guardian in a telephone chat that he was never contacted by anybody regarding income taxes. “I only read about it on the pages of newspapers.
No one contacted me. As a citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I know very well that nobody is above the law. But honestly speaking, I was never contacted by anybody on issues before the court order.”
The former Bolton of England midfielder, and member of Super Eagles squad to Tunisia ’94 and Atlanta ’96 Olympics, however hinted that the issue had been settled. “It has been settled, but I won’t be able to give you details,” he stated.
The Guardian recalls that the prosecutor, Dr. Jide Martins, had stated that he filed the charge on June 6, 2017, adding that the case came up for the first time on October 5, 2017 but the defendant (Okocha) did not appear in court.
It led to several adjournments before he urged the court to issue a bench warrant.
Justice Adedayo Akintoye has adjourned the case until April 15 for the execution of the bench warrant and further hearing.
Meanwhile, Okocha, regarded as one of the best African players of all time, has called on two ex-internationals, Edema Fuludu and Victor Ikpeba, and others involved in the chairmanship tussle for the Delta Football Association to apply wisdom. Okocha is the immediate past chairman of DFA.

England investigates Nigerian agent in Sancho’s deal



The English Football Association is investigating an alleged illegal payment made to a Nigerian agent, Emeka Obasi in the deal that took Jadon Sancho from Watford to Manchester City.
According to the Press Association, the investigation is over an allegation that Obasi received £200,000 from Manchester City to effect Sancho’s transfer when the player was 14.

German magazine Der Spiegel claimed City made the banned payment to Obasi in relation to the deal that took the youngster to the club from Watford in 2015.

Under Premier League rules, clubs are not permitted to offer financial inducements to a player under 16 or any person connected with that player.
An FA spokesperson said in a statement: “We can confirm that the FA will be investigating the allegations.”
City responded to the claims on Friday, saying in a statement: “The attempt to damage the club’s reputation is organised and clear.
“We will not be providing any comment on out of context materials purported to have been hacked or stolen from City Football Group and Manchester City personnel and associated people.”
Sancho did not made a first-team appearance for City and moved to German side Borussia Dortmund for £8 million in August 2017.
One of the Bundesliga’s outstanding players this season, the winger made his England debut against the United States in November.

Five things we learned in the Premier League


Liverpool roared back to form with a 5-0 demolition of Watford to stay one point clear of defending Premier League champions Manchester City, who squeezed past West Ham thanks to a Sergio Aguero penalty.
Behind the front two, the race for the remaining Champions League places is hotting up, with third-placed Tottenham just four points clear of Arsenal and Manchester United and Chelsea close behind.
Here are five things we learned in the Premier League from the midweek fixtures:
Van Dijk turns scorer
Virgil van Dijk has been widely praised for his role in strengthening Liverpool’s once-suspect defence, with the leaders having conceded just 15 goals in the Premier League so far this season.
But the Dutch centre-back also proved how useful he can be at the other end of the pitch, with two headed goals inside the closing stages of a thumping 5-0 win over Watford as Jurgen Klopp’s men stayed a point clear of City.
Van Dijk, however, made no secret of his priorities after the match by saying: “It was great to score in front of the Kop and to keep a clean sheet was even more important”.
City show resolve of champions
The sight of Manchester City taking the ball into the corner to run down the clock in the final stages to hold out for a 1-0 win was not what was expected from West Ham’s visit to the Etihad.
However, just three days on from a draining 120 minutes to win the League Cup on penalties over Chelsea, Pep Guardiola’s men did at least get the job done to keep the pressure on Liverpool.
City had to rely on Sergio Aguero’s penalty and a big save by Ederson from Andy Carroll for the sort of three points that often make the difference in a tight title race.
Caballero repays Sarri faith after Kepa axe
Willy Caballero was left humiliated on the Wembley touchline when Kepa Arrizabalaga refused to give way to Chelsea’s reserve goalkeeper during the League Cup final.
Manager Maurizio Sarri responded to the challenge to his authority by dropping Kepa for Wednesday’s 2-0 win over Tottenham, and Caballero repaid his faith by producing a composed display in his first Premier League start this season.
It was a sweet moment for the 37-year-old, who said: “The very good news is that he doesn’t care what happened. We are ready and Kepa was fantastic today in supporting me.
“He learns, we learn, and I thank him for supporting me.”
Lukaku gives Solskjaer timely reminder
Marcus Rashford has blossomed under interim Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, becoming the first-choice frontman and limiting opportunities for Romelu Lukaku.
But with Rashford on the substitutes’ bench on Wednesday after a injury in the weekend draw with Liverpool, Lukaku stepped up to score twice in the 3-1 win at Crystal Palace — his first goals in 10 games.
“He’s had to play wide for me and had many defensive duties so I’m happy for him playing as a number nine,” Solskjaer told the BBC.
“It’s always good to see players taking their chance. That’s what it’s about at this club, when you get your chance, grab it.”
Ozil seizes chance
Unai Emery has not been convinced by Mesut Ozil’s contribution to Arsenal this season, but making just his second league start of 2019 the German showed what he can bring in a 5-1 mauling of Bournemouth.
Ozil got Arsenal off to the perfect start with a fourth-minute opener and also played a big role in the Gunners’ second and third goals scored by Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Laurent Koscielny.
Given Emery’s track record of dropping the club’s highest earner for away games against top-six opposition, there is every chance Ozil will find himself on the bench again when Arsenal visit Spurs on Saturday.
However, Ozil has at least given Emery a tough decision to make.
 

Okparaebo inspires girl-child with free training, equipment



But for providence, Ezinne Okparaebo would have been a Nigerian sprinter, dominating the tracks in major international competitions for Africa’s most populous country.
The lady, who has been among the world’s best sprinters for over 15 years, is seen as a trailblazer for her adopted country, Norway, for which she has won many international laurels.
Born in Nigeria, Okparaebo was just a year old when she relocated to Norway, where her talents, even at that tender age, was discovered by talent hunters in the Scandinavian country.
And since then, she has grown to become one of the most known faces in Norwegian sports history.
Speaking to The Guardian on her odyssey in the sports world during a short visit to the country, Okparaebo narrated how she moved from being a child prodigy to one of the world’s best at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
She said, “my talent was first discovered at a school athletics day a year after I arrived Norway.
“We had different events such as sprint, long jump and high jump. I was the fastest girl, and the guys were afraid to run against me, so, I ended up running by myself, but with the best times of all children.
“The teachers encouraged me after that to take up athletics.”
Okparaebo’s reputation as a schoolgirl champion attracted her to the elite of Norwegian sports. She was barely 17-years old when she was thrown into the international arena by a country that had so much faith in her talents.
  
Although she was conscious of her Nigerian roots, Okparaebo said she did not think twice about representing Norway internationally, because the Nordic country’s best hands prepared her for many years and “so it was natural for me to represent Norway.”
On the challenges she faced in the country as a black woman, Okparaebo said she never thought of the negative comments and Internets trolls on her origin, adding, “in recent years, when I am running, it is mostly for the joy of it… to give God glory with my talent and to inspire other people. I don’t attach my accomplishments to any country or to anyone.”
While advising upcoming talents to make the best of their talents, Okparaebo said in athletics nothing is guaranteed.
  
“You can be great today and be loved by everyone and the next day you are out in the cold. It is like you are working hard your whole life for a run of a couple of seconds and sometimes you might not get rewarded for it.
“So, one has to take nothing for granted because nothing is guaranteed in athletics,” she said.
Just before the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, Okparaebo’s video where she scaled an entire set of stadium bleachers in only five leaps, went viral, showing how athletic and hard-working she is.
To many Nigerian athletics watchers, such feats would have been a great motivation to the country’s athletes if she were wearing the green while green rather than Norwegian colours.
She said it would have been an honour to run for Nigeria, adding, however, that nobody has contacted her to represent the country of her birth.
 
“It would have been a great honour to represent Nigeria at some point, but the IAAF has made it very hard to switch allegiance. Now, the athlete has to wait at least two years to compete for another country in an international championships.”
She picks the London 2012 as her bets years a sprinter, because it was “when I became the 10th fastest woman in the world, and best European at the Olympic Games.”
Okparaebo’s goal for the 2020 Olympic Games is to enjoy the process “towards my fourth Olympic games.
Make the best out of my training, to improve everyday, and reach the potential that I feel inside me and haven’t shown yet. If I manage to do all that, the result will surely come.”
Okparaebo has no regrets on the paths she has chosen in her life, because she believes that every obstacle she has encountered in life has made her a more resilient, stronger and wiser person.
If she was not into sports, Okparaebo said she would probably be a social entrepreneur, adding, “it is what I am doing parallel to being an elite athlete.”
She revealed that she runs an organisation in Norway, Ezinne Athletics, “in which we believe that every girl in society, regardless of her ethnic background, should get equal chance in sports to have fun, develop her talents and enjoy being in an inclusive community.
“We believe that youth sports is the best tool for girls to develop self-motivation, resiliency and strong appreciation for their own health and well- being.
“To help young girls become the future ethical leaders and positive contributors for our society, we offer training and equipment for them free of charge twice a week.”

Juventus aim to end title discussion at Napoli


Juventus travel to Napoli on Sunday looking to close the book on a Serie A title race that has hardly looked in doubt since the opening day of the season.
Under previous coach Maurizio Sarri, Napoli had become Juve’s biggest rivals and last season even managed to take the title race down to the final weeks.
But managed by Carlo Ancelotti this campaign they have failed to provide a challenge for the champions, who are odds-on to clinch their eighth straight “Scudetto” regardless of what happens at the San Paolo stadium on Sunday night.
“The race has finished too quickly,” said Jose Mourinho, who won the treble with Inter Milan in 2010, in an interview with the Gazzetta Dello Sport.
Juve are 13 points clear and that gap has taken some of the sting out of what is one of Italy’s iconic fixtures, as well as leaving little room for drama at the top.
“Juventus aren’t facing much of a challenge, and while that’s obviously good for them, it’s a negative for Italian football,” Mourinho added.
That lack of threat means that coach Massimiliano Allegri can rest Cristiano Ronaldo for the trip after he picked up an ankle knock during the 1-0 win at Bologna at the weekend.
On Wednesday, Juve revealed that the Portuguese would have scans on his left ankle and it would be no surprise if the 34-year-old were left out, as with the title all but wrapped up his team’s season rests on the second leg of their of Champions League last 16 clash with Atletico Madrid on March 12.
Ronaldo was signed partly in the hope he would fire Juve to continental glory for the first time in over two decades so it would be no surprise to see him left to recover fully with a view to overturning the 2-0 defeat they suffered at the Wanda Metropolitano.
His absence will be a boon to Napoli, who are unbeaten at home this season in all competitions and haven’t conceded a goal in five matches.
– Rome derby drama –
While the title race is all but wrapped up, the race for the Champions League is hotting up as Roma prepare for the biggest game of their season — a Rome derby against Lazio that could have a huge impact on their European hopes.
Eusebio Di Francesco’s side are a point behind fourth-place AC Milan, who occupy the last Champions League spot, and three away from Inter Milan in third despite a disappointing season that has seen the coach’s position frequently questioned.
It is the start of a huge week for Roma as they also prepare for their trip to Porto on Wednesday, narrow 2-1 leaders after the first leg a fortnight ago.
Champions League football is crucial to the club’s finances as they battle to get a new stadium built and Di Francesco recieved a boost on Wednesday in the form of centre-back Kostas Manolas, easily Roma’s best performer in a shaky defence that has conceded league 33 goals this season.
Italian media reports that the Greek is recovering well from a sprained ankle suffered in their last-gasp 3-2 win at Frosinone on Saturday and could be back in time for the derby.
Lazio meanwhile, who will be the nominal “home” side at the shared Stadio Olimpico on Saturday night, are one of three sides lagging six points behind Roma after Monday’s home match with Udinese was postponed to make way for their goalless Coppa Italia semi-final, first leg draw with Milan on Tuesday.
Gattuso’s Milan, who are unbeaten since Boxing Day and have looked impressive since red-hot striker Krzysztof Piatek signed from Genoa in January, host Sassuolo with Inter in their sights.
Milan are hoping to take advantage of their city rivals’ battle with their own star striker Mauro Icardi, who has refused to play for Inter since being stripped of the captain’s armband last week amid protracted contract negotiations and will almost certainly miss Friday night’s trip to Cagliari.

Lokosa’s award boosts battles for goals in the NPFL



When Junior Lokosa picked up the first ever Eunisell Boot Award at the Nigerian Professional Football League’s (NPFL) 2017/18 season highest goal scorer with 19 goals, even he did not envisage the career-defining boost it would have on him in the last couple of months For his performance in Nigeria’s top football league, the 25-year-old was presented with a glittering trophy and a cheque for N3.8 million from one of the nation’s foremost chemical and specialty fluid management companies.
The publicity and media hype he got for achieving this feat reverberated beyond the shores of the ‘Giant of Africa,’ catching the attention of international clubs.
First, he went for trials in Asia, with a Chinese club and Europe (Bulgarian and Norway) sides, but failed to secure any concrete contract.
Then came a major breakthrough when the current African champions, Esperance Sportive de Tunis decided to give the former Kano Pillars star a chance.
The Tunisian club offered him a two-and-a-half-year contract on January 14, 2019.
“It was only after the Eunisell Boot was awarded to me, along with all the publicity that my career turned around,” Lokosa stated, while speaking on how Eunisell’s involvement helped to boost his career. And even though he has just spent barely a month with the prestigious Tunisia giants, his exposure has opened his eyes to the positive impact big business can have on the “beautiful game”.
Lokosa now believes that with more sponsors emulating Eunisell, clubs and players will be the major beneficiaries, and the standard of the game will improve across the country.
The role and benefits of the private sector cannot be over emphasised in the growth of the world’s most popular sports in Nigeria.
However, he is not the only one with this view as stakeholders are also of the opinion that private participation in football is non-negotiable as without it, the game will continue to go round in circles with no real progress.
Highlighting some of these benefits, China Acheru, a broadcaster and former spokesman of Dolphins FC (now Rivers United) reiterated these positives.
Acheru said the private sector brings a different feel to how football/sports are run, adding that there is more accountability, better financial management and better planning and ultimately a better product for the fans to enjoy.
He decried what he described as “the overbearing hands of government on football,” as what presently obtains. This, according to him, must be reduced.
“There is a saying that goes, government money is free money, and that is probably why state-owned football units are run without accountability or checks and balances.
“As the Nigeria Professional Football League currently is, there are FC Ifeanyi Ubah, Remo Stars, Kada City, MFM and Go Round FC. One side of the coin is sponsoring football clubs and bringing about professionalism in the way these clubs are run and the other is collectively affecting the growth of football.
“The private participation brings a sense of organisation/responsibility and attention to details. These hardly exist in the current setting.
“Nigerian football actually needs the private sector to grow and they must come in form of financiers and managers of the game.
“But for the private sector to come in and effectively help in the development of football, the game must truly be private,” he said.
Acheru also added that with the private sector, the structure of these football clubs will be more visible. A well run football club means development from the grassroots to the pro-ranks.
On sponsorship, he added: “The NFF is about football development but the norm, especially in Nigeria, is that the Federation sits back, waits for government money, then organise the FA Cup in respective states.
“Financial partners are major decision makers as far as the products the sponsor are concerned. The right people putting their money in football can decide how they want the game run.
This means funds are available for the FAs to really fulfil their role of development of football from the grassroots.”
Also speaking specifically on how private partners can come in to ensure this development takes place, Harry Iwuala, Head Special Projects, League Management Company (LMC), the firm that oversees the running of the professional league in the country, pointed out that private participation in football development comes in many variants.
“In league football, there’s private participation by way of club ownership/part ownership, there’s also participation by ownership of facilities such as we see with Rojenny, Power Mike Sports Centre and so on; and you also have participation by ownership of broadcast facilities which is provided for production and distribution of match broadcast signals.
“In broader terms, private participation is viewed from sponsorship and partnership with rights owners such as title rights/category exclusivity, club shirts, stadium naming rights, broadcast sponsorship and partnership as well as vending rights.
“At the end of the day, football development can only come about when there is funding to hire staff (playing, technical and backroom), build facilities (playing fields, training gyms, equipment etc.).
“The chief objective of sponsorship and partnerships is to generate revenue to drive the business of football and at the end, make profit. In Nigeria and elsewhere, private participation is desired either in ownership of clubs and facilities to reduce government influence and in sponsorship to generate fund to run quality competition and reward for players.”
Highlighting the impact of sponsorship on Tunisian football, Lokosa said: “Esperance is a big brand backed by several sponsors across diverse sectors of the Tunisian economy such as automobile, hospitality and the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industry.”
The 25-year-old noted that global brands have now turned to football’s top stars like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to boost their marketing strategies, adding that companies in Nigeria can also emulate this act, to advance a sport that brings joy to the heart of many people in the country.
A very good example of the impact of sponsorship on football is the popular English Premier League, which has been elevated to a global behemoth in no small measure to the money put into it by Sky Sports.
Only last year the satellite broadcast company splashed a staggering £3.58 billion (N1,682,600,000,000) for a three-year deal to broadcast the league around the world.
From this amount, the 20 clubs in the elite league shared £2.42 billion (N 1,137,400,000,000) from the TV sponsorship deal. And because of this enormous sponsorship fee, the clubs are able to use the money to attract some of the best players to the Premier League because of the huge salaries they can offer them from their share of the billions.
For instance Manchester United was able to land Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal by offering him wages of £350, 000 a week, far above what the Gunners offered him.
So while we are not expecting the NPFL to become a trillion naira business over night the earlier the private sector join the bandwagon the sooner they and football fans will enjoy the fallout from the mutually benefitting partnership.

El Clasico: Suarez double sink Real Madrid


Luis Suarez scored twice as Barcelona won at Real Madrid in a smash-and-grab El Clasico to reach a sixth consecutive Copa del Rey final.

Real dominated with 14 shots to Barca's four but the visitors were clinical when it mattered.

Suarez smashed home Ousmane Dembele's cross before Raphael Varane's own goal put Barca in control.

An audacious chipped penalty from Suarez after he was fouled by Casemiro put the game beyond any doubt.

Both sides - who had drawn the first leg 1-1 - meet again at the Bernabeu on Saturday in La Liga.

The Copa del Rey final takes place on 25 May, when Barcelona will face either Real Betis or Valencia, with that tie to be settled on Thursday after the first leg finished 2-2.

Pedro inspires Chelsea triumph over Spurs


Chelsea bounced back from defeat in the EFL Cup final by beating Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues started brightly when Gonzalo Higuain hit the post with a swerving shot.

The visitors also hit the woodwork two minutes before the break when Harry Winks's effort crashed off the crossbar.

On 56 minutes, Chelsea broke the deadlock. Cesar Azpilicueta fed the ball to Pedro, who slotted past Hugo Lloris.

Maurizio Sarri's side sealed victory in the 84th minute when Kieran Trippier's errant backpass eluded Lloris and went into the back of his own net.

Chelsea remain sixth with 53 points, two behind fifth-placed Manchester United with a match in hand.

Spurs are in third on 60 points, nine adrift of leaders Liverpool.

EPL Results For Week 28


Cardiff 0-3 Everton
Hudersfield 1-0 Wolves
Leicester 2-1 Brighton
Newcastle 2-0 Burnley
Arsenal 5-1 Bournmouth
Southamptom 2-0 Fulham
Chelsea 2-0 Spurs
Crystal Palace 1-3 Man United
Liverpool 5-0 Watford
Man City 1-0 Westham

Week 29 prediction coming soon

Lukaku wants to link up with Ronaldo at Juve



ROMELU LUKAKU wants to join Juventus this summer if he is forced out of Manchester United.
The 25-year-old has been heavily criticised by fans this season following an inconsistent campaign. He has scored just ten goals so far and been forced to play out of position under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
It is understood the Red Devils could look to offload Lukaku when the transfer window opens, as Marcus Rashford is preferred up front.
And Belgium forward would be willing to join Juventus to link up with Cristiano Ronaldo and Co. The Old Lady could be looking for a new attacker this summer, with Paulo Dybala linked with a move away. An Old Trafford source said: “Lukaku’s preferred destination would be Juventus if he leaves the club.
“He is an absolutely massive fan of Ronaldo. He has lost his regular spot but not rocked the boat at all so far. “The feelers are already out in both camps. We’ll have to wait and see but it’s going to be a busy summer.”

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Striker Moussa Dembele Hits At Brendan Rodgers

Moussa Dembele has reignited his bitter feud with Brendan Rodgers after his old boss quit Celtic to sign a £5.5million-a-year deal at Leicester on Tuesday.

He and Rodgers have previous after the Northern Irishman claimed Dembele only left Celtic for the money, leading to the player sending a series of furious tweets.

In one, he took aim at Rodgers and urged Celtic fans to 'be careful who they call their leader', shortly before he completed his move back to France with Lyon.

Now, six months on, Rodgers too has left Celtic - and Dembele was quick to stick the boot in on his former coach once more.

Quoting a tweet confirming Rodgers' arrival at Leicester, Dembele simply said '#Interesting', before posting a GIF of a man looking confused.

In a follow-up tweet, the French forward quoted lyrics from the Notorious B.I.G hit Juicy, writing: '#AndIfYouDon'tKnowNowYouKnow #IToldYou'.

Incredibly, Dembele then weighed in for a fourth time, posting a video of Muhammad Ali's legendary post-fight interview after his 'Rumble in the Jungle' bout with George Foreman.




Arsenals Squad Againts Bournemouth



Arsenal have released their line-up that will tackle Bournemouth Wednesday night in the Premier League fixture at the Emirates stadium.

According to Mirror UK, Arsenal boss, Unai Emery released a list of 20 players.

Emery’s men head to the game following a 2-0 victory over Southampton in their last Premier League encounter.

Below is the Arsenal squad against Bournemouth:

Leno, Cech, Maitland-Niles, Jenkinson, Lichtsteiner, Koscielny, Mustafi, Papastathopoulos, Monreal, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Elneny, Torreira, Guendouzi, Iwobi, Suarez, Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang, Lacazette, Nketiah.

The kick-off time for the match is 8:45 pm.

Man United’s Squad Against Crystal Palace Revealed



Manchester United have released their line-up that will tackle Crystal Palace in tonight’s Premier League fixture at Selhurst Park, the Mirror UK reports.


Manchester United caretaker manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer released a list of 18 players.

Solskjaer’s men head to the game following a 1-0 victory over Leicester City in their last Premier League encounter.


Below is the Manchester United squad against Crystal Palace:

Goalkeepers: David de Gea, Sergio Romero, Lee Grant.

Defenders: Ashley Young, Luke Shaw, Diogo Dalot, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Chris Smalling.


Midfielders: Andreas Pereira, Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba, James Garner, Fred, Angel Gomes.

Attackers: Alexis Sanchez, Romelu Lukaku, Tahith Chong.

The kick-off time for the match is 9:00 pm.

Obafemi to Miss Rest of Southampton Season

Young Southampton striker Michael Obafemi will miss the rest of the Premier League season due to a hamstring injury, manager Ralph Hasenhuttl said on Tuesday.

Michael Obafemi

 Michael Obafemi

The 18-year-old Irish international was a half-time substitute for the relegation-threatened side in a 2-0 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates last weekend but came off after 20 minutes.

 Obafemi, who last year became the first player born after the year 2000 to feature for the club in a Premier League match, had only just returned from injury.

 “It’s a big blow for Michael; until the end of the season he won’t play,” Hasenhuttl said ahead of today’s home game against fellow strugglers Fulham.

The Austrian had called the situation a “disaster” immediately after the match.

 Hasenhuttl said forward Danny Ings and midfielder Mario Lemina would not feature against Fulham.

“It doesn’t seem like it’s possible to play Danny, the risk is too high,” he said of a player who has yet to return to training with the team.

“Mario Lemina is not training with the squad but he’s working every day to return.”

 Southampton are 18th in the league, a point behind Cardiff City, while Fulham are 19th and seven points adrift of the Saints.

Ola Aina’s Value Hits €10m

AS Torino of Italy defender, Ola Aina has seen his market value soar from €600,000 to a massive €10m, sequel to his sterling form in the Italian Serie A and a major talking point in weekly rave reviews.
Ola Aina

 Ola Aina

It was gathered that, what appeared to be a gamble in taking the dark-skinned Super Eagles’ full-back to Turin on loan from Chelsea last summer, has turned into a massive scoop for the Italian midstream club.

Consequently Turino are not bating an eyelid in their decision to cough out the asking price from Chelsea, as the Italian side have agreed to buy Aina outright from The Blues.

 Torino coach, Walter Mazzarri, who handled fellow-Super Eagles stars, Odion Jude Ighalo, and Isaac Success for a while at Watford, has decided that the club will take up the €10m option to buy Aina this summer.

 This is regardless of the fact the 22-year-old versatile defender arrived from Chelsea on loan at €600,000 in the summer but has since seen his value escalate in mammoth proportions.

This is because Aina has shone this season, scoring one and producing an assist in 22 Serie A appearances for The Granata, who previously had in their ranks at various points the trio of Angelo Obinze Ogbonna, Nnamdi Vincent Oduamadi, and Joel Chukwuma Obi.


Solskjaer reveals why Liverpool won’t win title



Manchester United interim manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, has told his players that Liverpool are not good enough to win the Premier League title this season.


According to the UK Sun, Solskjaer ripped into Jurgen Klopp’s men, following their 0-0 draw at Old Trafford on Sunday.

United held off the league leaders despite suffering many injuries, leaving Solskjaer unimpressed.


“Ole was very blunt about Liverpool with his players and clearly believes they do not have enough to beat City to the title.

“He thinks they are very one dimensional, lacking creativity. He certainly has faith that his team are a better outfit,” a source said.

The goalless draw saw Liverpool return to the top of the league, one point ahead of Manchester City with 11 fixtures left.

The Reds have not won the league title since 1990.

Why Sarri Dropped Marcos Alonso for Carabao Cup Final



Chelsea manager, Maurizio Sarri, has revealed that he left Marcos Alonso out of their Carabao Cup final defeat to Manchester City, because the Spaniard is out of form.


Emerson Palmeri was given the nod at left-back and performed well up against the likes of Raheem Sterling and Kyle Walker.

Alonso started the season brightly under Sarri and the Italian said the former Fiorentina full-back, could become the “best left-back in the world” in October.


However, Sarri has revealed that, after deciding to start Emerson, he did not want to waste a place on his bench for Alonso.

“I did not want a left-back on the bench but its the same situation with Emerson usually.

“It depends on the period. In this moment Emerson is doing very well so I have to use him but it depends on the period, the mental and physical conditions [of the players].


“It can happen that in 11 months [of a season] you have one or two months not at the top, it’s not a big problem.

“Emerson now is in a very good physical and mental condition,” Sarri told the media on Tuesday.

Red-hot Ofoedu Wants Super Eagles Call up

The recent pronouncement by the Super Eagles Coach Gernot Rohr that Nigerian players doing well in their various clubs stand a chance of being invited for the upcoming games against Seychelles and Egypt has been applauded across board.
Israel-based forward, Chikeluba Ofoedu who has nine goals and seven assists in 17 games so far this season for Israeli giants, Maccabi Tel Aviv is one of those believed to be on the radar of the Franco-German who is keen to bolster the Super Eagles’ squad ahead of AFCON 2019 in Egypt.
While Ofoedu agrees that he has already done enough to at least attract the attention of the national team handlers, he was quick to state that he would not rest on his oars until he achieves his long-time ambition of playing for the National team.
“I believe I have done a lot to attract a call to the national team and I trust I will not disappoint if given a first chance to impress,” Chico as he is fondly called by fans stated.
“I want to emulate big players like Vincent Enyeama and Nosa Igiebôr who both played for Maccabi Tel Aviv and went on to represent Nigeria,” the pacy and skillful forward added.
After his exploits in Turkey, Ofoedu is fast becoming a household name with Maccabi Tel Aviv where he is enjoying a fantastic season but the former Rangers International striker remains focused on wining the league shield with his team this year.
“It’s been a very interesting season so far but we have not won the title yet despite our 20 points lead, there is still top 6 playoffs after the regular season but our Spirits are high in expectations” the 26 year old noted.
Rohr is currently making the list of players to be invited for the dead rubber AFCON 2019 Match-day 6 and final qualifier against Seychelles on March 22 and an international friendly against Egypt four days later also in Asaba.