Category Archives: Sports

Saraki Hails Falcons Over WAFU Success

Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on Monday lauded the Super Falcons for lifting the 2019 WAFU Cup following their soul-lifting display in the finals of the game last Saturday in Abidjan.

Saraki in a statement by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in Abuja, said the country cannot but be proud about the patriotism and resilience of its female national team.
He stated that even though the victory came after a hard fight, the Super Falcons have once again re-enacted their dominance in the sub-region.

“Your courage, discipline, team spirit and above all, patriotism have brought joy and fulfilment to all football lovers across the country.

“You have done us proud by remaining a source of inspiration to the younger generation. You have amply demonstrated once again that any worthy goal is achievable if pursued with focus, zeal, commitment and organization. Your success is our success. Congratulations!”

While commending the coach, players and technical crew for the exceptional feat, the President of the Senate expressed hope that the WAFU Cup would spur the female national team, once again, to another dazzling performance during the forthcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup Championship in France.

Lopetegui: Three weeks of rotten luck ruined my Real Madrid career

Former Real Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui admits that he was disappointed by the rapid end to his tenure at Santiago Bernabeu, affirming that he believes he could have turned things around given more time.

Lopetegui caused a stir last summer when he took the Madrid job while preparing for Spain ‘s World Cup challenge in Russia.
That decision led him to be sacked from the Roja post just days before the tournament kicked off, while his time with the Merengue also proved short-lived.

A string of poor results culminating in a 5-1 Clasico thrashing at the hands of Barcelona saw him dismissed after just 10 Liga games at the end of October, with Santiago Solari faring little better as his replacement before the club turned back to three-time Champions League winner Zinedine Zidane.

And the coach blames a sudden slump in results and some sloppy finishing for putting an end to his brief time in charge.
“We had a great start and played some great games,” he explained to The Coaches’ Voice .

“But then we had three weeks of rotten luck in front of goal in games in which we were better. These things can happen to every team.

“We thought that there was still time and we had something that was crucial: absolute commitment from the players and from a team that had a great deal to give.”

Following Lopetegui’s removal from the Spain team, interim coach Fernando Hierro oversaw a disappointing World Cup that ended with penalty shoot-out defeat to hosts Russia in the last 16.

But he pointed to the results achieved under his tutelage to suggest that the Roja would have fared better had he remained in charge until the end of the tournament.
“We had gone two years without losing and played against Germany , France, Belgium,
England , Italy ,” he recalled.

“We dominated all of those games. Then, we don’t know what would have happened in the World Cup, but we were ready, we had big hopes and the players felt it and made us know it.”

Senate threatens to shutdown Bet9ja over refusal to honour its invitation

The Senate Committee on Youth and Sports on Tuesday threatened to order the shutdown of Bet9ja office if the company failed to honour its invitation for a second time.

The Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Obinna Ogba, made the remark at the National Assembly, Abuja during the verification of loto companies with license to operate in Nigeria.

Ogba (PDP Ebonyi Central) said it was unfortunate that Bet9ja refused to honour the committee’s invitation.

“Clerk, write to Bet9ja again. If they did not honour our invitation, we will ask the National Lottery Commission to seal their offices,” he said.

According to him, the Senate is making efforts aimed at assisting the Lottery Commission to generate money for the Federal Government.

”We want to see bet9ja. They can’t run away,” he said.

The chairman explained that the verification followed series of complaints against the betting companies, adding that ”some don’t even have offices while others have not been making remittances to the government.”

”Some got the licences but they are not operating. The new regulation only give them one year to start operations,” he noted.

Meanwhile, about 20 other betting companies appeared before the committee for the verification exercise.

(NAN)

‘I am coming for Nations Cup’ Mikel confirms Eagles return

The Nigeria Super Eagles skipper, John Obi Mikel has confirmed that he will return to the Super Eagles’ fold for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt .

Following a meeting with the German tactician, Mikel disclosed his readiness for his fourth appearance in Africa’s foremost football competition.

“I met with coach Rohr and we discussed his plans for the team in the forthcoming tournament. All I can say is that I am delighted and happy because I am coming to the Nations Cup” Mikel said.

In March, Rohr disclosed that the Middlesbrough midfielder missed out of his last selection through a knee injury .

Mikel’s last game for Nigeria was against
Argentina at the 2018 Fifa World Cup and he is yet to feature for the country since their group stage exit in Russia.

The 32-year-old has missed the Super Eagles’ last seven games including five qualifying matches for the continental showpiece in
Egypt.

Mikel was impressive for Middlesbrough in the second part of the 2018-19 season. The former Chelsea player scored a goal in 18 Championship outings but his contribution was not enough to earn the Boro a playoff spot.

He will now shift his focus to Nigeria’s campaign in Egypt as they aim for a fourth continental title.

The Super Eagles are up against Madagascar, Burundi and Guinea in Group B.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was the wrong choice as Man Utd manager – Jenas

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was the wrong choice as Manchester United boss, says ex-England midfielder Jermaine Jenas.

Solskjaer, who scored United’s winner in the 1999 Champions League final, replaced Jose Mourinho in December, initially for the rest of the season.

He won 10 of his first 11 games and was appointed permanently in March, but has lost five of his past seven matches.

Asked about Solskjaer being named manager, Jenas told BBC Sport: “I felt it was all emotional with Ole.”

When Solskjaer took charge, United were sixth in the Premier League and 11 points off the top four. They remain in sixth position but are now only two points behind fourth-placed Arsenal.

The Norwegian oversaw a stunning comeback as United overturned a two-goal first-leg deficit to beat Paris St-Germain 3-1 and win on away goals in the Champions League last 16.

However, their Champions League campaign ended in the quarter-finals on Tuesday with a 4-0 aggregate defeat against Barcelona.

Solskjaer said on Friday that some of his players “need a reality check” after the team’s poor run of form.

Asked on BBC Radio 5 Live if Solskjaer was the right appointment, Jenas said: “No. I felt it was an emotional decision and in any business it should be a thought-out logical decision for the long term.

“One of the things they need to get away from is ‘the Manchester United way’ and ‘that’s not the way they used to do it’. What Sir Alex Ferguson did was very unique and United have found it very difficult to replicate with some of the best managers in the world.

“Pep Guardiola going to Manchester City didn’t say ‘what did Mancini and Pellegrini do to win the league?’ He came in and did what he wanted to do.

“Jurgen Klopp did that at Liverpool, he had his own style. That’s what United need, I don’t think they need to try and find someone who can get close to what Ferguson has done, they need to find [a new identity].

Mourinho tried to do that but the club didn’t buy into it.

“I don’t think they know what they’re doing.”

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