Tag 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.

‘Salah, Robertson, Henderson Should Be Fine Before Sunday’ Klopp hopes ahead of Premier League Finale

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp hopes to have Mohamed Salah , Andy Robertson and Jordan Henderson fit for Sunday ’ s Premier League finale against Wolverhampton Wanderers as the Reds aim to end a 29 – year wait to win the title.

Klopp ’ s men trail Manchester City by one point at the top of the table and need the champions ’ 13 – game -winning run to come to an end at Brighton if they are to win the league .

Liverpool are in high spirits after a stunning 4 – 0 win over Barcelona on Tuesday that booked their place in a second consecutive Champions League final , a match top scorer Salah missed after suffering a concussion in the Reds ’ 3 – 2 win at Newcastle last weekend.

“ Mo looked good around the celebrations after the game , to be honest , ” said Klopp .
“ The day before yesterday and yesterday he was running outside and will be part of training today . ”

Klopp confirmed Roberto Firmino remains out with a groin tear as Wolves visit Anfield, but is hopeful the Brazilian will be ready for the Madrid final against Tottenham Hotspur on June 1 .

Robertson had to be replaced at half -time against Barca and Henderson required a pain – killing injection at the break after taking a kick on the knee late in the first half .

“ The famous three words of this week in the dressing room : ‘ It’ s only pain , ‘” added Klopp .

“ Unfortunately , Robbo could deal with the pain but only the rest of his body couldn ’ t because he couldn ’ t really activate the muscle anymore, some nerve hit or whatever . They should be fine (for Sunday ) . ”

Klopp hailed his side ’ s thrashing of a Barca side containing Lionel Messi as “ one of the best moments in football history ”, and he is hoping a crazy week that also saw Spurs come from 3 – 0 down on aggregate to beat Ajax in the other Champions League semi -final has another twist .

“ It was a week of miracles , of big football moments and there could be a big football moment for us on Sunday , ” added Klopp .
“ Most people expected me to sit here today saying now we are out of the Champions League and it is pretty difficult to become champion .

“ The only thing we can do is to win the game . In this situation, it seems like Wolves and Brighton are only there and that City will win , and we will win , and they will be champion . But there is a game to play . ”

(AFP)

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