Imama Amapakabo picks Nwakali, Awoniyi, 19 others for U23 AFCON

first_imgRelatedPosts Abia Warriors appoint new head coach Yobo doesn’t need coaching experience to be on Eagles bench — Bosso U23 AFCON: Olympic Eagles gun for Elephants Head Coach Imama Amapakabo has named team captain Azubuike Okechukwu, defenders Anthony Izuchukwu, Sincere Seth and Olisah Ndah, midfielders Kelechi Nwakali, Muyiwa Olabiran and Ndifreke Effiong and forwards Taiwo Awoniyi and Orji Okwonkwo in his final list of 21 players to defend the U23 Africa Cup of Nations title in Egypt next month.Nigeria, champions of the second edition of the competition in Senegal four years ago, will seek to retain their title when the third edition of the championship flags off in Cairo on November 8.The Olympic Eagles are housed in Group B and will contend with Cote d’Ivoire, Zambia and South Africa in that order at the Al Salam Stadium.Hosts Egypt head Group A that also has Ghana, Cameroon and Mali with matches to hold at the Cairo International Stadium.Nigeria’s first match of the campaign is against Cote d’Ivoire on November 9.The top three teams at the eight-nation finals will qualify to represent Africa in the Men’s Football Tournament of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.Amapakabo also picked goalkeeper Adamu Abubakar, defender Josiah Chukwudi, and lively attacking midfielders Ndifreke Effiong, Tom Dele-Bashiru and Sunusi Ibrahim.21 OLYMPIC EAGLES FOR U23 AFCON TITLE DEFENCE IN EGYPTGoalkeepers: Adamu Abubakar (Wikki Tourists); Mohammed Galadima (Nasarawa United); Kingdom Osayi (Giant Brillers).Defenders: Olisah Ndah (Remo Stars); Samuel Atavti (Esperance FC, Tunisia); Valentine Ozornwafor (UD Almeria, Spain); Sincere Seth (Boluspor FC, Turkey); Josiah Chukwudi (Spartak Tranava, Slovakia); Anthony Izuchukwu (Nest Sotra, Norway); Bitok Stephen (FC Isloch, Belarus).Midfielders: Sunusi Ibrahim (Nasarawa United); Aliyu Yau Adam (Spartak Jurmala, Latvia); Muyiwa Olabiran (Tambov FC, Russia); Kelechi Nwakali (FC Huesca, Spain); Ndifreke Effiong (Akwa United); Sunday Faleye (Wacker FC, Austria); Tom Dele-Bashiru (Watford FC, England); Azubuike Okechukwu (Basaksehir FC, Turkey).Forwards: Orji Okwonkwo (Bologna FC, Italy); Taiwo Awoniyi (FSV Mainz 05, Germany); Bright Enobakhare (Wolverhampton Wanderers, England). Tags: Imama AmapakaboU23 AFCONlast_img read more

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COVID-19: Diamond League postpones June events

first_imgRelatedPosts Organisers announce Diamond League new dates London Diamond League meeting cancelled – UK Athletics Coe re-elected for second term as IAAF President Diamond League events in Eugene and Paris have been postponed while the event in Oslo will be staged as an “alternative competition” due to the COVID-19 pandemic, organisers said on Thursday.The events in Eugene and Paris were due to take place on June 7 and June 13 respectively, while Oslo’s meet is scheduled for June 11. “Today, we are sad to announce the postponement of further meetings in Eugene and Paris,” Diamond League said in a statement.“The Bislett Alliance today announced plans to host an alternative athletics competition under Norwegian coronavirus regulations on June 11, the original date of this year’s Oslo Diamond League meeting.”The conventional competition format has been done away with for the Oslo event.Instead, athletes will take part in an hour-long event while observing Norway’s coronavirus regulations and social distancing protocols.Officials said the full programme is yet to be confirmed and subject to changes. “This is really positive news for athletes and fans and promises, even in this early stage, to be another great night of athletics from the Bislett stadium,” World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said.“Congratulations to the Oslo Bislett Games for dreaming this up and following it through, working within the pandemic guidelines set out in Norway.”The next scheduled meet is to be held in London on July 4 followed by Monaco on July 10.Diamond League events in Stockholm, Naples and Rabat that were scheduled for late May were postponed last month, while meets scheduled for Doha and an unspecified host city in China were also moved.Tags: Bislett AllianceDiamond LeagueSebastian Coelast_img read more

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Ebere Eze voted QPR’s player of the season

first_imgRelatedPosts Townsend: Eze’s an incredible talent Eberechi Eze to add spark to Crystal Palace Eberechi Eze debuts for Crystal Palace as Eagles thump Southampton England-born Nigerian midfielder, Eberechi Eze, has been voted Queens Park Rangers’ Player of the Season.Sky Sports asked 24 Championship fans to pick who their club’s best player has been, so far. QPR fan, Clive Whittingham, who was selected by Sky Sports picked Eze as the most outstanding player for the London club.And commenting on Eze’s performance: “The way Eze has matured and developed his all-round attacking and defensive game under, Mark Warburton, has been impressive – scoring 12 goals from midfield and getting almost as many assists. A joy to watch and a Premier League player in waiting.”Prior to the suspension of football in England, following the coronavirus outbreak, QPR occupy 13th on 50 points, in the 24-team league table.They are six points away from the Championship play-off spot.Super Eagles’ defender, Semi Ajayi, was overlooked as a fan named Shin picked Jake Livermore West Bromwich Albion Player of the Season. Ajayi has made 37 appearances in all competitions scoring five goals.Tags: Eberechi EzePlayer of the SeasonQPRQueen’s Park Rangerslast_img read more

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Cole: Rooney still has future at United

first_img Speaking at the launch of the ‘Legends are Back’ game between Manchester United and Real Madrid that will take place at Old Trafford on June 2, Cole added: “I wasn’t playing regularly and I wasn’t a happy man so I made my mind up. In hindsight I should have stayed. “I had just signed a new contract and had a fantastic relationship with the manager. We talked about it numerous times before he finally said he would let me go. You make decisions for a reason and that was simply because I wanted to play. But it was the wrong thing to do.” Cole believes those sentiments are even more true now given the game is based around a squad system. And he does not think Rooney should allow the selection for one match overshadow everything else he has achieved at Old Trafford. “One game cannot determine your career at a football club,” said Cole. “The manager leaves big players out of big matches. It has happened down the years. I was one of them.” Cole is adamant Rooney still has a significant contribution still to make to the Old Trafford cause. “Wayne has got bags of ability and I don’t think this is going to make any difference to how the manager sees him,” added Cole. “He still has a massive future at Manchester United. “Robin van Persie has come in and done extremely well but Wayne will play numerous amounts of games for United and score lots of goals. I cannot see it being a problem.” Press Association Former striker Andy Cole hopes Wayne Rooney does not use him as an example for why he should leave Manchester United.center_img The immediate reaction to Rooney being left out of Sir Alex Ferguson’s starting line-up for last week’s Champions League defeat by Real Madrid centred around whether he had any future at Old Trafford. If he did leave, it would mirror the situation Cole found himself in following the arrival of Ruud van Nistelrooy in 2001, when he found himself shunted down the pecking order. At 30, he did not want to hang around as a back-up player and ended up joining Blackburn but, looking back, it is a decision Cole now regrets, and he said: “I can understand how Wayne might feel. Looking back on what happened to me, if I hadn’t been so headstrong and stubborn I could have stayed at United.” last_img read more

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Miliband staying on Black Cats board

first_imgDavid Miliband is to remain a member of the Sunderland board despite stepping down as MP for South Shields. Press Association The former foreign secretary has announced he is leaving UK politics to take up a post with the United States-based charity the International Rescue Committee, but Miliband, who joined the Black Cats board as a vice-chairman and non-executive director in 2011, will maintain his links with the club. Chief executive Margaret Byrne told Sunderland’s official website, www.safc.com: “David’s knowledge and experience have been a tremendous benefit to Sunderland AFC. Naturally we are delighted that he is to continue in his role at the club, and we also wish him every success with this new chapter of his life.” last_img read more

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Gunners inspired by Bayern win – Bould

first_img Since dispatching Bayern 2-0 at the Allianz Arena the Gunners have swept aside Swansea and Reading to lift them within two points of the Champions League places. “The big thing for us was getting the big result at Bayern,” said assistant coach Steve Bould – filling in for Arsene Wenger who has lost his voice. “We’re only the second team to have won there this season so it’s given everybody a belief that we’re doing all right. It was an important game for us.” Press Association Arsenal assistant coach Steve Bould insists defeating Bayern Munich last month has given the Gunners the self-belief to step up their push for a top-four finish in the Barclays Premier League.center_img The triumph against Bayern was a marvellous response to the 2-1 defeat at Tottenham 10 days earlier, a result that appeared to have struck a mortal blow to Arsenal’s hopes of finishing in the top four. “I’m hoping that (the loss to Tottenham) is the big turning point. We played really well on the day and I think we absolutely deserved more than we got,” Bould said. “Two defensive errors and we got punished by good players and that’s what happens. Everybody has realised that clean sheets win games a lot of the time. We’ve improved.” Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott may feature against Norwich a week on Saturday after making encouraging progress in their rehabilitation. Wilshere, who only returned from a 17-month injury-enforced lay-off in October, has been out since the 2-1 defeat by Tottenham on March 3 because of an ankle problem. Walcott has been sidelined since incurring a hip/thigh injury while on England duty in the build up to last month’s World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro. The pair will miss Saturday’s trip to West Brom, but Bould revealed they could be back in action a week later. “We have good news with both of them. Jack and Theo are outside running and have an outside chance of being involved against Norwich a week on Saturday,” Bould told the club’s official website. last_img read more

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United and AON have grounds for optimism

first_imgManchester United have stressed they will never sell the naming rights to Old Trafford following confirmation present shirt sponsors AON have agreed an eight-year contract to put their name to the state-of-the-art Carrington training ground. Press Association However, it will be higher than the £10million-a-year DHL paid to sponsor the Red Devils’ training kit two seasons ago, considering the club bought the contract out earlier this season believing they could extract a more lucrative alternative. “The first phase of our sponsorship was concerned with brand awareness of AON as a commercial business,” an AON source told Press Association Sport. “The second phase is about creating a global understanding of the capabilities that we provide for clients around the world.” The deal refutes any suggestion AON have been dissatisfied with their treatment by United, even though the initial sale of the naming rights to the club’s training kit appeared to undermine their own position. In addition, it has already been confirmed US car giant General Motors will have its Chevrolet name on United’s shirts from 2014 after agreeing to pay an eye-watering £357million over seven years. That United have added friendly matches into the new AON contract is intriguing as it means from their 2014 tour, they will be wearing two different companies on their kit. It merely emphasises the huge marketing tool United have become in an era when televisual advances such as Sky+ allow viewers to flick through normal advertisements in a way they were never able to before. However, that is bound to trigger suggestions United could try to sell the naming rights to Old Trafford. Previously though, United insiders have said such a sale would be virtually pointless because, as Newcastle found when they tried to change the name of St James’ Park to the Sports Direct Arena, it would merely irritate fans, who would not use the new name anyway. Even members of United’s own staff do not refer to Carrington by its formal title – the Trafford Training Ground – and club officials have been quick to rule out any similar deal for Old Trafford. “Old Trafford will not be sold,” said Ed Woodward, United’s executive vice-chairman, who will replace David Gill as chief executive in the summer. center_img From July 1, Carrington will be known as the ‘AON Training Complex’ and forms a central part of a wide-ranging deal that also includes sponsorship of United’s training kit, their annual summer tours and, for the first time, friendly matches. As had already been agreed, AON will also become the principle partner of the Manchester United Business Network and also sponsor of the Manchester United Foundation. No figures are being put on the contract. However, it is thought to be less than the £20million annual sum AON agreed to pay when they became United’s shirt sponsors in a deal that will expire in 2014. last_img read more

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Wilson ready to impress Hughes

first_img Wilson added: “I haven’t met Mark yet, but in the past, he’s done a great job wherever he’s been and I’m looking forward to working with him.” Hughes’ reputation took something of a hammering after his ill-fated spell at QPR, which came to an end in November last year with the club in a tailspin which even renowned escapologist Harry Redknapp could not stop. But Wilson is confident the Welshman’s track record before his arrival at Loftus Road is a better indicator of his talents. He said: “He’s done a terrific job wherever he has been. At QPR, he could have been given a bit more time down there. But he’s a guy who likes to play football and that’s what I like to do anyway, so I am looking forward to it.” While Wilson has been on international duty, the Potters have replaced the departed Tony Pulis with Hughes, leaving him and his club-mates with a new man to impress. He said: “It doesn’t bother me in the least. That’s football, isn’t it? People come and go. I wish Tony all the best. He did a terrific job when he was there, but obviously we have got the new manager now and I think everyone will be trying to impress him.” Marc Wilson is ready to prove himself to new Stoke boss Mark Hughes when he returns from his latest Republic of Ireland mission.center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

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Johnson out in front

first_img World number one Tiger Woods, seeking the 15th major title of his career and a first since 2008, was ominously poised on two under, but US Open champion Justin Rose’s hopes of back-to-back majors suffered a blow with a 75 and defending champion Ernie Els was only one shot better off. Johnson, who opened with a 65 at Lytham 12 months ago and eventually finished ninth, stormed to the turn in 31 thanks to an eagle and three birdies and reached six under before his only bogey of the day on the 14th. The 37-year-old was beaten in a five-hole play-off by 19-year-old Jordan Spieth at the John Deere Classic on Sunday and said: “I think this game demands resilience. If anything, what I’ve embraced from last week is the fact that I’m playing great and I can put that into play, and I’m certainly somewhat confident in what I’m doing, confident in my routines.” The same could certainly not be said of McIlroy, who was disconsolate after a round which featured two double bogeys in a back nine of 42, including putting off the green into a bunker on the 15th. “Sometimes I feel like I’m walking around out there and I’m unconscious. I just need to try to think more,” the 24-year-old said. “I’m trying to focus and trying to concentrate. But I can’t really fathom it at the minute and it’s hard to stand up here and tell you guys what’s really wrong. “Going left of the pin on 12, when I had no right to be going anywhere near that pin, that’s just thoughtless. It’s just so brain dead. Seriously, I feel like I’ve been walking around out there like that for the last couple of months. I’m trying to get out of it. I just don’t quite know why.” Poulter felt he knew the reason behind his round of 72, the Ryder Cup star carding four bogeys and a birdie in his last five holes and then taking to Twitter to say: “Unfortunately the guys this afternoon will struggle with a few pin positions. 8th hole is a joke, 18th needs a windmill & clown face.” Phil Mickelson, winner of the Scottish Open on Sunday, three-putted the 18th in his 69 and called for the R&A to “let go of their ego” when it comes to setting up the course on Friday. Press Association R&A chief executive Peter Dawson said: “Ian Poulter I know bogeyed three of the last four holes, hardly likely to be in the best of moods, but Ian’s comments will be noted and we’ll have a look at it. We are still very satisfied that the course is playable but very testing. (It is) far from unplayable.” Els, also the winner the last time the Open was staged here in 2002, did not speak to waiting reporters after a 74 which featured a triple-bogey six on the 16th – the same hole which cost him a double bogey in the final round 11 years ago and almost cost him the title. The South African left his second shot in a greenside bunker and then saw his next just escape the hazard but then roll back into the sand. Playing partner Rose, seeking to become only the seventh man in history after Bobby Jones (twice), Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Lee Trevino, Tom Watson and Tiger Woods to win the US Open and Open Championship in the same year, could only manage one birdie in his round – and that was on the 17th. “I have done my best to come here and be as prepared as possible, it was just a round that did not go my way,” he said. “I am happy to have got it out of the way and I can get on with tomorrow and the rest of the year.” Woods looked set for a long afternoon when he hooked his opening tee shot off a tree and into rough so deep that he played a provisional ball, but after the original was found he took a penalty drop and salvaged a bogey after finding a greenside bunker with his third. Still one over at the turn, birdies at the 10th, 11th and 13th took him to two under par and a bogey on the 14th – where he putted from the front of the green off the back – was cancelled out by a two-putt birdie on the 17th. Woods said: “It was tough. The golf course progressively got more dried out and more difficult as we played and I’m very pleased to shoot anything even par or better. “I could see how guys were complaining about it. If there’s more moisture on the greens, then that’s fine. But as the golf course dried out it got quick. Some of these putts today, I mean I putted the ball off the green today. And it really wasn’t that bad a putt. Anything that goes four feet by, it’s gone.” While Ian Poulter labelled some of the pin positions at a parched Muirfield as “a joke”, McIlroy blamed himself for a “brain dead” round of 79 which left him 13 shots off Johnson’s lead. Johnson carded a five-under 66 to lead by one from Spain’s Rafael Cabrera-Bello and 1998 champion Mark O’Meara, with 1996 winner Tom Lehman a shot behind alongside fellow Americans Dustin Johnson and Brandt Snedeker, Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez and India’s Shiv Kapur. Kapur held the lead when he raced to the turn in 30, but dropped three shots on the back nine. Former Masters champion Zach Johnson today began the 142nd Open Championship in the same imperious style as he did the 141st, but there was no let up in the misery for world number two Rory McIlroy.last_img read more

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Diamond a cut above Challenge foes

first_img Last year’s Irish St Leger winner, sent off at 5-4, soon opened up a big advantage in front and was well clear with a mile of the mile and three-quarters still to run. Nothing ever seriously looked like narrowing the gap and Murtagh was able to ease his mount significantly close home, as Sir Ector ran on to take second. Royal Diamond justified short-priced favouritism for trainer-jockey Johnny Murtagh in the Listed Challenge Stakes at Leopardstown. Murtagh, recording his first Listed-race winner as a trainer, said: “He’s improved a good bit from the Curragh (second to Ernest Hemingway in the Curragh Cup). I thought I had the race won there and I was surprised when they quickened past me. “He came out of it really well and this was a nice race to go for as he likes Leopardstown. “I had thought he was a Caulfield Cup/Melbourne Cup-type of horse and I might have to twist the owner’s arm as he was thinking of going back for the Leger. “He’s a strong galloper. I have him pencilled in for the Ballyroan (Leopardstown, August 8) over a mile and half as I don’t think he’s slow. “Mentally he’s very well at the minute. The lads have done a great job keeping him sweet. He’s getting older but he’s every bit as enthusiastic as ever.” Tandem (6-1) let favourite-backers down in the Irish Lincolnshire at the start of the season, but Dermot Weld has given him plenty of time to recover from those exertions and he proved too strong in the valuable Irish Stallion Farms EBF “Nasrullah” Handicap. center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

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