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UCI Ranking: Nigerian Mary Samuel ranks 5th in women’s Time Trial






Mary Samuel (right) and Tambrapa Gripka




Abuja, April 29, 2019 A Nigerian cyclist,Mary Samuel, on Wednesday ranked fifth in Women Junior Time Trial by the United Cycling International (UCI).

The News Agency of Nigeria  reports that on UCI website, Samuel, 18, is on 540.00 points.

Samuel is an emerging athlete that came to limelight during the 2018 National Sports Festival in Abuja.

Samuel won four silver medals in the junior category of the Time Trial, Individual Time Trial, Sprint and Point Race events at the African Track Continental Cycling Championship in South Africa.

The championship held at the Sax Young Cycling Track at Alexandra Park in the Pietermaritzburg area of KwaZulu-Natal region, held from Jan.16 to Jan. 20.

Samuel’s performance at the African Track Continental Cycling Championship placed her on fifth position on the UCI ranking.

South Africa De Waal Andrea is placed first on the UCI ranking while Propster Alessa-Catriona of Germany is ranked second and Seremak Nikola of Poland, third.

May Heather of Australia is placed fourth on the current ranking table.



Team Nigeria to Africa Track Cycling Championship


Plateau United sign 12 new players to strengthen squad



The club in a statement by its Media Officer, Albert Dakup, said that the new players were to replace those released from the club at the end of last season.

It said that the newly-recruited players include three attackers, five midfielders, two defenders and two goalkeepers.

“The new players participated in a two-week rigorous training session and three pre-season friendly matches in order to ascertain their fitness level before the signed their contract.

“Prominent among the newly-recruited players are: former Katsina United and Enyimba of Aba striker Chinedu Udechukwu and Sunday Anthony a midfielder from the relegated Elkanemi  Warriors of Maiduguri.

“Others are: goalkeeper Anozie Awawa, Ikefe Andrew, Buhari Ibrahim, Paul Uche, Emeka Nnaji, Umar Abba, Isa Ndala and Nenrot Silas.

“Among the 12 new players are: Bola Bamigbelu who is joining from a club in Cyprus and goalkeeper Godfrey Amooh from Ghana while Tosin Omoyele who is returning from Egypt after completing a six-month loan,” it added.

According to the statement, the team is expected to continue with preparations for the new season.

The team is also scheduled to feature in the famous annual pre-season tournament renamed the Taiwo Ogunjobi Cup in Ilorin on Aug. 29.

Edited by Gregg Mmaduakolam and Abdullahi Yusuf

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Osun ‘ll perform better at 2019 National Youth Games- Sports Director



Layi Adesiyan, the Director of Youths, Sports and Special Needs in Osun, on Wednesday said the state would perform better at the 2019 National Youth Games (NYG) in Ilorin, Kwara.

Adesiyan told the Nigeria News Agency in Abuja that the state team`s performance would surpass that of the 2018 NYG.

NAN reports that the 2019 NYG will hold from Sept. 7 to Sept. 17 at the University of Ilorin.

He said the state team could not participate in the zonal elimination in Ibadan for the South-West states due to paucity of funds.

The director said that the team had been training and working hard to be among the best in this year`s edition.

He, however, assured that the team would definitely participate in the game in Ilorin.

“Our athletes have been in the camp preparing for the competition; they will give their best to make the state proud in all the events they will feature.

“They will surpass their previous position in the last edition of the NYG in Ilorin.

“We finished seventh last year; we will work hard to be among the best three in this year edition.

“We will register athletes that will represent the state before the end of August in Abuja.

“Our athletes are determined to have a good performance to make the state proud,’’ he said

Adesiyan said the state Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, would give them the necessary support to represent the state well.

NAN reports that the state came seventh with seven Gold, eight Silver and seven Bronze medals.

Edited by Joseph Edeh/Olagoke Olatoye

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Club owners, fans react to Anambra FA “stop order” on South-East, South-South pre-season tourney



Club Owners and other stakeholders have reacted to the suspension of the 2019 South-East and South-South pre-season tournament by the Anambra State Football Association (FA), saying it was sad and a disservice to football development in the state.

Some of them who spoke to the Nigeria News Agency on Wednesday in Awka said the move diminished the spirit of football, caused great financial losses to the club owners and the state, while others blamed the action on breakdown in communication.

The pre-season competition which would have held at the NEROS Stadium in the serene town of Nanka, was organised for clubs in the Nigeria Professional Football League and other amateur leagues in the zones.

NAN reports that 20 teams, including Rangers International, Delta Force, Rivers United, Abia Warriors and Warri Wolves were billed to participate in the eight-day football fiesta which was scheduled to kick off in Nanka, Orumba North Council Area on Tuesday.

But the Anambra FA had said on Monday that it was not aware of the tournament, and that the organisers never contacted the body, describing the planned tournament as illegal.

The FA said in a statement by its Secretary, Chijioke Onyedika, that the organisers’ action was capable of causing breach of public peace, noting it had invited them to explain why disciplinary action should not be taken against them.

“The FA hereby states that this competition is not known to it, the FA declares this competition as illegal and hereby warns all affiliate clubs from both the state and outside the state to stay away this competition with immediate effect.

“Any team and technical attachees who participates in this competition shall be seriously dealt with in line with NFF statutes and code of conduct,” it said.

Coach Obinna Dike, Chairman of Anambra Independent Football League (AIFL), blamed the development on communication gap but regretted that the interest of football was not considered.

Dike, who is the chairman of DOSAD Academy, an Anambra-based amateur side, said the academy’s management had to invite its players scattered across the country to participate in the pre-season tournament which was a veritable ground for local and foreign scouts to source for players.

He said he was pained by the development, noting that Abuja and Enugu had always entertained his club with open arms.

According to the Rev. Father cum sports administrator, the academy have to call its players off season to participate in the tournament, rescheduled the travel of some of foreign players who are on break to play in the tournament.

“I personally invited some scouts to be here as a surprise to the teams, some people did not do the right thing on time and worst still, the interest of football was considered last.

“As stakeholders and brothers from the southern hemisphere bound by football blood, we cannot handle this issue that could have been done over a cup of tea, considering the colossal damage to football.

“My greatest pain is that no matter how I moan, those perpetrators don’t know the depth of the wound inflicted, for those who stressed themselves to be at the tournament, I sincerely apologise to you for football sake.

“Let your love for the game not diminish by this action or inaction, life goes on but time to consider other options too,” he told NAN.

On his part, Philip Udala, Chairman of Udala FC, winners of the just-concluded Anambra AIFL season, said the Anambra FA by the action had further killed the spirit of the game and those making effort to develop it in Anambra.

Udala wondered what the issues were that they could not be addressed without scuttling the genuine effort of lovers of football, adding that he had to commit his personal finance to enable the organisers stage a successful tournament.

“I told the FA people yesterday (Tuesday) that they are just being unfair to the state and the teams that were supposed to take part, this is a pre-tournament event, teams have their programmes and this one that is for us, we have destroyed by ourselves.

“They should have called the organisers to inform them on the need to involve FA and if they ignore you after that, you can wield the big stick, they just demonstrated high level of sadism.

“My players have prepared themselves just like other players to come and showcase their talent before the professional and national league clubs, but now their spirits are down and we are disappointed.

“The truth is that I don’t think I will play again if they call us back because we have other programmes, this is just an opportunity that came to Anambra but the FA ended up spoiling it, it is sad that they did not consider the benefit to the state because of their own selfish interest,” he told NAN.

Ikem Asika, a sports journalist, said the FA should have been more innovative to create competitions outside the traditional FA Cup rather than scuttle those put up by other people on the grounds that they were not carried along.

“Yet, the same FA that has failed in the promotion and management of football in this state is claiming the big boss, it is rather sad.

“They would have used this tournament as face-saving for not being able to organise a single football competition for three years outside the AITEO Cup, shame on them.

“Going through that the FA’s statement leaves much to be desired, it is time for stakeholders to call a spade a spade and a shovel a shovel,” he said.

The Editor-In-Chief of Fides Newspapers, Jude Atupulazi, blamed the organisers for not putting the FA in the picture being the association in charge of soccer in Anambra, but said that both should have sought amicable way of resolving the situation.

According to Atupulazi, the major issue was lack of communication, it was like some people organising a football event in Nigeria that involves bringing in foreign teams and not intimating the NFF.

“That will amount to a protocol breach and a slight on the FA, but having noted this, the issue, given it’s importance, could still be amicably settled,” he said.

On his part, Tony Oli, Chairman of Anambra Sports Development Commission (ASDC), told NAN that the a the action of the organisers as lawlessness and insubordination to constituted authority, noting there was need for official communication.

Oli said he was reaching out to all concerned, including FA and the organisers, expressing the hope that they could still find a common ground for the pre-season to  hold in Anambra.

“We need the tournament, we need sports to develop in the state, we need the independent league, we need the FA for the standards to be kept and get them involved in our schools football.

“Please, I would want the organisers to reach out to the teams and see if we can get them back and the state FA should be involved as I have reached out to them,” he said.

Patrick Nwaogu, Chairman of the Main Organising Committee, who confirmed the suspension of the tournament to the NAN, said he was surprised that the Anambra FA accused them of trying to cause chaos.

Nwaogu regretted the lack of communication and said it was awaiting the FA board meeting on Aug. 23 where that MOC would explain the importance of the tournament and its benefits.


(Editing by Peter Ejiofor)

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Tottenham Hotspur to refinance stadium debt – source



Tottenham Hotspur plans to refinance stadium debt – source

London, Aug. 21, 2019 Tottenham Hotspur Football Club plans to refinance about 400 million pounds ($485 million) of its stadium debt through bonds issued via a private placement arranged by Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML), according to a source familiar with the matter.

The holding company of the English soccer club originally took out a 400 million pound five-year loan from BAML, Goldman Sachs and HSBC in 2017 to finance the construction of its new 62,062-seat stadium.

Last year the club confirmed that the loan had increased to 637 million pounds as costs of the project rose.

Soccer website The Athletic, which first reported the news on Wednesday, said the bonds would have maturities ranging from 15 to 30 years and would be targeted at institutional investors in the United States, extending the debt’s maturity profile.

BAML declined to comment and the soccer club was not immediately reachable for comment.

Loose central bank policy has enabled many companies to trim financing costs and extend debt maturities as investors search for yield in environment of unprecedented low rates.

Edited by Silas Nwoha


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India expect ‘positive’ verdict on Davis Cup tie against Pakistan



India expect ‘positive’ verdict on Davis Cup tie against Pakistan

David Cup

Mumbai, Aug. 21, 2019 The All India Tennis Association (AITA) is hopeful its security concerns for next month’s tie against hosts, Pakistan, will be addressed after the game’s global governing body referred the matter to its Davis Cup committee.

The AITA said last week they had written to International Tennis Federation (ITF) asking them to shift the tie to a neutral venue or to postpone it for a couple of months until tensions simmer down between the bitter neighbours.

The national body was scheduled to discuss its concerns on Monday with security advisers from the ITF over the Sept. 14 to Sept. 15 tie scheduled in Islamabad between arch-rivals India and Pakistan.

The call was, however, cancelled and instead the ITF said the Davis Cup committee, comprising eight members and chaired by Egypt’s Ismal El Shafei, would deliberate on the matter on Wednesday.

AITA General Secretary, Hironmoy Chatterjee said a “positive” decision was expected by Thursday.

“The committee members are from different parts of the world; so, they will set up appropriate time today that suits everyone. Then they will inform us of their decision.

“It’s a positive, yes. If there was no merit why will the committee discuss. We have given them more than enough,” Chatterjee told Reuters on Wednesday.

Earlier this month, Pakistan expelled India’s ambassador and suspended bilateral trade and all public transport links with its neighbour after New Delhi removed “special status” from its portion of the contested region of Kashmir.

The nuclear-armed neighbours have fought two wars over Kashmir since gaining independence from colonial power, Great Britain in 1947.

They came close to a third in February after a deadly attack on Indian police by a Pakistan-based militant group resulted in air strikes by both countries.

The AITA has named a six-member squad under captain Mahesh Bhupathi for the Sept. 14 to Sept.15 tie, but India’s players sought safety guarantees from the ITF before travelling to Islamabad.

The ITF shared security arrangements for the Indian team in Islamabad with the AITA and said they were satisfied with the safety plan.

An Indian tennis team last went to Pakistan in 1964 for a Davis Cup tie, defeating the hosts 4-0, while Pakistan lost 3-2 on their last visit to India in 2006.

Pakistan was forced to host Davis Cup ties at neutral venues for more than a decade as teams refused to travel to the country because of security concerns.

They played their first home tie after a gap of 12 years against Iran in 2017, while Hong Kong was relegated and fined by the ITF after they refused to travel to Pakistan the same year.  (Reuters/NAN)

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