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Tricky finale as NPFL Championship Playoffs ends

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Finale

It is a deserving end to the six-club competition which, in spite of its abridged nature from the beginning in January, is climaxing with three matches crucial to the available rewards.

Three matches daily over four match days since June 4 have shown that the Super Six competition can always be an exciting prospect.

With 36 goals scored during eight wins and four draws in 12 matches, Wednesday’s three matches offer hopes of more exciting moments.

The day’s first match at 3 p.m. will see Rangers International Football Club of Enugu needing to beat FC IfeanyiUbah of Nnewi to finish among the top three.

Rangers who won the Group A of the abridged regular season and are presently fourth need the full points to leapfrog now third-placed Akwa United FC of Uyo.

FC IfeanyiUbah are already out of contention for any of the three tickets to play on the continent next season, but they will not just lie in wait to be crushed.

However, going by the statistics, Rangers look capable of beating them, even by the slimmest of margins, in spite of their Eastern Nigeria rivalry.

But the question is whether beating FC IfeanyiUbah will be enough to earn Rangers a CAF Confederation Cup competition ticket, given that Akwa United can still upstage them with a win.

The Uyo side will take on Enyimba International FC of Aba from 5 p.m. and a win will keep them within the top three bracket for a return to the continent.

They, apart from having won Group B of the abridged regular season, are unbeaten so far at the playoffs just like Kano Pillars.

However, Enyimba will need just a draw to be in line for a CAF Champions League ticket, and they can seek a win to be able to claim the season’s title.

Lobi Stars FC of Makurdi and Kano Pillars meet from 7 p.m. to round up proceedings at the playoffs, with the latter needing a draw to win a continental competition slot.

However, as it is presently, the three continental competition tickets are between the trio of Enyimba, Kano Pillars and Rangers, with Akwa United having an outside chance of an upset.

Nonetheless, Match Day 5 fixtures hold so much and they undoubtedly provide a fitting end to the playoffs.

CURRENT STANDINGS

Team P W D L GF GA GD Pts

Enyimba 4 3 0 1 7 4 +3 9

Kano Pillars 4 2 2 0 7 4 +3 8

Akwa United 4 1 3 0 7 6 +1 6

Rangers 4 1 2 1 6 6 0 5

Lobi Stars 4 1 1 2 5 6 -1 4

FC IfeanyiUbah 4 0 0 4 4 10 -6 0

FC IfeanyiUbah vs Rangers International ——- 3 p.m.

Enyimba International vs Akwa United ——- 5 p.m.

Lobi Stars vs Kano Pillars ——- 7 p.m.

OLAL

(Edited by Olawale Alabi)

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12th Africa Games: Nigeria wins 3 golds in badminton, basketball, weightlifting

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Nigeria on Sunday increased its medals at the ongoing 12th All Africa Games in Morocco, winning 3 gold medals in badminton, basketball and weightlifting.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that Team Nigeria defeated Algeria 3-0 in the Badminton mixed event at Salle Ain Chock, Casablanca.

The duo of Enejoh Abah and Peace Orji set the tone when they dispatched the Algerian combination of Kocella Mamaeri and Linda Maziri 2-1 in the Mixed Doubles.

It was not an easy battle as the Algerians won the first game 21-16.

The Nigerians fought back in the second match to win 21-18.

Team Nigeria also took the third game 21-19.

Anuoluwapo Opeyori overcame Algeria’s Youcef Medel Sabri with a 2-0 to win in the Men’s Singles.

The first match was hard-fought, but Opeyori won 23-21 before taking the second game with relative ease, winning 21-11.

Dorcas Adesokan completed the rout for Nigeria, beating Halla Bouksani 21-13, 21-14.

Nigeria also defeated Mali 21-20 to win gold medal in 3*3 women basketball.

Team Nigeria also won bronze medal in the male category.

In weightlifting, Team Nigeria also delivered one gold, four silver and four bronze medals.

Kalu King won gold medal in the 55kg men class.

He also won one silver and one bronze.

Augustina Nkem won 3 silver medals for Nigeria in the 49kg women weightlifting class.

Nkem lifted a total of 161.

She lifted 71kg in her first attempt in the snatch, missed her second attempt and lifted 74kg in her third attempt.

Nkem missed her first attempt and lifted 93kg in her second and third attempt in the clean and jerk.

Stella Peter won three silver medals for Nigeria in the 45kg women weightlifting category.

Peter in the snatch lifted 71kg in her first attempt, missed her second attempt and lifted 74kg in her third attempt.

She missed her first attempt, lifted 93kg in her second and third attempt in the clean and jerk.

Peter had a total of 138kg in the -45kg woman class.

Edited by Wale Ojetimi

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Iranian women can watch World Cup qualifier in stadium – official

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The official IRNA news agency, quoted a Sports Ministry official as saying on Sunday, following heightened pressure from FIFA.

Though foreign women have had limited access to matches in Iran, Iranian women however, had been banned from the stadium when male teams are playing, since the Islamic revolution in 1979.

FIFA wrote to the Iranian Football Federation in June, asking it to provide a timeline for women to be able to buy tickets for the qualifiers, or face consequences.

“Women can go to Tehran’s Azadi stadium to watch the match between Iran’s national team and Cambodia in October, for the Qatar World Cup qualifier,” IRNA quoted deputy Sports Minister Jamshid Taghizadeh as saying.

The AFC, the Asian football governing body, which has 47 members including Iran, said on Tuesday it was working to help world soccer governing body FIFA, find an “amicable solution” that would allow Iranian female fans to attend future games in Iran.

“There is no legal ban for women to watch football matches in the stadium. The activation of the infrastructure is underway,” Taghizadeh said.

Iranian female fans had long campaigned to be allowed to watch men’s soccer, and occasionally a limited number of women had been allowed into the stadium.

In June, some women were detained by security forces when they went to the Azadi Stadium for a friendly match against Syria.

Last year, some women risked arrest by donning fake beards and wigs to attend a major game in the stadium.

Their pictures and videos were posted on social media.

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Iranian women allowed to watch World Cup qualifier in stadium – official

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While foreign women have been allowed limited access to matches in Iran, Iranian women have been banned from stadiums when men’s teams are playing since the Islamic revolution in 1979.

FIFA wrote to the Iranian Football Federation in June asking it to provide a timeline towards women being able to buy tickets for the qualifiers, or face consequences.

“Women can go to Tehran’s Azadi stadium to watch the match between Iran’s national team and Cambodia in October for the Qatar World Cup qualifier,” Deputy Sports Minister Jamshid Taghizadeh said.

The Asian football governing body (AFC), which has 47 members including Iran, said it was working to help FIFA find an “amicable solution” that would allow Iranian female fans to attend future games in Iran.

“There is no legal ban for women to watch the football matches in the stadium. The activation of the infrastructure is underway,” Taghizadeh said.

Iranian female fans have long campaigned to be allowed to watch men’s football and occasionally a limited number of women have been allowed into the stadium.

In June, some women were detained by security forces when they went to the Azadi Stadium for a friendly against Syria.

Last year, some women risked arrest by donning fake beards and wigs to attend a major game in the stadium. Their pictures and videos were posted on social media.

The 2022 World Cup will be held in Qatar. (Reuters/)

KIA/AFA

Edited by Felix Ajide

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Aguero strikes again as Manchester City win at Bournemouth

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Aguero, who has scored in all three games this season, gave City a 15th-minute lead.

The striker slotted home after left back Oleksandr Zinchenko’s low cross had been mis-hit by Kevin De Bruyne only to fall kindly for the Argentine.

Adam Smith then missed a great chance to level for the Cherries, firing high over the bar from a good position after some poor defending from Nicolas Otamendi.

Moments later Raheem Sterling doubled City’s lead with a confident finish after David Silva concluded a sweeping move with a perfectly angled pass to the England striker.

But Bournemouth got back into the game in magnificent fashion, just before the interval, thanks to an unstoppable curling free-kick from substitute Harry Wilson, on loan from Liverpool.

Wilson went close to a leveller after the interval but Ederson was out quickly to foil his effort.

City then made sure of the win when Aguero poked home his second goal in the 63rd minute, following in for the scraps after David Silva had surged into the box. (Reuters/)

KIA/AFA

Edited by Felix Ajide

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Nigeria have prospect to produce world class athletes, says Lawmaker

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Lazarus Ogbee, member House Representative Committee on Sports, on Sunday said that Nigerian athletes have prospect to be world class athletes.

Ogbee told the Nigeria News Agency in Rabat, Morocco that the performance of Nigerian athletes at the ongoing 12th African Games confirmed that the country had abundant talents.

“Nigeria has the prospect of producing world class athletes. All they need is little encouragements and doing the right thing at the right time and having more training facilities in the country.

“Since I am in the committee for sports, what I have seen has encouraged me and has given me the tonic to do more and to encourage our people to invest in sports.

“We have every potential and the country can go on to produce world beaters in sports,’’ he said.

Ogbee, who watched the Nigerian female volleyball team beat Botswana, tasked the team to win gold medal at the Games.

Nigeria beat Botswana 3-1 (25-13, 22-25, 25-20, 25-15) at the Salle El Bouâzzaoui.

Ogbee commended the Nigerian the volleyball team for recording her first victory at the Games.

He said that the nation was strongly behind them.

“The women’s volleyball team has the support of the country that is why we came here in our numbers in the name of the government to support them.

“We have been going from one event center to the other to make sure we cheer the Nigerian contingent to victory and the women’s volleyball team has done wonderfully well today by beating their Botswana counterparts.

“We encourage them to go further to win the gold medal,’’ Ogbee said.

DEB/PDE

(Editing by Peter Ejiofor)

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