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U-20 W/C bid: FIFA team okays Stephen Keshi Stadium



The Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) has expressed satisfaction with the state of facilities at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba.

Head of FIFA inspection team, Mr Kaj Heyral, expressed the feeling at a news conference on Wednesday in Asaba, shortly after the team had inspected facilities at the stadium.

Nigeria is bidding to host the 2020 FIFA U-20 Women World Cup and the Stephen Keshi Stadium has been designated as one of the host centres.

Heyral said, “We are pleased with the facilities here; I must say that we are impressed with what is in place here.

“When we get back, we will sit and discuss based on our observations and see how best the facilities will be used for a successful tournament.

“FIFA is committed to ensuring adequate preparations are put in place and that is our major concern.”

Also speaking, Nigeria’s Bid Coordinator, Mr Mainasara Illoh, said the stadium was one of the stadia to host the tournament if FIFA approved Nigeria’s bid.

Illoh lauded the Delta Government for the state-of-art facilities at the stadium, and expressed hope that FIFA would award Nigeria the hosting right.

“Today, we are here with the FIFA team to see the facilities as part of our readiness to host the 2020 U-20 female world cup.

“What we are doing now is part of the bidding process but FIFA has the final decision,” Iloh said.

Also, the President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Mr. Amaju Pinnick, described the stadium as a fantastic facility.

He said the facilities at the stadium were capable of hosting a major tournament.

“What we have here in Asaba is a beautiful and wonderful facility and they can attest to that.

“In fact, the facility at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, is far beyond what FIFA is expecting.

“As you may know, I am a member of the organising committee for FIFA competitions.

“In one of our inaugural meetings, we decided to reduce the conditions for hosting.

“What FIFA is expecting is just a modest stadium with all the facilities working. However, what we have here is far beyond that,” Pinnick said.


20 clubs to participate in S/E, S/S 2019 pre-season tournament, says Official



Akonam Obiefuna, a member of the Main Orgaisning Committee (MOC) for the 2019 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) pre-season tournament for South-East and South-South, said that 20 clubs would participate in the event.

Obiefuna said this on Sunday during the inauguration of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the event at Nanka in Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra.

He said that the participating clubs would include professional and amateur sides in the two geo-political zones.

He said that the week-long competition would kick off at the NEROS Sports Stadium, Nanka on Aug. 20.

He said that this year’s edition of the event promised to be an improvement over other previous ones.

Obiefuna, who inaugurated the five-member LOC, doubles as its chairman, while other members included Chimezie Anaso, Diegwu Nwankwo, Ifeanyi Ojukwu and Emmanuel Eze,

Nigeria News Agency reports that four units were put in place to cater to the various aspects of the preparations and event proper.

The units were Media/Publicity, headed by Anaso; Facilities, Equipment and Medicals, headed by Nwankwo; Security and Protocol, headed by Ojukwu and accommodation, headed by Eze.

Obiefuna charged the LOC to work toward achieving optimal result.

Other members of the three-member MOC were Patrick Nwaogu and Ralph Chidozie.






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Ndidi stars as Leicester City hold Chelsea 1-1 in Lampard’s first home match




London, Aug. 18, 2019 Chelsea manager Frank Lampard had to settle for a 1-1 draw against Leicester City in his first home match in charge on Sunday.

A second-half header by Wilfred Ndidi cancelled out Mason Mount’s early goal on Lampard’s home debut.

Chelsea raced into a quick lead when the 20-year-old player stole the ball from a dallying Ndidi and left Kasper Schmeichel with no chance with his shot in the seventh minute.

The goal capped an opening onslaught by the new-look Blues who were roared on by the home fans excited at the return of Chelsea’s all-time top scorer Lampard as manager.

But Leicester grew into the game and equalised in the 67th minute when Ndidi atoned for his first-half error by heading home a James Maddison corner.

Edited by Donald Ugwu

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Sheffield United beat Palace for first win of Premier League return



Sheffield United beat Palace for first win of Premier League return


Lundstram fired home the rebound of Luke Freeman’s saved shot in the 48th minute as United gave the Bramall Lane fans plenty to cheer about.

The Blades, who last played in the top division in 2007, have taken four points from the first two games of their return.

Palace, meanwhile, has yet to score after playing out a goalless draw with Everton last weekend.


Edited by Abdulfatah Babatunde

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Team Nigeria good to go at Rabat 2019, Toriola and Gumel assure



Segun Toriola, Team Nigeria’s captain at the 12th African Games in Morocco, on Sunday in Rabat said Nigerian athletes and officials were set to dazzle at the competition.

Toriola said he and his colleagues were in good shape and would do their best to ensure Nigeria finished top of the Games.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the Games scheduled for Aug. 19 to Aug. 31 had started unofficially on Friday, with some football games and beach volleyball.

Nigeria are aiming to better their second position placing at the last edition held in 2015 at Congo Brazzaville.

“We are good to go, because we have prepared very well. We will try our best to win the games.

“All is set with us because we have prepared well, and every one of us is happy to be here,” Toriola said.

Speaking also, Habu Gumel, President of Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), said Team Nigeria’s athletes had shown a lot of courage and commitment through their preparations.

“We are confident that with such level of spirit, and coupled with the lot of training they have received, Team Nigeria will give us the required medals.

“We are aiming for the games’ top position, to be better than the last time in Congo when we finished second. We are here to win the games,” he said.

NAN reports that Team Nigeria were at the 2019 Games tagged “Rabat 2019” with 308 athletes and 58 officials and would participate in 22 sports.

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Rabat 2019: Organisers formally welcome Team Nigeria



Organisers of the 12th African Games on Sunday, officially welcomed Team Nigeria to “Rabat 2019”, with a flag-raising ceremony at the Games Village located at the International University of Rabat.

At the ceremony, the General Manager of the African Games Village, Youssef Ouenzar, said the organisers were happy to receive Team Nigeria’s athletes and their officials.

“We are glad to receive you today with this ceremony, and we are ready to do everything possible to make your stay here exciting,” he said.

The general manager, also referred to as the Village’s Mayor, said he and his team had put their respective experiences into use to ensure that good facilities were in place.

“You will have good facilities at your disposal, and we are sure you will enjoy them, for an exciting period during the Games,” he said.

Ouenzar added that the government of Morocco utilised all available expertise to ensure all facilities and a conducive environment were provided.

“This is to ensure you concentrate and have an enjoyable participation. We hope you will feel at home,” he said.

In his remarks, Habu Gumel, the President of Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), assured the games’ local organisers that Team Nigeria would be good ambassadors.

He said Team Nigeria were in Morocco to participate and win fairly, saying the Nigerian government was also appreciative of the local organisers’ efforts to ensure standard facilities were provided.

“On behalf of the Nigerian government, I assure that our athletes and officials will be good ambassadors.

“They have been well trained, and they know what to do. We are here to participate and win, with the first position our target,” he said.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that Gumel later presented a bag of souvenirs as gifts to both organisers and the Village managers, saying “they are gifts of unity from the government and people of Nigeria”.

The Nigerian flag was later hoisted with the rendition of the Nigerian anthem by Team Nigeria athletes and officials.

NAN reports that a handful of Nigerian athletes and officials had initially arrived at the Games Village last week.

A larger batch of more than 250 were however admitted into the village on Friday.

The rest of Team Nigeria athletes and officials to the Games were expected to arrive from Abuja next week.

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