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Alba signs new FC Barcelona deal, urges Messi to follow suit




The 29-year-old Spain left back joined FC Barcelona from Valencia in 2012 and has won four league and one UEFA Champions League titles since he has been at the club.

At a press conference on Monday, Alba spoke of his relationship with Lionel Messi who could also be about to renew his contract.

Messi’s current deal expires in 2021.

The defender said: “I hope Messi stays until 2024 too, because we enjoy playing together.

“I have matured a lot as a player alongside him. He makes you a better player.”



2019 Army Small Arms tourney: 1 Div wins 8 trophies, showers gifts on team



The General Officer Commanding (GOC) 1 Division, Nigerian Army, Maj.-Gen Faruk Yahya, on Monday evening received the eight trophies won by the Division during the 2019 Nigerian Army Small Arms competition held in Ibadan, Oyo State.

The Nigeria News Agency report that the Division came first in AK 47, Pistol, battle marksmanship, falling plate, female event, NA marksmanship, best shot AK47 individual event and best shot SLDR to emerge the overall winners of the competition.

NAN also report that the team garnered 2,276 points to beat eight teams including the host, 2 Division Ibadan.

At a ceremony to welcome the team on Monday in Kaduna, the GOC described the performance of the team as heartwarming.

“The Division came first in five events, second in two events and placed third in just one,” he noted, and said they had represented the division creditably.

“In 2017, they came fourth, but in 2019 we came first. This shows we are learning from experience and improving.”

The GOC said, “We appreciate you all and thank you for a job well-done. We also appreciate all the staff who have put in efforts and necessary arrangements for taking care of you.

“You are actually doing your job as soldiers and it is heartwarming that you go for a competition and succeed and collect trophies and laurels.

“The Division shall continue to support efforts that will always prepare its men as responsive men of the Nigerian Army in the protection of the territorial integrity of Nigeria,” he said.

Earlier, the Deputy Chief of staff, 1 Division Kaduna, Col Ibrahim Gambari, also commended the team for its prowess, noting that the last time the Division won the competition was about 20 years ago.

He attributed the team’s success to the exemplary leadership and support of the GOC.

NAN reports that the GOC presented awards to all members of the victorious team.

Edited by Maharazu Ahmed

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Enugu State Govt. terminates 2019 Coal City Half Marathon



The Enugu State Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Vitus Okechi, has terminated the proposed 2019 Coal City International Marathon.

The Public Relations Officer of the Ministry, Daniel Onwuegbuna disclosed this to newsmen in Enugu on Monday.

He said that the ministry had written to the Managing Director of the sponsors of the Marathon, Zippsports Limited on the termination.

According to him, the marathon was terminated owing to Zippsports failure to show proof of meeting the prize money and budget of the Marathon.

Onwuegbuna confirmed that the commissioner had made it clear that everything about the Marathon should be stopped henceforth.

”The reason for the cancellation was to avert any embarrassment to Enugu State Government, international, local athletes and the good people of the state.

”Members of the public are, therefore, enjoined to desist from any activities with Zippsports and Enugu State Athletics Association Board,” he said.

Edited by Maureen Atuonwu

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Eben-Spiff wins 58th FirstBank Lagos Open



Ikoyi Club’s Peter Eben-Spiff has won 58th edition of the prestigious First Bank Lagos Amateur Open Golf Championships.

Eben-spiff, maintained a top 5-finish in the last two editions, won after shooting a closing score of 76, for 16-over par, over 56-holes.

The 4-handicapper opened his account with a 76, a second day score of 77 and a closing 76 to win the R&A and USGA sanctioned championship.

Eben-Spiff, in a interview with the Nigeria News Agency on Monday at Ikoyi Club 1938, Lagos, attributed his victory to consistency.

“When you keep doing the same thing over and over again, you get better.

“Just like you see in FirstBank that has sponsored this event consistently for 58-years.

“Consistency to me is the keyword, so we must give credit to FirstBank for being consistent and for being there for 58-years,” Eben-spiff said.

FirstBank Chief Executive Officer, Dr Adesola Adeduntan, represented by Olusegun Alebiosu, the bank’s Chief Risk Officer, while congratulating the winners, said the bank would not relent in its social responsibilites.

“FirstBank has been in the business of supporting sports in Nigeria throughout its 125 years of existence.

“We have partnered with individuals and institutions to provide support not only in sports arena but also in other areas of human endeavors,” he said.

Kenyan Sam Njoroge won the 2018 edition of the championships.

Edited by Wale Ojetimi

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EBHA Speaker, PDP chairman, sports commissioner to feature in veterans cup competition



The Ebonyi House of Assembly Speaker, Chief Ogbonnaya Nwifuru, and the state’s People Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman, Chief Onyekachi Nwebonyi, are expected to feature in the forthcoming Ebonyi veterans football competition.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the Commissioner for Youth Development and Sports, Mr Charles Akpuenika, members of the state executive council and House of Assembly members, are also expected to feature in the competition.

The competition’s facilitator and state PDP chairman, Nwebonyi, made the disclosure to NAN after a training session on Monday, adding that it was for participants above 40 years of age across party lines.

“The competition which will commence on Nov. 24 and end on Dec. 8, 2019 aims at re-uniting the veterans who besides playing football in the past, have contributed to the growth of sports in the state.

“It is also aimed at keeping them fit to continue such contributions and complement the state governor’s strides in revolutionalising the sector in the state.

Nwebonyi said that in spite of their tight schedules, the political office holders, including those from other political parties, would fully participate in the competition.

The Commissioner for Youth Development and Sports, Akpuenika, said that the competition would involve the three senatorial zones of the state which would produce two teams each.

“The draws which would be conducted soon would pitch the teams against one another and the best losers would join the three victorious teams for the competition’s semifinals.

“We don’t want to involve several teams being the inaugural edition but would definitely increase the number in subsequent editions.

“The competitions’ venue is the Pa Ngele Oruta Stadium, Abakaliki, and it is also expected to re-awaken the football enthusiasm in the veterans who have been sidelined for long,” he said.

Chief Richard Idike, Team Manager of the Ebonyi North zone team, expressed optimism that his team would win the competition.

Idike who is the Special Assistant to Ebonyi Governor on Special Projects, said his team had several ‘old boys’ who were still fit, passionate about the game and would be expected to deliver.

Edited by Donald Ugwu

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Hazard praises Lampard’s early managerial success at Chelsea



Eden Hazard believes former Chelsea team mate Frank Lampard has the platform to become the one of the best managers in the world after a bright start to his reign at Stamford Bridge.

Hazard left Chelsea to join Spanish giants Real Madrid at the start of the season, just before Lampard replaced Maurizio Sarri as manager at the west London club.

Lampard has steadied the ship at Chelsea after a difficult start, guiding them to six consecutive Premier League victories and level on points with second-placed Leicester City heading into the international break.

When asked if he was surprised by Lampard’s instant impact at Chelsea, Hazard told reporters: “No, not at all.

“I know Frank as a player, not as a manager, but he’s a great guy. He’s showed already after four months that he can be one of the best managers in the world.

“The good thing is that they are playing with young players, young English players. For England it’s good, for Chelsea it’s good. They are lucky to have young players with quality.”

Lampard was handed a squad with a two-window transfer ban, leading to more opportunities to English youngsters such as Mason Mount, Fikayo Tomori, Reece James and Tammy Abraham – Chelsea’s top scorer in the league with 10 goals this season.

“I don’t know (if the transfer ban has actually been good for Chelsea),” Hazard added. “Maybe with two or three more players, they would be first.”

Edited by Emmanuel Okara/Maharazu Ahmed

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Rangers1-0 defeat to MFM FC a wake-up call-Chairman



Ibuchukwu Nwodo, Chairman, Rangers International Football Club supporters, said the club`s 1-0 defeat to Mountain of Fire and Miracle (MFM) FC on Sunday was a `wakeup call’.

He told the Nigeria News Agency in Enugu on Monday that such shock defeat should be welcomed by the supporters.

NAN reports that Kenedinum Chuks` goal in the 45th minute of the match was all that denied the flying antelopes a point in the match on Sunday.

Nwodo noted that Rangers had been surmounting such challenges and urged the players to upturn the result against River United.

”Honestly speaking, Rangers players gave a good account of themselves but the score line did not reflect the true picture of the encounter.

”This is just the beginning of the season and the management, technical crew and the players should show the supporters that it is an unacceptable mistake.

”We have an away match against Rivers United next week and we want to see them come away with a win,” he said.

He noted that the club missed two good chances that should have been a goal before the visitors scored.

”In spite of the two missed chances before the break, what of the last one that hit the wood work and came out.

”Wining away from home is what I expect from our darling Rangers to be doing in the league and not losing at home,” he said.

Nwodo called on the club to put the defeat behind them and focus on the upcoming matches.

”We all know that football is all about winning but you cannot win all the time.

” You win, lose or draw but losing at the early beginning of the league makes you sit up.

”So, all I am asking the club management, technical crew and the players is to sit up as we still have 35 matches to play in the league,” Nwodo said.

Nwodo said that Rangers can turn things around while recalling the event of 2018 when the club lost the State Federation cup to Crime Busters FC.

”Losing the Federation cup at the state level served as a wakeup call to the club in which they went on to win the Federation cup the same year.

Edited by Joseph Edeh/Maureen Atuonwu

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