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Bruce says Newcastle must maintain recent improvement

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Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce has called on his side to maintain their recent improvement as they bid to win consecutive Premier League games for the first time this season when they host Bournemouth on Saturday.

Newcastle moved out of the relegation zone in recent weeks with two wins over Manchester United and West Ham United and a draw in four games and sit 15th in the standings with 12 points from 11 games.

“The last few weeks have proved they have knuckled down and improved.

“We’ve only showed signs and the one thing we’ve got to do now is keep it going.

“Back-to-back wins in the Premier League is huge so if we can we go and do it in front of our own supporters after away at West Ham would be nice.

“I think supporters can see the direction we are trying to go into and pleasantly pleased with what they have seen, particularly last week (when Newcastle beat West Ham 3-2),”Bruce told reporters on Friday.

Bruce, 58, believes his side have finally come together as a cohesive unit after a poor start to the season.

“The most important thing for me is if we can go into the international break with 15 points then it would be a decent return.

“We’d all be delighted with that considering I didn’t come in until the end of the summer.

“It’s new players, new system, new team.

”It takes time, but we’re edging towards it and it’s important to back West Ham up before the big December pile-up. That would be a great return and decent platform,”Bruce added

Newcastle face a Bournemouth side that have kept three consecutive clean sheets in the Premier League and moved up to seventh with a 1-0 win over Manchester United last weekend.

“Newcastle have some exceptional individuals. What we know is that we need to produce that Manchester United performance and if we do that, we can do well.

“We need to show the same mentality we have in recent weeks.

”I have been really pleased with that side of our game, we have had a steeliness which has made a big difference and we want that to become part of our DNA,”Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe said.


E/AFA

Edited by Remi Koleoso/Felix Ajide

 

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Ruiz defeat made me a smarter fighter, says Joshua

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Briton Anthony Joshua said his first career defeat at the hands of Andy Ruiz Jr. was due to a lack of experience and he had become a “smarter” fighter ahead of December’s rematch.

Mexican-American Ruiz produced one of boxing’s biggest upsets when he dethroned the previously undefeated world heavyweight champion with a seventh-round stoppage at New York’s Madison Square Garden in June.

“It wasn’t burnout. The issues I faced in the last camp, it’s just down to lack of experience,” he told BBC.

“Even though it was at a high level, we were still finding experience.

“Andy Ruiz is good but I don’t think he should beat me twice. I used to hear guys say you have to take a loss and I would think ‘why’?

“Now I can understand it and know what it takes. I have more understanding now and my ears are open to new information so that’s making me smarter as a fighter,” Joshua said.

The WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight title rematch – dubbed the ‘Clash on the Dunes’, will take place in Saudi Arabia on Dec. 7 after former Olympic Champion Joshua triggered a rematch clause.

“The blessing is I have a second chance and here we are,” the 30-year-old said.

Edited by Emmanuel Okara/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

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Nat’l Volleyball league: NCS vows to defend title

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Defending champion, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), has vowed retain its title in both male and female categories at the National Volleyball Premier League slated for between Nov. 21 and Dec. 1 in Abuja.

Head Coach of the male NCS team, Eric Kefas disclosed this while speaking with the Nigeria News Agency on Thursday in Abuja.

NAN reports that the league is scheduled for Indoor Sports Hall, Package B of Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja.

Kefas said both NCS male and female teams had been training and fine tuning their strategies to retain the title.

“We have prepared both teams very well and we are ready to go all the way in the competition.

“We want to be steps above other teams as we are ready to do NCS proud at the end of the tournament,” he said.

He said the teams were prepared and well motivated against upsets and surprises during the 10-day competition.

Captain of the team Isaac Geofrey, said they were mentally and physical ready for the tournament.

“We have been in camp for the last three weeks preparing for the league, we are not afraid of any team, we will be going all out to defend our title both in the male and the female categories,” he said.

The Secretary General, NCS Sports Unit, Samuel Onikeku, said they had set a continental ticket target for the teams, adding that the teams were well motivated to attain the target.

“We have motivated the teams in terms of welfare, all thanks to NCS Comptroller General Hameed Ali, we have also asked them to retain their title and pick continental tickets,” he said.

NAN reports that eight male teams and seven female teams would vie for honours in the competition with the match fixtures slated for Friday.

The male teams include NCS, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), police, Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Kano Pillars, Plateau Rocks, UCEM and Famous spiders.

The female teams are- NCS, NSCDC, NIS, COAS-Army, Benue Queens, Delta Force and Kada Emeralds.

NCS defeated NSCDC in both male and female categories in the finals to emerge premier league champions in 2018.

Edited by Ali Baba (NAN)-Inuwa

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2019/2020 NPFL: Sunshine Stars beat title-holders Enyimba

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Sunshine Stars Football Club of Akure on Wednesday beat Enyimba Internatonal FC of Aba 1-0 in a Match Day 4 fixture of the 2019/2020 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the match’s only goal came in the 10th minute.

Alow shot from inside the box by midfielder Anthony Omaka settled the game, with striker Israel Abia assisting in the match was played at the Ondo State Sports Complex in Akure.

Abia had in the 50th minute missed scoring from 18 yards after facing Enyimba’s goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali face to face.

All efforts by the visitors to equalise were rebuffed by the home team to ensure maximum the three points were kept in the kitty.

The Technical Adviser of Sunshine Stars, Kabiru Dogo, later said he was happy his team picked the maximum three points from the game.

Dogo said he was much more happy that his team was creating scoring chances, adding that it was a matter of time before his team would be scoring more goals.

“I am very happy, if you look at the calibre of opposition we played, and we secured victory. We have to appreciate God and the players,” he said.

Speaking also, Omaka said he was happy to have scored in an encounter against the current NPFL champions.

On his part, the Head Coach of Enyimba FC, Usman Abd’Allah, said the first formation he planned to use in the match did not work out.

“This forced us into making quick substitutions in the second half,’’ he said.

Abd’Allah was however quick to point out that the match was a good game generally, in view of having o play against a strong home team.

NAN reports that Sunshine Stars now have five points from three matches.

(Edited by Dorcas Jonah and Olawale Alabi (NAN))

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NPFL: ‎Jigawa Golden Stars beat Pillars 1-0 in Kano

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Jigawa Golden Stars Football Club of Dutse on Wednesday beat Kano Pillars ‎1-0 at the Sani Abacha Stadium in a week 4 match of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) fixture.‎

Jigawa Captain, Yusuf Muhammad, scored the only goal of the game in the 7th minute with a solo effort in their adopted home, Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano.

Kano Pillars made several efforts to equalise thereafter, but the brilliant efforts of Jigawa defence line denied them of any goal.‎‎

Kano Pillars made three changes in the second half and every effort to salvage a draw proved abortive as the newly promoted side claimed the three points in the Pyramid City.‎

Speaking with newsmen after the match, Jigawa Coach, Rabiu Tata, commended his players for their team work and fighting spirit.‎

“I need to appreciate the boys for their effort today, for keeping and playing to instructions. They maintained the tempo of the game from the beginning until the end.

“We played well, and I must commend my young team for beating a good and experienced club like Kano Pillars,” he said.

Pillars Coach, Ibrahim Musa, said the club would focus on winning subsequent games.‎

‎He also said that his team would gradually pick up from the situation they found themselves.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the Pillars management gave three match ultimatum to the technical crew of the club last week after losing at home to Lobi stars.‎

Pillars now ‎have one point from three matches played so far and occupy 18th position in the league table.

Edited by Tayo Ikujuni/Tukur Muntari. (NAN)

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Nasarawa United, Plateau United draw 1-1, host club official blames referees for fans’ misbehaviour

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Hosts Nasarawa United Football Club and Plateau United Football Club of Jos on Wednesday in Lafia ended their Match Day 4 clash 1-1, with an orgy of violence trailing the game.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that after the game at the Lafia Township Stadium, the Match Commissioner, Centre Referee and the two Assistant Referees were among those who suffered attacks.

Also, Bala Nikyu, the Head Coach of Nasarawa United, was among victims of the attacks instigated by fans who felt that the match had been poorly officiated.

Players and officials of Plateau United FC were forced into the middle of the pitch till police reinforcements were in place to ensure their safety out of the stadium.

NAN reports that even before the end of the 2019/2020 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) fixture, tension had heightened in the spectators stands.

There was an agitation among the home club fans about the club’s poor performance since the beginning of the new season, and a good result was needed to douse tension.

When Nasarawa United’s Anas Yusuf scored in the 43rd minute, it seemed possible the home side would record their first win of the season.

But a glancing header by Mustapha Ibrahim made it 1-1 in the 54th minute to change the match’s complexion and for the fans to begin to express their frustration verbally.

NAN reports that the situation got worse with centre referee Bashir Salihu’s decision to overlook a tackle on a Nasarawa United player in their opponents’ penalty area late during the game.

The angry home fans were then joined by other fans who trooped into the stadium after the match ended, throwing stones, chairs and other objects at the referees.

It was during the attack on the match officials that an object hit the head of Nikyu, who was then quickly attended to by the club’s medical team.

In a reaction, Eche Amos, the Media Officer of Nasarawa United, who expressed sadness over the incident, blamed poor officiating for the violent melee.

“It’s quite unfortunate what happened today, but I think that our referees need to up their game, because part of what caused this situation is poor officiating,” he said.

A Nasarawa United FC supporter, who preferred anonymity, told NAN that aside the poor officiating, the fans were also reacting to the way “Nasarawa United players had been treated in away fixtures recently’’.

“In Katsina where we (the club) played an away match recently, they threatened to kill our players and the referees if the home side did not win the match there.

“Because of that, two penalty kicks were awarded to the Katsina United team and they won. Why will anyone then expect us to watch and not do anything? It is not possible.

“If this league must move forward, there must be fairness both for away and home teams so that even if you lose at home, you can still have hope that if you go away and play well, you will win,’’ he said.

(Edited by Olawale Alabi (NAN))

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Ezeonwuka wants more football actions in upgraded Rojenny football stadium

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Ezeonwuka wants more football actions in upgraded Rojenny stadium

Stadium

Oba (Anambra), Nov. 20, 2019 Rommy Ezeonwuka, the P0roprietor of Rojenny Stadium and Games Village, Oba in Anambra, says his facility remains one of the best but most under-utilised football stadium in the country.

Ezeonwuka made the assertion on Tuesday when he conducted newsmen round to see the ongoing upgrade work at the stadium in Oba, near Onitsha.

He called on the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and football administrators to visit the stadium and “’see the quality of the pitch and serenity of the environment at Rojenny”.

He said the facility was available for camping, training and for competitive football matches as well as athletics with eight lane tartan tracks around the pitch.

The proprietor said night matches could now be played at the stadium alongside other games.

“As you can see, the dimensions are FIFA standards with installed floodlight for night games.

“Rojenny is another home for Nigerian football, remember this is where the 1993 Kanu Nwankwo Golden Eaglets camped before they went to Japan to rule the world.

“You will agree that that team is the best U-17 Nigeria has produced.

“What we suffer here is effective use of this facility; Nigeria must look inwards and explore what we have.

“Camping here will not only build the individuals, it will instill team spirit because of the atmosphere,” he said.

He said Rojenny stadium was being prepared in readiness for the Nigeria Police Games which would be hosted in Anambra in 2020.

Ezeonwuka also called on the state government to direct some of its sporting activities to Rojenny and save the facility from lying idle.

“The secret of Rojenny is for government to package sporting competitions in this place so that it does not continue to lay idle,” he said.

(Edited by Buhari Bolaji/Peter Ejiofor (NAN))

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