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Cagliari escape sanctions over Lukaku abuse

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Serie A club Cagliari again escaped sanctions over alleged racist behaviour by their fans.

This was after the league’s disciplinary tribunal decided on Tuesday not to take action over monkey noises aimed at Inter Milan’s Belgian forward Romelu Lukaku.

The tribunal said in a statement on Tuesday that “in terms of dimension and real perception”, the chants could not be considered discriminatory under the league’s disciplinary code.

“The tribunal has decided not to apply sanctions to Cagliari,” it said, referring to the incidents in the match on Sept 1.

Cagliari were, however, fined 5,000 euros ($5,530) after their fans threw plastic bottles onto the field in a 3-1 win at Parma on Sunday.

Against Inter, monkey noises could be heard from the Cagliari supporters as Lukaku stepped up to take a penalty which he converted to give his side a 2-1 win.

Lukaku said at the time that he had been a victim of racism and Cagliari called the fans’ behaviour shameful.

The tribunal said in a statement that public security officials had informed it of “chants, animal noises and jeering” towards Lukaku.

It added, however, that “these were not interpreted by the stewards nor federation delegates as discriminatory.”

The tribunal used similar arguments last season when it declined to sanction Cagliari after alleged racist insults were aimed at Moise Kean, who was playing for Juventus at the time.

In 2017, Ghanaian midfielder Sulley Muntari, playing for Pescara at the time, walked off the pitch, also complaining of racist abuse at Cagliari’s ground.

Serie A took no action against Cagliari, saying only around 10 fans were involved.

The tribunal made no mention of the alleged racist insults which media reports said were aimed at AC Milan’s Ivorian midfielder Franck Kessie during a 1-0 win at Verona on Sunday.

Verona said that their fans jeered the referee but denied racism.

Italian football has been blighted by racism over the last decade. In one incident in 2013, AC Milan walked off the pitch during a friendly against a lower division side in protest at racist chanting.

In 2014, Carlo Tavecchio was elected head of the Italian Football federation (FIGC) weeks after making a comment about a fictitious African player he named Opti Poba “eating bananas”.

The FIGC cleared him of wrongdoing but he was barred from holding any position with world soccer’s governing body FIFA for six months. (Reuters/)
VO/MZA

Edited by Maharazu Ahmed

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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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Kida commends D’Tigress for defeating Mali in semifinals

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The President, Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), Musa Kida, has commended the senior women’s national team for beating Mali in the semifinals of the FIBA Africa Pre-Olympic qualifying game on Sunday.

Kida said on Wednesday that the qualification of Rivers Hoopers and Raptors of Lagos was the right result for hard work of the federation, players and coaches.

According to him, with the men already qualified for the 2020 Olympic Games, no stone will be left unturned to see that Nigeria’s chances of a podium finish is brightened with the presence of D’Tigress.

Kida lauded the players for their dedication in the face of stiff opposition in Maputo which he described as gruelling.

“It was very gruelling for them after all these qualifiers that never used to happen before.

“Nigeria has made proof of basketball in the world.

“I have no doubt about it and as such, 2020 is going to be a good year to show that Nigeria’s basketball has come of age.

“Nigeria and Mozambique will join 14 other countries from America, Asia-Oceania and Europeto fight for the 10 available slots to the Olympics.

“As already announced by the Federation of International Basketball Associations, Belgium, China, France and Serbia have been picked to host the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) from Feb. 6 to 9 2020.

“Official draw ceremony will take place on the 30th of November at the FIBA headquarters,” Kids said in a statement.

Edited by Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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Tambuwal charges Sokoto Utd. FC to strive harder in winning

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Gov. Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto state on Wednesday charged the New Branded Sokoto United Football Club to always strive harder in winning laurels for the state.

Tambuwal, who spoke while inaugurating the new club restated his administration’s commitment toward providing an enabling environment for the sports men and women in the state to display their talents.

“As we all witness today Sokoto state has branded, formidable football team that is capable of competing with other clubs in the national football league.

“As such I implore on the club that is to start the Nigerian football league season to work hard to ensure victory in the league matches,” he said.

The Governor commended sports managers in the state for their efforts aimed at taking the game of football and other sporting activities to a greater level.

Nigeria News Agency reports that Sokoto United Football Club will start the Nigerian football league season with Niger Tornadoes Football Club of Minna on Nov. 22.

Edited by Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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