By Chijioke Okoronkwo
Abuja, Aug. 8, 2019 Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said that the federal government was excited about the prospect of Nigeria hosting the next FIFA U-20 Women World Cup in 2020.
Osinbajo, who communicated this while receiving a delegation of FIFA Inspection Team, said that that the federal government was actively supporting the bid of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), to host the competition.
The vice president told the delegation that Nigeria had participated in all FIFA’s female competitions and that the country had the number to effectively host the sporting event next year.
Osinbajo added that the federal government was interested in the business of hosting the sporting event, satisfying the needs of the people who had over the years, demonstrated uncommon love for football.
“Going round this country you will have noticed that practically every Nigerian is a football fan.
”We are excited about the prospect of hosting the competition; the federal government is backing Nigeria’s bid fully and we are prepared to do all that is required for the adequate comfort of our guests and fans.
“Nigeria’s love for football is a mark of well-being, and it is also culturally important to us. It is a unifying force for the people.
”We politicians don’t even compete with footballers; they are far more famous than us,” he said.
Earlier, the head of the FIFA Inspection Team, Mr Kaj Heyral, said that the team was impressed with the facilities it had seen and expressed appreciation for the hospitality shown by Nigeria during their two-week stay.
NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, told State House correspondents after the meeting, that the delegation briefed the vice president on the facility tour, with respect to the bid.
He said that the delegation inspected six stadia, 13 training sites, nine hospitals and no fewer than 10 hotels.
Pinnick said that members of the delegation openly said that they were very impressed with what they have seen.
”We are also trying to push the narrative about Nigeria being a very safe country, being hospitable, being the best economy in Africa.
“You know once this bid is granted, FIFA is going to invest millions upon millions of dollars.
“They are paying for the air tickets; they are paying for all the hotels; it is a huge for us and as a country we think that this is a platform in which we want to rebuild our Super Falcons.
“They have dominated Africa; they have done well in the world; but we believe we can now push them; we have played finals twice in this category.
“We want to lift this trophy and hand it over to the president as a gift to the president for supporting us; so, we are going to throw everything into the ring to ensure that we achieve that for him.’’
He said that emphasis was being placed on transparency and probity.
The NFF boss said that there was harmony in the bid, as everything was about the about the future of Nigerian football.
“It is about the future of our youths; it is about the future of our female players.
“Only few days ago, Asisat Oshoala bought a massive building for her parents; adding value to the economy.
“Oshoala was discovered from the U-20 so if we organise it properly, we can have more Oshoalas, more Ajibades, and more Oparanozies.
“Oparanozie for example, owns an NGO that empowers some youths in certain areas,” he said.
The decision on Nigeria’s bid to host the event will be taken in September.
La Liga: Leaders FC Barcelona stumble to draw at Real Sociedad
Barcelona were held to a 2-2 draw at Real Sociedad in an entertaining game on Saturday.
This could see the leaders knocked off the top of La Liga by Real Madrid by the end of the weekend ahead of Wednesday’s ‘Clasico’.
Mikel Oyarzabal gave the home side the lead in the 12th minute from the penalty spot after Sergio Busquets was penalised somewhat harshly for tugging the shirt of Diego Llorente while they battled for an aerial ball.
Antoine Griezmann levelled for Barca in the 38th minute, scoring against the club where he began his career by nonchalantly scooping the ball over Alex Remiro after being played in by Luis Suarez.
Suarez put the Catalans ahead in the 49th minute, passing a lay-off from Lionel Messi into an empty net.
Sociedad levelled shortly after the hour mark, as Swedish youngster Alexander Isak pounced on a loose ball and smashed it home from close range.
Barca still lead the standings with 35 points from 16 games but Real Madrid, on 34, can take their place at the top if they win at Valencia on Sunday. Real Sociedad are fourth on 28.
Edited by: Dianabasi Effiong/Felix Ajide
Bournemouth stun Chelsea 1-0 away to end losing streak
Defiant Bournemouth stole all three points with a late goal from Dan Gosling at Chelsea in the Premier League on Saturday, ending a five-match losing streak with a 1-0 win.
Gosling looped his shot over goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga’s head in the 84th minute and defender, Cesar Azpilicueta, seemed to have hooked it out.
But after a lengthy wait for a VAR offside check referee, Graham Scott, awarded the goal.
Chelsea looked off the pace despite enjoying more than 60 per cent possession on a chilly afternoon in southwest London.
Although they buzzed around the Bournemouth area and created chances for Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic, Frank Lampard’s side could not find a decisive shot.
Bournemouth keeper Aaron Ramsdale pulled off fine saves in each half from Mount and full-back Emerson to keep the south coast side in the game.
It was the fourth defeat in five Premier League games for Chelsea, who sit fourth in the table.
Lampard suggested during the week that the club would be looking for a striker in the January transfer window.
Edited by: Abdulfatah Babatunde
Ismael, Akuso win maiden Ikogosi-Ekiti 10-km race
Sadjo Ismael on Saturday in Ado-Ekiti won the maiden edition of the Ikogosi-Ekiti 10-kilometre race.
The Cross River–born athlete beat over 2,000 other athletes to the finish line to win the N1 million star prize in an impressive time of 30 minutes 40 seconds.
Oyebode Samuel from Osun came third at 31mins 48 secs.
Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, who was the event’s Special Guest of Honour, later presented the winners with their prizes and congratulated all the participants over their performances.
Fayemi assured that his administration would not only invest in the education and human capital development of the youth.
“We will continue to partner with relevant private sector players in providing the youths the platforms to showcase their God-given talents,’’ he said.
Ismael received a cash prize of N1 million, while the first runner-up got a prize of N500,000 and the second runner-up got N300,000.
NAN reports that the race was flagged off at 9:25 a.m by the Ekiti Deputy Governor, Bisi Egbeyemi, at Aramoko-Ekiti, headquarters of Ekiti-West Local Government Area (LGA), ending at Ikogosi-Ekiti.
There were also winners in the competition’s other categories, with the female elite category being won by Rose Akuso of Plateau State who came first after 36 mins 51 seconds.
Abiye David of Ondo State came second in 36 mins 59 seconds, while Oman Sale also of Plateau came third.
They also won N1 million, N500,000 and N300,000 respectively in cash prizes.
In the female indigene athlete category, Hannah Adewole from Ikere-Ekiti came first by reaching the finish line after 38 mins 49 seconds to win N1 million.
She was followed by Favour Sehinde (43mins 32 seconds) and Fakoyemi Folorunso (44 mins 38 seconds) for the second and third positions respectively.
Others winners in the indigene category were Abolaji Iyanu, who came fourth in 45 mins 74 seconds, and Jumoke Oduluyi who came fifth in 46 minutes 42 seconds.
The rest were Olajumoke Ekundayo (47 minutes 42 seconds), Serah Anyigor (49 minutes 11 seconds), Mary John (49 minutes 36 seconds) and Ajeyomi Bukola (49 minutes 49 seconds).
In the male indigene athlete category, Adewale Shedowo came first after 34 minutes 51 seconds, while Azeez Lawal came second after 35 minutes 16 seconds.
Tunde Arowolo came third with a time of 36 minutes 17 seconds.
NAN reports that 14-year-old Dolapo Morakinyo from Okemesi-Ekiti was apparently the event’s youngest participant, and was the cynosure of all eyes as she got to the finish line
The Ikogosi race was organised by the Ikogosi Marathon Initiative, in partnership with the Ekiti State Government.
More than 5,000 participants had registered for the race online, while about 2,500 of them collected materials which qualified them to take part in the race on Saturday.
(Edited by: Olawale Alabi)
Bayern Munich batter Werder Bremen as Borussia Dortmund dominate Mainz
Bayern Munich recovered from a goal down to demolish Werder Bremen 6-1 on Saturday, as they arrested a form slump which had seen them lose their last two league games.
They looked ragged for most of the first half and went behind when Werder Bremen’s Milot Rashica turned a sluggish-looking Jerome Boateng inside out before smashing home from outside the box.
But the Bundesliga champions struck through Philippe Coutinho and Robert Lewandowski on the stroke of half-time to go into the break in the lead and dominated the second-half.
Coutinho sealed a hat-trick and Lewandowski a brace, while Thomas Mueller also chipped in with a goal for them to move from seventh to fourth.
Borussia Dortmund, in third place, thumped Mainz 4-0, while Cologne beat Bayer Leverkusen 2-0.
Juergen Klinsmann clinched his first win as Hertha Berlin boss with a 1-0 defeat of Freiburg, while Paderborn and Union Berlin drew 1-1.
Second-placed RB Leipzig are away to struggling Fortuna Dusseldorf later on Saturday.
P W D L F A Pts
1 Bor. Moenchengladbach 14 10 1 3 30 16 31
2 Leipzig 14 9 3 2 39 16 30
3 Borussia Dortmund 15 8 5 2 37 19 29
4 Bayern Munich 15 8 3 4 41 21 27
5 Schalke 14 7 4 3 25 18 25
6 Freiburg 15 7 4 4 24 18 25
7 Bayer Leverkusen 15 7 4 4 22 20 25
8 Hoffenheim 15 6 3 6 21 27 21
9 Wolfsburg 14 5 5 4 15 14 20
10 Union Berlin 15 6 2 7 19 20 20
11 Augsburg 15 5 5 5 24 28 20
12 Eintracht Frankfurt 14 5 3 6 24 22 18
13 Hertha Berlin 15 4 3 8 21 29 15
14 Mainz 15 5 0 10 20 38 15
15 Werder Bremen 15 3 5 7 23 35 14
16 Dusseldorf 14 3 3 8 16 29 12
17 Cologne 15 3 2 10 14 30 11
18 Paderborn 15 2 3 10 18 33 9
(Edited by: Olawale Alabi)
Golf: U.S. fight back to leave Presidents Cup in the balance
The U.S. clawed back into contention at the Presidents Cup on Saturday by dominating the afternoon foursomes, with the Internationals rallying to maintain their lead.
Late scrambling by the Internationals secured a 10-8 lead heading into the final day at Royal Melbourne.
There were angry scenes earlier when Patrick Reed’s caddie clashed with a spectator after the U.S. golfer was beaten in the morning fourballs with Webb Simpson.
It was their third successive defeat in the Cup.
But he had been heckled for three straight days for his waste bunker penalty in the Bahamas.
U.S. captain Tiger Woods asked the crowd to be “respectful” of his team, saying some fans had drunk too much alcohol and gone too far in their taunting.
“Have people said things that have been over the top? Yes. I’ve heard it,” he told reporters.
“I’ve been in the groups playing when it has happened, and I’ve been inside the ropes as a captain today witnessing it.”
Internationals captain Ernie Els, however, said the International team had suffered worse from the galleries at Liberty National in New Jersey two years ago.
“We shut up and we get on with things. That’s what we did in New York,” the South African said with a touch of defiance.
“This Aussie crowd, OK, they got a little bit boisterous this afternoon with a couple of beers, but which crowd doesn’t? You take it and you move on.”
Reed’s caddie Kessler Karain, also the golfer’s brother-in-law, will not return for the Sunday singles, the PGA Tour said.
It means someone else will carry the American’s bag when he faces Taiwanese debutant C.T. Pan in the third match on Sunday.
With 12 singles matches remaining on day four, the first team to reach 15.5 points will raise the trophy.
No team has ever won when trailing after the third day but the U.S. tied the 2003 tournament 17-17 after going into the final Sunday three points behind.
Woods sat out both the morning fourball and afternoon foursomes on Saturday.
But he will play against the impressive Mexican debutant Abraham Ancer on Sunday as he looks to seize early momentum for the Americans.
The Internationals stretched their lead to 9-5 after winning the early fourballs 2.5-1.5, before Woods’s team dug deep to claim the afternoon foursomes 3-1.
In doing this, they defied huge crowds which grew increasingly hostile as the day wore on.
Dustin Johnson and Gary Woodland led the way with a 2&1 victory over the Internationals’ most senior pairing of Louis Oosthuizen and Adam Scott in the first foursomes match.
Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay then reduced the U.S. deficit to two points with another 2&1 win over Cameron Smith and Im Sung-jae.
The margin would have been shaved to a single point but for a dramatic collapse by Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler.
The pair blew a five-hole lead after the 10th against Marc Leishman and Ancer.
Under pressure after bogeys at 16 and 17, Thomas pulled his tee-shot on the last deep into trees.
Leishman then pounced with a fine approach that landed within seven feet of the pin to deny the Americans a full point.
“It’s unacceptable for us to get a half a point,” said a crestfallen Thomas, who had held a perfect record until that match.
“We had our chances, and I mean, flat honest, just didn’t execute. I’m just disappointed in myself for burning that for us on 18.”
International rookies Joaquin Niemann and An Byeong-hun fought back from two holes down in the tense final match to share a point with Matt Kuchar and Tony Finau.
Chilean Niemann produced a brilliant recovery from the rough on 18 to give An a birdie chance from within seven feet to claim a full point.
A massive greenside gallery groaned as An’s putt burned the rim of the cup.
Beaten in all three of his matches, Reed will again be under huge scrutiny on Sunday.
The Internationals’ Adam Hadwin, meanwhile, will play after suffering from stomach flu and missing Saturday’s sessions.
Els indicated he expects the event to go down to the wire, putting Adam Scott and his most senior players down for the late matches on Sunday.
(Edited by: Olawale Alabi)
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