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Our grassroots football development plan on course, says FCT FA chairman



Mohammed Mukhtar, Chairman of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Football Association (FA), on Wednesday in Abuja reiterated his commitment to developing football at the grassroots in the FCT.

Mukhtar told the Nigeria News Agency that the FCT FA had already embarked on some programmes aimed at developing football at the grassroots level.

“We are on course and we have embarked on a number of football development programmes as promised when we were inaugurated.

“We have just concluded the FCT U-15 Inter-Council Football Tournament.

“I announced at the closing ceremony that I will award 15 coaches drawn from the area councils scholarship and they will proceed on the course in October.

“We also recently organised a coaching clinic and health and wellness training for coaches in the FCT.

“We have a similar programme penciled down for referees, which we will carry out soon, and we also intend to recruit more referees as part of our grassroots development plan,” he said.

NAN reports that the former vice chairman of the FCT FA, who in June emerged chairman having defeated the then incumbent Musa Talle, had promised grassroots football development as his cardinal objective.

Two FCT clubs recently crashed out of the Nigeria National League (NNL) Super 4 tournament. NAF Football Club were eliminated by Jigawa Golden Stars of Hadeija, while Adamawa United sent FRSC Football Club packing.

Mukhtar, who is also the president of Heart Football Club, told NAN that henceforth clubs in the FCT vying for national glory would be rendered some kind of support.

“The outcome of the NNL Super 4 playoffs was decided on the pitch, so unfortunately it just wasn’t their victories.

“As you know, we are not in control of the internal workings of such clubs and we don’t run them but what we can do is to provide support for them to succeed at national tournaments.

“I have discussed it with my team and we have decided to set up a committee to liaise with FCT-based clubs so that they can compete favourably during national tournaments,” he said.

Edited by Felix Ajide



Greenwood strikes again to salvage home draw for Manchester United



Youngster Mason Greenwood continued his good run of form as he struck a late equaliser for Manchester United in their 1-1 English Premier League (EPL) home draw with Everton on Sunday.

This was after a Victor Lindelof own goal had put the visitors ahead.

The result left Manchester United sixth in the standings on 25 points from 17 games while Everton dropped to 16th on 18 points.

But it also meant their interim manager Duncan Ferguson stayed unbeaten after his second game in charge.

Former Everton striker Ferguson, who enjoyed a dream debut in last weekend’s 3-1 home win over Chelsea, was pleased with the outcome and his team’s effort.

“I am delighted at the moment. Of course we were winning, but I cannot complain. They came on strong in the second half.

“But I thought we looked good on the counter-attack. The boys were absolutely amazing.

“We beat a top team in Chelsea and now we’ve come to Old Trafford and got a draw,” the Scot  said.

The home side dominated but fell behind and missed a string of chances before 18-year-old Greenwood scored.

He had netted a brace in Manchester United’s 4-0 Europa League win over Dutch side AZ Alkmaar on Thursday, and he levelled with a crisp shot in the 77th minute.

Everton were on the back foot and had goalkeeper Jordan Pickford to thank for keeping Manchester United at bay before they took a 36th minute lead from out of the blue.

Leighton Baines whipped in a teasing corner-kick and the ball cannoned in off the stranded Lindelof.

He was unable to get out of the way after home goalkeeper David De Gea misjudged the set-piece.

The goal was awarded after a quick Video Assistant Referee (VAR) check as Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin had made contact with De Gea in the six-yard box.

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was not happy with the performance of his team, although he praised academy product Greenwood.

“We’re disappointed we didn’t get three points and we didn’t have the ideas to win it towards the end.

“You shouldn’t concede goals like this at set-plays. But it’s a foul.

“Mason Greenwood is different class in and around the box. You’re not surprised when he scores goals.

“We’ve always had the DNA, with added players from other top clubs, and that will always be the philosophy here,” he said.

Manchester United had come out with all guns blazing as Lingard dragged his shot wide from close range 15 seconds into the game.

Pickford parried a swivelling Rashford free kick and then a stinging low drive from Luke Shaw.

With Rashford and Daniel James misfiring, Manchester United appeared to be running out of steam before Greenwood scored.

After he came on for Lingard in the 65th minute, he teed himself up to beat Pickford with a low shot from inside the penalty area.

Both sides could have grabbed a winner in the closing stages as Pickford kept out another vicious Rashford free-kick before Alex Iwobi had Dea Gea at full stretch at the other end.

(Edited by: Olawale Alabi)


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AC Milan do everything but score in extraordinary 0-0 draw



AC Milan did many positive things aimed at scoring but still failed to score in an extraordinary 0-0 draw at home to Sassuolo in Serie A on Sunday.

They had a goal chalked off by the video assistant referee (VAR), missed an open goal, were foiled by the goalkeeper and twice hit the woodwork.

The draw left the seven-times European champions 10th on 21 points.

It also put a dampener on their 120th anniversary celebrations which saw a host of past AC Milan players gather on the pitch at half-time.

“In the second half, we had nine or 10 shots on goal, we tried everything but the ball just would not go in,” said AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli.

“We made some technical mistakes that can prove very costly at this level. With a bit more precision and sharpness in front of goal, we could have brought home all three points.”

AC Milan thought they had taken the lead on the half hour when Theo Hernandez’s shot took a huge deflection and looped into the net.

The stadium announcer went through his celebration ritual and Sassuolo were waiting to restart when referee Gianluca Manganiello indicated a VAR review.

This was delayed as the official ushered players away from the pitchside monitor before the goal was disallowed for handball by Franck Kessie in the build-up.

Minutes later, Milan midfielder Ismael Bennacer missed a glorious chance to score his first goal for the club.

Francesco Magnanelli lost the ball to the Algerian who burst forward and evaded a challenge from the onrushing goalkeeper Gianluca Pegolo.

But he dallied long enough in front of an open goal for a Sassuolo player to get back and block his shot.

Pegolo atoned for his mistake with an excellent second-half performance.

It included an outstanding double save to stop a shot from Hakan Calhanoglu and then block Giacomo Bonaventura’s effort from the rebound.

Substitute Rafael Leao thumped a shot against the underside of the crossbar in the 84th minute and the Portuguese then saw another shot hit the post three minutes later.

It could have been worse for Milan as Sassuolo were always menacing on the break.

Gianluigi Donnarumma had to be at full stretch to turn away Hamed Traore’s long-range shot near the end.

(Edited by: Olawale Alabi)


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Wolfsburg stun Gladbach with stoppage-time winner



VfL Wolfsburg’s Maximilian Arnold fired in a stoppage time winner as they beat Borussia Moenchengladbach 2-1 on Sunday.

The result sent the visitors dropping into second place in the Bundesliga after leading the title race for the last two months.

The Wolves, in eighth place, showed no respect for Gladbach, playing their best season since last winning the title in 1977, and hit

the post after four minutes with Joao Victor.

Two minutes after that Xaver Schlager fired them into the lead.

Gladbach levelled with a Breel Embolo volley two minutes later and could have scored again early in the second half with Marcus Thuram and Alassane Plea.

Wolfsburg hit the woodwork again in their share of scoring chances before Arnold drilled in the winner in stoppage time.

Gladbach dropped to second in the standings on 31 points, with RB Leipzig on 33 after Saturday’s 3-0 win at Fortuna Duesseldorf.

Champions Bayern Munich crushed Werder Bremen 6-1 to climb to fourth on 27, two points behind Borussia Dortmund.

(Edited by: Olawale Alabi)


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Brace for record-setting Ronaldo as Juventus beat Udinese



Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice to set yet another goalscoring landmark and help Juventus to a 3-1 home win over Udinese on Sunday to send them top of the Serie A table.

In-form Ronaldo, who scored five goals in his last four games, took his tally for the season to 11 in 19 appearances.

He became the only player in Europe’s top five leagues to hit double figures in all competitions in each of the last 15 seasons.

The Portuguese struck twice in the first half before Leonardo Bonucci headed in Juve’s third on the brink of half-time.

Ignacio Pussetto netted a consolation for the visitors late in the game.

“The most important thing was to win,” Ronaldo later said.

“This is how we should play, with confidence. Individual performances aren’t what matters, but the collective effort.”

Juventus suffered their first defeat of the season at Lazio last weekend to surrender the lead to Inter Milan.

But the champions put pressure back on Antonio Conte’s side by moving one point clear at the top with victory at the Allianz Stadium.

Maurizio Sarri’s side have 39 points, but Inter Milan can regain first place by beating Fiorentina away in the late game on Sunday.

Udinese remain in relegation trouble after falling to 17th place on 15 points, hovering just two points above the drop zone.

Gianluigi Buffon started in goal for Juventus to match Alessandro Del Piero’s club record of 478 Serie A appearances.

Ronaldo was given the rare opportunity to start in an attacking trident alongside Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain.

They needed just nine minutes to find the breakthrough when Dybala’s deflected shot fell into the path of Ronaldo, who fired in a low

finish from the edge of the box.

After Dybala looked to have made it 2-0 with a sublime lob only for it to be ruled out for handball in the build-up, Ronaldo scored again after 37 minutes.

The Portuguese latched on to Higuain’s through ball to smash a shot into the bottom corner.

The game was over as a contest by half-time after Merih Demiral rose to head a corner-kick towards the six-yard box, where Bonucci was on hand to nod in off the crossbar.

Ronaldo came close to a hat-trick in the second half when his powerful shot was palmed onto the post by Udinese goalkeeper Juan Musso.

The excellent Buffon was denied a clean sheet at the death when Pussetto prodded in from close range.

Elsewhere, European hopefuls Atalanta lost 2-1 at Bologna to miss out on the chance to move into the top four.

Gian Piero Gasperini’s side remain sixth after goals from Rodrigo Palacio and Andrea Poli put Bologna in command before Ruslan Malinovskiy pulled one back.

Hellas Verona completed a remarkable fightback against Torino as they recovered a three-goal deficit to draw 3-3, with all three

substitutes scoring inside the final 21 minutes for the home side.

Two goals from Cristian Ansaldi either side of Alex Berenguer’s strike gave Torino a handsome lead, but Giampaolo Pazzini pulled one back from the penalty kick spot on 69 minutes.

Later on, Valerio Verre and Mariusz Stepinski also found the net.

(Edited by: Olawale Alabi)


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2019/2020 NPFL Match Day 8 Results



Following are the results of Match Day 8 fixtures in the 2019/2020 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) played on Sunday:

Kwara United 0-1 Heartland

Plateau United 5-1 FC IfeanyiUbah

Jigawa Golden Stars 2-1 Warri Wolves

Lobi Stars 1-0 Abia Warriors

Dakkada FC of Uyo 2-1 Enyimba International

Rivers United 2-0 Katsina United

Adamawa United 0-3 Sunshine Stars

Played on Friday —

MFM FC 3-0 Akwa United

Played on Saturday —

Wikki Tourists 1-1 Rangers International

To be played Dec. 26 —

Nasarawa United vs Kano Pillars


(Edited by: Olawale Alabi)


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Klopp says VAR has changed his touchline behaviour



Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp says he waits now before celebrating goals on the touchline because of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR).

He really has no choice, after Sadio Mane’s effort was ruled out for offside in Saturday’s 2-0 English Premier League (EPL) win over Watford.

Mane thought he had put Liverpool ahead 2-0 with a glancing header after Mohamed Salah had scored the opener, but the goal was ruled out.

The VAR deemed that the Senegal international forward was marginally offside.

“I don’t celebrate goals anymore because you have to wait until somebody says it is a goal,” Klopp told reporters.

“As you can imagine, when you’re winning 2-0, I’m not too concerned about it. I had no clue where it was offside.

“I thought there was one pass before where maybe it was offside, but that Sadio was offside I couldn’t see.”

The use of VAR, where match officials use video replays to check decisions by the referee on the pitch and flag possible mistakes, has been surrounded by controversy in recent months.

Critics say the system goes far beyond its original remit and that decisions are taking too long.

UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin said last week that the technology had changed the character of football.

Liverpool’s victory, thanks to two superb goals by Salah, left the league leaders 10 points ahead of their nearest challengers

Leicester City, who were held 1-1 at home by Norwich City.

Meanwhile, Dutch midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, who sustained a muscle problem on Saturday, was named in Liverpool’s 20-man squad for the Club World Cup in Qatar.

The European champions take on Mexican side Monterrey in the semi-finals on Wednesday.

Defender Dejan Lovren was not included after he picked up a similar injury at Salzburg in the UEFA Champions League last week.


(Edited by: Olawale Alabi)


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Osaka picks Belgian Fissette as new coach



Two-times Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka has appointed Belgian Wim Fissette as coach, the Kyodo news agency on Sunday quoted the Japanese player’s management as saying.

The appointment has come as Osaka gears up to defend her Australian Open title.

She has been without a coach since September, when she split with Jermaine Jenkins following a disappointing defence of her U.S. Open title.

Jenkins was himself a replacement for Sascha Bajin, who Osaka ditched in February, weeks after winning her first major at Melbourne Park.

She subsequently suffered early exits at the French Open and Wimbledon.

Former professional Fissette guided compatriot Kim Clijsters to three Grand Slam titles between 2009 and 2011.

The 39-year-old has also worked with major winners Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova and Angelique Kerber.

Osaka’s 2019 win Down Under, after her breakthrough U.S. Open title, made her Asia’s first world number one.

It also made her the first player of any nation to claim their first two Grand Slam titles back-to-back since Jennifer Capriati in 2001.

Now ranked third, Osaka had her father filling in as coach following the split with Jenkins.


(Edited by: Olawale Alabi)


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Draws decided for FCT football league second round



The second round of the 2019 FCT Football Association (FA) League has been scheduled to start from Jan. 13 of 2020 at the Area 3 football pitch in Abuja.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the second round will have 16 of the 39 clubs which participated in the league’s first round which ended on Saturday.

Qualification into the second round was decided by the FCT FA Technical Committee which approved the top two clubs from each of the first round’s eight groups after the final games.

Below are the second round groupings:

Group A

Golden Boys

WACO Football Academy

Da-Priest Prolific

FC Liberty

Group B

Fire Service

Basic Maracana FA

Abees FA


Group C

Sun FC

State House FC

Tiki-taka FC

Winco Foam FC

Group D


Catholic Cadet

Basic Maracana FC

Scorpion FC

(Edited by: Olawale Alabi)


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Okuomose, Otuadinma win at Best of the Best Taekwondo Championship



Benjamin Okuomose and Uzoamaka Otuadinma have won the +80kg and +67kg categories at the Best of the Best Taekwondo Championship respectively.

The event which was conducted in the Olympic weight category format was held at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja.

Okuomose of the Nigerian Army defeated five others in the +80kg weight category to secure the gold medal on Saturday.

“The outcome of this competition will inspire me and help me train more next year.

“It is a good one for me to round up the year with a gold medal.

“The event was very competitive for me because we have very good athletes in this category but am thankful for the victory,” Okuomose said.

On her part, Otuadinma was happy to have won the gold medal in spite of her being unprepared.

“I was not really prepared for this competition because I didn’t train for it, but experience was probably an advantage for me.

“However, I am happy to have won and finished the year on a high note,’’ she said.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that Okuomose had defeated Sunday Onofe of the NSCDC to win the competition.

Onofe emerged in second place while Kenneth Ogbu of Chika Chukwumerije Sports Foundation (CCSF) and Chukwudi Nzelu of Oyo State jointly finished in third place.

In another bout, Abdulfathi Sanusi of Q-Madi of Lagos won the gold medal in the male -58kg category, while Abdulateef Olawale of Lagos clinched silver medal.

Abdulmujeeb Sanusi of Q-Madi and Lawan Mohammed of Kano jointly won the bronze medal in the competition.

(Edited by: Olawale Alabi)


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