Sport

Rohr lines up Iheanacho, Ajayi, Ebuehi, 20 others for Ukraine friendly

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Super Eagles’ Technical Adviser Gernot Rohr has called up 23 players for the team’s international friendly with the Senior National Team of Ukraine scheduled for Dnipro Arena on Sept. 10.

Ademola Olajire, Director of Communications at Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), said in a statement on Wednesday that Saudi Arabia-based team skipper Ahmed Musa heads the list of invited players.

“Tyronne Ebuehi, who as a result of injury missed the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals where Nigeria won bronze, has been recalled after recovering from the injury.

“Equally, Oluwasemilogo Ajayi and Kelechi Iheanacho, who were cut from the roster just before the AFCON finals, have been invited to Ukraine.

“England-based duo of Alex Iwobi and Iheanacho have been listed in midfield roles.

“Germany-based goalkeeper Emil Maduka Okoye has been invited for the first time, alongside Scotland-based midfielder Joe Aribo, but there is no place for South Africa-based goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi,’’ he said.

Olajire added that goalkeepers Francis Uzoho and Ikechukwu Ezenwa, and defenders William Ekong, Kenneth Omeruo, Leon Balogun and Jamilu Collins have also been called up.

“The rest are midfielders Wilfred Ndidi and Oghenekaro Etebo and forwards Victor Osimhen, Moses Simon, Henry Onyekuru and Samuel Chukwueze,’’ the NFF official said.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that Ukraine is rated number 25 on the FIFA ranking while Nigeria is rated 33rd.

SUPER EAGLES PLAYERS FOR UKRAINE FRIENDLY

Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (Anorthosis Famagusta, Cyprus); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Heartland FC); Emil Maduka Okoye (Fortuna Dusseldorf, Germany)

Defenders: Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy); Tyronne Ebuehi (FC Benfica, Portugal); Chidozie Awaziem (FC Porto, Portugal); William Ekong (Udinese FC, Italy); Leon Balogun (Brighton & Hove Albion, England); Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Jamilu Collins (SC Padeborn 07, Germany); Oluwasemilogo Ajayi (Rotherham United, England)

Midfielders: Alexander Iwobi (Everton FC, England); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Oghenekaro Etebo (Stoke City FC, England); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Joe Aribo (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland)

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Al Nassar FC, Saudi Arabia); Victor Osimhen (Lille OSC, France); Moses Simon (Levante FC, Spain); Henry Onyekuru (AS Monaco, France); Samuel Kalu (Girondins Bordeaux, France); Paul Onuachu (FC Midtjyland, Denmark); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal FC, Spain)

OLAL

(Edited by Olawale Alabi)

Sport

Kenyan athletes win maiden ECOWAS-Abuja International Half-Marathon

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John Mur and Careen Cheptoeck, both of Kenya, on Saturday in Abuja won the male and female categories respectively at the maiden ECOWAS-Abuja international half-marathon.

Mur finished with a time of one hour four minutes 2.79 seconds to place first in the men’s race, ahead of Ethiopia’s Mawcha Nega who finished about four seconds later.

The Ethiopian had a time of 1:04.06.94 to push into third place Nigeria’s Emmanuel Gyang who returned with a time of 1:04.32.15.

Seven other Nigerians trailed them to pick the fourth to 10th positions in the race which ended at the Old Parade Ground in Area 10.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the half-marathon which the organisers said had over 600 participants began from the ECOWAS Secretariat building in Abuja as early as 7 a.m.

The prize money for the winner was 10,000 dollars, with the first runners-up and second runners-up winning 5,000 dollars and 4,000 dollars respectively.

The fourth-place winner got a 3,500 dollars prize, while the fifth-place winner and others down to 10th place got cash prizes ranging from 3,000 dollars down to 1,000 dollars.

In the female category, Careen Cheptoeck of Kenya finished first with a time of 1:14.32.45 ahead of Deborah Pam of Nigeria who placed second with 1:17.15.86.

Olude Fadekemi of Nigeria also finished third with 1:19.11.23, while Ethiopia’s Lensa Daba placed fourth with 1:22.05.50.

Six other Nigerians grabbed the fifth to 10th positions in the race, while special athlete Ezekiel Elisa won the para-athletes race.

(Edited by: Olawale Alabi)

(NAN)

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Army advises Nigerians to be security  conscious

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Maj.-Gen. Usman  Yakubu, Commander Corps of Artillery, Kontagora has  called on Nigerians to be more security conscious before, during and after the Christmas and New year festivities.

Speaking at the finals of Commander Corps of Artillery Annual Kontagora Youth Football Competition 2019 on Friday, Yakubu said it was only by so doing that the ongoing fight against banditry, kidnapping and other criminal activities would be dealt.

He said that this year’s tournament which started on Nov. 25, 2019 with 16 football clubs drawn from the barracks and Kontagora environs, was designed to foster better civil-military cooperation.

Represented by Maj. Gen. MB Msheilia, Commander Nigeria Army Training Centre, Yakubu said that the competition would enable youths showcase their football skills and bring out their rich talent.

He said that the contributions of the military formations and unit in Kontagora have increased the confidence of the people in the activities of the military in Niger State.

“I can categorically say that now the good people of Kontagora will interact more freely with the military and other security agencies as they feel better secured as they go about their daily activities and carry out their civic responsibilities in the state”, he said.

He said that the Corps would continue to use sports in promoting mutual understanding with their host communities.

Yakubu said the Nigerian Army is focused on crushing insurgents, bandits and other criminal elements, to make the country a safe place for all.

He called on residents to assist the Army with required intelligence information that would assist in the ongoing fight against criminal elements in the society.

NAN reports that, Eldeen Football Club Kontagora clinched the 2019 edition of the Commander Nigerian Army Corps of Artillery Youth Football Competition.

The finals, played at Barracks football field Kontagora and watched by hundreds of spectators, was decided via penalty kick after 90 minutes of regulation time.

At the end of the penalty shootout, Firestone FC scored 4 goals to beat Eldeen FC which scored 2 goals, to clinch the cup.

Saidu Nagari of Jikan Shehu FC won the prize for the most valuable player, Kazir Suleiman of Sahaj FC won the highest goal scorer award after netting 6 goals.

Also, Shehu Waziri Babalo of Eldeen FC emerged best goalkeeper while Coach Shuaibu Zabo of Jikan Shehu FC clinched the best coach award.

The champions, Firestone FC received a cash prize of N140,000, the runners up Eldeen FC got N120,000 while the third place, Jikan Shehu got N100,000.

Edited by: Saidu Adamu/Maharazu Ahmed

(NAN)

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Security measures will prevent El Clasico disruption, Spanish police say

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Security measures being prepared for FC Barcelona’s La Liga clash with rivals Real Madrid on Dec. 18 will guarantee a hitch-free match, police said on Friday.

They said the match in the Catalan city would not be disrupted in any way by a pro-independence protest on the same day.

“About 3,000 public and private security officers will be dispatched inside and outside FC Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium to protect both teams, fans and match officials for the game, known as `El

Clasico’,’’ Catalan regional police head Eduard Sallent told reporters.

Police are prepared for every eventuality but believe that protesters are unlikely to try to access the pitch during the game, he added.

The match was originally scheduled for Oct. 26 but it was postponed at the request of the league’s organisers over security concerns.

This had followed demonstrations in Catalonia after the jailing of nine Catalan separatist leaders.

“It was a wrong decision,” said the Catalan regional government’s interior councillor Miquel Buch, who argued that there was no reason to postpone the game because police would have guaranteed its security.

Secretive Catalan protest group Democratic Tsunami has called a protest four hours before the game’s kickoff at several areas surrounding the stadium.

It said it was part of its effort to call for dialogue between Spanish and Catalan authorities on the north-eastern region’s independence drive.

The group has not officially called on people to block supporters’ access to the stadium nor to interrupt the game.

But it said it has given instructions to fans who would be inside the stadium.

Catalan separatist politicians have encouraged people to protest, while Democratic Tsunami said on Tuesday that more than 18,000 people had registered to attend the protest.

The group previously organised a mass protest at Barcelona’s airport and blocked a major highway between Spain and France.

OLAL

(Edited by: Olawale Alabi)

(NAN)

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Asian aces take Woods, Thomas down to the wire in Melbourne

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Justin Thomas drained a 17-foot putt at the last to give the U.S. a precious Presidents Cup point on Friday.

It was a measure of the challenge presented by the Internationals that he and Tiger Woods celebrated it like they had won a major.

Tiger Woods on the 7th hole during The Challenge: Japan Skins golf competition at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Matt Roberts-USA TODAY/File Photo/File Photo

An Byeong-hun and Hideki Matsuyama had looked like a pair of sacrificial lambs when they were sent out in the foursomes.

They took on former world number one Thomas and U.S. captain Woods at Royal Melbourne.

In spite of going down early, however, the Asian duo were far from overawed and battled back to lead twice before going toe-to-toe with their rivals over the last five holes.

That was until Thomas’s nerveless birdie putt gave the Americans the match.

Thomas let out a huge roar and pumped his fists while 43-year-old Woods danced around him like a teenager.

They celebrated a win that helped the Americans rally from 6-1 down to a 6.5-3.5 deficit at the end of day two.

“We were both screaming,” said Woods. “It was a phenomenal moment, and it was priceless.

“We were just competing, we were fighting,” the 15-times major winner added.

“JT and I got in our own little bubble doing our own little thing. We got up early then they flipped it on us.

“Then we clawed our way back and JT steps up there and pours this thing in at the last hole and it gives me absolute chills man. Absolute chills.”

South Korean An was a late call-up to the International team after former world number one Jason Day withdrew with a back complaint.

Japan’s Matsuyama had a patchy record over his three previous appearances.

The Americans had to bring some of their best game just to stay in the match at some points, however, as Matsuyama and An showed off no inconsiderable skills of their own.

Woods’s partnership with Thomas also brought the U.S. their only point on day one but the skipper has decided to sit out the Saturday fourballs.

2017 PGA Championship winner Thomas has instead been paired with Rickie Fowler.

On Thursday, Matsuyama had teamed up with Taiwan’s CT Pan and An with Adam Scott for wins.

This was as the Asians had a hand in three of the four points scored by the Internationals on the way to a 4-1 lead.

They will revert to their original pairings for day three and An said Friday’s defeat would not have an enduring effect.

“It wasn’t an easy battle out there and they played amazing golf, and so did we I think,” he said.

“I know we lost but we’re still leading the tournament. Our confidence is high, and this definitely is not going to let us down, that’s for sure.”

(Edited by: Emmanuel Okara and Olawale Alabi)

(NAN)

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Glasgow Rangers manager Gerrard extends contract till 2024

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Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has signed a two-year contract extension until the end of the 2023/2024 season, the Scottish Premiership side announced on Friday.

Gerrard, who spent 17 seasons at Liverpool as a player, led the Anfield club to the UEFA Champions League title in 2005.

He took charge of Rangers in 2018 on a four-year deal and said earlier this week that he was close to extending the deal.

“I’m delighted to be extending my stay at this fantastic football club,” Gerrard said in a statement.

“When (club chairman) Dave King approached me about the possibility of extending my contract with Rangers, it was a very easy decision to make because I’m very happy and feel that we are building something special together at the club.

“I’d like to thank the board for the backing they have given me already in my time at the club and also, most importantly, the Rangers fans who have given me and the team such tremendous backing both this season and last.”

Rangers finished runners-up to Celtic in the league last season under the ex-England midfielder and are now in second place, two points behind their ‘Old Firm’ rivals after 15 games.

They had a chance to win their first trophy under Gerrard on Sunday but lost 1-0 to Celtic in the Scottish League Cup final.

OLAL

(Edited by: Olawale Alabi)

(NAN)

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