Sport

Suarez double as Barca fight back to sink Inter

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Luis Suarez scored two classy goals to inspire Barcelona to a 2-1 comeback win over Inter Milan in the Champions League on Wednesday.

The Catalans inflicted a first defeat on Antonio Conte since he took charge of the Italians.

Inter, who lead Serie A after winning all six domestic games under Conte, produced a wonderful first-half display and took the lead in the second minute through Argentine forward Lautaro Martinez.

Barca had struggled to get going but looked more like their usual dominant selves on European nights at the Camp Nou after the break and deservedly pulled level in the 58th minute through a superb swivelling volley from Suarez.

The Catalans caught Inter out on the counter-attack to take the lead in the 84th minute, with captain Lionel Messi feeding Suarez who produced a cool low finish to prompt relieved celebrations among the 86,000 fans in the stadium.

The win put Barca second in Group F with four points from two games, the same as leaders Borussia Dortmund who won 2-0 at Slavia Prague. Inter have one point.

“This is a very valuable victory for us against a direct rival,” Suarez told reporters.

“We were aware that if we continued playing like we had in the first half we could lose but the key thing was we stayed patient and were able to create chances.”

Conte conceded a goal after three minutes in his last game at the Camp Nou as Chelsea coach in 2018 but this time it was his side who struck an early blow.

Inter forward Alexis Sanchez found a hole in his former side’s defence with a superb through ball into the path of Martinez, who raced into the box and slid to the floor to send a shot flying past Barca keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Conte’s side did not look to sit on their goal and outplayed Barca in the first half, holding on to possession for long periods while doggedly pressing the hosts and picking them off on the counter-attack with ease.

It took a superb save from Ter Stegen to prevent Lautaro scoring again with a header, while Italian midfielder Stefano Sensi flashed a shot narrowly over the bar.

“Inter are very powerful when they are given space and it’s no coincidence that they are top of their league, but we took a step forward in the second half and had more control of the play,” said Barca coach Ernesto Valverde.

Barca were facing their first home defeat in the Champions League group stage since losing to Rubin Kazan in 2009 but were transformed after coach Ernesto Valverde replaced Sergio Busquets with Arturo Vidal.

The Chile midfielder was given the freedom to roam forward and provided the cross from which Suarez scored his unstoppable volley, which appeared to demoralise Inter while galvanising Barca, who were worthy winners in the end.

“We had control with Busquets, Arthur and Frenkie de Jong but we needed to get closer to their area, we managed to do that in the end and it’s because of that they we were able to create better chances and win the game,” added Valverde.

Conte, meanwhile, rued his side not making the most of their outstanding performance in the first half.

“It’s nice to receive compliments after a performance like that but we deserved much more from the game,” he said.

“We proved we could cause Barca real problems but it’s a shame we couldn’t take our chances and kill the game.” (Reuters/)

VO/MZA

Edited by Maharazu Ahmed

Sport

Federation inaugurates committee to investigate board

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The Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) on Monday inaugurated a six man committee to investigate the activities of the board.

The acting president of the Federation, Olamide George read out the terms of reference to the committee.

To evaluate the PUMA sponsorship terms of agreement, possible payments made and equipments delivered to AFN and any other.

Also, evaluate the valuation of AFN constitution, article 6:6.1.4 by the president Ibrahim Gusau by calling Annual General Congress of AFN without due process.

The team will examine the records of expenditure of championships, include but not limited to; African U18 and U20 championships in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, IAAF World Championship in London and Doha 2017 and 2019 respectively,” George said.

The acting president also wants the committee to examine the disbursement of funds by the federation.

The investigative team would ascertain the amount approved by the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports and genuineness of all payments.

”Also examine and evaluate factors responsible for the viament of funds meant for payment to athletes, coaches and officials allowance at International events.

In addition, the panel will identify and report the role and responsibility of the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) on the hosting of world championships to athletes and officials.

They will also identify and report any other matter for future investigation to relevant agencies.

”And make recommendation that would ensure an improved and smooth AFN as well as other recommendation as may seen fit by the committee,” George said.

The board gave the committee two weeks to present its findings.

Meanwhile, the committee has Olawale Afolabi as the chairman, while members are Timmon Gunmen, Mkpa A.B, Jacob Onu, Kenneth Iworari and Bolaji Deji as the secretary.

It would be recalled that the AFN board suspended its president last week over alledged misconduct, abuse of power and mismanagement of funds.

Edited by: Ismail Abdulaziz
(NAN)

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NFF member calls for regular grassroots competitions in Nigeria

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Alhaji Ahmed Yusuf, member Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), on Monday called for regular grassroots football competitions across the nation to entrench the game on budding talents.

Yusuf made the call during the 2019 Minna Emir’s Football Competition finals in Minna, Niger.

The NFF member spoke against the backdrop of Nigeria’s poor performance in the knockout stage of the recently concluded 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil.

We have to go back to the grassroots football competitions in order to catch them young.

We will do everything possible to make sure that what happened in Brazil recently will not repeat itself in future.

He said that it was better to build the game from the U-13 youth championships across the country.

Yusuf explained that regular grassroots competitions would regenerate the game and impact positively on budding talents across country.

Our players will graduate from one stage to another making Nigeria a good football nation,’’ he said.

Yusuf, who is also the chairman Niger State Football Association (NSFA), urged the 25 Local Government Areas in the state to always organise grassroots football competitions.

He said that the Minna Emirate Council football competition was organised to honour the Emir, Alhaji Umar Bahago where 36 football clubs participated.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the Minna branch of the Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria’s FC of Minna won the competition.

The Bridge Boys FC of Barkinsali emerged runners up, while Niger Golden Boys FC of Minna emerged in the third position.

Edited by: Emmanuel Okara/Ismail Abdulaziz
(NAN)

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Female sport veterans distribute netball equipment to FCT School

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Athletes of , a non-governmental organisation on Monday distributed netball equipment to the Royal Family Academy in Wuye, Abuja.

Toyin Aluko, chairperson of AFFAN, said the group was created to guide girls on the right path to life using sporting activities while the Academy will serve as the talent hub.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the group is made up of ex internationals.

We (AFFAN) have represented this country in various sports during our hay days and as women we know how sports have turned things around for us.

Someone gave us that opportunity; someone brought sports to us and discovered the talents in us. It is the same thing we want to do for the girls in Nigeria.

We want girls from remote communities, low-income families to see sports as tool to change their lives and families while bringing glory to the country.

We all got introduced to sports in schools and now that we have gotten to the peak of our careers, we have decided to act as role models to the girls,’’ she said.

Aluko, who has served on the board of various sport federations, said the choice of netball was to bring back the glorious days of the sport to the country.

We have decided to begin with netball because the sport has declined in terms of players and fan-base. I played netball in 1970s and I can’t really tell how netball phased out.

But the game is popular among member countries of the Commonwealth and Nigeria has being missing out in its participation at commonwealth games.

Introducing the girls to the sport will mean that netball will be back and we could find ourselves at the Commonwealth Games and possibly the Olympics,“ she said.

She said that the association would be partnering with other corporate bodies to distribute equipment to schools in Nigeria as well as scholarships for students.

The Director of the Academy, Rifkatu Ogunbiyi, was delighted to receive the equipment while assuring the association that the school would make judicious use of them.

We are happy that we are the first school to receive the netball equipment and to commence the teaching of the sport in our school.

This is an answered prayer because I had desired that the school have a netball team before I retire. Now, this is a confirmation that it is about time.

You are not just reminding us but kick starting it for us and we are so delighted. It is history.

We will get more netball equipment to add to these and in no distant time, athletes will be discovered here,’’ Ogunbiyi said.

Other members of AFFAN who were present were Toun Engre, a former national Table Tennis champion, and Essien-Anwan Bluejack, a former national volleyball captain and Benjamin Obe, a handball veteran and the only male in the pack.

NAN also reports that equipment distributed include nets and balls.

Edited by: Joseph Edeh/Ismail Abdulaziz
(NAN)

 

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200 golfers for 2019 Tiger Open in Ibadan

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No fewer than 200 golfers were expected to feature at the 24th Tiger Amateur Open Golf Championship scheduled for between Dec. 13 and Dec.15 at Tiger Golf Club (TGC), Adekunle Fajuyi Cantonment, Odogbo, Ibadan.

The Tiger Open was the biggest amateur golf tournament in Nigeria in which golfers compete in various categories for prizes.

The Ibadan Captain of the club, Alfred Amubioya said in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency on Monday in Ibadan that the 2019 edition will be unique because of its composition.

Amubioya said that for the first time, invited golf professionals would take part in the tournament.

He also said that participants would vie for prizes in no fewer than fifteen categories.

Some of the participating clubs were- Ikeja Golf Club, Ikoyi Golf Club, Abeokuta Golf Club, Sagamu Golf Club, MicCom and Country Golf Club, Ada.

Others included Tiger Golf Club, Ogbomoso Golf Club and Ekiti Golf Club, Kaduna

Golf Club, Jaji Golf Club, Ibom Golf Club, Otukpo Golf Club and IBB Country Golf Club.

He said golf enthusiasts all over the country were always looking forward to the Tiger Open considered as the climax of all golf events in the Nigerian golf calendar.

This year’s edition will be different with the number of participants expected and prizes to be won.

This year will be the 10th edition we are playing the Tiger Open on our course (Tiger Golf Club) having played the first 15 editions at Ibadan Golf Club (IGC).

“We are expecting no fewer than 300 participants and guests to the city of Ibadan to take part in the tournament,’’Amubioya said.

Edited by: Emmanuel Okara/Ali Baba-Inuwa
(NAN)

 

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Russia banned from Olympic Games for altering doping data

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Russia was banned from the Olympics and other major world championships on Monday after sporting officials decided to punish it for tampering with doping-related laboratory data in another blow to Russia’s already tarnished sporting reputation.

The decision by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), imposed a four-year ban on Russia participating in a range of top-flight sporting tournaments, a period covering the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and the 2022 soccer World Cup.

WADA’s executive committee took the decision after concluding that Moscow had tampered with laboratory data by planting fake evidence and deleting files linked to positive doping tests that could have helped identify drug cheats.

The decision to punish Russia with a ban was unanimous, a WADA spokesman said.

Russia, which has tried to showcase itself as a global sports power, has been embroiled in doping scandals since a 2015 report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) found evidence of mass doping in Russian athletics.

Its doping woes have grown since, with many of its athletes sidelined from the past two Olympics and the country stripped of its flag altogether at last year’s Pyeongchang Winter Games as punishment for state-sponsored doping cover-ups at the 2014 Sochi Games.

Monday’s sanctions, which also include a four-year ban on Russia hosting major sporting events, were recommended by WADA’s compliance review committee in response to the doctored laboratory data provided by Moscow earlier this year.

One of the conditions for the reinstatement of Russian anti-doping agency RUSADA, which was suspended in 2015 in the wake of the athletics doping scandal but reinstated last year, had been that Moscow provide an authentic copy of the laboratory data.

The sanctions effectively strip the agency of its accreditation.

RUSADA head Yuri Ganus could not be immediately be reached for comment. His deputy, Margarita Pakhnotskaya, told the TASS news agency that WADA’s decision had been expected.

Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov last month attributed the discrepancies in the laboratory data to technical issues.

Russia’s punishment leaves the door open for clean Russian athletes to compete at major international sporting events without their flag or anthem for the next four years, something they did at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.

Some Russian officials have tried to cast WADA’s behaviour as part of what they say is a broader Western attempt to hold back the country.

Igor Lebedev, a lawmaker and deputy speaker of Russia’s lower house of parliament, said on Monday the move was a serious blow to Russian sport that required a tough response from Russia’s authorities, the RIA news agency reported.

If RUSADA appeals WADA’s punishment, the case will be referred to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Edited by: Joseph Edeh/Ali Baba-Inuwa
(NAN)

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AFN: Shehu-Gusau vows to unravel corrupt practices

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Ibrahim Shehu-Gusau, embattled President, Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), has said that the federation will work diligently to unravel all corrupt practices in the federation.

Shehu-Gusau said this on Sunday in a news conference to address the situation of things happening in the federation.

He said that the measure was in keeping with the President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to accountability and transparency,

On the inauguration of our Board in July, 2017, I was confronted with an allegation in respect of USD150,000 paid to the AFN.

I was accused of mismanaging the funds and in keeping with the President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to accountability and transparency, I submitted myself to the relevant agencies for investigation.

The individual reports exonerated me from any culpability but raised questions which the agencies are diligently pursuing.

My action in submitting myself to be investigated laid the foundation for the misunderstandings being experienced in the AFN today.

It is common knowledge that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari has been doing everything within his powers to attract foreign investments.

He is also irrevocably committed to creating jobs, especially for our teeming youth,” he said.

He said that securing alternative means of funding the activities of the federation would ease the pressure on government.

The sponsorship deal signed with Puma attests to the capacity of this board to attract private funding for sports from within and outside the country.

It will also create jobs for the youth of this country as sports has the capacity to create enormous job opportunities.

This is part of the reasons we seek autonomy to enable us increase the funding base of the Federation.

I am pleased to inform Nigerians that the Puma sponsorship deal, which is in kind, will run from Sept. 1, 2019 to Dec. 31, 2022.

It is unique in the sense that Puma will deliver kits worth USD2.76m to the Federation in Abuja, that way, we do not have to spend scarce resources available to be travelling to Germany to collect the kits.

We are working hard to ease the pressure on government yet some people are bent on frustrating our efforts.

Since the advent of this current leadership, there has been one problem or the other, all geared towards directly administering the Sports Federations.

“The AFN is not the first and if something is not done to curtail their excesses, it will definitely not be the last,” he said.

Edited by: Emmanuel Nwoye/Maureen Atuonwu
(NAN)

 

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NPFL: Abia’s haul gives Sunshine maximum three points

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Sunshine Stars Striker, Israel Abia, on Sunday had a haul to ensure that his team emerged winner of the match day seven encounter of Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) encounter against Nassarawa United.

The match, played at the Ondo State Sports Complex, Akure, had Chidi Solomon scoring the first goal for Nassarawa United in the 36th minute before Abia restored parity in the 40th minute .

Abia gave the home team the lead in the 45th minute after meeting Wasiu Jimoh’s corner to ensure that the home team went into the half leading 2-1.

As the second half resumed, Mohammed Abdallah restored parity for the visitors to make the game 2-2 in the 48th minute before Abia added the third a minute after to make it 3-2.

Abia made it his fourth goal in the 78th minute after he had connected with Anthony Omaka’s cross to secure a comfortable 4-2 win over Nassarawa United.

Sunshine Stars Coach, Kabir Dogo said he was happy that his team won its home match after it had defeated Akwa United 1-0 in the match day six encounter.

Dogo said his team won the game through perseverance and hard work after his team had not scored much in previous encounters in the season.

“First of all I have to thank God and commend my boys for a Job well done,

” This is the first time in the last five years that Sunshine is winning double home, it is not an easy game.

Nasarawa United have a good record against Sunshine anytime they play here even during my time with Nasarawa united. We were able to score the goals through hard work and prayers.

During our training we dedicated one hour for strikers alone, thank God it yielded results today.

With the support for the people of the state we will remain focused till the end of the season,” Dogo said.

The Acting Technical Adviser of Nassarawa United, Abubakar Arikya, said his players played well in the first half.

Arikya said his team would plan better ahead of the week eight encounter against Kano Pillars.

We are still building the team, we will have a good plan ahead of our next match against Kano Pillars at home. We will take it the way we took this match but we are going to make some changes.

A lot of things are happening in the team, we are not playing to our pattern against Kano Pillars.

” By God’s grace we will have the day,” he said.

(Edited by: Mufutau Ojo)
(NAN)

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Osun United FC 0-3 loss to 3SC, a lesson- Omokaro

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Coach Bright Omokaro of Osun United Football Club says his team’s 0-3 loss to Shooting Stars Sports Club(3SC) is a lesson to return to the drawing board.

Omokaro said this while fielding questions from newsmen on Sunday after the team’s 0-3 loss to 3SC in the Nigeria National League Match Day 3 played in Ibadan.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the home team, 3SC, secured a maximum three points having dominated the entire game.

NAN also reports that 3SC secured its three goals through Opeoluwa Olufemi, Najeem Olukokun and Fatai Gbadamosi in the 32nd, 54th and 79th mins respectively.

Apart from the first and second goals which were secured through brilliant team work, the third goal was secured through a free-kick.

Omokaro said that the team’s defeat was a great lesson to intensify their play from the drawing board.

To me, football is a game and you have play it through commitment. It is a good game. As far as I am concerned, the team Shooting is telling me to go back to my drawing board and intensify the team,” he said.

He expressed readiness to do everything humanly possible to ensure the team wins its remaining matches.

We started very late, about three weeks ago, while other teams are already in camp for six to seven months.

It is a game of football. What I need now is to go back to the drawing board and intensify my game.

I am going to do everything humanly possible to win the remaining matches,” he said.

The ex-international, however, expressed disappointment at the officiating, saying it was one factor drawing Nigeria football backward.

If you are beaten clearly five to nothing, no problem. The game of football is all like that, but manipulation is very bad.

” The referee ignored several uncalled for infringements in the game,” he said.

Coach Edith Agoye of 3SC expressed joy over the result of the match, saying he was satisfied with the team’s 3-0 win at home.

Agoye, however, said that the team still needs to do a bit more on its performance,noting that the team was lucky to have got three goals from its few chances.

We were not perfect today, but the best thing is that we got three goals from the few chances we had.

” That is good enough. There are still some aspects we need to work on ahead of our remaining matches.

We got the chances, we scored them. Nothing more, nothing less. The way the team is going now, we can do whatever we want to do,” he said.

He stressed that the most important task for the team now was to continue creating chances in the game and taking them.

NAN reports that in attendance to watch the match were Hon. Debo Ogundoyin, the Speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly, Mr Seun Fakorede, Oyo State Commissioner for Sports, and Dr Rafiu Ladipo, the President-General, Nigeria Supporters Club.

(Edited by: Mufutau Ojo)
(NAN)

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Ibadan chief seeks investment in sports, donates $3,000 to 3SC

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Chief Adegboyega Adegoke, Executive Director, Finance, OES Energy Services, has called on all tiers of government in the country to develop grassroots sports as a way of curbing social vices among the youths.

He made the call while speaking with newsmen in Ibadan on Sunday after the Nigeria National League(NNL) Match Day 3 between 3SC and Osun United Football Club ended 3-O in favour of 3SC.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that Adegoke, who was Chairman of the match, donated the sum of 3,000 dollars to 3SC as part of his contribution to the club’s upliftment.

Adegoke urged government to invest more in local football and grassroots competitions, saying this would go a long way in reducing social vices among the youths in the country.

He described sports as a great tool for youth development and urged government at the local, state and federal levels in the country to allocate more funds to sports development.

All tiers of government in the country need to invest more in grassroots sports. They should develop our local football clubs to get our youths engaged.

When youths are fully engaged, they will have no time to commit crimes,” he said.

The Ibadan Chief expressed joy that 3SC, which he described as the pride of Ibadan, Oyo State and South West region defeated its baby state, Osun, in the match.

I am happy that our team, 3SC, the pride of Ibadan, pride of Oyo State, pride of South West Geo-Political Zone secured victory over its baby state, Osun. It is clear to everybody that Osun state was created from Oyo State.

3SC as I said earlier is a pride to everyone of us here. In the past, 3SC made the country proud by winning many laurels for the state and the country as a whole.

We all need to join hands to return the past glory of 3SC and ensure it returns to Nigeria Professional Football League(NPFL).

In my own little way, I give this 3,000 dollars to 3SC and I will continue to contribute my quota to the upliftment of the team,” he said.

Adegoke said that 3SC was not a product of any political party, but the glory and pride of the state, adding that sports is a unifying factor devoid of tribal or political affiliation.

He said that his foundation, Adegboyega Adegoke Resource Centre, had been much involved in youth development through vocational training.

He said the foundation had continually trained youths in several vocations such as candle and soap making, hair dressing, chalk making, tailoring and others, adding that some have graduated while others were still undergoing training.

(Edited by: Emmanuel Nwoye/Mufutau Ojo)
(NAN)

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