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The draw Ceremony for the West African Football Union (WAFU) Cup of Nations tournament for senior national teams in the sub –region scheduled for September took place at the Labadi Beach Hotel, Accra on Thursday. The competition has been scheduled for September 9 -24, and teams are expected to feature players plying their trade in their countries.

Nigeria’s Super Eagles have been drawn in Group A alongside host nation Ghana, with Mali and Guinea also involved in a format that will see teams play single games before proceeding to the quarter finals.

All the teams in Group A will play in Takoradi, the twin city of Sekondi that also hosted matches during the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations.

The Super Eagles are drawn to play Sierra Leone. Other teams in Group A are The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Mauritania and Guinea Bissau.

                                                                   CHAN DRAW

Group B will compete in Cape Coast. 2015 African champions Cote d’Ivoire headline the pool that also has Senegal, Burkina Faso and Benin Republic, with Liberia, Niger Republic, Togo and Cape Verde also involved.

Ghana and Nigeria have seven African titles between them, with the Super Eagles and the Black Stars featuring in the last two FIFA World Cup finals in South Africa (2010) and Brazil (2014).

The Nigeria Football Federation’s  Director of Competitions, Ayobola Oyeyode, represented Nigeria at the ceremony.

Latest reports reveal that Egypt and South Africa will have four clubs in the CAF Champions League as of 2018 following changes by the continent’s football governing body, CAF.

Although South Africa only had two teams representing the country in the continental club competition, that is set to change next year.

Winners of the Premier Soccer League (Absa Premiership) and the runners-up gained automatic qualification in the tournament and SAFA boss Danny Jordaan said things are about to change.

The changes were discussed during CAF’s football symposium held in Morocco last week where CAF competitions are set to run from August-May.

‘‘If you look at what is happening in the Premier League in England‚ the first thing those clubs try to do is win the league title and if they can’t do it‚ then the next motivation is to try to get into the top four to have a guarantee of going into the UEFA Champions League‚” Jordaan said.

‘‘As you can see for both Egypt and South Africa they (CAF) have allocated four places in the Champions League and that is on the basis that these teams are strong‚ thriving and truly professional teams.

‘‘Some of our teams (in SA) can compete with the best clubs anywhere in the world. But it is not so for every country in the world.

‘‘This is something we have to greatly support and give more attention to‚ which is part of the reason why we come here (to SA) in September to address this matter.

‘‘Even professional football in this country has come a long way and it is now that it has taken a step up. It is not so on the rest of the continent.”

The changes in the South African football come after reigning African champions, Mamelodi Sundowns clinched the CAF Champions League last year.

In this year’s edition, the Brazilians are in the quarter-finals whilst SuperSport United are in the same stage of the CAF Confederation Cup.

In a press conference on Thursday, now former Zamalek manager Inacio said that he wished he could stay at Zamalek to help bring trophies to the club.

Zamalek mutually terminated his contract following a string of disappointing results, culminating in a 1-0 loss to Al Ahed in the Arab Club Championships the day before.

The Portuguese manager took to the press and gave some comments about his stay with the Egyptian team.

He stated his desire to continue and remain in his position as the manager of  and win tournaments with the White Castle.

“I was happy to work with Zamalek, I wish I could stay and win more championships,” Inacio said.

He failed to guide the team to an African Champions League spot as they finished third in the Egyptian Premier League standings, behind Misr El-Maqassa and . Zamalek’s disappointing season also saw them eliminated from the 2016/17 CAF Champions league group stage after finishing behind Al Ahli Tripoli and USM Alger in Group B.

“I have become a fan of Zamalek [during my time here]. I will always watch Zamalek; my concentration with Zamalek made me decline managerial offers from other clubs,” the Portuguese manager continued.

During the press conference, the 62-year-old journeyman also gave advice to other Portuguese managers in the Egyptian Premier League: “I will advise any Portuguese coach to focus on everything in his contract. There are conditions and obligations that must be followed.”

“Zamalek need to be more stable, the coaches must have enough time. The players must be more professional and do their best,” Inacio concluded.

Since 2015, Zamalek has seen no fewer than 9 managerial changes.

Following the disagreement at the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), after the June 15 election, the world Basketball governing body FIBA, has asked Nigeria to resolve the leadership dispute in the Federation or face dire consequences.

FIBA made its position known through a letter sent to the two parties involved, Tijani Umar and Musa Kido and signed by the Secretary General of FIBA, Patrick Baumann.

The world governing body instructed the NBBF to resolve the dispute internally, whether through new elections (preferably) or through an amicable solution under the auspices of the National Olympic  Committee, before 30 November 2017.

NBBF risks FIBA's suspension
FIBA further stated that in the event that a solution was not found on the given day, the NBBF will be subject to the possibility of sanctions, including a suspension of its membership with FIBA.

Regardless of any sanctions after the November 30 deadline, FIBA will appoint a task force that will take appropriate measure(s) in the interest of basketball in Nigeria.

FIBA will continue to study all allegations of state intervention and non-democratic elections at the NBBF.

The 2017 WAFU tournament will be launched today Thursday July 27 at the Labadi beach hotel in Accra with the Live draw also to be held at the event.

Tournament sponsors FOX Broadcasting network and key officials from various West African countries have arrived in Accra for the launch of the tournament.

A pre tournament workshop will also be held today before the launch of the event.

Some former footballers have been invited to the event for the Live draw of the event with the Sports minister and other government officials expected to attend.

Media personnel who applied for accreditation to cover today launch should be the the venue before 4pm with prove of identity.

The tournament will be held at the Sekondi Stadium and the Cape Coast Stadium from 9th September to 24 September 2017.

Nigerian players have backed CAF's decision to move the Africa Cup of Nations to June and July.

The Super Eagles trio of Vincent Enyeama, Ogenyi Onazi and William Troost-Ekong have all expressed support for CAF's decision, which also included expanding the tournament from 16-24 teams.

According to Former captain Enyeama, the competition will benefit from the new date change, saying: "It will improve the quality of the competition because a lot more players will now be available."

After Nigeria's Nations Cup victory in 2013, many of the players were asked to report back to their clubs immediately, stated midfielder Onazi, who played for Italian side Lazio at the time.

"Fortunately I have not had difficulties with that because my club then never gave me any problems, but when we finished the Nations Cup when I was supposed to celebrate with my teammates, they told me to come back immediately to join them in Germany for our Europa League game.

"It was the same for other players too. I remember Efe Ambrose went from South Africa to his team and when my team saw him playing a game the next day, they called me to come too.

"Also, some teams only allow players to come [to national team camp] when it's three days to the start the tournament, which is not good for the players to bond together.

"[But] the team will now find it easier to release players because now the period for the Nations Cup is better. I think clubs will be happy about the development."

Bursaspor defender Troost-Ekong has also never faced the club-versus-country battle in relation to the Nations Cup, but he had a taste of it with the Olympic Games.

"I haven't had my share yet, but even to be released for the Olympics last summer was a fight," says the defender "And I wasn't even missing that many games in comparison to AFCON. So I know it would be a hard sell to my club now.

"It will be good for the competition and it will also make it better for the players so they don't have to fight with their clubs."

The Nigerian Sports Award is introducing a charity initiative where recipients of the award would give back to the society. Nigerian Sports Award will hold on the 17th November 2017 at Banquet Hall Eko Hotels and Suites.

Voting for Sports Men and Women at 2017 Nigeria Sports Award begins on the 15th of August 2017 and the categories are Footballer of the Year Male and Footballer of the Year Female.The categories highlighted are not cast-a-stone. They would always be reviewed yearly.

In attendance at the press conference are the committee Chairman Kweku Tandoh, AIPS AFRICA President Mitchell Obi, Veteran Sports Journalist Fabio Olanipekun, and Olympian Falilat Ogunkoya and Nigeria Basketball Legend Olumide Oyedeji, Fred Edoreh the current chairman of the Lagos Sports writers association of Nigeria and Sports Director Federal Ministry of youth/sports all part of the committee in processing the awardees for 2017.

In a protest letter to Nigeria's minister of foreign affairs Geoffrey Onyeama, the nation's sports minister Solomon Dalung has asked for a review of visa policies for Nigerians following the denial of visas to athletes attempting to attend the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas.

The athletes had secured their visas to the Bahamas and only required transit visas to enable them to fly through London, but were denied. A second attempt to fly via the USA also came up short, with just one visa issued out of 26 applications.

 "I am devastated because this has serious implications on the psychology of these young people who had offered to serve their country, Dalung said in a statement.

                                                    NIGERIA'S SPORT MINISTER

"I have deposited a protest with the minister of foreign affairs against the two countries to explain to us why these young people who are sports men and women were denied mere transit visas.

"We were not asking for residence or long-term visas. We just requested for airport direct airside transit visas, which will only allow them to remain at the airport and change aircraft for onward journey. We will need an explanation from these countries. It is unfortunate."

"Ironically, we don't have such harsh policies in Nigeria. Citizens of these countries walk into Nigeria like lords, but Nigerians seeking just transit visas are treated like common criminals in these countries," Dalung added.

"This cannot continue. We must redefine our relationship. If it is not mutually inclusive and beneficial, then we should know where we belong."

The minister thanked the parents of the young athletes who were denied participation at the Youth Commonwealth Games for allowing their children to be in camp for over 5 weeks. He further called for a review of the visa policies which hamper solidarity among nations.

Nigeria international Uche Agbo has revealed why he's not disappointed after failing to realizing his dream of playing in the English Premier League (EPL).

This is after the midfielder completed his move to Belgian giants Standard Liege from EPL side Watford FC, who have decided to sell the youngster.

Agbo, 21, joined Watford on a five-year deal last year, but he was loaned back to Spanish outfit Granada after failing to secure a work permit in England.

"I'm very happy to join an ambitious club in Belgium, but when my time is right playing in the Premier League will come," Agbo told BBC Sport.

"My focus right now is to settle at Standard Liege and give my all, by the power of God I will be there [in England] very soon.

"There is no disappointment or whatsoever, sometimes God takes us on a different road to get to our desired destination."

The promising player enjoyed his stay at Granada where he made 31 La Liga appearances last season.

"I am grateful to Granada because playing in Spain helped my career a lot, from there I got a chance to join Watford and to play for Nigeria," Agbo added.

"The Belgian league is closely followed across Europe; I just want to give my best here and you never know what the future holds."

Agbo was once on the books of Italian side Udinese. Watford, Granada and Udinese are all owned by the Pozzo family. 

According to media reports in England, Egypt and Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny has turned down a move to Leicester City. 

The Pharaohs midfielder has attracted interest from the Foxes and an agreement has been reached by both clubs.

However, despite a £10 million price tag that has been agreed upon, the 25-year-old player has turned down the offer opting to stay in London.

The Sun website reports that Elneny is happy in London although he is not getting enough game time, but he insists he will fight for a starting spot under manager Arsene Wenger. 

Arsenal initially signed Elneny from Basel for £5m in January 2016, with the right-footed midfielder making 40 appearances across all competitions for the Gunners.

However, the former Arab Contractors player is enjoying a delightful pre-season with Arsenal as they beat Bayern Munich at the International Champions Cup in Shanghai.

It is repoted that the FA Cup champions are willing to part with Elneny for the right price as they have Francis Coquelin, Aaron Ramsey, Granit Xhaka and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who can play in his position.

On the other hand, Leicester could come back in January for Elneny who has three years left on his current deal.

Blessing Okagbare and Ogho-Oghene Egwero both inspired Team Nigeria to victories in the 4X100m Relays event at the 2017 Warri Relays & CAA Grand Prix held on Tuesday at the main bowl of the Delta State Polytechnic Ozoro.

While Okagbare led the female team to a comfortable win in a time of 43.92secs, the men team were stretched by the Botswana quartet who came to Ozoro with the aim of getting a qualifying time for the World Championships in London.

The Nigeria men’s relay team returned a time of 40.17secs while Botswana finished with a time of 40.21secs.

There was more to celebrate for Nigeria in the Women’s 100 Hurdles event as U.S based Tobiloba Amusan continued her impressive run this season; winning the race in a time of 12.97secs while Grace Ayemoba finished a distant second in a time of 13.53secs and Efe Favour third in 13.63secs.

In the Men’s 100m men was won by Egwero came first as he clocked 10.33secs, Keene Motukisi in second position in 10.41secs and Harry Chukwudike 10.47secs in third position.

Isoken Igbinosun finished ahead of national champions, Aniekeme Alphonsus, in women’s 100m as she posted a time of 11.49secs. Alphonsus crossed the line in 11.51secs and Ntia Obong Mercy in 11.66secs.

In the Women’s 800m, Agber Shimenge claimed top position with a time of 2.11.29secs.

Ihekandu Philomena and Oluchi Offoma settled for 2nd and 3rd sport respectively with a time of 2.12.17 and 2.12.20 respectively.

In the 110 Hurdles for men, Martins Ogieriakhi who few days ago won the national title followed up with another winning performance as he breasted the tape in a time of 13.82secs ahead of Abejoye Oyeniyi and Bashiru Abuduliahi who picked second and third spot.

For the 400m Women’s event it was a good day for Yinka Ajayi who not only won the race but also registered a new personal best time of 51.30secs, Abike Ebegniyi and Folashade Olotu were relegated to 2nd and 3rd spot having finished their races in 52.03 and 56.83secs respectively. Meanwhile, Kelechi Nwanaga on Tuesday broke a 15-year national record in women’s javelin throw, with her 58.15m throw in Ozoro.

The previous record of 55.30 was created by Sorochukwu Ihuefo in 2002. Nwanaga’s new feat is yet to be officially ratified by the Athletics Federation of Nigeria.

150 athletes are set to compete for glory at the Chika Chukwumerije Sports Foundation (CCSF) Taekwondo Prix Series II starting on Friday June 9 at the Old Parade Ground in Abuja.

The two-day championships has become breeding ground for future stars.

According to the CEO of CCSF, Chika Chukwumerije, “The event is for upcoming athletes only. National athletes and athletes who have been to the National camp are not eligible to participate. Since the tournament is using the latest World Taekwondo Federation rules and the upgraded Daedo software, it gives the upcoming athletes great exposure and an advantage in their careers.”

The Athletes are drawn from 11 states - Niger, Benue, Plateau, Lagos, Edo, Kano, Kebbi, Oyo, Akwa Ibom, Sokoto and Cross River as well as host– Federal Capital Territory (FCT),Abuja.

“This is the first time an active online registration portal is used to register for a Taekwondo event in Nigeria. We must use technology to catch up with the rest of the world. This process made it cheaper, faster and more effective for persons to register,” the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games medallist added.

In the breakdown of participants, 150 competitors comprising 28 teams with 53 Adults, 26 juniors, seven cadets and 63 kiddies will jostle for honours. The list is comprised of 103 Male and 51 Females.

 

The just concluded Star Coaching Clinic in Abuja where Nigeria Brewery through their STAR brand the Official Beer Partner of the NPFL brought 3 Coaches from Arsenal to share knowledge with the 20 NPFL Coaches in Abuja from 25 - 27 July 2017.

Dignitaries in attendance are members of LMC led by its Chairman Mallam Shehu Dikko, Dr Robinson Okosun, Ademola Olajire, Mitchell Obi, Ejiro Omonode and 10 other coaches/Ex-internationals from our National teams both male and female also members of the premium Beer Star Brand.

This event was a knowledge/Technical sharing Clinic held at the prestigious Media Centre of the Abuja Stadium for theory Session and FIFA Goal project Field for the practice with a local team from Abuja as practical participants.

Former Nigeria international goalkeeper Andrew Aikhuomogbe reckons there is a need for the Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr to recall Vincent Enyeama.

Aikhuomogobe has called for Enyeama's return into the team as replacement for Carl Ikeme ahead of Nigeria's 2018 World Cup qualifier against Cameroon in September.

Ikeme, who has been Super Eagles number one goalkeeper since taking over from Enyeama has been diagnosed with leukemia last month by Wolves club doctor and remains a doubt for the team.

However, the former goalkeeper of the senior national team said Enyeama remains the only capable net minder to replace Ikeme.

MARITZBURG UNITED DENY THAT BRIAN ONYANGO HAS GONE AWOL

"As for me, I don't think we have any better goalkeeper that can replace Carl Ikeme than Vincent Enyeama in the Super Eagles," Aikhuomogbe told Soccernet.com.ng

"Besides, I was really worried when I first heard the news considering the fact that the other goalkeepers such as Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Theophilus Afelokhai, Daniel Akpeyi and Dele Alampasu don't possess Ikeme's quality. 

“At least I have watched them in goal for the team and they don't seem to impress me.

"There is nothing wrong if we recall Enyeama considering the fact that he's experienced and he knows the terrain very well. I believe he will be so important for us against Cameroon if Rohr invites him.”

The clinic runs for two days and it is geared towards improving the attacking playing style of clubs indeed creating an inventive,exciting play that produces more goals.They call it the Arsenal way. It is also part of the contribution of the Star beer brand to its partnership with the Nigerian League Management Company.All 20 of the league club coaches participating.

Former Nigeria international Nwankwo Kanu has offered to help persuade Vincent Enyeama to make a return to the Nigerian national team, ahead of the country's 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Cameroon next month. 

The Super Eagles are still in search of Enyeama's full-time replacement following the Lille goal-minders international retirement in 2015 - with Daniel Akpeyi having manned the goals last time out. 

Akpeyi was unconvincing in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) defeat to Bafana Bafana, with the burly shot-stopper unlikely to continue in goal. 

Head coach Gernot Rohr has reportedly set his sights on goalkeepers plying their trade in Nigeria, with Carl Ikeme out of contention after he was diagnosed with acute leukaemia last week. 

With no end in sight to the goalkeeping conundrum, former Arsenal forward Kanu has called on Enyeama to come out of retirement. 

"As it is now we need Vincent badly. In my opinion, Enyeama should come back immediately," Kanu told KweséESPN. "Whoever is close enough to reach him should tell him to start coming back.

"Enyeama is very very good. He is one of the best players in Africa, and one of the best in the world. Let the Federation look into it and do everything they can to bring him back."

The former Enyimba shot-stopper quit international football following a fallout with former coach Sunday Oliseh, but Kanu is desperate to see the 34-year-old make a return. 

"If Enyeama says he doesn't want to come, people like us can talk to him, the federation too can talk to him. If a lot of people talk to him, I'm sure that definitely, he will change his mind," Kanu concluded.

The Nigeria Professional Football League produced 13 goals in their week 30 fixtures, the Akure Gunners(Sunshine Stars) won away from home, while 5 teams win at home, and 2 teams draw at home.

Mfon Udoh and Ikechukuwu Ibenegbu condemned Lobi Stars F.C. to a 2-1 loss to Enyimba International F.C. in Aba. Anthony Okpotu scored for the away team.

Remo Stars were shocked in Shagamu as the Sky blues held them to a 1-1 draw with Shooting Stars. Moses James scored for Oluyole Warriors, while Awazie Ekene scored for the NPFL bottom rockers.

Emma James strike earned Plateau United a 1-0 win over Ifeanyi Ubah (Anambra Warriors).

Harrison Madu goal (1-0) sealed a win for Wikki Tourists F.C. against Abubakar Bukola Saraki.

Kastina United tame Kano Pillars 1-0 with Martins Usale who scored for Kastina based team.

Samuel Mathias was on the scoresheet hitting a brace(2-1) in today encounter as Nasarawa United defeat El kanemi Warriors. Hashimu Haliru scored for the Borno Army.

Chiamaka Madu goal earned Flying Antelopes a 1-0 over MFM (Olukoya Boys), but the game is been postponed until further notice.

Ezekiel Thompson goal demolishes Rivers United in Port Harcourt, as the Akure Gunners secured away victory(0-1).

Abia Warriors and Akwa United both played draw in Umahaia (0-0).

Sunshine Stars 0-1 Nasarawa Utd

El-Kanemi 1-0 Abia Warriors

Kano Pillars 2-0 Rangers

Lobi Stars 3-2 Remo Stars

Akwa United 3-0 Gombe United

Ifeanyi ubah 1-0 Enyimba

Niger Tornadoes 1-0 Plateau United

ABS 0-0 Rivers United

3SC 1-0 Katsina United

MFM 1-0 Wikki tourist

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Following weeks of speculations over his future, Nigerian prodigy, Kelechi Iheanacho completed his anticipated £25 million move from Manchester City to Leicester City after passing a medical on Tuesday evening.


The transfer was held up by legal issues over his image rights with his former agents. But sources close to the player confirmed that after passing his medical on Tuesday, the player signed a five-year contract with the Foxes.

                                                                KELECHI IHEANACHO having his medical at the king power

The fee makes him the most expensive Nigerian player, displacing Odion Ighalo when he signed for Chinese club Changchun Yatai for £20m in January. It is also the second highest African transfer fee this season behind Mohamed Salah's £34.3m move from Roma to Liverpool.


A buy-back clause was inserted in the contract by Manchester City for one of Europe's brightest young footballers. The clause has been pegged at £50m.


Meanwhile, an announcement is expected within the next 24-48 hours as the club tidy up legal details in respect of his former representatives.


Iheanacho's arrival brings to three the number of Nigerians at the King Power after Ahmed Musa and Wilfred Ndidi.

Cristiano Ronaldo has reportedly told his agent Jorge Mendes to "do everything possible" to ensure that the Portuguese returns to Manchester United in this summer's transfer window.

Towards the end of last week, it was claimed that Ronaldo had made an 'irreversible decision' to leave Real Madrid ahead of the 2017-18 campaign.

The 32-year-old has scored 406 goals in 394 appearances since joining Madrid from Man United in 2009.

The attacker's 42 goals during the 2016-17 campaign helped the Spanish side land their second successive Champions League crown, and wrestle the La Liga title away from Barcelona.

Ronaldo has been accused of defrauding the Spanish tax office of almost £13m over four counts of tax fraud relating to image rights, however, and despite being backed by Real Madrid, the attacker is said to want out of the Bernabeu this summer.

Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Chelsea have all been credited with an interest, but according to The Sun, Ronaldo is only interested in a return to Man United due to his special relationship with the club.

Ronaldo, who is currently with the Portugal squad at the Confederations Cup, scored 118 times in 292 appearances for Man United between 2003 and 2009 - winning three Premier League titles and one Champions League in the process.

Tony DiCicco, a U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame inductee who coached the women’s national team to a 1996 Olympic gold medal and the 1999 World Cup title, died Monday evening. He was 68 years old.

 

The cause of death is unknown, but in a family statement posted by his son, Anthony, on Tuesday, it revealed that he had endured an illness. He passed away at his home in the company of his family.

In addition to his success on the senior women’s level (a 105-8-8 record), DiCicco coached the U.S. Under-20 national team to World Cup glory in 2008 and went on to coach the Boston Breakers in WPS from 2009-2011.

May His Soul Rest in Peace.

Radical changes by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) as it concerns the size and timing of the showpiece tournament, the AFCON, will propel Africa to the big league in the world, according to top Nigerian sports journalist Mitchell Obi.

Last week, CAF expanded with immediate effect the AFCON from 16 to 24 teams and the biennial tournament will now be staged in the months of June and July as against the tradition months of January and February.

Mitchell Obi is the President AIPS Africa and he has applauded the changes.

“These are radical changes and the times have also changed,” he said.

“African can no longer afford to isolate itself because the world is a global village and it deserves the best. Africa needs to join the big league.

“The 24-team tournament is good, it expands the game at a time when there are no more minnows.

“Everybody now has an opportunity, prepare more effectively and they are looking at making more money (from the competition).

“We will also get the best players because after they give you best to your club in Europe, we can also come and do well at the AFCON with the new timing.”

However, Mitchell Obi also predicted that in time to come the expanded competition will be played every four years and not the current frequency of every two years.

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