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Former Super Eagles chief coach, Chief Adegboye Onigbinde, has paid a glowing tribute to the late wife of one of Nigeria’s biggest legendary players, Teslim ‘Thunder’ Balogun, as the family marks the 19th year memorial of her demise.


Onigbinde, stated that, Alhaja Mulikat Balogun, was a great motivator to her late husband when he was an active Nigeria’s international footballer. “Thunder Balogun was a great asset to Nigeria because of the active contributions of his wife. She rendered quality assistance to various youth clubs in Lagos state that aided the development of the game that brought fame to her husband.”


The former General Manager of the IICC Shooting Stars Football Club of Ibadan noted that, Mulikat ‘Thunder’ Balogun left behind a memorable high profile of her immense contributions to the development of Nigerian football. “In 1958, she was the one who persuaded her husband to dump his British club, Queens Park Rangers to return to Nigeria so as to assist the West Rovers in their quest to win the Nigeria Challenge Cup title, which ‘Thunder’ eventually helped achieved. This followed a passionate plea to her by the then Premier of Western Nigeria, Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo.”


The President General of the Nigeria Football Supporters Club, Dr. Rafiu Ladipo, in his tribute to the late Mulikat ‘Thunder’ Balogun, said she was a great lover who played a noble role on her husband’s glorious soccer career.

Pamodzi Sports Marketing,organisers of the Okpekpe international 10km road race has thanked sponsors and donors who provided the over N150m financial and other logistic support towards the success of the fifth edition of the race held penultimate Saturday in Okpekpe,Edo state.


”The Okpekpe road race since inception in 2013 is a private sector driven event and this is why we are grateful to corporate Nigeria who have stood by us in terms of their financial support to see that the race did not only grow but also become certified by the world governing body for the sport,the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) which accorded it a bronze label status in 2015,’said Mike Itemuagbor,promoter of the race and CEO of Pamodzi Sports Marketing.


‘We are grateful for the support Ecobank Nigeria, a subsidiary of the Ecobank Group has given us since we became a bronze label race in 2015.In fact this year the bank increased its financial support as official bank of the race,’revealed Itemuagbor who also thanked such banks as Access Bank and Keystone bank for their donation as well as a consortium of insurance companies who provided cover for the race.


‘Cornerstone Insurance,Sovereign Trust and Leadway insurance also contributed to the success story the Okpekpe race has become today,’he further said.


Itemuagbor is especially grateful to His Excellency,the executive governor of Edo state,Godwin Obaseki whose interest in the race attracted some of the donors who made some substantial donations to the race.


‘I want to thank the governor,the government and the good people of Edo state for their support.Edo state government provided the fantastic infrastructure that made the race possible in the first place.Without the road constructed from Auchi to Okpekpe I don’t think the idea to have a 10 kilometre race there would have even crossed our minds.’I also thank the governor and government of Edo state for also providing the enabling environment as well as helping with the payment of the prize money to make the race a success.I want to call on more corporate Nigerians and government to come on board and partner with us as we prepare to announce another race in another sate in due course,’Itemuagbor added.


‘The Okpekpe race has aided sports development in the state and any rational mind would undoubtedly agree that sports development in Edo and Nigeria is something that we should pursue vigorously. To do so, it requires investment, it requires government commitment and that’s what Edo government led by Godwin Obaseki provided’.

Perhaps it would be wrong, after everything that has happened over the past few days, to describe it as a happy ending to José Mourinho’s first season at Manchester United. Yet there can be no doubt they will cherish these memories given what it means to the club: another trophy, a place in the Champions League and, more than anything, the opportunity to dedicate their latest prize to the people of the city.


It has been a harrowing week but as Mourinho had stated, United had a job to do and they went about it with all the qualities that would usually be associated with one of his teams. They reckon this match will earn United a minimum £50m, but what price can possibly be put on returning to Manchester with another reminder about why football is such an important part of what makes the place tick?


This was United’s 64th game of the season and it culminated with Wayne Rooney coming on as a late substitute so he was in place to lift the trophy that Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan had secured with a goal in each half. Rooney did not even have time to get a scuff of grass on his kit but if this was his goodbye it was some way to go and, soon afterwards, Mourinho could be seen on one of his victory runs across the pitch.


The basic facts are that United had to win to warrant an invitation into next season’s Champions League and spare Mourinho a debate he probably could not have won about whether his first year in the job had turned out to be a crashing disappointment.


A team of inspectors from the Nigeria Football Federation has declared the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo ready for next month’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying cracker between Nigeria and South Africa.


Led by the Chairman of NFF Technical and Development Committee, Barrister Chris Green, the team expressed delight with the state of the pitch during a final inspection carried out on Monday.


“We want to express our appreciation to the Akwa Ibom State Government and the people of the State for their co-operation in observing no activity on the pitch of the stadium. That has helped to retain the lush nature of the turf.


“The NFF is of the belief that this abstinence will be observed until after the match,” said Green, who led a first inspection to the venue last month.


Also in the NFF delegation were NFF Executive Committee member, Ibrahim Musa Gusau and Deputy General Secretary, Dr. Emmanuel Ikpeme.


Green and his team were conducted round the arena by the Permanent Secretary, Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Youth and Sports, Mr. Aniedi Dickson, the Chairman of Akwa Ibom State Football Association, Mr. Emmanuel Iba and the Chairman of Akwa United Football Club/SSA to Governor on Sports, Mr. Paul Bassey.


PHOTO: (L-R): Mr. Dickson (Permanent Secretary, Akwa Ibom Ministry of Youth and Sports); Paul Bassey (Chairman, Akwa United/SSA to Governor on Sports); Dr. Ikpeme (NFF Deputy General Secretary); Barr. Green (leader of delegation); Mr. Iba (Chairman, Akwa Ibom FA) and; Alh. Gusau (Member, NFF Executive Committee).

Leader of 'En Marche !' Emmanuel Macron acknowledges supporters after winning the French Presidential Election, at The Louvre on May 7, 2017 in Paris, France. Pro-EU centrist Macron is the next president of France after defeating far right rival Marine Le Pen by a comfortable margin (Photo: Getty Images)


PARIS, May 8, 2017 - The Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Bid Committee has offered its full congratulations to Emmanuel Macron, who was tonight elected President of France.


Paris 2024 Bid Committee co-Chairs Tony Estanguet and Bernard Lapasset said:


“On behalf of the entire Paris 2024 Bid Committee we would like to congratulate Emmanuel Macron on becoming the newly elected President of France. We know that our new President will be a great supporter of the Paris 2024 bid and play a key role in helping us secure the nation's ambition to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. He understands the power of sport and how the Games can be a force for real change and help build inspiration and inclusion. The Paris 2024 team are looking forward to working with President Macron all the way to the IOC session in Lima, and beyond, to show the Olympic Family and the world why Paris would deliver the most incredible Games in 2024 full of passion and purpose."

Perfect timing as FIFA finally lands Qatar Airways as World Cup sponsor by Keir Radnedge, AIPS Football Commission Chairman


ZURICH, May 7, 2017 - After months, if not years, of speculation FIFA has finally signed up Qatar Airways as one of its main World Cup sponsors.


Confirmation of the completion of negotiations appeared perfectly timed ahead of a busy week for the world football federation which stages its annual congress in Manama, Bahrain, on Thursday.


The deal also provides president Gianni Infantino with an opportunity to defray concerns about last year’s losses by pointing out that, after a virtual freeze on sponsorship deals after the scandal-packed last two years, FIFA is back in commercial business.


Qatar Airways has become, fromally, ‘official partner and official airline of FIFA’ in a sponsorship package lasting until 2022 when the Gulf state hosts the World Cup finals. The airline slot has been open – obviously beckoning Qatar – ever since the expiry of FIFA’s deal with Emirates after the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.


Other events being sponsored by Qatar Airways will include the Confederations Cup in Russia in June and July, next year’s World Cup there and in Qatar, the Club World Cup and the 2019 Women’s World Cup.


A FIFA statement said the “partnership represents one of the biggest sporting sponsorships in the world and the largest in the history of Qatar Airways.”


Other Qatar Airways’ sponsorships include Barcelona and Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ahli FC, as well as with Formula E races in Paris and New York, and the UCI Road World Championships, most recently held in Doha.


FIFA secretary-general Fatma Samoura said: “Qatar Airways is an ideal partner for FIFA as we prepare for the first-ever World Cup in the Gulf region.”

Southern Conference


Crown 1-0 Go-round

Bendel Insurance 1-0 Heartland

Akwa starlets 1-0 Osun utd

Bayelsa 1-0 Ikorodu

Warri Wolves 1-0 Unicem Rovers

AS Racine 1-0 My People

Delta Force 2-0 Gateway

First bank 1-1 Nnewi utd

Abia comets 0-0 Pappilo

Northern Conference

FRSC Abuja 2-1 Yobe Stars

Jigawa G'Stars 3-0 Taraba utd (W/O)

Mighty Jets 1-0 Sokoto utd

Kaduna utd 1-0 FC Abuja

Kwara uts 3-0 Adamawa utd

The General Secretary of Nigeria Football Federation, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi has donated three glittering trophies to the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), FCT for its forthcoming sports competition.


The week –long competition that will see football as the cynosure of all eyes, will start on Tuesday.


Speaking at the presentation inside the Coordinator’s office at the NYSC permanent orientation camp, Kubwa, Abuja on Wednesday, the NFF scribe challenged the youth corpers to compete keenly but fairly, and to be good sportsmen and women.


“As a people, we have a responsibility to encourage the young ones. Sport is one area in which the youth can be meaningfully and productively engaged. I charge the youth corpers to conduct themselves with pride as they take part in this competition,” Sanusi said.


An elated Coordinator, FCT camp of the NYSC, Abdulrazak Salawu praised the gesture by Dr. Sanusi and assured that the youth corpers would be much encouraged by the glittering trophies.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has picked former 1st Vice President of Nigeria Football Federation, Mazi Amanze Uchegbulam and seasoned sports journalist, Morakinyo Abodunrin as part of its strong official delegation to the forthcoming Total U17 Africa Cup of Nations (Gabon 2017) to be held 14-28 May.


The high-calibre delegation to the 12th continental cadet competition is led by newly-elected CAF President Mr. Ahmad from Madagascar along with a member of the Executive Committee, Mr. Kwesi Nyantakyi from Ghana, and also includes 1988 African Player of the Year, Kalusha Bwalya who would preside over the organising committee.


In a letter dated April 20th and signed by CAF’s Acting Secretary General, Essam, Uchegbulam is designated as the vice-president of the of the Appeal Board while Abodunrin, the media officer of Nigeria U17 team (Golden Eaglets), would serve in the media as the English Editor for the competition. 


Meanwhile, fast-rising arbiter Ferdinand Anietie Udoh would be the only Nigerian referee at the event, and this would be his second successive attendance at the U17 AFCON after he made his debut in Niger Republic in 2015.   


NFF President Amaju Pinnick, a member of the CAF Executive Committee and also member of the influential Organizing Committee for FIFA Competitions, described the various appointments as a welcome development, saying he was confident the trio would bring their experience to bear towards a successful event in Gabon.

Kumi Yokoyama a key figure in Japan's new-look side

Yokoyama is one of the few females to be shortlisted for a FIFA Puskas Award

The 2011 world champions are rebuilding under new coach Asako Takakura


If Kumi Yokoyama's scoring form is anything to go by, it seems that the 23-year-old forward looks set to continue her new-found role as the talisman of Japanese women's football.


The No9 finished as joint-top scorer in March's Algarve Cup alongside Denmark's Pernille Harder with four goals. But all the more impressive was the way she played. The diminutive 155-cm striker dazzled spectators through her mazy runs and finishing. Yokoyama opened her account in the 2-1 loss against eventual champions Spain in the opener, grabbed a brace as they beat Norway 2-0 before wrapping up her campaign with goal in a 3-2 loss to Netherlands. Japan may have finished with a modest fifth place, but Yokoyama's eye-catching performances have truly established her as a key player in Asako Takakura's new-look Nadeshiko.


Such displays may be pleasing and encouraging for most emerging players. Yokoyama was, however, far from satisfied reflecting on her performances in what was her first international tournament with the senior national team. "My aim was to score in every match," she told with an air of disappointment in her voice. "But I failed to make it because I couldn't find the back of the net against Iceland. This shows that I have to train harder. Of course, I wanted to score and my team won. So it was disappointing that I scored and my team didn't win."


For Yokoyama, it was the collective lessons learned and experiences gained during the tournament that is most important. "After playing in the Algarve Cup, we know what we are capable of and meanwhile, we are aware in which areas we need to improve,” she said. “We are clear about our place in the world of women’s football."


Maradona-like goal 

It wasn't the first time that Yokoyama impressed the watching world through her goal-scoring talents. She exploded on the international scene in the 2010 FIFA U-17 World Cup, managing to score six times as Japan finished second in Trinidad & Tobago. Notably, she scored in the semi-final victory against Korea DPR with a slalom run reminiscent of Diego Maradona in his pomp. So impressive was the goal, that it was eventually short-listed for the FIFA Puskas Award.


Despite the significance and stunning visual impact of the goal, Yokoyama maintained that her best is yet to come. She said: "My career is still running, so I wouldn't single out a goal as the most memorable until after my retirement."


The 2010 FIFA U-17 World Cup proved a launching pad for Yokoyama’s emergence. Yokoyama figured prominently as Japan stormed into the last four at the 2012 FIFA U-20 World Cup on home soil, before graduating into the senior side three years later. However, she didn't earn a regular place until Takakura assumed the reins last year.

Nine different coaches have won the FIFA Confederations Cup but, so far, none have managed to repeat the feat.


The youngest winning coach was Dunga, who guided his native Brazil aged 45 to triumph at South Africa 2009 after a dramatic 3-2 win against USA in the final. Next youngest was Alfio Basile, who won the debut Confederations Cup in 1991 at 48 years of age, and then Jacques Santini, who celebrated victory with France in 2003 when he was 51.


Theoretically, only New Zealand head coach Anthony Hudson, who turned 36 in March, could better Dunga’s achievement at the 2017 Confederations Cup. Nevertheless, even if Dunga loses this record, he has gone down permanently in the tournament’s annals as the first and, to date, only person to lift the Confederations Cup trophy as both a player (in 1997) and a coach.

Midfielder Sarpreet Singh is aiming to help New Zealand achieve new heights at this month’s FIFA U-20 World Cup

The teenager received financial support and mentorship from New Zealand captain Winston Reid

Singh says ‘playing professional football is all he ever wanted to do’

New Zealand youth international Sarpreet Singh was an impressionable ten-year-old when Winston Reid scored a famous last-gasp equaliser against Slovakia to earn the All Whites their first-ever point at a FIFA World Cup™. Now 18, Singh is well advanced down the path towards his own success in the game. And New Zealand’s South Africa 2010 hero Reid - the current senior national team captain - has played an important role in that journey.


As a starry-eyed youngster, Singh had two main dreams – becoming a professional footballer and wearing the national team colours. He is now on the verge of achieving both those ambitions within a matter of months, as New Zealand prepare for the FIFA U-20 World Cup, which commences later this month in Korea Republic.


Mentoring and friendship 

Singh was a scrawny schoolboy when his unexpected break came in the unlikely setting of Samoa. The then Wellington Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick picked out Singh during the 2015 U-17 World Cup qualifiers as being worthy of a spot in the club’s academy side. A rough diamond for sure, but one that could be polished to shine even brighter.


But then there was the problem of finance, and schooling. Raised in Auckland to Indian-born parents, Singh needed to move south to the capital. That was when Reid stepped in, as Singh and fellow teen Max Mata became beneficiaries of the first-ever Winston Reid scholarship.


“Winston Reid played a big part in that whole process,” Singh told “He helped with the financial side of things, helping me go to school here [in Wellington] and set up a homestay. He looked after me with all that, for which I’m really grateful.


Since I started playing, all I ever wanted to be was a pro footballer and play for the national team, and I’m slowly working towards that.


New Zealand U-20 midfielder Sarpreet Singh


“I haven’t actually met Winston in person, but we have Skyped and I still email him on occasions, if I need something. I can go straight to him, and I also have other people I can go to.”


A stylish attacking midfielder, Singh is well on the way to achieving his football aims. He recently made his senior debut for the Phoenix – New Zealand’s only professional club. It was an experience that was both gratifying and eye-opening. “The intensity is a lot higher, and your decision-making needs to be quicker, but I enjoyed it,” Singh said. “On one level, it is almost easier in a way, because more things open up for you.”


Dreams can come true 

New Zealand have been drawn in an intriguing group for Korea Republic 2017, with Group E’s football mix as diverse as its cultural flavour. The Kiwis will tackle Vietnam and Honduras, before rounding out their group-stage commitments with a meeting against France.


New Zealand boast some solid results at U-20 World Cups in recent years, notably reaching the knockout round on home soil two years ago. They reprised that feat a few months later at the U-17 World Cup, where it took a somewhat unlucky 1-0 defeat against Brazil to suffer elimination in the Round of 16 – a team Singh was part of.


Singh believes that experience at Chile 2015 will stand the side in good stead when they enter the heat of battle in Korea Republic. Darren Bazeley’s side is also well stocked with senior internationals - Clayton Lewis, Henry Cameron, Dane Ingham, Moses Dyer and Logan Rogerson among them.


“Getting that exposure to the world stage obviously stands me in good stead, as it does all players that have played at that level," said Singh. “There is nothing to be scared of. We know what a threat they [our opponents] can be, but as long as we prepare well, we should be OK.”


Singh’s schoolboy day-dreaming from back in 2010 seems a long time ago now, but the 18-year-old is aware of the significance. “It is the kind of thing you dream of as a kid,” he said. “To actually do that, really is a dream come true.


“Since I started playing at a young age, all I ever wanted to be was a pro footballer and play for the national team, and I’m slowly working towards that.”


Perhaps one day that will include playing in a World Cup alongside Winston Reid. What a story that would be.

The Confederation of African Football has appointed Tunisian arbiter, Youssef Essrayri as the referee for next month’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match between Nigeria’s Super Eagles and the Bafana Bafana of South Africa in Uyo.


Essrayri, 40, who became an international referee five years ago, will be assisted by compatriots Yamen Melloulchi (Assistant Referee 1), Hassen Abdelali (Assistant Referee 2) and Said Mohamed Kordi (Fourth Official).


The match commissioner is Andy Quamie from Liberia and Kotey Alexander Neequaye from Ghana will be referee assessor.


The encounter at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo on Saturday, 10th June will open the curtain on the qualifying race in Group E for Cameroon 2019, with only the group winners guaranteed slots at the finals. Libya and Seychelles are the other teams in the pool.


Meanwhile, the Super Eagles had their first training session in Ajaccio on Wednesday morning, ahead of Friday’s friendly match against the Corsica Senior Team at the Stade Francois Coty.


Expected at the team’s Best Western Hotel camp by Wednesday night are Ahmed Musa, Kelechi Iheanacho, Mikel Agu and Abdullahi Shehu.


An interesting game is at hand for the three –time African champions, against a team that has only lost once in the nine matches it has played since forming a squad in 1967.


The only defeat the Corsica Senior Team has suffered was a 0-1 reverse to the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon in a friendly in Bastia on May 14, 1998. The Lions were then preparing for the 1998 FIFA World Cup finals in France.


The only time Corsica had played 1998 FIFA World Cup champions France was in February 1967, and the former won 2-0.   



28 Feb 1967 France 0 Corsica 2 (Marseille)

14 May 1998 Corsica 0 Cameroon 1 (Bastia)

6 June 2009 Corsica 1 Congo 1 (Ajaccio)

19 May 2010 Corsica 2 Brittany 0 (Ajaccio)

21 May 2010 Corsica 1 Gabon 1 (Bastia)

31 May 2011 Corsica 1 Bulgaria 0 (Ajaccio)

24 May 2012 Corsica 2 A Squadrra Internaziunale 2 (Ajaccio)

29 May 2015 Corsica 1 Burkina Faso 0 (Bastia)

27 May 2016 Corsica 1 Basque Country 1 (8-9 penalties) (Ajaccio) 

General Secretary of the Nigeria Football Federation, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi has charged organizers of the annual Nigeria Pitch Awards to ensure the sustenance of the values of transparency, credibility and integrity that have assured the project a pride of place in Nigerian Football in the few years that it has been in existence.


Speaking in Abuja at the weekend, Sanusi lauded the diligence and efforts that Matchmakers Consult International Limited have put into the organization of the Awards since its first edition in 2013.


“I am delighted that despite all the challenges faced by the organizers over the years, they have managed to sustain the Nigeria Pitch Awards. It is a noble programme because Awards are very special in the role they play in motivating and galvanizing people to strive to be better in whatever they do.


“With regards to the Nigeria Pitch Awards, the existence of such a project makes our football players, referees, coaches, administrators, sponsors and even player-managers to aim to do their job better. I advise the organizers to remain upright and rigid about the values inherent, and not to succumb to any temptation to tamper with the credibility and transparency that the Awards are known for.”


Just as the NFF, the Super Eagles and indeed all Nigerian football fans are eagerly looking forward to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match between the Eagles and Bafana Bafana of South Africa, scheduled for Uyo on Saturday, 10th June, organizers of the Nigeria Pitch Awards are also looking forward to the day.


It is on that day that the fourth edition of the Nigeria Pitch Awards will take place, hours after the match scheduled for the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium.


“We are making all necessary arrangements and tying up every necessary end to ensure another successful Nigeria Pitch Awards ceremony,” Shina Phillips, President of the Awards, told on Sunday.


“We are indeed happy at the level the Awards have grown to and very much aware of the expectations of Nigerian Football stakeholders. For us, the Pitch Awards is a national project, something that must be sustained and alongside, the values of credibility and integrity that have taken us thus far.


“We treasure the endorsement of the Nigeria Football Federation and the encouragement that we continue to receive from highly placed football administrators and other stakeholders of the game.”


The Nigeria Pitch Awards is the only ceremony that honours players in all departments of the football field as well as almost all workers in football in a single night.


Phillips revealed that the nominees for this year’s Awards will be announced during the week.


At a ceremony held in Lagos in February to present certificates to some of last year’s winners, Phillips declared that from next year, the award statuette would be fully gold –plated.

Players of Rangers International and Kano Pillars are to wear black arm bands during their rescheduled Match Day 9 fixture in Enugu this Sunday as a mark of respect for the 30 football fans that died in Calabar, Thursday night while watching European football in a commercial viewing centre.


The fans were said to have been electrocuted when live electricity wire fell on the building following a thunder strike.


The League Management Company (LMC) announced the mark of honour for the deceased and directed players and officials of the two teams to observe a minutes silence before kick-off.


“Football is a universal game driving passion in men, women, boys, girls, the rich and the poor hence we have to commiserate with the unfortunate 30 who could also have died in a stadium”, the LMC Chairman, Shehu Dikko said.


He urged for more safety measures to be put in place by owners of arenas where football is played and or watched on screens.


“Our sympathy at NPFL goes to the families of the dead fans and we pray that their soul rests in peace. They will be honoured during our rescheduled game between Rangers and Pillars in Enugu this Sunday”, Dikko stated.

Bernard Ovoke's first half goal secured Rivers United a slim but comfortable 1-0 victory over basement side, Remo Stars on Wednesday.

Ovoke finished off a sweet team move in the 41st minute and none of the two sides really stepped it up in the second half of this rescheduled Matchday 14 encounter decided at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt.

Stanley Eguma's United went into the game on the back of successive defeats away at Kastsina United and Nasarawa United within the space of four days and were hoping to get a result to lift their spirits ahead of next week's CAF Confederation Cup game at Tunisian side Club Africain.

There were recalls for goalkeeper Abiodun Akande and attacking duo of Guy Keumian and Bernard Ovoke while Remo Stars continued with Tunde Adekunle in goal while top marksman Victor Mbaoma led the team from the front.

One of Eguma's changes to the team that lost in Lafia on Sunday, Christian Weli had United's first chance on seven minutes but he could not keep his header to Nzube Anaezemba's cross down.

The visitors spurned a golden opportunity to go in front on 21 minutes when full back Abiodun Awoyemi overlapped down the right and crossed for Ekene Awazie. The Number 9 inexplicably headed over from close range.

Remo Stars goalkeeper Adekunle was the busier of the two goalkeepers and a couple of saves from him including a smart one to turn away Ovoke's free kick midway through the first half led to a succession of corners for the hosts which ultimately yielded no result.

The breakthrough eventually came four minutes to the break when United who were playing with more urgency got behind the Remo Stars backline and Ovoke was left with a simple task of tapping into an empty net. Nzube Anaezemba started the move, freed Emeka Ogbugh down the flank who squared for Ovoke to tap home.

The hosts took the lead into the interval and never really looked like adding to the tally in the second half.

Malian full back Zoumana Doumbia volleyed over from 20 yards three minutes into the second half in United's closest sniff in front of goal in the second period.

The hosts were dealt a blow when midfielder Emeka Atuloma limped off late on due to a suspected ankle problem with his place taken by utility star Markson Ojobo.

Remo substitute Eric Dufegha attempted the audacious one just before the hour mark when he spotted United goalkeeper Akande off his line. His effort from 35 yards however lacked the proper execution.

Remo Stars were largely reduced to hopeless long range efforts which were well claimed by Akande as United held on for their three points.

Victory lifts Rivers United to 13th on the log, just two points clear of the relegation zone while Remo Stars remain at the foot of the table, three points from safety.



RIVERS UNITED: 23. Abiodun Akande 2. Ifeanyi Nweke 14. Zoumana Doumbia 13. Emeka Atuloma (Markson Ojobo 79') 6. Ayobami Asekunowo 19. Festus Austine 9. Guy Keumian 26. Emeka Ogbugh 4. Nzube Anaezemba (Frederick Obomate 62') 7. Bernard Ovoke (Israel Daniel 60') 27. Christian Weli

Unused Subs: 1. Olufemi Thomas 5. Joseph Douhadji 17. Godbless Asamoah 21. Yusuf Jayeola

BOOKED: Nzube Anaezemba 43'

GOAL: Bernard Ovoke 41'

REMO STARS: 1. Tunde Adekunle 11. Abiodun Awoyemi 13. Onuoha Chukwujekwu 2. Isaac Paul (Umar Murtaba 78') 4. Ekene Obi 5. Edozie Ewelike 10. Salefu Ochewechi 18. Seidu Mohammed 25. Victor Mbaoma (Eric Dufegha 57') 9. Ekene Awazie 26. Victor Chidume

Unused Subs: 23. David Walbe 33. Samuel Ganda 15. Shiju Oshobe 14. Jamilu Coker 17. David Onovo

BOOKED: Ewelike Edozie 12', Eric Dufegha 68'


Daniel Etor struck in the 22nd minute to give Rangers the lead and what turned out to be the only goal of their game against Plateau United, a rescheduled Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Matchday 14 fixture.


The win took Rangers to 22 points and 16th on the table from 19th where they languished before now.


Rangers started the game fast paced, immediately pegging back the league leaders but had profligacy to blame for not scoring when they should have.


In the 8th minute of the encounter, Rangers’ appeal for a penalty was turned down but seven minutes later they were awarded one after Chidera Eze was fouled in the box.


However, Chibuzor Madu’s tame effort was stopped by the legs of goalkeeper, Dele Ajiboye.


In spite of that mishap, Rangers continued to pile the pressure and Daniel Etor scored in the 22nd minute stretching his leg to connect a cross that beat the keeper.


Plateau United began to show more hunger after that goal attacking on the counter and causing tense moments for the home side and fans.


In the 26th minute Jimmy Ambrose found space and shot from distance but it was saved by Seidu Mutawakilu.


Plateau soon had another chance to equalise in the 31st minute when a trade mark long throw-in by Daniel Itodo lurked in the Rangers area.


Joshua Obaje’s header first ricocheted off the cross bar before Kabiru Umar blasted the rebound wide.


Three minutes later, it was Plateau United again on the prowl as Christian Madu mis-kicked a long ball, but Kabiru Umar who pounced on the loose ball did not get the right curve to trouble goalkeeper, Mutawakilu.


Just before half time, Rangers’ new boy, Ifeanyi George had an effort on target but it was tame and Dele Ajiboye saved it gratefully.


At the start of the second period, Plateau United continued to torment Rangers, especially through Daniel Itodo and his long throw-ins.


Just one minute after the restart, a throw-in by Itodo bounced off an attacker's head and had to be tipped over for a corner by Mutawakilu.


Ifeanyi George had a chance in the 57th minute but after beating onrushing Ajiboye, he shot wide.


In a quick counter, one minute later, Sunday Ingbede had a free header in the box but his effort went over the goalkeeper and off target.


Plateau United did not relent. Elisha Golbe had a pop at goal in the 63rd minute but his free kick went inches wide.


With a little more than an hour played in the game, Plateau United’s gaffer, Kennedy Boboye made two quick changes, taking off Kabiru Umar for Emeka Umeh in the 68th minute and Sunday Ingbede for John Kim in the 69th.


In the 73rd minute, John Kim escaped his marker shot at goal but it was saved by the Rangers goalkeeper, Seidu Mutawakilu.


As if a cue to make the final change, Boboye threw on Mafeng Pam for Emmanuel Olowo in the 75th minute and it continued to seem like the next goal would come from Plateau United.


With 12 minutes of regular time left on the clock, Rangers coach, Chukwuma Agbo replaced Chiamaka Madu with Godwin Aguda and four minutes later took out Daniel Etor for Obinna Nwobodo.


With time running down on the clock and tired legs falling all over, Chidera Eze found space behind his marker but shot wide.


A minute later in the 84th, it was Ifeanyi George joining the fray but his shot also went wide.


Agbo replaced Chidera Eze with home grown striker, Ebuka Okeke and with three minutes of added time shown, Emeka Umeh thought he saw enough space to try for an equalizer.


His shot from distance was easily saved by the goalkeeper.


Kennedy Boboye was not happy at the loss as he told


“My boys did not do badly and we could have won if only we converted the chances we got in the game,” Boboye told


"We came here to win and we played well too but we lost this game by ourselves because Rangers were not better than us.


“We had a chance to equalise just after we conceded but we hit the crossbar. We will just go back to the drawing board,” Boboye said.


Rangers’ goalscorer, Daniel Etor told that it was a happy moment because of the tension in the team.


“It was a much needed three points and we are out of the relegation zone so it’s now time to continue winning matches to get our confidence back.


“With these three straight wins at home it is a warning to other clubs that they can no longer come here and pick points,” Etor said.




Plateau United: Ajiboye, James, Itodo, Junior, Olowo/Pam 75’, Ambrose, Elisha, Bitrus, Obaje, Ingbede/ Kim 69’, Umar/Umeh 68’


Subs not used: Gaadi, Johnson, Bala, Elijah


Rangers: Mutawakilu, Etim, Christian, Chiamaka/Aguda 78’, Chibuzor, Ousmane, Okoro, George, Etor/Nwobodo 83’, Eze/Ebuka 90+', Silas


Subs not used: Akpan, Odita, Osamudiamen, Amaefule


Match Statistics

Rangers 1-0 Plateau United

Shots at goal: 10:8

Shot on Target: 5:3

Fouls committed: 13:20

Corner kicks: 6:4

Offsides: 2:4


Man Of the match: Daniel Etor (Rangers)

Attendance: 3,892

The Nigeria Football Federation has moved to enforce earlier circulars it sent out to all its affiliate bodies in respect of football officials playing multiple roles that amount to conflicts of interest in the football space.


In a letter dated 2nd May 2017 and signed by the General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, the Federation unequivocally requested “all affiliates to send to the office of the National Integrity Officer received copies of resignation letters by all affected officials on or before 12th May 2017.

The said letters should be scanned and sent to the following email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..”


For avoidance of doubt, the NFF listed the following as specific issues contained in previous circulars to its affiliates:


1) We have observed that some Club Officials are currently operating as Match Commissioners in some strata of our Leagues. In view of these reforms, No Club Official should be appointed as a Match Commissioner/ Referee Assessor in any of our Leagues in Nigeria.


2) Also, we advise that No State Football Association Secretary should be appointed as a Club Secretary, considering the fact that the State FA Secretaries in most cases are the chief organizers of matches within their territories.


3) State Football Association Chairmen that are appointed as Independent Directors in our leagues should no longer be appointed as Match Commissioners/ Referee Assessors in our league games.


4) State Football Association Chairmen should not be doubling as Football Club Chairmen. Hence, all State FA Chairmen that are holding dual offices as Club Chairmen are advised to either relinquish the State FA Chairmanship position or that of the Club Chairmanship position within three (3) months from the date of this Circular.


5) State FA Chairmen that are also appointed as Board Members of Football Club Boards are to also decide to either be Club Board members or State FA Chairmen as they are henceforth not allowed to hold dual position forthwith.


6) All NFF Executive Committee Members, NFF Management and Staff, State Football Association Chairmen and their respective Board Members, Club Chairmen and Officials, Coaches and all other Football Officials are hereby directed to desist from Acting as Intermediaries (Agent/Managers) to players forthwith.


7) No Official shall be allowed to occupy dual position as a Coach and also as an Administrator i.e as either a State Football Coach and member of State FA or as a Coach and Chairman of a Football Club hence those affected are advised to choose one on or before 2nd May 2017.


8) All Serving Referees that are occupying State Football Association positions either as Board Member, Secretary of State FAs or Chairmen are to choose to remain with one of the two Official duties.


“It is instructive to remind all concerned that the Nigeria Football Federation shall open up Disciplinary proceedings against affected persons should they fail to convey the evidence of resignation of their affected portfolios to the office of the National Integrity Officer on or before 12th May, 2017,” the letter concluded.

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Victor Wanyama insists Tottenham have eyes on bigger prizes than finishing ahead of rivals Arsenal in the Premier League.


Spurs secured a 2-0 win in the north London derby at White Hart Lane on Sunday and are guaranteed to finish ahead of the Gunners in the league for the first time in 21 years.


Mauricio Pochettino's side are sat just four points behind leaders Chelsea after a nine-match winning streak in the top flight, and Wanyama insists the win over Arsenal was nothing unexpected.

The Bernabéu bounced and burst into song, the lyrics ringing around this arena the same that had adorned the huge banner unfurled at the south end before the kick-off. “Tell me how it feels,” they gloated. High in the north end, Atlético’s supporters sat in silence, stunned. This felt terrible. It was happening again, the pain unbearable. For a fourth consecutive year, they had met their rivals and for a fourth consecutive year they had fallen.


There will be another meeting between these sides but like all those derbies from an era of dominance Atlético thought they had left behind, it is likely to be irrelevant. Real were leading 3-0, on course for a third final in four years. Five times Cristiano Ronaldo scored against Bayern Munich in the quarter-final; three times he scored against Atlético in the semi-final. The first leg of the semi-final, that is. The first came after 10 minutes, the last after 86. In between them, Atlético did not manage a shot on target for the first time this season.


Real’s past 11 goals in this competition had come in the second half and opponents had scored first in each of their four games in the knockout stage, but here a goal arrived early. Ten minutes had gone when Sergio Ramos was given time to cross from right, curling towards Ronaldo, hovering behind Diego Godín. The defender headed out, but only as far as Casemiro, who struck the ball straight back in. He did not hit it well but it bounced up and Ronaldo, six yards out, headed past Jan Oblak.


The Bernabéu went wild. On the touchline, Diego Simeone was tapping his head. Think, but about what? It would have been difficult not to think about all those other times, three European defeats in three seasons, all at the hands of Real; difficult not to feel that pessimism returning, the inevitability of it all, the cruelty. Much of the buildup had focused on psychology. “If the past has to weigh on someone, let it be them,” Dani Carvajal had said, and that did appear to be happening.


Atlético looked rattled; even when they had the ball – and there were periods when they had a significant amount of it – there was a lack of conviction. They passed but rarely with intent or belief; often it was underhit. Koke swapped sides with Yannick Carrasco, seeking control, and while there was an improvement he was unusually imprecise. When he tried to thread it through gaps, the gaps closed. One superb pass that did cut through Real’s back four found Kévin Gameiro racing alone into the area, but as he slowed momentarily Keylor Navas sprinted towards him and, diving full length, took the ball from his toe.


When Atlético looked up, Real stood in their way. On the wings, especially, Atlético were struggling. Lucas Hernández, drafted in at right-back, was not enjoying himself. Oblak had already made a sharp save from Karim Benzema before the goal. After it, Luka Modric struck wide, Raphael Varane’s header was superbly saved and Benzema hit a wonderful overhead kick just past the bar.


Atlético’s first shot did not arrive until the half hour, when Antoine Griezmann’s clever free-kick found Godín sliding in at the far post. Real had taken 10 by then, although as the half progressed Atlético did wrestle back some control – they had stemmed the bleeding for now.


Atlético had been unexpectedly passive defensively and while there was little danger when they came forward, the good news was that trailed by only one. Real also lost Carvajal, going to ground holding his hamstring at the end of the first half. From full-back, he had been Real’s greatest threat; Marcelo on the other side had also concerned the visitors. Carvajal was replaced by Nacho Fernández who drew applause from the stadium when he won a race with Carrasco.


Atlético took a step forward, Real a step back. Yet if they appeared to be dropping too deep, Atlético lacked clarity in the final pass and the counterattack is a weapon Zinedine Zidane’s side use better than anyone. If a lot happened in the first half, little was happening now.


Fernando Torres and Nico Gaitín replaced Saúl and Gameiro, then Correa went on for Angel Carrasco, but their impact was minimal. Atlético advanced, but only so far. Ronaldo’s impact, by contrast, was gigantic. Real controlled, rarely suffered, and then hit. They had been the better side almost from the start, but it was not resolved until the end. With 73 minutes gone, Marcelo crossed from the left, Benzema held off Godín and nudged it on for him. Opening up his body, he smashed the shot into the top corner.


Soon another followed. Atlético sought the goal that would give them a chance; instead, they conceded the goal that means they surely have no chance. Lucas Vázquez broke up the right and pulled back for Ronaldo to finish with a simple side-foot shot. It was his 103rd Champions League goal, more than Atlético have ever scored.


Olympiacos celebrate winning their 44th title (Photo: Olympiacos FC) by Manos Staramopoulos, AIPS Football Commission


ATHENS, May 8, 2017 - For the seventh consecutive season and 44th in its history, Olympiacos was crowned champion of Greece. At a spectacular event held on Sunday at the "George Karaiskakis" stadium, the Greek champion celebrated its success, which was completed with the trophy award. The Super League president, Giorgos Stratos, presented the trophy to its proud owner and Olympiacos chairman Vangelis Marinakis, who emphasized a little later


"The deal with Nottingham is over, Marinakis said, referring to reports that the Greek businessman was holding talks of a takeover of English club Nottingham Forest. “Olympiacos is above all... he added, preferring to concentrate on Olympiacos’ championship celebration.


"It is a great celebration, we enjoyed it very much, we celebrated the 44th championship, the 7th consecutive, all together as a family.”


All the players of Olympiacos’ youth academies, holding Greek flags as well as Olympiacos flags, were present at the stadium. Also at the celebration was the president of the Olympiacos veterans, legendary club midfielder, Giorgos Darivas. Messages of congratulation were sent by former coaches who had worked with the team, including those from Spain’s Valverde and his compatriot, Michel, Portuguese coaches Vitor Pereira, Leonardo Jardim and Markos Silva.


The ‘Reds’ as Olympiacos are popularly known as within the country, took their 7th consecutive championship and the 19th in the last 21 years. Of course, compared to last season, this year’s final win was delayed as their opponents in the Greek league looked stronger.


"It was a strange time, but we are the champions, and that's important," the Olympiacos coach, Takis Lemonis said after the 5-0 win over Ioannina, which had mathematically meant the team had secured the title. This is Olympiacos’ fifth in three seasons. The 57-year-old former Olympiacos took over for a short-term contract until the end of the season after the departure of te Portuguese coach Paulo Bento.


Now the goal of the Reds is to move as quickly as possible to the planning for the new season, as Olympiacos wants nothing more than to pass to the Champions League beyond the qualifiers. Vangelis Marinakis, chairman of the club, recently said that the administration has decided to spend an amount of € 15 million for the team to acquire the right footballers for making it to Europe.


Soon the name of the new coach is set to be announced, as Takis Lemonis is not expected to remain in the technical leadership that indeed proved to be the right solution for a short period of time.


Olympiacos will try to acquire at least one quality left back. Two midfielder, one striker and maybe one winger. So far agreements have been made with both Manolis Siopis and Risvanis, and it is likely that international striker Apostolos Vellios, will return from Nottingham Forest.


PAOK, Panathinaikos, AEK and Panionios placed 2-5 will face playoffs for second place in the Champions League qualifiers.

The ANOCA Executive Council and Extraordinary General Assembly during the fifth day of the 21st ANOC General Assembly at the Sheraton Grand Hotel on November 17, 2016 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images for ANOC) by Tony Nezianya


DJIBOUTI, May 6, 2017 - Many African Olympic family members, especially those in the executive committee and those contesting elections and even those helping out candidates for elections have hit the Djibouti capital in a bid to try to swing votes.


“It has been interesting, a delegate,’’ quipped a delegate, who pleaded anonymity, adding “This time the campaigns have been stepped a bit. This is obvious as the stakes are far higher than previously.


“ANOCA has grown in leaps and bounds. It now has three major Games to organise and many want a piece of the action.”


The African Olympic body now organise Zonal Games on its own-created seven zonal structures; it also organises the Africa Youth Games, now its third edition coming up in Algiers, Algeria in 2018.


Another member said that everybody now want to be associated with success.


“When the body was domiciled in the Cameroons, with the body plagued by poor funding, very little were accomplished.


“By every minimal stretch of imagination, ANOCA is becoming a success story of action and with the right leadership in place, has room for more improvements.’’


More than anything eelse, the Nigerian sporting community appear elated at news of the return of the return of Gumel, who would no longer face oppostion in the election, following disqualification of his Gambian opponent, ABOU WADDA Ousman – The Gambia National Olympic Committee (GNOC) Treasurer, who was disqualified.


Nigeria’s Vice-President, Africa Table Tennis Federation (ATTF), Olabanji Oladapo, haied the return of Gumel.“This is will have a positve effect on the sporting committee in Nigeria.


“It could have been a disservice for Nigeria not have have had presence within the ANOCA executive committee,” he said, adding “I congratulate him and the Olympic Family”.


Perhaps, these were some of the reasons that could make the upcoming May 10 election into the executive Committee of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa in Djibouti “an election like no other’’.


The elections are scheduled to hold in Djibouti during the17th Ordinary General Assembly from May 9 to May 11.


Elections provide avenue to either renew mandate of representative body; this can take the form of re-endorsing the bulk of the outgoing committee or voting in an entirely new leadership. Sometimes, it is a time to make costly or cosmetic changes.


However, one thing that is certain in the upcoming election in the African Olympic Family executive body. It is obvious that the stakes in ANOCA are higher now than some 20 years ago.


The final push by the Africa Olympic Family to dissolve the now defunct Supreme Council for Sports in Africa (SCSA) because its continued existence alongside the Association National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) is a needless duplication, has helped to raise the stakes.


ANOCA has since signed an agreement with political bodies to resolve African Games ownership dispute.


The disputes around the African Games’ finally eased out after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between sporting and Governmental bodies.


This has no doubt, made the race for ANOCA’s presidency more daunting than it has ever been. This was also re-enforced further after a proposal to introduce maximum age limits of 70 was rejected by the African Olympic family at their Doha Extra Ordinary General Assembly in 2016.


Indeed, the plan to introduce age limits in similar vein to the maximum ceiling of 70 for all ANOCA Executive Committee positions also, used for IOC membership had provoked the strong disagreements.


The failure of the motion, then meant that current ANOCA President Lassana Palenfo, currently, 75 is free to stand for election for even a fourth term in office.


The Ivorian was first elected to the post in 2005 in Accra, Ghana and was successfully re-elected in 2009 (Abuja) and 2013 (Abidjan).


However, the two hottest contenders for presidency are the incumbent, Ivorian Lassana Palenfo and Cameroonian Hamad Kalkaba Malboum.


Both are not new as they have travelled through the route twice previously in 2009 in Abuja and Cote d’Ivoire in 2013.


On both occasions, Palenfo prevailed but a third meeting can be anybody’s game, depending on how it pans out among the 54 member nations of the African Olympic family.


The two gladiators have military as their common background; both are grounded in sports at local and continental levels.


Palenfo is current ANOCA president and holds the presidency of the Ivorian Olympic Committee. He formerly held the continental leadership of the Africa Judo Federation.


Kalkaba on the other hand is current president of the Africa Athletic Confederation (AAC) and current president of the Cameroon Olympic Committee.


By no means, no less important is intense the festering battle for the control of the ANOCA secretariat.


It is a tussle that may make followers of the politics in ANOCA to keep their eyes open just as it was four years ago in Abidjan, where one of the the incumbent secretary-General, Zimbabwean Tommy Sithole, had to wait for the second ballot and a last minute switch to become Secretary General.


This time he has a Sudanese contestant, Elegasim Hashim Ahmed Abu, who is said to be firmly and forcefully in contention for the battle royale.


The Sudanese, it was gathered might be enjoying unwavering nod of his country’s Olympic committee.


Information at the disposal of is to the effect that both candidates are riding high in pre-election rating and conversation among the 54 member nations of the Olympic family.


Generally, speaking the outgoing executive committee has to their credit, a number of achievements. Indeed, under the leadership of Palenfo, ANOCA successfully introduced the ANOCA regional Games at its seven zones.


He also was able to rally support to secure MoU to run the All Africa Games, now to be known henceforth as the “African Games’’.


Under his leadership, the African Youth Games now in its third edition was introduced and scheduled to be hosted by Algeria in 2018.


As parts of some changes, even a new logo was approved. It was agreed that African IOC members and Commission representatives will be able to attend all ANOCA meetings in a non-voting capacity.


With the African Games under ANOCA, this means that the continent-wide event would eventually serve as a qualification event for future Olympics Games and be able to attract the cream of the continent’s elite athletes.


That achievement will no doubt help to foster, “harmony and synergy of actions’’ within the African Sports Movement as well as become crucible for unity and cooperation in the continent”.


Perhaps more crucial was the haul of 45 medals at the Rio de Janeiro Games — so far the best outing for Africa collectively — to better on the 40 medals haul at Beijing 2008 and the London 2012.


ANOCA was able in the build up to the Games, to distribute funding worth $607,000 (£404,000/€574,000) to athletes that competed at the Rio Games.


Now with an increase to a million dollars, ANOCA is already looking at more improvements ahead of the Tokyo Games.


It is perhaps on account of these and looking to the future that Palenfo launched a bid a comeback bid, by requesting the African Olympic family to give him another mandate to consolidate.


But, Cameroonian Malboum Kalkaba, who announced his candidature early, said that he did so on the understanding that Palenfo had said he would not seek a fourth term of office.


Whatever, the case, it will be up to the 54 member-nations of the African Olympic Family to be the deciders in Djibouti. It is a secret ballot. But we should ensure fairness and play by the rules.


"Ethics should guide our actions before, during and after the Djibouti elections as the true winner will be: individuals or Olympism,’’ Palenfo pleaded.


He adds: “Olympism is neither an organisation, nor a system; it is a mental construction, a philosophy; in a nutshell, it is a state of mind which permeates core values that are both individual and general.


“All these values are in tune with ethics, the core notion of Olympism.’’


“We should nurture the values of Olympism and predicate our action on ethics, given that the African Olympic Movement is, as a matter of fact, meant to serve youths of the continent, not its leaders’’.


“We should, therefore, organise elections based on ethics, so that we can, together, rise to the challenges of the Olympiad about to begin,’’ concluded Palenfo.


A lot will now depend on the voters to once more demonstrate integrity and be counted.


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