Ukraine Friendly: Ekong, Etebo lead Super Eagles to Dnipro

first_imgRelatedPosts Super Eagles soar on FIFA ranking FIFA ranking: Nigeria moves up by two spots, now world 29th Omeruo welcomes second child Italy-based defender William Ekong and England-based midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo are expected to lead the delegation of Super Eagles’ playing body into Dnipro, Ukraine on Saturday, ahead of Tuesday’s international friendly match with the host country’s senior team. It is the first outing for the three-time African champions since they finished third at the first-ever 24-team Africa Cup of Nations held in Egypt June/July this year. Goalkeepers Francis Uzoho and Ikechukwu Ezenwa, defenders Olaoluwa Aina, Chidozie Awaziem, Ekong, Leon Balogun and Jamilu Collins, as well as midfielders Alex Iwobi and Etebo and forwards Victor Osimhen, Moses Simon, Samuel Chukwueze, Paul Onuachu and Samuel Kalu were in Egypt. But there would be excitement about a rash of new faces alongside a couple of returnees. Defenders Bryan Idowu and Oluwasemilogo Ajayi, and Leicester City’s Kelechi Iheanacho are back after being overlooked for the Africa Cup. Germany-based goalkeeper Maduka Okoye, midfielder Joseph Aribo of Scottish club Glasgow Rangers and forwards Joshua Maja (France) and Emmanuel Dennis (Belgium) are hitting the camp for the first time. Saudi Arabia-based Captain Ahmed Musa pulled out of the trip on Thursday night as a result of injury that has failed to heal as quickly as he expected, adding to the earlier forced withdrawals of defenders Kenneth Omeruo and Tyronne Ebuehi, midfielder Wilfred Ndidi and forward Henry Onyekuru. The Dnipro Arena, which is home ground to top club, FC Dnipro, is a 31,000-capacity facility that was opened in September 2008 and situated in the city of Dnipro, the third largest city in Ukraine after the capital city Kyiv and Kharkiv. Ukraine is rated number 25 on the FIFA ranking while Nigeria is 33rd.22 EAGLES FOR UKRAINE FRIENDLY Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (Omonia FC, Cyprus); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Heartland FC); Emil Maduka Okoye (Fortuna Dusseldorf, Germany) Defenders: Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy); Chidozie Awaziem (CD Leganes, Spain); William Ekong (Udinese FC, Italy); Leon Balogun (Brighton & Hove Albion, England); Jamilu Collins (SC Padeborn 07, Germany); Oluwasemilogo Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion, England); Bryan Idowu (Lokomotiv Moscow, Russia) Midfielders: Alexander Iwobi (Everton FC, England); Anderson Esiti (PAOK Salonica, Greece); Oghenekaro Etebo (Stoke City FC, England); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Joseph Aribo (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland) Forwards: Victor Osimhen (Lille OSC, France); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Joshua Maja (Girondins Bordeaux, France); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal FC, Spain); Samuel Kalu (Girondins Bordeaux, France); Paul Onuachu (KRC Genk, Belgium); Emmanuel Dennis (Club Brugge, Belgium). Tags: DniproOghenekaro EteboSuper EaglesWilliam Ekonglast_img read more

Barca, Real set for Spanish Super Cup

first_imgRelatedPosts Bayern Munich fans undergo Super Cup coronavirus tests Saudi may have enough uranium deposits to make nuclear fuel – Reports Saudi Arabia sets date to lift some international flight restrictions Saudi Arabia will host the revamped Spanish Super Cup tournament for the next three years starting January 2020, the Spanish football association (RFEF) confirmed on Monday.“The Spanish Super Cup will be held in Saudi Arabia over the next three years and will be held in winter with the objective of easing fixture congestion, as players and clubs have been calling for,” RFEF said in a statement.“Thanks to this transformation, clubs will be able to better plan their pre-seasons. The internationalisation of the competition will increase its value and at the same time contribute to raising our visibility and improving our image ahead of our bid to host the 2030 World Cup.”The federation declined to say how much the deal was worth but said all income earned from the new-format tournament would be reinvested in amateur football and women’s football, aside from money granted to the four competing clubs.Barcelona were drawn to face Atletico Madrid and Valencia will take on Real Madrid in the revamped tournament between January 8 and 12. Those games as well as the final featuring the winner of the two matches will take place at the 62,000-capacity King Abdullah Sports City stadium in Jeddah.Tags: RFEFSaudi ArabiaSuper Cuplast_img read more

Everton appoint interim coach

first_imgRelatedPosts Fulham keen on Lookman loan deal EPL: Calvert-Lewin treble fires Everton past West Brom EPL: Everton set to compound West Brom woes Duncan Ferguson has been placed in temporary charge of Everton as the club’s board begin their latest search for a manager after sacking Marco Silva.The Portuguese had been under intense pressure since a home defeat by Norwich on November 23 and that was followed by losses against Leicester and, on Wednesday, a 5-2 hammering by Liverpool that proved the final straw.Reports emerged on Thursday morning that the patience of majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri and the board had finally run out and the axe came down shortly after 7pm.A statement from Everton read: “Everton Football Club can confirm that manager Marco Silva has left the club.“Majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri, chairman Bill Kenwright and the board of directors would like to thank Marco for his service over the last 18 months and wish him well for the future.“Duncan Ferguson has taken temporary charge of the first team and will manage the side for the game against Chelsea on Saturday.“The club aims to confirm a new permanent manager as swiftly as possible.”Silva leaves with Everton in the relegation zone and with matches against Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal to come before Christmas.Former manager David Moyes, potentially in association with ex-player Tim Cahill, appears to be the front-runner for a permanent return to the club he left for Manchester United in 2013 but his name is not universally popular with fans.Recently-departed former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino and former Everton midfielder Mikel Arteta, who is on Manchester City’s coaching staff, have also been cited as potential candidates.Tags: Duncan FergusonEvertonMarco Silvalast_img read more

Barca sack Valverde, replacement named

first_imgRelatedPosts Suarez agrees Atletico terms Bale completes Tottenham return from Real Madrid Live stream Premier League, La Liga, Serie A on Showmax Pro this weekend Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde has been sacked and replaced by Quique Setien despite the club being top of the LaLiga table. Valverde, 55, took training on Monday morning amid intense speculation his time as coach was about to come to an end and his fate was sealed later in the evening. The former Athletic Bilbao and Espanyol manager has guided Barca to LaLiga titles in each of his two full seasons in charge, as well as winning the Copa del Rey and Spanish Super Cup in 2018. Former Real Betis boss Setien was named as Valverde’s successor soon after, on a contract until June 2022. A statement on Barcelona’s website read: “The club publicly expresses its gratitude to Ernesto Valverde for his professionalism, his commitment, his dedication and his always positive treatment towards all that make up the Barca family. We wish him luck and success in the future.” Barcelona are top of LaLiga on goal difference from Real Madrid, and through to the last 16 of the Champions League after topping their group, but some of their performances under Valverde have fallen short of the club’s usually high standards. Barca have suffered embarrassing Champions League exits over the past two years, losing on away goals to Roma in the quarter-finals in 2018 despite winning the first leg 4-1 at the Nou Camp. Last year Barcelona beat Liverpool 3-0 in the first leg of a semi-final on home soil, only to lose the return 4-0 at Anfield. Valverde’s position was brought into further focus following some inconsistent performances from the Catalan outfit, the most recent being last Thursday’s Spanish Super Cup semi-final defeat to Atletico Madrid. Barca led 2-1 with nine minutes remaining, only to suffer a 3-2 loss, and that proved to be the final straw for Nou Camp chiefs. Spanish media reported a meeting between president Josep Maria Bartomeu and Valverde took place at the club’s training ground on Monday afternoon, and was followed by a scheduled board meeting. That came after reported summit talks on Sunday involving Bartomeu, director Javier Bordas, chief executive Oscar Grau, technical secretary Eric Abidal, and assistant Ramon Planes. Xavi, currently in charge of Al Sadd, was one of the names who had been touted as a possible replacement for Valverde and the Qatari club’s sporting director Muhammad Ghulam Al Balushi said over the weekend that Nou Camp officials had made an approach for their ex-captain. The 39-year-old former Spain star admits it is a “dream” of his to one day coach Barca, but insisted his focus right now was on Al Sadd. Xavi made a club-record 767 appearances for Barca from 1999 through to 2015, winning 25 trophies in the process. He subsequently joined Al Sadd, initially as a player before finally retiring in May last year, and then taking over as head coach for this season. The Spanish giants have instead turned to Setien, 61, who will be presented to the media at 1:30pm GMT on Tuesday before holding his first press conference shortly afterwards.Tags: BarcelonaCopa del ReyErnesto ValverdeLa LigaQuique SetienSpanish Super Cuplast_img read more

Ndidi return delights Leicester manager Rodgers

first_imgRelatedPosts Super Eagles stars model new national team jersey EPL: Foxes attack Burnley Derby County lead Jordon Ibe chase Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers has expressed his delight with the return of Wilfred Ndidi from injury. The Nigeria international missed the Foxes’ previous three games against Wigan Athletic, West Ham United and Aston Villa after struggling to overcome a knee injury he suffered in January. The combative midfielder, however, returned to action in their defeat to Norwich City in Friday’s Premier League game at Carrow Road, featuring for 23 minutes. Ahead of their FA Cup tie against Birmingham City on Wednesday, Rodgers confirmed the 23-year-old is fully fit with only Ghana international Daniel Amartey the only player nursing injury in his team. “The great news for us was Wilf coming back and getting game time,” Rodgers told the club website. “Apart from that, Daniel Amartey has been out for a period of time, but everyone else is okay.” Ndidi has been a consistent performer for the King Power Stadium outfit before the injury problem, featuring in 27 games across all competitions.Tags: Birmingham CityBrendan RodgersDaniel AmarteyLeicester CityNorwich CityWilfred Ndidilast_img read more

Barcelona in crisis as six Directors resign

first_imgRelatedPosts Barca president Bartomeu says he won’t go to war anymore with Messi No timetable yet for Anambra FA elections — Caretaker Committee Makinde to OYSIEC: Conduct credible, unbiased LG poll Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu faces a huge problem at the Catalan club after six Directors resigned in a move that questioned how it has been managed in recent months and what is being planned for the future. Earlier in the week vice-president Emili Rousand had announced that he had been asked to stand down as Bartomeu was looking to remove four members of the board. However, on Thursday, Rousand along with fellow VP Enrique Tombas and four other directors, Silvio Elias, Maria Teixidor, Josep Pont and Jordi Clasamiglia, had sent a letter to the club announcing they had handed in their notice. Within the letter, they stated the reasons for their resignation was due to the mismanagement of the social media scandal earlier in the year, which saw Barca deny reports they had paid a company to post messages to protect the reputation of Bartomeu, while also targeting other players, club legends and potential presidential candidates. The Directors also questioned how Barca is reacting to the current coronavirus pandemic and how the club will cope in the future. “We hereby want to communicate that the directors below signatories have transferred to President Bartomeu our decision to irrevocably resign from our status as FC Barcelona executives,” the letter said. “We have reached this point by not being able to reverse the criteria and forms of management of the club in the face of the important challenges of the future and, in particular, from the new post-pandemic scenario. “We must also highlight our disillusion over the unfortunate social media episode, known as ‘Barcagate’, of which we found out through the press.” The letter went on to call for “new elections” when circumstances allow, and the directors also expressed how it had been an honour to sever their “beloved Barca”. And while the departing directors called for early elections, this is unlikely. Elections are currently scheduled for the summer of 2021, and Bartomeu, who will not be able to run having already served two terms, has remained adamant that he will not bring them forward. Even though Bartomeu had been planning for four resignations, six departures from the board raises another problem for the 57-year-old. According to Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo, Bartomeu is now considering adding two new people to the board. The report claimed there are now thirteen directors left following the six resignations. However, it also stipulates that there must be a minimum of fourteen members on the board. While Bartomeu requires at least one, it is claimed the Spaniard will “most likely” bring in two new faces after carefully considering who he can work with.Tags: Barcelona FCClub DirectorselectionsPresident Josep Maria BartomeuResignationslast_img read more

Rodwell eyes return

first_imgManchester City midfielder Jack Rodwell hopes to be back from his latest injury setback by the end of the month. The highly-rated Rodwell joined the champions in a £12million deal from Everton last summer but his City career is yet to take off. His initial performances were indifferent and he then had a short spell out with a groin injury before being struck by more hamstring trouble in October. Rodwell’s early years at Goodison Park were also plagued by hamstring injuries. He has since worked hard on his fitness and made a number of lifestyle changes to try to eradicate the recurring problem. He insists he is not disheartened by this latest setback. He said: “I was more upset for our physio department who have been fantastic and have helped me feel stronger than ever before. We’ve had a discussion and we all agree that the best course of action is to continue what we were doing before because it worked so well. “This is an injury that can strike at any time to anyone and I’m sure it is something that I’ll be rid of before too long, but it’s an ongoing process and something that can’t be rushed.” Manager Roberto Mancini is likely to update on the fitness of two key players before the end of the week. Captain Vincent Kompany has missed the last seven games with calf problems while striker Sergio Aguero’s knee injury has sidelined him for two matches. Mancini said last week he hoped both would be back in contention for this Saturday’s trip to Everton. Rodwell pulled up with the latest in a long line of hamstring problems in the first half of last week’s Barclays Premier League win at Aston Villa. The 22-year-old had been making just his second start since returning from a three-month lay-off in January. Rodwell told the club’s website, “Obviously you don’t want to tempt fate but I’m not looking at this as a lengthy absence and I hope to be back in a couple of weeks. Hopefully I can play my part in the run-in and help us win some silverware and end what has been a frustrating season on a high.” center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

Gervinho earns Wenger praise

first_img “I believe that sometimes Gervinho has lost confidence because he played in a very negative atmosphere during a period. Strikers need confidence, and [with] his game, even more. “He was always taking the ball and going forward, and provoking. When you lose confidence, that is a very dangerous game then. When he has found the confidence back, he’s a very dangerous player. “At the African Nations Cup, for me he was the best striker there. He is the type of player who is difficult to find, because they always go at people.” Wenger was pleased with the final result for his side, who have now won six of their last eight league games and also won 2-0 away over Bayern Munich in the Champions League, although still bowing out of Europe. “I enjoyed our technical side, our creative side, our spirit and how disciplined and focused we were,” said Wenger. “The regret you have is that there were more goals in this game than the number of goals we scored. “Overall, it’s a good basis to finish the season well. Let’s just keep that spirit, that attitude and play the football we want to play.” Gervinho has often cut a controversial figure following a string of frustrating displays following an £11million move from Lille in July 2011, but the 25-year-old was in inspiring form, opening the scoring and having a hand in everything positive as Arsenal netted again through Santi Cazorla, Olivier Giroud and a Mikel Arteta penalty – while Hal Robson-Kanu headed in a consolation. “Gervinho’s performance was very strong. He was always dangerous, always looked like he could score, gave assists and scored himself,” Wenger said. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hailed the confident display of Gervinho after the Ivory Coast forward set the Gunners on the way to a 4-1 win over relegation-battlers Reading which kept them in the hunt for Champions League qualification.center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

Leinster keep pressure on Ulster

first_img Thomas Denton, Fergus McFadden, Fionn Carr, Dominic Ryan and Isa Nacewa all went over in Italy with the hosts getting on the board through Sinoti Sinoti, Daniel Halangalu and Carlo Festuccia. Ireland fly-half Jonathan Sexton returned from a two-month injury lay-off to add 16 points with the boot while Halangalu kicked seven points. Sexton and Halangalu exchanged penalties before Denton ran in the first try after 10 minutes. McFadden then seized on a Sexton pass to score Leinster’s second. Zebre wing Sinoti touched down in the 26th minute and Halangulu dotted down under the posts on the stroke of half-time to make it 17-17. But a Sexton penalty (44) and tries from Carr (46), Ryan (59) and Nacewa (62) arrived without an Italian response after the break. Replacement hooker Festuccia, who was later yellow carded for striking Isaac Boss, eventually found a way through six minutes from time only for Halangalu to miss the third conversion. Zebre’s 21st defeat of the season leaves them 18 points adrift of Newport-Gwent Dragons at the bottom while Leinster climbed above Glasgow ahead of fifth-placed Ospreys’ visit to Dublin on the last day of the regular season. Leaders Ulster host Cardiff Blues with Leinster hoping to capitalise on any slip-up at Ravenhill to finish top of the pile before the semi-finals begin. Leinster closed to within three points of RaboDirect PRO12 leaders Ulster as five different try-scorers settled a comfortable 41-22 win at Zebre.center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

Wilshire leads O’Brien one-two

first_img Press Association O’Brien said: “We left the hood off today and he settled well. He’s a brother to Zoffany and like a lot of the Holy Roman Emperors (sire), he seems to be improving.” The Ballydoyle handler added of the runner-up: “I was happy with the run and he will probably step up to seven furlongs now.” The day’s riding honours went to Johnny Murtagh, whose Oaks victory on Chicquita was the middle leg of a treble. He avoided the hard-luck stories on the inside as he swooped at the furlong pole on Eddie Lynam’s top-weight Pearl Of Africa (9-2) to take the Sycamore Lodge Equine Hospital EBF Fillies Handicap in impressive style by two and three-quarter lengths. The trainer said: “She is out of a good Group One winner (Kournikova). Sheikh Fahad kindly sent me a yearling and this is it. She goes on any ground, although she looks around her a bit and that’s probably helped her to win three on the bounce. “She’ll go for some black type now. There are plenty of options in Listed and Group Three company. I’d like to leave three weeks between races with her.” Murtagh later rallied Belle De Crecy (2-1 favourite) to take the Kilsaran International Handicap for his own yard, and said: “She was hanging a bit left as she was feeling the ground and I probably won’t run her on ground that fast again, but she stayed at it well and an extra furlong would be ideal for her. We will give her a little break now.” Oklahoma City was sent off the evens favourite having won a Naas maiden by 13 lengths last time, and Joseph O’Brien soon had him in the lead on the stands rail. He ran on strongly, but was no match for Wilshire Boulevard (7-1), who seemed to relish the step back up to six furlongs as he challenged a furlong and a half out under Seamie Heffernan and scored by three-quarters of a length. center_img Wilshire Boulevard outpointed better-fancied stablemate Oklahoma City to give Aidan O’Brien a one-two in the Jebel Ali Racecourse & Stables Anglesey Stakes at the Curragh.last_img read more