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Saudi Arabia coach Juan Antonio Pizzi wants to forget ‘feeling of shame’ after Russia defeat

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Saudi Arabia coach Juan Antonio Pizzi described a “feeling of shame” after his side suffered a 5-0 hammering at the hands of hosts Russia.
No host team has lost a World Cup opening match and Russia kept up that tradition with goals from Yury Gazinsky (12), Denis Cheryshev (43, 90+1), Artem Dzyuba (71) and Aleksandr Golovin (90+3).
“The opposing team really didn’t have to make a huge effort to win this game,” said Pizzi.

“We have now to forget this feeling of shame and start thinking about the next match.”
Yet given Saudi Arabia’s high turnover of coaches, including a previous mid-World Cup sacking, the Argentina-born Pizzi could well be on his way before he gets a chance to try and rectify the situation.

He conceded questions about his future following the heavy defeat were justified.
“The way I feel right now makes that a valid point but whatever happens I’ve got my philosophy and I’ll try to do as best I can. I trust in our plans and I trust in my players and I trust we’ll have a better performance in our next game,” he said.
Pizzi was appointed to the job after Saudi Arabia qualified last year for the finals. They sacked Bert van Marwijk despite a successful campaign and then his successor Edgardo Bauza before the World Cup draw in November.
Pizzi has been in charge for the last seven months and insisted the Saudis had shown much improvement since.

“This game should not be a point of reference. We didn’t play the way we planned to. It is left to us to be positive and start thinking about the next match,” he said.
Saudi Arabia’s next Group A encounter is against Uruguay in Rostov on June 20.
“I believe that we came into this tournament well prepared and the players were ready to show that they could play at the World Cup. We did not show today what we have done in our previous games,” Pizzi said.

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Super Eagles whip Libya, Ighalo gets hat trick

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A hat trick from Odion Ighalo and one goal from Samuel Kalu gave Nigeria’s Super Eagles a 4-0 win over Libya in a 2019 AFCON Qualifier in Uyo.
The victory moved the Eagles into second place in Group E, behind leaders South Africa.
The Eagles now have six points from three matches, one point behind South Africa who earlier in the day mauled visiting Seychelles in Johannesburg 6-0.

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Libya coach Adel Amrouche quits days before Nigeria game

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Libya coach Adel Amrouche has resigned just four days before the Mediterranean Knights play Nigeria in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
The Libyan Football Federation (LFF) confirmed his departure and added that his assistant Omar Al-Maryami will take over in an interim capacity.
The LFF also added it is looking to take action against Amrouche over his sudden departure.
BBC Sport understands that one of his main complaints was unpaid wages.
While Amrouche told the Reuters news agency he was frustrated by working conditions with the team.
The 50-year-old, who was born in Algeria, was only appointed in May and his first match in charge last month saw Libya force a 0-0 draw in South Africa.
Forced to play all their home qualifiers at a neutral venue because of the tenuous security situation in the North African country, Libya travel to face Nigeria on Friday and then play them again in the return in Sfax, Tunisia on Monday.
Libya have four points from their first two games in their bid to qualify for the 2019 finals in Cameroon, ahead of South Africa on goal difference with Nigeria one point behind.

The Seychelles are last in the group without any points with only the top two teams qualifying for the finals next June.

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Jose Mourinho says speculation about his job will continue

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Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho feels his team played with “pride” after overturning a two-goal deficit to beat Newcastle 3-2 but says speculation about his job will continue.

Just hours after a report emerged that Mourinho would be sacked regardless of United’s result against Newcastle, his team were rocked at Old Trafford as they conceded two goals in the opening 10 minutes.
But after being booed off at half-time, United avoided going five games without a win thanks to a thrilling second half fightback.
Juan Mata’s free-kick was followed by Anthony Martial’s equaliser, setting the stage for a 90th minute winner from Alexis Sanchez, who had been dropped by Mourinho before coming off the bench in the second half.
Whether Mourinho keeps his job remains to be seen, but the former Chelsea and Real Madrid boss came out fighting following weeks of criticism of his handling of United’s squad, sparked by his fall-out with star midfielder Paul Pogba and other key players.
“As a friend of mine was saying to me this morning, if it rains in London tomorrow, it’s my fault. Brexit, it’s my fault. I have to be ready for this. There is a lot of wickedness and a clear manhunt,” Mourinho said.
“In the end we won the match and I think we deserved to win. I think the fans deserved to win. At 2-0 at half-time, with all the dynamic of the man-hunting, I think they behaved amazingly well for the team. This is what a football club is.
“The industry I work in is different, a lot of wickedness, too much wickedness in something that should be beautiful.
“For me it’s not easy but I think life is made of experiences and some are new and some are deja vu. This is new but I think it makes me a better manager and a better person because I understand things in human nature.”
– ‘I can cope’ –
Mourinho insisted he wouldn’t be affected by the doubters claiming he has lost control of his club and is destined for the axe.
Instead, he claimed the criticism was more of a problem for players who froze under the spotlight.
“In the biggest clubs in the world there are periods with a lot of meat and periods with a lot of bones,” he said.
“I am 55 years old, I am mature, I can cope with it and live with being hunted. I think some of the boys are not coping well with it.
“The way they started the game was panicking. I thought at some moments we could score in our own goal. It’s not easy for them.
“I cope with it, with some sadness, but I’m a big boy. Clearly some of the boys, Marcus Rashford was sad on the pitch, Scott McTominay was scared on the pitch. All the players committed mistakes that were not normal.”
Amid all the talk of shattered relationships with Pogba, Eric Bailly, Luke Shaw and Antonio Valencia, who was left out of the squad, Mourinho was adamant the fightback showed he retains the squad’s support.
“It’s ridiculous talk to say they don’t play for the manager, they play for the club. It’s not about that,” he said.
“What I asked the players is to give absolutely everything.
“This is not about me, this is not about the players, this is about the club, and in the second half the players gave absolutely everything. Nothing more to give.”

 

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FIFA suspends Sierra Leone from football activities

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FIFA has suspended the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) with immediate effect, due to government interference in soccer affairs, the sport’s world governing body said on Friday.
FIFA’s decision came after it wrote to the African country’s sports minister expressing “grave concern” about the removal of SLFA President Isha Johansen and General Secretary Christopher Kamara.
The football governing body had asked for both individuals to be allowed to access SLFA premises without delay to ensure that the operations of the association, including FIFA-funded projects, were not jeopardised.
“The suspension will be lifted once SLFA and its recognised leadership have confirmed to FIFA that the SLFA administration, premises, accounts and communication channels are under their control once again
“Following its suspension, SLFA has lost all its membership rights as defined in article 13 of the World Football Statutes.
“The SLFA’s national and affiliated club teams are no longer entitled to take part in international competitions until the suspension is lifted,” FIFA said in a statement.
Last month, the country’s anti-corruption commission followed through on a threat to raid the SLFA’s offices amid allegations of match-fixing involving the national team.
FIFA is also looking at matches as far back as a World Cup qualifier against South Africa in 2008 as part of their own investigation into the match-fixing allegations.
Both Johansen and Kamara deny any wrongdoing.


Reuters

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AFCON 2019: Rohr calls Musa, Onazi, Ekong, 21 others for Libya

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Super Eagles’ Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr has invited in-form Ahmed Musa and 23 other players for this month’s double-take 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying fixture against Libya’s Mediterranean Knights.

Arsenal FC of England forward Alex Iwobi (who scored the goal against Zambia that qualified Nigeria for the 2018 FIFA World Cup at the same venue a year ago), will return alongside Italy –based duo William Ekong and Olaoluwa Aina. All three missed the 3-0 win over Seychelles in Mahe last month due to injury.

Goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa is the only home –based professional.

China –based forward Odion Ighalo and Russia –based defender Bryan Idowu are also among the pack that has been called to hunt for the six maximum points against Group E leaders Libya in the Matchday 3 and 4 games. Nigeria host the first leg at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo on Saturday, 13th October with the return scheduled for the 18,000 –capacity Stade Taïeb Mhiri in the city of Sfax, Tunisia on Tuesday, 16th October.

Also back is effervescent winger Moses Simon (edged out of the World Cup party by injury). Former junior international Isaac Success is called but Italy –based Simeon Nwankwo, who was in Seychelles and scored against Liberia in a friendly last month, is omitted. 2015 U17 World Cup –winning captain Kelechi Nwakali is also overlooked.

All invited players are to report in the Akwa Ibom State capital on Monday, 8th October 2018.

THE FULL LIST

Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (Elche FC, Spain); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Enyimba FC); Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United, South Africa)

Defenders: Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy); Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor FC, Turkey); Semi Ajayi (Rotherham United, England); Bryan Idowu (Lokomotiv Moscow, Russia); Chidozie Awaziem (FC Porto, Portugal); William Ekong (Udinese FC, Italy); Leon Balogun (Brighton & Hove Albion, England); Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Jamilu Collins (SC Paderborn 07, Germany)

Midfielders: Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor FC, Turkey); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Oghenekaro Etebo (Stoke City FC, England); John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel)

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Al Nasr FC, Saudi Arabia); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Moses Simon (Levante FC, Italy); Henry Onyekuru (Galatasaray SK, Turkey); Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai, China); Alex Iwobi (Arsenal FC, England); Samuel Kalu (Bordeaux FC, France); Isaac Success (Watford FC, England)

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Luka Modric Receives FIFA’s ‘Best’ Award

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The 33-year-old Croatian midfielder ended the decade-long dominance by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi over the league’s top player award yesterday. Modric helped Real Madrid win its third consecutive UEFA Champions League, then captained Croatia to its first World Cup final. He beat out Ronaldo, who scored 44 goals this season, and Mohamed Salah, who won the Puskas Award for best goal. Meanwhile, critics took aim at the award itself — rebranded as “The Best” in 2016 — and the glitzy ceremony as a marketing ploy by the soccer association

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Anthony Joshua KOs Alexander Povetkin to retain world heavyweight titles

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ANTHONY JOSHUA knocked out Alexander Povetkin during a convincing victory at Wembley.

He  secured a terrific victory over Alexander Povetkin with a seventh round knockout at Wembley in front of a packed-out crowd.
The Watford-born fighter unleashed a flurry of blows to send Povetkin sprawling, almost out of the ring at one point.
The Russian got back to his feet before Joshua landed the killer blows to seal a big win in front of his home crowd.
Joshua had to overcome an early storm as Povetkin flew out of the traps with several big blows.

 

He suffered a bloody nose in the first round but found his composure and turned the tide back on Povetkin.
Joshua began to deal damage, cutting Povetkin above the left eye, and turned on the style in the seventh to dispatch his undefeated opponent.
The 28-year-old will move onto an even bigger fight in 2019, with Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte all among the names sure to be bandied around.
Take a look through the images below for the moment Anthony Joshua knocked out Alexander Povetkin at Wembley.

 

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FIFA, CAF send observers for NFF board election

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The Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) has named Messrs Luca Piazza and Solomon Mudege as its observers to Thursday’s elections into the Executive Committee of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) 2018-2022.

Former NFF President Aminu Maigari: Giving Pinnick a run for his money

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mudege is FIFA’s Senior Manager for Development Programmes (Africa), while Piazza is a senior official in the FIFA President’s office.
A statement by Ademola Olajire, NFF’s Director of Communications on Monday, also said the Confederation of African Football (CAF) designated a member of its Executive Committee, Mr Sita Sangare, as its observer to the big event.

Taiwo Ogunjobi: Testing his popularity?

It said this was communicated through a letter addressed to the NFF General Secretary, Mohammed Sanusi and signed by CAF Secretary General, Amr Fahmy,
Sangare, an Army Colonel, is also President of the Burkina Faso Football Federation.
Katsina town is already bubbling for the much anticipated polls with the arrival on Monday of an advance team from the NFF Secretariat.

The NFF Electoral Committee put in place by the NFF Congress at the 2017 Annual General Assembly in Jos, which is headed by Mr Muhammed Sani Katu, will conduct the polls.
The committee has already cleared incumbent Amaju Pinnick, former Nigeria international and one –time NFF Secretary General Taiwo Ogunjobi, former NFF President Aminu Maigari and Chinedu Okoye to contest for the Presidency.

Chinedu Okoye: Any hope of emerging victorious?

Incumbent Seyi Akinwunmi will vie with Sunday Dele-Ajayi for the 1st Vice President’s position, while Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah will oppose incumbent Ibrahim Musa Gusau for the slot of Chairman of Chairmen.
A total of 15 other persons will battle for the remaining eight available positions on the Executive Committee.
All 44 Members of the Nigeria Football Federation Congress will cast their votes on Thursday. A number of the voters will arrive in Katsina on Tuesday.

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Nine-year-old Nigerian boy signs to Arsenal

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A 9-YEAR-OLD Nigerian boy has signed to Arsenal after impressing the football club during a five-week trial.
Jayden Adetiba has been living in South Africa and has also spent time living in the UK.
Adetiba has been a fan of the team his whole life. He spoke about how he felt about the news.
“I thank God and my parents for this. I am very happy.
“I train three times a week at the academy and we have a match at the weekend,” he told The Sun.

NEW SIGNING: Jayden Adetiba (Image: John Adetiba/Twitter)

John, Jayden’s father, tweeted a picture of his son signing documents at the club with the caption: “The little man joins the big club!!”
Brent Sanders, Adetiba’s former coach at SuperSport United Soccer School in Cape Town, told KweséESPN: “Jayden worked with me for two years from the age of seven, and from his first practice session I could see that he was an exceptional talent that stood out in the group.
“You could see he had something special, but what was also so impressive was the way he progressed almost with every training session. He had a real hunger to learn and was able to put that into practice quickly.”

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Nff Bans, Fines Salisu Yusuf

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The Nigeria Football Federation’s ethics committee on fair play has banned the Super Eagles assistant coach Salisu Yusuf from all football –related activities for one year.

This is due to a video documentary in which he was seen collecting the sum of $1,000 from an undercover reporter posing as a player’s agent.
In its report submitted to the NFF secretariat on Tuesday the committee found as a fact that it was not an error of judgment on the part of coach Salisu Yusuf but a self and confident decision to have received the cash gift of $1,000 from the decoy player agent and undercover reporter purportedly acting on behalf of players Osas Okoro And Rabiu Ali.

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Can’t get on ANSSID?
If you have been having challenges getting your Anambra State Social Service number, here is what to do:
• send an email and ANSSID login details to: info@airs.an.gov.ng for immediate assistance.
• Visit the ANSSID HELPDESK or call HELPLINES: 07066727750 or 07033822851

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