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.”
Enugu government did not abandon me, says Chukwu
Former Super Eagles Chief Coach, Christian Chukwu, yesterday, said Enugu State government has not abandoned him, as the government has continued to pick his hospital bills.
Speaking from his ‘Mary room’ sick bed at Nikea Hospital, Enugu, Chukwu said his health has continued to improve by the day, disclosing that initial reports of his abandonment may be due to “communication gap”.
Chukwu’s revelation came as former old Anambra State governor, Chief Jim Nwobodo, said the former Green Eagles captain requires being flown overseas for further treatment. Popularly called ‘chairman’,Chukwu told reporters who accompanied Nwobodo on the visit to him that Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has ensured he gets the necessary treatment that would enable him bounce back on his feet.
“There was never a time the state government abandoned me. When the governor heard about my sickness and how I was rushed to this place, he sent his Commissioner for Sports, who came here and since then, the government has picked my bills,” he said.
Although he stated that he was brought to the medical facility by his close friend and patron of the Rangers Football Club, Mr. Benson Ejindu, he said such would not necessarily translate to being abandoned by Enugu State government.
Flanked by his wife and sister, he discussed with relative ease, blamed the media for certain information about his ill health. “I think the media people try to sell their papers with some of the stories they carried so far.”
Speaking after visiting Chukwu, Nwobodo said: “I think he is much better than I thought. I discussed with him very intelligently and he is getting better. This was capped by his doctor who confirmed he has improved a lot. So I am happy.”
FIFA receives record number of expressions of interest in hosting FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023
This is the largest-ever list of member associations (MAs) to have submitted formal expressions of interest to FIFA with a view to hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup™.
ZURICH, Switzerland, March 19, 2019/ — Following its invitation to all member associations (MAs) to express their interest in submitting a bid to host the final competition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, FIFA has received a total of nine expressions, namely from the following MAs (in alphabetical order by country):
• Argentinian Football Association
• Football Federation Australia
• Bolivian Football Association
• Brazilian Football Association
• Colombian Football Association
• Japan Football Association
• Korea Football Association (expressing interest in a joint bid with DPR Korea Football Association)
• New Zealand Football
• South African Football Association
This is the largest-ever list of MAs to have submitted formal expressions of interest to FIFA with a view to hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup™, the first edition of which was held in 1991.
All interested MAs have been sent the respective overview and bidding registration documents, and will have until 16 April 2019 to submit their bidding registration to FIFA. The full bidding timeline can be found here.
In line with the principles outlined in the overview document available on FIFA.com and with the bidding for the FIFA World Cup 2026™, FIFA will implement a fair and transparent process, which will include a clear evaluation model as well as a concrete commitment to sustainability and human rights. All bid books will be published in full on FIFA.com in October 2019.
Based on the FIFA Statutes, the FIFA Council will appoint the host(s) of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023. As communicated in the overview document and confirmed by the FIFA Council at its recent meeting in Miami, the result of each ballot and the related votes by the members of the FIFA Council will be open and made public.
Ghana and Nigeria Rugby Announces Annual President’s Cup
The Ghana Rugby Football Union (Ghana Rugby) and the Nigerian Rugby Football Federation (NRFF) Presidents, Messrs Herbert Mensah and Kelechukwu Mbagwu, announced the creation of an annual President’s Cup that will be played on a home-and-away basis.
The first President’s Cup will be played this year between two President XV teams of the rugby nations on 27 April in Accra-Ghana and on 4 May in Lagos-Nigeria.
The 2019 President’s Cup will also form part of the preparations of Ghana and Nigeria for the 2019 Rugby Africa ver Cup that is scheduled to take place in Nigeria between Ghana, Nigeria, Botswana and Madagascar from 6 June 2019 to 17 June 2019.
According to Mensah a principle decision was reached between himself and Kelechi Mbagwu in Marrakech-Morocco during the 13th General Assembly of Rugby Africa to kickstart possible wider international cooperation with the President’s Cup.
“Everybody knows that the tournament structure of Rugby Africa falls short to give Rugby nations in Africa enough match exposure to ‘breed’ the next Rugby World Cup participants besides for South Africa and Namibia. Even Rugby Africa has asked Members to seriously look at friendly internationals between regional states,” Mensah said.
According to Kelechukwu Mbagwu, President of the NRFF, Nigeria and Ghana have had a long and exciting history of sports rivalry.
“It’s been the very best of rivalries, the rivalry between Siblings. I remember those epic Nigeria/Ghana soccer matches-: the Green Eagles against the Black Stars and the Nigeria/Ghana sports festival when Modupe Oshikoya ran against Alice Annan. Those are the thrilling images I see when I think of this new Nigeria/Ghana tussle,” Mbagwu said.
The NRFF President continued to say that he is proud and honoured to be amongst the founders of what can only be seen as a traditional coming together of two mighty brothers of whom mother Africa can be justly proud.
Mbagwu concluded by saying, “Ghana have set themselves an extremely high bar with their dynamic and vital President, Herbert Mensah, leading the way but when we get on the field it will be a different story. Long live the Nigeria/Ghana detente.”
Mr Charles Yapo, Rugby Africa Development Manager for the Region, said that this is a very good initiative that will strengthen the relationship between these two nations in terms of rugby and allow players to have a little more play time.
“It is also an opportunity to encourage other rugby nations to follow in the footsteps of Ghana and Nigeria. For the 2019 season Rugby Africa encourages and supports this kind of initiative. Congratulations and Rugby Africa is at your side,” Yapo said
About Ghana Rugby
Ghana Rugby is the official full member of both World Rugby (2017) and Rugby Africa in Ghana-West Africa and is responsible for the management and development of the Game Rugby Union in the country. The Union is governed by a Constitution and administers five KPAs (Key Performance Areas) namely: (1) Youth Development & Growth through the World Rugby “Get Into Rugby” Programme, (2) Women in Ghana Rugby, (3) Training & Education, (4) Domestic Competitions and (5) International Performance.
Ghanaʼs Herbert Mensah appointed as Representative of the Rugby Africa Board
Mr Herbert Mensah, President and Board Chairman of Ghana Rugby (http://GhanaRugby.org), has been incorporated as Representative of the newly elected Rugby Africa Board.
This step followed after a new Board was elected for Rugby Africa in Marrakech-Morocco on 2 March 2019.
The officers of the Executive Board were elected ex officio, unopposed:
President: Khaled Babbou (Tunisia)
Vice President: Andrew Owor (Uganda) Treasurer: Tano Elvis (Ivory Coast) Secretary General: Jurie Roux (South Africa)
The 27 voting members, by secret ballot, elected the 7 officers of the following Executive Committee (EXCO):
Rolande Boro (Burkina Faso), Aaron Jani (Zimbabwe), Clement Sinkamba (Zambia), Nasser Bougja (Morocco), Herman MʼBonyo (DRC), Paulina Lanco (Burundi), Guedel NʼDiaye (Senegal).
Herbert Mensah was invited to the first Board Meeting of the new Executive Committee and the new President, Khaled Babbou who seated Mensah by his side, announced that Mensah has been appointed as Representative who shall be, without exception, permitted to attend all meetings (for full duration) of the EXCO.
Ghana Rugby withdrew all its six nominations for the election prior to commencement of the elections after which the newly elected President, Khaled Babbou, brought Mensah to the front of proceedings and lifted his hand in acknowledgement of the signal by Mensah and Ghana Rugby that it will support the new Board in the interest of Rugby in Africa. When asked Mensah stated that unity was more important if Africa Rugby was to tackle it’s compliance, constitutional and data management issues which would strengthen the image and assist with the issue of raising much needed independent funds for the continent!
According to Mensah, the General Meeting was preceded by intense discussions with Babbou and other key stakeholders and the withdrawal of nominations followed after assurances were given that Mensah will be brought into the fold and that a total review of the Rugby Africa Constitution will be high on the agenda of the New Board.
Mensah said, “In order to ensure that the Constitution safeguards the interests of all Members and provides scope for the Board to expand its capabilities it has become essential to review the constitution in totality. To this end, Mr Babbou has given me the assurance that the Board will establish a Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) with the mandate do a critical evaluation of the current Constitution and formulate recommended changes for presentation to the Board.
Mr Mensah also said that he has also been given the assurance that an urgent investigation into the adoption of an online rugby management system for all Africa Rugby Unions will be investigated.
“Player registration and management is not only a key governance evaluation criteria for Unions, but it is also a means to bring about enormous efficiency benefits for Unions that should reduce the administrative burden and streamline the process of player and tournament management.
Mensah has previously indicated that the biggest challenge of Rugby Africa is to find sustainable funding for the programmes of Rugby Africa from sources other than World Rugby.
“If the ‘Rugby Africa Offerʼ is packaged properly and professionally backed by the right individuals who will be accountable for the employment of the funds and the delivery of the benefits sought by investors, sponsors and donors there is no reason why Rugby Africa canʼt go out and find the money it needs to fill the current gap that restrains it from delivering its mandate to its Members,” Mensah said.
It is expected that Mensah will play a key role in the structure that will be set up to look at the funding issues of Rugby Africa.
Offiah happy as Nigeria to host rugby league championship
RUGBY LEGEND Martin Offiah is “delighted” that Nigeria has been chosen to host the second Middle East Africa (MEA) Rugby League Championship, which will take place over a week in October and is likely to comprise of two groups and a final, all at a single venue.
It will be the second MEA Championship to be played in Africa, the first in 2015 as part of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup qualifiers, when Lebanon travelled to and defeated South Africa over two matches.
“I’m certain the expanded competition will be a success in Nigeria and I would like the Nigerian people to get behind us and show how great the country and Africa can be for the sport,” said former professional Ade Adebisi, vice chairman and general manager of the Nigeria Rugby League Association.
“This tournament will be a fantastic avenue to showcase the raw talent in Africa and the Middle East and what rugby league has to offer outside of traditional boundaries.”
It is also planned to host a regional educational event for coaches and match officials around the championship. The decision to hold the tournament in Nigeria has been endorsed by Rugby Football League Hall of Fame Offiah, who said: “Being of Nigerian heritage, I am always delighted when I see fellow countrymen express their athletic prowess.
“It makes me very proud that my parents came from a small village in the state of Onitsha and now a statue of their son sits outside Wembley Stadium in London thanks to this great sport.
“It is my honour to support the NRLA on their journey into the world of international rugby league.”
Participating nations will be announced in March.
Zambia – Rugby : National Youth Teams Announced
From the 105 initial list which was compiled from both Copperbelt and Midlands, 15 more boys were given a chance to showcase their rugby prowess
LUSAKA, Zambia, February 11, 2019/ — Saturday 9th February, 2019 will forever be a memorable day for alot of young players from a cross section of schools and clubs in Zambia.
From the 105 initial list which was compiled from both Copperbelt and Midlands, 15 more boys were given a chance to showcase their rugby prowess.
” These final trials have really been National because we had 7 boys from as far as Livingstone in Southern Province, and it was apparent to everyone that their trip was not a holiday but they meant to serious business” says ZRU Communications Manager Tom Chaloba.
“After a rigorous selection process, the selection committee has picked 15 players for u18 and 35 under 20 players who will go for residential camp for the upcoming international tournaments,” he reviewed.
“As a Union we are keen on giving our young players as much exposure on the international scene as possible, hence all these programs being undertaken in this regard” Chaloba concluded.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Zambia Rugby Union (ZRU).
Ex-footballer Efe Sodje and brothers jailed over fraud
FORMER FOOTBALLER Efe Sodje has been jailed over fraudulently taking tens of thousands of pounds from a charity he set up to help poor children in Africa.
Sodje, 46, and his two brothers Stephen and Bright were all found guilty and jailed for the fraud in 2017 but reporting restrictions have only now been lifted as the separate trial of Sam Sodje, a former Reading and Nigeria footballer, has concluded.
Sam, 39, was cleared of money laundering on Monday.
The Sodje brothers established the Sodje Sports Foundation in 2009. They claimed the charity would help poor children in the Niger delta but the money donated through fundraisers they organised was used for their own personal spending.
Because there is no record of what happened to the cash donations made at any of the events, the National Crime Agency have been unable to identify exactly how much the Sodjes profited from the fraud.
At least £34,000 was collected via the Sodjes’ personal bank accounts. None of the funds raised reached any children in need.
NCA deputy director Chris Farrimond said: “Bright, Efe and Stephen Sodje promoted themselves as generous, community-minded, figures when they were knowingly defrauding people who thought they were helping deprived children in Nigeria.
“NCA financial investigators built a detailed picture of the movement of money in and out of the foundation and showed beyond doubt that for most of the foundation’s existence there was no charitable purpose.”
Efe, described as “the face” of the charity was sentenced to 18 months in jail. He was convicted of receiving £7,500 from the fund and an unknown amount from a clay pigeon shooting event.
Bright, was jailed for 21 months. He was convicted of taking £3,000 from the charity and signing £18,000 worth of checks to relatives.
Stephen was convicted of taking £30,000 from the charity. He was sentenced to two years and six months in prison.
Tracy Howarth, head of regulatory compliance at the Charity Commission, said: “The public rightly expect those running charities to be motivated solely by a desire to further their charity’s purpose, and to behave in ways that inspires trust in their charity and charitable endeavour more widely. The individuals convicted here did the opposite: they misused their privileged position to exploit donors and supporters, and their financial gain came at the expense of the children and causes the charity was supposed to support, and of the trust and goodwill that the donors and supporters of charity place in those responsible for charity.
“I am proud of the Charity Commission’s instrumental role in helping to secure this outcome; we worked closely with the National Crime Agency, and provided vital evidence and witness statements to the court. The outcome of this case sends a strong message that the deliberate, wilful and cynical abuse of charity for private financial gain will be investigated – and will not go unpunished.”
Akpo Sodje, 37, is still wanted in connection with the fraud after fleeing the UK during the investigation. A European arrest warrant has been issued for him.
Army, Police, 1,576 Teams To Participate In 2019 Anambra Football Season
The Nigerian Army, the Nigeria Police, the Nigerian Navy and about 1,578 football teams will take part in the 2019 Anambra Football Season billed to kickoff on Feb. 1 .
Tony Oli, Chairman of Anambra Sports Development Commission (ASDC), made the disclosure at the pre-season and tournament news conference on Tuesday in Awka.
Participants at pre-season parley include ASDC Sports at the local governments, primary and secondary school education officers and representatives of the institutions that will play in the competition.
He said the football season which was inaugurated on Nov. 30 last year would end at the Chuba Ikpeazu Mini Stadium, Onitsha on May 27.
Oli said ASDC branded footballs had been distributed to all participating teams.
According to him, 1, 062 primary schools will compete in the U-13 Kiddies Cup, while 258 Secondary schools will jostle for the Governor’s Cup in the Academical game.
He said teams from 63 markets would trade tackles in “Market Exchange” for the Traders Cup, while 179 Communities will play for the Kings Cup or Community Shield and eight tertiary institution slug it out in the Uni-games Cup.
“We also have Security Challenge Cup where football teams from Police will play against DSS, Navy against the Army, Immigration against the Prisons Service and NSCDC against FRSC in their opening matches.
“In all there are six cups and they are going to run concurrently from the official kick off on Friday.
“Part of our support to ensure the success of the programme is the procurement of standard branded football which have been distributed to all participants,” he said.
The chairman said the primary school games would be played on Fridays, while that of the secondary schools would be on Saturdays.
He said that part of the purpose of the football seasons was to awaken sports consciousness among the youth, communities, security agencies and school children.
Oli urged local government education and sports officers to ensure that the programme ran through smoothly, adding that the leadership of the schools and organisations represented were expected to kit and mobilise the teams.
“This is aimed to raise football to enviable height in Anambra, we want to restore the golden days of our state in sports.
“It is part of the conscious efforts at achieving that purpose, the governor has given his support and I urge us all to make it work ,” he said.
Mohamed Salah crowned African Player of the Year, second time in a row
Mohamed Salah of Egypt is the African Player of the Year 2018, for the second time in a row, it was announced in Dakar, Senegal Tuesday night.
He beat two other competitors shortlisted with him, Liverpool team mate Sadio Mane and Arsenal striker Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang of Arsenal.
“I have dreamt of winning this award since I was a child and now I have done so twice in a row,” Salah said soon after receiving his trophy.
“My thanks go to my family, my team-mates and my fans and I dedicate this trophy to my homeland, Egypt.”
It was an identical outcome to last year when Salah became only the second Egyptian after 1983 winner Mahmoud al Khatib to be voted the best footballer in Africa.
Chrestinah Thembi Kgatlana of South Africa was crowned African Women’s Player of the Year 2018 at the Aiteo-CAF awards, while Nigeria’s female team won Women’s National Team of the Year.
Achraf Hakimi was named African Youth Player of the Year 2018.
Mo Salah was also not surprisingly named among Africa’s Best X1 players that did not include any Nigerian.
Other players are Aubameyang, Mane, Mahrez, Keita, Partey, Koulibaly, Bailly, Benatia and Aurier.
Onyango as the goalkeeper completed the Africa Eleven.
Mauritania are the Men’s national Team of the Year.
The coaches were also recognised with Herve Renard winning Men’s coach of the Year and Desiree Ellis, coach of the Bayana Bayana, winning Women’s Coach of the Year.
Egypt Named Host Of 2019 AFCON
The Confederation of Africa Football, CAF, has named Egypt as the host of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
CAF named Egypt ahead of South Africa after officials voted at their executive meeting in Dakar, Senegal on Tuesday morning.
CAF had to come up with a new host for AFCON 2019 after stripping Cameroon of the hosting rights due to country’s inability to handle a 24-team tourney.
Apart from failure in infrastructural upgrades, CAF also had concerns about the political instability in the country.
Egypt, which will host the tournament for a fifth time, has just six months to prepare for the expanded 24-team finals, which will kick off in June.
Cameroon has been given the chance to stage the finals in 2021.
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Aguleri , The Citadel Of Igbo Civilisation
Five years after Boko Haram kidnap, 112 Nigerian girls still missing
Announcements, Arts & Books
Driving Job Creation for Africa’s Youth: Mentor to Watch.
Ada Osakwe, CEO of Agrolay Ventures
Ada is an award-winning food entrepreneur and investor. She was also a lead in the launch of the Youth Employment in Agriculture Program (YEAP) that supported the rise of a new cadre of food-entrepreneurs in Nigeria through training, mentorship and financing. Ada is a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum and a Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellow.
In 2016, she was Entrepreneur of the Year and featured on Choiseul 100 Africa list consecutively from 2016 to 2018. She received the ‘Achiever in Agriculture’ Award and was on the 2014 Forbes 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa list. She is also a mentor on the Future Global Leaders Fellowship.
Uzodinma Iweala : CEO of The Africa Center in New York.
Uzodinma is an award-winning writer, filmmaker, and medical doctor. He is the CEO of The Africa Center in New York, promoting a new narrative about Africa and its diaspora through a focus on culture, policy and business. He is the author of three books: Beasts of No Nation (2005), a novel also adapted into a major motion picture; Our Kind of People (2012), a non-fiction account of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria; and Speak No Evil (2018), a novel about coming-of-age in Washington, D.C. His books have been mentioned by Time Magazine, The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, The Times and Rolling Stone. ‘Uzodinma Iweala completed his undergraduate studies at Harvard University and he earned a medical degree at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons.’
ENTER NIGERIA Winning Sunday with The Young Netpreneur for the Week :Ken Nwadiogbu @kennwadio
Ken Nwadiogbu (b. 1994) is a Nigerian born Multidisciplinary Artist, popularly known as KenArt, whose practice is primarily centered around hyper-realistic drawings and works on paper.
Nwadiogbu believes that the society speaks- This voice inspires his art, which evaluates, interrogates and challenges socio-political structures and issues within the society. In his reply to this society, he is able to inspire one or two people to also re-valuate their socio-political structures as we know it. The desire to change his society and the way people think is what drives him to create art every day. Gender equality, African cultures, and Black power are a few aspects of his current research and artistic practice.
Nwadiogbu was born in Lagos, Nigeria and holds a B.Sc in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Lagos, Nigeria. His art career started in the university, and with no formal training, has pushed him to become one of the most interesting young contemporary artists from Nigeria, creating works that question life- calling out some of the problems and becoming very grounded in human consciousness..
Nwadiogbu has been featured in lots of local and international group exhibitions and fairs, including the Insanity exhibition, sponsored by Frot Foundation, in Omenka Gallery, Nigeria; the TMC’s It’s Not Furniture, curated by Winifred Okpapi; the Artyrama’s group exhibition curated by Mr Jess Castellote; Art X Lagos, sponsored by Artyrama Gallery, in Lagos, Nigeria; the Moniker Art Fair, sponsored by Creative Debuts, in Brooklyn, NYC; the Anti-Trump show organised in UK; the Afriuture Exhibition by Ramati Art Africa in association with Commonwealth Africa Summit, in Toronto, Canada; amongst many others. He has been televised and publicized on different platforms like Guardian Life, Tush Magazine, WIRED Magazine, Candid Magazine, Bored Panda, BBC, CNN, and more as well as inspiring and encouraging young creatives through public speaking appearances like TEDx. He co-founded Artists Connect NG, the largest Nigerian artist gathering that took place at Lekki Leisure Lake, in Lagos, Nigeria.
To Nwadiogbu, Art is indeed timeless, it is his solace and hiding place, a safe haven he has found to be devoid of restrictions, boxes and boundaries.