Ezenwa insists: Eagles’ spirit is high

  Super Eagles B captain, Ikechukwu Ezenwa has described today’s African Nations Championship quarterfinal game against Angola as a must-win

 

Super Eagles B captain, Ikechukwu Ezenwa has described today’s African Nations Championship quarterfinal game against Angola as a must-win for Eagles.

The Enyimba of Aba goalkeeper told SportingLife that the team’s spirit is very high and they are motivated for the game. 

“I think on my own, we are doing great as a team. We are taking one game at a time. And now that we are in the quarterfinals, we need to be focused for the game against Angola because it is a must win and one team have to go home. We are focused and determined and we want to make Nigerians proud,” Ezenwa said to SportingLife.

“We have our own advantage which I won’t be discussed here for personal reasons and they have their own plans too. We know what to do and by the grace of God we will come out victorious. As you can see that everybody is happy and motivated for the game.

“The weather here is favourable to us and we are getting used to it. We will announce ourselves to the world on Sunday that we are for the business. We are in the competition and we want to win it.”

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CHAN Q/final: Nigeria 0-0 Angola, First half underway

CHAN Eagles is squaring up against Angola for a semi-final place in the ongoing African Nations Championship holding in Morocco.

CHAN Eagles is squaring up against Angola for a semi-final place in the ongoing African Nations Championship holding in Morocco.

Coach Salisu Yusuf has made three changes in his starting XI for the quarter final match against the Palancas Negras side inspite of the West African’s impressive outing thus far in the biennial championship.

Impressive Dayo Ojo-a Sunshine Player- will start ahead of Ifeanyi Ifeanyi in midfield, Rabiu Ali returns and Ikouwem Udoh from Enyimba will get his first start at the left-back.

Dayo Ojo showed class with his overall display against Equatorial Guinea and crowned it with a super strike.

The experienced Rabiu Ali started from the bench in the final group game against Equatorial Guinea in Agadir on Tuesday, but he has reclaimed his starting short after his goal and assist.

Coach Salisu Yusuf has otherwise kept faith with his 4-3-3 formation.

Eagles starting XI vs Angola: Ikechukwu Ezenwa – Ukouwem Udoh, Osas Okoro, Stephen Eze, Kalu Orji – Emeka Atuloma, Dayo Ojo, Rabiu Ali – Sunday Faleye, Emeka Ogbugh, Anthony Okpotu.

Nigeria have always had it tough against the Angolans. Many are yet to forget the Palancas Negras team that truncated the country’s dream of playing at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.

Another memory that yet lingers is that of August 12, 1989, when late Samuel Okwaraji slumped and died on a day Nigeria won 1-0 against Angola. It was a very tense game and the late Stephen Keshi scored the lone goal.

Today’s game will definitely be another big challenge for the Eagles.

Nigeria topped Group C with seven points, scoring four goals, and conceding one. Despite making only their second CHAN quarter-final appearance, the Eagles are in the best form to nick their first title.

The trio of Anthony Okpotu, Ekundayo Ojo and Rabiu Ali found the back of the net in their victory over Equatorial Guinea.

Angola finished second in Group D with five points, scoring one goal, and keeping three clean sheets. Their major weapons are Landu Mavanga, Ricardo Job, Augusto Quibeto and Vladimir Felix.

Since their first meeting in 1981, Nigeria and Angola have won two games each and drawn five times in nine meetings.

The biennial CHAN is restricted to home-based footballers but with  full international status and count for the monthly FIFA rankings.

Nigeria: Anticipated line-up (4-2-3-1)

Prediction

Nigeria have pacy and dangerous players up front hence the Eagles will be getting the nod of most bookmakers for this quarter-final clash. However, the Palancas Negras are no pushover, as they are very disciplined in defence.

A tight affair is to be expected but Nigeria may most likely win by a narrow margin.

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 We will give our best, Itodo vows 

Super Eagles B defender Daniel James Itodo has revealed that the team are not worried about allowances as he said

Super Eagles B defender Daniel James Itodo has revealed that the team are not worried about allowances as he said the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has done everything to make them happy ahead of today’s quarter-final game against Angola at the Ibn Batouta Stadium, Tangier, Morocco.

“We don’t have any problem with that because NFF has done everything to make us happy. They have given us their words that everything we need for the tournament is here in Morocco and we should not be worried and be focused, Itodo said to SportingLife.

The Plateau United defender, who has been instrumental in the team’s success so far, admitted that the game against Palanca Negras would be tough but he believes that Nigeria is better than Angola in all ramifications. 

“With all due respect, Angola is a very good side but we are better than them in all ramifications, I think with the calibre of players and coaches we have here we should be able to beat Angola. I know the game won’t be easy for us but with hard work and determination, we will surpass Angola. We have believed in our strikers and we will do it against Angola. It is one thing at a time and I know for sure that we will beat Angola,” Itodo said.

He added:  “Generally, the love, respect and cooperation among players and coaches is helping us too. It is a good outing for us. This is my first experience in the national team and I am here to give my best so far everybody has given their best that is why we are at this stage today.”

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ASABA 2018 ASAC: Host sign broadcast agreement on Monday

To unveil Mascot, Logo Two major landmark events toward a successful hosting of Asaba 2018 African Championships will take place

To unveil Mascot, Logo

Two major landmark events toward a successful hosting of Asaba 2018 African Championships will take place on Monday as the host city, Asaba signs the broadcast agreement with the television company that will produce and broadcast the Asaba 2018 African Senior Athletics Championships.

A statement signed by the Local Organizing Committee Head of Media and Publicity also says that on Monday, the mascot and the logo of the championship will be unveiled in Asaba.

Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) Evang. Solomon Ogba revealed that Kwese TV will be the official broadcast company for the championships.

“We got fantastic offers from several broadcast companies at home and abroad but Kwese TV’s offer was the best so it was not a difficult decision to make’’.

Evang. Ogba also revealed that the mascot and the logo that will be unveiled were produced by students from Delta State.

“Like previous championships and games that we have hosted in Delta State, this championship will be a community event. Everybody in Delta State and other parts of the world who can add value to this championships will be given the opportunity to do so.

“For the mascot and logo, we made it a competition for the youths and the winners will get fantastic prizes.”

Ogba said the championships will not only be the best African Senior Athletics Championships ever organized, it will rival the IAAF World Championships in terms of organization and management.

He urged Deltans and Nigerians to get behind the championships,

“This championship serves as trials for African athletes that will be participating at the IAAF World Cup in Athletics, so the who is who in African athletics will be here ditto members of the IAAF Family.

“Also, at its last congress, the IAAF made it mandatory for athletes that will participate in the IAAF World Championships to also participate in Area Championships, so we are expecting a full house in Asaba, we urge all Nigerians to be good hosts” said Ogba.

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ETTU Champions League: Quadri, Abiodun on verge of berthing in semis

Aruna Quadri and Bode Abiodun are the verge of qualifying for the semifinal stage of the European Table Tennis Union

Aruna Quadri and Bode Abiodun are the verge of qualifying for the semifinal stage of the European Table Tennis Union (ETTU)-organised Champions League after their Portuguese team – Sporting defeated French champion – Stella Sport La Romagne 3:1 in the first leg of the quarterfinal tie.

Playing in front of their home fans in Lisbon, Sporting as the first Portuguese team to feature and make it to the quarterfinal of the Champions League is one leg into the last four of the lucrative league.

Inspired by the presence of their fans coupled with the inspiration from Captain Joao Monteiro, Sporting played their heart out to dazed the star-studded French champion in Lisbon on Thursday, January 25.

Sporting kept faith with the trio of Monteiro, Aruna Quadri and Diogo Carvalho in their selection for the epic encounter against the trio of Shihao Wei, CHEN Tian Yuan and Brice OLIVIER.

In the first match, Aruna Quadri was set up against southpaw Shihao Wei and with huge support from the home crowd, Quadri was putting everything into the game but being the first time he was playing the Chinese star, he was down 2-1 (5:11, 12:10, 7:11). What looked like a recovery for Aruna Quadri was in the offing in the fourth game when he led 7-3 but the Chinese raised from behind to win at 9:11 to end the first match at 3-1.

It was captain Monteiro that restored the confidence of Sporting with a convincing 3-1 (11:7, 11:8, 8:11, 11:8) win over CHEN Tian Yuan to put the encounter at 1-1.

Buoyed by Monteiro’s win, Diogo Carvalho played with his heart as the venue was thrown into frenzy with another 3-1 (11:4, 11:8, 6:11, 11:9) win over Brice OLLIVIER to give Sporting, a 2-1 lead.

The hope of the Lisbon was now on Aruna Quadri in the fourth match and like a soldier motivated by the victories of his comrades, the Nigerian  made nonsense of Chen Tian Yuan with a 3-0 (14:12, 11:9, 11:7) rout of the Chinese to the admiration of the home fans.

The second leg of the quarterfinal tie holds in France on February 9, in the home of Stella Sport La Romagne.

Speaking of the secret behind the team’s success, Aruna Quadri praised the inspiration of Captain Joao Monteiro, whom he said has been motivating the team. “I think the support we have been given ourselves in every match has been our advantage particularly the pep talk from Captain Monteiro has been very inspiring. When I lost the first match, I was really down but when Monteiro and Diogo won their matches, I was really motivated that I can also do what they have done. Before the fourth match, our captain told me that I can do it and these words were always in my mind during the match. My opponent – Chen Tian Yuan defeated me 3-0 when I was playing in the French league last season and this was what gave them the confidence that he can repeat the same feat again. But the support from my team coupled with the fans backing were the tonics I needed to silent the Chinese,” Aruna Quadri said

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Okpekpe race organiser mourns as Deji Tinubu goes home tomorrow

Pamodzi Sports Marketing company,organisers of the first International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) label road race in Nigeria nay West

Pamodzi Sports Marketing company,organisers of the first International Association of

Athletics Federations (IAAF) label road race in Nigeria nay West Africa has expressed shock

and disbelief on the death of Deji Tinubu, former Chairman of Lagos state Sports Commission

who also served as the Senior Special Assistant on Sports to His Excellency,Akinwunmi

Ambode.

Tinubu slumped and died last Thursday during a novelty football match in Epe at the age of 52.

”In this sorrowful time, I would like to extend to Governor Ambode, staff and members of

Lagos State Sports Commission and indeed all sports loving Lagosians my heartfelt

condolences,’said Mike Itemuagbor,chief executive officer of Pamodzi Sports Marketing who

revealed the late Tinubu was a great friend of the Okpekpe international 10km road race

family,seeking advice when and where necessary because of the status of the race as the

first to be internationally recognised in Nigeria and offerring one as an

astute,thoroughbred professional sports administrator.

”The Okpekpe road race family have indeed lost a great friend, but we are consoled by the

fact that he left his footsprints on the sands of time.Like the saying goes,a person that

departs from this earth never truly leaves, for he is still alive in our hearts, through

us, he lives on. Our thoughts and prayers are especially with his young wife and two

children.May God grant him eternal rest.

Funeral rites for the late Tinubu began Sunday morning with Islamic prayersat his residence at Isiola Oyekan close,off Kofo Abayomistreet,Victoria Island,Lagos.It was followed in the evening at the Indoor Sports Hall of the Teslim Balogun stadium,Surulere by a candle light procession and night of tributes organised by the Lagos state sports commission and the sports family.The rites will continue today with service of songs at the Redeem Christian Church of Gog (RCCG),City of David,Victoria Island,Lagos at 5.00pm while there will be lying-in-state at the same venueat 9.30am on Tuesday with the funeral service at 10.00am also at the same venue.

Tinubu will be committed to mother earth immediately at the funeral service at the Vauilts and Gardens,Ikoyi,Lagos.

Until his death the late Tinubu was the Special Adviser on Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives to Gov.Ambode.

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Access Bank Lagos City Marathon, Ogba mourn Deji Tinubu

The management of Access Bank Lagos City Marathon and President of Bobsled and Skeleton Federation of Nigeria, Evangelist Solomon, have

The management of Access Bank Lagos City Marathon and President of Bobsled and Skeleton Federation of Nigeria, Evangelist Solomon, have described the death of Deji Tinubu, late Special Adviser to Governor Akinwumi Ambode on Commerce and Industry, as shocking and devastating.

Tinubu, who passed away last Thursday after slumping during a football novelty match in Epe, Lagos state was, until his appointment as SA Commerce and Industry a few days ago, the Special Adviser to Governor Ambode on Sports and Chairman Lagos State Sports Commission, he was also the inaugural Chairman of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon.

In a statement signed by Access Bank Lagos City Marathon Head, Communications and Media Olukayode Thomas, Evang. Ogba said he is still in shock,

“I can’t believe it, this is too hard to take but God knows everything. He has gone to rest, we that he left behind must continue his good deeds and take life easy like Deji, he was a gentleman.’’

Access Bank Lagos City Marathon Project Consultant, Bukola Olopade also described the late Tinubu as an exemplary leader with a sound mind.

“Deji was a good and committed patriot who brought his passion to his job. He led by example and often made sacrifices to get the job done.” Olopade noted.

Yussuf Alli, General Manager for the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon extolled the qualities of Tinubu who played a pivotal role in the successes recorded so far in the annual event.

Alli recalled how Tinubu worked tirelessly to ensure that Lagos made its mark on the world marathon map and he prayed for the repose of his soul.

“It is quite saddening for us at the marathon office to lose Deji just like that, he was a calm and fine leader who is often driven by goals no matter how difficult they seem.  His leadership skills stood him out and endeared him to many, we can only take solace in the legacies he has left behind; including this marathon” Ali said over the weekend.

Already, the burial arrangement has been released starting with a candlelight procession on Sunday at the Teslim Balogun Stadium.

There will be a Service of Songs at the Redeem Christian Church of God, RCCG City of David, Victoria Island, Lagos – Monday, 29th January 2018 at 5.00pm

There will be a Lying-in-State at the RCCG, City of David, Victoria Island, Lagos – Tuesday, 30th January 2018 at 9.30am

Funeral Service will also take place at the RCCG, City of David, Victoria Island, Lagos – Tuesday, 30th January 2018 at 10.00am

Interment follows immediately after at Vaults & Gardens, Ikoyi, Lagos.

Tinubu is survived by an aged mother, Bintu Tinubu, wife, Yemisi and two children.




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Federer Wins Australian Open For 20th Grand Slam Title

SAN FRANCISCO, January 28, (THEWILL) – Roger Federer powered home to beat Marin Cilic in five sets to win his sixth

SAN FRANCISCO, January 28, (THEWILL) – Roger Federer powered home to beat Marin Cilic in five sets to win his sixth Australian Open and 20th Grand Slam title in a riveting final on Sunday.

The Swiss defending champion dropped his only sets of the tournament before completing a 6-2, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 win over the sixth seeded Croatian in 3hr 3min.

Federer, playing in his 30th Grand Slam final, joined Novak Djokovic and Australian great Roy Emerson as joint top for the most Australian Open men’s titles.

He added to his already imposing win-loss record in Melbourne and is now 94-13. His overall his Grand Slam mark stands at 332-52.

Cilic’s serve came under immediate pressure with a whipping backhand return winner for break point which the Croatian followed with a smash into the net for a break in the opening game.

The Croat was finding it difficult to settle and changed racquets in his second service game, but it had no obvious benefit as he dropped serve again after three break points to trail 0-3 but he finally held serve to get on to the board and trail 4-1 with Federer hitting the ball cleanly.

Federer fought off two break points in his opening service in the second set with pinpoint serves as he served out the first set in just 24 minutes after a double break and a shaky Cilic opening as the Croat had a tussle before holding in the third game and worked his way back into the match as both players traded furious forehands to stay on serve.

Cilic was break point down in the ninth, but crucially got out of it with a second serve ace down the middle followed by a forehand winner. He also had a big moment in the 10th game when two Federer double faults gave him set point but a tentative backhand into the net and a wild backhand cost him his chance.

In the tiebreaker, Cilic got to two set points when his forehand clipped the line before a winning smash levelled the match after 84 minutes as Federer dropped his first set of the tournament but Cilic lost serve on the back of a couple of ground stroke errors and Federer raced 4-2 up in the third set.

The defending champion shifted gears with a stunning forehand off his toes and confidently held serve to lead 5-2. Federer closed the door, serving out clinically for the third set in 29 minutes.

Cilic was then broken in the opening game of the fourth set with a poor backhand dropshot into the net as Federer closed in for the kill but the Croat broke back in the sixth game with three break points when Federer netted and fought off a break point in the next game to put his nose in front.

Cilic was now more in the flow and broke Federer again with his big forehands starting to find their mark. He served it out to take the absorbing final into a fifth set while Federer was under pressure to keep his opening service but produced quality backhands to hold on amid mounting tension.

AFP reports that the world No.2 crucially broke to 2-0 when Cilic netted a forehand and held the next service game under pressure to lead 3-0.

Federer got the vital double break when Cilic netted a forehand, leaving the Swiss to serve out for the championship.

Roger Federer wins 20th grand slam, says ‘No plans to retire’

ROGER Federer has said he said retirement is not in his plan for Tennis suggesting that he is ready to

ROGER Federer has said he said retirement is not in his plan for Tennis suggesting that he is ready to play on as long as he lives.

Federer’s Australian Open triumph has been shadowed by “conspiracy theories” the Swiss maestro is about to take his leave.

“No idea. Honest, I don’t know. I have no idea,” Federer said when asked, at 36, how long he could continue at such a stellar level.

“I’ve won three slams (two Australian titles and a Wimbledon) now in 12 months. I can’t believe it myself.

“I just got to keep a good schedule, stay hungry, then maybe good things can happen.

“Then I don’t think age is an issue, per se. It’s just a number.

“But I need to be very careful in my planning, really decide beforehand what are my goals, what are my priorities. I think that’s what’s going to dictate how successful I will be.

“Exciting times ahead. But, no, as a professional, it’s what we do. But I’m happy I’m in that position right now.”

Jubilant after posting a record 20th grand slam victory, Federer said there are multiple factors behind his success — most significantly, his wife Mirka.

“I think by not overplaying, not playing every tournament possible,” he said of the secrets behind his longevity.

Roger Federer holds his trophy. Picture: AP Photo/Dita Alangkara

“I enjoy practice. Not minding the travel. Having a great team around me, they make it possible.

“At the end it’s seeing that my parents (Robert and Lynette) are incredibly proud and happy that I’m still doing it. They enjoy coming to tournaments. That makes me happy and play better.

“Then, of course, my wife who makes it all possible.

“Without her support, I wouldn’t be playing tennis no more since many years. But we had a very open conversation, if she was happy to do this or not, years ago.

“I’m happy that she’s super supportive, and she’s willing to take on a massive workload with the (four) kiddies.

“Same for me, because I wouldn’t want to be away from my kids for more than two weeks. This life wouldn’t work if she said no.

“Many puzzles need to fit together for me to be able to sit here tonight.”

Surprised the Rod Laver Arena roof was closed for the final, Federer admitted he experience and luck helped him survive.

And he admitted his post-match emotion caught him by surprise.

“I’ve had these moments in the past, but maybe never as extreme as tonight. Getting to 20 is obviously very, very special, no doubt,” he said.

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