U23 AFCON: Nigeria’s Amapakabo Picks Nwakali, Awoniyi, 19 Others For Title Defence

Head Coach Imama Amapakabo has named team captain Azubuike Okechukwu, defenders Anthony Izuchukwu, Sincere Seth and Olisah Ndah, midfielders Kelechi Nwakali, Muyiwa Olabiran and Ndifreke Effiong, and forwards Taiwo Awoniyi and Orji Okwonkwo in his final list of 21 players to defend the U23 Africa Cup of Nations title in Egypt next month.

Nigeria, champions of the second edition of the competition in Senegal four years ago, will seek to retain their title when the third edition of the championship flags off in Cairo on 8th November.

The Olympic Eagles are housed in Group B and will contend with Cote d’Ivoire, Zambia and South Africa in that order at the Al Salam Stadium. Hosts Egypt head Group A that also has Ghana, Cameroon and Mali with matches to hold at the Cairo International Stadium.

Nigeria’s first match of the campaign is against Cote d’Ivoire on Sunday, 9th November.

The top three teams at the eight –nation finals will qualify to represent Africa in the Men’s Football Tournament of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

Amapakabo also picked goalkeeper Adamu Abubakar, defender Josiah Chukwudi, and lively attacking midfielders Ndifreke Effiong, Tom Dele-Bashiru and Sunusi Ibrahim.

Nigeria Olympic Football Team
photo credit: @thenff

21 OLYMPIC EAGLES FOR U23 AFCON TITLE DEFENCE IN EGYPT

Goalkeepers: Adamu Abubakar (Wikki Tourists); Mohammed Galadima (Nasarawa United); Kingdom Osayi (Giant Brillers)

Defenders: Olisah Ndah (Remo Stars); Samuel Atavti (Esperance FC, Tunisia); Valentine Ozornwafor (UD Almeria, Spain); Sincere Seth (Boluspor FC, Turkey); Josiah Chukwudi (Spartak Tranava, Slovakia); Anthony Izuchukwu (Nest Sotra, Norway); Bitok Stephen (FC Isloch, Belarus)

Imama Amapakabo
photo credit: Sammy Wejinya

Midfielders: Sunusi Ibrahim (Nasarawa United); Aliyu Yau Adam (Spartak Jurmala, Latvia); Muyiwa Olabiran (Tambov FC, Russia); Kelechi Nwakali (FC Huesca, Spain); Ndifreke Effiong (Akwa United); Sunday Faleye (Wacker FC, Austria); Tom Dele-Bashiru (Watford FC, England); Azubuike Okechukwu (Basaksehir FC, Turkey)

Forwards: Orji Okwonkwo (Bologna FC, Italy); Taiwo Awoniyi (FSV Mainz 05, Germany); Bright Enobakhare (Wolverhampton Wanderers, England)

SWIMMING STARS READY TO CONCLUDE THE WORLD CUP SEASON IN RUSSIA AND QATAR

After five legs and two clusters, held from the beginning of August until mid-October, some of the best swimmers in the planet are ready to compete in the last two events of the 2019 FINA Swimming World Cup, taking place in Kazan (RUS, November 1-3) and Doha (QAT, November 7-9).

Before the final rendezvous of the year, Vladimir Morozov, from Russia, is leading the overall ranking among men, with 264 points. Moreover, he won 15 gold medals so far, corresponding to five victories (out of five) in three events: 50m and 100m free, and 50m back. He is followed by Lithuania’s Danas Rapsys (177 points, and sole winner of the season in the 200m and 400m free) and by Michael Andrew (USA), third at this stage with 132 points. Morozov was the winner of the first cluster of the competition, which included the Tokyo (JPN), Jinan (CHN) and Singapore (SGP) legs. In Cluster 2 (Budapest and Berlin), the Russia star was second, behind Dutch ace Arno Kamminga.

In the women’s field, Cate Campbell, from Australia, is provisionally leading operations, being the first of the ranking with 243 points. She is closely followed by Katinka Hosszu (HUN, 240). The Magyar great, who is showing a total supremacy so far in the 200m fly, and 200m and 400m IM, won the first cluster of the circuit, while Campbell was the best in the second cluster of the World Cup. In third of the overall ranking so far is Michelle Coleman, from Sweden (135 points).

A total of 23 (included one equalled) Swimming World Cup records have been established so far. Finally, swimmers from 36 nations have already won at least one medal in the competition: the chart is led by Australia with 84 podium presences (40 gold, 23 silver, 21 bronze), Hungary (79 – 27+35+17) and Russia (35 – 18+6+11).

BERLIN, GERMANY – OCTOBER 13: Cate Campbell (R) of Australia and Arno Kamminga (L) of the Netherlands pose during the medal ceremony during day three of the FINA Swimming World Cup Berlin at Schwimm- und Sprunghalle im Europasportpark (SSE) on October 13, 2019 in Berlin. (Photo by Ronny Hartmann/Getty Images)

2020 calendar unveiled

Before the conclusion of the 2019 edition, FINA announced the 2020 calendar of the FINA Swimming World Cup, comprising six meets from September to November. All three-day legs will take place in 25m-pool, as they will be qualification events for the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m), scheduled for Abu Dhabi (UAE) on December 2020.

The first cluster of the 2020 FINA Swimming World Cup will be contested few weeks after the conclusion of the Tokyo Olympic Games, with Singapore hosting the first meet on September 4-6, and Jinan (CHN) staging the second rendezvous on September 10-12.

The swimming stars will then proceed to the second cluster of the season, which will comprise two meets in Kazan (RUS) on October 2-4 and Doha (QAT) on October 8-10.

The 2020 FINA Swimming World Cup will then come to an end with the third cluster in Berlin (GER) on October 23-25 and the final leg in Budapest (HUN) on October 30-November 1.

FINA

Ahmed Musa, Ekong, 21 Others Picked For Super Eagles Games versus Benin and Lesotho

Super Eagles’ Technical Adviser Gernot Rohr has empaneled his squad for next month’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying matches against Benin Republic and Lesotho, with Captain Ahmed Musa back after injury and midfielder Ramon Azeez retained after seeing action in this month’s 1-1 draw with five –time world champions Brazil in Singapore.

Goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi is called for the first time since the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt this year summer – first choice Francis Uzoho is out for several months after his horrific injury against Brazil – and defender Kenneth Omeruo is also back, while there is another opportunity for midfielder Mikel Agu to flow back to the mainstream.

Super Eagles at training

France –based utility player Samuel Kalu returns after missing the prestige friendly against Brazil. England –based midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo is on standby as a result of his injury and is being monitored.

Nigeria, who won the bronze medals in Egypt, open their campaign for a place in Cameroon 2021 by welcoming the Squirrels of Benin Republic (who also featured in Egypt) to the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo on Wednesday, 13th November, before flying to Maseru to play Lesotho’s Crocodiles on Sunday, 17th November, on Day Two of the qualifying series.

23 EAGLES TO BATTLE BENIN REPUBLIC & LESOTHO

Goalkeepers: Daniel Akpeyi (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Heartland FC); Maduka Okoye (Fortuna Dusseldorf, Germany)

Defenders: Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor FC, Turkey); Chidozie Awaziem (CD Leganes, Spain); William Ekong (Udinese FC, Italy); Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy); Jamilu Collins (SC Padeborn 07, Germany); Oluwasemilogo Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion, England); Bryan Idowu (Lokomotiv Moscow, Russia)

Midfielders: Alexander Iwobi (Everton FC, England); Mikel Agu (Vitoria Guimaraes, Portugal); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Joseph Ayodele-Aribo (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Ramon Azeez (Granada FC, Spain)

during the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup match between Nigeria v Iceland on the 22nd June 2018 at Volgograd Arena ,Russia

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Al Nassr, Saudi Arabia); Victor Osimhen (Lille OSC, France); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal FC, Spain); Paul Onuachu (KRC Genk, Belgium); Emmanuel Dennis (Club Brugge, Belgium); Samuel Kalu (Girondins Bordeaux, France);

Standby: Leon Balogun (Brighton & Hove Albion, England); Peter Olayinka (SK Slavia Prague, Czech Republic); Oghenekaro Etebo (Stoke City, England)

Brazil 2019: Eaglets Stun Ecuador 3-2 To Reach Round of 16

Nigeria became the first team to reach the Round of 16 of the 2019 FIFA U17 World Cup finals in Brazil on Tuesday night on the back of a superlative hat –trick by forward Ibrahim Sa’id. Two goals in five second half minutes turned the table against a well–organised and cohesive Ecuador in Goiania.

Sa’id put Nigeria in front after only five minutes as goalkeeper Lopez made a hash of an attempted pass to his defender. An alert Sa’id intercepted and slotted past Lopez from outside the box.

The lively and tactically–disciplined South Americans were level five minutes later, as Mejia turned Ferdinand Ikenna from just outside the box and pulled the trigger. The ball grazed the upright and then went into the net off the back of goalkeeper Daniel Jinadu.

The Eaglets had endeavour, enthusiasm and pace, but were easily checkmated by the strong and highly coordinated Ecuadorians. Two minutes to the end of the first period, substitute Akinkunmi Amoo found Sa’id in the box, but the latter could not get the decisive touch needed to pull Nigeria level before the break.

Nine minutes into the second half, Ecuador were awarded a penalty by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) as Charles Etim had a slight contact with an advancing Ecuadorian attacker in a melee. Johan Mina sent Jinadu the wrong way to put the South Americans in the lead.

The Eaglets, five –time world champions, pushed, searched and frisked with determination, just as they did against Hungary in their first match before scoring three goals in six minutes in the second half to beat the Europeans 4-2 and bag the three points at stake.

Short and stray passes in the opposition’s critical zone, anxiety and wayward shooting did not help the Eaglets’ search for goals as time wore on.

However, substitutes Ibraheem Jabaar and Amoo had come close and captain Samson Tijani had fired over the bar before Sa’id drew Nigerian level in the 84th minute with a sweet, angled drive after receiving a pass from Jabaar.

Golden Eaglets in a group photo

Five minutes later, it was Sa’id again, blasting past Lopez from inside the box from a determined team move. Lopez got his hand to the ball but it was too hot to halt its flight into the net.

Jabaar went to the ground when he should have scored and Olakunle Olusegun shot narrowly wide in added time, but the Eaglets picked their three points for a maximum six in two matches and will await their opponents in the Round of 16, even as they travel to Brasilia for their last Group B game against Australia on Friday night.

Eight finalists selected by WorldRemit and Arsenal for the “Future Stars” coaching programme

A panel of judges from Arsenal and its official online money transfer partner, WorldRemit, have selected eight coaches as finalists for their Future Stars coaching programme.

The eight finalists will now compete in a public vote on http://www.FutureStars.WorldRemit.com for the chance to attend a personalised training programme with Arsenal Football Development coaches in London – sponsored by WorldRemit.

WorldRemit Future Stars finalist_Chinasa Ukandu

About Future Stars

The Future Stars programme was developed by WorldRemit and Arsenal to celebrate the positive impact that grassroots youth football coaches have on their communities, helping the children they train to develop life skills both on and off the pitch.

Now in its second edition, the Future Stars programme received over 1,400 online applications this year from across Africa and the Americas.

From these entries, a panel of judges selected 20 semi-finalists to receive Arsenal shirts for their youth team as recognition of their hard work within their communities.

The judging panel then narrowed these 20 semi-finalists down to eight finalist coaches – four male and four female.

WorldRemit and Arsenal Future Stars_Gilberto Silva

Male Future Stars finalists

Bakit Isaac Agogo from Gulu, Uganda
Feisal Abdi Hassan from Nairobi, Kenya
Luis Alejandro Castañeda Vargas from Bogotá, Colombia
Samuel Taylor from Accra, Ghana

Female Future Stars finalists

Beldine Lilian Achieng Odemba from Nairobi, Kenya
Chinasa Ukandu from Lagos State, Nigeria
Joan Nabisenke from Kampala, Uganda
Vivian Johana Pirateque Garzón from Bogotá, Colombia

Two winners – one male and one female – will be chosen by a public vote to fly to London for a personalised training programme with Arsenal Football Development coaches.

WorldRemit Future Stars finalist_Beldine Lilian Achieng Odemba

Voting is now open on http://www.FutureStars.WorldRemit.com until 23:59 GMT on 11th November.

Andrew Stewart, Managing Director Middle East & Africa at WorldRemit said: “Our business is all about making it easier for our customers to send money home to support their communities. Together with Arsenal, we set up the Future Stars programme to recognise football coaches within these communities who are dedicated to supporting and lifting up others.

“Our eight finalists’ stories are testament to the transformative impact that football can have on young people. We are delighted to celebrate their success and wish them all the best in the public vote!”

Simon McManus, Head Coach at Arsenal Football Development, said: “Through our community initiatives in London and abroad, we work hard to promote greater diversity in football and positively impact the lives of young people through sport.

“When developing this year’s Future Stars programme with WorldRemit, it was important for us to highlight the benefits of encouraging more women into the sport, both as players and as coaches. The eight finalists we have chosen all stood out to us due to their passion and commitment to using football to bring young people from all walks of life together.”

Ahead 2019-20 NPFL Season, Rivers United FC Unveil New Players

Rivers United have unveiled its new players ahead of the commencement of the 2019-20 Nigeria Professional League season.

The players were unveiled at an elaborate ceremony at the club’s home ground, the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt on Tuesday, October 29, 2019.

Addressing the team during the ceremony, General manager of the club, Chief Okey Kpalukwu urged them to give their all in the pursuit of laurels this season.

Responding, club captain, Festus Austine promised that the players would give a hundred percent in all competitions in the coming season.

Rivers United will face Kano Pillars in their opening league game of the season at the Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano on the 3rd of November, 2019.

Rugby Africa Congratulates South Africa Rugby for Winning Hosting Rights To The 2022 Rugby World Cup Sevens

The world’s best 24 men’s and 16 women’s rugby sevens teams will take to the field at the Cape Town Stadium in Green Point.

The arrival of the event on the African continent for the first time was also welcomed by Mr Khaled Babbou, the president of Rugby Africa: “Rugby Africa is very proud and happy that this tournament is coming to Africa,” he said. “It will add to the growth of the game on the continent. Congratulations to the South African Rugby Union (SARU). The cooperation between SARU and Rugby Africa produced excellent results for the African youth and this flagship event will help thrive the growing sports of Rugby Sevens on the African continent.”