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Showing posts with label Sports. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sports. Show all posts

Monday, March 29, 2021

March 29, 2021

Referee Apologises To Ronaldo And Portugal For Disallowed Goal Against Serbia


 



Dutch referee, Danny Makkelie, has apologised for denying Cristiano Ronaldo the winning goal in Portugal’s 2-2 draw with Serbia in a World Cup qualifier on Saturday.


Serbia defender, Stefan Mitrovic, tried in vain to clear Ronaldo’s effort in stoppage time, but the ball crossed the line.

With no VAR or goal-line technology, Makkelie waved play on much to the anger of Ronaldo and his teammates.

“As per FIFA’s policies, all I can say is that I apologised to the national coach, Mr. Fernando Santos, and to the Portuguese team for what happened.


“As a referee team, we always work hard to make good decisions. When we are in the news in this manner, it doesn’t make us happy at all,” Makkelie told A Bola.


The 38-year-okd has been an international referee since 2008 and took charge of the 2020 Europa League final between Sevilla and Inter Milan.





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Sunday, March 7, 2021

March 07, 2021

Boxing: Blachowicz Defeats Nigeria's Isreal Adesanya


 

Nigerian-born Israel Adesanya's meteoric rise to UFC superstardom hit a rather large obstacle Saturday night.



Jan Blachowicz beat the previously undefeated Adesanya by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-45, 49-45) to retain his light heavyweight title in the main event of UFC 259.


Adesanya, the UFC middleweight champion, was attempting to become just the fifth fighter in UFC history to hold two titles concurrently.


"It didn't go exactly the way I wanted it to go, but dare to be great," Adesanya said. "You know, the critics are the ones on the sideline, but I'm the one putting it on the line."


Adesanya added: "If I was gonna lose to anyone, I'm glad I lost to him. Credit to him. He's a great champion."


The story of the fight leading in was that Blachowicz would have a significant size advantage. Adesanya tipped the scales at 200.5 pounds during Friday's weigh-in, 4.5 pounds under the 205-pound limit for a light heavyweight title fight. Blachowicz weighed 205 pounds and said he planned on competing Saturday at 220 pounds.


Adesanya, who typically competes in the 185-pound division, likely didn't gain much weight since weigh-ins, meaning Blachowicz would be about 20 pounds heavier in the Octagon.


"Size is always a factor when you move up a weight class in this sport," UFC president Dana White said. "It was definitely a factor. Weight was a factor. When you move up a weight class like that, strength is a factor. How hard these guys hit is a factor. And Jan is the real deal."


That size disparity paid dividends for Blachowicz. The Polish fighter took over the fight late with big takedowns in the fourth and fifth rounds. Adesanya seemed to be building some momentum in the fourth when Blachowicz exploded in for a double-leg takedown. Both times, Adesanya could not get up. While Blachowicz didn't do a ton of damage on the mat, he held Adesanya there very effectively and sprinkled in some punches.


As the clock was expiring to end the fight, Blachowicz finally landed some hard hammerfists and advanced into full mount. The final flurry all but sealed the bout.


"When I took him to the ground, he felt the difference between his category and [light heavyweight]," Blachowicz said.


Adesanya said it was Blachowicz's defensive skills, not his size, that might have been the difference Saturday night.


"I wouldn't say size, because I can hurt big dudes," he said. "I think it was just his defense. He was really tight with his defense and smart with his defense."


Judges Derek Cleary and Sal D'Amato gave Blachowicz every round except for the third, and Cleary gave Blachowicz a 10-8 in the fifth. Judge Junichiro Kamijo gave Blachowicz every round except the second and also scored the fifth 10-8 for him.


Blachowicz had a 107-78 edge in significant strikes, outlanding Adesanya in every round, including 28-12 in the fifth.


"This guy is a tough guy," White said of Blachowicz. "You've seen all the guys Izzy has fought and what he's done. Jan is a tough guy."


Coming in, ESPN had Adesanya ranked the No. 4 pound-for-pound MMA fighter in the world. Adesanya is ranked No. 1 at middleweight, while Blachowicz is ranked No. 2 at light heavyweight, behind only all-time great Jon Jones, who is currently moving up to heavyweight.


UFC 259 took place with COVID-19 protocols in place inside the UFC Apex, a facility across the street from the promotion's corporate campus.


Blachowicz (28-8) has won five bouts in a row. He claimed the UFC light heavyweight title in beating Dominick Reyes by second-round TKO at UFC 253 in September. Blachowicz, 38, has won nine of 10 fights overall and has had a pretty incredible late-career surge. He has been a pro since 2007, and he was the light heavyweight champion of his home country's KSW promotion in 2011.


"Everybody is different. I just found a way how to be the best," Blachowicz said of his late success, adding, "No question, I'm the best. I'm the best in the world."


Adesanya (20-1), a former champion kickboxer, won his first nine fights in the UFC before Saturday. The Nigeria-born New Zealand resident is coming off a second-round TKO over Paulo Costa at UFC 253, in the headlining fight of the card in which Blachowicz won the light heavyweight title. The flashy Adesanya, 31, has 15 knockouts in 20 career wins and has been UFC middleweight champion since October 2019.


Blachowicz entered Saturday's main event as a plus-210 underdog, according to Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill. In the past 10 years, no fighter has more wins as a betting underdog than Blachowicz, who is tied with Neil Magny and Andrei Arlovski with eight.


Sunday, January 24, 2021

January 24, 2021

FA Cup: Man Utd Defeats Liverpool To Advance To 5th Round




Bruno Fernandes' superb 78th-minute free-kick gave Manchester United victory in a thrilling FA Cup tie with old rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford.


Liverpool led a fantastic contest through Mohamed Salah, who then equalised after Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford had struck for the hosts either side of the break.



But in a game which had everything last week's drab stalemate between this pair at Anfield lacked, Fernandes came off the bench to have the final word after Fabinho had fouled Edinson Cavani on the edge of the area.


Fernandes might have been slightly off the pace in recent games but when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needed his £47m inspiration to come up with another special moment, the Portuguese delivered, bending his shot round the wall and beyond Allison's reach.


The victory earns United a home meeting with an in-form West Ham side managed by former boss David Moyes in the fifth round.

But the search for form goes on for Liverpool, whose only win in seven games since that seven-goal hammering of Crystal Palace came against Aston Villa's kids in the last round, and who have a meeting with Jose Mourinho's Tottenham looming on Thursday.


Thursday, January 21, 2021

January 21, 2021

Odukpani-born Ex-Super Eagles Goalkeeper And Assistant Coach, Joe Erico Is Dead


 

Nigerian football was again thrown into mourning on Thursday after news broke of the death of former Nigeria senior team goalkeeper and one-time assistant coach of the Super Eagles, Joe Erico.

Family sources said the flamboyant trainer of trainers and respected nurturer of talents complained of body pain and was treated for malaria, only to be found dead in his bed at dawn on Thursday.

Born Joseph Bassey Eric in the Odukpani local government area in what is today known as Cross River State, Erico belonged to the cast of the very best goalkeepers in the history of Nigeria’s senior team, and served at the same period as the revered Emmanuel Okala and Eyo Essien.

He made his debut for then Green Eagles in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match against Zambia in Lagos in July 1973 (which Nigeria won 3-2), and then kept goal in all of Nigeria’s six matches at the 1976 Africa Cup of Nations in Ethiopia, where the Eagles finished third – the first time Nigeria would win a medal at the AFCON. Erico was also in goal in all of Nigeria’s pre-tournament friendlies against Kenya, Zambia and Tanzania just before the team flew to Ethiopia.

“It is another sad day for Nigerian Football. Erico was among the very best of Nigeria’s international goalkeepers and also served the country with fervour and diligence as Assistant Coach of the Super Eagles between 2001 and 2002. He will be sorely missed. We pray that Almighty God grant him eternal rest and also grant his family and loved ones the fortitude to bear the big loss,” NFF General Secretary, Dr Mohammed Sanusi, said in Abuja.

Nicknamed ‘Jogo Bonito’(Beautiful Game) for his preference for fluency and expression in the rhythm of play of his teams as a coach, Erico was part of the triumvirate (alongside late Amodu Shaibu and late Stephen Keshi) who were shooed in to do a rescue job for Nigeria as the ship to the 2002 FIFA World Cup finals tottered badly under Dutchman Johannes Bonfrere. With three matches left in the campaign and a must-win mandate for all, the trio got the job done and qualified Nigeria for Korea/Japan.

They also led the team to a bronze-medal finish at the 2002 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Mali early 2002.

With his death on Thursday morning, it means all members of that historic triumvirate have now passed on.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

October 04, 2020

Victor Osimhen To Miss Algeria, Tunisia Friendly Ties, To Be Replaced By Onuachu


 Napoli striking sensation, Victor Osimhen will miss Nigeria's two friendly matches against Algeria and Tunisia billed to hold on October 9 and 13 respectively, Grassroot Reporters reports.


The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) made the announcement on its verified Twitter handle on Sunday.


Osimhen will be replaced by Genk FC of Belgium striker, Paul Onuachu. Onuachu has so far impressed at club levels, netting 7 goals in 6 starts for the club in the current season. But the big striker has for far failed to impress in the colours of Nigeria Super Eagles. Apart from a solitary goal he scored against the Pharaohs of Egypt in a friendly match, the big striker failed to score any goal in the 2019 African Nations Cup, drawing heavy criticisms from Nigerian football lovers.

The NFF said: "@victorosimhen has been excused from @NGSuperEagles games against Algeria and Tunisia. His replacement is Paul Onuachu".


Although the reason for Osimhen absence was not stated by the NFF, this may not be unconnected with the outbreak of Coronavirus.


Recall that 22 Genoa players tested positive to the virus, following the loss to Napoli last week Sunday. Although Osimhen has not tested positive to the Virus, he has undergone a test with the rest of his teammates and the coaching staff.


Napoli were banned by local authorities from travelling to Turin for the match against Juventus on health concerns after 2 players from the Turin Club tested positive to the virus, although Juventus had insisted on going on with the match.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

August 25, 2020

BREAKING: Lionel Messi Tells Barcelona He Wants To Leave


Lionel Messi has reportedly told Barcelona he wants to leave the club this summer following discussions with their new manager Ronald Koeman.
Speculation has been rife that the Argentinean star could be set to move on ever since Barca's humiliating 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals.

And now reports from Spain and Argentina claim that he has communicated to the club his desire for a fresh start following a turbulent season.
Fox Sports journalist Cholo Sottile tweeted on Tuesday afternoon: "Confirmed: Messi has communicated to Barcelona that he will leave."
August 25, 2020

Pelican Stars FC Of Calabar Vice Captain Quits Football For Hairdressing After 1 Year Without Pay

Chinenye Okafor
Assistant Captain of Pelican Stars Football Club of Calabar, Nigeria's most successful female team, Chinenye Okafor has quit football for hairdressing after playing for one year  for the club without pay. She took the decision in July, 2020.

The players and coaches of the club have for sometime now complained bitterly over the failure of the Cross River State Government to pay them about 14 months of salary.

They have also staged several protests over the issue but the Cross River State government is yet to yield to the demands.

She told BBC Sport Africa she feels ashamed to tell someone she's a footballer.
"I can't even tell someone that I'm a footballer because I'm ashamed that after loving football for 22 years, there is nothing to show for it.

" I'm now a hairdresser and I can see that with this, I can go on with life. I work from 8:30am to 5:30, Mondays to Saturdays. It's tough but thank God I'm making it".

She said it is quite a contrast when she was pursuing her lifelong passion of playing football yet suffering deeply because of it, as club officials simply failed to pay women's team.

Pelican Stars has won 8 leagues titles, two better than closest rivals and has produced two former African Players of the Year -Perpetua Nkwocha and Mercy Akide-Udoh.

Okafor continued:
"I sometimes cried at night because the next morning, I didn't have anything to eat. After two-three times, I made up my mind to come to Lagos- because I can't keep suffering".

Chinenye and her Pelican Stars Teammates after winning promotion back to topflight women's football.

She joined Pelican Stars in 2018 and the club was relegated in her first season. She relished the experience and lifestyle.

"Everything was going fine and I was happy that this was my breakthrough.

"The payment was coming in, management were kind but at the end of the season, we were relegated.

"We decided that as players that since we were the ones that took the team to relegation, we would take the team back to the Premier League."

They were as good as their word, bouncing back with an immediate promotion that was even celebrated at Cross River State's Government House.

But the waters were muddying.

Midway through the season, a club that regularly paid salaries - which ranged from $78-182 - to its players by the end of every month started falling behind with payments.

The first time it happened was when February's wages came in March. By June 2019, the payments simply stopped coming altogether.

Fall to earth

The Pelican Stars team have been forced to protest outside Cross River State's Government House.

Even before Covid-19 struck earlier this year, the situation had been rapidly deteriorating for Okafor and her team-mates as they held out for their delayed payments.

"Our club vice-chairman brought bags of rice and beans for us to have at home before the pandemic started," she recalled.

"It was so bad in camp that we shared food. We also got mocked by local traders because sometimes we had to buy things on credit."

A state commissioner brought more rice once coronavirus made its unwelcome entrance but Okafor's challenging existence grew intolerable after Cross River State officials continued to fund men's teams while ignoring the Stars' pleas.

"I feel that women are discriminated against. They paid the men's team, Unicem Rovers, and even the junior team, without paying us - even though our salary had been outstanding since June 2019.

"That was when I got angry. It was too much. We needed to do something for the state governor to know that something is going on."

In April this year, after ten months without pay, the Stars players held their first protest outside state headquarters.

"The security at Government House harassed us and even brought out guns, saying we should all leave the premises. They said that because of Covid, we were not supposed to be there.

"I felt embarrassed. We had a team-mate that was sick, because she hadn't had food to eat. She got a chronic ulcer and even now, I don't think she (is in a state to) play football again.

"They did not even say: 'Because of her, let us release one-two months' salaries'."

A second protest followed shortly after, whereupon the club management said all arrears would be settled by the end of April.

None ever came.

In order to feed themselves, Okafor and some team-mates started looking for other ways to make money while also having to ask others for help.

"Some of us were doing hair for a living or sewing clothes. We also had help from our family and from some fellow female professional footballers," she said.

Meanwhile, the head of Nigeria's Women's League barred Pelican Stars from playing in the league until the salaries are paid - a situation that still stands today.

From heady to head days

Chinenye Okafor dreams about being able to play football again

Ultimately, the lack of pay and regrettable living conditions eventually caused Okafor's family to step in more forcefully.

"My dad began to call me to come back home, so I left the club in July. I'm now a hairdresser in Lagos," she said.

"Nothing can be as fulfilling as playing football. to me, football makes me happy whenever I'm on the field of play

"I never saw myself hairdressing so I think I can say at the moment it is a chore.

"I am slowly getting to like it now and am even thinking of having my own salon sooner or later."
Chinenye Okafor is managing to make a living by being a hairdresser rather than a footballer

But while she concentrates on styling her clients, the bounce Okafor is after is really that of a football - whose lure is irresistible for this fighter.

"If the 2021 season starts, I will for trials with another club," she rallies. "I still do evening training after work to keep myself fit."

Okafor's former team-mates, meanwhile, have now gone 14 months without being paid, despite Cross River State's Sport Commissioner promising to pay them last week.

"I will never give up on by career because of Pelican Stars," says Okafor.

"My dream is to play for the Super Falcons of Nigeria and I know my dreams will come true one day. Football has been my joy, my life, my everything and I'll keep fighting for it."

Monday, August 24, 2020

August 24, 2020

Former Brazilian Star, Ronaldinho Released From Prison

Former Brazil and Barcelona star, Ronaldinho was released Monday by a Paraguayan judge after five months in detention over a forged passport.
Judge Gustavo Amarilla also released Ronaldinho’s brother Roberto de Assis Moreira, who had been held for a month in jail and another four months under house arrest in a hotel in Paraguay’s capital Asuncion for the same charge.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

August 12, 2020

Pelican Stars Football Club Of Calabar Protests 14 Months Unpaid Salaries

 Players and coaches of Pelican Stars Football Club of Calabar, today, August 12, protested 14 months of unpaid salaries by the Cross River State Government.


Pelican Stars FC has produced some of Nigeria's best female footballers, such as Pepertua Nkwocha, Mercy Akide etc.

The club has for sometime now, cried out over poor funding of the club and non-payment of players' salaries.

The protest which took place at the front gate of Governor's Office, Calabar, saw the players carring placards with various  inscriptions such as: "Fourteen Months Unpaid Salaries", "We are the bread winner of our family, Digital Father".

Friday, July 24, 2020

July 24, 2020

BREAKING: New English Premier League Season (2020/2021) To Start In September




The English Premier League has announced that the 2020/2021 season will start on Saturday, September 12 and run until May 23, 2021.

Also, the EFL has confirmed that the Championship, League o
one and League Two seasons will commence on the same weekend, with their regular seasons ending on the weekend of May 8, 2021.

The playoff finals will take place over the Bank Holiday weekend at the end of May.

The announcements mean that the season will begin behind closed doors since spectators are to return to venues on a socially a distanced basis on October 1.


This was contained in a statement by the Premier League which reads in part:

"Premier League shareholders today agreed to start the 2020/2021 Premier League Season on September 12, 2020.

"The final match round of the campaign will take place on 23 May.

The current Premier League season ends on Sunday while the FA Cup final takes place Saturday, August 1.

Liverpool are the newly crowned champions of the EPL, their first in three decades.