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

Monday, January 17, 2022

January 17, 2022

Robert Lewandowski Beats Messi, Wins FIFA Best Player Of The Year (See Full List Of Winners)


Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski won the men’s player award for the second year running.



The 33-year-old Poland international set a new record for most Bundesliga goals in a calendar year with his 43rd goal in December, breaking the record set by Gerd Muller in 1972. Lewandowski, winner of the men’s award in 2020, also became the first player in Bundesliga history to finish top scorer in four consecutive seasons.



Barcelona midfielder Alexia Putellas was named women’s player of the year, adding the accolade to her Ballon d’Or triumph. Putellas, 27, captained Barcelona to the treble, with the Catalan side winning the Women’s Champions League, Spanish league and Copa de la Reina last term.


All the winners from 2021 The Best

The Best FIFA Men's Player - Robert Lewandowski


The Best FIFA Women's Player - Alexia Putellas


The FIFA Fifpro Men's World XI: Donnarumma; Dias, Bonucci, Alaba; Jorginho, Kante, De Bruyne; Ronaldo, Haaland, Lewandowski, Messi


The FIFA Fifpro Women's World XI: Chistiane Endler; Lucy Bronze, Wendy Renard, Mille Bright, Magdalena Erikkson; Estafania Banini, Carli Lloyd, Barbara Bonansea; Vivianne Miedema, Marta, Alex Morgan


FIFA Fan Award - Denmark and Finland Fans


The Best FIFA Men's Coach - Thomas Tuchel


The FIFA Best Women's Coach - Emma Hayes


FIFA Fair Play Award - Denmark National Team and Staff


Puskas Award - Erik Lamela


The Best FIFA Men's Goalkeeper - Edouard Mendy


The Best FIFA Women's Goalkeeper - Christiane Endler


FIFA Best Special Award - Christine Sinclair


FIFA Best Special Award - Cristiano Ronaldo





Sunday, January 16, 2022

January 16, 2022

English Premier League: Another Club Sacks Manager


 

Everton Football Club have sacked Rafa Benitez as their manager.


The Spaniard was relieved of his duties after just six months on the job in which he led the club to a series of defeats including a 2-1 loss to Norwich on Saturday.


The defeat away to Norwich proved to be the final straw.


The 61-year-old took over from Carlo Ancelotti last summer and started with five wins in eight matches of the season in all competitions.


But the Toffees have managed just one win in their last 12 games in the English top flight.


A statement from the Premier League club said: “Everton Football Club can confirm the departure of Rafael Benitez as first-team manager.


“Benitez, who joined Everton in June 2021, has left the club with immediate effect. An update on a permanent replacement will be made in due course.”




January 16, 2022

Australian Open: Djokovic Loses Visa Cancellation Appeal, Set To Be Deported


 

Australian Judges have rejected tennis star Novak Djokovic’s last-ditch appeal to remain in Australia.


In a hope shattering ruling, the judges denied the visa cancellation appeal, saying they were not convinced on the merits.


The immediate implication is that Djokovic will now have to be deported from Australia.


He will thus miss the chance of competing for his 21st Grand Slam.


The 20-time Grand Slam champion had his appeal heard in the Federal Court on Sunday in a last ditch attempt to stay and compete for the title.


Chief Justice James Allsop, Justice Anthony Besanko and Justice David O’Callaghan unanimously decided Djokovic did not have grounds to dispute Immigration Minister Alex Hawke’s deportation order.


Mr Hawke wielded his discretionary power on Friday afternoon to deport Djokovic despite a court ruling last week in his favour.


But the odds were stacked against Djokovic heading into Sunday’s hearing despite his previous court win, because Mr Hawke’s power is so broad, reports Mail Online.


Chief Justice James Allsop wanted to make clear Djokovic had not launched an official appeal against Mr Hawke’s decision. Instead, he had the opportunity to have the judges review the order based on its merit.


The world No.1 was required to prove to the court that Mr Hawke acted irrationally or legally unreasonably in choosing to use his discretionary powers.


Justice Allsop earlier said he accepted Djokovic could be seen as ‘an iconic sports star that is setting an example that is not ideal to be followed’.


‘If Mr Djokovic won the Open, as he has in the past, there is an example embedded in the Minister’s reasoning that this is an example for young and not so young fans of tennis.’


The government did not indicate whether they would take up the option to prevent Djokovic from applying for a visa to enter Australia for the next three years.




Saturday, January 15, 2022

January 15, 2022

AFCON: Nigeria Vs Sudan: Moses Simon Wins Man Of The Match

Moses Simon

 Moses Simon has been named Man of the Match following Nigeria’s comfortable 3- 1 win against Sudan at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.


Simon scored a goal and bagged an assist in the encounter.


The FC Nantes winger was on hand to tee-up Samuel Chukwueze for Nigeria’s opening goal in the third minute of the encounter in the Cameroonian city of Garoua, before going on to grab his first goal of the AFCON a minute into the second half with a deft finish.


“I’m happy to win this award, it’s nice to be named the best player on the night,” Simon said after the game


“The award is not for me alone, it’s for the entire team. The most important thing is that we won and I’m happy about it.”


The 25-year-old also impressed in Nigeria’s 1-0 win against Egypt on Tuesday but was beaten to the Man of the Match award by teammate Kelechi Iheanacho, scorer of Nigeria’s only goal against the Pharaohs.



January 15, 2022

AFCON: Super Eagles beat Sudan, advance to last-16


The Super Eagles of Nigeria are through to the last-16 at the Africa Cup of Nations after a comfortable 3-1 win against Sudan on Saturday in Garoua.



Nigeria’s goals were scored by Samuel Chukwueze (3rd minute), Taiwo Awoniyi (45th), and Moses Simon (46th).


Walieldin Khidir pulled back what turned out to be a solitary goal for Sudan from the penalty spot in the 70th minute.


Nigeria Head Coach Austin Eguavoen did not make any changes to the starting-11 that defeated Egypt on Tuesday and it did not take long for the Super Eagles to break the deadlock, as a long throw from Ola Aina into the Sudanese penalty box was well controlled by Simon before the FC Nantes winger found Chukwueze who placed a low shot past the Sudanese goalkeeper.


Although the Super Eagles were in control, Sudan did not come easy in the opening minutes as they forced Nigeria goalkeeper Maduka Okoye to make a fine save in the 14th minute off a shot from Mohamed Al Rashed.


But it was Nigeria who grabbed a second through Awoniyi in the 45th minute from a Kelechi Iheanacho free-kick which team captain William Troost-Ekong headed towards the Sudanese goal only for the ball to bounce off a Sudanese defender and onto the head of Awoniyi.



It was Awoniyi’s maiden senior goal for Nigeria in his third appearance for the Super Eagles.


A minute into the second half, Man-of-the-Match Simon, in what was Nigeria’s 95th AFCON game, grabbed a richly deserved goal, bursting down the left, and deftly controlling the ball before placing it past the Sudanese goalie.


Sudan then got a penalty because of shirt-pulling in the box and Khidir converted it with aplomb, sending Okoye the wrong way.


But it was only ever going to be a consolation goal as Nigeria dominated possession and made wave upon wave of fast-paced attack right until the end.


 

Thursday, January 13, 2022

January 13, 2022

AFCON: See Shocking Reasons Referee Who Officiated Tunisia Vs Mali Match Blew The Final Whistle At 85th Minute




Janny Sikazwe, the referee at the centre of the controversy at the end of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations match between Tunisia and Mali on Wednesday, was suffering from heat stroke and severe dehydration.


It has been revealed that Sikazwe was taken to hospital after the game.

Tunisia have appealed for their Group F opening fixture to be replayed, after Sikazwe blew the final whistle after just 85 minutes and then again 17 seconds before 90 minutes were up.

Mali eventually won the encounter 1-0.


AFCON’s head of referees, Essam Abdel-Fatah, has now come out to defend the performance of Sikazwe, claiming he was suffering from the effects of the 34-degree heat level and 65 percent humidity in Limbe, Cameroon.



January 13, 2022

AFCON: Cameroon Becomes First Country To Qualify For Knockout Stages, Defeats Ethiopia


 

The hosts beat Ethiopia 4-1 on Thursday evening to seal their spot.


Captain Vincent Aboubakar and Karl Toko-Ekambi both scored twice to take the Indomitable Lions through with one group game to spare.


Cameroon had defeated Burkina Faso 2-1 last Sunday in their opening fixture.


But they had to come back from behind at the Olembe Stadium in Yaounde, after Dawa Hotessa gave Ethiopia a shock lead.


The five-time African champions are now well-placed to finish top of Group A.


Their last group game is against Cape Verde, while Burkina Faso take on Ethiopia.



January 13, 2022

UNICAL Bids To Host Nigerian University Games, Inaugurates Committee


By George Odok (NAN)


The Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, Prof. Florence Obi, has expressed readiness that the university is ready to host the 26th edition of the Nigerian Universities Games (NUGA) schedule to hold in March 2024.


Prof. Obi gave the assurance while inaugurating the Preliminaries Committee and the Bid committee for the 2024 NUGA Games with a charge on them to be committed and proactive in the discharge of their duties to enable them achieve their mandate.


The Vice Chancellor said that the institution was keen on hosting the NUGA 2024, hence the inauguration of the bid committee to ensure that the hosting right is given to Unical.


she said the institution was taking a step of faith, adding that, ''with God on our side, the institution will be granted the hosting right for the 2024 NUGA Games".


She gave assurance that the institution would work towards upgrading its sports facilities, which she believed, would brighten its chances of winning the hosting right.


Earlier, the Acting Director of Sports, Dr Blessing Anam, said that preparations for the NUGA 2024 games had started, even as she expressed optimism that with the calibre of persons in the committees, the institution would be granted the hosting right.


While calling on the committee members to brace up for the task ahead, she aligned with the Vice Chancellor's submission on the need to upgrade the institution's facilities in order to boost the institutions chances of getting the hosting right for the NUGA Games.


The Deputy Vice Chancellor Administration, Prof. Michael Okom, was inaugurated as the Chairman of the bid committee, while Prof. Lucas Ogunjimi will serve as Vice Chairman.


Other members of the committee are; Mr. Joseph Odum(Bursar), Engr. Joseph Alaga(Director of work), Arch.James Ikpi(Director of Physical Planning), Dr. Raphael Offiong(Faculty of Environmental Sciences), Mr.Effiong Eyo(Information Unit).

Others are: Arch.Williams Effiong(Physical Planning Unit), Dr.Dien.A Dien( Acting Director of Health Service), Mr.Okon Usani( Acting Chief Security Officer), Pst.Alberto Osang(Secretary, Directorate of Sports), Dr.Edmond.A.Odok(Deputy Director of Sport) and Dr.Blessing Anam(Acting Director of Sports).


Similarly, the Vice Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Obi, will serve as the Chairman of the main organising committee for the games, while Prof. Michael Okom, the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Administration, will serve as the Vice Chairman.


Other members of the committee are; Dr.Tony Eyang(Dean Students Affairs), Prof. Ogunjimi Lucas(Technical), Dr.Dien Dien(Medical Director), Mr.Joseph Odum(Bursar), Mr.Effiong Eyo(Information Officer), Mr.Okon Usani(Chief Security officer), Engr.Joseph Alaga(Director of Works), and Dr.Blessing Anam( Acting Director of Sports).



January 13, 2022

AFCON: Tunisia Appeal To CAF For Replay Of Match Against Mali After Referee Blew For Full-time At 85 Minutes Of Play


 

Tunisia have made an appeal to CAF to replay their Africa Cup of Nations Group F match against Mali after the ended in a controversial 1-0 defeat. 


Mali were 1-0 up after Ibrahima Kone scored a spot-kick when referee Janny Sikazwe blew the final whistle early.


The Zambian official first blew the final whistle after just 85 minutes before restarting play for four minutes, but blew again with just 89 minutes and 43 seconds of the clash gone before 90 minutes. 


According to DailyMail, Mali coach Mohamed Magassouba's post-match press conference was later interrupted as it was announced the final three minutes of the game would be played. About 40 minutes later the Mali players and officials returned to the pitch but the Tunisian players refused as they had reportedly already had their ice baths.

 

Tunisia's refusal to return to play the remainder of the game led to Sikazwe blowing his whistle once again to call off the match, meaning the 1-0 victory for Mali will stand.


In the aftermath, Tunisia coach Mondher Kebaier slammed the decision as 'inexplicable' and the nation have now called for the game to be replayed, according to beIN SPORTS. 


Should the 1-0 result stand, Mali will be in a strong position to advance into the knockout stages of the competition for the second tournament running. 


In his post-match press conference Kebaier said: 'Very tough to manage non-sporting affairs.


'At the 85th minute, he blows the final whistle. Again at 89th minute. There was supposed to be 7-8 minutes of additional time. His decision is inexplicable.'


'The players were taking ice baths for 35 minutes before they were called back out again,' he added. 


'I've been coaching for a long time never seen anything like it. Even the 4th referee was preparing to lift the board and then the whistle was blown.'






Tuesday, January 11, 2022

January 11, 2022

Salah Swallowed Up By Super Eagles As Nigeria Defeats Egypt


 

The second true heavyweight match of the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations saw Nigeria take firm control of Group D with a 1-0 victory over Mohamed Salah and Egypt.


After Monday's game between Morocco and Ghana saw the Atlas Lions come away with a 1-0 victory, we were treated to another matchup of expected title contenders, and the result showed one side is far more prepared to push for the crown than the other.


Liverpool superstar Salah was entirely locked down, with little to show for his 90-minute effort as Nigeria smothered the Egyptian playmaker. Kelechi Iheanacho's early goal proved the difference as Nigeria fended off a late Pharoahs push to claim all three points.


Both teams are expected to progress from Group D despite today's result, but Nigeria's victory sets the Super Eagles up nicely for a better Round of 16 matchup and a deep run deep in the tournament, while Egypt will feel added pressure in its other group stage matches against Guinea-Bissau and Sudan.






Monday, January 10, 2022

January 10, 2022

I'll Retire From International Football After AFCON 2021 - Ahmed Musa


Super Eagles of Nigeria captain, Ahmed Musa has announced that the ongoing 2021 Africa Cup of Nations would be his last for the country.


The former Leicester City, 29, disclosed this during the pre-match conference for Nigeria’s first game against Egypt, and also noted that he will not retire yet as the 2022 World Cup is also in sight.


“I didn’t say I will retire from international football after this AFCON, but this will be my last AFCON, and we still have the World Cup that I will go."


Musa has been a regular for the Super Eagles since his debut in September 2010. This Nations Cup would be his third. Musa was part of the late Stephen Keshi’s team that claimed gold in 2013 and was also part of the team that finished in third place in 2019.



January 10, 2022

Tennis Star, Djokovic Arrested Hours After Winning Australian Visa Fight


 

Novak Djokovic has been arrested just hours after winning his appeal against the Australian government, according to his outspoken father.


The Australian government previously cancelled the tennis star’s visa and detained him when he arrived in Melbourne on Wednesday.


 Djokovic won his appeal and a court ordered his immediate release – but another option was available to the Government, where the immigration minister himself could revoke the 34-year-old’s visa on account of the fact he is not vaccinated against coronavirus.


Now Srdjan Djokovic has now told Serbian journalists his son has been arrested by police, although the Australian government and tennis sources have said the claim is untrue.


Australian journalist Paul Karp told LBC earlier the stakes had “risen rather than receded” with Djokovic’s victory, because there remained a “nuclear option” for the immigration minister himself to deport the player – meaning his participation in the next three Australian Opens hangs in the balance.


“Novak Djokovic’s lawyers were attacking the fairness of the way that he was questioned in the early hours of the morning and particularly the fact that the Australian government reneged on a deal to allow him to talk to Tennis Australia officials,” Mr Karp told LBC’s Nick Ferrari at Breakfast.


“That was the focus of most of the argument but really Djokovic has won the battle but might still lose the war here, because the Australian government has agreed to quash the decision cancelling his visa… but the government lawyers told the court that they are considering using a separate power in the migration act for the immigration minister to personally cancel his visa.”


Mr Karp described it as a “nuclear option”, explaining that the repercussions of taking it could be huge.


“If they use this power he will be deported from Australia and cannot come back for three years, so as the judge observed at the end of the hearing today, the stakes have actually risen than receded because we’re now talking about whether he can play in the 2022, 2023 and 2024 Australian opens,” he said.


“It could even affect whether Australia is able to host the Australian open tournament in the next three years.”


The Australian government cancelled the 34-year-old’s visa, saying he was not exempt from the stringent vaccine rules despite claims he was recently infected with the virus.


But Judge Anthony Kelly has quashed the cancellation, and ordered the Australian Government to pay legal costs and release Djokovic from detention within half an hour.


But it does not mean the vaccine row is over.


Government counsel Christopher Tran notified the court that the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs – not the minister who made the original visa cancellation – will now consider whether to exercise a personal power of cancellation of Djokovic’s visa.


The virtual hearing began at 10am local time on Monday (11pm on Sunday in UK-time).


The Serb’s lawyers argued Australian border officials did not give Djokovic enough notice of the government’s intention to revoke his visa, and argued he had a valid exemption from vaccination due to being recently infected with coronavirus.


Djokovic travelled to Australia to play in the Australian Open last week, which begins on January 17.


The top-ranked Serb had hoped to defend his title and win a men’s record 21st Grand Slam singles title.


But, despite allegedly being told by officials he would be given an exemption to the stringent vaccine rules in order to compete, he was denied entry when he arrived at Melbourne’s airport on Wednesday.


The case has polarised opinion around the world and elicited heartfelt support for the tennis star in his native Serbia.


His parents recently joined a protest rally in the capital Belgrade, with his mother Dijana Djokovic telling the crowd: “Today is a big day.


“Today, the whole world will hear the truth.


“We hope that Novak will come out as a free man.


“We send great love to Novak.


“We believe in him, but also in the independent judiciary in Melbourne.”


Djokovic’s father Srdjan Djokovic said “this is happening because we are only a small part of the world, but we are proud people”.


He added: “They can’t break us. Novak is the personification of freedom, everything human that one man contains in himself. Shame on them!”


Mrs Djokovic said that the conditions in the hotel in Melbourne where Djokovic is staying are “not humane”.


“He doesn’t even have breakfast,” she said.


“He has a wall to stare at and he can’t even see a park in front or go out of the room.”



January 10, 2022

Manchester United Signs Nigerian Wonderkid


 

Lambeth Tigers FC have announced that their Under 14 player, Majid Balogun, has officially joined Manchester United.


Lambeth Tigers disclosed this in a post via their Instagram account on Sunday.


Balogun is now the second player in Lambeth’s history to join directly from the grassroots from the South of England.


The youngster was on the wishlist of several unnamed clubs in England before Man United won the race for his signature.


He will be aiming to sign a scholarship with Man United in the next few years.


“Lambeth Tigers can confirm highly regarded U14 forward has officially joined @manchesterunited, becoming the 2nd player in the club’s history to join directly from grassroots from the South of England.


“He also becomes the first player from the Tigers to join the red half of Manchester, we look forward to many more following suit.


“Man Utd won the race for the forward, beating a whole host of clubs from all over the country for his signature,” Lambeth wrote.



Sunday, January 9, 2022

January 09, 2022

Victor Osimhen Returns To Napoli, Recovers From Covid-19


 

Napoli striker, Victor Osimhen has finally returned to the club after months of absence owing to facial injury and Covid-19.


The club announced on Sunday morning that the striker was returning to Napoli in a few hours.


The Serie A club announced that the Nigeria international has tested negative for Covid-19. This is exactly ten days after he tested positive.


“Victor is negative to Covid-19 and will return to Italy in the coming hours,” Napoli wrote on their official Instagram account.


Osimhen is not part of the Nigerian squad for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations billed to commence today in Cameroon due to his club’s refusal to let him go.


The energetic striker, who will be seriously missed in the Super Eagles’ camp, is expected to undergo tests upon his return to Napoli.



January 09, 2022

African Cup of Nations 2021 Begins In Cameroon Today: All You Need To Know


 

The African Cup of Nations (AFCON), Africa’s biggest showpiece begins today, 9 January, 2022 in Cameroon, with 24 countries battling to win the coveted trophy.


The great event will showcase Africa’s football talents and prowess.


Below are what you need to know:


The Groups


Twenty-four teams are divided into six groups. The two top teams from each group will proceed to the round of 16. Four best losers will also join others in the round of 16.


Here are the groups



Group A


Cameroon


Burkina Faso


Ethiopia



Cape Verde


Group B



Senegal


Zimbabwe


Guinea


Mali


Group C


Morocco



Ghana


Comoros


Gabon


Group D


Nigeria


Egypt



Sudan


Guinea Bissau


Group E


Algeria


Sierra Leone


Equatorial Guinea



Ivory Coast


Group F


Tunisia


Mali


Related News

AFCON: Burhan warns Nigeria, Egypt to be weary of Sudan's young team

Ex-Super Eagles coach, Rohr speaks on AFCON ahead of kick-off

Aubameyang, teammate test positive for COVID-19 in blow to Gabon

Mauritania


Gambia



Fixtures


Group A


Jan. 9

Cameroon vs. Burkina Faso, 11 a.m.

Ethiopia vs. Cape Verde, 2 p.m.


Jan. 13

Cameroon vs. Ethiopia, 11 a.m.

Cape Verde vs. Burkina Faso, 2 p.m.


Jan. 17

Cape Verde vs. Cameroon, 11 a.m.

Burkina Faso vs. Ethiopia, 11 a.m.


Group B



Jan. 10

Senegal vs. Zimbabwe, 8 a.m.

Guinea vs. Malawi, 11 a.m.


Jan. 14

Senegal vs. Guinea, 8 a.m.

Malawi vs. Zimbabwe, 11 a.m.


Jan. 18

Malawi vs. Senegal, 11 a.m.

Zimbabwe vs. Guinea, 11 a.m.


Group C


Jan. 10

Morocco vs. Ghana, 11 a.m.

Comoros vs. Gabon, 2 p.m.


Jan. 14

Morocco vs. Comoros, 11 a.m.

Gabon vs. Ghana, 2 p.m.



Jan. 18

Gabon vs. Morocco, 2 p.m.

Ghana vs. Comoros, 2 p.m.


Group D


Jan. 11

Nigeria vs. Egypt, 11 a.m.

Sudan vs. Guinea-Bissau, 2 p.m.


Jan. 15

Nigeria vs. Sudan, 11 a.m.

Guinea-Bissau vs. Egypt, 2 p.m.


Jan. 19

Guinea-Bissau vs. Nigeria, 2 p.m.

Egypt vs. Sudan, 2 p.m.


Group E



Jan. 11

Algeria vs. Sierra Leone, 8 a.m.

Equatorial Guinea vs. Ivory Coast, 2 p.m.


Jan. 16

Ivory Coast vs. Sierra Leone, 11 a.m.

Algeria vs. Equatorial Guinea, 2 p.m.


Jan. 20

Ivory Coast vs. Algeria, 11 a.m.

Sierra Leone vs Equatorial Guinea, 11 a.m.


Group F


Jan. 12

Tunisia vs. Mali, 8 a.m.

Mauritania vs. Gambia, 11 a.m.


Jan. 16

Gambia vs. Mali, 8 a.m.

Tunisia vs. Mauritania, 11 a.m.



Jan. 20

Gambia vs. Tunisia, 2 p.m.

Mali vs. Mauritania, 2 p.m.


Other Fixtures


Round of 16: Jan. 23-26

Quarterfinals: Jan. 29-30

Semifinals: Feb. 3-4

Third-place match: Feb. 6

Final: Feb. 6

Thursday, January 6, 2022

January 06, 2022

AFCON 2022: Super Eagles Striker, Odion Ighalo Withdraws From Tournament

 

By Don Silas


Nigeria’s Super Eagles have suffered a major blow after the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) confirmed that striker Odion Ighalo will not feature at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON, in Cameroon.


In a statement released by the NFF, the former Manchester United star will play no part at the 33rd edition of the AFCON because his Saudi Arabia club, Al Shabab, has refused to release him for the bi-annual showpiece.


“Forward Odion Ighalo is no longer expected as a result of issues with his Saudi Arabian club,” part of the statement read.


Recall that Ighalo was still expected to arrive at the Super Eagles camp as of Wednesday and was handed the number 9 jersey by Austine Eguavoen last night ahead of the tournament.



The forward was widely expected to lead the Super Eagles attack in the absence of Napoli striker Victor Osimhen.


Nigeria are in Group D alongside Egypt, Sudan and Guinea Bissau.


Meanwhile, there are unconfirmed reports that Feyenoord attacker, Cyriel Dessers, could be a late replacement for Ighalo.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

January 04, 2022

FIFA Clears Former England Youth International To Play For Nigeria

Nigerians are excited after former England youth international Ashleigh Plumptre got approval to switch her allegiance to the Super Falcons.


The 23-year-old defender, who plays for Women's Super League side Leicester City, is eligible to represent the African women's football powerhouse because of her father's Nigerian heritage.


After joining training camps in Austria and Abuja, she has now been cleared by world football's governing body Fifa and is eligible for Nigeria's tricky 2022 Women's Africa Cup of Nations play-off against Ivory Coast in February.


"We are happy to receive Ashleigh's official clearance from FIFA," NFF director of communications Ademola Olajire told BBC Sport Africa.


"It was only possible because of her commitment and dedication. She made the federation's work a lot easier by providing all the requirements in quick time.


"Ashleigh personally approached the English FA directly to get the required international clearance from that end.


"Her professionalism and unflinching desire to play for Nigeria is honestly heart-warming. That big move on her part obviously helped a lot and prevented the long wait for the FA's response."


Plumptre joins Super Falcons flock


Plumptre, who has a British mother, had been capped 30 times by England at youth level but qualified for Nigeria through the grandparent rule.


The centre-back needed to prove her eligibility and dedicated three months to acquiring all the required documents - a Nigerian passport and her grandfather's documents and then officially requesting clearance from the four home nations (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales) as well from Nigerian internal affairs.


"She got all the documents in a few months without being forced or persuaded," Olajire added.


"We've been through this Fifa process with other players in the past and others needed to be reminded. Ashleigh made personal sacrifices to ensure a smooth clearance."


Plumptre joins a growing list of foreign-born players like Michelle Alozie, Patricia George and Nicole and Toni Payne, who all opted to represent the nine-time African champions.


The life-long Foxes fan has played 25 games this season for the WSL club she first joined as an eight-year-old.


She previously played in the English top flight with Notts County in 2014 before moving to the United States.


Stints with US college side USC Trojans and LA Galaxy followed, before she returned from studying in January 2020 to play a key role in a memorable season for Leicester.


After she helped the Foxes to the FA Women's Championship title in 2020-21, Plumptre was voted player of the season and rewarded with a new two-year deal.