Vanguard Newspaper 15 April 2018
PAGE 46, SUNDAY Vanguard, APRIL 15, 2018 Iwobi, Welbeck treated to ‘Monkey Chants’ in Russia *Russian fans deny report ARSENAL duo Alex Iwobi and Danny Welbeck were subjected to racial abuse by CSKA Moscow fans, during their Europa League quater-final clash last Thursday. Arsenal drew 2-2 in their Europa League quarter-final second leg at the VEB Arena to reach the last four with a 6-3 aggregate victory. A Reuters photographer claims to have heard the chants directed at Welbeck and Iwobi as they neared the stands when the ball went out of play. Reacting to the allegations, CSKA Fans Against Racism tweeted : ‘’There were at least 11 people from our initiative at the game at different sectors including the ultras one. We are the first to report any racist incident in Russia but we can assure you this news is a total lie. ‘’Furthermore, we spoke to several English journalists after the Ogbugh wants to win trophies with Rivers United RIVERS United for ward, Emeka Ogbugh has said he would rather prefer to win trophies with the Port Harcourt side than win individual awards. The former Heartland marksman is the hat trick winner of the league body, League Management Company (LMC) VAT Wonder Goal award. The ceremonial award plaque will be presented on today. The Pride of Rivers are hosts of Nasarawa United in Sunday’s Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) matchday 17 clash at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium in Port Harcourt. Ogbugh said his side need a convincing victory against the Solid Miners to chance inching close to the top-flight summit. “The LMC VAT Wonder Goal award is important to me and the team. Ogbugh game and no one heard anything abusive. Who is this “Reuters photographer”? It seems that “reporters” at Daily Mirror know that nobody trusts them so they try to hide behind more respectful Reuters. Disgusting clowns. Iwobi came on as a second half substitute in the 77th minute against CSKA Moscow and missed a glorious opportunity to equalize for the Gunners in the closing minutes. Top African players like Yaya Toure has been subjected to racial abuse before In Russia, a move which made Toure to call for an African boycott of the 2018 FIFA World Cup to staged in Russia in June. No hard feelings missing Golden Eaglets job — Finidi Lagos. FORMER Super Ea gles winger, Finidi George who was snubbed by the Nigeria Football Federation for the coaching role of the national under-17, said he bore no hard feelings missing the job. Finidi was one of the high profile former Nigerian internationals who applied for the job, but he was sensationally rejected by the NFF, a move that was criticised by football enthusiasts who observed the appointments didn’t follow due diligence. It was gathered that it was the Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung who *George teleguided the appointments. “I don’t have any hard feelings the NFF didn’t make me U-17 coach. That they didn’t select me doesn’t mean I won’t be considered at another time. “I just wanted to come back home and contribute to the development of football just like Emmanuel Amuneke and late coach Stephen Keshi did,” said Finidi in Meanwhile coach Manu Garba who led the Eaglets to the FIFA 2015 World Cup in UAE , has concluded the screening of the players for the 2019 U-17 AFCON qualifiers. The qualifiers will be on zonal basis and Nigeria are likely to face Ghana and Cote d’ Ivoire to qualify for the tournament billed for Tanzania in May 12 to 26, 2019. Peters-Oghenejobor roots for taekwondo revival TOP Nigerian taek wondo practitioner, Emmanuel Peters-Oghenejobor has called on fellow colleagues, to close ranks and move the sport forward against the back background of teeming youths who are waiting to be discovered. Peters-Oghenejobor who won silver at the Barcelona 1992 Olympics, where taekwondo was first introduced to SEVERAL special athletes from different parts of the country have arrived Lagos for the maiden VCN wheelchair Tennis Championship slated for the Tennis court of the National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos between April 16 and 20, 2018. The tournament aimed at boosting Wheelchair Tennis Players has been fully welcomed by players and officials who have promised exciting moment during the period. CEO/President of VCN Sports, Chief Victor Nwaribeaku also known the Olympics Games, stated that taekwondoists in the country must come together and rescue the sport and give hope to many talented athletes who are wishing to practice. “Nothing is happening in taekwondo. By now we expected that we will be up and running so that all the mistakes of the past will not be repeated. *Iwobi VCN wheelchair tennis begins in Lagos as Akwu Ugo said his kits distribution firm is out to play a frontline role in exposing talented special sports men and women to consolidate on recent success story at the Commonwealth Games in Goldcoast, Australia. The VCN boss has enjoined the Wheelchair Tennis players to use this maiden tournament to impress officials of the Nigeria Wheelchair Sports Federation, Athletics Federation of Nigeria and indeed the Sports Ministry towards being picked for future major tournaments locally and internationally. “Some of us have reached to the Nigeria Taekwondo Federation president, Magaret Binga, but she has not shown any indication she wants to reconcile all aggrieved taekwando practitioners. “Unfortunately, it seems the federation is still continuing with the culture of ignoring those of us who have something to offer the game. Faulkner happy with Gold Coast showing Nigeria’s flag bearer in the Rhythmic Gymnastics event, Jade Faulkner has expressed delight in representing Nigeria at the XXI Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast. The 24 year old who is the first female gymnast to represent Nigeria in Rhythmic Gymnastics spoke on how she traced her heritage to the 2018 Commonwealth Games. “I did a lot of research into my family history and it made me very proud to be a Nigerian. For so long I’ve been English and white and my coach said it will be nice to embrace this side of me. I’m so proud to compete for Nigeria. It really means a lot to me and It was really good to see so many Nigerians in the crowd.” Faulkner said participating for Nigeria is a dream come true and spoke on her plans for the future. “The experience here has been amazing. Everyone is so friendly and welcoming. I’m going to take a break right now and let my body recover and then maybe I’ll try some other sport. I’ll like to change sport in the future so we’ll see what happens.” Breaking the long drought THREE Nations have broken their Commonwealth Games medal drought on the Gold Coast - all from the Pacific Islands region and each bagging bronze. The first to celebrate the historic achievement was the Solomon Islands, thanks to Jenly Wini in the women’s 58 kg Weightlifting. Wini said her bronze was special for all women in the Solomon Islands. It’s a big thing for my country”, she said. “In the Solomon Islands, girls normally don’t do this type of sport. I think now that I’ve created history for the country, maybe more girls will be interested. In Weightlifting”. Cook Island’s combo Taiki Paniani and Aidan Zittersteijn made history in the men’s Lawn Bowls pairs. Zittersteijn said that they had their “mojo” from the start of the match and could not wait to celebrate the bronze when they returned home. “We started off good, then we really got our rhythm — we call it mojo - and we were set”, he said. “There’ll be a big party for sure I just hope we get back home in time to join them”. Chef de Mission, Nwokedi applauds Team Nigeria Overwhelmed by the tremendous results of Team Nigeria at Commonwealth Games, Chef de Mission, Chief Mrs Kofo Nwokedi has hailed the efforts of the heroes and heroines. Particularly impressed with the sudden Gold rush as the Games heads home, Chief Nwokedi said that the excellent results being posted was as a result of discipline, dedication and hard work . “I’m thrilled by the performances of these athletes. I’m particularly impressed by the work of the secretariat staff and coaches that I refer to as the unsung heroes. They’ve been wonderful”. The Chef de Mission who herself has been a motivational anchor for the staff and athletes praised the Sports Minister, Barrister Solomon Dalung, NOC President. Engr Habu Gume, Scribe Tunde Popoola and Perm Secretary of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Olusade Adesola. “I salute all of them for presenting a united front which has impacted on our athletes. Bonuses and allowances have been paid promptly and there is no distraction. I congratulate Nigerians at home for their prayers, too”, she said. “And so since they refuse to acknowledged us we will continue to run our own programe and discover athletes,” said the former athlete who has sponsored many tournaments on his own. He added that it was a crying shame sports in the country continue to suffer neglect after all these years. *Oghenejobor
SUNDAY Vanguard, APRIL 15, 2018, PAGE 47 2018 FIFA WC: Batistuta warns Argentina not to rely on Messi GABRIEL Batistuta has warned that Argentina can’t rely on Lionel Messi at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia like they did so abundantly in its qualifiers. La Albiceleste managed merely seven points from a possible 24 without ‘The Atomic Flea’ in their preliminary campaign. With him they seized 21 points from a possible 30, culminating in a come-from-behind 3-1 victory in Ecuador that ensured Argentina didn’t miss out on their first World Cup since Hull City’s Ola Aina has no regrets over his Nigeria switch as World Cup finals loom large The on-loan Chelsea defender played for England throughout his youth before accepting an invite to fly with the Super Eagles. It was 12 months ago that Ola Aina was first presented with a careerdefining decision. Although England, the country of his birth, had provided international honours at every youth level between under-16s and under-20s, Nigeria had swung the door wide open for the defender to switch allegiances. “A World Cup at 21, that would be a big achievement,” said Aina, who now has just four games remaining of his season-long loan at Hull City. To be in the squad would be a blessing. I’ve just got to work hard here to secure a place and leave a good impression every time. It would be a honour. “I get the same pride representing Nigeria, Mexico 1970. “Messi is a player who can play in any team,” said Batistuta. “I’d always want him in my team, but depending on a player doesn’t seem fair to me, for with the level of the national teams we are going to face at the World Cup, depending on a player is very dangerous.” Over-reliance on Messi is not the only problem to which coach Jorge Sampaoli must find a solution. Nobody has made the striker’s position their own, with the Aina happy ditching England for Nigeria probably a little bit more, just because it’s closer to my origins. It’s deeper if you know what I mean. “I was honoured to play for England but as of now I’m super honoured to play for Nigeria. It’s a big nation and a privilege to play for them.” CHAN Eagles receive N3m each *Stephen Eze SUPER Eagles play ers at the 2018 Africa Nations Championships reportedly have been paid N3m million each for their troubles at the tournament where they came second behind hosts Morocco. The payment it was gathered was their share of the prize money from the tournament as well as the outstanding win bonus in the semi-final. “The boys have been paid a total of just over three million Naira. This is their share of the prize money from the CHAN as well as the win bonus for their semi-final victory against Sudan,” SCORENigeria quoted NFF sources. Against many odds, the home-based Eagles went all the way to the championship game, where they lost to hosts Morocco. However, it was the best Nigeria performance in the competition after the country finished third in 2014 and were knocked out in the group stage in 2016. likes of Sergio Aguero, Dario Benedetto, Gonzalo Higuain, Mauro Icardi and Lautaro Martinez among those in contention. “For me the No9 should be Higuain, and [I think] the coach thinks the same,” said Batistuta. “There’s a lot of pressure on him – every touch has to be a goal. Let’s hope that in the World Cup every one will go in.” Argentina are in Group D at Russia 2018, alongside Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria. Batistuta is the only man to have scored a hattrick at more than one World Cup, having done so against Greece in 1994 and Jamaica in 1998. ‘Batigol’ was Argentina’s record marksman for 20 years – he shared the distinction with Diego Maradona for 15 months – until being surpassed by Messi in 2016. Aina making his debut for Nigeria against Argentina. *Tyrone Ebuehi Antonio Conte praised his Chelsea players for rediscovering the “fire in their eyes” after substitute Olivier Giroud inspired a 3-2 comeback victory at Southampton. Dusan Tadic capitalised on a limp first-half display from Chelsea to give Southampton the lead at St Mary’s and when Jan Bednarek doubled their advantage on the hour mark, Conte’s men appeared to be heading for their seventh Premier League defeat of the season. I must be honest — I was very angry for our first half, because we didn’t show great desire, great will to fight, great will to play in the right way,” Conte said. “After the first half I was very disappointed, but I’m the first to take responsibility, because I’m the coach of this team. If they decide we can’t fight in the right way, I’m the first person to take responsibility. Opabunmi urges Rohr to encourage youngsters FORMER Super Ea gles player, Femi Opabunmi has called on coach Gernot Rohr to build more confidence on the youngsters in the Super Eagles team going to the 2018 FIFA World Cup starting June in Russia. Opabunmi at 17, made history as one of Nigeria’s youngest players to star in the World Cup at Japan 2002. He argued that the youngsters in the present Eagles squad have all it takes to make a difference at the 2018 World Cup. “We can break that jinx in Russia. All Rohr needs do is to build hope and confidence on the young lads. Let’s look at other teams like England, Germany and host of others, you will realize their teams are built around the young ones. “I still remember that the likes of Vincent Enyeama, John Utaka and other notable names in Nigerian football made their marks through the tournament. All this came to reality because the coach built confidence in us. “I see the likes of Alex Iwobi, Tyron Ebuehi, Francis Uzoho and host of other young players making names in Russia. All Rohr needs do is to gear them up ahead challenges and I see the Super Eagles doing well in the tournament,” remarked the former F.C Grasshopper of Switzerland player. Conte praises Moses, others for strong comeback “In the second half we showed great character, great reaction, great desire to win the game. We showed the right fire in our eyes. “We must be pleased for the second half. For me it’s not important to win, lose or draw the game. The most important thing is to always play with a great intensity, with a great will to fight from the start until the end. We are having a difficult season and we know this, but especially in this situation I think you can see the men before the players.” Champions League: Roma coach believes drawing Liverpool a good omen Eusebio Di Francesco believes drawing Liverpool in the Champions League semi-finals is “destiny”, more than three decades after the Reds stunned Roma on penalties to lift the 1984 European Cup. “Roma fans have been Abuja Lawyers Football: Hon. Hon. Kazeem Asedeji kick starting Abuja Lawyers football during Prince Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) , Abuja The Super 5 Football Competition 2018 Cup at Maitama Gardens and Sports Café over the weekend. Photo by Gbemiga Olamikan. waiting 34 years for this match. It was destiny,” said Di Francesco, whose side stunned Barcelona in the second leg of their quarter-final to secure their first semi-final in the competition since 1984, when Liverpool beat them in the final. “We’re up against a strong side, it won’t be easy, but I welcome the draw. Fate has brought us to the semi-finals. I hope it will lead us further. “But beforehand we have three very important games ahead of us, starting with the derby,” added Di Francesco. Today bitter rivals Lazio host Roma in their shared Stadio Olimpico ground. It was a crazy week in Europe for the sides from the capital. Roma produced one of the greatest European comebacks – recovering from a 4-1 first leg deficit to eliminate Barcelona on Tuesday with a stunning 3-0 success in the second leg. Sunday’s game could be key for Roma and Lazio’s Champions League ambitions next season, with both joint third in Serie A level on 60 points with seven games to play.