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NFF Backs London Training Camp For Eagles

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The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) insists a planned two-day training camp in England will still go ahead as scheduled despite clubs in Europe refusing to release their players.

The new Nigeria coach, Lars Lagerback, intends to bring the players together as part of his preparations for the World Cup in South Africa in June.

However, the timing of the camp has been questioned by clubs as it comes close to the end of the season when teams have much to play for.

But the NFF still plan to bring in as many players as possible for what is seen as an important gathering, scheduled for 27 and 28 April.

“We understand the challenges involved, but this meeting is significant for the players to meet the new coach before our World Cup campaign commences,” NFF spokesman Ademola Olajire said.

“Not all the players on the provisional squad list will be able to make it but the ones available will meet him.

“There is really a short time between now and the first friendly match scheduled for May 30; hopefully this meeting will enhance rapport between both parties [players and coach].

“This is just a meeting for Lars Lagerback to meet and be introduced to the players.

“So even if some of them can’t make it, we hope the relevance will still be achieved with the few available.”

Clubs including English side Everton, Olympique Marseille of France and Israeli club Hapoel Petah Tikvah have since written to the NFF, withholding permission for their players to attend.

Nigeria appointed Lars Lagerback in late February to lead them at the World Cup in South Africa in June.

The former Sweden coach replaced Shaibu Amodu, who was moved to look after the locally-based side for the African Nations Championship after he failed to win the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola.

Nigeria was drawn in a group alongside Greece, Argentina and South Korea at the World Cup.

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S’Eagles’ Coach Backs Alex Iwobi To Succeed At Everton

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Alex Iwobi has the potential to become a key figure for Premier League side, Everton, according to Nigeria national team assistant coach, Imama Amapakabo.
The 23-year-old joined the Toffees on a five-year deal from Arsenal for a fee of an initial £28million deal – which could rise to £34million with add-ons.
Iwobi has yet to make his debut for Everton (he remained on the bench for the duration of the win over Watford at Goodison Park this past weekend) but he should see regular playing time for the Merseyside club.
And his move has been given a ringing endorsement from Amapakabo, who is Gernot Rohr’s right-hand man with the Super Eagles.
“I think he has been able to prove himself that he’s a good player, he didn’t just sell himself to Everton, they came for him knowing the reason why they came for him and the role he’s going to play for them,” Amakarkabo told newsmen.
“The league just started in England, let’s give him some time we will be able to have a discussion with anyone that will doubt Iwobi’s capabilities.
“He is a young lad, and he has his football ahead of him so, let us give him all the backing that we need to give him, hopefully at the end of the season, we would be able to take stock of how well he has fared with Everton.”

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Olympic Qualifiers: Injury Scare For S’Falcons’ Oshoala

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Asisat Oshoala has given an untimely injury scare for Nigeria after the striker picked up a knock in Barcelona’s 1-0 win over Montpelier.
The Super Falcons are due to be in action on August 28 when they take on Algeria in the second round of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualifiers before a reserve team fixture in Lagos on September 3.
Oshoala is one of the six foreign professional players invited by Thomas Dennerby for the crucial ties with the North Africans, but Sunday’s incident could see the West Africans miss her services.
The 25-year-old scored her seventh goal in four games, including the friendly’s winner against the French outfit, but was replaced in the 81st minute after suffering a knock. However, the three-time African Women’s Footballer of the Year responded on social media to denounce tensions as she declared herself fit following concerns raised by football fans.
On Monday, a top source corroborated the response of the former Liverpool and Arsenal star, noting, “I’ve confirmed. It’s just a cramp. She is in good shape and okay”.
Tidesports understands the gaffer may be forced to face The Fennecs without the services of his foreign players, largely due to constraints of securing their entry visas to Algeria in good time.
With only six expected from overseas for the home tie, Dennerby is in a race against time to raise a squad from largely inexperienced home-based players, with first leg just a week away.
The Swede is keen to lead the country to the Olympic women’s football event for the first time since 2008 after he led them to the Women’s World Cup Last 16 for the first time in 20 years.
The availability of Oshoala will no doubt be a huge boost in the Super Falcons’ bid to avoid suffering an early exit from the ongoing African qualifying tournament this time.

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First Deaf Player Wins ATP Tour Match

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South Korea’s Lee Duck-hee has become the first deaf player to win a match in the main draw of a tournament on the ATP Tour.
The 21-year-old, who is ranked 212th in the world, beat Switzerland’s Henri Laaksonen 7-6 6-1 at the Winston-Salem Open in North Carolina.
“People made fun of me for my disability. They told me I shouldn’t be playing,” said Lee.
“I wanted to show everyone that I could do this.”
He added: “My message for people who are hearing impaired is to not be discouraged. If you try hard, you can do anything.”
Lee does not communicate with sign language but instead uses lip-reading.
During his post-match interview, his fiancee, Soopin assisted him, clarifying answers for reporters in English.
Britain’s Andy Murray is among players to have come out in support of Lee, adding it must be “difficult” to play without being able to “pick up the speed of the ball” by hearing the sound.
“It’s obviously a huge disadvantage, so to be able to do what he’s doing is a huge effort,” said the 32-year-old, who lost in the first round in North Carolina as he continues his return to singles action after injury.
“We [tennis players] use our ears a lot to pick things up.”
Lee, who faces third seed Hubert Hurkacz in the next round, played his first ATP Challenger Tour event aged 14.
He played mainly in Asia before switching to hard courts in the US, reaching his first final in three years at Little Rock in June.

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