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U-17 Women’s W/Cup: Action Kicks Off In Azerbaijan’ Morrow

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It’s going to be a three-week
party, a party on a scale possibly never seen before at a U-17 World Cup
Judging by the sheer enthusiasm of the host nation’s German coach, Sissy Raith,
the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Azerbaijan 2012 is shaping up to be an
unmissable event. It certainly has a lot to live up to after the success of the
two most recent editions, but the sparkling line-up for this year’s tournament
– due to unfold between tomorrow and 13 October – suggests that it could indeed
be set to reach new heights.

With Germany, USA, Japan, Korea
DPR, Brazil and Nigeria among the sides in contention, the most formidable
powers in women’s football will be taking part – and competing for the ultimate
prize. The tournament will hardly be short of burgeoning talents either, and
fans can look forward to witnessing the likes of exciting Japanese midfielder
Yui Narumiya, German forward Sara Dabritz and Brazilian schemer Andressa up
close. Fearsome goal machines such as Summer Green of the United States,
Uruguay’s Yamila Badell and Korea DPR’s Ri Un-Sim will likewise be aiming to
set the competition alight.

As it happens, the only major
absentee in Azerbaijan will be Korea Republic, the reigning champions having
only managed to finish fourth in their Asian qualifying campaign. The Taeguk
Ladies will therefore be unable to defend their title, increasing the chances
of a new name on the trophy. Their North Korean neighbours are the only
previous winners in the field, in fact, having claimed victory at the inaugural
edition in New Zealand four years ago.

As those previous tournaments
suggest, Asian sides have held a stranglehold on the FIFA U-17 Women’s World
Cup so far. That was amply demonstrated at Trinidad & Tobago 2010, when all
three contenders from the Far East won their way through to the semi-finals,
prompting FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter to hail the strength of women’s
football in the region. “It’s good news for Asia, but frankly it’s not a
surprise,” he said at the time. “When FIFA began taking an interest in women’s football
in the 1980s, the countries in Eastern Asia were already pioneers in the
discipline. Women’s football has deep roots in the region.”

This time around, it will be Japan,
Korea DPR and China PR looking to continue the tradition, and all three figure among
the favourites. As Asian champions, the Young Nadeshiko can be particularly
ambitious as they tackle their third finals campaign, but the team’s coach
Hiroshi Yoshida is urging caution all the same. “We’re just hoping for six
matches and to reach the final,” he said. “Our goal is to win, but in this type
of competition – especially the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup – you can’t predict
anything.”

The United States and Germany are
likely to mount serious challenges as well, with both nations having reached
the final of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Japan 2012 just over a week ago,
the Stars and Stripes ultimately emerging victorious. They will go into the
tournament desperate to make an impression after failing to qualify two years
ago, while Anouschka Bernhard’s Germany team have a disappointment of their own
to put behind them. The European heavyweights rattled in no fewer than 22 goals
during the group stage two years ago, only to suffer a 1-0 loss to Korea DPR in
the quarter-finals.

Among the other hopefuls on show,
Brazil will be serious contenders with their alluring Jogo Bonito, as will a
France side spurred on by gifted playmaker Sandie Toletti. Nigeria will also be
keen to have their say and boast a squad featuring five players (Sarah Nnodim,
Victoria Aidelomon, Oluchi Ofoegbu, Halimatu Ayinde and Ebere Okoye) who were
also involved two years ago. Meanwhile, Canada, Colombia, Mexico, New Zealand
and Ghana all have previous experience of the tournament and will be aiming to
reach the semi-finals for the first time. In particular, Ghana will be
bolstered by the presence of defender Ellen Coleman, a veritable veteran at
this level who will be making her third trip to a FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.

For their part, newcomers Gambia,
Uruguay, China PR and hosts Azerbaijan will be focused on gaining experience in
Odlar Yurdu (the Land of Fire) and springing a few upsets. “We’ll need a small
miracle to come out on top, but in football there are always miracles,”
explained the home side’s coach, Raith. “We’ll see what happens.”

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CAF Mulls Super League Idea

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The Confederation of African Football [CAF] is discussing the idea of introducing an African Super League, a continental competition which would likely replace the current CAF Champions League and hopefully boost revenue for the organising body.
The revelation was made as CAF President Patrice Motsepe issued a statement outlining the changes and reforms the new leadership is making to ensure African football is globally competitive and self-sustaining.
The idea has taken shape even despite the disastrous European Super League [ESL] proposal earlier this year, which caused major controversy before being banned after most founding member clubs bowed to fan pressure and pulled out.
“ExCo [the CAF executive committee] may have to discuss and consider new CAF competitions which may generate additional funding or income for CAF, its member associations and bodies and also contribute to African football becoming globally competitive and self-sustaining,” Motsepe was quoted as saying by Tidesports source.
“In this regard, we are assessing and [are] in preliminary discussions to start an inclusive and broadly supported and beneficial CAF African Super League. We have been following the attempts by some top European clubs to form a Euro Super League and will learn from their experience and pitfalls.”
CAF is looking to boost income after recent forensic auditing revealed that the organisation has been beset by financial irregularities.

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NPFL: Rivers United’s Coach Praises Players

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The Chief Coach of Rivers United FC of Port Harcourt, Ndubuisi Nduka, has praised his players after a 1-0 win over Katsina United FC in the match day 28 of the Nigeria Professional Football League ( NPFL) in Port Harcourt.
He stated that his boys (players) gave all their best  to ensure they secured the maximum three points for the team, and described the encounter as very tough. 
Nduka, said this on Sunday, during a post match interview with sports journalists, after the Pride of Rivers, defeated their opponents  1-0, at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt.
According to him, what made the match more difficult for his players was that they failed to utilise goal opportunities they created in the first half of the game.
The only goal of the game came in the 77th minute by home boy, Malachi Ohawume, who made his goals four for this league season.
“It was a tough game; I think our boys gave it all.
What made it more difficult for us was the chances we lost especially in the first half, “ Nduka said.
He explained that the second round of the league is always difficult because every team is fighting to be at top and some are fighting not to be relegated.
“At this point and time of the league, the second round, we are stretching to the finishing point.
“It is always difficult and if you remember the position of Katsina United, they are not safe so they are looking for where to pick points, so I gave kudos to my boys as they secured three points for us, “ he stated. 
Rivers United is now 4th on the log after 28 matches with 48 points.

By:  Kiadum Edookor

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Hockey Championship: Team Rivers’ Performance Excites Coach

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The Head coach of Team Rivers State, (female) hockey, Comfort Nya, has commended her players after they defeated team Edo, 3-1 in the ongoing, 2021 Mabisel National Hockey Championship (MNHC) in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. 
She, described the match as one of the toughest games they have played, saying that the calibre of players she saw in the team Edo lineup was intimidating.
Nya said this on Monday in her post match interview with sports journalists, after their first victory in the championship, at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Sports in Port Harcourt. 
According to her, their first game in the championship was difficult because of the heavy downpour, adding that they could not play well but today they are awesome.
“It was a tough one, honestly speaking I would not tell lies, and the players I saw in team Edo lineup are old and good players and my girls are just upcoming.
“I was thinking of draw or let them just play but with this result I am so happy with their performance, “Nya said. 
The coach further explained that their next outing will be against team Kaduna, they are going to do more better.
“Our first game was disturbed by heavy rainfall, they could not play well but today they have performed well.
“In our next game against team Kaduna, we are going to do better,” She stated..

By: Kiadum Edookor

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