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U-20 W/Cup: Iheanacho’s Success To start From Bench

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Europe-based strikers Isaac Success, Kelechi Iheanacho and Moses Simon are most likely to start the U20 World Cup from the bench as coach Manu Garba plans to integrate them gradually into his team in New Zealand.

The Europe-based stars did not turn up at a training camp in Nurnberg, Germany, and would instead head directly to New Zealand for the tournament.

But coach Manu has maintained he does not plan to rush them into his first team from the start of the World Cup.

“We are not saying these players will come in automatically to the first team, they will be coming in gradually for them to find a synergy with the other players,” he revealed.

“They will not get into the team in the very first match, they will sit on the bench and observe and whenever we need them, they will come on to do the damage.”

He further argued that these players will have no problem blending with the rest of the team at the World Cup.

“I don’t have any fear (about blending) because these players have been with us,” he said.

“Even Moses Simon was with us in the early part of the U17 team before he went on to play for the U20 team. He may not know our philosophy, but for Kelechi and Success, they know how we play right from the U17s. Kelechi even played the qualifiers.

“All the same, it will not be difficult for Moses because he played in the same academy in Kaduna with Musa Yahaya and he is a striker who knows when and how to move. It will be easy for him to adapt.

“We have two, three training sessions together (in New Zealand) and they will again know how we play and what we want them to contribute to the team.”

He added: “They are all coming from competition and so you can’t fault their fitness level.

“And the language of the game is simple – If you have the ball, before you release it, you have to look up and see the movement of your player. If the other player has the ball, you have to move to a vital space to receive the ball.

“I believe getting that cohesion will not be very difficult because two of them, Kelechi and Success, have been with this team, while Moses will adapt very quickly.

“We will sit them down to show them what we expect them to do. I believe they will adapt because they are young players and very, very intelligent.”

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‘Super Eagles Coach Lacks Class’

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Former Nigeria international, Victor Ezeji, has slammed Gernot Rohr, describing the German as a coach who has not improved the Super Eagles, with reference to their style of play and talent management.
Rohr recently helped the three-time African champions qualify for the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon after their third-place finish at the 2019 tournament in Egypt.
Despite the team’s success, the former Enyimba striker said the tactician, who has been at the helm since 2016, has not impacted the Super Eagles with a particular style of football and he lacks the class to co-ordinate the players.
Ezeji expressed his frustration after Rohr’s men failed to score a goal in their twin friendlies against Cameroon. They suffered a 1-0 loss against the Indomitable Lions last Friday before playing out a goalless draw on Tuesday.
“I have never been a fan of Gernot Rohr but the truth is, sometimes it is not even about the result and sometimes, your team can play very well and lose, people could say they lost and there is prospect for the team,” Ezeji told news men.
“But in the case of this Gernot Rohr’s team, they are not playing very well and they are not winning; so, people will definitely complain. We have known our Super Eagles to have flair when playing, but that has not happened under him, whichever way he wins his game.
“There is no flair in their game, I think he is done with the team if you ask me because he is not showing anything, no class. We’ve got the players but I think what we lack is who co-ordinates them.”
Last year May, Rohr agreed on a two-and-half-year contract extension to remain as Super Eagles coach with the target of guiding the country to the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar and also win the 2022 Afcon.
Ezeji argued that the former Bordeaux manager has not been a success in Nigeria and he recalled how indigenous coaches Christian Chukwu also led the country to a third-place at 2004 Afcon before Stephen Keshi’s side triumphed at the 2013 edition in South Africa.
“I don’t know what his contract with the NFF looks like but personally, I don’t think he has achieved anything because even our indigenous coaches got to third at Afcon and we became the continent’s champions,” he continued.
“In his own case, third-place is not enough at all with the kind of personnel and abundant of talents we have in Nigeria presently, he should do better. As I stated earlier, it is not about winning the cup but it is about playing good football and there are ways you do that.
“Remember Imama’s [Amapakabo] U23 boys’ game against Libya in Asaba [U23 Afcon qualifier in March 2019], we needed three goals to go through but after the first-half, everybody was like even if they did not get through we are satisfied with their performance but the boys got the result and advanced.
“We need to start seeing that kind of performance in our Super Eagles, nobody has any confidence now that even if we play market women they will win. We need to have that confidence in our team and be rest assured of good football against any opponent.”

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350 Golfers Set For IBB Golf Captain’s Tourney

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No fewer than 350 golfers and 50 tennis players will be competing in the inaugural IBB Golf and Country Captain’s Tourney in Abuja.
The tourney which is expected to tee-off from Friday, June 10, to Saturday 11, 2021 at the IBB Golf and Country club which will see professional golfers battle in the Handicap 19 to 36 event while the amateur will clash in the Nest event.
According to the Chairman Organising Committee of the 2021 Inaugural IBB golf Captain’s club, Olabanjo Obaleye said preparations are in top gear to host a successful tournament.
He also noted that the golfers and officials would be in adherence to all the COVID-19 protocol towards ensuring the safety of all Stakeholders.
“This tournament is to usher in the new Executive Members of the IBB golf and Country, which is done after every new executive Member is elected.
“We have gotten some sponsors for the tournament and I can tell you that they would be mouthwatering prizes for the winner and consolation prizes for best loser.
We will also have a dinner on Saturday where the prizes will be presented to the winners.
“Also we have put some modalities in place to ensure the safety of all players and Officials for the tournament.” Olabanjo said.

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HiFL: UNIBEN Royals Tackle UNICAL Malabites

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Pace Sports and Entertainment Marketing Limited, the organisers of the Higher Institutions Football League (HiFL), has released the draws for the round of 16 games at an event held in Lagos. The games are scheduled to be held between June and September 2021.
In Week 1, AAUA Luminaries will play OAU Giants in Ondo, FUTA Tigers will tackle UNILAG Marines in Akure, LAUTECH Hunters will attempt to hunt down the FUTMINNA Transformers in Ogbomoso while KSU Steelers engages UNILORIN Warriors.
For the week 2 games, Uniben Royals will play defending champion UNICAL Malabites, IAUE Minders will tackle UNN Lions in Port Harcourt, ABU Nobles will confront UAM Tillers in Zaria while BUK Stallions slugs it out with UNIMAID Desert Warriors in Kano.
Speaking at the draws, Director, PACE Sports and Entertainment Marketing Limited, Sola Fijabi acknowledged the efforts of all participating schools and encouraged them to maintain their sportsmanlike conduct as the games go on. “We are now at a very exciting stage of the league. What was witnessed during the qualifiers was the tip of the iceberg. The schools are ready and what we assure lovers of collegiate sports is double excitement. We appreciate the support of NUGA and our sponsors Nivea Men and Minimie for their trust in HiFL and as we deliver value to all our stakeholders,” Fijabi said.

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