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Chelsea Desperate For Champions League Action

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While Chelsea are focused on winning the Premier League, head coach Antonio Conte is desperate to return to the Champions League and make an impact in Europe.
Chelsea are flying high domestically this season as the Londoners look to restore their 10-point lead with victory at West Ham on Monday.
Conte’s men have only lost one of their past 20 Premier League matches – winning 17 – but there is a void at Stamford Bridge after Chelsea finished 10th last term and the Italian boss is determined to fill it.
“For me and for my players we all miss it [the Champions League],” Conte said.
“The Champions League must be an appointment for us every year. The Champions League must be our house, for this reason we are putting our strength into making sure we are playing in the Champions League next season.
“It’s a great competition for the players, the club and the manager and we want to try and stay there, to try and fight to win.”
Antonio Conte told his players to “keep their feet on the ground” after they beat West Ham 2-1 on Monday to take another big step towards the Premier League title.
The Blues lead second-placed Tottenham by 10 points with 11 games left.
Supporters were singing “we’re going to win the league” at London Stadium, but Conte said: “We must think we have to take 26 points. We go step by step.”
Those points would mean a total of 92 – the maximum Spurs can accumulate is 89.
Chelsea are the seventh side to accrue 66-plus points from their first 27 games of a Premier League season, having done it themselves twice before (69 in 2005-06 and 68 in 2004-05). All six previous sides have gone on to win the title.
Italian Conte, in his debut Premier League season, added: “We must think every opponent will want to beat us from now until the end.
“To dream is good, but it’s important to keep our feet on the ground.”
Despite his side recording their 21st league win of the season, Conte said he was disappointed with them conceding against West Ham late in the game.
Eden Hazard finished off a counter-attack in the 25th minute to give Chelsea the lead before Diego Costa made it 2-0 from close range five minutes after the restart.
However, Manuel Lanzini’s stoppage-time strike made it an uneasy final few seconds for the Blues.
“To give away a clean sheet at the end is not good,” Conte said.
“We must improve in this situation – but I’m pleased. We showed great concentration and commitment and will to win.”
West Ham manager Slaven Bilic does not expect their London rivals to slip up in the run-in.
“They look serious. For me they are not going to lose that. I can’t see them being casual,” the former Croatia defender said.

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Falcons Needs Overhauling – Ex-NFF Players

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Following the Super Falcons embarrassing 4-2 defeat to South Africa at the recently concluded Aisha Buhari Invitational tournament, former players of the team have unanimously agreed that the team needs an overhaul.
Two penalties and an own goal by defender Michelle Alozie handed the Banyana Banyana a famous win in the final played at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Lagos on Tuesday.
Speaking with Newsmen Stella Mbachu who starred for the Falcons from 1999 to 2014 and won six Africa Women Cup of Nations titles with the team said Randy Waldrum’s team lacked fitness and were out of sort in the finals.
“That was not a good game, it was obvious the Falcons were not in their right frame of mind,” she said. 
“The game was a bad one that is not the team I know. The entire team didn’t play well.
“They need to put this behind them and work harder to perform better during the Africa Women’s Qualifiers.
“They need to overhaul the team and reassemble a new team. The Falcons need to be worked on. They lacked fitness as a coach in my own opinion and that was why the South Africans out ran them.
Tidesports source reports that on Waldrum’s tactics, Mbachu said  she does not know his pattern since he arrived maybe he needs more time with the team. He needs to study the players more particularly those playing in the Nigeria Women Football League.
The Nigerian Football Federation President Amaju Pinnick also agreed that the Falcons needs a rejig as the defeat to South Africa exposed the weakness of the team.
“We are all disappointed by the performance of the Super Falcons, especially on a day we claim to be celebrating the Girl Child,” he said.
“The whole essence of this competition for us as NFF has been achieved. We have a qualifier against Ghana in the next few weeks so we needed these matches to test the readiness of our players for the task ahead.
“The Banyana Banyana team has exposed the weaknesses in our team. They came to Lagos with so many young players and gave our girls some football lessons on the day.
“For me, the lesson here is that, we need to inject more players from the NWFL into the team. As you can see, the outstanding players in Nigeria’s two matches against Mali and South Africa are home based players and that is the more reason why we must invest more in the Nigeria women’s football league to expose more of these hidden talents.”
Technical Director of the Nigeria Football Federation, Austin Eguavoen, also agreed on the overhaul but added it must be gradual.
“The whole crowd was shocked with the result. They are not playing well and that is why it is tagged the Aisha Buhari International friendly and it is an opportunity for the coach and the entire Nigeria especially football stakeholders to start looking inward.
“But we cannot wipe these girls out completely, it is impossible and that’s why it has to be a gradual process,” he added.

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Akwa United Boss Rues Elimination From CAF Champions League

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Head Coach of Akwa United Football Club Kennedy Boboaye has admitted that his team were eliminated from the CAF Champions League by the Algerian Champions CR Belouizdad, who were more technically superior.
Tidesports source reports that the Nigerian champions crashed out at the preliminary stage of Africa’s premier competition after losing the second leg 2-0 in Algiers last Sunday and are out of the competition on a 2-1 aggregate score.
In a reaction to his team’s defeat and elimination from the competition, Coach Kennedy Boboye said “The moment we won by just one goal in Uyo on September 12th, I knew it will be difficult for us to get a favourable result in Algiers, but at the same time it wasn’t an impossible task for us. 
After a careful study of the first leg, I realized that our opponents (CR Belouizdad) were technically better than us and that was why we came to Algiers with a game plan which, unfortunately, didn’t work for us.
“Two of my players Charles Okafor and Marshal Johnson had passport issues, one player Denis Nya sustained an injury during the warm-up and that altered the plans we had. We needed to move Dare Ojo to the centre back position, which he did very well but we missed his experience in the midfield and it affected our game plan.
“Having won the first leg, we knew that they (CR Belouizdad) will come out to attack us so our plan was to get at least a goal in the first half but we came up against a very good team. The way they played, one can tell that they have been playing together for a very long time. The first goal they scored was a good goal but the penalty against us wasn’t a good one, but that is football.
“We have to go back and start preparing for the new NPFL season and I think that the exposure and experience we have garnered from these two games will help the coaching crew and the players in subsequent outings both in the league and at the continental level” Boboye assured.
The Promise Keepers who won the Nigeria Professional Football League title for the first time in their history returned home on Tuesday.

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FIFA Confirms Venue For S’Eagles, CAR Double-Header

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FIFA has confirmed venues for the 2022 World Cup qualifying double-header between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and Les Fauves of the Central African Republic.
The Super Eagles will host Raoul Savoy’s men in a matchday three encounter at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos on October 10.
The reverse fixture will take place three days later at the Stade De Japoma, Douala, Cameroon.
The Super Eagles started their qualifying campaign with a 2-0 win against the Lone Star of Liberia last month.
Gernot Rohr’s charges then defeated the Blue Sharks of Cape Verde 2-1 four days later in Mindelo.
The three-time African champions top Group C with six points from two games.
The top team in the group will proceed to the final play-off for the final round.

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