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FIFA World Cup: Super Eagles In The Eye Of The Storm

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As the Super Eagles file out to tackle the Strakkamir Okkar of Iceland at the Volgograd Arena, the players must have it at the back of their mind that Nigerians expect nothing less than victory from the must-win-match.
It is against this backdrop that we expect the Mikel Obi-captained squad to play the game of their lives to grab the three points at stake that would likely prolong Nigeria’s campaign at the Coupe de Mundial.
Tide sports source reports that Nigeria currently sits at the bottom of Group D standings with zero points, while the Vatreni of Croatia tops the table with three points followed by Albiceleste of Argentina and Strakkamir Okkar with 0ne point each.
With the unsavoury scenario staring the team in the face, the Super Eagles would have to raise the level of their game against their rugged Icelandic opponents who look poised to take the wind out of the sails of the Super Eagles.
Mikel and his colleagues should know that if Nigeria should fail to defeat Iceland in the crucial showdown at Volgograd, their names would go down into the hall of infamy in the annals of Nigerian football; hence the need for them to go excel.
By now Coach Gernot Rohr must have reviewed the video recordings of the team’s 2-0 loss to Croatia, and work very hard to avert mistakes made in that match, and to perfect the strategy and tactics needed to battle the Strakkamir Okkar.
Judging from the robust performance they put up against the Albiceleste in the 1-1 draw, the Strakkammir Okkar would likely adopt the ultra-defensive tactics they used to frustrate Argentina in their opening match.
With this in mind, we expect Rohr to come up with the right team selection to articulate his strategy and tactics for the match against the Northern European team.
The Super Eagles must play as a functional coherent team in the field and guard against conceding needless free kicks around our 18 yard box area, which Gylfi Sigurdsson, their dead ball specialist could exploit to punish Nigeria.
In the defence area, we expect Troost Balogun, Troost Ekong, Brian Idowu and Abdullahi Shehu must be vigilant to ward off lightning counter attacks from the Strakkamir Okkar who would strive to catch our defence off-guard.
We expect to see a more vibrant display from the Super Eagles in the midfield area, anchored by Mikel in the holding role alongside John Ogu/Wilfred Ndidi, while Oghenekaro Etebo should be allowed to rove.
There was no creative play from the Super Eagles in their opening match against the Vatreni, which denied Ighalo et al the defence splitting passes he and other attacking midfielders like Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi could have exploited.
Our strikers, either Odion Ighalo, Simeon Nwankwo or Kelechi Nwankwo must be clinical in front of the goalmouth of the miserly defence of the Strakkamir Okkar, while the midfielders should be highly mobile and compact to contain forays from their opponents.
Ideally, we would love to have Rohr deploy a two man strike force against Iceland, but the coach is actually one man at the helm to decide team tactics.
But Rohr must strive to get the team’s architecture right this time around, having studied earlier tapes of the friendly matches played by Iceland against Ghana in that 2-2 draw and the way they lined up against Argentina.
Before the team jetted out from their Essenteki” base on Wednesday for Volgograd, Rohr told the media that he was already aware of the various suggestions being thrown at him, on how the Eagles should play against Iceland.
“We have watched the game against Croatia to see our mistakes so that we can correct them.
“Our match on Friday will be a tough game and we have to be at our best and be more professional with our defending, especially from set-pieces.
“We have to be fully focused and not lose concentration all through the game. I believe with hard work we can get a good result.
“In truth, there is no need to add to the pressure we have now. More pressure on the team will not necessarily translate to better result,”the German technical adviser said.
In the same vein, Mikel also vowed to play any role that will be assigned to him to help the Eagles soar over the hard fighting Icelandic team.
“I am ready to play in any position the coach wants me to play. I am comfortable with either a defensive or offensive midfield role.
“The most important thing is the team and nothing else,” said the former Chelsea FC of England midfielder.

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Joshua Can Fight Anywhere – Promoter

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World heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua, will fight “anywhere, anytime”, says his promoter, Eddie Hearn.
The British boxer, 30, has not fought since he retained his WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles from Andy Ruiz Jr last December due to Covid-19.
Hearn has erected a ring in the grounds of his Essex estate in a bid to resurrect the sport for an event dubbed ‘Fight Camp’.
“Joshua would fight here at Hearn’s home, no problem,” Hearn said.
“If we were faced with the option of having no fans for an Anthony Joshua fight, we would still look to go ahead. He’s spent a lot of time training out here in this garden so he would have no problem fighting here himself.
“He was here a couple of weeks ago. He loves to fight, to box and it’s not just about fighting in a huge arena, Wembley Stadium, Madison Square Garden, it’s about boxing.
“We want him to be in front of crowds. But for his career, for his development, he needs to fight this year.”
Joshua, who has also reached an agreement for two fights with fellow Briton Tyson Fury, was originally scheduled to fight Kubrat Pulev in June, but the bout was postponed because of coronavirus.
“Of course fighters want to earn as much money as possible but they also need to develop as fighters and I think the Kubrat Pulev fight is a good, solid, tough fight for him and I am almost certain you will see that fight this year.
“He wants to improve as a fighter and he will do it anywhere, anytime.”
‘Fight Camp’ opens with Sam Eggington defending his IBF international super-welterweight title against Ted Cheeseman on Saturday, with more events on 7 and 14 August, while James Tennyson will box Gavin Gwynne for the vacant British title.
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 NTTF President Hopeful To Hold Competition

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President of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF), Engr Tikon Ishaku, has stated that he is hopeful that competition can still be played this year amidst the current gradual ease of protocols on the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ishaku, speaking in a chat with Tidesports source said that the NTTF has been interfacing with the world body and have equally been monitoring activities of the COVID all over the world with its attendant effects on the postponement of virtually all competition.
He is, however, hopeful and assured that they will continue to also take a cue from whatever is being done by the world body.
“As it is in the world forum of table tennis, we have been interfacing with the world body; they have been monitoring event and activities of the Coronavirus all over the world. A lot of programmes have been shifted severally all and waiting to see when this thing will be over. But projection, we are looking at this year to see that the world will be opened completely for everything, but then we will take the cue from the world programme.”
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FIBA Named Oguchi Player Of The Year

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Former D’Tigers guard, Chamberlain Oguchi, has been named Nigeria’s best basketball player in the last decade, by continental governing body FIBA Africa.
This was revealed in the second part of FIBA Africa’s ranking of the continent’s 10 best players of the last decade.
D’Tigers captain, Ike Diogu, and Orlando Magic power forward, Al-Farouk Aminu, also made the list.
The Nigerians were picked from an initial list of 55 top African players. The selection was based on their impact at club and national teams’ participation at FIBA competitions, which ran from 2010 to 2020.
Oguchi stamped his status as an African great after anchoring Nigeria to their first-ever Afrobasket championship title in 2015 in Tunisia, with a performance that earned him the tournament’s Most Valuable Player award.
He scored 19 points in the final against a star-studded Angolan team, but his best performance at the tournament was in the semi-final, against a resilient Senegalese side. He scored eight of his 13 three-point attempts against the West African foes.
The 34-year-old has proved to be a big-time player for the national team, scoring 35 points at the 2012 Olympics in a 79-73 narrow loss to France, and converting eight of his 14 three-point attempts.
He also grabbed the headlines after burying seven of his 12 three-point attempts in a 96-87 defeat to Spain at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
The top 10 African players of the decade are Morocco’s Abdelali Lahrichi, Senegal, and Memphis Grizzlies’ Gorgui Dieng, Tunisian stars Makram Ben Romdhane and Salah Mejri, Angolans Eduardo Mingas and Carlos Morais.
Others include Ivory Coast point guard, Souleyman Diabate and Nigerian trio Diogu, Aminu, and Oguchi.
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