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Anambra Govt Assures On Improved Sports Facilities

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The Anambra State Commissioner for Sports, Chinwe Anowai, has assured of the government’s commitment to providing world-class facilities at the state’s stadia in order to boost sports development.

Anowai gave the assurance at the weekend at the Chuba Ikpeazu Memorial Stadium, Onitsha, during the finals of the state’s Football Association (FA) Competition between Anambra Pillars FC, Onitsha, and Anambra United FC, Onitsha.

“Anambra State government will continue to show its concern for sports development and youth empowerment by making sure our youths are given the best facilities to train with and achieve their set ambitions.

“The FA competition, our preparations for national and international meets, as well as the National Sports Festival will continue to receive prompt and adequate attention even as we make sure necessary facilities are provided to give our athletes the edge in any competition,’’ she said.

Meanwhile, the FA finals match between Anambra Pillars and Anambra United ended 1 – 0 in favour of Anambra Pillars after a fierce battle and a controversial penalty kick, which was awarded to Anambra Pillars in the 53rd minute of play.

Pillar’s Esomchukwu Izuchukwu converted the penalty kick after disagreement over the centre referees decision on the penalty was settled.

Also, in the third place match, Gabros International FC, Nnewi defeated Ecomog FC by 4 – 1.

Osita Unachukwu, Secretary of Anambra Pillars FC, said that their victory was anticipated as the club had prepared hard for the match, adding that they would go ahead to win the cup the third consecutive time next year.

“I do not see the penalty as controversial as the centre referee took the decision as the driver of the match and an experience hand in officiating; while our opponent could not equalize the goal throughout the 2nd half,’’ Unachukwu said.

Rolanson Odeh, Coach of Anambra United FC, said that the match was marred by poor officiating; while contending that his team had upper hand in the match going by available statistics.

“I can tell you that we were robbed of the FA cup by the attitude of the centre referee; if not I can tell you that my boys did their best and played according to instructions,’’ he said.

Efforts to get the centre referee and other officials of the match to comment on the developments was not successful as they were protected by policemen due to the tense security situation ensued after the match.

Pillars went home with the cup and N2 million cheque; United got N1 million; Gabros International was given N500,000 and Ecomog FC was encouraged with N100,000.

The cash awards was provided by Neros Pharmaceuticals Limited, sponsors of the competition for three consecutive years.

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Alcaraz Overwhelms Djokovic To Defend Wimbledon Title

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Carlos Alcaraz powered to victory over an out-of-sorts Novak Djokovic in a bewildering final to defend his men’s singles title at Wimbledon.
A repeat of last year’s showpiece, it failed to live up to the five-set thriller of 12 months ago as Djokovic appeared helpless against the dominant Spaniard.
After squandering three championship points when trying to serve out the victory, Alcaraz held his arms aloft after edging through the third-set tie-break for a 6-2 6-2 7-6 (7-4) win.
For a second straight year, Djokovic was attempting to equal Roger Federer’s record of eight Wimbledon titles.
The 24-time major winner was also trying to move ahead of Margaret Court to take sole ownership of the all-time record for the most Grand Slam singles titles.
Graceful in defeat, Djokovic shared a smile and warm embrace with Alcaraz at the net after the comprehensive defeat.

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Uruguay Coach Blasts Copa America Organisers

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Uruguay coach Marcelo Bielsa has lashed out at the plague of liars running the 2024 Copa América, two days after his team’s semifinal against Colombia ended with a brawl in the stands involving players and fans.
At a fiery, extraordinary news conference, Bielsa criticized the lack of security provided to Uruguayan families; argued that his players were obligated to climb into the crowd to protect their loved ones; and said that post-brawl punishments should not be for the players, “but rather for those who forced them to act how they acted”, tournament organisers.
And Bielsa did not stop there. He blasted the patchy, temporary grass fields laid down for this Copa América, which is being hosted by 14 stadiums across the United States.
He also said the “training fields were a disaster.”
He suggested that Bolivia had been unable to train because one pitch was so bad.
He said that  Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni, who blasted the quality of the field at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium on opening night, had been threatened and told not to speak out again. (At multiple news conferences since, Scaloni has indeed declined to discuss the state of fields when asked.)
Bielsa noted that U.S. authorities, such as those in charge of the stadiums, have responsibility for some of this, but “they have not lied,” Bielsa said.
He instead directed most of his criticism at CONMEBOL, the South American soccer confederation primarily in charge of (and primarily profiting from) the tournament. “They say that the pitches are perfect, and all these lies that they have told!” Bielsa ranted, gesticulating furiously.
At one point, he cut himself off, and acknowledged: “I’m saying everything I promised I wouldn’t say.” But he couldn’t hold back.
He had been asked by a reporter whether he feared that his players who fought with fans would be sanctioned for their roles in the melee. “The players reacted like any other human being would,” Bielsa responded as he grew angry. He said that their families had no escape route. “And if you see your woman, or your mother, or a baby, being attacked, what would you do?”

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Euro 2024: Mikel Oyarzabal Clinches Victory For Spain

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Mikel Oyarzabal scored a late goal to give Spain a 2-1 victory over England in the Euro 2024 Final yesterday at Berlin’s Olympiastadion.
Coming off the bench, Oyarzabal scored the winning goal to give Spain a record fourth European Championship, their first since 2012.
Following a cagey first half in Berlin, in which neither team scored, Spain increased the intensity early in the second half.
A lovely infield shuffle from the 17-year-old Lamine Yamal followed by a cross-pass in the path of Spain’s left-winger, Nico Williams ended up as the opener.
Williams slotted the ball past Jordan Pickford at the bottom corner of the far post to make Spain go ahead of the game.
In the 70th minute, Cole Palmer was substituted in for Kobbie Mainoo.
The Chelsea player took three minutes to combine alongside Jude Bellingham for England’s equalizer.
The winner finally came via another substitute, this time for Spain, as Oyarzabal pounced onto a Marc Cucurella’s low cross from the left to see his team win the game.

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