The Ivorian Football Federation (FIF) has confirmed the return of Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure to the Elephants squad for this month’s friendlies in France.
The 34-year-old quit international football after leading his country to the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations title, but reversed his decision in December.
Named in a 24-man squad for fixtures against Togo on Saturday and then Moldova three days later, officials are excited about his return after a three year absence.
“The federation had a good discussion with Yaya Toure about the two friendlies and he gave his commitment to be in France before his inclusion,” a top FIF official told Tidesports source.
“It’s also a big boost for the team ahead of important qualifiers for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations tournament.
“He loves his country and many people revere him for his contributions, we are just happy to have him back in the team again.”
Under the guidance of Pep Guardiola, Toure has rarely featured in the Manchester City side, appearing in 13 matches in total this season and just six of them as a late substitute in the Premier League.
After making his international debut against Egypt in June 2004, Toure has gone on to win 100 caps for his country, scoring 19 goals.
In 2014 he took over the captain’s armband following the retirement of star striker Didier Drogba.
He has played in six Nations Cup tournaments, suffering defeat in the final in 2006 and 2012, and appeared in three World Cups.
Toure captained his country to a first Africa Cup of Nations triumph since 1992 in Equatorial Guinea in February 2015.
However, in his absence Ivory Coast suffered an embarrassing group stage exit at the 2017 tournament and failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The faltering Elephants, who lost 3-2 at home to Guinea in their opening Group H encounter last June, will resume qualifiers for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in September with a trip to Rwanda.
Race For Zenith Bank B’Ball League Top Four Resumes
The battle for the final two slots for the 2023 Zenith Bank Women’s Basketball League will begin at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, Delta State, with MFM Women Basketball Club and Bayelsa Blue Whales looking to secure one of the two slots.
Two teams; Nigerian Customs and Air Warriors secured two slots from the Savannah Conference and now, the Atlantic Conference teams will battle to win the two other slots to complete the Top Four for Final Phase.
The Second Phase of the Atlantic Conference was postponed due to the recently concluded National Youth Games and with the arrival of all teams, hostilities began yesterday with Bayelsa Whales and MFM taking on Dolphins and Sunshine Angels, respectively.
MFM, who finished second in the last edition will have to be at their best as they are currently third on the table coming from the First Phase where they won three games while losing two while Bayelsa Whales on the other hand are second with four wins and a loss against undefeated First Bank who is poised to finish top of the table.
First Bank will hope to continue their impressive form when they meet IGP Queens who are also hoping to create an upset and get a slot to be in Lagos for the finals scheduled later in October.
NRFF President Hails ValueJet’s Contribution to Rugby Development
President of Nigeria Rugby Football Federation, NRFF, Dr Ademola Are has hailed the impact of ValueJet’s to rugby development and sports generally in the country.
Dr Are who was speaking on the sideline of the just concluded National Youth Games in Asaba, where Delta State emerged winners in both the male and female events of rugby, said ValueJet’s contributions to sports development could not be overlooked..
“We can’t over emphasize the impact of ValueJet in Nigeria rugby because they came at a time we needed them the most and all thanks to the president of the company, Kunle Soname who went the extra mile to ensure that Nigeria senior men national team, the Black Stallions participated at Africa Sevens Olympic qualifier in Harare, Zimbabwe.
“Despite not being the most popular sport in the country, he saw the potentials in rugby when others were hesitating, just like he has for other businesses of his with his canny business acumen.
Peseiro Congratulates Rivers Utd
Super Eagles head coach Jose Peseiro has congratulated Rivers United following their victory over Etoile Filante of Burkina Faso which ensured their qualification to the group stages of the CAF Confederation Cup.
Rivers United defeated their visitors 2-0 in the second leg of the second preliminary round of CAF Confederation Cup at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, Port Harcourt on Sunday night.
Rivers United missed two penalties in the game before Alex Oyowah scored the opener in the 89th minute. Oyowah completed his brace in the 10th minute of added time after converting a penalty to end the score 2-0.
The first leg of the encounter ended 0-0 two weeks ago at the Stade Muncipal Yamoussoukro, Cote D’Ivoire, giving the Pride of Rivers a 2-0 aggregate win and a group stage ticket.
Peseiro hailed the former Nigeria league champions on his personal X handle following their achievement.
“Congratulations to Rivers United on making it to the CAF Confederation Cup group stage. Best of luck in the competition!,” he wrote.
Rivers United reached the quarter-final stage of the CAF Confederation Cup last season before being eliminated by Young Africans of Tanzania.
Up next for Stanley Eguma led side is their first Nigeria Premier Football League NPFL game of the season against Niger Tornadoes slated for the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna on Sunday.
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