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AFCON Qualifiers: Super Eagles step up preparations for Libya clash

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Super Eagles get new date for Seychelles tie

The Nigeria national football team, the Super Eagles, will on Wednesday have their second training session as they step up preparations for their crucial Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON qualifying matches against Libya.

Already, 22 of the 24 players invited to face Libya are on the ground in Uyo and they are all looking forward to Saturday’s game billed for the Akwa Ibom Stadium, as well as the reverse leg in Sfax, Tunisia three days later.

Stand-in skipper, Ahmed Musa, is top on the list of players getting set for battle against the Mediterranean Knights of Libya.

Three-time African champions, Nigeria has failed to qualify for the last two editions of the AFCON tournament. Even now, a three-point rating against present Group E pacesetters, Libya, is not negotiable, come Saturday.

Goalkeepers Francis Uzoho, Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Daniel Akpeyi, as well as defenders William Ekong, Semi Ajayi, Leon Balogun, Olaoluwa Aina, Jamilu Collins, Abdullahi Shehu, Chidozie Awaziem and Kenneth Omeruo are among those at the Ibom Meridien Hotels and Resort.

Also on ground are midfielders Wilfred Ndidi, Samuel Kalu, Ogenyi Onazi, John Ogu and Oghenekaro Etebo, and forwards Isaac Success, Alex Iwobi, Moses Simon, Henry Onyekuru and Kelechi Iheanacho.

Only Russia –based wing back, Bryan Idowu and China-based forward, Odion Ighalo are being expected on Wednesday.

There are however fears that the duo may be affected by the strike action at the domestic wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, early Wednesday morning.

The Mediterranean Knights top Group E with four points (from their defeat of Seychelles and draw with South Africa), while South Africa (winner over Nigeria before they drew with Libya) are second and Nigeria, who lost to South Africa and defeated Seychelles, lie third.

The Libyan Football Federation confirmed on Monday that a 54-man delegation, comprising players, technical crew, backroom staff and LFF officials will fly into Ibom International Airport, Uyo, aboard a chartered aircraft on Thursday.

It was however gathered that erstwhile coach of the Libya’s national team, Adel Amrouche, will not be in Uyo, having reportedly resigned from his post owing to a backlog of unpaid salaries.

Meanwhile, the match officials for Saturday’s tie from the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as the referee assessor from Mali and the security officer from South Africa, are all billed to arrive in Nigeria on Thursday and then fly to Uyo Friday morning.

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Lagos set for ‘King Of The Ring’ boxing show

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Lagos set for 'King Of The Ring' boxing show

Boxing fans in Lagos and its environs are set for a bumper festive season as top boxers across the world will be storming the Center of Excellence for the King of the Ring Boxing Show.

Organised by Monarch Events and Promotions, boxers from the United Kingdom, Ghana, Australia and Mexico are top on the list of those expected in Nigeria for some world title bouts.

The fights, which will be held at the Landmark Event Center in Victoria Island, Lagos on December 22, will also accommodate some of Nigeria’s boxers.

The CEO of Monarch Events Promotions, Stanley Williams, who also organised the BoxFest which was staged earlier this year, said he is sure the King of the Ring Show will even be more spectacular.

Emeka Onele, who spoke on behalf of the organisers said all the necessary arrangements are in top gear to stage another epic Boxing show that would further help portray Nigeria as a force to reckon with in the boxing world.

“This December will definitely be exciting for boxing lovers. We bring to you King of the Ring, an unprecedented boxing event in Nigeria and Africa.”

In some of the already confirmed big fights, Tasif Khan from the United Kingdom will be squaring up against Mexico’s 30-year-old Sammy Reyes in a 10-round bout.

Australia’s Mark De Mori will step into the ring against Mathew Elis, while Nigeria’s Tony Salam, who is the current WBF cruiserweight African champion, is up against Ghana’s Kwesi Tutu.

There will also be a world title bout between Sule Olagbade and Gyorgy Mizsel Jnr and the fight is expected to stretch to 12 rounds.

The King of the Ring being organized by Monarch Events and Promotions is sanctioned by the World Boxing Union (WBU) and the Nigeria Boxing Board of Control (NBBofC).

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U-15 Champion beats experienced athletes to win 400m finals

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National Sports Festival: 'New' athletes win 100m men, women

Imaobong Nse Uko, the current National U15 Champion, gave a breathtaking performance to finish ahead of the other experienced athletes all lined up in the Women’s 400m final, in yet another surprise performance at the 19th National Sports Festival ongoing in Abuja, on Thursday.

Nse came from the fourth position to heroically win at the finish line at 52.35s, thus winning gold for Team Akwa Ibom.

In the men’s race, Orupe Erayokan was the winner as the Team Rivers star finished with a time of 46.52 to win gold ahead of Team Akwa Ibom’s Shedrack Akpei who finished in a time of 46.78.

Another youngster, Emmanuel Ojei, added to the medals won by Lagos State by finishing third in the final of the men’s 400m.

Speaking after his race, Emmanuel said he came to the festival to enjoy himself and it was a big plus for him to win a medal.

“While coming to Abuja, I was not thinking of winning any medal,” he said.

“Even when I got to the final, I decided to execute my race and not to put myself under any pressure. So I am happy winning a medal for my efforts.

“It has been a lot of hard work and total dedication and for God to crown my efforts with a medal, I am very happy.

“I will have to go back now and start proper preparation for the new season as there are a lot of competitions to look forward to in 2019.”

Precious Okoronkwo won the Lagos State’s first medal in athletics on the opening day of the festival when she won the silver medal in the women’s long jump.

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Alex Iwobi tops list for African best player

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Alex Iwobi tops list for African best player

Super Eagles star, Alex Iwobi, is top on the list of 10 players shortlisted for the prestigious Africa Player of Year Award.

The Confederation of African Football on their official website on Friday released a trimmed list of nominees as the CAF Awards 2018 gathers momentum.

Aside from Iwobi who is the only Nigerian in the race, premier league stars, Riyad Mahrez, Mohammed Salah, Sadio Mane and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are all in the race for Africa’s biggest individual award.

Unfortunately, Ahmed Musa, as well as Nigeria’s national team coach, Gernot Rohr, have both dropped out in the race for honours in the 2018 CAF Awards.

While Musa was initially shortlisted for the prestigious Africa player of year accolade, Rohr was pencilled down in the best coach category.

That notwithstanding, Nigeria still has some form of representation as two players, Onome Ebi and Asisat Oshoala, are in the run for the women’s player of the year.

The Super Falcons’ coach, Thomas Dennerby, is being nominated alongside two others in the Women’s Coach of the Year category.

Also, the Super Falcons who only recently won their ninth African title, have been nominated for Women’s National Team of the Year.

CAF explained that the shortlisted nominees were decided by votes from the members of the CAF Technical & Development Committee.

The final phase will involve votes from CAF Media Experts, Legends, Coaches of the quarter-finalists of the CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup, and Coaches & Captains of the 54 Member Associations.

The Awards Gala, to honour footballers and officials who distinguished themselves during the year under review, will be held on Tuesday, 8 January 2019 in Dakar, Senegal.

See The Full Shortlists for CAF Awards 2018

African Player of the Year

1. Alex Iwobi (Nigeria & Arsenal)

2. Andre Onana (Cameroon & Ajax)

3. Anis Badri (Tunisia & Esperance)

4. Denis Onyango (Uganda & Mamelodi Sundowns)

5. Mehdi Benatia (Morocco & Juventus)

6. Mohamed Salah (Egypt & Liverpool)

7. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon & Arsenal)

8. Riyad Mahrez (Algeria & Manchester City)

9. Sadio Mane (Senegal & Liverpool)

10. Walid Soliman (Egypt & Ahly)

Women’s Player of the Year

1. Abdulai Mukarama (Ghana & Northern Ladies)

2. Asisat Oshoala (Nigeria & Dilian Quanjian)

3. Bassira Toure (Mali & AS Mande)

4. Chrestinah Thembi Kgatlana (South Africa & Houston Dash)

5. Elizabeth Addo (Ghana & Seattle Reign)

6. Francisca Ordega (Nigeria & Washington Spirit)

7. Gabrielle Aboudi Onguene (Cameroon & CSKA Moskow)

8. Janine Van Wyk (South Africa & Houston Dash)

9. Onome Ebi (Nigeria & Hekan Huisanhang)

10. Raissa Feudjio (Cameroon & Aland United)

11. Tabitha Chawinga (Malawi & Jiangsu Suning)

Youth Player of the Year

1. Achraf Hakimi (Morocco & Borussia Dortmunmd)

2. Franck Kessie (Cote d’Ivoire & AC Milan)

3. Wilfred Ndidi (Nigeria & Leicester City)

Men’s Coach of the Year

1. Aliou Cisse (Senegal)

2. Herve Renard (Morocco)

3. Moine Chaabani (Esperance)

Women’s Coach of the Year

1. Desiree Ellis (South Africa)

2. Joseph Brian Ndoko (Cameroon)

3. Thomas Dennerby (Nigeria)

Men’s National Team of the Year

1. Madagascar

2. Mauritania

3. Uganda

Women’s National Team of the Year

1. Cameroon

2. Nigeria

3. South Africa

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