Coronavirus threatens EPL as Liverpool’s Thiago tests positive

Liverpool midfielder Thiago Alcantara has tested positive for coronavirus, the Premier League champions confirmed on Tuesday. The 29-year-old, who joined from Bayern Munich this month, missed Monday’s 3-1 win over Arsenal and will now self-isolate. “Thiago Alcantara has tested positive for Covid-19 and is currently self-isolating according to the necessary guidelines,” Liverpool said in a statement. “The club has, and will continue to follow, all protocols relating to Covid-19 and Thiago will remain in self-isolation for the required period of time.” The Spanish international will miss another clash with Arsenal…

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James reunites with Ancelotti at Everton for £22m

Everton completed the signing of James Rodriguez from Real Madrid on Monday, reuniting the Colombian playmaker with manager Carlo Ancelotti for a third time. The Premier League club are reported to have paid £22 million ($29 million) for the 29-year-old, who was top scorer at the 2014 World Cup. James’s performances on the world stage earned him an 80 million euro ($95 million) move to Madrid six years ago and he shone in his first season in the Spanish capital under Ancelotti’s management. However, he fell down the pecking order…

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Ex-Super Eagles’ defender, Babalade is dead

Former Super Eagles defender Ajibade Babalade died today in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, after suffering cardiac arrest. Babalade, 48, The PUNCH learnt, died while being rushed to the University College Hospital, Ibadan, in the afternoon. The hard-as-nails retired defender was a squad member of the Eagles that won bronze at the 1992 Africa Cup of Nations in Senegal. He started his professional career at Stationery Stores of Lagos in 1990, before several stints at 3SC, helping the Oluyole Warriors reach the final of the CAF Champions in League in 1996. He…

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£700m, not family pressure is keeping Messi at Barca

Barcelona super star, Lionel Messi, has insisted that the £700m release clause in his contract with FC Barcelona is what was responsible for his decision to stay back at the “club of my life.” Although there were pressure from his wife and children, whose reaction to his planned exit from the club he described as ‘brutal’ Messi said, “I thought and we were sure that I was free. The president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I stayed or not and now they…

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NFF top shot dies

The top hierarchy and rank-and-file of the Nigeria Football Federation have been thrown into deep mourning following the death on Saturday evening of the Federation’s Head of ICT, Mr. Tolulope Abe. Abe passed on at the National Hospital, Abuja as a result of complications that arose after a surgery. He was 48. Highly dedicated, diligent, energetic, savant, proficient and goal-driven, Tolulope Abe exemplified hard work and industry, and was loved by all for his sapience, dynamism, sense of duty, productivity and humility. NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, was at…

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LaLiga Block Messi’s exit with £700m

La Liga has dashed Lionel Messi’s hopes of leaving Barcelona on a free transfer by stating his release clause will have to be paid if he is to leave the Nou Camp. Messi notified Barcelona this week that he intends to walk away from the club by exercising a clause in his contract that allows him to leave for free at the end of each season. Even though the deadline to exercise the clause has passed, Messi’s lawyers believe Barcelona should honour it as the season had to be extended…

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Aubameyang show class as Arsenal lifts Community Shield

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang underlined his value to Arsenal with a superb goal and the winning spot-kick as the Gunners beat Liverpool 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in the Community Shield on Saturday. Aubameyang put Mikel Arteta’s side ahead in the first half at Wembley with a typically eye-catching strike. Japan’s Takumi Minamino equalised with his first goal for Liverpool late in the second half of the annual pre-season friendly between the Premier League champions and FA Cup winners. In the shoot-out, Liverpool’s young striker Rhian Brewster was the only…

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How to stop Neymar, Mbappe -Bayern Coach

Bayern Munich head coach Hansi Flick says he trusts their high line defence and will resist making changes in order to contain fleet-footed Paris Saint Germain forwards Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in Sunday’s Champions League final. “In our games over the last 10 months we’ve always tried to impose our style on the opposition,” Flick said Saturday with treble-chasing Bayern on a 20-match winning run. “We’ve always played with a high line and ultimately we’ve got results doing that so we won’t change too much. “We don’t want to give…

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NFF staff to undergo test as COVID-19 hits secretariat

An official of the Nigerian Football Federation has reportedly tested positive to coronavirus prompting the football house to announce a shutdown of its secretariat. According to a statement by the federation’s General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, its members of staff would undergo COVID-19 tests at its Secretariat, Sunday Dankaro House, National Stadium Complex, Abuja on Thursday. The statement titled ‘NFF management and staff to undergo COVID-19 tests’ was made available to journalists by NFF’s spokesperson, Ademola Olajire, on Tuesday. Sanusi said, “Apart from him testing positive, I also had issues…

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Real Madrid coach, Zidane talks about “the best day” of his professional life

Zinedine Zidane has revealed that leading Real Madrid to the La Liga title in a stop-start season at the mercy of coronavirus was “the best day of my professional life”. The 48-year-old French football icon insisted it will remain a memorable day even in a career which includes winning the 1998 World Cup as a player. The only setback in the season was a Champions League last 16 exit at the hands of Manchester City. “We set the goal (of winning La Liga) very high,” Zidane told AFP. “After the…

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PSG beat Liepzig, through to UCL final

Paris Saint-Germain are through to the final of the Champions League for the first time after goals by Marquinhos, Angel Di Maria and Juan Bernat saw them ease to a 3-0 win over RB Leipzig in a one-sided semi-final in Lisbon on Tuesday. It was 2-0 at half-time, with the first two goals set up by Neymar, the Brazilian again outstanding at the Estadio da Luz, just as he had been in last week’s quarter-final against Atalanta. Bernat’s goal came in the 55th minute and snuffed out any hopes Leipzig…

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Barcelona names new coach

Former Barcelona midfielder Ronald Koeman has been appointed the club’s new coach, the La Liga giants’ president Josep Maria Bartomeu said on Tuesday. “Koeman will be Barca’s coach next season,” Bartomeu told the side’s television channel. Koeman, who has been in charge of the Netherlands since 2018, replaces Quique Setien who was sacked after Barca were knocked out of the Champions League quarter-finals in a 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich last week. Details later.. AFP

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Arsenal grabs Willian

Chelsea FC of London’s former wing wizard, William gas been confirmed an Arsenal player after the Brazilian switch to his former club’s city rival. The 32-year-old left the Blues after his contract expired but will remain in London after signing a three-year deal with the Gunners. Arsenal have confirmed the signing of Willian on a three-year contract. The Brazilian winger left Chelsea earlier this week after his deal with the Stamford Bridge outfit expired. The 32-year-old will stay in London, however, after agreeing a deal with Mikel Arteta’s team. “I believe he’s…

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Auba, the hero as Arsenal beat Chelsea to FA Cup

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang inspired Arsenal to a record 14th FA Cup win as the Gunners captain struck twice to beat Chelsea 2-1 in the final at an empty Wembley on Saturday. Christian Pulisic had given Chelsea the dream start, but the Blues unravelled after Aubameyang was brought down by Cesar Azpilicueta inside the area and converted the resulting penalty. A brilliant finish from Aubameyang 23 minutes from time earned Mikel Arteta silverware in his first season as Arsenal boss before Chelsea were controversially reduced to 10 men when Mateo Kovacic was…

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Tyson returns to the ring in battle of oldies

Iron Mike Tyson, the former world heavyweight champion who retired in 2005, revealed on Thursday that he will make a comeback at age 54, fighting Roy Jones Jr. on September 12 in Los Angeles. On his Legends Only League website, Tyson announced the bout against Jones, a 51-year-old fighter who briefly held the heavyweight title and has fought consistently into his 50s. “It’s just going to be amazing,” Tyson said.

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50 @ 61: Sarri hails ‘extraordinary’ Ronaldo

Juventus manager Maurizio Sarri hailed Cristiano Ronaldo as ‘extraordinary’ after he became the quickest player to reach 50 goals in Serie A on Monday night. The Portuguese sensation scored twice within three minutes against title rivals Lazio to put Juventus on the cusp of yet another league title. Ronaldo converted a penalty after VAR determined a handball, then finished off a swift counter-attack following a pass from Paulo Dybala in the 2-1 victory. The brace took him to 51 Serie A goals in total but he became the quickest to…

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Liverpool crowned EPL Champ

Liverpool were crowned Premier League champions without kicking a ball on Thursday as Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Manchester City ended the Reds’ 30-year wait to win the English title. Jurgen Klopp’s men sealed a 19th league title for the club with a record seven games left to play after second placed City’s defeat left them 23 points adrift. Liverpool had moved within two points of the title with a 4-0 demolition of Crystal Palace at Anfield on Wednesday. Their 28th win in 31 league games this season prompted Liverpool star…

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Joshua is UK’s second richest sportsperson

World heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has been ranked the second-richest sportsperson in the United Kingdom. In the ranking done by The Sunday Times, Gareth Bale was rated the richest young sports star. However, Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton was ranked the richest sportsperson in the United Kingdom with a net worth of £224 million. Apart from Joshua, others on the young sports stars Rich List are footballers who are aged 30 or below. Among them are Bale, Paul Pogba, Kevin de Bruyne, David de Gea, Raheem Sterling, and N’Golo Kante. Joshua reportedly earned…

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Replacing Rohr won’t be a challenge, says Pinnick

Amaju Pinnick, President of the Nigeria Football Federation, has assured Nigerians that getting a new coach won’t be a challenge should Gernot Rohr refuse to sign a new contract to the presented the German tactician. Amaju Pinnick has hinted that a fresh contract for Super Eagles coach, Rohr, will be ready in one week. National Infinity reports that Pinnick was quoted saying “I get calls every day from coaches that want to come here” in response to the possibility of getting a replacement in good time should Rohr reject the new contract.…

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I fought a ghost, says Romero defeated UFC middleweight contender

Defeated UFC middleweight challenger, Yoel Romero said he fought with a ghost in Saturday night’s title challenger against Nigerian born Isreal Adesanya. Romero started Saturday the fight against Adesanya standing completely motionless, covering his face with his hands in a shell-like guard. Things didn’t get any less weird as the fight wore on. In one of the least active and most bizarre title fights in UFC history, Adesanya successfully defended his middleweight title against Romero via unanimous decision in the main event of UFC 248 at T-Mobile Arena. The judges…

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I’ll challenge Osimhen for S/Eagles hitman – Dessers

Heracles Almelo forward Cyriel Dessers is looking towards a healthy rivalry with Lille striker Victor Osimhen as the Super Eagles prepare to face Sierra Leone in a 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba later this month, Sports Extra reports. With Paul Onuachu dropped from the squad, Dessers, who has a Belgian father, was handed his maiden invitation to play for Nigeria against Sierra Leone by Gernot Rohr, after he was cleared by Federation International Football Association to play for the Eagles at international level. The 25-year-old…

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“AJ’s keeping them warm for my hubby” -Fury’s wife taunts

WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury’s wife, Paris has fired a dig at hubby’s rival boxer Anthony Joshua, saying the multiple heavyweight champion is keeping the belts warm for her husband. Fury was stripped of the titles Joshua now occupies after his well-publicised struggles outside of the ring following his win over Wladimir Klitschko in 2015, though has fought his way back to the pinnacle of the sport. The Gypsy King stopped Deontay Wilder in seven rounds last week, though the American has triggered a rematch clause with a trilogy fight set…

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Rohr names debutantes, Ehizibue, Dessers as Iheanacho returns for AFCON qualifier

New entrants, Kingsley Ehizibue, of FC Koln, and Holland-based forward Cyril Dessers will debut for Nigeria as Super Eagles’ Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr released names of 24 players for the double-header against Sierra-Leone in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying fixture this month. Rohr named captain Ahmed Musa, vice-captain William Ekong and veteran defender Kenneth Omeruo in his 24-man Super Eagles’ roster There are also goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi, defenders Leon Balogun and Olaoluwa Aina, midfielder Wilfred Ndidi and forwards Alex Iwobi and Victor Osimhen in the list of three…

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Nigerian footballer tests positive to coronavirus

Akpan Udoh , a player in the Italian third division – Serie C – has become the first Nigeran to test positive for coronavirus. He is believed to be the first case of a footballer in Europe to be infected with the coronavirus. BBC in a live update identified the player as Paul Akpan Udoh, who is an Italian-Nigerian footballer. Udon is a 22-year-old player, who plays for Pianese in Serie C. He was said to be diagnosed on Thursday and has been quarantined. A statement from the Tuscany region read, “Two new…

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Tyson Fury taunts AJ with gumshield and gloves in Nigeria’s colours

WBC heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury appeared to taunt Nigerian born heavyweight rival Anthony Joshua by wearing a ‘Nigeria’ themed gumshield during his emphatic victory over Deontay Wilder on Saturday night. The Gypsy King gave a dominant and powerful display in Las Vegas, twice knocking Wilder to the canvas before the American’s corner threw in the towel in the seventh round. Having claimed the WBC title, all eyes are now on a unification fight between Fury and fellow Brit Joshua – who holds the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO titles. Fury’s…

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Undisputed Heavyweight Champion: Anthony Joshua calls out Tyson Fury

Unified Heavyweight champion and Nigerian born British boxer, Anthony Joshua called out the new WBC champion, Tyson Fury for a unification bout that will produce the undisputed Heavyweight champion of the world. In a video (above) trending on Twitter, the newly crowned champion had put a call through to AJ and after the formalities, AJ asked him: When are we fighting? to which Tyson Fury jokingly replied ‘Behave yourself’ while AJ fired back ” sounds like 2021″ and Tyson Fury retorted; “I only called you up to say hello”

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Blood licking: Is Tyson Fury a vampire?

Newly crowned WBC Heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury was caught licking the blood was spewing out of Wilder’s ear and Fury decided, in only the way that he would, to lick it off the American in the sixth round. What. Have. We. Just. Seen? Queried a commentator. Oh Tyson. That’s quite grim. But there’s nothing like showing your superiority by licking your opponent’s blood.

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Gipsy King, Tyson Fury returns as heavyweight champ, knocks out Wilder

Tyson Fury reigns again as a heavyweight world champion after battering Deontay Wilder on the way to a stunning seventh-round stoppage in their World Boxing Council title rematch. Fourteen months after their dramatic split-decision draw, Britain’s Fury dominated the American champion — who had blood streaming from his left ear and leaking from his mouth when referee Kenny Bayless called a halt at the behest of Wilder’s corner. Deontay Wilder was reportedly rushed to the hospital after losing to Tyson Fury in their heavyweight title rematch. According to reports, he missed his…

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Prez. Buhari names Amokachi soccer ambassador

The President Muhammadu Buhari has named ex-Nigerian international, Daniel Amokachi, as the country’s football ambassador, a State House statement said on Tuesday. Amokachi, popularly known as ‘the Bull”, is both a former Super Eagles player and an Assistant Coach of the team. The statement signed by Buhari’s media aide, Mr Garba Shehu, said, “Amokachi, a member of the 1994 Super Eagles Team that won the African Nations Cup in Tunisia, was also in the Nigerian Olympic Football Team to the 1996 Atlanta Olympics that won the Gold Medal. “In addition…

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GTBank Masters Cup Season 9 Reaches Semi Final Stage

After a thrilling round of football in the quarter finals, eight teams in the male and female categories have advanced to the semi final stages of the 2020 GTBank Masters Cup. All four games will be played at the Campos Stadium, Lagos Island, on Wednesday 5th February 2020, where the Semi Finalists will compete for a coveted spot in the grand finale. Last seasons winners in the male and female category, Kings College and Lead-Forte Gate College, will hope to defend their title when they take on Eko Boys High…

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GTBank Sponsors Lagos International Polo Tournament

From February 4th to 16th, 2020, Lagos will play host to some of the most prestigious teams for Africa’s premier polo competition – the 2020 edition of the prestigious Lagos International Polo Tournament.  Sponsored by leading African Financial Institution, Guaranty Trust Bank plc, the competition will feature 39 teams; the highest number till date. The teams will compete in four major cups; the Silver Cup, Open Cup, Low Cup, and Majekodunmi Cup.  The finals of the Silver Cup and Open Cup will hold on Sunday 9th February 2020, while the…

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Man United seeks Ighalo for redemption

Odion Ighalo and Islam Slimani are two of a number of players Manchester United have looked at as they try to bring in a striker on loan following the long-term injury to Marcus Rashford. Former Watford forward Ighalo is with Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua and has two years left on his contract while Slimani is on loan at Monaco from Leicester. Nigeria international Ighalo scored 17 goals in 55 Premier League appearances for the Hornets before securing a move to Chinese League One in 2017, Skysports report. Slimani has 13…

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World sports in shock as Kobe dies in helicopter crash

NBA legend Kobe Bryant died Sunday in a helicopter crash in suburban Los Angeles, celebrity website TMZ reported, in an accident confirmed by police that saw five people killed. Los Angeles County Sheriff’s officials said there were no survivors from the morning crash on a hillside in Calabasas, west of Los Angeles. The helicopter was described as a Sikorsky S-76, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said. TMZ was the first US outlet to report that Bryant was among the fatalities. The NBA icon’s death was later confirmed by ESPN and…

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Why we set up Normalisation Committee for Delta FA -NFF

Chairman of Chairmen of Nigerian Football, Alhaji Ibrahim Musa Gusau has stated that the NFF resorted to appointing a Normalisation Committee to run the affairs of the Delta State Football Association following the long-drawn intractable crisis that bedevilled that affiliate. “Early last year, the board of the Delta State Football Association wrote a petition against the acting Chairman, bordering on various allegations, and eventually held a congress where the members suspended the acting Chairman.  The NFF took note of the decision because the process adopted complied with the laid down regulations for…

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Joshua’s Fury strange offer sparks controversy

Anthony Joshua’s offer to spar fellow British boxer, Tyson Fury has generated so much controversy and the United Heavyweight Boxing champion has admitted regretting going public with the offer, though he insists that the chance to learn from the Gypsy King would be hugely beneficial. Fresh from winning back his titles from Andy Ruiz Jr., AJ revealed that he would be up for helping Fury prepare for his own rematch with WBC champion Deontay Wilder – which is scheduled for February. It did not take long for Fury to respond,…

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Fifth Chukker Commends FirstBank’s commitment to Patrons Cup

The management of Fifth Chukker Polo and Country Club have commended First Bank of Nigeria Limited for their support of the prestigious African Patrons Cup; a polo tournament which holds annually at the Club in Kaduna. The commendation came at the closing ceremony of the 2019 edition of the competition which featured notable polo teams drawn from across the country.  The Bank was lauded for its contribution to the development of Polo at the club. A statement by the club’s management stated “We will like to recognise the sterling efforts…

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Fidelity Bank shine at Nigerian Bankers Games

How best can one describe the Nigerian Bankers Games finals football match between Fidelity Bank and United Bank for Africa yesterday? Nerve-wracking, enthralling, gruelling, entertaining, mesmerizing, ecstatic? You just can’t be wrong on any of these fronts! Simply put: The match lived up to its billing as it had everybody sitting on the edge of their seats. The Okonkwo tutored boys drew the first blood, converting from a well-taken throw-in. The lead was however short-lived as the Tony Elumelu boys benefited from a defensive mix-up to score the equalizer. From…

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NFF cautions Rohr over incessant contract breaches

The Nigeria Football Federation says it has asked Super Eagles’ Technical Adviser, Mr. Gernot Rohr to explain reasons behind several breaches of the contract that he signed with the body, which forbids him to divulge to the public/media information on some aspects of the contract. Speaking in Abuja on Wednesday, NFF’s Technical Director, Mr. Bitrus Bewarang said Mr. Rohr’s new-found love for disclosing information beyond technical matters to the media is highly unprofessional and against the spirit and letter of his contractual relationship with the football –ruling body. “In as…

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Meet Super Eagles’ top 10 earners in Europe

Leicester City’s Wilfred Ndidi is the highest-paid Super Eagles player in Europe this season, Sports Extra reports. The 22-year-old, who joined the Foxes from Genk for £17m in 2016, earns £3.9m per annum, (approximately £75,000 a week) according to a study by Spotrac. Ndidi, barring any last-minute hitch, will play his 100th game for Leicester City in Saturday’s clash against Brighton & Hove Albion at the King Power Stadium. He is also the fifth highest earner at Leicester behind Jamie Vardy (£7.28m), Kasper Schmeichel (£6.76m), Johnny Evans (£4.16m) and Adrien Silva (£4.16m).…

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“I have learnt from past mistakes” -Mourinho

New Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho says he has learnt his lessons and will not repeat the mistakes of his past managerial roles at Spurs. The Portuguese replaced Mauricio Pochettino on Wednesday, ending an 11-month spell out of management following his sacking by Manchester United. Mourinho described himself as “humble” in his first news conference as Spurs boss, saying he spent his time away from football analysing his career. “I realised I made mistakes,” he said. “I’m not going to make the same mistakes. I’ll make new mistakes – but not…

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Why I lost to Ruiz -Joshua

Nigerian British born boxer, Anthony Joshua said his first career defeat at the hands of Andy Ruiz Jr. was due to a lack of experience and he had become a “smarter” fighter ahead of December’s rematch. Mexican-American Ruiz produced one of boxing’s biggest upsets when he dethroned the previously undefeated world heavyweight champion with a seventh-round stoppage at New York’s Madison Square Garden in June. “It wasn’t burnout. The issues I faced in the last camp, it’s just down to lack of experience,” he told BBC. “Even though it was…

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Mourinho takes over at Tottenham

Jose Mourinho was on Wednesday appointed Tottenham’s new manager to replace the sacked Mauricio Pochettino, with the club languishing 14th in the Premier League. The Portuguese former Chelsea, Real Madrid and Manchester United manager signed a contract until the end of the 2022/23 season, the north London club said in a statement. Pochettino, 47, transformed Spurs’ fortunes after arriving from Southampton in 2014 and although he failed to win a trophy he took the club to the Champions League final for the first time in their history just six months…

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FirstBank’s Lagos Amateur Open Golf Championship achieves global recognition with WAGR listing

 Nigeria’s premier and leading financial services provider, First Bank of Nigeria Limited has announced that the FirstBank Lagos Amateur Golf Championship scheduled to Tee-Off on Friday, 15 November 2019 is now listed amongst the golf tournaments in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR). The WAGR isoffered by the R&A and the United States Golf Association as a global service to golf.  Through incorporation and assessment worldwide of both amateur and professional events, WAGR™ encourages the international development of the competitive game. Since 1894, FirstBank has continued to promote the growth and development…

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Origi, the hero as Liverpool youngsters dump Arsenal out of League Cup

Liverpool reached the League Cup quarter-finals in thrilling style as their incredible 5-5 draw against Arsenal was followed by a 5-4 penalty shoot-out triumph on Wednesday. Both Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Arsenal boss Unai Emery made 11 changes for the fourth round tie, but the understudies served up one of the most entertaining games of the season at Anfield. Arsenal enjoyed a memorable 6-3 League Cup quarter-final win at Liverpool in 2007, but this time they squandered multiple leads in an even more dramatic clash. In the shoot-out, Dani…

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