RelatedPosts NPFL: Coach Dogo leaves Sunshine Stars NFF sanctions NPFL 2019/2020 final table Ex-Eagles’ keeper joins Kwara United Rangers International Football Club of Enugu General Manager, Davison Owumi, has assured supporters of the club that it would strive to finish the ongoing Nigeria Professional Football League season on the top four bracket. Owumi made this promise to the club teaming supporters in Enugu on Friday, while reacting to the club slide in form in the league and continental. “Our drop in form can happen to every good team around the world and we are getting over it. “Thankfully, we are almost past the bridge and would soon be at the top four bracket of the league table. “Injuries to key players really affected our push at the start of the season which led to us losing some matches that should have been won. “Let our fans around the globe be assured of a top finish this season,” he said. Owumi regretted the club failure to take the league by storm from the first match and expressed confidence that the club would still turn things around. “I understand the feelings of our supporters but I urge them to calm down and look with positive attitude towards the turn for the better of our dear Rangers. “Slide in form is not peculiar to any team and such was expected of every great football club or footballing nation. “It has come and gone, and we have turned the bend’, soonest we would be among the top echelon of the NPFL,” he said. Owumi still believed that a place in the last eight of Total/CAF Confederation cup 2019/2020 season is still open for the Flying Antelopes. On the recent PlayStation recognition of the club, he said that the decision of the online games owners to have the club on its platform goes a long way to depict the level which Rangers have attained. He said that such would help sell the image of the club further round the globe. Owumi said that for Rangers and Enyimba FC to earn the right means that Nigeria club are beginning to be recognised globally. The PlayStation recognition will see Rangers and Enyimba FC feature in the world acclaimed football simulation video game show developed by PES popularly called PlayStation in the 2020 edition.Tags: Davison OwuminpflRangers International Football Club
RelatedPosts COVID-19: NCAA to revoke erring airlines licence over non-compliance FRSC to Schools: We’ll arrest, prosecute drivers who flout COVID-19 rules Sanwo-Olu: We’re committed to fulfilling promises to Lagosians Players at the Premier League’s top clubs should “stick to their guns” and resist pressure to take pay cuts during the COVID-19 shutdown, ex-Manchester United captain, Roy Keane, said on Friday.Professional soccer in England has been suspended since March 13 due to the pandemic and some Premier League clubs have furloughed non-playing staff under a government scheme. Players at some clubs have accepted wage deferrals while Arsenal’s players and coaching staff agreed a 12.5 per cent salary reduction.“The way I look at it now, particularly after the way I left Manchester United, I wouldn’t take a pay cut from anybody if I was at one of the bigger clubs,” Keane told Sky Sports television.“I know there is pressure on players, but it is nobody’s business what you do with your wages. You take your wages and if you want to be generous, go ahead and do it. I don’t think players should feel pressured by clubs, particularly the bigger clubs, to take pay cuts,” added the former Ireland midfielder, who left United in 2005 in strained circumstances.Keane said a player’s individual contract was a personal matter between him and the club and it was nonsense to suggest all should do the same.He added that it was always made clear to him when negotiating deals that it was a business. “When the clubs with billionaire owners in the background come to the players and say they are in trouble —tell them no, no, you honour the contract,” he said.“This idea that we should be getting players to give up their wages at these big clubs, forget about it because these clubs are the first to tell you, ‘This is a business, lads, this is how it works’.”Former United and England defender Gary Neville repeated a call for the Premier League to come up with a package to help clubs in the lower divisions survive.“I’ve gone from opportunity, to despair, to almost now pleading with somebody at the Premier League just to do the right thing for the game,” he said.Neville said: “Why am I on calls with chairmen and owners of EFL League Two (fourth-tier) clubs who are desperate, who don’t know how to pay their next wages?; they are worried the clubs are going to go bust for the sake of a few million pounds” Reuters/NAN. Tags: CoronavirusCOVID-19English Premier LeaguePay CutsRoy Keane
RelatedPosts Runarsson joins Arsenal on four-year deal Arsenal, Wolves want Michael Olise Akpom pens Middlesbrough loan deal Arsenal have confirmed that Bukayo Saka has signed a new long-term contract with the club.The 18-year-old has enjoyed a breakthrough season with the Gunners, making 33 appearances across all competitions while scoring three goals and providing 11 assists in the process. The winger’s previous deal had been due to expire next summer, but he has now committed his long-term future to his boyhood club to end speculation over a possible exit.“Bukayo is a talented and intelligent young player. He has impressed me with his work ethic and attitude to learn and adapt, and it has paid off in his performances,” manager Mikel Arteta told the club’s official website.“I am excited to continue working with him to develop him further, and for him to help us achieve our goals.”Technical Director Edu added: “This is something everyone involved wanted to happen and we are delighted that Bukayo has signed a new long-term contract.“He’s making great progress and is one of a number of young players who have developed through our academy. This is so important for us as we move forward as a club.” Saka’s tally of 11 assists this season is the most by an Arsenal teenager in a single campaign since Cesc Fabregas registered 12 in 2006-07.Tags: ArsenalBukayo SakaNew contract
RelatedPosts Tyson Fury to Anthony Joshua: Don’t risk fighting Usyk Anthony Joshua, Okolie plot world title double Anthony Joshua wants Tyson Fury, Wilder fight Anthony Joshua’s camp have denied the Heavyweight boxer even knows Riyad Mahrez’s wife after fresh allegations emerged the pair were spotted together on a night out.According to The Sun, Joshua, 30, was allegedly seen with Rita, 26, on two occasions over the past few weeks at a shisha bar and then at a mutual friend’s house. But a spokesman for Joshua has vehemently denied the accusation, telling the paper: “Anthony doesn’t personally know Mrs Mahrez and has no wish to, now or in future. He’s disappointed that she or people around her have tried to use his name to generate publicity.”Joshua is alleged to have first met Rita in London’s Tape nightclub in December, but “backed away” upon learning she was married to Manchester City star Mahrez.A source told The Sun: “Rita’s mad keen on AJ. She thinks they can be a couple.“She’s in touch with him via his circle of friends and loves going out with them, although she really only has eyes for AJ.“She’s been telling people about him, although he has held her at arm’s length.” Mahrez married Rita in a private ceremony with only close family and friends back in August 2015 after the couple dated for five months.Rita gave birth to the couple’s first child, daughter Inanya later that year.The couple are believed to have a second daughter born in 2016, although her name is not known.After five years of marriage, Mahrez and Rita are in the process of finalising their divorce.Tags: Anthony JoshuaRiyadh MahrezThe Sun
The 30-year-old striker arrived at St Mary’s from Bristol Rovers in 2009 and has helped the club rise from npower League One to the Barclays Premier League. Lambert, who has scored 99 goals for the club, is the highest English scorer in the Premier League this season, leading to reported interest from others. However, the Liverpudlian has quashed such talk, saying he would like to end his playing days at the south coast club. “My family are happy here and I am very happy,” Lambert told The Sun. Press Association “It has been a special three-and-a-half years and I would love to finish my career at Southampton. “The club’s ambitions are very high. Southampton is going to be an exciting place over the next few years.” Rickie Lambert wants to stay at Southampton for the rest of his career.
The Royals crashed to a 2-1 defeat to fellow strugglers Aston Villa that leaves them above bottom-placed QPR on goals scored only. McDermott’s men had begun the day able to climb out of the bottom three with a win and had led thanks to a calamitous Nathan Baker own goal on the half-hour. But they failed to cash in on their luck as Christian Benteke levelled two minutes later before Gabby Agbonlahor profited on hesitant defending to thump in the winner in first-half injury time. The full-time whistle was greeted by boos and, with trips to Manchester United and Arsenal next up, McDermott said: “We’re hurting. We are very much hurting at this moment in time.” Reading boss Brian McDermott admitted his side were hurting after their survival hopes suffered a significant blow for the second successive home match. He added: “It was disappointing to say the least. It was rough. When we got 1-0 up I though we were ready to kick on. We didn’t do that and that’s cost us. “We were disappointed with both goals. We’ve got ourselves into the lead and they’ve scored virtually straight after. We have to hold our hands up. We need to be better and see the game out. I know that and the players know that.” A fourth league defeat on the spin was made worse by QPR’s 3-1 win over Sunderland to leave the Royals looking as the most vulnerable of the bottom clubs. Trips to Old Trafford and Emirates Stadium before the end of the month could start to leave Reading adrift with just nine games left. “They’re not friendly (fixtures). They are big, big clubs in Manchester United and Arsenal,” McDermott said. “We’ll see where we are at the end of March and then go from there.” Villa boss Paul Lambert was full of praise for his side, especially Baker, after he recovered from his red-faced moment to help inspire a win to haul them three points clear of danger. The 21-year-old defender completely missed a routine clearance before the ball hit his standing leg and bounced over the line. “I thought Nathan Baker was exceptional,” he said. “He has been for the past number of weeks since I’ve put him at left-back. It was important his head never went down which it didn’t. Being young the slight thing in my head was how he reacted. I’ve got to give him so much credit.” Press Association
Press Association The 74-year-old Italian said: “Sure. I said ‘probably’ yesterday, but after this performance – it was important to see him in contact with the opponent – I think against the Faroes, he will be 90 per cent on the pitch.” That would complete an astonishing turnaround for Dunne, who has admitted he feared his career could be over as he underwent three bouts of surgery in a bid to solve a persistent groin injury. Trapattoni has been cautious over one of his key performers since welcoming him back into the squad in London last weekend, but he will have few qualms in naming him in his starting line-up. Indeed, his reluctance to confirm that Dunne will definitely start was the result of a general rather than a particular concern. He added with a smile: “Yesterday evening, the players finished the game and I let them go free. Today, I won’t see them. I am not a magician, I have to wait. When he comes back, I will call him and the rest of the team. “Maybe two or three come back after the day off, they drink beer, they go out with their wife and an accident happens. I hope not, but maybe. I can’t say to you now ‘100 per cent, yes’. Ninety per cent, yes. When they are here, I will be clear.” Ireland must beat the Faroes if they are to keep alive their hopes of snatching the runners-up spot in Group C ahead of Austria and Sweden. Richard Dunne is “90 per cent” certain to start Friday night’s World Cup qualifier against the Faroe Islands after a remarkable return to prominence. The 33-year-old had not played any football for either club or country this season until he was introduced as a second-half substitute during Sunday night’s 4-0 friendly victory over Georgia. However, having seen him confirm his fitness following a 12-month injury lay-off, both in training and during his 25-minute cameo at the Aviva Stadium, manager Giovanni Trapattoni is ready to pitch him straight back into competitive action.
Everton boss Roberto Martinez is confident his team can deal with Liverpool’s fearsome forward pairing. Strike duo Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge head into this weekend’s Merseyside derby at Goodison Park having scored 18 goals between them in all competitions. Martinez is well aware of the danger they pose but is concerned mainly about getting his own side’s approach right rather than formulating a specific plan to nullify them. He said: “We haven’t been scoring goals due to certain aspects that we need to work on but the way we have been getting in the final third has been fantastic. That is where the excitement comes. “We are very close to getting into a position where we can control games and score goals at the end of it. “We see it as a normal process we need to get through rather than something that is lacking.” Both Merseyside clubs have started the season well with the Reds just two points behind Barclays Premier League leaders Arsenal after 11 games and Everton three points further back. Because of that Martinez knows there is more than local bragging rights at stake in the 221st clash between the neighbouring clubs, particularly when the weekend’s other fixtures are taken into account. Elsewhere Arsenal host third-placed Southampton and Manchester City, eighth, taken on Spurs, seventh. Martinez said: “This could be a very significant game. There are other clashes between teams in the top seven and that makes it a very interesting weekend. “It makes it an opportunity we want to take. We want to get away from the feeling of just fighting for the Merseyside rights. “It goes a little bit further than that and making sure it is a strong start to the season.” Martinez will be experiencing the intensity of the derby for the first time and, because of the emotion surrounding the fixture, he does not anticipate having difficulty motivating his players. Indeed, having had little time to work with his squad this week due to internationals, he sees holding players back as one of his tasks. He said: “It is difficult in international week to have a normal week preparing for a big game but I think we are used to it. It is not a one-off situation. “But maybe it is easier to prepare for a derby after the international break than any other game because the players come back fully focused. “Even when on international duty they start thinking about the game. They know the derby is around the corner. “I have realised after five months at the club how much this fixture means to the fans. I am well aware. “But the important aspect from our point of view is to make sure we are ourselves in the game – we don’t get affected by the occasion, we don’t play the derby, we play the game and we realise that the three points are important enough to be concentrating on, and that will look after the whole occasion by itself.” Press Association The Spaniard said: “They have had a very good start to the season, they are very influential in their team. “From that partnership up front, they have got a real goalscoring threat. “You do see why Liverpool have been successful this season, it is not an accident. I do feel they are a strong side. “But as a team, you are always used to coping with threats of the opposition. “Not long ago we had a very good team full of individuals here – Spurs – and we dealt with them really well. “It is more about what we can do and how we can perform in the derby rather than being worried about what the opposition can bring.” Everton’s current strength appears to be their defence, which has not conceded in their last three outings. On the downside they have not scored in their last two matches either – goalless draws against Tottenham and Crystal Palace – but Martinez is not overly concerned about that.
Mourinho’s methods have seen Juan Mata, Chelsea’s player of the year in each of the past two seasons, marginalised this term, while Kevin De Bruyne has struggled to claim a first-team place. De Bruyne is known to want to move on a permanent basis this month and his agent was on Monday pictured in Abu Dhabi, where Wolfsburg are training during the Bundesliga’s winter break. Mata has been told the door is open if he wishes to discuss his future, but Mourinho wants both players to stay and compete for their places. Mikel warned anyone not prepared to adapt to Mourinho’s ways will not play and cited the work ethic of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Willian of examples of players prepared to do as they are told. “He always wants us to play in a certain way and give 110 per cent,” Mikel added. “If you don’t, you’re out. “As a player that’s what you want. You don’t want to slack. “That’s the mentality he wants in this team and slowly but surely the likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Willian are beginning to do that. “You can see by the way we press up the pitch. That is important for the team and we’re doing well.” Mikel is firmly allied to Mourinho, who praised the discipline of the Nigeria midfielder after the Derby win, which saw him net a fourth Chelsea goal on his 300th club appearance. “He’s like a manager-player, because he does exactly what you tell him to do in terms of position,” Mourinho told Chelsea TV. “His qualities are not, for sure, scoring goals. Tactically he’s very clever. He knows where he has to be, gives great balance to the team. “He’s one of these players normally called ‘invisible’ players. “They do the job and many times they don’t get the recognition (they deserve).” Mourinho’s men are well placed to win silverware this season and Mikel, signed by Mourinho during the manager’s first spell, believes it is imperative his team-mates understand that winning every game matters to Chelsea, after recent seasons where the Blues’ focus has slipped in some competitions. “If you don’t play for Chelsea, you don’t know what these trophies mean to this club,” Mikel said. “It’s not a team where if you come second, third or fourth, it doesn’t matter. No. “Every year you have to win something and this is the pressure. “It’s a matter of letting them know what it means when you come to the end of the season, what the Premier League and Champions League means to this club. “Now they’re here, they have to feel the pressure and they are feeling it right now. “That’s why we just want to keep doing well and now they’re starting to understand that we don’t want to get beaten. “We just want to keep going and hopefully come the end of the season they will start to show the winning mentality even more that the manager is trying to install into them and we go on from there and win trophies.” Chelsea won the 2012 Champions League and 2013 Europa League, but finished 25 and 14 points adrift in the Premier League in the last two seasons and have won the championship once since Mourinho’s departure, in 2009/10. Just eight members of that squad remain. Since the extra-time Capital One Cup quarter-final loss at Sunderland, Chelsea have won four of their five games, conceding one goal, in a productive festive period. The Blues are third in the Premier League, two points behind leaders Arsenal, and play Stoke in the fourth round of the FA Cup after a 2-0 win at Sky Bet Championship promotion hopefuls Derby on Sunday. Press Association John Obi Mikel believes Jose Mourinho is beginning to instil a winning mentality into Chelsea’s players, who are starting to realise that second is not good enough for the Blues.
“He (Long) is having a medical as we speak. You’re never 100 per cent sure but we would hope if he has gone for a second lot of scans, we’re as close as we can be,” Bruce said. “We’ve got everything in place, so we just need him to sign and that is that. “Discussions on personal terms are ongoing. We think we’re close in that department, too. “Hopefully the medical is all right, hopefully personal terms are agreed and we have something for you tonight or tomorrow morning.” Bruce’s priority in the transfer window was to increase his side’s goal threat, with his current batch of strikers far from prolific. On-loan Sunderland man Danny Graham has found the net just once, as has the injured Sone Aluko, with summer recruit Yannick Sagbo netting twice. Despite being on the lookout, Bruce was surprised at the quality of player he has been able to bring to the club. “It’s been no secret that even last year we got promoted with a top scorer on nine goals,” he said. After a relatively prudent summer recruitment drive, Tigers boss Steve Bruce has moved emphatically to add to his squad’s firepower, with Jelavic’s club-record signing confirmed on Wednesday and Long set to follow after terms were agreed with the Baggies. The fees attached to both players could rise past £7million, each breaking the £5.25million club record that brought Tom Huddlestone to the KC Stadium last summer. West Brom striker Shane Long is edging closer to joining Nikica Jelavic at Hull after undergoing a medical at the club. “It’s always been something that if and when the right person became available, could we get them? With the start we’ve had we’ve been able to get someone in Jelavic who 12 months ago wouldn’t have been possible. “We’ve got players who are willing to do all sorts but not really be a goalscorer, so when the chance came to get him we’ve acted. “Thankfully he has chosen us after a few long discussions, I have to say. It’s an excellent signing for us. “As I’ve said repeatedly in January good players don’t become available that often.” Jelavic, who was unveiled at the KC Stadium on Thursday and goes straight into the squad for Saturday’s match at Norwich, has vowed to repay Bruce’s faith. Having struggled for game time at Everton in recent months, and without a league goal this term, he needs to find his form to seal his place in Croatia’s World Cup squad. “I’m under pressure straight away. But I’m a striker, I need goals and I will score goals, I know that,” he said. “I just need some games. It’s a decent club and I think I can help the team. I’m delighted to sign here. “My move from Everton to here was because of the national team as well. This summer is the World Cup and I have to play if I want to be involved with the team. “I’ll try to score as many goals as I can and show to the national team manager that he can count on me.” The arrival of Jelavic and pursuit of Long spell the end of Egyptian forward Gedo’s time at Hull, with the club confirming that his season-long loan from Al Ahly had been cut short. Aaron McLean’s expected transfer to Sky Bet League One side Bradford has also been concluded on a busy day for the Tigers.. Despite being the bearer of good news on the transfer front, Bruce was also forced to confront a familiar source of ill-feeling after owner Assem Allam again angered fans this week by pledging to walk away if his controversial ‘Hull Tigers’ rebranding plan is not approved by the Football Association. For the manager, though, the Egyptian businessman has proved his commitment with actions rather than words. “I’ve sat here and unfortunately we’ve talked about this before. It’s disappointing in the week where we should all be hailing the chairman and the work he’s done that we’re talking about something that will hopefully go away,” he said. “I don’t think it will for the time being but hopefully it will. For all his doubters I think this week has proved what the club actually means to him. He doesn’t have to make any more statements than what he has just done. “The most important thing for me is the two players we are bringing in to wear the shirt, who will significantly add to the squad and make us better and bigger and hopefully keep us in this division for the next few years at least.” Press Association