British Threat To Boycott Of World Cup Troubling, Says Russia

Russia’s foreign ministry says British threats to boycott the 2018 FIFA World Cup is troubling.

The British government said it suspected Russian  involvement, in the poisoning of a former Russian double agent in England.

Prime Minister Theresa May earlier said it was “highly likely” that Moscow was responsible for the attack.

Some had suggested Boycotting the Russia-hosted World Cup.

“We want to emphasize once again: such provocative statements, which fan anti-Russian hysteria, only complicate relations between our countries and are blow to world sport,” the Russian ministry said,

President Buhari Receives FIFA World Cup Trophy In Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday, received the FIFA World Cup trophy which is currently on a tour of 91 cities in 51 countries across the globe.

Buhari, while receiving the trophy, said his administration will partner with the private sector to harness the sporting potentials of the country’s teeming youth population.

According to him, Nigeria will enjoy the special consideration of hosting the trophy for four days in two cities of Lagos and Abuja.

The President noted that football was a passion shared by millions of Nigerians even beyond the country’s borders .

He promised that government would invest adequately in the forthcoming FIFA World Cup competition to ensure that the cup made a victorious return to Nigeria in July this year.

Representative of FIFA at the event , Peter Njonjo, expressed hope that the tour of the trophy to Nigeria would heighten the patriotic  fervour in millions of Nigerians in the quest to bring home the world cup trophy this year.

Edo Gov Obaseki Unveils Rebranded Bendel Insurance FC

Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has unveiled the rebranded Nigeria’s foremost football clubs, Bendel Insurance FC, on Tuesday night at the Government House in Benin, the state capital.

Speaking at the event, Obaseki said his administration’s vision to reform sports is aimed at creating jobs and curbing restiveness among youths.

“We have a keen interest to reform the sports sector in the state, and this is aimed at providing solutions to youth restiveness and unemployment. For us, sports have the potential to uplift the lives of our people and offer hope to youths who seek a better country.

Edo people are sports-loving. We will leverage this as we continue our reforms and give hope to our teeming youths. The steps made in reforming the Bendel Insurance FC will serve as reference point to drive more reforms in the sector.

The Benin Arsenal I know will soon bounce back big and with what I have seen today, its obvious that a silent revolution on how club-sides should be properly managed outside government’s funding is happening,” he said.

The governor unveiled the new logo of the club which has the legendary Queen Idia mask as the main attraction. Also, Obaseki unveiled sets of brand new jerseys, team bus, technical team as well as manual for the rebranded Bendel Insurance Football Club. The new technical crew of the team is headed by Monday Odigie as Manager, while Baldwin Bazuaye, is the Head Coach with Greg Ikhenoba as his Assistant.

Legends like 86-year-old Alabi Aisien who won the 1978 Challenge Cup final as head coach of the Benin Arsenal and the first coach to win the FIFA Under-16 World Cup in China in 1985, Sebastine Brodericks-Imasuen, were present at the event along with several ex-players of the team.

Italy Football Star Davide Astori Found Dead

Italy international defender Davide Astori died in his hotel room during the night of Saturday to Sunday, his club Fiorentina said on Sunday.

“Fiorentina are profoundly shocked to have to announce the death of captain Davide Astori after a sudden illness,” the Serie A club said on Twitter.

The 31-year-old, who leaves behind a two-year-old daughter, was in Udine to prepare for Sunday’s match against Udinese, who announced the game has been postponed.

Italian media reported that Astori died of a heart attack during the night.

Ibrahimovic Set To Leave Manchester United

Manchester United striker, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, is likely to leave the club at the end of the season.

Ibrahimovic, 36, is out of contract at Old Trafford at the end of the current campaign and has been heavily linked with a move to MLS club Los Angeles Galaxy.

The former Paris Saint-Germain forward has not played for United since their 2-2 draw against Burnley on December 26, having decided that he was not in the right shape after recovering from career-threatening cruciate knee ligament damage sustained in April.

“For Zlatan, we all think it’s his last season at Manchester United and it will be a very personal decision for him to play or to stop,” Mourinho told reporters on Friday.

“I think he won the right to choose his life, his future, such an amazing player and an amazing career.

“Only that awful injury in the wrong moment broke a fantastic couple of seasons he could and should have with us.

“This season has been really difficult for him. He’s not injured. Does he feel totally happy, ready and convinced that he’s in the condition to help the team in this moment? No.

“But he’s such an honest guy and such a champion he only wants to be back with that feeling of: ‘I’m totally ready for it’.

“So he’s working hard and hopefully his evolution brings him to that level he wants to have a positive answer.”

Russia 2018: FIFA Insists No Security Threat

World football body, FIFA, has insisted there is no security threat to the forthcoming World football competition scheduled to hold in June this year in Russia.

This assurance follows the wake of violent incidents involving Spartak Moscow supporters on Thursday in which a policeman died of a heart attack.

The street battles had occured before their UEFA Europa League last 32 second leg tie at the San Mames stadium.

Nine people were arrested following the clashes.

Spanish newspaper El Mundo said two Russian ultras were taken to hospital with injuries, one with stab wounds.

The 2018 World Cup begins on June 14 in Russia and local authorities are putting strict security procedures in place to control hooligans, including Russian fans.

FG Set To Host FIFA Executive Summit In Lagos

Twelve presidents from African and six from the Caribbean are scheduled to report on their experiences and country-specific issues and bring themselves up to date on the global game in the summit that will provide all of the delegates with an opportunity to share their knowledge and coordinate next steps.

This was confirmed by the Nigeria Football Federation boss Amaju Pinnick in an address to the press.

Also expected is CAF President , Ahmad Ahmad  together with FIFA General Secretary, Fatima Samba Samoura, President of the Dutch FA, Michael Van Praag and Slavisa Ikokezia, who is current President of Serbia Federation

“Gianni Infantino will be in Nigeria on Monday for the FIFA Executive Summit which will be a three-day event and this will bring all international media down to Nigeria,” Pinnick said.

CHAN: Nigeria Beats Angola, Grabs Semi-Final Ticket

In what has been described as the best match of the championship so far, Super Eagles defeated Angola and seal their place in the semi-finals of the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN).

Okechukwu Gabriel scored an extra-time winner as Nigeria sealed their place in the semi-finals of the 2018 CHAN with a 2-1 win over Angola at the Stade Ibn Batouta in Tangier, Morocco.

Nigeria will now tackle Sudan in Marrakesh in Wednesday’s semi-final match.

Serena Williams Returns To Tennis After Giving Birth

Serena Williams will return to tennis in Abu Dhabi next week, almost four months after giving birth.

The 36 year old American will play world number Seven Jelena Ostapenko In an exhibition match on December 30 during the Mubadala world tennis championship.

Williams, who has won an open-era record 23 grand slams, said she is delightedto be returning to the court.

She gave birth to daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian in September.

Former world number one Williams has not played since winning the Australian open in January.

Australian open director Craig Tilley has said Williams is “very likely” to defend her title at the 2018 tournament, which starts on January 15.

Ex-Arsenal Star Rosicky Retires From Football

The former Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund star, Tomas Rosicky sprung a surprise on Wednesday by announcing that he has played his last game of professional football.

The 37-year-old played 105 times for the Czech Republic, and spent a decade at Arsenal wher he was known for stylish passing and slick skills.

“I have never played either for the money or the glory – I just love football,” Rosicky, who appeared at four European Championships finals, told his club Sparta Prague’s website.

“But I have realised I am no longer able to fully prepare my body for what the professional football requires,” the injury-prone number 10 said.

“I would like to thank Sparta for raising me, for being the first step in my career in big clubs, and for allowing me to say goodbye at the place I love the most,” Rosický said.

“I’ve had a lovely career despite all the setbacks, I have known both wonderful and difficult moments,” he said.

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