Seven-year-old Girl Win 10km Children Version Of Lagos Marathon

A seven-year-old, Damilola Oluwaseun, became the spotlight of the 2nd Access Bank Lagos City Marathon when she ran 10km of the 42km race.

Oluwaseun, who joined the race at 32km which is at the end of Lekki Bridge, said she was elated to have run 10km.

“I feel happy that I was able to run the 10km, it was not easy but it was worth trying. It feels good,’’ she said.

The race started at the National Stadium, Lagos and finished at the Eko Atlantic City.

No fewer than 64 foreign and 102 local elite athletes participated in the race that registered 55,000 runners from 27 countries, including Nigeria.

The top place winner will cart away 50,000 dollars, second place 40,000 dollars and third place 30,000 dollars respectively.

Abraham Kiptom and Rhoda Jepokorir of Kenya won the international male and female categories.

Philip Sharabutu also defended the first Nigerian male title and Emmanuel Gyang came second in the Nigerian male category.

(NAN)

Cameroon Wins 2017 AFCON Title

Cameroon have won the 31st edition of the Africa Cup of Nations after beating Egypt 2-1 on Sunday.

The Indomitable Lions came from behind to clinch a historic fifth continental title at the expense of the Pharaohs in Libreville, Gabon.

Second half strikes from substitutes Vincent Aboubakar and Nicolas N’Koulou cancelled out Mohamed Elneny goal for the Pharaohs.

The trophy caps an unbelievable tournament for Hugo Broos’ team who were written off prior to the commencement following several first team players pulling out.

Burkina Faso finished third after beating Ghana 1-0 on Saturday.

The next edition of the biennial showpiece will be hosted by Cameroon in 2019.

Uber Announces Global Sports Partnership With Manchester United

Uber is excited to announce its global sports partnership with Manchester United, the first partnership of its kind for the innovative technology platform. A partnership that is set to provide an exclusive experience to fans globally, that use the ride sharing app, and will give them access to a front seat experience into the game and Manchester United, a football team with one of the largest fan bases in the world.

This partnership will look to increase fans’ match day experience by offering pick-up and drop-offs at Old Trafford, creating a convenient and easy travelling experience for fans on game day. Beyond the local offering, fans in 30 countries including South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya will be brought closer to their favourite team.

Soon, fans from around the world will be able to enjoy behind-the-scenes content from their favourite team and experience a more united match day with fellow supporters – irrespective of where fans are watching. There will also be a chance to win a trip to the club’s legendary Theatre of Dreams.

“This partnership allows us to connect riders in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya with a one of a kind Manchester United experience.” Alon Lits, General Manager for Uber Sub Saharan Africa said in a statement.

Uber is proud to have Manchester United as its first global sports partner, and over the next several weeks, will be revealing more details on what specific experiences Manchester United fans can expect to see in their home countries. Uber looks forward to connecting Manchester United Fans from around the world, who all share in the mutual language of football.

Wolves Stun Liverpool With FA Cup Fourth-round Win At Anfield

Talk of a crisis may be premature but Liverpool’s season is certainly in freefall after an FA Cup exit to Wolves heaped more scrutiny on Jurgen Klopp and his players.

The Championship side’s deserved 2-1 victory at Anfield, coming just three days after the Reds’ EFL Cup semifinal defeat to Southampton, only added to the growing despondency which has descended on the Merseyside club this month.

This year has not been kind to Liverpool with just one win — over League Two Plymouth in a third-round replay — in eight matches and the writing was on the wall after just 52 seconds when Richard Stearman headed home a free kick, albeit it from an initial offside position.

When an unmarked Andreas Weimann ran through the middle to easily round Loris Karius just before half-time the anger felt by the home crowd could only be exceeded by an agitated Klopp.

Divock Origi sparked a frantic last five minutes and then had a shot cleared off the line, but it was too little, too late.

In the space of four weeks Liverpool have gone from title contenders and being in two cup competitions, one of which they were 180 minutes from Wembley, to being left to fight for Champions League qualification with a slender two-point cushion over fifth-placed Manchester City.

Whatever Klopp’s complaints, however, the manager must shoulder some of the responsibility for the defeat against a team 18th in the division below after making nine changes from midweek with only Karius and forward Roberto Firmino surviving.

Wolves themselves made seven changes including 20-year-old Harry Burgoyne, who with just two league appearances behind him was the replacement for the suspended Carl Ikeme, but he did not have a save to make until substitute Philippe Coutinho’s tame shot on the hour.

Klopp will point to the hectic schedule his team have faced — Tuesday’s visit of Premier League leaders Chelsea will be their 10th match in 32 days — and yet more officiating decisions going against them but there can be no excuses for the way his team have fallen away so badly.

In the first minute Wolves won a free kick wide on the right. Helder Costa managed to steal 10 yards to make a more acute angle so when he swung in his cross Karius was caught in two minds whether to come for it or not.

The German opted for the latter and Stearman, who started in an offside position, took advantage to head home his first goal in English football since April 21, 2014.

Costa almost silenced Anfield with a 70-yard unopposed run only to slice a shot wide under pressure from 17-year-old Ben Woodburn who had tracked him all the way.

But the warning was not heeded and when Firmino gave away possession on the edge of Wolves’ area three minutes before half-time the ball was quickly switched to Costa wide right who, after Alberto Moreno completely missed his tackle, threaded through a pass for Weimann to score just a matter of seconds later.

Georginio Wijnaldum had a justifiable penalty shout turned down after a challenge from Weimann but Liverpool ended the half with 79 percent possession and not a shot on target to show for it.

Klopp sent on Coutinho for right-back Connor Randall, on his first appearance of the season, with a switch to a three-man defence and when Firmino’s header was deflected wide by team-mate Ragnar Klavan from Woodburn’s free kick it appeared an improvement was just around the corner.

The introduction of Daniel Sturridge and Emre Can made little difference, although Liverpool did get one back late on when Origi volleyed home from close range.

Wolves would have scored a third through substitute Jon Dadi Bodvarsson had it not been for Karius’ point-blank save and they held on for a shock win after Burgoyne denied Origi on the line.

Serena Defeats Sister, Venus In Australian Open To Claim 23rd Grand Slam Title

Serena Williams has won the 2017 Australian Open in Melbourne.

Serena defeated sister Venus 6-4, 6-4 to win her 23rd grand slam title at Rod Laver Arena.

Saturday’s Australian Open final between the two Williams sisters is the ninth meeting between them in grand slam finals.

Serena leads that rivalry 7-2.

Not since Wimbledon in 2009 have the American sisters met with a major honour on the line.

The Australian Open final is the first time Serena and Venus Williams would contest a grand slam final in seven-and-a-half years.

It is also the 44th grand slam final the pair have contested either together or against another player.

It is Serena’s 29th grand slam final and Venus’ 15th.

Serena’s currently has a total of 23 grand slam wins, the best in the Open era.

She has now surpassed Steffi Graf as the second-most decorated player of all-time.

Margaret Court leads with 24.

The Williams sisters have now had 27 career meetings, with Serena ahead 16-11.

EPL: Glorious Day For Nigerian Debutant As Everton Crush Man City

Super Eagles youngster, Kelechi Iheanacho, was left heartbroken as Everton produced a brilliant performance to stun Manchester City and deliver a serious blow to Pep Guardiola’s Premier League title hopes.

It was, however, a glorious day for Everton debutant, Ademola Lookman, who scored the fourth in a 4-0 humiliation of the visitors.

Iheanacho came in as a 62nd minute substitute for Pablo Zabaleta while Lookman replaced Ross Barkley in the 90th minute.

The Toffees willingly soaked up 71% of City possession but restricted Guardiola’s side to few chances and scored with four of just six attempts at goal.

Romelu Lukaku coolly side-footed in a Kevin Mirallas cut-back and the Belgium internationals combined again after the break, Mirallas drilling Lukaku’s through-ball across the keeper.

Tom Davies sent Goodison Park into raptures on just his second league start by dinking a third over Claudio Bravo and £11m January recruit, Lookman, fired between the legs of the keeper in injury time.

Goals from the two teenagers left Everton boss Ronald Koeman visibly elated, while Guardiola cut a frustrated figure, remonstrating with the fourth official late on in what is his heaviest ever league defeat as a manager.

City lacked cutting edge throughout, though had Davies not headed a looping Bacary Sagna header off the line before half-time, they may not have gone on to suffer a fifth league defeat of the season.

They stay fifth, 10 points off leaders Chelsea, while Everton remain seventh.

Mikel Scores On Second Debut With Chinese Club

Super Eagles skipper, Mikel Obi, has opened his goal account for Chinese side, Tianjin TEDA, in just his second appearance.

The 29-year-old who made the switch from Chelsea last week scored one of the goals as TEDA crashed 6-2 to German side, St. Pauli, in a friendly on Saturday.

This was barely two days after the Nigerian made his debut in TEDA’S first pre-season game against another German side, Borussia Monchengladbach which ended in a 2-1 loss.

However, it was another poor outing for his team as Pauli ran riot scoring three goals in the opening 26 minute before Mikel pulled one back in the 35th minute to bring scores to 3-1.

His goal came off a header from a well delivered free kick.

The strike will come as huge surprise to many soccer enthusiasts considering the Nigerian’s appalling goal scoring record.

He managed just five strikes in over 10 years at Stamford Bridge.

AFCON 2019: Nigeria To Face South Africa, Libya, Seychelles In Qualifiers

Nigeria’s Super Eagles have been drawn alongside eternal rivals, Bafana Bafana of South Africa, Libya and Seychelles in the qualifiers for the 2019 African Nations Cup.

The Gernot Rohr-led team must finish top of their group in order to guarantee their spot in Cameroon.
The winners of each group will go through to the finals, while the top three runners-up will also make be in Cameroon in 2019.

The pool phase of the qualifiers is set to start in June.

Bafana beat Nigeria to top spot in the qualifiers for the 2015 tournament in Equatorial Guinea.

Meanwhile, a preliminary round will be played in March where a winner will be decided in ties between Sao Tome and Principe vs Madagascar, Comoros vs Mauritius and Djibouti vs South Sudan.

The three winners will join the group stages in June.

THE POOLS
Group A
Senegal
Equatorial Guinea
Sudan
Sao Tome e Principe or Madagascar

Group B
Cameroon
Morocco
Malawi
Comoros or Mauritius

Group C
Mali
Gabon
Burundi
Djibouti or South Sudan

Group D

Algeria
Togo
Benin
Gambia

Group E
Nigeria
South Africa
Libya
Seychelles

Group F
Ghana
Ethiopia
Sierra Leone
Kenya

Group G
DR Congo
Congo-Brazzaville
Zimbabwe
Liberia

Group H
Ivory Coast
Guinea
Central African Republic
Rwanda

Group I
Burkina Faso
Angola
Botswana
Mauritania

Group J
Tunisia
Egypt
Niger
Swaziland

Group K
Zambia
Mozambique
Guinea-Bissau
Namibia

Group L
Cape Verde
Uganda
Tanzania
Lesotho.

FIFA Approves Expansion Of World Cup Participants To 48 Teams

FIFA’s ruling council on Tuesday unanimously approved an expansion of the World Cup to 48 teams in 2026, with a format of 16 groups of three nations.

“The FIFA Council unanimously decided on a 48-team #WorldCup as of 2026: 16 groups of 3 teams,” a tweet from FIFA’s official account said.

The decision marks a major coup for the body’s president Gianni Infantino who has made enlarging football’s showcase event the centrepiece of his young administration.

The controversial proposal had faced criticism from some of the sport’s most powerful voices, including warnings that it would dilute the quality of play and overburden already exhausted players.

But Infantino had in recent weeks voiced confidence that his flagship project would be approved.

The FIFA chief has noted that a bigger tournament would beef up FIFA’s coffers.

And a confidential FIFA report seen by AFP projects a 48-team tournament would bring a cash boost of $640 million (605 million euros) above projected revenues for next year’s finals in Russia.

But Infantino has also argued that more World Cup berths would help drive football’s global growth by boosting “inclusion” in the “biggest social and sporting event”.

– Big winners –
Among those who seemed convinced by that argument was Argentine football legend Diego Maradona, who on Monday said a 48-team format “will give more possibilities to countries that have never reached that level of competition”.

Africa and Asia could be the big winners in a larger format with a rise in their number of places, currently at 5 and 4.5 respectively.

But in order to smooth over scepticism about World Cup reform within UEFA, it is likely that Europe will also see its allotments rise above the current 13 places.

A source close to FIFA told AFP that under the new format Europe could get 16 places, with Africa earning nine.

But the information remained unconfirmed and world football’s governing body was not expected to immediately announce its final decision on allotments.

The powerful council officially weighed five proposals during Tuesday’s meeting at FIFA’s snow-covered Zurich headquarters, including maintaining the status quo of 32-teams.

The landmark decision to expand the tournament is the latest overhaul of the World Cup, which has seen its global popularity and financial might surge since the inaugural edition in 1930.

That contest, won by Uruguay, had just 13 countries.

The World Cup expanded to 24 teams in 1982 in Spain before moving to its current 32-team version at France 1998.

Ronaldo Wins FIFA Best Player Of The Year 2016 Award

Portugal and Real Madrid forward, Cristiano Ronaldo has won the FIFA ‘Best Player’ award for 2016.

Ronaldo won the award on the back of a fantastic year that saw Real Madrid win the UEFA Champions League and Portugal the EURO 2016 championship.

He had already won the Ballon d’Or after his third Champions League title, thanks in major part to his 16 goals in 12 games, as well as triumphing with Portugal at Euro 2016 — the country’s first major prize.01-09

The honour makes Ronaldo the first man to win the FIFA “Best” men’s player distinction after world football’s governing body launched the new award series, ending its six-year collaboration with France Football magazine for the Ballon d’Or.

“2016 was the best year of my career,” Ronaldo said after being handed the prize from FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

“It was a year that was magnificent at a personal level and at a sports level,” he added on the stage in Zurich.

“It is not the first time but it is the first time for this award. 2016, wow. I want to thank my team-mates. I was able to achieve what I could.

“I would like to think all those who voted for me, the fans the media. I don’t have anything to add, awards speak for themselves.

FIFA To Approve Bigger, Richer World Cup On Tuesday

FIFA is set to make the World Cup bigger and richer, even if the price to pay is lower quality football.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino hopes his ruling Council will agree Tuesday to expand the 2026 World Cup to 48 nations, playing in 16 groups of three teams.

A decision could be delayed if some Council members demand to know exactly how many qualifying places each continent will get before agreeing to scrap the 32-team format. It has been successful, popular and profitable since 1998 and is locked in for the next two World Cups in Russia and Qatar.

The prize of 16 extra places, and the biggest increases to Africa and Asia, has “overwhelming” support from FIFA’s 211 member federations, Infantino has said.

Their promise of extra funding from Zurich could also be secured by FIFA’s forecast 20 percent rise in rights fees paid by broadcasters and sponsors.

“Financially, the 48-team format is the most appealing or successful simply because the sporting element is prevailing and every match is important,” Infantino said two weeks ago. “The decision should not be financially driven, neither in terms of revenue or costs … but the driver should really be the development of football and boosting football all over the world.”

World Cup champion Germany is not in favor. It argued that diluting the number of European and South American teams – which won all 20 titles since 1930 – could “strengthen the imbalance” seen at some tournaments.

“The (German soccer federation) fundamentally believe that the current 32-team format is the best option,” its president Reinhard Grindel said last week. Germany has no delegate at Tuesday’s meeting though Grindel is set to join the FIFA Council in May.

FIFA acknowledged the risk of lower standards in a research document sent to members last month, as first reported by The Associated Press.

The “absolute quality” of soccer, defined by high-ranked teams playing each other most often, is achieved by 32 teams, FIFA said, citing 10,000 tournament simulations made to reach that conclusion.

Still, Infantino promised voters more World Cup places and funding raises before his election last February.

FIFA expects $5.5 billion income tied to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, though 25 of 34 sponsorship slots are unsold. The research document predicted the equivalent of $6.5 billion revenue from a 48-team tournament in the “16×3” format, which would send two teams from each group to a new Round of 32 knockout bracket.

All 80 matches would play in an exclusive time slot. Currently, 64 World Cup matches have 56 broadcast slots because the eight four-team groups play their last matches simultaneously.

FIFA predicts organizing costs for “16×3” rising from $2 billion to $2.3 billion, giving a potential profit rise of $640 million.

Though a “16×3” World Cup would still need a maximum of 12 stadiums, the demand for 16 more top-quality training camps and hotels suggests FIFA would look for 2026 hosts with existing capacity.

A North American bid from two or three of the United States, Canada and Mexico is currently favored in a contest that could start within weeks.

Five options are open Tuesday, including staying with 32 teams.

Infantino campaigned last year on a 40-team promise, in either eight groups of five teams or 10 groups of four teams. Neither impressed voters in recent regional meetings of FIFA member federations.

When the FIFA leader first proposed 48 teams, it included an opening playoff round. The 16 winners would join 16 seeded teams in a traditional 32-team group stage.

FIFA members disliked “one-and-done” teams going home before the “real” World Cup kicks off. It would also stretch to a 39-day event with more short-notice travel for fans.

Africa and Asia could be the big winners, and FIFA hopes new teams would include another Iceland, Wales and Costa Rica – over-achieving teams and feelgood stories at recent tournaments.

Still, hapless Tahiti was outclassed at the 2013 Confederations Cup, conceding 24 goals in three games.

“The goal of expanding the FIFA World Cup,” it has told members, “is to further advance the vision to promote the game of football, protect its integrity and bring the game to all.”

FIFA Stops $1.5m Grant To Nigeria Over Corruption In NFF

Football’s world governing body, FIFA has stopped the annual $ 1.5 million development grant to Nigeria after discovering “traces of corruption” on  how previous funds were spent by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

AfricanFootball.com reports that FIFA went further to issue the NFF a final warning “to straighten its financial records.”

The Nigerian government is now expected to quickly step into this latest development after Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, first expressed serious misgivings on the back of a FIFA query on how NFF used grants paid the federation.

NFF this week received the FIFA letter signed from the office in charge of the national associations.

FIFA member-associations including Nigeria began to receive increased annual grants under new president Gianni Infantino.

Previously the associations were paid $250,000 per annum.

But this has since been increased to between $1.2 million and $1.5 million to each FA.

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