Man City Signs Danilo From Real Madrid

Manchester City have signed defender Danilo from Spanish Champions Real Madrid on a five-year contract for an undisclosed fee, the Premier League club said on Sunday.

The 26-year-old joined Madrid in 2015 and played 24 matches for Zinedine Zidane’s side last season as they won the Spanish league title, sealed their second consecutive Champions League trophy and won the Club World Cup.

British media reports claimed the Brazilian joined City for a fee of around £26m ($33.78 million), making him manager Guardiola’s second major defensive signing in the current window following Kyle Walker’s arrival earlier this month.

Danilo, who previously won two league titles in four years at Portuguese club FC Porto, will join his new team mates in their pre-season U.S. tour and could face his former club when City play Madrid on Wednesday.

On the role Guardiola played in his move, the former Real Madrid defender said, “He’s been one reason, but it’s also the ambitious project of the club that convinced me to come.”

He added, “I hope to meet the expectations. I’m really looking forward to the challenge and I would love to win the Champions League with Manchester City.”

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Ikeja City Mall Hosts Maiden Edition Of Nigerian National Freestyle Football Championship

History will be made on Sunday July 23rd, 2017 as Ikeja City Mall in Lagos hosts the first Nigerian National Freestyle Football Championship in Nigeria, organized by Feet ‘n’ Tricks Limited.

On the choice of  Ikeja City Mall as the venue of the event, Nzewi said that the Mall has become the  prime destination of choice for entertainment and relaxation in Lagos, which will further be livened by activations never seen in this part of the world. “Freestyle football is all about entertainment, relaxation and competition, and we are set to create a new entertainment business in Nigeria,” Chief Executive Officer of Feet n Tricks, Odyke Nzewi said.

On Friday, Nzewi, said all plans had been concluded to stage a memorable event that Lagosians would remember for a long time.

Nzewi said further: “The concept is new here in the country but truth is the talents are here in abundance. We want to showcase those we have picked as finalists.

“Our team has been able to put in so much hard work in all areas of logistics to make the participants and fans enjoy the final on Sunday. We have some surprises too for a range of people on the day. We are excited and optimistic of a fantastic event.”

The event is being sponsored by GAC Motors, a product of Guangzhou Automobile Group Motor Company Limited and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

The President and Founder of the World Federation of Freestyle Football, Daniel Wood, will be in attendance for the final of the first ever National Freestyle Football Championship.

Nzewi added: “Wood has confirmed to be here because many people are excited that Nigeria is joining the big league of countries that have embraced freestyle football.

“There are other top officials of the world body coming for the event, and so we have doubled our efforts to stage a great Grand Finale come Sunday in Lagos.”

Freestyle football is the art of juggling  a football using  feet, knees, lower legs, shoulders  and the head, while simultaneously performing creative moves, without the ball touching the ground.

A former Super Eagles skipper, Nwankwo Kanu, is among the three judges to officiate the final of the first ever National Freestyle Football Championship.

A former European Champion, Daniel Mikolaj, who is regarded as one of the Top 8 freestyle football athletes in the world in the past five years, is the head of the judges. Joel Asare, who is a two-time Ghanaian champion, will also be one of the judges. Asare represented Ghana in Tokyo, Japan at the Red Bull Street world finals 2013. Another football legend, Moses Amata, has been named to join the judges’ team for the forthcoming National Freestyle Football Competition.

Thousands of entries were received via the designated registration platform where participants uploaded a 30-second video of themselves freestyling.  These video entries were subjected to a screening process by professional judges after which 16 male and eight female freestyle footballers have emerged for the July 23 finals.

The winner of the championship will go home with a salon car courtesy of GAC Motors with a million naira, and will represent Nigeria at the World Freestyle Championship to be held in Czech Republic in August.

Slated to perform at the event are renowned Nigerian performers including KCEE, Timaya, Soma and SKIIBI

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CAF Expands AFCON To 24 Teams

The CAF Executive Committee on Thursday passed a resolution to increase the number of participating teams in the Africa Cup of Nations  from 16 to 24.

The change will take effect from 2019 when Cameroon hosts it, according to Citifmonline.

The 55 members of the committee met in Rabat, Morocco,  earlier this week to discuss the growth of African football and the possibility of expanding the tournament as well as changing the timing and scheduling of the showpiece competition.

The CAF President, Ahmad Ahmad hinted on Wednesday that some of the discussion at the symposium could be implemented within days and this is the first of many major changes expected to take place in the continent’s football.

This development would mean that the qualifying rounds for that tournament will be adjusted to accommodate all 24 teams, with the main tournament structure also taking a different shape.

The decision to increase the slots,  which had received mixed reactions from the football fraternity,  is said to be aimed at crafting new and innovative ways of making the competition more attractive.

Meanwhile, Cameroon risks losing out in hosting the tournament as it is still behind in its preparations.

Some have suggested that the tournament will be moved to Morocco if the West African nation is unable to meet the deadline to complete its preparations.

 

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Blatter Regrets Overstaying As FIFA Executive

Disgraced former FIFA president Sepp Blatter, forced out as head of world football’s governing body amid a corruption scandal in 2015, admitted on Sunday he regretted not stepping down earlier.

The 81-year-old was banned over ethics breaches, bringing an end to his 17-year reign as FIFA chief, following a suspect two million Swiss franc ($2 million, 1.8 million euro) payment to ex-UEFA president Michel Platini.

“I should have stopped myself earlier,” Blatter said in an interview published by Swiss newspaper SonntagsBlick, adding that his ousting as FIFA boss was “a relief”.

Blatter, who was re-elected for a fifth term in May 2015 before promptly announcing his plans to resign, recalled the editor-in-chief of a Swiss magazine warning him the role of FIFA president had an expiration date.

“‘At your place the date is 2014’, he told me, and I said to him that sometimes it’s written that the product can be consumed beyond this date if it’s stored in a cool place,” Blatter said.

Blatter was also asked about a report in German newspaper Der Spiegel that current FIFA chief Gianni Infantino had feared being dismissed as the subject of another ethics committee investigation.

Infantino was cleared last year by FIFA of ethics violations after investigating him over his use of private jets, personal expenses, hiring methods and a contract dispute.

But FIFA assured last month “no investigation” had been opened into Infantino after sources said his role in the Confederation of African Football’s presidential elections was being looked into.

“I don’t know about that, I only know that former FIFA colleagues addressed themselves because of him to the ethics committee and that three or four weeks later, they were thrown out of FIFA,” Blatter said.

Ethics chiefs Hans-Joachim Eckert and Cornel Borbely were replaced in May at the annual FIFA Congress, with Borbely calling the decision “a setback in the fight against corruption”.

Blatter also spoke out against the introduction of the video assistant review (VAR) system, currently being trialled at the Confederations Cup in Russia.

“The game loses attractiveness… You have to leave referees to make mistakes, what FIFA are doing is delicate and dangerous,” he said.

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Portugal Defeats Mexico To Finish Third In FIFA Confederations Cup

Portugal defeats Mexico in a  2-1 in Sunday’s third-place play-off at the Confederations Cup in Moscow.

Luis Neto bundled into his own net to hand Mexico a 54th-minute lead, but Pepe stabbed home a stoppage-time equaliser to force an extra 30 minutes at Spartak Stadium.

Silva, on as a substitute, grabbed the winner just before the end of the first period of extra time, burying a penalty after Miguel Layun handled in the box.

Both sides finished with 10 men as Nelson Semedo was dismissed for Portugal before Raul Jimenez saw red for Mexico.

European champions Portugal were without captain Cristiano Ronaldo after the Real Madrid star was released from the squad to return home to meet his newborn twins.

World champions Germany face Copa America holders Chile later in the final in Saint Petersburg.

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Alexis Sanchez To Become Highest Paid Player In Manchester City

Arsenal Ace, Alexis Sanchez may soon become the highest paid player in Manchester City if they successfully convince him to move to the Etihad.

Both the player and Manchester City are hopeful of completing a £50m move from Arsenal.

According to the Daily Star, City are ready to offer Sanchez wages of £275,000-a-week to become the highest paid player in the club’s history.

Sanchez is yet to sign a new deal with the Gunners and has 12 months to run on his deal at the Emirates. He doubts the club’s ability to compete for the league title and is said to be keen on reuniting with former boss Pep Guardiola.

Arsene Wenger has maintained that times have changed and that Arsenal simply do not need to sell their best players any more.

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Super Eagles Secures Victory Against Togo, Gets FIFA’s Boost

Super Eagles team on Thursday secured a 3-0 victory against Togo in their friendly football match in Paris, France.

Ahmed Musa scored twice, while Manchester City forward Kelechi Iheanacho scored the third goal for the Super Eagles.

This is their second warm-up match ahead of their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against South Africa in Uyo on June 10.

Meanwhile, the Eagles have moved two places up  in the monthly FIFA world rankings released yesterday, as the team now occupy 38th position in the world.

Yesterday’s ranking is an improvement from the 40th spot they were the last term, and are now rated the fourth best team in Africa behind Egypt, Senegal and Cameroon.

The three-time African champions are yet to lose a game since German coach Gernot Rohr took charge, and the last time they suffered a defeat was in March last year, when they were beaten 1-0 by Egypt in a 2017 AFCON qualifier in Alexandria.

In the African rankings, Egypt, Senegal, Cameroon and Congo DR are among the continent’s best five teams in the order, with the Indomitable Lions better placed than their next World Cup opponents, the Super Eagles.

Nigeria’s two other 2018 World Cup World Cup qualifying rivals – Algeria and Zambia – sit in the 53rd and 99th place respectively in the updated ranking.

Meanwhile, South Africa, who the Super Eagles face this month in an AFCON qualifier, occupy the 65th position in the global ranking.

In the world rankings, Brazil, Argentina and Germany are the top three teams in the world, followed by Chile and Colombia.

The next FIFA Ranking is set for July 6.

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Arsenal Brings The Emirates FA Cup To Dubai

Fresh from their victory over Chelsea FC, Arsenal brought the Emirates FA Cup once again to Dubai after the team’s record 13th victory of the historic trophy.

The Emirates FA Cup made its way to Arsenal Soccer Schools Dubai at 7he Sevens so that it’s lucky students could join in to take special individual and group photos with the trophy, and over 120 kids had their photo taken with the iconic trophy.

Arsenal Soccer Schools Dubai is a joint venture between Emirates and Arsenal, open to boys and girls of all abilities, aging from five to 20. Each year, more than 400 children are taught to “Play the Arsenal Way’, based on the same principles taught to the first team. The training programme is also designed to help aspiring young footballers develop their skills on the pitch, ensuring they have a platform to reach their potential.

Emirates has been a proud sponsor of Arsenal Football Club since 2004, and the partnership includes the club’s jersey sponsorship and naming rights to Arsenal’s home ground, Emirates Stadium.

In 2015 Emirates became Title Sponsor of the FA Cup, the world’s oldest and largest domestic football tournament, which is now globally known as The Emirates FA Cup.

The Emirates FA Cup also made a special visit to Emirates Group Headquarters, and employees were given the chance to take pictures with the trophy.

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Heineken To Celebrate 2016/2017 Champions League Final With Exclusive VVIP UCL Experience

The 2016/2017 UEFA Champions League final between two football giants Real Madrid and Juventus, set to hold on June 3, 2017 in Cardiff, promises to be an exhilarating experience for lovers of the game around the world. Fans of the competition in Nigeria will celebrate as Heineken, the premium beer brand and sponsor of the European competition will be hosting fans to an exclusive viewing of the final and after-match party to wrap up a season of exciting football.

In its tradition, Heineken will treat football fans to a VVIP UCL experience in an exclusive and relaxing atmosphere in Port Harcourt and Lagos at Higi Haga Bar at Trans Amadi and Bay Lounge, Lekki, respectively.

Records were set and broken this Champions League season with Arsenal losing by 10 goals to 2 to Bayern Munich in the round of 16; Monaco triumphed over English Premier League powerhouse, Manchester City despite a 6 – 6 scoreline due to away goals rule. Barcelona made the best comeback performance in Champions League history by overturning a 4 – 0 loss in the first leg to PSG, defeating the French Champions 6 – 1 in the return leg at Camp Nou.

History is set to be made again at Saturday’s final. A win for Real Madrid will make it the first team to win the trophy consecutively – it will also be a record 12th European Cup for the Spanish team. Team coach, Zinedine Zidane is also attempting to become the first coach to win the UEFA Champions League two years in a row, while Cristiano Ronaldo could become the first player to score in three Champions League finals.

A win for Juventus gives goalkeeper Gianlugi Buffon the single biggest trophy missing in his trophy shelf – the UEFA Champions League.

Football fans in Nigeria can be a part of this experience and more as Heineken is set to ensure consumers get a befitting and exciting finale to a UEFA Champions League season that has brought joy, amusement, and sheer delight to millions of football fans across the world.

 

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Wenger Signs Two-Year Contract With Arsenal

Against the rumour and popular belief that Arsene Wenger may resign as manager from Arsenal Football Club, the Coach has rather signed a new two-year deal that will keep him at the Emirates Stadium until 2019.

Wenger, who finished the season with a FA league was due to end his contract at the conclusion of the current season.

“I’m happy and excited. Happy because I can work where I love to be. As well because this club cherishes the values I love.

“I’m excited because I believe that our end of season is a big springboard to go for more. We have created a dynamic that is very positive and we want to build on that and transfer that positive end of season [form] to the new season,” Wenger said after signing the new deal.

The Gunners came a disappointing fifth in the Premier League this season, their first since the 67-year-old took over at the club in 1996.

 

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Cynicisms And The Dalung Debacle By Pascal Chijioke

As an ardent listener of BBC Hausa, DW Radio Radio France International, the name Solomon Dalung was not strange. He was unequivocal in his criticisms; in most cases disparaging the PDP led government of that time. His views and analysis were raw and repugnant, sandwiched in political opportunism which can best be described as “tell them what they want to hear.”

Dalung became a social commentator who subtly transformed himself from a “mere” law lecturer and legal greenhorn with no legal victory earned through wit and intelligence, to a “know it all” expert. He pontificates on economy, politics, social conflicts etc., though most at times, he succeeds in exposing his intellectual shallowness and naivety.

As if President Buhari knew the caliber of ministers he will be working with when he called his yet-to-be appointed ministers “noise-makers” in far away Paris during his state visit to the disgraced former President of France Francois Hollande. When Buhari tagged his ministers as ‘noise-makers’, it seems he had the likes of Dalung in mind.

Dalung did not disappoint the President in noise-making; he began during the ministerial screening on the floor of the senate where he exhibited malapropism of the highest order in answering questions posed to him by the senators.

The controversial sports minister Solomon Dalung has adequately represented the ever emerging and growing cynicism in this administration. For anyone conversant with his pseudo-intellectual and uninspiring policies that have so far torpedo the progress of a ministry that is supposedly meant to inspire the young minds in the country, someone wouldn’t be amazed whenever Solomon Selcap Dalung stages another drama.

I have carefully read and analyzed a recent piece Leaders eat fat as citizens continue to starve:  genocide, war crimes and crime against our collective well being written by a corps member serving in Plateau State. The corps member worried about the future of his country and the growing disparity between the rich and the poor when it comes to resource distribution is inspired by a recent report. The report documented the unjust feeding expenses of our national looters on one hand and the deliberate starvation of school children and serving corps members in the country on the other hand.

I was curious to know whether the fearless corps member was serious about his vows to protest, so I placed a call to his mobile number only to learn that Dalung who has mastered the art of cynicism has succeeded in stopping the poor corps member from protesting the unjust disparity, ignoring the evidences and all the points raised by the brilliant Haruna Mohammed Salisu.

I understand that Mr Dalung will not be comfortable with any form of protest against Buhari’s meals in his state, but in view of the sheered incompetence,  brutal disregard for dissent and the continued hallucination of the people he claim to serve, the Minister will not allow constructive criticisms to see the light of the day.

But for readers to properly understand and put into context the cynicisms from this boastful but intellectually and morally bankrupt Dalung, it is important to remind them of the catastrophic utterances, nauseating decisions and actions of the minister since he assumed office in 2015.

In what appears to be a national embarrassment, Mr Solomon Selcap Dalung brazenly disowned our U-23 soccer team when their flight arrangement was torpedoed despite prior notice and communication with the Team’s coach, Samson Siasia.  The team was in a preparatory visit to the US ahead of the Rio-Olympics. Dalung’s treachery and sabotage didn’t stop the team from performing well, lest we forget, the team ended up defeating their opponent at the opening match in spite of their late arrival.

Again, history will remember Dalung as the first and hopefully the only minister in a desperate attempt to cover his incompetence and advance his well known cynicisms instructed John Mikel Obi, to take charge of the team’s coaching just because Mr. Siasia has alerted Nigerians and the World of hardships and psychological trauma our national team under Dalung were subjected to.

Nigerians may well remember that Mr Dalung who allegedly collected millions of naira in bribe from the deposed CAF President Issa Hayatou, brutally, against an earlier consensus, ordered though unsuccessfully Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick to vote for Mr. Hayatou. It was hitherto agreed that Nigeria will Support Madagascar’s Ahmad Ahmad, but the hypocritical minister wanted to twist the more cosmopolitan and sophisticated Pinnick.

The Minister, apparently to convince the President that he equally feels the economic hardships felt by Nigerians and to justify wearing his mischievous beret, Dalung, absurdly threw another bombshell to the glaring and condemnation of many Nigerians. In a brutal disregard to the importance of football being a unifying factor among Nigerians, Dalung shamelessly advised President Buhari not to allow Nigeria partake in the upcoming 2018 world cup slated to take place in Russia; his justification was that Nigeria was ‘too hungry’ and the hunger was glaring that the country might not win anything in the tournament.

As if that blunder wasn’t enough, the destitute of ideas in his show of lack of understanding of sporting events said to the amazement of Nigerians that “athletes don’t need training to win medals” only to be countered by a sensible athletes who made it clear that it was practically impossible for athletes to win medals with even “one or two months training”, adding that serious training was the secret of victory in any competition.

Nigerians will also remember that it is only Dalung that can favorably compete with Dame Patience Jonathan in mangling English words. In fact he can make a professor of English to shudder. Remember his “The funds spended were properly spended.”

The minister’s malversations and unforgivable bunkum in handling a supposedly serious ministry where superior ideas should thrive have struck the curiosity of many Nigerians. People were left confused as to whether Dalung was building or destroying sports in Nigeria. Their minds were prickled to interrogate whether the beret worshiper understood the level at which sports unify Nigerians and whether recession is a justification not to participate in sporting activities.

Stopping a corps member from protesting the ills in our society and threatening to deny him certificate is an outright aberration of Dalung’s pledge; “governance is a social responsibility and a democratic leader is equivalent to a human god, having the responsibility to determine the destiny of fellow human beings. He did not acquire power by conquest, strength or might but either by charisma, bureaucracy or law. There is an instrument that confers that power on him and is expected to exercise it within the parameter of the enabling authority.”

Hasn’t Dalung betrayed his above pledge by denying the corps member his constitutional right to express dissatisfaction against the growing injustice in our land?

Pascal Chijioke is a legal Practitioner based in Lagos. Pascalchijioke79@gmail.com

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Wenger Admits Uncertainty Over Future At Arsenal

Arsenal Manager, Arsene Wenger Arsene Wenger has admitted uncertainty over his future as the club after failing to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in 20 years.

Arsenal ended this season’s league with a 3-1 home win over Everton on Sunday, but Liverpool’s 3-0 victory against Middlesbrough oust Arsenal out of the top four.

“It is annoying (to miss out on the Champions League), but we had a spell during the season that was difficult and it was difficult for me in my personal situation,” he said.

“We were playing in a hostile environment. The players came back stronger in the last two months and I’m very proud of them for doing that,” Wenger said.

While Wenger accepted the uncertainty about his future had been counter-productive, he said his commitment to Arsenal could not be questioned.

“I was focused on my job. I am professional,” said the Frenchman, who has been in place since September 1996.

“I love this club enough to do my best every single day. One thing you cannot question is my love for this club. I’ve turned down every club in the world to stay here.”

Arsenal will be playing Chelsea in the FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday.

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