Category: News 📰

Barca’s six successive Copa del Rey finals won’t happen again – Pique

messi-luis-suarez-and-denis-suarez-1Gerard Pique does not believe Barcelona’s record of six consecutive Copa del Rey finals will be replicated following their Clasico triumph over bitter rivals Real Madrid.

Barca became the first team to reach six successive Copa deciders following their 3-0 win against Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Luis Suarez’s brace sealed Wednesday’s victory and a 4-1 aggregate triumph for the LaLiga champions.

Barca defender Pique revelled in the performance post-match, telling reporters: “Reaching a sixth final… I don’t think what we have achieved is something that will ever happen again in the Copa del

“We’ve won it a lot in recent years but we want to win it again. It’s special to qualify for a final. It’s actually been more out of habit than anything else. Turning things around against Levante and Sevilla and then this [winning at Madrid].

“It was an important win. Madrid were on top in the first half, but we took advantage of the space in the second half to win the game and the tie. It’s a great way to reach the final. Winning here and reaching the final is always a cause for happiness.”

Barca will be back in action in the Spanish capital on Saturday for another instalment of the Clasico when the league leaders face Madrid in LaLiga.lionel-messi-cropped_6khnpodnzc3g1s80dva0xuhm0313094635.jpg

The Catalan giants are nine points clear of third-placed Madrid, and Pique said: “We’ve been lucky to win a lot of games here and by some big margins. But it was a complicated match and they’re not that far behind us [in the league]. We can’t relax now because it would not bode well for Saturday.

“We’re coming through this phase of games – which was really tough [away against Lyon, Sevilla and Madrid twice] – really well. You can’t always play well, but we’re getting results and we hope to get another good result in the next Clasico.”

Often outspoken, Pique was his trademark self following the match as he criticised the Spanish media.

VAR has dominated headlines in LaLiga and Pique offered some advice to the media amid the incarceration of political leaders in Catalonia following 2017’s referendum, which was deemed unofficial by

“If Spanish TV spent more time covering the trial of the political prisoners, which is super unjust, so the people of Spain could see a little more of what’s going on, instead of talking about VAR, maybe the country would be doing a little better,” said Pique.

Meanwhile, on the match, Barca star and hero Suarez added: “We’ve achieved one of the objectives that we set at the start of the season.

“We knew that if we scored, then they would push forward and we would have more space. Matches always have their pros and cons; we didn’t play the way that we wanted, but that’s what matches are like.”



Atiku1Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the just concluded presidential election, Atiku Abubakar has said he will not accept the results of the election that produced the All Progressives Congress, APC Candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari as winner, because it was a “grand theft of the people’s will.”

Mr Abubakar, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), lost by over 3 million votes to President Muhammadu Buhari, according to the electoral commission, INEC. Mr Buhari, according to the electoral body, scored 15,191,847 votes. Mr Abubakar garnered 11,262,978 votes to finish as runner-up.

INEC on Wednesday issued the certificate of return to Mr Buhari and his running mate, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. Mr Abubakar, however, says the election was a “grand theft of the people’s will.” He said this at a press conference.

Read the full text of Mr Abubakar’s message below.


Dear citizens of Nigeria,

Let me start by thanking you for choosing democracy as the settled system of government for our great nation.

Democracy is a government of the people by the people, only when the people’s choice prevails. That did not happen on Saturday, February 23, 2019. On Election Day, we saw the implementation of grand theft of the people’s will. I am not one for hyperbole so I will just let the facts speak for themselves.

In Akwa Ibom for instance, the results showed a statistical impossibility of a 62% drop in voter numbers from the 2015 elections even where voter registration and PVC collection rates were much higher than in 2015. This pattern was repeated in strongholds of the Peoples Democratic Party, including in Delta, Rivers, Abia and Benue states.

As this was occurring, we saw another statistical impossibility wherein voter turnout and numbers increased astronomically in Borno State by an almost miraculous 82% in the midst of increased insecurity. This pattern was also repeated in other strongholds of the All Progressive Congress. One begins to ask if insecurity is conducive to higher voter turnouts and security is antithetical to high voter turnout.

It is further curious that the Peoples Democratic Party’s margin of victory in states outside the Southeast and South-south were extremely slim across board. That again is a statistical impossibility. The fact is that when you calmly look at the numbers declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission as results of the February 23, 2019 elections, they do not add up.

Let me say that I am not speaking as a member of the Peoples Democratic Party. I am speaking as a Nigerian when I say that the electoral fraud perpetrated by the Buhari administration this past Saturday cannot produce a government of the people for the simple reason that it does not reflect the will of the Nigerian people.

It is for this reason that I, Atiku Abubakar, reject the results declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission declaring Muhammadu Buhari as duly returned by the majority of lawful votes. I am conferring with not just my party, but also with the Nigerian people, on next steps, which will be revealed to the public shortly.

For my fellow Nigerians who feel angry, disillusioned, and let down by the process, I appeal to you to remain calm and steadfast. Rome was not built in a day. We have the real figures, we have the facts that were spoken so loudly on Saturday, February 23, 2019. This is a long journey, but I am confident of victory. All hope is not lost. Stay strong, by the grace of God we shall triumph.

And to investors and friends of Nigeria now pulling out of Nigeria, I urge you to be patient and keep faith with the Nigerian people. Your quarrel is not with the Nigerian people. Your quarrel is with those who stole their mandate. Please do not punish the people by divesting from Nigeria.

Thank you all and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Sad News for Sadio Mane As Thieves Burgled Into His House On Tuesday

According to reports, Sadio Mane’s home was burgled while he was playing for Liverpool in their champions league encounter against Bayern Munich on Tuesday night at Anfield.  Police have confirmed that the home of Liverpool forward Sadio Mane was burgled while he was taking part in Liverpool’s Champions League clash with Bayern Munich. With nobody in, those involved were able to get away with watches, mobile phones and car keys.

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The incident occurred at Mane’s house in Allerton, south Liverpool and forensic examinations and a police investigation are now underway.  Detective Inspector Phil Mahon of Merseyside Police said: “We are appealing for anyone with information in relation to this burglary to please come forward and assist our inquiries. “While the occupants were not present at the time of the incident this will no doubt be a distressing experience for them and I would ask the offenders to do the right thing and return the stolen items to the owner in any way possible.

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“We know the watches in particular are of significant monetary value and I would also like to appeal to anyone who might have been offered the items for sale since the burglary to contact police.” This is not the first time that Mane has seen his home ransacked. Back in November 2017, he was broken into while away on Champions League duty taking in a meeting with Maribor.

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On that occasion, a gang also smashed a patio door at the nearby address of Reds team-mate Dejan Lovren. They are the latest in a long line of players to have been targeted while involved in competitive action for Liverpool. Roberto Firmino, Pepe Reina, Daniel Agger, Jerzy Dudek, Daniel Agger, Steven Gerrard, Robbie Keane and Jermain Pennant have all been victims of similar crimes while on the books at Anfield.

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It was also a frustrating night for Mane on the pitch as Liverpool failed to beat Bayern, despite having the better of the chances.  Mane was involved in a number of games best opportunities, included a late header which drew a smart save from Manuel Neuer.  Next up for the Reds it is a huge clash against Manchester United at Old Trafford this Sunday, which could see them return to the top of the Premier League summit.Salah-Mane

Pep Guardiola replies embarrassing question from Nigerian fans

guardiola 1363458571..jpgManchester City coach Pep Guardiola was asked an embarrassing question by German-based Nigerian journalist Oma Akatugba ahead of his side’s Champions League last sixteen tie with Schalke 04. For eight years now, the Spanish football tactician has not been able to win the Champions League and Akatugba wanted to know if he was unable to repeat the feat because of the absence of world class players such as Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta.

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Akatugba noted that Guardiola is extremely popular in Nigeria and his supporters have argued that he’s the greatest coach in the world at the moment. Responding to his Nigerian critics, Guardiola said : ”I completely agree with them. When I was there I said many times I won with incredible players but I had in Munich and Manchester as well. But in Barcelona, I was a lucky guy I’m sorry. I was lucky and I agree with them.”

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Bayern Munich lost in the UCL semi-finals to Spanish teams Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atlético Madrid in 2014, 2015 and 2016 respectively with Guardiola in the dugout. In 2017, Guardiola’s City were knocked out in the last sixteen by Monaco and lost to Liverpool in the quarterfinals last year.

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I’ve won five Champions Leagues, Atletico have zero- Ronaldo

ronaldo-juve-goal1204120002.jpgCristiano Ronaldo responded to Juventus’ loss against Atletico Madrid by reminding everyone he had won the Champions League five times, while the Spaniards are yet to lift the trophy.

The former Real Madrid forward experienced an unhappy return to the Spanish capital as Diego Simeone’s Atletico claimed a 2-0 first-leg lead in their round-of-16 tie on Wednesday.


At one point during the game, Ronaldo responded to the predictable heckles he received at the Wanda Metropolitano by holding up his hand to indicate the number of Champions League titles he had won – four with Madrid and one with Manchester United.

And Ronaldo reiterated that figure when he breezed through the post-match mixed zone after the match.ronaldo-i-have-five-champions-leagues-atletico-have-zero-7-lhnqvmfk57r15hd3x745zchk

“I won five Champions Leagues and these guys zero,” he told reporters while holding up his hand.

The Schalke gameplan Man City need to be aware of ahead of Champions League clash

pepguardiola0311678158203.jpgThe quest for Champions League success resumes for Manchester City as they travel to Germany to take on Schalke on Wednesday.

Just four days on from their FA Cup victory against Newport County, Pep Guardiola’s men will be looking to build a lead to bring back to Manchester in three weeks’ time as they chase an unprecedented quadruple success this season.

Despite the German side struggling domestically this season, sitting fifth from bottom and not yet safe from relegation, City must still guard against any complacency.

pep-guardiola-640x400Guardiola is expected to field several changes from the side that lined up in the FA Cup this weekend – but what can City expect from their German counterparts?

Manager Domenico Tedesco led his side to a hugely successful first season at the Veltins Arena in 2017/18, finishing Bundesliga runners-up. However, this season, it’s turned sour. They come into this game winning just one of their previous five matches.

Tedesco looks to set up his side usually playing with three at the back, which switches to five when opponents have the ball. The defence is usually protected either by one or two holding midfielders. There is then a big emphasis on the wingers to create opportunities for two strikers leading the attack.

sergio-aguero-raheem-sterling-bernardo-silva-man-city-2018-19_9tmtmpl9dfp61fyso2b5w36xuDespite playing two strikers, a big issue for the home side has been their lack of goals.

Their total of 284 shots this season does rank them inside the Bundesliga top ten for shots on goal, and their Expected Goal (xG) total in the league this season is 32.27. Yet they have scored just 25 league goals. This suggests they are creating chances – but have been extremely wasteful in front of goal.

A further struggle for Schalke has been their home form this season. They have picked up just 13 points from their 11 home league games so far in the Bundesliga, with only the league’s bottom four possessing a poorer home record.

City’s lethal attack should be granted plenty of opportunities on goal too. Only two other Bundesliga sides have been forced into more saves than Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Fahrmann with 77 this season.

man-city-celebrate_1k2u5kzu0dwtrzknhwv0xkr7bDespite the number of chances prescribed to the opposition, Schalke’s defence has held together fairly well; only six league sides have conceded fewer than them this season. This is reiterated by their Expected Goals Against (xGA). Their xGA total is 31.18 this season, and they’ve conceded 32, meaning they have largely conceded the goals they should have, given the quality of chances offered up.

Away from the domestic competition, the Champions League has been a welcome distraction for Schalke. Like City, they only lost one game during the group stages. But City shouldn’t expect their opponents to try to out-play them on Wednesday.

Their average pass completion of just 80% is the third-lowest in the Champions League this season and they average just 47% possession of the ball per game. For comparison, City are the leaders in this department in this season’s competition with both pass completion success at 90% and average ball possession at 59%.

One player City will want to keep a tab on over the two legs is teenager Ahmed Kutucu. The 18-year-old Turkish midfielder has two goals in his previous three games and does seem destined to play a big part in the German side’s season.

Over 950 Political Thugs Arrested In Kano

Kano CP Wakil Mohammed

The Kano State Police Command has arrested 950 suspected political thugs in the space of nine days.

Wakili Mohammed, Kano State Commissioner of Police, said this on Tuesday when was visited by the Kano Election Peace Committee.

According to the CP,  most of the arrests were made in various parts of the city.

The political thugs, who are known locally as ‘Yan Data’ were arrested for unleashing violence on innocent residents of Kano in the last nine days.police42007314621.jpg

Of the 950 arrested suspects, 750 are in prison, while they await the completion of their trial by the courts.

“We are consistently raiding black spots and once you are arrested and confirmed to be a ‘Dan Daba’, nobody will bail you,” Mohammed said.police-brutality-660x330553111090.jpg

The CP revealed that the majority of those arrested were under the influence substances suspected to be hard drugs, in possession of illicit drugs, or with dangerous weapons.

Stressing the commitment of the Force to ensuring that criminal elements are brought to book, he also assured the people of Kano that there would be neutrality on Saturday’s

He said: “The Police Force is not a political party, and if it were a political party, then it is my political party. I agree with what you stand for; that is peace. You have my total and unwavering support, because what you stand for is the bedrock of socio-economic development of any society.

“The issue of drugs needs a serious approach. We will not leave any stone unturned to ensure that the state is rid of criminals and any form of criminality.”Nigerian-police-are-among-the-best-peacekeepers-in-the-world

“Akpabio Is A Political Pensioner” – Dino Melaye

Godswill Akpabio, lawmaker representing Akwa Ibom North has been described as a political pensioner by his colleague, Dino Melaye.

Messrs Akpabio and Melaye are Senators at the upper legislative chamber of the National Assembly.

Mr Melaye representing Kogi West made the description on Tuesday when he featured alongside Festus Keyamo, the presidential spokesman of President Muhammadu Buhari’s campaign team, on a programme on Channels Television: The Verdict.dino-melaye1571674020.jpeg

The duo had a heated argument attacking and defending Mr Buhari’s choice of punishment on ballot box snatchers.

The president had declared extra-judicial killings for those who might want to thwart the electoral will of Nigerians in the rescheduled general election expected to commence on Saturday.

The Nigerian leader said he has ordered security operatives to ruthlessly deal with ballot snatchers at the scene of the crime without recourse to court trial as stipulated in the constitution.

The Army and the Police have all nodded and are willing to carry out the directive.

After the shouting match, the moderator asked for their final summarization of what is expected on Saturday.

For Melaye, he said Nigerians are tired of the incumbent leader and has chosen Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as their next leader. He said the opposition party will reclaim states it had lost in the 2015 general elections.Godswill

For the Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), who claimed that the president’s choice of punishment on ballot snatchers is constitutional, the likes of Mr Abubakar, Bukola Saraki, Senate President, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso among others who left the All Progressive Congress (APC) might have made minor contributions but that did not win the election for his principal.

The lawyer said being a plus and minus situation, the party has also received into its fold politicians like Akpabio, Uduaghan, Orji Kalu, Ken Nnamani among others.

When he mentioned the name of the former Akwa Ibom governor, the lawmaker who interjected asked him “Who is Akpabio?”

“These are political pensioners,” Melaye said mockingly.

“You called Akpabio a political pensioner? Keyamo asked as the lawmaker restated his earlier comment saying the former governor was not just a political pensioner but “a big one.”Dino-Melaye-1

Another round of heated argument began with the legal practitioner claiming that the PDP candidate has conceded defeat by alleging that the APC were out to import fraudulent devices from China aimed at frustrating him in his stronghold during the election. The lawmaker rejected the defeat claim and sent the “defeat arrow” back to the sender.

The moderator hurriedly closed the noisy segment.

POLITICS TIMES recalls that the incumbent governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, was installed by Akpabio single-handedly. He has since turned against his successor and currently spearheading to install Nsima Ekere as the next governor.

Mr Ekere running on the platform of the APC had served Akpabio as running mate while the federal lawmaker held sway as governor.dino-melaye634727106.jpg

Messrs Udom and Ekere are from Eket Senatorial District whose turn it is to serve out their remaining four years rotational power zoning.

Akpabio is expected by the leadership of the APC to deliver majority of votes coming from the state to Buhari having did so for former president Goodluck Jonathan, even though he lost his re-election bid to the incumbent president who has boasted that nobody can unseat him.

FIFA president reveals why Taiwo Ogunjobi is outstanding

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has sent a condolence message to the Nigerian football governing body over the death of Chief Taiwo Ogunjobi, the former Secretary-General of then NFA and a former Board Member. In a letter dated 19th February 2019, and addressed to President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick, the world’s number one football administrator wrote: “I would like to express my sincerest and heartfelt condolences on the passing of former Nigeria international player and administrator, Taiwo Ogunjobi. Words seem inadequate to express the sadness we feel for this loss.

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“Taiwo had a fulfilling and enriching career in football. As a player, he will be remembered notably as the captain of the Shooting Stars SC team that reached the final of the Africa Cup of Champion Clubs in 1984. After his retirement, he served as Secretary-General of the Nigeria Football Federation between 2002 and 2005, and was member of the NFF Executive Committee between 2006 and 2010.

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“He also officiated as Match Commissioner for two 2010 World Cup Qualification Matches and was a Member of the Nigeria Football Federation Delegation participating in different FIFA competitions between 2002 and 2010…His legacy and achievement – on and off the pitch – will not be forgotten, and he will be truly missed. On behalf of the international football community, I wish to extend our deepest sympathy to the Nigeria Football Federation, and to Taiwo’s family, friends and loved ones. Our thoughts are with all of you. We hope that these memories and our words of support may help bring some peace and solace at this difficult time.”

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Similarly, two-time Head Coach of the senior national football team and a former FIFA Advisor on Technical Matters, Chief Adegboye Onigbinde and former NFF General Secretary, Musa Amadu have both expressed their condolences on the passing of the Chairman of Osun State Football Association. Onigbinde, who coached the youthful Nigeria squad that won the silver medals of the 1984 Africa Cup of Nations – of which Ogunjobi was a member – said the demise of the respected administrator was a big shock.

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“Indeed, words are inadequate to express the sorrow and grief that I feel. He was my player in the National Team and he later excelled himself in administration. I pray that God will grant his soul eternal rest and also comfort the family and friends that he has left behind.”

Amadu, who served as NFF Deputy General Secretary between 2006 and 2010 while Ogunjobi was a Member of the Board, before serving as General Secretary between 2010 and 2015, expressed shock on the departure of the amiable one-time Chairman of NFF Technical and Development Committee.

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“The news of Chief Ogunjobi’s death came like a thunderbolt. I found it difficult to believe. But what can we do? I pray that God will receive his soul and also grant those he has left behind, including the Nigerian Football family, the fortitude to bear the big loss.”

taiwo_ogunjobiOgunjobi, also a former Nigeria international defender, died in Ibadan, Oyo State on Monday, 11th February after a brief illness.

Simeone reveals his tactical plan for Champions League clash with Juverntus

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone says Diego Costa is not fit to play the entire match against Juventus in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone says Diego Costa is not fit to play full game v Juventus

Costa returned to action last weekend after being sidelined for nearly two months because of a foot injury that required surgery. He came off the bench in Atletico’s 1-0 La Liga win at Rayo Vallecano, playing alongside Alvaro Morata for the first time. Simeone said on Tuesday that Costa ‘is not ready to play the 90 minutes’ in the round of 16 match at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Simeone on Tuesday said Costa 'is not ready to play the 90 minutes' in the round of 16 match

Vitolo started against Rayo, but Simone did not give any hints about his formation for the first leg against Juventus. Midfielder Koke is expected to be back in the lineup after a long injury layoff, although Simeone said he will wait until Wednesday to decide whether to start him. Simeone said he is focused on his squad and not on Cristiano Ronaldo, the former Real Madrid player who will be playing for the first time in Madrid since joining Juventus last summer.

His side face Juventus at the Wanda Metropolitano in the Champions League first leg

‘We only think about Antoine Griezmann, Morata, Costa, Koke,’ Simeone said Tuesday. ‘They are all extremely motivated to play a great match.’ Ronaldo has fared well against Atletico, scoring 22 goals in 31 matches against the rival in all competitions. In the Champions League, he faced Atletico in four straight seasons with Real Madrid, winning every time – in two finals (2014 and 2016), one quarter-final (2015) and one semi-final (2017).

Midfielder Koke is expected to be back in the lineup after a long injury layoff

Simeone said there could be surprises in Juventus’ squad even though coach Massimiliano Allegri announced on Tuesday that Paulo Dybala will be starting against Atletico. ‘It doesn’t mean that they will be playing with three forwards,’ Simeone said. ‘They can play several different ways regardless of the players who are starting.’

Atletico's players trained at their Majadahonda base in the sunshine on Monday

Juventus were runners-up in the Champions League in 2015 and 2017. Last year, they were eliminated by Real Madrid in the quarterfinals. Atletico Madrid are back in the round of 16 after failing to make it out of the group stage last season. This year’s Champions League final will be played at the Wanda Metropolitano.679271-diego-simeone-afp-1024x576

David De Gea set to break a Premier League record

Manchester United are ready to make David de Gea the best paid player in the Premier League as they move to tie up the future of their goalkeeper.

Manchester United are ready to make David de Gea the best paid player in the Premier League

United, according to The Sunday Times, are considering an offer with a basic pay package of £90m over five years, which would overtake the wages of team-mates Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez, as well as Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil. United executive chairman Ed Woodward sees sorting De Gea’s future as a priority as he works to tie down deals for a number of United’s first-team squad. His present deal runs until the end of the 2019-20 season.

In eight years at United, De Gea has established himself as one of the best keepers in the world

Anthony Martial, Ashley Young, Luke Shaw and Phil Jones have all recently signed extensions at Old Trafford. But De Gea extending his eight-year stay at Old Trafford would be the landmark deal. He has been named United’s player of the year in four of the last five seasons. Woodward has plenty on his plate at present as he still has to appoint a permanent successor to Jose Mourinho as well as the club’s first ever director of football.

Sorting the future of De Gea is one of Woodward's most pressing pieces of work at United 

Edwin van der Sar and Paul Mitchell are in the running for that role, while interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is receiving growing praise for his job as interim boss. United are fourth in the Premier League table, while they meet Chelsea in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Monday. They then host fierce rivals Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday, February 24.David-De-Gea

Man City set to sign Atletico Madrid star for £130m

Manchester City have made Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez their No 1 transfer target this summer. The reigning Premier League champions are looking to bring in Fernandinho’s replacement soon and believe Saul is the man to fill the Brazilian’s boots.

Manchester City are eyeing up a big-money move for Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez

However, City will have to part with £130million to bring him to the Etihad due to the Spaniard’s huge buy-out clause in his nine-year contract, according to The Mirror. The 24-year-old will be two years into his mammoth contract with Atletico by the end of the season which will force City into breaking the bank for the Spaniard. While cash-rich City may baulk at the buy-out clause, they will still look at trying to negotiate a deal for the defensive midfielder.

City are looking for long-term successor for the veteran midfielder Fernandinho

City will have to break their club record fee of £60m they paid for Riyad Mahrez to bring him in. Pep Guardiola has targeted several midfielders over the past year in the hope of finding a long-term successor for Fernandinho. City missed out on signing both Fred and Jorginho as both went to Premier League rivals instead last summer.

pepguardiola0311678158203.jpgGuardiola is also a big admirer of Lyon’s midfield pair Tanguy Ndombele and Houssem Aouar, but the Ligue 1 outfit will not sell either player for less than £80m. Fernandinho, 33, arrived at City from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013 for £36m but his contract is set to expire in June 2020.

City manager Pep Guardiola is keen on finding Fernandinho's replacement this summer

2030: Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay announce joint World Cup 2030 bid

argentina-chile-paraguay-uruguay-world-cup-2030-bid-7-em5qvtsbfuvg1ikjx1wfnv5bsArgentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay have agreed to launch a joint bid to host the World Cup in 2030, it has been confirmed.

Chile’s president Sebastian Pinera announced the move via social media on Thursday, with Uruguay bidding to host the tournament for the first time since the inaugural 1930 competition.

Morocco, Spain, and Portugal have already signalled their intention to jointly host the event, as have Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia and Romania.

But those two efforts will face competition from a shared South American bid after Pinera confirmed successful talks with other regional leaders.

“The presidents of the Argentine Republic, Mauricio Macri; of the republic of Chile, Sebastian Pinera; from the republic of Paraguay, Mario Abdo; and of the oriental republic of Uruguay, Tabare Vazquez; agreed to present their joint candidacy to organize the 2030 World Cup,” Pinera posted on Twitter.

“The presidents, through the four respective Football Associations (AFA, ANFP, AFP and AUF), decided to raise to FIFA, after communicating it to CONMEBOL, the shared position to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first World Cup, organised by Uruguay in 1930.

“A few months ago I proposed to the presidents of Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay to incorporate Chile, and together, apply to the organisation of the 2030 FIFA World Cup.

“This proposal was accepted by the three countries and by the Chilean ANFP. After the World Cup of 1962, Chile will have a new opportunity.”

Argentina last hosted the World Cup in 1978, winning the tournament on home soil, while the event has never been to Paraguay.

President of the Uruguayan FA Wilmar Valdez previously called for a joint bid with Argentina to be set up.

The 2022 World Cup is controversially set to be held in Qatar, with the United States, Mexico and Canada teaming up to host four years later.

Good news: FIFA recognises Nigerian World Cup star Julius Aghahowa

Former Super Eagles of Nigeria  striker, Julius Efosa Aghahowa has been recognised by FIFA for the celebration he enacted after scoring against Sweden at the 2002 World Cup. FIFA’s citation for ‘Agha-Wonder’ came on the occasion of his 37th birthday, for which the global body recounted how he wowed soccer fans with multiple-flips in his legendary acrobat style of celebrating his goals.

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Incidentally, it turned out to be Nigeria’s only goal at Korea/Japan 2002, in which the team first lost 1-0 to Argentina and drew goalless with England in their last group match, to stumble out of the contest.

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However, the goal and celebration by ‘Aggie’ style ardent hold soccer fans spellbound worldwide, especially with the match commentator adding spice with his wild repetition in describing the striker’s somersaults.

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‘On and on and on and on,’ the commentator screamed with delight, such that FIFA cannot be faulted for remembering the captivating scene all of 16 years on, and honouring the man who enacted the feat.

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The global soccer body stated gleefully: “A great header. An even better celebration. @NGSuperEagles’ Julius Aghahowa.
“The man responsible for these 2002 #WorldCup acrobatics, turns 37. What do you think is the best #WorldCup goal celebration of all time?”

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Aghahowa played 32 matches and scored 14 goals for the Nigerian national team. He became Nigeria’s top goalscorer at the 2002 African Nations Cup. He also played at the 2000 Summer Olympics.

Meanwhile,  Arsenal of England youngster, Folarin Balogun has admitted he is excited to sign his first professional contract, which he says he cherishes a lot. Balogun was all smiles, as he put pen to paper on the dotted lines in London, and stated afterwards that it is a dream come true for him.

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The 17-year-old Balogun has been with Arsenal’s academy since age ten and has played for The Gunners are various grades, before finally heralding his arrival on the big time this season. Balogun has already scored 13 goals in 13 games for Arsenal’s under-18 squad, while helping them up to second on the Youth League table.

However, he is not seriously thinking about a future playing international football for Nigeria, as he is already in England’s youth squad and is also eligible for United States of America. Though he has played for USA and England at under-18 grade, he could be urged to make the switch if pressure comes from Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) early enough.


UCL: UEFA explains why Ajax goal against Real Madrid was cancelled

European football governing body, UEFA has explained why Tagliafico’s goal for Ajax against Real Madrid in the Champions League round of 16 first leg was disallowed.

Shortly after the final whistle in Real Madrid’s away win at Ajax, UEFA explained the decision to overturn Nicolas Tagliafico’s first half goal for the hosts. Dusan Tadic was in an offside position and though he didn’t touch the ball, the official ruled out the goal after consulting VAR.

The rule outlines that a player can be deemed offside without touching the ball if he prevents and opponent from playing, or being able to play, it. “In the 38th minute of the Ajax v Madrid first leg, Nicolás Tagliafico’s headed goal was ruled out following a VAR review,” read a tweet by UEFA’s official Champions League account.

“The referee identified that Tagliafico’s team-mate Dusan Tadic was in an offside position and interfering with the goalkeeper – preventing him from playing or being able to play the ball – as the header was being made. This was in line with VAR protocol and the goal was correctly overturned and a free-kick given for offside.”

preventing him from playing or being able to play the ball – as the header was being made. This was in line with VAR protocol and the goal was correctly overturned and a free-kick given for offside.uefa

Solskjaer reveals players to be dropped after Champions League defeat to PSG

baillyOle Gunnar Solskjaer has warned his Manchester United squad that anyone “feeling sorry for themselves” after the Champions League defeat to Paris Saint-Germain will be dropped. Manchester United play top four rivals Chelsea in the FA Cup fifth round on Monday and Solskjaer wants to see some fight from his players in when they get back to Carrington to prepare for the trip to Stamford Bridge.Image result for manchester united vs psg

“We’ve got Chelsea and Liverpool in the next two games so whoever feels sorry for themselves will not play the next game,” Solskjaer said. “Don’t feel sorry for yourselves. This is a level up from what we’re used to.” Second-half goals from Presnel Kimpembe and Kylian Mbappe ensured that PSG will be firm favourites to progress ahead of the return leg in Paris but Solskjaer has not given up hope of causing a shock at Parc des Princes.Image result for manchester united vs psg

“The reaction in dressing room is disappointment but when we go to Paris we’ll give it a go,” he said. “It will be difficult and it’s a mountain to climb but it’s not impossible.”

psgSolskjaer has done a remarkable job in transforming the mood and performances since succeeding the sacked Jose Mourinho in December – but this was his toughest night since he arrived back at Old Trafford. It was no reflection on Solskjaer that United lost; they were simply the victims of a better team that still possessed an outstanding attack in the shape of Di Maria and Mbappe, even in the absence of Neymar and Cavani.Image result for manchester united vs psg

After 10 wins from his first 11 games in charge, Solskjaer admitted the French champions had given them a “reality check.” However, the Norwegian was left frustrated after watching Kimpembe score the first from Angel Di Maria’s corner after being fortunate to escape a second yellow card before the half time. Instead it was United who received the only red card of the game when Paul Pogba was dismissed in the 89th minute.Image result for manchester united vs psg

“Presnel Kimpembe was very lucky and the way he throws Marcus Rashford down to the floor and we don’t get a foul,” said Solskjaer. “There’s no point me sitting here talking about that now. We’re disappointed we won’t have Paul for the next game. That’s a big blow because he’s been fantastic for us.”Image result for manchester united vs psg

Solskjaer also urged Alexis Sanchez to help himself in his search for form after another lacklustre performance. The Chilean was largely anonymous after coming on as a first-half substitute and afterwards Solskjaer insisted it was up to him to get back to his best. “I can’t do anything about Alexis Sanchez,” said Solskjaer. “When he plays he needs to find himself because there’s a quality player there.”ole-gunnar-solskjaer-manchester-united

Zaniolo shorts for words after Champions League brace lifts Roma

Roma sensation Nicolo Zaniolo was stunned by his two-goal haul in the team’s Champions League victory over Porto.

Italian teenager Zaniolo scored both goals as Roma emerged 2-1 winners at home to Porto in the opening leg of their last-16 tie on Tuesday.

The 19-year-old, who joined Roma as part of Radja Nainggolan’s move to Inter in the off-season, became the youngest Italian player with a brace in the Champions League.

Afterwards, Zaniolo told Sky Sports Italia: “I have no words, it’s a memorable day. I’ll never forget it in my life.zaniolo-brace-roma-champions-league-7-6x0lxm0ptz6w19q0dh701ehdh

“Now I want to focus on the return leg because the goal we gave up can be bothersome. We have to play like we did today without conceding anything to the opponents.

“We had prepared it this way. I ran a lot, but I’m happy for the result. It’s a unique emotion to score under the Curva Sud, I can’t describe it. I hope to score many more.”

Roma were 2-0 ahead in the second half thanks to Zaniolo before substitute Adrian Lopez netted a priceless away goal for Portuguese visitors Porto.

“Obviously, we didn’t want to come here and suffer a defeat, but it was a very balanced game,” Porto goalkeeper Iker Casillas told TVI. “We conceded that quickly-taken goal, then were unlucky on the second as the ball bounced right back into his path, but this can happen in football.

“I believe we did justice to our performance with that away goal and that means the tie is still open. Although Roma aren’t in the top four in Serie A right now, they do have great players, so we knew it’d be difficult.

“We believe that we can control the second leg and go through.”

Real Madrid legend makes shocking statement about Barcelona star Lionel Messi

Real Madrid legend Alvaro Arbeloa claims he is counting the days until Lionel Messi announces his retirement and that he doubts he’ll ever be able to enjoy him as a footballer. The former Real Madrid defender says that while the Argentine is a ‘great player’, he isn’t able to appreciate his talents as a supporter.

The 36-year-old, who himself retired in 2017, played against Messi during his Madrid days, with Arbeloa making 237 appearances in all competitions during two spells at the Bernabeu. And despite Messi being considered one of the greatest players in history, Arbeloa insists that, because of his ties to Madrid, he will never be in a position to enjoy the Argentine’s abilities, suggesting that he’s counting the days until he retires.

“I respect Barcelona a lot, as they’re a great team with a great player like Lionel Messi,” he told Marca. “He’s very good, although I’ve never been able to enjoy it [watching him] and I don’t think I ever will. I hope he retires before long, I’m counting down the days.”

Former Spain international Arbeloa won one league title during his time with Madrid, although it’s Barca that currently lead the standings in La Liga. Both sides also remain in contention for the Champions League, with Los Blancos aiming to defend their crown as they face Ajax in the last 16, while Barca take on Lyon on February 19. Arbeloa claims that while he’s not ‘anti-Barcelona’ he even takes pleasure from seeing them lose in training.

“I’m not anti-Barcelona,” he added. “I always want them to lose because that’s good for Real Madrid. Real Madrid fans aren’t anti-Barcelona, but I do hope that they lose in training tomorrow. Would I want them to fail to go through in the Champions League? Yes, there would be one less rival. Barcelona were always a challenging team, they’re a great team. I always went out to beat them. I’ve always seen tension in Clasicos, even seeing Zinedine Zidane with his hands around Luis Enrique’s neck.”

Arbeloa also commented on Isco’s situation at Madrid, with the playmaker having struggled to cement a regular place in Santiago Solari’s starting XI since the Argentine’s appointment. The former Liverpool man said: “Isco has gone through something he never has had to before. He’s had to play in a position that isn’t his. I’m the number one fan of Isco and I hope he stays at Real Madrid for many more years.”

Juventus table a stunning £175m for Liverpool star, Mo Salah

Italian Serie A defending champions Juventus are preparing a £175million move for Liverpool star Mohamed Salah, according to sensational reports.

Salah, 26, left Serie A rivals Roma in 2017 to join the Anfield club and has been one of the best players in the world over the last 18 months. According to Sky News Arabia, though, Cristiano Ronaldo is backing a stunning attempt to lure Salah back to Italy this summer and has given the “green light” to the move. And they believe the second-biggest transfer fee of all time could persuade Liverpool to sell their star man.

Salah – who stunned fans on Sunday by shaving off his beard – is the joint-top scorer in the Premier League with Sergio Aguero this season with17 goals matched. Since arriving for a bargain £34.3m, Salah has scored 64 goals for the Reds, including 45 last season as Liverpool reached the Champions League final.

He was named PFA Player of the Year and will now be hoping to land Liverpool their first Premier League title. His side are second in the league, level on points with Manchester City, but have a game in hand on the reigning champions. After two years at Chelsea, in which he was loaned out twice, he joined Roma in 2016 and enjoyed a stellar season before being picked up by Jurgen Klopp.

Ronaldo, 34, joined Juventus from Real Madrid last summer and the thought combination of him and Salah will have defences across Europe on red alert. Mo Salah does some hilariously awkward dancing after winning African Player of the Year award

The futures of both Paulo Dybala and Douglas Costa are in doubt, which would pave the way for Salah to walk into the Juventus starting XI. Dybala had a bust-up with manager Massimiliano Allegri last week and is today said to be edging closer to a move to Real Madrid. Meanwhile, Costa put Manchester United on alert after liking a Twitter post linking him with a move to Old Trafford.salah-mohamed

Manchester United in trouble with UEFA after Champions League loss to PSG

Manchester United could face potential disciplinary action from Uefa after a bottle was thrown at former United midfielder Angel Di Maria.

Di Maria went as if to drink from the bottle before handing it to an official

The Argentina international was booed from the outset by the home support at Old Trafford, and nearly had to leave the field with a first-half injury after United captain Ashley Young shoved him into the pitchside fence.

baillyDi Maria would have the last laugh, with PSG comfortably beating the hosts thanks to goals by Presnel Kimpembe and the irrepressible Kylian Mbappe. And matters could get worse for United after a fan from the home end threw a bottle at Di Maria as he went to take a second-half corner kick.

The versatile midfielder joked by pretending to drink from the bottle before handing it to an official, but should the incident be included in the match referee’s report then European football’s governing body could well take action against the Manchester club. Di Maria endured a tough season at United after becoming a £60m signing and inheriting the club’s famous number 7 shirt that had been worn by legends George Best, Eric Cantona and Cristiano Ronaldo.

In many ways the diminutive playmaker became a casualty of Louis van Gaal’s dysfunctional regime, and that miserable season under the Dutchman resulted in Di Maria’s only season in the last decade without a single trophy. Paris Saint-Germain came in for him at the end of that disappointing campaign and Di Maria was only too happy to swap the north-west for Ligue 1 and a fresh start in Paris, where he has since rediscovered his form and proven his worth as a top-class midfielder.

But resentment still lingers with the Old Trafford crowd making their feelings clear and Di Maria returning the favour, shouting a very English expletive back at the home supporters when PSG went ahead through Kimpembe’s header.

Reasons why Sarri has fallen out of luck with Chelsea’s players

AFC Bournemouth v Chelsea FC - Premier LeagueFollowing Sunday’s 6-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester City, Maurizio Sarri has been subject to an inquest at Chelsea.

However, it is becoming swiftly apparent that the answer to the club’s problems lies deeper than the manager.

The Telegraph has released a report highlighting the west London club’s biggest ongoing issues.

Since the start of 2019, Chelsea have endured arguably the most turbulent period since the start of Roman Abramovich’s reign.

The Blues suffered their heaviest defeat in 28 years over the weekend, which followed successive away defeats to Arsenal and AFC Bournemouth.

The Italian’s relationship with his players has been seriously strained and the Telegraph have highlighted how this has happened.

According to the report, Sarri biggest challenge at Stamford Bridge is overcoming the player-power at the club.

One of Sarri’s key issue has been his reluctance to find a plan B and he has spoken about his refusal to change his methods.Manchester City v Chelsea FC - Premier League

The Blues’ players have grown bored this and are overwhelmed by the tactical information which the 60-year-old is feeding them.

His decisions to start training at 3pm, rather than in the morning, and smoking during training has also seen him become an unpopular figure.

A Chelsea insider has explained to the Telegraph how the manager’s biggest challenge will be getting the players onside:

“It’s clear the players know the power is not with the coach and any fear has been eliminated.

“There’s no doubt at City and Liverpool that it is pointless for players to run to their agents if they are not playing, but that’s not the case at Chelsea.

“Antonio Conte tried to change the culture and he was sacked.”

Sunday’s defeat at the Etihad, Sarri delivered a pretty damming statement on the club’s owner Roman Abramovich.

The former SSC Napoli boss claims that he rarely hears from Abramovich.

With the Russian owner already been criticised for failing to supply Sarri with the right players, his apparent failure to communicate with Sarri won’t help his cause.

NOUN appoints former Army spokesman as faculty member


The National Open University of Nigeria has appointed retired Brig.-Gen. Sani Usman as Faculty member of its Business School.

Usman voluntarily bowed out of the Nigerian army as its Director of Public relations on Thursday after more than 35 years of service.

A statement issued by the Coordinator of NOUN Business School, Prof. Samaila Mande, on Tuesday and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria said the former army spokesman was appointed because of his wealth of experience.

Mande expressed optimism that as Public Relations and Communications expert, Usman would bring his wealth of knowledge and experience to bear in his new appointment.

He said with Usman’s appointment, the retired general would chair the Crisis Communication, Public Relations and Security Studies sessions of the School.9N5ktkqTURBXy8wNTY3ZTE0NDEwOTBmOWI5NDcxZjUxMWZiMWQ0ZGQ0Ny5qcGVnkpUDFgDNAlXNAVCTBc0DFM0BvA

Usman is a graduate of Bayero University Kano, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication and also has a Masters degree in Media, Peace and Conflicts Studies.

He is also a fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations and member of the prestigious National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru in Jos.


PSG star confident of shutting out this Man Utd star in their Champions League clash tonight

Paris Saint-Germain have players capable of stopping Paul Pogba in Tuesday’s Champions League clash, Julian Draxler insists. The Frenchman has been in exceptional form for Manchester United, but the German midfielder is confident his side can keep him quiet. The Ligue 1 leaders head to Old Trafford for the first leg of their last-16 tie against a United team who have shown resurgent form under caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

psgSaturday’s 3-0 defeat of Fulham was their 10th win in 11 games in all competitions since Solskjaer took over from Jose Mourinho in December. Pogba has been instrumental in their improved run, his two goals against Fulham taking his tally to 11 in the Premier League this term, a personal best in a single season in top-flight football. Draxler, though, is confident his team-mates can keep Pogba quiet, telling a news conference: “They have got some great players at Man United, especially in midfield, with Pogba and [Nemanja] Matic. They will be key in the game.
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“But we’ve got a lot of quality, too. Our players are more than capable. We stopped Paul sometimes in games between Germany and France. “We’ll see what he does. He can do everything, but we’ve got players capable of stopping Paul.”
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Tuesday’s game will see Angel Di Maria face his old club for the first time in a competitive match since he left for PSG for a reported £44million in 2015. With Neymar and Edinson Cavani out injured, Draxler hopes he and Di Maria can produce a positive display.
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“I was asking him some things about Man United, but I won’t tell you what he said – it was nothing bad!” Draxler said. “We will need him without Cavani and Neymar. Hopefully, he gives a good performance. “I don’t really know what position I will be playing, but I’m comfortable in lots of positions. I’m not the same type of player as Neymar and, clearly, we’ll miss him. I’ll try to put in a great performance.”

Draxler does not consider either side to be favourites but is confident PSG will be able to overturn any negative result in the second leg at Parc des Princes on March 6.
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“Everyone knows that there are two good teams,” he said. “Everyone should be ready to watch the match because it’s one everyone wants to see. I don’t know if United are favourites or us. For me, it’s not important. “You’ll never win a game by talking lot before the game. It’s what happens on the pitch that counts. “We’re expecting United to play in the same way they have been playing recently. But it’s not all or nothing [on Tuesday]. There is the second leg at our ground.”kylian-mbappe-edinson-cavani-neymar-psg-celtic-13092017_1e6bzx55xoxpv10tf92692ramy

Woman Sells Stolen Baby To Pastor For N900k In Edo State

The woman after her arrest

The owner of an illegal orphanage, Godswill Ophanage, at Ekpan, Warri, Delta State identified as Juliet Phillips, has been arrested for allegedly stealing and selling a 2-year-old boy to a pastor in Edo State.

According to a report by Dailypost, Juliet was arrested alongside her mother and one Collins Ogbor who is a retired director in the Community Development Department of the Ministry of Women Affairs in Delta State.

The prime suspect, Juliet, allegedly stole Testimony, from his mentally unstable mother, on November 28, 2018, and took him to Deliverance Orphanage operated by her mother in Ozoro.

From there, he was sold to a pastor with the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, in Edo State, at the rate of N900,000. The cleric thereafter renamed him Favour.

While confirming the report, the Delta State Acting Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Andrew Aniamaka, revealed that Juliet also allegedly stole three children from Ekpan Primary School in 2017.

Chelsea suffer worst defeat in 26 years, humiliated by City

AntonioRudigerAndreasChristensenChelseabcxcwnkbtFklManchester City took over the English Premier League summit on Sunday in style, inflicting a record 6-0 defeat of Chelsea, and sending them to the sixth position behind Arsenal.

It was the worst defeat ever suffered by the London club in the last 26 years.

Man City

Manchester City’s Argentinian striker Sergio Aguero (2R) celebrates with teammates

Chelsea FC biggest loss and worst defeat was the loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1953.

The Blues lost 1-8 to Wolverhampton in the First Division.

Spurs believe they can be champions after another late show

In the FA Cup, Chelsea also once lost 1-6 to Sheffield Wednesday.pep-guardiola-640x400

Their worst League Cup defeat was inflicted by Stoke City in 1974, when Chelsea were thrashed 2-6 in the Round 3 replay in October 1974.

On 18 April 2000, Chelsea also lost 1-5 to Barcelona in the second leg of the quarter-finals of Champions League.

In the League, today’s showing at Manchester City stands out.

Eden Hazard likes Madrid but I hope he stays at Chelsea – Fabregas

hazardCesc Fabregas hopes Eden Hazard extends his stay at Chelsea, but said the star attacker has always liked Real Madrid.

The Belgium international revealed this week he had made a decision on his future and would announce it “soon”.

Hazard, 28, has long been linked with a move to Madrid, but is contracted at Stamford Bridge until 2020.Eden-Hazard-5-1068x580

His former team-mate Fabregas, who moved to Monaco in January, is holding out hope Hazard will stay at Chelsea.

“Let’s see what he decides to do. He has a year and a half left and he is happy at Chelsea and so is his family,” he told Radio Marca.Hazard1

“But in the end they are very personal decisions. He likes Madrid and he has always said it.

“Hopefully he will renew with Chelsea, but if he does not he will finish in Madrid.”

Students And Parents Rejoice As ASUU Calls Off Three Months Old Strike

Its a massive relief for parents and students who have had to sit at home for about three months now since November, 2018 when ASUU embarked on its strike action meant to get the government to address matters concerning its members’ welfare.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), on Thursday agreed to suspend their strike, which has lasted for three months.

This comes after ASUU signed all agreements with the Federal Government, following a conciliatory meeting in Abuja.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, represented the Federal Government, while the lecturers were represented by the union’s president, Biodun Ogunyemi.

According to Ngige, both parties unanimously resolved the eight contentious issues that had prolonged the strike.

Addressing reporters at the end of the meeting, Ogunyemi said: “On Sunday, November 4, 2018, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) resumed its strike action, which was conditionally suspended on 14th September, 2017.

“The action of 2017 was suspended following the signing of a memorandum of action (MoA) in which the federal government of Nigeria (FGN) promised to address the contentious issues within a timeline that was to end in October 2017.

“While announcing the suspension of the nationwide action, however, our union made it categorically clear that ASUU will not hesitate to review its position should government renege on the signed Memorandum of Action.

“Predictably, Government implemented the MoA in the breach, thereby forcing ASUU to resume the suspended strike action. Comrades and compatriots, as we have always argued, the last thing ASUU members love doing is to cause disruption in smooth intellectual engagements with colleagues, friends and students right on our university.


campuses. This has nothing to do with the dubious advertorial of non-disruption of academic calendar by proprietors and administrators of some cash-and-carry universities and other self-styled enemies of ASUU.

“Rather, it is about deep-seated pains members of the Union undergo to prevent strike actions and the equally painful consequences strike situations bring to all who are genuinely averse to the mercantile disposition to university education.

ASUU’s official Twitter handle also confirmed that lecturers are to resume on Friday (tomorrow).“The NEC has decided that the STRIKE HAS BEEN SUSPENDED.

“Academic activities resume tomorrow,” the union quoted its president as saying in a tweet.ASUU_14

PSG manager sounds warning to Manchester United ahead of Champions League clash

Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel does not want Kylian Mbappe to try to take on Neymar’s responsibilities with the Brazilian out injured. The PSG boss sees no reason for the French prodigy to change in the Brazilian superstar’s absence.

Neymar, 27, is set to be sidelined until April after suffering a foot injury last month and will miss both legs of the round-of-16 Champions League clash against Manchester United. In two games without their injured star, PSG crushed Rennes 4-1 before losing their first Ligue 1 match of the season to Lyon with a 2-1 scoreline on Sunday. Tuchel said he saw no reason for Mbappe – who has scored 22 goals in 25 games this season – to change his role with Neymar sidelined.

“I usually prefer Kylian to be the finisher – when he’s our last line of attack against the opposing defence. He’s incredibly dangerous because of his pace and his hunger to score goals,” Tuchel told a news conference.

“I don’t want him to take on Neymar’s responsibilities of providing assists and keeping possession in the last few yards. We have players that are able to do it – players who can support Kylian and Edi [Cavani] and provide them with the right pass. Both strikers need to be the finishers, that’s the most important thing.”

PSG visit third-tier outfit Villefranche in the Coupe de France on Wednesday before hosting Bordeaux in Ligue 1 on Saturday. The Parisians will then travel to Old Trafford on February 13 for the first leg of their European tie against United, with the home leg scheduled for March 7.ole-gunnar-solskjaer-manchester-united

Super Eagles star named one of the best performer in Europe

Alex Iwobi is no doubt one of Nigeria’s best performers in Europe today and it is expected that the Arsenal man will play at the highest level for many years to come. The Super Eagles star has been named the third best U25 midfielder in Europe’s top five leagues in one key stat. Though the Gunners number 17 has been criticized in recent games, especially against Manchester City on Sunday, a new performance indicator published by Ashwin Raman of Football Whispers suggests the Super Eagles star has lived up to expectations this season.

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Raman analyzed the matches in the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Ligue 1 and Serie A using advances stats and has ranked the top 20 midfielders and attacking midfielders with 850+ minutes for open play xG+xA/90. It is a methodology of giving marks to each shot or pass and adding them to get a number, showing how much a player could / should have been decisive, on average per match.

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The top midfielder is Diogo Jota of Wolverhampton Wanderers (0.47) followed by RB Leipzig’s Marcel Sabitzer (0.43), then Iwobi at 0.43. Tottenham Hotspur’s Dele Alli (0.42) and Man City’s Bernardo Silva (0.42) complete the top five.

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Bordeaux number ten Samuel Kalu has revealed that the player that he gets along with the most in the Super Eagles setup is Arsenal star Alex Iwobi. The versatile winger has admitted that he was flattered to be handed a call-up to the national team after the 2018 World Cup after he was snubbed during his time in Belgium with Gent.

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”I was very flattered to be called by Rohr to play with the Super Eagles. It was a long time since I expected that, ” Kalu was quoted as saying by ”The invitation did not come while I was in Gent, I told myself that I needed to work even more.”

He added : ”I was very well accepted and get along very well with my teammates, especially with Alex Iwobi. We have a lot of quality players on the pitch, I am confident that we can with the Africa Cup of Nations in June.”

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Kalu, 21, has started all the competitive matches played by the Super Eagles since the end of the 2018 World Cup, against Seychelles, Libya (2) and South Africa, and has been directly involved in three goals.

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In other Nigerian football news, Chidozie Awaziem,22, has been named in Team of the Week for the latest round of matches played in the Turkish Super Lig. The Nigeria international made his full debut for Rizespor in a 1-0 win at BB Erzurumspor on Sunday after joining the club in the January transfer window.

Awaziem has been included in the team after his impressive display, helping goalkeeper Akkan to post his fourth shutout of the season. The Porto loanee is the youngest player included in the Team of the Week and was partnered in central defense by Istanbul Basaksehir’s Epureanu in a 4-4-2 formation.

Awaziem made six clearances, one tackle, one interception and won four aerial duels against a BB Erzurumspor side that contained international teammate Emem Eduok. He made only two appearances for Porto’s first team in Cup competitions before he was sent on loan to Rizespor.

PDP accuses APC of plans to import foreigners for elections.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) of intention to import more foreign nationals into the country to influence the general elections, especially the presidential election.

Consequently, the party charged security agencies to immediately carry out comprehensive investigation on the security and political implications of the presence of two Nigerien governors and other foreigners during the APC presidential rally in Kano on Thursday.

National Chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus, speaking at the Pa Oruta Ngele Township Stadium in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, venue of the party’s presidential campaign flag-off in the state, called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to disqualify APC’s presidential candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari, from the February 16 election for allegedly importing foreign nationals to influence the polls.

Secondus described as shameful, the APC rally in Kano, where governors and other persons from neighbouring countries, especially Niger Republic, attended and openly campaigned for Buhari, saying such action shows that the ruling party intends to import more foreign nationals into the country to influence the elections.

He said a vote for the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, was a vote for freedom from poverty, hunger and insecurity, adding: “Governor David Umahi is the best governor and I know that you are going to vote for him again.

“Let me warn INEC that what we witnessed yesterday (on Thursday) was the worst that we have seen in the country, where people from other countries, like Niger and Chad, came to influence the elections in Nigeria.”

Briefing journalists yesterday in Abuja, PDP, through its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, alleged: “President Buhari and the APC, in their desperation, have compromised our territorial integrity as a nation and this portends grave danger to our national security and the sanctity of our electoral process.

“For a nation contending with insurgency and banditry, the involvement of mercenaries from neighbouring countries in the APC rally must be condemned by all and sundry. This is particularly against the backdrop of claims by Buhari that killer herdsmen ravaging our nation are mercenaries who are infiltrating from the Sahel region.”

The PDP noted that already, there was apprehension that “miscreants who came from Niger Republic to Buhari’s rally are being offered accommodation in our country by the APC to unleash violence immediately it is clear that Buhari is losing in the February 16 presidential election.”

On account of this, PDP demanded an urgent and thorough investigation into the circumstances leading to the presence of politicians and thugs from Niger Republic at the rally, urging the Presidency and APC to immediately explain the “roles being played by Issa Moussa, Governor of Zinder, and his counterpart from Maradi, Zakiri Umar, both of the Niger Republic, who were sighted decked in the attires and official logos of the APC in our political affairs”

“Our security agencies must immediately investigate and lay in the public domain, the circumstances leading to their presence.”

In PDP’s opinion, “the presence of the Niger Republic Governors at President Buhari’s rally signposts a direct assault on the credibility of the Presidential elections. This is particularly against the backdrop of INEC’s plans to allow Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in that country to vote in our election, a situation that opens the way for aliens to infiltrate as IDPs and participate in our elections.”

It asked: “What was the true purpose of the invitation of these foreigners to the APC rally in Kano on Thursday? What secret deals did APC leaders make with them at the expense of our national security?

“We, therefore, call on all Nigerians, irrespective of creed, ethnicity and political affiliations, to rise in total condemnation of this direct assault on our territorial integrity as a nation. Our citizens must henceforth be at alert and get prepared to defend the sovereignty of our nation.”

Speaking at the party’s rally in Abakaliki, Senate President Bukola Saraki lamented the high rate of hunger and unemployment in the country since the coming of the APC to power, which he attributed to the inexperience of the ruling government in the management of the economy.

Abubakar’s running mate, Peter Obi, said the party wants to replicate what Umahi is doing in Ebonyi State and in the entire country.

Abubakar’s wife, Jennifer, noted that the huge crowd in the stadium was an indication that Umahi was solidly behind her husband.

In his speech, Abubakar commended Umahi for the huge transformation going on in the state and promised that such would be replicated in the entire country if he is elected President, promising that the Southeast would not be marginalised in his government and urged the people to vote and protect their votes to ensure that their votes count in the end.

Earlier, Umahi, while welcoming party members and faithful, assured that the state would vote massively for Abubakar and all candidates of the party.