The Ambassador of France to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Denys Gauer has expressed the keen desire of France to forge closer ties with Nigeria football as it has done in the areas of trade, security and politics.Speaking in Abuja on Wednesday, during a courtesy visit by the leadership of Nigeria Football Federation, led by president Amaju Pinnick, Mr. Gauer noted that football is an important tool for unity and integration in Nigeria, and praised the feats of Nigeria’s various National Teams in global competitions over the decades.“Presently, Nigeria is France’s number one trading partner in Africa. We have also made good progress with regards to collaboration in the political and security areas. “We are keen for stronger ties in football. We know football is a major factor in Nigeria and personally, I have a good idea of the power football because I spent time in Iraq and the only time the Shiites, Sunni and Kurds groups came together as one was whenever there was a football match.”Pinnick, who was in company with Mr. Shehu Dikko (2nd Vice President/LMC chairman), Dr. Mohammed Sanusi (General Secretary), Bola Oyeyode (Director of Competitions), Ademola Olajire (Director of Communications), Chikelue Iloenyosi (SA, Security), Tunde Aderibigbe (Head, Protocol), Christian Emeruwa (Integrity Officer), Nasiru Jibril (PA to President), Emmanuel Ayanbunmi (protocol officer) and Ayo Olu-Ibidapo (media officer), thanked Mr. Gauer for his personal intervention that saw Super Eagles’ backroom staff being issued visas eventually for two friendly matches in Europe last month.“We cannot thank you enough for your kind intervention, and we are determined to build a relationship with your mission and France as a country.“The present NFF administration is committed to making positive changes in the Nigeria game. Our people are passionate about the game and it is a potent tool for integration, for national regeneration and for unity and peace. Our vision is to develop Nigeria football to the highest level possible.”Pinnick also recalled how the Super Eagles defeated France’s senior team in a friendly in Saint Etienne in June 2009, and said the NFF would work with the FFF towards another high –profile friendly between the two countries.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram
However, Barca did manage to beat Madrid without the then-suspended Neymar the last time the sides met in competitive action back in April as Lionel Messi won an incredible encounter 3-2 with the last kick of the game. The Catalans also edged last month’s Miami friendly between the two in Neymar’s last game for Barca 3-2.“We’ve had a good pre-season and we are coming into the game in good condition,” said Valverde.“But on Sunday (today), the real thing starts, with a competitive game and a title at stake against our biggest rivals.”Despite failing to win any of their pre-season games, Madrid started the new campaign as they ended last season with another trophy as Zinedine Zidane’s men proved too strong for Manchester United to win the UEFA Super Cup 2-1 on Tuesday.Should Zidane wish to maintain the 4-4-2 system he has utilised to huge success in 2017, Mateo Kovacic is the favourite to replace his suspended Croatian team-mate Luka Modric in midfield.However, Modric’s absence increases Cristiano Ronaldo’s chances of returning to the Madrid starting XI after making just a brief cameo appearance as a substitute against his former club in Macedonia.Ronaldo only returned to training with his teammates last weekend on their return from a tour of the USA having been given an extended break following Portugal’s participation in the Confederations Cup and a court appearance in Madrid over allegations of tax evasion.Zidane confirmed saturday he will sign a contract extension in the near future with the club he has guided to back-to-back Champions League titles.“I’m happy because it’s a sign of confidence, that we have done good work,” Zidane said. “I enjoy every day here. I’m lucky enough to have this extraordinary squad and I am very happy with it.”Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Barcelona host rivals Real Madrid in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup today in need of a morale-boosting win following the departure of Neymar. Despite banking Â£198m for the Brazilian, Barca’s quest to finding a replacement has so far been unsuccessful with bids for Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele of Borussia Dortmund rejected.New Barca coach Ernesto Valverde must therefore try to down the European and Spanish champions with a weaker squad than the one which missed out to Real for the La Liga title last season.
28 Jul 2013 Double England triumph in European Young Masters England have scored a double triumph in the European Young Masters, with victory in the team event and a dramatic individual win for Bradley Moore in the boys’ championship. Moore, from Kedleston Park in Derbyshire, was nine-under par for the 54-hole event and secured his title with an eagle, birdie finish at Hamburg Golf Club in Germany. His score combined with those of Marco Penge (Worthing, Sussex), Alice Hewson (Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire) and Sophie Madden (West Essex) to give England a team total of 12-under par and a six-shot win over Spain. Third place in Europe’s premier U16 event went to Finland. Moore, 15, took the honours in the boys’ individual event with a magnificent finish to overcome the challenge of Portugal’s Pedro Almeida. The two players were neck and neck as they approached the final two holes and both eagled the par five 17th. But Moore broke the deadlock with a birdie on the 18th, while his rival bogeyed the hole and slipped back to join Denmark’s John Axelson on seven-under par. Penge, 15, was right behind them, finishing fourth in the boys’ competition on six-under par. He improved his scores each day with returns of level par 71, 69 and 67. The result underlines a remarkable fortnight for the two boy internationals. Just before travelling to Germany, Penge won the English U15 and U16 boys’ championships, while Moore was runner-up in the U16s. Moore has already won the McEvoy Trophy, the Midland Region Schools Championship and was the leading individual in the Midland Boys’ Qualifying. Penge, meanwhile, has also won the Fairhaven Trophy and the South Region Schools Championship this year. Alice Hewson contributed two scores to the team total, with a level par 71 on the opening day and a one-under 70 in the third round. They helped her in to ninth place in the girls’ individual championship. Sophie Madden provided a 75 on the second day of the competition. Alice is the Scottish U16 open stroke play champion and a past winner of the English U13 girls’ title. Sophie tied second at this season’s Irish U18 stroke play championship and helped England win the team event. Caption: (from left) Alice Hewson, Marco Penge, Bradley Moore and Sophie Madden (Image: Angerer, Krafft)
Afghanistan’s cricketers have long been heralded as a beacon of hope for a nation torn apart by conflict but they have earned the right to be taken more seriously than a mere human interest story at their second World Cup.Having won last year’s World Cup Qualifier tournament by beating West Indies in the final, the Afghans will arrive in England looking to make the transition from plucky underdogs to knockout round contenders.It will be a tough task, not least because they have very little experience of the conditions in the host nation, but there is no doubt there is plenty of talent in their squad.Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi are a spin-bowling unit the equal of any in the world and the latter is a genuine all-rounder with the second most runs for an Afghan in one-dayers.Rahmat Shah, Mohammad Shahzad and Asghar Afghan are their batting mainstays but in Hazratullah Zazai and Hashmatullah Shahidi they have promising young talents who might provide some fireworks.Whether that talent, under new leadership since last month, can cohere into a unit capable of taking on the more established nations in the game and reach their goal of a semi-final spot remains to be seen.Their first fixture against defending champions Australia in Bristol on June 1 should be a reasonable gauge of the progress they have made over the last four years.MAIDEN WINIn 2015, their World Cup debut, Afghanistan gave Sri Lanka a shock by dismissing both openers for a golden duck and recorded their maiden win against Scotland before being brought down to earth with a big bump by co-hosts Australia.advertisementDavid Warner scored 178 at the WACA as the Aussies racked up the biggest total in tournament history, 417 for six, for the biggest winning margin in World Cup history, 275 runs.That pretty much sealed Afghanistan’s exit but they have since beaten Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, played out a thrilling tie with a weakened India team and last year became the 12th test playing nation.Former West Indies all-rounder Phil Simmons will guide them through this year’s tournament, having coached Ireland to wins over Pakistan, Bangladesh, England, West Indies and Zimbabwe at three World Cups.The Trinidadian is no stranger to board interference, having also previously coached Zimbabwe and West Indies in troubled times, but he is unlikely to have welcomed the surprise captaincy change effected last month.Gulbadin Naib replaced Asghar Afghan as skipper in a move that initially caused some public consternation from senior players.”I just have to get on with (making) sure the squad is preparing in the same way I wanted them to prepare barring the change,” Simmons told the Cricinfo website.”I am trying to make sure the captaincy change does not have an impact on our World Cup preparation.”