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Super Eagles Set For Tuesday’s Crucial Ukraine Tie

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Super Eagles pip Burundi 1 0 in Afcon Opener …Re-enacts Confidence in Fans
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The Super Eagles have arrived the city of Dnipro in Ukraine ahead of Tuesday’s international friendly with the senior national team of Ukraine.

Ademola Olajire, Director of Communications at Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), disclosed on Sunday in a statement that 18 players participated in an early morning team walk earlier in the day.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a total off 22 players were expected to assemble in Dnipro.

“Team Technical Adviser Gernot Rohr has fixed 5.30 p.m on Sunday for the team’s first training session, when all 22 players would be fully assembled

“At Sunday morning’s team walk were goalkeepers Francis Uzoho, Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Maduka Okoye, defenders William Ekong, Jamilu Collins, Leon Balogun and Bryan Idowu.

“Others were midfielders Alex Iwobi, Joseph Aribo, Oghenekaro Etebo and Anderson Esiti, and forwards Joshua Maja, Samuel Kalu, Paul Onuachu, Victor Osimhen, Samuel Chukwueze, Emmanuel Dennis and Moses Simon,” Olajire said.

He added that Spain–based defender Chidozie Awaziem arrived the team’s hotel ahead of defenders Olaoluwa Aina and Oluwasemilogo Ajayi.

The federation spokesman said Kelechi Iheanacho was being expected at just after noon.

“The training session will hold at FC Dnipro’s training ground at Dnipropetrovsk, within the Pridniprovsk housing estate,” he said.

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Tuesday’s clash will hold at the 31,000-capacity Dnipro Arena, home ground of top club FC Dnipro, and will kick off at 9.30 p.m. Ukraine time (7.30 p. m. Nigeria time).

NAN reports that it is the first assemblage of the three-times African champions since finishing third at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt in July.

The game also serves as part of the Super Eagles’ preparations for November’s 2021 AFCON qualifying duels with the Squirrels of Benin Republic and the Crocodiles of Lesotho.(NAN)

SPORTS

Diri Scrabble Championship Stakes N5m Prize Money

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From Tayese Mike, Yenagoa

Hosts of the Governor Douye National Scrabble Championship have said that N5 million has been earmarked as total prize money for the second edition of the competition.

No fewer than 300 participants are expected at the Bayelsa State governor’s championship, which holds in Yenagoa, the state capital, on July 15-17.

The Nigeria Scrabble Federation (NSF)-sanctioned competition will feature five categories, namely Masters, Intermediate, Veterans, Opens and Students.

Chairman of the Bayelsa State Scrabble Association, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, who confirmed this during a radio programme in Yenagoa on Monday, said registration is free for Bayelsa-based secondary school students while the top female players in the different categories would get special prizes.

The BSSA chairman explained that the target of the free registration is to encourage the young ones to develop interest in the game and to be able to  catch them young.

“Scrabble is a positive, transformative mind-builder that develops the intellect. If you are able to get the young ones to be interested in the game, this helps them grow intellectually and academically. We introduced this aspect last year and we are continuing it in this edition,” he said.

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Alabrah, who is also the Chief Press Secretary to the state governor, further stated that the winner of the Masters category will get half a million naira as the star prize.

He commended Governor Diri for supporting the game to grow in the state and in the country, stressing that the Scrabble community in Nigeria was appreciative of his huge contribution to the development of the game and the youths in particular.

Top-rated Oshevire Avwenagha won the Masters category of the inaugural edition while Eta Karo came second ahead of Okiemute Tegha.

In the Intermediate category, Raji Kazeem picked the top prize while homeboy, Tariye Alari, was winner of the Opens event and Odion Osikada took the Veterans title.

Sixteen-year-old Ikoko David of Federal Government College, Odi, Bayelsa State, won in the Students category edging then 9-year-old prodigy and current Africa Under-10 chess champion, Deborah Quickpen, to the crown. 

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SPORTS

2022 WAFCON: South Africa Stuns Champions Nigeria in Group Opening Game

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South Africa’s Banyana Banyana on Monday stunned champions Super Falcons of Nigeria 2-1 in the Group C opening match at the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Morocco.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the result was similar to that of 2018 WAFCON where Banyana Banyana pipped the Super Falcons 1-0 in their opening game.

The result also meant that the South Africans have now recorded back-to-back wins against Nigeria after they defeated the Super Falcons 4-2 in the Aisha Buhari Cup Invitational in 2021.

On Monday, after a goalless first half, South Africa netted two quick goals through Jermaine Seoposenwe and Hildah Magaia.

The nine-time champions however managed to pull a goal back late in the game through Rasheedat Ajibade.

South Africa bossed the first five minutes of the game but the Falcons defence held firm.

In the eighth minute the Falcons had a scare as Asisat Oshoala went down and needed treatment following a tough challenge.

Few minutes later South Africa broke forward with Tochukwu Oluehi out of her area but Ashleigh Plumptre got there and cleared for a corner-kick.

Michelle Alozie tried to play Oshoala through on goal but her effort was blocked in the 23rd minute.

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Few minutes later, Oshoala had another chance to open scoring after controlling a long pass with her chest but fell over with the goalkeeper coming out to claim the ball.

In the 37th minute Alozie found herself in a good space on the right to beat her marker, but her attempted left-foot curler went across goal.

Nine minutes later, a long cross found Ifeoma Onumonu, but her header was weak to trouble the South African goalkeeper.

South Africa broke the deadlock in the 60th minute through Seoposenwe who collected a pass on the edge of the box before slotting past goalkeeper Oluehi.

Just barely two minutes later, Magaia doubled South Africa’s lead as she ran on to a through pass and fired past Oluehi.

Minutes later another break from South Africa freed Kgatlana but Oluehi came off her area to stop her.

The Falcons pushed forward to salvage something out of the game but the South Africans were able to ward off their threats.

Ajibade however pulled a goal back for Nigeria in the first minute of added time, off an assist from Onome Ebi.

But it was only a consolation goal as South Africa held on to claim the win.

The Super Falcons will next face debutants Botswana while South Africa take on Burundi.(NAN)

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Foreign News

Husband of Slain Kenyan Runner Tirop Seeks Plea Bargain

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The husband of slain Kenyan distance runner Agnes Tirop is seeking a plea bargain after initially denying a charge of murder, his lawyer said yesterday.

Tirop, a rising star in the world of athletics, was killed last October in her home in Iten, a high-altitude training hub in western Kenya for top runners.

Emmanuel Ibrahim Rotich was arrested after a dramatic late-night chase the day after Tirop’s body was found with stab wounds, and has been in custody ever since.

The 41-year-old denied a charge of murder at a November court appearance.

But in the latest twist in the legal saga, his lawyer Ngigi Mbugua told the Eldoret High Court that Rotich was willing to plead guilty to a lesser charge in the hope of attracting a more lenient sentence.

The prosecution said it was not against the idea of a plea bargain but wanted Tirop’s family to be involved in the process.

A hearing on Rotich’s request will take place on 22 September.

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