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Ghana Names Rajevac as New Black Stars Coach

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The Ghana Football Association (GFA) has named 67-year-old Serbian Milovan Rajevac as the new coach for the Black Stars, its senior men’s national team.

Rajevac replaced former coach Charles Kwabena Akonnor who was sacked with his two assistants early this month.

He has signed a one-year contract with Ghana and will have Maxwell Konadu and former Ghanaian international Otto Addo as his assistants.

This is the second time the Serbian will be coaching Ghana’s senior national team, after guiding the Black Stars to the quarter-finals at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

He also led Ghana to the finals of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in 2010 where they were beaten by Egypt with a late goal.

Rajevac’s immediate duty is to lead Ghana against Zimbabwe in the 2022 World Cup double-header qualifying match next month.(Xinhua/NAN)

SPORTS

2026 WC qualifier: Finidi invites Lookman, Osimhen for Bafana, Cheetahs

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Rave-of-the-moment Ademola Lookman, and African Player of the Year Victor Osimhen, are among the 23 Super Eagles players invited for the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches by Coach, Finidi George.

Nigeria’s Super Eagles will tackle South Africa’s Bafana Bafana and the Cheetahs of Benin Republic in the qualifiers.

George, also selected goalkeeper Maduka Okoye, England-based defenders Calvin Bassey and Semi Ajayi, midfielders Wilfred Ndidi, Alex Iwobi and Alhassan Yusuf.

Forwards Kelechi Iheanacho, Victor Boniface and Terem Moffi are also invited for the qualifiers.

Similarly, Remo Stars’ hard-as-nails defender, Sadiq Ismael, is called for the first time, with Turkey-based midfielder Fisayo Bashiru, Bayer Leverkusen of Germany’s Nathan Tella and lanky forward Paul Onuachu also called.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigeria will clash with South Africa on June 7 at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo, starting from 8.00 p.m.

The team will then fly to Abidjan to tackle Benin Republic at the Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny on June 10 by 5.00 p.m. (Nigerian time).

Super Eagles full team list

Goalkeepers: Stanley Nwabali (Chippa United, South Africa); Maduka Okoye (Udinese FC, Italy); Ojo Olorunleke (Enyimba FC).

Defenders: Chidozie Awaziem (Boavista FC, Portugal); Bright Osayi-Samuel (Fenerbahce FC, Turkey); Sadiq Ismael (Remo Stars FC); Oluwasemilogo Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion, England); Calvin Bassey (Fulham FC, England); Benjamin Tanimu (Ihefu SC, Tanzania).

Midfielders: Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Raphael Onyedika (Club Brugge, Belgium); Alhassan Yusuf Abdullahi (Royal Antwerp FC, Belgium); Frank Onyeka (Brentford FC, England); Alex Iwobi (Fulham FC, England); Fisayo Dele-Bashiru (Hatayspor, Turkey).

Forwards: Nathan Tella (Bayer Leverkusen, Germany); Victor Osimhen (SSC Napoli, Italy); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Samuel Chukwueze (AC Milan, Italy); Paul Onuachu (Trabzonspor FC, Turkey); Ademola Lookman (Atalanta FC, Italy); Victor Boniface (Bayer Leverkusen, Germany); Terem Moffi (OGC Nice, France). (NAN)

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Para Badminton: Bolaji, Chigozie qualify for Paris 2024 Paralympics

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The duo of Mariam Eniola Bolaji and Jeremiah Chigozie have qualified for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games coming up from 28th August to 8th September.

According to the Badminton World Federation, Multiple African Champion, Mariam Bolaji will represent Nigeria in the Women’s Singles Standing Lower 3 (SL3) while Jeremiah Chigozie represents Nigeria in the Men’s Singles Standing Lower 4 (SL4).

An elated Francis Orbih, President of Badminton Federation of Nigeria said the qualification of Mariam Bolaji and Jeremiah Chigozie is a testimony of hard work, consistency and perseverance.

Orbih who was full of joy revealed that Nigeria stands a good chance to make history by winning medals in para badminton in her debut appearance.

He said, “Today, history has been made as two players for the first time will be representing Nigeria in the para badminton event at the Paralympic Games. I am full of joy because the sacrifices of the players and the Federation were not in vain.

“Mariam Bolaji and Jeremiah Chigozie have consistently attended the African Championship winning gold medals in the singles and doubles events. Last month, Mariam Bolaji won two gold medals at the Spanish Internationals in Victoria and Toledo putting her in a better position to make it to the Paralympics; which has become a reality.

“With adequate camping, foreign tours and proper funding, I believe Nigeria will win a medal in the Para Badminton event when we make our debut this year”.

Orbih once again, called on well meaning individuals to support the Badminton Federation of Nigeria in ensuring the athletes get maximum support ahead of the Olympic/Paralympic Games in Paris next August.

He said, “I will not get tired of calling on the Federal Government of Nigeria and the private sector to key into our brand and give more support to the Badminton Federation of Nigeria. We have athletes who are marketable and will sell their brands to the world with their sterling performances”.

Mariam Eniola Bolaji shocked the world by winning her first gold medal at the Spanish Para badminton International 2021 beating Oksana Kozyna from Ukraine.

Bolaji won the women’s singles SL3 at the Uganda Para Badminton International 2023, All African Para Badminton Championship 2023 (Doubles and Mixed Doubles).

She won gold medals at the 5th Fazza Dubai Para Badminton International 2023, Egypt Para Badminton International 2024, World Para Badminton Championship 2024 in Thailand and Spanish Para Badminton International 2024.

Bolaji is also the first African player to be ranked among the top 10 in the BWF world rankings as she is currently ranked number 5 in the world.

Meanwhile, Jeremiah Chigozie won bronze medal at the Uganda Para Badminton International 2023 and three gold medals at African Para Badminton Championship 2023

He played a lesser number of championships compared to Eniola; playing in Egypt, Dubai, and World Championship in Thailand.

Chigozie got to the quarter finals in the men’s singles SL4 category in Thailand and currently ranked number 16 in the recent BWF para Badminton ranking.

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Tinubu Congratulates Table Tennis Champion, Aruna Quadri Over ITTF Trophy

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President Bola Tinubu has congratulated Nigeria’s table tennis pacesetter, Aruna Quadri, on winning the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Africa Cup title.

Quadri achieved a resounding victory in the final match of the 2024 ITTF Africa Cup in Rwanda, reclaiming his title and sealing his place as Africa’s table tennis champion.

 

The President commended the table tennis star for his dogged pursuit of excellence even in the face of gnawing obstacles, declaring that the zeal for distinction, the hardiness to succeed, and the inventiveness to solve complex problems are the exceptional qualities that define Nigerians.

The President also noted the recent progress in the nation’s sports sector, with remarkable performances in the African Games, the Africa Cup of Nations, and the World Relay Championships, and emphasized that his administration will continue to foster the growth and development of sports in the country.

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