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Spain Trounces Argentina,Wins Basketball World Cup

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Spain beat Argentina 95-75 to win the FIBA Basketball World Cup for the first time since 2006 on Sunday.

Their victory in the final capped a stunning campaign for a squad considered among the rank outsiders when the 32-team tournament began.

The Spaniards scored first and never relinquished the lead, relying on swarming interior defence and superior rebounding to snuff out the offensive threat of 2004 Olympic champions Argentina.

Point guard Ricky Rubio racked up 20 points and three assists and Marc Gasol and Willy Hernangomez swatted three shots each as Spain pulled down 47 rebounds, 20 more than Argentina.

For Gasol it was the crowning achievement of an incredible year that saw him win an NBA World Championship with the Toronto Raptors before leading his national team to glory.

His 33 points in the semi-final victory over Australia put them in position to fight for the gold medal, but it was his defence that put them on the top step of the podium.

From the opening tip, the 34-year-old dominated the driving lanes to the basket that Argentina had used to such great effect against France, forcing them into outside shots that would not fall.

He was equally effective banging under the basket at the other end and he hit nine of his 12 free throws to maintain the gap between the two teams.

He and Rubio were rewarded for their performances in Spain’s unbeaten run to the gold medal with a place in the tournament’s five-man All-Star team, which was announced after the final.

There was to be no fairytale ending for the seemingly evergreen Argentinian Luis Scola, whose superb show against France had helped to carry his side into the final.

The 39-year-old power forward, his jet-black hair now flecked with grey at the temples, was kept well-shackled throughout.

And it was late in the third quarter before he notched up his first point from the free throw line.The 2019 win for Spain marks the second time they have won the tournament on Asian soil, having claimed the 2006 title by beating Greece in Saitama, Japan.

Earlier in the day, Nando De Colo netted 19 points as France shot 43 per cent from behind the arc to take their second consecutive World Cup bronze medal with a 67-59 win over Australia. (Reuters/NAN)

SPORTS

NFF Seeks Increased Corporate Organisations  Funding of Nigerian Football

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The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), has called on corporate organisations to increase support to the federation to help develop football in the country.

The NFF President, Ibrahim Gusau made the call when MTN Nigeria hosted the Super Eagles on Tuesday in Abuja.

Reports says that Super Eagles finished as runner up to the host country, Ivory Coast at the just concluded 2023 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cote d`Ivoire.

Gusau said without finance the team would not have achieved what it achieved in the tournament.

“All of us today would have loved to be celebrating here with the trophy but unfortunately God knows why.

“We thank God at least as we heard from the captain this is the beginning of the new dawn as far as Nigerian football is concerned.

“I want to use this opportunity to thank MTN for their support and I hope that other corporate organisations will come up to see how they can support us the most.

“Without finances we cannot achieve what we have been able to achieve, so we need more corporate organisations to support us to build on what we have so far built,” he said.

The Chairman MTN Board of Directors, Prof. Ernest Ndukwe, said that  MTN’s support for  the Eagles was  its own way of giving back to the society.

“This is because MTN is a sport loving organisation. Over the years, we have always wanted to support the Super Eagles in various ways. MTN is fully committed to continuing the Super Eagles.

“We are building a nation where sports have a great role to play as a unifying force. So if we support sports, we are actually promoting unity among Nigerians,” he said.

The MTN’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Karl Toriola on his part appreciated the emotional commitment of the players to succeed.

“What I liked about this team which we haven’t seen in other teams of other nations was the visible emotional commitment to succeed.

“Unfortunately we didn’t bring the cup home but that is always going to be difficult when you are playing against your host country.

“You guys have shown your complete commitment through your leadership, and we are extremely proud of you supporting the Nigerian football federation and the super eagles,” he said

Head Coach of the Super Eagles, Jose Peseiro, thanked everyone that supported the team all through their preparations and the tournament proper.

“To the NFF I thank you, MTN I thank you, Nigerians I thank you for all the support,”he said

The Assistant Captain of the Super Eagles, Troost Ekong who spoke on behalf of the team, said this was the beginning of a new era.

“Thank you NFF, thank you MTN, thank you Nigerians, thank you our fans. We have given everything we have and have made everyone proud.

“We will be better in the future. Because this is not the end but the beginning of something new and we are hoping for the best,”he said.

Mrs Ifueko Okauru, Board Member, MTN Nigeria and former Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), said MTN supported all gender, age brackets, abled and disabled persons in the society.

“MTN supports all genders and all of us able and disabled, young and old. Whatever is needed to support MTN is here to support.

“Sports development is more than just what corporate organisations do; it needs significant funding and it also needs passion to ensure that this is done and done excellently.

“I must say though we all love sports, the fans are a major part of sports development.

“The economic condition of the fans is very important to ensure that as a corporate organization, we drive sports development by encouraging fans development and developing businesses around sports to grow sports,” he said. (NAN)

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Côte d’Ivoire wins African Cup of Nations after Defeating Nigeria.

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THE host, Elephants Of Ivory Coast beat Super Eagles of Nigeria 2-1 to win the Africa Cup of Nations 2023.

It’s was all Ivory Coast but they weren’t able to make their possession count and Nigeria strike with their first serious attempt in the 38th minute.

A corner is only half cleared to William Troost-Ekong who powers a header into the net.

The centre-back and captain Troost-Ekong has scored three goals at this year’s Afcon.

That’s one more than he managed during his whole 68 appearances in three seasons at Watford.

Ivory Coast got a deserved equaliser in the 62nd minute, as poor marking allows Franck Kessie to head his country back with a fine corner from Gradel.

Kessie was about eight yards out but he was totally unmarked.

The host took the lead in the 81st-Minute, the roof came off as Sebastien Haller sticks out a leg to turn Simon Adingra’s cross past Super Eagles keeper, Nwabali.

The Super Eagles have lost more Afcon finals than they have won.

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SPORTS

About 2 Billion People Watching 2023 AFCON—- CAF President

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 The Confederation of African Football (CAF) President, Patrice Motsepe, on Friday in Abidjan said about two billion people globally are watching the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Côte d’Ivoire.

Motsepe disclosed this at a news conference, ahead of the AFCON final on Saturday.

He described the feat as an achievement that Africans should be proud of.

“We have had close to two billion people watching AFCON globally.

We should be proud as Africans and the next one will be even better.

“The success of Africa depends upon Africa working together, trading together, and in football, countries competing and playing together,” he said.

Reports says that the organisation of the tournament has so far been top notch, with six beautiful stadia across five cities hosting the continental showpiece.

The Super Eagles of Nigeria will lock horns with hosts Cote d’Ivoire in a block burster final on Sunday at the 60, 000 capacity Alassane Ouattara Stadium, Ebimpé in the outskirts of Abidjan.

While the third-place match on Saturday between South Africa and DR Congo is slated for the iconic Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny also in Abidjan.(NAN)

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