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Super Falcons Begin FIFA World Cup 2023 Campaign Against Canada

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Nigeria’s senior women football team, the Super Falcons, will begin their 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign against Canada.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Super Falcons have been drawn in Group B against Canada, Republic of Ireland and one of the two host countries, Australia.

The draws were made on Saturday in Auckland in New Zealand, one of the host cities of the competition.

Nigeria will look at increasing their chances at the competition, having the highest records of African representatives (nine times) in the competition.

They have also never missed the World Cup since the competition began.

Other African teams in the competition are South Africa, placed in Group G, Zambia in Group C, and Morocco in Group H.

Senegal and Cameroon still have chances of becoming Africa’s representatives at the competition, if they win their playoff games.

The competition will kick off with New Zealand playing against Norway on July 20, while Australia, the other host country, will face Republic of Ireland the next day.

The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup will feature 32 teams —- all grouped into eight groups competing for honours.

The U.S national women’s team, who are with the most titles at the competition, will be looking at winning their fifth title which will also be their third straight title.

They begin their campaign against Vietnam.(NAN)

SPORTS

Enugu SWAN chairman loses wife

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Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN)
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The Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), has expressed its deep condolences to its Enugu State Chairman, Gideon Iwueke, over the demise of his wife.

Iwueke’s wife passed on Tuesday, July 8, 2024, at the 82 Division Hospital, Enugu. Her untimely death comes just months after their marriage.

This is contained in a statement jointly signed by Jude Chinedu and Chinedu Adonu, who are Vice Chairman and Secretary of SWAN Enugu State Chapter respectively.

The statement said: “We are deeply shocked and saddened by this tragic news.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this difficult time.

“We pray that no further untimely deaths visit your household and that God grants you the strength and fortitude to bear this irreparable loss.

The statement said that the burial and funeral arrangement and dates would be announced soon.

“SWAN urges everyone to reach out and offer their condolences to Chairman Iwueke during this challenging period,” it added.

NAN reports that Iwueke is a sports editor at the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN). (NAN)

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SPORTS

Bayelsa Unveils New Head Coaches for Professional Football Teams

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From Mike Tayese Yenagoa

Ahead of the 2024/2025 domestic football league season, the Bayelsa State Government has engaged new head coaches for its two premier league sides, Bayelsa United FC, and Bayelsa Queens FC.

The new tactician for Bayelsa United FC is Coach Isah Ladan Bosso, while Coach Ogbunda Whyte takes over as head coach of Bayelsa Queens, also known as the Prosperity Girls.

Making the presentation of the coaches at the Samson Siasia Stadium in Yenagoa on Tuesday, Governor Douye Diri, explained that the decision to engage the versatile coaches was informed by the need to improve the performance of the two Yenagoa-based sides.

Represented by his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, the Governor noted that the performance of the two teams, especially Bayelsa United, in recent times had not been quite impressive.

The deputy governor said the engagement of the highly-rated tacticians was part of efforts to restructure the coaching crews and management teams of the two sides.

According to the statement, Governor Diri called on the technical team to work closely with the new coaches to ensure that both Bayelsa United and Bayelsa Queens top their respective leagues in the 2024-2025 league seasons.

“We are trying to make these changes in our coaching crew for obvious reasons, because if you have done one thing once and get the same; you repeat it and the same result is coming your way, then you have to look inward.

“And the result of our looking inward shows that our performances for the last two seasons – 2022/2023, and 2023/2024 were not what our expectation was.

“You can only get good results when you change your tactics. So we have decided to make these changes. That is not in any way to condemn the two coaches that have worked with us.

“So we encourage our coaches that are here to work with the team; don’t sabotage their efforts because they have a target, and their target is that Bayelsa Queens must go continental, and this time around, win the African Women Championship. Bayelsa United must also go continental and for the first time bring the CAF Cup to us here”

In his opening remarks, the Honourable Commissioner for Sports, Dr. Daniel Igali, said recruitment and subsequent unveiling of the two coaches underscored the importance Bayelsa attaches to development of football in the state.

Dr. Igali emphasized that “last year the state had very high hopes, but our performance fell short of our standard, and in our view we have done everything we need to get it right in the forthcoming season.”

Coach Isah Ladan Bosso, who had previously coached Bayelsa United from 2012 to 2014, is currently also Chief Coach of the Nigerian Under-20 team.

Ladan Bosso had previously also coached several topflight teams in Nigeria, such as El-Kanemi Warriors of Maidugiri, Wikki Tourist of Bauchi, Kano Pillars, as well as Aba Warriors. He was also in charge of the Flying Eagles team between 2007 and 2009.

On the other hand, Coach Ogbunda Whyte, until his engagement by the Bayelsa State Government, was the head coach of Rivers Angels FC.

The highly-rated and experienced Rivers State-born tactician had had good stints in his coaching career with sides like Confluence Queens of Lokoja, and Ibom Angels FC, amongst others.

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King Charles Wishes England Well for Euro Final

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Britain’s King Charles congratulated England for their last-gasp 2-1 victory over Netherlands in the Euro 2024 semi-final on Wednesday.

He, however hoped there would be less drama in the final with England winning without needing late goals or penalties.

Substitute Ollie Watkins scored in the 91st minute to send England through to their second successive European Championship final after beating the Dutch in an exhilarating encounter.

With the match looking set for extra time, Watkins received a pass from fellow sub Cole Palmer and fired a sweet strike into the far corner.

“My wife and I join all our family in wishing you the warmest congratulations on reaching the final of the UEFA European Championship.

“We also send our very best wishes for Sunday’s match,” he said in a message to England coach Gareth Southgate and his players.

“If I may encourage you to secure victory before the need for any last minute wonder-goals or another penalties drama.

“I am sure the stresses on the nation’s collective heart rate and blood pressure would be greatly alleviated! Good luck, England.”

England, who had needed penalties to beat Switzerland in the quarter-finals and scored with all five of their spot kicks, face Spain in Sunday’s final, three years after losing to Italy in the 2021 decider.(Reuters/NAN)

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