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Tunisia Looking to Deny Gambia Top Spot in Group F

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Africa Cup of Nations debutants Gambia will be looking to secure top spot in Group F when they take on Tunisia at the Limbe Stadium today.

Tom Saintfiet’s side are in pole position and tied with Mali going into their final group match after picking up four points from their opening two outings at the showpiece event.

The Scorpions kicked off their campaign in Cameroon with a 1-0 victory over Mauritania on 12 January courtesy of a sensation strike by Ablie Jallow before a late penalty from Musa Barrow clinched a 1-1 draw with Mali four days later.

They will be targeting another stellar performance against the Eagles of Carthage as their West African rivals are expected to take all three points from their clash with the already-eliminated Lions of Chinguetti.

Barrow has one goal and one assist at the tournament and was named man of the match against the Mauritanians.

The Bologna midfielder is keen to kick on and help his country make more history at the 33rd edition of AFCON.

“I am prepared and focus to continue from where I left off the last game,” he told CAFOnline.

“This shows that teamwork matters, we qualified to this tournament because we played and defended as a team, we try to play fast transitions when we recover the ball.

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“When we play, we always try to help and push one another on the pitch; we play as a team and try to improve game by game.

“We always learn from each game, playing as a team and continue to be humble and stay focus and Insh’Allah (God willing) results will come.”

The 2004 African champions are third in the group on three points, having began their bid for a second title with a 1-0 defeat to the Eagles a week ago followed by a 4-0 hammering of Mauritania on Sunday.

A point could be enough to see Mondher Kebaier’s men qualify for the round of 16 as one of the best third-placed teams, but they will be gunning for victory against Africa’s 46th-ranked nation.

“We must have this hatred of defeat, vary our game, correct the transmissions to try to beat Gambia in the next match,” Kebaier said after Sunday’s win.

In their only previous meeting back in January 2010, Gambia emerged 1-0 victors in a friendly in Tunis.

SPORTS

Ekiti FA Announces Resumption of Football Activities

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The Ekiti Football Association has announced the resumption of all football activities after its 24-hour suspension of same in honour late soccer Referee, Mr Success Ajibola.

Ajibola died on Friday, May 20, 2022, as result of injuries sustained from a motorcycle accident.

The Ekiti football association gave this indication in a statement by its Media officer, Mr Ayodeji Okumnugba, on Sunday, in Ado-Ekiti.

Okunugba, according to a memo signed by the media department of the Ekiti FA, the football ruling body, thanked everyone in the football ecosystem for abiding by the earlier directive.

Also, according to the memo, all matches in the Biodun Abayomi Oyebanji (BAO) Inter Local Government Football Competition begin on Sunday at designated centers across the state.

The Ekiti FA enjoined football lovers to observe a minute silence in honour of the departed football referee, at all venues for the BAO Inter Local Government Areas football competition.

(NAN)

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Aiyegbusi’s Performance in CBN Open Final Amazing – Edwards

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Marylove Edwards, female singles title winner at the 44th CBN Senior National Tennis Open Tournament, said the performance of Aanu Aiyegbusi in the final match on Saturday really amazed her.

Edwards defeated number three seed Aiyegbusi 6-3, 6-4 to emerge winner in the final match of their event which took place at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja.

The tournament’s top seed said yesterday in Abuja she was quite amazed at the level of Aiyegbusi’s performance.

She added that she never expected her to play the way she did.

“Unbelievable! Look at the way she played. I guess you really don’t know what to expect from her, but it was a really good match befitting of any final.

“I mean, I really didn’t expect her to play this good and it is a big lesson that one should never underrate any player, no matter who you are up against,” Edwards said.

Edwards had battled past long-time rival Oyinlomo Quadri earlier in the semi-finals, also played on Saturday.

She had to bounce back from a set down to beat the tournament’s number three seed 1-6 6-2 6-4 at the end of an energy-sapping encounter.

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“I played against her (Quadri) in the semi-finals of the DavNotch Open last week and narrowly lost to her in the final set.

“But I was determined to put things right this time around and I am glad everything worked in my favour.

“It was a battle no doubt and a good fight for her and myself. She is indeed an amazing player and I respect her a lot,” Edwards said about her semi-final victory.

She however did not fail to express her appreciation of all the support she has been receiving from her family. (NAN)

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Rangnick Relieved to Secure Europa Spot for Man Utd

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Ralf Rangnick admitted he was relieved Manchester United qualified for next season’s Europa League despite their 1-0 defeat against Crystal Palace yesterday.

Rangnick finished his troubled spell as United’s interim manager by securing sixth place in the Premier League.

United did little to help themselves, losing to a goal from their former forward Wilfried Zaha while incoming boss Erik ten Hag watched from the stands at Selhurst Park.

Brighton’s 3-1 win against West Ham proved crucial for United as it kept the Hammers below them in seventh place.

With United avoiding the ignominy of playing in the Europa Conference League next season, Rangnick will step down to work as a consultant at Old Trafford while also coaching Austria.

Ten Hag will start work at United shortly, having led Ajax to the Dutch title.

“Yes, I think Brighton did us the favour to turn the game around because they were losing at halftime,” said Rangnick.

“They scored three times in the second half and that was the good thing about the weekend and about this fixture.

“We would have loved to take care of ourselves but in a way the game was indicative of the last couple of weeks.”

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Rangnick said it had been a strange experience for him since being appointed as a stop gap manager in late November when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was fired.

“It was a new experience for me, not necessarily coming in the middle of the season but knowing that it would be an interim role.

“Unfortunately we didn’t have any pre-season and unfortunately we couldn’t strengthen the squad.

“We collected enough points with an average of 2.1 until the game against Atletico but I think that defeat in the Champions League was in a way like somebody popped the balloon.”

Rangnick did not hold back in his assessment of a United squad that lost focus after they exited the Champions League against Atletico Madrid in March.

“I think the big goal of some of our top players was the Champions League and after this defeat to Atletico you could literally feel it in training that we did not have the same level of energy, focus and concentration,” he said.

While Ten Hag was at Palace, he did not go into the United dressing room.

Rangnick will warn his successor he must improve United’s team-spirit when they speak in the coming days.

“Team spirit, yes this is also an issue. I think this team could do with more cohesion, there could be more togetherness on the pitch,” he said.

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