FC Taraba stood their ground to record a controversial 2-1 win over Kogi United in the Matchday Two of Nigeria National League, NNL (Group A2) clash on Saturday. 

The encounter played at the weaned Jolly Nyame Stadium in Jalingo had much of talking points that almost overshadowed the final result. 

The hosts who are returning their traditional home ground for the first time after playing the entire last season in Katsina-Ala, took the lead in 21 minutes when Brain Isaiah poked home from inside the box after United defenders failed to clear from corner. 

They doubled their lead in the 57 minutes when Bernard Mandela had his rebounded effort went through side of the porous net after Shola Sheshere had parried the first.

Kogi United who were dealt a big blow with early injury suffered by debutant Joseph Aisa pushed for a comeback, creating series of opportunities to reduced the tally as quickly as possible but were denied by FC Taraba's goalkeeper, Samuel Chinedu who put his body on the line on many occasions. 

Coach Tunde Abdulrahman brought in Francis Savior and Etuk Akanimo for Eghe Osas and Daniel Frimpong for United late on, and that brought more power and control for the visitors.

United would then get what eventually became the consolation with four minutes to end the game.

John Jerome arrived at far end of the post to head in Simon Timothy's cross- the goal which raised questions from Taraba's bench after beating the keeper and effortless sailed through the equally weak net on the other post. 

United's final effort at goal came off another team effort but Edet Obasesam's shot was saved by Chinedu to give Taraba the match points. 

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Coach Abdulrahman who was disappointed with the outcome admitted that profligacies and  early substitution affected his side's game plan but believed the Confluence State Boys would show positive response in their next game.

"Its very unfortunate we lost this game because we were determined to get the three points, but some mistakes from defense make them to scored two goals ahead of us but its not that they were better than us.

"In second half there were lots of changes, we pressurized them to get the goal we scored, our substitutions changed a lot with the passes and and runs from the sides, just unfortunate we couldn't get the second.
"The mistake from technical point was starting Joseph Aisa and got injured early into the game but lots of lessons learned from this, I believe we will be back more stronger," Abdulrahman concluded. 

Coach John Chindo of FC Taraba who was delighted with his side's victory commended his players for holding off a 'strong and tactical' Kogi United just as he believed the victory could signal a new twist for FC Taraba.

"Its a big win for us and I must congratulate my boys for their attitude, especially in the second half.
"At some point we were a little bit down but I told them to hold on not to allow Kogi United pushing, because they are very strong and tactical on ball, I'm really happy we were able to do it, but it wasn't easy.

"We've made lots changes to this team as against how it looked last season and I believe this win will help forge ahead well," he said. 

Kogi United will be drawn bye for the next fixtures while FC Taraba visits FC Zamfara.

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Stakeholders and football enthusiasts in Ekiti State have continued to wax lyrical over the quality and standard of matches played at the ongoing Ekiti FA cup 2019.

Expressing his view during one of the matches, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Sports in Ekiti State, Yemi Owoseni described as laudable, the influx of football enthusiasts both old and young at the Oluyemi Kayode stadium in Ado-Ekiti during the various matches at the ongoing Ekiti FA cup.

He also noted the maturity and discipline displayed by players, officials and supporters of various teams so far in the competition. As he also expressed optimism that the tempo will be sustained.

Speaking further, he stated that he and other football loving people of the state are looking forward to a glamorous FA cup final. Adding that the sports ministry is willing to give necessary support to the FA.

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Meanwhile, semi-finalists have emerged in the competition as one of the favourites, JKF FC thrashed Creamers FC 3-0; Golden FC 1-0 Perfect Touch FC; Don La Chicken FC  2-1 Fashmog FC; and with defending champions, Ekiti United FC trouncing Choice FC 3-1.

The pairings of the semi-finals slated for Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019 at the Oluyemi Kayode stadium are; Don La Chicken FC taking on JKF FC in the first game, and Golden FC will tackle Ekiti United FC in the second semi final match.

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Match Winner Rasheed Ahmed pose with other
players after the dramatic win
Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) of Ibadan put their promotion bid back on track with a dramatic 2-1 win over hard fighting Giant Briller FC of Enugu.

The pulsating encounter was about ending in a stalemate when substitute Ahmed Rasheed slotted home the ball right with the last kick of the game. The tension soaked encounter saw the Oluyole Warriors falling back on experience to curtail the highly disciplined Briller.

The Ibadan soccer lords, needing victory to win back the heart of their fans after the 1-1 home draw against Abia Comets, came into the match with the desired zeal to win.
Coach Edith Agoye paraded a strong squad with Lucky Jimoh in between the post, ably covered by the defence line made up of  of skipper Waheed Omololu, Abey Benson, Isiaka Mutiu, Taiwo Muritala and Nurudeen Amodu.

The midfield was packed with Mohammed Akilu, Gbadamosi Fatai and Ayobami Junior while Aderemi Yusuf doing the job upfront as the pointman with support from Opeoluwa Olufemi.

The homers did not hide their intentions to shock the Stars as they created the most of the chances in the first 45 minutes. Goalkeeper Lucky Jimoh was the busiest in the first half as highly mobile Brillers' forward pressed for a goal.

Shooting Stars made ocassional forays into the opponents dangerous area with Ayobami Junior being the host's tormentor in chief. The first half ended goalless as neither of the two sides could get the breakthrough.

The second half started with the Oluyole Warriors raising their game, attacking the host for the opener which still refused to come. There were injury fears for the Shooting Stars with skipper Omololu removed after sustaining a head injury while Taiwo Muritala was also forced out due to injury. 

Omololu was replaced by Olawale Mutiu while Muritala's place was taken by Shittu Taiwo. The breakthrough finally came for the visitors in the 79th minute when Opeoluwa Olufemi lashed on a rebound to put the ball at the back of the net.

The Stars had about three begging chances later to seal up the game but were unable to utilise those chances.They paid dearly for it when referee  Ogbomo Asosa awarded a penalty kick to Brillers' in the 96th minutes, adjuged that a Briller striker was tripped in the box. Goalkeepers's Lucky Jimoh was beaten via the resultant penalty thus giving the host the leveller

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However, there was a dramatic climax to the energy sapping encounter substitute, Ahmed Rasheed, after being put through by a classical pass from Gbadamosi Fatai, raced through Briller's backline before placing the ball beyond the reach of the homers' goalkeeper to secure a valuable win on the road for the Oluyole Warriors.

The 2-1 win over Giant Briller was a perfect response to a disappointing start to the season which sparked up fans anger while the winning  goal scorer, Ahmed Rasheed atoned  for his penalty miss in the game against Abia Comets.

With the victory, Shooting Stars are now joint toppers of the Group B1, having four points same as Abia Comets who defeated Bayelsa United 2-0. Abia Comets are now on top with a better goal advantage of plus two while whilehave plus one.

Bayelsa United dropped to third position with three points while both Giant Briller and Osun United havno point to stay bottom of the group.

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Anthony Joshua and Jarrell Miller Facing Off
Jarrell Miller has been denied a licence to fight Anthony Joshua in New York on 1 June after an "adverse finding" in a drug-testing sample.

Briton Joshua, 29, was due to to defend his IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles against undefeated American Miller, who has never fought for a world title.

A sample taken from Miller on March 20 prompted the decision by the New York State Athletic Commission.

Miller's camp have now requested a B sample be tested.

If that sample comes back negative then Miller can make another application for a licence.

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Joshua's promoters, Matchroom, said the champion will make his American debut on 1 June irrespective of Miller and have a "list" of alternative opponents.

Matchroom chief executive, Frank Smith, told BBC Sport: "We are working on a list behind the scenes and we will work tirelessly until we find a suitable solution.

"We have sold 15,000 tickets already here at Madison Square Garden, 7,000-8,000 of them to British fans. We have sold tickets to people from 50 different countries and they have booked flights, hotels and everything and you have to factor that in.

"Our plan right now is that we carry on with Madison Square Garden on 1 June and we will announce more details soon."

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The General Assembly of the Nigeria Basketball Federation has passed a Vote of Confidence on Engr Ahmadu Musa Kida as President of NBBF following the laudable achievements recorded under his watch since taking over in 2017.
The Annual General Assembly which had 28 out of 36 states of the Federation and the FCT in attendance unanimously passed a vote of confidence on the leadership of the NBBF alongside the board of the NBBF.
The Assembly which had the Hon. Minister of Youth and Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung, FIBA representative, Mr Hesham EL- Hariri and the Nigeria Olympic Committee 2nd Vice President, Barr. Francis Orbih in attendance appreciated the achievements recorded by the NBBF Board in the last 1 and half years.
The delegates highlighted Afrobasket Women’s Basketball championship triumph in Mali in 2017, the Afrobasket silver medal winning feat of the D’Tigers as well as the exploits of D’tigress at the FIBA Women’s World Cup in Spain where the Team set an African record by reaching the Quarter Finals for the first time.
They reckoned that such achievements which also included D’Tigers qualification for the FIBA Men’s World Cup in China as well as the successful hosting of the World Cup Africa Zone Qualifiers 3rd and 4th window could not have been possible without Kida’s quality leadership.
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The Assembly urged the Board not to relent in its effort to see that Basketball is well grounded in Nigeria while expressing optimism that the domestic league will soon become a thing of pride.
FIBA, through its representative, EL- Hariri praised the NBBF for putting together a successful Annual General Assembly.
The FIBA Africa Zone 5 President and member of FIBA Africa Central Board stressed that he was in Nigeria on the directive of FIBA to observe and convey FIBA’s total support which is a confirmation and approval of the Annual General Assembly.
Meanwhile, the Assembly considered the Draft NBBF Statutes, received contributions from the accredited delegates and after a thorough review unanimously approved, ratified and adopted the Statutes which is to be called: The NBBF Statutes 2019.
The Assembly also unanimously approved the 2019 NBBF program of activities as presented by the NBBF board while also approving the NBBF 2017 and 2018 Audited Financial Report.

Kida thanked all the delegates for believing in the leadership of the NBBF as it repositions Basketball in Nigeria for stability, sustainable growth and development.  The NBBF President assured that the Board will not betray the confidence reposed in it.

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Seven-time Nigeria league champions, Rangers International F.C was on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 pegged back by a Solomon Kwambe’ well struck free kick in added time of a re-scheduled match day 7, NPFL fixture to end a hundred percent home record of wins as Lobi Stars forced the pace setters to a 1-1 draw.

Godwin Aguda had shot the host into the lead on 62 minutes from the spot after Kester Kelly had upended goal bound Ajani Ibrahim in the box and the referee wasted no time in pointing to the spot.

The match started on a cautious note with both sides trying to force errors from the other with little success but the first real opportunity fell for the host as Michael Uchebo forced an error from Bashiru Olawale on the quarter hour mark to come face-to-face with Ospina Egbe who made himself very big to deny the lanky forward’ effort.

Seka Pascal was next to miss another golden opportunity on 35 minutes as he was free on goal by a Chiamaka Madu’ precise pass but the visitor’ backline reacted quickly to snuff out the threat.

On 40 minutes, the half full stadium rose to celebrate what they thought was the opener as Ugwu Uwadiegwu’ curly free kick from about thirty meters but his effort which beat the goal keeper narrowly missed target.

When both teams returned from the dressing room, it was the visitors that looked more enterprising with Michael Stephen, Samad Kadiri and Dare Ojo asking all the questions that were equally answered by Rangers back four led by Isiaka Oladuntoye and Akpos Adubi.

With the match creeping past the hour mark, substitute, Ifeanyi Egwim’ pass found Ajani Ibrahim and his dashing run into the box was halted as Kester Kelly fouled him and the resultant penalty kick was neatly dispatched by Godwin Aguda for his fifth goal of the season and sent the expectant crowd into a frenzy.

However, a stoppage time foul spotted by the referee at the edge of the box provided the visitors with a rear opportunity which was expertly curled in by former Super Eagles right-back, Solomon Kwambe for the leveler that left soured taste in the mouth of the home fans while the few travelling fans went on celebrating.

Coach Ogunbote in a post match chat said, “Once again, we are undone by our lack of converting chances created. It was a clear two points dropped but we thank God for the result against an equally good side and hope to take the positives from the match going forward. The match would have been won and lost had we buried the numerous opportunities we created but the end result shows that it is not over until it is over. We continue to fight for to keep our place at the top of the log to qualify for the end of the season super-six to have the opportunity to get a crack at the continent again.”

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Coach Solomon Ogbeide of Lobi Stars said, “This was a great display of soccer artistry from both teams which goes to a very large extent to show that they learnt one or two things from the continent. We came here to ensure we did not lose to a side that have been scoring goals on the road and thankfully our strategy worked. We hope to continue challenging for a top three finish. Sure, we miss some of our players who are down with one form of injury or another but we hope to have them back soon.”

Godwin Aguda said, “It was a painful result but we thank God as it would have been worse if we had lost. We shall continue to challenge for a better finish. I am very happy to have scored today but it would have been better if my goal had helped us to a victory today.”

With the result, Rangers maintain its stay at the top of group A log with 28 points from thirteen matches closely followed by Enyimba and MFM with 24 points from fifteen matches.

Rangers next play MFM on Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019 inside the main bowl of Nnamdi Azikiwe stadium in a match day 16 fixture.

RANGERS TEAM: Nana Bonsu, Chidera Ezeh, Ugwu Uwadiegwu, Tony Shimaga, Akpos Adubi (Okey Odita -63rd Min.), Isiaka Oladuntoye, Godwin Aguda, Seka Pascal, Michael Uchebo (Ifeanyi Egwim -48th Min.), Chiamaka Madu, Ajani Ibrahim (West Omodu 85th Min.). SUBS NOT USED: Femi Thomas, Isaac Loute, Christian Madu, Roland Koffi.

GOAL: Godwin Aguda – 62nd Minute (Pen.).

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The ‘Cathedral’, Nnamdi Azikiwe stadium, Enugu will be the venue for the re-scheduled match day 7 NPFL tie between continental gladiators, Rangers International F.C and visiting Lobi Stars F.C in a top of the bill fixture expected to be an end-to-end stuff with continental flavor.

Host, Rangers has been in a rich vein of form since exiting the CAF Confederation cup at the group stage churning out results both home and away that has seen the ‘Flying Antelopes’ go eleven games unbeaten in the NPFL and occupying the top position of Group A in the abridged league.

Just coming back from two back-to-back wins on the road, the coach Olugbenga Ogunbote tutored side will be all out for a win against the visitors that have been having it easy with the Enugu side in the past three season with the most recent a 1-1 draw in a pre-season friendly match in Enugu.

The encounter will see the two most experienced gaffers in the league go head-to-head after Ogunbote beat Ogbeide to the NFF/Aiteo coach-of-the-year 2018 award recently with the Ijebu-Ode born tactician looking to have another one over the Edo born, much travelled, gaffer on the pitch.

Coach Ogunbote said ahead of the crunch encounter, “I expect a very tough match from Lobi Stars but by God’s grace, we shall earn the needed result to keep us ahead of the chasing pack. I have a team that is on the ascendancy and God willing we shall make our fans happy at the end of the match.”

Joint top scorer for the Enugu giants, Godwin Aguda said, “We are really set for a good game against Lobi on Wednesday with great optimism for another victory by God’ grace. Any day, Lobi is a strong team and they did well on the continent like us and we expect them to come out strong but I believe that we shall carry the day. I urge our fans to come out in their numbers to sing and cheer us to another win.”

Also speaking ahead of the tie, former Super Eagles wing-back for the visitors, Solomon Kwambe said, “I think that the loss we had in Akure we have forgotten about it and you can see the outcome in Lagos. We came to Enugu with a positive mindset that it will end on a positive note. I think that we are at home as we played our continental matches in Enugu and I believe that will also count for us. No doubt, the game of football can be interesting. No doubt, e have been have it easy over Rangers in the past but the game can change tomorrow but I strongly believe that we shall leave with our heads held high.”

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Rangers coach will be banking on the team that fetched him double win on the road against Kwara United and Sunshine Stars to do the battle while looking up to the return of his mercurial midfielder, Ibrahim Ajani while Bright Silas, Michael Uchebo, Solomon Okpako and Bobby Clement are major doubts but inform Ivorian attacking sensation, Seka Pascal will most likely lead the attack.

The visitors’ coach, Ogbeide, will be looking to have pint sized, Sunday Ekleche running down the flanks to provide the crosses for Samad Kadiri, Austin Ogunye and Sikiru Alimi to pry open the solid back of the host while relying Yaya Kone, Kelly Kester and Dare Ojo to do the midfield battle.

The form of the two sides in the last five games reads: DDWWW for Rangers and LDWLD for Lobi Stars.

Rangers is currently occupying the summit of the Group A log with 27 points from twelve matches while Lobi Stars occupies the 4th place with 21 points from fourteen matches heading into this encounter.

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It was pure glamour and excitement as the draws for the 2019 Ekiti State FA cup was held Thursday morning at the Oluyemi Kayode stadium.

Out of the 13 teams that registered for this year's competition which kicks off on Monday,15th April, three teams drew bye to the next round in recognition of their achievements  in the previous editions of the competition; they are Ekiti state owned Ekiti  United Fc, Fashmog Fc and JKF FC.

Speaking at draws the Permanent Secretary of the Ekiti State Ministry of Youths and Sports development, Yemi Owoseni praised the Ekiti State Football Association for putting up what he described as a decent draw for this year's FA cup.

"We must comment the FA for upgrading on the draws for this years competition," he remarked.

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Also speaking at the well attended event, the obviously elated Acting Chairman of the Ekiti State Football Association,  Otunba Ariyo Amos admonished the teams to be disciplined and also display the spirit of sportsmanship in all their games and be good ambassador of Ekiti state on and off the pitch of play.

2019 Ekiti FA Cup

Draw for First Round.
15th April
Ikere United vs Don La Chicken FC
Time; 10am.

15th April
Golden FC vs Moyero FC

15th April
Creamers FC vs Ten Fingers FC

16th April
Phoenix FC vs Choice FC

16th April
Petenal FC vs Perfect Touch FC

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Olalekan Olatomiwa Lawal and Kogi United Players
Kogi United's resounding opening day victory in the NNL has attracted individual's gesture to further encourage the team perform better.

Mr Olalekan Olatomiwa Lawal who is the Nestle Field Sales Manager in Kogi State has promised to support the team with free Nestle Water in all the club's home games in the ongoing NNL season. 

Mr Lawal, a sports enthusiast and a member of Kogi All Stars Team made the promise during the club's opening match of the season against FC Yarmalight in Lokoja on Wednesday which United won by 5-0. 

He said the gesture was as a result of his personal relationship with the team and his love for round leather game which he believed could motivate the team and others to support the club. 

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While delivering the packs of Nestle Water to the team Lawal wished the club the very best of the season just as he hoped the Nestle water would give the players more energy and strength to achieve their of objective of getting the NPFL ticket.

"Kogi United is a club I cherish so dearly and I appreciate what they've been doing, its my little way to support and encourage the boys.

"This is just the beginning of more to come, I pray you gain promotion to the NPFL this season, then we can work towards making Nestle Pure Life the club's official water," he said.

Chairman of Kogi United, Abdul Sule who commended Mr Lawal and his company for the support called on other corporate organization to partner with the team.

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Sunshine Stars Players celebrating
the third goal of the game
Chibundu Amah's late hattrick in quick succession powered Sunshine Stars to a resounding 3-0 win over Lobi Stars in an exhilarating rescheduled Nigeria Professional Football League week two game in Akure Thursday.

The hosts, needing a win to ease relegation worries started the heated contest on the front foot, though their territorial dominance failed to yield a goal in period that saw a few chances in front of goal.

In the 12th minute bullish striker, Franklin Sasere went close with a well struck effort that dropped wide from distance, while Sikiru Alimi caused a scare for his former side at the other end with a lob that was eventually dealt with by Ayo Ojo.

Anthony Omaka was next to go close with a brilliant move that saw him cut in superbly before drawing a save from John Lawrence with a low drive on the hour mark.

And a minute later, Dayo Ojo showed skills to lose his markers at the edge before drilling inches away from the bottom corner, minutes before a clearing header denied Abiodun Joseph a chance at goal from Sasere's flick at the stroke of halftime.

The Owena Whales continued with their urgent and purpose driven play after the break with Sasere first to ask question again in the period; the striker was denied with a decisive block during a spell the hosts had two penalty appeals waved away.

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Nonetheless the Kabiru Dogo's charges broke the deadlock 11 minutes from time through substitute, Amah who powered home from a tight space in the visitors' area for his first of the game to send the Ondo State Sports Complex into ecstasy with jubilation.

Amah made it 2-0 in the 83rd by pacing out his marker and slotted in calmly past Lawrence into the bottom right, before completing his hatttrick three minutes from time through a well timed Fuad Ekelojuoti's cross in front of goal.

The Akure Landlords were denied a 4th with Ekene Olisema foul on Sasere who was moving through on goal in stoppage time. The defender got his second booking for the offense and was sent off consequently just before the contest was brought to an end.

 Sunshine XI: Ayo Ojo; Abe (Adeniji 65'), Gabriel, Adeyemi, Olulayo, Fatokun, Omaka, Dayo Ojo, Adeniji (Amah 52') Sasere Joseph (Ekelojuoti 41')

 Unused Subs: Ayodele, Akande, Egbeta, Audu

 Cautions: Gabriel 35', Adeyemi45' 

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