Nigeria's first continental trophy winner Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) of Ibadan, are poised to make a return to the mainstream of the Nigerian domestic league.

The Oluyole Warriors, one of the most followed clubs on the continent of Africa, will today, confront Akwa Starlet of Uyo in a Nigerian National League (NNL) play off to determine which team picks the promotion ticket to Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).

Both sides emerged tops of their groups (B1& B2) from the Southern conference in the regular season which was played on an abridged format.

The encounter, billed for the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, will see the Ibadan soccer lords aim for victory, to gain promotion this time around, having missed it by the whiskers last season.

"We have done well enough to get this far and we will not allow our aspiration to come to an unfruitful end.

" The boys are ready, they are going into this match well motivated by the Oyo state governmnet, the management of the club as well as the support of the teeming lovers of the club," declared head coach, Edith Agoye.

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Akwa Starlet, a well known foe to the stars will not be an easy prey, as they will also arrive to grab the ticket, hence, the serious preparations attached to this match by both the officials and players of the Oluyole Warriors.

While 3SC dwarfed Abia Comets, Giant Brillars and Bayelsa United to pick the group B1playoff ticket, Starlet beat Julius Atete, Stationery Stores, Jossy United, 36 LIons and De Sapele to the ticket in group B2.

Winner of the tie, besides automatically booking a ticket to the NPFL, will also qualify to play in the Super 4, to decide which team will be crowned the overall champions of the NNL.

Kick off time: 3.00pm.

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Ahead of tomorrow's all important play off between Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) of Ibadan and Akwa Starlets of Uyo, the General Manager of the Oluyole Warriors, Rasheed Balogun, has promised handsome monetary reward for the players.

Not ready to leave anything to chances ahead of the encounter holding on Monday at the Stephen Keshi Stadium,  Asaba, the 3SC boss promised to personally give each of the players an appreciative amount of money.

In addition, he also promised an increased winning bonus for the players if they succeed in picking the promotion ticket at the expence of Akwa Starlets.

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While addressing the players after their training at the stadium on Sunday evening, Ekulekule, as the football administrator is called, remained them of the expectations of the millions of the club's followers across the globe, hence, the need for them to give their best to claim victory.

"We have come a long way to get to this stage, now is the time for us to rise to the ocassion and get the desired result.

" Back at home, the government and the good people of Oyo State as well as our supporters and fans all over the world are waiting to celebrate the return of their darling club to the elite league.

" We cannot afford to let them down, that is why you must put in your best to get the much needed result," said Balogun.

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Super Eagles goal poacher, Odion Ighalo, has made the CAF Best XI, following the conclusion of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
Ighalo netted five times to clinch the Golden Boot award and is the only Nigerian player included.
Algeria’s goalkeeper, Rais M’Bolhi, who conceded two goals is also on the list.
The other players selected are defenders: Lamine Gassama (Senegal), Yassine Meriah (Tunisia), Youssouf Sabaly (Senegal) and Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal).
In the midfield are: Adlene Guediora (Algeria), Idrissa Gana Gueye (Senegal) and Ismael Bennacer (Algeria). The forwards are: Riyad Mahrez (Algeria), Sadio Mane (Senegal).

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The winning coach, Algeria’s Djamel Belmadi is assigned as the coach.
Full Squad
Goalkeeper: Rais M’Bolhi (Algeria)
Defenders: Lamine Gassama (Senegal), Yassine Meriah (Tunisia), Youssouf Sabaly (Senegal), Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal),
Midfielders: Adlene Guediora (Algeria), Idrissa Gana Gueye (Senegal), Ismael Bennacer (Algeria)
Forwards: Riyad Mahrez (Algeria), Sadio Mane (Senegal), Odion Jude Ighalo (Nigeria)
Coach: Djamel Belmadi (Algeria

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The 2019 AmaPro Football Championship commences on Monday in Ilorin with Kwara Football Academy hosting Nationwide league All Stars in the opening game.

The colourful draws ceremony held in Ilorin on Friday saw the defending champions, Pro leaguers (Professional players who are out of contract) getting the easiest opponents in Group C alongside three debutants, Success TIYU International FA, Kings Sport Club Youth team, Jazzy Stars FA or EGA Obi FA.

Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) AllStars who have won the competition a couple of times are placed in a dicey group which feature LA Planet Sport Academia, Ultimate Football Academy and Team360 Youth team.

While Nigeria National League (NNL) Allstars are in a difficult group which comprises of notable academies in Nigeria, Kwara Football Academy, KFA, Olansile Academy from Osogbo and the Nationwide League (NLO) Allstars.

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The football fiesta which has been designed to bridge the gap between professional footballers and non professionals has twelve teams (which may increase) participating in the tournament.

According to the organizers, Phreestyle Sports, arranged have been put in place to have a colorful championship which would feature other important programs aside the football games.

The final will be decided on 28 of July at the Main Bowl of the Kwara State Stadium, Ilorin.

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Head Coach of the Men Senior basketball team, Alex Nwora has arrived in San Domingo with 15 players for the two-legged test match with fellow World Cup bound Dominican Republic on the 20th and 22nd of July.
Regulars, Ben Uzoh, Iroegbu Ike, Ike Diogu, Talib Zanna alongside Tosin Mehinti, Obekpa Chris, Aminu Alade and Akindele Ayodeji have all been selected ahead of the test match.
Others include newly invited Jordan Ogundiran, Agada Caleb, Nwamu Ike, Gabe Vincent, Stanley Okoye, Stephen Domingo and TK Edogi who will all feature in the game taking place at the Palacio De Los Deportes.
Nwora said the test games will afford him the opportunity to rate the players  at his disposal in a game situation as well as try out new tactics.
“The last few days have been very interesting in camp. The players have been showing a high level of discipline and willingness to learn new things. The friendly games will afford the technical crew the opportunity of evaluating the players”.

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Some players are expected to be dropped after the test games while others on the 44 man list earlier released by Nwora will join the team for the next phase of training.
“This won’t be an easy decision but we just have to do it. If I had my way, I would have loved to take all the 44 players to the World Cup, but sadly this is not possible.

The 2-legged friendly slated for Saturday and Monday is part of the programs lined up by the Nigeria Basketball Federation to get the team ready for the mundial.

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The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has no plans to sack Super Eagles head coach, Gernot Rohr after the Africa Cup of Nations, according to the NFF President, Amaju Pinnick.

The NFF has come under pressure to relieve the German after Sunday’s 2-1 semi final defeat at the hands of Algeria but Pinnick reiterated’s the federation’s committment to retain Rohr having met his AFCON target.
“He goes nowhere, he will remain in the job. We would double our efforts because we have complete confidence in him,” Pinnick told Nigeria journalist, Osasu Obayiwana.

"Gernot has taken us to the semi-final, the target we set for him. Right now, we have a third-place match to play for and we intend to have our team leave Egypt with honour.

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“There are some people that have been calling on me and the federation to sack Gernot. But I am not going to do that. 
In fact, Gernot is going on a refresher training period with Bayern Munich after the Nations Cup. We have a long-term plan with him.”
We have had rocky and difficult moments in our relationship, but this is normal in any relationship between two people. He is a good coach and we want him to remain with us and help us complete the project he has started'

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Gernot Rohr has been around for about three years or more  as Super Eagles manager or coach. Yes, many will say he needs more time like Clemens Westerhof to achieve the feat the self styled dutchgerian recorded while he was in charge....but I dare say, things have changed between 1989 and now.

In modern day football, a coach doesn't have to spend 10 years on the job before he shows his stuff or build a world class team.

You cannot give what you don't have. Rohr has proven that his best at the world stage, talking about the FIFA World Cup is first round of group stage exit....and at the continental level (AFCON), his best is a semi-final...or at most third place finish...

These are not acceptable when you fairly look at what our football has achieved over the years....coupled with the resources invested therein.

Whoever says demanding the AFCON trophy from a coach who has led and managed a team at the World Cup with the same crop of players he picked without much of interference is asking for too an enemy of Nigeria and her football.

Rohr has to do the needful by throwing in the towel now. Staying or hanging on to the job will only protect his interest but surely not for the good of Nigeria or her football. We need to move forward.

Rohr cannot say Nigeria has been unfair to him....rather he has been unfair to us. He once cried out of interference from his bosses in the NFF .....and the entire Nigerian football community threw it's weight behind him. There was outrage. In the end,  he won the battle. He got his own scouts and players assessors.

He picked his team during the World Cup qualifiers. He also picked his World Cup squad that ended the race in the group stage.

Rohr was part of the negotiating team during talks between the NFF leadership and the senior players on financial incentives for the mundial. 

There was no friction before, during and after the bargain. Yet what Nigeria got from Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup was bags of apologies from players who underperformed. ..and even from Rohr himself.

Rohr is not the poorest of national team coaches in the world despite the fact that Nigeria has roundly been labeled as the world capital of poverty. For a coach who allegedly receives about $47,000 (N16.7million) monthly.

Rohr should be grateful to us given that his CV doesn't even attract such earning but that is not the issue at hand since we had already employed him.

Rohr nonetheless is not the least earning national team coach in the world. The record is there for all to see.

Perhaps, we or NFF failed or refused to read meaning to his continuous excuse of not having a Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo in his squad. This derogatory excuse he has always put forward before, during and after every tournament.

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Rohr has continued to belittle players from Arsenal like Alex Iwobi, Samuel Chukwueze of Villareal and Wilifred Ndidi of Leicester City as not being world class.

I dare ask, how many world class players are in Algeria or Madagascar that defeated Rohr's team in Egypt? A good coach makes world class players. They don't drop from the skies. Just discover a talent and mould him to your choice.

Short and simple, going to Egypt for the 2019 AFCON, Rohr and his team had all they requested for plus more from the Federal Government, well meaning Nigerians, state governors and captains of industries. Never in the history of the Super Eagles has the team been so motivated financially....yet they ended in the semis.

Recall that the 2013 AFCON victorious squad led by Late Stephen Okechukwu Keshi was not even motivated enough yet the team excelled with six home-based players unlike Egypt 2019 squad which had just Ikechukwu Ezenwa as home based player.

The Algerian team that defeated Super Eagles had close to 50% of the squad members as local players.
Indeed, it is time for Rohr to go. In moving forward, I recommend a consortium of local coaches.

Samson Siasia, Emmanuel Amuneke, Finidi George, Mutiu Adepoju and Imama Amakapabo should be immediately drafted in to takeover the Super Eagles and begin to tinker a new pattern and order in the rebuilding process.

Cc: Desmond Ekwueme

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Olympic Eagles assistant coach and MFM FC of Lagos Technical Manager, Fidelis Ilechukwu will share some of his success stories with some grassroot coaches at this year's JC Coaching Clinic.

The one day coaching event is billed for the JC Stadium Papalanto - Shagamu, Ogun State on July 27,2019.

Dr. Joseph Ogunsanya, Chairman of JC International Football Academy and  Programme Coordinator for the Coaching Clinic disclosed that the 'Working One' or Camara will be attending as a guest coach.

 "Based on his experience from Grassroot to the level he is at the moment, he will be giving time to impact his skills on coaches that are attending the coaching clinic."

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The MFM FC of Lagos gaffer in a brief chat said: "I'm delighted to be part of the JC Coaching Clinic, I like new challenges and been busy all these while the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) is in it's off - season, it is a great opportunity for me to learn and teach new coaching methodology.

"Not minding my A-list Coaching status, i am ready to learn from any coach as football gives back to one, what he/she has given to it.

"Coaching is symbiotic as we learn new things in the beautiful game, and new things happen everyday.

"The new things could be training methods, playing, marking patterns, attack and defence formats, scoring and defending set-pieces."

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The relentless drives of the Ekiti Football Association to revive and develop football in the state, received another boost yesterday when the Executive Governor of the state, Dr. John Kayode Fayemi, endorsed the JKF Youth Cup named after the sports loving governor.

An obviously elated Chairman of Ekiti FA, Bayo Olanlege, expressed his happiness over the endorsement of the planned youth football competition for U15 boys and girls by the state government.

" We are truly glad that His Excellency, Governor John Kayode Fayemi has given us his backing and support to hold this youth tournament, which is aimed at discovering, nurturing and exposing fresh and talented youngsters in the state.

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This is a morale booster for us and we believe it would help our desires to take football in Ekiti State to greater heights, " the youthful but experienced football administrator stated.

The JKF Youth Cup which would be sponsored by friends and political associates of the amiable governor, is expected to kick off during the summer holidays in August  and would feature 24 male and 8 female teams drawn from across the 16 local government areas of the state.

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