Women’s Rugby World Cup draw announced

first_imgIreland has been drawn in a pool against Australia and France for next years Women’s World cup which will be held in Dublin and Belfast.One of Fiji, Japan and Hong Kong will also be in the pool.The tournament will be held here next August. The preparation for the World cup continues this Sunday when Ireland face England in the first of their November internationals.Ireland captain and former Clonmel RFC player Niamh Briggs gave her reaction to the draw.last_img

ROI U17s in action

first_imgThe sides meet in the Cypriot city of Paphos where kick off is at 12.15, Irish time. Group 8’s other game sees the hosts face Slovakia.last_img

Tipp footballers aiming to clinch promotion

first_imgLiam Kearns side have turned in a series of strong performances already this season to leave them top of Division 3.However Tipp coach Shane Stapleton says Louth will provide stiff opposition.There’s a 3 o’clock throw-in tomorrow afternoon in Semple Stadium – the game is live here on Tipp FM in association with Cleary Motors, Loughtagalla, Thurles, Renault dealer for Tipperary.last_img

Arter at the ready for Austria clash

first_imgHarry Arter will be fit for Irelands’ World cup qualifier with Austria next month.He missed Bournemouth’s last game of the season with a leg injury but Ireland boss Martin O’Neill says he just needed rest.Staying with football and it remains uncertain what structure the Arsene Wenger’s management team will take next season. It’s understood that the Gunners boss has agreed a new 2 year deal with the club however the Board may insist that Wenger works with a Director of Football. Photo © – pixabaylast_img read more

Akwa United to Macaibi Haifa: No Deal Yet on Ubong

first_img“This came after we personally advised Ubong to have patience that as a key member of Samson Siasia’s national Under -23 squad to the Rio Olympics in August, he is most likely to attract better offers especially from European clubs,” Bassey was quoted as saying.It is even on record that the chairman told Ubong’s agent that the timing of the visit was wrong as Akwa United is in the fore front of the quest of returning to Africa through the league, but was assured that though the star striker will miss the Lobi Stars match that he will return in time for the Enyimba clash in Uyo in week 13.“Should we decide to let Ubong go to Israel or any other club for that matter, you can bet that it will only be after the current league season,” the release announced.The Akwa United spokesman said that it was a rude shock to later learn that Ubong has signed a deal with the Israeli club.“Is that how a player’s transfer is done? Have we entered into any agreement? Has a contract been formalised, have they paid? This is ridiculous, to say the least.“As a club we will never stay in the way of a player who decides to move on in life by seeking greener pastures elsewhere but we owe it to our youth to advice them properly as the lure of the dollar can sometimes be deceptive,” the statement from the club’s spokesman observed.Meanwhile, Akwa United has taken exception to the unprofessional behaviour of Ubong’s agent and insists that it has no deal with the Israeli club on Ubong Ekpai. “If they want him, they should come to us and negotiate the player’s release.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) side, Akwa United FC of Uyo, has announced that Under- 23 striker, Ubong Ekpai, remains a bona fide player of the team despite speculations that the player may have joined Israeli clubside, Macaibi Haifa.According to a press by the Media Officer of the club, Uwem Ekoh, at no time did Akwa United negotiate the signing or the release of the player to Macaibi Haifa, not talk of the payment of transfer fees and so on.The statement said that after undue pressure from the Macaibi Haifa and the player, Akwa United’s Chairman, Paul Bassey only consented to Ubong visiting Israel to “see things for himself before deciding on whether he wants to play in Israel or not.”last_img read more

A Euro of Giant Killers, CR7, Hooligans

first_imgWales, built around powerful Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale, lost to England but still reached the semifinals with determined, entertaining football that swept aside Russia and Belgium with domineering 3-1 wins.It took the class of Cristiano Ronaldo to outgun his Real teammate in the last four.Northern Ireland also put on a gutsy show to reach a quarterfinal against Wales.France and Portugal rode their luck in early games but there was no doubting they deserved their semifinal wins over Germany and Wales respectively.Portugal started as 25-1 outsiders to win the tournament but pulled off the final glorious upset. They lost Ronaldo, who was stretchered off after 25 minutes, and soaked up France’s pressure for 109 minutes before Eder powered a shot past France’s captain and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.Ronaldo produced one of the goals of the tournament with a sublime backheel against Hungary. France’s Dimitri Payet also produced a spectacular shot in the opening game against Romania.Xherdan Shaqiri’s scissors-kick goal for Switzerland against Poland could also be a candidate for goal of the tournament.The 108 goals in 51 matches gave an average of 2.11 goals a game, below the 2.45 of Euro 2012 and the 2.7 at the 2014 World Cup. But there were records. Ronaldo equalled French legend Michel Platini’s nine goals in Euro tournaments.GRIEZMANN SHINESEuro 2016 was meant to be the tournament of Paul Pogba, Cristiano Ronaldo and maybe Thomas Mueller. Germany’s Mueller, top scorer at the 2014 World Cup, did not have a goal to his name when Germany were stunned by two Antoine Griezmann goals on a hot night in Marseille.Mueller returned home as one of the Euro failures. Pogba scored once as France marched on the final, but Griezmann produced repeat heroics to go into the final as the tournament’s top scorer on six goals.The 25-year-old who has never played in the French league scored twice against Irish Republic and twice more in the 5-2 quarterfinal win over Iceland.For Griezmann, however, it was a second major final lost in a month after his Atletico Madrid lost to arch-rivals Real Madrid in the Champions League. “It’s frustrating, it sucks, but that’s football,” he said.HOOLIGANS AND REAL FANSFans from Iceland and both sides of the Irish border charmed everyone wherever they went in France, but an old blight made an unwelcome return — hooligans.The hours before the match between England and Russia in Marseille were mayhem, with what a prosecutor said were “well-prepared” gangs of Russians attacking rowdy and drunk England fans in the Vieux Port district as bottles and teargas flew.One England fan suffered brain injuries, dozens more were hurt.A Russian far-right sympathiser, Alexander Shprygin, was expelled from France over possible links to the violence, then embarrassed French authorities by slipping back into the country.The events have raised fears over Russia’s hosting of the 2018 World Cup.On a happier note, the “Viking army” from Iceland came armed with nothing more than plastic-horned helmets and a sense of fun as their team exceeded all expectations.Their single clap “Huh!” celebration will live long in the memory.Northern Ireland’s fans made “Will Grigg is on Fire” one of the tournament’s anthems, even if Grigg did not play a single minute.The Republic of Ireland’s fans won hearts by chanting “Stand Up for the French Police”, serenaded girls in the crowd and, in an incident which went viral, collectively fixed a dent in the roof a car.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram The 2016 European Championship ended on Sunday with Portugal’s stunning victory over France in the final — the last shock in a tournament of giant-killing romance, vicious and gentle fans, the rise of Antoine Griezmann as an international star and Cristiano Ronaldo stretchered off in tears and still winning.Euro 2016 was not a classic for football purists but pure joy for anyone who revels in sporting upsets. For France, Euro 2016 was an antidote to terror attacks and weeks of social unrest until the final.Russian hooligans tested the hosts’ security forces but Irish Republic fans sang their way into the hearts of French police.SHOCKS GALOREExpanded to 24 teams for the first time, some had expressed fears that the little nations would not be up to it. But Iceland, Wales and Portugal answered UEFA’s prayers.Iceland beat England 2-1 in the last 16 in one of the biggest shocks in football history. Iceland scorer Ragnar Sigurdsson said England “panicked”. English Football Association chief Martin Glenn could not understand why England are so “brittle” on the international stage.last_img read more

Ambode for CAF Beach Soccer Nations Cup Opening Ceremony

first_img“Governor Ambobe is committed to youth development and this event involves other countries on the continent, hence, it is being accorded the seriousness it deserves.“There will be plenty of fun in between because we are getting into the festive period and we want Lagosians to have fun at the AFCON beach tourney.”Apart from Nigeria, Egypt, Ghana, Cote d’ Ivoire, Madagascar, Libya, Morocco and Senegal are expected to compete for honours in the competition.Ayorinde urged lovers of beach football and music to storm Eko Atlantic to support Nigeria and also enjoy the competition.“We are working hard to make this event great in all aspects. The LOC and the sponsors have been wonderful because they are also aware that the governor would always go for the global best practices in all situations,” the information commissioner added.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, is expected to grace the opening day of the African Beach Soccer Nations Cup on December 13 at the Eko Atlantic City on Victoria Island.Lagos Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Steve Ayorinde, stated yesterday that the continental beach football tourney was uppermost on the mind of the state’s number one citizen.Ayorinde said that Ambode would be present at the opening ceremony of the event slated to take place between December 13 and 18.last_img read more

Lobi Stars in Pot Four as Foes Emerge on Friday

first_imgLobi Stars, the Pride of Benue would be playing in the money-spinning phase of the competition for the first time since 2000 after knocking out Kenya’s Premier league champions Gor Mahia 2-0 at the Nnamdi Azikwe Stadium on Saturday to qualify via the away goal rule after the game tied 3-3 on aggregate.CAF confirmed on its Twitter handle yesterday that the Nigerian representative is in Pot Four alongside JS Sauora of Algeria, Ismaili of Egypt and Simba Lions of Tanzania.Pot One consists of former winners of the competition namely; Esperance of Tunisia, TP Mazembe of Congo Democratic Republic, Wydad of Morocco and Al Ahly of Egypt.In Pot Two are Club Africain of Tunisia, Mamelodi Sundown of South Africa, Horoya of Guinea and Vital O of Burundi while in Pot Three are Orlando Pirates of South Africa, Asec Mimossa of Côte D’Ivoire and Platinum FC of Zimbabwe.As for Rangers, Nigeria representatives in the CAF Confederation Cup, they will be drawn against any of the losers in the Champions League first round.A win over the two legs will see the former African Cup Winners club tournament reach the group stage of the second tier African club competition.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Femi Solaja with agency reportWhile Rangers International of Enugu still have another hurdle to cross before reaching the group stage of CAF Confederation Cup competition,Nigeria’s representatives in the CAF Champions League competition, Lobi Stars of Makurdi, will know their opponents in the group phase tournament on Friday when the draw ceremony holds in Cairo, Egypt.last_img read more

Flying Eagles Go for Three Points against Qatar

first_imgFlying Eagles at training session in Poland. POLAND 2019Two-time runners up Nigeria will go all out for the three points when they take to the pitch of the 15,300 –capacity Tychy Stadium against Qatar in the opening match of Group D of the 2019 FIFA U20 World Cup finals this evening, according to team captain Ikouwem Udoh Utin.“It is a big match for us, as every other match in this competition. We know the importance of picking up the three points in our first match, which is why we are determined to go all out. “Taking the first three points will help us plan our approach better for the remaining matches in the group phase, and also boost our confidence,” Utin said at the team’s Vienna House Hotel in Katowice on Thursday. The team will leave their hotel in Katowice for the short drive to Tychy today.Tonight’s game kicks off at 5pm Nigeria time. The second match of Group D, between Ukraine and USA, will begin at 7.30pm Nigeria time.Coach Paul Aigbogun and his assistants have somewhat calibrated a new ensemble, leaving out half of the squad members from the Africa U20 Cup of Nations in Niger Republic in February, where the team earned the ticket to Poland, and infusing a number of exciting talent in midfield and attacking realms.While the choice for the number one shirt is between Detan Ogundare and Olawale Oremade (who was custodian in Niger), Valentine Ozornwafor and Igoh Ogbu are likely to keep their spots in central defence. Captain Ikouwem Utin would be at left back while Jamil Muhammad could be at right back.In the midfield, much attention will be on the England –based duo Nnamdi Ofoborh and Ayotomiwa Dele-Bashiru, as well as AC Perugia of Italy’s former junior international Kingsley Michael. In this sector also are home –based professionals Effiom Maxwell and Aniekeme Okon, who are rapid raiders on their day.Dele-Bashiru, of England champions Manchester City has already been tipped by world football –ruling body, FIFA, as one of the players from whom much is expected in Poland.At the fore, Nigeria has a cosmopolitan flavour with England –based Chinonso Emeka, Norway –based Jerome Adams, Czech Republic –based Tijani Muhammed, Sweden –based Henry Offia and home –based Success Makanjuola vying for available spots.Aigbogun told thenff.com yesterday that the group is aware of the pedigree of Nigeria at the FIFA U20 World Cup and cannot afford to under-perform.“We have a tough history to match. Silver medals on two occasions and bronze medals once, and a number of quarter final appearances. That’s why we must start very well, by taking the points against Qatar and then march on with confidence and self assurance.“We are flying the flag of nearly 200 million Nigerians, as well as that of the African continent. We have put a lot of work into building a squad that will make Nigeria and Africa proud.”Nigeria has a number of exciting moments at the FIFA U20 World Cup to her name.The old Soviet Union won the first edition of the FIFA U20 World Cup (then known as FIFA World Youth Championship) in Tunisia in 1977. Six years later, Tarila Okoronwanta’s first half goal condemned old Soviet Union to defeat in Monterrey, Mexico in Nigeria’s first –ever match at the competition.In 1985, Monday Odiaka scored after only 14 seconds against Canada in a group phase match, which remains a record. At the same tournament, reserve goalkeeper Christian Obi thwarted host nation Soviet Union in the penalty shoot-out of the third place match to hand the bronze medals to Nigeria.Four years later, Christopher Ohenhen’s bullet-like free kick that gave Nigeria a 2-1 win over host nation Saudi Arabia was the competition’s 500th goal. Few days later, midfielder Christopher Nwosu’s blistering run and shot in the last minute earned a 1-1 draw with old Czechoslovakia in the final group phase match and took Nigeria to the knock –out stage.In the quarter finals, the Flying Eagles came back from 0-4 down to defeat the same old Soviet Union after penalty shoot-out.In 2005, in The Netherlands, Chinedu Obasi’s television goal unsettled Argentina in the final in Utrecht, but two penalty kicks by Lionel Messi gave the South Americans victory.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

Zidane Targets Liverpool Ahead of Champions League Draw

first_imgZinedine Zidane Madrid finished second in Group A, five points behind Paris Saint-Germain, which means they will be drawn against the winners of another group, potentially Jurgen Klopp’s Premier League leaders Liverpool.Asked if the Reds were a team to be avoided, Zidane smiled and said: “If we play Liverpool, we will eliminate them.”More soberly, he added: “We can’t do anything about the draw.”Madrid were far from their best in Belgium but Zidane insists he was happy with his side’s performance.“We are happy with the victory and with the way we played,” he said. “We had difficulty with our game since they usually play with five at the back and, today, they played with four.“It took 10 or 15 minutes for the players to adjust. The second half was better in every area.”Luka Jovic was chosen to start in attack alongside Rodrygo and Vinicius, but the Serbian was again unable to make an impression.He has still scored just one goal in Madrid colours since his move from Eintracht Frankfurt, and Zidane concedes the striker needs more playing time to find his groove.“I don’t think he feels lost,” the Frenchman said. “He has played little and a player needs to play a lot to be well.“I think he has done well and has to continue working as he does. It’s a problem of mine, not yours. He needs to continue working and, every time he plays, respond.“It’s not easy because he doesn’t play much, but he knows the situation. He needs to play, it’s true.”Meanwhile, Juventus superstar, Cristiano Ronaldo has said that he would welcome the opportunity to take in a reunion with Real Madrid in the final of the 2019-20 Champions League.The Portuguese spent nine memorable years at the Santiago Bernabeu before heading to Turin in the summer of 2018.There is a chance that he could line up against familiar faces in the last 16 of this season’s Champions League, with Real having finished as runners-up in Group A behind Paris Saint-Germain. Ronaldo helped Juve to the top of their standings and is now waiting to discover who the Bianconeri will be paired with in the first knockout round.He would prefer to avoid Madrid, but admits that the chance to face the Blancos at some stage in major European competition would appeal to him.Ronaldo told Sky Sport Italia: “Real are an extraordinary team, but if you ask me, I’d rather face them later.“In the final? I would sign up now to meet them in the final.” The five-time Ballon d’Or winner is doing his best to try and end Juventus’ long wait for continental glory.He was back among the goals against Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday and claims to be free of the injury issues which held him back in November and led to enforced breaks being taken in.Ronaldo added: “I feel good, the physical problems I had have passed. “It was four weeks that I was playing with a little pain, but now I’m fine.“The team is doing well, we played very well in the second half [against Leverkusen], we are first in the group, things improved for me too, I have more confidence. I hope to continue like this.”Juve ended their most recent outing with Ronaldo, Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala all on the pitch at the same time.Maurizio Sarri has opted against playing three fearsome frontmen together for much of the current campaign, but Ronaldo claims to enjoy working with two talented Argentine stars.He said: “Whether I play with Dybala or Higuain it is great.“I like playing with both of them, we have a lot of fun on the pitch, but the coach is the one who makes the decisions and we must respect them.“But I can’t deny that we have a lot of fun.”Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Ronaldo wants Juventus/Madrid final in IstanbulZinedine Zidane joked his Real Madrid side would have no issues beating last season’s winners Liverpool in the last 16 of the Champions League.The Liga giants had already secured their knockout berth before their 3-1 win over Club Brugge on Wednesday and can now turn their attention to the draw for the next stage, which takes place on Monday.Hans Vanaken cancelled out Rodrygo Goes’ opener within the space of two second-half minutes, but a first Champions League goal for Vinicius Junior and a sublime strike from Luka Modric sealed all three points for Zidane’s side.last_img read more