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NSF: 7 athletes test positive to COVID-19

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Mr Musa Ebomhiana, the Project Manager, Media and Communications, Sub-Committee for the Edo Games, says seven athletes at the ongoing 20th National Sports Festival (NSF) in Benin have tested positive to COVID-19 screening.

Ebomhiana confirmed this in an interview with newsmen in Benin on Monday.

He said the infected athletes had been quarantined at the Stella Obasanjo Isolation Centre in Benin.

According to him, the affected athletes are from different states of the federation and stood disqualified from the festival.

He, however, noted that the development was a good one when compared with the large number of athletes and officials participating in the national sporting fiesta.

“But it is good one compared to number of athletes and officials.

“It shows that the country is trying in flattering the cause of COVID-19,” he said.

The spokesman for the games, tagged Edo 2020, also clarified that only Oyo state contingents had been readmitted into the games following the completion of the COVID-19 screening.

“Taraba is still pending, because they have to undergo test for their athletes and officials.

“But Oyo are through with their test and they had been readmitted into the games.”

On the number of participating states, Ebomhiana confirmed that 25 states had so far arrived for the games.

“You know they keep on coming; there is no end to it.

“Some will want to come towards the end; some will miss out the major events, that is how they want it.

“As at yesterday, we have 25 states on ground,” he said.

The Edo 2020 official, however, said all was set for the official opening of the games on Tuesday.

“The preparation for official opening ceremony tomorrow is in top gear.

“Go to the main bowl and see what is happening there.

“The arrangements are in top gear, we are ready. We are more than prepared, the Vice President will be here about noon tomorrow,” he said.

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NFF set to appoint Super Eagles technical adviser

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The Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, is planning to appoint a new technical adviser for the Super Eagles, who would be Finidi George’s immediate boss, according to ScoreNigeria.

The football house only appointed Finidi as the substantive coach in April.

Before his appointment, the former international was an assistant to Jose Peseiro, whose contract ended in February.

However, Finidi’s tenure has not gone well. As interim coach, he led Nigeria to defeat Ghana and lose to Mali.

Following his permanent appointment as Super Eagles coach, the team played out a 1-1 draw with South Africa in a 2026 World Cup qualifier and suffered a shock 2-1 defeat to Benin in a neutral venue.

Those results have put Nigeria in a difficult situation in the World Cup qualifiers, as they are condemned to win at least four of their last six games.

It is believed that to salvage the situation, the NFF has scheduled a meeting with Sports Minister Owan Enoh to agree on getting a new technical adviser.

The NFF is proposing to have someone, most likely a foreigner with more experience as a coach, under whom Finidi will work.

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Thiago Motta named as new coach of Juventus

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Italian giants Juventus on Wednesday named Thiago Motta as their new coach, replacing Massimiliano Allegri who was sacked last month.

“It’s official, the next Juventus coach will be Thiago Motta. The Italian-Brazilian has signed with Juventus until June 30, 2027,” the club said in a statement.

Motta, 41, was previously in charge at Serie A rivals Bologna.

“I am really very happy to start a new experience at the helm of a big club like Juventus,” said Motta who, according to the Italian press, will earn an annual salary of 3.5 million euros ($3.8 million)

Motta made his coaching name at Bologna who he joined in 2022.

Last season, he led the team to fifth place in Serie A and qualified them for the Champions League for the first time.

The former Italian international was part of the squad which finished runner-up at the 2012 European championships.

He was also a five-time French champion with PSG and played in Champions League winning teams at Barcelona and Inter Milan.

Juve will be his fourth club as coach after Genoa (2019), where he only stayed three months before being fired with a record of just one victory in ten matches, and La Spezia (2021-22) and Bologna.

Juventus finished last season in third place in Serie A but 23 points behind champions Inter Milan.

They did, however, clinch the Italian Cup for the 15th time.

Their end to the season was painful with just three wins in 17 league matches having been hot on the heels of Inter at the turn of the year.

Juve fired Allegri for his explosive behaviour during the team’s Italian Cup triumph which the club deemed “incompatible” with its values.

Allegri was sent off in the final minutes of the 1-0 win against Atalanta for ranting at match officials and was also alleged to have manhandled and threatened the chief editor of newspaper Tuttosport.

His behaviour led to an investigation by the Italian Football Federation’s disciplinary authorities.

The 56-year-old won 12 trophies, including five Serie A titles, and reached two Champions League finals with Juventus over two spells as manager.

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W’Cup Qualifiers: Super Eagles W’Çup hope fades after Benin 2-1 defeat

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The Super Eagles of Nigeria, on Monday, were defeated 2-1 by Benin Republic in the fourth round of the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers.

In the 29th minute, Raphael Onyedika’s effort to the right corner of the post opened the score for Nigeria.

However, Jodel Dossou of Benin tied the score with a well-placed shot after the Super Eagles made a defensive blunder.

Benin took the lead shortly before halftime thanks to a right-footed goal by Steve Mounie from a corner.

The Super Eagles lost the second half despite the introduction of Victor Boniface, Paul Onuachu, and Ibrahim Olawoyin, among others. Nigeria was unable to equalise.

Head coach Finidi George, named Terem Moffi and Ademola Lookman to spearhead the attack, while Boniface was placed on the bench.

The Super Eagles took to the field goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali. In defence were Bassey, Tanimu, Ajayi and Osayi-Samuel. Meanwhile, Ndidi, Onyeka, Iwobi started in midfield. Leading the attack were Chukwueze, Lookman and Moffi.

The substitutes include; Iheanacho, Boniface, Onuachu, Abdullahi, Dele-Bashiru, Onyeka Awaziem, Olawoyin, Igboke, Ismaila, Okoye (GK) and Ojo (GK).

Meanwhile, the result of this match means that Nigeria is now placed fifth, while the Benin Republic moves up to first place in the six-team table.

Nigeria, in four matches, has drawn three and lost one.

Last Friday, Pressure mounted on the Super Eagles after the team played a 1-1 draw against Bafana Bafana of South Africa in the third round of the 2026 World Cup qualifier.

Themba Zwane of South Africa opened the scoresheet in the 29th minute of the match played at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. Equalising after a superb turn, Nigeria’s Fisayo Dele-Bashiru slotted in a low shot to the edge of the post in the 46th minute. The match ended in a stalemate.

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