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Fatigue! Djokovic withdraws from Toronto tournament

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Novak Djokovic withdrew Sunday from the National Bank Open, opting for additional rest after his loss to Carlos Alcaraz in the Wimbledon final.

Tennis Canada announced that Djokovic pulled out of the only Canadian stop on the ATP Tour schedule due to fatigue. The 36-year-old, 23-time Grand Slam champion was set to begin his hard-court preparations for the US Open after falling to the top-ranked Alcaraz last Sunday in a five-set final at Wimbledon.

“I have always enjoyed my time in Canada but after speaking with my team, we believe this is the right decision to take,” said Djokovic, who has won the National Bank Open four times.

“I would like to thank Karl Hale, the tournament director, for understanding this decision. I really hope I can return to Canada and Toronto in the coming years to play in front of great fans there.”

American Christopher Eubanks will gain automatic entry into the main draw as Djokovic’s replacement. Eubanks is fresh off a surprising quarterfinal run at Wimbledon, where he beat No. 5 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and No. 12 seed Cam Norrie en route to the final eight.

“Of course, we’re disappointed that Novak won’t be playing at the National Bank Open this year,” Hale said. “He’s an incredible player and one we know our fans were eager to watch at Sobeys Stadium.

“He will be missed but we still have a long list of sensational players confirmed for this year’s event, including 41 of the top 42 players in the world.”

Toronto’s Sobeys Stadium will host the men’s side of the national tennis championship from Aug. 3 to Aug. 13. The women’s side will be at Montreal’s IGA Stadium at the same time.

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Nigerian League

Dreams FC land in Uyo for crunch clash with Rivers United

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Ghanaian club, Dreams FC have arrived Uyo for their CAF Confederation Cup clash with Rivers United.

Abdul Karim Zito’s side top the Group C table with 12 points from five games.

The Ghanaian FA Cup champions need just a point from the game to secure a place in the quarter-finals.

Rivers United occupy third position in the group with nine points from same number of matches and just 1-0 win will be enough for the Port Harcourt club to qualify for the knockout round.

The encounter is slated for the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo on Sunday.

Tunisia’s Club Africain and Academica do Lobito of Angola will clash in the other group game.

 

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Nigerian League

StarTimes to air four NPFL games weekly

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StarTimes has increased its weekly live broadcast of Nigeria Professional Football League matches to four from February, instead of the usual two live matches per week.

The Pay-TV firm said fans should brace themselves for an electrifying weekend as the NPFL serves scintillating fixtures on Beta Sports channel 244 on StarTimes.

As the sun sets on Saturday (today) at 5:30pm, Remo Stars take on Bayelsa United. Remo, renowned for their attacking flair, aim to extend their winning streak, while Bayelsa, hungry for points, will be out to play party spoilers.

Also, Doma United square off against Sporting Lagos on Monday. The stakes are high as both teams jostle for mid-table supremacy.

Midweek, two matches were already aired live. Some of the other matches scheduled for this weekend like the Gombe United vs Shooting Stars match have been rescheduled to Tuesday.

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Nigerian League

NPFL U-17 Youth League: Elegbeleye Reveals Major Reason Behind Programme Creation

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The Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) has revealed that the major reason for making inroads into the NPFL Youth League is to have a pool of players the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) can consider for international youth tournaments.

At a media parley in Benin, venue of the maiden edition of NPFL Youth League Playoff, NFF 2nd Vice-Chairman and NPFL Chairman, Gbenga Elegbeleye also said the league body has picked some former Super Eagles players whose recommendation would be relied upon to assemble a solid structure for the junior national teams.

“Nigeria have an enviable record of winning the U-16 World Cup on five occasions. However, we couldn’t even qualify from Africa the last time the competition was held due to our lack of planning.

Now that we know that without good planning, you can’t get result, we decided to come up with the idea of the NPFL Youth League exclusively for players in the elite league.

With that, we hope to have a pool of talented players where NFF can pick for U-17 Africa Cup of Nations or FIFA Under-17 World Cup.

He insisted that NPFL should be the main focus of such players.

Four ex-Nigeria International players were unveiled as brand ambassadors.

They are current Super Eagles coordinator Patrick Paschal; Nigeria’s third highest scorer of all time, Yakubu Aiyegbeni; Seyi Olofinjana, a chemical engineer and NFF technical director, Augustine Eguavoen.

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