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Havertz eager to ‘earn’ Arsenal starting shirt

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Kai Havertz has said he doesn’t expect to walk straight into Arsenal’s first team despite being the third-most expensive signing in the club’s history.

Arsenal signed the 24-year-old from Chelsea in a deal which could reach around £67.5 million ($86.3m), meaning only Declan Rice (£105m from West Ham United) and Nicolas Pepe (£72m from Lille) cost the club more money.

Havertz has formed part of a new-look three-man midfield alongside Rice and Martin Odegaard at times in preseason, but the Germany international is taking nothing for granted as Arsenal continue their Premier League preparations with an Emirates Cup fixture against Monaco next Wednesday.

“I think everyone has to earn their position in the team,” Havertz said. “You play when you train well and play well in the games. I think I have to also give everything in every session, in every game. That is how I get into the team. Not only me but every player. Always in a big club like this there is competition. I am going to give 100% to play.

“Obviously it is a completely different style of football than what we played at Chelsea. I think it’s a style that suits me very well. Of course it always takes a bit of a while to get used to that again. I am two-and-a-half weeks here. It is going to take some time, but I am giving everything to try to perform on a high level.”

Havertz switched positions regularly during Wednesday’s 5-3 friendly win over Barcelona at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles — moving to the left flank and also through the middle. He scored a goal against the Catalans and believes the new No. 8 role in Mikel Arteta’s preferred 4-3-3 system could help him rediscover his best form after a mixed three-year spell at Stamford Bridge.

Despite scoring the winning goal in the 2021 Champions League final against Manchester City, he struggled to consistently produce his best after joining from Bayer Leverkusen, scoring just 19 goals in 91 games even though he regularly played as a centre-forward.

“I really enjoy it, to play that position [as a No. 8],” Havertz said. “I am more on the ball, more integrated in the game. I am really enjoying it. I think I have a lot of room to improve in the games, I am still adapting to the game and everything. So far it is working quite well.

“I think [goals are] important for my position, and also with my height. I want to score goals. It’s part of my game. I always have to arrive there. Hopefully it works more times in the league now.

“The team is amazing and it definitely feels like home already. They have made it very easy for me to integrate with the team. It is fun to be with them, they are all so young and hungry. This is exactly what I wanted and I am very happy to be here.”

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National Anti-Doping Bill 2024: Sports Minister applauds Tinubu’s foresightedness

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The Honourable Minister of Sports Development Senator John Owan Enoh salutes President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for placing premium on the National Anti-Doping Bill , thereby giving the Nation a reputation.

The transmission of the Anti-doping Bill 2024 to the National Assembly and the accelerated passage of same remains a landmark achievement of this administration. It is a show of the courageous and bold leadership of the president, a final and appropriate response to the perennial issues of doping that have characterized Nigeria’s relationship with the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA).

Senator John Owan Enoh the sports minister always made it clear that this administration was greeted with WADA issuing a notice to ban Nigeria from International Competitions which degenerated to the point that the agency took Nigeria to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS). Amidst other non-compliant issues, the main challenge was Nigeria’s inability to domesticate the National Anti-doping Law and setting up a National Anti-Doping Organization (NADO) as part of its obligation having signed the international convention in 1999.

“ for years,the country has grappled with meeting up to the expectations of the World Anti-Doping Organization ,despite being a foundational signatory for 25 years.
Nigeria has been in the eye of the storm due to its inability to domesticate the Anti-Doping Law with the backing of parliament.
I must thank our sports loving president for his foresight immediately the issues were brought before him .His foresight and actions have put the country on the right path in sports.
I also appreciate the National Assembly for the passage of the bill ,consideration and approval of the report of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters during plenary.
The county will no longer have doubts of its participation in global sporting events, eligibility to host sports competitions amongst other perennial issues” the Sports Minister said.

This welcome development comes weeks before the country’s participation at the Paris Olympics 2024.

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Bafana Bafana Must Fall, Sports Minister Charges Super Eagles

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Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Owan Enoh, on Monday, rallied support of critical stakeholders and Nigerians for Finidi George,

With the FIFA World Cup qualifiers in full swing, the Honourable Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Owan Enoh has called on the Super Eagles to shift their focus from their recent African Cup of Nations (AFCON) and concentrate on the crucial task of securing a spot in the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

The Super Eagles are set to face Bafana Bafana of South Africa on Friday at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo, and Senator Enoh stated that Nigeria must approach the tie as a make-or-break one, as victory will put the team back on track for qualification.

“The FIFA World Cup is the biggest showpiece in football,” Senator Enoh emphasized. “We cannot afford to miss out on the World Cup again. The disappointment of missing the last tournament, especially after the disappointing home match against the Black Stars, must drive us to ensure we qualify this time.”

Senator Enoh urged all stakeholders, including players, coaches, and support staff, to be fully committed to the qualification campaign. “All hands must be on deck to ensure the team qualifies for the World Cup,” he stressed. “I urge the players to get the job done in the first half of the game by scoring early goals, so they are not under pressure in the second half.”

“The upcoming match against South Africa is critical,” Senator Enoh said. “The players need to put the AFCON glory behind them and concentrate fully on this task. Early goals will be key to taking control of the game and ensuring a less pressured second half.”

Senator Enoh concluded by expressing confidence in the Super Eagles’ ability to rise to the occasion and secure a much-needed victory. “We have the talent, the passion, and the support of millions of Nigerians. Let’s channel that into a winning performance and take a significant step towards World Cup qualification.”

The match will kick off at 8 p.m. local time on Friday, June 7, at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo. Nigeria currently has two points from two games and sits third in their group of six teams.

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South Africa coach names Super Eagles winger as danger man ahead of WCQ

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South Africa coach, Hugo Broos, has named Super Eagles and Atalanta winger, Ademola Olajade Lookman as the danger man for Nigeria ahead of both teams’ clash this evening, Soccernet.ng reports.

Both sides met in the semi-final of the AFCON 2023 tournament in Ivory Coast, with the Super Eagles emerging victorious after 120 minutes of intense football. Stanley Nwabali was the hero, denying Bafana Bafana twice from twelve yards.

Lookman is a leading candidate for the CAF Player of the Year Award, after a stellar season with Atalanta, getting to the Copa Italia final, and scoring a hat-trick against Bayer 04 Leverkusen in the UEFA Europa League final.

Broos, speaking in his presser ahead of their game against Nigeria, highlighted the Atalanta man as the threat for his side but admitted their focus as a team won’t be on the former Leicester City forward.

“Obviously, the (Nigeria) danger man is Ademola Lookman, but we are not focusing on that. We are focusing on our game, we have the ability and we have proven that at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Côte d’Ivoire,” the Belgian said in quotes revealed by Score Nigeria.

Lookman is primed to step up for the Super Eagles of Nigeria against South Africa tonight, alongside Victor Boniface, after the Nigerian attackers enjoyed success with their European club sides this season.

Samuel Chukwueze is a doubt for Finidi George ahead of tonight’s game. The A.C. Milan right winger did not take part in the final training session of the Super Eagles.

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