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Aston Villa get UEFA Europa Conference League play-off opponent

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Aston Villa will play either Hibernian or FC Luzern in the UEFA Europa Conference League play-off round, it has been announced after the official draw took place at 1pm on Monday, August 7.

Unai Emery’s side securing seventh place in the Premier League last season meant the initial qualifying rounds would be bypassed.

Just one two-legged play-off, against Hibernian or Luzern, stands between Villa and the all-important group stage. Said play-off will take place on August 24 and August 31.

The first of these games will be at either Hibs’ Easter Road or Luzern’s Swissporarena, whereas the second will be at Villa Park.

This could change if Hibs go through, however, as Hearts (also in Edinburgh) have also been drawn at home on August 24.

It’s unlikely both Edinburgh teams will play at home on the same night.

If such an adjustment takes place, it wouldn’t change Villa’s opposition. It would merely be a swap between the first leg and second leg for home and away.

If Villa progress, they will be involved in the official draw for the Europa Conference League group stage, on September 1.

Said group stage will then commence on September 21 and end in December.

How is it decided between Hibernian and Luzern?
Hibs, of Scotland, and Luzern, of Switzerland, are due to play one another in a two-legged qualification tie.

The first leg will be on Thursday, August 10, while the second will be on Thursday, August 17.

Whoever wins on aggregate will then take on Villa.

How to get tickets for Villa’s Europa Conference League play-off
The club will release full ticket details via avfc.co.uk early this week, along with the details of the respective home and away legs.

Supporters are urged to check/update their marketing preferences to ensure important email updates aren’t missed.

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Jos, Plateau Comes Alive As NNL AGA Holds This Friday

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All is set for the Annual General Meeting of the Nigeria National League which is scheduled to hold in the capital city of Plateau state.

Already, stakeholders have started arriving the Tin City for the one-day deliberation.

The AGA which is the first activity of the season will see the NNL board meet with the 40 club representatives to fashion our all formalities for a successful season.

Kickoff date, format, funding and other matters of critical importance will be decided at the assembly.

NNL Chairman George Aluo who is already on the ground, gave further insight on the agenda.

“At the NNL AGA we will be rubbing minds with the club owners, share our thoughts and plans with them and be on the same page and decide when the league will start basically, as that is the most important thing so that after the AGA in Jos, we should be able to tell Nigerians when the league will kickoff.”

He continued, “The President of the NFF Alhaji Ibrahim Gusau has given us a mandate to start the league on time and ensure it aligns with the international calendar and that is the direction we want to go. So we have come up with our own plans and by the time we finish with our AGA in Jos, we’ll tell Nigerians what the plans are and how the league will be played.

He revealed that the board ” has put some plans in place as the NNL has been able to partner with the National Institute for Sports (NIS) for a pre-season capacity building seminar for our coaches. We want to upscale our coaches to make them better. Already, we have invited some resource persons from the NIS and the Technical Director of the NFF Augustine Eguavoen who will be involved in that and a Portuguese coach Thiago Conde so, at the end of the day, we would have upscale our coaches technically and before the start of the season by the time you’ve taken them to the classroom, I’m sure it will rub-off on the NNLas the 2023-2023 season gets underway.”

He appreciated the Plateau state Government for hosting the board as they begin deliberation this Friday.

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Colombia 2024: Falconets progress to third round as Mauritius withdraw

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The Mauritius Football Association has notified the Confederation of African Football of the withdrawal of the country’s U20 Women National Team from the ongoing African qualifying series for next year’s FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup finals.

“Kindly note that CAF was informed of the withdrawal of Mauritius FA from the African qualifiers of FIFA U20 WWC 2024. Consequently, Nigeria is qualified to the next round of the competition and the missions of all officials of matches 37 & 38 are cancelled,” read a communication from CAF to the Nigeria Football Federation.

The Falconets were to fly to Mauritius next week for the first leg in Saint Pierre against the Mauritius U20 girls, with the return leg scheduled for the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja on Saturday, 14th October.

With this situation, 2022 World Cup quarter-finalists Nigeria now progress to the next round of the qualification series.

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Confed Cup: Insurance players vow to beat RS Berkane for their chief motivator, Obaseki

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As Federation Cup champion, Bendel Insurance of Benin plays RS Berkane on Friday in a Caf Confederation Cup match, the players and officials said they are ready to shed blood to win for the good people and government of Edo State especially their number one supporter and motivator Governor Godwin Obaseki.

Though Insurance has a mountain to climb in the decisive leg in Morocco after they were forced to a 2-2 draw by RS Berkane at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin, in the first leg on Saturday, September 16, they are confident that will beat their host and qualify for the next round of the competition.

Monday Odigie’s side will miss the services of striker Osarenkhoe Imade, who scored their opener in the first leg as well as their other goal in the last round.

The 22-year-old just penned a deal with United Arab Emirates side, United FC.

Despite missing their highest goal scorer from last season, stand-in captain and goalkeeper, Amas Obasigie, echoed the confidence of the team.

“Knowing the honour that awaits us if we beat our opponents to qualify for the group stage, we are going to fight for everything in the field of play to go home happy. We made two mistakes in Benin and will not want a repeat. We are facing very strong opponents who have been champions twice in a space of three years, but we will not allow their intimidation to affect our play. They should expect a good fight from us the way they also fought in Benin.

“Above all, we want to fight to win for our state Governor, who has been wonderful in giving his all, in sponsorship and motivation that has taken us thus far both in the domestic league and continental level,” Obasogie said.

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