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Rodri: ‘Playing 60 games a season is not healthy’

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Manchester City midfielder Rodri has shared his concerns about the hectic fixture schedule and the Premier League and EFL’s new approach of increasing the minutes played in injury time.
Football league officials in England intend to add World Cup-style amounts of injury time to matches and accurately calculate the time added on to reflect certain stoppages in play.

As a result of the new laws, all 35 EFL matches on the opening weekend of the 2023-24 season featured at least eight minutes of added time, while all but two matches went beyond the 100-minute mark.

Rodri was one of the standout performers in Man City’s historic treble-winning 2022-23 campaign, providing seven assists and scoring four goals including the match-winner in the Champions League final triumph over Inter Milan in June.

The Spain international played 56 times for the Citizens last season and notched up a total of 4,478 minutes, 203 minutes more than goalkeeper Ederson and 349 minutes more than the next outfield star Erling Haaland.

Heading into the new season, Rodri remains a key cog in the Man City machine managed by Pep Guardiola – who stated last weekend that the ‘big brain’ match officials have never consulted him over the new injury-time rules – and the midfielder has concurred with his boss, admitting that playing an extensive number of games is “not healthy”.

“I don’t remember exactly the games I played, but I had a talk with the club and the coach because starting 57 or 59 games and playing in 60 or something is not healthy,” Rodri told reporters.

“You can do it for one season, but when it’s two or three in a row, it can be worse for the team because your physicality can drop. So I have to watch out. We have already spoken that it cannot always be like this.

“But last year, on the other hand, I had the feeling that we were fighting for everything, and I had to push my body to the limit. That’s why I sometimes feel bad at the end of the season – but for me, it was great.”

The 27-year-old added: “To be honest, I never get enough rest. I feel pretty well recovered after having about one month off. It was a good break, and we have a coach who understands and who gives us everything he can to recover.

“I think we are the last team in the Premier League to start pre-season because he understands that rest is important. So, yes, I’m very happy about last season and how it finished, and now we go into another season, and it’s going to be a long one.”

Asked if he is aware of Man City’s concerns regarding his fitness, Rodri said: “I don’t know. But when you look at the stats and look at the number of minutes, I played seven, eight, nine games more than the second outfield player.

“It’s not a problem now. The important thing for me is that they know the situation, and they know that for the next few seasons we will have to watch out.

“Now I am young, but maybe when I get to 30 or 31 I cannot do this kind of thing, so I have to watch the body because 60 games is not the best thing for a player. Also, the seasons get even longer every year. We have to adapt to this.”

Rodri played the full 90 minutes in Man City’s Community Shield loss on penalties to Arsenal last weekend and he is expected to be involved in their opening Premier League game of the new season away at Burnley on Friday.

Guardiola will also have summer signing Mateo Kovacic to call upon, while the likes of Kalvin Phillips, John Stones, Rico Lewis and Maximo Perrone are additional deep-lying midfield options at the Catalan’s disposal.

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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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