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NFF Mandates Match Commissioners To Be Tech-savvy, Or Get Kicked Out



President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Alhaji Ibrahim Musa Gusau has told Nigeria’s football match commissioners to be ready to enhance their capacity, become tech-savvy, vibrant and agile on the job or see their names deleted without any ceremony.

Speaking at this year’s NFF Match Commissioners’ seminar, at the Sandralia Hotel, Abuja on Wednesday, Gusau harped on the imperative of foistering global best practice in the realm of match commissioning in Nigeria, and declared that the NFF will no longer tolerate indolence, incompetence as reflected in poor report presentation and lack of elegance and integrity on the part of any match commissioner while on duty.

“I have continued to harp on the need for an improved welfare package for you, and you all know that to whom much is given, much is expected. I am sad to report that during a recent assessment of match commissioners, there was a high percentage of failure. We cannot continue to tolerate poor performance. We are working to scale down the number of match commissioners and we will do that through evaluation of your reports.

“A good number of match commissioners do their work diligently and with integrity, and make us proud. Those are the ones that will remain. We want our football to be up there among the best universally and the work of a match commissioner is of utmost importance to how a football match turns out.”

Earlier, Chairman of the NFF Match Commissioners’ Appointment Committee, Alhaji Babagana Kalli assured the gathering that only the very best will continue their service to Nigeria Football as the NFF is taking proactive steps to change the narrative about match commissioners.

“There is no doubting the fact that the world of match commissioning has tremendously transformed and we must gear up in our task assignments in order to ensure the leagues, and indeed Nigeria Football, prosper. It is the cumulative contributions of each one of us that periodically build the process and system of administration in Nigeria.

“The NFF and therefore, this committee will not tolerate any act that has the potential to bring the game into disrepute. We must be conscious that the process of reducing the population of match commissioners in Nigeria is still ongoing and thus, our match commissioners must rise up to the occasion and be equal to the task in every aspect of your duties, obligations and responsibilities.”

Also present at the occasion were NFF Executive Committee members Sharif Rabiu Inuwa and Ganiyu Majekodunmi, Match Commissioners Appointment Committee members Sabo Abdullahi Dutse, Kenneth Nwaomucha, Aminu Maimaga, Yakubu Sarma and Usman Maulud, and former Nigeria captain and Chairman of Enyimba FC, Nwankwo Kanu.


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Xavi faces sack at Barcelona



Barcelona are poised to sack coach Xavi Hernandez just weeks after he made a U-turn and decided to stay at the club, Spanish

Barcelona are poised to sack coach Xavi Hernandez just weeks after he made a U-turn and decided to stay at the club, Spanish media has reported.

Catalan radio station RAC-1 said president Joan Laporta had decided to sack Xavi, with daily newspaper Sport confirming the news, while AS said Barcelona were already deciding who would replace the coach.

In January, Xavi said he would leave at the end of the season but, after a run of strong form, in April he and president Joan Laporta agreed the coach would stay for the next campaign, with his contract expiring in June 2025.

However, Laporta did not travel with the team for their 2-0 in at Almeria in La Liga on Thursday, with Spanish media reporting he was angry with Xavi’s pre-match comments.

The coach had highlighted Barcelona’s financial difficulties in comparison to the strength of new Spanish champions Real Madrid and other European giants.

“Barcelona fans have to understand, we’re not in the same situation (as those clubs),” said Xavi on Wednesday.

The coach stood by his words on Thursday when he was asked about Laporta not attending the Almeria match.

“They haven’t told me anything personally… We travelled with the sporting vice-president, more directors, all normally,” Xavi told reporters late Thursday. “I said what I think is real, that we will fight for all the trophies, with a lot of hope, with ambition, but that the situation is not easy.

“We are working very well, the club most of all, to change this situation.”

Barcelona won La Liga last season but were not able to defend the title. They went out of the Champions League in the quarter-finals to Paris Saint-Germain and will end the season trophy less.

Real Madrid thrashed Barca in the Spanish Super Cup final while Athletic Bilbao eliminated them in the Copa del Rey.

In April, Xavi, 44, said he was “full of hope” and that fans, players and “above all the confidence of the president and (sporting director) Deco” was what convinced him to stay.

Laporta said at the time that he was glad Xavi would remain at the helm and that it was good for the stability of the club.

“It’s great news that Xavi is staying,” the president told a news conference.

“The team we have, that is (still) consolidating, with very young players, needs that stability.

“Xavi is a reference for young players and we can see that – today I’m especially pleased, and the board have unanimously supported this decision.”

Laporta appointed Xavi, one of Barcelona’s greatest ever midfielders, to replace Ronald Koeman in November 2021.

As a player, Xavi made 767 appearances for Barcelona, winning four Champions Leagues and eight La Liga titles, as well as the World Cup with Spain.

During his time as Barcelona coach, he lifted the Spanish Super Cup last season, along with the league title.



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Kane to miss Bayern’s game at Hoffenheim



Harry Kane will miss Bayern Munich's final game of the season with a back injury - less than a week before Gareth Southgate announces his

Harry Kane will miss Bayern Munich’s final game of the season with a back injury – less than a week before Gareth Southgate announces his England squad for Euro 2024.

Bayern end their campaign at Hoffenheim on Saturday – live on Sky Sports – but Kane has not travelled with the squad.

“Harry Kane is receiving treatment from his personal doctor,” said Bayern boss Thomas Tuchel. “He can’t travel with us.”

Kane has not played since being replaced late in Bayern’s 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid in their Champions League semi-final second leg earlier this month.

Bayern were leading 1-0 in the Bernabeu – and 3-2 on aggregate – when Kane was replaced but conceded two late goals to exit the competition.

Tuchel explained after that defeat that striker Kane had suffered a back injury and on Friday he said: “It was already questionable in Madrid. It’s gotten worse.”

Bayern have endured a difficult campaign, failing to win the Bundesliga for the first time in 12 seasons and exiting the DFB Pokal to third-tier Saarbrucken.

owever, Kane has enjoyed a prolific campaign on an individual level, scoring 44 goals in 45 games across all competitions after joining Bayern from Tottenham in August.



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Van Persie lands first managerial role with Heerenveen



Former Arsenal and Manchester United forward Robin van Persie has been appointed as manager of Eredivisie side Heerenveen, the

Former Arsenal and Manchester United forward Robin van Persie has been appointed as manager of Eredivisie side Heerenveen, the Dutch club has announced.

The 40-year-old, who retired from playing in 2019, has signed a two-year contract in his first role as manager of a senior team.

He has previously spent time working at Feyenoord, the club he began and ended his playing career with, where he took charge of the under-18s side.

Van Persie is the all-time top scorer for the Netherlands national team and was named the PFA Players’ Player of the Year in 2012, one year before he won the Premier League title with Manchester United.

Heerenveen, who are 10th in the Eredivisie, face Sparta Rotterdam in their final match of the season tomorrow.



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