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Nigerian League

Osimhen, Oshoala Make 2023 Ballon d’Or Nomination List

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Nigerian Super Eagles star Victor Osimhen and Super Falcons’ Asisat Oshoala have been nominated for the 2023 Ballon d’Or.

It is an exceptional first time that two Nigerian players have been nominated for this prestigious award in the same year.

Osimhen had a phenomenal season with Napoli during his last break; Thanks to this, the Neapolitan club won the first Serie A championship in over 30 years. The Nigerian finished the season as Italy’s top scorer with 26 goals, a feat never before achieved by an African player, and started the new campaign brilliantly with three goals in three games.

Osimhen’s exploits are not just down to his club as he has also done great things in the green and white colours of Nigeria, earning him a national honour bestowed on him by the government of Muhammadu Buhari.

Osimhen was a key player for the Super Eagles, helping them qualify for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in one game. He is also the qualifying series’ top scorer; stressed his key role in the campaign.

Other contenders for the 2023 Ballon d’Or include Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe, Robert Lewandowski, Erling Halland, Mohamed Salah and Bukayo Saka,

Meanwhile, Oshoala has been in equally impressive form for years since Barcelona Femeni who she helped achieved a historic treble that culminated in the UEFA Women’s Champions League.
The 28-year-old, who scored 21 goals in 28 appearances for Barcelona last season, has also been fantastic for the Super Falcons national team.

Oshoala, despite her injuries, helped the Super Falcons reached the Round of 16 at the last World Cup in New Zealand and Australia.

World Women’s Champion Aitana Bonmati, Golden Boot winner Hinata Miyazawa and Colombian teenager Linda Caicedo were also on the nomination list alongside Oshoala.
Full list of Men’s Ballon d’Or nominees:

André Onana – Manchester United/Cameroon
Josko Gvardiol – Manchester City/Croatia
Karim Benzema – Al Ittihad

amal Musiala – Bayern Munich/Germany
Mohamed Salah – Liverpool v Egypt

Jude Bellingham – Real Madrid v England

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Nigerian League

There’s a twist’ – Springbok hopeful rejects South African homecoming

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Ruan Ackermann will not be returning to South Africa after signing a contract extension with Premiership club Gloucester Rugby.

 

The powerhouse forward’s contract was expiring at the end of the current season and looked set to return to South Africa but has instead opted to remain in the West Country.

 

The Sharks and his former employers, the Lions, were two of the teams that Ackerman was reportedly in talks with, but ultimately, he decided to remain at the club he joined back in 2017.

“I miss playing in South Africa, I see the stadiums are getting more and more full,” Ackermann told Afrikaans newspaper Rapport in January.

 

But on Thursday, Gloucester and Ackermann revealed that the player had changed his mind.

 

“There is a little twist, I can’t see myself leaving yet, I want to stay on, so we are staying on,” he said in an interview confirming his extension.

 

He added: “The players, the staff, the people, the coaches, everyone has been really good to me. It’s basically like a second home, so that’s what makes things, when it comes to a decision, so tough.”

His re-signing with the Premiership side means that he will head into his eighth season at Gloucester this year, having arrived along with his father Johan, who was head coach at the time.

 

The Kingsholm favourite is consistently one of the top players in the Premiership for carries and metres made and was voted Gloucester Rugby’s Players’ Player of the Season for 2021/22.

 

His ability to play across the back-row, and even at lock, is a huge asset for the Cherry and Whites, with director of rugby, George Skivington, hailing the club’s ability to retain his services.

 

“There was lots of competition for Ruan’s signature, so it’s a huge coup for the Club,” Skivington said.

 

“Ruan has been fantastic for us and to have a player of his quality committing his future to the Club is a massive statement of trust in the direction we are heading in.

 

“Everyone at Gloucester Rugby is delighted that Ruan will be in Cherry & White next season.”

International ambitions

Ackermann is qualified to represent England through residency and his potential move back to South Africa was seen as an attempt to better his chances of cracking the Springboks squad.

 

In fact, he was reportedly on the cusp of making the Red Rose squad before injury struck and ruled him out of the World Cup and a debut in the England jersey.

 

However, he still hopes to make it on the international stage.

 

“I just want to play at the highest level, it’s a dream of mine, but the Springboks are my first choice,” he said in an interview in January.

 

“I feel like I have been here [England] long enough to prove myself, and that chance or option never came. I think they have their eyes on other players.”

 

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Nigerian League

Sunshine Stars unveil Boboye, Oboabona

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Sunshine Stars FC on Thursday in Akure unveiled former Plateau United coach Kennedy Boboye and AFCON 2013 winner Godfrey Oboabona as the team’s coach and player respectively.

The club employed the services of the former Abia Warriors and Heartland manager following the sacking of Edith Agoye, who led the team to 14th place in the ongoing Nigeria Professional Football League season.

The appointments were contained in a statement issued by Sunshine Stars media officer, Michael Akintunde.

According to the statement, other technical crew members unveiled alongside Kennedy Boboye include Kayode Julius (chief coach), Nwachukwu Ifeanyi (assistant coach) and John Gaadi (goalkeeper trainer).

Oboabona, a member of the Super Eagles that won the Africa Cup of Nations in 2013, has made a return to the team after playing for various clubs in Europe.

The statement read, “He (Oboabona) is expected to add his wealth of experience to the team as Kennedy Boboye gets set to lead the team back to winning ways.”

Boboye, in his remarks, thanked the management of the team for giving him an opportunity to serve and lead the team again, seeking the corporations of the stakeholders and promised to give his best with the support of everyone.

“I’m glad I’m back home, Sunshine Stars remain in my heart, with God and the collective support of everyone we shall succeed and achieve the desired results,” the coach stated.

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Nigerian League

NPFL Youth league finals hold in Benin

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(NPFL) Youth League

Benin, the Edo State capital has been announced as the host city for the Championship finals of the inaugural edition of the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) Youth League.

The zonal qualifiers held in five centres from February 1-3 from where teams emerged for the championship finals.

Chairman of the NPFL YOUTH league Committee, Pastor Emeka Inyama, on Tuesday, confirmed that the championship finals will take place in Benin.

He also announced that the finals will be held from February 24th to March 2nd at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin.

Teams that progressed from the zonal qualifiers are Rangers International from the South East, Rivers United from South South, Remo Stars from the southwest, katsina United from North East/west and Plateau United from North Central.

“We expect the teams to arrive Benin on the 24th, and first rounds of matches will begin on February 25th,” Pastor Inyama told NPFL Media.

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