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Sao Tome Tie: Super Eagles Promise Handsome Win For Sports Minister

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Captain William Ekong said on Thursday that the Super Eagles will go all out for a handsome victory over visiting Falcons and True Parrots of Sao Tome and Principe at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo on Sunday as a welcome gift for Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Owan Enoh.

The new Gamesmaster-General of the Federation assumed office a couple of weeks ago and has already been involved in matters of the three-time African champions, as he superintended a meeting with NFF bigwigs which agreed to an extension of the contract of Head Coach Jose Santos Santos.

“Yes, we have already qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations in Cote d’Ivoire, but we want to win this match for a number of reasons. We have a new Minister of Sports Development who has hit the ground running. It is good to welcome him with a great win.

“We also need to sustain a winning mentality ahead of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers starting in November. So, we are not going to be taking this game as a dead-rubber or whatever people choose to call it. It is another important match as far as we’re concerned.”

Nigeria, on 12 points and two ahead of second-placed Guinea Bissau, have already qualified for the finals, with only the group leadership to sort out after this weekend’s final-day games. Guinea Bissau’s Djurtus host third-placed and already-eliminated Sierra Leone in Bissau, and a win will take them to 13 points.

Victory for the Super Eagles in Uyo will take them to 15 points and top of the table no matter what happens in Bissau.

In their last outing at the Nest of Champions, the Super Eagles edged Benin Republic 2-1 in a 2021 AFCON qualifier on 13th November 2019. The Cheetahs scored first before Victor Osimhen and Samuel Kalu gave Nigeria victory.

Osimhen, who lead the AFCON 2023 qualifying campaign scorers’ sheet with seven goals, is among 23 players already sweating it out in the Akwa Ibom State capital for Sunday’s encounter and will relish the opportunity to put daylight between him and other contenders for the campaign’s Goal King crown.

The Super Eagles played all their home matches in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification series and the 2019 AFCON qualification series in Uyo, and were successful in both campaigns.

Sao Tome and Principe’s delegation of players and officials arrived in Uyo on Thursday.

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Int’l Friendlies: FIFA appoints referees, VAR officials for Eagles, Saudi Arabia game

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World football-governing body, FIFA has appointed Portuguese official Luis Godinho as referee for the international friendly match between three-time African champions Nigeria and Asian giants Saudi Arabia, coming up at the Estadio Municipal de Portimão next week Friday.

Godinho will be assisted by compatriots Bruno Jesus (assistant referee 1), Tiago Costa (assistant referee 2) and Miguel Noguera (fourth official) at the match kicking off by 5pm Portugal time (same time as in Nigeria).

Also appointed are Helder Carvalho to head the situation in the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) room, to be assisted by Bruno Vieira.

It is the second-ever clash between both countries. The Super Eagles and the Green Falcons battled to a scoreless draw in a pre-2010 FIFA World Cup friendly game at the Alpenstadion in Wattens, Austria on 25th May 2010.

The Eagles have another friendly encounter against the Mambas of Mozambique at the same venue on Monday, 16th October 2023, starting at 4pm.

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Argentina, Spain among six countries to host 2030 World Cup

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A unique 2030 World Cup is set to be played in Europe and Africa with the surprising addition of South America in a deal to allow the men’s soccer tournament to start with a 100th birthday celebration in Uruguay.

FIFA reached an agreement Wednesday between soccer’s continental leaders to accept only one candidate for hosting the 2030 tournament, the sport’s governing body said.

The Spain-Portugal bid grew to add Morocco this year and now also includes long-time bid rivals Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.

A key lure of the unprecedented three-continent project will open in the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo, where the Centenario Stadium hosted the inaugural 1930 World Cup final.

“The centennial World Cup could not be far from South America, where everything began,” said Alejandro Dominguez, the president of South American soccer body CONMEBOL. “The 2030 World Cup will be played in three continents.”

The consensus reached by once-rival soccer continents also let FIFA fast-track opening the 2034 World Cup bidding contest Wednesday which is limited to member federations from Asia and Oceania.

Argentina became three-time world champions when they won the tournament in Qatar last year. Juan Ignacio Roncoroni/EFE via ZUMA Press
“In a divided world, FIFA and football are uniting,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

“The FIFA Council, representing the entire world of football, unanimously agreed to celebrate the centenary of the FIFA World Cup, whose first edition was played in Uruguay in 1930, in the most appropriate way.

“As a result, a celebration will take place in South America and three South American countries — Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay — will organise one match each of the FIFA World Cup 2030. The first of these three matches will of course be played at the stadium where it all began, in Montevideo’s mythical Estádio Centenário, precisely to celebrate the centenary edition of the FIFA World Cup.”

“The FIFA Council also agreed unanimously that the only bid to host the FIFA World Cup 2030 will be the joint bid of Morocco, Portugal and Spain,” the FIFA president added. “Two continents — Africa and Europe — united not only in a celebration of football but also in providing unique social and cultural cohesion. What a great message of peace, tolerance and inclusion.

“In 2030, we will have a unique global footprint, three continents — Africa, Europe and South America — six countries — Argentina, Morocco, Paraguay, Portugal, Spain and Uruguay — welcoming and uniting the world while celebrating together the beautiful game, the centenary and the FIFA World Cup.”

Saudi Arabia has targeted the 2034 edition and Australia also is interested after successfully co-hosting the Women’s World Cup this year with New Zealand.

The FIFA Council’s acceptance of a unified 2030 candidacy still needs formal approval next year at a meeting of the 211 member federations. That should be just a formality.

The 48-team, 104-game tournament scheduled for June-July 2030 is expected to start with games in Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay before the action moves to the core host nations Spain, Portugal and Morocco.

The South American co-host bid has been promoted since the 2018 World Cup in Russia and had included Chile, which was not mentioned Wednesday.

Ukraine also was added to the European bid a year ago at a news conference at UEFA headquarters in Switzerland. However, Ukraine has not been mentioned in official comments about the UEFA-backed bid this year.

The first 48-team men’s World Cup will be hosted in 2026 by the United States, Canada and Mexico.

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UK, Ireland sole bidder for Euro 2028 after Turkey withdraws

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The UK and Ireland will host Euro 2028 – subject to final approval from UEFA’s executive committee next week – after Turkey withdrew its interest.

The five-nation bid is now the only option on the table for the finals in five years’ time after Turkey pulled out of contention for the 2028 finals to focus on a joint bid with Italy for Euro 2032.

UEFA will formally announce the hosts for the two tournaments following a meeting of its executive committee in Switzerland next week.

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