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Nasarawa State: Governor Sule Visits NFF, Seeks Collaboration For Football Development

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In his relentless pursuit to make Nasarawa State the home of sports in Nigeria, Nasarawa State Governor, Engr. Abdullahi Sule, has voiced his desire to partner with the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, in the aspect of football, in order to harness the pool of talents that abound in the solid minerals’ State for job creation and development.

The Governor echoed this when he undertook a historic visit to the leadership of the NFF headed by Ibrahim Musa Gusau, at the Federation’s Secretariat in Abuja on Friday.

According to the Governor, “I am here to sincerely congratulate you, Alh. Ibrahim Musa Gusau, on your emergence as President of the Nigeria Football Federation at the last NFF election held in Benin City, Edo State.

“Your victory is due to your contributions, not only to football, but to sports in this country.

“I thank you for the good job that you have been doing, along with your team, because since you came on board, we have continued to see positive changes happening in the football cycle.

“Equally, too, I want to congratulate you and the NFF leadership for the wonderful performance of our Senior Women’s Football Team, The Super Falcons, at the recently concluded FIFA Women’s World Cup co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia, as well as the qualification of the Super Eagles for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast. We hope to see wonderful results like these in the future.

“But most importantly, I wish to inform you that we have a lot of talents in Nasarawa State.

“Since I assumed office as Governor, I have been trying my best to bring out those hidden talents, having spent most of my life in the private sector.

“In Nasarawa State, we are doing the best we can to catch those talents young which was what necessitated my visit

“We are seeking your support in this area to ensure that we continue to support our young people to show interest in football because sports is no longer for recreation, but a huge business, and this depends on the way you approach it.

“Coming from the business background, I want to ensure that sports really mean business in Nasarawa State.

“However, for us to get to that level, we have to invest. I am happy to inform you that the investment started with our stadium which has been completed now.

“That Stadium was one of the reasons Nasarawa United got relegated, when it was undergoing renovation. But now, I am on my feet to ensure that this relegation doesn’t proceed beyond one season, because we don’t belong to where we are now; we have to move back to where we belong, which is the top-flight league.”

Sule further appreciated the leadership of the NFF for appointing some illustrious sons and daughter of Nasarawa State into various Boards and Committees of the Nigeria Football Federation, among whom are Hon. Silas Agara(NLO Board Chairman); Barr. Isaac Danladi(Vice Chairman, Legal Committee), and Hajiya Hussaina Suleiman Nagogo(Vice Chairman, NWFL Board) as well as Abraham Danladi(Member, Referees’ Committee).

In his response, President of the NFF, Ibrahim Musa Gusau, thanked the Governor for the visit.

He said the Governor’s act was an indication that he is sincere and passionate about sports and its development in Nasarawa State and country at large.

“From what you have said, Your Excellency, you have demonstrated that you are always a part of whatever that’s happening in our sports.

“I wish to express our profound gratitude for this visit. I am happy to hear that under your dispensation, to whom much is given, much is expected.

“We have been following up on all you have been doing in Nasarawa State in the area of sports, especially football.

“I am like a son of Nasarawa State when it comes to football, because I love coming to see what is going on there.

“I am glad to also hear that the Lafia City Stadium is now completed and ready for use.

“Why Government continues to invest in sports is to make sure the youth see, feel and use what the Government is doing.

“What we promised Nigerians in our pre-election manifestoes, we are doing everything humanly possible to achieve them and change the narratives, and this is the only way to attract investors.

“We hope Your Excellency will continue to support Nasarawa United so that they can return to where they belong and that requires the full support of everyone in the State and beyond.

“As regards indigenes of Nasarawa State who were appointed into the various Boards and Committees of the NFF, we felt we needed their wealth of experience to help the Federation grow higher.

“Whatever we are going to do, we won’t leave Nasarawa State behind. It’s the first door we will knock before going anywhere, as things stand now.

“This gesture of Your Excellency shows that you are a part of us. We assure you that we will treat you as our leader, brother and partner in progress, and will continue to seek your vast experience to enable us succeed, just like we are ready to support you, especially through the development of grassroots football, alliance with the Ministry of Youth and Sports in the State and the local Football Association, to achieve your lofty goals for Nasarawa State and Nigeria.

“On behalf of the entire Board, Management and Staff of the NFF, I want to thank Your Excellency for this historic visit, and we hope this relationship continues.”

Among members in the Governor’s delegation included Hon. Jafaru Ango (Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development), Barr. Isaac Danladi (Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Sports Development), Mallam Yusuf Mai-Angwa(SSA, Abuja Liaison Office), Hon. James Thomas (Executive Chairman, Karu Local Government Area), Hajiya Hussaina Suleiman Nagogo(Chairperson, Nasarawa Amazons FC), and Abraham Danladi.

Other members of the NFF delegation comprised Dr. Emmanuel Ekpeme (Deputy Secretary-general), Ruth David (Director, Competitions), Barr. Sylvanus Okey Obi (Director, Legal), Rajan Jaka (Deputy Director, Accounts), and Abubakar Barde (SSA to the NFF President).

It was the first time, in many years, that a sitting State Governor would pay an official visit to the leadership of the NFF at its Secretariat.

Highpoint of the visit was the presentation of a customized National Team Jersey to the Governor by the NFF President in his office.

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Xavi faces sack at Barcelona

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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

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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

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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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