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We have a modern sports administration in Lagos – Aiyepeku

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Sports administration has moved beyond the outdated rhetoric that characterizes the Nigerian system and inevitably leaves the country behind when results do not match inputs.

However, things have become different in Lagos over time, especially since the administration of Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu at the helm of the Lagos State Sports Commission is ensuring that round pegs are put in round holes.

The duo of Mr. Sola Aiyepeku, Executive Chairman and Mr. Oluwatoyin Gafaar, Director General of the Sports Commission are goal scorers and technocrats in sports administration.

There has been synergy between the Sports Commission and other stakeholders, both in the public and private sectors in order to drive the THEMES agenda of Governor Sanwo-Olu.

Chairman Aiyepeku gave an insight into how sports is being run in the Centre of Excellence on Wednesday when he was the guest of over 300 journalists covering the ongoing 7th National Youth Games in Asaba, Delta State. The Youth Games has witnessed a high influx of sporting media since its inception at the Asaba 2023.

Aiyepeku told the journalists that he was ready for any jab of questions from the sportswriters, as he knows his onions when it comes to facing the inquisitiveness of sporting media as he was on media practitioner.

The session at the media centre of the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba was very entertaining, informative and educative as some of the journalists later confessed to Independent News Express.

Aiyepek took the time to explain to the journalists how sports are practiced in Lagos State. According to him, the administration lacks the old-fashioned style.

He stressed that as an administrator who has seen it all in the world of sport and traveled near and far, he knows that modern ways of working deliver results.

He revealed how the Sports Commission has integrated over 400 games masters and mistresses from educational districts in Lagos State into a modern school sports system by given them retraining at a recent workshop.

“It was a kind of revolution because we showed them the best sports practices. Not only have we equipped them to carry out their active-duty duties, but we have also equipped them with knowledge so that they can be useful to the society and their families after their service,” Aiyepeku said.

He also revealed what the state is doing to ensure that no sport is left behind.

“We value development, which essentially means giving everyone a sense of belonging. We have also managed to separate and classify these sports so we can focus on the results.

“We don’t necessarily want to win at all costs like other states do, but we want to advance the development agenda. According to us at the Lagos State Sports Commission, we are not desperate as we see these youth games as a talent scouting program,” he added.

He said that the Sports Commission also places a strong emphasis on development, as many of Lagos’ athletes benefit from some form of grant to help them prepare for and compete in tournaments without stress.

Aiyepeku stressed that Lagos is a breeding ground for athletes and will continue to be at the forefront of ensuring the comprehensive development of athletes.

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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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