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More wins for Naija Ratels, Edo Queens as Elegbeleye storms 6th Sheroes Cup, hails organisers



The Chairman of the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL), Hon. Gbenga Elegbeleye, was a Special Guest on Monday morning at the ongoing 2023 Sheroes Cup tournament in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

Hon. Elegbeleye who is the 2nd Vice President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) was on ground early on Matchday 3 of the 6th edition of the tournament at Area 3 Play Ground.

At the end of Monday’s hostilities, Honey Badgers played out a 2-2 draw against new Nigeria Women Football Football League (NWFL) Premiership side Sunshine Queens, while Edo Queens, former Sheroes Cup Champions walloped new NWFL entrants Dannaz Ladies 5-0.

Another NWFL Premier League club Naija Ratels whip debutants Ekiti Queens 3-0 in the pre-season tournament expected to end on Friday, October 13, 2023.

The results so far have shown that Edo Queens and Naija Ratels have won two out of two matches in the competition, formerly known as Flying Officer’s Cup.

This is as the Ratel Sports Development Foundation (RSDF), organisers of the pre-season competition, announced and gave out 10 free top quality branded footballs to each of the participating women clubs. 

Presenting the balls, Hon. Elegbeleye thrilled by the top organisation of the tournament vis-a-vis high-grade display by young talented players, singled out RSDF President, Barr. Paul Edeh, for peculiar commendation.

The seasoned Football Administrator and former Director-General of the National Sports Commission particularly acknowledged Barr. Edeh for continuously spending personal resources in uplifting mostly women’s football in Nigeria.

He said, “I came here as a mark of solidarity to a friend I know who is investing so much in Women’s football in this country. He is also Chairman of the Benue State Football Association which is doing so great among his peers.

“I’m very sure that the sponsor of this competition is not making any money, but he is spending so much from his personal earnings to keep this afloat. This is the kind of character the Nigerian football needs to grow… this is very lovely and I’m sure other spirited Nigerians will emulate what you are doing to help women’s football.”

While also expressing further delight that the tournament has remained a reference point in any of the country’s private-driven football initiatives, Hon. Elegbeleye reasoned that “the World is in dire need of those who will help promote women football and assist in making our women not be prey to unscrupulous characters in the society.

“I’m so impressed with the way the competition is organised with top-level officiating by referees who take part in the officiating at the Premier League. To me, it’s another pre-season tune-up for even the referees, apart from the various participating teams. This is the best way to prepare for the November 15 kick-off of the upcoming NWFL Premier League.

“I’m so happy, especially with the quality of young talented players who are taking part in the tournament. These are players who can fit into any of our national teams, be it U17, U20 and even the Super Falcons.”

Earlier, Barr Edeh who congratulated the participating clubs for putting up outstanding performances so far, said aside the donated footballs, jerseys will be given to all teams before the end of the competition.

“As it’s the tradition, we usually deem it fit that the clubs participating should be given apparel, balls and other souvenirs that will help them as they prepare for the opening of the League season.

“Consistently, we have been providing jerseys, balls and other training equipment for the participating clubs in the past editions. Today also, we are making available a minimum of 10 balls to each club and we are hoping that these balls will help the clubs prepare ahead of the November 15 league kick-off.”

From the kick-off of this year’s edition of the Sheroes Cup, there has been an influx of top dignitaries in the country’s football circle who came and watched matches unfold.

Among them is the NWFL Chairperson, Ms. Nkechi Obi, Chairman of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Referees Committee, Mrs Faith Irabor and Super Falcons captain Onome Ebi.


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 Lamine Yamal gets new jersey number at Barcelona



Hours after reports emerged regarding Lamine Yamal’s new shirt number at Barcelona, the club have officially confirmed that the teenage sensation will wear the No. 19 jersey next season.

The 17-year-old wonderkid wore No. 27 last season as he was still with a youth contract at the club.

But earlier this month, Barça confirmed his official registration as a first-team member with La Liga, which warranted a new squad number for the youngster.

There were speculations that Yamal could wear the No. 10 shirt but he has opted against it out of respect for Ansu Fati, who is back at Barça after a loan stint.

There was talk of him taking the No. 17 shirt vacated after Marcos Alonso’s exit, but Yamal has opted for No. 19 – a shirt that a certain Lionel Messi also wore in the early stages of his career at Barcelona.

Vitor Roque wore it briefly last season after arriving in January. Prior to that, players like Franck Kessie, Ferran Torres, Sergio Aguero, and Martin Braithwaite donned the No. 19 kit.

Yamal wore No. 19 with the Spanish national team as they won the UEFA Euro 2024 in Germany last week and will now wear it with the club as well.

With Yamal now taking over the No. 19 kit, Roque will have to change his shirt number, provided that he stays amid rumours of a departure.



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Luka Modric, 38, signs new Real Madrid contract



Real Madrid extended Luka Modric’s contract on Wednesday, bringing the Croatia midfielder back for a 13th season with the club.

Madrid said it and Modric agreed to extend the player’s contract until June 2025.

One of Madrid’s captains, Modric didn’t play as often as a starter this season but is expected to have a greater role in Carlo Ancelotti’s midfield after the retirement of Toni Kroos.

He has won 26 titles with Madrid, the most in club history along with defender Nacho Fernández. Among those are six Champions Leagues and four Spanish leagues.

“Modric arrived at Real Madrid in 2012, and in his 12 seasons representing our shirt he has become a Real Madrid and world football legend,” Madrid said.

Modric won won the Ballon d’Or, the FIFA Player of the Year Award and was named UEFA Player of the Year in 2018, when he led Croatia to a runner-up finish at the World Cup.

Modric has made 178 appearances with Croatia and is the nation’s all-time record-holder for international caps. He has made 534 appearances for Madrid, having scored 39 goals.



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Inside Gareth Southgate’s decision to quit as England boss after Euro 2024 nightmare



Albeit briefly, there was a theory that Gareth Southgate might stay on after all.‌ Let’s not forget this was the manager who had led England

Albeit briefly, there was a theory that Gareth Southgate might stay on after all.

‌Let’s not forget this was the manager who had led England to their first ever major final on foreign soil and the Football Association were desperate for him to remain in charge. And then came the fall-out. You would have to have been marooned on Mars to have avoided it.

The anger, bile and disappointment in the wake of England’s defeat in the Euros final. There was no way back. Southgate had insisted he was going to talk things through with his family on Monday night as he was in no mood to make a snap decision.

By 11am on Tuesday, the farewell statements were issued. Never mind that Southgate, in his eight years in charge, had gone to the latter stages of more tournaments than Sir Bobby Robson, Terry Venables and Glenn Hoddle combined.

‌Or that Southgate had won nine knockout games during his tenure when England had won a grand total of seven in their previous years. England expects. And that is why they call it the Impossible Job.

No manager since Sir Alf Ramsey has come closer to ending 58 years of hurt than Southgate. England’s men have won just one major trophy – the 1966 World Cup at Wembley – and yet they were expected to play Spain off the park, win it in style and then lift the World Cup in two years’ time.

Instead, Southgate was accused of being over cautious, restricting world class talents like Jude Bellingham, Harry Kane and Phil Foden and holding England back. Holding them back? They have quickly forgotten the failures of the Golden Generation when Sven Goran Eriksson could not get past the quarter final stage with Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard, Gary Neville, Steven Gerrard, John Terry and Rio Ferdinand.

‌The players who flopped in major tournaments in the 1970s, 80s and 90s are the same ones who are now on TV slamming Southgate. This has been a golden era for England under Southgate. But, in reality, Southgate should have gone after Qatar. That was in his head.

It turned sour after Hungary in the Nations League at Molineux. He nearly announced in the autumn of 2022 he was going after the World Cup – and changed his mind. He then did soul searching after Qatar, thought about going and then decided to stay.

‌Looking at his body language in Germany, he was every bit as tired and exhausted as some of his players in the Euros. Just look at the season Declan Rice has had. Was he at his best? Of course not. He was shattered.

‌The same goes for Southgate who had reached the end of his tether. Going into the tournament, those around the camp felt he was going come what may. Then the conversation was that if he won it, he might yet stay on and oversee the World Cup.

That proved to be hypothetical in the end. But I think he would have quit even if they had won the Euros. Or, put another way, especially if they had won the Euros. What a chance to say: thanks, we did it – and now two fingers up to you lot!

The England job is so tough and unforgiving. Even in his departure, Southgate showed class by singling out the England fans – some of them have pilloried him, others have chucked beer cups and yet, ultimately, we are all them. Including Southgate.

‌Southgate said in his statement : “We have the best fans in the world, and their support has meant the world to me. I’m an England fan and I always will be. I look forward to watching and celebrating as the players go on to create more special memories and to connect and inspire the nation as we know they can.”

‌Southgate has done a remarkable job in his 102 games in charge. Summed up in his statement as he bid his farewells.‌ He added: “I have had the privilege of leading a large group of players in 102 games.

“Every one of them has been proud to wear the Three Lions on their shirts, and they have been a credit to their country in so many ways. The squad we took to Germany is full of exciting young talent and they can win the trophy we all dream of.

‌“I am so proud of them, and I hope we get behind the players and the team at St. George’s Park and The FA who strive every day to improve English football, and understand the power football has to drive positive change.”

-Mirror Football


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