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Tonali admits placing bets on AC Milan in front of prosecutors

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Sandro Tonali has admitted to prosecutors that he placed bets on AC Milan games during his time at the club, according to a report.

The Newcastle star was interrogated by the Turin prosecutor’s office for almost three hours and, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport, he informed them that he placed bets on football games, including matches involving Milan.

That admission complicates the situation. He insists he did not place bets on Milan matches when he was playing and, if this claim is accepted, Tonali will not be charged with match-fixing as he would not have influenced a match.

However, the fact he gambled on his own team could result in a ban longer than three years from the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) prosecutor.

Tonali has also declared that he suffers from a gambling addiction, which means part of his punishment could be diverted to mandatory therapy sessions.

The Italy international will hope to receive a similar punishment to Juventus midfielder Nicolo Fagioli, who was sentenced to a seven month ban plus a fine and therapy.

The FIGC prosecutor’s office is not the only body looking into Tonali’s bets, though, as there is also a criminal investigation into his activities on the illegal gambling platform.

The 23-year-old risks a substantial fine for using unauthorised betting websites. Investigators will be able to compare what he said in his statement with what they found on his mobile phone and tablet, which were confiscated.

As well as Tonali and Fagioli, Aston Villa’s Nicolo Zaniolo has also been implicated in the betting scandal and faces a similar punishment.

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Manu Garba proud of Eaglets as team countenances Niger Republic

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Coach Manu Garba has asserted that he is proud of the Golden Eaglets after Thursday’s scoreless encounter with their Burkina Faso

Coach Manu Garba has asserted that he is proud of the Golden Eaglets after Thursday’s scoreless encounter with their Burkina Faso counterparts in the Group B opener of the WAFU B U17 Championship.

Five-time champions Nigeria created several scoring chances particularly late in the game at the Accra University Stadium, but failed to utilise even one that could have earned them the three points and handed them early leadership of the pool.

However, Garba said the boys played a cohesive game in their first-ever international outing and deserve credit for their display.

“We are proud of our team’s performance. Although we didn’t secure the win that we hoped for, our players showed great teamwork and sportsmanship. We look forward to our next match and the opportunity to continue growing and improving.

“The boys will get better with experience and exposure.”

Against the Burkinabes, the Eaglets showed flair and fluency, but a heavy downpour in the final 15 minutes of the game disrupted the general flow of play, with the pitch waterlogged and effective control and passing impossible.

The Golden Eaglets go up against their counterparts from the Niger Republic on Sunday evening (6pm Ghana time; 7pm Nigeria) with renewed hope and vigour to pick up the three points that will enhance their chances of a place in the last four.

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Dominican Republic 2024: Olowookere says girls focused on Burkina Faso, not Senegal

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Head Coach Bankole Olowookere has assured that the Nigeria U17 girls have their minds firmly trained on Saturday’s FIFA U17 Women’s World

Head Coach Bankole Olowookere has assured that the Nigeria U17 girls have their minds firmly trained on Saturday’s FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup qualifying match against their counterparts from Burkina Faso, and not on the final round of the qualifiers against either of Senegal and Liberia.

“We have one hurdle to cross before the final hurdle, and that is what we are thinking about. Yes, we know it would be either Senegal or Liberia in the final round, but we have to first get past the roadblock mounted by Burkina Faso.

“We threw away a lot of opportunities in the first leg. If we had converted those chances, we would be sleeping easy and thinking this is a formality match, but we did not. On Saturday, we must convert our chances and that can only be done by good presence of mind and focus.”

Olowookere led the Flamingos to third-place finish at the last edition of the global finals in India, and knows only victory on Saturday will propel his girls to a final round fixture that will present the opportunity for a return to the World Cup.

Senegal thrashed Liberia 3-1 in the first leg of their fixture in Dakar and look poised to be the team waiting in that final round.

On Thursday, the Flamingos received motivation from the NFF Technical Director, Coach Augustine Eguavoen and the CEO of Enugu Rangers FC, Barr. Amobi Ezeaku, who were both at the team’s training session.

Eguavoen said: “I’m pleased with what I have seen, and I can assure you that I will deliver my monetary gift to you after the match.” On his part, Ezeaku, who also expressed delight with the display of the girls at training, promised the team the sum of one million naira.

Saturday’s encounter at the MKO Abiola National Stadium will commence at 4.30pm. The first leg in Bamako last Saturday ended 1-1.

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Dominican Republic 2024: Olowookere sure of final hurdle ticket as Flamingos return

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Nigeria’s U17 girls, Flamingos, are back in the country following their FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup qualifying match against Burkina Faso’s U17 girls in Bamako, Mali on Saturday that ended in a 1-1 draw.

Head Coach Bankole Olowookere said on arrival in Abuja on Tuesday that the support of Nigerians based in Bamako helped put the Flamingos in the spirit during the first leg, and the tactician is calling on Nigerians based in Abuja and environs to storm the MKO Abiola National Stadium this Saturday to support the girls as they aim to stroll past the Burkinabes into the final round of the race.

“We appreciate the support of Nigerians for the Flamingos over the years, but we are calling especially for their support this weekend when we take on the Burkina Faso girls in the return leg of our qualifying fixture. The Flamingos will be ready to make the nation proud by winning to reach the last round of the qualification series.

“I have the players to do the job. All we are asking for is support from the stands. Our objective is to not only win the ticket but to go to the World Cup and surpass our last outing of third-place finish in India in 2022.”

Chidi Harmony scored for Nigeria in the 55th minute but poor communication in the defence led to Burkina Faso equalizing with six minutes left through Rainata Oubda.

Victory over the Burkinabes will set the Flamingos up for the final qualifying fixture, against the winner of the Senegal/Liberia fixture. The Senegalese lead 3-1 going into the second leg in Monrovia this weekend.

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