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NPFL: Nasarawa State Govt Drums Support For Lobi Stars Ahead Abia Warriors Tie In Lafia

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In shared solidarity, the Nasarawa State Government has continued to show support to border neighbours, Benue State, as the latter State’s men’s football team, Lobi Stars, use the Lafia City Stadium for their 2023/24 Nigeria Premier Football League Season home games.

After receiving unprecedented support from indigenes and residents of the State a fortnight ago in Lobi’s 3-2 win over visiting Sunshine Stars of Akure in the NPFL match-day two clashes, the Nasarawa State’s Government continues to strengthen the bond that binds both States together with the surprise visit of the State’s Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Hon. Jafaru Ango, alongside other top Government functionaries to the evening training session of the “Yes Father” Boys, as Lobi Stars are nicknamed, at the Lafia City Stadium on Thursday ahead of their match-day four encounters against Abia Warriors FC on Saturday, 21st October 2023, in Lafia.

Addressing the team, the Commissioner, Jafaru Ango, said Nasarawa and Benue States share many things in common, including sports.

“Politics aside, Nasarawa and the Benue States are one. We were all together before the creation of States, and you can testify to this by the mixture of ethnicities and cultures that exist in both States; you find some of your people here, so also some of our people there, as well as the cultures.

“Recently, your State Governor, His Excellency, Hyacinth Alia, wrote a letter to our Governor, Engr. Abdullahi Sule, requested the release of the Lafia City Stadium to enable Lobi Stars to play their home games here, and the Governor graciously granted the request.

“Today, you have adopted the Lafia City Stadium as your home for the 2023/24 NPFL Season, the same place that our dear Clubs, Nasarawa United and Nasarawa Amazons use as their home ground.

“Ordinarily, one would have said the pressure would be much on the turf, but we are brothers, and we must be seen to be supporting each other to achieve our common goals.

“We want to see Lobi Stars succeed and even win the League on our turf, which would be historic, because not many teams could win the league on a make-shift venue, and we hope that that will spur our team, Nasarawa United, to return to the elite domestic football league.

“In your first home game here, some high-profile dignitaries from your State were here, including the Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly, my friend, the Commissioner for Youth, Sports and Creativity, a House of Assembly Member, and other personalities, and I think they didn’t regret the reception they got from the Government and people of Nasarawa State.

“We are going to do more for Lobi Stars and Benue State here because a portion of our State’s Anthem talks about ‘passion, loyalty, peace and unity’.

“So, feel at home here; Nasarawa State is your home. We will continue to garner the needed support for the team and State to excel.”

Validating the position of the Commissioner, Permanent Secretary, Nasarawa State Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Chief Barr. Isaac Danladi said it was the shared bonds between the two States that made it possible for the allocation of the venue as the home ground for Lobi Stars.

He revealed that Benue State had shown similar solidarity to Nasarawa State when the Lafia City Stadium was undergoing renovation as both Nasarawa United and Nasarawa Amazons used the Aper Aku Stadium, Makurdi, for their home matches in the past, and had success in their various leagues.

Danladi noted that Benue State and her people have continued to close ties with Nasarawa State in myriads of ways, emphasizing the concrete relationship he has been enjoying with Lobi Stars’ Vice Chairman cum Chief Executive Officer, Dominic Iorfa, and other worthy Benue indigenes.

He wished the Club well in their sojourn in Nasarawa State, and hoped that the Benue State Government would speed up the completion of the renovation work at the Aper Aku Stadium in Makurdi.

Responding, Lobi Stars’ Captain, Daniel Atsaka, appreciated the Nasarawa State delegation for the visit.

He acknowledged that the support his team has been getting from their host State is the reason for their current performance in the league and would spur them to outperform their outings in the previous seasons.

He specifically commended the Permanent Secretary, Chief Barr. Isaac Danladi, for always checking up on the team to ensure everything is intact and in accordance with the mandate of the Club and League Organizers.

Other members of the Nasarawa State delegation included Rt. Hon. Shuaibu Sani(SSA to Governor Abdullahi Sule on Youth and Students’ Affairs), Comr. Hamza Moyi Awe(SSA to Governor Abdullahi Sule on Sports Affairs), Lawrence Shammah (Director, Sports Organizing), Mustapha Isa(Director, Administration and Supplies, Ministry of Youth and Sports Development), Abdul Yakubu Balarabe(Director, Finance and Accounts, Ministry of Youth and Sports Development), Haruna Viba(Director, Youth Development), Hajiya Hussaina Suleiman Nagogo(Chairperson, Nasarawa Amazons FC), Hajiya Fatima Yamusa(Head of Audit, Ministry of Youth and Sports Development) and Comr. Ja’afar Loko(Chairman, National Youth Council of Nigeria, Nasarawa State Chapter).

The match between Lobi Stars versus Abia Warriors FC will be held at the Lafia City Stadium on Saturday, 21st October, 2023, by 4pm, with supporters and fans encouraged to troop out en masse to cheer the host team to victory.

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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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