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Otukpo killings: BSFA mourns, postpones football related activities in Benue

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Following attacks and killings of unspecified number of people, including Policemen in Otukpo, by blood-thirsty armed robbers, the Benue State Football Association (BSFA) has announced the postponement of all football-related activities.

The suspension of its activities includes all scheduled FA Chairman’s Cup playoffs.

This was disclosed by the Secretary of BSFA, Dr. Iorngulum Malu, on Saturday morning.

Part of the statement reads, “Dear members of this great family, in line with the mourning mood of Benue State regarding the bank robbery attack that led to the killing of innocent people in Otukpo yesterday 20/10/2023, the Benue State Football Association in sympathy with the Government and the good people of Benue State has directed the suspension of all Football programmes in the State as the FA pray for the repose of the souls departed.”

Reacting, BSFA Chairman, Barr. Paul Edeh expressed shock over the destard act, which occurred on Friday, October 20, 2023.

Though the number of persons killed in the incident is yet to be officially ascertained, reports revealed that at least eight persons were killed during the armed robbery operation that lasted more than an hour.

“As a board, we are deeply saddened about the incident and to learn that security operatives on duty and innocent people struggling to earn a living were also killed bleeds my heart,” he said.

Barr. Edeh whose younger brother, Inspector Simon Edeh, a former personnel of the Nigeria Society and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) died recently while on duty along a federal highway, recalled his discussion three days ago with the Otukpo Divisional Police Officer, Mr. John Adikwu, who was incidentally part of those killed in the Friday robbery incident.

He said, “I spoke with DPO a few days ago, and I expressed my readiness to assist in repairing their operational vehicles, which he said were grounded due to lack of necessary repairs. We spoke for a few seconds yesterday when he called to give me feedback on the cost for the repairs of the vehicles in the inventory of the Otukpo Divisional Police Station, but we couldn’t speak much as I had requested that we talk later in the day.

Little did I know that I was speaking to him for the very last time. I called him severally when I heard of the unfortunate incedent, only to hear late in the night that he was part of the victims of the unfortunate attack. This is so disheartening.”

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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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