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Super Eagles missing Mikel Obi, Ndidi, Onazi in squad to face South Africa

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John Mikel Obi, Wilfred Ndidi and Ogenyi Onazi are some of the omissions as Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr calls up 23 players for next month’s crucial 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match with South Africa’s Bafana Bafana in Johannesburg.

Stand-in Captain, Ahmed Musa and 22 others will all prosecute the friendly encounter against the Cranes of Uganda at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba three days laters.

Midfielder Mikel Agu, who played some part in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, and home –based defender for FC IfeanyiUbah, Adeleye Olamilekan Aniyikaye are called, as well as former U17 World Cup – winning forward Victor Osimhen who returns after a long time out, with another U17 World Cup winning forward Samuel Chukwueze earning a first call.

Aside these names, Rohr retains the bulk of the group that decimated Libya’s Mediterranean Knights over two legs earlier this month.

Midfielder Ndidi, who is ineligible for the match after bagging yellow cards in the away matches against Seychelles and Libya, has been left out. Captain Mikel Obi and Onazi are uncalled too.

Francis Uzoho and Ikechukwu Ezenwa are among three goalkeepers; Olaoluwa Aina, William Ekong, Leone Balogun and Kenneth Omeruo are included among eight defenders; Oghenekaro Etebo and John Ogu are listed among three midfielders and; Ahmed Musa, Odion Ighalo, Samuel Kalu and Alex Iwobi are among nine forwards. Henry Onyekuru and Junior Lokosa are listed among five standby players.

Nigeria, top of the Group E of the series with nine points battle eight –pointer and second –placed South Africa at the FNB Stadium, Johannesburg on Saturday, 17th November in one of the Matchday 5 fixtures.

Victory in the top-of-the-table encounter will automatically send the Eagles to the finals in Cameroon, with the second ticket in Group E to be down to a fierce call between the Bafana and the Knights.

THE FULL LIST

Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (Elche FC, Spain); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Enyimba FC); Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United, South Africa)

Defenders: Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy); Adeleye Aniyikaye (FC IfeanyiUbah); Semi Ajayi (Rotherham United, England); Bryan Idowu (Lokomotiv Moscow, Russia); William Ekong (Udinese FC, Italy); Leon Balogun (Brighton & Hove Albion, England); Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Jamilu Collins (SC Padeborn 07, Germany)

Midfielders: Oghenekaro Etebo (Stoke City FC, England); John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel); Mikel Agu (Vitoria Setubal FC, Portugal)

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Al Nasr FC, Saudi Arabia); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Moses Simon (Levante FC, Spain); Victor Osimhen (Royal Charleroi SC, Belgium); Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai, China); Alex Iwobi (Arsenal FC, England); Samuel Kalu (Bordeaux FC, France); Isaac Success (Watford FC, England); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal FC, Spain)

Standby: Henry Onyekuru (Galatasaray SK, Turkey); Chidozie Awaziem (FC Porto, Portugal); Nyima Nwagua (Kano Pillars FC); Sunday Adetunji (Enyimba FC); Junior Lokosa (Kano Pillars FC), Musa Muhammed (HNK Gorica, Croatia).

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The astronomical rise of the English Premier League and Sports Betting

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Football is certainly the number one sports in the world and accounts for over a billion followership worldwide. Football is not just huge because of it’s amazing following all over the world but it is also a money spinner in many ways.

The FIFA world cup is football’s premier event world and according to a report from the New York Times, the 2018 world cup staged in Russia saw the World football governing body raking in over $6.1 billion. The revenue source for FIFA includes gate takings and sponsorship and partnerships with some of the biggest companies and franchise in the world. The thirty-two countries that participated shared over $400 million in prize money.

While FIFA’s stream of income is mainly dependent on its periodic tournaments, the European leagues are fast becoming cash cows for their countries. The German Bundesliga, French Ligue One, Italian Serie A, the Spanish La Liga, and the English Premier league are the elite leagues that have attracted cult followership all across the globe. The UEFA champions league which is an annual tourney to determine the numero uno amongst all the top European clubs is the icing on the cake that has made European football a mecca of sorts.

But over the last two decades, the meteoric rise of the English premier league has continued to astound followers of the round leather game. The Premier League is the biggest in terms of revenue generated, followership all around the world and TV viewership. English clubs like Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, and Liverpool have a worldwide fan base that accounts for 600 million people in 200 countries watching via TV and the internet every weekend.

Premier League TV tights games for the 2019-2022 was sold for £4.464bn to Sky Sports and BT sports with the remaining batch of TV rights still to be contested for. Social media giants like Facebook and Amazon are locked in a hot contest to acquire the remaining tranche of the rights. This is a pointer to the fact that the premier league is going to be on top of league football for many years to come.

But what is the reason for the astronomical rise of England’s Premier League? It’s quite simple actually. It’s down to what I call democracy. In England, revenues are shared from top to bottom irrespective of your actual contribution or position at the end of the season. Every club gets a chunk of revenues from domestic and international TV rights. This sets England apart from all the other leagues. In the other leagues, a larger chunk of the revenue generated from TV rights is shared by just the top teams such as what is evident in the Spanish LA Liga, where the top teams Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Atletico Madrid take a significant portion and just some few million Euros is shared among the lower cadre. What this means is that while all the clubs in England have enough money to develop their facilities and also court some of the best players anywhere in the world, only the top teams can afford to do that in other parts of Europe.

In England, the best of the best converge. This makes the league competitive. At the start of every season, the top six clubs- Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea, and Tottenham Hotspur have a chance of winning the league. In the last ten seasons, no one club has won the league back to back. This is not the case in other parts of Europe. Juventus has all but won the Scudetto for the seventh time in a row. In Spain, Barcelona is on course to win the domestic double for the second successive season. Bayern Munich looks likely to win it’s fifth Bundesliga title. The other leagues are not as competitive as the English premier league.

English clubs also boast of some of the best sporting facilities in the world. Tottenham Hotspur just moved into its £1billion stadium at White Hart Lane. Theatre of Dreams, Manchester United’s home ground sits a capacity of over 70, 000 and many other home grounds of these clubs serve as opportunities to hit multiple streams of income such as season tickets and stadium tours. English football fans can go any length to support their clubs including paying huge amounts to watch their team play live and also buy club memorabilia. This is why the English premier league is first among equals.

One industry which is profiting from the growth and spread of football is sports betting. The growth of sports betting has further been fuelled by an increasingly globalized world and rapid internet penetration. Countries like Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda, Senegal, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Tanzania are seeing a huge expansion in sports betting and other forms of gambling. While there is an influx of sports betting company, just a few have been able to set the pace with best practices and nice betting experience. One of such online sports company is NetBet.

NetBet Sport is an online bookmaker specializing in sports betting.

NetBet which was established in 2001 is considered to be one of the largest and prestigious gaming enterprises in Europe because of its array of unique products ranging from sports, casino, live casino, games, poker and lottery. It’s consistently and attention to details has made it one of the go-to site for online gaming.

NetBet’s reputation is built on a fair and safe-playing experience which guards against scam and fraudulent transactions. NetBet has gambling licenses from the United Kingdom and Malta and this shows that there is no room for fraud or any other hand dealings.

NetBet has continued to set the pace in the online gaming industry by introducing eye-popping innovations and unique product offering. Its comprehensive sportsbook is very popular. There is also a unique innovative lottery section that sees live draws take place every few minutes, as well as the poker client – which offers cash games and tournaments

With over 450 games available to play on site, and with reputable firms such as Playtech, NetEntertainment, Amaya, iSoftBet, Aristocrat and High5Games providing software for NetBet, the world is getting better for online gamers.

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Milan hierarchy keeps faith in Gennaro Gattuso

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AC Milan manager Gennaro Gattuso is believed to have met with the hierarchy of the club after the Spal game, and they reaffirmed their faith in him.

Gennaro Gattuso at his unveiling as Milan manager

The Rossoneri signed off for the winter break with a win, a result the Coach badly needed after four games in a row without even scoring.

According to Sky, Leonardo, Paolo Maldini and new CEO Ivan Gazidis held a meeting with Gattuso after the match.

The directors reiterated their faith in the Coach, with Maldini and Leonardo having done so publicly on Friday.

Despite rumours, there has never been any doubt about Gattuso and he’ll continue in his post this new year.

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14 football records being hunted in 2019

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215 goals is the Chilean Primera Division record Francisco Valdes has held since the early 1980s. Pedro Gonzalez (213) fell just short of eclipsing it before his 2006 retirement, but now 38-year-old Colo-Colo striker Esteban Paredes (210) is on its brink.

Abby Wambach

184 goals is the international football record, belonging to former USA striker Abby Wambach, Canada’s Christine Sinclair (177) is closing in on. The 34-year-old hit 11, 16, eight and ten goals respectively in each of the past four FIFA Women’s World Cup years. Sinclair could also become the first men’s or women’s footballer to score an international goal in 20 calendar years.

175 goals is the English top-flight record for a foreign player, held by Thierry Henry. Sergio Aguero began 2019 with 152 to his name.

122 goals in an Eredivisie season is the record Ajax, aided by 33 from Johan Cruyff, have held since 1966/67. Ajax aces Hakim Ziyech, Dusan Tadic and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, and PSV stars Hirving Lozano, Gaston Pereiro, Steven Bergwijn and Luuk de Jong, have helped their clubs score 60 goals in the first 17 rounds of 2018/19.

72 years have passed since a country won three consecutive Copa Americas – a statistic Chile will strive to shift at Brazil 2019. Alfredo Di Stefano, Angel Labruna, Jose Manuel Moreno, Felix Loustau, Norberto Mendez and Adolfo Pedernera helped Argentina become the first and only nation to win three in a row between 1945 and ’47.

50 appearances at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup is what Mao (46) could become the first player to reach at Paraguay 2019. The Brazil goalkeeper could, nevertheless, lose the distinction of being the tournament’s most-capped player to Portugal’s Alan.

20 assists in a La Liga season – set by Xavi in 2008/09 – is the record Lionel Messi’s extraordinary invention is threatening. ‘The Atomic Flea’ has ten to his name after 17 of 38 rounds.

14 consecutive top-tier titles is what Belarussians BATE Borisov could make it in 2018 to tie the European record shared by Latvians Skonto Riga (1991-2004) and Gibraltarians Lincoln Red Imps (2003-16). Vanuatu’s Tafea hold the world record: 15 in succession.

10 is the number of successive Women’s World Cup matches that Japan have scored in. The tournament record is the 15 games Norway netted in between 1991 and ’99.

9 German Bundesliga crowns is what Franck Ribery could become the first player to pocket. The 35-year-old Frenchman currently shares the record with Mehmet Scholl, Oliver Kahn, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Philipp Lahm. Bayern Munich are, however, six points behind leaders Borussia Dortmund at the halfway stage.

8 consecutive top-flight titles in Europe’s big five leagues is what Gigi Buffon will become the first player to reach if he follows up seven straight Scudetti with Juventus by helping Paris Saint-Germain win Ligue 1. Gregory Coupet, Sidney Govou and Juninho Pernambucano won seven successive titles with Lyon from 2002 to ’08.

7 World Cups is what Formiga is in line to become the first player – male or female – to play in. The Brazil midfielder, who turns 41 in March, could also become the second player in their 40s to score in a men’s or women’s global finals.

6 straight UEFA Champions League trophies will have gone to Spain if Atletico Madrid, Barcelona or Real Madrid triumph in the Wanda Metropolitano decider. It would equal the European Cup/Champions League record held by England, thanks to Liverpool (thrice), Nottingham Forest (twice) and Aston Villa keeping the trophy between 1977 and ’82.

0 players have won the English, Italian and Spanish top flights, with Cristiano Ronaldo set to become the first if Juventus conquer Serie A. The 33-year-old is also bidding to become the second player to win the Champions League with three different clubs after Clarence Seedorf (Ajax, Real Madrid and AC Milan).

(c) fifa.com

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Asaba to host Nigeria/Egypt friendly

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The capital city of Delta State, Asaba has been confirmed by the Nigeria Football Federation as the venue for the friendly match between the Super Eagles and the Pharaohs of Egypt in March.

The Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, Delta State.

The two sides have already secured qualification to the 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) and will play a friendly on March 26, 2019 at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, Delta State after their last AFCON qualifying games in March.

It is understood that the decision to play the friendly in Asaba was taken after the NFF reached an understanding with the Delta State government who promised to underwrite a substantial chunk of the match costs.

The friendly will take place four days after the Eagles take on Seychelles in their final Group E AFCON Qualifier at the same venue where they were held to a goalless draw by the Cranes of Uganda in November 2018.

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