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Big Blow For Nigeria As Victor Osimhen Is Ruled Out Of AFCON 2021

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Big Blow As Victor Osimhen Is Ruled Out Of 2021 Africa Cup Of Nations

Nigeria have been dealt a major blow as Victor Osimhen has been ruled out of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations through injury.

The youngster was forced off injured during the Parthenopeans’ 3-2 Serie A defeat to Inter Milan on Sunday evening at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza.

Following a clash of heads with defender Milan Skriniar, he could not complete the game and was replaced by Andrea Petagna four minutes before the hour mark.

The Italian top-flight side, in a statement published on their website, has since revealed how long the former Wolfsburg and Lille player would spend on the sidelines.

READ ALSO: Ibrahimovic Explains Why He Barge Would Azpilicueta Again

“On Tuesday morning, Victor Osimhen was operated on his cheekbone and eye socket by Gianpaolo Tartaro, who was assisted by Dr Mario Santagata with Dr Raffaele Canonico also present,” it read.

“Titanium plates and screws were used in the operation. The player is doing well and will remain under observation for the next few days.

“Osimhen is expected to return to action in three months.”

If this is anything to go by, Osimhen will not be ready as Gernot Rohr’s side bids to win the biennial African football showpiece for the fourth time in Cameroon.

The Lagos-born striker played a key role in Nigeria’s qualification for the 2022 Fifa World Cup play-offs. Aside from his exploits in Italy, he has scored nine goals in his last ten matches for the three-time African Champions in all competitions.

Also, he will miss at least 16 Serie A fixtures for the Naples-based team – starting with Sunday’s showdown at Lazio.

Before the showdown against Inter, legendary defender Giuseppe Bergomi warned the Black and Blues to raise their defensive line when they come face to face with the African star.

“That the whole department can go into crisis due to Osimhen’s revs. They will have to raise the defensive line and there, in those spaces, he can hurt,” Bergomi said as quoted by Stylo24.

READ ALSO: Dembele, Dest Back In Barcelona Squad To Face Benfica

“On the other hand, he [Osimhen] just needs a long throw that he leaves and you don’t catch him anymore. I still remember that at the beginning Spalletti told me that he still had to grow, but now I see that he has found sensitivity in playing the ball on the ground.

“Osimhen. It is one that allows you to play with even lower defence, because when you throw it and go. Like Inter did last year with Lukaku.”

 

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FG Approves January For National Sports Festival 

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Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun

The Federal Government has approved January, 2025 as the official date for the 22nd edition of the National Sports Festival, tagged “Gateway Games, Ogun 2024.”

In a communique released after the first National Council on Sports, held at the Old Government Lodge, Abakaliki Road, Enugu, Enugu State, the Minister of Sports Development, Sen. John Owan Enoh extolled the government of Ogun State for its commitment to the successful hosting of the festival.

He noted that the National Sports Festival plays a vital role in national unity, as it would also increase the socio-economic growth for the sustainable development of the state and the country in general.

The minister also urged the federal and state governments to bid and host national and international sports competitions to fast-track the growth of sports in the country.

He urged all key stakeholders to play active roles towards the successful hosting of the Gateway Games, saying the Council of Sports is in support of the establishment of Sports Development and Investment Fund (NSIDF) with its attendant benefits for driving sports development in Nigeria.

While fielding questions from journalists shortly after the meeting, Ogun State Commissioner for Sports Development, Hon. Wasiu Isiaka revealed that the state government is ready to host the National Sports Festival.

He submitted that the NSF has the ability to bring people together, to foster teamwork and cooperation and instil values of discipline and perseverance in humans, and encourage the vast youthful population in the state to embrace the power of sports in community development.

He stated further that targeted funding and incentives are crucial for driving grassroots sports engagements and ensuring the sustainability of sports programmes in the state.

“Through the power of sports, we have the opportunity to come together, forge connections, and celebrate our shared humanity. We are leveraging  the Building Our Future Together Agenda, of the Governor, to develop sports at the grassroots,” he said.

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Barcelona Shows Xabi The Exit Door

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By John Michael Ojo

Spanish football giant, Barcelona has relieved Xavi Hernandez of his role as the head coach of the club.

This was revealed by the club via its official website on Friday.

The statement reads in part: “Today Friday, FC Barcelona President Joan Laporta has informed Xavi Hernández that he will not be continuing as first team coach in the 2024-25 season.

READ ALSO: Ten Times Barcelona Suffered Heavy Defeats In Champions League Since 2017

“FC Barcelona wishes to thank Xavi for his work as coach, as well as for his inimitable career as a player and as team captain, and wishes him every future success in the world.

“Xavi Hernández will be coaching the team for the last time in Sunday’s game away to Sevilla.”

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Lookman Shines As Atlanta Ends Leverkusen’s Unbeaten Run

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By John Michael Ojo

It was a sensational night for Nigeria Super Eagles forward, Ademola Lookman, who scored a hat-trick to help guide his Italian side, Atalanta to its first-ever Europa League trophy in 61 years after a 3-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday night.

The win also ended the Germans side unbeaten run in all competitions this season after 51 games.

The Bundesliga champions led by former Liverpool and Real Madrid playmaker, Xabi Alonso, had gone unbeaten all through the season, and had become the first team in the German topflight to finish the league season without a defeat.

However, the defeat now means that Alonso’s hope of securing an unbeaten treble this season with the German Cup final yet to be played has now been dashed.

The game which was heavily dominated by the Italian side had Nigeria stars including Victor Boniface and Nathan Tella in action for Leverkusen and Ademola Lookman who was the star of the night for Atlanta.

READ ALSO: FIFA Okays Nigerian-Born England Player To Join Super Eagles

An elated Lookman who was named the player of the match on the night, while reacting to his performance and the victory after the match, simply said: “One of the best nights of my life. Amazing performance from the team, we did it, we did it, we did it! Not got much else to say but yeah fantastic,”

“They do always say third time lucky, so yeah it is for us today [winning a final at the third attempt this season]. I’m just happy we won. We won today so yes very pleased,” he added

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