Super Eagles coach, Sunday Oliseh, has invited 19 home-based players for next month African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifying fixture against Burkina Faso. All the invited players are expected to report in Port Harcourt on Monday ahead of the first leg clash against the Etalons at the Adokiye Amiesieamaka Stadium on October 18. The return leg fixture comes up in Ouagadougou on October 25. All six home-based professionals who will be in Belgium with the mainstream squad for the two international friendlies against DR Congo and Cameroon, on October 8 and 11 respectively will join the 19 players on their return to the country on October 12. These are goalkeepers Femi Thomas (Enyimba FC) and Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Sunshine Stars), defenders Chima Akas (Sharks FC) and Austin Oboroakpo (Abia Warriors), midfielder Paul Onobi (Sunshine Stars) and forward Prince Aggrey (Sunshine Stars).
The Swiss Federal Office of Justice has approved the extradition of Eduardo Li, the former president of the Costa Rican Football Federation, to the United States. Li, a Costa Rican citizen, was arrested in Zurich along with six other FIFA officials in a dawn raid on a Zurich hotel on May 27. The U.S. Department of Justice issued an arrest warrant in May against Li, accusing him of taking bribes in connection with the sale of marketing rights for World Cup 2018 qualifying games. He has been in custody pending extradition and now has 30 days to appeal the Swiss decision.
Former Brazil midfielder Ronaldinho has left Fluminense after spending just over two months and playing only nine games for the Rio de Janeiro club. The 35-year-old had struggled to get match fit, failed to score a goal and produced only flashes of the talent that made him one of the world’s top players when he was in his early 20s. Fluminense said that they had agreed to part company with Ronaldinho in an amicable manner and by mutual agreement.
FIFA’s independent Ethics Committee has banned Jack Warner from football-related activities for life. The decision to ban the former FIFA vice-president and executive committee member was taken on the basis of investigations carried out following the Ethics Committee report on the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has become the first player to score in the first seven matches of a Bundesliga season as Borussia Dortmund drew with Darmstadt. The Gabon striker found the net twice in eight second-half minutes after Marcel Heller put the visitors ahead. Aubameyang levelled from Matthias Ginter’s cross after 63 minutes, before netting his 10th goal of the season from Adnan Januzaj’s pass. Darmstadt’s Aytac Sulu hit a 90th-minute equaliser to secure a draw. This years African Footballer of the Year race will have Aubameyang, Yaya Toure and Andre Ayew as real contenders we are sure.
Robert Lewandowski scored five goals in nine minutes after coming on as a substitute for Bayern Munich in their Bundesliga victory against Wolfsburg. Bayern trailed 1-0 at half-time, when Lewandowski came on for Thiago. Six minutes later, the Poland international netted his first goal of the night from close range. Lewandowski added four more in quick succession to record the fastest five goals scored by one player in Bundesliga history. Wolfsburg, who finished second behind Bayern and won the German Cup last season, took the lead when Daniel Caligiuri beat Manuel Neuer at his near post. The away side almost added a spectacular second from 60 yards when Josuha Guilavogui’s lob dropped just wide. But Lewandowski’s introduction changed the game, as the 27-year-old produced a clinical striking display. Three of his goals were from close range, with his second driven powerfully from outside the box and his fifth a brilliant acrobatic effort. The win sees Pep Guardiola’s Bayern go top of the table, three points clear of Borussia Dortmund, who play Hoffenheim on Wednesday. Wolfsburg are third.
Striker Diego Costa will miss Chelsea’s next three domestic matches after a Football Association charge of violent conduct was upheld. Costa denied the charge, relating to an incident involving Laurent Koscielny during Saturday’s 2-0 win over Arsenal. Costa, 26, put his hands in Koscielny’s face before clashing with Gabriel, who was sent off but had a three-game ban overturned earlier on Tuesday. In a statement, Chelsea said they were “disappointed” with the verdict. Costa’s ban covers Chelsea’s League Cup match at Walsall on Wednesday along with Premier League matches against Newcastle and Southampton. Having confirmed the match officials did not see the incident between Costa and Koscielny, the FA supplied video footage to a panel of three former elite referees. Each had to independently rule Costa’s actions to be an instant red card for the FA to proceed with the charge. Arsenal defender Gabriel was sent off by referee Mike Dean for violent conduct after raising his leg and appearing to catch Spain international Costa. The FA has charged Gabriel with improper conduct for failing to leave the pitch immediately after being sent off, and both clubs with failing to control their players. All three parties have until 6pm on Thursday to reply to those charges.
Chelsea doctor Eva Carneiro has decided to leave the club – six weeks after criticism from manager Jose Mourinho. Carneiro had her role downgraded after Mourinho said his medical staff were “naive” for treating Eden Hazard during the 2-2 draw with Swansea on 8 August. Chelsea asked Carneiro, 42, to return to work, but she has decided not to and is now considering her legal position. The Football Association is looking into a complaint that Mourinho used abusive or sexist language towards her. Chelsea say they do not comment on internal staffing matters.
Chelsea striker Diego Costa has been charged with violent conduct by the Football Association after his side’s 2-0 win over Arsenal on Saturday. Costa, 26, put his hands in the face of Arsenal centre-back Laurent Koscielny prior to clashing with Gunners defender Gabriel, who was sent off. The FA has also charged Gabriel, 24, with improper conduct and both clubs with failing to control their players. Arsenal are to appeal against Gabriel’s dismissal and three-match ban. Costa has until 6pm on Tuesday, 22 September to respond to the charge, which is for the clash with Koscielny. Having confirmed the match officials did not see the incident, the FA supplied video footage to a panel of three former elite referees. They each had to independently rule Costa’s actions to be an instant red card for the FA to proceed with the charge. If Costa accepts the charge he will serve an automatic three-match suspension with immediate effect but, if he contests it, an independent regulatory commission will rule. Chelsea face Walsall, Newcastle and Southampton in their next three domestic fixtures. Referee Mike Dean booked both Costa and Gabriel for their spat, before the latter was dismissed for kicking out at the Blues forward. Gabriel and both clubs have until 6pm on Thursday, 24 September to reply to their charges. Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla, who was sent off for two bookable offences, has been warned about his behaviour.
Super Eagles’ Head Coach, Sunday Oliseh, has invited 24 players for next month’s friendly internationals against Democratic Republic of Congo and Cameroon in Belgium. The Super Eagles play the Leopards of the Democratic Republic of Congo on October 8 and the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon three days later, in Belgium, as the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) activates its plan to entrench stronger bond and cohesion among the relatively new group, through several friendly matches. The winner of the preliminary round between Swaziland and Djibouti will host the Super Eagles on November 9 in a 2018 FIFA World Cup first round qualifier, with the Eagles hosting the return leg in Nigeria eight days later. All invited players are expected to arrive in Belgium on October 5.
Watford striker Odion Ighalo has signed a new five-year contract with the Premier League club. The 26-year-old has scored 21 goals in 42 appearances since signing for the Hornets from Udinese in July 2014. He has played in every one of Watford’s Premier League matches this season, and netted in the opening-day draw against Everton in August. Ighalo made his Nigeria debut in March and scored his first international goal against Chad three months later.
Lionel Messi has today welcomed into the world his second child with long-term partner Antonella Roccuzzo. The newborn, named in Spanish reports as Mateo, has been born in Barcelona. Messi, 27, only returned from international duty in the United States of America yesterday, affording him just one training session ahead of Saturday’s night’s crunch La Liga clash with Atletico Madrid. But Messi was absent from training due to “family matters” this morning as Miss Roccuzzo went into labour with their second child. Messi and Rocuzzo have been together since 2008, but have known each other since the Argentina captain was just five years old. They have a son, Thiago, who was born on November 2, 2012, when Messi was similarly excused from training to attend the birth. On announcing Thiago’s birth, Messi said: “Today I am the happiest man in the world, my son was born and thanks to God for this gift!”
Swansea City striker Andre Ayew has been named August’s Barclays Premier League Player of the Month, while Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini has won the managers’ award. Ghana international Ayew, 25, has scored three goals as the unbeaten Swans sit in fourth place with eight points from their opening four games. Pellegrini’s side lead the table with four wins from four games. They have scored 10 goals and are yet to concede. Ayew took the award ahead of his team-mate Bafetimbi Gomis as well as Manchester City duo David Silva and Aleksandar Kolarov. Also nominated were Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez and Manchester United’s Chris Smalling. Ayew joined Swansea in June from French club Marseille and scored on his Premier League debut against Chelsea. He and Gomis have provided all of Swansea’s seven league goals so far. They visit Watford on Saturday.
It has happened so quick. Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea has signed a new-four year contract with the club. The 24-year-old Spain international almost joined Real Madrid on transfer deadline day, but the necessary paperwork was not submitted in time. De Gea’s previous contract was set to expire next summer, while his new deal includes an option for a further year. “I’m looking forward to putting a difficult summer behind me and working hard,” said De Gea. “I am delighted to be starting this new chapter in my United career. “Manchester United is a special club and Old Trafford is an ideal place for me to continue to develop.” De Gea has not played for United this season as manager Louis van Gaal felt he could not focus amid interest from Real. Had he not signed a new deal, De Gea could have opened talks in January about a free-transfer move to Madrid for next summer. Van Gaal said he was “very pleased” the goalkeeper “will be part of the team for many years to come”.
Chelsea technical director Michael Emenalo has defended the club’s controversial loan policy. More than 30 players have departed Stamford Bridge on a temporary basis, including Victor Moses, Juan Cuadrado and Mohamed Salah. The club has faced accusations of stockpiling talent. Emenalo said: “We have the difficult job of trying to balance being successful with making sure we have the right players at the right time.” Speaking to the club’s in-house TV station, the former Nigeria international added: “Sometimes we know there are players whose development is not finished, just like Victor [Moses], who we want to keep with our squad but who maybe needs to play more football to get to the level we think he can get to, because he is very, very talented.” Salah scored nine goals for loan club Fiorentina last season and Emenalo believes such success is a vindication of Chelsea’s policy. “These players go to top clubs and when they get there they prove we don’t recruit bad players, just like Salah did last season,” he said. Emenalo said that Cuadrado – a £23.3m signing from Fiorentina in February – had been allowed to join Juventus on loan in order “to go and rediscover his confidence”. “Sometimes the timing is not right for them,” he said.
Manchester United have opened contract talks with goalkeeper David De Gea. The Spaniard’s present deal expires in 2016 and United had previously indicated they had abandoned hope of the 24-year-old signing an extension. But following the collapse of a proposed move to Real Madrid on transfer deadline day, negotiations have begun, with De Gea’s agent Jorge Mendes attending the club’s training complex on Thursday. De Gea is yet to play this season. Manager Louis van Gaal refused to pick the former Atletico Madrid man until the end of the transfer window, such was the uncertainty surrounding his future. De Gea, United’s player of the season for the past two years, was upset at Van Gaal’s claim he did not want to play in the opening games of the season, although club sources have since indicated any damage to the pair’s relationship will be easily repaired.
Former Chelsea and Tottenham coachAndre Villas-Boas, currently serving a six-match ban for attacking a match official, says he will quit as Zenit St. Petersburg boss at the end of the season and claims he was blocked from leaving in the summer.
Nigeria on Wednesday booked their place in the semifinals of the men’s football event of Brazzaville 2015 All Africa Games following their 2-0 defeat of their bitter rivals Ghana at Stade Municipal de Kintele. The national Under-23 team’s final Group B match against Senegal, who drew 0-0 with Ghana on the opening day, will determine the overall winners of the group following the last-minute withdrawal of Egypt. Goals from Junior Ajayi and Kingsley Sokari gave Nigeria three points in their first match of the competition as they seek to win their second gold in the Games. Nigeria ruled the men’s football event at the 1973 edition in Lagos.
Nigerian athletics was plunged into a major controversy on Wednesday after the Athletics Federation of Nigeria distanced itself from the reported banning of multi-talented United States-based sprinter Blessing Okagbare from the Rio 2016 Olympics by the National Sports Commission. The reports claimed the NSC had decided to omit the Commonwealth Games women’s 100m record holder from the Rio 2016 national athletics squad after the 26-year-old opted out of the 200m event of the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Beijing, China last month — and the All Africa Games in Brazzaville, Congo. Okagbare had claimed she was injured, hence she decided to abandon the Beijing 2015 200m race. The Beijing 2008 Olympic Games (long jump) bronze medallist stunned the NSC and her fans after she announced her withdrawal from Brazzaville 2015 days before the beginning of the Games. But the runner raised the ire of the authorities after competing in the Diamond League in Zurich, Switzerland on Thursday, finishing second in the 100m with a time of 10.98.
Two-time runner-up Victoria Azarenka is through to her fourth US Open quarter-final, beating Varvara Lepchenko of the United States 6-3 6-4. Former world number one Azarenka, the 20th seed, will face either Romanian second seed Simona Halep or Sabine Lisicki, the 24th seeded German, for a place in the semi-finals.