Watford FC of England star forward Odion Ighalo was the first player at the Super Eagles’ camp in France on Tuesday night, but has since been joined by 16 others as the three –time African champions prepare for a friendly international with Mali’s Les Aigles at the Stade Robert Diochon in Rouen on Friday night, NFF reports. The list of 17 players includes the nine who left from Abuja aboard an Air France flight on Tuesday: Ogenyi Onazi, Brown Ideye, Abdullahi Shehu, Umar Aminu, Kingsley Madu, Elderson Echiejile, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Etebo Oghenekaro and Musa Muhammed. There are also England –based goalkeeper Carl Ikeme, Germany –based defender Leon Balogun, Arsenal of England’s Alex Iwobi and Belgium –based forward Moses Simon. Morocco –based midfielder Babatunde Michael and Turkey –based Raheem Lawal and Gbenga Arokoyo were being expected last night. South Africa –based goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi and Norway –based defender William Troost Ekong are expected on Thursday. But Manchester City forward Kelechi Iheanacho and Turkey –based defender Kenneth Omeruo have been held back by visa hitch. However, Super Eagles’ administrator Enebi Achor said that both players are hopeful of getting their visa latest Thursday. The team trained on Wednesday evening, and will train twice on Thursday, at 9am and at 6pm.
Image rights negotiations are delaying Jose Mourinho’s appointment as Manchester United manager. It has emerged that Chelsea still own his name as a trademark and could demand a six-figure sum from United before any deal is concluded. However, the issue will not scupper his appointment at Old Trafford. Mourinho is expected to be named as Louis van Gaal’s replacement after the Dutchman, 64, was sacked on Monday despite winning the FA Cup. The deal to bring Mourinho to Old Trafford are largely complete, but discussions between his agent, Jorge Mendes, and United officials will now enter a third day. On Wednesday, former Chelsea and Real Madrid boss Mourinho, 53, told waiting reporters at his home in London that he was going to Portugal.
The family of Formula 1 racing driver Jules Bianchi are taking legal action following the 25-year-old Frenchman’s death last year. Bianchi suffered fatal head injuries when his car collided with a mobile crane at the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka in October 2014. Lawyers for the Bianchi family are planning litigation against F1’s governing body, Team Marussia, for whom Bianchi was driving, and the Formula One Group of companies who control television and media rights. The Bianchi family believe the actions of one or more of those parties may have contributed to Bianchi’s accident.
Rafael Benitez is staying as Newcastle United manager after signing a new three-year contract following their relegation from the Premier League. The 56-year-old Spaniard was appointed in March following Steve McClaren’s sacking but failed to keep the Magpies in the top flight. He had a break clause in his contract if Newcastle were relegated and was widely expected to leave the club. “The love I could feel from the fans was a big influence for me,” he said. Former Liverpool, Chelsea, and Real Madrid boss Benitez will have control over “all football-related matters” at the club, Newcastle said. Benitez’s decision also hinged on the amount of funds he has to strengthen the squad following their demotion to the Championship. “This is a huge club and I wanted to be part of the great future I can see for Newcastle United,” added Benitez. “The main thing for me is that I have assurances that we will have a strong team – a winning team.” Benitez, who was sacked by Real in January and has also managed Valencia, Inter Milan and Napoli, took over with Newcastle one point adrift of safety. Despite losing only three of his 10 matches in charge, the Magpies were relegated with one game of the season remaining.