Anthony Joshua to defend world titles, Super Sand Eagles not at quarterfinals, Kenneth Omeruo on loan to Napoli & Ibrahimovic’s recovery
====Israel-based John Ogu has been handed an opportunity to make the Super Eagles roster for the African Cup of Nations qualifying match with South Africa. The Hapoel Be’er Sheva star has been called up to attend the training camp in Corsica and Paris, where he will be closely monitored by manager Gernot Rohr.
This time around, Ogu has made the squad on merit, having caught the eye of the Nigeria coach when he replaced the injured Eddy Onazi in the 25th minute of Nigeria’s 1-1 draw with Senegal on March 23.
This season, John Ogu has appeared 29 times in the Israeli Premier League and opened his goalscoring account against Maccabi Tel Aviv this past weekend.
====The Super Sand Eagles failed to progress to the quarterfinals of the Fifa Beach Soccer World Cup in the Bahamas after losing 1-2 on penalties to Iran on Monday following a 4-4 draw over three periods.
Nigeria head coach Audu Adamu opted to stick with same five players who started in the previous game against Mexico in which they needed a last gasp Abu Azeez to win 5-4.
Iran showed why they are Asian champions and also ranked number five in beach soccer in the World when Nigeria stopper Danjuma Paul went down quick to stop Mohammad Ahmadzadeh’s shot just three seconds into the match.
The score stood at 4-4 fulltime and stretched the match into extra time.
Ali Nazem and Amir Akbari scored their spot kicks for Iran while Ibenegbu was the only Nigerian who converted his penalty with Victor Tale and Ogodo missing theirs as the Asians progress to the quarterfinals.
====In the Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL, Former African champions Enyimba have confirmed that they have acquired Lordson Ichull and Togo midfielder Koffi Franco Atchou. The club announced that they have landed Ichull on a two-year deal from Nasarawa United while Atchou joins from Malian club Stade Malien de Bamako.
The club’s head coach, Gbenga Ogunbote, believes the two players will bring “creativity” to his playing personnel.
Ichull has been allocated shirt number 31 while Atchou will wear number 30.
====over now to Europe for some more football action, On loan Chelsea defender Kenneth Omeruo has been offered to Napoli by Chelsea as part of their bid to sign Kalidou Koulibaly. Chelsea’s coach is a big fan of the Napoli defender, and tried signing him last summer when he took over as coach of the team, but Napoli were in no mood to sell.
However it appears Conte will get his man this summer, after Omeruo was added as a sweetener to the deal, aside the huge amount of money Chelsea are willing to pay as transfer fee for the tough tackling defender.
Napoli reportedly accepted the Nigerian as part of the deal after positive reports from their scout who watched the 23 year old on behalf of the club last month.
====Emre Can scored a sensational overhead bicycle kick as Liverpool tightened their grip on third place in the Premier League by winning 1-0 at Watford on Monday. Having seen top-four rivals Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal all drop points on Sunday, Liverpool capitalised thanks to Can’s jaw-dropping effort in first-half injury time.
The Germany midfielder’s fifth goal of the season took Liverpool three points above fourth-place City, albeit having played a game more, inching Jurgen Klopp’s side closer to Champions League qualification.
It was Liverpool’s third successive away win and got them back on track after a 2-1 home defeat by Crystal Palace on their previous outing had ended a seven-game unbeaten streak.
====still talking Liverpool, midfielder Philippe Coutinho is hopeful of returning to action soon after sustaining a dead leg during the club’s 1-0 Premier League victory over Watford on Monday. The 24-year-old limped off the pitch in the first 15 minutes of the match at Vicarage Road and was replaced by Adam Lallana but manager Jurgen Klopp said that the Brazilian had not been badly injured. Coutinho posted a picture on Instagram with German teammate Emre Can, and wrote in the caption””Thanks to all for the support. It isn’t serious”.
====Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has undergone surgery on his damaged right knee and will make a full recovery, his agent Mino Raiola said on Tuesday. United’s leading goalscorer suffered knee ligament damage during the 2-1 Europa League quarterfinal win over Anderlecht last month and has been ruled out for the rest of the season.
The 35-year-old Swede, whose contract expires at the end of the season, travelled to the United States to undergo surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre and has started his rehabilitation.
====Real Madrid manager, Zinedine Zidane, has refused to commit his future to the club, ahead of today’s Champions League semi-final clash with rivals Atletico Madrid.
Zidane’s current deal runs out in June and there have been speculations over whether he will stay or leave.
Reports in Spain have insisted that a new contract extension for the French legend is a ‘formality’, regardless of whether Madrid win major silverware this season.
But when Zidane was asked about his future at his press conference ahead of the Derby, he said: “The only thing I’m thinking about and concentrating on is (today’s) match. I’m not even thinking about Saturday’s match.
====One of only two international sporting heavyweights to have been awarded the Australian Olympic Committee’s (AOC) Olympic Merit has this week resigned from all world football positions after being implicated in the ongoing US Department of Justice probe into FIFA bribery and corruption.
He announced his resignation from several FIFA posts after being identified in as a co-conspirator in US court documents where the head of Guam’s Football Federation, Richard Lai, pleaded guilty to receiving graft worth almost $1 million from a senior member of Kuwait’s Football Association.
Sheikh Ahmad denies any wrongdoing but over the weekend also withdrew his candidacy for upcoming regional FIFA elections.
====In Boxing, Showtime boss Stephen Espinoza says 4589*- could defend his world titles in the United States within “the next couple of fights”.
The unbeaten 27-year-old has enhanced his reputation as one of the biggest stars in British sport after his epic victory over Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley stadium on Saturday night.
Joshua will take time to consider his next fight, which could be a mandatory defence of either the IBF or WBA ‘super’ titles, or a rematch with Klitschko.
Espinoza is eager for AJ to showcase his punching power to the American public after he signed a multi-fight deal with the TV network last year.