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Akpeyi, Ikeme back Ezenwa

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Injured Daniel Apeyi has charged fellow goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa to justify his starting spot in today’s World Cup qualifier against Cameroon.

A relapse of a thigh injury in Eagles training forced Akpeyi to miss out on the World Cup qualifiers and hand Ezenwa his first start for the Super Eagles in a competitive game.

“Akpeyi and I have spoken. He told me, ‘I believe you can do it, just go out there and make us proud.’ I have also spoken with Carl Ikeme, (who is undergoing treatment for acute leukaemia) and he also told me I can do it.

“They are behind me with prayers, all I need is to just keep focus and leave the rest to God.”

The IfeanyiUbah goalkeeper said he in turn has wished both rivals quick recovery.

“Daniel and Carl are my brothers and I always pray for quick recovery for them,” Ezenwa told SCORENigeria.

He added that international exposure – 2007 U-20 World Cup, NPFL playing tour of Spain and the 2016 CHAN – has prepared him for today’s challenge.

“The experiences from these competitions will go a long way in helping me,” he said.

“I don’t see playing against Cameroon as something so big because I have been doing it before and I have played against bigger clubs in Europe.

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“To play against Cameroon is a good thing and it’s a good exposure for me because it’s a World Cup qualifier.

“I just need to be focused on the game.”

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FIFA Slap Lifetime Ban On Samson Siasia For Taking Bribes

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World Football’s Governing Body, FIFA on Friday issued a lifetime ban on Samson Siasia, former Nigeria Football Federation official after the body’s ethics panel found him guilty of taking bribes in connection with match fixing.

In a statement, the adjudicatory chamber of FIFA’s independent ethics committee said the probe targeting Siasia stemmed from a wider investigation involving Wilson Raj Perumal, who has confessed to international match-fixing.

The probe that began in February found Siasia “guilty of having accepted that he would receive bribes in relation to the manipulation of matches in violation of the FIFA Code of Ethics,” the statement said.

In addition to being banned from all football related activity for life, Siasia was also handed a fine of 50,000 Swiss francs ($50,000, 46,000 euros).

Siasia, a former striker, also briefly coached Nigeria’s men’s national football team.

FIFA did not detail the nature of ties to Perumal, a Singaporean national who was arrested and jailed in Finland in 2011 for fixing top-tier football games there.

Perumal later collaborated with match fixing investigators.

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FIFA Issues Life Ban To Ex-Bolivian Football Chief

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FIFA on Thursday banned the former treasurer of South America’s football federation for life after an ethics panel found him guilty of bribery. 

Romer Osuna, who also once headed Bolivia’s football federation, was among a group of South American football officials charged with corruption in 2015 amid the unprecedented scandal that triggered sweeping reform within FIFA.

The adjudicatory chamber of FIFA’s independent ethics committee said in a statement that it had investigated a bribery scheme that ran from 2012 to 2015 in which Osuna was accused of “awarding contracts to companies for the media and marketing rights to CONMEBOL competitions.”

“The adjudicatory chamber found that Mr Osuna had breached art. 27 (Bribery) of the 2018 edition of the FIFA Code of Ethics and, as a result, sanctioned him with a ban for life,” it said.

FIFA also fined Osuna 1 million Swiss francs ($1 million, 922,000 euros).

Shortly after he was charged, Osuna had pledged to cooperate with investigators, both in Bolivia and in the United States, who were probing graft within world football.

AFP

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Messi, Ronaldo, Van Dijk Nominated For UEFA Awards

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Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Virgil van Dijk have been named candidates for this year’s UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award, European football’s governing body announced on Thursday.

The prize will be awarded to one of the trio during the draw for the Champions League group stage in Monaco on August 29, after they were shortlisted by a jury of coaches and journalists.

England’s Lucy Bronze, Ballon d’Or winner Ada Hegerberg and France’s Amandine Henry have been shortlisted for the women’s award. All three play for European champions Lyon.

Van Dijk has joined Messi and Ronaldo, the two iconic players of their generation, on the shortlist after starring in defence for Liverpool as they won a sixth Champions League and came close to winning their first domestic league title in 29 years.

Messi won the first edition of the award in 2011 while Ronaldo has won it on three occasions, in 2014, 2016 and 2017.

Luka Modric is the current holder of the men’s award after winning the Champions League and taking Croatia to the World Cup final in 2018, while Wolfsburg’s Danish striker Pernille Harder bagged the women’s prize.

AFP

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