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Neymar about a month away from comeback after surgery

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Neymar has told Brazilian television he still needs around a month to recover from a foot operation, as the Paris Saint-Germain superstar targets a return to full fitness in time for the World Cup.

“I need about a month, but it is healing well. Everything is happening normally,” Neymar, who has not played since breaking a metatarsal bone in his right foot on February 25, told TV Globo.

Neymar’s comments were released as a short extract from a pre-recorded interview that will be broadcast on Saturday, and which may give a clearer picture of the former Barcelona forward’s state of fitness.

However, if he does come back in a month or so, it would leave sufficient time for the 26 year-old to be ready for Brazil’s opening game in Group E of the World Cup, against Switzerland in Rostov on June 17.

The world’s most expensive player suffered the injury in a Ligue 1 game against Marseille, before returning to his home country for surgery and rehabilitation.

In his absence, PSG were knocked out of the Champions League by Real Madrid in the last 16 in March.

PSG coach Unai Emery said on Friday that Neymar was “close” to returning to the club.

“When he gets here, he will want to play. Perhaps he’ll have time to play a few matches before the end of the season,” Emery said.

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“We hope to have him in the team for some of our remaining matches.”

Without him, PSG will hope to wrap up the French title with a win at home to reigning champions Monaco on Sunday.

PSG are also still hoping to get to the final of the French Cup on May 8.

The last round of games in the Ligue 1 season are scheduled for May 19, but Neymar faces a race against time to play any part.

“The speed of his recovery in the next 10 days will allow the right date to be set for a return to training without any restrictions,” was all PSG were willing to say in a statement.

Even if he is deemed fit again, it remains to be seen if he will want to take any risk before teaming up with the Brazilian national team to prepare for the World Cup.

Brazil will also face Costa Rica and Serbia in their group, as they target winning a sixth World Cup, four years after the nightmare of their 7-1 loss to Germany in the semi-finals on home soil.

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Nigeria: 16 coaches from Africa shortlisted as “Future Stars” by Arsenal, WorldRemit

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WorldRemit on Thursday announced that 16 applicants from Africa have been shortlisted for its Future Stars programme. Of these 16 coaches, eight are women.

WorldRemit and Arsenal launched the second edition of the Future Stars programme in August to recognise the valuable contributions that grassroots youth football coaches make to their communities by teaching the children they train life skills on and off the pitch.

Through the programme, WorldRemit will sponsor two winners – one male and one female – to fly to London for a personalised training session with Arsenal Football Development coaches.

Entries for Future Stars closed on 4 September, and the programme received over 1,400 entries from coaches from across Africa and the Americas.

A panel of judges from WorldRemit and Arsenal Football Development reviewed the applications and selected 20 semi-finalists, including 16 coaches from Africa, based on the following criteria:

  • The commitment of the coach to improving the lives of their community
  • The impact the coach has had on young people within their community
  • The strength of the coach’s proposal to pass on their training on their return home

In recognition of their commitment to using football to bring their communities together, the 20 semi-finalists will receive Arsenal shirts for their youth squad.

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What’s next for the semi-finalists?

From the 20 semi-finalists, the judging panel will select eight coaches – four male and four female – as finalists. Their stories will be shared on www.FutureStars.WorldRemit.com in late October and the two winners will be chosen based on a public vote on the website.

Andrew Stewart, Managing Director for Africa and the Middle East, said: “Congratulations to the 16 African semi-finalists! 

“Our business is all about connecting communities, no matter where they are in the world. We developed Future Stars to celebrate the amazing work that football coaches do to support young people and have been so impressed by the quality and diversity of the applications this year.”

Simon McManus, Head Coach at Arsenal Football Development, added: “Arsenal is thrilled to partner with WorldRemit to recognise coaches who use the power of football to inspire and support young people across the globe.

“We have one of the most successful women’s sides in the world and are committed to encouraging greater participation in the sport among women. Through this edition of Future Stars, we hope to further amplify the positive impact that female coaches have on their communities.”

Coaches in the Future Stars shortlist from Africa

Nigeria

Uzoma Kingsley Akanador, Coach at Unity International Charity Organisation in Lagos.

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Ademilokun Oluwaseun David, Coach at XPR Football in Lagos.

Chinasa Ukanda, Coach at Help The Talent Academy in Lagos.

Towobola Grace Iyanuoluwa, Head Coach at Hostel Football Team and Assistant Coach at CityBoys Football Club in Ibadan.

Modupe Marilyn Jiwalde Pusmut, Coach at Future Stars FC Sabon Barki in Jos.

Kenya

Feisal Abdi Hassan, Coach in Nairobi

Beldine Lilian Achieng Odemba, Coach at Kariobangi Sharks Academy in Nairobi.

Susan Wanjiru Njoki, Coach at Kahawa Sportive Soccer Academy in Nairobi.

Everline Achieng Onyango, Coach at Mukuru Starlets in Nairobi.

Ghana

Samuel Taylor, Coach at EM Sporting Club, Accra

Alhassan Iddi Manzah, Coach at Northern Women’s Football Clubs Association in Tamale-Dalun

Uganda

Bakit Isaac Agogo, Coach at Watoto Sports Academy in Gulu.

Andrew Amanya, Coach at Kigezi Soccer Academy in Kabale.

Nabisenke Joan, Coach in Kampala

Zimbabwe

Titus Tongesai Sanagurai, Coach at Big Stuff Youth Soccer Academy in Harare.

Winnet Muranganwa, Coach at Zengeza Busters Soccer Academy in Chitungwiza.

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National Youth Games – Fulfilling Mandate For Talent Discovery

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The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Hon. Sunday Dare, has hailed the annual National Youth Games, for creating a pool of talented athletes that would continuously represent the country at International competitions. To buttress this assertion, the Honourable Minister said ” The National Youth Games has been consolidating on it’s gains as evident in the performances of several Athletes discovered at previous editions of the Games in International sports arenas.”

Mr Dare, ably represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mr Olusade Adesola, gave this commendation recently, at the closing ceremony of the 5th edition of the National Youth Games, held at the University of Ilorin, Kwara State.

The Honourable Minister seized the opportunity to state that talents discovered at previous editions of the Games had indeed made Nigeria proud in the comity of great sporting Nations, citing an instance of over 30 athletes discovered at the National Youth Games, who represented and won laurels for the Country in Athletics, badminton, Canoe/Kayak, weightlifting, Wrestling, Cycling,Judo and Taekawondo, at the last African Youth Games in Algiers, Algeria in 2018.

Other notable recorded achievements, according to the Hon. Minister, include medals won by starlets at the Youth Olympic Games, in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Commonwealth Games in 2018. To this effect, he said the 4 medals won at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires in October 2018, were won by the athletes discovered at the 2017 edition of the annual Games , namely: Chukwuma Rosemary, Ineh Emmanuel and Akintola Alaba Olukunle who won medals in Athletics, while Gbadamosi Adjiat, hit the podium in Boxing.

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While reeling and praising the accomplishments of the National Youth Games ( NYG) as mission fulfilled, Mr Dare enthused that National Sports Federations now look to the NYG as a ranking event, just as the States Sports Councils by same token look forward to the annual Games to gauge their sports developmental objectives.

Furthermore, he seized the opportunity to restate and emphasize the importance of contributions of the University of Ilorin to the Games success stories, adding, it is a partnership that the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development cherished for future fruitful relationships.

Mr Dare equally acknowledged the States who presented athletes for these Games, stressing that it is another valuable example of partnership and synergy that assisted the Ministry to provide a pool and reservoir of talented athletes that would represent the country at International competitions.

In his address, the Honourable Minister stated that the commitment of His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, to grassroot sports development is clearly evident in the planning, execution and delivery of this year’s 5th edition of NYG.

He said ” it is a return to the cradle of Nigeria’s sport glory. By this same token, the Ministry is committed to resuscitate the moribund schools sports at both the Primary and Secondary levels in order to open space for greater grassroots participation in sports and the discovery of talents ”.

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Speaking on measures that would be adopted for eliminating age cheating in future editions, the Honourable Minister said that the Ministry would partner with the Nigerian Immigration Service and the National Identity Commission in the evaluation of the ages of athletes.

In his remarks, the Executive Governor of Kwara State, Alhaji AbdulRaman AbdulRazak praised the vision and objectives setting up the National Youth Games, adding that the increasing number of participants from States on yearly basis at the Games is a positive affirmation of it’s mandate of discovering talents for sports development in the country. He said Kwara welcomes everyone and as well, wished all participants and Officials safe travel home to their destinations.

Statistics available indicated that this year’s edition of the Games witnessed an increase in the number of sports from 33 to 34. Similarly, there was an increase in the number of athletes registered which stood at 3,893 from 33 States as against 2,973 athletes from 32 States in the 2018 edition of the Games, an increase of 920 athletes or 31%. Delta State led the Medals Table with 41 Gold, 32 Silver and 31Bronze,and Lagos came second with 22 Gold, 36 Silver and 14 Bronze while Bayelsa recorded 17 Gold, 6 Silver and 22 Bronze to clinch 3rd position.

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It was a colourfully uniting and relationship creation avenue for our young Nigerians from the North to the South and from the East to the West that history alone will record in years to come.

 

Ramon Balogun
Asst. Direct. (Information)
For: Director, Press

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Anthony Joshua reveals what he fears about Andy Ruiz ahead of rematch in Saudi Arabia

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Anthony Joshua has claimed “sometimes the ones who are calm and chilled can bark”, when speaking about Andy Ruiz during a press conference in London on Friday.

The Briton also rated Ruiz as “the best heavyweight out there”.

Both boxers went face to face in London, as their three-day press tour ended, ahead of their December 7 rematch in Saudi Arabia.

Asked about again being a challenger to the world heavyweight championships, Joshua said: “It’s a great mindset to have and you can’t lose that. The minute you lose it, you’ve got to retire. You’ve got to be hungry.

“I had a blip. We go again. I’m not shy. No fear.”

Joshua said about his upcoming opponent who took his IBF, WBA and WBO belts earlier this year: “Ruiz Jr is calm but he can fight. He is not a fake character who puts on a persona.

“Sometimes the ones who are calm and chilled can bark back, and can definitely fight.”

Anthony Joshua knocks out Povetkin

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