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Lightning strikes footballer to death during match

By News desk

A Kenyan footballer has been struck dead by lightning while celebrating his goal during a match in Luchululo village.

The victim, Allan Mbote, a 20-year-old Kenyatta University student, was celebrating his team’s equaliser against their opponents when he breathe his last.

Aside the deceased defender of Red Sharks, five other players also sustained injured by the lightning during Nangina Ward Football Tournament.

Of the five, who suffered injuries on Sunday during the encounter, three were still on admission at Nangina Mission Hospital.

The Member of Parliament for the area, Dr. Oundo Mudenyo, in his condolence message lamented that the tragedy was beyond human reach.

“Some tragedies are hard to take: lightening striking a player during a soccer match! RIP Allan Mbote.”

Bayern drops Robben ahead Ajax encounter

By Newsdesk

Ahead of Wednesday Champions League encounter, Bayern Munich has dropped its veteran Dutch winger, Arjen Robben, claiming he was yet to recuperate from a knee injury.

Bayern, who sit top of Group E on 13 points, need just a point at Amsterdam Arena on Wednesday to qualify for the last 16 as group winners.

The club on Tuesday claimed that the player will play no part in its Champions League clash at Ajax.

Robben, 34, has been out injured since scoring twice in a 5-1 win over group rivals Benfica last month and has yet to fully recover.

With a two-point deficit to Bayern, a win for Ajax would see the Dutch giants finish top of the group.

Also dropped by the team manager, Niko Kovac, were midfielders, Corentin Tolisso and James Rodriguez.

Robben mulls Bayern exit after nine years

By News desk

Arjen Robben, ex- Chelsea player said he may quit Bayern Munich in June when his contract with the defending Bundesliga champions expires.

Robben, who turns 35 in January, confirmed yesterday, hinted that he will quit the Bavarian giants at the end of the season: “that’s a fact”.

“Of course it’s a big step, which you don’t just make in one day.

“I thought about it a lot and it feels good that it’s now out, also for the fans and the club. It was the right point in time.”

Having missed the last two games with a thigh injury, Robben could make his return when Bayern face Ajax away in the Champions League on Wednesday. Both teams are through to the last 16 and Bayern need only a point in Amsterdam to win Group E.

Robben also missed Saturday’s 3-0 league win at home to Nuremberg which left Bayern third in the table and nine points behind Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund.

Bayern’s senior bosses are planning a squad clear-out for next season and Robben says now is the right time to go, despite two stunning goals in the 5-1 thrashing of Benfica a fortnight ago.

“The game against Benfica was a nice confirmation that I can play at the highest level,” he added.

“On the other side, the club wants to change the face of the team and I want to prepare my future.

“I am simply happy and grateful that there is clarity for both parties.”

However, Robben says he currently has no plans past the end of the season.

“That’s not entirely clear, perhaps I will stop playing – it’s about waiting and seeing what possibilities there are,” he said.

“If offers come in, I’ll really consider them 100 percent and if it’s something nice, I’ll play on, but if no ideal offers come, then that could be it.

“I have three children and they also must be happy, so it’s not just about offers from China or places in the desert.

“The family plays a very important role in every decision of mine.”

After spells at Chelsea and Real Madrid, Robben joined Bayern in 2009 and the highlight of nearly a decade with the Bavarian giants was his winning goal in the 2013 Champions League final at Wembley to seal a 2-1 victory over Borussia Dortmund.

The fleet-footed, injury-prone Dutch veteran, named Bundesliga player of the year after his first season in Germany in 2009/10, has won 19 titles so far with Bayern and collected his seventh German league title last May.

Sambo, El-Rufai, Amokachi, Babayaro others mourn Ranchers Bees FC founder, Aruwa

By Newsdesk

Former Vice President, Namadi Sambo, Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufa’I have reacted over death of defunct Ranchers Bees football club founder, Ahmed Aruwa.

Aruwa, who died on Sunday, has been buried at Turaki Aliyu Cemetery, Unguwar Sarki, Kaduna after funeral prayers led by Sheikh Ahmad Gumi at about 1pm held at Sultan Bello Mosque.

Before his death around 4:30 am at a private hospital in Barnawa, Kaduna, the deceased had suffered prolonged illness before his death.

Also at the funeral were former Governors of Kaduna State, Ahmad Makarfi and Ramalan Yero, as well as People Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Isa Ashiru, among others.

The deceased was famous across the country after establishing defunct Ranchers Bees football club that nurtured prominent national players like Daniel Amokachi, Dahiru Sadi, Tajudeen Oyekanmi, Abubakar Balarabe, Ademola Adeshina and some of the Babayaro brothers, among others.

It would be recalled that the team played at 1985 F.A cup final against Concord Football Club led by Nigeria’s all-time highest goalscorer, late Rashidi Yekini.

Aruwa represented Kaduna central senatorial district in the upper legislative chamber between 1999 and 2007 under the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP).

In a tribute, El-Rufai described Aruwa as a philanthropist who contributed immensely to the development of sports, agriculture and politics during his life time.

“I received the news of Senator Mukhtar Ahmad Aruwa’s death with sadness. Our thoughts are with his family and we pray Allah to grant him Aljannah Firdausi.

“He was a senator and a philanthropist par excellence who assisted our people in different sectors.”

“He was also into farming where he employed many people and helped to develop several communities in our state.

“He was a member of Kaduna State Elders Committee and participated in several peace initiatives including the Kaduna State Peace and Reconciliation Committee of 2011.”

Bayern regains second spot, defeats Nuremberg

By Newsdesk

Bayern Munich winning streak in the German Bundesliga continued on Saturday, defeating FC Nürnberg 3-0 in a Bavarian derby.

The victory made the German champions advanced to second place on the table pending completion of other fixtures.

Before the 75,000 Allianz Arena spectators, Polish striker, Robert Lewandowski, scored a brace in the first half and Franck Ribéry added another at the second half to seal any possibilities of their opponent leaving the stadium with any point.

Bayern manager, Niko Kovac, before the encounter opted for the same starting line-up as against Bremen last weekend.

On the field for the German record champion were Manuel Neuer in goal and Rafinha, Niklas Süle, Jérôme Boateng and David Alaba in a back four. Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka anchored a midfield featuring Serge Gnabry, Thomas Müller and Ribéry, with Lewandowski as lone striker. Thiago and Kingsley Coman took over from Goretzka and Ribéry after the hour mark, Wagner coming on for Gnabry with a quarter-hour to go.

The crowd at the Allianz Arena saw the Bavarians go straight onto the front foot when Ribéry saw an effort blocked before Lewandowski rewarded Bayern’s early pressure, raising high to beat keeper Fabian Bredlow to a Kimmich corner.

Bayern camped out in their opponents’ half throughout the first 45 minutes, and when Nürnberg won the ball they often gifted it away immediately.

Ribéry’s deflected effort hit the crossbar before Lewandowski miscued, but the Poland captain soon doubled the lead. Goretzka’s fine curler from 25 yards crashed off the bar, but Lewandowski was on hand to tuck home the rebound.

Bayern’s impetus ebbed away a little after the half-hour, but they were never in danger, and match official Tobias Stieler blew for half-time after Lewandowski and Boateng miscued their efforts.

Proceedings were similar after the restart, Bayern strangling the visitors with possession and boasting an accuracy of more than 90 percent.

Bredlow made a strong save to deny Kimmich before parrying a Gnabry shot, but Ribéry slotted home through his legs.

Süle blocked a Sebastian Kerk effort at the other end, but Bayern had not had enough, Coman firing just wide.

Also, Boateng’s effort was blocked before Kimmich’s fine curler crashed off the post, and Stieler put the visitors out of their misery.

The result means Bayern have 27 points from 14 matches, lying second in the table overnight after Leipzig lost away to Freiburg. Gladbach can overtake Bayern when they take on Stuttgart on Sunday. Kovac’ troops will be back in action in four days, when they travel to face Ajax in the Champions League before taking on Hannover next Saturday.

Super Falcons face perennial foes in 2019 World Cup

By Newsdesk

The Super Falcons of Nigeria has been handed a hard-hitting group in the preliminary stages of the 2019 World Cup holding in France.

At the preliminary stages of the competition, Nigeria will face hosts France Norway and Korea Republic in Group A of the preliminary stages.

The reigning African champions have been qualified for the competition after lifting the 2018 Africa Women Cup of Nations staged in Ghana recently.

According to the draw, Thomas Dennerby’s women will square up against the hosts in one of the preliminary games.

This time, the nine-time African queens would be hoping to avenge their loss at the Roazhon Park, Rennes following an 8-0 defeat they suffered in the hands of the French team during an international friendly which Valerie Gauvin scored a hat-trick.

Nigeria begin their quest for glory when they take on Norway in their opening fixture on June 8 at Stade Auguste-Delaune, Reims.

It would be recalled that last meeting between both teams in the tournament ended in an 8-0 defeat for the Africans at the 1995 edition staged in Sweden.

South Korea will be up next for the Falcons at Stade des Alpes, Grenoble on June 12 before trying the hosts for size five days later.

Liverpool striker, Mane, doubtful ahead Burnley game

By Newsdesk

Liverpool forward, Sadio Mane, has been declared doubtful by the club’s manager, Juergen Klopp, ahead of their Premier League trip to Burnley.

The striker, who sustained Injury during their game against Everton faces a late fitness test to be in contention for Wednesday’s Premier match.

Though the manager on Tuesday refused to rule out possibility of fielding him, but explained that Senegal international suffered a cut that required several stitches during Sunday’s 1-0 victory over Everton.

“Sadio really had an awful cut on his foot. It needed to be stitched. He is okay but walking around here now in flip-flops — and you don’t play in flip-flops,” Klopp told reporters. That means in this moment he is not ready, but we will see later.”

Liverpool could also be without defender Andy Robertson who suffered a dead leg. But the coach said: “With Robbo it is not that serious as with Sadio, but we need to have a look.”

Klopp also said he had accepted a Football Association charge of misconduct for his wild celebration after Divock Origi scored a 96th-minute winner at Anfield against Everton.

Klopp had been given until Thursday to respond but the German said he would pay the fine.

“I couldn’t avoid it obviously… if there was no rule we as managers would do it every week. That’s what rules are for and if you break rules you have to be fined for it,” Klopp added.

“I don’t think anyone thought it was massively wrong. It happened, a fine, I’ll pay it, no problem.”

Klopp was asked about the form of forward Roberto Firmino, who has gone off the boil this season, scoring just three goals in 14 league appearances.

“It’s completely normal. It’s not that he’s playing his best football in every second. You have moments when you fly and moments when you have to work and come again,” Klopp said.

“Nothing to worry about, it’s a normal football season… we all have to go through this and everything will be fine.”

Liverpool are second in the league with 36 points from 14 games while Burnley are second from bottom with nine points.

UEFA approves VAR for Champions League

By Newsdesk

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has approved implementation of Video Assistant Referees (VAR) for the Champions League knockout stages this season

UEFA President, Aleksander Ceferin, announced the implementation on Monday, following claims from clubs over alleged poor officiating.

It would be recalled that UEFA had previously opted against using VAR this season, despite the technology being employed by major European leagues in Spain, Italy and Germany, and the World Cup in Russia this year.

But Ceferin flagged recently that a report being prepared by UEFA’s referees chief could allow its Executive Committee to revise its stance. It also agreed on Monday to roll out the technology in this season’s Europa League final and next June’s finals of UEFA’s new Nations League competition.

“To be very straightforward with you, we discussed with our colleagues if we can do it before, why wait because it’s hard to afford any mistakes,” Ceferin told a news conference at the end of a two-day meeting of the Executive Committee in Dublin.

UEFA referees boss, Roberto Rosetti said UEFA would use the same protocol as other associations but would seek in its guidelines to define the line of intervention clearly.

“We are speaking about consistency, uniformity. The communication is another key part of the project. We have to be very clear and communicate in the best way to the fans, players and coaches,” Rosetti said.

Court drops charges against Madrid midfielder, Modric

By Newsdesk

A Zagreb court has dropped charges of false corruption testimony against Croatia football captain and Real Madrid midfielder, Luka Modric.

The ruling, which closes the case, comes as Modric hoped to claim the 2018 Ballon d’Or award in Paris on Monday after assisting both his club and country to win the champions league and 2018 World Cup finals in Moscow.

Court spokesman, Kresimir Devcic, on Monday, said: “There is not enough evidence that he (Modric) committed the criminal offence of perjury.”

Earlier, Croatian prosecutors had charged Modric, 33, with committing perjury during evidence he gave in the multi-million-euro corruption trial of former Dinamo Zagreb boss Zdravko Mamic.

Modric testified over the details of his 2008 transfer from Dinamo to Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur and Real Madrid in 2012.

Mamic and three other defendants were found guilty of charges of abuse of power and corruption that cost Dinamo, the current Croatian champions, more than 15 million euros ($17.3 million), and the state 1.5 million euros.

The Zagreb boss, who is currently in hiding in neighbouring Bosnia, was sentenced in recently to six and a half years in jail.

Prosecutors allege cash was embezzled through fictitious deals related to player transfers.

Southampton Sacks Mark Hughes as Manager

Mark Hughes has been sacked as manager of Southampton, the struggling Premier League club announced on Monday, despite an improved performance in a 2-2 draw with Manchester United.

“We would like to express our thanks to Mark and his staff for all of their efforts during their time at St Mary’s,” the club said in a statement.

“The search for a new manager to take the club forward is already under way.”

Assistant first team manager Mark Bowen and assistant first team coach Eddie Niedzwiecki have also left the club.

Southampton, who were 2-0 up against Jose Mourinho’s United at home on Saturday at one stage, are 18th in the Premier League, just one point ahead of bottom club Fulham.