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Russia meddled in U.S election – George Bush

By Agency Report,

Former U.S. President George W. Bush, Thursday, accused Russia of meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, calling Russian President Vladimir Putin a “brilliant tactician”.

Bush, who was interviewed on stage at a business conference in the capital of the United Arab Emirates, said there was clear evidence that the Russians had meddled but whether that affected the outcome of the election was another question.

“They meddled and that is dangerous for democracy,” he said, adding that Russia had done the same thing during the Cold War and was adept at trying to manipulate opinion in the U.S. and Europe.

“Putin is a brilliant tactician, who has the capacity to detect weakness and exploit it,” Bush said.

The Kremlin has repeatedly denied accusations by U.S. intelligence officials and others of interfering in foreign elections, including the 2016 U.S. vote.

In an obvious criticism of the immigration policies of U.S. President Donald Trump, Bush called for changes in U.S. immigration rules.

According to him, it is important to recognise that the U.S. has a history of welcoming people regardless of their religion or their place of birth.

“Our system is broken, but we have got to fix it. I had tried, but unsuccessfully,” he said without naming Trump.

“It is important for our economy and also important for our soul that the immigration system functions well.”

On Mexico, he said: “I view it as a relationship vital for our economy and our stability. We have got to enforce our borders and we have got to enforce our laws.

“There are people willing to do jobs Americans won’t do. A lot of Americans don’t like picking cotton at 105 degrees. But there are people, who want to put food on the tables of their families and are willing to do that,” he said.

Ferrari announces Daniil Kyvat as new driver

By Emmanuel Onminyi with Agency report,

Russia’s former Red Bull driver, Daniil Kvyat, will remain involved in Formula One after being named as Ferrari’s development driver ahead of the 2018 season.

Kvyat who has 72 Grands Prix to his name but just one podium finish, took Red Bull to a third-place in China, 2016. But the Russian driver was dropped back to the sister team, Toro Rosso, one race later, and was replaced by Max Verstappen.

He was also handed another mid-season blow in 2017, when Red Bull announced they would be dropping him altogether after nearly five seasons with the two F1 teams.

He briefly returned, finishing 10th at the US Grand Prix when Pierre Gasly was absent, but did not do enough to secure a drive for 2018.

However, Toro Rosso boss, Franz Tost, insisted the 23-year-old “deserves to be in F1”, and the Russian is closing in on a return to racing at the highest level.

Ferrari confirmed today, January 10, on Twitter, that Kvyat has signed as a “development driver”.

“Time for good news today,” Kvyat wrote on Twitter, after joining Charles Leclerc and Antonio Giovinazzi as Ferrari’s F1 reserve drivers.

But Leclerc has a full-time seat with Sauber for 2018 while Giovinazzi is the team’s third driver, implying that Kvyat will occupy Ferrari’s third driver role, news that may not delight Sebastian Vettel.

Kvyat crashed into Vettel during the 2016 Russian Grand Prix, and the German labelled him “the torpedo” in the aftermath.

Radwanska knocks out Konta in Sydney International

By Emmanuel Onminyi with Agency report,

Ahead of the season opening Grand Slam event, British tennis player, Johanna Konta’s Sydney International title defence swiftly ended in a defeat to Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska in the first round.

A surprising slide in the rankings to 28th meant the former world number two, Radwanska, entered this week as an unseeded player, but she showed her quality in a 6-3, 7-5 victory over the British number one.

In a repeat of 2017’s final, this time the fourth seed, Konta, could not take control of the contest against the Polish former Wimbledon runner-up.

Consolation for Konta came with the fact that she completed the match without obvious physical problems, five days after being forced to retire from her Brisbane International quarter-final with Elina Svitolina, due to injury.

She now heads for Melbourne and the Australian Open, where, 12 months ago, she reached the quarter-finals, while Radwanska stays in Sydney and faces the American teenager, Cici Bellis next.

Radwanska told wtatennis.com: “I’m just so happy to play such a great match before the Australian Open. It was a top-10 level match with some ups and downs, breaks along the way. The conditions weren’t easy, but I’m happy to win in two sets.”

Meanwhile, Slovakian, Dominika Cibulkova, won a second-round contest against Russia’s Elena Vesnina to reach the quarter-finals, coming through with a 6-4, 6-4 victory, as Czech Republic’s Barbora Strycova and Australian, Samantha Stosur, also recording wins in their respective games.

Nigerian attacker, Samuel, eyes more playing time ahead Russia 2018

By Onminyi Emmanuel and Agency report,

CSKA Moscow striker, Aaron Samuel, has stated that he would love to get an invitation to represent Nigeria at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, but admits he needs to improve and get playing time at his club.

 In a statement on AllNigeriaSoccer, the 23-year-old said that making the squad is paramount to him and he will be greatly pleased to play at the World Cup, as he is already adapted to the weather since it is his base.

“Russia is where I am based, I know the country and the weather, and as the World Cup is being played in the country where I am based, it will be very exciting for me to play in it.”

While it is still a possibility for him to make the squad to the World Cup, Aaron, however, has not been playing much for his Russian club, and it is something the 23-year-old admits has to change if he hopes to play at football’s biggest event.

When asked of his game time situation at CSKA, the former Shooting Star of Ibadan striker said: “I need to start playing more, because I have not been playing so much at the moment because of some issues.

For me to be at the World Cup, I need to play more and it is something I am working on.”

Nigeria will win World Cup, say ex-International, Adelabu

By Emmanuel Onminyi with Agency report,

Ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, Technical Study Group member, and former Green Eagles’ winger, Adegoke Adelabu, has stated that the Super Eagles have the potentials of winning the tournament slated for Russia in June.

Adelabu, who was part of the Green Eagles’ squad to Libya for the 1982 African Nations Cup, was recently named by the NFF as member of the Technical Study Group alongside Abba Yola, Taribo West, Bernard Ogbe, Augustine ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha, Tijani Babangida, Victor Agali, Godwin Enakhena, Mike Idoko, and Bitrus Bewarang.

According to The Guardian, the former IICC Shooting Stars of Ibadan winger said that Nigeria, like other countries stands the chance of winning the World Cup in Russia if the national team is given proper preparation.

“I don’t want to be part of those saying that the Super Eagles cannot progress beyond the group stage or second round. No, we have what it takes to be in the final and even win the World Cup trophy. Limiting our chances to the second round or the quarterfinal is like saying the Super Eagles should not go to Russia.

“We have already known our group opponents and the most important thing to do now is to work on intelligence of our players. We have to know the area of strength and weakness of our opponents.

“I am happy the NFF has already lined up series of friendly matches for the Super Eagles as build up to the World Cup. But it is also important for us to have in-house programmes to let our coaches understand what they should expect from the players.

“As I always say, the development of a sport is reflected in nation’s ability to modify the training, participation and competitive strategy of the athletes.

“We should focus on winning the World Cup and not targeting the second round or quarterfinal. I am optimistic we can win the World Cup in Russia because we have the players,” Adelabu stated.

Chelsea star, Moses, makes 2017 African Team of the Year

By Emmanuel Onminyi,

Chelsea and Super Eagles star, Victor Moses, has been named in the African Team of the Year for 2017 by celebrated French football magazine, France Football.

The right talented wing-back was the only player of Nigerian descent that made the prestigious list after commanding a good performance in the year.

The list contains English Premier League stars, Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane, (both from Liverpool), but there was no spot for Borussia Dortmund’s striker, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who was listed among the five substitutes.

Moses had a good season in 2017, helping Chelsea win the Premier League title and reach the final of the Emirates FA Cup; he was also outstanding during Nigeria’s quest for a place at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The 27-year-old missed out on the Confederation of African Football and BBC Player of the Year but is among the favourites to be named in CAF’s Team of the Year at next week’s gala ceremony in Accra, Ghana.

He has been nominated for the best right winger in Africa in 2017 by CAF along with Keita Balde (Monaco, Senegal) and Mohammed Ounnajem (Wydad Athletic Club Casablanca, Morocco).

The African Team of the Year according to France Football include:

Essen El Hadary (Egypt, Al-Taawoun), Nabil Dirar (Morocco, Fenerbache), Medhi Benatia (Morocco, Juventus), Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal, Naples), Faouzi Ghoulam (Algeria, Naples), Victor Moses (Nigeria, Chelsea) , Naby Keita (RB Leipzig, Guinea), Jean-Michael Seri (Ivory Coast, OGC Nice), Mohamed Salah (Egypt, Liverpool), Sadio Mane (Senegal, Liverpool), Vincent Aboubakar (Cameroon, FC Porto).

The substitutes are:

Fabrice Ondoa (Cameroon, AC Seville), Ahmed Hegazy (Egypt, WBA), Thomas Partey (Ghana, Atletico Madrid), Hakim Ziyech (Morocco, Ajax Amsterdam), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon, Borussia Dortmund).

Pinnick reveals why Eagles lost to France in 2014 World Cup

By Emmanuel Onminyi,

Nigeria Football Federation President, Amaju Pinnick, has opened up on why the Super Eagles lost 2-0 to France in the second round of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and has indicated that he wants to forestall a repeat of the incident.

The Super Eagles players deliberately missed a training session in protest at the non-payment of a bonus for qualifying, which forced the country’s former sports minister, Tamuno Danagogo, to charter a private jet and fly to Brazil with nearly four million Dollars in cash.

Pinnick told Channels Television: “We have a committee called Strategic Studies Committee, one of the things  they do is to work with the Technical Committee, to look out for everything in the past that possibly impeded our success on the field and off the field.”
”Even beating France in the World Cup was the fact that money was flown from Nigeria to Brazil and that night they were sharing money.

”Even if we don’t  perform fantastically or decently, let it not be a human error or any form  of distraction. Let it seem that Nigeria lost gallantly.

”We want to go there  with 100 percent mindset of achieving this.”

The NFF have reached an agreement with the Super Eagles stars as regards to their bonuses at the tournament in Russia.

In addition, 2.4 million dollars, equivalent of N866.4 million, will be paid to Super Eagles players and officials for qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Everton doctors claim Onyekuru’s injury not serious

By Emmanuel Onminyi,

Following a collision with Eupen’s goalkeeper which resulted to a season-threatening injury, Everton doctors have determined that Henry Onyekuru’s knee injury is not grievous as was widely reported, as the young striker will be out for only six weeks and not six months.

The player was reportedly examined by Everton doctors and the MRI scans of the injury have revealed that he may not be needing surgery but minor treatment. Onyekuru has been allowed to return to Belgium to recuperate.

The Everton loanee hurt his knee at the weekend during a league game with Anderlecht at his former club KAS Eupen, and initial media reports suggested his season was effectively over, and that could also mean his hopes of playing at the World Cup in Russia had been dashed.
Meanwhile, Super Eagles Coach, Gernot Rohr, has expressed his sadness over the injury of the prolific forward. This was revealed by the Super Eagles Media officer, Toyin Ibitoye.
“Rohr was not happy, but we are hoping that he returns before the World Cup. He is a young player and the tendency for him to recover quick is there, so we are praying and hoping he returns in time,” Toyin told Completesportsnigeria.com.

Russian players to get One million Pounds each for World Cup triumph

By Emmanuel Onminyi,

Ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the Russian Football Union has announced that Russian players will pocket 1 million Pounds each if they win the World Cup next year, but they will receive nothing if they fail to get out of the group phase.

Stanislav Cherchesov’s men have struggled in recent years to make any real impression in major tournaments, with the Russians failing to progress past the group stages at the most recent World Cup and European championships.

Russia news outlet, MKR, reports that the Football Union will give out 38,730 Pounds to their players for simply making it into the round of 16.

It also claims that it has not yet been outlined where the money will come from as nothing has been set out in the country’s national budget for 2018.

The RFU have been in the news recently, with its president, Vitaly Mutko, stepping down from his role as chief organiser for next summer’s World Cup in Russia.

The decision came two days after he temporarily left his post as RFU’s president. The Russian deputy prime minister was banned for life from the Olympics this month.

Mutko said he believes Russia will be ready to host the sporting event by June next year.

Ex-international, Rufai, urges Eagles not to be distracted by FIFA’s ranking

By Emmanuel Onminyi,

As Nigerians looks forward to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, former national team goalkeeper, Peter Rufai, has urged Super Eagles players not to be discouraged by the latest FIFA ranking as they prepare for the tournament.

Rufai told newsmen recently that the Super Eagles should not allow the drop in ranking to distract them from their preparations for the World Cup.

The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reports that Nigeria had dropped from 50th to 51st position in the world and 9th in Africa, despite being the first team in Africa to qualify for Russia 2018 and beating highly-rated Argentina in a friendly match in Russia.

“I think the FIFA ranking has nothing to do with expectations about the performance of the Super Eagles in any competition.

“The ranking involved some technical aspects. It has nothing to do with our performance, because the team is doing very well presently.

“I agree with this ranking, if we consider how we have played with the best teams in world. All that matters now is our preparations for any competition,” Rufai said.

He also urged Nigerians not to worry about the FIFA ranking because the Super Eagles had qualified for the World Cup before the ranking.

Rufai was in goal for the Super Eagles at the 1994 and 1998 World Cup in USA and France respectively, where Nigeria reached the Round-of-16 on both occasions.