Monday, January 31, 2011

South Africa to bid for 2014 Club World Cup

Vice President of the South African Football Association Danny Jordaan, says the country will bid for the 2014 Club World Cup.
Jordaan was speaking after South Africa was awarded hosting rights for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.
He said it is important that Africa stages major tournaments, including the Club World Cup - the contest between leading teams from across the globe.
"We are going to continue to talk to Fifa about [2014]," Jordaan told BBC Sport.
"It's important that these competitions come to Africa."
Jordaan, who was South Africa 2010 World Cup CEO, said plans are already at an advanced stage to present a bid to Fifa.
"We are between 'seriously considering it' and taking a decision," he added.
"Of course we cannot take that decision outside the context of further engagement with Fifa."
Jordaan presided over what many agree was a successful World Cup in South Africa and is keen to build on that progress.
During its executive committee meeting in Lubumbashi, the Confederation of African Football (Caf) announced that Morocco will host the Nations Cup in 2015, while the 2017 edition will take place in South Africa.

EFCC invites NPL bosses

Nigeria's anti-corruption agency has invited six past and present officials of the Nigeria Premier League to clarify issues concerning the league broadcast rights deal. 

Former chairman Oyuiki Obaseki, who signed the original deal, has been invited along with current chairman Davidson Owumi and vice chairman Shehu Gusau, who was also vice chairman under Obaseki.

Also to appear before the agency are Niyi Alonge of Total Promotions.

A letter to that effect was received by the NPL on Friday afternoon, but the officials are not expected to appear before Monday. 

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Liverpool demand £50m for Fernando Torres from Chelsea

Liverpool are likely to sell striker Fernando Torres before the transfer window closes on Monday if they can agree a £50m package with Chelsea.
The Reds could be open to a deal of £40m in cash plus Blues forward Nicolas Anelka, according to an Anfield source.
They have already rejected a £35m bid from Chelsea for Torres, who was signed from Atletico Madrid in 2007.
The 26-year-old Spain striker's transfer request was turned down by Liverpool on Friday.
The Reds are angered by the timing of Torres' request - the January transfer window closes at 2300 GMT on Monday - and believe Chelsea have "tapped up" the player by encouraging him to express a desire to leave.
Torres has a £50m release clause in his contract, but this only entitles him to leave if the Merseysiders fail to qualify for the Champions League this season - so even if Chelsea offer a package of that amount, Liverpool believe they could still force him to stay.
Reds manager Kenny Dalglish and the club's owners see little point in forcing the striker to remain at Anfield against his will, but are determined to hold out for what they see as a more realistic bid - and what would be a British record transfer fee.
By submitting his transfer request at the very end of the window, Torres has made it very difficult for his club to find a replacement.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is expected to submit an improved offer on Monday.
Despite reports, Liverpool are not interested in a deal involving 21-year-old Blues back-up striker Daniel Sturridge.
If Anelka is part of any package involving Torres being sold to Chelsea it would represent a return to Anfield for the 31-year-old French striker, who had a loan spell there in 2002.
Torres, who signed a six-year contract when he joined the Reds for £20m in 2007, has been linked with Chelsea before.
The west Londoners were reported to be interested in luring the Spaniard from Anfield in the summer of 2008 and made a bid in May 2010, but after helping Spain win the World Cup in June Torres pledged his future to Liverpool.
He said at the time: "My commitment and loyalty to the club and to the fans is the same as it was on my first day when I signed."
Torres notched three hat-tricks in his first season at Liverpool, scoring 33 goals in 46 appearances, and netted the winner as Spain beat Germany 1-0 to win the European Championship in 2008.

Hamstring injuries plagued him during the 2008-09 season but he still managed 17 goals in 38 games, while groin problems and knee surgery disrupted his 2009-10 campaign, although he still managed to find the net 22 times in 32 games.
Torres picked up a World Cup winners' medal with Spain but he failed to score during the finals in South Africa and pulled up with an abductor problem in the final, having come on as an 89th-minute substitute in the 1-0 victory over the Netherlands.
He has endured an indifferent 2010-11 season, scoring only nine goals in 26 games, and his transfer request came as Liverpool looked to have bolstered their attacking options by agreeing a £23m fee with Ajax for striker Luis Suarez.
Story from BBC SPORT

Sulley Muntari joins Sunderland on loan

Sunderland have signed Inter Milan midfielder Sulley Muntari on loan until the end of the season.
Muntari, 26, played for Portsmouth in the Premier League during the 2007-08 season before moving to Inter.
The Ghana international won the treble of the Italian Serie A, Coppa Italia and Champions League under ex-Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho last season.
But he has struggled to secure first-team football at the San Siro since then and handed in a transfer request.
He was out of favour under Rafael Benitez at the start of the season and has failed to convince new manager Leonardo of his worth, making only one Serie A start this term.

Muntari joins international team-mates Asamoah Gyan and John Mensah at the Stadium of Light.
He will not play in Tuesday's home game against Chelsea, but is expected to be available for next Saturday's trip to Stoke.

John Utaka join Montpellier from Portsmouth

Back 2 France
Montpellier have signed Nigeria striker John Utaka from Portsmouth for an undisclosed fee.
The 29-year-old, who spent five years in France after joining Lens in 2002, has agreed a two-and-a-half year deal.
He has struggled at Portsmouth ever since joining them from Rennes for a reported £7m in 2007, having scored just seven goals in that time.
Utaka, who has also played in Qatar and Egypt, had a contract with Portsmouth until 2012.
Montpellier are eighth in the French first division but have managed only 17 goals in 20 games this season.
He could make his debut in next weekend's game against St Etienne.

Champions TP Mazembe retain African Super Cup

Mazembe's flamboyant goalkeeper Muteba was their hero in the game
African Club Champions TP Mazembe have beaten FUS Rabat 9-8 on penalties to retain the African Super Cup.
The game remained goalless after full-time with both teams missing several chances but Mazembe kept their cool to convert all their spot-kicks.
Goalkeeper Muteba Kidiaba was the hero for the Congolese side after scoring a penalty in sudden death.

Mazembe become only the third team to retain the cup after Egypt's Al Ahly and Enyimba of Nigeria.
Mazembe, who claimed a second successive African Champions League title last year, became the first team from the continent to reach the final of the FIFA Club World Cup.
In 2010, the DR Congo side defeated Stade Malien of Mali 2-0 to win the tournament, which pits the holders of the Champions League and Confederation Cup against one another in a one-off match.
Mazembe, which is also known as The Raven, take home the cash prize of $75000.

South Africa's Danny Jordaan pulls out of Caf race

Danny Jordaan
Danny Jordaan, South Africa 2010 World Cup CEO, has withdrawn his candidature for a position on the Caf executive committee.
Africa's football governing body will elect six new members at a general assembly in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on 23 February.
Sixteen candidates across the continent are contesting those positions.
But Jordaan has told BBC Sport that he has pulled out of the Caf race to focus on the Fifa contest.
"There are about seven candidates from our region going for Caf," he said.
"I would rather concentrate on the Fifa position and step back from the Caf position.
"I have had discussions with other candidates on the continent and particularly in our region."
Zambia's 1988 African Footballer of the Year Kalusha Bwalya and Suketu Patel, president of regional body Cosafa, are also eyeing a spot on the Fifa executive committee.
The 60-year-old Jordaan expressed optimism at winning the Fifa executive member position especially after he led a team that successfully hosted Africa's first ever World Cup last year.
Jordaan further expressed concern at the fact that the Cosafa region had so many candidates competing in the Caf race.
There are about seven candidates from our region going for Caf. I would rather concentrate on the Fifa position and step back from the Caf position.
South Africa 2010 World Cup CEO Danny Jordaan
"That's a weakness of Cosafa and Cecafa [East African regional body] for that matter.
"The English-speaking block are very divided and that leads to a great weakness. It's an issue we have to address. We need stronger and firmer leadership.
"We need to create unity and work hard towards unifying all of these countries."
South Africa, who hosted the 1996 African Cup of Nations, were on Saturday picked as the hosts for the 2017 tournament after losing to Morocco for the 2015 edition.
Jordaan said he was "fine" with Caf's decision to award Morocco the 2015 tournament but indicated his country was also pondering hosting the 2014 Club World Cup.
"We are looking at the 2014 Club World Cup. We are going to talk to Fifa about that," Jordaan revealed.
"We think these competitions must come to Africa."
DR Congo side TP Mazembe last year became the first African outfit to reach the final of the Club World Cup which took place in Abu Dhabi.
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Morocco handed 2015 Nations Cup; South Africa host 2017

Morocco and South africa will host the 2015 and 2017 editions of the Nations Cup respectively
Morocco have won the right to stage the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations while South Africa will host the 2017 edition.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the executive committee of the Confederation of African Football (Caf) in Lubumbashi, DR Congo.
Morocco and South Africa were the only countries bidding to stage the tournament after DR Congo withdrew.
South Africa last hosted the Cup of Nations in 1996 while the competition went to Morocco in 1988.
The President of the South African Football Association (Safa) Kirsten Nematandani told reporters after the announcement that he was happy that they were awarded the 2017 edition.
"We are not disappointed at all, it gives us more time to prepare our national team for the event," Nematandani said.
He continued: "This time we also want to win it on home soil."
Nematandani's Moroccan counterpart Ali Fassi Hihiri said he too was satisfied with the way things had gone.
"It's a great day for Morocco and I am very happy," Hihiri commented.
Morocco and South Africa were engaged in a fierce battle for the right to host the 2010 World Cup, which South Africa won in a tight 14-10 vote in Zurich in 2004.
The 2012 African Nations Cup finals are being co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
After that, the tournament will be played every odd year with the 2013 tournament already designated to Libya.
In other decisions taken at the Caf Executive Committee meeting, Morocco will host the 2013 edition of the African Under-17 Championship while Rwanda will host 2016 edition of the African Nations Championship (CHAN).

Friday, January 28, 2011

Martins join Birmingham on loan

Martins (right) spent three years at Newcastle United
Birmingham have signed Obafemi Martins on a six-month loan, according to his Russian club Rubin Kazan.
Rubin coach Kurban Berdiyev said: "His child was born, and he asked to let him go to England, because Obafemi wants to be closer to his family."
The 26-year-old Nigeria striker spent three years with Newcastle United.
Martins, who has also played for Italian side Inter Milan and German outfit Wolfsburg, scored 39 goals in 105 games for the Mapgies.
The player's agent told BBC Sport's Oluwashina Okeleji that West Bromwich Albion had offered the same money as Birmingham for his signature.
"Few things separated the interested parties but we are confident the right choice was made," said Nicolas Walter.
"Everything concerning the paperwork should be sorted in couple of days."
Martins only joined Rubin at the end of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa but he failed to settle after his big money move from Wolfsburg.
The forward, who started his career at Nigerian side FC Ebedei, attracted interest from the Middle East but has opted for a return to England.

Africa Nations Cup hosts to be decided

South Africa and Morocco are the only candidates bidding to host the Africa Cup of Nations in 2015 and 2017.
The Confederation of African Football (Caf) will make the decision on Saturday when it meets in DR Congo.
The meeting coincides with the African Super Cup between Champions League winners TP Mazembe and the holders of the Confederation Cup, FUS Rabat.
Both South Africa and Morocco have made it clear that they would prefer to host the 2015 tournament.
South African Football Association (Safa) president Kirsten Nematandani stated the country wanted to "sustain some of the momentum from hosting the [2010] World Cup".
Morocco said that it wanted to host the Nations Cup sooner rather than later to help the country's football move towards professionalism.
The 2012 Nations Cup will be co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, who will be followed by Libya in 2013 after Caf decided to switch the event from even to odd years.
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Andy Murray beats David Ferrer to reach Final

Australian Open, Melbourne Venue: Melbourne Park Dates: 17-30 January Coverage: Watch on BBC TV, Red Button, BBC Sport website (UK only) & Eurosport; listen on BBC 5 live sports extra and online; text commentary online;
By Piers Newbery
Andy Murray needed all his fighting spirit as he toiled to a four-set win over David Ferrer to reach a second successive Australian Open final.
The Briton, seeded fifth, won 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-1 7-6 (7-2) to set up a final against Novak Djokovic on Sunday.
Murray produced an error-strewn performance in the face of Spaniard Ferrer's class and relentless energy.
But he battled back from the brink of a two-set deficit and is now one win away from a first Grand Slam title.
"Ferrer's an unbelievable athlete and competitor," Murray said afterwards. "He works so hard. I was expecting an unbelievably tough match and I got it.
"He's such a tough player to play against. He was dictating at the start and I had to start going for my shots more and it paid off. There will always be some nerves in a Grand Slam semi-final and that was the case today."
Serve was dominant in a low-key start to the match, with Murray misfiring a little on his groundstrokes, but the first opportunity for either man came when he got to deuce at 3-3 with some attacking returns, and Ferrer faltered with forehand and backhand errors.
Murray had his break without having got out of first gear but immediately found himself under pressure at 15-40 in the following game as Ferrer stepped up the pace, and the seventh seed clinched it by ending a magnificent rally at the net.
The match had now come alive and a beautiful backhand down the line took Murray to 15-30 in the next game before a similar stroke at the end of a hypnotic 40-shot rally earned him another two break points, but a Ferrer ace and a snatched return into the net saw the Spaniard escape.
Murray now carried the pressure and when Ferrer earned himself a set point, the world number five blazed a forehand wide - his 16th unforced error - to lose a set he had earlier controlled.
The subdued Briton needed a lift and he got exactly that at the start of the second, breaking when Ferrer sent a forehand long, but it did not signal a change in the rhythm of the match as the exasperated Murray found himself 0-40 down moments later and netted a backhand on the third break point.
As the second set progressed, it was the Spaniard who increasingly looked in command as a bewildered Murray just could not find a way through his defences and time after time ended lengthy rallies with a mistake of his own.
Clearly rattled by the way the match was going, and in regular dialogue with the umpire, Murray was in deep trouble at 15-40 in game seven of the second set but served his way out of trouble.
The errors kept on coming though and Murray was staring at a two-set deficit as Ferrer, 5-4 up and bristling with intent, hammered an attacking return at 30-30 to force error number 32, but Murray saw off the set point with a big serve down the middle and clung on.

Finally, Ferrer showed a crack in his armour after seeing that opportunity slip by and, at break point down in the following game, he surprisingly netted a mid-court backhand after easily chasing down a Murray drop shot.
Murray now had his chance to get right back in the match but he could not capitalise, failing to find a first serve from 30-30 and leaking a backhand wide on break point, and having dropped serve immediately after breaking for the third time in the match, the signs looked very ominous going into the tie-break.
The Scot required a serious step-up in quality and he produced it, opening with a fizzing return and racing to a 6-0 lead before converting his third set point to get back on level terms after two hours of largely desperate stuff.
Ferrer remained the aggressor as the crucial third set began, dominating Murray's second serve, but two break points went begging at 1-1 when he clipped the tape with an attempted pass before Murray sent down an ace on the second.
With his normally trusty backhand malfunctioning, Murray hit through a couple of heavy forehands down the line to grab the momentum in game four and a fierce return saw him break for 3-1, before a magnificent forehand lob sealed the double break in game six.
Murray closed out the set after seeing off five break points, and the momentum shift was well and truly established when a magical backhand winner from out wide helped him break to love at the start of the fourth.
When Ferrer faced a break point at 2-0 down his challenge appeared almost over but he survived, and the value of that hold was immediately obvious as Murray's purple patch came to an end and the Spaniard broke back to love for 2-2.
A tense set ebbed and flowed without offering up any further break points and, looking to avoid the dreaded fifth set, Murray again opened the tie-break impressively by winning the first three points on the Ferrer serve.
An ace from Murray gave him a 5-1 lead at the changeover and, after three hours and 45 minutes, a neat half-volley took him through to a third Grand Slam final.
Murray revealed afterwards that he had not known the score when he saved the vital set point in the second set.
"I actually thought it was 4-3 - just before the umpire called it 5-5," he said. "It happens occasionally. I was so focused and wrapped up - it probably helped me out and I hope it doesn't happen again.
"He lost his rhythm towards the end of the third set and I was hitting the ball cleaner. My level dropped again but then I found it again."
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Liverpool reject Chelsea bid for Fernando Torres

Liverpool have rejected an offer for star striker Fernando Torres from Premier League rivals Chelsea.
The 26-year-old has struggled for form so far this season but has scored nine goals in 25 appearances for the Reds.
"Chelsea have made a bid for Fernando, which has been turned down. The player is not for sale," a Liverpool spokesman told BBC Sport.
The offer is believed to be in the region of £35-£40m and comes after a previous bid by the London club in May.
Chelsea have declined to comment but, with the transfer window open until 2300 GMT on Monday, there is still time for them to increase their offer for the Spaniard.
Liverpool have previously been linked with Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez but his club, Ajax, have said the Reds have until Saturday to do any deal with them.
The Merseysiders have also had a £4m bid for midfielder Charlie Adam
and have
Torres' indifferent start to the season comes after a knee injury, which also hampered him at the World Cup in South Africa last summer.

And although he scored twice in Liverpool's 2-0 win over Chelsea in November, Torres looked a forlorn figure under previous Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson.
But he has looked a different prospect since Kenny Dalglish took over as Reds boss earlier in January, scoring three goals in his last four games.
Liverpool moved up to seventh in the Premier League table following their 1-0 victory over Fulham on Wednesday, but they still face a fight to qualify for the Champions League next season, with Chelsea nine points ahead of them in fourth spot.
Although Carlo Ancelotti's team have failed to fully replicate their form of last term where they won the Premier League title, they are still in the Champions League and are currently 10 points behind league leaders Manchester United.
Ancelotti has previously hinted that he wanted to bring in new players to bolster an ageing squad stretched by injuries this season.
And with the club close to signing Benfica defender David Luiz, the bid for Torres shows that Chelsea are still prepared to use their financial muscle to boost their domestic and European ambitions.
Story from BBC SPORT

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Amos Adamu hopeful over appeal

Amos Adamu is confident his appeal against a three-year ban will be successful 
FIFA and CAF executive Amos Adamu is confident his appeal against a three-year ban will be successful just as the Nigerian government has taken a special interest in the case. A source close to Adamu told that it was “all a set-up” against the top official and with the government now in the full picture of what happened during the sting operation by British newspaper The Sunday Times, the decision by FIFA to ban Adamu for three years for breaching their ethics will be overturned.
“Adamu has appealed the first ruling and FIFA will soon deliver judgment on the case. But Adamu is not really disturbed about what would be the outcome of the case because he is confident that he would be acquitted at the end of all the proceedings,” said a source close to Adamu.
“The video is not convincing enough to nail Adamu. So many top FIFA officials share this opinion and I am sure Adamu will celebrate in the end.”
Nigerian sports minister, Taoheed Adedoja, said Tuesday in Abuja that he felt “very uncomfortable that the allegations (against Adamu) were overblown” after he watched the video in which Adamu allegedly demanded for a payment to be transferred to an account for him to vote for the US to host the 2018 World Cup.
“I feel very uncomfortable that allegation was overblown beyond what actually happened. And after studying the video along with the transcript, we are sending the video and the transcript to the Attorney General of the Federation,” announced Adedoja.
“What happened is not about Amos Adamu but Nigeria as a nation. We are talking about Nigeria's image and about a Nigerian who is an executive of FIFA.
“The issue of Amos Adamu is not just about football. It is about Nigeria as a country. That is why Nigeria is interested like all other countries are interested in what happens to their citizens.
“Amos Adamu didn’t go there (to FIFA) as a person, he went there to represent Nigeria and if anything happens to a Nigerian at that level, even if you are not interfering, you must know what happened.”
The minister added: “We want to avail ourselves as to what happened. I would not be able to decide what actually happened. That is why I said we are sending the tape to the Attorney General to study it and make sure that what they alleged he did, he actually did it.
“If nothing else, at least for the record that Nigerians were knowledgeable about the case.”
The Sports Minister also frowned at what he termed as infringement on the rights of Adamu as a person. He submitted that filming the conversation without telling Adamu was a violation of international law.
The reporter who was privileged to watch the unedited version of the video of Adamu’s interview with the British newspaper said the evidence was not enough to nail the official.
The FIFA appeal committee will meet on February 2 to discuss Adamu’s appeal.

Daniel Shittu sign for QPR

Dan Shittu
Dan Shittu has returned to Queens Park Rangers after being handed a contract until the end of the season.
The defender, who made 182 appearances during a five-year spell at Loftus Road between 2001 and 2006, arrives as a free agent following a stint at Millwall.
The Lions were also eager to agree terms with the Nigeria international after handing him a three-month contract following his summer release by Bolton but he has elected to join the Championship leaders.
Neil Warnock feels Shittu will be an excellent addition to his squad and his previous experience with the club will help him settle immediately.
"I just felt that with the injuries Fitz Hall has had this season that we were maybe one body light in the central defensive area," Warnock told the club's official website.
"We've got to look at every avenue for the last 19 games of what could be the most important period in the club's recent history.
"Dan wanted to come here and I wanted to get him, so it was a no-brainer in that respect. Dan knows the club inside-out and can't wait to get started."

Novak Djokovic stuns Roger Federer

Novak Djokovic claimed his second successive Grand Slam semi-final win over reigning champion Roger Federer to reach the final of the Australian Open.
The Serb, who beat Federer at the US Open in September, saw off the 16-time Grand Slam champion 7-6 (7-3) 7-5 6-4 in the first semi-final in Melbourne.
Andy Murray will play David Ferrer in the second semi at 0830 GMT on Friday.
And for the first time since Australia in 2008, a Grand Slam final will not feature Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal.
That was the year that Djokovic beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to win his only major title to date, and then too he had ended Federer's hopes in the semi-finals.
This latest defeat ends a run of superb form from Federer that followed his five-set loss to Djokovic in New York four months ago, and included victory at the Tour Finals in London and in Doha at the start of this year.
Djokovic made a nervous start to Thursday's match, double-faulting twice as he offered up a break point in the opening game only to gather himself and see it off with a fine forehand.
The next 45 minutes saw precious little to choose between either man as both dominated on serve in a high-quality battle that had the packed night-time crowd enthralled on Rod Laver Arena.


Manchester United Keeper Edwin van der Sar to end career in May

Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar will retire from football at the end of this season.
The 40-year-old former Netherlands international moved to Old Trafford from Fulham in 2005.
Van der Sar has made 245 appearances for the Red Devils and helped them to win three Premier League titles and the 2008 Champions League.
"It is now time to pay attention to my family," he told the website of his management agency.
Van der Sar admitted he had been contemplating quitting the game since his wife, Annemarie, collapsed with a brain haemorrhage in December 2009.
"My age played no role. I am 40 years old, but I still feel fit"
Edwin van der Sar 
"I cannot really identify a time when it [the decision] happened," said the former Ajax and Juventus man. "Let's just say that it was playing on my mind from the moment Annemarie had her stroke.
"She has fought back from it. We decided on another year in England and thus to stay at Manchester United.
"But, once engaged in the season, the thought of saying goodbye started to gnaw a bit more emphatically."
Van der Sar admitted it had been a difficult decision to make, but ultimately the correct one.
"One minute you're out. The next, you question it again," he added on "I thought about stopping, maybe a year ago.
"It is a difficult process. After a defeat, I thought differently than after playing a few good games in a row.
"My age played no role. I am 40 years old but I still feel fit.
"And then the decision came suddenly. Do not ask me how or why, but suddenly you know. That was sufficient.
"The time has come to devote greater attention to my family - although they have never complained. Everyone in the family has indeed always had to focus on me, but we have also had a lot in return."
United goalkeeping coach Eric Steele commented that Van der Sar will go down alongside former Red Devil Peter Schmeichel as one of the club's greats following his decisive penalty save from Nicolas Anelka in the Champions League shootout against Chelsea in 2008.
"He has been a fantastic servant," Steele told Radio Manchester. "I was very lucky. I worked alongside Peter Schmeichel at Villa and I worked with Edwin for two and a half years.
"That penalty save in Moscow has elevated Edwin alongside Peter."
The 2008 Champions League crown is one of six major club trophies Van der Sar has won during his time with United.

He also won a hat-trick of back-to-back Premier League titles with the club between 2007 and 2009, the 2006 League Cup and the 2008 Fifa Club World Cup.
He began his career with Ajax in his native Netherlands and enjoyed nearly a decade of success, winning four Eredivisie titles and three Dutch cups in addition to winning the Uefa Cup in 1992 and the Champions League in 1995.
He then spent two years at Italian club Juventus before moving to Fulham in 2001, and then to United four years later.
Van der Sar called time on his international career after Euro 2008 before returning briefly to help out Oranje coach Bert van Marwijk in two 2010 World Cup qualifiers a few months later, before retiring for good with a Dutch record 130 caps to his name.
United's Polish keeper Thomas Kuszczak, who has been at the club since 2007, recently declared his desire to succeed Van der Sar as the club's number one.
However, United have been linked to several keepers and the club signed Denmark international keeper
last year while Ben Amos, 20, went on loan to Oldham until the end of the season. 
Story from BBC SPORT

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Uche Okafor was murdered – FBI

Late Uche Okafor
There has been a twist in the death of former Eagles' defender, Uche Okafor as the Federal Investigation Bureau (FBI) claimed in a report yesterday that the player was murdered.
Uche was found hanging at his Dallas, Texas home earlier this month and a preliminary report by the Dallas police ruled that the easy-going defender hanged himself. But his family, friends and the Nigerian community in America rejected the suicide claims as they suspected foul play. 
The FBI stepped into the controversy last week after protests from the family members who even alleged racism for the shoddy investigation over the death of the player. And the latest findings have confirmed the suspicion of murder held by many of the former Eagles' admirers. The FBI report however, did not state who killed Uche Okafor or why his life was terminated.
This piece of information from the USA, will interest the Nigerian government. The foreign affairs Minister, Odein Ajumogobia declared only on Monday that Nigeria was awaiting the result of the FBI report, before the country could take necessary action.
A source close to the family disclosed that the latest twist in the death of the player was quite a relief to his tribesmen who are holding on to an ancient myth that it was a taboo for an Ibo man to take his own life.
Uche Okafor's Eagles colleagues and indeed Nigerians also struggled to come to terms with the death of the player who was comfortably living with his wife and daughter. He was into business and also into football commentary with ESPN sports.
It was gathered that the corpse of the departed player will be flown in for burial next month. 

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NFF: Lagos could stage Nations Cup tie

Nigeria Football Federation    
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) have hinted a 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Ethiopia slated for March could be played in Lagos.
Nigeria coach, Samson Siasia, has proposed the Group B qualifier be played in the country’s commercial capital of Lagos to bring back the atmosphere and crowds that have been lacking at national team games since they were hosted in Abuja.
“Lagos is an option we are looking at and if we get all the approvals, there is no reason why the match cannot be played there,” said NFF general secretary, Musa Amadu.
The qualifying match against Ethiopia on March 26 could therefore be played at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, which has an artificial pitch.
The next-door National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos, which has suffered from a total neglect for many years, last hosted a full international match in 2004.
Incidentally, Ethiopia’s last visit to Nigeria was in July 1993, when they were thumped 6-0 there.
Attendances at Eagles matches at the 60,000-capacity Abuja National Stadium have fluctuated from a full house to a few thousands.
These matches have also been devoid of the atmosphere associated with games involving the national team.

‘Jay Jay’ Okocha laments fallen Nigeria

Nigeria great Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha does not like what he is seeing in Nigerian football now
Nigeria are no longer a giant in African football, the players are over-rated and officials have failed in their responsibilities, according to the country’s former skipper Austin ‘Jay Jay’. “Everything is wrong, right from the players, coaches and the management. And the fans expect too much,” moaned Okocha as a guest on a programme of pay television channel SuperSport.
“The best way forward is for Nigerians to accept that we are no longer one of the giants in African football as we have lost the dominance.
“We must also accept the fact that Nigeria does not possess the kind of talents we used to have and we must go back and get our football administration right.”
Nigeria are presently ranked fourth in Africa by FIFA, but the last time the team won a major championship was 17 years ago when they clinched only their second Africa Nations Cup in Tunisia.
Okocha, who led Nigeria to the 2002 World Cup, was most critical of the current crop of the country’s stars, saying they have struggled to establish themselves at their various European clubs.
“Our players are overrated. When you look at the way they play for their various clubs, I don’t think we have up to five players who are regulars at their clubs,” said the 37-year-old Okocha now a Lagos businessman since he quit the game in 2008.
“Take Yakubu Aiyegbeni example. He’s one of Nigeria’s finest but he has not been consistent maybe because of his injury which has of course slowed him down.
“And you can’t tell me that his recent loan move from Everton to Championship team Leicester City is a good one, rather your desire as a player is to play in the top class league.”
Okocha has now been appointed to head a scouting unit of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to discover fresh talent for the country.
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Rafa Nadal out of Australian Open

David Ferrer defeated an injury-stricken Rafael Nadal 6-4 6-2 6-3 to set up a semi-final against Andy Murray at the Australian Open.
Top seed Nadal had his left thigh strapped early in the first set and the heavy-hitting Ferrer showed his friend and fellow Spaniard little mercy.
Ferrer feasted on Nadal's weakened serve as he moved into a two-set lead.
And while Nadal hung in gamely, seventh seed Ferrer held his nerve to secure a semi-final debut in Melbourne.
It was the first time the 24-year-old Nadal had lost in a major since retiring hurt against Murray in last year's Australian Open quarter-finals.

And injury destroyed the world number one's dream of holding all four majors simultaneously - the so-called
Ferrer, 28, had the nine-time major winner on the back foot from the outset, going blow for blow from the back of the court and hitting winners at will from both flanks.
Nadal, who had won 12 of the previous 15 meetings between the two and all of the last eight, was taken to eight deuces in his first service game before being broken when he plonked a tame backhand into the net.
Nadal broke back straightaway, sealing the game with a cute angled backhand, before immediately calling for a medical time-out and trudging disconsolately from the court.
The 2009 champion returned with his left thigh heavily strapped - he appeared to tweak something in his fourth-round victory over Marin Cilic - and his body language suggested he was far from comfortable.
Ferrer sealed another break courtesy of a threaded backhand down the line but there were signs Nadal's treatment was starting to have an effect in the next game, with one whipped forehand winner closely followed by a trademark fist-pump.
Indeed, Nadal broke back in the next game to make it 5-4, Ferrer suddenly tightening with his opponent at his mercy, only for Nadal to drop serve again, as well as his first set of the championship.
Typically, Nadal came out swinging at the start of the second set, breaking Ferrer to love. But Ferrer responded in kind, producing one of the shots of the fortnight, a forehand winner down the line, to make the score 2-2.
There followed a 10-minute break for fireworks, it being Australia Day, about which Nadal did not look particularly happy.
And when play resumed Ferrer stepped up a gear, hammering away at the brittle Nadal serve and firing winners from both sides as he reeled off the next four games.
With Nadal little more than a husk, Ferrer began to bully proceedings in the third set, racing into a 3-0 lead.
And while Nadal demonstrated his survival instincts in creating two break points at 1-3 down, Ferrer was ruthless in snuffing out any signs of revival, unfurling a wicked forehand down the line before holding with a wrong-footing backhand.
Nadal showed tantalising glimpses of his normal self in holding his next two service games - his serve was broken seven times in total - but he had no answer to his opponent's serve and Ferrer stayed focused to close out the match.
Story from BBC SPORT

John Terry Hail Team

John Terry insists the experienced Chelsea squad has what it takes to go to the end of the season and beyond.
The Blues have turned the corner after a miserable winter and will hope an emphatic 4-0 victory at Bolton on Monday night puts to bed a poor run of form.
Sceptics have suggested that Carlo Ancelotti's squad is too old to mount a serious title challenge in the Premier League this season but Terry believes they still have gas left in the tank.
Asked if the group had a future beyond the current campaign, he said: "I certainly hope so. We all realise we are a small squad and the club are looking at different options.
"I don't want to get into that but, what I will say, if the group has to stay together for the rest of the season we will definitely be right up there.
"We were reading that people don't fear us any more. The message in the dressing room is 'don't fear us at your peril'.
"People were saying things that we showed great experience with the players we have in the squad. Three months later we are all too old.
"We have players who are 30, 31, 32. We have young blood coming through as well. We have a great mix of players.
"One thing you cannot take away from the squad is that winning mentality. That rubs off on everyone coming into the group. You have to win in training, you have to win in games."
Next up for Chelsea is a trip to Everton in the FA Cup on Saturday as the hunt for three trophies continues.
Terry also refuted the claim that his side are not strong enough, saying that they can compete with the physical teams in the league.
"Southern softies? People may have that impression but we're not. You can see against Bolton that we can mix it with them," he added.
"We have some tough games coming up. It is going to be a big test, we realise that, but we're certainly up for the fight and we won't give up."


The SPANISH FOOTBALL FEDERATION (RFEF) on Tuesday fined BARCELONA star LIONEL MESSI after the ARGENTINE FIFA Ballon d'Or winner showed off a tee-shirt bearing a birthday message to his mother. Media reports said the fine was believed to be between €2000 and 3000 which the RFEF deemed Messi should pay for ripping off his shirt after scoring at the weekend against Racing Santander and showing a tee-shirt emblazoned with the words "Happy Birthday Mum".

DR Congo name CHAN squad

Eleven players from African club champions TP Mazembe have been named in the DR Congo's squad for the African Nations Championship tournament (CHAN).
Coach Santos Mutubile Ditunga also named six players from 2010 league winners Vita Club.
The CHAN defending champions also named five players from top club players from DC Motema Pembe.
This year's CHAN kicks off in Sudan on 4 February with the format changing from eight teams to 16.
Included in Coach Ditunga's team are three TP Mazembe strikers who were banned by the Congolese Football Federation after they refused to take part in the just concluded Nile Basin tournament in Egypt.
Their ban was lifted a few days later, after Mazembe complained they had not received a written letter notifying them on the players' suspension.
The strikers are, Kaluyituka Dioko, Patou Kabangu and Bedi Mbeza.
Meanwhile Coach Santos Mutubile, himself a former DR Congo International, says he is expecting a tough CHAN tournament but believes his team can retain the trophy.
Story from BBC SPORT

Real Madrid sign Emmanuel Adebayor on loan

Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor has joined Real Madrid on loan until the end of the season.
The ex-Togo international is expected to travel to Spain on Wednesday for a medical at the Spanish club.
Madrid have an option to buy the 26-year-old at the end of his loan spell in the summer.
Adebayor joined Manchester City from Arsenal in a £25m deal in 2009 and has scored 19 goals in 36 league and cup starts for the club.
He becomes City's second high-profile striker to leave in six months following Robinho's move to AC Milan and will provide Real manager Jose Mourinho with cover for Gonzalo Higuain, who is out with a back injury.

Before moving for Adebayor, Real had tried to sign former striker Ruud van Nistelrooy, who is now playing for Hamburg and had a £39m bid for Atletico Madrid's Argentina striker Sergio Aguero rejected.
Adebayor will be available to play in the Champions League as well as La Liga, the Spanish top flight, and should his loan spell go well at the Bernabeu, the player could sign permanently for a rumoured fee of around £15m.
When he arrived at Eastlands in 2009 the striker was a marquee £25m signing by former manager Mark Hughes.
Having forged his reputation as a goal scorer with Premier League side Arsenal, where he scored 62 goals in 142 games after joining for £7m from Monaco, he continued his impressive form in Manchester, scoring four times in his first four games.
But Adebayor has struggled to command a regular place for the Blues under Hughes's replacement Roberto Mancini.
And this season, he has found himself further down the pecking order after the arrival of Mario Balotelli from Inter Milan.
He retired from international football with Togo following a gun attack on the team bus during the 2010 African Cup of Nations.
He was initially linked with a possible move to Monaco in the current transfer window before his loan deal with Real Madrid materialised.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Premier league team long passes attempted

From BBC

Gael Kakauta in Fulham Medical

Sky sources understand Chelsea forward Gael Kakuta is undergoing a medical at West London rivals Fulham ahead of a move to Craven Cottage.
Fulham boss Mark Hughes revealed last week that he was interested in taking the highly-rated Frenchman on loan for the remainder of the season.
Kakuta has been unable to force his way into Carlo Ancelotti's first-team plans as a regular, making just four starts this season.
Ancelotti is open to the idea of loaning out Kakuta as he looks for the player to gain some more valuable first-team experience.
The move has stepped closer with Fulham now putting the skilful forward through a medical as they look to tie up a deal for the 19-year-old.

Aisha Falode sets to change women league

Chairmanship aspirant of the Nigeria women league election due for this weekend in Abuja, Aisha Falode has assured that the body under her leadership will witness a total turn around.

Miffed at the sorry state of the women league, Falode told that she wants to bring to reality positive changes never witnessed in the history of the body.“I want to turn the fortune of the women league around for the best.
“Presently, it has no identity, no bearing, no focus and no vision. These are anomalies I will correct once I assumed the leadership of the body.
“It pains me to hear those who have been there before complaining of time constraint to carry out their work and I ask how long it will take somebody who has clearly stated programme and vision to bring positive changes to an association.
“They have tried but I want to put it on record that what looked impossible will be achieved within the shortest time.”
The Caf media committee member who said whatever positive fortune being enjoyed at the moment by the premier league is her handiwork assured that tens of that will be brought to bear on the women league.
“I am not entirely new to the terrain as wrongly assumed by some people. I was a pioneer member of the Nigeria premier league board in 2005 and the only woman on the board.
“The positive things premier league are enjoying today is my handiwork. I designed the premier league logo, created the match fixtures, brought television live telecast of league matches, gave the league an identity as well as initiated the inspection of stadia to ensure that matches were played on television friendly pitches.
“Now that SuperSport is televising premier league matches I laid the foundation.
“We have to start running the league strictly as business no more on sentiments. We need to have money to run the league so as to lighten the financial burden on club owners.
“If women league is not developed there is no how you will have quality players for the national teams including Super Falcons.
“I am an agent of positive change, that is what I will be bringing to the women league and more,” she said.
For the seasoned journalist to realize her dream, she must overcome the hurdles mounted by fellow chairmanship aspirants namely Fifa women committee member Alhaja Ayo Omidiran, Dilicchukwu Onyedinma and Princess Bola Jegede.


Chelsea seek "solution" to sign Benfica's David Luiz

Chelsea are still searching for a "solution" in their bid to sign Benfica defender David Luiz, according to the Blues manager Carlo Ancelotti.
Chelsea are thought to have had a £17m bid for the Brazilian international, 23, rejected at the end of December.
Speaking after Chelsea beat Bolton 4-0 on Monday, Ancelotti said nothing had been agreed between the two clubs.
"He is the only signing we are trying to make but if it's not possible, nothing changes," stated the Italian.
"He's a very good young player but we have not agreed anything."
A centre-half who can also play at right or left-back, Luiz is valued by Portuguese side Benfica at £25.5m.
Were he to join Chelsea, he would link up with fellow Brazilians, defender Alex and midfielder Ramires.
First-half goals from Didier Drogba and Florent Malouda, coupled with second-half strikes by Nicolas Anelka and Ramires secured the win at the Reebok.
The result means Ancelotti's side are seven points behind Premier League leaders Manchester United, who play their game in hand on Tuesday when they face Blackpool at Bloomfield Road.
After seeing Chelsea record the same scoreline over Bolton away from home as they did last season, Ancelotti said his title holders had "turned the corner".
"We are playing good football with a good attitude and a good mentality," added Chelsea's Italian manager. "The performance was very good and now I think we are coming back to fight for everything.
"It is not easy to close the gap but we have to try. We are playing well and are in good condition, so we will try to do everything to close the gap."
The Blues manager hailed striker Drogba after he scored his ninth league goal of the season with a fine effort.
"He has trained very well and has had a fantastic attitude in the last week," said Ancelotti. "He deserved this performance and scored a fantastic goal."
Bolton boss Owen Coyle said he could have had two goalkeepers in the net and they would not have kept Drogba's strike out.
But while Coyle acknowledged the quality of Chelsea's finishing, he was disappointed with his team's defending as they fell to only their second home defeat of the season.
"We gifted them each and every goal," stated Coyle. "We've had as many chances as them but they're clinical and that's why they're champions.
"It's hard to take but you can either feel sorry for yourself or get up tomorrow morning ready to do something about it. That's what we'll do. Take nothing away from Chelsea, their finishing was top class - but there was no way four goals between the teams."
Story from BBC SPORT

Ghana aim for CHAN victory

The coach of Ghana's locally based Black Stars is aiming for victory in this year's African Nations Championship tournament (CHAN).
Ghana are in group B with South Africa, Zimbabwe and Niger for the tournament which kicks off on 4 February.
Ghana were beaten finalists at the maiden event in Ivory Coast two years ago and Herbert Addo wants his team to take it a step further.
"Our chances this year are very high," Addo told BBC Sport.
"Provided the weather is okay and the referees are fair, we don't have a problem," Addo said in Nairobi, where the team is training at high altitude ahead of the tournament.
Addo believes that the pain of losing to the DR Congo in the final two years ago, will push his side to triumph at the tournament.
"So far our training has gone on very well," He added.
The competition in Sudan will see the tournament change from an eight team format, to 16 teams.
Only locally based teams can take place in the tournament.
Of the 23 players Ghana took to Ivory Coast only one, striker Stephen Manu, has been retained by Coach Addo.

Sky Sports presenters suspended over sexist comments

Andy Gray and Richard Keys suspended by Sky Sports over sexist comments

Sky Sports have suspended presenters Richard Keys and Andy Gray for sexist comments made about Premier League official Sian Massey.

Andy Gray
Suspended: Andy Gray and Richard Keys will not present Monday Night Football Photo: ACTION IMAGES
Keys and Gray were scheduled to present Sky's Monday Night Football show from the Reebok Stadium tonight where Bolton will host Chelsea. But the broadcaster has now confirmed that both men will be stood down from the game in the wake of a furious reaction to their comments.
“I have spoken directly to both Richard Keys and Andy Gray this morning," said Barney Francis, managing director of Sky Sports.
“It has been made clear to each of them that their comments were totally unacceptable. Those views are entirely inconsistent with our ethos as a business and employer, and will rightly offend many of our customers, our people, and the wider public. They are inexcusable from anyone at Sky, regardless of their role or seniority. “We have dealt with this matter by taking immediate disciplinary action. As with any employee it would not be right to go into detail on those proceedings.
“However, they have been clearly warned about their behaviour and reminded of their responsibilities. In addition, Richard and Andy will not be involved in any way with tonight’s live Monday Night Football.”

Monday, January 24, 2011

Burkina Faso U17 Assistant Coach says winning the African crown is 'fantastic'.

Burkina Faso's Assistant Coach at the just concluded African Under-17 Championship has described the team's victory as 'fantastic'.
The Burkinabe claimed their first Under-17 crown with a 2-1 win over hosts Rwanda in the final in Kigali on Saturday.
Pedro Lima said winning the trophy is a great achievement for the country.
"It is the first trophy for these kids and the first for our country so we are very happy," Lima told BBC Sport.
"Winning the final in a full stadium, against the home team is really fantastic," he stated.
Burkina Faso took the lead in 54th minute after Zaniou Sana pounced on a poor back-pass from Rwandan captain Faustin Usengimana.
Rwanda equalised ten minutes later from a long range shot from Tibingana Mwesigye.
And despite playing most of the second half with 10 men following Kanazoe Bassirou's red card, the Burkinabe restored their lead through Kabore Abdoul Aziz
After the game Pedro Lima described his team's performance as mature.
"We always showed great concentration in defence," he said.
"And when we won the ball, our counter-attack was very fast."
Lima said even at half-time and with the game still goalless, his boys believed they would win it.
"When we arrived in the locker room the players said they knew they could win this game."
"We played very very well [and] scored two goals," Lima continued.
Lima praised the performance of the Rwandan side as well as the organisation of the tournament.
"Rwanda were a wonderful team. The [fans] and the organisation of the tournament have also been wonderful," he said.

Lulu withdraw CAS case

Impeached former President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Sani Lulu, his former vice president, Amanze Uchegbulam, and the federation's former technical committee chairman, Taiwo Ogunjobi, have withdrawn their case against the NFF from the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS).  

The trio were challenging what they described as their "wrongful impeachment" from the federation last year.

A. P. Ameh, the lawyer representing the trio, said the decision was to allow them continue with the ongoing process of resolving the issues by other means.

"The recent developments that informed the withdrawal of the appeal include: The intervention of the President of CAF, Isa Hayatou, who recently assured the appellants of his unalloyed determination to resolve the issues peacefully. 

"The nullification of the unlawful impeachment of the appellants by the congress of the NFF on the 28th of December, 2010, and The appointment of a new Minister of Sports, who has shown a determination to refocus the sector and ensure rapid development," their letter to CAS read.  


Burkina Faso claim African U17 Trophy

Burkina Faso have won the African Under-17 championship after a 2-1 victory over hosts Rwanda in the final.
Zaniou Sana got the opening goal of the game in the 54th minute, pouncing on a poor back-pass from Rwandan captain Faustin Usengimana.
Rwanda equalised ten minutes later with a stunning 25-yard shot from Tibingana Mwesigye.
But the Burkinabe restored their lead shortly afterwards through Kabore Abdoul Aziz.
Burkina Faso spent much of the second half with only 10 men, after the sending-off of Kanazoe Bassirou in the 59th minute.
The final in Kigali was a repeat of the opening match of the tournament which the Junior Wasps won 2-1.
The Burkinabe have contested two U17 finals before, losing to Ghana in 1999 and then Nigeria two years later, while Rwanda were appearing in their first Caf tournament final.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Injury forces Venus Williams out

Venus Williams pulled out with a muscle strain just minutes into her Australian Open third round match Friday, robbing the tournament of one of its biggest stars.
The seven-time Grand Slam winner screamed in pain and stopped playing while receiving at 0-1 down, after being broken in the first game. She limped to her chair and quickly conceded defeat after seeing a trainer.
Williams' first retirement in 251 Grand Slam matches comes after she had needed treatment to a psoas muscle, which runs from the abdomen to the groin, in her previous match.
"I obviously couldn't play. I mean, just couldn't move. Just too painful," she said.
The retirement marks a bleak day for US tennis, as it is the first time in the Open era that no American woman has reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam.
"It's super-disappointing because this is just not how I envisioned my Australian Open being," Williams told reporters.
"I've never had to retire from a Grand Slam especially after working so hard to pull out the match the other day. Just hoping for some magic that I could recover.
"But I have peace of mind that I really gave more than my best to be out there."
Petkovic was stunned at the retirement, which sends her into a fourth-round clash with Russian star Maria Sharapova.
"I am very surprised she retired," said the German. "I saw she got injured in her last game but she finished that match so I figured she was going to play tonight."
The retirement also continues a miserable run for Williams in Melbourne. While sister Serena is a five-time winner, the best Venus has managed is runner-up to Serena in 2003.
On a court that should suit her, the 30-year-old has often been bundled out by players ranked well below her.
In 2009 she lost to Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro in the second round and last year she was beaten by Li Na in the quarter-finals.
Petkovic, 23, has now reached the last 16 at a Grand Slam for the second time in succession. She was beaten at the same stage of the 2010 US Open by eventual runner-up Vera Zvonareva.
She had a good start to the year when she made the final of the Brisbane International, going down to Petra Kvitova.

NPL to re-start bidding process

The Nigeria Premier League has resolved to re-start the whole process involved in its title sponsorship issue.
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In a press release signed by the NPL acting executive secretary Tunji Babalola and made available to, the organisation stated that as a ‘responsible corporate citizen’ it has resolved to review the entire bidding process and the subsequent agreement over the title sponsorship of the Nigeria premier league early awarded to Total Promotion/MTN Nigeria which is being hotly challenged by Globacom. The Wednesday’s NPL resolution on the title sponsorship agreement read thus:
“That after a careful and critical review of the bidding process for the award of the title sponsorship of the Nigeria premier league, it has come to the realization that due process was not materially followed in the award and the subsequent execution of the title sponsorship agreement dated 24th December, 2010.
“Consequently as a responsible corporate citizen, the NPL has resolved to review the entire bidding process and the subsequent agreement over the title sponsorship of the Nigeria premier league.
“On the strength of the foregoing, the NPL has resolved to re-start the whole process including the bid process and the agreement. The NPL will in due course make available to prospective interested persons new guidelines which will serve ensure that due process and transparency are followed,” it stated.


Nigeria women line up friendlies

Nigeria have lined up two international friendlies against Hungary and Finland ahead of the Women's World Cup in Germany in July.
The Super Falcons will face Finland on 17 May in Helsinki as part of their build up for the global tournament.
But the date and venue for the Hungary game is yet to be finalised.
The Africa champions are in a tricky Group A of the World Cup with hosts and reigning champions Germany, France and Canada.
Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) spokesman Ademola Olajire insists more friendly games could follow in the coming weeks.
"The Finland match is confirmed but there are on-going talks concerning the game against Hungary," Olajire told BBC Sport.
"The Super Falcons will play Finland in Helsinki on May 17 and Hungary on a date to be announced soon.
"We have entered discussions with other major teams preparing for the World Cup as well but nothing concrete has been finalised.
"The team is guaranteed top grade matches to enable them prepare adequately for the big task in Germany."
The Super Falcons won their record sixth African title when beating Equatorial Guinea 4-2 in the final of the African Women's Championship two months ago.

Inadequate preparation affected them in the past but this year will be a lot different according to the board of the NFF
NFF spokesman, Ademola Olajire 
Yet the Nigerians have failed to translate their continental dominance onto the world stage despite qualifying for every edition of the World Cup since it started in 1991.
The NFF insists sufficient preparation will ensure that the Super Falcons will make an impact at the World Cup.
"Inadequate preparation affected them in the past but this year will be a lot different according to the board of the NFF," said Olajire.
Sixteen teams will contest the women's World Cup which runs between 26 June and 17 July.
The Super Falcons have never gone past the quarter-final stage, a feat they achieved at the 1999 edition.
Nigeria have won every edition of the African women's competition ever held except one - in 1998, 2000, 20002, 2004, 2006 and 2010.
Story from BBC SPORT