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ETHIOPIAN NATIONALS WIN $60,000 FIRST PRIZE IN LAGOS CITY MARATHON, AS SANWO-OLU RACES WITH ATHLETES

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ETHIOPIAN NATIONALS WIN $60,000 FIRST PRIZE IN LAGOS CITY MARATHON, AS SANWO-OLU RACES WITH ATHLETES
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………‘Getting Contest From Elite To Platinum Level By 2024 Our Top Priority’ – Governor

…Dr. Hamzat, Sports Minister, Edo Deputy Governor Take Part In Marathon

At exactly 8:03am on Saturday, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu crossed the finish line of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon, ceremonially becoming the first athlete to breast the final ribbon.

Ethiopia’s runner, Ulfata Deresa, finished the 42-kilometre-long race 11 minutes after the Governor’s arrival and became the winner of the marathon’s 7th edition in the male category. He set a new finish time record of 2:11:58 and clinched $30,000 cash prize.

Sanwo-Olu took off from the State House in Marina, jogging through highways to Eko Atlantic City; he covered 8km distance in 40 minutes.

The Governor teamed up with his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, Minister for Sport and Youth Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, Deputy Governor of Edo State, Comrade Philip Shuaibu, Lagos Head of Service, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola, Chairman of Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC), Shola Aiyepeku, and LSSC Director-General, Gafaar Bolowotan, among other top functionaries, to participate in the symbolic flag-off.

The marathon is an elite-labeled athletic fiesta held in second weekend in February of every year in Lagos and draws participation from local and international teams in the athletic ecosystem. It kicked off at 6am.

Sanwo-Olu said the event had consistently placed Lagos on the global radar, noting that the sporting fiesta had become a yearly ritual for athletes.

The Governor said the marathon embodied the spirit of Lagos, which teaches endurance, perseverance and resilience while toiling through physical strength.

He said: “One of the objectives of this event is to put Lagos on a global platform in the area of sport. Every year, new records are broken and the marathon gets bigger and better. As a Government, we are fully committed to sustaining this noble initiative and leading from the front to ensure that all participants, especially, our youths, get the best from this event.

“I acknowledge the great work which Access Bank and all other sponsors have put in to make this edition a success. The goal of the marathon is to use sport as a tool to promote physical fitness, togetherness, resilience and every virtue that can make human beings progress and live fulfilling life. This is the strongest rallying point for our youths and next edition would be better than what we have had this year.”

Sanwo-Olu pledged his Government would be relentless in raising the status of the marathon to a platinum-labeled event to attract more participants beyond Africa.

This, the Governor said, would open up the State’s economy for more foreign investment and boost tourism revenue for operators in the sector.

Sanwo-Olu said the decision of Kenyan Airways, a global aviation brand, to be part of the sponsors of the event this year indicated that the marathon would bring more tourism opportunities for Lagos if attained platinum level.

“We target the next two years to get this marathon to the platinum level, which means the event would be fully globalised. When this is achieved, every second weekend in February becomes calendarised for this marathon and Lagos would become a place to be and a destination for all sport enthusiasts,” the Governor said.

Presenting the prizes to the winners, Sanwo-Olu encouraged participants from Nigeria to brace themselves for first prizes in the next year’s edition.

Two Kenyans, David Barmasai and Naibe Emmanuel, finished as first and second runners-up in the male category, at 2:13:27 and 2:14:42 respectively. They got a cash prize of $20,000 and $15,000.

In the female category, Ethiopian marathoner, Dagne Siranesh Yirga, won the race at 2:33:50. She received $30,000 cash prize.

Alemenesh Herehaguta and Naomi Maiyo, both Kenyans, won $20,000 and $15,000 as first and second runners-up in the female category.

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Nigeria qualify for 2023 Africa U20 Cup of Nations

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Nigeria’s U20 boys, Flying Eagles, on Tuesday night overpowered fit-fighting Cote d’Ivoire in an explosive semi final match to reach the final of the ongoing WAFU B U20 Championship in Niamey.

The ticket to Saturday’s final also came with a ticket to next year’s Africa U20 Cup of Nations taking place in Egypt.

Midfielder Daniel Daga put Nigeria in front after only five minutes when he cleverly escaped the attention of the Ivorian defenders to nod in from a well-weighted pull out.

The seven-time African champions then launched onslaught after onslaught on the Ivorian goal but failed to add to the tally, before the Ivorians equalized just before half time from an intelligently-taken free kick at the edge of Nigeria’s eighteen-yard box.

Neither team could find another goal to gain upper hand before the end of regulation time inside the Stade General Seyni Kountché, and the game went into extra time.

Forward Ibrahim Yahaya got the winner for Nigeria in the 111th minute of play when he tucked in from the penalty spot to make it 2-1.

Nigeria will square up against neighbours Benin Republic in Saturday’s final.

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Arsenal squandered Champions League spot after loss to Newcastle United

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Ben White score own gaol
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Arsenal’s Champions League hopes suffered a major blow as Newcastle powered their way to a deserved win at a raucous St James’ Park.

Newcastle’s Bruno Guimaraes condemned the Gunners to a costly 2-0 defeat with an 85th-minute strike after Ben White’s own goal had put the Magpies ahead in front of a crowd of 52,274.

As a result, Arsenal will go into Sunday’s final round of fixtures two points behind their North London rival Tottenham, who are fourth on the table and with their fate out of their own hands.

Victory was no more than Eddie Howe’s side deserved as they bounced back from successive defeats to Liverpool and Manchester City to take their tally to 46 points, the most they have collected since returning to the Premier League in 2017.

Arsenal, were first to threaten when Granit Xhaka fed Eddie Nketiah, who cut inside from the left, but saw his right-foot shot blocked.

Callum Wilson’s pace made life difficult for Arsenal and White had to block a Sean Longstaff cross and a Joelinton shot within seconds as the home side pushed for the opener.

Bukayo Saka threatened on 21 minutes and the England international’s second strike forced keeper Martin Dubravka into another save before Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsdale produced a solid 37th-minute stop from Allan Saint-Maximin.

Martin Odegaard then flashed the ball across the Magpies’ penalty area, but the Gunners fell behind on 55 minutes.

Saint-Maximin played Joelinton into space down the left and he crossed to the near post, where White could only guide the ball into his own net.

Newcastle Utd celebrate White’s own gaol

As the visitors chased an equaliser, Wilson sent a 63rd-minute snapshot just over, Ramsdale palmed away Jacob Murphy’s shot and was relieved to see Wilson’s late lob from 40 yards drop just wide.

The keeper dived bravely at Wilson’s feet with five minutes remaining, but the rebound fell perfectly for Guimaraes, who wasted no time to seal the points.

Mikel Arteta was fumed after witnessing his team throwing away a whole season’s hard work in a woeful 2-0 defeat at St. James’ Park.

Mikel Arteta

With his team’s Champions League dram almost over, Arteta could not hide his exasperation anymore.

“Normally, I will always defend my players. Not tonight, it is too difficult. We didn’t compete. We never got into the game. We lost every duel. They were comfortably better than us.

“I am incredibly disappointed. It’s a very painful one. It was in our hands, it’s not in our hands now. We have to put our head down and swallow all the poison that we feel,” He told a press conference

Arteta’s anger was echoed by Granit Xhaka, who pulled no punches during an explosive post-game interview. The Arsenal midfielder declared the Gunners didn’t deserve a spot in Europe’s showpiece event next season.

Granit Xhaka 

“From the first minute to the 90th we didn’t deserve to be on the pitch today,” he told Sky Sports. “What happened was a disaster performance and like this you don’t deserve to play Champions League, you don’t even deserve to play Europa League. It’s very hard to take at the moment. I don’t know why we’re not doing what the coaches ask for.”

“If someone isn’t ready for this game, stay at home. It doesn’t matter the age. If you’re not ready or you’re nervous, stay on the bench, stay at home, don’t come here. We knew this game was maybe the most important for us but, with a performance like this, it’s not acceptable.”

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Official: José Peseiro now Super Eagles Head Coach

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José Peseiro
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The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has appoint Joeé Santos Peseiro as the new Head Coach of the national team after weeks of endless reports of the Portuguese being the frontrunner for the Super Eagles Head coach job.

The NFF announced the appointment on Sunday, saying appointment is with immediate effect but subject to the signing of agreed terms between the NFF and Peseiro.

Peseiro, 62, will take charge of the Super Eagles starting with friendlies with Mexico and Ecuador later in May.

Mr Peseiro has coached clubs and national teams in four continents— Europe, Asia, Africa and South America.

He has coached at Sporting Lisbon, FC Porto, Panathinaikos, Rapid Bucharest, Sporting Braga, Victoria Gumaraes, Al-Hilal, Al-Wahda, Al-Ahly Cairo, Sharjah FC and Real Madrid (assistant coach during the Galacticos era), and worked as Head Coach of the Saudi Arabian and Venezuelan national teams.

A statement from the NFF said Peseiro is expected to lead out the Super Eagles for the first time against Mexico at the AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas on May 28, before flying to New Jersey to face Ecuador at the Red Bull Arena in Harrison on Thursday, June 2.

NFF in the statement also announced that former Nigerian international forward, Finidi George will now be the First Assistant to Peseiro, with Salisu Yusuf to be the Second Assistant as well as Head Coach of the CHAN and U23 National Teams.

Usman Abdallah is the Third Assistant while Eboboritse Uwejamomere will be the Match Analyst and another former Nigeria international, Ike Shorounmu will be the Goalkeepers’ Trainer.

Peseiro succeeds Augustine Eguavoen who failed to qualify the Super Eagles for the 2022 World Cup holding in Qatar.

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