Buhari Didn’t Order Use Of National ID Cards For 2019 Elections – Presidency

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The Presidency has denied media reports that President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the use of national identity cards for the 2019 general elections.

Laolu Akande, senior special assistant to the vice-president on media and publicity, said this in a statement released on Friday.

READ ALSO: Buhari Wants National ID Card Used For Voter Identification

He said: “Our attention has been drawn to some misleading newspaper reports today (Friday) claiming that the President gave ‘orders’ that national identity cards be used in the 2019 elections.

“For the avoidance of any doubt, the President has made no such order and the Vice-President’s speech (delivered by the Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, Mr. Ade Ipaye at the Policy Roundtable on Identity Eco-System in the country, which the report used to make such erroneous claims), certainly made no mention of the 2019 elections at all.

“What the speech said was that the President has taken an initiative to harmonise identity management in the country so as to ensure that every Nigerian has a unique identifier.

“And in the same vein, the speech added that it is the ‘President’s charge that the national identification number is used to authenticate eligible voters in the near future, as well as in the areas of access to health insurance, registration of SIM cards, access to social welfare, financial transactions, etc.

“What this means is that such a unique identifier as the NIN can, when eventually issued, help to confirm age and nationality status of eligible voters, for instance. Or even help determine eligibility of persons presenting themselves for health, social welfare, financial and other available services in the country.

“The President was not giving any directive to INEC regarding 2019. Mr. President and this administration fully respect the autonomy of the Independent National Electoral Commission and also very determined to preserve the integrity of the electoral process at all times.”

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Buhari’s Family Reacts To Zahra’s Pre-Wedding Pictures

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The family of President Muhammadu Buhari has on Saturday disowned some photographs trending on social network and media outlets said to be pre-wedding pictures of their daughter, Zahra and Mohammed Indimi.

READ ALSO: Zahra Buhari: President’s Daughter Set To Marry Nigerian Billionaire

A statement issued by the Special Assistant on Media to the wife of the President, Adebisi Olumide-Ajayi, described the pictures as untrue and an embarrassment to the couple.

READ ALSO: Buhari’s Daughter, Zahra Gets New Wedding Date

The spokesperson further added that official photographs of the wedding would be released at the appropriate time.

The statement read, “It has come to the notice of the Buhari family, that certain photographs are making the rounds both on social and conventional media claiming to be pre-wedding photographs of Zahra Buhari and Mohammed Indimi.

“Not only are these photographs untrue, but they are also a source of embarrassment to the couple.

“The couple would like to express that as much as they appreciate public interest and well wishes in their forthcoming marriage, they would at this particular point appreciate the public’s respect of their decision to make it a private affair.

“Official photographs would be released at the appropriate time.”

READ ALSO: Inside Story: How The Indimi’s Messy Scuffle At Aso Villa Triggered Buhari’s Daughter Marriage Postponement

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NYSC To Provide Loans Of About N1 Million To ‘Interested’ Corps Members

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The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has assured corps members that it will continue to provide loans to those interested to set up small-scale businesses even on the back of the current recession.

READ ALSO: Corps Members’ Death: Senate Calls For Overhaul Of NYSC Scheme

The assurance was made by the Sokoto State Coordinator of the scheme, Mr Thomas Yamma, at the NYSC Cultural Carnival and Display of handicrafts produced by the batch ” B”, 2016, corps members in the state.

The event was held at the permanent orientation camp in Wamakko, headquarters of Wamakko Local Government Area.

He said NYSC and the Bank of Industries would continue to provide loans to them to establish small-scale businesses.

READ ALSO: Buhari Orders Investigation Into Death Of 3 NYSC Members

‎Yamma explained that under the loans scheme, each of the benefiting corps members will get between N200,000 to N 1million.

He said: ”This is to make the corps members to be self-reliant and be employers of labour, rather than waiting for elusive white collar jobs.

”This is to provide an answer to the persistent question of “After NYSC, what next? ”

The loan scheme is designed to provide the corps members a way out of the current recession and the dearth of job opportunities in the public and private sectors.”

In his remark, Chairman of the NYSC Governing Board in Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Abubakar assured corps members that adequate measures were in place  for their welfare and security.

TRENDING: 2016 Batch B Stream II To Commence Orientation In January 2017 – NYSC

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AJ: Molina Is A Step Forward

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Anthony Johnson is not moved by the app around the upcoming fight against Molina, and claims he starts his mission.

The unbeaten Joshua weighed in at 17st 11lbs 1oz, while the American tipped the scales at 16st 13lb 8oz, and the unbeaten 27-year-old insists he is not getting distracted by plans for a world title unification clash with Wladimir Klitschko next year.

Joshua told Sky Sports News HQ: “Another step in the journey, little by little, we’re trying to make some history, stamp our name in the legacy books. Eric Molina is part of that journey, we don’t overlook anyone.

“People are coming out for this unexpected division, anything can happen. The odds are saying I’m a favourite, but I don’t see it like that. I’m staying focused, I’m treating Molina like a real threat.

“I can’t go in there overlooking Molina. I can’t listen to what everyone says. I’m not involved in the hype, so I’ve got to take Eric Molina as a real challenger.”

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Bilic Says Every Club Will Want Sturridge

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Slaven Bilic has praised Daniel Sturridge as a player that will be coveted by every team in the league, hinting at the possibility of West Ham signing him.

However, the West Ham manager has sighted injury as a problem for the forward, who has only started four matches this season.

West Ham are currently in a bad spot, sitting one point and one place above the relegation zone, with Carroll and Sakho the only forwards to have scored for the club, with one goal apiece.

West Ham have subsequently been linked with a move for Sturridge, and Bilic was effusive in his praise of the 27-year-old.

“He’s one of the biggest talents, he’s a great player. The talent is there, the touch, the finishing, everything is great. The only thing that’s stopped him being regular for club and country are the injuries,” Bilic said.

“He’s just a player that has been linked with us, basically, and we’ve been linked with almost every player.

“We’re always there in contention. Most of the time it’s absolutely not true, 95 per cent of the time. But you’re asking me about Sturridge and I have no problem about that.

“All the clubs are thinking about him because he is that kind of player.

“I don’t know his work rate, I don’t know his dedication to his job or whatever but unfortunately for England and for Liverpool and especially for him he’s injured. That’s his problem.”

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Nigerian Army Promotes 227 Senior Officers

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The Nigerian Army Council on Friday approved the promotion of 227 senior officers from various ranks to their next ranks.

In the promotion list released by the Army Council, 21 Brigadier Generals were promoted to Major Generals, 93 Colonels to Brigadier Generals and 113 Lieutenant Colonels to Colonels.

boko haram

Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Col. Sani Usman

A statement by the Spokesman of the Army Colonel, Sani Usman, who was also promoted to the rank of Brigadier General, revealed that the promotion in the Nigerian Army is an annual exercise by the Service to qualified personnel who have distinguished themselves over stipulated period of time.

The statement read: “Those promoted include Brig.- Gen. CM Abraham, Acting General Officer Commanding (GOC) 2 Division; Brig.- Gen. Obono, Acting Corps Commander, Nigerian Army Artillery Corps; Brig.-Gen. PJ Dauke, Acting GOC 3 Division and Brig.-Gen. A A Nani, Acting GOC 8 Task Force Division, as well as Brig.-Gen. JB Olawunmi, Acting Coordinator, Nigerian Army Aviation Corps.

Other Brigadier Generals are CC Okwonkwo, Commander 48 Task Force Division Engineers; MSA Aliyu and AM Jalingo,  who were promoted to the rank of Major Generals, among others.

“Among the Colonels promoted as Brigadier Generals are IY Dogara, EO Aikhomu, Aminu Bande, IFD Briggs, PA Alamba, UU Bassey,  UT Musa, AS Ndalolo, AI Taiwo, Y Hassan, IOO Olotta and UT Utaru.

Others include the Acting Director Army Public Relations, Col. SK Usman, Acting Director of Chaplain Service (Roman Catholic) Col. CC Iroegbu, Acting Director of Chaplain Service (Protestant), Col. DD Danfulani, and Acting Director Islamic Affairs, Col. SG Mustapha.

 “Earlier in the year, the Nigerian Army carried out several promotion exercises for other categories of its personnel.

“These include the Junior Non-Commission Officers (JNCOs), Senior Non-Commission Officers and Warrant Officers category, as well as Junior officers from the rank of Second Lt. to Lieutenants to Captains and from Captains to Majors.”

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2016 Ghana Elections Smooth But Tensions High

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2016 Ghana Elections Smooth But Tensions High, By Jibrin Ibrahim

I am writing this column around 6pm on Thursday, about 24 hours after Ghanaians voted, and two issues stand out. Virtually all of us who observed the elections were impressed with the smooth, professional, almost incident free manner in which the elections were conducted in most polling stations.

This piece was written by Jibrin Ibrahim. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of 360Nobs.com.

Electoral procedures were strictly followed, turn out was very high, and the verification machines worked almost without failure, while voters found their names on the register. It was almost perfect. Nonetheless, there is very high tension.

About sixteen hours after voting closed, the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) made a declaration that they had won the elections with 53.4 percent of the votes cast and insisted that the Electoral Commission must declare the results immediately to avoid mayhem. Meanwhile, the Commission had announced that the results would take about 72 hours before being announced. The ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) followed with their own declaration that they were leading in the scores and will definitely win. Tension is very high and the youth are beginning to converge at party headquarters.

I was also an observer in the December 2012 Ghana elections when the day after, the General Secretary of the opposition NPP had also declared that that their candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo, also the same candidate this time, had won with 51 percent of the votes, while the incumbent president had obtained 45 percent of the vote. Dr. Afari Gyan, the then Chair of Ghana’s Electoral Commission came out after 72 hours and declared President John Mahama winner of the election with 50.70 percent of the votes cast, while his main opponent scored 47.74 percent.

This time round, it appears feasible that Nana Akufo-Addo might have won but as an observer I cannot speculate on the outcome before it is formally declared. What is striking is the very strong mobilisation of the NPP, based on the belief that they won presidential elections on two previous elections but were out rigged by the NDC and that on this third attempt, their candidate will succeed because they have developed mandate protection strategies.

I have discussed with many specialists and they all concur that there is no evidence that the two previous elections were rigged but as we find out increasingly in popular electoral culture, many do not care about facts when belief in partisan positions is much more confortable.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo is 72 years old and, clearly, this is his last chance. It is not surprising that there were obvious signs of desperation in his camp to get the position. Convention is also on his side. In recent electoral culture in Ghana, ruling parties succeed in winning a second term in office but after eight years are defeated by the opposition CHANGE candidate. It happened to former presidents Jerry Rawlings and John Kuffour, and the question is if it will happen to President John Mahama. The current president appears confident that it will not happen to him because he served out the final months of late President Mills, so he has not had his eight years in office. Of course the convention is not a rule and citizens can vote in and out who they like.

The practice in Ghana is that television and radio stations broadcast results as they are announced in polling stations and also engage in informal tallies of results and the story in the airwaves is that the eight-year convention would work for the NPP. Meanwhile, the National Peace Council has came out to strongly criticise the NPP for illegally declaring results as they did in 2012 and has urged them to exercise restraint in the interest of peace. The chair of the Electoral Commission has also criticised the two leading parties for jumping the gun. She also pointed out that voting was postponed to the following date in one constituency and as polls are usually very close in Ghana, it is out of the question to declare a winner before all the results are in.

The side story of the elections was the wife of former President Jerry Rawlings, Nana Konado Rawlings who is contesting to be president. It would be recalled that Nana Rawlings was possibly one of the most imperial and powerful first ladies in African history. In 2000, at the end of her husband’s second term in office, she had tried to contest for the presidency, which she thought she was poised to win having established structures in all districts in the country. Eventually, people say that her husband was able to persuade her not to contest. She however contested for the party presidential primaries against late President Mills and was disgraced. She then set up a party – the National Democratic Party (NDP) with the clear intention of taking votes away from her former party, the NDC and compromising the chances of John Mahama. She tried that again during this election and all indications are that she has failed again.

One issue that has been on many people’s mind is the rationality of the winner takes all nature of the electoral system. In 2012, Mahama got 5,574,761 votes, while his opponent Nana Akufo-Addo got 5,284,898, and the former got all the power while the latter got nothing. It is definitely not a just system and Ghana would have to think of developing a more inclusive political system. The two party system is getting even more entrenched with the 2016 elections. Ghana has a strong tradition of the ethnic vote but what is interesting is that some of the ethnic votes swing from election to election, which shows significant maturity of the voters. Civil society played a huge role focusing the parties on issue-based campaigns and persuading all Ghanaians to avoid violence. Finally, one of the most impressive outcomes of Ghanaian elections is the development of the skirt and blouse culture. This means that in many constituencies, voters will vote one party for the presidential election and vote for the opposing party in the parliamentary election. This is another good indication of the maturity of the Ghanaian voter. Long live skirts and blouses.

I was also an observer during the impressive December 2008 Ghanaian elections. I believe that we can say that there is a Ghanaian model of democracy that Africa can be proud of. It is the ability to transform an authoritarian militarised state into a legitimate one. It is a narrative about the rebuilding of institutions, re-establishment of the rule of law, proper conduct of pluralist elections, the promotion of press freedom, reconstitution of effective local government, development of effective oversight functions and effective public probity in a state that had previously suffered considerable decay.

The lowest point in the history of Ghana’s political development was the Acheampong regime of 1972 to 1978. The regime had taken over from the Busia elected regime, which it had accused of corruption and mismanagement. The Acheampong regime, however, turned out to be even more corrupt than the preceding ones. In July 1978, a palace coup by General Akuffo led to the removal of General Acheampong. The ban on politics was lifted and a Constituent Assembly was put in place but no serious punishment against the corruption and abuse of office of the previous regime was instituted. On May 5, 1979, an attempted coup by Jerry John Rawlings occurred but was foiled and he was detained. On June 4th, 1979, he was rescued from jail by junior ranks of the armed forces and he took over power in a “spontaneous revolution”.

When Rawlings got to power, the economic crisis had reached a catastrophic level. The intake of calories per capita, for example, was only 68 percent of the minimum required. The Ghanaian people desperately needed a redeemer and Rawlings played that role because he was considered to be a man of the people. Rawlings started a crusade for moral discipline, for probity in social and economic life and for accountability. The initial targets of the corrective punitive measures were senior military officers and their civilian collaborators. The circle however quickly widened to include smugglers, hoarders, tax defaulters, lodge members and so on. The policies seemed to represent a profound critique of the existing social structure and a cry for transformation; this was the source of the Rawlings charisma. That charisma however had a thin veneer that covered a reign of terror.

In 1992, Rawlings’ movement – the PNDC – transformed itself into a party, the National Democratic Congress and contested elections. Opposition parties were so upset at the irregularities during the presidential election that they boycotted the parliamentary elections. The transition process was clearly an undemocratic one. The PNDC had monopolised political space and refused to allow other parties the possibility of operating freely. Many observers were of the view that they were seriously flawed. Indeed, the New Patriotic Party issued a report that had detailed allegations of irregularities in 100 of the country’s 200 constituencies. The Report was very influential and was entitled, The Stolen Verdict: Ghana November 1992 Presidential Election.

The 1992 return to a liberal democratic constitution was a step towards democracy despite its numerous flaws. Political liberalisation, constitutionalism, the rule of law, judicial independence and press freedom were all placed on the political agenda. By 1996, the conditions under which elections were held had improved significantly. Since them, movement has been towards democratic consolidation, so I remain confident in Ghana’s democratic future.

A professor of Political Science and development consultant/expert, Jibrin Ibrahim is a Senior Fellow of the Centre for Democracy and Development, and Chair of the Editorial Board of Premium Times.

This piece was written by Jibrin Ibrahim. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of 360Nobs.com.

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How Naira Fared Against Dollar At Parallel Market [Dec. 9]

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The Naira on Friday remained stable at the parallel market, exchanging at N485 to a dollar.

The Pound Sterling and the Euro closed at N602 and N515, respectively.

“Why The Naira Will Continue To Fall”

At the interbank market, the Naira also remained stable at N305.50 to a dollar.

Is The Central Bank Driving Prices Up?

Trading at the Bureau De Change (BDC) window saw the Naira sold at N399 to a dollar, CBN controlled rate, while the Pound Sterling and the Euro exchanged at N606 and N515, respectively.

Naira Depreciates To ‘Record Breaking’ Low Of 480/USD [Sept 29]

Traders at the market said that the scarcity of dollar persisted, leading to slow activities.

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Gambia’s President Jammeh Makes U-Turn, Rejects Election Result

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Gambian President Yahya Jammeh on Friday rejected the outcome of last week’s election that he lost to opposition leader Adama Barrow and called for fresh elections, a week after admitting defeat.

The announcement made on state television throws the future of the West African country into doubt after an unexpected election result that ended Jammeh’s 22-year rule and was widely seen as a moment of democratic hope.

READ ALSO: Ex-Argos Security Guard Set To Rule Gambia As Pres. Jammeh ‘Concedes Defeat’ After 22 Years Of Rule

Mr Jammeh cited “abnormalities” in the vote and called for fresh elections.

He said: “After a thorough investigation, I have decided to reject the outcome of the recent election. I lament serious and unacceptable abnormalities which have reportedly transpired during the electoral process.”

“I recommend fresh and transparent elections which will be officiated by a god-fearing and independent electoral commission.”

Mr Jammeh, who took power in a coup in 1994, was defeated by Adama Barrow, who won more than 43% of the vote.

Adama Barrow greets supporters during a gathering in the buffer Zone district of Talinding on November 29, 2016 on the last day of the presidential campaign in Gambia

Adama Barrow greets supporters during a gathering in the buffer Zone district of Talinding on November 29, 2016 on the last day of the presidential campaign in Gambia [AFP/Getty Images]

Mr Barrow accused the incumbent of damaging democracy by refusing to accept the result. His transition team said the president-elect was safe.

The results were revised by the country’s electoral commission on 5 December, when it emerged that the ballots for one area were added incorrectly, swelling Mr Barrow’s vote.

The error, which also added votes to the other candidates, “has not changed the status quo” of the result, the commission said.

However, it narrowed Mr Barrow’s margin of victory from 9% to 4%.

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Antonio Conte Finally Opens Up About John Mikel Obi’s Chelsea Furniture

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Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has admitted for the first time that midfielder Mikel John Obi is unlikely to get a new deal.

It was revealed last month that the Nigeria international has already been told that his time at the club will end after 11 years in 2017.

The 29-year-old has not been named in a matchday squad all season, but Conte claims he may not be transferred next month.

It was also revealed earlier this week that he is already considering a move to Shanghai SIPG in the new year.

Conte said: “The situation with Obi Mikel is simple: he’s in the squad. He stays with us. We know that, at the end of the season, probably his contract will expire.

“But I don’t know what happens now. He’s a player who is part of this squad, and every single game I take my decision about him.”

“Would I like him to get a new contract? I don’t think this is the place to talk about this. If I have to talk about the contracts of my players, I prefer to do it in the right place with my club.”

READ MORE :Odion Ighalo Urges Watford To Sign Teammate Mikel ObI

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Antonio Conte Brandishes Reports Linking Alexis Sanchez To Chelsea As ‘Disrespectful’ 

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Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has branded talk of a January move for Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez as disrespectful.

The Premier League leaders have been linked with a move for Sanchez, who has 18 months left on his contract.

But Conte said today: “I don’t think it is right to talk about other players and other teams.

“It is not right and we are totally focused on the next game. January and next season are very far away for us. It is important not to talk about other players because it is a lack of respect.”

Conte’s Blues are among a number of big clubs watching developments involving Sanchez closely.

Chelsea are already looking to tie Costa down to an improved contract at Stamford Bridge in the New Year and an audacious move for Sanchez next summer could give them one of the best forward lines in Europe.

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Paul Pogba Believes Henrikh Mkhitaryan Will Get Even Better At Manchester United 

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Paul Pogba believes there is much more to come from Henrikh Mkhitaryan after he scored his first goal for Manchester United last night.

Both Pogba and Mkhitaryan joined United in the summer, but the latter has only recently been involved regularly 

Mkhitaryan struggled to convince Jose Mourinho initially and his only Premier League start prior to last weekend’s draw with Everton came in the Manchester derby in September – when he was hauled off at half time.

But he has now started the club’s last three matches and is expected to keep his place against Tottenham on Sunday at 2.15pm.

“We know how good he is,” Pogba told MUTV. “You just have to be confident and now he’s playing more, he has more games on his legs.

“He is just getting going, he is just going that way and that’s what we want.”

“We need him in the team like we need everyone in the team, but the performance of Micki tonight is just unbelievable. It just helped the team – that’s what we want.”

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Antonio Conte Rules Out Transfer Of Andrea Pirlo

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Andrea Pirlo visited Chelsea’s training ground today, but Blues boss Antonio Conte has ruled out a move for his former player.

Conte, who worked with Pirlo at Juventus, said: “Andrea came here only to visit and he has another year of contract in America.

“He is playing and enjoying his football in America. I’m pleased for this visit because Andrea was my player at Juventus for three years and we won together.”

Ashley Cole and Joe Cole returned to Chelsea training today in a bid to keep fit as the United States football season winds down.

Michael Essien is also training with the club’s development squad as the Blues welcome back their former champions in the twilight of their playing careers.

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Hull City Manager Mike Phelan Hoping To Sign New Players In January

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Mike Phelan wants Hull to “strike quickly” when the transfer market opens for business in January.

City began the season with the Premier League’s smallest squad and are still looking for new recruits despite bringing in players at the end of the summer window.

“We’re working very, very hard – so are a lot of other clubs out there,” said Hull boss Phelan.

“All the players that are being put to us, and the players we are looking at, are also being looked at by many others. It’s competitive. We need to try and strike quickly if we can, strike early.

“My owner is in discussions with people. It’s just a case of wait and see. We have games before that, if we can get deals done early January then that would be terrific. It may be the end of January.

“We’re in the process of it, we have some targets, hopefully we can get them over the line.”

Phelan also insisted discussions were taking place with existing players over extending their current deals.

Phelan said: “Players are on contracts, they’re all on contracts, otherwise they wouldn’t be here.

“Some players’ contracts are due for renewal, those discussions are taking place with all those players.

“But those players are here to play football, they have other people take care of contracts and negotiations.

“Those are the people that sit down with our people and when there’s something to talk about or announce that it will be done.

“I want the players just to concentrate on playing football.

“They get paid very well and all football players want a little bit more.”

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Mourinho Wants More Goals From Rooney

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Jose Mourinho has asked all the attackers at Manchester United to do more in front of goal, especially Rooney, to lift the burden of finding the net on Ibrahimovic.

The England captain has just three goals in 20 appearances in all competitions and failed to find the net in the 2-0 win over Zorya on Thursday.

The Red Devils have only scored 19 goals so far this season, with Ibrahimovic scoring eight of those.

Red Devils manager Mourinho wants a better return from Rooney, who needs just one more goal to equal Bobby Charlton’s all-time goalscoring record at United, but says the onus is not just on the England skipper.

“As an attacking player, normally Rooney scores more goals,” Mourinho told reporters.

“He has scored a couple, I think, at Fenerbahce and one in the Premier League. We expect more goals from him, yes.

“But we expect more goals from everyone in the team.

“Maybe Zlatan is the one, but as the main striker it is normal that he has scored more goals.

“But we expect more goals from all the other attacking players.”

Rooney has often been used in a deeper role for England, but Mourinho maintains he will not be following suit at Old Trafford.

“With me, he is an attacking player,” he added.

“In the national team, they can do with him what they want to do. In the national team he is their player, he is not my player, and they can do what they want. If they want to play him right-back, they can play him right-back. It’s not my problem.

“But in my team, he is an attacking player. He will play as a nine or a 10, or eventually coming from one of the sides.”

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Guardiola On 48-Team World Cup: We’re Going To Kill The Players

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Guardiola is not for the expansion of the world cup and has stated a 48-team world cup will “kill the players”.

The former Bayern manager believes players interests are not being taken into consideration when decisions about the World Cup or preseason tours are being taken.

Reports emerging this week have Fifa president Gianni Infantino open to expanding the world cup from 32 teams to 48, while this year’s European Championship consisted of 24 teams, rather than 16, for the first time.

But Guardiola is against the larger competitions and says that teams should at least be able to make more substitutions during games if their players are asked to play all year round.

“It’s not just English football, it’s all around the world,” he said Friday. “Now they talk about a World Cup of 48 teams. We are going to kill the players.

“We are looking for the quality and forget the quantity so the players don’t rest, they have a lot of pressure. There is more competition, more games. The intensity is high here.

“In Spain they have four teams in the Champions League and three in the Europa League. So the level in Spain is higher than here, in terms of going forward.

“We accept the decision. FIFA will decide and we accept the decision and if we are not happy we go home. They are focusing more and more and more, and it affects the quality.

“I am thinking just for the players. They have to breathe, to break, to enjoy.

“This kind of thing is impossible because we are going to finish [the season], then after one week the World Cup, then after three weeks we go to the pre-season, we go to China, the [United] States, Australia. You play against Milan, Juventus, [Real] Madrid and you have to win, people demand you have to play good.

“[You have] no preparation then you come back and it’s 11 months again and [then] it’s the European Cup. You do this for 10 or 12 years and we don’t think about the players. For that reason there has to be huge squads, more money for the clubs to spend. It’s just three substitutions now, why can’t you make four, five or six?

“All the players are [then] involved more than before, the coaches can use different tactics. [There would be] less injuries, more open games, everything would be better. But OK, FIFA have other opinions.

“We have to protect the players and we do not do that. From players today, we are demanding too much, from my point of view.”

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Conte Praises Real Warrior Costa

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Chelsea’s Diego Costa was named Player of the Month for November, after Chelsea recorded eight straight wins, prompting Conte to hail him as a real warrior.

Conte watched as the Spain international scored the equaliser against Manchester City and assisted a goal last weekend, sending Chelsea three points clear at the top of the table.

Costa now has 12 goals and five assists in 14 EPL games and Conte believes his fighting spirit is a source of inspiration for his teammates.

“Yes, I think Diego is a real warrior,” Conte said at a press conference at Cobham Training Centre. “He is good for the team because it is important to have many warriors during the game because during the game it better to have that.

“Diego is showing that he is passionate and he can put it in the best way on the pitch. I think it is fantastic for him, the club, for me, the fans and all of us because he is playing very well.

“We are working a lot to involve him in our play. I think he has scored a lot but he helps the team too. I think that is very good to have Diego showing the right part of himself, now because before it wasn’t right to always show that passion [how he did].

“Now he is. It is important that he puts himself in the best way in every moment of the game. To think a lot and be involved in the game. You have to think in the game and try to find the right moments.

“In every game I ask the same thing of my players, to be focused on the game. To be focused on the results. I always ask this of my players before the game.”

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Aguero’s Horror Tackle Hurt Luiz, Says Conte

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Chelsea’s manager, Antonio Conte has stated that Sergio Aguero’s horror tackle in the 3-1 win over Manchester City on David Luiz scared him.

Aguero will miss four games due to suspension after getting a second red card this season, but the Brazilian defender is available for the West Brom clash on Sunday.

Conte has gotten more unhappy with the tackle on Luiz and will monitor his fitness, with the centre back having to train alone to help his recovery during the week.

“I have to check on Saturday if David Luiz is able to play on Sunday because, after this tackle, this tackle was very bad.” Conte revealed at a press conference at Cobham Training Centre.

“I have to check on his recovery from his injury. It will be very important for him and for me to decide whether he’s able to play on Sunday. That tackle was dangerous, for sure. I watched the images and I was afraid [of the severity]. I was scared. He is trying to recover from this tackle.

“[I knew how bad it was] only after I saw the replays. That is when I saw this was very dangerous for David Luiz, yes.

Matic, Pedro and Costa are all fit to play West Brom on Sunday and Conte is pleased to have a full squad ahead of the encounter.

“I am pleased. In one season it is very important if you are able to avoid muscular problems. Traumatic problems are very difficult to avoid, but to avoid muscular problems is important.

“To have a method, a philosophy, in training sessions and to work with the players together with the medical staff and try and find the best solution, to have less injuries in one season, that’s important.

“The statistics are important. To check, for example, during games or training sessions. But I think the most important thing for me is my eye. My eyes.

“Because it’s important this, to understand, to look if some players are more tired than others, if someone is a bit lazy or not… you can push. It’s important. The eyes, in my work, in my job, are very important.

“The number of injuries is always important at the end of the season. To look at the statistics is very important. Usually, when you have many injuries, you can lose key players during the season.

“This is not good for the team. The best is always to have a squad with 22, 23, 24 players with a great level, to support sometimes if you have some injuries during the season.”

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