Coleman Not Worried About Facing Bale

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Seamus Coleman is not really concerned about playing against Bale on Friday, as he believes the Republic of Ireland will limit him as they did Ibrahimovic.

Republic of Ireland take on Wales in a World Cup qualifying match on Friday at the Aviva stadium and discussions has revolved around how they’ll quiet Bale.

Captain Coleman is however confident his team can shackle Bale the same way they did Ibrahimovic in the Euro 2016.

“We are a team which has played against big players in the past. I remember when we played Sweden in the summer, all the talk was about Zlatan and it’s quite similar this time,” Coleman said.

“We are fully focused on our job and looking forward to the game. As I said, we were getting asked the same questions in the summer about certain players and you have got another 10 players on the pitch you have got to worry about.

“We know he’s a world class player and we are going to have to be careful and get tight to him in certain areas, but we can’t just fully focus on Gareth Bale.

“They have got a lot of good players and we need to make sure they worry about us as well.”

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Wilmots Wants Toure Back In The Ivory Coast Team

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Marc Wilmots has said his top priority as the new head coach of Ivory Coast is to get Yaya Toure back in the squad.

The former Belgium manager was confirmed as the new manager of the Elephants on Tuesday, with their AFCON group stage exit still fresh in their minds.

Ivory Coast went into the competition as defending champions, having won the tournament in 2015, with Toure captaining the side.

“I know how important it is to have experienced players. It’s not yet over for Toure, we’ve got to get him back,” Wilmots said.

“The Yaya Toure case will be one of my first missions.

“I’ve seen the last two games that he played for Manchester City in a defensive midfield position. He’s always great, he’s so good physically.

“I’ll go see him, I’ll talk with him.”

“I do not know much about the country, but I have a lot of information about the national team, and I was very interested in the national team,” he said.

“They have a very good generation of players. When the challenge was offered to me, I thought why not?”

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Sir Alex: Schweinsteiger Still Has A Lot To Offer

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Sir Alex Ferguson believes Manchester United reject, Bastian Schweinsteiger still has plenty to give and will deliver for Chicago Fire.

The former Germany international ended his two-year spell at United to sign a one-year deal with the MLS club.

And the former Manchester United manager believes he still has a lot to give before he retires from the sport.

“I think there’s plenty left,” Ferguson told ESPNFC. “Unfortunately, he had an injury last season and he was out for a while and when he came back we had a new manager and the new manager, Jose [Mourinho], had his own ideas.

“His move will come at the right time for him. He’s a huge figure. He’s very popular with the United players and fans, and he’ll make an impact.”

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Neymar Wants Coutinho To Come To Barcelona

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Neymar believes Philippe Coutinho will fit right in at Barcelona and wants the Liverpool forward to join him at Camp Nou.

Coutinho has six PL goals already and has combined with Neymar to take Brazil to the top of the South America world cup qualifying group.

And now the Barcelona forward is relishing playing with his national teammate in the same club.

“A Premier League player that I would like to have in Barcelona is Coutinho,” he told the Daily Mail.

“I believe Philippe Coutinho is a player that would totally fit in Barcelona.”

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Album Review: Rhythm and Life – Shaydee

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Rhythm and Life, the debut album by Shaydee, perhaps the most underrated artiste of his generation arrived like Shaydee himself, quietly and without the kind of hype that his label Empire Mates Entertainment (EME) would have reserved for former flagbearer Wizkid, or even CEO Banky W.

Understandably too, for while the Starboy and Mr W have proven to be certified hit makers, even by any kinds of standards applied, Shaydee has been a bit of an anomaly. He plays well as part of a hit churning team (EME All Stars Baddest Boy, Seyi Shay’s Murder) but on his own prefers the kind of understated, uncluttered sound that is an antithetical to what the radio stations and the clubs so desperately need.

Thus, while Shaydee may score significant victories at the Headies, he remains largely (un)known as that addition to the EME family not named Wizkid, or Skales. This, even after both acts have long left the label fronted by Banky W and Tunde Demuren. Not an ideal space for an artiste to exist in but Shaydee continues to make do with what is available to him.

Shaydee’s biggest selling point is his voice and he wisely gives it a starring role in Rhythm and Life. It isn’t the type of voice to grab attention at first listen but it creeps up on you, sticky in its sweetness and mild in its pleasantness. It burrows deep, and rarely falters, leaving audiences sweaty for more.

Banky W may be king of R&B but Shaydee has studied assiduously at his feet and Rhythm and Life is his thesis. Both mentor and mentee even find room to show just how well they work together on the familiar lusty trills of Bad for Me.

With a running time of over an hour, Rhythm and Life is a tad overlong but no one can label the disc under-stuffed. The teething problems of first albums, especially in these parts are recognized here. The record could have been arranged better, the extraneous tracks should have been left out altogether, fidelity to a particular genre may have paid off better and maybe there isn’t a dire need for that many producers (eleven for the album’s 20 tracks.)

The record opens with a Spax produced intro titled The One that is as pleasant as it is up to date, instantly delineating Shaydee’s R&B roots but by way of a modern, crunky sound. Shaydee wastes no time inviting famous friends Phyno and Ice Prince to back him up on the look-how-far-I’ve-come number, Everyday. Both rappers have sounded better elsewhere but they have also sounded worse too. Reminisce may own the streets but he softens his edge a bit even as Shaydee attempts to harden his for the effacing Divine. They both meet in the middle and Legendury Beatz is the catalyst that helps the equation not self-combust.

Not one to turn down an invitation such as this, the almighty 2baba shows up to lend Shaydee some Caribbean credibility for the Reggae influenced Sweet Rihanna. Not one to be taken seriously, the track plays like a freestyle session that went better than both acts expected, hence the decision to record a full length version.

Shaydee also does quite well on his own, maybe even better than when he is assisted by the parade of contemporary artistes on his project. Pon Da Floor is largely successful at starting the party and Satisfy You sustains the energy levels credibly. The luminous Smile slows things down a notch, setting the mood for some baby making music. High is almost addictive easy listening goodness and the unfortunately titled Missing & Loving pilots the entire affair to a smooth ending.

For those wondering what Urban Contemporary R&B made by a Nigerian for a local audience, look no further than Rhythm & Life. The record and the singer aren’t terribly innovative, but plenty heart and soul can be found within the safe spaces.

Album Name: Rhythm & Life

Artist: Shaydee
Year: 2016
Tracks: 20

Read other music reviews here

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Linares To Crolla: I’ll Take The KO If I See It

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Jorge Linares has warned Anthony Crolla to expect a strong knockout when they face in their Saturday rematch.

Linares won their first match last September on points, leaving the Manchester Arena with both WBA and Ring Magazine titles.

However, the Venezuelan has told the British boxer to expect an early end to their second fight.

“If the knockout comes this time – if it’s right there like it was last time – I am going to get it,” he told Sky Sports News HQ, via a translator.

“This time there have been no issues with my hand, there have been no issues. ”

“I am not coming back after a long break, I am coming better than ever. My legs, my mentality, my physical conditioning, everything is on par.”

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Crolla To Linares: I Have All The Answers Now

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Anthony Crolla has warned Jorge Linares that he will reply to everything he throws at him when they rematch on Saturday.

Crolla lost to Linares last September and will attempt to regain his WBA lightweight belt on Saturday.

Linares has displayed his speed on social media, but the mancunian is confident he can take him when they face off at the Manchester Arena.

“I’m not going to lie, I can’t compete with flashy padwork like that – I can’t do that,” Crolla told Sky Sports News HQ.

“There is other things to my game that I feel will go well against that, will have the answer to it.

“I’ve got to be cutting off the ring quicker this time, I’ve got to respond myself in bunches a little bit more. There is so many obstacles that are going to be put in front of me from Jorge Linares, but I believe I will have an answer for every one of them.”

“It might go early, it might go inside the distance, but I’m prepared for 12 very hard rounds,” he said.

“There are going to come times in the fight when it’s not going to go my way, when I’m going to have to weather a storm and I’ve got to bite down on that gumshield, but that is something I’m willing to do. I’m willing to dig deeper than ever before.

“If it has to get into a dogfight, I don’t mind, whatever it might be. I think there is going to be a bit of everything in this fight, a bit of boxing, a bit of a chess match, but I definitely see a good fight.

“It was one of the fights of the year last time. I can certainly see us both being even better this time.”

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Complete Requirements For Registration, Mobilization For 2017 NYSC Batch ‘A’ PCM

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This is to inform all prospective corps members, i.e. Nigerians who have graduated from Universities and Mono/Polytechnics both at home and abroad that the NYSC On-line registration portal will be opened from Monday 17th April to Thursday 4th May, 2017 to enable them register for the 2017 Batch ‘A’ mobilization.

NYSC Releases Time-Table For 2017 Batch A Mobilization

In order to ensure a seamless registration, prospective corps members are to note the following for strict compliance:

The Website address is any of the following:

-Prospective Corps members should ensure that they have functional e-mail addresses that they can access and Nigerian (GSM) telephone numbers with which to register.

-Locally trained prospective Corps members are expected to use correct Matriculation numbers to register

-For locally-trained graduates, only those whose names appear in the Senate/Academic Board Approved Result lists submitted by their Institutions will have access to the register on the NYSC portal.

-Foreign-trained prospective corps members should ensure that their Institutions are accredited. Where in doubt, it is their responsibility to approach Federal Ministry of Education for verification. The letter of verification must be uploaded during registration.

How To Get A Medical Report For NYSC Orientation Camp | Compulsory For All PCMs

-Those who graduated from Institutions outside Nigeria, (Foreign-trained graduates), are to visit the NYSC portal, register and upload the following documents:

  • West African School Certificate(WASC) (with not less than 5 Credits at 2 sittings) or its equivalent; or General Certificate of Education (GCE O’ Level) (with not less than 5 Credits at 2 sittings) or its equivalent; or NECO (with not less than 5 Credits at 2 sittings) or its equivalent; or High School Diploma or its equivalent.
  • First Degree or Higher National Diploma (HND) Certificate (Second Degree or Ph.D not necessary).
  • Transcript of the first Degree or HND.
  • International travelling Passport showing data page and date of departure for the course of study.
  • It is the responsibility of the prospective corps members who studied in non-English speaking countries to get their Certificates and Transcripts translated into English language before uploading.
  • All graduates of Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Physiotheraphy, Radiology, Optometry, Medical Laboratory Science and Pharmacy are expected to have their Certificates of Registration with their professional bodies. Payment receipts are not acceptable.
  • Unlike in the past, Foreign-trained graduates should NOT visit NYSC Headquarters, Abuja for verification of their documents. This exercise will now be done at the Orientation Camps. They should simply print their call-up letters on-line and report at the Orientation camps in their States of deployment, but should come to the camp with the original documents they uploaded for verification.
  • Anybody who presents any fake document will be demobilized and decamped.
  • Prospective corps members should ensure that Passport photographs used meet the following specifications:
  • Ensure your face (eyes, nose, ears, mouth and jaw) is fully shown without bending.
  • Ensure the picture fills the frame and centralized.
  • Ensure the Photo background is white or off-white with no shadow.
  • On no account should prospective corps members register by PROXY. They should also remember the fingers used for their biometric capturing as these will be used for verification at the orientation camps. Those who cannot be verified with their biometric at the orientation camp will not be registered.
  • Only prospective corps members who want their call-up numbers sent to them through SMS and wish to PRINT their call-up letters on-line are expected to pay the sum of Three Thousand Naira (N3,000.00) (see NYSC Portal on how to make payment).
  • Prospective Corps members who do not want to pay the N3,000.00 have the option of going to their schools to collect their call-up numbers and call-up letters.
  • All prospective corps members who paid for the online registration before but were not mobilized need not pay again.
  • Married female prospective corps members (whether locally or foreign-trained) should upload copies of their marriage Certificates, evidence of Change of name and their husbands’ place of domicile during registration.
  • The orientation camp is highly not ideal for pregnant and nursing mothers. Prospective corps members in this categoriy are therefore to note that they will not be accommodated.
  • Prospective corps members who graduated from Institutions located in the following Geo-Political Zones with challenges related to mobilization should contact the following Telephone Numbers between 17th April to 4th May, 2017:

North Central – 08092142614

North East – 08102790538

North West – 08092142661

South East – 09038034460

South West – 07019190810

South South – 08092142616

All Part-time graduates are expected to register online and wait for collection of their Letter of Exclusion at their various Institutions. For those willing to print the Letter of Exclusion online, this can be done on payment of Three Thousand Naira (N3, 000.00) only.


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Nigeria Launches Online “Visa On Arrival” (VOA) Platform

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The Federal Government has announced the introduction of a liberalised online Visa on Arrival (VOA) facility to the public, especially foreign investors willing to invest in Nigeria.

The announcement was made by the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Muhammad Babandede, in Abuja on Thursday.

According to him, the measure was part of the resolution of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) aimed at attracting foreign investors to the country.

He said: “‎As a critical member of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), the NIS has automated its visa application and processing services at all entry points.

“This is to ensure that all genuine requests for Visa on Arrival facility from any part of the world are processed and issued within 48 hours (two working days).”

He explained that the‎ online VOA application and processing facility is a product of robust visa reforms regime intended to bring Nigeria in tandem with global best practices and attract Foreign Direct Investors and skilled professionals into the country.

The controller-general said the new process was‎ designed to eliminate all unnecessary bureaucratic visa processing procedures in Nigerian Missions abroad.

He said it was also to serve the interests of would-be visitors from countries where Nigeria does not have a Mission.‎

He said that‎ ‎a dedicated e-mail address had been deployed where visa applicants, their representatives or companies could forward their requests and details.

Mr. Babandede said that‎ a‎pplicants were advised to use functional e-mail addresses where copies of approval letter shall be forwarded upon a successful process and payment.‎

‎”‎Applicants are, however, to note that successful payment online is not an approval and should not proceed to Nigeria until you have received “Visa on Arrival Approval letter” duly issued by the NIS Headquarters, Abuja,” he added.‎

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quoted Babandede as saying that a VOA desk had been opened at all international airports in the country where visas would be issued upon the presentation of all the necessary travel documents and evidence of visa payment.

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Black Market Operators Get Their Fingers Burnt As Naira Rises To N400/$

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Several black market operators have begun to get their fingers burnt as the Naira continues to stage a major recovery, rising to N400 against the Dollar at the parallel market on Wednesday in Abuja.

This is coming on the back of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s intervention in foreign exchange.

What Is The True Value Of The Naira?

The Naira has also appreciated against the Pound Sterling and Euro rate as it traded at N510 and N415 respectively.

NAN reports that one of the Bureau de Change operators, simply known as Tijanni Jos, said that the development had caused operators to lose a lot of money.

According to him, operators did not envisage a quick downfall of the dollar which has caused them to buy at an expensive rate hoping to make returns.

The Nigerian currency also traded at N307.5 at the interbank window.

In other segments of the market, Deposit Money Banks and Travelex, an International Money Transfer Services Operator, sold the Naira at N381 to a dollar.

Naira Loses Ground Against Dollar | CBN Set To Inject Fresh $350m Into Interbank Market

The Governor of CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, had on Tuesday, while briefing newsmen on the outcome of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja, said the apex bank was determined to see the convergence of rates at the foreign exchange market.

Emefiele said that the CBN was optimistic that the rate between the official and parallel market would converge further.

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Xhaka: Arsenal Critics Make Me Look Like An Idiot

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Granit Xhaka doesn’t sound all too happy with his critics in the British media, as he says they make him look like an idiot.

The former Borussia Mochengladbach captain joined Arsenal in the summer for £35 million and even though he has gone on to score three goals in 33 appearances, he has missed seven matches due to suspension having being sent off twice.

Xhaka’s acquisition has been compared to that of Kante at Chelsea and his performances have been used to highlight Arsenal’s poor performances.

But Xhaka told 24 Heures: “What has really touched me is the source of the criticism and the form of it.

“They were not from my club, but from former players who do not know me or Arsenal.

“People who know nothing about how I play have attacked me and made me out to be a foolish idiot!”

After Xhaka’s second dismissal of the season against Burnley, for a rash tackle on Steven Defour, Wenger admitted the Swiss midfielder is “not naturally a great tackler”, but hailed his other abilities.

“Arsene Wenger could not have given me a bigger confidence boost,” Xhaka added. “After two weeks of working away from the team, he came to me and said: ‘You will play.’”

“Such a sending off, depending on circumstances, could change a career. The coach could have just as easily kicked me while I was down.”

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BREAKING: Court Sentences Cynthia Osokogu’s Killers To Death

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Court Sentences Cynthia Osokogu’s Killers To Death

A High Court sitting in Igbosere, Lagos State on Thursday sentenced to death Ezekiel Eloka and Echezona Nwabufor, who were charged with the murder of a postgraduate student of Nasarawa State University, Cynthia Osokogu.

The duo were sentenced to death after they were found guilty of the murder of Osokogu, who they lured from Nasarawa to Lagos before strangling her to death at a hotel in Festac Town, Lagos.

The deceased was murdered by the convicts on July 22, 2012 at Cosmilla Hotel, Lake View Estate, Festac Town, Lagos after she met Mr. Eloka on Facebook who lured her to Lagos.

In her judgment, Justice Olabisi Akinlade held that after carefully going through the evidence presented before the court – the testimonies of prosecution witnesses, and confessional statements the deceased made to the police – she was left with no doubt that the accused killed Ms. Osokogu.

She also found them guilty of the second charge of committing felony by stealing her Blackberry phone saying the prosecution has proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused intended and in fact took the life of the deceased in the process of stealing her phone and belongings.

She also found the duo guilty of the first and third charge – conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to steal.

More details later…

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Senate Rejects 2 Non-Career Ambassadorial Nominees, Confirms 45 Others

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The senate on Thursday rejected the nomination of two non-career ambassadorial nominees as it confirmed the appointment of 45 others nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari for legislative approval.

The rejected nominees are Justice Sylvanus Nsofor from Imo State and Mr Jacob Daodu from Ondo State.

The Upper Chamber explained that the decision to reject the affected nominees followed the report presented by Monsurat Sunmonu, APC-Oyo, chairperson of the committee on foreign affairs, which had screened the 47 nominees.

It is understood that Mr. Nsofor, during his screening, refused to recite the national anthem as he also questioned the Senators’ reason for asking him for the recital.

While Mr. Daodu, it was gathered, was said dropped because of a negative report from the State Security Service that indicted for corruption.

Meanwhile, here are the names of the confirmed nominees:

  • Uzoma Eminike (Abia)
  • Aminu Lawal (Adamawa)
  • Godwin Umoh (Akwa Ibom)
  • Christopher Okeke (Anambra)
  • Yusuf Maitama (Bauchi)
  • Baba Maigudu (Bauchi)
  • Stanley Diriyai (Bayelsa)
  • Stephen Uba (Benue)
  • Baba Ahmed Gida (Borno)
  • Utobong Asuquo (Cross River)
  • Frank Ofegina (Delta)
  • Joda Udoh (Ebonyi)
  • Yagwe Ede (Edo)
  • Eniola Ajayi (Ekiti)
  • Chris Eze (Enugu)
  • Sulieman Hassan (Gombe)
  • Aminu Dalhatu (Jigawa)
  • Ahmed Bamilli (Kaduna)
  • Yahaya (Kaduna)
  • D. Abdulkadir (Kano)
  • Haruna Arungungu (Kano)
  • Musa Udo (Katsina)
  • Mohammed Rimi (Katsina)
  • Tijani Bande (Kebbi)
  • Y. Aliu (Kogi)
  • Nurudeen Mohammed (Kwara)
  • Mohammed Yisa (Kwara)
  • Adesola Oguntade (Lagos)
  • Modupe Remi (Lagos)
  • Musa Mohammed (Nasarawa)
  • Ahmed Ibeto (Niger)
  • Susan Aderonke Folarin (Ogun)
  • Afolayon Adeyemi (Osun)
  • A. Olaniyi (Oyo)
  • James Dmika (Plateau)
  • Haruna Abdullahi (Plateau)
  • Orji Ngofa (Rivers)
  • Sahibi Isa Dada (Sokoto)
  • Kabir Umar (Sokoto)
  • Jika Ado (Taraba)
  • Goni Zana (Yobe)
  • Garba T. (Zamfara)
  • Bala Mohammad (Zamfara)
  • Ibrahim Ugbada (FCT)
  • Adeyinka Asekun (Ogun)

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Just In: Buhari Nominates 28 RECs For INEC, Writes Senate For Confirmation

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday forwarded the names of 28 nominees for confirmation as Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Buhari made the nomination in a letter read by Senate President, Bukola Saraki, at plenary today.

The letter, which is from the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, sought legislative approval for the nomination of the 28 Nigerians as RECs of the INEC.

Osinbajo had transmitted the nominations to the Senate in February, when President Muhammadu Buhari was on medical vacation in the United Kingdom.

The nominations followed the expiration of the tenures of RECs in 28 states.

Details later…

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Simeone: Griezmann Could Leave Anytime

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Diego Simeone believes there is a possibility of losing forward Antoine Griezmann to other clubs, due to the lack of security at Atletico Madrid.

Griezmann is one of the most wanted forwards in the world and stated this week that it would be a dream to play for the likes of Bayern, Barcelona or even Real Madrid.

And even though the Frenchman insists he is committed to Atletico, speculation lingers with Manchester United interested in his signature.

Asked by AS if there was a risk of the 26-year-old leaving, Simeone replied: “Yes, because there is a termination clause. There is no security.”

“That’s what he told me – if you stay, I’ll stay,” added Simeone. “And I said yes, why would I not stay? And they began to work with the representatives for everything that had to be signed. And he stayed.

“And from now on I do not know what can happen. He would never let me tell him to stay. I did not do it with [Diego] Costa or [Radamel] Falcao.

“To the players who have given me life I accompany them in the decisions that they make. But it is clear that for as long as he stays, the team and the club will continue to grow.”

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Arda Turan Says He’s Happy At Barcelona, Despite CSL Interest

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Arda Turan insists he has no desire whatsoever to leave Barcelona for any other club, till his contract expires.

The Turkey international was the subject of a bid from Chinese Super League in January and has also claimed to be aware of other interests.

However, Arda Turan has no desire to leave Camp Nou, until his contract expires come 2020.

Speaking to Fanatik about the transfer rumours, the midfielder said: “Not only China there also other transfer speculations about me.

“But I am very happy at Barcelona and I want to stay until the end of my contract.”

The Turkey international has made 17 LaLiga appearances this season, 13 of which have been starts.

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Lukas Podolski Reveals What Joe Hart Said To Him After Scoring Stunning Goal

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German Veteran Lukas Podolski marked his 130th and final Germany appearance with a stunning winner against England on Wednesday.

Lukas Podolski’s goal proved to be the difference as Joachim Low’s side ran out 1-0 winners in Dortmund. 

While the game itself may not have been the most exciting of all time, there was an interesting moment after Podolski had given his side the lead on 69 minutes. 

Speaking after the game, the 31-year-old revealed he spoke to Hart, who said to the forward after watching the ball fly into his net: ‘It was a f*****g brilliant shot – amazing!’.

‘We win 1-0 and I score the goal. I know I have a left foot that was probably gifted to me by God, or someone up there, and I can always rely on it. I am proud of these last 13 years.’

“From the atmosphere in the stadium you could see the connection I have with people from Cologne.

“There were at least 30,000 people from Cologne in the stadium. It gives you goose bumps. That’s when you know where you home is, and that you’ve done a lot of good, also off the pitch. That makes me very proud.”

The goal means that Podolski finishes his 130-cap international career with 49 goals to his name.

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NBA: Russell Westbrook Makes History With First Ever Perfect Triple Double

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This season in the NBA has been the season of superhuman performances from players around the league, none more befitting of the superhuman tag than Oklahoma City Thunder’s Russell Westbrook.

The six-time All-Star is currently averaging a triple double for the season and is on course to finish the season averaging a triple double, a feat that hasn’t been achieved since Oscar Robertson in the 1961-62 season. Watching Westbrook get a triple double in an NBA game this season has been just like watching Klay Thompson shoot an unguarded corner three. You know it’s going in 90% of the time, just how you know Russell gets that in 90% of his games.

However, last night in the Thunder’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Westbrook achieved something even Oscar couldn’t. Something that has never happened in an NBA game before. Yes, it was another triple double but this time, that wasn’t the most impressive thing he did on the court.

The MVP candidate in just 28 minutes of action, shot 6 of 6 from the floor and 6 of 6 from the free throw line. Westbrook had a perfect 100% from the field and the line as we recorded his 35th triple double of the season with 18 points, 11 rebounds and 14 assists as OKC cruised to a 122-97 win over the 76ers. No NBA player previously has had a triple-double without missing a shot attempt or free throw.

As it stands, Westbrook needs just six more triple-doubles in OKC’s final 11 games to average a triple double for the season, he is currently averaging 31.2 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 10.4 assists per game.

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Chelsea To Rival Real Madrid For Juventus Full-back Alex Sandro

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Real Madrid and Chelsea are keen on Juventus full-back Alex Sandro, reports A Bola.

Madrid are on the hunt for a new left-back as they need someone to provide cover for Marcelo, with Fabio Coentrao expected to leave the Bernabeu in the summer.

The European champions have been linked with a number of full-backs, including Theo Hernandez, Yuri, Aaron and Faouzi Ghoulam, andA Bola reports that they are now interested in Alex Sandro.

The 26-year-old has scored twice and set up five more for Juve this season. Real Madrid and Chelsea will both face a battle to secure his services though  as Juve will not contemplate letting him leave for less than €45m.

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Simeone On Costa Return: We Already Have Gameiro

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Diego Simeone is not in the least perturbed by the inability to sign Diego Costa, as he believes the form of Kevin Gameiro has made up for that.

Atletico Madrid tried to bring Costa back to the capital club from Chelsea, ahead of the 2016-17 season, but failed to achieve that.

The Rojiblancos had to turn to Sevilla forward Gameiro instead and he has impressed so far, scoring 14 goals in all competitons.

“For me it is what I imagined from him, he has 14 goals and I expect even more,” Simeone told AS.

“I think he has been better in games than just his goals because he has 15 assists. He gives us speed, keeps the ball, has good interplay and works well with [Antoine] Griezmann.

“It gives us a chance to attack with Gameiro-Griezmann and teams know they cannot leave space.”

Asked if Costa’s arrival would have improved the fortunes of his side, who sit fourth in La Liga and will face Leicester City in the Champions League quarter-finals, Simeone said: “It could have been something better, or worse.

“He’s doing great at Chelsea and he’s probably a key to what’s happening to the team.

“Atletico tried everything to sign Costa, but in England there is no cancellation clause. Diego did his best to come.

“We were always transparent with Gameiro in relation to Costa. He knows he was the first choice if Costa did not arrive.”

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Sofiane Feghouli Talks About His Slow Start To Life At West Ham

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Sofiane Feghouli says he is gradually settling in at West Ham despite facing a “radical change” in football style when he first arrived in the Premier League.

The Algerian international moved to the London Stadium in the summer after six years in La Liga with Valencia but suffered a hamstring injury in August that sidelined him for six weeks. On his return he found it difficult to break into Slaven Bilic’s side and admits he struggled to adapt to a more direct style of play in the Premier League, but is happy with scoring twice after starting eight league games in a row between January and March.

“It’s been a radical change in footballing terms,” Feghouli told the club’s website. “In Spain, the game is more about possession, technique and strategy, whereas football here is more direct.

“It’s a big change, but as I said, I’m happy with my statistics so far two goals and three assists in not many games. I’m gradually settling in.

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Alexandra Pato Hints At Diego Costa’s Summer Move To China

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Alexandra Pato has hinted that Chinese Super League club Tianjin Quanjian could try to sign Diego Costa in the summer.

Pato, who spent part of last season on loan at Chelsea, made the move from Villarreal to Tianjin during the January transfer window.

Costa, meanwhile, was linked heavily with a move to China earlier this year, although he ended up staying put at Stamford Bridge.

Pato, speaking to Marca, was asked about the possibility of linking up again with Costa in China and said: “I was already Diego Costa’s team-mate at Chelsea. He’s a good team-mate, he could help us a lot. But we do not know anything. What I think is that this summer I am sure that we are going to sign an important player, a high-level [player].

“Diego Costa? I do not know. I limit myself to playing. The person who occupies himself with these things is [coach] Fabio Cannavaro, along with the president.”

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Football Papers: All The Latest Football News And Transfer Rumors Today

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  • Arsene Wenger has agreed to help build the structure to replace himself as a trade-off for being given a new two-year contract at Arsenal.
  • But Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil will be sold as part of a reinvention process that could see a huge overhaul of players at the Emirates this summer.
  • Antonio Conte has sounded out Juventus star Leonardo Bonucci about a money-spinning switch to Chelsea this summer.
  • Roma want to bring Manchester United outcast Matteo Darmian back to Italy.
  • Marco Verratti’s agent has alerted Europe’s top clubs by claiming the Italy midfielder is not happy at Paris Saint-Germain.
  • Jose Mourinho says Manchester United will struggle to sign players from their Premier League rivals.
  • Former England manager Roy Hodgson has revealed he turned down the chance to appear in Strictly Come Dancing.
  • Arsene Wenger has told his critics that football is not just about winning trophies.
  • Chelsea sent scouts to watch Germany’s Roma centre-half Antonio Rudiger in action against England.
  • Real Madrid are stepping up their interest in Monaco’s Kylian Mbappe and see the teenager as the new Ronaldo (Brazilian version).
  • Manchester City have revived their interest in Juventus centre back Leonardo Bonucci. The 28-year-old is valued at £60m.
  • Arsenal and Manchester City are among the clubs monitoring Flamengo teenager Vinicius Junior. The 16-year-old Brazil U17 forward has also been watched by Manchester United and Barcelona.
  • Barcelona forward Neymar has hailed the talents of Gabriel Jesus and hinted that he would love to line up alongside the Manchester City star for club and country.
  • Barca could offer Isco a £17m bonus to join them when his Real Madrid contract is up.
  • Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld wants £100,000-a-week to put him on par with the club’s top earners.
  • Arsenal are planning a £25m summer bid for Barcelona midfielder Arda Turan.
  • Divock Origi is frustrated by his lack of playing time for Liverpool and is considering his future at the club.
  • Chelsea are unmoved by Diego Costa’s latest claim that he wanted to return to Atletico Madrid last summer and that he could move to China at the end of this season.
  • Leicester will make a renewed move for Anderlecht defender Kara Mbodji this summer if they avoid relegation, having had two bids rejected in January.
  • Leicester are considering another move for Middlesbrough’s Gaston Ramirez, who will press to leave if they drop into the Championship.

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Certificate Scandal: ABU Keeps Mum As Senator Melaye’s Case Gets Messier

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The authorities of the Ahmadu Bełlo University, Zaria, are yet to formally speak on the alleged certificate scandal against Senator Dino Melaye representing Kogi-West senatorial district in Kogi State.

READ MORE HERE: Certificate Scandal: Report Claims ‘Dino Melaye Never Graduated From ABU Zaria’

The Information Officer of the institution, Mr. Adam Mohammed, had told The PUNCH on Tuesday that the management would take a decision on the matter and make its finding public on Wednesday, March 22, 2017.

“We are gathering all the facts from the faculty and department, and will make a press statement tomorrow. Thanks,” he said.

However, on Wednesday, it was another ball game as the Information Officer refused to pick several calls made to his cell phone.

It is understood that when the online newspaper decided to call with a number not known to him, he picked the call, but as soon as he discovered that the call was from The PUNCH, he became hostile.

He said, “ABU is not a motor park institution. We have ways of checking our systems for facts and records on such an issue. If your newspaper wants any information on the Melaye issue or any issue at all, you can write the vice-chancellor.”

Immediately he was reminded of his promise that the university’s management would meet on the matter on Wednesday and give its position on Melaye’s academic status concerning his BSc degree in Geography, Mohammed declined and hung up.

Moreover, there are indications that the authorities of the institution were still meeting as regards the Melaye case.

A source at the institution said there appeared to be a problem with the senator’s Bachelor’s degree in Geography, adding that the management was being careful because of the political implication of the matter.

Another source said: “What I can tell you is that I know that the senator in the eye of the storm, I think, he did his Master’s in International Relations and Diplomacy (MIAD) in the university and ABU, as an organised university, cannot admit any student without a first degree to study for a postgraduate degree.

“But I don’t know whether he used the BSc degree in Geography to apply for admission or not. For me, I don’t see anything wrong in the university issuing a statement to clear the air on the matter.”

Meanwhile, Melaye has threatened to drag Sahara Reporters before a court on Thursday, as he is planning to sue the media house for defamation and will be demanding N5bn compensation from them.

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