Football Papers: All The Latest Football News And Transfer Gossips This Evening

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LONDON EVENING STANDARD
Chelsea have cooled their interest in Celtic striker Moussa Dembele and are prioritising other targets, such as Thomas Lemar and Richmond Boakye, to strengthen their attack this month.
Charlton are poised to sign forward Stephy Mavididi on loan from Arsenal.
Diego Costa says he only has good memories of his time at Chelsea, having been officially unveiled as an Atletico Madrid player.

MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS
Jose Mourinho is planning a January move for Antoine Griezmann to save Manchester United’s season, according to reports.
Pep Guardiola will weigh up a January bid for Arsenal striker Alexis Sanchez once Tuesday’s clash with Watford is out of the way.

LIVERPOOL ECHO
Leon Goretzka has not decided on his next move, despite claims he’s opted to join Bayern Munich in the summer.
Jurgen Klopp admits he is “gutted” after Pep Lijnders decided to leave Liverpool to become head coach of Dutch club NEC Nijmegen.
Ryan Kent is to cut his Freiburg loan short at this month and return to Melwood.
Everton are in the hunt for AC Milan’s Andre Silva, according to reports in Italy.

NEWCASTLE CHRONICLE
Sunderland academy striker Andy Nelson has joined Scottish side Falkirk on loan until the end of the season.

SUNDERLAND ECHO
Rafa Benitez is desperate to “lift” his Newcastle United squad with some new signings now the transfer window has opened.

BIRMINGHAM MAIL
Birmingham City striker Che Adams insists he is ‘really happy’ at St Andrew’s amid continuing speculation over his future.
Wolverhampton Wanderers are lining up a January swoop for Norwich City striker Nelson Oliveira, according to reports.

EXPRESS & STAR
Former Wolves and Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert is the odds-on favourite to take over as Sheffield Wednesday manager.
Alan Pardew has been linked with a move for Ghanaian winger Edwin Gyasi, according to reports.
Steve Bruce could be set to lose on-loan goalkeeper Sam Johnstone this month, with Manchester United reportedly set to recall and sell the shot-stopper to West Brom.

THE SENTINEL
Port Vale’s League Two rivals Lincoln City have joined the race to sign Ben Whitfield from Bournemouth, according to reports.
Charlie Adam insists Mark Hughes is the man to steer Stoke City away from relegation – with help from a couple of January signings.

LANCASHIRE TELEGRAPH
Aiden O’Neill’s loan spell at Fleetwood Town has come to an end after Burnley exercised a recall option on the Australian midfielder.

LEICESTER MERCURY
Ahmed Musa must leave Leicester City if he wants the chance of regular first-team football, says former Nigeria international Isaac Okoronkwo.
Robert Huth is expected to step up his comeback from injury in the U23s on Wednesday night.

WEST LONDON SPORT
QPR are yet to discuss a new contract with Jack Robinson despite the defender’s excellent form this season.

DERBY TELEGRAPH
Hearts defender John Souttar says he has no intention of leaving the Scottish club during the January transfer window. He has been linked with a move to Derby, who are reported to be preparing a £1m bid.
Sheffield Wednesday caretaker manager Lee Bullen says he would like to recall striker Sam Winnall from his loan at Derby County.
Derby County have been linked with a move for Middlesbrough midfielder Adam Clayton.

NOTTINGHAM POST
Former Manchester United assistant boss Mike Phelan has thrown his hat into the ring for the vacant job at Nottingham Forest.
Kevin Nolan believes Notts County are in a “strong position” to sign Jorge Grant and Ryan Yates on a permanent deal should Nottingham Forest decide to sell the duo.
Alex Iacovitti has returned to Nottingham Forest after completing a loan spell at Forest Green Rovers – and says he’s delighted to be back.
Kevin Nolan has confirmed he has had enquiries for some of Notts County’s fringe players after admitting they will be available to leave the club on loan.

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Conte Rules Out Chiellini Swoop

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Chelsea gaffer, Antonio Conte has ruled out any approach for Giorgio Chiellini in January.

The Italian manager coached the veteran defender in Juventus between 2011 and 2014, and also managed him in the Italy national team.

Ahead of Arsenal’s match on Wednesday, Conte has distanced himself from rumours linking Chelsea with Chiellini.

“No, no – I must be honest,” he said.

“Giorgio is a fantastic player but I think he wants to finish his career at Juventus and I think it’s right to finish his career in this way.”

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Manchester City Have To Remain Focused- Pep Guardiola

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has warned his players to avoid making the “big mistake” of losing focus after storming clear at the top of the Premier League.

Manchester City dropped points for just the second time this campaign at the weekend, as they were held to a goalless draw by a spirited Crystal Palace side.

Guardiola insists that his players cannot afford to become complacent, however, with plenty of work still to be done.

“Of course, we are in a good position and I have said to my players many times: ‘Don’t think about winning the title, focus on the next game’,” he told reporters. “If you think about far away we are going to distract what we have to do today and that will be a big mistake.

“In football, everything can happen. We can get a lot of wins in a row, we can stay a lot of games without winning. That has happened in the past with many other teams. We just have to focus on what we have to do and correct our mistakes from today and keep going.

“I have the same feeling that before I came here and now when we dropped two points. I have a lot of experience with that. When you see the fixtures, the stages you have to go and the five big contenders. Games like here, Stoke City and Burnley. A lot of games to play. There will be still a lot of things to do.”

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Liverpool Give Sadio Mane And Mohamed Salah Permission To Travel To Ghana For Award Ceremony

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has confirmed that Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane have been given permission to fly to Accra, Ghana for the African Footballer Of The Year Award ceremony, just 24 hours before the FA Cup third-round tie against Everton.

The pair face a 9,000-mile round trip this week to attend the Confederation of African Football awards bash in Accra, which takes place on Thursday evening.

Salah and Mane are on the three-man shortlist for the African Player of the Year gong, along with Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and they have been given the green light to attend.

Klopp insists that Liverpool can handle the logistical element of the trip, with a quick turnaround required if either player is to feature at Anfield on Friday night.

“We have everything organised,” he told reporters. “We have two of the three best African players in our squad. We have to show them respect. If it had been a matchday, they wouldn’t have asked. We sleep in a hotel, they sleep in a plane. That is all the difference.

“If Mo is not fit, it will not be from [travelling]. For our side, it is just a sign of respect I had Aubameyang [at Dortmund] and there is nothing more important than to go there.”

Salah has been in inspired form for Liverpool since arriving from Roma in the summer, bagging 17 top-flight goals and five more in the Champions League, while Mane has eight goals in 18 outings overall this term.

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Manchester United Cannot Compete With Manchester City- Ryan Giggs

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Ryan Giggs has insisted that his former club, Manchester United must accept the fact that they ‘cannot compete’ with rivals Manchester City.

Manchester United were backed as many neutrals’ favourites to win the Premier League crown this term after further strengthening their squad in the summer.

With nearly two-thirds of the season now played, however, second-placed United lag 12 points behind the Citizens after playing a game more.

Ryan Giggs believes that holding off Chelsea to finish as runners-up is now the best hope for Jose Mourinho, as Man City and fellow big spenders Paris Saint-Germain are at a different level.

“It’s not that they can’t compete financially, but the profile of the players they have are all very different,” he told Sky Sports News. “I think United would take second now and have to concentrate on keeping hold of that. You have to hold up your hands and say City have been the best team, so second place and good runs in the FA Cup and Champions League would represent a good campaign.

“I think they’d have to win every game between now and the end of the season, which is virtually impossible, and expect City to lose quite a few games, which also looks pretty unlikely. It is just those little mistakes.

“They should have beaten Leicester by three or four and then you get a knock-on with the Burnley game, where they were really poor in the first half, and then the Southampton shut-out, so they need to focus on those issues before thinking about challenging City. Jose Mourinho has obviously got a point about Manchester City buying full-backs for £50m and his comment on PSG being able to purchase so much quality in depth.

“I also think United have struggled with the change of managers over the last few years as you’ve got a mix of players brought in by David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho. Chelsea and Liverpool are accustomed to that change and it isn’t something United are used to. Ultimately I don’t think United are the team right now that can compete with PSG and Man City.”

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Daily Roundup: Latest Football News Content Across Europe

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Spain

Eden Hazard is no longer a Real Madrid transfer target with the La Liga champions putting their trust in Marco Asensio.

Zinedine Zidane, a long-term admirer of the Chelsea forward, wanted Hazard, but board members are backing the 21-year-old ex-Real Mallorca star, with one even quoted as saying: “Why would we bring in the Belgian if we have Asensio?”. (Marca)

New Sevilla manager Vincenzo Montella wants to keep Everton transfer target Steven N’Zonzi at the club during the January transfer window. The former Stoke City midfielder had been linked with a return to the Premier League after falling out with Eduardo Berizzo, Montella’s predecessor. (AS)

Valencia are looking to bolster their attacking options heading into the second half the La Liga season. Marcelino’s men are currently in third position, sandwiched between the two Madrid clubs and reports suggest they’re primed to raid Atletico to take Luciano Vietto on loan until the end of the current campaign. (Radio Valencia SER)

Italy

Inter Milan are in the market for defensive reinforcements after losing Miranda to injury. They’re looking to cut short Alessandro Bastoni’s loan spell with Atalanta and are working on a deal to bring one-time Liverpool transfer target Stefan de Vrij to the San Siro. They believe they can convince Lazio to sell this month to avoid losing him for nothing in the summer. (Calciomercato)

Andre Silva moved to AC Milan in the summer for a rumoured €40m (£35.6m), however, the player’s agent, Jorge Mendes, is looking to move him elsewhere after the Portuguese striker failed to settle. Everton are believed to be interested in bringing the former Porto hitman to Goodison Park. (Calciomercato)

Chelsea’s hopes of convincing 33-year-old Italy centre-back Giorgio Chiellini to move to Stamford Bridge have suffered a setback after he hinted at extending his contract with Juventus. (Sky Italia)

France

Valencia are working on a deal to make Goncalo Guedes’ loan move to the Mestalla a permanent one in the summer. La Liga’s surprise package have put together an offer worth €40m (£35.6m) – half of what Paris Saint-Germain need to raise if they’re to avoid an FFP fine – and believe the player will turn down more money elsewhere if they finish in a Champions League position. (Le10Sport)

Germany

Hermann Gerland, Bayern Munich’s assistant manager, is said to have played a key role in convincing Liverpool and Arsenal transfer target Leon Goretzka to ignore the riches of the Premier League to join the Bavarian giants. Gerland has been a family friend for a number of years. (SportBild)

Schalke flew to their winter training camp in Spain with Goretzka on board. The midfielder is yet to inform his current club of his intentions, fuelling speculation that claims he has agreed to join Bayern Munich are premature. (Kicker)

Portugal

Napoli will allow left-back Faouzi Ghoulam to move to Manchester United if they pay his £53m release clause. The Serie A side are closing in on the £26.6m signing of his replacement, 22-year-old Spaniard Alejandro Grimaldo from Benfica. (Record)

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“Change Or Nigerians Will Change You In 2019” – Mbaka Warns Buhari

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The Spiritual Director of the Adoration Ministries, Enugu, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka, has warned President Muhammadu Buhari that Nigerians will ‘change’ him in 2019 if he does not change his pattern of leadership.

The Punch reports that the Catholic priest, who had in the buildup to the 2015 election endorsed Buhari, cautioned him against seeking a second term, adding that the President risks being ‘blown away shamefully’ by the wind of change which he set off when he defeated former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015.

Mbaka made this known during a special New Year Eve service at the Adoration Ground, in Emene, Enugu.

Although the president is yet to speak up on his intention come 2019, there are indications that he intends to retain his position till 2023.

His words: “I had wanted to pray for you (Buhari) and go because I don’t want anybody to attack me, I don’t want the Bishop to invite me, I don’t want politicians to attack me anywhere. But God forced me, you must say it.”

“Listen to me – 2017 became one of the most horrible years in this country.

“The Lord says captive Nigerians, you will be speedily rescued. Things are very very difficult, hard and tough nowadays. The hardship is not from God, they are man-made.

“The wicked cabal and satanic agents in this country have wickedly kidnapped the goodwill and good intentions of Mr. President, Muhammadu Buhari. His good intentions have been kidnapped.

“President Buhari must wake up and sit up immediately. Heaven demands Buhari, our president, to change all those who are holding and caging him in captivity. If he will not change them, he will be changed.

“Mr. President, wake up, sit up. God said you are toying with the privilege given to you. There is no time. Nigerians are dying in your hands. People are not happy with your system.

“Change or you will be changed – God said that Buhari is in trouble. Buhari is hypnotised. Buhari is in a horrible bondage. Buhari’s mantra has been cannibalised.

“Unless President Buhari quickly and strategically positions the right people and changes the former ones inaugurated by him, the wind of change, that he himself inaugurated, will blow him away shamefully.

“The wind will be too strong that Mr. President and the cabal will be blown out of office shamefully.

“The wind will be irresistible for it will come like a hurricane. Buhari can handle this problem but his office, if he is not careful, another will take.”

“Change or you will be changed; after all, you are the one who introduced change as your mantra.”

“Mr. President, as I was waiting on the Lord, I am asked to advise you, don’t come out for second tenure, after this, retire peacefully.”

“Mr. President, you are the cause of your own problem. God gave you an adviser, a wonderful mentor, a visionist, a matriarch, in the person of your wife, Aisha, but you don’t want to listen to her; that woman is heartbroken, because she understood that you are not yourself.

“Come back to yourself or you will cry by the time you will be sent out of office. Those who are encouraging you to come out and run again, they want to disgrace you shamefully and publicly.”

“Mr. President, you are to be blamed, not your cabal. You have your brooms, but the cabals have their bags; either you sweep them away or they throw you into the bag.”

“Heaven cried that your methodology is not just archaic but too sluggish, very slow. The situation in Nigeria needs speed but you are too dull.

“His (Buhari’s) pattern of battling corruption is not just archaic and barbaric; it is a witch-hunt, terribly selective.

“Mr. Buhari, as the President, why should you be picking and choosing those that you and your so-called EFCC man would want to arrest, so that your party becomes a hideout for criminals, so that any person who does not want to be arrested will become an APC person? Is that not corruption in itself?

“It is the same people that go to the APC, they drop their umbrella and pick the broom, but instead of using the broom to sweep away corruption, they are using it to sweep money into their pockets.

“Your change mantra is questionable. You are to change your change or you will be disgraced out of office.”

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“Change Or Nigerians Will Change You In 2019” – Mbaka Warns Buhari

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The Spiritual Director of the Adoration Ministries, Enugu, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka, has warned President Muhammadu Buhari that Nigerians will ‘change’ him in 2019 if he does not change his pattern of leadership.

The Punch reports that the Catholic priest, who had in the buildup to the 2015 election endorsed Buhari, cautioned him against seeking a second term, adding that the President risks being ‘blown away shamefully’ by the wind of change which he set off when he defeated former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015.

Mbaka made this known during a special New Year Eve service at the Adoration Ground, in Emene, Enugu.

Although the president is yet to speak up on his intention come 2019, there are indications that he intends to retain his position till 2023.

His words: “I had wanted to pray for you (Buhari) and go because I don’t want anybody to attack me, I don’t want the Bishop to invite me, I don’t want politicians to attack me anywhere. But God forced me, you must say it.”

“Listen to me – 2017 became one of the most horrible years in this country.

“The Lord says captive Nigerians, you will be speedily rescued. Things are very very difficult, hard and tough nowadays. The hardship is not from God, they are man-made.

“The wicked cabal and satanic agents in this country have wickedly kidnapped the goodwill and good intentions of Mr. President, Muhammadu Buhari. His good intentions have been kidnapped.

“President Buhari must wake up and sit up immediately. Heaven demands Buhari, our president, to change all those who are holding and caging him in captivity. If he will not change them, he will be changed.

“Mr. President, wake up, sit up. God said you are toying with the privilege given to you. There is no time. Nigerians are dying in your hands. People are not happy with your system.

“Change or you will be changed – God said that Buhari is in trouble. Buhari is hypnotised. Buhari is in a horrible bondage. Buhari’s mantra has been cannibalised.

“Unless President Buhari quickly and strategically positions the right people and changes the former ones inaugurated by him, the wind of change, that he himself inaugurated, will blow him away shamefully.

“The wind will be too strong that Mr. President and the cabal will be blown out of office shamefully.

“The wind will be irresistible for it will come like a hurricane. Buhari can handle this problem but his office, if he is not careful, another will take.”

“Change or you will be changed; after all, you are the one who introduced change as your mantra.”

“Mr. President, as I was waiting on the Lord, I am asked to advise you, don’t come out for second tenure, after this, retire peacefully.”

“Mr. President, you are the cause of your own problem. God gave you an adviser, a wonderful mentor, a visionist, a matriarch, in the person of your wife, Aisha, but you don’t want to listen to her; that woman is heartbroken, because she understood that you are not yourself.

“Come back to yourself or you will cry by the time you will be sent out of office. Those who are encouraging you to come out and run again, they want to disgrace you shamefully and publicly.”

“Mr. President, you are to be blamed, not your cabal. You have your brooms, but the cabals have their bags; either you sweep them away or they throw you into the bag.”

“Heaven cried that your methodology is not just archaic but too sluggish, very slow. The situation in Nigeria needs speed but you are too dull.

“His (Buhari’s) pattern of battling corruption is not just archaic and barbaric; it is a witch-hunt, terribly selective.

“Mr. Buhari, as the President, why should you be picking and choosing those that you and your so-called EFCC man would want to arrest, so that your party becomes a hideout for criminals, so that any person who does not want to be arrested will become an APC person? Is that not corruption in itself?

“It is the same people that go to the APC, they drop their umbrella and pick the broom, but instead of using the broom to sweep away corruption, they are using it to sweep money into their pockets.

“Your change mantra is questionable. You are to change your change or you will be disgraced out of office.”

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UNICEF: “20,210 Babies Were Born In Nigeria On January 1”

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United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF reports that approximately 20,210 babies were born in Nigerian on New Year’s Day.

The births represented third largest population of newborns in the world on January 1, 2018.

UNICEF also said nearly 386,000 babies would be born worldwide on New Year’s Day, representing some 90 per cent in less developed regions.

The agency reported that Kiribati’s Christmas Island in the Pacific would most likely welcome 2018’s first baby, while the U.S., its last.

Globally, over half of these births are estimated to take place in nine countries, according to UNICEF.

These are: India, 69,070; China, 44,760; Nigeria, 20,210; Pakistan, 14,910; Indonesia, 13,370; United States, 11,280; Democratic Republic of Congo, 9,400; Ethiopia, 9,020; and Bangladesh, 8,370.

While many babies would survive, some would not make it past their first day, UNICEF regretted.

Stefan Peterson, UNICEF’s Chief of Health, said on Monday that the UN children’s agency was challenging nations around the world to make sure more newborns survive their first days of life.

“This New Year, UNICEF’s resolution is to help give every child more than an hour, more than a day, more than a month – more than survival,” Peterson said.

In 2016, an estimated 2,600 children died within the first 24 hours every day of the year, according to the UN agency.

UNICEF said that for almost two million newborns, their first week was also their last.

In all, 2.6 million children died before the end of their first month, the global children’s agency regretted.

Among those children, more than 80 per cent died from preventable and treatable causes such as premature birth, complications during delivery, and infections like sepsis and pneumonia, UNICEF said.

Peterson stressed: “We call on governments and partners to join the fight to save millions of children’s lives by providing proven, low-cost solutions”.

Over the past two decades, the world has seen unprecedented progress in child survival, halving the number of children worldwide who die before their fifth birthday to 5.6 million in 2016.

But in spite of these advances, there has been slower progress for newborns, UNICEF noted adding, babies dying in the first month account for 46 per cent of all deaths among children under five.

In February 2018, UNICEF would launch ‘Every Child Alive,’ a global campaign to demand and deliver affordable, quality health care solutions for every mother and newborn.

These include a steady supply of clean water and electricity at health facilities, the presence of a skilled health attendant during birth, disinfecting the umbilical cord, breastfeeding within the first hour after birth, and skin-to-skin contact between the mother and child.

“We are now entering the era when all the world’s newborns should have the opportunity to see the 22nd century,” Peterson added.

Unfortunately, nearly half of the children born this year likely will not, the UNICEF official regretted.

“A child born in Sweden in January 2018 is most likely to live to 2100, while a child from Somalia would be unlikely to live beyond 2075,” he lamented.

(NAN)

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Scores Feared Killed As Fulani Herdsmen Attack Benue Community

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Scores of persons have been reportedly killed after armed men suspected to be Fulani herdsmen attacked Tse Igbudu Taraka community in Benue State.

Speaking on the incident, a resident of the area, James Gbudu, told newsmen that he is lucky to have not been killed, adding that the attack has forced many to flee their homes.

According to him, the gunmen invaded the community at the wee hours of Tuesday and started killing anybody in sight.

He said: “As of now, no security personnel to help the situation.

“I managed to escape and reach where there is network to post this.”

Confirming the incident, when contacted by Daily Post, the Benue State Police PRO, Moses Yamu said some officers have been deployed to the area to ascertain the situation.

“Our men are already on their way to the place to calm the situation. Will get back to you,” he added.

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BREAKING: 9 Police Officers Dismissed, 25 Others Demoted In Lagos

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The Lagos State Police Command on Tuesday morning announced the dismissal of nine policemen found culpable of various offences.

In the same vein, the Command demoted twenty five other cops for offences bordering on gross insubordination, incivility and drunkenness, among others.

A statement issued by the state Police Public Relations Officer, SP Chike Oti, and made available to The Punch Newspaper revealed that 60 rank and files also faced disciplinary action for misconduct.

The statement read: “In keeping with the promise he made to the good people of Lagos State on assumption of office that there will be no room for corrupt and indisciplined police officers under his watch, the Lagos State Police Command hereby releases to the general public the breakdown in figures, of police personnel punished for various disciplinary offences between the months of September and December 2017 as follows:

“Nine officers were dismissed for offences ranging from discreditable conduct, corrupt practices, disobedience to lawful order and falsehood.

“Twenty five were reduced in rank for offences ranging from gross insubordination, drunkenness, incivility to members of the public and leaving (their) beat.

“A total of 60 inspectors and rank and files were awarded the punishments of major and minor entries.

“The Commissioner of Police said the punishments handed down to the unruly officers would serve as a deterrent to others who may wish to toe the path of ignominy.”

In the statement, Oti further informed that officers who play by the rules have nothing to fear and would be encouraged.

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Stoke City Midfielder Charlie Adam Defends Manager Mark Hughes

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Charlie Adam has jumped to the defence of under-fire Stoke City manager Mark Hughes after his side’s 1-0 defeat to Newcastle

Ayoze Perez scored the only goal of the game and Stoke fans were quick to show their dissatisfaction, with boos and at least one ‘Hughes Out’ banner greeting the final whistle.

But Charlie Adam, a fixture in the Stoke side since he joined from Liverpool in 2012, insists it is the players who must bear the brunt of the blame.

Asked if he was disappointed with the reaction to Hughes, Adam said: “Of course I am because he has done a wonderful job here.

Times are tough, let’s not hide from it, and we are under pressure as a group.

“The management team, the players, we are the ones who have to take the flak and stick. It’s thoroughly deserved at the moment and it’s only us who can change it.

“I just think situations like that don’t help. But we’ve got to get ourselves out of the mess we’re in.”

The pressure eased slightly on Hughes after four points from two games over Christmas but his decision to rest players for Saturday’s 5-0 defeat at Chelsea backfired.

Adam added: “He [Hughes] has transformed the club and hopefully he gets the opportunity to take us to the end of the season and get us out of the mess we are in.

“We have got characters in the dressing room, and hopefully one or two maybe in the window to liven it up, and see where that takes us.”

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West Brom Ask Premier League To Postpone West Ham Match

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West Brom have made an official complaint to the Premier League about the fixture scheduling that gives West Ham United five days’ extra rest before Tuesday’s meeting between the two clubs

The club have and also submitted medical evidence to support their case that playing twice in the space of 48 hours severely increases the risk of players picking up injuries.

Albion chairman John Williams has spoken directly to Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore to voice the Baggies’ concerns, sources tell Press Association Sport.

It is understood that Albion wanted the West Ham game postponed and rescheduled.

Alan Pardew described the scheduling as “terrible” and the Albion manager added: “We all know there’s pressure on TV companies for ratings and everything else and games – I understand that. But the league’s got to be stronger and say two days is not right.”

Albion go to the London Stadium on Tuesday after their 1-1 draw with Arsenal on Sunday while the Hammers have not played since Boxing Day.

West Ham’s televised game at Tottenham was moved from Sunday to Thursday because of safety concerns with the tube stations around Wembley at reduced capacity on New Year’s Eve.

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Father And Son Both Receive Red Card In League Two Match

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Forest Green player Charlie Cooper and his manager which happens to be his dad both received red cards within moments of each other in a League Two match in England.

Rovers player Charlie Cooper — a reported target of Middlesbrough — was sent off with a straight red card for a bad foul in the 39th minute of his team’s game against Wycombe Wanderers.

And in protesting the decision, Forest Green’s manager — and Cooper’s father, Mark — was promptly sent to the stands by referee Antony Coggins.

Forest Green were behind 1-0 at that stage and ended up losing 2-1 to stay bottom of the Football League in the fourth tier.

A classic of “Like father, like son”

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Naby Keita Not Seeking To Join Liverpool In January – RB Leipzig

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RB Leipzig CEO Oliver Mintzlaff has said Naby Keita has not asked for an early transfer to Liverpool and has also dismissed concerns the midfielder’s commitment could wane in his final months at the club.

In August, Liverpool agreed a deal to sign Keita next summer for a “a significantly higher transfer fee” than his €55 million release clause.

However, Mintzlaff played down the prospect that the 22-year-old could make the switch to Anfield in January.

“Neither Naby nor his agent have made the request to leave the club in the winter,” the Leipzig chief told Bild. “There are contracts, and they say that he will be a Liverpool employee from July 1 onwards.”

Mintzlaff said he is confident Keita will continue to give it his all when the Ruckrunde — the second half of the season — commences later this month.

“It’s not Naby’s disposition [to save himself]. Our pros have character and are ambitious,” Mintzlaff said. “I am not worried. In 2018, I expect everyone to step up with maximum mentality, force and character. That’s what makes us strong, and that’s what we need for a successful Ruckrunde.

“We want to achieve a lot, want to return to Europe and would love to again qualify for Champions League.”

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It Was A Difficult Time For Barcelona After Neymar’s Exit- Ernesto Valverde

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Ernesto Valverde has admitted that Barcelona were going through a difficult time when Neymar left for PSG in the summer.

The transfer came after Barcelona had lost their league title to rivals Real Madrid and failed to make the Champions League final

Speaking in an interview on the club’s official website, Valverde admitted: “Neymar’s departure was a difficult moment for the club. We can’t deny that.”

Things have gone significantly better for Ernesto Valverde and his charges since then however, topping La Liga by nine points at the winter break and cruising into the second round of the Champions League at the top of a group which also featured Juventus.

The club have also brought in the player who they see as Neymar’s replacement in Ousmane Dembele, and Valverde added: “Any Barca player is a different player. Dembele’s profile was different to anything we had. He is able to play in various positions and is very fast. We have a big squad, we’ve made good replacements up to now, and now he’s coming back. It’s great news.”

The club’s main man remains Lionel Messi though, and the manager insisted: “Messi is the best player in the entire world. He does something extraordinary with every ball he touches. We have the incredible good fortune to have him at our club.

“I can see how he faces competition and his enormous commitment to the club and the team. In terms of his position, playing in the middle is good both for him and for us. However, he can play well anywhere.”

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What Nigeria Will Look Like In 2018

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What Nigeria Will Look Like In 2018 By ‘Fisayo Soyombo

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On the first day of 2018, as it is with every new year, the temptation is to dream big — to fantasize about sudden turnarounds of poverty to wealth, sadness to happiness, suffering to delirium. It’s a time when self-appointed men of God, latching on to the propensity of the people to romanticise the future, declare all good and no bad on the nation. This is a clear-cut warning: as far as expectations of a people from the government go, 2018 will be a worse year than 2017 — possibly the worst in recent years. The government has done enough in 2017 to offer us a glimpse of what to expect in 2018. There will be no surprises. No one needs to be clairvoyant to see this.

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

Government is a continuum not just in terms of faithfulness to policies in the face of changing governing personnel, but also in the performance of a government from year to year. Technically, the only New Year’s Day in the life of any government is its ascension to power or its consolidation (in the form of re-election). Therefore, expect this government to begin 2018 exactly, if not worse than, the way it ended 2017. And how did the Muhammadu Buhari administration end 2017? Scandalously!

This government saved arguably the biggest embarrassment of its tenure for the last days of the year, naming eight dead people among the 1,457 appointed to the boards of scores of government and public institutions. Not only that, some names were duplicated on the list, while the government still managed to name four to the board of the National Iron Ore Mining Company (NIOMCO), Itakpe, Kogi State — a company it privatized through concession back in 2016! This was an appointment that should have been made in 2015; two years on, it was still bungled. Therefore, in 2018, don’t expect a government that is suddenly tidy; it will continue to be tardy in the execution of the people’s mandate.

In 2018, expect a government that doesn’t take responsibility — so long we have a Garba Shehu who defends the ‘ghost appointments’ by saying; “There is nothing scandalous or extraordinary about what has happened. This list is a historical list. It dates back to 2015.” His current statement is an inkling of future statements. So, expect, in 2018, a government that blames the country’s problems on everyone else but itself.

In 2018, expect more job losses. This is no doomsday prophecy. In any case, I haven’t said anything new. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), The unemployment rate, induced by a recession, typically peaks about 15 to 18 months after the beginning of a recession or four to eight months after the end of a recession before it returns to its pre-recession trend.” It was in September 2017 that Nigeria officially exited the economic recession it entered in August 2016. “Four to eight months” from September spills into 2018; the job cuts that accompanied the recession won’t suddenly disappear on January 1, 2018.

A change of dates doesn’t automatically spell the end of the ongoing fuel scarcity. Both government and the marketers have been coy about the hard decisions that have to be taken. It is either pump price of fuel is raised to at least N171/litre or government pays a subsidy of roughly N26/litre to retain the current price. But as it stands, government doesn’t want to pay subsidy on petrol, and marketers are averse to importing for sale at N145/litre. NNPC typically imports only 20% of the country’s petrol consumption; there’s no chance it can suddenly cope with the burden of sole importation. How wrong, therefore, it is to misconstrue the current fuel shortage for a Yuletide affair! Unless the outstanding questions are answered, it’s a new year, renewed fuel crisis!

Finally, expect a year when the wheels of governance grind at the very slowest. It’s an election year! In his first year in office, Buhari waited six months before appointing his ministers. That delay still hurts his administration till date, as it left investors scared of Nigeria and engaging in guesswork about the policy directions of the country, and is partly to blame for the fuel scarcity of September to December 2015. This year, with a grueling electioneering to come, expect a litany of delayed appointments. Expect the budget to suffer its worst implementation level since Buhari’s ascendancy to power. The 21percent implementation of the capital component of the 2017 budget is the lowest in five years; no one needs a soothsayer to know that the ignominious record will be shattered in 2018. The executive will be too busy seeking re-election to oversee substantial budget implementation.

How many important events happened in 2017 that Buhari was unaware of? Abdulrasheed Maina’s recall, the Ibe Kachikwu-Maikanti Baru feud, the fuel scarcity? Expect many more in 2018, because his health will be stretched by the hectic campaign schedule, and you can be sure that governance — not the campaign — will be the sacrificial lamb.

In short, the masses will not experience a significant upgrade in the standard of living this new year. Instead, it will plummet. But the good news — the only one in a gloomy 2018 outlook of the country — is that the socioeconomic advancement of the people is not wholly in the care of the government. There will be individual success stories. Nigerians must know, in 2018, that they can succeed in spite of the underwhelming federal leadership. To continue hoping against hope for the hurriedly-promised change is to set oneself up for heartbreak at the end of the new year. In 2018, Nigerians can succeed — but they will have to do it without their government!

Soyombo, Editor of the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), tweets @fisayosoyombo

This piece was written by Fisayo Soyombo. 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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Pochettino: Son Can Better Beckham

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Tottenham gaffer, Mauricio Pochettino has hailed Son Heung-min and believes he can surpass Beckham’s superstar status in east Asia.

 

Harry Kane might be the Tottenham star dominating the headlines, but the Korea international has impressed, scoring five times in his last seven games.

And Pochettino praised Son for his display and has backed him to surpass Beckham, who is quite popular in Asia.

 

“Yes, that is what we think. But we cannot prove this,” Pochettino said when asked if Son could rival Beckham.

“When you talk about Beckham, he’s a massive world icon. Maybe it’s like this with Sonny. But here he’s so humble, and he’s such a normal guy. That makes him so important to us.

“I think he’s such an important player for us, scoring a lot of goals and he’s very consistent, in training, his performance. He’s an important and very good player for us.

“It’s true that the headlines are always for Harry or others, but it’s important to recognise him, because he’s a very great guy, a very good professional and he’s always there, scoring and playing well.”

“Personally, us the coaching staff, we’ve given him the credit he deserves,” he said.

“When you are next to Harry Kane, achieving all he is and scoring so many goals, it’s normal that the focus is on Harry Kane.

“But for us it’s very important to show Sonny how much he’s appreciated.

“And all the players, all the team, they all love him. It’s not only because of his performances, but because of how he is as a man.”

 

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“There Was Concern When Naira Traded At 500 To Dollar”

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Local beverage firms were very concerned about losing the market at the point when the naira depreciated to the extent of trading at 500 to a dollar, those were the words of Mr. Roland Ebelt, the Managing Director, Lacasera Company.

Ebelt, who said this while speaking with The Punch Newspaper, admitted that at that point, the purchasing power of the average Nigerian had been eroded.

Dear Nigerians, CBN Has Vowed To Jail Anyone Caught Abusing Naira Notes

He added that there were concerns that this would affect the sale of beverages.

He said: “There was real concern. There was real fear that we will have to increase the prices by so many margins that the customers would no longer buy our products and these products are bought by virtually everybody in Nigeria, just like water.

“So that was the fear that the market that had been growing so nicely all these years would suddenly cease to exist.”

 

President of ABCON warns that political spending may threaten Naira stability in 2018

Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, President, Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON), has warned that spending by politicians ahead of the 2019 General Elections may threaten the stability of the naira.

Gwadabe, who made this known while speaking with Newsmen on Sunday in Lagos, said that the propensity to hoard dollars now, to be spent during political campaigns, was not new to the nation’s political history.

“Political spending may affect exchange rate stability in 2018. Naira “Electioneering starts early this time and the tendency for people to hoard the dollar now, to be spent during the campaigns, was not new,’’ Gwadabe said.

The ABCON chief, therefore, called on the regulatory authorities and security operatives to ensure that currency hoarders and speculators do not leverage on the 2019 elections to erode the gains recorded in the nation’s foreign exchange market.

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Pregnant Women Deliver As Military Frees 700 Persons From Boko Haram Captivity

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Two pregnant women have given birth as the military reportedly rescues 700 persons from Boko Haram insurgents, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quoted an official as saying.

It is understood that the women gave birth at a military holding facility in Monguno Local Government Area of Borno.

The Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 8 Division, Timothy Antigha, disclosed this in a statement issued in Maiduguri.

Mr. Antigha said over 700 persons abducted by Boko Haram insurgents had escaped from their captors and received by the 242 Battalion, Monguno.

He said the abductees including males, females and children were forced to work as farm labourers by the insurgents.

He said two women among the freed persons delivered safely at the holding facility.

The army spokesman added that the intensified onslaught against the insurgents under Operation Deep Punch II had weakened and decimated their positions, which enabled the persons to escape.

“Over 700 farmers, fishermen and members of their families hitherto held by Boko Haram terrorists as farm workers have fled the various islands in Lake Chad to Monguno.

“The exodus of the abductees is not unconnected to a follow-up operation conducted a few days ago to exploit the gains of the recent successful Operation DEEP PUNCH 2 in Chikun Gudu and adjourning localities.

“The follow-up operation conducted by the Nigerian Air Force and 38 Task Force Artillery Brigade, 8 Division, Operation LAFIYA DOLE, was targeted at destroying Boko Haram infrastructure and logistics such as communication centers, fabrication yards, bomb making equipment, vehicles and other means of sustenance.

“The ensuing collapse of their command structure and means of survival triggered the abandonment of the islands and escape of the abductees to Monguno.

“Profiling of the displaced escapees is ongoing to ensure that no terrorist takes advantage of the situation to sneak into the town.

“Preliminary investigation will focus on finding out where wanted Boko Haram commanders were hiding. Two pregnant women among the abductees gave birth yesterday in the holding centers.”

NAN quoted him as saying that several persons were freed from Boko Haram insurgents following military offensive in Chikun Gudu community, Monguno.

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Pogba: United Stopped Sleeping Against Everton

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Paul Pogba has hailed Manchester United’s collective win against Everton, snapping a five-game winless run.

 

Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard capped a beautiful United game with sublime goals to get a 2-0 win at the Goodison Park.

 

United’s five-game winless run came to an end on New Years day and Pogba could not have been happier.

 

“First game of the year, a good win, 2-0,” he told Sky Sports. “We had chances today, we played aggressive but in a positive way, creating chances. Defensively we were very good, a very good team performance today.

“We were pushing. We were talking at half-time, we knew we could score and we did it. We believe in ourselves, we just had to wake up and today I think we did.

“I think we deserved to win against Leicester [City, a 2-2 draw] against Southampton [a 0-0 draw], but this is football and today I think we did what we had to do.”

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COARTEM: NAFDAC Alerts Nigerians On Fake Malaria Tablet In Circulation

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The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has alerted the public over the circulation of a fake anti-malaria drug, Coartem, in the country.

In a statement issued last week by the Agency’s Director, Special Duties, Dr. Abubakar Jimoh, NAFDAC regretted the ugly incident and urged health care providers and other members of the public to be on alert for such dangerous products.

“The members of the public, especially health care providers are implored to be vigilant and report any distribution and sale of fake Coartem tablets to the nearest NAFDAC Office for regulatory action,” he stated.

A statement also issued on its official website reads:

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control hereby alerts the members of the public on the circulation of fake Coartem tablets. The active ingredients on the sachet of fake Coartem tablets is wrongly written as artmethe/umfantrne while the manufacturer is written as NOVRTS.

The use of fake Coartem tablets may result in poisoning (due to toxic substances), treatment failure, development of resistance and even death.

The sachet of the fake Coartem tablets manufactured by NOVRTS with the wrongly written active ingredients as artmethe/umfantrne is as presented below:

The members of the public should note that the manufacturer of the genuine Coartem tablets registered by NAFDAC is NORVATIS PHARMA AG while the active ingredients are Artemether/Lumefantrine.

NAFDAC implores healthcare providers, proprietors of healthcare facilities, program managers and other members of the public in possession of the fake Coartem tablets to immediately submit the fake product to the nearest NAFDAC office.

Any member of the public with information on the distribution and sale of the fake Coartem tablets is requested to contact the nearest NAFDAC office for regulatory action.

Adverse events resulting from the consumption of the product should be reported to the nearest NAFDAC office, NAFDAC PRASCOR (20543 TOLL FREE from all networks) or via pharmacovigilance@nafdac.gov.ng.

NAFDAC…………Safeguarding the Health of the Nation!!!

Coartem is one of the leading and common  brands of anti-malaria drugs in Nigeria.

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Mourinho Hails United After Snapping Winless Run

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Jose Mourinho has praised Manchester United, after their performamce against Everton ended their winless run.

 

United played top drawer football, winning 2-0 away to end a series of draws.

 

Martial, who started in place of Lukaku scored the opener, while Lingard rounded up the scoring and Mourinho says he would be proud of their performance, even if they had not gotten a win.

 

“The boys deserve it,” Mourinho told Sky Sports. “I keep saying that the draws have not been bad performances, because there were situations that have made it more difficult for us.

 

“We made our mistakes, especially in games against Leicester and Burnley, but the attitude, effort and pride were fantastic.

“Everything was top class. I think we played very well. It didn’t look like a tired performance or the sort of performance [you might expect] after the worst possible calendar you [the Premier League] give to us.

“Okay, Everton had a reaction in the second half, but we were always in control. I’m really pleased with the points. Even without points, I’d be proud of what the boys did.”

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Solidstar Parts Ways With Record Label “Achievas Entertainment” After 10 Years

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Nigerian Afropop star Joshua Iniyezo popularly known as Solidstar has parted ways with his record label, Achievas Entertainment, 10 years after he first got signed to the label.

The artiste took to his Instagram page on Monday, January 1, to announce the development.

Solidstar Parts Ways With Record Label

He wrote: “I, Joshua Iniyezo AKA Solidstar wish to use this opportunity to thank my former label, Achievas Ent, for being there for me over 10 years.”

“Words cannot express how grateful I am, special S/O to @ossyachievas @colepeter my bosses and the entire team for having my back u r still my family even as I begin another chapter career wise #Shaba!”

In the same vein, the record label also announced his exit on its Instagram page.

Solidstar Parts Ways With Record Label “Achievas Entertainment”

“We wish to hereby inform the public that Achievas Entertainment has ended its contract agreement with musician, Solidstar @officialsolidstar.

“The two parties reached a mutual decision to end the contract after working for over 10 years together. All previous recording audios, music videos, albums of the singer remains property of Achievas Entertainment. We wish him all the best as he starts a new life!”

In April 2017, Solidstar released the visuals to his 2016 smash hit ‘Nwa Baby’ featuring venerated afro-pop legend 2face Idibia (a.k.a 2Baba).

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“God Told Me To Run For President” – Pastor Bakare

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The senior pastor of the Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare, has revealed that the Lord God has told him that his political career is not yet over, adding that he should run for president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Bakare, who contested as the vice-presidential candidate on the platform of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change in the 2011 presidential election, made this known during the cross over service at The Church’s auditorium in Ogba, Lagos, on Monday morning.

Pastor Adeboye Reveals 11 “Powerful” Prophesies For 2018

Breaking down the 12 major things he said God had revealed to him would happen in 2018, Bakare explained that God had not told him when the “appointed time” to run for the presidency would be.

His words: “I heard the Lord say to me, politics is not over for you, there is still one thing left for you to do; run for president.”

“And He said to me, I will work it out myself. I will make it happen in due course. Please trust me, I lie not in the Holy Ghost. This is not easy for me to share with you. I shared this with you, so that you can pray along with me.”

Pastor Bakare also said God has not told him the exact time, adding that the Lord said “I will make it happen in due course”.

Watch video as published by TheCable below:

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