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Taribo, Koulibaly slam Napoli boss over AFCON comments



Former Super Eagles players and new Chelsea signing Kalidou Koulibaly have faulted Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis over his plans to stop signing African players unless they agreed to not take part in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

De Laurentiis said on a Wall Street Italia talk show that he would never have Napoli players available for the AFCON.

“I told them, lads, don’t talk to me about Africans anymore!” he said.

“I love them, but either they sign something confirming they’ll back out of playing the Africa Cup of Nations, or otherwise between that tournament, the World Cup qualifiers in South America, these players are never available!

“We are the idiots who pay salaries only to send them all over the world playing for others.”

“Or they sign a waiver giving up their right to participate to the Africa Cup of Nations tournaments or between AFCON and the championships in South America … I never have them Napoli players) available,” he said

The Eagles defender, Taribo West, who played in Serie A for Milan giants AC and Inter, said, “That is not a good idea at all. Some of these European teams were not happy when African players left for the AFCON in January, but the players returned to their clubs and fitted in. He (De Laurentiis) should not stop the African players from playing at the AFCON. It’s a pride for these players to play for their country as well.”

Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games gold medallist, Dosu Joseph, added, “That’s (De Laurentiis) his own opinion and it is not a crime.

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“I don’t think any African will want to sign for a club that will deny him a chance to represent his fatherland at the AFCON. That will be a setback for such player.”

Haruna Lukman, who captained Nigeria to the 2007 U-17 World Cup title in South Korea, described De Laurentiis comments as “absurd.”

“But it’s his decision,” Lookman said.  “These are some of the difficulties most African players face in Europe. Such comments could encourage other Italian clubs from going for African players or include such clauses in deals before they get signed.”

Senegal defender, Kalidou Koulibaly, now at Premier League side Chelsea, also expressed his disappointment.

“The most important thing is to respect everyone,” Koulibaly said.

“When I played there I also played for Senegal… You cannot speak of an African team like this.

“You have to have respect like you have for a European team… I respect what he thinks, it’s up to him but I think not everybody has that same idea at Napoli.”

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Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium: We’ll beat Governor’s deadline – Ekweremadu Jnr.



• Enugu State Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Barr. Lloyd Ekweremadu Jnr

…Says school sports to return

Enugu State Government is determined to see the state-owned football club, Rangers International, return to the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium for its home matches before the end of November, Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Barr. Lloyd Ekweremadu has reassured.

The commissioner gave the assurances while briefing Government House correspondents at the of the State Executive Council meeting, at the weekend.

He said that although the governor’s November deadline was tight, the Ministry was determined to ensure that the Flying Antelopes returned to the stadium, popularly known as The Cathedral, before November.

“The Executive Council was briefed on the issue of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium and the expected return of our darling Rangers to play at our Cathedral and to generally bring the stadium back to effective use. We deliberated on the targets and steps being taken to meet set targets of the government.

“We are making progress. The turf, which is to be laid on the plain surface, is in Nigeria now. It has passed the very critical stage, which is Customs clearance, but there are a few other steps at the moment.

“Deadlines have been set and those deadlines are quite short and ambitious. But we are very optimistic and we know in fact that we will meet those targets and our goals. So, we are taking very proactive steps to ensure that we beat the target.

“The governor said in his 100 days in office speech that the stadium would be ready for use by November. But we are working round the clock to see that we even beat that time and deliver the stadium back to use in record time. And the Executive Council has resolved to put certain measures in place, which will ensure that we meet such targets.”

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He added that creative and innovative steps were being taken, particularly with regards to sponsorship, to bring Rangers to the winning ways of old.

Speaking further, Ekweremadu Jr said measures were being put in place to revive school sports in the state.

He said: “Steps are being taken through collaborations amongst various ministries towards actualising His Excellency’s vision to bring back and revitalize school sports. Our plans include bringing inter-school sports back, to serve as an opportunity for talent discovery, to engage the youth positively and actively as well as keep them away from social vices, crime and the like”, he stated.

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National team footballer killed by gunmen



A player for Panama’s national football team has been shot dead in the city of Colón.

Gunmen opened fire on a group of people, among them 26-year-old Gilberto Hernández, who had gathered in a building in the city.

Hernández died and seven others were injured in the attack.

It is not yet clear if the footballer, who also played for Club Atlético Independiente, was the target of the shooting or what the motive was.

There has been a rise in murders in Colón over the past months as two rival gangs fight for control of lucrative drug smuggling routes.

So far, more than 50 people have been killed in Colón, a city of 40,000 inhabitants, so far this year.

The port city, on the north entrance to the Panama canal, is a transit point for cocaine smuggled from South America through Panama to Europe.

The shooting happened on Sunday afternoon local time.

Two gunmen forced a taxi driver to take them to a building in the city’s Barrio Norte neighbourhood and opened fire on the group gathered there.

The gunmen fled the scene, but a suspect has since been arrested in a flat nearby.

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Tragedy as thunder strike kills referee during friendly match in Suleja



Tragedy struck on Tuesday after a Nigerian referee identified as Mustafa Coach 02, was killed by a lightening strike on a football pitch in Madalla Town, Suleja LGA of Niger State

Late Mustafa died during a friendly football match which was disrupted by heavy rainfall followed by thunder strikes.

The deceased, who was said to be a member of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), met his tragic death on Tuesday evening during the match played on the community’s school field in Madalla Town.

An eyewitness, Muhammed Musa, told Daily Trust that the match in which Suleja and Madalla youths participated, was on half time break around 5:20 pm when the incident happened.

“It was raining and all the footballers along with their fans were taken refuge inside the school’s classrooms. The referee along with his assistant (line man) rushed back to the field, demanding the players to join them.

“They were only at the centre of the pitch when the thunder struck. Two of them were rushed to a hospital, where Sulaiman was confirmed dead on arrival while his assistant was revived.”

A family member of the deceased, who simply gave his name as Ibrahim, said the the late Mustafa was buried Wednesday morning in Suleja town where he lived.

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