Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante has been ruled fit for their Champions League Round of 16 second leg at Bayern Munich on Saturday as the Blues struggle with injuries.
Coach Frank Lampard is already without Cesar Azpilicueta, Christian Pulisic and Pedro who all picked up injuries during Chelsea’s 2-1 defeat by Arsenal in the FA Cup final. Willian is also out.
Lampard told reporters that American Pulisic’s injury — a hamstring strain — could rule him out for six weeks while Azpilicueta would be sidelined for three.
But he will have fit again Ruben Loftus-Cheek ready to start.
Chelsea lost 3-0 in London in the first leg and with the string of injuries at the end of their domestic season decimating his squad, Lampard said his players would need to be careful.
“I wouldn’t say all guns blazing or keep it tight,” he said about his tactics. “We want to get our game right as a whole.”
“When you play a team as good as they are, you have to play very well and we didn’t play well enough (in the first leg).”
Bayern are in the hunt for a treble of titles after winning the domestic league and Cup double.
Lampard will be drawing on his own playing experience in Munich, when they came from a goal down in 2012 to win a penalty shootout against Bayern and lift the trophy, to motivate his players.
“If I try to use all the short stories from my career to the players they would get very bored, but I want them to feel and show they can turn this game around. Then they can attempt to do something special,” he said.
Edited By: Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)https://nnn.ng/chelseas-kante-ruled-fit-against-bayern-lampard/
Anambra FA Caretaker Committee enrolls club owners in health insurance scheme
The Caretaker Committee of Anambra State Football Association (AnSFA) has commenced the enrollment of club owners in the state into a health insurance scheme.
Emeka Okeke, Chairman of AnSFA Caretaker Committee, said on Saturday in Awka that the programme was part of the support provided for grassroots football development.
He added that it would also enhance their beneficiaries’ access to affordable health care.
“The enrollment is in fulfilment of my promise at a meeting with the club owners.”
Okeke had promised that the caretaker committee would do all that was possible to provide an enabling environment for them to thrive.
Anayo Obiako, proprietor of Awka City FC, said he was happy that for the first time, club owners in Anambra were enjoying a welfare programme courtesy of the FA.
Obiako, who described it as a promise kept, said it would help many of them to enjoy free medical services especially now that the cost of healthcare services was high.
“This is a welcome development. We are happy. Normally we should pay something to access services, but the FA caretaker committee is doing that on our behalf.
“For many years, we have been working and paying all the necessary fees to enable us participate in FA programmes, but we never enjoyed any benefit. So, this AnSFA caretaker committee is doing well,” he said.
Also speaking, Ikenna Osueke, proprietor of Ozalla FC, said the programme would ensure adequate protection of the lives of beneficiaries.
Osueke said it was a huge addition to football development in the state.
Dozie Okpalaugo, coordinator of the AnSFA programme, said no fewer than 30 club owners would be captured in the first phase.
Okpalaugo said with just 1,000 Naira monthly and an annual 12,000 Naira premium, the enrollees would be able to access medical services in about 350 hospitals across the state.
“It covers a number of medical conditions, including malaria and minor surgery, Okpalaugo, who is the Senior Special Adviser to Gov. Willie Obiano on Health Scheme and Pension Matters, said.
He therefore urged the enrollees to take advantage of the gesture, assuring that the Anambra Health Insurance Scheme would ensure that health care providers render the expected services.
Edited By: Abiodun Esan and Olawale Alabi)
Sustain Ihedioha’s blueprint on sports development, administrator urges Imo governor
A seasoned sports administrator, Fan Ndubuoke, has appealed to Gov. Hope Uzodinma of Imo to sustain his predecessor’s blueprint on sports development.
Ndubuoke, the immediate past Chairman of Imo Sports Commission, made the appeal during an interaction with members of the state chapter of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), on Friday in Owerri.
He said that Uzodinma’s predecessor, Chief Emeka Ihedioha, had a clear vision on sports development.
Ndubuoke called on Uzodinma to implement some lofty policies of Ihedioha’s administration on sports development.
He said that Ihedioha’s administration established Imo Sports Commission aimed at eliminating bureaucratic bottlenecks associated with the `old order’.
He urged the governor not to allow politics to kill sports in Imo, in the interest of the people.
On the crisis in Heartland FC of Owerri, Ndubuoke said that the problem was traceable to greed and selfishness.
Ndubuoke, a former Heartland FC Chairman, said he ran the club with N8 million monthly subventions and won trophies for the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that state government has yet to register Heartland FC players for the new season as directed by League Management Company, due to the crisis.
The state Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Mr Dan Ogu, had recently announced the dissolution of Heartland FC’s Interim Management Board but the board Chairman, Babatunde Ezekwem, claimed that the commissioner lacked powers to dissolve the board.
According to Ndubuoke, the Ezekwem-led board ought to cease to be when the government established the sports commission through a law.
“The Interim Management Board was a child of circumstance; it was introduced when the government was waiting to perfect the law establishing the sports commission,” he said.
Ndubuoke, who expressed worry at the crisis, warned that it might lead to a setback for the club, if not urgently tackled.
According to the sports administrator, the way to sports development in Imo is through the sports commission.
He urged Imo Football Association to play a ‘fatherly’ role in resolving the crisis.
“I call on the FA Chairman in Imo, Mr Amanze Uchegbulam, to caution some of his members on the roles they are playing in the crisis in Heartland FC,” he said.
He also urged SWAN members not to be biased in reporting sports activities and the crisis in the club.
“You should use your various media to educate and inform the public properly; I beg you to be impartial and productive in your job,” he said. |
Edited By: Celine-Damilola Oyewole/Ijeoma Popoola
Arsenal tie down striker Aubameyang with new three-year deal
Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has signed a new three-year deal, the Premier League club said on Tuesday, ending speculation over a potential exit as he entered the final year of his contract.
Aubameyang’s decision to stay with Arsenal will be a major boost to manager Mikel Arteta who said he wanted to build the squad around the Gabon international after they won the FA Cup last month.
“Signing for this special club was never in doubt,” Aubameyang said in a statement .
“It’s thanks to our fans, my team mates, my family and everybody at this club that I feel like I belong here.
“I believe in Arsenal. We can achieve big things together. We have something exciting here and I believe the best is yet to come for Arsenal.”
British media reported Aubameyang’s new contract makes the 31-year-old one of the highest earners at the club alongside midfielder Mesut Ozil.
Aubameyang’s return of 72 goals for Arsenal in 111 appearances since his arrival in 2018 has made him a vital member of the squad, with the striker even taking the captain’s armband in the second half of the season last year.
With Arsenal in danger of missing out on European football for the first time in 25 years following an eighth-placed league finish, Aubameyang led from the front to help Arteta’s side win the FA Cup and qualify for the Europa League.
The striker scored twice in the semi-final victory over Manchester City and repeated his heroics in the final in a 2-1 comeback win over Chelsea.
Aubameyang ended last season as the club’s top scorer with 29 goals — which included 22 in the league, one goal shy of Golden Boot winner Jamie Vardy.
He was also the only Arsenal player named in the Team of the Year.
“It was important for Pierre-Emerick to stay with us… He’s an important leader for the team and a big part of what we’re building,” Arteta said.
“He wants to be up there with the best players in the world and leave his mark. He can achieve that here.”
Aubameyang’s contract extension follows the addition of Chelsea winger Willian to Arsenal’s ranks after the Brazilian became a free agent as well as defender Gabriel Magalhaes from French side Lille.
Edited By: Emmanuel Okara)
Rangers and Denmark great Laudrup wins cancer battle
Former Rangers and Denmark forward Brian Laudrup said he has been given the all-clear from cancer after a 10-year battle.
The 51-year-old was a decade ago diagnosed with Follicular Lymphoma, a slow-growing form of blood cancer.
“Today, after 10 years of treatment and check-ups, I finally got the all-clear for my Follicular Lymphoma cancer diagnosis,” Laudrup said on Instagram.
“A huge `thank you’ to this amazing and wonderful medical staff at Rigshospitalet.”
Laudrup made 116 appearances for Rangers between 1994 and 1998 and helped them to three successive Scottish league titles, two FA Cups and a League Cup.
He also had spells at Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Ajax.
Capped 82 times by Denmark, he was part of the side that defied the odds to win Euro 1992.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)