Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri was understandably devastated on Friday by his team’s exit in the last 16 stage of the 2019/2020 UEFA Champions League after a 2-2 aggregate loss.
But after losing to Olympique Lyonnais he said he did not believe he would be judged solely on Friday’s match which saw them go out in spite of a 2-1 win.
In spite of winning a ninth successive Serie A title last month, Sarri’s team have not managed to convince the critics during his first season in charge.
Their failure to even match last season’s quarter-finals performance in the UEFA Champions League has added to the pressure on the 61-year-old.
“If I wasn’t devastated by not qualifying, I’d be happy with the performance,” Sarri said after his side were knocked out on away goals following a 2-2 aggregate draw.
“I actually expected less from us, I think we played a great game. We fell behind to a penalty kick that could have made us lose our heads and we had three chances when we were 2-1 ahead.”
Sarri pointed out that his side had dropped only two points in the group stage.
Also, they were unbeaten in the competition until their 1-0 first leg defeat to Lyon in March, before the COVID-19 outbreak interrupted the season for three months.
“This competition doesn’t take any prisoners,” he said. “If it was a normal ranking, we would be first or second after six wins, a draw and a defeat.”
On his future, he said: “I don’t think top-level executives decide based on a single game. I think they make wider evaluations —— whether they be for or against.”
He added that the coronavirus pandemic had made it an unusual season.
“We’ve had several months where we haven’t done anything logical,” he said. “We’ve been locked indoors, quarantined, individual training, then collective training, then 14 games in 48 days.”
Edited By: Olawale Alabi) (NAN)
NIDO-Ghana plans webinar to mark Nigeria’s 60th independence anniversary
The Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO), Ghana chapter, said on Saturday that it would organise a webinar as part of events to celebrate Nigeria’s sixtieth independence anniversary.
Mr Elija Iposu, Public Relations Officer of NIDO-Ghana, disclosed this in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria .
Iposu said the event would be organised by NIDO-Ghana in collaboration with a Ghana-based private firm, Diplomats Extra and Milestone Communications.
According to him, the webinar, which will hold on Oct. 2, is a virtual ceremony with Zoom ID: 742450910 and the title: ’60 years of Ghana-Nigeria diplomacy’.
Prof. Bola Akinterinwa, former Director-General Institute of International Affairs, and Amb. Bulus Lolo, former Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nigeria are among high-ranking personalities expected to participate in the event.
Some other expected guests are Mr Oluwaseyi Adeyemi, Publisher, Inside Watch Africa Magazine, Mr Emmanuel Bombande, UN Senior Mediation Advisor, Prof. Baflour Agyeman-Duah, former UN Special Governance Advisor and Affail Monney, President Ghana Journalists Association.
NAN reports that President Muhammadu Buhari on Sept. 16, unveiled the logo and theme for the 60th independence anniversary celebration.
He said that the celebration would be observed for a whole year, to end on Sept. 30, 2021 and would be muted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim
Barca president Bartomeu says he won’t go to war anymore with Messi
FC Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu says he does not wish to have any more disputes with club captain Lionel Messi.
This was after the Argentina captain reluctantly opted to stay at the club this month after failing to force through a move.
“I won’t get into any conflict with him. He’s our captain and the leader of our team,” Bartomeu said before the team’s 1-0 friendly win over Elche on Saturday.
“I couldn’t let him leave the club. He is the best player of all time and the team needs him. Having Messi is a guarantee of success.”
Messi had complained earlier this month that Bartomeu had not fulfilled a promise to allow him to break his contract unilaterally and leave the club without a transfer fee.
He had also lashed out at the president’s leadership.
But Bartomeu chose not to fire back against Barca’s all-time top goalscorer.
Instead, he praised Messi for turning a page and performing well in the team’s pre-season matches, including scoring twice in a 3-1 win over Girona last week.
“We have seen him do his talking on the pitch and we have moved on from the saga,” Bartomeu added.
“We should congratulate ourselves for getting Messi to stay with us and for how he has behaved in the last few days. The best player in the world should stay at our home.”
Bartomeu has been in the firing line ever since Barca’s historic 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the 2019/2020 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals last month.
He came under renewed pressure after a campaign group gathered over 20,000 signatures from members to force a vote of no-confidence against him.
In compliance with the club’s statutes, Barca are currently validating the votes and if over 16,520 are approved, then a referendum will be held in the next three months.
Two-thirds of 150,000 members are needed to vote against Bartomeu to force his dismissal.
Yet Bartomeu, who will be leaving the role after elections in March regardless of what happens with the motion of censure, ruled out resigning.
“The board and I will keep working to ensure we have the most competitive team possible,” he said.
“We will speak again after validating the votes, but right now no one wants to quit. The club won’t stop and we will keep working, we have lots of issues to sort out.”
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
El-Rufai to participate in maiden Kaduna Marathon on Nov. 21
Gov. Nasiru El-Rufai of Kaduna State on Saturday, says the state is making arrangements to host a half-marathon on Nov. 21, 2020, tagged ‘Kaduna Runs’.
According to him, the maiden marathon will hold annually, and is meant to discover talents and attract investors to the state.
“Our hope is that it will also help reinforce Kaduna’s hard-earned reputation as an investment hub. As a fixture on the sporting and social calendars, Kaduna Runs will also attract interested persons to visit our state.”
It is a compelling idea to bring our people together in a common endeavour, he added while unveiling the event to newsmen in Kaduna.
“Let us run together. From those seeking the glory of winning a sporting contest, to young persons out to hone their talent in the half-marathon, to citizens who merely want to exercise or meet people or cheer up the runners, there is something for everyone,” he said.
The governor added that the event can also be used to raise funds for charities or to support good causes.
He therefore called on all residents – old or young, male or female, rich and poor – to support Kaduna Runs, a 13 miles half-marathon.
El-Rufai assured that all COVID-19 protocols will be observed during the event.
NAN reports that the governor obtained form to participate in the Marathon.
Edited By: Maharazu Ahmed
Edo 2020: Group commends INEC on equal access for PWDs
Mr David Anyaele, the Chairman of the group, said this on Saturday in its preliminary statement on the conduct of the election.
Anyaele however, said that although priority voting was given to the PWDs, the elderly and pregnant women, other disability support aids where missing at polling units which hindered full participation of the PWDs.
“EVA4PWDs is impressed to observe that marginalised sects such as the aged, nursing mothers and pregnant women and PWDs generally were offered priority voting in most of the polling units observed.
“However, we are disappointed that INEC displayed minimal commitment to the implementation of the framework on access and participation of PWDs in the electoral process, as provided in the National Disability Act, 2018.
“The promised Braille voters’ guide and Braille ballot paper by INEC for easy access of election day instructions, guidelines and ballot paper for Blind voters were scarcely available.
“Where it was available, many INEC ad hoc staff did not understand its usage but got assistance from observers on how to use the Braille materials.
“This was the case in Polling Unit 003, Car Park Ward 1, Oredo LGA, where an observer assisted in locating the Braille material.
“There was absence of magnified lens at the Polling Units, INEC ad hoc staff who claimed to have at some polling units were unable to neither display it for observation and usage,” he said.
An Observer said that other observers reported that the Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials such as Election Day instructions and guidelines to assist the deaf or persons with hearing impairment were also unavailable at majority of the PU’s visited.
Anyaele also said that reports showed that a large numbers of the PUs were not accessible to physically-challenged persons as they were sited at buildings without ramps and handrail, across gutters, and over staircases.
He noted that INEC Covid-19 guidelines were not adhered to in majority of the Polling Units visited due to uncontrolled large crowds.
“We have reports from areas like Greater Tomorrow High School, Oredo Ward 1, Ramat Park at Ikpoba/Okha, Oredo LGA, among other Polling Units, where the crowds were uncontrollably large,” he said.
Anyaele, however, urged INEC to address the major barriers identified in the Edo elections and make necessary provisions ahead of the Ondo State Governorship election slated for Oct. 10.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the group, in collaboration with the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), an NGO, trained and deployed INEC accredited observers to the three senatorial zones of the Edo State.
The observers focused on equal voting access for persons with disabilities and monitored the provisions made by INEC for PWDs. .
Edited By: Idonije Obakhedo