General news

England secure Euro 2020 seeding slot with 4-0 win in Kosovo



Harry Kane scored his 12th goal of the campaign as England secured a place among top six seeds for next year’s European Championship with a flattering 4-0 win in Kosovo in their final qualifier on Sunday.

England were in second gear for much of the match after Harry Winks had put them ahead in the 32nd minute.

However, goals by Kane, Marcus Rashford and Mason Mount in the latter stages secured yet another big win and took their goal tally to 37 from their eight qualifiers.

England, already assured of a place at the finals, finished top of Group A with 21 points, their only blip being last month’s 2-1 defeat in the Czech Republic, who have qualified as runners-up.

In their first Euros campaign since being recognised as an independent nation, Kosovo finished third on 11 points.

Their chances of automatic qualification disappeared after a 2-1 defeat by the Czechs on Thursday but they could advance via the playoffs.

England took a while to impose themselves on the game but eventually broke through thanks to Winks.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain slid a pass into the path of Winks who was given all the time and space he needed to slot it into the bottom corner for his first international goal.

Two months ago England led the corresponding home fixture 5-1 at halftime.

But this time, their somewhat sloppy display, short on intensity and with several squad players not grasping their opportunity having being given a start by Gareth Southgate, left them way short of those levels.

Kosovo, who exposed England’s defence a few times in their 5-3 loss in September, were less threatening but Amir Rrahmani headed wide early in the second half.

Kane, who got a hat-trick in Thursday’s 7-0 thrashing of Montenegro, hit a post after an hour but was on target in the 79th minute with a sharp shot after Kosovo failed to clear a Raheem Sterling cross.

His 12th goal made him the leading scorer across the competition and the first England player to score in every match of a qualifying campaign.

Sterling, back in the side after his one-match ban for attacking team mate Joe Gomez, was the provider again three minutes later for Rashford, who scored with a neat first time shot.

Substitute Mount then claimed his first England goal in stoppage time, cashing in on another defensive error and a neat pass from Kane.

“It’s a dream come true to score for my country,” said Winks, who enjoyed playing in a more attacking midfield role.

“To score and also with the way we were playing as well, it’s a great moment for me.

“I like to consider myself as someone who can play in pivot or as a number eight as well.

“I like both, it’s difficult to say what I prefer so as long as I play for England that’s all that matters.”

Edited by Joseph Edeh


EU-UN Spotlight Initiative project supports CSO on implementation tool



Representatives of the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative global project, targeted at eradicating Gender Based Violence (GBV), on Monday, received Family Life Health Education (FLHE) and Life Skills facilitation manual for possible implementation of the project in Nigeria.

The FLHE manual was conceptualised and presented by Education Today for Sustainable Development Initiative (ETSDI) in Abuja and developed for the non-formal education sector in the country.

Mrs Hadiza Doray, the Head, Spotlight Initiative Nigeria Programme Management Unit (PMU), said that the project is a 500 million EURO project involving 25 countries, including Nigeria and it needed a workable guide for implementation.

The FLHE manual not only contains the modules for learning life skills but will also help users in the area of reproductive health.

Doray said “women and girls need life skills that would ensure they were self reliant and help them to be assertive in situations that could lead to GBV.

“We will be working very closely with CSOs and the PMU to pay monitoring visits to the field, and part of the things we will be assessing is whether this material has been distributed and used.

“We will also be assessing if the beneficiaries’ capacities are being developed and to which level the manual has helped reshape their capacities to fight GBV.

“We will assess if the manual has helped them acquire life skills, competencies and helping them know their rights and responsibilities.”

Earlier, Mrs Glory Brendan-Otuojor, the Head of Programmes, ETSDI, said the FLHE and Life Skill Facilitation manual was developed with support from UNESCO to enhance non-formal education across the country.

According to her, the manual became imperative because non-formal education curriculum existing in the country does not accommodate teaching of FLHE and life skills.

She added that it was prepared to provide easy learning skills and enable facilitators to teach the modules with ease, and according to local needs and interest.

She added that it had to be reviewed and validated by relevant stakeholders as it was already being implemented in Ebonyi and environs.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the implementation of the Spotlight Initiative project is being piloted in six states of the country, namely; Sokoto, Adamawa, Ebonyi, Lagos, Cross-River and FCT, for the next four years.

The initiative, with focus on Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) is aimed at bridging the gap and eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls, be it rape, exploitation, assualt, and other forms of violence against the female gender.

Edited By: Franca Ofili/Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu
Source: NAN
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UEFA confirms teams could forfeit Nations League matches over COVID-19



UEFA has confirmed that teams could ultimately forfeit upcoming Nations League matches if they are unable to turn out due to players testing positive for COVID-19.

The football governing body in Europe also added that the drawing of lots could decide a result.

UEFA said that matches could also be officiated by non-neutral referees should any of the originally-appointed match officials test positive.

Two rounds of matches will be played between this Thursday and 8, the first competitive internationals in Europe since the coronavirus outbreak.

UEFA acknowledged that preparations were progressing against “a background of difficulties”.

All the matches are due to be played in the originally-scheduled venues, except Moldova versus Kosovo.

This tie has been moved to Parma in Italy, although this is because Moldova does not recognise Kosovo as an independent nation.

UEFA said that positive COVID-19 cases from tests conducted before matches could result in groups of players, officials or entire teams being placed into quarantine.

In the case of quarantined players, UEFA said the match would go ahead as long as the team still had 13 players available including at least one goalkeeper.

If a team did not have 13 players, UEFA said it would try to reschedule the match.

However, if this was not possible, the disciplinary committee would decide on the outcome and the team judged to be responsible for the postponement would forfeit the game.

If neither or both teams were judged responsible, the result would be decided by the drawing of lots, UEFA said.

UEFA said that, should any match officials test positive, it might “exceptionally appoint replacement match officials who may be of the same nationality as one of the national associations and/or may not be on the FIFA list”.

Edited By: Olawale Alabi) (NAN)
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Benfica handed tough trip to PAOK in UEFA Champions League qualifiers



Twice former European champions Benfica were handed a tough match away to Greek side PAOK in the draw on Monday for the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round.

Red Star Belgrade, the other former champions among the 16 clubs in the hat, travel to Cyprus to play Omonia Nicosia who surprisingly knocked out Legia Warsaw in the previous round.

Dynamo Kiev will host Dutch side AZ Alkmaar and Ferencvaros entertain Dinamo Zagreb.

As with the previous two qualifying rounds, the ties will be held over a single leg due to the difficulties of travelling amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

They will be played on Sept. 15 and Sept. 16, and must also take place without spectators.

Two teams have forfeited ties and have been eliminated because of positive COVID-19 tests among their squad —- Slovak champions Slovan Bratislava and Kosovo champions Drita.

Edited By: Olawale Alabi) (NAN)
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Germany adds parts of Croatia to list of coronavirus risk areas



Germany’s Public Health Agency, on Thursday, declared the Croatian counties of Sibenik-Knin and Split-Dalmatia, which are popular with tourists, coronavirus risk regions, as Europe battles rising COVID-19 cases during the summer season.

According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), after Kosovo and Turkey, Croatia is the country with the third-highest number of infections among people returning to Germany.

Meanwhile, concerns are growing in Germany about rising infections.

The RKI published data showing the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany climbed by 1,707 to 228,621, marking their biggest daily increase since April 26.

The RKI also added the Valcea region of Romanian to its coronavirus risk list, having previously designated several other parts of Romania as high-risk.

Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
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