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NWPL Champions Shield: Be your best to win, Coach urges Bayelsa Queens



Coach Moses Aduku of Bayelsa Queens on Friday urged his players to be in their best form with topmost skills to win the Nigeria Women Premier League Champions (NWPL) Shield on Saturday at the Samson Siasia Stadium, Yenagoa, Bayelsa.

Aduku, a Nigerian ex-international who has viewed the Champions Shield as an actual trophy, told members of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) in Yenagoa, that his players were physically, skillfully and mentally ready to win the championship.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the NWPL be between the 2018 League Champions, Bayelsa Queens and AITEO Cup Champions, Rivers Angels on Saturday.

The Bayelsa Queens won the Nigeria Women Premier League for the first time in 2018 since winning it back to back in 2006 and 2007, while Rivers Angels won their 8th AITEO Cup title beating Ibom Angels.

Both teams are looking forward to crowning up their respective titles with the traditional Champions Shield on Saturday.

NAN reports that Rivers Angels won the Champions Shield 2018 in Lagos.


Decision to cancel 2019/2020 football season was hasty, unjust  —- Ex-NFF Exco member



Dilichukwu Onyedimma, a former Executive Committee member of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), says the decision to cancel the 2019/2020 football season is hasty and unjust.

“I can’t really explain what is happening with football in Nigeria, but it is wrong to cancel the entire football season because of the COVID-19 pandemic without making definite plans to see if the leagues can be restarted like some other African countries are trying to do.

“I think the decision was hasty. They (NFF) should have tarried a while, until maybe the end of July or early August, to decide and see if the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) will give the go ahead to re-open sports,’’ she said on Sunday in Abuja.

Onyedimma who was a former Chairperson of Nigeria Women Football League (NWFL) said the NFF decision was not accepted by some clubs, even while many of them failed to voice their displeasure.

“It didn’t go down well with some clubs, while others grudgingly accepted the league body’s Points Per Game (PPG) decision in ending the league,’’ she told the News Agency of Nigeria .

Onyedimma advised that the NFF should at all times make decisions based on developmental considerations and not on participation in international competitions.

“Our league should not be always about representation in the Confederation of African Football (CAF) inter-clubs competitions, but for the development of the game and the players.’’

She argued that ending the 2019/2020 season in anticipation of beginning the 2020/2021 season in September or October was not a well thought-out decision.

“Are we even sure the ill-wind called coronavirus would have been contained for CAF to hold the next edition of its competitions?

“Personally, I don’t see the possibility of a new season in September/October, if we cannot thoroughly think out the issues involved and find a solution.

“This is because of the stringent safety measures the NCDC have in place, which demand that we have to take all possible precautions to avoid transmission and spread of the virus,’’ Onyedimma said.

NAN reports that the NFF had on some occasions in the past began the new season in October or November.

During those years, the new league season kicked off in December or even January of the following year, with the 2019/2020 NLO and NWPL seasons as examples.

On the Nigeria Women Professional League (NWPL), Onyedinma said NFF should have made a pronouncement on which club would represent Nigeria in the newly-introduced CAF Women’s Champions League.

“This should have been just just like they (NFF) did in picking Kano Pillars to represent Nigeria in the 2020/2021 CAF Confederation Cup.

“The 2018/2019 winners of the NWPL should have been announced as Nigeria’s flagbearers in the maiden edition of the CAF Women’s Champions League.

“I don’t see any reason why there should be a play-off or qualifiers, after cancelling the season, as I read in a publication recently.

“It is not just to now say a different consideration would be used in this league,’’ Onyedinma who is the Acting Executive Secretary of the FCT Social Development Secretariat and doubles as the FCT Director of Sports.



Edited By: Olawale Alabi) (NAN)
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Chelsea warm up for Premier League restart with big win over QPR



Chelsea midfielders Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Billy Gilmour scored twice each in a 7-1 friendly win over Queens Park Rangers on Sunday

This is as Frank Lampard’s side stepped up their preparations for the Premier League restart.

Mason Mount, Willian and Olivier Giroud also got on the score sheet as Chelsea improved on a 1-0 victory over Reading in a similar warm-up friendly last week.

French midfielder N’Golo Kante made a return to full contact training on Tuesday after expressing concerns over his safety, due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

He started the game against Championship (second-tier) side QPR.

Lampard’s side are fourth in the league with 48 points from 29 games ahead of the resumption of the season on Wednesday following the COVID-19 disruption.

Chelsea are scheduled to face Aston Villa away next Sunday in their first game back.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Silas Nwoha (NAN)
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Two more positive COVID-19 cases from English Premier League testing




Two people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the Premier League’s latest round of testing, English football’s top flight confirmed on Saturday.

The Premier League tested 1,200 players and club staff on Thursday and Friday, among which two people from different clubs tested positive.

There had been 14 positive cases out of 7,487 tests across the previous seven rounds of testing.

The Premier League has set June 17 as a provisional date for resuming the 2019-20 season. All elite football games in England were suspended on March 13 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

There are 92 Premier League games remaining to play this season, with the first two fixtures seeing Aston Villa host Sheffield United and Manchester City face Arsenal.

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English Premier League clubs agree on matchday protocols



All 20 Premier League clubs have approved matchday protocols for next week’s resumption of action after a three-month stoppage due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A shareholders meeting on Thursday discussed details of medical and operational measures, including how many backroom staff will be allowed to attend away games.

The Premier League’s Project Restart kicks off next Wednesday with the first two of the 92 outstanding fixtures.

Manchester City will host Arsenal and Aston Villa welcome Sheffield United.

All the remaining games will be played without fans.

Also, a limit of 300 people —– including broadcast staff, written media, commentators, doping officials and scouts —– will be allowed in stadiums on matchdays.

Stadiums will be split into red, amber and green zones with the red zone to include 20 players, 12 coaching and medical staff and a further five “essential staff”.

Other measures include deep cleaning of corner flags, goalposts, substitution boards and match balls, while medical staff will wear protective equipment when treating players.

Players will be tested for coronavirus at their club’s training ground ahead of the journeys to stadiums for matches.

Teams will take to the field separately, rather than side-by-side, and games will feature drinks breaks midway through each half.

The technical area for managers will be reconfigured to allow for greater social distancing, as will team dugouts.

VAR video reviews will be utilised but the Stockley Park centre, near London, which contains the review staff and equipment has also been re-arranged to allow for greater distancing of staff.

Substitutes and managers on the bench will not, however, be required to wear masks and players do not have to wear masks when entering the stadium or dressing room.

Clubs are being discouraged from using hotels to stay in before games and instead are being asked to make more use of planes to travel to games where suitable.

Clubs will also respect a minute’s silence for those who have died during the pandemic and kits will include a heart-shaped badge in honour of NHS and frontline staff during the crisis.

Edited By: Olawale Alabi) (NAN)
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