1.Sports Ministry defies Reps, sets up electoral committees for federations’ polls
The Ministry of Youth and Sports will go ahead with its plans for the federations’ polls despite the call by the House of Representatives for the Elections to be postponed, while members of the dissolved boards are recalled to their positions.
In a statement yesterday, the ministry released a list of committee members for elections into the federations, which each body’s polls to be supervised by a chairman and two members.
Members of the House of Representatives had on Wednesday rebuked the ministry for allegedly going against the constitutions of the federations and internationally laid down procedures for elections into federations and ordered that the federations should be left alone to conduct their polls.
But the ministry said yesterday that the Elections Congress for the election of Zonal Representatives, Vice Presidents and Presidents of National Sports Federations would proceed as rescheduled on June 13, 2017, while the adjusted programme leading to the elections will be released in due course.
In the statement, Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung said members of the electoral committees were carefully chosen based on merit, experience and ability to deliver following wide consultations with the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC).
Dalung advised the Electoral Committee members to shun corrupt practices capable of marring the elections and deliver selfless service for the success of Nigerian sports generally.
2.Andy Murray: Madrid Open exit concerns world number one
World number one Andy Murray said he is 'concerned' following defeat by Borna Coric in last 16 of the Madrid Open, but denied being low on confidence.
Murray was beaten 6-3 6-3 by Coric, ranked 59th in the world, on Thursday.
Top seed Murray hit 14 winners to his 28 unforced errors, but insisted his poor performance was not down to a lack of confidence.
3.Cameroun set up Colombia friendly for Super Eagles clash
Nigeria’s 2018 World Cup qualifiers Group B rivals, the Lions of Cameroun have set up a friendly match date with Colombia as they tune up for the crunch clash in Uyo in August.
Super Eagles home-based players and assistant coaches will depart for France on May 22 for an international friendly against Corsica taking place on May 26.
The Indomitable Lions will face Colombia at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez, home of Spanish side Getafe on June 13.
Cameroun will face Morocco in Yaounde fours days before the clash against Colombia in their first group game of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
The African champions will be guests of the Super Eagles in Uyo on Matchday 3 of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers and will use the Colombia game as tune up match.
Nigeria currently tops the group with six points from two matches, while Cameroun sit second with two points.
A win for Nigeria will see the Eagles one step closer to the sole group ticket for Russia 2018, while Cameroun will see their hopes up in smoke if they lose to Nigeria.
Meanwhile, a member of the Technical Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Christian Chukwu has said that Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr’s decision to go for a friendly game against an European team, Corsica, was not good enough for the team.
The 2019 AFCON qualifier against the Bafana Bafana of South Africa is slated for Uyo on June 10.
Chukwu stated that Rohr decided to use the friendly game against Corsica on May 26 to test some of the players. He stated that not releasing the full squad for the South Africa game remains the decision of the coach.
4.FIFA elects Nigerian Chief Judge into Ethics Committee
The immediate past Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Ayotunde Phillips has been elected as a member of the FIFA Ethics Committee.
Justice Phillips’ election was ratified on Thursday at the 67th FIFA Congress in Manama, Bahrain.
The 68-year-old who studied law at the University of Lagos is presently the Chairperson of the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission.
She was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1974. The new FIFA appointee retired from the High Court Bench in July 2014 upon the attainment of the statutory retirement age of 65 years.
She had by then served the Lagos State Government for 38 years out of which 20 years were spent on the High Court Bench.
The new FIFA Ethics Committee is headed by Vassilios Skouris of Greece, the longest serving President of the European Court of Justice.
5.Man United, Ajax reach Europa League final
Manchester United survived a nervy last few minutes to reach their first Europa League final after a 1-1 draw with Celta Vigo.
Jose Mourinho’s team went through 2-1 on aggregate following last week’s 1-0 win in northern Spain.
Facundo Roncaglia and United’s Eric Bailly were sent off on 88 minutes after a clash before John Guidetti missed an open goal with the last kick of the match that would have sent the Spaniards into the Stockholm final.
Dutch giants Ajax secured their ticket to the Europa League final on Thursday despite losing 3-1 away to Lyon in their semi-final second leg.
Ajax’s 4-1 win in the first leg in Amsterdam saw them through against their French rivals with the 1992 winners progressing 5-4 on aggregate.
6.Bale lifts weights in pool, working for Champions League final
Real Madrid star Gareth Bale is working hard to return from injury as soon as possible.
The frontman has been plagued by injury trouble all season, hobbling off against Barcelona in April, and has seen his place in the side filled by Isco when he has been unable to feature.
However, the Welshman was lifting weights in the pool on Thursday morning as he continues his recovery.
Posting an image of himself as he continues his rehabilitation, Bale told his 29million followers: ‘So proud of the team last night and now continuing my recovery to get back out on the pitch! #HalaMadrid’
The 27-year-old is right to be proud after Zinedine Zidane’s side beat city rivals Atletico on Wednesday to set up a Champions League final against Juventus.
Zidane has hinted Bale could be fit for the showpiece in Cardiff and said: ‘He’s recovering and there’s time for him to be ready for the final.
It could be another historic season for the Bernabeu club as they have a game in hand on leaders Barcelona in the La Liga title race and are currently on the same points.
Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane is confident Bale will be fit for the Champions League final
7.Eden Hazard believes he can win Ballon d'Or playing for Chelsea
Eden Hazard admits that after Chelsea's expected Premier League title triumph, he will have one eye on the Ballon d'Or.
Should either Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo win again in 2017, the pair will have dominated the award for 10 years, but Hazard believes it can be won by a player in England.
Ahead of Chelsea's clash with West Brom on Friday night, where three points will crown them Premier League champions, Hazard stated "I hope to win the Ballon d'Or one day.
In Today’s English Premier League Fixtures
19:45 Everton ? – ? Watford
20:00 West Bromwich Albion ? – ? Chelsea
8.Messi to wed longtime partner in June
The quiet streets of Arroyo Seco in Argentina will come to life on June 30 when Barcelona and Selección forward, Lionel Messi, wed his longtime partner Antonello Roccuzzo.
Messi met Antonella in their native city of Rosario in Argentina, where the ceremony will take place.
The childhood sweethearts have been together for 10 years and have two children, Thiago and Mateo.
It is set to be held in Arroyo Seco, a quiet suburb of the Argentine city.
With some family and friends unable to travel to south America, a second ceremony is expected to be held in Barcelona.
The wedding will hold six days after Messi’s 30th birthday.