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MOROCCO 2022: WALDRUM PICKS EBI, OSHOALA, PLUMPTRE, 22 OTHERS

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Head coach Randy Waldrum has picked Captain Onome Ebi and 24 other players to represent Nigeria at the 12th Women Africa Cup of Nations taking place in Morocco from the 2nd to 23rd July.

The list of the nine-time champions is an interesting mix of the old guard and new blood, with veterans Tochukwu Oluehi, Ebi, Rita Chikwelu, Osinachi Ohale, Francisca Ordega and Ngozi Okobi-Okeoghene on board, as well as defenders Ashleigh Plumptre, Nicole Payne and Michelle Alozie, midfielder Regina Otu and forwards Vivian Ikechukwu, Gift Monday and Ifeoma Onumonu.

Dropped from the contingent that made the camp in Abuja were goalkeeper Rita Akarekor, defenders Chidinma Okeke, Ngozi Emenayo and Opeyemi Sunday, midfielders Suliat Abideen, Amanda Uju Mbadi and Charity Adule, and forward Anam Imo. The team will confront South Africa’s Banyana Banyana in their first match of the tournament on Monday, 4th July before other games against Botswana (7th July) and Burundi (10th July).

All four semi finalists at the championship in Morocco will qualify to represent Africa at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. The Falcons’ contingent will depart Nigeria for Morocco on Monday, 27th June.

Goalkeepers are Chiamaka Nnadozie (Paris FC, France); Tochukwu Oluehi (Maccabi Kishronot Hadera, Israel); Yewande Balogun (Coppermine United, USA)

Defenders are Glory Ogbonna (Santa Teresa FC, Spain); Onome Ebi (En Avant Guingamp, France); Osinachi Ohale (Deportivo Alaves, Spain); Ashleigh Plumptre (Leicester City, England); Nicole Payne (West Virginia University, USA); Michelle Alozie (Houston Dash, USA); Akudo Ogbonna (Edo Queens)

Midfielders are Peace Efih (Kiryat Gat, Israel); Halimatu Ayinde (Eskilstuna FC, Sweden); Toni Oyedupe Payne (Sevilla FC, Spain); Regina Otu (Minsk FC, Belarus); Christy Ucheibe (SL Benfica).

Portugal); Rasheedat Ajibade (Atletico Madrid, Spain); Rita Chikwelu (Madrid CFF, Spain) and Ngozi Okobi-Okeoghene (Eskilstuna FC, Sweden) while the forwards Francisca Ordega (CSKA Moscow, Russia); Vivian Ikechukwu (WFC Gintra, Lithuania); Chinonyerem Macleans (GSK Gornik Leczna, Poland); Ifeoma Onumonu (NY/NJ Gotham FC, USA); Uchenna Kanu (Tigres Femenil, Mexico); Asisat Oshoala (FC Barcelona, Spain) and Gift Monday (Bayelsa Queens).

THE GUARDIAN

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MAN CITY, ARSENAL MAINTAIN PERFECT PREMIER LEAGUE START

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Arsenal vs Leicester

Manchester City stormed ominously to the top of the Premier League by cruising to a 4-0 win over Bournemouth, while Gabriel Jesus opened his Arsenal account in a 4-2 win over Leicester on Saturday.

As soaring temperatures across England forced the need for water breaks at all this weekend’s Premier League games, it was City who were on fire at the Etihad as promoted Bournemouth were blown away.

Erling Haaland failed to score on his home debut, but the Norwegian showed there is more to his game than goals as he used his strength before sliding in Ilkay Gundogan to open the scoring.

Kevin De Bruyne then took centre stage with a scintillating finish with the outside of his right foot to find the far corner before the Belgian turned provider for Phil Foden to make it 3-0 before half-time.

City eased off the gas after the break but added to their lead 11 minutes from time when Jefferson Lerma turned Joao Cancelo’s cross into his own net.

– Jesus shines –

Haaland’s arrival at City was one of the factors behind Jesus’ departure and the Brazilian is already looking like a bargain for the Gunners as he marked his home debut with two goals and two assists to maintain Arsenal’s perfect start.

Gabriel Jesus jubilates

Jesus was often deployed in wider areas in recent seasons by City boss Pep Guardiola, but was brought to Arsenal to be a number nine as he aims to secure a place at the World Cup later this year with regular games as a centre-forward.

The 25-year-old showed his eye for goal with a sumptuous chip over Danny Ward to break Leicester’s resistance and doubled his tally by heading home a corner at the back post.

William Saliba’s own goal gave Leicester a foothold against the run of play.

But the Foxes quickly threw that hope away when Ward dropped a simple cross into the box and Jesus teed up Granit Xhaka to slot home.

Another goalkeeping error at the other end gifted Leicester another goal as James Maddison’s strike squirmed under Aaron Ramsdale.

Arsenal, though, again responded instantly to avoid a nervy finale as Gabriel Martinelli fired into the far corner before Jesus hit the post with the chance to seal his hat-trick.

– Gerrard beats Lampard –

Steven Gerrard won the first managerial clash between him and former England teammate Frank Lampard as Aston Villa beat Everton 2-1 to get off the mark.

Steven Gerard, Aston Villa

Goals from Danny Ings and Emi Buendia eased the pressure on the former Liverpool captain after a run of two wins in their previous 12 games dating back to last season.

However, Villa had to survive a nervy finish as Lucas Digne’s own goal gave Everton hope as Emi Martinez twice denied Anthony Gordon.

Leeds missed the chance to join City and Arsenal on six points after blowing a 2-0 lead at Southampton.

Rodrigo’s double put the visitors in command at St. Mary’s, but goals from Joe Aribo and Kyle Walker-Peters may have saved Ralph Hasenhuttl’s job after reports this week suggested he could be the first Premier League sacking of the season.

Brighton and Newcastle failed to build on their impressive starts last weekend as both missed chances aplenty in a 0-0 draw at the Amex.

It was also scoreless between Wolves and Fulham at Molineux after Aleksandar Mitrovic saw a late penalty saved by Jose Sa with the chance to win it for the visitors.

Cristiano Ronaldo starts for United after being left on the bench for a 2-1 home defeat to Brighton last weekend.

David De Gea let slip another soft shot as Manchester United fell to a humiliating 4-0 loss at Brentford, making it their second consecutive defeat in as many games.

It was also the first time since 1992 – the Premier League era, that United will lose in their first two league games.

Man United Players

The result was all but certain as early as the 35th minute when Bryan Mbeumo finished off a brilliant counter attack to send his team four goals up.

Erik ten Haag looked frustrated after Mbeumo converted, an expression that captures perfectly the state of the club and its fans. As it stands, all things look dim for United, except the jersey they wore in the drubbing.

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IWOBI’S AN INTELLIGENT PLAYER –LAMPARD

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Nigerian Midfielder, Alex Iwobi

Everton coach, Frank Lampard, says Alex Iwobi is an intelligent player whose versatility he admires as the Toffees prepare for their Premier League game against Aston Villa on Saturday (today), PUNCH Sports Extra reports.

Everton will aim to get their first 2022/23 Premier League points on the board after they suffered a narrow defeat to Chelsea at Goodison Park last weekend.

Lampard also highlighted Iwobi’s central-midfield performance as one of several encouraging signs from the game – and says the Nigerian is receiving the recognition his exemplary professionalism deserves.

“He’s gaining so much respect and backing…from the fans, particularly.

“The benefits of Alex were very clear early in my days of getting here. He’s versatile because of his qualities, and he’s also versatile because of his humility.

“Anything you ask of him, he does it, and he does it really well. He’s an intelligent footballer.

“When I considered moving him into central midfield, I asked him about the positions he’s played throughout his career. He literally named pretty much every position on the pitch! He’s done it all.

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FULL LIST: 2022 BALLON D’OR NOMINEES

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Ballon d’Or award

A 30-man list of nominees for the 2022 Ballon d’Or award has been announced.

Seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, Lionel Messi, was left off the list for this year’s coveted football award.

Messi, who won the title last year, had been an ever-present amongst the nominations since 2006 and a regular feature in the top three since 2007 with the exception of 2018.

The nominees for this year’s Ballon d’Or are listed below:

Thibaut Courtois (BEL, Real Madrid)

Rafael Leao (POR, AC Milan)

Mohamed Salah (EGY, Liverpool)

Joshua Kimmich (GER, Bayern Munich)

Christopher Nkunku (FRA, RB Leipzig)

Trent Alexander-Arnold (ANG, Liverpool)

Robert Lewandowski (POL, Bayern Munich then FC Barcelona)

Bernardo Silva (POR, Manchester City)

Vinicius Junior (BRA, Real Madrid)

Luis Diaz (COL, FC Porto then Liverpool)

Karim Benzema (FRA, Real Madrid)

Fabinho (BRA, Liverpool)

Riyad Mahrez (ALG, Manchester City)

Heung-min Son (CDS, Tottenham)

Casemiro (BRA, Real Madrid)

Phil Foden (ENG, Manchester City)

Harry Kane (ENG, Tottenham)

Sadio Mané (SEN, Liverpool then Bayern Munich),

Darwin Nunez (URU, Benfica then Liverpool)

Mike Maignan (FRA, AC Milan)

Kevin De Bruyne (BEL, Manchester City)

Sébastien Haller (CIV, Ajax then Borussia Dortmund)

Luka Modric (CRO, Real Madrid)

Cristiano Ronaldo (POR, Manchester United)

Antonio Rüdiger (GER, Chelsea then Real Madrid)

Joao Cancelo (POR, Manchester City)

Erling Haaland (NOR, Borussia Dortmund then Manchester City)

Kylian Mbappé (FRA, PSG)

Virgil Van Dijk (HOL, Liverpool)

Dusan Vlahovic (SER, Fiorentina then Juventus).

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