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Egypt Name Record Scorer Hossam Hassan As New Coach –

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Egypt Name Record Scorer Hossam Hassan As New Coach -

Egypt named Hossam Hassan as their new coach on Tuesday, with the team’s all-time leading scorer finally landing his dream job following the sacking of Portuguese Rui Vitoria.

The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) made the announcement in a brief statement, saying Hassan’s twin brother, Ibrahim Hassan, had also been appointed as Egypt’s team director.

Although the EFA initially said they were considering foreign candidates for the role, they swiftly brought in Hassan as a replacement for Vitoria, who was dismissed on Sunday after the Pharaohs exited the Africa Cup of Nations at the last-16 stage.

Hassan has made no secret of his desire to take up the job on numerous occasions, complaining that he was often overlooked despite being sufficiently qualified.

Critics have cited his fiery temper as a reason for him previously failing to land the job, as he has had various disciplinary problems.

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In 2016, he was briefly remanded in custody for running after and attacking a photographer following the end of a local league game while in charge of Al Masry. Most recently, he was fined for breaking the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) monitor during a league game in early 2023.

Although Hassan’s managerial stints have not yielded any trophies, he was often credited with helping unfancied teams punch above their weight. He has guided a handful of Egyptian clubs, including Cairo giants Zamalek, since beginning his coaching career in 2008, several months after he hung up his boots.

The 57-year-old enjoyed a decorated playing career, in which he won numerous titles with Cairo clubs Al Ahly and Zamalek. At international level, he won three Cup of Nations titles with Egypt and spearheaded their attack at the 1990 World Cup.

He is Egypt’s all-time leading scorer with 68 goals, 14 ahead of Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah.

-Reuters

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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FEDERATION CUP

Round of 64 duel throw up a repeat of 2018 Federation Cup final match

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The draw for the 2024 Federation Cup has thrown up a repeat of the 2018 final match as Enugu Rangers face crowd-pulling Kano Pillars in the Round of 64.

In the 2018 final match in Asaba, Enugu Rangers came back from three-goal down to stalemate scores and eventually won 4-3 on penalties.

In this season, both teams will be meeting for the third time following a 1-1 draw in Kano and a 4-1 win by Rangers in Enugu in the on-going Nigeria Premier League.

The Round of 64 Federation Cup is obviously the star match as last year’s runners-up, Enugu Rangers will go up against Kano Pillars.

At the national draw conducted inside the NFF Secretariat on Thursday, the two former winners were drawn together, with Cup holders Bendel Insurance to face Ogun State flag bearers, Stormers Sports Club.

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High-riding Shooting Stars of Ibadan must negotiate for a place in the Round of 32 with Solution FC, while two-time CAF Champions League winners Enyimba FC of Aba must overpower Warinje FC from Bauchi, a survivor of the National Play-offs.

In the women’s draw, Cup holders Bayelsa Queens are up against Bright Future Queens, while Rivers Angels will tango with Ekiti Queens and Delta Queens tackle Fortress Ladies.

Last year’s runners-up Rivers Angels confront Ekiti Queens, with Delta Queens clashing with Fortress Ladies and Edo Queens to battle it out with Kada Queens.

At the draw, NFF President Ibrahim Musa Gusau assured that the Federation is committed to restoring the glamour and glitz of the oldest football championship in the land, while also pledging that the integrity of the competition will be maintained all through the men’s and women’s competitions till the Grand Finale.

Also at the draw were NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi; Deputy General Secretary, Dr. Emmanuel Ikpeme; Director of Communications, Ademola Olajire; Director of Finance and Admin, Babatunde Akinsanya; Director of Competitions, Ruth David; COO, Nigeria National League, Dr. Ayo Abdulrahaman; Head of Marketing, Alizor Chuks; Head of Protocol, Barnabas Joro; Head of Women’s Football, Amina Daura; Head of National Competitions, Danlami Alanana; Member, Cross River State FA Board, Barr. Tom Agi; Special Assistant to NFF President, Abubakar Danladi; Special Assistant to General Secretary, Mohammed Ameenu and; Member, NFF Women’s Football Committee, Harry Awurumibe.

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ROUND OF 64: MEN’S DRAW

Bendel Insurance (Edo) Vs Stormers SC (Ogun)

Wikki Tourists (Bauchi) Vs Jr. Danburan (Katsina)

Osun United (Osun) Vs EFCC FC (FCT)

Edel FC (Anambra) Vs Discovery Talent FC (Kebbi)

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Zamfara United (Zamfara) Vs ABS FC (Kwara)

Kebbi United (Kebbi) Vs Ine Stars (Edo)

Akwa United (Akwa Ibom) Vs Cynosure FC (Ebonyi)

Mighty Jets (Plateau) Vs Zamfara United Feeders (Zamfara)

Gombe United (Gombe) Vs Karim United (Taraba)

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El-Kanemi Warriors (Borno) Vs Adanimogo FC (Ondo)

Lobi Stars (Benue) Vs Delta Marine (Delta)

Shooting Stars (Oyo) Vs Solution FC (Anambra)

Ikorodu City (Lagos) Vs Green Berets (Kaduna)

Coal City (Enugu) Vs Ekiti United Feeders (Ekiti)

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Beyond Limits (Ogun) Vs Hammola Int’l (Osun)

Inter Lagos (Lagos) Vs May Frank (Cross River)

Warri Wolves (Delta) Vs Lautai FC (Jigawa)

Kwara United (Kwara) Vs Rovers FC (Cross River)

Abia Warriors (Abia) Vs Ilaji FC (Oyo)

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Sporting Supreme (FCT) Vs PCM FC (Ebonyi)

Nasarawa United (Nasarawa) Vs FC Bako (Kobi)

Sokoto United (Sokoto) Vs Ofirima FC (Rivers)

FC One Rocket (Akwa Ibom) Vs Fr. Eburuaja (Imo)

Enyimba FC (Abia) Vs Warinje FC (Bauchi)

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Plateau United (Plateau) Vs Ekiti United (Ekiti)

Sunshine Stars (Ondo) Vs Jedo Academy (Sokoto)

Rivers United (Rivers) Vs Ikukuoma FC (Imo)

Niger Tornadoes (Niger) Vs Niger Tornadoes Feeders (Niger)

Katsina United (Katsina) Vs Dutse Strikers (Jigawa)

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Bayelsa United (Bayelsa) Vs FC Basira (Nasarawa)

Doma United (Gombe) Vs Gamji Eaglets (Taraba)

Kano Pillars (Kano) Vs Rangers Int’l (Enugu)

ROUND OF 32: WOMEN’S DRAW

Bayelsa Queens (Bayelsa) Vs Bright Future Queens (Enugu)

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Nasarawa Amazons (Nasarawa) Vs Suit De Queens (Oyo)

Dannaz Ladies (Lagos) Vs Mighty Jets Mata (Plateau)

Remo Stars Ladies (Ogun) Vs OSKE Leans (Rivers)

Abia Angels (Abia) Vs Castmong Ladies (Ogun)

Naija Ratels (FCT) Vs ON Youth Academy (FCT)

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Heartland Queens (Imo) Vs GoldenSun FC (Bayelsa)

FC Robo Queens (Lagos) Vs Onimang FC (Ondo)

Kwara Ladies (Kwara) Vs Ahudiya Nnem Queens (Abia)

Delta Queens (Delta) Vs Fortress Ladies (Edo)

Sunshine Queens (Ondo) Vs Green Foot FC (Enugu)

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Plateau United Ladies (Plateau) Vs Honey Badgers (Benue)

Gallant FC (Kaduna) Vs Osun Babes (Osun)

Confluence Queens (Kogi) Vs Delta Ladies (Delta)

Edo Queens (Edo) Vs Kada Queens (Kaduna)

Ekiti Queens (Ekiti) Vs Rivers Angels (Rivers) 

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Table Tennis

African Games medallists ready for Michael & Felicia Alabi National Table Tennis championships 

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Three of the players who claimed medals for Nigeria at the 13th African Games are expected to be among the competitors at the 4th Michael & Felicia Alabi Memorial National Table Tennis Championships taking place in Otan Ayegbaju in Osun State.

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The annual tournament is organised by the Osun State Table Tennis Association (OSTTA) with technical support from the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) and sponsored by the Michael & Felicia Alabi Memorial as well as Canada-based Jodal Health Care.

The championships have also been upgraded to a national ranking event for the players as the results will be used to determine the ranking of local-based players.

Teenage sensation Matthew Kuti; Amadi Umeh, and Sukurat Aiyelabegan are among the top players confirmed for the men’s and women’s singles events by the organisers as over 28 states will be heading to the Land of Virtue for the five-day tournament.

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Apart from being a medallist at the African Games, Kuti and Umeh will be aiming for the top prize as both players will be relying on the experience they garnered at the African Games while Aiyelabegan will slug it out with the likes of Bisola Asaju and Bose Odusanya in the women’s singles.

A determined Umeh believes he is ready to claim the title this year as he has been shaping up for the tournament with the sole aim of adding the title to his laurels. “I am ready anytime and I know it is going to be tough as most of the players want to wrestle some of us that have featured for the national team,” he boasted.

According to the Chairman of the OSTTA, Ayo Alabi, the record entries have added value to the tournament particularly as the tournament would be used as a ranking event for local-based players.

“We have concluded all arrangements as regards transportation and accommodation of all athletes and officials who are coming for the event. Hotels have been booked while buses will be provided to convey athletes and officials from their camps to the venue daily. We have also secured the services of security agencies to ensure orderliness and provide adequate security for all visitors and guests. I want to assure you that the competition will be the best-ever organized than the previous editions,” Alabi said.

“The last edition saw over 400 participants, which clearly shows the growing status of the tournament. I look forward to an exciting tournament while it will allow some upcoming players to showcase their talents,” he added.

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UEFA Champions League

Premier League left sweating on extra Champions League place after bad night for England

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Champions League - Quarter Final - Second Leg - Bayern Munich v Arsenal - Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany - April 17, 2024 Bayern Munich's Joshua Kimmich scores their first goal past Arsenal's David Raya REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

Tottenham Hotspur supporters would have had little sympathy for archrivals Arsenal after their Champions League quarter-final exit at the hands of Bayern Munich but they may not be laughing so hard come the end of the season.

Arsenal’s 3-2 aggregate defeat, combined with holders Manchester City’s penalty shoot-out loss to Real Madrid, did more than just rule out the possibility of an English club appearing in the Wembley showpiece on June 1.

Those defeats also gave Germany’s Bundesliga the edge over England’s Premier League in the race to secure an extra spot in next year’s expanded Champions League.

Until Wednesday’s wipe-out, England were fractionally behind Germany in UEFA’s co-efficient table, opens new tab — the system used to decide how many places a country is entitled to in Europe’s club competitions.

The top two nations in that table will be awarded five places, rather than four, in next season’s Champions League and with Italy secure in first place the battle between Germany and England was, until Wednesday, too close to call.

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However, Germany now look favourites with Bayern Munich having joined Borussia Dortmund in the semi-finals. Dortmund edged out Atletico Madrid in a thriller on Tuesday.

Italy are on 18.428 with Germany on 17.642 while England are on 16.875 and that is before Bayer Leverkusen’s Europa League quarter-final second leg against Premier League West Ham United taking place later on Thursday.

Newly-crowned Bundesliga champions Leverkusen lead 2-0 from the first leg and unless West Ham can pull off a shock comeback at the London Stadium, Germany’s advantage over England will be strengthened further, especially with Liverpool facing a 3-0 deficit in their Europa League quarter-final with Atalanta.

All that has huge implications in the Premier League and the battle for fourth place between Tottenham and Aston Villa.

Villa’s superb win at Arsenal last weekend, combined with Tottenham’s thrashing at Newcastle United, left Villa three points clear of the north London club, who until recently might have thought fifth place would be enough to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

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That now looks increasingly unlikely, and with a horror run-in that includes games against Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea, Tottenham’s hopes of playing among Europe’s elite next season are diminishing.

Tottenham could end up hoping that Aston Villa win the Europa Conference League as they might be the only English club left in Europe come Friday. They lead Lille 2-1 after the first leg of their quarter-final.

There is a similar battle for fourth spot taking place in the Bundesliga between Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig, although it now looks as though both could be playing in the Champions League.

UEFA’s coefficient is based on the results from the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League with every win by a club from a nation worth two points and a draw one.

Bonus points are accrued by progressing through various stages of each competition with the total then divided by the number of teams from that nation in Europe.

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-Reuters

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