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Falcons paid as FG releases N358m •We were shortchanged – players

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Players and officials of the Super Falcons were on Friday paid various sums of money as approved by the Federal Government after the Nigeria Football Federation received the sums.

However, some of the players have said they were shortchanged by the federation in the payment of their entitlements.

The Federal Government on Friday released the sum of N358m to the NFF to offset the team’s allowances and bonuses. The FG also released an additional N113m to pay the outstanding winning bonuses for the Super Eagles in their 2018 World Cup Qualifying matches against Zambia and Algeria.
The Office of the Accountant General of the Federation on Friday released to the Central Bank of Nigeria the payment mandate of $1.17m (N358m) to settle the allowances of the protesting Falcons.
The payments were confirmed in a statement from the OAGF signed by the Director, Information, Mrs. Kene Offie.
The statement said the release of the payment mandate to the CBN was sequel to an earlier approval given by the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun.
The statement read in part, “The Office of the Accountant General of the Federation has released the mandate to Central Bank of Nigeria for payment of naira equivalent of $1,173,820.00 at N305/$ to Nigeria Football Federation to pay outstanding winning bonuses for Super Eagles in the 2018 World Cup Qualifying Matches and for the Super Falcons’ participation in the 10th Women’s Africa nations Cup.
“This is in furtherance of the approval from Hon. Minister of Finance for the said amount to be paid. The mandate which is a sum of three hundred and fifty-eight million, fifteen thousand, one hundred naira only has been paid by Central Bank of Nigeria as at Thursday December 15, 2016.”
It added, “Similarly, another mandate for the sum of one hundred and thirteen million, eight hundred and twenty thousand, six hundred and two naira only has also been released by Office of Accountant General of the Federation for the payment of wining bonus for Super Eagles in the 2018 World Cup Qualifying matches; and for the Super Falcons’ participation in the 10th Women’s Africa Nation’s Cup.
“This amount has also been paid to Nigeria Football Federation and is equally sequel to the approval of the Honourable minister of Finance.”
And according to the NFF, a breakdown of the Falcons’ monies showed that each player got N5.4m.
The federation said, “Each player got N5,494,500, less the sum of N600,000 that was earlier paid to each of the players at various times by the NFF. The amount is at the rate of $17,900 (converted to naira at the official rate of N305 to $1), plus the sum of N15,000 camp allowance and N20,000 transport allowance. All the monies were converted at the official rate of N305 to $1.
“Coach Florence Omagbemi got a total of N11,014,000 (less the sum of N800,000 paid to her earlier), while assistant coaches Ann Chiejine, Perpetua Nkwocha and Bala Mohammed, as well as the backroom staff were paid N8,274,250, less the N500,000 earlier paid to each of them.”
But our correspondent learnt on Friday that the players may be set for another showdown with the federation as they should have got more than the sums paid by the NFF.
The federation reportedly owes each player up to $25,000 for allowances and match bonuses from thequalifier for the 2016 AWCON against Senegal to the 1-0 win over Cameroon in the final on December 3. The federation is also reported to owe the players for a 2016 Olympic qualifier and the 2015 All-Africa Games, where the team finished fourth.
Each player’s entitlement is equivalent to N7.6m at the exchange rate of N305/$ at which the FG released the funds on Friday.
Some of the players, who pleaded anonymity, said they have got the alerts but the money was not their full entitlements as their bonuses and allowances for the AWCON qualifiers were not included.
“Some of us have been receiving alerts while they said the others will come later but what we are seeing is not the full amount we ought to get,” one of the players said.
“Our total bonus and allowances shouldn’t be less than N7m each but we are getting alerts of less than N6m. The allowances and bonuses for the qualifiers have been left unpaid.”
Another player said, “This is really unfair to us because we worked for this money. We have been patient for this long and for the NFF to shortchange us at the last moment is an injustice on their part.”
The Falcons, who beat hosts Cameroon 1-0 to win the AWCON in Yaounde on December 3, protested the non-payment of their entitlements since December 4, when they returned to the country. They refused to leave their Agura Hotels, Abuja lodge until their allowances and bonuses were paid.
The eighth time African champions marched on the Presidential Villa and National Assmebly on Wednesday to press home their demands, which prompted President Muhammadu Buhari to order the release of funds to pay them.
The treatment meted out to the record African champions by the Nigerian authorities is in sharp contrast to that received by the Indomitable Lionesses from the Cameroonian government who were treated to a welcome ceremony by President Paul Biya despite finishing as runners-up on home soil.

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Wolves see off Leicester in Seven Goal Thriller

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Wolves’ Diogo Jota breaks the heart of Leicester in thriller at Molineux Stadium

Wolves’ Diogo Jota breaks the heart of Leicester in thriller at Molineux Stadium

Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Diogo Jota had the last word in the pulsating seven goal thriller against Leicester City at Molineux Stadium on Saturday afternoon, slotting in the winning goal in stoppage-time.

His last gasp goal completed a hat trick and enabled Wolves to steal a decisive victory over never-say-die Leicester.

Jota netted the opener from Joao Moutinho’s cross after four minutes, and eight minutes later it was 2-0 when Ryan Bennett headed in after out-jumping Harry Maguire.

Two minutes after half-time Gray raced clear to tuck a fine finish beyond Patricio, and Harvey Barnes’s shot, on his first Premier League start, was deflected in by Conor Coady on 51 minutes.

Neves set Jota free to make it 3-2, before a towering header by Morgan levelled the match with three minutes left. But in stoppage time, Jota netted the winner, breaking the hearts of the visitors.

“I think this is Premier League. Every team believes until the end. In a game like this when you win, it feels like the greatest win in the world,”Jota said after the match.

Wolves’ only previous home Premier League encounter against Leicester also finished 4-3, in October 2003.

Wolves climb to eighth on 32 points, a point and a place above Claude Puel’s side.

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EPL: Sarri reveals player he’ll avoid resting till end of season

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Chelsea manager, Maurizio Sarri has said he will avoid resting a tiring Jorginho because he believes the club is not ready for the tactical change the midfielder’s absence would force on the team.

Italy international, Jorginho has started all but one of the club’s Premier League fixtures to date and has featured 25 times in all competitions.

Cesc Fabregas’ departure for Monaco has left Chelsea with no natural alternative at the base of midfield and Sarri admitted a heavy workload is beginning to affect his deep-lying playmaker.

The Blues are chasing Leandro Paredes to provide Jorginho with relief but, for now, the 27-year-old will be asked to continue, with Sarri opposing a switch that might accommodate two holding midfielders.

Goal.com quoted him as saying to reporters in England, “We are not ready to change at the moment.

“Jorginho has played with me for four seasons. It’s very difficult for him to improve more. He played very well for 20 matches (this season), I think.

“Now, maybe, in the last two matches he was a little bit tired. He moved the ball a little bit slowly than before. But I think that it’s normal.

“You cannot stay at the top for 60 matches, so it’s normal to have a different period, a period when you are not so lucid as usual. But it’s not a big problem. Of course, it’s the reason I said we needed a replacement for Cesc.”

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Serena to tearful opponent: ”You’re gonna make it, don’t cry”

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Serena Williams to her Ukrainian opponent Dayana Yastremska: You will make it, don’t cry

Serena Williams to her Ukrainian opponent Dayana Yastremska: You will make it, don’t cry

Serena Williams crushed Ukrainian teenager Dayana Yastremska 6-2, 6-1 on Saturday before consoling her at the net as she burst into tears.

“You did amazing, you’re gonna make it, don’t cry”, Serena told her.

It was Day 6 at the Australian Open in Melbourne.

“I just play each match at a time, play as hard as I can and do the best I can. That really is all you can do,” Serena said as she zeroes in on an eighth Australian title.

The 37-year-old, seeded 16, has dropped just nine games in her three matches so far and will now face Simona Halep, the world number one for a berth in the quarter-finals. Halep beat Venus Williams in two straight sets 6-2 6-3.

The Romanian finally hit form to pull off her best win of the year and cruise past the veteran American.

“I was super-motivated today,” she said after being taken to three sets in both her opening two matches as she bounces back from a herniated disc that ended her 2018 season early.

“I have nothing to lose,” she added, looking ahead to Monday’s clash against 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena. “I playing against a great champion. Its’s going to a bigger challenge but I’m ready to face it.”

Fourth seed Naomi Osaka looked down and out against Taiwanese veteran Hsieh Su-wei before battling back to win 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 and set up meeting with Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova.

Osaka’s win equals the 21-year-old’s best performance at the Australian Open, where she reached the last 16 in 2018 but lost to Halep.

But she looked headed for the exit when she conceded the first set and was down 4-1 in the second, before winning five straight games to force a decider.

“I just didn’t want to give up,” said the Japanese, who received a code violation after throwing her racquet.

Sixth seed Elina Svitolina struggled with a painful shoulder complaint that required treatment at every changeover, and medical timeouts, before she somehow beat China’s Zhang Shuai 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 as the temperature rose in the centre court sunshine.

“I just told myself ‘you’re going to die or win’,” said Svitolina, who scored her biggest career win by clinching the WTA Finals in Singapore last October.

She will next meet 17th-seeded American Madison Keys.

In the men’s event, World number one Novak Djokovic continued his relentless drive towards more Australian Open glory as he cranked up another gear Saturday with third round drubbing of his Canadian opponent, Denis Shapovalov.

The Serb dropped a set for the first time this year against the fast-rising Shapovalov, before demolishing him in the fourth stanza to win 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0.

Djokovic, with 14 Grand Slams to his credit is gunning for a record seventh Australian title.

“I just tried to be in the moment and weather the storm,” said the Serb, who was unsettled when the lights were switched on in Rod Laver Arena for television reasons, despite it still being daylight.

“Completely unnecessary to turn on the lights,” he said in roasting the organisers.

Djokovic’s victory means he is guaranteed to stay world number one when the new rankings are released after the tournament.

He next plays another up-and-coming star, Russia’s 15th seed Daniil Medvedev, who eased past David Goffin and has yet to drop a set.

Another young gun Alexander Zverev made the last 16 for the first time when he swatted aside Australian Alex Bolt in three sets and will play former world number three Milos Raonic for a place in the quarter-finals.

Eighth seed Kei Nishikori made it back-to-back victories for Japan, following Osaka on court by beating Portugal’s 44th-ranked Joao Sousa in three sets.

The 29-year-old has won all three of his first week matches on Margaret Court Arena to reach the last 16 for the seventh time in nine appearances.

“I love to play this court,” said the 2014 US Open finalist after delighting a large contingent of Japanese fans.

He next plays Spain’s 23rd seed Pablo Carreno Busta.

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