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Sports Festival: Coach urges athletes to sustain regular training



An Ogun Para-athletics Coach, Ibrahim Showunmi, has urged athletes in the country to sustain their training, even though there was uncertainty about the date of 19th National Sports Festival (NSF).

Showunmi, who made the call when he spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos, said that regular training would enable athletes to be adequately prepared for competitions.

The festival, a biennial multi-sports event, is organised by the Federal Government through the Ministry of Youth and Sports for athletes across the nation.
The Games programmed to hold every two years also serves as a developmental event to aid athletes to prepare for continental and international meets.
“It’s rather regrettable that our national Games that have made most of our notable athletes have lost its value and the painful thing is that we are the ones suffering it.
“Be that as it may, some athletes have lost interest in the festival; they no longer go for training which is not good for their career.
“They need to be consistent with their training so as to be acquainted with current rules and techniques of their sport they are involved in.
“The advantage of regular trainings is that it will allow athletes to meet the minimum programme required to cover when the date for the festival is eventually announced,’’ he said.
Showunmi appealed to state sports councils to support athletes and their trainers.
“It is important for states to support their athletes with allowances to boost training,’’ he added.

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Paul Merson predicts Liverpool vs Manchester United clash



Paul Merson

Paul Merson

Former Arsenal, Aston Villa player, Paul Merson has tipped Liverpool to defeat Manchester United during the Premier League clash on Sunday.

Merson was thoroughly unimpressed with United’s 2-1 defeat to Valencia in the Champions League on Wednesday night and expects them to suffer another defeat at Armfield.

Liverpool went above Manchester City with a win over Bournemouth last weekend with Chelsea defeating Pep Guardiola’s side.

Merson is fully expecting Liverpool to roll United over at home, predicting a 2-0 win, although he thinks the Reds will face a new type of pressure now that they are the frontrunners in the Premier League title race.

He told Sky Sports: “I’d be shocked if Liverpool doesn’t get a result, probably like the rest of the nation! I watched United on Wednesday night, and oh my God.

“They play under pressure week in, week out. You wouldn’t understand the pressure they are playing under as Manchester United players.

“They then go to Valencia, a chance for them to express themselves, with nothing to lose, against nowhere near one of the best Spanish teams in the league.

“Go and express yourselves! And what happened? Oh my God.

“I just cannot see where United win this football match. But that isn’t to say there isn’t huge pressure on Liverpool too, as they have to stay in front. It’s a different pressure now they are top.”

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Pires speaks on Dembele leaving Barcelona for Arsenal



Arsenal legend, Robert Pires, has said that Barcelona would be wrong to allow Ousmane Dembele leave the club, with the player linked with a move to The Emirates.

Dembele has been a cause for concern at the Nou Camp this season, leading to speculation that the LaLiga champions could let him go and re-sign Neymar.

Neymar departed Camp Nou for a world record £200million fee last summer and Barca spent half of that figure to land Dembele as his replacement.

But Pires believes Ernesto Valverde’s men are better off working with Dembele.

“I love him [Dembele] very much,” he told Mundo Deportivo.

“We always talk about [Lionel] Messi, but this guy is very good.

“He’s young but what he does we all did as kids. What you must do is self-impose discipline in your life, but he is young and with his quality and talent, he can help Barca to win the Champions League and also the league, as we have seen against Tottenham and Espanyol with great goals.

“If I had to choose, I would not change Dembele for Neymar.

“Ousmane is 21, plays with the left and the right [foot] with a lot of quality with the ball.

“He has a lot of potential, more than what we’ve seen so far.”

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Champions League: Why CSK Moscow defeated us 3-0 – Real Madrid coach, Santiago Solari



Santiago Solari

Santiago Solari

Real Madrid manager, Santiago Solari has explained why his side were defeated 3-0 by CSK Moscow in the Champions League encounter played on Wednesday night at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Three goals from Fyodor Chalov, Georgi Shchennikov and Arnor Sigurdsson ensured the Russian side defeated the Champions League holders.

Solari said Madrid were defeated by Moscow at home because he featured many young players against the visitors.

The 42-year-old made seven changes to his starting XI that defeated Huesca 1-0 in La Liga last weakened.

“I played a team with a lot of young players,” Solari was quoted by First Post as saying at post-match.

“The match was used to give many players time who needed it, some because they started and others because they returned from injury, and to give rest to others to try and stay alive in all competitions.”

“I know it’s not a path of roses, and besides, every rose has its thorns,” Solari added. “We don’t like this result, we wanted to finish with a victory.”

Solari’s men will now tackle Rayo Vallecano on Saturday in their next fixture in the La Liga.

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