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Puel Hails Ndidi, Iheanacho Impact In Leicester’s Draw At Brighton

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By Johnny Edward:
Leicester City manager Claude Puel has hailed the impact of Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfred Ndidi in his team’s comeback draw at Brighton and Hove Albion in an English Premier League game on Saturday, reports Completesportsnigeria.com.

Both Super Eagles players, along with Jamie Vardy, were instrumental to the Foxes earning a point at the Amex Stadium after Glenn Murray had given Brighton the lead on his 100th Premier League appearance, heading Anthony Knockaert’s corner into the net after 15 minutes.

Puel named Ndidi on the substitute’s bench, for the first time in the midfielder’s three seasons in Leicester City, but subbed on the Nigeria international in the 32nd minutes of the game for Vincent Iborra who sustained an injury to shore up the Foxes’ midfield after James Maddison was dismissed through second yellow card for simulation.

He also introduced Iheanacho with 20 minutes left to play for Shinji Okazaki, and the 22-year-old earned his side a penalty nine minutes later which Vardy converted.


EPL Roundup: Eagles Stars Ndidi, Iheanacho, Success Subbed On, Balogun Benched; City, Liverpool Bag Big Away Wins

“I am proud of our collective reaction, our game in the second half,” Puel told Leicester City Mercury.

“We played like 11 men in the second half. It was a fantastic feeling to come back into the game in this bad situation, after all the difficulties in the second half, the sending off and the goal conceded from a set piece. We deserved a point.”l

“All the players worked to change the game. Jamie scored the penalty and he brought this fighting spirit, but I was also happy with Iheanacho and Ndidi – all the squad, they gave their best to come back into the game.

“We showed a strong mentality with just ten men and quality with the ball. I think we deserved the win in the end because we dominated a lot of the second half. I appreciated a lot our collective reaction.”

Puel also warns his players to adjust their attitude to avoid red cards following James Maddison’s sending off for two bookings inside three first half minutes.

It was Leicester City’s fourth red card of the season, and while Puel believes his players have been unlucky on occasions, he also says they must be smarter when on a yellow.

“It is our fourth sending off. That is a lot and we have to manage better our attitude and our games,” Puel said.

“Sometimes it is our fault and other times I think it is a bad decision. Sometimes yellow cards for Wes Morgan (who has been sent off twice this season) were not good.”

“For me they were bad decisions, but we have to manage better when we have a yellow card and manage better our tackles and desire without taking another yellow card because after it is always difficult for the team.

“We can prevent this bad situation and correct some aspects, but you saw we had fantastic strength in the team.

“It is not the first time we have faced difficulties and come back into a game. It is encouraging for the future.

“It was difficult of course to accept two yellow cards in three minutes and the sending off put us in difficulties, but I have to review the replay about the first and second yellow cards, and then we discuss with Maddie.

“Maddison, perhaps he deserved a sending off, but I will watch the replay.”



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SPORTS

Buhari appoints Amokachi as SA on sports

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Buhari appoints Amokachi as SA on sports

Former Super Eagles player and Nigerian Football Ambassador, Daniel Amokachi, has been appointed as Special Assistant on Sports to President Muhammadu Buhari.

“I am pleased to inform you that Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has approved your appointment as Special Assistant on Sports,” the appointment letter dated August 17, 2020, and signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation Mr. Boss Mustapha, reads in part.

As special assistant on sports, Amokachi is expected to advise the President on all sports matters.

The former Everton of England forward, who was earlier in the year named Nigeria’s Football Ambassador, is expected to mentor youngsters and promote the game at the grassroots.

Nicknamed “The Bull”, Amokachi began his career in Kaduna with Ranchers Bees Football Club of Kaduna, played for Club Brugge of Belgium, Besiktas of Turkey, Everton of England and Colorado Rapids.

He played in two World Cup finals, USA 1994 and France 1998. He was a member of Nigeria’s 1994 African Cup of Nations winning team and won the 2013 edition in South Africa as assistant to the late Coach Stephen Keshi.

Amockachi also won Gold with team Nigeria in the Football event of the Atlanta 1996 Olympics.

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Tennis: Djokovic confirms US Open participation

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Tennis: Djokovic confirms US Open participation

Novak Djokovic confirmed on Thursday he will play at the US Open, ending speculation about his presence at the first Grand Slam tournament since the season restarted following the coronavirus-enforced shutdown.

“I’m happy to confirm that I’ll participate at #CincyTennis and #USOpen this year,” the 33-year-old world number one tweeted.

“It was not an easy decision to make with all the obstacles and challenges on many sides, but the prospect of competing again makes me really excited,” added the 17-time Grand Slam champion.

The US Open gets underway behind closed doors in New York on Monday August 31, with Djokovic arriving in the United States on Saturday to tune up in the Western and Southern Open, which is normally played in Cincinnati but has been moved to New York this year.

His decision to take part is a major boost for the US Open after a host of headline names pulled out.

Djokovic makes his competitive return after being heavily criticized for hosting a charity tennis event in the Balkans in June at which he and a raft of players tested positive for COVID-19.

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Sam Okwaraji: NFF begins process to retire Eagles No.6 jersey

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Sam Okwaraji: NFF begins process to retire Eagles No.6 jersey

The Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) is pondering a move to retire the Super Eagles No.6 jersey previously worn by the late Sam Okwaraji, The PUNCH reports.

NFF President Amaju Pinnick made this known during an interview on a radio programme Sports Salsa, which was aired on Kennis 104.1 FM on Wednesday.

Okwaraji died of congestive heart failure minutes after he slumped during a 1990 World Cup qualifier between Nigeria and Angola on August 12, 1989, inside the main-bowl of the National Stadium, Lagos.

The game ended 1-0 in favour of the Eagles.

“Someone made a proposal about retiring the jersey (No.6) at the start of the year and I think it is not too much for us to do that,” Pinnick said.

“I will forward the proposal to the executive committee for implementation because it has been said already. So, we will see how we can retire that shirt in honour of a great patriot (Samuel) Okwaraji.

“His (Okwaraji) death was very tragic because he was a player who showed dexterity, professionalism and maturity each time he played for the Eagles.”

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