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Siasia confident of victory in Pointe-Noire

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Ahead of Sun­day’s all impor­tant Olympic qualifier, Dream Team Coach Samson Siasia says he is sure his boys will come out victories despite the slim 2-1 ad­vantage from the first leg in Port Harcourt.

While not bothered by the home advantage of their host and the ever boisterous Congo fans coupled with the tactics of frustrating visiting teams, Siasia insists there is no cause for alarm.

“I love big games, and I’m not shy to say so. This is with every sense of modesty. Pointe Noire is another tough session, but I look forward to it.”

Siasia was in charge of the Nigeria U-23 team that also to negotiate tough runs to the Men’s Football Tournament of the 2008 Olympics. On November 16, 2007, the team needed at least a draw against Ghana in Accra to be in good stead for the ticket, and duly played out a 0-0 draw. Siasia’s boys com­pleted the job with a 3-0 win over South Africa in Abuja in March 2008.

Although Siasia’s team lost the Olympics gold to Argentina in Bei­jing, the former Eagles’ skipper was in charge when the Super Eagles achieved a first –ever win over the Argentines – a 4-1 win in a friendly in Abuja on June 1, 2011.

Recently, Siasia’s U-23 boys won both away matches on the road to qualifying for the 11th All-Africa Games football tournament – a 4-1 win over Gabon in Libreville and 2-1 defeat of Zambia in Lusaka.

“It will not be easy; nothing good in life comes easy. But we will give it our very best shot and return from Pointe Noire with victory.”

The U-23 National Team, Dream Team, landed in the economic capital of Congo, Pointe- Noire on Friday led by the Chairman of NFF Technical and Develop­ment Committee, Chief Felix Anyansi-Agwu landed at the Augus­tino Nero International Airport, Pointe-Noire at about 12.25pm local time (same time with Nigeria) on board an Ethiopian Airline flight.

The Nigerian delega­tion was received by the Consul-General of the Embassy of Nigeria, Brazzaville, Mr. Adamu Shuaibu Hamza, accom­panied by Mr. Ade­bayo Iyaomiye and the president of the Nigeria community in Pointe- Noire, Mr Ezenwabasili Egbuna.

Immediately on ar­rival, the delegation, with the assistance of the Embassy officials took the team to Hotel De Fez where they are accom­modated.

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SPORTS

EPL: I don’t play in my preferred positions – Pulisic becomes latest Chelsea player to hit at Tuchel

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Chelsea to sell Christian Pulisic

Christian Pulisic has become the latest Chelsea player to open up on his struggles at the club.

According to the 23-year-old, he does not get to play in the positions he really wants to.

Pulisic is yet to nail down a regular starting place at Stamford Bridge under Thomas Tuchel.

The American winger also struggled with injuries since his arrival at the club in 2019.

Pulisic is currently away on international duty, ahead of a 2022 World Cup qualifying triple-header starting against El Salvador on Friday.

He told NBC Sports: “When I come to the national team it is “How are things with Chelsea?” and ‘What’s this” and “What’s that.” It’s tough.

“Mentally it has played on me at times but I am always very excited to be on the national team and get to enjoy playing with these guys and just enjoy football in general.

“It is tough. I haven’t always been playing in the positions I want to play in. But I think it is a good quality to be versatile and able to play in all kinds of positions and have different strengths on the pitch.”

Pulisic was an unused substitute in Chelsea’s last two league fixtures, after playing in six games straight over the festive period in a variety of positions.

His comments after Romelu Lukaku criticized Tuchel’s methods and admitted he was unhappy at Stamford Bridge.

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Egypt eliminate Ivory Coast from AFCON after penalty shoot-out

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Seven-time African champions, Egypt, have eliminated Ivory Coast at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon on Wednesday. 
Egypt beat Ivory Coast 5-4 on penalties to reach the quarter-finals of the tournament following an enthralling 0-0 draw.

The North Africans got the upper hand in the shoot-out when substitute goalkeeper Gabaski saved Eric Bailly’s effort in the third round of spot kicks.
Egypt’s captain, Mohamed Salah, netted the decisive penalty to send them to the last eight. 

Egypt will face their North African neighbours, Morocco, in the quarter finals in Yaounde on Sunday by 5:00pm.

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Newcastle agree £30m for Lyon midfielder, Guimaraes

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Newcastle have agreed a fee with Lyon in the region of £30m to sign midfielder Bruno Guimaraes and are also targeting a deal to sign Brighton defender Dan Burn.

It is understood Brazil international Guimaraes will undergo a medical in his homeland on Wednesday.

A statement said, “Olympique Lyonnais categorically denies the false information disseminated by many media reporting an agreement between Newcastle and OL for the transfer of Brazilian international midfielder Bruno Guimaraes.

“In this transfer window period where the slightest rumour is often presented as reality, Olympique Lyonnais reminds that only information officially released by the club is to be taken into consideration.”

It is not the first time Lyon issued such denial over a transfer. In 2019, the club denied they had agreed to sell Ferland Mendy to Real Madrid. Eight days later, the left-back completed a move to the Bernabeu.

The Mapgies have wanted to sign a left-footed centre-back all window to partner Jamaal Lascelles

But they have so far failed in their attempts to sign Sven Botman, Diego Carlos and Benoit Badiashile.

Burn – a boyhood Newcastle fan born in nearby Blyth – is now a top target with less than seven days left of the window.

The 29-year-old has entered the final 18 months of his Brighton contract. The 6ft 7in defender, who joined Brighton from Wigan in 2018, can also play left-back.

Arsenal were among a number of clubs interested in signing Guimaraes, who has also been watched closely by Manchester United and PSG, but Eddie Howe’s side look to be closing in on the 24-year-old’s signature.

Guimaraes has made 25 appearances in all competitions for Lyon this season, registering six assists. He has three caps for the Brazil national team.

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