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Erik ten Hag to stay as Manchester United manager

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Erik ten Hag to stay as Manchester United manager

Erik ten Hag will stay as Manchester United manager after the club’s end-of-season review culminated in a decision to keep the Dutchman — and he has agreed to remain at Old Trafford.

Following a period of major uncertainty over Ten Hag’s future, United held talks with the 54-year-old on Tuesday and the preference of both parties was for his tenure to continue.

Ten Hag’s existing United contract runs until next June, with an option to prolong by 12 months, and they will now enter negotiations about extending those terms.

After winning the FA Cup last month, defeating Manchester City 2-1 at Wembley Stadium, The Athletic reported that the club were due to conduct a review of the 2023-24 campaign — including the performance of Ten Hag.

In case a change in the dugout was to be made, United had sounded out potential replacements including ex-Bayern Munich boss Thomas Tuchel, former Brighton & Hove Albion head coach Roberto De Zerbi, recently departed Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino, Brentford head coach Thomas Frank and Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna.

But at the end of a process led by United co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS sporting director Sir Dave Brailsford, the choice was made to move forward with Ten Hag.

The build-up to the FA Cup final was largely overshadowed by speculation about his position, with the manager admitting afterwards that he “didn’t know” if it was his last match in charge off the back of what he called a “rubbish” campaign.

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United recorded their lowest finishing position of the Premier League era (eighth) with their points total of 60 only two better than their worst tally since the competition began in 1992. Their goal difference of minus-one was the wrong side of zero for the first time in 34 years.

They also exited the Champions League in the group stage — finishing bottom of the group — and went out of the EFL Cup in the fourth round before victory at Wembley ensured they avoided missing out on European football altogether.

After INEOS’ minority investment in the club was confirmed in February, Ratcliffe emphasised the importance of having to “walk to the right solution, not run to the wrong one”.

The new football operations hierarchy have already made a number of changes to the footballing structure at Old Trafford with Omar Berrada of Manchester City set to arrive as the club’s new chief executive in July.

They also look set to bring in Dan Ashworth from Newcastle United as their new sporting director, while they have recruited Jason Wilcox as the club’s technical director.

The FA Cup was a second trophy in as many seasons for Ten Hag since being appointed as United’s manager in 2022.

In his first season, Ten Hag finished third in the Premier League and won the EFL Cup, while United also reached the FA Cup final, where they were beaten by City.

“Two trophies in two years is not bad, three finals in two years is not bad,” he said. “If they don’t want me, then I go somewhere else to win trophies because that is what I do.”

READ ALSO  Aruna Quadri qualifies for Paris Olympics

What the numbers say
By Duncan Alexander

2023-24 was a record-setting season for United under Ten Hag but not for the reasons he wanted. A final position of eighth is the lowest the club have finished since 1989-90, and it is the first time United have ended a campaign with a negative goal difference since then too. For context, United’s average goal difference in their 21 Premier League campaigns under Sir Alex Ferguson was +44.

Many of the team’s issues were defensive ones. 58 goals conceded is the most in a league season since 1978-79, while only David Moyes’ West Ham and the three relegated sides conceded more expected goals than United did. They even managed to outstrip the Derby County team from 2007-08 for shots conceded. In case you’ve forgotten, Derby won only one match that season and were relegated with a record-low points total of 11.

United finished bottom of their Champions League group, and their total of 15 goals conceded is the most a Premier League side has ever let in at that stage of the competition.

Ten Hag’s attack struggled at various points too — a 2-0 defeat at West Ham in December was the first time the club had failed to score in four successive games in all competitions since 1992.

And still the records kept coming. In February Fulham’s Alex Iwobi scored the latest winning goal by an away team at Old Trafford in Premier League history, while in April United were leading in the 100th minute away at Chelsea but still contrived to lose the game 4-3. They ended the season with nine defeats in all competitions at Old Trafford, something that hadn’t happened since 1973-74 — the last season they suffered relegation from the top-flight.

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Source: New York Tiimes

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I’m coming for heads, warns returning Adesanya

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I’m coming for heads, warns returning Adesanya

Former UFC middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya, has expressed excitement ahead of his highly anticipated return to the octagon,

The Nigeria-born fighter is expected to challenge rival, and new champion Dricus du Plessis for the championship later this year. Although nothing has been announced officially, the promotion is reportedly targeting UFC 305 on August 18 in Perth, Western Australia.

In a post on his YouTube channel on Friday, “The Last Stylebender” discussed the potential return, showed some of the new elements to his strength and conditioning program, and also revealed his new mindset when it comes to his fighting career.

“How excited am I to get back in the octagon? I’m excited,” Adesanya said. “I’m excited, it’s been a year, almost a year, like 11 months by the time I get back in the octagon. People are like, ‘Oh, I hope you get the belt back, I hope you get the belt back,’ I have belts. I don’t need any more belts. I’m coming for heads. That’s what I want to do.

Source: The Punch

 

READ ALSO  Turkish Giants Scramble for Ndidi’s Signature
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Aruna Quadri qualifies for Paris Olympics

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Aruna Quadri has earned the berth to represent Nigeria at the table tennis event of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

The 35-year-old’s Olympic qualification was announced in a statement by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) on Friday.

He secured the qualification through his position in the ITTF world rankings and the selection of continental quotas.

Aruna, ranked 17th in the world, secured the berth alongside Lynda Loghraibi from Algeria and six other players from other continents.

“As the countdown to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games intensifies, ITTF is thrilled to announce significant progress in the qualification process for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games,” the statement reads.

“With the Games now under 50 days away, this week’s world ranking update has seen eight athletes secure their participation based on the selection of Continental quotas allocated by World Ranking.

“The Men’s Singles draw welcomes African powerhouse Quadri Aruna from Nigeria, alongside the Americas’ rising talent Nicolas Burgos from Chile. Asia’s Kirill Gerassimenko of Kazakhstan and Europe’s Alvaro Robles of Spain, who previously qualified in Mixed Doubles, also confirm their spots.”

Quadri joins Olajide Omotayo, Edem Offiong, and Fatimo Bello as Nigeria’s representatives in table tennis at the Olympics.

Paris will be Quadri’s fourth Olympics, having represented the country in London 2012, Rio 2016 and Tokyo in 2021.

Source: The Cable

 

READ ALSO  Germany smash Scotland in Euro 2024 opener
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Germany smash Scotland in Euro 2024 opener

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Germany 5-1 Scotland: Ten-player Scots humiliated

Scotland were taught a lesson by classy Germany in their Euro 2024 opener as Ryan Porteous was sent off in a 5-1 defeat in Munich.

Steve Clarke’s mantra was “respect everyone, fear no one” as they looked to make it past the group stage of a major tournament for the first time.

But they looked stunned as Angus Gunn failed to save Florian Wirtz’s effort in the 10th minute at the Allianz Arena.

Jamal Musiala (19) then rifled a powerful shot into the roof of the net with Kai Havertz making it 3-0 from the penalty spot after Porteous was shown a straight red in the 44th minute for a crunching challenge on Ilkay Gundogan following a VAR check.

The Germans, who last won the European Championship in 1996, were not finished and Niclas Fullkrug smashed a wonderful drive into the top corner to add to Scotland’s woes.

Antonio Rudiger headed into his own net to finally give the Scots something to celebrate before Emre Can made it 5-1 with the last kick of the game to earn Germany the biggest win in an opening match at the Euros.

Misery in Munich
Florian Wirtz celebrates scoring the opener against Scotland
The Tartan Army descended on the stadium in their thousands believing they could upset the odds, but there was an early warning as Rudiger sent a ball through to Wirtz. He was just offside but Gunn reacted to save his half-volley with his head.

The hosts were in control and, after a brilliant clearance from Porteous to deny Musiala a chance, they did take the lead.

READ ALSO  Germany smash Scotland in Euro 2024 opener

Joshua Kimmich sent a long pass to Wirtz and the Bundesliga’s player of the year took his chance, Gunn did get a touch but only pushed it in off the inside of the post.

It soon got worse for Scotland as they went 2-0 down after just 19 minutes when Musiala picked up a brilliant pass from Gundogan and smashed a powerful shot into the roof of the net.

Clarke had his head in his hands as the hosts were awarded a penalty soon after for Ryan Christie’s clumsy challenge on Musiala, but it was outside the box and overturned after a VAR check.

Havertz’s resultant free-kick deflected off the wall and spun into Gunn’s arms.

Frustration began to show for Scotland and, following a VAR check, Porteous was shown a straight red for a crunching challenge on Gundogan in the box. This time a penalty was awarded.

Havertz stepped up and fired under Gunn from the spot to give the Germans a commanding 3-0 lead before the break.

Che Adams made way for Grant Hanley for the second half as Clarke looked to limit the damage and Scotland did look brighter.

Scott McTominay won a free-kick soon after the restart, but Havertz managed to block his effort.

Germany were then back in command as Rudiger’s 25-yard drive was turned around the post by Gunn.

They did find a fourth, and in some style, as Fullkrug sent a stunning drive into the roof of the net. He thought he had scored again soon after but it was ruled out for offside.

Scotland did have something to celebrate late on as Scott McKenna’s ball came off Rudiger’s head and past Manuel Neuer for a consolation.

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But the celebrations were short-lived as Can – who was only called into the squad two days ago – scored Germany’s fifth in stoppage-time to earn them the biggest win in the opening match of a European Championship game.

Source: Skysport

 

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Turkish Giants Scramble for Ndidi’s Signature

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Barcelona are considering a move for Leicester's Wilfred Ndidi - the defensive midfielder's contract at the Championship winners

Three Turkish football clubs are reportedly locked in a fierce competition to secure the signature of Nigerian midfielder Wilfred Ndidi, whose contract with Leicester City is set to expire by June 2024.

The 27-year-old defensive midfielder has been a stalwart for Leicester City since joining the club in 2017.

However, with his contract nearing its end, Ndidi seems poised for a potential departure from the King Power Stadium.

According to Fanatik, Leicester City have been unable to convince Ndidi to extend his stay, paving the way for Turkish clubs to enter the fray.

Trabzonspor, Bekta and Galatasaray are among the interested parties in the Super Lig.

Trabzonspor, keen on bolstering both their forward line and midfield options, have expressed interest in Ndidi along with Paul Onuachu.

The Black Sea Storm are reportedly determined to secure Ndidi’s services and have presented an enticing offer, including a substantial signing bonus.

Meanwhile, Galatasaray has made a compelling offer of a three-plus-one-year contract in a bid to sway Ndidi to choose them over other suitors.

Ndidi’s tenure at Leicester City has been marked by consistent performances, making him a sought-after asset in the transfer market.

The Nigerian international played 36 matches last season, contributing six goals and six assists to the Foxes’ campaign.

In addition to his club exploits, Ndidi has also been a key figure for the Nigerian national team.

He featured prominently in their 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign, starting recently against South Africa and the Benin Republic.

Source: Thisday

READ ALSO  Germany smash Scotland in Euro 2024 opener
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Fury ‘back in the gym’ for Usyk rematch

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Tyson Fury is counting down the days as he targets “redemption” against Oleksandr Usyk after resuming training following

Tyson Fury is counting down the days as he targets “redemption” against Oleksandr Usyk after resuming training following the only defeat of his career.

Fury, 35, and Usyk, 37, will lock horns again on December 21 in Saudi Arabia after the Ukrainian became undisputed world heavyweight champion by winning a split decision in their first meeting in the Gulf kingdom last month.

Speaking for the first time since their clash, Fury published footage on social media of him hitting a punch bag before vowing to take revenge.

“Hey guys, Tyson Fury here. Back in the gym as you can see,” he said on his Instagram account. “Counting down the days until I can get my redemption on Usyk. December the 21st is going to be my time.

“I’ve done everything in boxing, but I ain’t come back from a loss. And I relish it, the chance to come back and redeem myself. Get up! December 21st is all me. Undisputed here we come.”

In a caption accompanying the post, Fury said he knows the reasons for his defeat by Usyk, who now holds the WBC, WBA, WBO and IBF belts.

“The path to redemption is all mine. I know what I have to do, I saw my shortcomings and best believe I am inevitable,” he said.

Britain’s Lennox Lewis was the last man to unify the major heavyweight belts – three at the time – after beating Evander Holyfield in 1999.

By the time Fury and Usyk collide in December, Usyk may have been stripped of the IBF belt for his failure to meet its mandatory challenger.

READ ALSO  Aruna Quadri qualifies for Paris Olympics

That would mean the undisputed title would not be on the line.

 

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W’Cup: NFF to hire Foreign Technical Adviser for S’Eagles

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Stranded Super Eagles players arrive Uyo

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) will employ an expatriate technical adviser for the Super Eagles following the team’s un­impressive performance in the ongoing 2026 World Cup qualify­ing series.

The Super Eagles are placed fifth in a six-team format with three points from a possible 12 having drawn three games and lost one. The loss has generated a lot of uproar with football stake­holders lamenting the fate of the Super Eagles.

However, in a move aimed at restoring some hope in the Super Eagles, the board of the NFF met on Thursday and decided to em­ploy an expatriate technical advis­er for the Super Eagles.

In a communiqué released af­ter the meeting, the NFF “pledged to work assiduously and put necessary measures in place to ensure a better-prepared squad ahead of the AFCON 2025 quali­fiers in September, this year, and the resumption of the World Cup qualifiers in March 2025.”

Consequently, the commu­niqué noted, “The Executive Committee resolved to employ an expatriate technical adviser for the Super Eagles in the com­ing weeks, ahead of the AFCON qualifiers and the remaining FIFA World Cup qualifying matches.”

While the NFF wholehearted­ly apologised to Nigerians for the dismal output and subsequent very poor returns of the Super Eagles, the NFF also “resolved to beef up the NFF Technical De­partment with more qualitative hands. Equally, the Technical and Development Sub-Committee will be re-jigged with immediate effect.”

The players were also not spared by the NFF as the body “expressed displeasure with the poor attitude of some of the play­ers to the national assignment, and unanimously decided in fa­vour of a more robust scouting programme of outstanding Ni­geria-eligible players from across the four corners of the universe, who can add tremendous value to the nation’s flagship team.”

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Also, the NFF also resolved that a stakeholders’ forum be convened in a few weeks time, to deliberate on amendments to the current NFF statutes, in conjunc­tion with world football-governing body, FIFA, even as the body prom­ised to assist the Sports Ministry in preparing the Super Falcons for the Paris Olympics.

Meanwhile, Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Owan Enoh, has demanded that the NFF urgently put in place the necessary framework to ensure Nigeria qualifies for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, in addition to address­ing issues that have hindered high performances and growth of Ni­gerian football.

The meeting held on Thurs­day at the minister’s office in Abuja, touched on various areas including the current coach of the national team, the compe­tence of both the NFF Technical Committee and Technical Depart­ment, discipline of players in the national team camp.

The minister and the NFF also deliberated on the introduction of new crop of Nigerian players wherever they can be found, to ensure the best legs represent the country at every given time.

Furthermore, the meeting delved into other more substan­tive matters said to be holding down Nigeria’s football develop­ment, including the expansion of the present membership of the NFF Congress, so as to make for more inclusive and greater representation.

The team of NFF officials and its technical team were given not more than one week to present its comprehensive position indicat­ing the positive progressive steps that have been taken to get the team ready for the next round of competitive matches.

READ ALSO  Aruna Quadri qualifies for Paris Olympics

Expressing the disappoint­ment of Nigerians and the gov­ernment over the poor results in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifi­ers, Senator Enoh highlighted the country is in a critical situation being placed second from bottom, with just three points from four games out of a possible twelve a situation he considered out right­ly unacceptable.

 

 

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