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EPL: Guardiola Urges Man City Players To Build On Winning Form



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Man City FC manager, Pep Guardiola praised his squad’s commitment after bouncing back from a shaky start to their Premier League season with three successive wins.



Title Holders City suffered an opening day defeat at Tottenham Hotspur but responded with wins over Norwich City, Arsenal and Leicester City to move up to fourth.



Guardiola, who has guided City to three league titles since taking over in 2016, said his squad had to build on their winning form and continue to push hard in training.



“The last three weeks was so good,’’ Guardiola said. The way we trained was a little bit of a surprise after what we achieved last season.


“The commitment of everyone was excellent. That’s why we trained really well and the results against Arsenal, Norwich and Leicester proved that.



“Hopefully, we can continue with this mentality and raise the standards through the training sessions. That’s the key point.’’



Man City FC, which lost to Chelsea FC in last season’s Champions League final, host RB Leipzig in their opening group stage match of Europe’s elite club competition on Wednesday.



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”What Will Happen To Super Eagles In AFCON Cameroon”- Soccer analyst, Wale Scot



Against popular opinion, the Super Eagles of Nigeria may not lose to the Pharoes Of Egypt when they meet in the group stage in the coming African Nations Cup.
The Super Eagles is lined up in Group D alongside Egypt, Guinea Bisau and Sudan.
Speaking on a Dux FM 94.7 Morning show, Panorama, at the weekend, Soccer analyst, Wale Scot registered that the Super Eagles won’t lose to their Egyptians counterpart against popular prediction.
Mentioning that the Super Eagles team is young with potentials, Scot, said the team has individually good players, adding that what may work against them is their inability to be together for a good time.
” Individually, the boys are good and fantastic, but whether they will play and blend together like a team is another issue.
” That’s the difference between the team and the Egyptian team that are so familiar with themselves.
”Nine of the Egyptian national team players are from the same team, the El Hally, that’s why people think they may be difficult to handle”
Scot submits that Sudan and Guinea Bisau should not be a problem but Egypt.
” Egypt may be our major problem, not by name, but on the basis of the fact that they have played together for a long time”
Scot further described Nigerians as part of the Super Eagles problem as he accused them of making an issue of Victor Osimenh’s absence from the team.
According to him, the continued cries of Nigerians over Osimeh’s absence will take away from the pride and confidence of the remaining members of the team.
–Femi Adepoju

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Shocker! African Nations Cup May Be Cancelled  



The African Cup of Nations could be cancelled due to the emergence of the Omicron coronavirus variant and complaints from several English clubs, according to reports.
The Cameroon tournament is due to start on January 9 and run until February 6, with several Premier League players – including Liverpool duo Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane – set to leave their clubs mid-season to take part in the competition.
But according to French news outlet RMC Sport, the Central African Federation (CAF) could announce a cancellation as the Omicron variant continues to ravage the continent.
The tournament’s organising committee met with the CAF at the end of October to unveil their findings in a preparation report for the tournament. The committee announced that ‘urgent attention’ was needed for the competition to go ahead safely.
One of the areas that required the urgent attention was ‘sanitary matters’ relating to the coronavirus pandemic and the welcoming of fans into the Cameroon stadia.
However, the same committee signed off the Organising Agreement between AFCON and Cameroon, which states the tournament was set to go ahead as planned.
But fresh doubts about the staging of the tournament will be welcome news to Liverpool, who will lose key attacking duo Salah and Mane for a key part of their Premier League title challenge should the competition take place.
Reports earlier this year stated that Premier League players could leave their clubs after the Boxing Day fixtures in order to get past the quarantine rules in Africa to take part in the tournament on time.
But FIFA regulations state that players must be released by their clubs by January 3, which could be good news for Liverpool – who face title rivals Chelsea at Stamford Bridge the day before that cut-off date.
Players competing in the latter stages of the tournament, including the final on February 6, may not be ready to play again for their Premier League clubs until the second week of the same month.
By that point – should the players leave after the Boxing Day fixtures – they would have already missed eight matches, including six Premier League games and two FA Cup rounds, though travel plans for the English-based players are not understood to have been finalised yet.
Arsenal are another team who will see several players fly off to Africa for the tournament, with striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Gabon joining Ghana’s Thomas Partey, Egypt’s Mohamed Elneny and Ivory Coast’s Nicolas Pepe at the tournament.
Chelsea will likely lose their Senegalese goalkeeper Edouard Mendy for the winter tournament, while Manchester City will have to cope without Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez.
Watford could lose as many as five players for the tournament including key attackers Ismaila Sarr and Emmanuel Dennis, while Leicester City are set to lose four, with Nigerian duo Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfried N’Didi set to be involved.
Crystal Palace may also be without three players with Wilfried Zaha and Cheikou Kouyate joining Ghanaian duo Jordan Ayew and Jeffrey Schlupp at AFCON, while Aston Villa will lose three players – Marvelous Nakamba, Trezeguet and Bertrand Traore.
Manchester United are only set to lose Ivorian duo Eric Bailly and Amad Diallo for the tournament, while Tottenham do not have any African players who could be called up for the competition.
The tournament was meant to take place in June and July of this year, but was delayed to the start of 2022 due to ‘unfavourable climatic conditions’ in the summer months, according to CAF.

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FirstBank of Nigeria Limited, the title sponsor of one of polo’s most prestigious trophy, the Georgian Cup is grabbing all the headlines and attention as the 102nd edition of the competition gets underway in Kaduna. 



The competition, scheduled to hold 23rd – 30th October 2021 at the Kaduna Polo Club, will feature High Goal teams drawn from across the country who are already on the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest running sponsorship in sports and Kaduna El-Amin as the defending Champion.

Expectedly, this year’s edition of the famous Georgian Cup is generating lots of excitement within Kaduna and beyond as combatants storm Kaduna is quest for honour and fame on the turf. Led by the son of former Military Head of State, Mohammed Babangida, the team overpowered the then defending champions, Abuja Rubicon by 9-7 to emerge winner. The victory was the 15th for El-Amin in the competition. Sporting Nigeria’s best player, Bello Buba (19 times winner of Georgian Cup), Argentine imports; Raul and Martin Sowedo, as well as hard hitting Mohammed Babangida (15 times winner), the victory was a soothing balm sort of for their defeat in 2018 and 2019 to Abuja Rubicon.

FirstBank has since maintained the sponsorship of the prestigious cup since 1919 and has remained a key support to the Kaduna Polo Club. This year marks the 102nd year of sponsoring the Georgian Cup Tournament and the sponsorship is reportedly the longest standing sports sponsorship association in the world, a reflection of a long-lasting association that aligns with heritage, values, performance and quality, all worthy of celebration. This year’s also coincides with the unveiling the Remodeled Murtala Square.

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Speaking on the Bank’s contribution to sports development in Nigeria, the Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications of FirstBank, Ms. Folake Ani-Mumuney said “we are always delighted to continue our sponsorship of various sporting events. In line with our nation-building goal, sports have a huge role to play with regards to nation-building which is evident in different elevating qualities such as discipline, determination, teamwork a passion for fitness in the psyche of a nation as well as economic development. And this is in line with our nation-building goal which also involves deliberate long-term support. FirstBank sponsored events include the Georgian Cup of Kaduna Polo Club, for over 100 years; the Dala Tennis Hard Court in Kano Club for over 30 years; the FirstBank Lagos Amateur Open Golf Championship in Ikoyi Club which will be in its 60th year this November and the Obasanjo Pro-Amateur tournament of Abeokuta Club now in its 5th year. The Bank’s influence in the development of sport in Nigeria is under its First@Sport initiative”.

The Georgian Cup, donated by FirstBank in 1918 is the oldest and most respected Polo trophy in West Africa. The Kaduna Polo Club was founded in 1918 by the British Army and is one of the most prestigious clubs in Nigeria.

About FirstBank

First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank) is the premier Bank in West Africa and the leading financial inclusion services provider in Nigeria for over 127 years.

With over 750 business locations and over 130,620 Banking Agents spread across 99% of the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria, FirstBank provides a comprehensive range of retail and corporate financial services to serve its over 30 million customers. The Bank has an international presence through its subsidiaries, FBN Bank (UK) Limited in London and Paris, FBNBank in the Republic of Congo, Ghana, The Gambia, Guinea, Sierra-Leone and Senegal, as well as a Representative Office in Beijing.

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The Bank has been handy at promoting digital payment in the country and has issued over 10million cards, the first bank to achieve such a milestone in the country. FirstBank’s cashless transaction drive extends to having more than 10million people on its USSD Quick Banking service through the nationally renowned *894# Banking code and over 4.5 million people on FirstMobile platform.

Since its establishment in 1894, FirstBank has consistently built relationships with customers focusing on the fundamentals of good corporate governance, strong liquidity, optimised risk management and leadership. Over the years, the Bank has led the financing of private investment in infrastructure development in the Nigerian economy by playing key roles in the Federal Government’s privatisation and commercialisation schemes. With its global reach, FirstBank provides prospective investors wishing to explore the vast business opportunities that are available in Nigeria, an internationally competitive world-class brand and a credible financial partner.

FirstBank has been named “Most Valuable Bank Brand in Nigeria” six times in a row (2011 – 2016) by the globally renowned “The Banker Magazine” of the Financial Times Group; “Best Retail Bank in Nigeria” for seven consecutive years (2011 – 2017) by the Asian Banker International Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards and “Best Bank in Nigeria” by Global Finance for 15 years. Our brand purpose is always to put customers, partners and stakeholders at the heart of our business, even as we standardise customer experience and excellence in financial solutions across sub-Saharan Africa, in consonance with our brand vision “To be the partner of the first choice in building your future”. Our brand promise is always to deliver the ultimate “gold standard” of value and excellence. This commitment is anchored on our inherent values of passion, partnership and people, to position You First in every respect.

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Folake Ani-Mumuney 

Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications

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