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CAF Confederation Cup: Boboye optimistic ahead USM Alger clash

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Coach Kennedy Boboye has reiterated his belief that Nigeria Professional Football League champions, Plateau United, have what it takes to qualify for the group stage of the CAF Confederation Cup as they take on Union Sportive Medina Alger in Algiers, the Algerian capital on Tuesday (today).

 

Plateau United defeated USMA 2-1 in the first leg of the final playoff played at the Agege Stadium, Lagos as they look to progress in their first season on the continent. The NPFL champions who had a hectic travelling schedule after flying over 16 hours before landing in the Algerian capital are in high spirit ahead of the crucial encounter.

 

The team had to endure an emergency stopover in Spain together with the passengers on the Emirate flight from Dubai to Algeria after the pilot announced that he could not risk the lives of his passengers and land in Algiers due to poor weather.

 

According to the Media officer of the team, Albert Dakop, who spoke with New Telegraph, said the coach was in high spirit like his players. “The team had a hectic trip but the coach is of the belief that they are going to progress,” Dakop said.

 

“During the team’s first training, the coach reminded the players of their mission in the North African country stressing that they needed to take their chances in front of goal as there was no room for complacency.

 

“He specifically challenged top striker Tosin Omoyele to be more alert once in the opponents, vital area and expressed optimism that with the kind of team spirit and zeal displayed by the players, the team is on the right track.”

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Wilder offers Joshua $50m for heavyweight mega-fight

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Deontay Wilder told Anthony Joshua “the money’s in the bag” as prospects rose Wednesday of a blockbuster world title unification bout between the unbeaten heavyweights.

In a Twitter video posted Wednesday, America’s World Boxing Council world champion Wilder backed up reports that his camp had emailed Britain’s Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn an offer of a minimum of $50 million.

“I’ve got something special for you,” Wilder tells Joshua in the video. “By the way, all the money is in the bag. I expect you’ll be a man of your word.”

Joshua, who unified the World Boxing Association, International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Organization heavyweight titles by out-pointing New Zealand’s Joseph Parker on March 31, had already been recorded saying he’d “take $50 million up front” to fight Wilder.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Wilder promoter Lou DiBella had confirmed the offer for a fight in the United States sometime between September and December.

“We’ll see how badly he wants the fight,” DiBella told the newspaper. “Anthony Joshua has said he’d accept this offer. If Eddie Hearn is not looking to stop it from happening, they now have an extraordinary offer to consider.”

ESPN reported that both camps had confirmed the offer, adding that it was for one fight, with no rematch clause, and would have to be the next bout for each fighter.

The winner of a Joshua-Wilder bout would be the first man to hold all four major heavyweight titles simultaneously, and Joshua told the BBC this month that he’d rather face Wilder than Russian Alexander Povetkin, the WBA mandatory challenger.

Joshua, 28, won his first world title in 2016 and has made five defenses, taking his record to 21-0 with 20 knockouts.

Wilder, 32, improved to 40-0 with 39 knockouts when he knocked out previously unbeaten Cuban Luis Ortiz in the 10th round in Brooklyn, New York, on March 3.

AFP

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Messi scores in trademark tussle in EU court

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Argentine soccer player Lionel Messi may register his name as a trademark for sports equipment and clothing, the EU’s second-highest court said, as he was famous enough to overcome phonetic similarities with Spanish bicycle clothing brand Massi.

The case reached the EU General Court after the Spanish brand successfully complained to the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).

The EUIPO said that Messi and Massi were almost identical visually and phonetically and some would find it difficult to the tell the two apart, but the court disagreed.

“Mr Messi is, in fact, a well-known public figure who can be seen on television and who is regularly discussed on television or on the radio,” the court said on Thursday.

Widely considered one of the world’s greatest soccer players, Lionel Messi, 30, scored his 600th professional goal last month and is the all-time highest scorer for both Barcelona and Argentina’s national team, reports Reuters.

The court said that even though some people may not know Lionel Messi, this was unlikely to be the case for those buying sports equipment.

Messi can still appeal the decision at the EU Court of Justice.

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Rohr leaves spaces for two alternate players

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Super Eagles manager, Gernot Rohr, will make space for two alternate players after releasing his final list of 23 players for this year’s World Cup on June 1.

 

With the Eagles’ final squad for Russia 2018 set to be issued a day before their penultimate build-up friendly to England on June 2, Rohr hinted he would take along two extra players in the advent of injuries to any member of the selected 23.

 

The 64-year-old German also disclosed that Nigeria’s provisional list of 35 players would be forwarded to FIFA on Monday May 14 exactly a month to the kickoff of the World Cup. The provisional list would be a prelude to the three-phase last lap of World Cup camping for the team.

Our correspondent learnt that players on the provisional list would open camp for the next phase of the build-up in Abuja and play a friendly against DR Congo on May 28, before departing for London for the June 2 clash with England.

The team will then be pruned to a final roster of 23 players, whose names will be submitted to FIFA latest by Friday June 1.

 

Nigeria’s final list will be submitted 24 hours before the friendly against England at Wembley Stadium, but Rohr said there would be two extra players on standby with the team in London in case of any injury.

After the battle with the Three Lions, the Eagles will then proceed to the third and final phase of camping in Austria, where they will take on Czech Republic in the last friendly game on June 6 before flying to their World Cup base camp in Yessentuki, Russia.

 

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