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FIFA to add 40 more matches to 2026 World Cup

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FIFA is set to endorse an expansion of the men’s World Cup with 40 more matches, starting with the 2026 edition hosted by the US, Canada and Mexico.

According to Sky News, the decision is to be approved by the FIFA council in a meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, on Tuesday.

BODEX BLOG earlier reported that the council voted to increase the number of teams in the competition to 48 from its 32-format as from 2026.

It was decided that the tournament would have 16 groups each featuring three teams.

However, FIFA is set to make a U-turn on the grouping decision, favouring to have 12 groups each with four countries.

It is understood that the group winners and runners-up, along with the eight best third-placed teams, would advance to the last 32.

Teams reaching the final, henceforth, will be playing eight games instead of the seven-run that was experienced in Qatar 2022.

The decision would increase the number of matches to 104 instead of the 64 games already proposed with the earlier format.

It is understood that the expansion would help FIFA hit the target of more than £9 billion in revenue.

The 2026 World Cup will be the first to be co-hosted by three countries.

The US tabled the joint bid in 2017 and defeated Morrocco for the hosting rights at the 68th FIFA congress in 2018.

Africa is set to have nine automatic qualification spots in the expanded format, while a tenth country from the continent will participate in a six-nation playoff tournament which will decide the last two slots in the tournament.

The continent currently has five automatic slots in the competition.

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Usyk defeats Fury to become undisputed heavyweight champion

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Oleksandr Usyk has defeated Tyson Fury to become the undisputed heavyweight boxing champion of the world.

Fury and Usyk fought at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Saturday night.

Usyk won the bout through a split decision, edging the Briton 115-112, 113-114, and 114-113 on the cards.

Fury came out strong in the early rounds of the bout but Usyk was able to stave off the British fighter’s onslaught.

The Ukrainian gained momentum as the fight progressed, with his superior footwork and technical skill allowing him to evade Fury’s powerful blows and land precise shots of his own.

The Ukrainian floored Fury in the ninth round which was the turning point of the much-anticipated fight.

Despite Fury’s valiant effort to recover in the final rounds, Usyk’s dominance had already sealed the victory.

The 37-year-old Ukrainian is the first undisputed heavyweight champion of the world since Lennox Lewis 25 years ago. He has now unified the WBA, WBO, IBF, and WBC titles.

For Fury, it is the first loss in his 16-year professional career — but he will have a chance at a rematch before the end of the year.

In his post-fight interview, the British boxer accused the judges of giving the victory to Usyk because of the war in Ukraine.

“His country is at war, so people are siding with the country at war,” he said.

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Edem Offiong, Olajide Omotayo qualify for Paris Olympics

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The Nigerian duo of Edem Offiong and Olajide Omotayo have secured tickets to represent the country at the table tennis event of the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

The Nigerians achieved the feat on Friday after defeating their respective opponents in the ITTF Africa Olympics qualifiers semi-final in Kigali, Rwanda.

In the men’s singles event, Omotayo defeated Congo-Brazaville’s Saheed Idowu in four straight sets to book his second appearance at the Olympics.

He featured at the Tokyo Olympics but lost 4-0 to Portugal’s Tiago Apolonia in the first round of the men’s singles event.

Offiong defeated Gracie Fadwa of Tunisia 4-2 in the women’s singles to earn her fifth appearance at the Olympic games.

The 37-year-old made her Olympic debut in Athens in 2004 and never failed to qualify ever since.

At the last Olympics, the Calabar-born player progressed to the second round, where Zhang Lily of the US humbled her in a match that lasted just 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, Fatimo Bello lost to Cameroon’s Hanffoy Sarah 4-2 in the women’s singles. The Cameroonian earned the Olympic ticket, and Bello would have to face Gracie Fadwa for the final automatic berth on Saturday.

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NFF unveils Finidi as Eagles coach, announces technical crew

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The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has unveiled Finidi George as the new head coach of the Super Eagles.

The federation presented the newly appointed manager to the public on Monday at the media centre of the Moshood Abiola Stadium, Abuja

In April, Finidi was appointed as the permanent replacement for Jose Peseiro, who the former Nigerian international worked with as an assistant coach for 20 months.

At the unveiling ceremony, the 53-year-old’s technical crew members were also announced.

Daniel Amokachi, former Super Eagles player, will be the assistant coach. Olatunji Baruwa is named the goalkeeper trainer, Chima Onyeka slots in as fitness trainer and Benjamin James will also be a backroom staff member.

Dignitaries present at the unveiling include John Enoh, minister of sports development; Ibrahim Gusau, president of NFF; and Augustine Eguavoen, technical director of NFF.

Finidi was the Eagles’ interim head coach for two international friendlies against Ghana and Mali in March.

He led the Eagles to a 2-1 victory over Ghana in his first game at the helm but lost 2-0 to Mali in the second game.

Finidi’s immediate task with the Super Eagles will be the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches against South Africa and Benin Republic in June.

The Eagles drew their first two games of the campaign to Lesotho and Zimbabwe, lagging behind in third place in Group C.

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Bodex F. Hungbo, SPMIIM is a multiple award-winning Nigerian Digital Media Practitioner, Digital Strategist, PR consultant, Brand and Event Expert, Tv Presenter, Tier-A Blogger/Influencer, and a top cobbler in Nigeria.

She has widespread experiences across different professions and skills, which includes experiences in; Marketing, Media, Broadcasting, Brand and Event Management, Administration and Management with prior stints at MTN, NAPIMS-NNPC, GLOBAL FLEET OIL AND GAS, LTV, Silverbird and a host of others

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