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Sarri resigns down as Lazio coach

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Maurizio Sarri has resigned as Lazio coach after a poor run of form left them off the pace in the race for European football, the Italian club confirmed on Wednesday.

“Lazio announce that Maurizio Sarri has resigned from his role as first team coach,” Lazio said in a statement.

Sarri’s assistant Giovanni Martusciello has taken the reins, Lazio added, reportedly only until the international break which starts after this weekend when Lazio face relegation-threatened Frosinone.

Monday’s 2-1 home defeat to Udinese was their third in a row in Serie A.

It left Lazio seven points from Atalanta who sit in Italy’s Europa Conference League place and a further four away from the final Champions League spot held by Bologna.

Lazio finished second last season but are currently ninth after losing 12 of their 28 league fixtures.

Sarri’s team were also dumped out of the Champions League by Bayern Munich after leading by a single goal following the first leg of their last 16 tie.

Lazio’s season is not completely over as they are in the Italian Cup semi-finals, where they will take on Juventus over two legs.

Sarri joined Lazio in 2021 after a year’s sabbatical following his league title win at Juve at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The 65-year-old, who also won the 2019 Europa League with Chelsea, is most famous for the flamboyant Napoli team which nearly won Serie A in 2018.

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EPL to adopt semi-automated offside technology next season

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The English Premier League (EPL) says semi-automated offside technology will be used in matches from next season.

The league announced the decision in a statement on its website on Thursday.

The decision was made after a unanimous agreement by all the clubs at a Premier League Shareholders’ meeting.

The technology will be ready for use from the 2024/25 season after the autumn international breaks.

“The new system will be used for the first time in the Premier League next season, and it is anticipated the technology will be ready to be introduced after one of the autumn international breaks,” the statement reads.

“The technology will provide quicker and consistent placement of the virtual offside line, based on optical player tracking, and will produce high-quality broadcast graphics to ensure an enhanced in-stadium and broadcast experience for supporters.”

The first usage of the semi-automated offside technology in top-level football was at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The offside rule has been subjected to change in recent years, with the video assistant referee (VAR) technology also deployed to assist the on-field officials in checking for offside calls leading to a goal.

The EPL further updated its offside rule in the summer of 2023 to include that “a player who is clearly offside should not become onside on every occasion when an opponent moves and touches the ball.”

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Nigerian chess master, Tunde Onakoya sets to break Guinness World Record

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Nigerian chess master, Tunde Onakoya has revealed plans to break the Guinness World Record for the longest chess marathon.

Onakoya who made the plan known on his X account on Friday said that he is “doing this for the dreams of millions of children across Africa without access to education.”

He added that the attempt will hold on April 17th at the New York City’s Times Square and he is to play chess for 58 hours without a single defeat.

He wrote, “On the 17th of April 2024, I will attempt to break the Guiness World record for the longest Chess marathon in the heart of Times Square New York City for 58 hours without losing a game. Doing this for the dreams of millions of children across Africa without access to education.”

Onakoya disclosed that the attempt will start at 10am and would be available for all to stream on YouTube.

He appealed to Nigerians residing in New York, urging them to come forward and provide their enthusiastic support as he strives to establish a new world record.

Tunde Onakoya is renowned for his philanthropic efforts, notably utilizing chess as a tool to offer opportunities for young people residing in the marginalized areas, often referred to as ‘slums,’ within the country.

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NFF reappoints Manu Garba as Golden Eaglets head coach

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The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has reappointed Manu Garba as the head coach of the Golden Eaglets.

The federation announced the appointment in a statement on Friday.

Garba held the same position in 2013 when he led the Golden Eaglets to win the FIFA U17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

His world-conquering squad included Kelechi Iheanacho, Taiwo Awoniyi, Isaac Success, Musa Mohammed, Chidiebere Nwakali and Dele Alampasu.

After a brief stint handling the men’s U-20 squad, Garba was reappointed to the Golden Eaglet role in 2018.

His second spell bore little success as his team crashed out in the Round of 16 of the 2019 U-17 World Cup in Brazil.

Garba’s latest stint with the team will commence with the preparation for next month’s WAFU B U-17 Championship, taking place in Ghana.

He will be hoping to put together a team that will surpass Nigeria’s performance at the 2023 U-17 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), where the country crashed out in the quarter-final and failed to qualify for the age-grade World Cup.

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