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O.J. Simpson, ex-NFL star acquitted of murder, dies of cancer at 76

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Orenthal James (O.J.) Simpson, the former American football player acquitted of the brutal slayings of his ex-wife and her friend in 1994, has passed on.

In a statement on Thursday, the family said the former National Football League (NFL) player “succumbed to his battle with cancer” at the age of 76.

“On April 10th, our father, Orenthal James Simpson, succumbed to his battle with cancer. He was surrounded by his children and grandchildren,” the statement reads.

“During this time of transition, his family asks that you please respect their wishes for privacy and grace.”

Simpson rose to popularity as a talented college footballer before he was snatched up by the Buffalo Bills in the NFL in 1969.

After a decade-long career in the NFL, he earned a regard as one of the greatest ball carriers in the history of American football. He retired in 1979 and bolstered his fame with movies and TV appearances.

However, Simpson’s popularity turned to infamy in 1994 when he was arrested as a suspect in the murder of Nicole Brown, his ex-wife, and Ron Goldman, her friend.

The lifeless bodies of the victims were found with stab wounds outside Brown’s home in Los Angeles, and the ex-NFL star was identified as the prime suspect in the murder.

The attempt to arrest Simpson by the police led to an almost cinema-like chase around the Los Angeles area. The pursuit was televised, and it grabbed global attention.

Despite evidence like DNA tests linking Simpson to the murders, he was acquitted, with his attorneys arguing the allegation was fuelled by racism.

But in 2008, Simpson was sentenced to 33 years in prison for armed robbery. The ex-NFL star, alongside five other men, attempted to violently reclaim sports memorabilia he insisted had been stolen from him. He was released on parole after serving nine years in jail.

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Chelsea to sign 18-year-old Hafiz Umar from Ojodu City

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Chelsea FC are reportedly set to sign 18-year-old Hafiz Umar from Ojodu City academy in Nigeria.

According to a report by Fabrizio Romano, an Italian journalist, the Blues plan to purchase the Nigerian after a “very positive trial” with the club’s academy.

Chelsea are close to reaching an agreement with Ojodu City for a deal that would see Hafiz join the club or be loaned out to Strasbourg in the French Ligue 1.

Hafiz impressed scouts across Europe with his performance at the Viareggio Cup, a youth competition in Italy, in February.

He scored nine goals for Ojodu City, which reached the semi-final but lost to Beyond Limits of Ikenne, the eventual winner.

The Kano-born striker was initially on trial at Bodo/Glimt FC in Norway. But he opted out of a permanent deal after Chelsea showed interest.

Hafiz was convinced to join Chelsea on trial after a video call with Raheem Sterling in March.

Hafiz is not the only Nigerian youngster who has switched from Nigerian clubs to European heavyweights.

In 2023, Internazionale Milan signed 18-year-old Ebenezer Akinsanmiro from Remo Stars.

Later that year, Benjamin Frederick, former Flying Eagles star, joined Bretford City in the English Premier League (EPL).

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FC Barcelona fires head coach Xavi Hernandez

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FC Barcelona has fired its head coach Xavi Hernandez as confirmed in an official club statement released on Friday afternoon in Spain.

“The president of FC Barcelona, ​​Joan Laporta, announced this afternoon to Xavi Hernández that he will not continue as coach of the first team in the 2024-25 season,” the statement began.

“The meeting took place at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper and the sports vice-president, Rafa Yuste, and the sports director, Anderson Luís de Souza, Deco, as well as Xavi’s assistants, Òscar Hernández and Sergio Alegre, were present.

​​​​​​​”FC Barcelona would like to thank Xavi for his work as a coach, which adds to an unparalleled career as a player and captain of the team, and wishes him all the luck in the world.

“Xavi Hernández will lead his last game as first team coach this Sunday in Seville.

“In the coming days, FC Barcelona will inform about the new structure of the first team,” the statement concluded.

The development is the latest of a series of twist and turns related to who mans the Blaugrana dugout.

In January, Xavi announced that he would be stepping down from the high pressure head coach role on June 30.

Later in April, however, he went back on that decision following a meeting with Laporta and it was announced that he had agreed to see out his contract which expires on the same date in 2025.

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Chelsea part ways with Pochettino after one season

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Chelsea has announced the exit of Mauricio Pochettino as the club’s head coach after only one season at the helm of affairs.

In a statement on the club’s website, Chelsea said both parties “mutually agreed to part ways”.

Pochettino’s exit comes a few days after the conclusion of the 2023/24 season, where the Blues finished sixth in the English Premier League (EPL). He also led the team to the Carabao Cup final before losing to Liverpool.

The Argentine joined Chelsea in May 2023, replacing Frank Lampard, who had been interim manager following Graham Potter’s exit a few months prior.

Speaking on his exit, Pochettino expressed gratitude to the leadership of Chelsea, adding that the club “is now well positioned to keep moving forward in the Premier League and Europe in the years to come”.

“Thank you to the Chelsea ownership group and Sporting Directors for the opportunity to be part of this football club’s history. The club is now well-positioned to keep moving forward in the Premier League and Europe in the years to come,” the manager said.

Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley, Chelsea’s sporting directors, said Pochettino “will be welcome back to Stamford Bridge any time.”

“On behalf of everyone at Chelsea, we would like to express our gratitude to Mauricio for his service this season. He will be welcome back to Stamford Bridge any time, and we wish him all the very best in his future coaching career,” the directors said.

Pochettino’s assistants — Jesus Perez, Miguel d’Agostino, Toni Jimenez and Sebastiano Pochettino — will also leave the club.

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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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