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I have lost respect for Finidi, says Osimhen

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Napoli striker, Victor Osimhen, has lashed out at coach Finidi George, stating that he has lost respect for him, over some comments on his attitude towards the national team.

Finidi, who is said to have also resigned as the head coach of the Super Eagles on Saturday, was quoted to have said he can’t beg Osimhen to play for the national team after the player withdrew from their last two 2026 World Cup qualifiers due to injury.

The striker was said to have been ruled out by a four-week injury and was replaced by Enugu Rangers defender, Kenneth Igboke.

But following the Super Eagles wobbling performances against South Africa and Benin Republic, the narrative of Osimhen’s absence changed as an online medium (not The PUNCH) reported that Finidi used Osimhen’s absence as a poser for the players’ bad attitude towards the national team when he and the Nigeria Football Federation chiefs met with the Sports Minister, John Enoh, in Abuja on Wednesday.

Osimhen was apparently infuriated by the comments and, in a live Instagram video on Saturday opened up on the circumstances that led to his withdrawal from the Super Eagles last two World Cup qualifiers, adding that Finidi was adequately briefed by him and his doctor.

“I knew things like these would happen and that’s why I have the videos and screenshots of when I called Finidi while I was with the doctor in Germany,” Osimhen said.

“I got injured in our (Napoli’s) last game against Lecce and I went to the MRI scan. And I called Finidi there for him to listen to the doctor too.

“I called him (Finidi) and asked him to allow me to come to the camp to be with the boys and I spoke to some of my teammates too but he said I have to be with my family.

“I’m not addressing anything, everybody knows I play my heart out whenever I’m playing for the club or national team. I’ll share the screenshot and videos of my conversation with Finidi for the sake of those believing what Finidi said.

“I’ve lost respect for that man because before I disrespect anybody, I always respect them,” the player added

In Finidi’s first game in charge of the Super Eagles, Nigeria were held to a 1-1 draw by South Africa in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, last Friday and a 2-1 defeat against Benin Republic in Abidjan compounded the Super Eagles fate in Group C of the qualifying series, leaving them with just three points after four games.

The former Enyimba coach was said to have resigned from the national team as well, two days after the NFF said they were going to hire a foreign technical adviser.

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D’Tigress lose to Germany in pre-Olympics warm-up game

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D’Tigress of Nigeria were defeated 77-63 by Germany in a preparatory game ahead of the forthcoming Paris Olympics.

Nigeria failed to match up against the Germans, who showed their superior class in the game played on Friday in Berlin, Germany.

Rena Wakama, D’Tigress head coach, named a starting line-up that comprises skipper Amy Okonkwo, Elizabeth Balogun, Ezinne Kalu, Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpanah, and Murjanatu Musa.

D’Tigress were impressive in the first quarter, but their brilliance waned by the second quarter, and Germany led 40-31 at halftime.

The Germans reinforced their superiority in the following quarters and finished the game with a 14-point victory.

Nigeria will play another test match against Serbia in Belgrade on July 21, then wrap up the preparatory stage against Japan on July 24 in Lille, France.

D’Tigress are drawn into tough Group B against Australia, Canada, and France.

The appearance in Paris will be the third time D’Tigress will be qualifying for the Olympic Games.

The ladies qualified for Athens 2004 and featured at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

D’Tigress are yet to register a win in the competition. In 2004, they lost all five games and conceded over 400 points.

In Tokyo, they were defeated 87-62 by France in their first game and also lost 81-72 to the US in their second game before a 102-83 loss to Japan in the last fixture.

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Reps sports committee chairman, Ekene Adams, dies at 39

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A member of the House of Representatives representing Chikun/Kajuru Federal Constituency, Kaduna State, and Chairman House Committee on Sports, Ekene Adams, has passed on.

He reportedly died in the early hours of Tuesday although the cause of his death has not been ascertained at the time of filing this report.

Different sports groups in the country have started mourning Adams.

“My good friend and one of our frontline members of the NPFL Club Owners Association, Chairman House Committee on Sports, Hon Ekene Abubakar Adams is Dead,” Former secretary of the club owners association Alloy Chukwuemeka wrote on Tuesday.

“May God console his family and friends and may his soul rest in peace.”

A former football player, Adams had served as the general manager of Nigeria Premier Football League side Remo Stars as well as Kada City before he won a seat in the House of Representatives during the 2023 general elections.

His sport background earned him the role of the reps committee chairman on sports despite being a first timer in the green chamber.

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Bayern Munich sign Portugal star Palhinha for €49M

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Bayern Munich on Thursday finally secured the signing of Portugal midfielder Joao Palhinha from Fulham for a reported fee of 49 million euros ($53 million) after coming close to acquiring him last year.

The 28-year-old, who spent two years at Fulham after arriving from Sporting Lisbon in 2022 for 22 million euros, signed a four year contract.

Bayern had been poised to sign Palhinha in 2023, the defensive midfielder had even posed in the club’s strip, but the deal fell through just before the transfer window closed when Fulham failed to find a replacement.

In a statement, Palhinha said it was “one of the happiest days of my life,” adding “this is a dream come true for me… I want to enjoy success with Bayern and win titles.”

Sporting director Max Eberl said the player was “highly sought after by Bayern even last summer –- and rightly so. It was important that we never lost touch”

Palhinha, who has scored twice in 31 international appearances, took part in Portugal’s Euro 2024 campaign which ended at the hands of France in the quarter finals.

His signing is Bayern’s third major arrival of the summer, as the club continues a summer rebuild after a first season without a trophy since 2012.

Forward Michael Olise and centre-back Hiroki Ito have already joined the club, alongside manager Vincent Kompany who was appointed coach at the end of last season.

Kompany will be tasked with returning Bayern to the top of the German football tree after their streak of 11 straight Bundesliga titles was broken last season.

Bayern were eliminated in the semi-finals of the Champions League by eventual winners Real Madrid, while Bayer Leverkusen won the league and cup double under manager Xabi Alonso.

Kompany will have the added pressure the Champions League final is to be held at Bayern’s Allianz Arena next season.

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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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