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Gunmen abduct Enyimba’s player

first_imgRelatedPosts COVID-19: NCAA to revoke erring airlines licence over non-compliance FRSC to Schools: We’ll arrest, prosecute drivers who flout COVID-19 rules Sanwo-Olu: We’re committed to fulfilling promises to Lagosians Enyimba Football Club have revealed the abduction of midfielder, Ekundayo Ojo. The player, according to a statement, was whisked away by gunmen along the Benin-Owo Expressway. The incident occurred on March 22 as the player journeyed to Akure, Ondo State to observe a break following the suspension of the Nigeria Professional Football League amid concerns over the global pandemic, Covid-19. Ojo was in the company of Enyimba teammate, Emmanuel James, as well as Benjamin Iluyomade, also a professional footballer. While James escaped the attack, Iluyomade was captured alongside Ojo. Enyimba FC has since maintained close contact with Ojo’s family, as efforts are already in place to ensure the player’s release from his abductors. “At this time, and considering the sensitivity of the incident, Enyimba Football Club wishes to call on members of the media to refrain from reports or speculations capable of jeopardising the player’s safety,” the club said. Ojo’s family also wishes to appeal for privacy while enjoining the general public to pray for the safety and freedom of the player, it further said.Tags: AkureCoronavirusCOVID-19Ekundayo OjoEyimba FCKidnappingnpflOndo Statelast_img read more


Van Gaal faced with difficult task

first_img United landed in Manchester on Tuesday after completing a near-perfect pre-season tour of the United States. Despite only assuming his position just two days before leaving for the US, Van Gaal racked up victories over the Los Angeles Galaxy, Roma, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Liverpool. “I won’t come with the axe – it’s not like that,” Van Gaal said. “We have to be honest. We have to give advice to the players now at this moment and not at the end of August. Then we can’t change any more and they don’t have a choice. “Of course it’s difficult to say something after two weeks but I think you have to say something.” United fans did not have to wait long to see Van Gaal’s no-nonsense approach. In his first press conference in LA two-and-a-half weeks ago, he criticised United for sanctioning a five-match tour that saw the squad clock up 13,500 air miles. The United boss then criticised £27million signing Luke Shaw for turning up to pre-season out of shape. And in training sessions he openly criticised his players if he thought they were not up to scratch. Van Gaal had some stern words for Wayne Rooney on a couple of occasions, but the England striker has no qualms with the Dutchman’s hard-line approach. “He is a tough but fair manager,” Rooney said. The former Everton striker thinks the new coach has made a big impact at the club. “He has been great,” Rooney added. “Since he has come in he has given us all a different way of looking at football, so it’s been great for us and hopefully that will continue.” Van Gaal has implemented the same 3-4-2-1 formation he used with Holland in the latter stages of the World Cup. That came as something of a surprise given that United only have three senior centre-halves b ut Rooney, who is used to playing in a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 system, thinks the new formation is ideal. “It has suited the whole team,” said the 28-year-old, who scored five goals in America. “The manager came in and looked at the players we have and he felt it was best for our team. And obviously the results have proven it.” United’s fifth and final win of pre-season came in the early hours of Tuesday morning when they beat Liverpool 3-1 in Miami to lift the International Champions Cup. Winning the eight-team competition is not the highlight of Van Gaal’s career, nor Rooney’s, but the striker thinks United’s 100 per cent record in pre-season bodes well for the season ahead. “We wanted to win games and play well and we feel we have done that here,” Rooney added. “We’ve won a trophy and we did it by beating Liverpool, which is always nice. “It’s been a good few weeks. We are happy with the work we have done here so we feel we can go home and play well when the season starts.” United confirmed on Tuesday that a deal had been finalised with F K Vojvodina for the transfer of 17-year-old goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic. The 6ft 7in stopper will spend the coming season on loan at the Serbian club before moving to Old Trafford next summer. Press Association Louis van Gaal admits it will not be easy to sign the players he thinks are needed to improve Manchester United. Almost everything went to plan, but the United boss is still not totally content with his squad. The Dutchman has admitted he wants to sign new defenders before the season starts, but he concedes landing his targets will prove hard. “Manchester United shall buy players when we can improve our selection,” the United manager said. “And that is a lot more difficult than you think.” Arsenal’s Thomas Vermaelen and Borussia Dortmund centre-back Mats Hummels remain Van Gaal’s top targets, although signing the latter is proving hard because the German club have already lost one star this summer in Robert Lewandowski, who joined bitter rivals Bayern Munich. Another priority for Van Gaal is cutting loose the players he deems surplus to requirements. Those who are surely in the most danger include Javier Hernandez, Nani, Shinji Kagawa, Marouane Fellaini and Anderson. Van Gaal will not enjoy telling his unwanted players they have no future at the club, but he will not shirk away from making the changes he feels are necessary either. last_img read more


Grinding Gears: Trojans can’t rest on laurels after win

first_imgRedshirt sophomore quarterback Sam Darnold threw for over 300 yards in Saturday’s 38-10 win over Oregon State. He completed 66 percent of his passes and recorded three touchdowns. But the first few questions he fielded from thepostgame media scrum were critical of his performance. He was asked about what he needed to improve on, about what went wrong on his lone interception and about whether it was frustrating.Finally, someone asked if this game was the most comfortable he’s felt with his receiving corps with junior Deontay Burnett and redshirt freshman Tyler Vaughns both on the field. He nodded, and then a smile crept across his face.“A positive question,” he said.That’s the way it is at USC, where you beat a conference opponent by 28 points, where you rebound from a tough loss with a comfortable win to advance to 5-1 on the season, and yet there is more negative than positive press.Indeed, USC could’ve played better against Oregon State. There were turnovers, fumbles, lapses and miscues that would have cost the Trojans against any competent opponent. There were periods of the offense being stagnant. The only thing that kept the Trojans’ mistakes from coming back to bite them was the fact that the Beavers are an objectively terrible team with no defense and a backup quarterback under center.And yet, we saw Darnold and the Trojans do everything they could to give Oregon State momentum early in the game. In the first quarter, Darnold fumbled after the ball slipped out of his hands while he attempted a pass, and in the second quarter, he threw an ugly interception right into the hands of the defense. Both turnovers were in USC territory, with only the ineptitude of Oregon State’s kicking game and offense preventing points from being scored as a result.In the context of the season, the Trojans took care of business on Saturday. They did their job against an inferior opponent. They rested some of their starters late in the game and found playing time for their reserves. Redshirt freshman backup quarterback Matt Fink subbed in for Darnold in garbage time, recording his first career touchdown on 51-yard gallop. And blind redshirt sophomore long snapper Jake Olson took a snap for the second time this season.“I think we played pretty well,” senior safety and team captain Chris Hawkins said. “The score says we played well, the stats say we played well.”But not the eye test. For a team that needed a clean game in all three phases before taking on two tough opponents in Utah and Notre Dame, it didn’t get it. The defense was strong, holding Oregon State to just one touchdown. But on special teams, redshirt junior cornerback and punt returner Ajene Harris muffed a punt that was recovered in USC territory, and there otherwise were no noteworthy plays.And the offense … oh, the offense. Sure, it racked up over 500 yards, Darnold put up good numbers and 13 different receivers caught passes. But the offense still lacks an identity. It lacks the flow, the rhythm that we saw last season when Darnold would just take the snap and work his magic. Instead, it looks complacent, stale. Darnold has not moved out of the pocket as much this season, but his deep passes often fall incomplete and he is just not as in sync with his receivers as he needs to be.Darnold was so pedestrian that Oregon State cornerback Kyle White called him “nothing special” and a “normal Pac-12 quarterback.” Whether he had any right to criticize the opponent after his team was just thumped by 28 points is debatable, but his comments are not exactly inaccurate — at least this season. Entering Saturday’s game, Darnold ranked sixth — out of 12 Pac-12 quarterbacks — in total offense with 282.8 yards per game and just seventh in pass efficiency. For reference, he finished last season ranked second in the conference in pass efficiency, trailing only Washington’s Jake Browning.To get its hype train back on track, USC must make fixing its offense a priority, which means it must Make Sam Darnold Great Again. Whether it’s the playcalling, the receivers or Darnold himself, these issues will hurt USC next week against Utah and in two weeks in South Bend.“When you have over 500 yards and your guts are hurting inside that you left more out there, that’s a good feeling to have,” head coach Clay Helton said. “If that’s your worst day, be happy.”The Trojans can be “happy” with Saturday’s win. But they cannot — and should not — be satisfied.Eric He is a junior studying journalism. He is also the associate managing editor of the Daily Trojan. His column, “Grinding Gears,” runs Mondays.last_img read more