Amuneke Warns Eaglets


EMMANUEL Amuneke, coach of Nigerian Under-17 team, also known as Golden Eaglets, has promised that only merit would guarantee them a place in the national team. “We are not under any obligation to keep any player that would not be useful to us,” the coach said, adding: “The reason we picked you among thousands is because we believe in you but it is now left for you to convince us that you can do the job”

The former Nigerian international warned the players that they have an enormous task ahead of them. He also advised them to take routine training sessions and friendly matches seriously.


I Didn’t Share Money with NFF Officials – Keshi


THE coach of the Super Eagles said there was no truth in the allegation that he had been sharing cash meant for the players with officials of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF. Reacting to an allegation made by Sylvanus Okpala, a former assistant coach of the team, that the money given to the team by the Cross River State Government after last year’s Africa Cup of Nations triumph was shared by the NFF, Stephen Keshi, coach of Super Eagles, said it was not true.

Keshi, who responded from Abuja through Ben Alaiya, media officer of the team, described the comment as not only untrue but a calculated attempt to pit him against his employers. “I want to assume that Sylvanus was misquoted, but if not, then there is no truth in such a claim, because the NFF has never asked or shared from any money given to the team by supporters and well meaning Nigerians and state governments,” he said.

Besides, Keshi said that he, as a coach, does not handle money and could not have been the one that paid Okpala. ”We have our rules here in the team and the team administrator normally liaises with the captain and other relevant authorities before such monies are paid out. Indeed, the Cross River State government was very clear on who gets what and the money was paid directly to the accounts of all the players and officials.”


Farah Warns Against Participation in London Marathon


MO FARAH’s decision to run on Sunday, April 13, in the London Marathon less than a month after collapsing at the end of a race has been questioned by three of his rivals. The Briton needed treatment after the New York Half Marathon on March 16. Kenya’s Geoffrey Mutai, who beat Farah to win in New York, said: “To handle sickness is not easy – perhaps I would relax and prepare for another time.”

Stephen Kiprotich, Olympic champion and Emmanuel Mutai, London Marathon record holder, also raised doubts over Farah’s participation in the London Marathon.

Uganda’s Kiprotich suggested that the Briton should continue to concentrate on shorter distances. “I don’t see why he’s running the marathon. He’s still good on the track, still running a mile in under three minutes 50 seconds. “Maybe the problem is that the fans are the ones pushing him,” Kiprotich said. On his part, Mutai argued that Farah was giving himself too big a task by making his full marathon debut in such a high-profile race. The Kenyan, winner of the 2011 London Marathon, said: “Sometimes it’s good to start with a small race – not so fast or with such a strong field. You win then and then you have an idea of how the marathon is when you come to a big race like this.

“If he doesn’t perform here, that might affect him psychologically – and whatever he has achieved on that day will not be good because maybe he was expecting a lot, and that can be demoralising,” Mutai said.

Farah, the Olympic and world champion at both 5,000m and 10,000m, will make his full marathon debut in the 26.2-mile race on Sunday, having run the first half of last year’s event. The 31-year-old, who will face four of the 10 fastest marathon runners in history, said he wanted to break Steve Jones’s British record of two hours, seven minutes and 13 seconds, set in 1985.


Murray Wants A New Coach


ANDY Murray is looking for a coach to replace Ivan Lendl, former world number one whom he sacked about a month ago. Murray hopes to have a replacement in place by next month’s French Open.

The Briton, whose partnership with Lendl ended in March, said he would not want to “rush [the process] and make a mistake.”

In the meantime, Murray, 26, plans to play at the Madrid Masters, which begins on May 5. “The plan is to think exactly what I need over the next week, two weeks. There’s a lot of factors you need to look at and I would hope I would have someone in place by the French Open, but I don’t want to rush it.

“I don’t want to get someone just because they’ve won a lot of tournaments or were great players,” Murray told a London newspaper

Murray and Lendl enjoyed a hugely successful two-year period together in which the Scot won Olympic gold followed by the US Open and Wimbledon titles.

Since having back surgery last September, Murray has slipped to eighth in the world rankings, and he will need to perform well over the clay-court season if he is to get back near the top four – and the higher seeding that brings – by the time he defends his Wimbledon title in June.

“A new coach needs to be the right fit for you and they need to get on well with your team too, because otherwise it’s very hard to make it work,” Murray said, while speaking at the launch of the Aegon Championships at Queen’s Club, where Ross Hutchins, his friend, is the new tournament director.

— Apr. 21, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT

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