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Sports Briefs

Nigeria’s sports future lies in grassroots dev.—Dalung
Barrister Solomon Dalung, the Youth and Sports Minister has restated that grassroots sports development remains the only route to rebuilding the country’s sports.

The Minister said this while congratulating Team Nigeria which returned from the Regional African Gymnastics Championship in South Africa where they won a total of 11 medals comprising 2 gold and 9 bronze.

Dalung who is in London for the 2017 IAAF World Athletics Championships congratulated the gymnasts whose ages ranged from 5 to 18 years stating that it was time for Federations, coaches and other stakeholders to start scouting for athletes from primary and secondary school sports competitions.

Senegalese club US Ouakam banned
The Senegalese Professional Football League (LSFP) handed a seven-year ban to US Ouakam following the crowd trouble which left eight people dead during the League Cup final against Stade de Mbour last month.

The LSFP’s disciplinary committee said it holds US Ouakam “exclusively responsible” for the tragedy at the Stade Demba Diop on July 15. US Ouakam were further punished with a demotion to the lowest tier of Senegalese football at the end of their seven-year suspension.

The 2011 Senegalese League Champions have also been issued with a fine of 10 million francs (CFA) with Stade de Mbour being awarded the trophy as winners.

Yusuf picks Ezenwa, 19 others to battle Squirrels
Coach Salisu Yusuf has opted for goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa, defenders Orji Kalu and Osas Okoro, midfielders Alhassan Ibrahim and Ifeanyi Ifeanyi, forwards Stephen Odey and Ifeanyi George, and 13 other players for Sunday’s 2018 African Nations Championship qualifying match away to Benin Republic.

There are also goalkeeper Dele Ajiboye, defender Chima Akas, midfielder Rabiu Ali and forward Thomas Zenke. Goalkeeper Theophilus Afelokhai, defenders Ariwachukwu Emmanuel, Stephen Eze and Nasiru Sani, midfielders Hafiz Aremu, Raphael Ayagwa and Samuel Mathias and forwards Sikiru Olatubosun and Kingsley Eduwo complete the list of the playing body that will fly from Kano to Lagos today and then make the short trip to Cotonou by road same day.

AITEO Cup first round draw holds in Lagos
The draw for the first round matches of this year’s AITEO Cup competition holds in Lagos today. The first round matches, which will involve the 64 surviving teams following the Preliminary Round played last week, will hold on Wednesday, August 16, 2017.

The draw for the second round matches will take place on Friday, August 18, while the matches will come up on August 30. The draw for the third round matches will be conducted on August 31, while the matches will be played on 13th and 16th of September.

The grand final for the men’s event will take place on Sunday, October 8, while the grand final for the women’s event has been scheduled for October 2.

Nadal, Federer through in Montreal
Top seed Nadal, 31, who will claim the world number one spot from Andy Murray if he reaches the semi-finals in Canada, beat Borna Coric 6-1 6-2. Murray pulled out of the competition with a hip injury, which has also ruled him out of the Cincinnati Masters.

Federer, playing in his first match since winning the Wimbledon title, beat Peter Polansky 6-2 6-1 in 53 minutes. The 36-year-old’s 32nd victory of the season sets up a third-round meeting with Spain’s David Ferrer, who upset 15th seed Jack Sock 7-6 (9-7) 3-6 6-1.

Mexico captain Márquez denies drugs cartel link
The Mexico national football team captain Rafa Márquez has denied US accusations that he has links with a drugs cartel. Mr Márquez said he would co-operate with investigations and has made a voluntary declaration to Mexico’s attorney general.

He was one of 21 people and 42 organisations singled out by the US treasury department for sanctions. They are all accused of ties to alleged drug trafficker Raul Flores Hernández.

The US alleges that Mr Márquez acted as a “front person” for Mr Hernández through his football school and several health and sports outlets.

Konta loses to Makarova at Rogers Cup
Britain’s Johanna Konta let two match points and a commanding lead slip as she lost to Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova at the Rogers Cup in Toronto. Makarova won 5-7 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 and will face Lucie Safarova in round three.

Konta, who had a first-round bye as the seventh seed, was playing her first match since losing to Venus Williams in the Wimbledon semi-finals.

The Briton, 26, led 7-5 5-2 but failed to convert two match points in the second set. Makarova, 29, is ranked 42nd but extended her winning streak to seven matches after claiming the Washington title last week.

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