Eagles ready to extend unbeaten streak with Indomitable Lions friendly

The Super Eagles are ready to extend an unbeaten streak of five matches when they battle the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon at the Stadion Wiener Neustadt, Austria in an international friendly on Friday evening.

Three –time African champions, Nigeria have not lost a match since they were beaten 1-0 by reigning African champions, Algeria in an international friendly also played in Austria in October 2020.

 They have drawn 1-1 with Tunisia’s Carthage Eagles in a friendly match; drawn 4-4 and 0-0 with Sierra Leone in back-to-back 2021 AFCON qualifying matches in November 2020; defeated Benin Republic 1-0 in Porto Novo in another 2021 AFCON qualifier and; walloped Lesotho 3-0 in the finale to the 2021 AFCON qualifying race in Lagos.

Defender Anthony Izuchukwu, who plays for Sparta Trnava of Slovakia, joined up with the Nigeria camp at the Hilton Garden Inn, Wiener Neustadt Osterreich on Wednesday, as the number of players in camp hit 21.
 Both fierce rivals on the African continent will again clash in a second game also at the Stadion Wiener Neustadt in Vienna on Tuesday.

Onyekuru on Fenerbahce’s radar Super Eagles forward is on the wanted list of Fenerbahce with the Turkish side already in negotiations with Monaco regarding a potential swap deal.
Fenerbahce  are open to include Nigerian-born winger Bright Osayi-Samuel in the deal that will take Onyekuru to the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium.
Osayi-Samuel only joined the Yellow-Navy Blues from Queens Park Rangers in January after the Turkish side won the race to his signature among several interested clubs.
The 23-year-old failed to sparkle for Fenerbahce in the 18 matches he featured in the Super Lig over the second half of the season.
He scored only one goal – in the 3-0 win at Konyaspor in March – but struggled to make a significant impact. Now, Fotospor has suggested that FB president Ali Koç is looking to cash in on the Nigeria-born talent.
Rated at £3m, Osayi-Samuel is not short of admirers as Scottish rivals Rangers, and Celtic have been linked to the flying winger.
 But Fenerbahce have their attentions locked on Onyekuru, who impressed at rivals Galatasaray, scoring five goals and providing another four assists in only 14 games for coach Fatih Terim’s side.
The Yellow Canaries are at the forefront of the race to sign the Nigerian international from Monaco after Galatasaray decided not to activate the €4.5 million buy option in his loan deal.
And the Turkish side have reportedly opened transfer talks with the French club with a plan to swap Onyekuru with Osayi-Samuel.
Olympiacos are also interested in Onyekuru, and the Greek champions could stand a better chance to land the Super Eagles star as he may not be eager to move to Galatasaray’s city rivals.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics: 10,000 volunteers quit ahead of Games commencement 

Around 10,000 of the 80,000 volunteers expected to take part in the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games have resigned in recent months, organisers have revealed, with 50 days to go before they are due to open.

Tokyo-2020 chief executive Toshiro Muto told local media on Wednesday that about 10,000 volunteers had quit, mainly because of health concerns.

“I think there is no doubt that one of the reasons is concern about coronavirus infections,” he said.

Others dropped out because of scheduling problems after the Games were postponed for a year, or to protest sexist remarks made by Tokyo-2020 president Yoshiro Mori, who was forced to resign in February and was replaced by Seiko Hashimoto.

Some volunteers could also be among the estimated 80% of Japanese who oppose hosting the Games this year, according to national polls. Polls in Tokyo showed a more even split (50-50) between supporters and opponents of the Games.

Muto said the lower number of volunteers – who are usually employed as guides, assistants or translators – would “not seriously” affect the Games, which have themselves been scaled back.

Seiko Hashimoto herself has expressed confidence in media interviews that the Games will go ahead.

“The possibility of these Games going on is 100% that we will do this,” she said in an interview with the BBC published on Thursday. However, she added that “in a crisis or an emergency situation… we must be prepared to have these Games without any spectators”.

Earlier, Hashimoto told a local sports newspaper that she ruled out any further postponement of the Games and that a cancellation would only occur in catastrophic circumstances where most of the delegations could not come to Japan.

Injured Barty kisses Roland Garros bye

French Open title favourite, Ashleigh Barty dream came to an end in sad circumstances on Thursday after she was forced to retire hurt with scores standing 1-6 2-2 in favour of Magda Linette.

The world number one needed medical attention during her first-round win over Bernarda Pera two days earlier, with a hip injury a cause for concern.

Barty back at Roland Garros for the first time since winning her maiden grand slam title in Paris in 2019 – vowed to “play through the pain barrier”, yet the injury proved too much to deal with on Thursday.

The 25-year-old  retirement throws the draw wide open, with both of the top seeds now out after Naomi Osaka decided to withdraw amid her disagreement with tournament organisers.
Barty’s discomfort seemed evident from the off, though Linette did have to fend off an immediate break point to hold in the first game.

The Australian had to claw back three break points on her first serve, however, and a double fault in game four handed Linette the first break, with Barty clearly struggling when attempting to twist to her right.

A lame backhand into the net gifted Linette another break, and the Pole served out the set at the first time of asking with just 36 minutes on the clock.

After a lengthy delay in which she received treatment both on court and back in the changing rooms, Barty returned with seemingly renewed vigour to hold the first game of set two with relative ease.

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