Saturday, 20 January 2018
Items filtered by date: June 2017

Australia’s midfielder Mark Milligan (L) vies with Chile’s forward Alexis Sanchez during the 2017 Confederations Cup group B football match between Chile and Australia at the Spartak Stadium in Moscow on June 25, 2017. Yuri KADOBNOV / AFP

Martin Rodriguez rescued a 1-1 draw for Chile against Australia on Sunday to send the South American champions through to a Confederations Cup semi-final against Portugal.

James Troisi steered Australia ahead on 42 minutes in Moscow, but Chile replied through half-time substitute Rodriguez on 67 minutes to advance as Group B runners-up behind Germany.

Germany progressed as group winners following a 3-1 victory over Cameroon in Sochi, with the world champions to face Mexico for a place in the July 2 final in Saint Petersburg.

Veteran forward Tim Cahill collected his 100th international cap at Spartak Stadium, joining long-serving former goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer (109) as the only other Australia player to reach the landmark.

Alexis Sanchez went tumbling to ground early on following a last-ditch intervention from Mark Milligan, but the video assistant referee dismissed penalty claims as replays showed a clear touch from the Australian defender.

Claudio Bravo returned for Chile following a calf injury and the Manchester City goalkeeper produced a smart block to deny a lunging Massimo Luongo, although Australia forged ahead on 42 minutes.

A risky pass from Bravo was intercepted inside the Chile half, allowing Robbie Kruse to steer the ball across the face of the box to an unmarked Troisi who clipped over the advancing keeper.

Arturo Vidal nearly replied instantly when his stooping header was blocked on the line by Milligan with the rebound eluding Jose Fuenzalida.

Australian centre-back Trent Sainsbury spoiled a glorious chance for a second goal before the break, lashing wildly over on the volley after Chile’s defence momentarily switched off.

But the introduction of Rodriguez and Pablo Hernandez at half-time proved crucial as Chile levelled midway through the second half.

Eduardo Vargas beat his marker to a looping ball in the area, knocking down into the path of Rodriguez who smuggled the ball beyond Matt Ryan for his first international goal.

Vargas headed fractionally wide after Sanchez had escaped down the left and picked out his striking partner, while Jamie MacLaren miscued badly in front of Bravo after a brilliant delivery from Troisi before the contest gradually petered out.

Published in Sports

Brazil midfielder Paulinho has revealed that his agent is in talks with Barcelona over a potential move to the Catalan club.

Barca are looking to make signings in a number of positions this summer as they look to strengthen new coach Ernesto Valverde's hand, with midfield one area they're keen to improve.

Paris Saint-Germain's Marco Verratti is their top target, but reports emerged earlier this week of their interest in Guangzhou Evergrande's Paulinho.

And the midfielder has confirmed the speculation, telling Globoesporte: "There's been contact with my agent. There's an offer [from Barca], it's true, and the two parties are talking.

"I'm really proud that a great club like Barcelona are interested in my situation -- there is no price for that."

However, Paulinho also said he's not sure whether a switch to Camp Nou would be the best move for his career right now.

CSL celeb Paulinho 170519
Guangzhou Evergrande's Paulinho has said he has an offer to join Barcelona this summer.

He joined Chinese Super League club Guangzhou from Tottenham Hotspur €14 million in 2015 and feels the last two years have been among his best since he became a professional, with his club form making him a regular in Tite's Brazil side.

On top of that, he's settled and happy with his life in China with his partner.

"At the moment I'm really happy with my life and with my career," he added. "When you're in a situation like the one I'm in, it's difficult to make a decision.

"There are a lot of things that I have to weigh up, one of them being my happiness.

"I think, first of all, the way things are with my partner here in China... We really like where we are, the people, how things are with the club, the success... The truth is that I don't know [what to do]."

Paulinho says he has no time frame to give Barcelona a response but suggested they've not yet opened negotiations with Guangzhou over a potential deal.

When they do, they may encounter problems. Earlier this week, the coach of the Chinese side, Luiz Felipe Scolari, said they do not want to sell the playerand pointed to his €40m release clause.

Published in Sports

Paul Pogba has told Telefoot he would not mind if close friend Antoine Griezmann moved to Manchester City, so long as it made him happy.

Manchester United midfielder Pogba, a France international teammate of Griezmann's, hailed the forward as one of the world's finest players.

Griezmann was strongly linked with a move to United before opting to sign a contract extension at Atletico Madrid.

And Pogba said: "I wish for his happiness. If that is at Atletico -- or at City -- I will handle it. He is one of the best players in the world.

"If Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] is happy elsewhere, then I am happy for him."

Published in Sports

POLICE operatives have arrested a Lance Corporal with the Army for being an alleged accomplice to suspected kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeje George Onwuamadike, alias Evans.

The soldier identified as Victor Chukwunonso with force number 09/NA/64/6317 was apprehended at the weekend in Lagos after Evans named him and some prominent southeast businessmen as his accomplices.

The suspect, serving at the Army Band Corps, Aba Iti Barracks in Surulere, was arrested around 9pm at Ojo by operatives of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Intelligence Response Team (IRT).

Chukwunonso, a native of Onitsha in Anambra State, it was gathered, confessed to have followed Evans on three kidnap missions.

According to sources, Chukwunonso confessed to have received N2million, N1.5million and N3million as shares from the three operations he participated in.

Our correspondent gathered the soldier was one of many other security agencies being investigated after their names were mentioned by Evans as his accomplices.

Published in Headliners
Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 75th international goal as Portugal trounced New Zealand 4-0 in Saint Petersburg on Saturday to advance to the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup.

The Real Madrid star struck from the penalty spot on 33 minutes to fire the European champions in front before Bernardo Silva turned in a second goal four minutes later.

Andre Silva added a third on 80 minutes before Nani completed the rout in stoppage time to ensure Portugal progressed to last four as winners of Group A, finishing above Mexico on goal difference.

Mexico eliminated hosts Russia with a 2-1 win in Kazan to join Portugal on seven points, with Fernando Santos’ side to face the runners-up of Group B on Wednesday for a place in the July 2 final.

Copa America holders Chile lead Germany on goal difference ahead of the final round of matches in Group B, although Australia and Cameroon still harbour outside qualification hopes.

Santos fielded an attacking line-up packed with experience and resisted the temptation to rest Ronaldo with Portugal still requiring a point to qualify and vying with Mexico and Russia for top spot.

Ronaldo twice threatened the New Zealand goal in quick succession, nodding straight at goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic on 24 minutes and then clattering the crossbar shortly after with another header from a Ricardo Quaresma cross.

But the Portugal captain made no mistake after Danilo was wrestled to the ground in the area by a combination of Tom Doyle and Tommy Smith following a corner.

Ronaldo buried the resultant penalty beyond Stefanovic to draw level with former Hungary great Sandor Kocsis and within nine goals of the legendary Ferenc Puskas’ European record of 84 at international level.

Portugal swiftly doubled their lead when Eliseu’s dangerous low cross from the left was forced home by Silva, although there was brief concern for the new Manchester City signing as he landed awkwardly on his ankle.

New Zealand skipper Chris Wood nearly grabbed a lifeline for the All Whites on the hour, but his back-post effort was scrambled off the line by a combination of Rui Patricio and Bruno Alves.

Ronaldo could have added to his tally when he climbed to meet a Nelson Semedo delivery, his header scooped away by Stefanovic who then stood tall to superbly deny Andre Silva.

Santos withdrew Ronaldo on 67 minutes with the semi-finals in mind, and his replacement Nani struck within moments of his introduction only for Stefanovic to brilliantly tip behind his deflected shot.

Silva finally provided Portugal with further breathing space 10 minutes from time as the AC Milan-bound striker ran at the Kiwi defence before drilling into the roof of the net.

Former Manchester United winger Nani then drilled in a fourth in injury time, with Portugal now having lost just one of their last 23 competitive fixtures.

Published in Sports

Hirving Lozano’s courageous second-half header sealed Mexico’s 2-1 comeback win over 10-man Russia on Saturday and fired them into the Confederations Cup semi-finals.

Hosts Russia took a deserved 25th-minute lead in Kazan through Aleksandr Samedov, but Nestor Araujo equalised for Mexico with a looping header on the half hour.

New PSV Eindhoven signing Lozano then headed Mexico into the last four as he beat Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev to Hector Herrera’s towering kick from inside his own half on 52 minutes.

Russia’s hopes of a comeback were further hampered in the final 20 minutes when Yury Zhirkov was sent off for a second yellow card.

“We knew it was going to be tough, we played well against them,” said Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio.

“We are building a team which has the skills and determintion to play against any team. We could have scored more goals if we had moved the ball around better.”

While the hosts bow out, Mexico progress as Group A runners-up to play the winners of Group B in Sochi next Thursday.

Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov was left rueing his side’s missed chances.

“It was an interesting match for sure, we knew we had to win and did everything to tip the game in our favour,” said Cherchesov.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t react to their goals and then had a man sent off, even then we tried to score. My team did the best they could.”

Having made eight alterations for the team which beat New Zealand, Osorio again rang the changes against Russia with only defender Araujo and forward Giovani dos Santos retained in the starting line-up.

Lozano replaced from Raul Jimenez in a completely different forward line alongside Mexico’s all-time top scorer Javier Hernandez and former Arsenal winger Carlos Vela.

Recovery mission
Just as they did in the 2-2 draw with Portugal and subsequent victory over New Zealand, Mexico made a slow start and again fell behind.

Mexico captain Andres Guardado picked up an early booking that will rule him out of the semi-final, while the video assistant referee was summoned to reject Russian penalty claims after Fyodor Smolov went to ground in the area.

Russia went ahead though as Smolov hit the post, with Aleksandr Erokhin knocking the rebound to Samedov who drilled past Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.

But the goal sparked Mexico into life and they were level just five minutes later.

Porto midfielder Herrera fired in a deep cross to the far post where Araujo lifted the ball over Akinfeev and into the opposite corner.

Mexico lost Diego Reyes to injury just before the break when the Espanyol defender rolled his ankle making an innocuous pass.

The linesman’s flag denied Spartak Moscow’s Samedow after he put the ball in the net early in the second half, and Mexico forged ahead as Lozano’s brave gamble paid off.

Herrara’s thumping clearance was allowed to bounce just outside the Russian area, with Lozano clattered by Akinfeev as he nipped in front of the keeper to head into an unguarded net on 52 minutes.

Mexico then had another goal ruled out for offside following more consultation with the video referee, and Russia suffered a further blow when Zhirkov was dismissed on 68 minutes.

Substitute Igor Smolnikov blazed over from close range with quarter of an hour remaining to compound Russia’s misery.

Published in Sports

The weather has been very cold lately. I love the rain even though it makes me want to stay in bed all day and do nothing but stuff my mouth with delicious food. My go-to comfort food for this season is peppersoup, chicken, assorted beef, catfish or goat meat peppersoup are all delicious variations. For me, sometimes, drinking peppersoup is not enough so I elevate it by adding other ingredients that I will show you how to.

I have a lot of food memories from Warri, Delta State and that is because I grew up there – that explains why I naturally feel like a blended Yoruba/Niger Delta babe. If you have not explored food from the southern part of Nigeria, you need to for the simple reason that the flavours are amazing and excitingly simple. I love simple recipes and this Egusi peppersoup also known as “Ovwoworikpogiri” by the Urhobos, is one of my favourite soups. Adding egusi (blended melon seeds) is one way to elevate Peppersoup.

We can prepare this soup in two ways: One, is by using pre-blended peppersoup spices which you can find packaged in supermarkets and local markets or, two, you can get the original spices and create your own blend. If you want to create your own blend you will need to find the following items:

Peppersoup spice blend
Iwo/Ehuru (10) (that’s what gives the pepper soup aroma)
Urheri /Uda (2) (you take out the seed and discard)
Umilo/Ulima (2)
Ataiko/Atariko 1/2 tsb (this looks similar to irugeje)
Irugeje (21/2 tsb)
These are the other ingredients you will be needing:
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Seasoning Cube
4 Habanero (Atarodo)
1 teaspoon Cameroon Pepper (Yellow Pepper)
3 Cups Water
Smoked Chicken (as much as you like)
Handful of Big Dried Shrimps
2 Smoked Panla Fish
3 Smoked Catfish
Boiled Beef and stock
1 Cup blended Melon Seeds (egusi)
2 Tablespoons Ground Crayfish
2 tablespoons of Peppersoup Spice (If you aren’t making your peppersoup blend from scratch).

How to prepare
In a pot add beef broth, beef, smoked chicken and add water enough to cook the soup. Add your ground spices- pepper, ataiko, irugeje, iwo, umilo, gbafilo, crayfish and de-seeded Urheri into the pot as well or the pre-made peppersoup spice.

Next add some chopped fresh pepper, also add some Cameroon pepper, big dried prawn and smoked panla fish. Add seasoning cube (depending on how much used in the beef broth). Don’t forget to add salt for taste (I love using native salt for traditional soups like this but if you have normal salt, use it).

Cover the pot and allow to cook for about 10 to 15 minutes. The flavour that engulfs the whole space is very warm and comforting especially in the cold rainy season.
For the melon, you should have it blended into a paste (with water) so that it results in a smooth texture. Next add blended melon to the pot already cooking and stir properly. Now you may need to add 2 cups of water or add more till you are satisfied with your consistency. Add crayfish now, and the smoked catfish.

Cover the pot and allow to cook for 25 minutes. I typically would cook my egusi for at least 30 minutes because I feel that is when the flavours really wake up, resulting in a very delicious experience. Taste for salt and allow to simmer.

You can serve Egusi Peppersoup with Eghwobobo, which is a starch and ripe plantain swallow or Eghwoeba which is a garri and ripe plantain swallow or alternatively, serve with plain old eba! If you have been avoiding egusi because you are on a healthy-eating journey, this is another way to eat it – oil less egusi- this soup is irresistible!

Published in Parliament

The passage of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) by the Senate, the other day, represents a good starting point in the effort to re-position Nigeria’s oil and gas industry. Though, it is not yet clear what the details of the content of the new bill is after the original Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) was renamed PIGB, it is, nevertheless, commendable that the bill, which languished in the parliament for many years, has finally been passed to address some problems plaguing the oil industry.

There is no doubt that the original bill was watered down to satisfy some sectional interests. For instance, while the PIB’s fundamental objective was to “Vest oil and gas resources in the sovereign state of Nigeria” which is tantamount to changing the existing order, whereby foreign interests are feeding fat on Nigeria’s oil while Nigerians languish in poverty, the PIGB merely seeks to unbundle the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). That, effectively, removes the issue of sovereignty of Nigeria and her oil while focusing on the NNPC governance and corruption.

The Senate passed the PIGB 14 years after the original PIB was drafted and presented to the National Assembly. A Joint Committee on Petroleum (Upstream, Downstream and Gas) on the PIGB made the recommendation which was adopted by the Senate at the plenary.

Chairman of the committee, who is also the Chairman of the Joint Committee on Petroleum, Senator Tayo Alasoadura, said some subsidiaries of the NNPC had also been merged into an entity to be known as the Nigerian Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NPRC). What is NPRC out to do?

Senate President, Bukola Saraki, lauded the passing of the bill, saying it would put a framework that will ensure transparency and accountability, and create an enabling environment for the petroleum sector to stimulate growth. He expressed hope that Nigerians would be able to benefit more from the petroleum sector.

The National Publicity Secretary of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Bolaji Abdullahi, also commended the Senate for passing the bill and called on the Yakubu Dogara-led House of Representatives to follow the example of the Senate by also promptly passing the bill.

It would be recalled that the PIB was first presented to the National Assembly in 2003 under the Olusegun Obasanjo administration for passage into law. The first legislative assembly, under Obasanjo, actually passed the bill but the president refused to sign it into law.

The bill was re-presented under the Umaru Yar’Adua administration, and ever since then has lingered in four legislative assemblies which sat over it without doing much.

It was disheartening that at a point, the Federal Government renamed the PIB Petroleum Reform Bill (PRB), which seemed to foreclose the prospect of having the bill passed in its original formulation. It then became worrisome which version of the bill was being renamed since there were many of such flying around.

The re-awakened interest in the bill under the Muhammadu Buhari administration was therefore a welcome development and the Eighth Senate under Bukola Saraki deserves kudos. Senator Donald Alasoadura’s had earlier assured that the bill would be passed latest by March or April this year without fail as passing the PIB was seen as one good thing to happen to the oil and gas subsector that has been mismanaged.

While it is heartening that the Senate finally pass the PIGB, it needs to be acknowledged that, perhaps, no other piece of legislation has been so politicised, which is why the bill was delayed and tinkered with.

Some pertinent questions now need to be asked. For instance, what is the purpose of the bill since from all intents and purposes what was passed is not what was originally presented? What is remaining to be passed and how long would that take? What does the unbundling of the NNPC imply?

From experience, the unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) never made the organisation more efficient. What is the guarantee that the same problems won’t arise in the case of the NNPC?

One problem that plagues the NNPC is opaqueness. To what extent is it guaranteed in the new bill that the NNPC would henceforth be transparent and accountable in operations and accountability? Finally, how would the new bill be of benefit to ordinary Nigerians?

It needs to be stressed, at this juncture, that although the bill has been passed as a way forward, it should in no way be a substitute for fiscal federalism. Not until the country is restructured along the lines of federalism that would give sections of the country power to fully exploit their resources would there be peace, stability and progress. Certainly, the centre can no longer have the controlling power over resources and expect Nigeria to move forward.

Published in Business and Economy

AN Ekiti State House of Assembly member Gboyega Aribisogan has accused Governor Ayo Fayose of instigating his suspension because he refused to prostrate and beg for the offence he did not commit.

He said some party leaders and appointees urged him to prostrate for the governor at a reconciliation parley brokered by eminent lawyer and founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), Aare Afe Babalola (SAN).

Aribisogan, who was suspended by his fellow lawmakers in October last year said the governor wanted him to admit meeting with the Senator representing Ogun East, Buruji Kashamu, in Lagos sometime last year, an allegation he denied.

Speaking during an interview programme on Adaba 88.9 FM monitored by our correspondent, Aribisogan faulted an investigation panel set up by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) faction loyal to 

Fayose claiming that the panelists had been ordered to do a hatchet job against him.

Aribisogan alleged that some party members in his ward were bribed with a sum of N200, 000 and compelled to write a frivolous petition to the panel to nail him at all cost.

He revealed that the panel had already submitted its report to Fayose on Monday while he was asked to appear on Thursday.

The embattled lawmaker disclosed that he reported the alleged illegality Fayose was using the Assembly to perpetrate to the Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu and Chairman, PDP Board of Trustees, Senator Walid Jibrin.

Aribisogan said: “I cannot confess the sin I did not commit; they (party leaders) asked me to prostrate and beg Fayose but I refused and in the process they brought out a camera with the intent of taking my photographs. Fayose flared when I refused to prostrate and beg and vowed that he would not allow me to return to the Assembly again.

“For somebody to say he would not allow an elected representative of the people to go back to the Assembly shows the type of character Fayose is. He got 14,000 votes from my constituency and he has done nothing for the people.

“If they want to shoot me dead, I am ready. I am not an appointee of Fayose, I was elected the same way hea was elected. I apologize to all Ekiti for joining hands to bring him back to power and that is why he is misbehaving now.

“The Inspector General of Police had given an order that nothing should happen to me; the House of Assembly belongs to Ekiti people and not to Ayo Fayose. Fayose has brought odium and shame to Ekiti State.

“He is owing the Assembly six months salaries, Ekiti lawmakers are crying underneath because many of them are heavily indebted. Fayose threatened that he would recall me, let him go ahead but I will never prostrate for Fayose.”

Responding, Commissioner for Information, Lanre Ogunsuyi, said Hon. Aribisogan, was suffering from political hallucination.

Ogunsuyi said the Assembly suspended the lawmaker according to its rules and does not need Fayose to carry out is constitutional and statutory functions. The commissioner said Aribisogan was merely cooking up stories to cover up his infractions on the House rules.

He advised Aribisogan to avail himself of the opportunity given by the party to present his case before a disciplinary panel set up to investigate the allegations of anti-party activities and disloyalty levelled against him.

Ogunsuyi said: “I will say it is a political hallucination for the honourable member to accuse the governor of masterminding his suspension from the Assembly.

“It is an internal affair of the House and the governor is not a member of the Assembly.

“He was duly suspended by the Assembly; the governor has no hand in it and all what he is saying are stories without corroboration.”

Published in Politics
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