By Adedapo Adesanya
Nigeria’s chance of winning a fourth African Cup of Nations (AFCON) title may have gotten a dent as another one of its strikers, Odion Ighalo has dropped out after his Saudi Arabian club Al Shabab refused to release him for the tournament in Cameroon.
The 32-year-old top scorer at the last Nations’ Cup in 2019 was initially given a deadline of Tuesday to confirm his availability by interim Super Eagles coach, Augustine Eguavoen.
However, Ighalo was not part of the squad that landed in Garoua late on Wednesday.
On Thursday, a statement from the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) said the player will no longer be expected as a result of issues with his Saudi Arabian club.
Just like the scenario with Watford’s striker, Ighalo’s letter of invitation did not reach the Saudi club within the period specified by world governing body FIFA for receiving players’ call-up letters.
“The FIFA Player Status Regulations stipulates that the federation must notify the player and his club in writing of his summons 15 days before the start of the tournament, and it is advised to send a copy to the local federation of the club as well, which did not happen.
“Accordingly, the coach [Pericles Chamusca] told us that the player will stay with us and will not join the Nigerian team.
“There are no negotiations between us and the Nigerian federation, and the player is committed to the decision. The situation is settled,” a club official noted.
The country will need to work harder with four of its striking options now out and won’t be able to name a replacement.
Last week, the football body confirmed that Nigeria’s top scorer during the 2022 World Cup qualification series, Victor Osimhen, will not be playing in the competition.
The Napoli forward was ruled out due to health issues after the player had expressed readiness to represent the nation in Cameroon.
“Lively forward Victor Osimhen’s positive test to the coronavirus pandemic a couple of days ago and injury to the versatile Abdullahi Shehu have constrained changes to Nigeria’s final 28-man list for the 33rd Africa Cup of Nations starting in Cameroon next weekend,” a statement from the NFF read.
Aside from Osimhen, Watford also failed to release in-form striker, Dennis Emmanuel, for Nigeria’s 19th appearance at the continental showpiece.
Rangers of Scotland Defender Leon Balogun and Cyprus-based Abdullahi Shehu were also among the players ruled out of the soccer party last week.
In their stead, Nigeria invited Henry Onyekuru, Peter Olayinka, Tyronne Ebuehi, and Oluwasemilogo Ajayi.
Nigeria begins their AFCON journey on Tuesday, January 11th when they face record winners, Egypt, in the Group D opening fixture. Guinea-Bissau and Sudan are the other teams in the group.
Updated List of Nigeria’s Squad:
Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (AC Omonia, Cyprus); John Noble (Enyimba FC); Daniel Akpeyi (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa); Maduka Okoye (Sparta Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
Defenders: Chidozie Awaziem (Alanyaspor FC, Turkey); Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Oluwasemilogo Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion, England); William Ekong (Watford FC, England); Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy); Jamilu Collins (SC Paderborn 07, Germany); Tyrone Ebuehi (Venezia FC, Italy); Zaidu Sanusi (FC Porto, Portugal); Olisa Ndah (Orlando Pirates, South Africa)
Midfielders: Frank Onyeka (Brentford FC, England); Joseph Ayodele-Aribo (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Chidera Ejuke (CSKA Moscow, Russia); Kelechi Nwakali (SD Huesca, Spain).
Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Fatih Karagumruk, Turkey); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal FC, Spain); Henry Onyekuru (Olympiacos FC, Greece); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Sadiq Umar (UD Almeria, Spain); Taiwo Awoniyi (Union Berlin, Germany); Alex Iwobi (Everton FC, England); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Peter Olayinka (SK Slavia Praha, Czech Republic).
10 Things You May Not Know But Should About Online Gambling
There are billions of dollars in revenue generated by the online gambling market worldwide. Many people still have no clue how it works.
Nevertheless, there are certain things you should know if you plan to gamble online for real money. You should learn about the risks involved if you’re thinking about starting. Read on to learn more.
Here are 10 things you didn’t know about online gambling, but really should.
Gambling Is Not Legal Everywhere
In some places, wagering is legal, while in other places it’s technically illegal, but unless it is a large operation, it is not prosecuted. Gambling at an online casino for real money can be frustrating because payment systems aren’t as straightforward as they are for other things. This is usually the case with locations where gambling isn’t fully legal, as you have to work around several loopholes in order to avoid breaking the law.
It’s Impossible to Count Cards in Online Blackjack
Even the most amateur gambler knows the concept of counting cards, perhaps from a movie or book they’ve seen or read. Casinos shuffle their decks often enough to now prevent you from applying a positive edge to live blackjack, as well, as there are enough decks and shuffles. A positive edge can only be obtained in games that involve other players, such as poker and sports betting.
Online Casino Bonuses Aren’t Always a Good Deal
Many new casino players from the Internet are surprised at how easy it is to get free money to play with through a £5 deposit bonus or a holiday offer. The offer is there to encourage new players to join and play. At a first glance, it appears they’re a great offer. However, things are rarely so nice in reality as casinos are raising their wagering requirements as time goes by.
Reviews Aren’t Always That Reliable
Positive comments from satisfied customers are among the best advertising available. Positive reviews are extremely valuable to a company in an industry where tens of thousands of platforms compete for business. It’s likely that you will read online reviews when you’re searching for a casino. Many online gaming platforms hire freelance writers to review their games.
Online Poker Players May Cheat
There are numerous ways to define online poker cheating. The most common method is by mining data. The majority of Internet cardrooms initially did not prohibit the use of software that tracked players’ statistics. However, those policies have since changed. These types of programs are no longer allowed – still, some players use them.
Online Gambling Is a Growing Industry
An estimated $300 billion is generated by land-based casinos every year. A 45 billion dollar sum doesn’t seem like much in comparison, but keep in mind that most online casinos won’t accept United States players. Hence, they lose a good deal of consumers. The Internet industry has grown significantly in comparison to land-based casinos.
Casino Customer Service Is Not Always Good
Most of the time, when you hear about an Internet casino cheating their customers, it isn’t because they are providing them with an unfair game. The most common reason for this is that a customer cannot process their withdrawal. In this industry, that’s the way it is. Still, it’s in the casino’s best interests to keep their players happy. But now all of them will have decent customer support that will help you resolve issues you might be experiencing.
Online Casinos Offer Loyalty Programs
If you have read any online gambling tips for slot machine players, you’ve probably heard of loyalty clubs at casinos. You are tracked based on how much you play and how much money you wager. Then you’ll receive a rebate or compensation equal to a percentage of your expected loss. You might even be eligible for more comps if you gamble more and more often, or even receive cash rebates or free spins if you play their slots.
RNG Is a Key Component
Casino games, bingo games, and poker games online fall under this statement. Online sports betting is obviously another matter. If you are interested in learning about the online gambling niche, you should start by learning about random number generators. They generate random number sequences using a computer program. This determines the results of games. Different games have different RTP (return to player) depending on their RNGs.
Payment via Cryptocurrency Is on the Rise
Even if what online gamblers are doing is fully within the parameters of the law, cryptocurrency can be beneficial to them for a variety of practical reasons. It is popular among gamblers because crypto provides anonymity and it removes banks and their robust monitoring systems from the picture. Bitcoin, as well as most other major cryptocurrencies, is accepted as adequate payment by just about all major online gambling platforms.
While online gambling can be a lot of fun, knowing what you’re doing makes it that much more enjoyable. Prior to becoming involved, you want to make sure you are aware of many of the above points. Regardless of whether you’re already a casino player, it’s still helpful to keep informed about the industry’s facts. Educated gamblers make good decisions. Hopefully, the information in this post is only the beginning of your online gambling education.
Men’s Football: 18,068 Players Switched Clubs in 2021—Report
By Adedapo Adesanya
There was a 5.1 per cent increase in the number of international transfers in men’s professional football as a total of 18,068 players switched clubs in 2021, signalling a return to the levels of 2019 despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
This was contained in the Global Transfer Report 2021 published by the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA), which charts the transfers of men’s and women’s players in both professional and amateur football.
No fewer than 54,739 transfers across borders were recorded in 2021 out of which 19,372 involved professionals (men and women) while another 35,367 involved amateurs.
These 18,068 transfers involved a new record high of 4,544 clubs from 185 different associations, compared to 4,162 clubs in 2020, with 15,617 players representing 179 different nationalities.
A continuous trend was seen as transfer fees decreased for the second consecutive year in 2021 to $4.86 billion, a fall of 13.6 per cent from 2020 and 33.8 per cent from the all-time high of 2019.
Another key positive from the report showed that women’s football is still booming
According to the world’s football governing body, women’s football continued to go from strength to strength in 2021, with the number of clubs involved in international transfers rising from 347 in 2020 to 414 last year, a 19.3 per cent increase.
This reflects the impressive strides being made as more and more female players are turning professional every year.
About 1,304 international transfers were recorded in the year under review, an increase of 26.2 per cent compared to the previous year, which had also recorded an increase of 23.3 per cent.
In contrast to the men’s game, spending on transfer fees in women’s professional football increased by 72.8 per cent $1.2 million in 2020 to $2.1 million in 2021.
Amateur Football Transfer Impressive
Transfers in the vast world of amateur football have been recorded in TMS since July 2020, which means that the data covered an entire calendar year for the first time.
The results from 2021 are certainly impressive, with 17,571 clubs from 201 member associations involved in the transfers of 35,367 amateur players (men and women) of 202 different nationalities.
Germany recorded the highest numbers of both incoming (5,122) and outgoing (2,651) transfers.
For each of the above categories, the Global Transfer Report 2021 includes analyses on the players’ nationalities, ages, and movement between confederations and associations.
For professional players and in addition to the list of top transfers, the report also provides further analysis in respect of employment contracts while also presenting the top performers at confederation, association and club levels.
The report also features a complete list of the number of transfers in each member association for each of the respective categories.
Prudential Africa Becomes Official Insurance Partner of AFCON 2021
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A foremost underwriting company, Prudential Africa Plc, has become the official insurance partner of the ongoing 33rd edition of Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2021 in Cameroon.
This followed the sponsorship deal signed by the organisation with the Confederation of African Football (CAF), the highest football governing body on the continent.
Speaking at a press conference to announce the sponsorship, the Chief Representative Officer, Prudential Northern Africa Region, Mr Eric Mboma, noted that the partnership underscores the company’s commitment to the African continent.
“As we grow our business in Africa, we also want to support the passion and talent of its people. Africans share a common love for football and we are honoured to be part of a tournament that unites the continent and brings together the brightest talents of African football,” he said.
Mr Mboma added, “Through sports, Prudential wants to encourage people to stay active and lead more healthy lifestyles. As a life insurer, we believe that health and wellness are important for people to live fulfilling lives.”
Commenting on the deal, the General-Secretary of CAF, Mr Véron Mosengo-Omba, stated that, “We are excited and pleased to have on board Prudential Africa as a partner. We share a common purpose in our commitment to developing local talent as well as driving prosperity for the people of Africa.”
AFCON 2021 started on January 9 and will run till February 6, 2022.
Prudential Africa is a global financial services group providing life insurance, pensions and asset management products and services to approximately 20 million customers in Asia and Africa.
It has life insurance operations in eight countries across Africa: Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Nigeria.
For nearly a decade, the life insurer has been providing affordable insurance and health solutions. Today, it serves more than 1.7 million customers through a distribution network of more than 13,000 agents and 600 branches.
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