Epunchng - Most read newspaper in Nigeria Thursday, December 7, 2017 - Page 46

46 THURSDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2017 sports E Eagles to play England friendly in June ngland are set to play Nigeria in a World Cup warm-up game in June, according to the General Secretary of the Nigeria Football Federation Mohammed Sanusi, Skysports reports. Both nations will feature at next year’s World Cup Idris Adesina by playing in the final of all the events,” he said. He said the federation had invited 47 players for the first phase of the Commonwealth Games trials, which holds simultaneously with the National Open. The invited players include 30 able players and 17 para- athletes that are expected to jostle for places in the teams to the multi-sports championships on April 4 to 15. NTTF to select players for C’Games T he 2017 Nigeria Table Tennis Federation National Open as well as the Commonwealth Games trials have been scheduled to hold from December 11 to 16 at the National Stadium in Lagos. Technical director and national coach Nosiru Bello told our correspondent that the players would compete for honours in 18 events at the National Open. The para-athletes will compete in eight events for men and women. Bello said more than N2m in prizes are at stake in the tournament. Sola Oyetayo and Cecilia Otu-Akpan were the winners of the men and women’s singles in 2016. “We want to get the best players to represent us at the Commonwealth Games next year. In 2014, we were able to win bronze in the team event. In 2018, we want to go one step higher A in Russia, with Nigeria drawn in Group D along with Argentina, Croatia and Iceland, while Gareth Southgate’s side will play Belgium, Panama and Tunisia in Group G. England are scheduled to play the Netherlands in a friendly on March 23 before hosting Italy four days later. They will meet Tunisia in their World Cup opener at the Volgograd Arena on June 18. “We plan to play a friendly against England in June, before the World Cup,” Sanusi said, adding that the venue and other details of the match were still to be worked out. Conte fined over ref rant ntonio Conte has been fined £8,000 by the Football Association following his dismissal for a furious touchline tirade in Chelsea’s win over Swansea, AFP reports. Blues boss Conte was sent to the stands late in the first half of Chelsea’s 1-0 victory at Stamford Bridge on November 29. The Italian, already frustrated by Swansea going unpunished for time-wasting, earned his marching orders for blasting fourth official Lee Mason following referee Neil Swarbrick’s failure to award Chelsea a clear corner. Conte apologised after the match to Swarbrick and Mason, but that was not enough to prevent the FA charging him last week. He accepted the charge and has now been hit with the fine. “Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has been fined £8,000 after he admitted an FA misconduct charge and accepted the standard penalty,” an FA statement said. There has been no confirmation from the Football Association on pre- World Cup friendlies. The two countries met E in a friendly in November 1994, which England won 1-0 at Wembley courtesy of a David Platt goal. They then played out a Kahn, Matthaeus warn Neuer x-Germany captains Oliver Kahn and Lothar Matthaeus have warned current skipper Manuel Neuer not to risk his career by rushing back from injury ahead of next year’s World Cup, AFP reports. “He should give himself the necessary time,” Matthaeus, 56, who captained Germany to the 1990 World Cup title, told magazine Sport Bild. “If something else happens, not only the World Cup will be over for him, but his career will be in danger. The only thing which counts is: zero risk!” Bayern Munich shot- stopper Neuer, 31, is not expected back until January at the earliest after injuring Wenger rejects Mournho jibe A 0-0 draw in the group stages of the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan, with the point helping England advance from Group F. rse n e W e n g e r has rejected Jose Mourinho’s jibe that the Arsenal manager had falsely claimed Alexandre Lacazette would not play against Manchester United, Skysports reports. Mourinho joked with reporters following United’s 3-1 win at the Emirates on Saturday after Lacazette played 90 minutes, despite Wenger saying he would “certainly” miss the game. The Arsenal boss insisted he is always honest and maintained that he thought the France international striker would not be fit to start. When asked about Mourinho’s comments, Wenger said, “I thought he wouldn’t play but in the end he could play. “What did you want me to do, to leave him at home? “I’m always honest. I thought he wouldn’t play, that was I had been told and after he had a test on Friday morning he went to the game and we were not sure if he would play. “But, he tried and he played. That’s part of football.” himself in September when he fractured his left foot for the second time this year. Neuer had previously fractured the same foot in April, aggravating a previous injury after rushing back to face Real Madrid in the quarterfinal defeat in the Champions League. With an eye on the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Neuer wants to return as soon as possible, but former Bayern and Germany goalkeeper Kahn also urged caution based on his own experiences. “In 1994, I had a severe injury with a cruciate ligament tear and also wanted to play again very early,” said Kahn, 48, who captained Germany in their 2002 World Cup final defeat by Brazil. “I see a certain parallel here, as he also wanted to return from injury very early with his quick comeback against Real Madrid.”