Frank Lampard Confirmed As Chelsea Manager

Last-Gasp Goal Gives Lampard Winning Start With Derby
(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 25, 2017 Chelsea and England former football player Frank Lampard gestures to the fans on the pitch at half-time during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Swansea at Stamford Bridge in London. Adrian DENNIS / AFP


Frank Lampard was appointed Chelsea head coach on Thursday, confirming a dramatic return for one of the club’s greatest ever players.

Lampard has signed a three-year contract with Chelsea, where he spent 13 years and became the team’s all-time leading scorer with 211 goals.

The former England midfielder succeeds Maurizio Sarri after just one season in management, having led Derby County to the Championship play-off final in May, when they were beaten by Aston Villa.

“I am immensely proud to be returning to Chelsea as head coach,” Lampard said in a club statement.

“Everyone knows my love for this club and the history we have shared, however, my sole focus is on the job in hand and preparing for the season ahead.

“I am here to work hard, bring further success to the club and I cannot wait to get started.”

Chelsea said Lampard has a “fantastic relationship” with the club’s supporters and he will certainly lift the mood after a fractious season under Sarri.

Despite finishing third in the Premier League and winning the Europa League, Sarri was criticised for his eccentric approach and rigid style of play.

Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia said: “It gives us great pleasure to welcome Frank back to Chelsea as head coach.

“Frank possesses fantastic knowledge and understanding of the club and last season, he demonstrated he is one of the most talented young coaches in the game.

“After 13 years with us as a player, where he became a club legend and our record goalscorer, we believe this is the perfect time for him to return and are delighted he has done so.

“We will do everything we can to ensure he has all the support required to be a huge success.”

Derby granted Chelsea permission to speak to Lampard on June 25, with negotiations taking over a week to conclude.

He is expected to bring Jody Morris with him to Stamford Bridge. Morris also played for Chelsea and worked as Lampard’s assistant at Derby.

Lampard made 648 appearances for Chelsea, winning three Premier League titles, four FA Cups and two League Cups, as well as the Europa League and the Champions League. He was voted Player of the Year three times by the club’s fans.

Chelsea added: “(He) left a remarkable legacy in the game as a player. We hope he will do likewise as a manager.”


Roberto Mancini Named Italy Head Coach


Roberto Mancini Named Italy Head Coach
Roberto Mancini   Photo: Giuseppe CACACE / AFP


Former Manchester City and Inter Milan boss Roberto Mancini has been given the job of reviving the fortunes of Italy’s national team, the Italian football federation (FIGC) confirmed on Monday.

Italy have been without a permanent coach since Gian Piero Ventura was sacked after the four-time world champions failed to qualify for this summer’s World Cup for the first time in 60 years after losing a playoff to Sweden last November.

The 53-year-old’s task will be to rebuild the national side and to qualify for the 2020 European championship.

Italian FA commissioner Roberto Fabbricini said Mancini has been chosen because he “had a great desire to sit on the Italy bench and he proved it in a concrete way”.

“It went the way we wanted, we are happy and Roberto is happy,” Mancini told journalists after the contract was signed in Rome.

“Tomorrow will be the official presentation at Coverciano, it will be the formalisation of a long-standing discussion.

“We’ll explain everything about the contract tomorrow, hes very happy and so are we.”

Mancini arrived in Rome on Monday morning after leaving Russian club Zenit Saint Petersburg at the weekend.

He will hold his first press conference on Tuesday at 12:00 (1000GMT) at the national team’s training centre at Coverciano near Florence.

Mancini led Manchester City to their first English league title in 44 years in 2012, and won three Serie A titles with Inter Milan. He also won Italian Cups with Inter, Fiorentina and Lazio.

Since leaving Etihad Stadium in 2013, Mancini also managed Galatasaray and Inter Milan before joining Zenit in June 2017.

Fabbricini added: “Tomorrow he will explain to you how he’ll organise his work, starting with these first (friendly) matches.”

The Italy squad will convene on May 22 ahead of friendlies against Saudi Arabia (May 28), France (June 1) and the Netherlands (June 4).

Mancini, a former Lazio and Sampdoria forward, had said coaching the national side would be “extraordinary” and would allow him to fulfil his dream of winning the World Cup.

He never became a regular with Italy during his 10-year international career, during which he won 36 caps and scored four goals.

He reached the semi-finals of Euro 1988, and was in the squad that finished third in the 1990 World Cup on home soil.

Luigi di Biagio had stepped up from the Under-21s to take interim charge of the senior national side but will now make way for Mancini.

Chelsea Announce Antonio Conte As Head Coach

Antonio ConteChelsea Football Club has announced the appointment of Antonio Conte as First Team Head Coach.

Conte, who is currently the manager of the Italy national side, has signed a three-year contract. He will begin work in London following his country’s participation in this summer’s Euro 2016 tournament.

The 46-year-old said: “I am very excited about the prospect of working at Chelsea Football Club. I am proud to be the coach of the national team of my country and only a role as attractive as manager of Chelsea could follow that.

“I am looking forward to meeting everyone at the club and the day-to-day challenge of competing in the Premier League.

“Chelsea and English football are watched wherever you go, the fans are passionate and my ambition is to have more success to follow the victories I enjoyed in Italy.

“I am happy we have made the announcement now so everything is clear and we can end the speculation. I will continue to focus on my job with the Italian national team and will reserve speaking about Chelsea again until after the Euros.”

Conte will be the fifth Italian to manage Chelsea, following on from Gianluca Vialli, Claudio Ranieri, Carlo Ancelotti and Roberto Di Matteo. In common with the first three of those names, he was formerly at Juventus, in his case as both a player and a manager.

Having played more than 400 games for the Italian giants, Conte’s three years in charge of the team between 2011 and 2014 yielded three straight Serie A titles – Juventus’s first league championships in eight years and their first three-in-a-row since the early 1930s. They had finished seventh the two seasons prior to Conte.

The Bianconeri also won two Italian Super Cups with him in charge. Andrea Pirlo, Paul Pogba, Carlos Tevez and Arturo Vidal were among his signings during a spell so productive he was named Serie A Coach of the Year in all three seasons there.

Chelsea Director Marina Granovskaia said, “We are very pleased to have recruited one of the most highly regarded managers in world football and we are equally pleased to do so before the end of the current season. This aids our future planning.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Guus Hiddink, who has done a great job since he joined us in December.”

Chelsea Chairman Bruce Buck added, “Antonio Conte has a record of consistent success in his career as a manager and as a player. We look forward to welcoming him to Stamford Bridge and are confident he will find all he needs to maintain that high standard of achievement.”

Nigerian Table Tennis Players, Weightlifters Start Preparation For 11th AAG

AAGThe Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) has called up 20 players to resume camp for the 11th All-Africa Games (AAG) holding in Brazzaville, Congo.

Chief Coach of the Nigeria table tennis team, Nosiru Bello, said that the invited players were selected based on their performance in some of the international and national competitions in the last one year.

Africa’s most decorated table tennis player, Segun Toriola, and 2014 ITTF star player, Aruna Quadri, topped the list of 10 male players invited to camp.

Also, Seun Ajetunmobi, who has been out of the national team in the last two years will be returning to the team as one of the invited players.

Other male players include Ojo Onaolapo, Kazeem Makanjuola, Olaniran Boboye, Olawale Fagbamila, Hammed Hafeez and junior sensations, Nurudeen Hassan and Olasunkanmi Oginni.

The female players will be led by Germany based Funke Oshonaike and Edem Offiong, while others are Cecilia Otu-Akpan, Janet Effiom, Rashidat Ogundele, Bosede Odusanya, as well as junior sensations, Tosin Oribamise, Ajoke Ojomu and Halimot Ayinla.

10 players made up of five male and five female will make the final list to AAG.

Similarly, the Nigeria Weightlifting Federation (NWF) has also invited 30 lifters to camp in Abuja for the AAG in September.

The weightlifters were selected from the just concluded national trials in Ibadan, Oyo State.

According to a statement from the federation, Andrew Ekanem has been appointed as the Head Coach and is expected to work with four other coaches for the games.

Flying Eagles Spank Highlanders 10-0 In Friendly Match

Flying Eagles

Nigeria’s U-20 team, Flying Eagles, recorded yet another big win against Nigeria Nationwide Division 3 side, Highlanders of Kaduna, when they trounced them 10-0 in a final test game on Friday before embarking on their Christmas holidays.

Skipper Musa Muhammed and Samuel Mathias scored a brace each with six other players on the score sheet – Mustapha Abdullahi, Billy Auta, Nafiu Kabuga, Akinjide Idowu, Israel Emmanuel and Jacob Njoku

Both teams also missed a penalty each with a Highlanders player sent off after 59 minutes.

The rampant Flying Eagles also hit the cross bar thrice.

But it was Highlanders who first stunned their opponents after just five minutes of action when they struck the crossbar.

The Nigeria U20s then took over the attacking initiative thereafter, with Ifeanyi Matthew’s left-footed shot just missing the target narrowly, before Mathias opened scoring after eight minutes.

Musa Muhammed doubled the lead of the Flying Eagles in the 20th minute off a low cross by fellow fullback Mustapha Abdullahi.

Billy Auta made 3-0 in the 28th minute, before skipper Muhammed again hit target on 50 minutes via a superb free kick.

Mathias netted the Flying Eagles fifth goal after 63 minutes, when he toe-poked his effort home.

Giwa FC goalkeeper Olorunleke Ojo saved a penalty awarded Highlanders in the 78th minute, before fullback Mustapha Abdullahi continued his rich vein of form in front of goal with a sixth goal for the Nigeria U20s when he capitalised on a defensive blunder.

In 85th minute, Abdullahi Alfa missed a penalty after the goalkeeper fouled a goal-bound Mathias.

There were also late goals by Kabuga, Israel Emmanuel, Akinjide Idowu and FC Porto midfielder Jacob Njoku.

The Flying Eagles will now regroup for a second phase of training camp on December 27.

The U-20 team resumed camping in Kaduna on November 30 with mainly home based players.

The Head Coach, Manu Garba, said that about 8 foreign players are expected to join the team when the players return from the Christmas holiday on December 28.

Garba has already reeled out a list of 30 players to begin a screening exercise for the fast approaching tournament billed for Senegal.

The 30 players called up are made up of the core of the squad that qualified the team for the 2015 AYC in Senegal from March and several players from the Nigeria Premier League.

Speaking to Channels Television shortly after the match, Coach Garba expressed satisfaction with the performance of the players, but added that a lot of work needed to be done in the defence and midfield.

Nigerian Super Eagles Intensify Training For CHAN

The Super Eagles technical crew have adopted a tougher training schedule as the home based team goes into the second week of camping in preparation for the African Nations Championship (CHAN), in South Africa.

From Monday, December 16, the team will train twice in the morning and evening time as coaches try to select the best men for the tournament.

Head Coach, Stephen Keshi said that there was little time left for the technical crew to trim the present squad from 30 players to 23, hence the need to intensify training and get the best out of the players in camp.

It’s expected that by the end of the week, the team would have been pruned down in preparation for departure to South Africa in the first week of January.

At the moment, not even the established players like Chigozie Agbim, Sunday Mba, Solomon Kwambe, Gambo Mohammed, Benjamin Francis and Azubuike Egwuekwe are sure of shirts, as Keshi made it clear that only the fittest and the best as shown in training and practice matches would be picked for the tournament.

The team has also shifted its training site from the FIFA Goal Project arena to the training pitch of the Abuja National Stadium, to get used to natural turf, which organisers of CHAN 2014 will use for the tournament.

The tournament holds in South-Africa from January 11, to February 1, 2014.

NFF Not Rescinding Decision On Backroom staff

[highlight]The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has reiterated that its plan on cutting down the backroom staff of the national team is a done deal as it is not rescinding its decision on that.[/highlight]

According to the chairman, media and publicity committee of the federation; Emeka Inyama, the planned downsizing is not to put a clog in the wheel of Stephen Keshi’s progress that is the Super Eagles head coach, as contrary to report, Keshi and the NFF are working hand in hand for the Super Eagles of Nigeria to get a slot in the finals of the 2014 World Cup.

Keshi himself denied the report that he will be resigning as the head coach of the Super Eagles some days back corroborating the statement made by Emeka Inyama that he is working hand in hand with the NFF to ensure the smooth and successful achievement of several targets for the national team which is his mission.

NFF has also denied the idea of bringing in an expatriate as the head coach saying it is not part of their plans right now as the federation will be working with Stephen Keshi and their support for the head coach is 100 per cent.

FIFA Confed Cup Our Next Challenge — Eagles

Nigeria’s Super Eagles players are basking in the euphoria of their victory at the just concluded Afcon 2013 in South Africa where the Coach Stephen Keshi led squad lifted the African Cup of Nations trophy a record third time since 1994.

The players spearheaded by their captain veteran player Joseph Yobo who has been wearing the Super Eagles jersey as a defender for 11/12 years now saluted the head coach Stephen Keshi who has now won the African title as a player in Tunisia 1994 and as a coach in 2013 for the victory as he gave and showed some level of confidence in the squad.

Looking ahead, the players say they are moving forward and their next target now is the Fifa Confederations Cup which will taking place in Brazil come June 2013, they see it as a bigger event than the AFCON 2013 because it is a ‘Festival of Champions’ as it is also called and they hope to make Nigeria and Africa proud.

As African champions, Nigeria’s Super Eagles has been grouped with World Champions Spain, Uruguay and Tahiti in Group B of the Confederations Cup in Brazil.

AFCON 2013:Distraction Is The Last Thing Eagles Need Now — Keshi

The Head Coach of the Super Eagles; Stephen Keshi ahead of the preparations for the 2013 Nations Cup in South Africa has asked Nigerians to let the Super Eagles concentrate on their preparation and not to distract them from their focus towards the AFCON 2013 preparations which is not at a very crucial stage.

Keshi went further to explain that he is not against critics of the Super Eagles as he is only sounding the warning to those who are plying the path of distraction rather they should drum support for the national team in their quest.

Also the former NFA Chairman Alhaji Ibrahim Galadima led by example to align with coach Stephen Keshi on the issue of supporting the Super Eagles, as he called on all Nigerians to join him in praying for the team’s success in South Africa.

“The team has done well so far and we should help Keshi by praying for the team. I have already started praying for the team and I hope the rest of the Nigerian football public will do same,” he said from his Kano base.

“The entire team needs absolute concentration but every day there are reports about divisions in the team and several other negative stories and that is not good for the type of team we want to build for the Nations Cup.”

Keshi said that the team is in a top shape right now the necessary support needed from the right quarters has been very impressive thanks to the Alhaji Aminu Miagari-led NFF Executive Committee as Keshi commended the committee and prayed that the  support will continue all the way to the Nations Cup championship.