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Sevilla Beat Inter Milan To Fly Flag For Spain.



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Sevilla’s sixth Europa League triumph in a thrilling final over Inter Milan ensured a Spanish side won one of Europe’s two major competitions for the 10th time in 12 seasons, even in a lean year for La Liga giants Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.

Inter were favourites to end Italy’s decade without a major European prize since they won the Champions League in 2010.

But despite amassing almost an entirely new team over the past year with annual revenues of 230 million euros ($271 million) less than the Nerazzurri, Sevilla’s capacity to upset the odds in the Europa League came through once more in a memorable 3-2 victory in Cologne.

All six of Sevilla’s titles in the competition have come in the past 15 years as the mastery of sporting director Monchi in the transfer market and an unshakable belief despite the annual churn of players and a high turnover of coaches has allowed the Andalusians to form a fearsome foursome from La Liga in European competitions.

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“Never give up is written on our hearts,” said Sevilla boss Julen Lopetegui, himself in his first season with the club.

Barcelona and Real Madrid have each won four Champions Leagues and Atletico three Europa Leagues, alongside two Champions League finals appearances, in the past 15 years as Spanish clubs have swept up 17 of the last 29 major European trophies.

But Sevilla’s success is the most striking without the financial muscle of Barca and Madrid or the stability Atletico have enjoyed in the eight years since Diego Simeone’s arrival as coach.

Victory over Inter continued an incredible record of La Liga clubs against non-Spanish opponents in UEFA finals, with 15 consecutive wins stretching back to 2001.

Sevilla have contributed five of them with their only win over a domestic opponent coming against Espanyol in 2007.

The lone survivor from that side, Jesus Navas, proudly lifted the trophy as captain in Cologne on Friday night.

Also in his second spell at the club, Navas is a perfect illustration of how Sevilla punch above their weight.

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A product of the club’s youth academy, the winger won two Europa Leagues and was part of the side that has come closest to winning La Liga over the past two decades in 2006/07.

As with most of Sevilla’s stars he was sold on, moving to Manchester City for £15 million in 2013, where he never reached the same heights and was derided for his delivery from wide areas.

He returned to Sevilla on a free transfer three years ago and has earned a recall to the Spanish national team thanks to his performances as a right-back.

Despite his deeper position, Navas set up Luuk de Jong’s winner against Manchester United in the semi-finals and provided the cross for the first of the Dutchman’s double against Inter.

De Jong himself was discarded by Newcastle and Borussia Monchengladbach before arriving in Andalusia for 12.5 million euros last summer.

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Ever Banega ran the game in his final game against his former club who let the Argentine return to Sevilla after one season at the San Siro.

“The philosophy of the club is to try to be close to the player, to help the person and not just the footballer adapt as quickly as possible,” Monchi told AFP of the secrets to Sevilla’s success. “The quicker they adapt, the quicker they can develop their talent.”

A fourth-place finish in La Liga had already guaranteed a return to the Champions League next season, where they have never progressed beyond the quarter-finals.

Monchi admitted that is the “next goal” as they seek inspiration from Lyon and Leipzig’s run to the last four this season.

But it is the Europa League where they feel most at home. As the slogan emblazoned on Sevilla’s dressing room wall on Friday read: “No one wants it like us.” And they tend to get what they want.

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Kogi State Ministry of Youth, Sports Development Assures Roboost Partnership With SWAN



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Kogi State Ministry of Youth, Sports Development Assures Roboost Partnership With SWAN


By: Joshua Adinoyi

It was another fruitful deliberation for a progressive course as the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Kogi State Chapter, paid a courtesy visit to the State Ministry of Youth and Sports Development at the State Secretariat, Lokoja the State Capital.

Received by the Honourable Commissioner of the Ministry, Hon. Idris Musa (Oando), the team was accorded a warm welcome with members feeling at home following the friendly environment created by the Ministry.

Hon. Idris Musa, while addressing SWAN, appreciated the body for its efforts so far at disseminating sports news to other parts of the State, the Country and the world at large.

Hon. Musa noted that, today grassroots sports have been receiving adequate coverage, courtesy of the new leadership of the body in the State.

He commended Aturu Bishop, the State Chairman of SWAN for the new lift being experienced since his assumption of Office, urging the body to continue in such light.

He enjoined SWAN to continue to do its best at reporting and promoting sports in the State to the outer world, stressing that there was always reward for good work.

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“I have been listening to your radio presentations and reading your news on various bloggs and other media platforms, your activities thus far is highly commendable

“When you represent us well, you represent yourselves well because we are all Kogites

“As we are all expected to give account of what we are doing, let us also be mindful of what we do as well

“We know what the body did during the “Edo 2020″, all your activities have been highly motivative and the State government is grateful”

The Sports Commissioner assured of the Ministry’s collaboration with SWAN at all times, tasking the Ministry’s Public Relations Officer, Mrs. Victoria Tafu, to always remind the Ministry to include SWAN in its programs.

In his contribution, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr. Slyvanus Akpama, applauded SWAN for living up to expectations, describing the body’s activities in the State so far as unprecedented.

Mr. Akpama stressed that collaboration with the body will go a long way at promoting sports in the State, assuring of a good working relationship between the Ministry and the body.

Earlier, the Kogi State Chairman of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) Aturu Bishop, noted that the body was in the Ministry to make known, the new development of the body and also seek for collaboration with the Ministry to give sports a face lift.

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“We are here to let the Ministry know that SWAN in Kogi State has gotten new Executive
and we are ready to work to achieve an ideal SWAN

“We are here to appreciate the Ministry for its doggedness at promoting sports in Kogi State even in the face of Covid-19 that Sporting activities in some States have been paralyzed and still struggling to rise

“We, as SWAN Members in Kogi State are also here to seek for roboost relationship with the Kogi State Ministry of Youth and Sports Development

“We need more engagement with the Ministry at all times

“We are here for you and we promise to take ownership of the Ministry’s projects in terms of publication”

Bishop pointed out that the State Chapter of SWAN will continue to live up to expectations, adding that members cooperation so far has been the propeller to the successes achieved within a short period.

He added that the State SWAN will continue to promote grassroots sports, promote the welfare of Sports Journalists, amongst others.

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The State SWAN Chairman also appreciated the Commissioner for being down to earth, as he’s always reachable at all times, urging him to sustain such tempo.

In a remark, Elder Sam Egwu of the Leadership Newspaper, describe sports as a unifying factor, capable of bringing people together to achieve a common goal.

“In sports, no religion, no ethnicity, no clan, no tongue, what matters most is to work as a team and ensure victory at the end of the day”

Elder Egwu noted that sports remain a focal point in every State, adding that according attention to the sector will get a lot of youths engaged positively.

Similarly, Odinmayo Olatunde of Grace 95.5fm and Godwin Wambebe of the State Broadcasting Corporation 94.1fm Lokoja, describes Hon. Musa as one of the most outstanding Commissioner of Sports the State has ever produced, following transparency in his activities and his friendship with the Press.

While urging the Commissioner to always carry SWAN along in the Ministry’s activities, they also promised to always promote the Ministry using various Media platforms.

The meeting was also attended by the Ministry’s Director of Administration and Finance (DAF) and the Media Aide to the Honourable Commissioner, Apeh Mordecai.

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By: Godwin Wambebe

The Executive Governor of Kogi State, His Excellency, Alhaji Yahaya Bello on Thursday received a former Nigerian athlete, a former All African Games medalist and 1996 Atlanta Olympian, Fatima Yusuf Olukoju at the Government House, Lokoja.

The Sport loving Governor received the former 400 metre specialist in company of the Speaker of Kogi State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Matthew kolawole and the Chairman, Kogi State Sports Council Board who doubles as the Chairman of Kogi United and the Confluence Queens Football Clubs, Hon. Abdulmalik Isah Dolly.

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The Atlanta 1996 Silver Medalist who arrived the Country from the United States of America, was in the State on a mission to help promote sports activities in Kogi State and also inform Governor Bello of her ambition to participate in the forthcoming election of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) as a zonal representative.

Fatima Olukoju thanked the Governor for his immense contributions to the growth of sports in the State, urging him to sustain such tempo.

“It was nice to see our Governor and I appreciate the warm reception I received

“I will continue to establish relationship with him so his attention can be drawn to our youth sports and I believe good days are ahead for the youth sports in Kogi”

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Fatima Yusuf Olukoju, a retired athlete who born on 2nd May 1971 in Owo, Ondo State, competed mainly in the 400 metres during her career.

She won 400 metres race in the
1991 All-Africa Games and was second in the 200 metres race.

She later competed in the 200 meters at the World
Championship in Spain and she is also the first African woman to run under 50 secs in the 400 meters.

Fatima competed for Nigeria in the 1996 Summer Olympics
held in Atlanta, United States in the 400meters in which she placed 6th with the time of 49.77 and 4 x 400 metres
where she won the Silver medal with her teammates Bisi Afolabi, Charity Opara and Falilat Ogunkoya behind host
nation America.

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Fatima Yusuf Olukoju, has continue to be an inspiration to the younger generation in Kogi State and the Country at large, following her immense achievement in sports during her playing days.

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The game between Kogi United and their guest, Zamfara United went underway at 4pm, Saturday 5th June, 2021 at the Confluence Stadium, Lokoja, Kogi State.

The match which started off at a slow tone picked up minutes later when a controversial foul committed almost gave the host a clear chance at scoring the opener but they were denied by the quick witted visiting goal keeper.

Series of attempts to score by both sides were aborted as both teams were neck and neck in the match.

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28 minutes into the first half, the visiting defense was under a lot of pressure as both attackers and defenders of the hosts stormed their goal area in a bid to score.

This was successful as Danlami Abubakar of Kogi United headed the ball in, to put the home side ahead making it the only goal of the first half.

Ball possessions lost by the hosts got their fans crying out of frustration as they missed major chances to add to their tally.

Another big break came 10 minutes into the second half of the game after a penalty was awarded in favor of the host as Kogi United’s forward, John Jerome was brought down in the 18 yard box of the visitors.

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The penalty was expertly converted by Eghe Osas to double home side’s lead.

All efforts by the visiting FC Zamfara proved abortive the host as United’s solid goalkeeper, Ogbe Salisu, mounts the post with agility.

The finishing touch came during the added time as a sloppy pass made by the visitors saw Jibril Abdulwahab of the home side racing pass the half mark, beating the defense and keeper of the visitors to score a top notch goal.

The result ended United’s seven match winless run in the ongoing league and the team’s first win in the second half of the league.

Kogi United will be visiting the Yobe Desert Stars of Damaturu next week as the fight to negate relegation continues.

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Some fans of Kogi United are hopeful and prayerful that the team records another victory in its scheduled encounter in Damaturu to enable it escape relegation, boost fans confidence, make mark for itself and as well, make Kogites and its fans across the Country proud.

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