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Naomi Osaka withdraws from Italian Open quarter-finals with hand injury

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World number one Naomi Osaka pulled out of the Italian Open quarter-finals on Friday with a right thumb injury, casting doubts over her participation in this month’s French Open.

The 21-year-old Japanese was scheduled to face sixth seed Kiki Bertens after coming through two matches on Thursday in the rain-affected tournament.

But she said she was forced to withdraw due to pain and swelling at the base of her thumb.

“I woke up this morning and couldn’t really move my thumb,” Osaka told reporters.

“I tried to practise and grip my racket but I couldn’t, and I kept feeling this pain when I tried to move my hand in different directions.

“Right now I’m… in between sad and disappointed because I really wanted to play my match today. For me, it was sort of a test to play against Kiki because she’s playing really well and I wanted to see how well I could do today.

“I didn’t feel anything yesterday. That’s why I’m kind of confused right now because I literally woke up in the morning and couldn’t move my thumb. So, I was like, maybe I slept on it and maybe it will go away, but it didn’t.”

An abdominal injury had forced Osaka to pull out ahead of her semi-final clash in Stuttgart last month before she was beaten by Belinda Bencic in the Madrid Open quarter-finals.

“I would describe (my clay season) as rocky,” Osaka added.

“But I can’t necessarily say it’s been ups and downs because if I think about it, it’s definitely been going up. Every match I’ve played I’ve learned a lot. I’ve tried to take what I’ve learned into the next match and I think I’ve done that well.”

Following her U.S. Open and Australian triumphs, Osaka is chasing a third straight Grand Slam trophy at the French Open which begins on May 26.

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U20 WOMEN’S WORLD CUP: FIFA inspection team arrives today

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FIFA inspection team will arrive in Nigeria today to inspect facilities for the country’s FIFA U20

Women’s World Cup 2020 hosting rights bid, the Nigeria Football Federation [NFF] confirmed on Sunday.

Christopher Exley, Sara Jane Booth, Kliment Taseski, Rhiannon Ceirwen Martin and Heyral Kaj Jurgen are the FIFA officials expected in Abuja by Nigeria’s top football officers.

The FIFA delegation from the headquarters of world football body in Zurich will make a detailed inspection of the hosts’ venues, training grounds, hospitals and stadia earmarked for the event.

In a statement to the press, NFF spokesman Ademola Olajire said Lagos, Asaba, Benin City and Uyo have been picked as the four host cities for the women’s age-grade tournament billed for the summer of 2020.

“A five-man inspection team from world football governing body, FIFA will arrive in Lagos on Monday for a four-day inspection of facilities and equipment that Nigeria has put forward to host the 10th FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup championship next year,” the statement read.

“The inspection team will begin its work in Lagos on Tuesday, with visits to the Onikan Stadium (match  venue), St. Nicholas Hospital and Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (referral hospitals), Teslim

Balogun Stadium, National Stadium Legacy Pitch, Eagle Club, Campos Square and the University of Lagos Sports Centre (training sites) before a courtesy call on Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu at the Government House in Alausa.

“Joined by NFF President Pinnick, General Secretary Sanusi, Mainasara Illo (Coordinator of the Bid), Aisha Falode, Commissioner of Police Garba Baba (security) and Dr. Paul Onyeudo (medical), the team will fly to Benin City same day to inspect facilities at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium (match venue), Western Boys College and University of Benin Sports Centre (training sites) and the Edo Specialist Hospital and University of Benin Teaching Hospital (referral hospitals).

“The contingent will check out the facilities in Asaba and Uyo on Wednesday. In Asaba, the Stephen Keshi Stadium is the proposed match venue, while training sites are Asaba Squash Courts and St. Patrick’s College. The referral hospitals are St. Luke’s Hospital and Asaba General Hospital.

“In Uyo, the focus will be on the Godswill Akpabio Stadium (match venue), Ikot Ekpene Stadium and Godswill Akpabio Training Pitch (training sites) and Ibom Specialist Hospital and University of Uyo Teaching Hospital (referral hospitals).

“The inspection party will then fly to Abuja on Thursday for a meeting with the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports, Mr. Olusade Adesola (representing the Honourable Minister) and a courtesy call on His Excellency, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (GCON) at the Presidential Villa.”

Nigeria reached the final in 2010 and 2014 but lost to Germany on both two occasions.

No African nation has hosted a FIFA organised women’s football tournament – a streak Nigeria will be aiming to break by staging the 10th edition next year.

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Nigeria beat Cameroon to reach Quarter-Finals

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The Super Eagles of Nigeria have qualified for the quarter-finals of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, after defeating the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon 3-2 in Alexandria.

Odion Ighalo scored a brace, and Alex Iwobi got one goal to book Nigeria a match next Wednesday with the winner between Egypt and South Africa.

Details Shortly………..

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Buhari urges Super Eagles to honour Nigeria in AFCON

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President Muhammadu Buhari has charged the Super Eagles to play every match for the honour of their motherland as they file out in their first match against Burundi in the African Cup of Nations (AFCON 2019), holding in Egypt.

The President, in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, in Abuja on Saturday, urged the Eagles to lift the flag of Nigeria high, and reinforce the reputation of the country as a football powerhouse on the continent.

He said: “I will be watching, just as millions of Nigerians would also do.

“You have our solid support, and we will cheer you to victory,”he said.

He added: “Nigerians are known for their unconquerable spirit. Show this in the group stages, and even beyond. Nothing but lifting of the diadem is good enough for our country,”he stated.

He also enjoined the Super Eagles to be mindful of fair play, and sportsman like conduct, as they strive to return home with the AFCON trophy.

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