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AFCON U23 qualifiers: Ahmed Musa charges Olympic Eagles to go for victory in Sudan

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Ahmed Musa

Super Eagles’ captain, Ahmed Musa, has charged the U23 National Team, Olympic Eagles, to go all out and make the nation proud as they prepare for the final round of this year’s U23 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers against Sudan.

Musa made the call when he showed up at the team’s training session at the FIFA Goal Project in Abuja on Sunday evening.

The Eagles’ skipper added that with hard work and dedication, the team can beat Sudan in Omdurman to stand a bright chance to qualify for the forthcoming U23 AFCON in Egypt.

“I am here to encourage and pledge my support to you due to the importance of the game ahead of you. I have played for the U23 before making my debut for the Super Eagles in 2010, and with dedication, hard work and grace of God, today I’m the Super Eagles captain.

“Nigeria is blessed with a lot talented footballers. I am the captain of the Super Eagles not because I am better than most of the players but due to dedication and hard work. I urge you to go all out and beat Sudan because the game serves as Olympic qualifiers.”

The Imama Amapakabo –led team is expected to depart the shores of the country early next week, with the first leg billed for Thursday, 5th September at the Al Merriekh Stadium in Omdurman.

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The return leg will hold in Asaba, Delta State on Tuesday, 10th September.

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Winners over two legs between Nigeria and Sudan will qualify for the 3rd Africa U23 Cup of Nations, scheduled for Egypt 8th – 22nd November this year.

MORE READING!  Former Serbian footballer commits suicide

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Former Serbian footballer commits suicide

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Miljan Mrdakovic

38-year-old former Serbian footballer, Miljan Mrdakovic has died after reportedly shooting himself in the head.

Miljan Mrdakovic is said to have struggled with depression and anxiety.

Local media report that the retired Partizan Belgrade, Anderlecht, and Gent striker took his own life in his rented Belgrade apartment over the weekend after saying “I can’t take this anymore.”

His heartbroken partner and singer, Ivana Stanic, told the media:

“We had an ideal relationship, everything was great.

“But he had problems, he liked to drink and I think that, in addition to the problems he had with depression, is the main reason why he did it.

“After the end of his career, he struggled to cope because football meant everything to him.

“He started working as an agent, but it is a job where sometimes you have work and earnings, sometimes you don’t. He was depressed and anxious.

“The day before the suicide he drank a little too much and I felt like something bad could happen. I calmed him down, dragged him to bed and we talked all night.

“When we woke up, he started drinking. I froze when I saw a gun next to him. I cried and asked him to put it away and I called his mother to talk to him.

“I asked him to come with me and went to the bathroom to get dressed. Every now and then I looked at what he was doing and then suddenly I heard a shot. I ran away from the apartment and called the paramedics.”

Mrdakovic played for twenty clubs across 10 countries including Vitoria Guimaraes in Portugal and Maccabi Tel Aviv in Isreal. He also played nine matches with Serbia U21s and three times for Serbia at the 2008 Olympics.

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Former club Maccabi Tel Aviv posted a statement, reading:

“Maccabi Tel Aviv is saddened to learn of the passing of the club’s former Serbian striker, Miljan Mrdakovic, who died in tragic circumstances on Friday in his native Belgrade, aged 38.

“Mrdakovic played for Maccabi in the 2006-07 season under then-coach Eli Cohen, and as a 24-year-old he made an immediate impression when in the opening round of the season he scored a spectacular goal against Beitar Jerusalem as he beat three defenders in a solo run that began in his own half before unleashing a powerful shot from the edge of the area.

“That season was his only campaign with Maccabi Tel Aviv in which he scored eight goals and set up four others in 29 appearances. After leaving Maccabi he moved to Portugal.”

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Chelsea target Corona

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Chelsea will turn to Porto star Jesus Corona if they fail to land Jadon Sancho this summer, according to The Express.

Corona has two goals and 17 assists in 41 games for Porto this season, and has been capped 42 times by Mexico.
He will command a fee of around £26m, representing a much cheaper option than £100m+ Sancho.

Chelsea are in the market for wingers with both Pedro and Willian expected to move on this summer.

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The Borussia Dortmund star is one of the Blues’ priority transfer targets in the upcoming window but Frank Lampard faces fierce competition to sign the 20-year-old.

Sancho is valued at over £100million by Bundesliga giants Dortmund while Manchester United are believed to be leading the race for the winger.

Chelsea have cash to spend this summer but could still find themselves priced out of any pursuit, with a number of other reinforcements required in key areas of the squad.

MORE READING!  Chelsea target Corona

Lampard is, therefore, considering less expensive alternatives and Jesus Corona is the latest European star said to be on the Blues’ radar, according to the Daily Star.

The Stamford Bridge outfit are reportedly keeping tabs on Corona as a back-up option in the event of failing to sign Sancho.

The 27-year-old, who can also play wing-back, has two goals and 17 assists in 41 games for Porto this season.

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The Mexico winger has also played 42 times for his national team, and is rated at around £26m.

Inter Milan and Sevilla have also made enquiries about Corona, who supposedly rejected a move to Barcelona for the chance of first-team football at FC Twente back in 2013.

Chelsea are hunting attacking midfielders with both Pedro and Willian out of contract and expected to leave at the end of the season.

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Arsenal begin talks with Coutinho

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Arsenal have been linked with a move for former Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho in recent days, with some reports even suggesting talks have already begun.

The Brazilian looks likely to leave Barcelona when he returns from his loan spell with Bayern Munich at the end of the season, though it remains to be seen whether the Gunners would be able to finance a permanent deal.

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But it’s not only Arsenal fans who might despair if a lack of funds cost Mikel Arteta the chance to sign the 28-year-old this summer.

A year ago, it was Coutinho’s agent, Kia Joorabchian, who was urging owner Stan Kroenke to make more money available for then manager Unai Emery to bolster his squad.

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“I feel for the guys that have just come in – Raul [Sanllehi – head of football] and Edu and [former manager] Unai Emery,” he told talkSPORT last summer.

“I feel for them because we have finally got incredibly knowledgeable footballing people there.

“Raul came in from Barcelona, Edu came from the Brazil national team and is a legend at Arsenal, and Emery is a fantastic coach who has coached at Sevilla and PSG.

“Finally Arsenal have people who really understand football and are footballing people in the backroom staff, but the question is whether or not the finances will be made available.”

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