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German Coach Lippert Named as Ghana’s New Football Technical Director2 minutes read

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Ghana Football Association (GFA) have announced the appointment of German coach Bernhard Lippert as the country’s new technical director.

Lippert replaces Francis Oti Akenteng whose contract expired in March after signing a two-year deal.

Prior to his appointment by the GFA, the 58-year-old was the technical director of the Associations of Football Federations of Azerbaijan (AFFA) since 2008.

“Fifa coaching Instructor, Bernhard Lippert has been appointed as technical director of the Ghana Football Association for a period of two years,” the GFA announced on its official website.

“The 58-year-old German trainer is a Fifa expert in instructing and training coaches.

“As technical director of the Ghana FA, he will head the Technical Directorate and formulate guidelines, strategies and policies for the training and the technical development of coaches of Ghana football, to provide advice to the Executive Council on coaching and technical development matters in general and the supervision of national football team coaches, to which the technical director may be assigned by the Association.

“Bernhard Lippert will be responsible for the strategy, development and technical direction of the Technical Directorate, the preparation and implementation of technical programmes at the grassroots, juvenile, and national teams thereby preparing football coaches and footballers for the future.”

Lippert also coached Azerbaijan’s U17, U19 and U21 teams. He managed German club side Eintracht Frankfurt where he also worked as an assistant coach, youth education supervisor and head coach of the clubs U23 side. Lippert also had short coaching stints with Bayern Munich and Leeds United.

“He [Lippert] shall be required to build the capacity of the of Technical Directorate of the Association that will include but not limited to the following departments; Coach Education, Referee Education, Talent Identification, Performance Analysis, Technical Studies and Video Analysis, Health and Nutrition, Sports Psychology, Strength and Conditioning and Sports Medicine,” the GFA statement continued.

“As part of his functions, the Technical Director will arrange courses and conferences for Match Officials, Team Officials, Instructors, Trainers and Administrators.

“He is also expected to assess the training programme of the National Teams, examine reports on players made by the Handlers (Team Managers, Coaches and the Welfare Officers), analyse International Matches and advise the Association.”

Also, Black Stars team psychologist Prof. Joseph Mintah has been appointed as Ghana’s new director of coaching education on a two-year deal.

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Anthony Joshua and Odion Ighalo Weigh in on Violence in Nigeria as Soldiers Open Fire on Protesters

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Sports stars of Nigerian heritage have taken to social media to condemn the brutal crackdown on protesters in Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos and other cities following days of protests in the country.

Since October 8, protesters have been carrying out peaceful demonstrations across the nation and social media calling for the disbanding of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police.

However, the protests assumed a violent dimension last week when thugs attacked peaceful protesters in Lagos and Abuja. And on Tuesday 20 October, the violence escalated with 43 protesters and six policemen reportedly killed. There were also reported cases of arson and looting.

Two-time unified heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua posted on social media that he was praying for peace in the country and doing his best to support victims. The WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO champion, whose full name is Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua, was born in Watford, England to Nigerian parents.

In a video uploaded on his Twitter handle, he said:

“This is a message to the people of Nigeria. Even though i’m no there with you in the physical, we’ve been making some tangible efforts to try and support your protests on the ground.

“I know it’s getting to a stage where things are heating up and tensions are high, but in my prayers at night, i’m praying for peace and positivity, because i know that the people on ground aren’t trying to be heard for their own benefit. It’s for the benefit of the next generation.

“Me myself, i’ve had to take time to understand the issues that people in Nigeria are facing. Why sometimes i’m silent is because i’ve learnt that my silence can’t be misquoted. So me and my family and my close friends have been trying to do something tangible things and we’re organizing many care packages for the people on the ground. So even if i’m in my training camp and we’re in London, we can support you guys from a distance.

“December the 12th, i’m competing and after that i’m going to try and make some plans to come to Nigeria to meet my friends and family and meet some of the people trying to make long lasting change. But for sure, from London and far and wide, your voices are definitely being heard.

“So keep on pushing, keep on striving. You have my support through and through. My ears and my eyes have been opened. I understand the issues that you guys are facing and for some people what i’m going to do will be enough. And for some people it may not be enough. But together as we hold hands and push for a better change, we all move forward in a positive direction. So keep on pushing. Your voices have definitely landed in my ears. And you definitely have my support.”

It was announced last week that Joshua would make a mandatory title defense against Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev on December 12 at the O2 Arena in London.

However, Manchester United and former Nigeria international Odion Ighalo was particularly scathing of the authorities, condemning the violence and urging the UK government, the UN and world leaders to act.

Also speakng in a video posted on his Twitter handle, he said:

“I’m sad and heartbroken and i don’t know where to start from. I’m not the type of guy that talks about politics but i can’t keep quiet anymore about what is going on back home in Nigeria.

“I would say to the Nigerian government, you guys are a shame to the world for killing your own citizens. Sending military to the streets to kill unarmed protesters because they are protesting for their rights is uncalled for.

“Today 20th October 2020, you people will be remembered in history as the first (civilian) government that sent the military into cities to start killing its own citizens.

“I am ashamed of this government. We are tired of you guys and we can’t take this anymore. I’m calling on the UK government, calling on leaders all over the world, to please see what is going on in Nigeria and help us. The government is killing its own citizens. We are calling on you guys and the UN to see to this matter. And i want to call on my brothers and sisters back home to remain safe. Stay indoors and don’t come out because this government are killers and they will keep killing if the world does not talk about this.”

Ighalo posted the video after Manchester United won 2-1 at the Parc des Princes in Paris against Paris Saint-Germain in their opening Group H match of the UEFA Champions League. He was an unused substitute.

In the Lekki area of Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos, armed soldiers allegedly shot sporadically at protesters, killing no fewer than seven persons in the process. The soldiers had been deployed to enforce a curfew announced by the Lagos State governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

Many protesters were also said to have sustained bullet wounds as a result of the attack that occurred suddenly after the giant video billboard on a tollgate where the protesters have been demonstrating for days and the streetlights within the area were switched off.

The Nigerian government, led by President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired military general, had announced the scrapping of the SARS unit as well as a raft of reforms over a week ago. Officials called for the demonstrations to be suspended to give the authorities time to make good on their pledges. However the move failed as protesters responded that they had no trust or faith in the government.

Around half of Nigeria’s 200 million population is estimated to live in extreme poverty. Unemployment is widespread among the youth who have been reportedly targeted for arbitrary arrests, extortion, abduction, torture and extra-judicial killings by the security forces, especially the much loathed and dreaded SARS.

Africa’s biggest oil producer is currently facing a recession as the fall in crude prices sparked by the coronavirus pandemic has battered government finances creating much social unrest.

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) estimates the Nigerian economy could have lost an estimated N700 billion (over $1.7 billion) to the #EndSARS protests in the last 12 days.

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Nigerian Government Lifts Ban on Contact Sports

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The Presidential Task Force (PTF) set up by the Nigerian government on Covid-19 alongside the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development in the country have lifted the ban on contact sports.

According to a statement from the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the ban was lifted because of the reduction in the cases of Covid-19 across the country.

The Nigerian government had suspended all sporting activities in March due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic to curtail the spread of the virus.

The Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare via his Twitter handle stated that the news was a welcome development.

“We welcome the lifting of D ban on football by the PTF.

“The lifting of restriction on outdoor activities including football is in line with earlier consultations with Ministry of Youth and Sports and NCDC. However, this is limited to the actual sports itself & not mass gathering”. The minister twitted.

The ministry also stated that there are Covid-19 protocols that must be followed as well.

“The Ministry has done all that’s necessary and required, especially with regard to the COVID-19 protocols.

“The PTF, Health Ministry, and National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) have also guided appropriately,” the statement said.

Football activities are now expected to resume across Nigeria without the fans in the stadia.

Following this development, the League Management Company (LMC) is expected to announce the date for the start of the new league season.

On March 18, the LMC announced the suspension of the 2019/2020 league season caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

After much deliberations, the Points Per Game option was used in picking the country’s representatives for the CAF club competitions, while there was no promotion or relegation across all of the leagues.

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Kenyan marathon star Wanjiru banned for doping

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Kenyan marathon runner Daniel Wanjiru has been handed a four-year ban by the Athletics Integrity Unit for an Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) violation.

The 2017 London Marathon winner was provisionally suspended in April for the “use of a prohibited substance/method” after “abnormalities were found in his athlete biological passport.

Wanjiru insisted that he has never used a banned substance, calling the charge “confusing and frustrating”.

From April 20, 2017 to April 25, 2019, World Athletics collected 16 ABP blood samples from Wanjiru.

The case centered around the sample 14 taken from Wanjiru on March 9, 2019 when he flew to London and competed in the London Half Marathon on March 10 and flew back to Kenya the next day.

The 15th sample was taken on March 13, 2019 in Kenya.

An expert panel explained about the abnormalities in Wanjiru’s 14th sample.

“Besides violation of the ABP individual haemoglobin concentration (HB) and OFF score limit the HB value recorded in sample 14 (19.4 g/l) is extraordinarily high for a healthy young man.

“In this context the extreme, abrupt and transitory increase of HB from 17.4 in sample 13 to 19.4 g/dL in sample 14 does not have any physiological explanation.

“Even in this case, a change of this inordinate rapidity and amplitude (-2.6 g/dL), and in such direction has neither any physiological nor any pathological explanation, in the absence of a severe and certified medical condition associated with loss of a large amount of blood.”

“Increase of HB from sample 13 to sample 14, and its sudden decrease from sample 14 to sample 15 cannot be explained by any other cause than blood manipulation.

“Considering the information… and in the absence of an appropriate explanation, that it is highly likely that a prohibited substance or prohibited method has been used and that it is unlikely that the passport is the result of any other cause.”

The tribunal accepted the expert panel’s view and has banned Wanjiru for four years, with the sanction backdated to December 9, 2019. Wanjiru will remain banned until December 8 2023.

Wanjiru’s ban means that all his results from March 9, 2019 “are disqualified with all resulting consequences including forfeiture of any medals, titles, ranking points and prize and appearance money”, an AIU statement said.

Wanjiru won the London Marathon in a time of 2 hours, 5 minutes and 48 seconds in 2017, and finished 8th at the same event the following year.

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