Former Nigerian international striker Odion Ighalo has said that he hopes his loan deal at Manchester United is extended until the Premier League season is completed.
The 30-year-old moved from Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua in January on a loan which expires on 31 May.
The English Premier League hopes to resume the season in June but this may conflict with the Chinese Super League who are also scheduled to commence their new season during the same period, meaning that Ighalo may have to return to his parent club.
Reports from England suggest that Manchester United are keen on extending Ighalo’s loan deal and even signing him on a permanent basis.
The former Watford striker has enjoyed a productive return to the English Premier League, playing eight games in all competitions and scoring four goals. His last goal for Manchester United, the team he supported as a boy, came in the 5-0 win over LASK of Austria in a Europa League last-16 tie on 12 March, 24 hours before the Premier League season was suspended.
United are fifth in the Premier League with nine games remaining.
Ighalo called time on his international career after winning the Golden Boot at last year’s Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt where the Super Eagles finished third. He believes the Premier League will make the right decision in order to ensure players are “safe and healthy” if and when play resumes.
The Premier League is currently finalizing plans for Project Restart, the scheme the body has created for their plans to conclude the 2019/2020 season. However, the plans are for a resumption, rather than starting from scratch entirely. The plan outlines the key dates for clubs to return to training and for matches to take place, as well as outlining how the players will be kept safe.
The meeting will depend heavily on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s national address on Sunday, May 10 on how the country is tackling the coronavirus pandemic and plans for lockdown moving forward.
Meanwhile, the Chinese Super League is hopeful of restarting in late June or early July. Matches will be played behind closed doors initially with fans returning to stadiums in phases. The CSL format will also likely be amended to fit matches into a shorter time frame.
The Chinese football association has made a proposal for all professional clubs to cut the salaries of players and coaches by up to 50% to help combat the financial impact of the pandemic.
Mane and Salah win Premier League title with Liverpool
African stars Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah have helped English club Liverpool end their 30-year wait for a league title after being crowned English Premier League champions on Thursday night.
Manchester City’s 2-1 loss at Chelsea ensured the Reds now have an unassailable 23-point lead with seven matches remaining in the season. Goals from Christian Pulisic and Willian either side of a Kevin De Bruyne freekick saw rapturous celebrations from Liverpool fans all over the world.
Jurgen Klopp had earlier led his Liverpool side to a comprehensive 4-0 win over Crystal Palace 4-0 on Wednesday evening to leave them on the brink of winning the title.
“I have no words. It’s unbelievable,” Klopp said in an interview after the Chelsea win. “It’s much more than I ever thought, to become champions with this outstanding club is unbelievable.”
“It’s an incredible achievement for my players, It’s the best thing I could ever imagine and it’s more than I ever dreamed of,” he said.
Liverpool’s principal owner, John W. Henry, paid tribute to the team’s “magnificent achievement” on social media.
“‘This was a season for the ages and for the faithful of Liverpool Football Club,” Henry, who is head of Fenway Sports Group, tweeted.
“‘It has been an incredible year of magnificent achievement culminating tonight in capturing the Premier League title.
“‘This in addition to winning a European championship, a Super Cup and a world championship — the totality of this accomplishment has brought respite and joy to so many in a year filled with so much tragedy.
“‘LFC has made the beautiful game more beautiful than ever.
“It is said, ‘We are Liverpool’. You, the supporters are Liverpool in every sense and you continue to drive the club forward — a historic club making history once again.”
Nominees released for 2019/2020 Marc Vivien Foe Award
French media outlets RFI and France 24 have released the 11 nominees for the 2019/2020 Marc-Vivien Foe Award
French media outlets RFI and France 24 have released the 11 nominees for the Marc-Vivien Foe Award. The annual event is organized in memory of the late Marc-Vivien Foe, a Cameroonian midfielder who died at the age of 28 while playing for the Indomitable Lions during a 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup match against Colombia.
He had two stints in the French Ligue 1, first turning out for Lens before playing for Olympique Lyon after a short time in England with West Ham United.
Ivorian Nicolas Pépé was the winner of the 2019 edition after a stunning, 22-goal season with Lille who finished as runners up behind Paris St. Germain. Nominees must be eligible to wear the colors of an African national team and must have played at least 15 matches in Ligue 1 in the season under consideration.
The list is dominated by players from Senegal, with no less than four from the runners up at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt. They include PSG’s defensive midfielder Idrissa Gana Gueye, Stade Rennes goalkeeper Edouard Mendy who kept nine clean sheets and saved a penalty from 24 Ligue 1 games, teammate Mbaye Niang who scored 15 goals in 36 games in all competitions and FC Metz’ Habibou Diallo who scored 12 goals.
Nigerian duo Victor Osimhen and Moses Simon will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of Vincent Enyeama, who won the award in 2014. Osimhen had a dream debut campaign in France with Lille, scoring 18 goals in 38 games across all competitions, 13 of them in 27 league games. Simon, who was on loan from Levante had a solid campaign as well, scoring nine goals and providing eight assists from 30 games with Nantes.
African champions Algeria are also represented. Striker Islam Slimani scored nine goals in 19 games across all competitions for Monaco while compatriot Andy Delort also scored nine goals for Montpellier. Both players are hoping to become the first Algerians to win the award.
Gabon and Saint Etienne’s Bouanga Denis, Malian Hamari Toure of Rennes and Morocco’s Younis Abdelhamid of Reims complete the shortlist.
The winner will be announced on or before June 29 2020.
The full list:
Andy Delort (Algeria) Montpellier
Islam Slimani (Algeria) Monaco
Edouard Mendy (Senegal) Rennes
Idrissa Gana Gueye (Senegal) PSG
Habib Diallo (Senegal) FC Metz
Mbaye Niang (Senegal) Rennes
Moses Simon (Nigeria) FCNantes
Victor Osimhen (Nigeria) LOSC
Younis Abdelhamid (Morocco) Reims
Hamari Traoré (Mali) Rennes
Denis Bouanga (Gabon) ASSE
Egyptian league to wait on government
The President of the Egyptian Football Association reveals that the return of sports in the country is solely dependent on the government
The President of the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) Amr El-Gainany has said the return of sports in the country is solely dependent on the government.
All Sporting activities in Egypt have been suspended since 14 March due to the coronavirus pandemic that has hit the world. In Egypt, the number of Covid-19 cases continue to rise, as they are getting close to the 20,000-case mark.
The Egyptian FA president says they are prepared for any scenario as he revealed that the future of Egyptian sports is dependent on the decisions of the government.
“We haven’t taken a final decision regarding the future of sports competitions in Egypt,” said El-Ganainy.
“This decision will be made by the government but until now it wasn’t taken.
“We’re fully prepared if the government decides to continue the league”
“Even if the league is cancelled, we’ll be ready and we prepared several scenarios. We all want to continue the league unless the situation doesn’t allow it.
“In case we continue the league, the games won’t be played on the same pitches or the cities, as we want to limit the movement of the players,” he added.
El-Ganainy also gave an update on the health of the EFA’s technical director Mahmoud Saad who contracted the coronavirus after a meeting with some expatriate Egyptian coaches.
“There are no cases within the EFA, we took all of the precautions and we hope that Mahmoud Saad recovers quickly.
“Mahmoud Saad’s situation is improving every day. I want to thank him for his efforts over the previous year’s especially regarding dealing with athletes returning from abroad. He made a lot of efforts which exhausted him,” he concluded.
The former Zamalek coach will undergo the medical protocol cited by the Egyptian Ministry of Health and will take all the official cautions and measurements to face the virus.
The precautionary measures given by the government have been taken inside the EFA’s headquarters since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the EFA’s Chief Executive Walid El-Attar.
The Egyptian Sports Minister Ashraf Sobhi said recently that football clubs will resume training in June.