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Fifa hands Nigerian player, Orji Okonkwo, four-year ban for doping

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Nigerian striker, Orji Okonkwo, has been handed a four-year suspension from football by world’s football governing body, Fifa, after he was found guilty of doping.

Fifa, in a statement on Sunday, said the 24-year-old forward who plays for Serie A side, Bologna, was initially handed a ban by Italian anti-doping agency, Nado Italia, in June.

Fifa’s disciplinary committee has now extended the Nado Italia sanctions to have “worldwide effect”, according to its chairperson Jorge Ivan Palacio.

“Consequently, the Committee decided to extend the sanction imposed on the player by the Italian Nado on 20 June 2022.

“More specifically, the player is sanctioned with a four years suspension from all football-related activities in accordance with the decision,” a Fifa statement said.

Okonkwo who won the 2015 Under-17 World Cup for Nigeria in Chile alongside the likes of Napoli’s Victor Osimhen and Villareal’s Samuel Chukwueze, had allegedly tested positive for a banned steroid, Clostebol, during a loan spell at Cittadella in the Italian lower league.

However, the player has continued to maintain his innocence and claimed he used the substance which is listed is on the World Anti-Doping Code, to treat a problematic knee,

His ban has been backdated to 25 February and he will be free to play again on 24 February 2026.

His representatives have, however, stated that Okonkwo will appeal against the decision of Fifa at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas).

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Nigeria’s John Obi Mikel retires from football as one of African most decorated stars

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Former Nigerian international footballer, John Mikel Obi has retired from the sport after a boisterous career both home and abroad.

The 35-year-old Nigerian started his career at the age of 12 when picked as a talented footballer by over 3,000 young talents to play in Pepsi Football Academy. Mikel would later have his professional career in Norway, England, China, Turkey, and Kuwait.

His most successful club career stint was at Chelsea football club of England which he joined after a dramatic transfer battle between Chelsea and Manchester United.  Mikel enjoined eleven years of stay at the London club where he won 2 Premier League titles, 3 FA Cup, 1 Football League Cup, 1 FA Community Shield, 1 UEFA Champions League, and 1 UEFA Europa League.

On the national stage, Mikel won the Africa Cup of Nations with the Super Eagles of Nigeria in 2013 and a third-place finish in 2006, 2010, and 2019. He was also the captain of Nigeria’s Summer Olympic team that won bronze in 2016

Meanwhile, there have been congratulatory messages and accolades to the former Nigerian star by his former clubs, football bodies, and colleagues.

 

His personal honour includes FIFA World Youth Championship Silver Ball in 2005, CAF Most Promising Talent of the Year in 2005, Chelsea Young Player of the Year: 2007, and 2008, He was part of the CAF Team of the Year in 2005 and 2013, Africa Cup of Nations Team of the Tournament in 2013, and ended as African Footballer of the Year runner-up: 2013.

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(VIDEO) Big shame as Mali women’s basketball players fight following World Cup match loss

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It was a show of shame on Monday when two members of Mali’s women basketball team at the ongoing FIBA Women World Cup in Sydney, Australia, threw caution to the wind and engaged each other in fisticuffs afterafter the team was defeated 81-68 by Serbia.

The two players, Salimatou Kourouma and Kamite Elisabeth Dabou, were caught on video going at each other’s throat during a post-match interview with Serbian player, Sasa Cado, in the post game mixed zone and was captured by a Serbian news camera.

Prior to the shameful fight, Mali which is lowest-ranked side at the tournament at number 37 in the world, had lost their first four games of the tournament and were no longer in contention for the knockout stage.

They even managed to set a record by losing to hosts Australia by a 118-58, a whopping 60 points difference.

Meanwhile, basketball’s world governing body, FIBA, in a statement on Tuesday, says it has opened an investigation into the fight.

The two Malian basketball players engaging in a shameful fight

The two Malian basketball players engaging in a shameful fight (Photo Credit: SNA)

The statement issued by a FIBA spokesperson, confirmed it was aware of the incident.

“FIBA acknowledged today that there was an altercation between Mali players in the mixed zone following the Group B game Serbia-Mali at the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022.

“Following the incident, FIBA has opened an investigation. Once the investigation is concluded, FIBA will decide on any applicable disciplinary measures.”

Mali was only a late replacement for at the World Cup after the Nigeria withdrew from the tournament due to administrative issues around the sport in their country.

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