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Ondo athletes protest non-payment of 16-months allowance

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Staff members of the Ondo State Ministry of Sports working at the state’s sports council, who envisaged resuming today (Monday) for the day’s business, had their plan truncated due to the shutting of the complex gate.

This is no thanks to the protest embarked upon by athletes in the state, who accused the state government of allegedly owing them 16 months allowances.

The athletes, who prevented workers from gaining access into the complex as well as their colleagues who had arrived as early as 6am for trainings, disclosed that aside the non payment of their allowances, they are being paid ridiculous stipend, which according them it is as low as N3,000 monthly per athlete.

Armed with placards, the athletes maintained that “All We Are Saying Pay Our Six Months Stipend, Enough of Suffering”; No More Scoping We Need Our 16 Months Allowances, Enough Is Enough”; ” No Alert No Opening of Gate.”

A weight lifter, Bankole Michael, who spoke with DAILY POST, lamented that Ondo athletes are languishing in penury due to the insensitivity of the state government to the welfare of athletes.

He maintained that they were promised to be paid during the just concluded National Sports Festival held in Abuja but all to no avail.

“It’s quite unfortunate what we are going through in our state as athletes.

“During the festival at Abuja, we went through hell, we agitated before the meagre stipend of N2,000 was paid to us out of the N75 million naira released for the festival.

“After the crisis in Abuja where we (athletes) were subjected to untold hardship, the officials promised that all the allowances would be paid before the yuletide, but none of that came to fruition.

“You won’t believe that all the officials distributed bags of rice and groundnut oil amongst themselves during the yuletide and nothing was given to any athlete, not even a cup of rice.

“What they don’t realize is that if there are no athletes, there won’t be nothing like the Ondo State Sport Council.”

Also, an athlete in the para-lifting category, Kazeem Aminu decried the attitude of the government towards athletes which he said has continued to demoralized them.

“Most of us are graduates and we are being made to go through all this hardship by our government.

“We have families, dependants. We pay rents. But we have not been able to live up to our responsibilities due to the 16 months allowances that are being held by government.”

Reacting to the allegations raised by the athletes, the state’s Commission for Sports and Youth Development, Saka Yusuf-Ogunleye said the state government is on top of the situation.

According to him, eight-month allowances have been approved for the payments of the athletes allowances.

He added that the other eight months was owed by the past administration which he said the Akeredolu’s government has not been notified by the officials of sports council.

The commissioner, who promised to resolve the issue, lauded the athletes for their performance at the National Sports Festival in Abuja.

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Barcelona

I’m really grateful to our fans, Messi speaks after netting hat-trick

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Barcelona talisman, Lionel Messi, was given a standing ovation by Real Betis supporters, after scoring his 33rd La Liga hat trick in their 4-1 win at the Benito Villamarin on Sunday.

Messi opened the scoring with a free kick and added the second before the break after a brilliant Luis Suarez assist.

He completed his treble late on with an exquisite chip, after Suarez and Loren Moron had exchanged goals.

The third Messi strike, which killed off any late hopes of a Betis comeback, drew an ovation from the home supporters which the Argentine international says he has never previously experienced.

“I don’t ever remember a night like this [being applauded by rival supporters].

“I’m really grateful for the way the fans responded. I honestly don’t remember an ovation like that [from rival fans],” Messi told Movistar.

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Football

Sadio Mane top highest goal scorer in Premier League

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Following the conclusion of match-day 31 of the English Premier League, EPL, on Sunday, below are the current highest goal scorers chasing the Golden Boot in the English top-flight league.

Liverpool forward, Sadio Mane scored in his side’s 2-1 win over Fulham on Sunday to take his tally to 17 goals so far this season.

Everton stars, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Richarlison scored in their side’s 2-0 victory over Chelsea on Sunday to take their tallies to 12 goals each.

See top 20 of Premier League highest goal scorers so far below:

18 gaols: Sergio Agüero (Manchester City).

17 goals: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal), Harry Kane (Tottenaham), Sadio Mane (Liverpool).

15 goals: Raheem Sterling (Manchester City).

13 goals: Eden Hazard (Chelsea).

12 goals: Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal), Raúl Jiménez (Wolves), Jamie Vardy (Leicester City), Gylfi Sigurdsson (Everton), Richarlison (Everton), Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United).

11 goals: Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Callum Wilson (Bournemouth), Son Heung-Min (Tottenham), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool), Joshua King (Bournemouth), Glenn Murray (Brighton).

10 goals: Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham).

Meanwhile, the match-day 32 of the English Premier League will resume coming weekend.

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Football

Dogo explains as Sunshine Stars FC held to goalless draw in Akure by Enyimba

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Sunshine Star Football Club of Akure have played a goalless draw with Enyimba International Football Club of Aba in the match 11 of the Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL, at the Akure Township Stadium.

The week 11 fixture saw the Enyimba team doing most of the defensive playing, while the Akure-based team, Sunshine Stars FC’s strikers could not prove their potency within the box 18 of the Aba team after series of chances.

Reacting after the match which saw his team drop two points at home, the Sunshine Stars FC coach, Kabiru Dogo, who described the performance of his boys as not too good, disclosed that it was due to logistic problems within the club.

“As a coach, I’m not happy for the outcome of the match, as you can see my team played one of their best games today but we could not get the goals in the area of attacking, because football is all about goals, I could not say we did well, we didn’t do well, but there is room for improvement.

“We had opportunities to bring in new strikers into the team but due to some problems and logistics within the club, we had to manage what we have,” the Sunshine coach stated.

On his own part, the Head Coach of Enyimba International FC, Usman Abd’allah, who lauded his team’s spirit at getting the deserving one point away from home, maintained that it will help in boosting the mental stability of his boys in subsequent fixtures.

“A draw is a good one for us, even though we came here for the three points because the last two away matches because we were able to grab two point each from that match. But we thought we are going to get our first three away points but we had one point, it’s okay.

“At this moment, we are one step ahead because we are now picking up because the away points we have been getting is helping in replacing those we have lost. It’s a recovery of what we lost against Lobi Stars.

“I like the result and the fighting spirit of my boys,” Usman stated.

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