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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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Football

If you want to win trophies, Leave Tottenham, Ibrahimovic tells Harry Kane

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Former Manchester United striker, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has told Tottenham Hotspur star, Harry Kane to leave Spurs, which according to him is a normal club, if he want to win trophies.

Kane, who is currently sidelined due to injury, is expected to return to training in March.

The 25-year-old injured his ankle ligaments at the end of Tottenham’s 1-0 defeat to Manchester United in a Premier League encounter last week after a collision with Phil Jones and Victor Lindelof.

Ibrahimovic, who has represented the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona and Inter Milan, believes the time has come for Kane to leave Tottenham in pursuit of silverware.

“When I was in England, I saw him [Kane] play, I think he is a good striker,” the La Galaxy striker told Bethard.

“He’s still developing, he’s doing good things. But I always say, playing in a big club, performing good is different from playing in – with all due respect to Tottenham – a ‘normal’ club.

“Performing there is a different situation, because I saw players do the same thing, but when they go to a big club something is different.

“I think he can make it. He just needs to make the move and people will remember you for what you win and. In the end, he needs to win.

“If he wants to win, I think he needs to change. I think Tottenham has a great team but they’re not at the level to win everything, even if they’ve got a fantastic coach.”

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Barcelona

New Barcelona signing, Boateng to wear No 19

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The 31-year-old Ghanian Star, kevin-Prince Boateng has been reported to have accepted to waer the number 19 shirt previously worn by El Haddadi, Lucas Digne and Sandro Ramirez, uniquesports reports.

Boateng completed a €2million move to Barcelona from Serie A side, Sassuolo, on Monday and was unveiled on Tuesday at the Camp Nou.

The deal includes an €8million option for Barcelona to buy the former Tottenham and Portsmouth star if he impresses.

Boateng will stay in Spain until the end of the season.

Speaking after his unveiling, Boateng told reporters: “It’s a big dream come true. It’s a big honour for me to be here.”

Boateng will hope to feature for Barcelona when they tackle Girona on Sunday in the La Liga fixture.

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Football

Sala’s father, mother cries out over missing Cardiff striker

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Cardiff City striker, Emiliano Sala’s mother and father have confirmed that their son was on board a plane that went missing from the English Channel on Monday night.

Sala was on the light aircraft that disappeared from radar on Monday night while apparently flying from Nantes to Cardiff.

The 28-year-old was announced as a new signing for Premier League club Cardiff City on Saturday, signing a three-and-a-half year deal, for a club record fee believed to be around £10 million.

Sala’s father, Horatio, told Argentine TV station Channel 5 News on Tuesday: “A friend told me the situation of my son, I did not know anything, I’m in Rosario, I’m desperate, I hope everything goes well.”

His mother, Mercedes, added: “The plane is from the President of Cardiff City FC, they informed us that the plane had disappeared and that they were looking for it.”

Meanwhile, Cardiff City chairman, Mehmet Dalman said in a statement on Tuesday through the club’s official website that the light aircraft lost contact over the Channel last night.

Dalman said: “We are very concerned by the latest news that a light aircraft lost contact over the Channel last night.

“We are very concerned about the safety of Emiliano Sala.

“We are awaiting confirmation before we can say anything further.”

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