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Djokovic Withdraws From Tokyo Olympics, Abandons Mixed Doubles Match

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Djokovic

Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from the Tokyo Olympics, abandoning his mixed doubles bronze medal match.

He cited a left shoulder injury, moments after losing the singles bronze medal to Spaniard Pablo Carrena Busta.

He has therefore gifted Australia’s Ashleigh Barty and John Peers the bronze in the doubles without letting them sweat for it.

He has also let down his partner, Nina Stojanović.

Djokovic, the world No. 1 from Serbia, will now leave Tokyo empty-handed in what has proved a majorly disappointing Olympic Games.

Having won all three Grand Slams this year, Djokovic arrived in Japan as the major favourite to win the singles gold.

However, he was defeated in the semi-finals against Alexander Zverev on Friday.

On the same day, he and Stojanovic lost to Russian duo Aslan Karatsev and Elena Vesnina in the mixed doubles semi-final.

In an interview on his loss to Zverev, Djokovic said he came to Tokyo emotionally exhausted.

“Look, I didn’t come here fresh, I came here exhausted emotionally, but very motivated and with a great desire to win a medal for my country”.

He has now abandoned the final effort to win at least a bronze for Serbia.

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AFCON 2021: Presidency Slams Nigerians Blaming Super Eagles Loss To Buhari

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Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, has described as ‘idiotic,’ comments made by some Nigerians that President Buhari’s call to the Super Eagles made them lose their match against Tunisia which saw them crash out of the 2021 African Cup of Nations tournament.

Before the match which was held on Sunday, January 23, President Buhari held a video conference with the Super Eagles to wish them well.

“You’ve been doing Nigeria proud. You’ve been winning. Please keep on winning. The Federal Government is supporting you, and I say thank you to all the technical crew and the players. Please keep doing the country proud,” he told the team.

However, as soon as the game ended in a loss for the Super Eagles, many Nigerians took to social media to blame the President for the defeat.

In a post titled, ‘Losing Is Part Of The Game,’ Adesina berated those behind the social media post. According to him, the same people would have come out to condemn Buhari if the Super Eagles had gone into the game without encouragement from him.

His post read in part;

“I have read many silly, idiotic and imbecilic comments, trying to link the loss to the video conference the President had with the players on Sunday morning. Witless. Thoughtless. And incidentally, if the Super Eagles had gone into the match without encouragement from their President, the same people would have come out to condemn the leader of the country for being taciturn and insensitive. Head or tail, you never win with some Nigerians.

There are countries, and football teams, who have established a tradition for being outstanding in soccer. But such teams and countries have lost scandalously before, underscoring the truth that losing is part of the game.”

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Barcelona, Juventus Keen To Sign Arsenal Star, Aubameyang

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Barcelona and Juventus have both approached Arsenal in a bid to agree a loan deal for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, according to The Athletic.

Aubameyang has not played for the Gunners since he was stripped of the captaincy by manager Mikel Arteta last month following a series of disciplinary breaches.

The Premier League side are now looking to offload the 32-year-old, who arrived at the Emirates in a £56m deal from Borussia Dortmund four years ago.

Arsenal are now in discussions with Barca and Juventus as the two clubs want to sign Aubameyang on an initial loan deal.

Saudi Arabian club, Al Hilal, have also shown an interest to sign Aubameyang and are ready to cover his £350,000-a-week salary in full, which Barca and Juve could both struggle to achieve.

But it is understood Aubameyang is keen to remain playing at the highest level in Europe.

The Gabon striker has been left out of the travelling squad to Dubai for warm weather training.

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AFCON 2021: Eguavoen’s Failure To Change Tactics Behind Super Eagles’ Loss To Tunisia, Says NFF

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The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) is not happy with the elimination of the Super Eagles from the ongoing 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.

The football house feel its Technical Director, Augustine Eguavoen, who acted as interim head coach at the tournament in Cameroon, could have fielded a different team and tactics against Tunisia.

Nigerian won its first three games at the AFCON against Egypt, Sudan and Guinea-Bissau, playing expansive football with reliance on wing play from Moses Simon and Samuel Chukwueze.

However, the Tunisians found a way to shut down Simon and Chukwueze, winning 1-0 in the round of 16.

“We can’t be predictable for three consecutive matches straight up,” a senior NFF official told ESPN in a not-so-veiled criticism of Eguavoen.

“We ought to have changed tactics and even personnel to surprise them, too.

“Everyone was too heartbroken to have straight thoughts. But now, we have to maintain our heads, be stable, and focus on making the best decision for Nigeria.”

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