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Page 55 stories Sexwale stays in FIFA race South African tycoon Tokyo Sexwale insisted yesterday that he is staying in the race for the presidency…

Page 55 stories

Sexwale stays in FIFA race

South African tycoon Tokyo Sexwale insisted yesterday that he is staying in the race for the presidency of troubled FIFA despite doubts over his campaign.

“In the first place, I am here, despite obstacles,” the businessman and politician told reporters as he arrived at a special meeting of the CONCACAF North and Central American confederation in Zurich ahead of today’s vote.

Sexwale, 62, described himself “as a fighter, as somebody who dies wearing his boots”.

“We are here about FIFA. FIFA is a house broken and needs to be repaired. You will hear more tomorrow when I speak,” he said.

Sexwale’s low-key campaign has been criticised in South Africa and the Confederation of African Football has called on its members to back Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al Khalifa. The South African has fuelled speculation of a possible withdrawal by saying he is open to “alliances”.

Sexwale, Sheikh Salman, UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino, former FIFA vice president Prince Ali bin al Hussein and former FIFA official Jerome Champagne are contesting the election.

Injured Azarenka pulls out of Acapulco

Top-seeded Victoria Azarenka pulled out of the Mexico Open in Acapulco on Wednesday with a left wrist injury, sending Dominika Cibulkova into the third round.

Azarenka was playing her first event since falling in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open to eventual champion Angelique Kerber.

The former world No 1 from Belarus, now ranked 14th in the world, had needed two hours to beat Slovenia’s Polona Hercog in three sets in the first-round on Tuesday.

Wednesday’s withdrawal from the ATP and WTA hard-court tournament was another setback for a player who displayed strong form early in 2016, having apparently moved on from the injuries and personal issues that hampered her career over the past two years.

Slovakia’s Cibulkova next faces Sweden’s Johanna Larsson, the sixth seed, or American Shelby Rogers.

Ayagwa debuts with two assists for Lobi Stars

By David Ngobua @Ngobuadavid

Former Flying Eagles player, Raphael Ayagwa Wednesday had a glorious debut for Lobi Stars when he assisted the two goals that handed Lobi their 2-1 victory over visiting Sunshine Stars in Makurdi.

Although he was playing his first Premier League match, the combative attacking midfielder took control of the midfield providing the passes that resulted into the two goals that Tony Okpotu scored in each half of the match.

The victory over Sunshine makes it two out of two matches for the Benue State team coached by Godwin Koko Uwua.

In a telephone chat with Daily Trust, an elated Ayagwa expressed satisfaction with his performance and thanked God for making it possible for him to realise his dream.

He also thanked the home fans who supported the team to record the convincing victory.

“I want to thank God for making it possible for me to live my dream. I had always wished to play in the Nigerian Premier League.

“I am also happy with my performance. Playing the whole ninety minutes on my debut is no mean achievement but I am not going to relax.

“I do not want my performance today (yesterday) to be a flash in the pan. I have a long way to go. I must not forget to thank my more experienced team mates for their support,” he said.

Ayagwa who narrowly missed out of the Flying Eagles team to last year’s Africa U-20 Championship in Senegal had played for First Bank of Lagos and Spotlight FC of Katsina in the lower division.

Formula 1 rule changes will have little effect – Hamilton

World champion Lewis Hamilton says planned changes to qualifying for this season will not have much effect.

A new elimination-based system will be introduced for the 2016 season, which starts next month, if teams given it the go-ahead in the next few days.

Brit Hamilton, who drives for Mercedes, hopes the changes will help spice up the sport but said: “I don’t really feel like it is going to change much.”

Williams’ driver Felipe Massa added that the plan could cause “chaos”.

The idea is to retain the current system of three parts of qualifying, but eliminate one driver at a time through each of the sessions.

This would result in a 90-second shoot-out for pole position between two drivers.

“I don’t know if it I like it or not,” added Massa. “I need to have a little bit of time to sit down and understand the rules, understand the change.

“The only thing I understand is that they want to create some chaos – and this will happen for sure.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo agreed with Hamilton.

“I don’t know how much it’s going to change,” he said.

“It might put a little bit more pressure on us to execute the lap early in the session because after five minutes or something they’re going to start ticking them off.”

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