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Spain captain Sergio Ramos said the pain of exiting the World Cup to Russia will motivate him to stay with the national team up until the 2022 tournament in Qatar – even if at 36 by that stage he is sporting a white beard.

Andres Iniesta, 34, and Gerard Pique, 31 – who won the World Cup alongside Ramos in 2010 — have already confirmed that they are leaving the national setup following a third straight disappointment at an international tournament, with other members of Spain’s golden generation including David Silva, 32, and Pepe Reina, 35, also expected to bow out now.

However, 32-year-old Ramos said he plans to keep adding to his tally of 156 senior international caps, and told reporters in the Luzhniki stadium mixed zone that he was positive about the younger players coming through the ranks.

“I am not in favour of many changes,” Ramos said. “This is not the end of a cycle, Pique and Iniesta are players who have been very important, but other people are coming up strongly from below. This team has a very good youth system, players with a lot of personality. I would like to keep going many more years. I am leaving this World Cup with a terrible pain. I feel obliged to reach Qatar with a white beard.”

Sergio Ramos wants to continue with Spain despite their unexpected World Cup exit against Russia.

Fernando Hierro is not expected to continue as coach ahead of the UEFA Nations League, although Ramos praised how the former Spain and Real Madrid player had dealt with a job he found himself doing unexpectedly just days before the tournament began.

“We are proud of the coach,” he said. “It fell to him in a delicate moment, and we should be thankful that he had the courage to take it on. He did very well, despite the results. I’ve always thought that in football the coaches end up being ex-players. In this sense we were very comfortable with Fernando. It does not depend on us, but we would not mind if Hierro continued. As captain I just want the best for Spanish football.”

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Amangbo Promises More Support As First Bank Retains Title

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Zenith Bank, Peter Amangbo, has assured the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) that the bank will continue to support women basketball in the country.

Speaking at the final of the 14th edition of the women’s league sponsored by the bank, Amangbo said it was no longer a sponsorship but a partnership that would stay for many more years.

Amangbo expressed his happiness on the level of the competition this year despite the fact that it was an abridged league as he extolled the virtues of the late owner of one of the finalists, Dolphins Basketball team, late Wale Aboderin, who died early this year.

“I want to use this opportunity to remember a personal friend of mine and also the owner of Dolphins Women Team, Aboderin,” he said.

“We all missed him today and the whole of the basketball family but I am happy that the players and the family are living his dream.

“I want to assure everyone that it is no longer a sponsorship, but a partnership with the NBBF that will last for long.

“I want to appeal to all the players to be more dedicated and focused on their careers and also look up to the future.”

Meanwhile, defending champions, First Bank Basketball team, retained their title after defeating youthful Dolphins.

Despite a late rally by Dolphins led by Veronica Charles in the third and fourth quarters of the game, First Bank held on for the victory with 84 points to 66 points.

In the third place game played between Customs Basketball and new entrants to the league, MFM basketball team, ended 57 – 49 in favour of the border girls.

The Final Six final match was witnessed by a huge turnout of lover of the game.

The event started only on Sunday and the two finalists will represent Nigeria next week in continental basketball competition.

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Zenith Bank Women’s B’ball League Final Takes Center Stage

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The 14th 2018 annual Zenith Bank Basketball League ends today with the final of the Final Six competition at the Sports Hall of the National Stadium, Lagos.

First Bank, the defending champions of the tournament will attempt to retain the title they are used to winning year in, year out, except two seasons ago when Dolphins broke the record books to win the title.

The Elephant girls defeated Nigeria Customs only yesterday to book a place in today’s final while the other semifinal between Dolphin and Mountain of Fire Ministry (both of Lagos) was in progress as at the time of this report.

In a classification match decided also yesterday, Kaduna Angels defeated Plateau Rocks 68-51 and that means the Angels finished fifth in the Final Six while Plateau Rocks are 6th.

At the end of the third-place match and the finals today, the complete picture of the final standings would have been decided.

The Group Managing Director of Zenith Bank, Peter Amangbo, is expected to be in attendance along with other top dignitaries of the sponsors while the Nigeria Basketball Federation led by Musa Kida will also be all out to witness the final of this competition.

“We are proud of the progress recorded over the years by Nigerian women in basketball over the years because many of those who made it happen for the country ant continental and global levels are products of this competition,” Amangboi said.

The winner of the tournament will go away with a cash prize of N1m, second place will win N500,000 while the third position will win N250,000.

Winner and 1st runners-up will represent Nigeria at the FIBA Zone 3 Women Champions qualifiers in Cotonou between November 12th and 15th.

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Leicester City FC Owner, 4 Others Confirmed Dead In Helicopter Accident

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Tearful Leicester City fans gathered to lay flowers at the King Power Stadium Sunday after the owner’s helicopter came crashing down to earth and burst into flames shortly after taking off from the ground on Saturday night.

The helicopter was carrying 60-year-old popular Leicester city owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, two crew members and two passengers when it took off from the center circle after Leicester’s draw with West Ham yesterday evening.

Police and the club are yet to release an official statement on the tragedy, but the BBC have reported a source close to the Thai billionaire’s family said he and the four others died in the crash.

Fans outside Leicester’s ground were still desperate for news on the crash today, as detectives insisted they are ‘working with a number of other agencies’ to release a statement on fatalities.

Supporters branded it ‘darkest day’, of Leicester City paying tribute to the much-loved owner who helped them to a miracle Premier League victory in 2016.

As matches took place across the country yesterday,, fans fell silent in solidarity with Leicester.

Mr Srivaddhanaprabha’s helicopter was heading for Luton Airport where he was due to catch a flight to Thailand, Leicester sources said yesterday.

But witnesses say they heard the ‘engine stop’ in mid-air just after take-off before the aircraft plummeted to the ground in the club’s car park at around 8.30pm.

As Premier League fixtures resume yesterday, there was a minute’s applause held at Crystal Palace in solidarity with Leicester City, and a minute’s silence at Manchester United and Burnley, even with fans still in the dark over the outcome of the crash.

Initial reports claimed Mr Srivaddhanaprabha’s daughter was on board the aircraft last night, but these have been denied by sources at Leicester City

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