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Official: Kurt Zouma Joins West Ham United

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Official: Kurt Zouma Joins West Ham United
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Official: Kurt Zouma Joins West Ham United

Kurt Zouma’s seven-and-a-half year Chelsea career is at an end after the defender today completed a permanent move to West Ham United.

Zouma leaves Stamford Bridge having made 151 appearances for the Blues and scored 10 goals. His last game was our UEFA Super Cup success, one of five trophies he won during his time in west London having arrived from Saint-Etienne in 2014.

Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia said: ‘Kurt Zouma joined us as a young player and has been a part of so many important moments for this club over the past seven-and-a-half years.

‘He showed incredible strength of character to return from a very serious injury in 2016, and he has always been an extremely popular character in the dressing room. We thank him for his contribution on and off the pitch for Chelsea, and wish him the very best in the next stage of his career.’

Zouma signed for Chelsea in January 2014, staying at Saint-Etienne on loan for the second half of that campaign. He joined his new teammates in the summer, and the then 19-year-old’s competitive Chelsea debut was a memorable one as he opened the scoring in a 2-1 League Cup win over Bolton Wanderers at Stamford Bridge in September 2014.

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Official: Kurt Zouma Joins West Ham United

After helping us beat Liverpool in the semi-final, Zouma’s individual season highlight was in the final of that same competition at Wembley. Deployed in a central defensive midfield role, Zouma starred as the Blues won 2-0.

A first Premier League title soon followed at the end of a very promising first campaign in English football in which Zouma made 26 appearances in all competitions and made his debut for the France national team.

Zouma established himself as a first-choice centre-back in 2015/16 and scored his maiden Premier League goal in a victory at home to Arsenal.

Heartbreak struck in February 2016, however, as Zouma ruptured his cruciate ligament when landing awkwardly after contesting an aerial duel in a game against Manchester United.

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It would be over 10 months until he featured for Chelsea again, but Zouma was on the pitch when we clinched the league title at West Brom, just as he had been when we defeated Crystal Palace to do the same two years prior.

After the 2016/17 season, Zouma embarked on season-long loan moves to Stoke City and then Everton to play regularly and return to the levels he had reached before that serious knee injury.

He rejoined the Blues’ squad ahead of 2019/20 and grabbed the second chance with both hands, remaining a regular throughout a campaign which was paused by the Covid-19 pandemic. His 43 appearances in all competitions was 15 more than any other Chelsea centre-back.

Defensive reinforcements increased competition in that area of the pitch last season, and while Zouma still accumulated 36 appearances, only 13 of those came after Thomas Tuchel’s arrival midway through the campaign.

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Zouma nonetheless made five appearances in our successful Champions League campaign, most importantly helping us keep a clean sheet in the home victory over Atletico Madrid in the round of 16.

In Porto, where he was an unused sub, he added the prize of Europe’s elite competition to the two Premier League titles and the League Cup he won at Chelsea prior to his domestic loan moves. A Super Cup triumph followed earlier this month and, with it, Zouma’s 151st and final Chelsea appearance.

An immensely likeable character around Cobham from the moment he arrived, and always living up to his middle name Happy, even during the long road to recovery from injury in 2016, Zouma was an important member of the Chelsea squad for the five seasons he was in it.

He moves across London as a Premier League winner and a Champions League winner, and with the best wishes of everyone at Chelsea. Good luck in the future, Kurt!

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Jubilation galore as Lawal, Nwosu emerges technical, athletes’ reps for Taekwondo

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Jubilation galore as Lawal, Nwosu emerge technical, athletes' reps for Taekwondo
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Jubilation galore as Lawal, Nwosu emerges technical, athletes’ reps for Taekwondo

Veteran tactician Alhaji Sani Lawal a while ago on Saturday defeated his only opponent Osita Egwim to emerge technical representative in the Nigeria Taekwondo Federation (NTF) after a rescheduled Nigeria Sports Federations Elections (NSFE).

The peaceful but fiercely contested election held inside Moshood Abiola National stadium Abuja saw Alhaji Lawal beat Egwim 19-16.

While Lawal is of the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Kaduna state, Egwim works with the University of Ibadan, Oyo state.

With the latest victory, Lawal is making his second coming to the NTF, a federation he served as the chairman of its technical committee in the past four years.

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Similarly, Chinazum Nwosu of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) polled 22 votes to beat her opponent Santos Akhilele of Edo state who got 15.

Jubilation galore as Lawal, Nwosu emerges technical, athletes’ reps for Taekwondo

Nwosu, African Taekwondo champion will now replace Olympic medalist and former NTF technical director Engr. Chika Chukwumerije who willingly decided not to return to the board in a bid to pursue his personal career without any form of distraction.

Speaking after what was adjudged one of the best sports federation elections in recent times, Alhaji Sani said his major focus would be to carry out more coaches’ developmental programmes.

The reelected technical representative said he would liaise with would-be NTF on how best to source funds which was the major challenge that militated against the past boards’ programmes and projections.

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He said, “My victory is as a result of hardwork and sincerity. Our programmes in the past board made the Taekwondo community to believe in us. The incoming board will continue in this direction. More trainings will be organised for coaches and the athletes will given a level playing ground.

“We are going to design programmes for different zones of the country to ensure no one is left behind.”

For Nwosu, “It’s a great opportunity to serve on the board of the Federation, after the entire election, we will sit and discuss the way forward with the Nigeria Taekwondo board.”

On how she would represent the interest of the athletes, Nwosu who is also a national team captain said, “personally, I want to have a good communicatniion Channels with the athletes and ensure that competitions are organised in their favour.

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“The focus of the incoming board should be to organise adequate Championships and ensure transparent selection criteria.” 

Some of the delegates including Jamil Mohammed from Kano, John Victor of NSCDC and Mohammed Olariwajuwon of Kwara state expressed satisfaction with the entire process of the election.

“What matters is that the people have spoken and I want to commend the organisers for a job well done,” Olariwajuwon added.

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U20 WWCQ: Falconets Thrash CAR 7-0 In Douala

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U20 WWCQ: Falconets Thrash CAR 7-0 In Douala

Two-time runners-up of the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup, Nigeria’s Falconets fired from all cylinders as they hit the U20 girls of Central African Republic 7-0 in their FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup Africa first round, first leg encounter in Douala on Saturday.

The Falconets made things abundantly clear from the second minute of the match played at one of the stadia designated for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations – Stade Japoma de Douala – when Mercy Idoko finished brilliantly to put Nigeria ahead.

Three minutes later, Idoko made good from the penalty spot to make it 2-0 as the Falconets stepped on the pedal, and in the 34th minute, winger Esther Onyenezide made it 3-0 as superiority told against the Central African Republic girls in the Douala sun.

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The Falconets were now unstoppable and a minute before recess, Joy Jerry increased the tally.

U20 WWCQ: Falconets Thrash CAR 7-0 In Douala

The second period followed a similar pattern as Deborah Abiodun (78th minute), Taiwo Lawal (83rd minute) and Yena Adoo (one minute into time added-on) piled more misery on the central Africans, who were actually playing at ‘home’.

The return leg has now been scheduled for Wednesday, 6th October at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan, Lagos.

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Anthony Joshua Loses To Oleksandr Usyk By Unanimous Decision

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Anthony Joshua Loses To Oleksandr Usyk By Unanimous Decision
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Anthony Joshua Loses To Oleksandr Usyk By Unanimous Decision

Congratulations to the new Unified WBO Heavyweight Champion Oleksandr Usyk, who defeated Anthony Joshua by unanimous decision. Scorecards: 117-112, 116-112, 115-113

Anthony Joshua suffered the second loss of his career at the hands of a brilliant Oleksandr Usyk on a thrilling night at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Usyk started the stronger, landed a string of excellent body shots and moving around the ring with ease.

Joshua then began to work his way into the fight in the middle rounds, landing some blows that got the crowd going.

But Usyk turned the momentum round and began to land yet more convincing blows to the Brit, whose right eye was badly injured towards the end of the bout.

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Anthony Joshua Loses To Oleksandr Usyk By Unanimous Decision

Both fighters gave it their all, and Usyk went on the front foot in a thrilling final round.

All three judges awarded a win to Usyk, and the result did not come as a surprise following a brilliant performance.

The star, who has only had two fights at heavyweight, broke down in tears after the decision was announced.

Joshua has lost his WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles.

Anthony Joshua Loses To Oleksandr Usyk By Unanimous Decision

Anthony Joshua Loses To Oleksandr Usyk By Unanimous Decision

Usyk broke down in tears when the decision was announced

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