PLUS NEWS: Daily Media Summary, Monday 17, 2019

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NSE Places 34 Companies Under Caveat – Nation, Page 22

The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has placed cautionary red alerts on 34 companies  for their inability to meet listing requirements, implying underlying corporate governance weaknesses that investors need to consider about the companies. The latest tracker on compliance with basic listing requirements at the stock market obtained by The Nation at the weekend indicated that the companies were flagged by the NSE for failure to submit their financial statements within the stipulated timeline. The Exchange stated that the identified companies “fell short of the minimum listing standards in terms of timely disclosure of their audited annual financial statements”, a major infraction that directly affects the market’s efficient price discovery and liquidity. According to the Exchange, the 34 companies failed to submit their financial statements and accounts for the first quarter of this year, ended March 31, 2019, in contravention of the extant listing requirements at the market.

BDC Rates – BusinessDay,  Page 1

USD              361

GBP              464

EUR              407

Stock Market Report – June 14

ALL SHARE INDEX           30,046.70

DEALS                            2,445.00

VOLUME                         145,277,282.00

VALUE                            N2,831,185,872.01

EQUITY CAP                   N13,232,710,451,076.79

BOND CAP                     N12,522,014,428,900.43

Q1’19: Banks’ Assets Rise By 7.5% To N38.4trn – Vanguard, Page 22

Total assets and liabilities of banks rose by 7.5 percent, year-on-year, to N38.4 trillion in the first quarter of the year (Q1’19), against N35.7 trillion in the corresponding period of 2018. The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, disclosed this in its April 2019 monthly economic report released last week, which also showed that the Q1’19 figure was 3.2 percent higher, quarter-on-quarter, when compared with N37.2 trillion recorded in the fourth quarter of 2018. The report stated: “Total assets and liabilities of the banks amounted to N38.432 trillion at end-March 2019, showing a 0.1 per cent increase, compared with the level at the end of the preceding month. Funds were sourced, mainly, from mobilisation of time, savings and foreign currency deposits, and reduction in claims on the private sector and sale of unclassified assets. The funds were used mainly, for the reduction of unclassified liabilities, acquisition of foreign assets and accretion to reserves.”

431 Debtors Owe AMCON Between N1b And N10b – Nation, Page 1

Sixty-Two debtors are owing the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) N10 billion and above each, the agency has said. The corporation was established on July 19, 2010, when AMCON Act was signed into law by former President Goodluck Jonathan, with a mandate to acquire bad loans from banks, pay the banks and recover the loans from the debtors. But eight years into its operation, the corporation is being owed N10 billion and above by each of the 62 high-profile debtors. The debt represents 40 per cent of the 12,537 obligors. AMCON said that 431 debtors, representing 37 per cent of the debtors, owe between N1 billion and N10 billion; 1,998 debtors, constituting 16 per cent of the total obligors, owe between N100 million and N1 billion while 10,046 debtors, representing seven per cent of the total obligors owe between N100 million and below bringing the total number of bad loans under AMCON management to 12,537.

Investors Lose N169bn As Earnings Season Draws Near – Punch, Page 43

Investors lost N169bn in value at the close of trading on the Nigerian Stock Exchange last week as the earning season for the first half of the year is expected to begin soon. It was a four-day trading week as the Federal Government declared Wednesday as a public holiday to mark the Democracy Day celebrations. The NSE All-Share Index and market capitalisation dropped by 1.27 per cent to close at 30,046.70 basis points and N13.233tn respectively. Similarly, all other indices depreciated, with the exception of the NSE Banking Index, NSE Insurance Index, NSE-AFR Bank Value Index and NSE Oil/Gas Index which rose by 0.01 per cent, 0.86 per cent, 0.23 per cent and 0.28 per cent respectively while NSE ASeM Index closed flat. A total turnover of 868.739 million shares worth N15.792bn in 12,201 deals were traded last week by investors on the floor of the Exchange in contrast to a total of 768.983 million shares valued at N12.546bn that exchanged hands in 11,291deals the previous week.

Instant Bank Transfers Rise To N41.48tn In Five Months – Punch, Page 41

The value of transactions via the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System Instant payment system rose to N41.48tn in five months of this year as banks, fintechs and telecommunications companies intensify efforts to deepen financial inclusion. This is a 36 per cent increase in the value on the transactions compared with N30.448tn transactions in the first five months of 2018. Similarly, the volume of transactions on NIP increased by 35 per cent, analyses of data on electronic payment transactions obtained from the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System showed. Huge investment of financial institutions in technology that drives digital banking continues to yield results as further analysis of the statistics showed that the value of transactions on mobile devices from January to May this year was N183.7bn, a 31 per cent growth from N140.58bn in 2018. In addition, the volume of mobile inter-scheme transfers increased by 115 per cent from 6.151 million transactions in the five months under review in 2018 to 2.856 million as of May  2019.

Ecobankpay Supports Premiere of  ‘Bling Lagosians’ In Lagos

In continuation of its support for the creative and entertainment industry, Ecobank Nigeria has once again partnered with the Bolanle Austen-Peters production as she unveiled the movie ‘The Bling Lagosians’ which premiered yesterday, June 16 at Filmhouse Cinemas in Lekki Phase 1, the luxury venue for filmmakers which houses the IMAX Cinema. EcobankPay, the lifestyle digital payment and collections service of Ecobank Nigeria was designated the payment solution as the much anticipated movie premiered. Guests dressed spectacularly to win cash prizes sponsored by EcobankPay. EcobankPay is a convenient digital QR code that enables payments using the mobile phone, without the need for a plastic card. In his comment, Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Patrick Akinwuntan, said ‘ we are passionate about Africa and its cultural renaissance, so our partnership with Bolanle Austen-Peters, a renowned African culture promoter sits perfectly our Pan African brand. As we continue to leverage our digital offerings to facilitate a more seamlessly connected Africa, EcobankPay and the Ecobank Xpress ecosystem remain in the forefront as key enablers of this drive. Ecobank brings convenient and affordable banking to every household in Nigeria, as well as facilitating trade and job creation.’

FCMB Trains SMEs For Long Term Success— Smith – Vanguard, Page 22

First City Monument Bank, FCMB, has said that its comprehensive capacity building programme, tagged, “Business Enterprises and Sustainability Training, BEST,” for Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, SMEs, is to lay a solid foundation for their long-term success. The Executive Director, Business Development of FCMB, Mrs. Bukola Smith stated this at the sixth edition of the BEST programme for existing and start-up SMEs held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State last week. She said among other things BEST also enables entrepreneurs to have access to business management skills and advisory services, learn and acquire competencies which they can apply for effective management of their respective businesses in a sustainable manner.

LAPO Promises To Reduce Poverty Among Women – Punch, Page 45

LAPO Micro Finance Bank has promised to drastically reduce the poverty ratio among Nigerian women through continuous launching of financial enhancement programmes. The financial institution said with more Nigerian women having access to funds to do businesses, the country’s poverty ratio would decrease. The Managing Director  of the bank, Godwin Ehigiamusoe, said this during its South-South Clients’ Forum held in Owerri, the state capital  of Imo State. He said that the institution was interested in empowering its clients especially women. He stated that the company since its establishment,28 years ago had aided women to access credit facilities without demand for collateral. He said, “To a large extent the bank has contributed to job creation in Nigeria, with the employment of over 7,000 staff members across the country and has also influenced Nigeria’s financial industry, influence access to credit and invested in health awareness and scholarships.”

Dangote Cement Floats N50b Commercial Papers – Nation, Page 21

Nigeria’s most capitalised quoted company and Africa’s largest cement producer, Dangote Cement Plc, at the weekend issued new commercial papers to raise N50billion in new short-term capital. This is the eighth to 10th series of its N150 billion CP programme. The leading cement company will use the net proceeds to support its short-term funding. Dangote Cement offered 90-day CP with effective yield of 12.5254 per cent and a discount rate of 10.51 per cent under its 8th series. The 9th series CP was a 180-day instrument with effective and discount yield of 12.5254 per cent and 13.35 per cent respectively. The 10th series CP was a longer tenor 270-day CP with effective and discount yield of 12.6862 per cent and 14.00 per cent respectively. The 90-day CP is expected to mature on September 12, 2019 while the 180-day and 270-day CPs will mature on December 11, 2019 and March 10, 2020 respectively.

Shareholders Approve Union Bank’s N54.5b Capital Restructuring – Nation, Page 21

Shareholders of Union Bank of Nigeria (UBN) Plc have approved a proposal to cancel N54.46 billion accumulated permanent losses in the books of the commercial bank. At the extra-ordinary general meeting in Lagos, shareholders authorised the board of directors to reduce the bank’s share premium account by N54.46 billion to net off the legacy deficit, thus removing the main drawback that had disallowed the commercial bank from paying dividends from its net profit. According to the resolution, subject to court’s confirmation, the bank’s issued share capital, including for this purpose its share premium account, be reduced by the sum of N54.458 billion, which has been lost or is otherwise unrepresented by available assets and that the credit arising from the reduction be used to eliminate the retained loss in the company’s audited financial statements as at December 31, 2018.

Controversy Intensifies Over EU Election Report – Guardian, Page 1

The recently released report of the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) to Nigeria on the 2019 general elections continued yesterday to attract different interpretations. While the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in what looked like a sober reflection, said yesterday that it had resolved to review party registration guidelines, proponents of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) said the report (considered damning in some quarters) had vindicated the party and INEC. The EU EOM specifically described the elections as marred by severe “operational and transparency shortcomings” but said, in response to a question from a journalist, that it had to rely on the results provided by INEC. The EU EOM had, at the weekend, faulted the election processes, saying only few of its post-2015 election recommendations were implemented in the last poll. The Director General of the Voice of Nigeria (VON) and card-carrying member of the APC, Mr. Osita Okechukwu, said the report vindicated the position of some members of the party that INEC did not generate results of the 2019 elections from a server. He said the report put to rest the lingering controversy on the subject. “Some of us have been vindicated, as our position has been that INEC did not generate the 2019 general elections result from a server,” he said.

Rising House Prices Trigger Drop In Young Homeowners – Guardian, Page 27

Prospect of young Nigerians owning houses is waning speedily following the harsh economic conditions, which have affected many businesses. Consequently, many can barely pay salaries, while salary increments are becoming a lot more difficult. Not even the new minimum wage regime had made much difference as the purchasing power of young people has remained low because of the high inflation rate put at 11.37 per cent as at April 2019 by National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). The fall is largest among those aged 20 to 34 leading to a drop from the proportion of homeownership from 51 per cent in 1991 to only 24 per cent in 2016. For instance, in 1999, it was learnt that the average annual salary was equivalent to 23 per cent of the average house price, it however, dropped to only 11 per cent in 2012 to 2017, meaning houses are much more expensive proportionally than they were 15 years ago.

With dysfunctional mortgage system and salaries increase rate getting much slower, buying a property has become harder for many young homeowners.

‘Ogun Leads In Drug Addiction In South West’ – Punch, Page 12

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Committee 2018 survey has ranked Ogun State as the worst in the prevalence of drug abuse in the South West.  The survey revealed that the South West region, which comprises Ogun, Osun, Ondo, Oyo, Lagos and Ekiti states, had no fewer than 4,382,000 drug addicts. The Chairman, Ogun State Drug Control/Committee, Olufemi Fafiolu, disclosed this during the annual Colloquium on Medicine/Substance Abuse in Nigeria held in Abeokuta. The colloquium was organised by Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria, Ogun State branch. Fafiolu who quoted the 2018 survey reportedly obtained from the UNODCC, said South West had 22.4 per cent of drug addicts in Nigeria. He said, “According to the UNODCC Survey 2018, the prevalence of drug abuse in the South West region is 22.4 per cent with the number of drug addict at 4,382,000. “The prevalence in Ogun State out of this 22.4 per cent is 17 per cent. This figure is very alarming and needs urgent attention.”

Osun Governorship Election: Supreme Court To Hear Adeleke’s Appeal Today – Thisday Online Page

The Supreme Court has fixed today to hear the appeal filed by the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the September 2018 governorship election in Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke. Adeleke by the appeal, is seeking the reversal of the May 9, 2019 majority judgment of the Court of Appeal, Abuja, which upheld the election of Adegboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the governor of the state. The notice for the hearing date was contained in the notices sent to parties last week by the Registry of the Supreme Court, sighted in Abuja. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Oyetola winner at the conclusion of the September 27, 2018, supplementary election, held after the inconclusive September 22, 2018 main election. Adeleke and the PDP challenged the outcome of the election at the election tribunal, which sat in Abuja owing to fear of insecurity in Osun State. On March 22, 2019, the three-man election tribunal gave a split decision of two-to-one in favour of the petitioners – Adeleke and the PDP. Justices Peter Obiorah and Adegboye Gbolagunte, in the majority decision, upheld the petition, voided Oyetola’s victory and declared Adeleke of the PDP winner of the governorship election.

Discos’ Debt To Transmission Company Hits N231bn – Punch, Page 10

The indebtedness of power distribution companies to the Transmission Company of Nigeria has risen to N231bn as of March 2019. Nigeria has 11 Discos. The electricity generated by power generation companies is transmitted by the TCN to power distributors, who then distribute the product to final consumers. Discos collect funds from power consumers on behalf of other operators in the sector, but it was learnt on Sunday in Abuja that the indebtedness of the power distributors to TCN alone had risen to N231bn. The Managing Director, TCN, Usman Mohammed, stated that this was why it had become vital to correct the mistake that was made during the privatisation process of the power sector. “It is important we reset those distribution companies on the path of sustainability so that we don’t continue to put money in a company that doesn’t deliver as expected,” he stated.

INEC Seeks Mandate To Deregister Dormant Parties – Thisday Online Page

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) plans a proposal for the alteration of the 1999 Constitution as amended to enable it reduce the plethora of political parties in the country, which it said created for it a logistics nightmare during the 2019 general election. According to the commission, the large number of parties, which made it to design very long ballot papers, confused many voters, particularly the less educated, during the election. If the situation persists, said the commission, not only will the logistics nightmare persist, it would continue to put illiterate voters in a dilemma. The position of INEC was made known at the weekend by its National Commissioner on Information and Voter Education, Mr. Festus Okoye, in an address in Makurdi, Benue State capital. He said the commission was planning a review of the process of registering and deregistering political parties as well as how the parties choose candidates for the general election. According to him, INEC is pushing for amendments to the Constitution and review of guidelines on party registration and deregistration to empower it to tighten up the registration process and delist parties that were “mere platforms” for political jobbers.

Boko Haram Attacks Troops In Borno, Buratai Heads For UK – Punch, Page 10

Boko Haram terrorists and suspected Islamic State West African Province fighters have attacked troops’ location in Damasak, Borno State, injuring unconfirmed number of soldiers. This is just as the Nigerian Army said on Sunday that the Chief of the Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, was expected in London, the United Kingdom on Monday for a global anti-terrorism conference starting on Monday. The army was however silent on the Boko Haram attacks on troops in Borno. Our correspondent learnt on Sunday terrorists attacked troops in Damasak at about 7pm on Saturday, although details about casualties had yet to be obtained as of press time. Meanwhile, the army said Buratai would be in London at the conference, which would focus on “current and future jihadist threats and expose frontline practitioners on how to utilise practical methods” to deal with homegrown terrorists. The acting Director, Army Public Relations, Col Sagir Musa, said, “The Chief of Army Staff has been invited to speak at the global anti-terrorism and counter-terrorism conference in London, United Kingdom, on Monday.

PDP Considers Dogara As House Minority Leader –  Thisday Online Page

The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has mandated its members in the House of Representatives to select their principal officers and inform the party of their decision today. The party, according to a reliable THISDAY source, met the House members last Friday and mandated them to select their principal officers like the Senate had done in a cordial atmosphere. However, THISDAY gathered that former speaker of the House, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, is being tipped as the natural choice to fill the slot of minority leader. “In any case, as former speaker, he has assumed leadership naturally and has been the one co-ordinating our members in the House,” a reliable party source said, adding: “He is good to get it except he declines the offer.” According to a source that spoke with THISDAY, the meeting was presided over by the National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, saying the party chose the option to avoid allegation of imposition of the PDP principal officers on members. “At the meeting, the party’s members of the House were in attendance and the party directed that they should meet on their own and inform the NWC of those chosen before Tuesday. The party does not want to be accused of any preferential treatment,” the source stated.

Public Secondary Schools Turned Into Hideouts By Hoodlums As Facilities Rot – Punch, Page 2

Public secondary schools in many states in the country are facing challenges of deteriorating infrastructure and environments that are not suitable for learning. The PUNCH’s investigations in states such as Edo, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Ogun, Cross River, Osun, Enugu, Lagos and Sokoto showed dilapidated infrastructure, which was not only suitable for learning, but could be a breeding ground for social vices. Findings revealed that some of the schools had become dens of hoodlums. The Nigeria Union of Teachers confirmed the findings of The PUNCH, saying it was aware of the existence of brothels and pubs close to schools. The National Publicity Secretary of the NUT, Mr Audu Amba, in an interview with The PUNCH, attributed the problem to lack of planning and monitoring. He stated, “When a school is in an area, any building that is going to be built in that area should be carefully examined to make sure that it conforms with the standards to ensure that the school environment remains serene and conducive to learning.”

LASTMA Goes Tough, Begins N200,000 Penalty Regime – Guardian, Page 12

The fear of Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA) may be the beginning of wisdom for all Lagos motorists, as the law enforcement officers have lately gone tough on traffic offenders. Unlike in the last four years when the officers were barred from making arrests, the new administration had returned LASTMA to status quo, with heavier sanctions of forfeiture or N200,000 penalty after court trial. To further embolden the officers, the governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has restored security backups and towing vans for traffic law enforcement operations. He also signed the traffic-related Lagos Neighbourhood Safety Agency amended bill into law, and psyched up the officers with a 100 per cent increase of monthly hazard allowance. Contrary to general belief, the increase is not on salary but hazard allowance, to which junior officers earn N5,000, while senior officers earn N10,000 monthly, and now set to double by July. In return, the governor demanded an improvement in the free-flow of traffic statewide, with full enforcement of the Lagos State Traffic Laws 2012 and arrest of all traffic offenders without preference for civil servants, party members, security agencies, friends and family and so on.

Man Bags Six Months In Prison For Stealing Kolanut – Punch, Page 5

A Chief Magistrates’ Court sitting in Iyin Ekiti has sentenced a 36-year-old man, Ige Omotosho, to six months imprisonment for stealing a bag of kolanut. Omotosho was convicted on two counts of forcible entry into a farmland and stealing a bag of kolanut worth N10,000. The Chief Magistrate, Mrs Adefumike Anoma, on Friday, sentenced Omotosho, who had earlier pleaded guilty, to four and six months in prison on counts one and two, respectively, without an option of fine. The prison terms are to run concurrently. The police prosecutor, Sergeant Olubu Apata, had told the court that the convict committed the offence on June 7 around 5pm at the Ologbara-Gbara Farm in Iyin Ekiti. Apata said the convict went to the farm of one Mr Obadore Ogunjemilua and stole a bag of kolanut worth N10,000. The offence, he added, contravened Section 390(9) of the Criminal Code, Laws of Ekiti State, 2012. The charges read in part, “That you, Ige Omotosho, on June 7, 2019, around 5pm at the Ologbara-Gbara Farm, Iyin Ekiti in the Irepodun/Ifelodun Magisterial District did forcibly enter the farmland of Chief Obadore Ogunjemilua, thereby committing an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 81 of the Criminal Code, Cap C16, Volume 1, Laws of Ekiti State, 2012.”

Hoodlums Stab Photographer To Death, Injure Fisherman In Lagos – Punch, Page 4-5

The family of a photographer, Tode Julius, has been thrown into mourning after he was stabbed to death by hoodlums while on his way to buy food in the Ayetoro area of Ebute Meta in the Yaba Local Council Development Area of Lagos State. PUNCH Metro gathered that the hoodlums, made up of the Sawmill boys and the Adekunle boys, had been engaged in a supremacy fight, which had threatened the peace of the community for months. Our correspondent learnt that whenever a fight broke out, residents, business owners and market women around the Better Life Market in the Ayetoro and Makoko areas were usually thrown into a state of panic, as they run helter-skelter to keep themselves away from the battlefield. It was gathered that the crisis had led to the death of some of the residents and left scores of people injured. Tode was said to be a victim of circumstance, as he had gone to purchase the food he wanted to eat from where a group of hoodlums had planned to attack members of the other group on Sunday, June 9, 2019. The deceased’s friend, Jimi Richard, who accompanied Tode to the food vendor’s shop, said he fled immediately the hoodlums started fighting, adding that he was surprised to later find out that his friend became a casualty.

Robbery Suspect Swallows Lady’s Wedding Ring In Lagos – Punch, Page 4

A suspected traffic robber has allegedly swallowed his victim’s wedding ring after threatening to kill her in the Oshodi area of Lagos State. The suspect, 19-year-old Taofeek Adebayo, was on Friday arrested by the men of the Rapid Response Squad of the Lagos State Police Command at OshodiOke together with his accomplice, Toheeb Tijani, 20, shortly after dispossessing two ladies in a grey Sienna SUV of a gold earring and a set of wedding rings. Two other suspected traffic robbers, Samson Oluwa, 20, and Michael Amodu Adamu, 22, were also arrested in an all-night sting operation in the CMS area of the state. According to the RRS, Adebayo and his gang members had pleaded with the two gorgeously dressed ladies in the Sienna SUV to assist them with money for food. The ladies were said to have offered them N100 note, which the suspects rejected. The driver of the Sienna SUV, who pleaded anonymity, was quoted as saying, “My colleague and I were coming from Anthony and heading to Ilasa for our association’s meeting. Three of the hoodlums came near our vehicle. There was traffic and we could not turn anywhere. We were scared. They said we should give them money for food. I reached out to my colleague to give me money. “She gave me N100, which I gave them. They rejected it. One of them said, ‘eleyi ki i se owo ti wa’ (this is not our due). I told them that that was what I had. One of them pulled my left ear and removed my earring. “Two of them turned to the other side of the vehicle. They threatened to waste us if we didn’t give them money. ‘Where is the money?’ they screamed at us. In a hurry to leave our car, they forced my friend to surrender her wedding rings. “This fair-complexioned guy (Adebayo) took the first ring and swallowed it in our presence. His colleague took the other one.” When interrogated, Adebayo confessed, “I swallowed it but I have vomited it and handed it over to Young Boy, who is the third guy, when the police were chasing us. I told him to hand over the rings to the ladies so that the police could release us but he absconded with the two rings and the earring.”

Falcons In Make Or Break Clash Vs France – Punch, Page 34

The Super Falcons take on hosts France in a Group A clash that could make-or-mar their fortunes at the 2019 Women’s World Cup. The match is scheduled for the Roazhon Park in Rennes. Realistically, the nine-time African champions will need at least a draw against their more illustrious opponents if they hope to make it out of the group. The Falcons started their World Cup campaign with a 3-0 loss to Norway before overpowering Korea Republic 2-0 in their second match while their opponents, France, thrashed Korea 4-0 in their opening game of the tournament before beating former world champions Norway 2-1 in their second outing. Head Coach, Thomas Dennerby, believes they can rise to the occasion.  “This is an important game for us and I believe you can rise to the occasion just as you did against the Koreans. The French have a good team but we are also a good squad and I think we can get a result if we have that mind-set that it is eleven players against eleven and we stick to our tactics for the day.

Super Eagles Midfielder Ndidi To Join Manchester United – Vanguard, Page 45

Super Eagles midfielder, Wilfred Ndidi says he is ‘flattered’ by the transfer speculation linking him with a summer move to top English Premiership club, Ndidi’s consistent performances have seen him linked with a number of high profile moves this summer, with the likes of Man-U, Arsenal and Liverpool all reportedly interested in his soccer play. The 22-year-old has been linked with a move away from Leicester in the coming weeks following a sensational season at the King Power stadium. The Nigerian star was an ever present for Leicester in the Premier League during the previous campaign with his combative midfield performances drawing plenty of praise from supporters and pundits alike. “I am flattered when hearing such a thing,” Ndidi told Goal.com. “I am focusing on AFCON with Nigeria now, and then pre-season with Leicester City. We have a great manager with ambition to compete with big clubs in the Premier League.”  

AFCON 2019: Mane Out Of Senegal’s Opener Against Tanzania – Vanguard, Page 45

Senegal’s star attacker Sadio Mane will miss his team’s African Cup of Nations opener against Tanzania as the Liverpool star will be serving a one-match suspension, Coach Aliou Cisse has confirmed. This gives a respite for Tanzania’s Coach Emmanuel Amuneke. “Sadio is an important player in the Senegal team, it’s interesting to have him with us,” Senegal Coach Aliou Cisse told dzfoot.com. Egypt is hosting this year’s Nations Cup, which has been expanded to 24 teams and will take place from 21 June to 19 July. Senegal are playing in Group C alongside Algeria, Kenya and Tanzania. Senegal will be facing Tanzania in their opening match on 23 June, but the 27-year-old UEFA Champions League winner Mane won’t be available since he got two yellow cards in the qualifiers against Madagascar and Equatorial Guinea.

Glazers Block Pogba’s £130m Real Move – Punch, Page 32

The Glazers have stepped into Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba’s transfer plans to Real Madrid. Marca says United owners, the Glazer family, have informed agent Mino Raiola that Pogba is not for sale following reports that the French man is ready to force an exit by embarking on strike. Pogba has been heavily linked with moves to former club Juventus and Spanish giants Real Madrid in recent weeks with the latter believed to be preparing a £130m offer the World Cup winner. But the Italian has been told specifically by the Glazer family that Pogba is not for sale. Joel and Avram Glazer, who also own NFL outfit Tampa Bay Buccanneers, consider the midfielder essential to United and have made their feelings known.

Salah Rejects €170m Juve Switch – Punch, Page 36

Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah has reportedly rejected a €170m switch to Juventus – but could revisit the situation next summer. According to The Mirror, which runs the story as an exclusive, Juve and Real Madrid were preparing £150m (€170m) bids for Salah. The newspaper assures the Egyptian will stay as ‘the timing is wrong’ for a departure now but warns he will consider his options next year, with his sights set on ‘one big final pay day’. The 27-year-old has scored 71 goals in 104 appearances for Liverpool since arriving from Roma in 2017, winning a Champions League.

Rohr Predicts Difficult Opener Against Burundi – Punch, Page 30

Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr, has identified Burundi as the biggest threat to Nigeria’s chances of qualifying from Group B at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt. Nigeria face Burundi in their opening game in Alexandria on Saturday before games against Guinea and Madagascar on June 26 and 30 respectively. Rohr admits the underdogs will have nothing to lose taking on the three-time winners but warned that his team will play offensive football. “Because it’s the first match, it’s the most difficult. Everybody is fresh, the newcomers (Burundi) have nothing to lose and we must be very focused on this game,” Rohr said in an interview uploaded on the Super Eagles official YouTube page. “Burundi were unbeaten in the qualifiers, and they have very good players also playing in England, in Europe and in South Africa. “We know it will not be easy, but we are Nigeria, we made the World Cup and we are one of the five teams who have World Cup experience at the AFCON. “From my 23, there are 15 players who made the World Cup, so these players can help us. “We have a lot of strikers which means we want to score more goals and play offensive football, we also have good defenders.

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