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NEW CATHOLIC POPE IS A FAN OF ARGENTINA’S SAN LORENZO FC

Argentina Jorge Bergoglio who was elected the new Pope Francis I on Wednesday is an avid fan and member of the San Lorenzo de Almagro Soccer team. In 2008, on the 100th anniversary of the club, San Lorenzo’s team manager gave the then future Pope, Cardinal Bergoglio a membership card as San Lorenzo’s “Centennial member” and invited him to say mass to celebrate the club’s anniversary. The soccer club’s website on Wednesday, posted a note headlined “Raven Pope”, In reference to the nickname of team’s fans (called Ravens), along with a photograph of Bergoglio wearing San Lorenzo’s Jersey. Bergoglio, 76, was born in Buenos Aires and on Wednesday, became the first Latin American Pope in the history of the Catholic Church and the first from the Jesuit order. The former Cardinal was elected Pope Number 266 at the conclave held in the Sistine Chapel, besides St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. He Succeeds Benedict XVI, who resigned his papacy on February 28. The Pope’s soccer team, San Lorenzo, was founded on April 1, in the Buenos Aires neighbourhood of Almagro where a group of youngsters gathered to play soccer at the corner of Mexico and Treinta I tres Orientales streets. The neighborhood priest would let the youngsters play on part of the church land in exchange for participating in Sunday mass. Later, the club moved to the Boedo neighbourhood, where they built the “Viejo Gasometro” stadium in 1916, which was demolished in 1983. In 1993, after 14 yrs without a stadium, San Lorenzo inaugurated its “Pedro Bidagain” stadium, now in the Bajo Flores neighbourhood in southern Buenos Aires. San Lorenzo de Almagro has won 10 national tournaments and two regional ones, the Mercosur Cup in 2001 and the South American Cup in 2002.

RANGERS NAME EAGLES TRIO FOR BURUNDI TIE, AS PILLARS HOPE TO DOWN LEOPARDS IN KANO

Rangers FC Technical crew expects to field three Super Eagles players against vital ‘O of Burundi in this Weekends first leg, second round CAF Champions League at the 22,000 seat Prince Louis Rwagasore Stadium, Bujumbura. The coal city side has three players in the Super Eagle’s camp preparing for the crucial World Cup qualifying match against the Harambee stars of Kenya in Calabar on match 23. It is expected that the Antelopes would have secured the services of goalkeeper, Chigozie Agbim, right back Chibuzor Okonkwo and midfielder, Emeka Eze before their departure to Bujumbura on Wednesday. Earlier before their departure, manager, Okey Emordi stated that the three players were eagerly awaited to make the trip to Bujumbura in Burundi for the encounter. The former CAF Champions League winning Coach also said he has no injury worries among the players. The players are fit for the weekend tie, no injury worries among the players right now,” Emordi assured. The flying Antelopes walked over their preliminary round opponents, Sporting do Principe of Sao Tome & Principe in Enugu to pave way for the clash against the Burundi side. In a related development, Kano Pillars Coach, Baba Ganaru has declared that his wards opening day win at Wikki Tourist in the NPFL opener will help them in this weekend’s CAF Champions League game against AC Leopards. The Kano Club, who are the current Nigerian Champions, began the defence of their title Sunday in Bauchi beating their hosts, Wikki Tourists 1-0.

The Sai Masugida go into the encounter with the confidence of having qualified for the next round of the CAF Champions League beating Central Africa Republic Champions, Olympique du Bangui 5-1 on aggregate. Ganaru, former El-Kanemi Warriors Manager is, however, unperturbed with the current status of their foes. We have no business with their status as the Confederation Cup Champions; all we need is to score as many goals for us to take the return leg beyond them,” Ganaru explained.

HEARTLAND SET TO REDEEM IMAGE AGAINST US BITAM

Federation Cup holders, Heartland Football Club of Owerri are hoping to salvage their bruised ego when they take on their opponents in this year’s CAF Confederation Cup tie on Sunday. The Naze Millionaires who were last Sunday stunned at home boy NPFL debutants, Nembe FC, from Bayelsa state will attempt to repay their fans by trying to score as many goals as possible when they take on Gabonese side US Bitam. Imo Trumpeta sports desk can authoritatively inform that the players and the technical crew of the triple champions (Fed Cup, Charity Cup and the NPFL Super Four winners) had long moved into close camping on Tuesday to enable them concentrate on the task ahead. According to the Media Officer of the club, Mr Cajetan Nkwopara, ”The players are all in good spirit and I believe all things being equal, the result of last Sunday’s NPFL game has been put to the past, as we hope to use the game against US Bitam to reassure our fans of our commitment towards this season’s objectives,” Nkwopara said. The opponents of the two time Federation Cup winners, US Bitam of Gabon, arrived Abuja yesterday from Libreville and headed straight to Owerri where they were lodged in one of the five star hotels. US Bitam in their first game of the CAF Confederation Cup competition last month, edged out a team from Sao Tome & Principe 15-1 aggregate in two leg encounter. Meanwhile an inside source from the Heartland team also revealed that some of the key players who were unable to feature in last Sunday’s game against Nembe City are expected to come in for the CAF Cup encounter. Players like David Tyakasi (from Lobi Stars), John Owoeri etc are expected to add bite to the midfield and attack of the team.