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Africa Games: How Lagos athletes propelled Team Nigeria to success in Morocco

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Africa Games: How Lagos athletes propelled Team Nigeria to success in Morocco

 

 

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hen the story of Team Nigeria’s second position outing at the recently concluded Rabat 2019 All Africa Games is being told, the place of athletes from Lagos State and the contribution they made in the success story would not be easily forgotten.

 

 

Lagos State has always been the ‘Centre of Excellence’ in Nigerian sports because the state has been known for its sports development programmes, a situation that has made the state grooming ground for athletes for national and international competitions.

 

 

Right from the government of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu down to the present administration of Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the development of sports and the welfare of athletes have always been in the hearts of the state governors who usually give all necessary support to the administrators saddled with the responsibility of managing sports in the state.

 

 

There is no doubt that the gains of International Badminton Classics, the monthly Boxing Hall of Fame Show, the ITTF Nigeria Open Challenge Plus and numerous developmental school sports programmes of the Lagos State Sports Commission are adding values not only in sports in the state, but Nigeria as a whole.

 

 

This was evident in what happened at the Rabat Games last month with the contribution some of the athletes from Lagos State made to the total number of medals hauled by Team Nigeria to finish second at the continental championship.

 

 

Anuoluwapo Opeyori and Godwin Olofia’s inspired Nigerian badminton team won a team gold medal in Morocco, the first to be won by Nigeria when the Games started. Anuoluwapo overall won 2 gold and 1 silver medal, while another Lagos athlete, Godwin Olofia won 1 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze for Team Nigeria.

 

 

In the men’s doubles, the duo of Anuoluwapo and Godwin won silver medal, while in the women’s singles Lagos’ Dorcas Adesokan and Sofiat Obanishola won silver and bronze medals respectively

Dorcas Adesokan paired Deborah Ukeh to settle for silver medal in the women’s doubles event.

 

 

Anuoluwapo is Nigeria and Africa’s number one in badminton, while Godwin is rated number three in Nigeria. The pair of Anuoluwapo and Godwin are Africa’s number one in the men’s doubles.

 

Two Team Lagos boxers, Afeez Osoba (male) and Ayisat Oriyomi (female) representing Nigeria at 2019 All Africa Games won 1 silver and 1 bronze medal in the 69kg and 51kg categories respectively.

 

 

Afeez Osoba was a gold medallist in 69kg event in the last Abuja 2018 National Sports Festival. He is currently in the second position in African boxing. Ayisat Oriyomi  on the other hand is a gold medallist at the Abuja 2018 National Festival, while she is in the third position on the continent. Record shows that Oriyomi was two times Governor’s Belt winner in 2013 and 2018. Governor’s Belt is an annual boxing championship usually hold every Boxing Day to determine Lagos boxing champions in both the female and male categories every year. Oriyomi also won gold medal at the Eko 2012 National Sports Festival.

 

 

In weightlifting, Adijat  Adenike Olarinoye, a Lagos athlete, won 2 gold and 1 silver medals in the 55kg (Clean and Jack respectively. She broke the All Africa Games record. ). Olarinoye has been an outstanding lifter. She won 3 silver medals at the year 2018 National Sports Festival (NSF)  held in Abuja (snatch, clean and Jack and as well as Total in 55kg)

 

 

The same success story was recorded in table tennis where unfavoured Lagos’ Olajide Omotayo, representing Team Nigeria, conquered three of the best players in Africa in the table tennis event to be crowed the champion.

 

 

From the quarterfinal stage, Omotayo worked his way to the final beating two former champions – Egypt’s Ahmed Saleh and Nigeria’s Segun Toriola – in the quarterfinal and semifinal stages.

 

 

The final produced the best of Africa with Aruna Quadri going up against Omotayo and the fans were treated to an exciting match.

 

 

Omotayo threw caution to the wind and raced to the lead with a 3-0 (13-11, 11-9, 16-14) but experienced Quadri cut the lead to 3-2 with 8-11, 13-15 wins in the fourth and fifth games.

 

 

The sixth match was a display of energy and skills and it was the younger Omotayo that scaled through with 12-10 win to claim the second gold medals for Nigeria in the table tennis event of the multi-sports fiesta.

 

 

Executive Chairman of Lagos State Sports Commission, Dr. Kweku Tandoh, who alongside some top management staff of the Commission, including the Director General Oluwatoyin Gafar, were in Rabat to watch proceedings of the All Africa Games. He commended Anuoluwapo and Omotayo for their ‘golden’ performance. He said they are not only good ambassadors of Nigeria, but they also made Lagos state proud.

 

 

“Jide Omotayo, a player groomed and developed through the Lagos State sports system, has shown that with determination, commitment and discipline, you can get to the top. We are proud of him and wish him the very best,” Tandoh said.

 

 

“Anu has continued to blossom in his badminton career. A product of Lagos State and one of the success stories of the annual Lagos International Badminton Classics, Anu’s focus, humility and discipline has seen him rise to the top of African Badminton. For him, I am sure that this is just a stepping stone to greater success in his career,” the Executive Chairman said..

 

 

Lagos State Sports Commission, known for its proactive approach to the issue of development of athletes through the approval of the Governor, used the long holiday of the students in the state to organise a Lagos Sports Summer Camp. The idea behind the Camp, according to Mr.Gafar was to introduce the chosen sports (Athletics, Table-tennis, Basketball, Taekwondo, Judo, Swimming, Squash and Volleyball) to students who have shown interest, for them to make use of the opportunity to become future stars not only for Lagos but also for Nigeria.

 

 

“After the camping exercise, some identified talents will be selected for further coaching and mentoring,” Gafar said.

 

 

Like the popular saying that ‘the Future is Now’, Lagos recognises that to better the future, all hands must be on deck to prepare for the future now.

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La Liga considers legal action over new El Clasico date

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La Liga considers legal action over new El Clasico date

La Liga is considering legal action after the postponed El Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid was rescheduled for December 18 by the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).

The match was set for 12:00 BST on Saturday in Barcelona but was postponed at La Liga’s request due to fears of civil unrest.

There was a week of protests in Barcelona after nine Catalan separatist leaders were jailed earlier this month.

La Liga had proposed December 4, reports the BBC.

Both clubs put forward Wednesday, December 18 after being asked to agree on a new date by RFEF’s competitions committee, who signed off the decision on Wednesday.

The first round of the Copa del Rey is set to take place on the same date.

“La Liga doesn’t agree with the competition committee’s decision to stipulate  December 18 – after an agreement was reached between Barcelona and Real Madrid, despite La Liga’s objections – as the date in which the postponed Clasico should be played,” La Liga said in a statement.

“We are studying the documentation that we have recently received regarding the process in which the decision was taken.

“This is in order to evaluate taking possible legal action and against whom it should be tabled, before the relevant and opportune public organisations or legal organisms.”

Barcelona and Real Madrid disagreed with La Liga’s earlier call to switch the game to Madrid.

Catalonia is a semi-autonomous region in north-east Spain and in a referendum on  October 1, 2017, declared illegal by Spain’s Constitutional Court, around 90% of Catalan votes cast backed independence. Turnout was 43%.

The nine separatist leaders were convicted of sedition over their role in the referendum and handed jail sentences of between nine and 13 years by Spain’s Supreme Court.

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JUST IN: This weekend’s El Clasico shifted to Dec 18

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JUST IN: This weekend’s El Clasico shifted to Dec 18

This weekend’s El Clasico match between Barcelona and Real Madrid has been shifted to December 18.

The announcement was made by the Spanish Royal Football Federation (RFEF) Competition Committee on Wednesday.

The match was supposed to have taken place at the Camp Nou this weekend but had to be postponed due to the political unrest in Catalonia.

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UEFA League roundup: Mbappé, Sterling score hat-trick in PSG, City routs

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UEFA League roundup: Mbappé, Sterling score hat-trick in PSG, City routs

Kylian Mbappé came off the bench to grab a second half hat-trick and inspire Paris Saint-Germain to a runaway 5-0 victory at Belgium’s Club Brugge in the Champions League on Wednesday.

The win kept up their 100% record in Group A with the French team on nine points at the halfway mark and on the cusp of qualification for the next phase, a comfortable five points ahead of second placed Real Madrid, who won 1-0 against Galatasaray in Turkey.

Juventus forward Paulo Dybala scored twice in three minutes late in the game to give the Turin side a 2-1 win over Lokomotiv Moscowafter the Russians had taken a shock first-half lead, reports The Press Association.

Aleksei Miranchuk stunned the Juventus Stadium by putting the visitors ahead after half an hour of the Group D match despite the home side having 70% of possession in the first half.

Lokomotiv’s blanket defence frustrated the Serie A champions until Dybala equalised with an exquisite shot from outside the area in the 77th minute and the Argentine struck again three minutes later to complete a dramatic win.

In the other game in Group D Atlético Madrid substitute Álvaro Morata scored a late second half header to give his team a 1-0 victory over Bayer Leverkusen.

Bayern Munich needed two goals from their top scorer Robert Lewandowski to sneak past hosts Olympiakos 3-2 on Tuesday and remain top of their Champions League.

The win lifted Bayern to nine point from three games. Tottenham crushed Red Star Belgrade 5-0 to move up to second place on four, one ahead of the Serbs.

And in Group C, Shakhtar Donetsk and Dinamo Zagreb played out a 2-2 draw, with Dodo’s 75th-minute equaliser.

And on a night of firsts for Manchester City, they could savour Raheem Sterling’s maiden Champions League hat-trick. If the only red card of Phil Foden’s career was a footnote, a superlative display by Sterling, who epitomises Pep Guardiola’s quest for perpetual, exponential improvement brought another milestone in his development. It was all the more remarkable as it came in 11 minutes and as he had already played a part in City’s first two goals. They scored five to give them a five-point lead in Group C. It was quite a turnaround after trailing to Atalanta. If Sergio Agüero’s double gave City a further reason to be relieved he escaped unhurt from a car crash last week, even he was overshadowed by Sterling.

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UEFA League roundup: Mbappé, Sterling score hat-tricks in PSG, City routs

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UEFA League roundup: Mbappé, Sterling score hat-tricks in PSG, City routs

Kylian Mbappé came off the bench to grab a second half hat-trick and inspire Paris Saint-Germain to a runaway 5-0 victory at Belgium’s Club Brugge in the Champions League on Wednesday.

The win kept up their 100% record in Group A with the French team on nine points at the halfway mark and on the cusp of qualification for the next phase, a comfortable five points ahead of second placed Real Madrid, who won 1-0 against Galatasaray in Turkey.

Juventus forward Paulo Dybala scored twice in three minutes late in the game to give the Turin side a 2-1 win over Lokomotiv Moscowafter the Russians had taken a shock first-half lead, reports The Press Association.

Aleksei Miranchuk stunned the Juventus Stadium by putting the visitors ahead after half an hour of the Group D match despite the home side having 70% of possession in the first half.

Lokomotiv’s blanket defence frustrated the Serie A champions until Dybala equalised with an exquisite shot from outside the area in the 77th minute and the Argentine struck again three minutes later to complete a dramatic win.

In the other game in Group D Atlético Madrid substitute Álvaro Morata scored a late second half header to give his team a 1-0 victory over Bayer Leverkusen.

Bayern Munich needed two goals from their top scorer Robert Lewandowski to sneak past hosts Olympiakos 3-2 on Tuesday and remain top of their Champions League.

The win lifted Bayern to nine point from three games. Tottenham crushed Red Star Belgrade 5-0 to move up to second place on four, one ahead of the Serbs.

And in Group C, Shakhtar Donetsk and Dinamo Zagreb played out a 2-2 draw, with Dodo’s 75th-minute equaliser.

And on a night of firsts for Manchester City, they could savour Raheem Sterling’s maiden Champions League hat-trick. If the only red card of Phil Foden’s career was a footnote, a superlative display by Sterling, who epitomises Pep Guardiola’s quest for perpetual, exponential improvement brought another milestone in his development. It was all the more remarkable as it came in 11 minutes and as he had already played a part in City’s first two goals. They scored five to give them a five-point lead in Group C. It was quite a turnaround after trailing to Atalanta. If Sergio Agüero’s double gave City a further reason to be relieved he escaped unhurt from a car crash last week, even he was overshadowed by Sterling.

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FIFA U-17 World Cup: Expect a fantastic team – Garba

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FIFA U-17 World Cup: Expect a fantastic team – Garba

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ith the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup taking centre stage from this weekend in Brazil, coach of the Golden Eaglets, Manu Garba, has assured Nigerians and the World of a fantastic team performing better than they did at the U-17 Africa Cup of Nations played in Tanzania early this year.

 

After finishing champions in 2013 and 2015, the Eaglets failed to defend their title in 2017 as they failed to qualify. They however finished fourth at the African U-17 Championship behind Angola, who beat the favourites 2-1 in the match for third place.

 

Nigeria have been grouped in Group B alongside Hungary, Ecuador and Australia with their opening game coming up against Hungary on Saturday, October 26.

 

Speaking with FIFA.com, Garba, said they had the trophy in sight once again.

 

“Everyone should get ready to see a fantastic Nigerian team that play great football and have the trophy in their sights,” Garba said.

 

“Ecuador, Hungary and Australia are undoubtedly strong teams that we respect, but we are record-breaking world champions and I was involved in two of our title wins.

 

“The will to win every game is part of the DNA of every Nigerian team, and my team here in Brazil is no exception.”

 

Indeed, Garba was head coach when the African side clinched victory in the United Arab Emirates in 2013, and served as Yemi Tella’s assistant six years earlier.

 

Meanwhile, the assistant coach of the team, Uduka Ugbade, has declared that the team must work very hard if they are to qualify from their group as they begin their quest for a record sixth title.

 

 

Ugbade said they must be wary of the teams in their group, while also charging the players to be hardworking and never underrate their opponents.

 

He told www.brila.net that, “As the most successful team in the U-17 world cup from the past and to this present, it’s so funny that now we are meeting Hungary again since 1985 that we met them in the quarter-finals.

 

“And you know Ecuador as well, we are not going to say they are an easy country to deal with and football is on the rise in Australia as well. So we have a very big work to do to sort these teams.”

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Iwobi can’t play as Everton’s number 10 – Bent

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Iwobi can’t play as Everton’s number 10 – Bent

F

ormer Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa striker Darren Bent believes Alex Iwobi does not have the quality to play in the number 10 role for Everton.

 

The Nigeria international was deployed to the attacking midfield position in the Toffees’ 2-0 victory against West Ham United last Saturday and featured for 87 minutes before making way for Gylfi Sigurdsson.

 

 

The former England international lauded the performance of the 23-year-old but claimed he is not good enough for the central attacking midfield role.

“He’s a funny one as for me he works really hard,” Bent told Football Insider

“Any player would want him in their team as he works so hard but my only issue with him is that if you’re going to play that No.10 role you need to have better quality on the ball.

 

 

“For me, too many times, he’ll pick the wrong option as he’ll shoot rather than pass or overshoot his pass, so if you’re going to play a No.10 it needs to be someone like Sigurdsson.

 

“He’s got that kind of technique, which he showed with the second goal, that means he can play No.10 and Iwobi, for a manager, he is a manager’s dream as he works really hard but to play No.10, you need to have more quality.”

 

 

Iwobi has scored two goals and provided one assist in eight appearances since his summer switch from Arsenal.

The utility player will be expected to play a role when Everton take on Brighton and Hove Albion in their next league game on October 26.

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NFF defies minister on redeployment of women dept head

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NFF defies minister on redeployment of women dept head

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he Nigeria Football Federation  has defied the order of Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, on the redeployment of its Head of Women Department, Ruth David, who was allegedly fingered for the exit of Super Falcons coach Thomas Dennerby.

 

 

The connected lady  has now been named as the Head of International competitions in the Glass House.

 

 

David was Head of Women’s football during which time she was alleged to have frustrated Dennerby causing the Swedish coach to walk out on the women’s national team.

 

 

In Dennerby’s absence, Nigeria scandalously crashed out of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to Cote d’Ivoire.

 

 

And now as head of international competitions David will also oversee the Super Falcons.

 

“This appointment is against the orders of the minister as she is still very much involved with a technical aspect of the NFF, more or less the same role she was playing as head of women’s football,” an official of NFF said

 

“She ought to have been redeployed to the administrative or the accounts department, but certainly not a related competitions position.”

 

Top officials made entreaties to the minister when the order to redeploy her was made.

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Osimhen clever, dangerous, Chukwueze warns Valencia

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Osimhen clever, dangerous, Chukwueze warns Valencia

…as Lille host Valencia in Champions League today

 

…eagles striker can wreck any team – Esin

 

 

S

uper Eagles striker Victor Osimhen will be looking forward to scoring his second UEFA Champions League goal and lead his French side Lille to their first victory in the tournament when they confront Valencia today and his national teammate Samuel Chukwueze warned the Spanish side the striker could wreck them.

 

 

Osimhen announced his arrival on the big stage when he scored Lille’s only goal in their 2-1 loss to Chelsea on Match Day 2 to the admiration of Blues coach Frank Lampard who rated the Nigerian as the biggest threat for his side in the encounter.

 

 

Lille Metropolle has been the slaughter slab for Osimhen where he has scored eight of his side 12 goals on that ground ands it remains to be seen how Valencia will stop the rampaging striker.

 

Chukwueze knows all about the qualities of the Lille number seven, having played together with him in the Golden Eaglets, Flying Eagles and Olympic Team before they were promoted to the Super Eagles and the youngster has warned the Spanish side to watch out for his teammate.

 

 

 

“He is a great player, he has a lot of speed and [eye for] goal, he reads [the opposition] very well. He is a very complete forward,” Chukwueze told Spanish online news outlet, Superdeporte.es.

 

Ex-international, Etim Esin, believes Osimhen has proved he can hold his own against any team in the world and challenged the striker to maintain the consistency.

 

“Osimhem is a huge talent; he is proving that he can become one of the biggest forwards in the world and you saw the way he played against Chelsea in their last match in the Champions League, he showed class.

 

 

“I look forward to another fantastic showing from him when they play on Wednesday again. I want to see that consistency because that is what is important for a youngster. He needs to keep working hard and Champions League is a big stage for him to show the world he is getting to that level where he will be regarded as one of the best,” he said.

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Champions League: Salah returns for Liverpool

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Champions League: Salah returns for Liverpool

M

ohamed Salah has returned to Liverpool training ahead of their Champions League meeting with Genk on Wednesday.

 

 

There is, however, no Trent Alexander-Arnold for the trip to Belgium, with the England right-back having remained in Liverpool due to a virus.

 

 

Egypt star Salah missed Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United due to an ankle injury sustained before the international break but is now poised to feature in the midweek encounter.

 

 

Divock Origi took his place at Old Trafford, where a late Adam Lallana strike was sufficient to preserve the Reds’ undefeated record in the Premier League but not enough to maintain their remarkable sequence of victories.

 

 

It seems that the 27-year-old, who scored 27 goals in 52 outings last term, could be back in the starting XI in Genk, despite the club playing their cards close to their chest when discussing his condition in recent days.

 

 

This will come as a major boost to the team, who missed his presence at the weekend.

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Zenith Bank Women’s Basketball League Final 8: First Bank, Air Warriors cruise to semis

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Zenith Bank Women’s Basketball League Final 8: First Bank, Air Warriors cruise to semis

T

he two top teams at the 2019 Zenith Bank Women’s Basketball League Final 8 both qualified for the semi-finals of the competition with emphatic wins at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium, Lagos on Tuesday.

 

Having both topped their groups with 100 percent win records, First Bank and Air Warriors eased towards an anticipated confrontation in the final with big victories over Black Gold and Plateau Rocks as expected.

 

The Elephant Ladies, who are on a quest for their 10th national title, thrashed Black Gold 90-32 in the first quarter-final to claim their fourth straight post-season victory.

 

 

Grace John had a game-high 17 points and added four assists to power favourites past the underdogs who have now lost all of their four Zenith Bank Women’s Basketball League National Final 8 games.

 

Ifunanya Okoro contributed 16 points, five assists and five rebounds as the champions cruised into the last four stage.

 

Air Warriors, who won all their three games to top the Group B table, ruthlessly dealt with Plateau Rocks 103-50 points.

 

Murjanatu Musa of Air Warriors scored an impressive 26 points and bagged two assists and 12 rebounds to drive her team to victory against the team that finished bottom of Group A.

 

The semi-finals are billed for Wednesday with the final scheduled for Thursday.

 

The champions of the competition and runners-up will represent Nigeria at the FIBA Africa Zone 3 Champions Cup qualifiers in Cotonou from 28 October to 3 November.

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