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ANOCA President visits Sunday Dare in Abuja

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resident of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa, Mustapha Berraf, on Tuesday September 17, paid a courtesy call on the Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare at his office in preparation for the visit of the International Olympic Committee President, Thomas Bach, in November, 2019.

 

 

The president of the Nigeria Olympic Committee and Treasurer of ANOCA, Habu Gumel, while introducing the ANOCA President to the Honourable Minister hinted that the visit was very important to Nigeria at this period because primarily, ‘we are looking at the visit of the IOC President to Nigeria and all that it entails’.

 

While welcoming the ANOCA President, Dare thanked the NOC for bringing the ANOCA team for this great visit, saying there is no better place for ANOCA Headquarters if not Nigeria having won the bid 10 years ago in a keenly contested election in Kenya.

 

Dare stated that the IOC Presidents visit will be a big event for the nation as over 50 Presidents will be part of his protocol. Meaning Nigeria, will be looking forward to hosting a mini Olympics before the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, and aside that, the focus will be to complete the ANOCA secretariat before the date.

“Also, we will build on this visit as the Nigeria Olympic dream is alive and seeks ANOCA’s support to build our capacity, training and other programmes to enhance the development of our youths,” the minister said.

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Brazil vs Nigeria: Eagles’ Aribo targets Neymar’s jersey

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Brazil vs Nigeria: Eagles’ Aribo targets  Neymar’s jersey

Glasgow Rangers and Super Eagles midfielder, Joe Aribo has revealed why he cannot wait to be part of the Nigeria and Brazil international friendly billed for Singapore on October 13.

Aribo who is already being compared with skillful ex- midfielder, Austin Okocha, because of his deft touches on the ball said he would love to swap jersey with the Paris Saint-Germain star after the encounter  adding that it would be a dream come true for him.

Aribo, who made his international debut for Nigeria against Ukraine weeks ago, said “Games don’t come much bigger than Brazil and we know they’ve got a lot of stars like Neymar,” Aribo told reporters before Rangers’ Scottish League Cup quarterfinal clash against Livingston on Tuesday night.

“That’s the type of opponents I want to be playing against and it would be good to swap a jersey with one of those superstars. I’ll see so many stars and I’ll take a moment to realise that’s what I’ve been dreaming of.

“Everyone in my generation loved players like Ronaldinho and he played with some of the players in this team now so it’s like ‘wow’. I didn’t think international recognition would come so soon but it shows the stature of Rangers and why it was a good decision to come here.

“The manager watched the game and congratulated me on my debut goal against Ukraine. I wouldn’t say it was much of a step up from Rangers but it was good to play against opponents like that because Ukraine have a lot of top players.

“And it was very good news to be called up to the Nigeria squad again. I’m happy I was able to do enough in the last game to earn a recall. I knew a few of the lads such as Ola Aina and Alex Iwobi and they all welcomed me and made me feel at home.”

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Akpom confirms switch to Nigeria

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Akpom confirms switch to Nigeria

Former England youth international Chuba Akpom says he has now pledged his international allegiance to the country of his parents, Nigeria.

The 23-year-old striker who plays in Greece for PAOK is eligible to play for the Super Eagles as he holds dual-nationality and has not represented England at senior level.

In March 2017, ex-Arsenal youth player Akpom trained with the Nigeria senior side at Barnet alongside then Chelsea defender Ola Aina and now hopes to line up with his life-long friend Alex Iwobi for the West African country.

“I’ve only recently switched my allegiance, so I’ve signed the documents and hopefully in the next few weeks it will be approved to enable me play for Nigeria,” Akpom told BBC Sport.

“I’ve been wanting to do that for many years now but not many people know this. It’s just been a matter of sorting it out, which is now in a process. I’m looking forward to it.

“It was a personal decision. I’m Nigerian and my whole family feel very Nigerian and it will be nice to represent Nigeria.

“It will also be nice to link up with Alex [Iwobi] again and play for the national team. We started playing when we was younger together and to make that step to play for the national team together will be amazing.”

London-born Akpom scored 18 goals in 41 youth caps for England from U-16 to U-21 level.

He joined Arsenal at the age of six and spent time on loan with Brentford, Coventry, Nottingham Forest, Hull and Brighton, but failed to break into the Gunners’ first team.

A final loan spell at Belgian side Sint-Truiden resulted in six goals in 16 games and after six different clubs over five seasons.

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Zenith Bank/Delta Principals’ Cup Organisers axe school for fielding over-aged players

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Zenith Bank/Delta Principals’ Cup Organisers axe school for fielding over-aged players

Ekpan Basic secondary School was on Wednesday disqualified from taking part in the ongoing Delta State Principals Cup football competition.

The annual competition which is in its 4th edition is sponsored by Zenith Bank in partnership with the Government of Delta State.

The school, Ekpan Basic, was billed to compete in one of the preliminary games against Rhema Baptist School but most of their players were not within the age limit slated for the competition.

Head of the organizing team, Tony Pemu, told our correspondent that it was important to send a strong message to all those intending to cheat in the competition.

Pemu said: “Fair Play must prevail at all times. We are watching closely and we have all it takes to screen out people. The process continues till the final. That is the only way to have a true winner.

“The Government of Delta State has told us to stage a very fair and interesting tournament and that is what we are doing.”

In some of the matches decided, Macqueens Secondary School defeated Iteregbi Secondary School 1-0 while from Ughelli, Destiny Secondary School defeated Esejuvwevwo Secondary School 3-0 to move into the main draw of the competition.

Delta’s Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Chief Patrick Ukah, said it was important to raise the standard of the competition as the years roll by.

“The standard of the competition is important to us and we are also eager to make the young ones start their career well in the game,” Ukah noted.

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Kida, Ahmedu get FIBA appointments

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Kida, Ahmedu get FIBA appointments

World Basketball governing body FIBA has appointed Nigeria Basketball Federation NBBF President Musa Kida and the FIBA Africa Zone Three boss Col Samuel Ahmedu (rtd)  into its commissions and they will serve for four years.

Kida was appointed into the Finance Commission, while Ahmedu, who is also a member of the NBBF, will serve in the Legal Commission. They are both saddled with the responsibility of contributing their quota towards the development of the game by participating actively in the decision-making process in their various commissions.

Ahmedu said that the sitting on the commissions is in recognition of his contributions to the game of basketball in world.

Ahmedu stated that being in the Legal Commission would afford him the opportunity to contribute to the legal aspect of the game in an era where there is conflict between the FIBA laws and that of the national federations.

He said understanding both laws would be good for basketball stakeholders all over the world so that it would also help in resolving the conflicts between both sets of laws. “There are issue that are not in consonant with FIBA law and trying to understand the way both laws work will help most of the federations resolve conflicts better.

“Also, the issue of eligibility of players would be thrashed out so that African teams would not be shortchanged and they can secure the services of their players born outside the continent,” he added.

He noted that the appointments are not just for Nigeria both for Africa as a whole.

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MultiChoice rolls out World Championship Pop-Up Channel on GOtv

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MultiChoice rolls out World Championship Pop-Up Channel on GOtv

GOtv Max subscribers will join in on the 17th edition of the athletics action when the 2019 IAAF World Championships is held at Khalifa International Stadium aka National stadium in Doha, Qatar. The IAAF World Championship Pop Up Channel will be made available to GOtv Max customers from Thursday, 26th September till Tuesday, 8th October 2019 on channel 37.

GOtv Max subscribers get the privilege of watching one of Africa’s leading athletics nation, Ethiopia, who will be dispatching a squad of 37 to Doha, Qatar.  Muktar Edris will be present to defend and secure his 5000m title, whilst Almaz Ayana will aim to attain her 10,000m title. The winner of the 3000m steeplechase at the IAAF Diamond League final in Brussels, Getnet Wale, will also feature on the team.

The pop-up channel will also provide subscribers with access to view world leaders such as Samuel Tefera, Selemon Barega, Telahun Haile, Hagos Gebrhiwet and Letesenbet Gidey. Yomif Kejelcha and Genzebe Dibaba who are world record-holders will also be attending.

The IAAF World Championship Pop Up channel will be available from Thursday, 26th September till Tuesday, 8th October 2019 on GOtv channel 37.

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GOAT debate transcends just Messi vs Ronaldo

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GOAT debate transcends just Messi vs Ronaldo

Three things are inevitable these days: rain, tax and the unending debate over who is the better player between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

This debate has so engulfed the footballing world that it is impossible to praise one of these great players without someone finding a way to work the other into the conversation. They have become inseparable.

If Messi scores, Ronaldo fans remind you that their man also scored last night. If Ronaldo bags a hat-trick, Messi supporters cite the treble he hit two days before.

It is sometimes exhausting but there is little anyone can do about it. People have dug in deep into their positions and nothing is shifting them. ‘We die here.’

Messi, the little Argentine magician, edged ahead in their FIFA Best Player award head-to-head on Monday night when he claimed his sixth accolade. But instead of that to make the debate subside, it rather escalated it. While Ronaldo fans would have none of it, Messi fans gloated, insisting that the win confirmed their man as the undisputed GOAT – the greatest of all time.

Without any doubt, these two are far and away the best players of their generation. They have been untouchable at the top since 2008 and have shared 11 FIFA World Best Player gongs between them (Luka Modric the only player to beat both of them in 2018).

So it is understandable that fans, coaches, pundits and fellow footballers will be split as to who the better player is of the two.

These are superstars who have both won every single club title in their leagues and in Europe, and are more prolific than any other footballer at elite level in history.

Never in the history of the game have the two same players been this dominant for this long and, at 32 and 34 respectively, there are still a few more years left in them at the top.

The younger Messi was out on his own for a while, but the lithe, athletic, supremely gifted older Ronaldo fought his way back into reckoning, levelling the Best Player score in 2017.

Having both redefined the game and raised the goal-scoring bar so high that previous world-class ratios (one goal every two games was great) are now regarded as ordinary, they have earned the right to be included in the GOAT conversation.

But this generation of football fans have to be reminded that there are other GOAT contenders, notably Pele and Diego Maradona.

While Messi and Ronaldo have not won the World Cup and may never do, Pele won it three times, Maradona once.

Pele became a global superstar at only 17, scoring five goals (including two in the final against hosts Sweden) as Brazil won their first World Cup in 1958. He went on to star as his country won two more in 1962 and 1970 and remains Brazil’s top scorer with an astounding 77 goals in 92 games.

Pele also scored tons of goals while not exactly playing as a centre forward and he remains one of the biggest icons of the game.

Pele alone made Brazilian club Santos a household name globally through his on-field exploits, even in an era without cable television or social media and viral videos.

Maradona had a relatively short career but it was the stuff of dreams. After failing to live up to the hype at the 1982 World Cup where he got sent off and Argentina got eliminated early, he returned with a vengeance four years later.

Mexico ’86 was probably the World Cup with the biggest concentration of world-class superstars, but Maradona put all of them in the shade.

That World Cup was the first one I properly followed as a teenage football lover and I haven’t seen any since with so many truly great players. There certainly hasn’t been any with one player as utterly dominant as Maradona.

Spain’s Emilio Butragueno, Mexico’s Hugo Sanchez, Uruguay’s Enzo Francescoli, England’s Gary Lineker, Belgium’s Jans Cuelemans, France’s Michel Platini, Brazil’s Zico, Socrates and Careca, Germany’s Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and a host of other legitimate stars were in Mexico. But Maradona was heads and shoulders above all of them. He was in his own class.

The Argentina No.10’s goal against England in the quarter-finals (no, not the ‘hand of God’ one) remains the best solo goal ever scored in a World Cup. He scored a similar goal in the semi-finals against Belgium days later!

In fact, Maradona was so spectacular at Mexico ’86 that his teammates were often – rather unfairly—referred to as the 10 robots. He ‘carried’ on his thick shoulders a team that comprised a hugely talented bunch that included Jorge Valdano, Oscar Ruggeri and Nery Pumpido among others.

It’s doubtful if any player will ever have such a mind-blowingly stunning World Cup ever again.

Maradona was not only great with the national team, who he also led to the 1990 World Cup final, he excelled at club level too.

He became the first player to be sold for world record fees twice, moving from Boca Juniors to Barcelona in 1982 for £5m before joining Napoli in 1984 for £5.9m.

Up until today, Maradona is still worshipped in Naples. His arrival sparked a revival of unimaginable proportions as Napoli broke the dominance of Juventus and the Milan clubs to win their first Serie A title in 1987.

In his seven years in Italy, Maradona scored 115 goals as previously unheralded Napoli won two Serie A titles and finished second twice, the most successful spell in the club’s history.

Maradona had his off-field troubles but he was a genius and, along with Pele, should always be in GOAT reckoning.

These two were clearly the greatest of their different generations.

They are the heroes even Messi and Ronaldo look up to.

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Coe returns as IAAF President, Gusau misses out

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Coe returns as IAAF President, Gusau misses out

President of the International Associations of Athletics Federation, Sebastian Coe, was on Wednesday re-elected for another term in office at the 52nd IAAF Congress in Doha.

The former track and field athlete was the only candidate vying for the post of the president with all the 203 voting members of Congress voting for the British politician.

The president of the Athletic Federation of Nigeria, Ibrahim Shehu-Gusau, was however not lucky. He was one of the 11 candidates contesting for four slots as the vice president but failed to get enough votes to achieve his dream.

Ximena Restrepo, the 1992 Olympic 400m bronze medallist from Colombia, became the first woman to serve as an IAAF Vice President as she was voted alongside Sergey Bubka, Geoffrey Gardner and Nawaf Bin Mohammed Al Saud.

As part of the widespread reforms adopted by the IAAF Congress at the end of 2016, the IAAF added minimum gender targets into its constitution to establish parity at all levels in the sport’s governance.

Coe welcomed Restrepo, who now lives in Chile, as one of the new Vice Presidents and offered his congratulations.

“Ximena is a former athlete which is tremendously helpful when you’re driving the sport forward,” said Coe. “I am delighted that we have for the very first time elected a female Vice President and this is a historic moment.”

“I’m really honoured to take this position,” said Restrepo. “It’s a great moment for me and for my country. I would like to thank you, Seb, because this was only made possible because of you and the changes made to the constitution.”

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240 players from 57 countries set for 2019 Lagos Open Tennis

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240 players from 57 countries set for 2019 Lagos Open Tennis

Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre, the city of Lagos is set to play host to no fewer than 240 players across 57 countries of the the world in this year’s Lagos Open Tennis Championship.

This is the number of players who has signified interest in featuring in the 2019 Lagos Open Tennis which holds at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan, Lagos from 7 -20 October, 2019.

The Lagos Open, which before 2018 edition, is known as the Governor’s Cup Lagos Tennis, is being organised annually to celebrate the sitting Executive Governor of Lagos State since the government of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. This year, the 19th edition, will be the first in the government of Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

The 240 players, according to the International Tennis Federation (ITF) consist of 133 who will compete in the men’s singles and doubles events, while 107 players will play in the women’s singles and doubles during the ITF World Tour in Lagos, one of the emerging mega cities of the world.

Twenty-eight year old Japanese Shuichi Sekiguchi is the highest ranked player in the men’s category. He is ranked 286 on the ATP world ranking, followed by Tunisian Skander Mansouri who is on number 341 and French Tom Jomby (404). Jomby is a regular face in the Lagos Open as well as compatriot Calvin Hemery  (561). Zimbabwe’s Benjamin Lock (471) and Takanyi Garanganga  (623) are making a return to Lagos.

The highest ranked Nigeria men player in this year’s competition is Joseph Imeh Ubon, who is ranked 1537 and followed by Sylvester Emmanuel (1897).

Italian Giulia Gatto-Monticone is leading the women’s players to the 19th Lagos Open Tennis. She is 161 on WTA world ranking, followed by Aleksandrina Naydenova from Bulgaria (218) and Amandine Hesse from France (236) making the top three.

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GOtv Boxing Night 20: Fans tip winner of Joe Boy, Real One clash

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GOtv Boxing Night 20: Fans tip winner of Joe Boy, Real One clash

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head of the African Boxing Union (ABU) lightweight title bout, boxing fans have been giving their opinions on who they think will triumph between reigning champion, Oto “Joe Boy” Joseph, and West African Boxing Union (WABU) champion, Rilwan “Real One” Oladosu.

 

 

The bout, which headlines GOtv Boxing Night 20 slated for 12 October at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium in Lagos, is widely rated as the biggest boxing bout on Nigerian soil in more than two decades, the reason it has provoked enormous interest among boxing fans who have taken to the social media to express their views.

 

 

Both boxers remain undefeated since turning professional and are currently involved in a long-running war of words which, on four occasions, saw them being pulled apart to prevent an exchange of bare-knuckled punches.

 

A boxing fan, Moses Adejoh Mansa, believes that Joe Boy is a better boxer and will retain his title.

 

“Joe Boy all the way. Any day. Any time,” he posted on a Facebook thread on the coming bout. Sharing the same sentiment is another fan, who identifies himself simply as Adeola. He is convinced that the ABU champion is more skillful and will win the fight.

 

 

However, many others are rooting for Real One. Adetokun Abayomi Mike, for instance, admits that both boxers are very good, but tipped Real One to carry the day. “I go for Real One. I know both boxers well, but power will change hands on that day,” he wrote. He found many others agreeing with his sentiment, with Oluwatobi Sunday, Martins Abiola and Oladunjoye Lateef Olawale both posting “Real One all the way.”

 

To others, the fight is too close to call. Rising lightweight boxer, Isaac “I-Star” Chukwudi, is torn between the two boxers, who he described as his favourites on the domestic scene. He stated that if it was up to him, he would prefer that they do not meet at this stage in their careers.

 

“I never wanted this fight to happen now because both are the best we have in Nigeria. I was hoping that Joe Boy would vacate the ABU title for Real One, while he goes after a bigger title. I don’t want either to lose,” he said with barely disguised regret that they two have been paired.

 

Another Facebook user, Zeezo Reezo, is similarly in two minds and just wants to see the better boxer win. “Real One is good, but Joe Boy is a good puncher, so let the better man win,” he wrote. 

 

 

Joe Boy, a three-time winner of the best boxer award at GOtv Boxing Night, is facing arguably his toughest opponent yet in Real One, who has also won the award on two occasions.

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Neither of us like losing, says Messi about Ronaldo

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Neither of us like losing, says Messi about Ronaldo

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ionel Messi beat Cristiano Ronaldo to the FIFA Best award for 2019 and admits neither he nor an eternal rival “like losing”, but the Argentine insists their ongoing battle remains purely professional.

 

Barcelona’s talismanic skipper saw his efforts across the last 12 months recognised with another prestigious prize at a glitzy gala in Milan.

 

He was on hand to collect more silverware, with Ronaldo opting to stay away as he works to shake off a minor knock which has sidelined him at Juventus.

 

 

The Portuguese’s absence meant there was to be no reunion between two all-time greats, who last met at the UEFA awards in August, and Messi was left to take on questions about their relationship all by himself.

 

He maintains that there has never been any off-field rivalry between the two, with it merely their insatiable desire to be the best on the pitch which has driven them into direct conflict on a regular basis for well over a decade now.

 

Quizzed by FIFA on why people are surprised to find that the pair get along so well, Messi said: “Because of the big sporting rivalry that’s developed between us over the last few years, because one of us played for Barcelona and the other for [Real] Madrid, and because we won individual awards.

 

“People perhaps think the rivalry goes beyond football, but it doesn’t.

 

“We both want what’s best for our teams and neither of us like losing. It’s something we don’t accept. That’s why there’s that competitiveness between us. The important thing is that it stays there, out on the pitch.”

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