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CHAN: NFF bows to pressure as Amapakabo leads Eagles to Lome

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CHAN: NFF bows to pressure as Amapakabo leads Eagles to Lome

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fter the uproar that greeted the return of the erstwhile coach of the Super Eagles home-based team, Salisu Yusuf, the Nigeria Football Federation has bowed to pressure from football stakeholders as they announced that the U-23 coach, Imama Amapakabo, will be leading the team to Lome for the 2020 African Nations Championship qualifying fixture against the Sparrow Hawks coming up on Sunday.

 

 

There were insinuations in some quarters that Yusuf would be resuming his job as the coach of CHAN Eagles while also taking up the position as the head coach of the U-23, but the recent announcement has put paid to that suspicion.

 

 

In a release by the NFF on Tuesday, Amapakabo, head coach of the U-23 National Team, will be in charge of the team for the battle of Lome.

 

As a way of preparing the U-23 boys for the third U-23 Africa Cup of Nations finals holding in Egypt from November 8 to 22 (for which the team qualified after defeating Libya and Sudan in qualifiers), the NFF has decided that the U-23 squad, without the overseas-based professionals but with a number of home –based Trojans added, prosecute the CHAN qualifying fixture.

 

Amapakabo’s charges have another ample pre-AFCON preparatory platform awaiting at the 2nd WAFU Cup of Nations, holding in Thies, Senegal as from September 28.

 

The Federation Togolese de Football (FTF) has scheduled Sunday’s encounter for the Stade de Kegue in the country’s capital city, starting from 4pm.

Also, the Confederation of African Football has selected officials from Benin Republic to superintend the match, with Adissa Abdou Raphiou Ligali as the referee.

 

 

Nigeria finished as runners-up of the last edition of the African Nations Championship held in Morocco early last year, having also picked up the bronze medals in South Africa in 2014.

Cameroon will host the 6th CHAN in June 2020.

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Chukwueze has potential to be great – Elaho

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Chukwueze has potential to be great  – Elaho

A former Super Eagles left winger, Friday Elaho, has paid glowing tribute to Samuel Chukwueze, a player whose style reminds fans of the retired winger’s dazzling runs down the left channel in his heyday in the national team. Elaho stated that the young winger has the potential to be great if he continues to play the way he does at the moment.

Chukwueze, who has been a revelation since breaking into the national team at July’s African Cup of Nations in Egypt where the Super Eagles picked a bronze medal, also dazzled in the international friendly match against Brazil on Sunday, and Elaho noted that this is just a sign of things to come.

“Chukwueze is a great prospect and if he continues on this trajectory, he has a good career ahead of him. You can see the way he plays, he has no fear; he carries the ball to the opponents and causes confusion through the left flank. That is also the way he plays in Villarreal and he has transferred that to the national team,” the ex-Eagles star stated.

Elaho who was a member of the Super Eagles side that won a silver medal at the AFCON in Algeria in 1990, however advised the 20-year-old star to be calm at all times and not get carried away by his early success.

He said: “My only advice to him is to be hardworking and calm. Those are very important elements in a successful football career. He can’t afford to be carried away at this stage in his career. If he remains committed and focused, he will have a great career.”

The former Bendel Insurance and Brondy of Denmark star also took time to assess the current Super Eagles following their penultimate friendly match against Ukraine and the recent one against Brazil. Both matches ended in draws with the team putting up good performances on both occasions.

“The current team is good, and another thing they have going for them is that they are very young. In another two to three years, they will be more mature and that is when we will see the best of them. My only hope is that they remain consistent,” Elaho added.

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Osimhen valued at 48m Euros

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Osimhen valued at 48m Euros

Victor Osimhen is “the sensation of the moment” in the French Ligue 1 and this could well see his club Lille sell him for a staggering 48 million Euros or more, according to a top commentator.

Osimhen reportedly cost Lille 12 million Euros when he switched in the summer from Belgian club Sporting Charleroi.

A total of eight goals in all competitions including the UEFA Champions League could now see the striker make a big money move soon.

“The club (Lille) are already rubbing their hands because if he continues like this, the clubs will stand in line for him at the end of the season,” French football expert Sirik Geffray told Sporza.

“You know how English clubs are, for example. Then his price of 12 million Euros could be three or four times.”

He added: “He is the sensation of the moment .

“A striker who has not yet turned 21 and who did not have to struggle when he made the switch from Belgium to France, where he was expected to first learn the ropes.

“The talk now is that he is already ready for a step higher because he is already a finished article.”

Leading Spanish sports newspaper AS have already reported that Osimhen tops FC Barcelona shopping list as a replacement for Luis Saurez.

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Amapakabo picks Ezenwa, Ibrahim, 18 others for Togo

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Amapakabo picks Ezenwa, Ibrahim, 18 others for Togo

Head Coach Imama Amapakabo has unveiled a list of 20 home –based professionals to take on Togo’s Sparrow Hawks in Saturday’s 2020 African Nations Championship qualifying final leg in Lagos.

Super Eagles’ goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa tops the list, with Nasarawa United’s stormy forward Sunusi Ibrahim and Akwa United’s Ndifreke Effiong, who netted a brace for the U23 team in the 5-0 defeat of Sudan in Asaba in September, also selected.

Kano Pillars’ ace Nyima Nwagua, Fatai Gbadamosi of Shooting Stars and Lobi Stars’ trio of Ebube Duru, Sikiru Alimi and John Lazarus make the list, alongside goalkeeper Adamu Abubakar of Wikki Tourists and Enugu Rangers’ Anthony Shimaga are included.

Nigeria have a mountain to surmount at the Agege Stadium, Lagos on Saturday, with Togo having won the first leg by a handsome 4-1 scoreline in Lome.

20 EAGLES TO WRESTLE DOWN SPARROW HAWKS

Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Heartland FC); Adamu Abubakar (Wikki Tourists); Theophilus Afelokhai (Enyimba FC); Nwagua Nyima (Kano Pillars); Stephen Manyo (Enyimba FC); Ifeanyi Nweke (Kano Pillars); Ifeanyi Anaemena (Enyimba FC); John Lazarus (Lobi Stars); Reuben Bala (Enyimba FC); Ifeanyi Nweke (Kano Pillars); Ebube Duru (Lobi Stars); Daniel James (Plateau United); Sikiru Alimi (Lobi Stars); Olisah Ndah (Remo Stars); Anthony Shimaga (Rangers International); Fatai Gbadamosi (Shooting Stars); Ibrahim Olawonye (Rangers International); Ndifreke Effiong (Akwa United); Samuel Mathias (Akwa United); Sunusi Ibrahim (Nasarawa United); Mfon Udoh (Akwa United).

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Badminton: Nigeria’s top players begin battle for Olympic points

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Badminton: Nigeria’s top players begin battle  for Olympic points

Nigeria and Africa’s top players – Dorcas Adesokan, Anuoluwapo Opeyori and Godwin Olofua – will begin their quest for Olympic qualification today at the 2019 Egypt International tournament.

The tournament serves off today but the trio will join the action tomorrow in the main draw in the round of 32. The competition ends on Sunday, October 20.

Adesokan (Africa’s number one female player), Opeyori (Africa’s number one male players) and Nigeria’s second best men player, Olofua, will all play in the Singles event, while Opeyori and Olofua will also do battle in the Men’s Double.

After the Cairo tournament, the Nigerian stars will move to Algiers to take part in the 2019 Algeria International Championship holding from October 24 to 27 after which they will return home.

The quest continues with a tight and physically demanding schedule to the Cameroon International November 14 to 17), Scottish Open (November 20 to 24), Zambian International from November 28 to December 1) and a host of other meets in South Africa, Italy, Sweden among others.

According to the Badminton Federation of Nigeria, this drive is to ensure that the players garner as much ranking points as possible to stay in contention in the race for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The players, who have expressed preparedness for the rigorous and demanding tasks ahead, have assured the BFN of their determination to give their best at the tournaments.

Opeyori stated that they were ready for the task ahead while commending the BFN for believing in the players to deliver the goods. He said that playing and doing well in many tournaments would help them garner enough points to hopefully make it to Tokyo.

“I am hopeful that the three of us will make it to Tokyo. We are prepared for the task ahead and we have trained hard. All we need do is give our best at these tournaments,” Opeyori stated.

The BFN is leaving no stone unturned in the all-important mission of securing spots in the Tokyo Olympics.

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Zenith Bank Women Basketball League: Final 8 starts in Lagos today

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Zenith Bank Women Basketball League:  Final 8 starts in Lagos today

The Final 8 of the 2019 Zenith Bank Women Basketball League starts on Friday (today) at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.

This is the fourth stage of the women Basketball league which is wearing a new look this year with a fresh format introduced by the Musa Kida –led board of the Nigeria Basketball Federation.

Four centres- Abuja, Zaria, Ibadan and Akure hosted the first two phases with 27 teams on parade while Ibadan and Abuja hosted the third phase which was the Atlantic and savannah conference centres. Eight teams were in each of the conferences and the best four in each of the conferences made it to the final.

The defending champions, First Bank of Lagos, remain unbeaten in the current campaign from the Atlantic Conference and they led the four teams from Ibadan. Other are MFM, Dolphins and Asaba-based Delta Force.

In the Savannah Conference played in Abuja, Air Warriors stayed true to their name as they defeated all seven oppositions to qualify for the National Finals on a high while Customs finished second.

Zenith Bank sponsored league debutants, Blackgold Queens, and Plateau Rocks will also be in Lagos for the finals.

The Group Managing Director of Zenith Bank, Ebenezer Onyeagwu, has congratulated all the qualifiers for the final phase.

Onyeagwu said: “All those in Lagos for the finals are winners because other who fell in earlier stages would have loved to be in the final.

“As sponsors in the past 15 years, we will continue to provide the enabling environment through the league to boost women’s basketball in the country. “We are happy that D’Tigress have won the Afrobasket back-to-back with some of those who featured in this competition and we expect more players to enter the national team through this league.” The two finalists of the Final 8 will qualify for the 2019 FIBA Africa Zone 3 Champions Cup qualifiers to be hosted in Cotonou, Benin Republic later this month.

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Mikel: Eagles blessed with talented youngsters

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Mikel: Eagles blessed with talented youngsters

Former Super Eagles captain Mikel Obi has said the current players in the team can withstand any challenges, tipping them to rank among the best in a foreseeable future.

The former Chelsea player quits international football after helping the side win a bronze medal at the 2019 African Cup of Nations  in Egypt.

The former Tianji Teda skipper said he had to call it quit with the Eagles so as to allow younger generation of players to thrive.

He expressed confidence when he spoke with Trabzonspor’s official magazine, that the current Super Eagles were hungry and determined to make the nation proud.

“We currently have very talented young players. They’re all bright. I think these players can handle the challenges. I had to make room for them, besides; I don’t have many years for football in front of me. I want to focus on my team in the remaining period,” he said.

”I served the national team for 13 years, most of them as captain. In this period, we achieved significant successes as a team,” he added.

In all, the former Chelsea star made 89 appearances, scoring six goals for the senior national team.

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Lagos Open Tennis: Genesis Academy to organise clinic/tournament for youths

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Lagos Open Tennis: Genesis Academy to organise clinic/tournament for youths

Nigerian youths are to enjoy moments of training and tournament in the ongoing 2019 Lagos Open Tennis at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan courtesy of the partnership between the Local Organising Committee  and Genesis Tennis Academy, Arizona, USA.

Convener of the youth clinic, former Nigerian tennis champion, Jonathan Igbinovia, told journalists on Thursday that the clinic and mini tournament became very important in order to bring back the lost glory of the sport as was in his playing days in Nigeria before he retired.

According to him, the LOC of the Lagos Open Tennis is supporting the project by creating a platform for the youth to train and compete during the ITF World Tour.

“About 80 youths will take part in the clinic, which will be in two stages. The first stage will be a two-day training between Thursday and Friday, while a mini tournament for these youths to showcase what they have learnt will hold between Saturday and Sunday. They will be given prizes and we are planning to expose winners to international training at the Genesis Tennis Academy in Arizona.

“We are expecting players from ages 10, 12, 14 and 16 years and I want to assure that the participants will live to remember what they would have learnt during the clinic,” Igbinovia said.

He called on Nigerians to support the project just like the LOC of the Lagos Open Tennis has done, adding that tennis techniques are better impacted on players at their tender ages.

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Kano Pillars, Safety Babes win Prudent Energy Handball League

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Kano Pillars, Safety Babes win Prudent Energy Handball League

Kano Pillars and Safety Babes were crowned champions of the Prudent Energy Handball Premier League on Wednesday evening at the Rowe Park Sports Center, Yaba, Lagos. Pillars defeated De Defenders 29-21 to win the male category of the league with 38 points, two points above Safety Shooters who defeated erstwhile defending champion Niger United 34-29 to finish on second position with 36 points. A disappointed Niger United finished fourth with 34 point same as Lagos Seasiders who piped them to the third position with better goal difference.

D. Defenders finished fifth with 31 points, COAS Shooters finished 6th with 25 points, Plateau Vipers finished seventh in the league with 17 points while Kada Stars finished eighth with 16 points. Borno Spiders finished 9th with 12 points while Owena Kings and Prison Key Boys are the bottom placed teams.

For the female category, Safety Babes celebrated winning the title after defeating erstwhile defending champion Plateau Peacocks 31-29 in what was a pulsating game. The FRSC ladies finished first on the log with 32 points, while Plateau finished third with 29 points. Edo Dynamos finished second with 30 points as they played a 31-31 draw with Ghana Police in a match that didn’t have any significance on the league standing.

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Benin monarch launches cultural golf wears

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Overwhelmed by a huge Nigerian golfing society which presently embraces some 3.5 million golfers, the Director General of the National Council of Arts and Culture  Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, is of the opinion that the game must have a distinct identity.

To ensure this happens, Runsewe who over the years has given golf an aura of dominance among other sports in Nigeria, has since stepped up to create cultural golf wears that would over time kick to the sidewalk foreign wears from Nike, Adidas and Footjoy.

Even the weekend hackers who miss more tourney ‘cuts’ than a drunk surgeon would marvel at the exceptionally cool wears which are solely created from a rare mix of ‘tie and dye’ and batik fabrics which all come in glowing colours. No doubt, this kit would rev the golf crowd to the level of fanaticism.

And what is more, the cultural golf wears would be officially launched on Saturday, October 26 during the grand closing ceremony of National Cultural Festival ongoing in Benin by no other person than the revered Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare 11.

Hear Runsewe whose devotion to golf over the years has not wavered: “when others agonize over ideas, self doubt has never crossed my mind. I only viewed the Nigerian golf and quickly knew it by heart that it was huge enough to have its own identity. This is reason I could delve into this venture and I can assure you that in another two years these wears would be established in golf circles across the country and elsewhere around the world. The good thing about this project is that it will leave behind a bold statement that Nigeria as a nation is culturally endowed”.

Runsewe equally disclosed that he has since presented the golf cultural apparel to prominent golfers across the country, including the President of the 6th and 7th Senate, Senator David Mark.

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AIPS hails Sirawoo’s re-election as SWAN boss

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National and international commendations have continued to trail the recently held Triennial Delegates Congress of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

The latest is coming from the umbrella body of all sports writers world wide, Association Internationale de la Presse Sportive (AIPS) and the Badminton Federation of Nigeria (BFN).

In a statement personally signed by AIPS President, Gianni Merlo, he expressed happiness over the reelection of SWAN President, Honour Sirawoo and his executive.

Said he: “I congratulate you for your re-election and I am very glad that we will continue to work together to defend the rights and the independence of all our colleagues.

“In the last four years we were side by side in every occasion and your association has done a lot to help us to succeed in our effort to develop a strategy to enhance the value of our work in the digital era.

“We will continue to work together to give to the next generations of journalist a better future.

Your country has an important role in Africa and I am sure that our cooperation will be very fruitful.”

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