he city of Gombe is bubbling as the annual Seyi Akinwunmi Charity Mini-Tournament moves up north for the very first time. The tournament comes up from Wednesday September 18 to Sunday 22.
Seyi Akinwunmi, who is the 1st Vice President of the Nigeria Football Federation and Chairman of the Lagos State Football Association, has been sponsoring a charity mini-tournament for some years now in Lagos State, which has attracted immense media and public attention, as well as infectious ecstasy.
The competition’s main objective is provision of scholarships for smart but indigent children and support for ailing ex-international players. Over 200 children have been supported through the Courage Education Foundation, which has chosen the game of football to bring people together and raise funds for the Foundation’s goals.
A thorough and deliberate debonair lawyer of over 30 years at the bar who has disdain for doing things in half measures, Akinwunmi has driven the mini-tournament and the Foundation with a touch of class, charisma and consistency.
“Our goal is to provide the perfect platform for the gifted but indigent child to fulfill his dream, through combining good education with a career in sport. The truth is that talents abound in the nooks and crannies of our country. They are waiting to be discovered and nurtured. Most are from poor homes and need support to climb that ladder to get close to their dreams,” said Akinwunmi.
The winning team will get the sum of N100,000 while the two best players from host Gombe State will get scholarship grant of N150,000 each and the best player from each of the other five States in the North East will go home with scholarship grant of N150,000 each.
Minister summons NFF to full-day meeting
The Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare, has summoned a meeting with the board of the Nigeria Football Federation in line with the new direction his stewardship is expected to take in the sports sector.
NFF president, Amaju Pinnick and all the members of his executive board are expected to be at the crucial meeting
Authoritative sources in the NFF told our correspondent that the meeting which was at the instance of the Minister of Sports Sunday Dare is scheduled to take place on Friday in Abuja.
The source also added that the meeting would be a full-day meeting aimed at throwing light into many grew areas the new minister should know about.
Our correspondent exclusively leant that the proposed meeting had only three major issues on the cards for discussion.
“The minister is very disturbed about the state of the Nigerian League and that is top on the agenda while the welfare and development national team players are other issues expected to be ironed out.
“Evaluation of the technical ability of all national team coaches is the third item on the agenda even as the problem between the NFF and Super Falcons’ coach, Thomas Dennerby is expected to come to the fore.
“Football is key in Nigerian sports and the meeting is in line with the new direction Sunday Dare wants the sports sector to follow in the weeks ahead.”
Our correspondent also learnt exclusively that after a meeting on Tuesday with three key board members of the NFF, the football federation had invited Falcons Coach Dennerby to a meeting billed to take place weekend in Abuja.
Adekuoroye seals Olympics spot at World Championships
…fights for bronze medal
World No. 3, Odunayo Adekuoroye (57kg), has qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games after reaching the semi-finals of the ongoing 2019 Senior World Wrestling championships in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan on Wednesday.
To secure her Olympics spot, the 2017 World silver-medallist overwhelmed North Korea’s In Sun Jong 12-2 via technical superiority in the quarter-finals, after easily beating her opponents in the previous rounds.
However, the back-to-back Commonwealth champion will contest for a bronze medal, as she lost 6-1 to two-time World and Olympic champion Risako Kawai of Japan in the semi-final.
Thursday’s bronze medal match between Adekuoroye and a yet-to-determined opponent is slated for around 1pm Nigerian time (6pm in Kazakhstan), and victory will hand the 25-year-old her second bronze medal at the World Championships following her 2015 feat in Las Vegas, USA.
Meanwhile, in the 76kg category, Nigeria’s Blessing Onyebuchi has a chance of claiming a bronze medal, as she fights in the repechage against Aline da Silva Ferreira of Brazil on Thursday.
The reigning African champion lost to eventual finalist Hiroe Minagawa Suzuki of Japan 10-7 after comfortably leading 7-0 in the their qualification round bout.
Elsewhere, African Games gold-medallist Mercy Genesis (50kg) missed out of a chance to book an Olympic ticket from the World Championships, as she lost 9-9 via passivity to India’s Seema Seema in the repechage.
Team Nigeria’s other representatives at the global showpiece; Blessing Oborududu (68kg), Aminat Adeniyi (62kg) and Emmanuel Ogbonna (74kg) will all begin their quest for glory and Olympic tickets on Thursday.
All top six athletes in their respective weight classes at the tournament will automatically qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Games.
Amapakabo invites Ezenwa, Udoh to Eagles’ camp
Imama Amapakabo has extended invitation to Super Eagles goalkeeper, Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Nigeria Professional Football League joint highest goal scorer, Mfon Udoh, to the camp of the home-based team preparing for the 2020 Championship for African Nations against Togo this weekend.
The NFF has announced that the current U-23 national team coach will lead the CHAN team to Lome, Togo for the qualifier, with bulk of the U-23 team that defeated Sudan recently prosecuting the qualifier. The coach however called on Ezenwa, who captained the team to the last CHAN in Morocco, where Nigeria finished second behind the host country. Apart from the duo, Enyimba goalkeeper, Theophilus Afelokhai, who was part of the squad to Morocco was also invited with other NPFL stars like Samuel Matthias (Akwa United), Ezekiel Bala (Enyimba) and Sikiru Alimi (Lobi Stars), all getting a chance to be part of the team.
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.
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.
N1.2bn needed annually to maintain stadia – Dare
The Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Sunday Dare yesterday said that his ministry required a budgetary provision is N1.2 billion annually to maintain existing public stadia across the country.
Dare stated this while briefing State House Correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided by President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja.
He said the government would however explore options to bridge the gaps owing to budgetary constraints.
The Sports minister explained that government may consider concessioning to the private sector so as to ensure proper maintenance in line with international best practices.
There has been public concerns about the poor state of infrastructure in some stadia across the country and maintenance of stadia in the country, and the financial implications in their construction.
According to the minister: “Government is serious about renovating sports facilities in the country, especially the dilapidated federal stadia across the country, but to maintain any of the public stadia scattered across the country, it will cost nothing less than N1.2billion,” he noted.
Speaking on preparations for the 2020 Olympic games in Tokyo, Japan, Dare said plans to send most of the coaches to countries with better facilities to further hone their technical knowledge have begun.
His words:“Morocco outing will serve as a benchmark for the 2020 Olympics preparation. Team Nigeria finished second at Rabat, Morocco behind Egypt at the just concluded African Games. Nigeria won a total of 121 medals: 46 gold, 33 silver and 47 bronze.
“North African country, Egypt emerged top on the medal table with 99 gold medals, 96 silver and 69 bronze to bring their total medals to 264. South Africa came third with a total of 87 medals.
“Team Nigeria has only seven weeks to prepare, if they had a longer period to prepare they would have done better.
“So there is a lesson learnt from there, the athletes will leave for the Doha outing on Saturday, the outcome will determine Nigeria’s performance in the 2020 June Olympics.”
He said President Muhammadu Buhari will soon host Team Nigeria which finished second at the just concluded African Games in Rabat, Morocco.
He said that letters have been written and a decision will soon be taken on the appropriate date for the reception which will also include D’Tigers and D’Tigeress.
Dare said that Morocco outing will serve as a benchmark for the 2020 Olympics preparation.
Team Nigeria finished second at Rabat, Morocco behind Egypt the the just concluded African Games and Nigeria won a total of 121 medals: 46 gold, 33 silver and 47 bronze.
The North African country, Egypt, emerged top on the medals table with 102 gold, 96 silver and 69 bronze to bring their total medals to 273.
South Africa came third with a total of 87 medals.
While explaining that Team Nigeria only had seven weeks to prepare for the African Games in Morocco, Dare said that Nigeria would have done better if it had a longer period to prepare.
“So there is a lesson learnt from there,” he said.
Dare said the athletes will leave for the Doha Meet on Saturday, adding that the outcome will determine Nigeria’s performance in the 2020 June Olympics in Tokyo.
Zenith Bank/ Delta Principals’ Cup kicks off Sept 30
The 2019/2020 edition of Zenith Bank Delta Principals’ Cup football competition is to kick off across the 25 Local Government areas of the state on Monday, September 30, 2019.
Addressing a press conference in Asaba on Wednesday, the state Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Chief Patrick Ukah, stated that the preliminary stage of the competition, which is in it’s 4th edition, will end on Friday, October 11, 2019.
According to Chief Ukah, the zonal stages of the competition will take place across 10 centres in the state between Wednesday, October 16, 2019 and Monday, October 21, 2019, while the quarterfinals will hold on Wednesday, October 30, 2019.
The semifinals will be played on Monday, November 4, 2019, just as the 3rd place match and the finals will take place on Thursday, November 21, 2019 at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba.
The commissioner stressed that as another veritable way of encouraging participation in sports, the state government would give cash awards to all schools that come out tops in each Local Government Area.
He used the medium to appreciate Zenith Bank Plc for its efforts towards identifying with the state government to promote school sports in the state.
Dickson Egede, Manager Zenith Bank Branch 1 Asaba, said the bank would continue to boost sports in the country.
“We are committed to the growth of sports generally and that is why we are pleased with the catch them young policy of the Delta state Government,” he said.
About 850 private and public secondary schools have so far registered to participate in this year’s edition of the competition.
Lobi, Kwara Utd in Gov Okowa Pre-Season Tourney final
Lobi Stars will battle Kwara United in the final of the maiden edition of the Gov Okowa Pre Season Tourney currently going on at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba.
Lobi defeated Niger Tornadoes 4-1 on penalties after the regulation time ended 1-1 while the Kwara shocked Rivers United 1-0 in the other semifinal.
Tornadoes opened the scoring in Asaba through Musa Wakili, who curled the ball beyond goalkeeper John Lawrence against the run of play.
Lobi Stars however came back to cancel the lead as Abdkareem Mumini poked home the ball after goalkeeper Lucky Jimoh spilled Ernest Governor’s deadly free kick to his path.
The shootouts didn’t favour Tornadoes as the duo of Afeez Nosiru and Ayodele Joseph saw their efforts hit the bar.
Alex Aghahowa, Earnest Governor, Douglas Achiv and Tayo Adebogun all scored for Lobi Stars.
In the other semi-final game, Kwara United displayed a professional approach to pip hard fighting Rivers United 1-0.
A third minute header from Ufere Chinedu made the difference for the Harmony Boys.
The final will be held on Thursday at the main bowl of the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba.
Joshua still laments shock loss to Ruiz Jr
Anthony Joshua is still mourning his shock loss to Mexican Andy Ruiz jr. last June and cannot wait for the rematch in Saudi Arabia on December 7.
Joshua who was the overwhelming favourite to win the bout surrendered his WBO, IBF and WBA and IBO belts to Ruiz after defeat in the seventh round having been knocked down four times.
The pair will do a rematch in Saudi Arabia on December 7 and Joshua insists the first loss of his career was just a ‘blip’.
He said : ”I think I had to grieve and ask myself all the questions you would expect,”Joshua told reporters. “People say ‘you lost’, I call it a blip.
“I can’t wait to get in there and fight him. Every time I have fought a champion I have risen to the occasion.’
Joshua also reveals he could change his approach in order to be more proactive at the start of fights.
“I need to start taking this approach to my fights where I’m a bit more lively,” he said.
“I know I’m capable of it. There is too much at stake.
“If I go in there where I’m switched on, a time like the Ruiz fight where I am so relaxed, that might be the difference.”
Youth Games: Lagos Sports Commission thanks Sanwo-Olu
The Management of Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC) is full of appreciation to the Executive Governor of Lagos, His Excellency Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu for the support towards the state’s participation at the just concluded 5th National Youth Games (NYG) held in Ilorin, Kwara State.
Team Lagos came second overall at the end of the tournament which ended on Monday at the University of Ilorin with a total of 72 medals consist of 22 gold, 36 silver and 14 bronze, while Deal State with 41 gold, 32 silver and 31 bronze medals and Team Bayelsa with 17 gold, 6 silver and 22 bronze came second and third respectively.
Team Lagos was taking part for the second time in the history of the Games, which has started since 2013. Lagos was second in their first outing in 2018 and the state’s youthful and budding athletes ensured that they retained the position in their second outing in Ilorin. Team Lagos was also adjudged as the Best Team in the March Past and was given an award of commendation in this year’s NYG.
“We cannot do this without the support we received from our Executive Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who had ensured that we lack nothing before, during and after this Games,” said the Executive Chairman of Lagos State Sports Commission, Dr. Kweku Adedayo Tandoh during a reception held for the athletes at the Multipurpose Hall of Unilorin Monday night.
“The Governor has been so wonderful towards sports in Lagos since he assumed office on 29 May, 2019 and we are so much grateful for the moral and financial backing he has been given us,” he said.
IJF bans Iran for ordering athlete to withdraw from World Judo Tourney
*To avoid meeting Israeli judoka
Iran has been banned by the International Judo Federation (IJF) after it ordered Saeid Mollaei to pull out of the World Championships in Japan.
Defending champion Mollaei ignored calls to withdraw from his match against Russia’s Khasan Khalmurzaev to avoid the prospect of facing Israel’s Sagi Muki later in the tournament.
Iranian athletes are prohibited from competing in any sport against Israel.
Mollaei lost in the semi-finals and has since been living in Germany.
Earlier in 2019, the National Olympic Committee of Iran had said it would comply with the Olympic charter and the International Judo Federation (IJF), paving the way for Iranian athletes to compete against Israelis.
But the IJF said Iran’s actions at the World Championships in Japan were a “gross contradiction” to these assurances.
The case was referred to the IJF Disciplinary Commission, who said there was a “strong reason to believe that the Iran Judo Federation will continue or repeatedly engage in misconduct or commit any other offence against the legitimate interests, principles or objectives of the IJF”.
Iran can appeal against the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
After the tournament Mollaei said he feared for his family’s safety, reports the BBC.
Speaking to the BBC Persian Service earlier this week, he said: “In Tokyo I left the arena with tears in my eyes.
“I will never forget what happened there. I could have achieved my third world championship medal and my second gold medal. I was so ready and prepared for this.”
Amapakabo names Ezenwa, Effiong, 18 others for Togo
Coach Imama Amapakabo has named the 20 players who will fly Nigeria’s flag at Sunday’s African Nations Championship qualifying match against Togo in Lome.
First choice in goal Adamu Abubakar is joined by Super Eagles’ goaltender Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Enyimba’s Theophilus Afelokhai, as well as defenders Olisah Ndah, John Lazarus, Etboy Akpan and Ebube Duru.
There are also ace forward Ndifreke Effiong (who netted two of the five goals that condemned Sudan to the scrap heap in the final round of the U23 AFCON qualifying series), Mfon Udoh and Tosin Omoyele.
The delegation will fly out of Abuja on Friday to Lome, where they face the Sparrow Hawks at the Stade de Kegue as from 4pm on Sunday.
20 EAGLES B FOR TOGO
Theophilus Afelokhai (Enyimba FC); Adamu Abubakar (Wikki Tourists); Olisah Ndah (Remo Stars); Denis Okon (Akwa United); Stephen Manyo (Enyimba FC); John Lazarus (Lobi Stars); Etboy Akpan (Akwa United); Ebube Duru (Lobi Stars); Oluwadamilare Olatunji (Enyimba FC); Fatai Gbadamosi (Shooting Stars); Ndifreke Effiong (Akwa United); Seth Mayi (Remo Stars); William Ukeme (Wikki Tourists); Samuel Matthias (Akwa United); Chisom Orji (Collin Edwin Academy); Mfon Udoh (Akwa United); Reuben Bala (Enyimba FC); Tosin Omoyele (Plateau United); Sikiru Alimi (Lobi Stars); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Heartland FC).
News22 hours ago
Minimum wage: Workers threaten strike without notice
Sports23 hours ago
Tammy Abraham highlights case for Super Eagles ‘imports’
News23 hours ago
Smugglers explore creeks to beat security architecture
Metro and Crime23 hours ago
Gunmen kidnap SAN, 12 others in Delta
Politics23 hours ago
Bayelsa PDP guber: How the battle was won and lost
News23 hours ago
Road crashes: FRSC bans Dangote trucks from night haulage
Sports23 hours ago
UEFA Champs League, Milan Derby, others to air on GOtv
Metro and Crime22 hours ago
Three Islamic clerics held for fraud, serial rape