he Chairman of the Lagos State Sports Commission, Dr. Kweku Tandoh, has applauded the Grassroots and Youth Development Department of the Sports Ministry, headed by Dr. Ademola Are, for the excellent organisation of the 5th National Youth Games in Ilorin, Kwara State.
Dr. Tandoh, said in Ilorin, that, the Youth Games is the only solution to speedy disappearance of world class athletes from Team Nigeria.
He said: “This year’s National Youth Games is well organised compared to what it was in the last three editions. The most striking improvements are the facilities, the screening exercise was also near perfect. What these tell us is that, the organizers of the Youth Games have listening ears on further development of the Games.”
He added: “The other improvement was on the performances of Team Lagos at the 2019 Games. For us, it has been nothing but excellent, considering the fact that, we presented Under-15 athletes as stipulated by the rules of the Games’ organizers.
“Last year was our first participation in the National Youth Games and we finished second place despite not taking part in all the sports. At the end of the Games, we went back and decided to re-strategize and some of those strategies have worked for us, as we strongly gave consideration to some of the sports we have comparative advantage.
“We are beginning to see the results, so far, the Team Lagos has done very well, with the even spread of medals covering various sports, and it gives us good advantage. We believe so much that at the end of the Games we would have put up our best performance so far in the history of the National Youth Games.”
He stressed that: “We take delight in the overwhelming improvement and top performance of Team Lagos in the swimming event. This was a sport that we won only silver and a bronze at the last edition of the festival. This year, we won five gold medals, nine silver and two bronze medals in swimming.
“In this year’s Youth Games, out of the two hundred and forty eight athletes presented by Team Lagos for the Games, only two were screened out by the facial analysis screening methodology approach by the NYG screening team.
This improvement was made possible by a carefully selected training and developmental regime put in place by the Lagos Sports Commission, with the support of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who himself is a passionate follower of sports.
“It was also a one hundred percent performance in the football event, where Team Lagos won all the available gold medals in the event, in the male and female categories.”
Tandoh noted that: “Aside from all the medals so far won by Team Lagos athletes, the performances of the athletes have been wonderful in all the sports. We expect that such heartwarming performances will continue.”
The Lagos Sports Commission chairman stated that, for Lagos State our focus as a commission is sports development, in form of school sports and Community base development. Infact, the national Youth Games for us is more important that the National Sports Festival, because we believe this is where we begin to produce those talents that we will present to represent the state and indeed Nigeria.
“We take it very seriously, in each of the sports we have restrategized after the last National Youth Games. We constituted the boards of the state sports associations December last year and they are all in place. I must say that, I am very happy with what many of the boards have done since they resumed activities. We are beginning to see the production of new athletes. I must say that, out of the athletes representing Team Lagos at Ilorin 2019, only about 30 percent are returnee athletes from the last Games. That production line has started and that is what gives us great joy. And ofcourse, we could not have done these without the support of the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who gave us everything that we required to prepare for this Games. We are looking long term.
“We believe in Lagos that sports development should be the focus of all states Sports Commissions. Let us begin to bring up all these talents from the youth and that is why I strongly support the decision of the Director of Grassroots, Youth Development in the Sports Ministry, Dr. Ademola Are, who reduced age-grade of participants in the Youth Games from 17 years to 15 years. Whem it come to youth development, the younger the better. With Under 17, the focus was always on winning competitions and not developmental. The Under 15 category for the National Youth Games is good because what that tells you, is that, you have to start preparing your athletes from age 10 and that is the best time to prepare them, and that will provide the opportunity in four to five years time for these youngsters to reach their target marks.
“For us in Lagos, the Youth Games is actually the test of the work the Sports Commissions and the Sports Agencies across the country are doing.”
Tandoh also appealed to sports administrators from all the states of the federation to stop using over-aged athletes for age-grade events.
“We want to appeal to some of the Sports Agencies from across the country, that it is not a do or die thing. We have seen some athletes at Ilorin 2019 that are far above the regulated 15 years old. I am a medical Doctor I have a bit of insights into knowing athletes that are overaged. By using over-aged athletes, the administrators, will forced to falsify athletes ages. It’s not a do or die thing, if your athletes are 15 years or more, then you begin to prepare such athletes for National Championships of the sports or the National Sports Festival. Let the Under 15s only compete at the SYG, lets know those who are the true Under-15s because that is what Nigeria will benefit from. We don’t want over-aged atheletes at 19 years old or 20 years, to come here to win nine gold medals and after one year he or she is nowhere to be found. That doesn’t augur well for sports development. So I want to appeal to all of us administrators to stick to what the rules say. For example in Lagos, before this edition of the National Youth Games, we had our own screening and took out athletes that we felt were overaged, or looked over aged.
Obaseki, Pinnick attend funeral mass for former NFF Vice President, Obaseki
The President, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, and Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo, were among the dignitaries who attended the funeral mass for late former NFF Vice President, Chief Oyuki Obaseki.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Pinnick led a delegation of the NFF, including the Vice President of the Federation, Seyi Akinwummi, to the funeral mass held at the United Baptist Church, Benin on Thursday.
Speaking at the mass, Obaseki commended the exemplary lifestyle of his late uncle, saying he was glue that held the family together.
Obaseki said: “A limb has fallen from the family tree. He represented so much and impacted the state and the nation positively.”
The governor thanked everyone who commiserated with the Obaseki family during the time of their grief.
In a sermon entitled “Put your Life in Order”, Rev. Osama Usuanlele, Prelate Spiritual Head of United Baptist Church, said it was appointed once to die, and after that, judgement.
Usuanlele said there was no particular age to die, urging believers to do good things while on earth.
“People will be remembered for what they did while on earth; so do what will add value to your life and to people’s lives”.
Late Obaseki was former National Chairman of the Nigerian Football League (NFL) and Vice President of the Nigeria Football Federation.
He became a registered member of Arsenal FC as far back as 1971 and was at various times, Chairman of Bendel Football Club.
His remains were later committed to mother earth at his residence in Benin.
Man United will reinforce squad in January – Solskjaer
Manchester United will try to sign one or two players in the January transfer window to improve their chances of finishing in the top four but will not spend big on transfer fees and wages, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said.
United are 12th in the Premier League ahead of Sunday’s home game against league leaders Liverpool after a poor start to the season that has been further disrupted by injuries to key players.
Solskjaer sanctioned the departures of forwards Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez in the close season without reinforcing United’s attack and the Norwegian also has goalkeeper David De Gea and midfielder Paul Pogba out injured, reports Reuters.
“We’re looking at one or two new signings. We’re one or two players light,” Solskjaer told Sky Sports here. “If the right ones are available in January then we might do something. If not, these players will give everything (for a top four finish).
“I’m not going to go down the route of bringing players in on big contracts and big fees if they’re not the right ones for the whole group and for the future. The money is there to strengthen in January and in the summer.”
United started the season with a 4-0 win over Chelsea but have scored five goals in seven league matches since and Solskjaer said an injury to forward Anthony Martial, who has not played since August, was a factor in their struggles.
“There’s many reasons, but one of them is injuries to Anthony,” the 46-year-old former United player said. “Creating chances has been a challenge for us with teams dropping deep.
“But we’re practising patterns every single week. When we get the players fit, I’m going to make Marcus and Anthony score those scruffy goals, as that’s what I did.”
Mba: Nigeria’s Nations Cup hero eyes return after two years out
Nigeria international midfielder Sunday Mba is keen to find a route back into football following an inactive two years.
The 30-year-old, who scored the Super Eagles’ winning goal in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations final, was released by Turkish club Yeni Malatyaspor in September 2017.
Mba has not played competitively since his last appearance against Sivasspor in May 2017, but believes he still has plenty to offer.
“As a free agent things are not really that easy, but you can only be hopeful,” he told BBC Sport.
“My desire is to get back into club football and I am working hard to start playing again.
“Football is everything I have and I cannot just give up. I believe there’s something out there for me.”
Mba played for both Enugu Rangers and Warri Wolves in the Nigerian top flight before switching to French club CA Bastia in January.
He left for Turkish side Yeni Malatyaspor in July 2015- where he netted eight goals in 55 appearances.
Out of the spotlight and keen on a return to competitive action, Mba understands the challenge that lies ahead.
“First you’d need the luck to find someone that believes in you and ready to give you a chance,” he said.
“I’ve continued to stay in shape, train daily and be physically ready for any opportunity.
“I still have something to give and will continue to stay mentally and physically ready.”
Despite playing all three matches at the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil, his international career stalled and he missed out on the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Mba scored twice to help his country’s B side to success at the regional West African Football Union (WAFU) Cup title in 2010.
He has scored three goals in 16 appearances for the three time African champions.
Boxer Day dies after suffering brain injury
Boxer Patrick Day has died aged 27 – four days after suffering a brain injury in a fight against Charles Conwell.
The American was put into a coma on Saturday after he was knocked out in the 10th round of his super welterweight bout in Chicago, reports the BBC.
Promoter Lou DiBella confirmed Day had died on Wednesday “surrounded by his family, close friends and members of his boxing team”.
“He was a son, brother, and good friend to many,” said a statement.
“Pat’s kindness, positivity, and generosity of spirit made a lasting impression with everyone he met.”
Day was taken from the ring on a stretcher after the conclusion of the fight on the undercard of Oleksandr Usyk’s heavyweight victory over Chazz Witherspoon in the US.
“Patrick Day didn’t need to box,” the statement from DiBella Entertainment continued. “He came from a good family, he was smart, educated, had good values and had other avenues available to him to earn a living.
“He chose to box, knowing the inherent risks that every fighter faces when he or she walks into a boxing ring. Boxing is what Pat loved to do. It’s how he inspired people and it was something that made him feel alive.”
Fellow American Conwell, 21, wrote an emotional letter to Day following the fight.
“I never meant this to happen to you, all I wanted to do was win,” he said.
“If I could take it all back, I would. No-one deserves this to happen to them.”
Day won 17 of his 22 fights, with four defeats and one draw.
In July, Russia’s Maxim Dadashev and Argentina’s Hugo Santillan both died following injuries sustained during fights.
“It becomes very difficult to explain away or justify the dangers of boxing at a time like this,” the statement continued.
“This is not a time where edicts or pronouncements are appropriate, or the answers are readily available. It is, however, a time for a call to action.
“While we don’t have the answers, we certainly know many of the questions, have the means to answer them, and have the opportunity to respond responsibly and accordingly and make boxing safer for all who participate.
“This is a way we can honour the legacy of Pat Day. Many people live much longer than Patrick’s 27 years, wondering if they made a difference or positively affected their world. This was not the case for Patrick Day when he left us.”
Boxing announcer Michael Buffer was among the first to pay tribute to Day, describing him as a “wonderful young man”, before adding “everyone in the boxing community is crushed”.
WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman said boxing had lost a “brave, kind and wonderful friend”.
Current Eagles can be great as ’94 squad – Bonfere Jo
Former Super Eagles coach, Bonfere Jo, believes the current national team has the capacity to achieve success like the 1994 and the 1996 squad that won the football event of the Atlanta Olympic Games.
Bonfere was the assistant coach to Clement Westerhof who won the Africa Cup of Nations in 1994 while he was in charge of the 1996 team that won Africa’s first Olympic Games gold medal.
Speaking with New Telegraph, the coach said the team, had shown, with the game against Brazil recently, that they are a great side.
The coach led the then U-23 team to a 4-3 defeat of Brazil in the semifinal of the football event of Atlanta Games and tipped the national team for greater things, he however advised them to work harder to achieve their potential.
“It is a bit difference, I led the U-23 team against them 23 years ago, but now the full national team played a 1-1draw with them,” he said.
“If you work very hard as a coach and with quality players, you can always get result, so that’s what Nigeria should continue to do.
“If you have good players and good man in front of them, then you can reach very high as a national team, otherwise it will be nothing.
“They have to work very hard as a team to achieve a greater height they deserve. They have all the opportunity to reach that height but hard work is quite necessary.”
Super Eagles are scheduled to face off against Benin and Lesotho in November as they begin their journey to the 2021 AFCON.
FIFA to pay Uzoho’s wages worth €20,548
FIFA will be responsible for Francis Uzoho’s wages for the entirety of the time he will be out of action, as part of their compensation scheme to clubs whose players suffered injury during international break.
The Super Eagles goalkeeper, suffered a horrific injury that will sidelined him for six months when he was on duty with Nigeria in their international friendly clash with Brazil in Singapore on Sunday.
The Super Eagles medical team however confirmed that the player would sit out of the actions for about six months , which means he might not play for the club again this season.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s friendly with Brazil was sanctioned by the world football governing body, coupled with the fact that the game was played on a date on the FIFA international match calendar and both teams did not make more than six substitutes each.
Therefore under FIFA’s Club Protection Programme, clubs whose players suffer injuries while in action for their country are compensated and the maximum daily compensation has been set at €20,548.
Although the money will be fixed salary that the club was pay to the player for that period and the player must be sidelined for more than 28 days before a claim can be processed.
CHAN Eagles can overrun Togo – Amapakabo
Coach of Super Eagles home-based team, Imama Amapakabo, has made it clear that the side must not fail as they continue their preparation ahead of the crunch clash with Togo in the second leg of the final qualifying round for the 2020 African Nations Championship.
The National Team B were battered 4-1 by the Sparrow Hawks of Togo before inflicting another defeat on the team when both sides met at the WAFU/FOX Cup of Nations in Senegal in recently.
Speaking at the team training camp in Lagos, Amapakabo said they have a big work on their hands and must be ready.
“We have a big job at hand, and I have been drumming it into the ears of the players that we cannot afford to fail,” the former Rangers of Enugu coach said.
“The Togolese won 4-1 on their home ground; nothing says we cannot do better on our own home ground.
“We have to be focused and determined. We must create chances and put them away, because we cannot afford not to be at the African Nations Championship,” said Amapakabo.
Meanwhile, the team continue to prepare themselves for the crucial task scheduled for this Saturday at the Agege Stadium, Lagos.
Amapakabo and wards have been training at the FIFA Goal Project, National Stadium, Abuja since returning from their expedition at the WAFU/FOX Cup of Nations in Senegal last week.
Nigeria finished as runner-up at the last edition of the African Nations Championship staged by Morocco early last year.
The winner over two legs between Nigeria and Togo will book a slot at the 6th African Nations Championship finals scheduled for Cameroon in June 2020.
Real ready to hijack Chukwueze deal from Barca, Atletico
Real Madrid are ready to snap up Nigeria’s Samuel Chukwueze ahead of rivals Barcelona and Atletico who have also shown interest.
Our correspondent learnt from a Spanish transfer market website Fichajes that the Los Blancos were considering a swoop for the Villarreal wonder kid to replace Wales star Gareth Bale if he leaves the capital outfit in the upcoming transfer windows.
Chukwueze has been on the radar of Atletico who attempted to prize him away during the last summer transfer window while Barcelona have already pencilled him down as alternative to Neymar should they fail to land the Brazilian next summer.
Bale has become increasingly unpopular at the Satiango Bernebue and has been tipped for a move away from the club.
Sources said Real were willing to allow the former Tottenham star leave after a deal to Chinese club Jiangsu Suning fed through at the last minute in the summer transfer window.
Fichajes also claimed that Los Blancos were combing the market for a winger and Chukwueze has emerged as a low cost alternative to replace Bale.
It has been suggested that Villarreal are resigned to losing Chukwueze at the end of the 2019-2020 season, with a host of clubs, including Liverpool, keen to sign the winger.
A prized move to a more glamorous club is on the cards for the Diamond Academy product, having impressed for club and country over the last one year.
Chukwueze dazzled for the Golden Eaglets at the 2015 FIFA U17 World Cup and was snapped up by Villarreal in August 2017 after turning 18.
Lagos agog for 10th Korean Ambassador’s Taekwondo Cup
High-octane action is guaranteed when the 10th Korean Ambassador kicks off on Thursday October 17 at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.
From the registration, eight national athletes that represented Nigeria at the recently concluded 12th African Games will be competing for medals at the two-day tournament.
Among the national athletes expected in Lagos are: African bronze medallist, Benjamin Okuomose [male heavyweight +87kg], ex-African champion Uzoamaka Otuadinma who came away with a bronze in the female -73kg and Commonwealth gold medalist Josephine Esuku [female -46kg], who returned a fortnight ago from a Tokyo 2020 test event in Japan.
Other national team athletes are defending Korean Ambassador Champion and Most Valuable Player of the last 2018 edition, Ifeoluwa Ajayi, Peter Itiku [male welterweight -80kg], [male featherweight -63kg], Abdulfathi Sanusi [male fly weight -58kg], Arinola Abdullateef [male fin weight -58kg].
With the star prize of new flat TV screens to be dished out to the best male and female athlete, as well as gifts of equipment to medallist plus vital national ranking points, the taekwondo stars will have their work cut out against other gladiators in the country, keen to impress and rise up the national ranks.
National athletes like Ajayi, who is the defending Korean Ambassador champion in the male -63kg was the Most Valuable Player of the last 2018 edition, will be hard pressed pressure to retain the MVP award he won last year as he is competing in the higher male -68kg weight category.
Registered so far to compete in 16 kyeorugi events and five poomsae events are 170 athletes from 25 teams, including athletes from Nigeria Army, Nigeria Police, Nigeria Civil Defense and Security Corps, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Borno, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, FCT, Kaduna, Kano, Kebbi, Lagos, Niger, Nasarawa, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, and Taraba
Final registration numbers will be ascertained when the online portal closes by 6pm GMT on 14th October 2019.
Lagos Open Tennis 2nd Leg: Quadre, Blessing scale first round hurdles
Two Nigerian players survived first round scare when the main draws of the second leg of 2019 Lagos Open Tennis served off on Wednesday at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan.
Oyinlomo Quadre was too much for her opponent from Denmark, Dasam Divine Nweke, who she beat in straight sets of 6-0,6-0 to qualify for the second round in the women’s singles. Also Blessing Samuel made it to the second round after she beat compatriot Muhammed Jumai in another straight sets of 6-2, 6-1. Meanwhile, 20-year-old Aziz Ouakaa made a surprised performance on Day One of the Main draws as he stopped opponent from Ukraine, in a three sets thrilling game. Quakaa, a first timer in the Lagos Open Tennis, defeated tournament’s 7th seed, Eric Vanshelbosim 5-7,6-3,6-3. Nigerian Joseph Imeh Ubon could not complete his match against top seed in the men’s singles, Tunisian Mausouri Skander as the game was stopped 3-0 in the first set. Zimbabwe’s Garanganga Takanyi had a smooth ride over Nigeria Paul Emmanuelin a game that ended 6-1,6-3. Seventh seed Camry Hemery from France, who was the champion of the first leg, won his first round game on Wednesday.
Hemery beat Nigerian Sylvester Emmanuel 7-6 (4), 3-0. Emmanuel retired in the second set of the match. Top seed in the women’s singles, Mendez Seone from Austria beat Swedish Fanny Ostlund in straight sets of 6-2,6-2. South African teenager, Kruger Isabella defeated Tunisian Chiraz Bechri 6-4, 7-5.
In other results, France’s Setodji Thomas defeated Nigerian Abayomi Oluseyi Phillips 6-2, 6-4. Osewa Michael Oluwatosin lost 3-6, 1-6 to French Meraut Tristani. Nigerian Ronke Akingbade was defeated by Nastja Kolar from Slovenia
1-6, 0-6. Runner up in the women’s singles final in the first leg, Brazilian Laura Pigossi won her match against Anette Munozova of Sweden 6-4,6-0.
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