Several months after winning this year’s Aiteo Cup and runners up of the last Nigeria Professional Football League Kano Pillars Football Club are disturbed that the prize monies are still being withheld by the Nigeria Football Federation.
Pillars spokesman Rilwanu Malikawa said that several months after Pillars beat Niger Tornadoes to win a first-ever Aiteo Cup, the club are yet to receive N25m prize money.
“We have not received the prize money and we have no information on when the NFF will pay this money,” Malikawa disclosed.
“We hope we can get this money soon.”
The Pillars spokesman said the same is the case with the prize money due to the club for emerging runners-up in the NPFL behind champions Enyimba last season.
Three years ago the League Management Company paid the NPFL champions 40 million Naira.
“We hope we can get this money before the new NPFL season kicks off,” he said.
Cameroon 2020: Eagles arrive Lesotho
Nigeria’s Super Eagles have arrived Maseru ahead of their Nations Cup 2020 qualifier against Lesotho.
The Group L game comes up tomorrow with the Eagles hoping to cement their grip on top spot after their come from behind 2-1 win over Benin on Match Day One on Wednesday at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo.
On the same day, Lesotho pulled off a surprise result after holding Sierra Leone to a 1-1 draw in Freetown.
The Lone Star will be in Cotonou to face the Squirrels of Benin in their second game of the qualifying series.
The top two sides in 11 of the 12 groups will all advance to the 2021 finals in Cameroon.
Cameroon qualify for the finals as hosts but are taking part in the qualifying campaign to gain competitive match practice which means just one team from Group F will progress to the finals.
Euro 2020: Gomez, Henderson withdraw from Three Lions v Kosovo
Defender Joe Gomez and midfielder Jordan Henderson have pulled out of England’s squad before Sunday’s final Euro 2020 qualifier in Kosovo.
Gomez, 22, picked up a knee injury in training, while Liverpool team-mate Henderson, 29, has a viral infection.
Forward Raheem Sterling is available again after being dropped for the 7-0 win over Montenegrofollowing a clash with Gomez at England’s training camp, reports the BBC.
Gomez was booed as he came on as a substitute at Wembley on Thursday.
England manager Gareth Southgate has said he will have no hesitation in naming Manchester City’s Sterling, 24, in the starting line-up for the match in Pristina (17:00 GMT kick-off).
The Three Lions have already qualified as group winners for next summer’s tournament.
Uzoho undergoes successful operation
Nigeria international goalkeeper Francis Uzoho has undergone successful surgery after sustaining knee ligament damage last month. Uzoho, 20, suffered the injury after the hour mark during the Super Eagles’s 1-1 friendly draw with Brazil in Singapore and had to be carried off on a stretcher. His Cypriot club Omonia Nicosia confirmed the extent of the injury and that the Nigerian was facing an extended lay-off. “And it was a success. I’m grateful for every prayer and good wishes. Even the hidden prayers said on my behalf,” Uzoho wrote on social media.
“I’m deeply grateful. Now let the healing begin.” He is expected to be out for at least six months and the injury comes as a setback for Uzoho, who had regained his starting place and had been picked for both of Nigeria’s most recent friendly internationals against Ukraine and Brazil. In search of regular football, Uzoho had returned for a second loan spell in Cyprus by joining Omonia Nicosia in July from Spanish side Deportivo La Coruna. A lack of top-flight football had cost him his place as Nigeria’s number one keeper ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, and consequently went into the tournament as third choice behind Daniel Akpeyi and Ikechukwu Ezenwa.
Capped 16 times by Nigeria, he played all three matches as the Super Eagles were knocked out of the 2018 World Cup in the group stage. He made a solitary appearance at this summer’s Nations Cup in the win over Tunisia as the West African nation sealed a third place finish in Egypt.
GOtv Boxing Night Mini holds today
All is set for the maiden edition of GOtv Boxing Night Mini, which holds today at the Rowe Park Sports Complex, Yaba, Lagos. The event is a smaller version of the hugely successful GOtv Boxing Night, which has had 19 editions. Five bouts are scheduled for the event, which will see some household names in action. Among the big names on parade is Rilwan “Real One” Oladosu, West African Boxing Union (WABU) lightweight champion, who will face Ola Adebakin in a national challenge bout. WABU welterweight king, Rilwan “Baby Face” Babatunde, is also in action against South Africa returnee, Dennis “The Range” Mba, for a challenge fuel in the division.
The cruiserweight category will see a return to action of Kabiru “KB Godson” Towolawi, who faces Tunji “Germani” Olajide. New kids on the block, Waheed “Showmax” Shogbamu and Semiu “Jagaban” Olopade will clash in the welterweight category.
Equally lined up is an all-female clash that will see Cynthia “Omo Bobby” Ogunsemilore take on Omowunmi “Mummy’s Pet” Akinsanya in a national super featherweight challenge. Speaking on the event, Jenkins Alumona, Managing Director of Flykite Promotions, organisers of the event, said everything has been put in place to ensure a hitch-free and successful event.
“We have put measures in place to ensure that there are no hitches. Rowe Park is ready to welcome everybody for this inaugural edition of GOtv Boxing Night Mini. It promises to be an exciting show,” he said. Alumona called on all boxing fans to come and cheer their idols. The event is sponsored by GOtv, the country’s leading digital-tohome terrestrial operator.
Paralympics champion, ONYEMA: Men still come for me despite being physically challenged, married
She is one of the best special athletes Nigeria has ever produced; she is a recipient of Member of the Order of Niger and a winner of Saturday Telegraph Sports Personality of the Year 2018, Esther Onyema, in this interview with AJIBADE OLUSESAN, says reaching the top of her career was a difficult journey.
Many Nigerians know you as world, Commonwealth, African and of course national champion, but they want to know how you started your career?
There were lots of challenges before I started doing the sport but the way I started was funny. I went to a birthday party; one of my friend’s birthday party who now live in London; So, when I got to the party, she said ‘ look at your shoulders, you have very nice shoulders, your hands are okay and I believe you can do powerlifting;. I asked her “what is powerlifting?” So she now demonstrated it for me, after the demonstration she asked me to come to the stadium the next day, that’s how we started. When I started it was like a joke. One thing about anything in life is determination, I love the game and I really put all my efforts because I saw they were doing well and travelling with it. So I said “wow, let me train and become one of them”. So that’s how it started. I started training for about five months and two weeks, that’s how I made it to the national team. I love the game with passion, it’s not because of anything, I love the game, you know, putting all your efforts.
Before you started the game, what were you thinking of doing or what were you doing?
I was in school; so as a student my dad was annoyed, he would always say I’m a special child and he wanted me to finish secondary school and become somebody in future, but along the line he died so that was how there was nobody to cater for me because I’m from a polygamous home. My mother was just a petty trader and couldn’t sponsor my education.
So you actually stopped schooling along the line?
Yes, but I finished my secondary school and got admission into UNIBEN, before I started having problems, that was how I dropped out of school to start taking care of my mother with the little I’m getting from the sport.
Do you mean if your dad was still around, you probably wouldn’t have ventured into powerlifting?
Yes, I would do both together, so there will be comfort for my education. My powerlifting doesn’t disturb me from going to school, it doesn’t disturb me from doing anything, it doesn’t take anything away from me, it’s just after school I’ll go there. When there’s competition I go for the competition, come back and go to school. But there was no support that was why I dropped out of school.
If not powerlifting what would you have been doing?
I would have been a working class person by now.
What was your first competition like, as you said you trained for five months close to six months, then you went straight to the national team?
The year 2000 National Sports Festival was my first tournament; it was in that first competition I became a national athlete, my first outing.
That means just six months after you started doing the sports, you attended National Sports Festival; for which state?
Edo State, that’s where I started.
So what was your first competition like?
My first competition was like wow! When I got there because we were trained for it, there was somebody there before me, the person was an African champion; there were a lot of challenges and they were telling me if you don’t do this, if you don’t that you’ll not be invited for national team. I was putting all my efforts, trying to be the best to come out with flying colours and when the time of the competition came, I defeated the person who was the African record holder and she ended her career shortly after.
From there you went to the national team, so how was your experience with Team Nigeria?
There were a lot of challenges there; because it’s different from the way they are training you at home. There are a lot of differences, technical differences. I learnt more, all you need is discipline, when you’re disciplined, you’re good to go.
You have attended several international competitions; could you share experience of your first international tournaments?
The international competition was Commonwealth Games 2010 in New Delhi, India; it was like my first time to travel and first time to go for an international competition. In short I was really prepared, I put all my efforts to make sure that I came out the best because anything might happen.
Going there, I met athletes from different countries, made friends, there’s a lot of difference between our training facilities and what I saw there. We left Nigeria on time and on getting there we had to train more before the competition. We were surprised because there were not much facilities here but when we got over there we saw different equipment. When I got there, I was like I’m not going to give up, I’m going to take the medal back to Nigeria and I came home with the gold medal.
I left the 2010 Commonwealth Games with a record, I won the gold medal again in 2014 and another with record in 2018. I was celebrated at the last Games and was honored as the first woman to win this back-to-back but it wasn’t that easy.
Of all the international competitions you have attended, which one was the toughest for you?
London 2012, because when I got there I saw these dwarves competing in my class, I was like are these ones males or females because they were mostly looking like men, you could hardly differentiate. I was scared. I have been training and as a captain I wouldn’t like anybody to come and defeat me so I had to go the extra mile to make sure that the record I set there before will work ahead of me and create another record. 2012 wasn’t easy, so many countries, in one category you have about two to three groups, having about 24 people going against you. It was really tough.
What would you actually describe as the best moment of your career so far?
All the moments of my career I enjoyed; I really enjoy it when we are taken good care of, when we share feelings with friends.
Out of all the medals you have won, which one is the most precious to you?
There is no medal that’s not special to me because I know I worked for all of them, all of them are special.
However, the most special one is the 2018 Commonwealth Games, the year I was honoured as the best female in the world that won the gold medals back-to-back so I was so excited then.
Many people doing your sports were not born with physical challenges while some were born with disabilities; which one was it for you?
I was not born with a physical challenge, I had polio; I suffered it as a child.
What kind of experience did you have growing up with that challenge?
There wasn’t much challenges because my dad was educated; I wasn’t doing anything, I think I started school at the age of 6, my parents were there for me even when I finished my primary school they took me to a boarding school, so they were there for me, no complaints.
You are married and what attracted you to your husband?
To me, I take myself just like other human beings because somebody may say this one is physically challenged or so, I don’t run my thought like that. I met my husband during a competition in Calabar. My husband and I were like Romeo and Juliet, and till today we are still like that.
The first time he came I was like I don’t want problems, let’s mind our businesses but he was so caring, loving and always listened to me. I was asking him what he wanted from me but he later took me to his family, his dad said if you know you’re not going to marry this girl please let her be, don’t break her heart.
When you went to his family, was the reception good for you?
Yes, in everything in life there are challenges, some people will say yes and some will say no. He is from Lagos, and some of his people were saying out of all the women in the world, it was a physically challenged woman that you want to marry. He said yes, that if we get married no one was going to take care of his wife for him, that I was his choice and I was good for him and at the end of the day everyone will like me. You know there were worries about how we were going to cope, how I would have children and perform my role as a wife. We are all humans, people that are physically fit might be critically ill inside. Everybody is the same.
Before he came, did you suffer some kind of heartbreak from other men?
No, nothing like that.
Were men actually coming?
Wow, men were actually coming, I was only avoiding them because I wanted to be focused, men were really coming but I tried to concentrate on my career. Let me tell you, even till this moment they are still coming regardless of my status but I am married and that can’t happen. Even when I go out my husband would call me and say “honey, where are you?, Who is there with you?” Laughter!
Will you allow any of your kids to go into sports?
We can’t force them to do anything, because these days when you’re telling a child this is what you want him to do and his mind isn’t there, what would you do? I love sports but I don’t want them to do sports in Nigeria.
Even representing Nigeria…
Yes, he can represent Nigeria when he is outside, but doing it here my dear brother, there’s nothing.
Was there any time you were approached by another country to represent them?
Yes, so many times.
Could you share some of the examples?
There’s not much, even if you get called upon to represent your country, you decline but because of the love you have for my country. It’s not encouraging at all, I believe with all I have done, all I have achieved, they are supposed to reach for endorsement and deals. They will use you and dump you, it’s not fair.
Is your husband a sport person?
You just mentioned some of the challenges, how best do you think Nigeria can actually take care of special athletes?
If they can make provisions for special people not even athletes, for physically challenged people all over, give them some allowances, free scholarships, because you see most of us are educated but there is no work, we need people to speak for us, we need representation, we need it.
Like in my area of sport, I’ve seen so many champions dumped in one corner, some are begging and it pains me that these are champions of the world.
Do you have regrets that you dropped out of school?
Yes, I really have regrets because I’m the eldest in my family and I was the one taking care of my family.
Royal rumble in Aba, as Akwa United come to town
…Katsina Utd to compound Nasarawa Utd woes
Akwa United head coach, John Obuh, will be facing one of the biggest matches of his reign at the club when the Promise Keepers travel to Aba to battle eight-time champions of the Nigeria Professional Football League, Enyimba, in one of the MatchDay 3 games scheduled for various centres in the country this weekend.
The battle of neighbours will be the second home game for the People’s Elephant who hosted Nasarawa United during the week in a rescheduled game.
Enyimba are one of the two clubs from the country still playing on the continent after qualifying for the group stages of the CAF Confederation Cup.
Apart from the game in Aba, Rangers, the other club still on the continent, will play host to MFM of Lagos.
MFM shocked bookmakers during the Matchday 1 of the season as they defeated Heartland 1-0 in Okigwe, the home of the Naze Millionaires.
They however failed to build on the victory after drawing 1-1 at home against FC IfeanyiUbah in their second game.
They will however have their hands full in the game against Rangers who will have the support of their fans at the Cathedral.
Two newly promoted sides, Warri Wolves and Adamawa United, will be up against each other this weekend as they both seek their first win of the season.
Warri Wolves have drawn their first two games against Akwa United and Sunshine Stars while Adamawa United have drawn one while losing the other.
League leaders, Plateau United, will be playing against another Northern side, Wikki Tourists, as they continue to cement their position at the top of the table.
Other matches this weekend will see Delta Force taking on Jigawa Golden Stars as Heartland play against Akwa Starlets.
Lobi will be away to Kano Pillars while it will be a game between FC IfeanyiUbah and Rivers United.
Meanwhile Katsina United will be looking forward to compounding Nasarawa United woes when they play against each other with Abia Warriors playing host to Sunshine Stars.
Amadi targets idol Udoh’s goal scoring record
Warri Wolves striker, SamuelAmadi, has set his sights on creating a new goalscoring record in the Nigeria Professional Football League, same way as his idol, Mfon Udoh, did years back in the 2013/2014 league season.
The product of Port Harcourt-based A&B Football Academy, was part of the new campaign’s history afterscoring the first goal as early as the third minute of his club’s 1-1 opening day draw against Akwa United.
According to Amadi, he is looking forward to becoming the highest goalscorer like Udoh, who he looks up to as a player.
Udoh, while with Enyimba became the record goal scorer of the NPFL after scoring 23 goals during the 2013/14 campaign, the first from a player in a season.
“I will just keep pushing harder to score more. I want to be the highest goalscorer by luck or by grace,” he told npfl.ng.
He signed his first professional contract with Warri Wolves in 2017, while the club was in the Nigeria National League (NNL), and contributed to their return to the NPFL. This is his third season with the Seasiders.
On the opening day of the new season, Amadi refused to be overwhelmed by the occasion when he dispatched a left-footed shot from close range to give his side the lead inside two minutes. And if not for Adewale Adeyinka’s fingertip save, he could have been celebrating a brace about a minute later.
Although it was Udoh’s equalizer that doused the excitement that came with Amadi’s quick-fire goal, the latter confessed his admiration for the former.
“Mfon Udoh is a very good striker. I’m looking up to him.”
The Rivers State-born player is now looking to helping his team to a continental ticket.
“With teamwork, prayers and hard work, I’m sure we will get there,” he said.
Nigeria can excel in fencing, says IOC boss
International Olympic Committee (IOC) president, Thomas Bach, has called on Nigeria to embrace fencing, saying the country can excel in the sport if it gets adequate support.
Bach, who featured in a fencing display at Aduvie International School, Jabi District, Abuja, on Thursday, said the nation has the wherewithal to be a force in the sport.
The display which lasted for roughly three minutes saw the former Olympic champion taking on a young Nigerian fencer Mariah Oguneye in a foil encounter as part of his itinerary for his visit to Nigeria, of the highpoint of which was the commissioning of Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) Headquarters in the Nigerian capital.
“He commended Nigeria for showing commitment to the sport, noting that the country’s hosting of the African Championship should serve as a foundation for the growth of the sport in the country,” Nigerian fencing boss, Adeyinka Samuel said.
Oguneye was so elated about the privilege, saying she dreams to fence for Nigeria at the Olympics in the near future.
“This is a rare privilege for me to have a friendly contest with the IOC President. I am determined to use this opportunity to pursue my dream of fencing for Nigeria at the Olympics,” she said.
Joshua must emulate Lewis to beat Ruiz –Haye
David Haye has urged Anthony Joshua to mimic the style of Lennox Lewis when he rematches Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia on December 7.
Haye cited Lewis’ wins over Samoan knockout artist David Tua in 2000 and Mike Tyson two years later as the blueprint Joshua needs to apply if he wants to regain the IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight championships.
Lewis scored a wide points win over Tua and knocked out Tyson in eight frames.
“He should look at how Lennox Lewis beat a knockout specialist like David Tua in 2000,” Haye told the Times.
“He nullified him. It was the same when he beat Mike Tyson.
“Lennox didn’t engage him up close. It is not the most entertaining style but it’s very effective.”
All the pressure will be on Joshua to avenge his shock defeat to Ruiz Jr back in June when he was stopped in seven rounds by the underdog.
Joshua and Lewis have a rocky relationship, with ‘AJ’ recently calling the retired heavyweight champion ‘a clown’ after being accused of ‘chasing the money’ and calling for trainer Rob McCracken to be fired following the defeat to Ruiz Jr.
“I don’t really say that much, but if you keep on poking me and poking me into a corner then I am going to bark and bite back,” Joshua said at the time.
“I am not a confrontational type of person, I keep myself to myself, but if you keep prodding me then I am going to spark back one of these days.
“Lennox was not a clown for his boxing, the man is a beast for his boxing, we have his photos all over my gym.
“When we talk about boxing, I respect that but when we sit around the table as men I only talk about wanting to appreciate the younger generation but I feel when it comes to me he’s different.
“He seemed to be saying ‘Anthony is dodging someone, he’s this or that’ and I just wondered why he is always attacking me, rather than reaching out and helping me, when I needed it.”
Taekwondo becoming an important sport in Africa –Gbagbi
Ivoirian taekwondo practitioner Ruth Gbagbi returned home days ago from the Croatia International Open where she won gold in the 67kg category.
The 25-year-old athlete, who clinched bronze medal in the 2016 Olympic Games, is counting her third success in just two months following a gold medal in Bulgaria on October 18 and silver in China on November 2.
“It’s been a smooth ride for me and I am very happy because it’s encouraging with less than a year to the Olympic Games in Tokyo,” she told www.ACLsports.com
“We have a double responsibility of flying our country’s (Ivory Coast) flag and promoting taekwondo as a sporting discipline, which is becoming important in Africa.
“Taekwondo is the future of combat sport and African girls could benefit from it. We are naturally strong. All we need is the technical aspects of the sports. We can conquer the world,” she added.
After a three-month arm injury layoff, Gbagbi returned to training in August and has been active since then.
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