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Amapakabo picks Okechukwu, Odey, 16 others for Sudan

Written By sportsweight.blogspot.com on Tuesday, September 3, 2019 | 5:06 AM

Super Falcons Set To Beat Algeria.

The Super Falcons are soar-away favourites to eliminate their counterparts from Algeria and reach the next round of the African qualifying series for next year’s Olympics Women Football Tournament, ahead of Tuesday’s concluding leg in Lagos.

The nine –time African champions thumped their hosts 2-0 in the first leg in Blida on Wednesday and look to quickly shut the door against the North Africans at the Agege Stadium, Lagos on Tuesday in order to start focusing on the second round of the series against either Cote d’Ivoire or Mali.

Mali, who host Tuesday’s return leg in Bamako, lost 0-3 to the Ivorians in Abidjan last week and have a mountain to surmount against the visitors, whose game has been steadily improving over the years.

An own goal by an Algerian defender and a second half strike by midfielder Amarachi Okoronkwo gave the Falcons the robust lead ahead of Tuesday’s home leg.

Head Coach Thomas Dennerby has even a stronger pack to choose from, with six foreign –based professionals having joined the squad for the return leg, led by FC Barcelona of Spain’s Asisat Oshoala. There are also defenders Ngozi Ebere and Osinachi Ohale, midfielder Ngozi Okobi and forwards Rasheedat Ajibade and Francisca Ordega.

World football –ruling body, FIFA has appointed Zomadre Kore from Cote d’Ivoire to be the referee.

Her compatriots Lou Ta (assistant referee 1), Denise Akoua (assistant referee 2) and Fatoumata Kra (fourth official) will join her on the assignment.

Ghanaian Emmanuella Aglago will serve as referee assessor and Cameroonian Souadatou Kalkaba will be match commissioner.

Issah Aliyu Completes Move To UD Almeria

UD Almeria of Spain have secured the services of former Remo Stars FC attacker Issah Aliyu on a 5 year deal from Lori FC of Armenia.

The 20 year old attacking midfielder completed his move to the Spanish second division side on deadline day having signed a five year deal that will keep him at the club till year 2024. 

The Kaduna born attacker moved from Remo Stars FC to Lori FC in the January transfer window in 2018 having featured for the Sky Blue Stars in the 2016/17 Nigeria Professional Football League.

Issah grew through the ranks of the Youth Development Section of Remo Stars FC and made his debut for the club in the NPFL game against Kano Pillars in Kano and continued to grow in confidence. 

Issah Aliyu was influential for Lori FC in his first season helping his team to gain promotion into the Armenia Premier League after wining the championship.

An excited Issah after completeing his move on deadline day, announced the move via his facebook fan page.
"Am glad to have completed my move to UD Almeria of Spain. All thanks to Allah and everyone who has supported me on this journey so far. Thanks to the management and staffs of Lori FC wishing the team the very best. 

To my new team I will do my very best to ensure we achieve great success together."  #Issah10".

Issah has been scouted by the U23 national team and he's been shortlisted for a call up.

Hard fighting D’Tigers Stumble Against Argentina

It was yet another harrowing day on the court for D’Tigers as they suffered another 81-94 points loss against a better and experienced Argentina.

Despite a spirited effort from the young side paraded by Alex Nwora and ending the first half 43 points apiece against the 5th rated team in the world, it was not enough on the day managing to win only second quarter 17-28, 26-15, 18-29, 20-22.

Josh Okogie who on Sunday celebrated his 21st birthday, again was the top performer for the team with 18 points, 5 assists and 2 rebounds.

Jordan Nwora scored 12 points, 2 assists and caught 3 rebounds during the 20.51minutes he spent on the court.

Al-Farouk Aminu put in a good shift defensively for the team with 8 rebounds and 3 points 

Speaking during the post match press conference, Head Coach, Alex Nwora said he was proud of the team and that D’Tigers lost to a better side despite battling hard to grind out a win.

Nwora said that it was not the result the boys wanted but that  in basketball, losing and winning were all part of the game.

“I am proud of them. We battled for our lives, we battled back for a better deficit unfortunately, we fell short in some areas.”

Nwora said the D’Tigers team is a young team and have not played together for a long time compared to most teams competing at the World Cup.

“This particular team is a very young team. Some of the players are playing together for the first time. I believe if we continue blending this team, we can only get better if we keep this team together.”

He said attention will now be focused on the last group game against Korea as the search continues for the win.

Ahmed Musa charges Olympic Eagles to go for win in Sudan

Super Eagles’ captain, Ahmed Musa has charged the U23 National Team, Olympic Eagles, to go all out and make the nation proud as the team intensified preparations for the final round of this year’s U23 AFCON qualifiers against Sudan.
Musa made the call when he showed up at the team’s training session at the FIFA Goal Project in Abuja on Sunday evening.
The Eagles’ skipper added that with hard work and dedication, the team can beat Sudan in Omdurman to stand a bright chance to qualify for the forthcoming U23 AFCON in Egypt.
“I am here to encourage and pledge my support to you due to the importance of the game ahead of you. I have played for the U23 before making my debut for the Super Eagles in 2010, and with dedication, hard work and grace of God, today I’m the Super Eagles captain.     
“Nigeria is blessed with a lot talented footballers. I am the captain of the Super Eagles not because I am better than most of the players but due to dedication and hard work. I urge you to go all out and beat Sudan because the game serves as Olympic qualifiers.”      
The Imama Amapakabo –led team is expected to depart the shores of the country early next week, with the first leg billed for Thursday, 5th September at the Al Merriekh Stadium in Omdurman. The return leg will hold in Asaba, Delta State on Tuesday, 10th September. Winners over two legs between Nigeria and Sudan will qualify for the 3rd Africa U23 Cup of Nations, scheduled for Egypt 8th – 22nd November this year.

Four Nigerians qualify for Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games

Written By sportsweight.blogspot.com on Monday, July 1, 2019 | 8:12 AM

Nigeria’s participation in the table tennis event of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games has been confirmed on Monday July 1 at the 2019 Africa Para Table Tennis Championship holding in Alexandria, Egypt as four players secured their places in Japan.

Victor Farinloye will be debuting at the games after the Nigeria sealed his place in the men’s Class 8 after emerging champion at the tournament.
Also Rio 2016 Paralympian – Ahmed Koleosho returned to the games after emerging champion in the men’s Class 3.

Sydney 2000 gold medalist, Tajudeen Agunbiade had an easy ride to the final in the men’s  Class 9, where he defeated Egypt’s Hussein Hussein 3-1 to emerge as champion as well as secure his pass to Japan.

Olufemi Alabi, also a Paralympian will be returning to the global sports fiesta in Japan after he had to work hard to beat South Africa’s Theo Cogill 3-2 to win the men’s Class 10 and booked his place at Tokyo 2020.

2018 Commonwealth Games silver medalist, Faith Obazuaye is now in vantage position to qualify after the Nigerian star emerged champion in the women’s Class 10. To validate her eventual qualification, Obazuaye needs to attend a Factor 20 tournament in Europe within the next six months to be sure of making to Tokyo 2020.

The qualification of the four players became clear following their participation at the Jordan Open earlier this year while the inability of Obazuaye to have featured in any competition must have put her qualification on hold.

Nasiru Sule who was initially aiming for fifth appearance at the Paralympic Games lost the slot to Egypt’s Abdelghafar Kamal Ayman, while Faith Obiora also lost the qualification to an Egyptian parliamentarian – Faiza Mahmoud who will become the first female African to feature in four Paralympic Games.

But the most unlucky Nigerian in Egypt was Isau Ogunkunle who was aiming for his debut in Tokyo as the Ogun State-born national champion in the men’s Class 4 narrowly lost to African champion – Egypt’s Mohamed Sameh Eid Saleh. Ogunkunle has earlier in the group stage defeated the Egyptian 3-2 but in the final, the experience of the veteran came to fore as he claimed the title at 3-2 to secure a place at Tokyo 2020 as the first African para table tennis player to be featuring in five Paralympic Games.


The 2019 edition of the Olympic day celebration organized by the Nigeria Olympic Committee in collaboration with the Nigeria Sport For All Commission witnessed a large turnout as participants from all works of life joined exercise and mark the day. 

The day featured sporting events such as marathon, jogging and aerobics, demonstration by the skipping rope federation and, Tug of war to commemorate the day.

The Olympic day witnessed the participation by people of all ages and groups, and certificates were issued to participants. 

Secretary of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC),  Olabanji Oladapo described the day as a success and he is excited to see the level of participation which indicates that sport is a unifying tool for people from every tribe and religion. "in terms of participation we had increase this year, next year will be bigger as we are just using this year to measure the level of interest. We are organizing this event to promote unity, to let people know that sports doesn't discriminate"  Oladapo said. 

The Olympic Day event is not a competition to win prizes, but to serve as a reminder that sports holds a lot of promise in helping mankind to be healthy and also for everyone to come together to make the World a better place.

Bello Rules NTTF National Women Singles Open Championship

Nigeria's sensational female ping ponger, Fatimo Bello, has shown her quality to dominate the maiden Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) National Women Singles Open Championship concluded at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium.

 THe feat, came seventy-two hours after emerging as champion at the All African games trial.
She fought her way into the final brushing aside the likes of national player, Cecilia Otu-Akpan as well as returnee Ganiat Aruna to set up a final clash against former junior champion – Tosim Oribamise.

Despite not having the chance to compete in international tournaments like her opponent in the final – Oribamise, Bello made nonsense of the experience of her opponent.

Oribamise who is considered to be Nigeria’s most travelled and experienced player in recent times, was no match to Bello who thrashed the Ekiti State-born Oribamise 4-0 (11 -7, 11-6, 11-8, 11-4) to cart home the N200,000 star prize money.

An excited Bello said she is determined to make the Nigeria team to the 2019 All Africa Games in Morocco.

"I'm very happy and excited about the victory. This is going to help me a lot because I won't stop training and continue to work hard. Training is the key to my success and hopeful I will continue to win. I actually started training two months ago for the trials and this Women Singles championship and I was expecting to win, so it is not something surprising. 

As the first winner of this tournament which means I'm one of the best players in Nigeria, I will like to play abroad and do all my possible best if I get the opportunity. I'm looking forward to play for the National team and excel with the team,” she said.

The tournament sponsored by the NTTF President, Engineer Ishaku Tikon was to rate female players and select team for major championships and the NTTF boss admitted that the objectives of the tournament was achieved.

“We have gotten the result of why we staged the competition. A new queen has emerged and the line-up according to their ranking have also been established, we are good to go and we are prepared to conquer Africa and we are on our way to dominate table tennis in the region,” Tikon said.
For the former President of NTTF, Wahid Oshodi, the performance of the players was encouraging and with constant training and regular competitions, the players would be ready to compete with the best.

Madagascar spank Super Eagles 2-0 to Top Group B

Lowly –rated Madagascar shocked Nigeria 2-0 as an awful performance by the Super Eagles handed the Indian Ocean islanders leadership of Group B and condemned the three –time champions to ignominious second place and a probable encounter with the Black Stars of Ghana in the Round of 16.

In what would forever remain a day to forget in Nigerian Football, the group leaders started on the wrong footing as Leon Balogun failed to deal with a routine back pass, leading to the ball being snatched by Lailana to score the first goal for the competition debutants after only 13 minutes.

The Eagles, who won each of their two previous matches by the odd goal, showed a palpable lack of mental power to respond, with Samuel Kalu fluffing a great pass by Ahmed Musa in the 19th minute and Musa himself, left with the goalkeeper to beat as a pass found him in the eighteen-yard box, bungled with a poor first touch, and his subsequent attempt to dribble the goalkeeper failed.

In the second half, instead of working hard to get on level terms in no time, Nigeria quickly found themselves further behind when substitute Wilfred Ndidi deflected a free kick by Carolus Andrea past a wrong-footed goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa.

A deep soul –searching is imminent in the Nigeria camp after such a flat performance, against a team rated lower than 100th in the world and making its first –ever appearance at the Africa Cup of Nations.

First touches left the Eagles’ midfielders and forwards down, as they made heavy weather of simple passes and controls, and creativity was totally lacking in a team that earned a ticket to Egypt with a match to spare.

Skipper Mikel John Obi, making his 89th appearance for the Eagles, was a shadow of himself, but Alex Iwobi was no magnificent difference when he came on, just as Moses Simon and Wilfred Ndidi brought no spark or innovation on board when they were introduced.

Such a sound beating by a team that had never scored against Nigeria in four pervious meetings was a dampener, and it would be interesting to see how the Eagles overcome this adversity and put up a show in their Round of 16 encounter at the same venue on Saturday.

While Madagascar finished the group stage unbeaten and scored two lovely goals from dead-ball situations, the Super Eagles have not been able to make hay from free kicks in decent memory, calling to question the continued delegation of the responsibility to one man who has refused to perfect his act. Three opportunities presented themselves from 20 yards and were all wasted in nonchalant manner.

Coach Gernot Rohr, who rang five changes to the team that defeated Guinea on Wednesday, must now come up with the formula to lift a dispirited dressing room before Saturday.

Aruna Quadri Joins Gewo’s Fold

After more than ten years with Joola, Aruna Quadri formally joined another Germany-based kit firm – Gewo on a three-year renewable contract.

The Nigerian is expected to be kitted for the next three years and he will be paid monthly allowance based on the world rating by Gewo.

Quadri who remains the best ranked African table tennis player in the world was with Joola for more than a decade, but decided to team up with Joola based on the interest showed by the company led by its founder  - Wolfgang Sohns .

According to Sohns, Gewo decided to sing the Nigerian following his conduct on and off the table. “Aruna Quadri is such a fantastic player who exhibits the qualities of our brand.  We are aware of his popularity in Nigeria and Africa as well as large followership across the globe and this also endeared us to him. 

He has shown to be a good ambassador of table tennis wherever he goes. He is calm and sociable and for us at Gewo, we value these qualities and that is why we have decided to team up with Aruna Quadri after initially having the Nigeria national team in our fold,” Sohns said.

The contract was facilitated by WEO Allsports and the chairman of the company, Wahid Oshodi described the new deal as a new vista for the Nigerian. “Aruna Quadri is a global brand and those who appreciate the qualities of this young man are ready to go all out and sign him.

 This is another leap for Aruna Quadri toward his preparation and readiness for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. We are happy for him and we hope this will surely rub off on his performance on table being the highest ranked player in the fold of Gewo,” Oshodi said.
Gewo was founded 120 years ago as a saddlery, since 1956, the company has developed into one of the leading manufacturers of table tennis tables.

Ogunkunle Conquers Africa

Nigeria’s Isau Ogunkunle has announced his emergence at the Africa Para Table Tennis Championships holding in Alexandria, Egypt, as he humbled African Champion - Egypt’s Mohamed Sameh Eid in the men’s singles Class Four in the first round.
Isau Ogunkunle may not a familiar name in Africa but the Nigerian has made name for himself at the 2019 Africa PTT Championships in Alexandria, Egypt, when he caused the biggest upset at the tournament after beating the Egyptian 3-2.

Ogunkunle who is competing in Class Four as one of Nigeria’s representatives was set up against his idol - Egypt’s Mohamed Sameh Eid and he knew that for him to prove a point in Africa, he must surmount the world number 11 and Africa’s number one.

As Nigeria’s national champion, Isau Ogunkunle did the impossible in front of the Egyptian fans when he humbled the home hero in the first round of the Class Four singles event.
From the start of the encounter the unseeded Nigerian was full of confidence against the tournament’s number one seed by winning the first game at 11-8.

But Mohamed Sameh Eid had to rely on experience with a lot of topspin from the backhand to win the next two games at 8-11, 6-11.

Having discovered the weakness of his opponent after losing the second and third games, Isau Ogunkunle decided to play more to the Egyptian forehand and this worked for him as he won the fourth game by 11-2. The final and deciding game went the way of the Nigerian who led from the start to the end to win at 11-7. The excited Nigerian did not hide his joy after the big win when he said, he would be unstoppable having surmounted his biggest challenge in the competition with the victory.

“In 2011 when I first played against Mohamed Sameh Eid, he defeated me 3-0 but after the match he came to me to comfort and encourage me not to give up. Since then we have been friends and we communicate with each other regularly. He became my idol in the game,” Isau Ogunkunle said.

However, the romance for table tennis for Isau Ogunkunle did not come by leisure but by sheer determination to make it big in life. “I was in school in 2005 when I lost my father and it was difficult for me to continue schooling so I dropped out. I decided to embrace shoe-making as a vocation. But it was in 2010 that somebody who came to patronize me invited me to table tennis hall and that was how I started playing table tennis,” the Nigerian said.

Paralympics Qualifier: Nigerian Sets World Record In 200 metres

Nigeria’s Christian Mmadubuike Ifeanyichukwu has set a new world record in the T46 200m at the Tunis 2019 Para Athletics Grand Prix and Paralympic Games qualifier as the 4-man Nigerian showed unusual strength to raise its medal haul to 4 gold, 3 silver on day two of the competition.

Ifeanyichukwu who is on his first international competition ran a time of 22.20 seconds to shake off a hot challenge by his Indonesian counterpart to win his second gold medal at the tournament after he had also returned first in the 100m on day one.

His compatriot, Uwak Unyime Christopher, also seized her moment in the women category, finishing at 27.03 to best her Indonesian and Mozambican chasers for the gold. She adds to her silver medal in the 100m in which she ran 13 seconds on opening day.

Rio 2016 Paralympic medalist, Flora Ugwunwa, also adeed a silver in the women F54 600gr Javelin event to her opening day gold medal in her regular F58 category in which she threw 18.04m, 2 metres below her world record of 20.25m.

Flora opted to try her hands in the F54 javelin which is above her weight category just to make up for the inability of other Nigerian athletes to attend the competition due to fund constraints.

Lauritta Onye, also a Rio 2016 gold medalist and world record holder in F40 shot put contributes to the medals tally with silver finish on opening day. Her 8.15m throw was however the best of the tournament, but President of the Nigeria Para Athletics Federation, Chikwendu Amobi, has explained that her placement was only as a result of the use of direct instead of Fazza computation for her.

“All the athletes have done very well. It’s four athletes and they have won four gold medals and three silver medals. We are the smallest contingent here but we have a strong standing on the table, including setting a world record. We are not perturbed about Lauritta second position. She threw the best distance but they decided to use direct instead of the Fazza standard computation for her. We believe she will retain her world best position at the IPC World Championship in Dubai in November and would improve even better at the Paralympics,” he assured.

Quadre, Sylvester are CBN Tennis Champions

Teen sensation, Oyinlomio Quadre, clinched her first Central Bank of Nigeria Open singles crown on Saturday with a resounding 6-0,6-1 win over Christy Agugbom while defending champions Sylvester Emmanuel retained his men’s singles title with a 6-4, 6-4 triumph over Abdulmumin Babalola.

A packed final at the Centre Court of the National Tennis Centre, Abuja saw the Morocco-based Quadre dominated the clash to announce her arrival at the top of domestic stage. Quadre, one of the best talents in junior tennis in Africa in recent times, said she would work harder knowing that all eyes are on her.

“I’m very happy to win my first CBN title; this is a dream comes true for me because CBN is one tournament that every Nigerian player cherished,” said the 16-year-old 

In the men’s singles final, Babalola’s chase for a record seventh CBN Open title was dashed by Emmanuel, who has now cemented his position as the undisputed top player in Nigeria. The champions each pocketed N700, 000 while the finalists got N500, 000.

Quadre also paired Mary Tenu-Michael to beat the duo of Agugbom and Blessing Samuel to clinch the women’s doubles with Babalola and Lawal Shehu clinching the men’s doubles at the expense of Joseph Imeh and Christian Paul.

Alex Adewale and Kafayat Omisore both clinched the men’s and ladies’ singles in the wheelchair tennis with Adewale clinching his sixth-successive title by beating Wasiu Yusuf 6-1, 6-0 while Omisore edged Chituru Nwazuru 4-6, 6-4, 11-9.

CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, says the apex bank is totally committed to the sponsorship of the tournament.

Emefiele, who was represented by CBN Head of Corporate Communications, Isaac Okoreafor, said the championship has served as the springboard to limelight for Nigerian tennis players and CBN are determined to take it to a higher level.

NTF president, Ifedayo Akindoju, pointed that there has been tremendous players’ improvement pointing that the emergence Quadre, who defeated a hosts of experienced players on her way to the title, is an attestation to the impact that the tournament has made over the years.

He commended the CBN for its unremitting support for Tennis in Nigeria pointing to their sponsorship of the CBN Juniors which is in its 16th year.

A host of high-profile personnel including the immediate NTF president and former Minister of Sports, Engr. Sani Ndanusa, CAT Zone 2 Vice President and NTF board member, Mr. Yemi Owoseni, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Sports, Adesola Olusola, Director Federation of Elites Athletes, Mrs Tayo Oreweme, Director ITA Godwin Kienka and top CBN officials attended the final.

Amaju Pinnick Exonorates Super Eagles

Following the two-nil defeat to Madagascar at the ongoing 2019 Egypt Africa of Nations, AFCONS, the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, has urged the Super Eagles players to forget about the defeat and focus their next match in the round of 16.

While addressing the team in the dressing room, the NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, said the match result showed that there were no minnows in African football, stressing that the squad approached the match with levity and a mindset of playing against a low rated team.

The NFF boss, charged the Super Eagles players to rekindle the Nigerian Spirit in them to make the nation's teeming football fans happy and also to book  quarter final ticket, adding that the players had to redouble their efforts to win the competition for the fourth time.

Noting that the best of Super Eagles was not good enough to earn the team a win against Madagascar, Pinnick, encouraged the players to be in the right frame of mind ahead of their subsequent matches at the ongoing continental soccer fiesta.

He appealed to the players to help the Federation which had to invite Abia State Governor, Okozie Ikpeazu, to cheer the teamto victory at the continental soccer fiesta.

Madagascar, which recorded two- all draw against Guinea, during the team's first Group B match, defeated Burundi by a lone goal and Nigeria by two unreplied goals to top Group B, with seven points.

Nwora Releases D’Tigers’ Preliminary World Cup list

Written By sportsweight.blogspot.com on Thursday, June 27, 2019 | 9:06 AM

D’Tigers Head Coach, Alex Nwora has released a 44 man preliminary roaster ahead of the 2019 FIBA Men’s World Cup in China, after weeks of scouting.
The camping exercise which will commence on July 7, 2019 in Erie Community College, Buffalo, USA will include D’Tigers captain, Ike Diogu, Ben Uzoh, Ike Iroegbu, Agada Caleb, Emegano Obinna, Efevhera Michael, Portland Trailblazer’s Al Farouq Aminu, Stanley Okoye, Jordan Nwora, Aminu Alade, Tosin Mehinti, Zana Talib, Chris Obekpa and Ayodeji Akindele who all featured during the qualifiers.
Others include David Nwaba (Cleveland Cavaliers), Josh Akogie (Minnesota Timberwolves), Nwamu Ike (Fort Wayne Mad Ants), Michael Eric, Charles Bassey, Ike Obiagu, Achiuwa Precious, TK Edogi, Stephen Ugochukwu and Ado Abdul, Chimezie Metu (San Antonio Spurs), Ekpe Udoh (Utah Jazz) and recently drafted trio of Miye Oni (Miami Heat), Chuma Okeke (Orlando Magic) and Kezie Okpalla (Phoenix Suns).
Nwora also extended invitation to five Nigerian based stars, Agu Abuchi Ibe, Okpe Ocheibi Victor, Abdul Yahaya, Vincent Buchi Nwaiwu, Victor Koko Anthony alongside former Golden State Warriors player, Festus Ezeli, Michael Oguine, and Jordan Ogundiran.
Ogugua “OG” Anunoby (Toronto Raptors), Semi Ojeleye (Boston Celtic), Ochai Agbaji, Vincent Nnamdi, Stephen Domingos, Moneke Chima and Joshua Ifeoluwa Ajayi complete the 44- man list.
As part of the Nigeria Basketball Federation’s effort to effectively prepare the team, D’Tigers will face fellow world cup bound Dominican Republic at the Palacio de Los Deportes in San Domingo on July 20th and 22nd before another test game against Ex NBA and Euro All Stars on the July 26, as they round off the first phase of camping.
The Second phase of camping will commence on July 29, while the invited NBA players are expected to report to camp on August 1 before departing for Toronto on August 5, where they will be facing Canada on the August 7 and 9.
Nwora will be assisted by Glynn R. Cyrien (Ex Memphis Grizzlies), Mfon Kokoete Udofia (Atlanta Hawks) and Ogoh Odaudu (Rivers Hoopers)
The final 12-man list will depart for Nigeria on August 12, for the final round of training before leaving for China on August 18.
Nigeria battle Korea, Argentina and Russia in Group B

NTTF National Women Singles Open Championship Serves off In Lagos

The best female players across the country will be aiming for ranking points as well as the N600,000 prize money at stake as the maiden Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) National Women Singles Open Championship serves off on Friday, June 28, at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium.

The two-day tournament will be used to rate the players while the winner will go home with N200,000 for her efforts.

Already, the players have used the just concluded All African Games trials as a warm-up for the championship sponsored by the President of NTTF, Eng Ishaku Tikon.

Southpaw Fatimo Bello deifed all odds to humble the likes of Cecilia Otu-Akpan and national sports festival champion, Ajoke Ojomu to emerge as champion at the All Africa Games trial and all eyes will be on the Lagos State-born athlete who is yet to feature for the national team since her emergence in the last two years.

Pained by the defeat she suffered against Fatimo Bello in the final of the All African Games trial, Abuja-based Ajoke Ojomu will be hoping to re-enact the form that saw her claiming the National Sports Festival at the expense of veteran Cecilia Otu-Akpan.

All participating players are to have a valid NTTF License to be able to compete in the championship.
For NTTF President, Engr Ishaku Tikon, the trial has been an eye-opener for the federation and a dress rehearsal for the women singles tournament.

 “Already several tournaments are lined up for this year in Africa and we cannot afford to play second fiddle in such competition and that is why we have decided to focus on the female players so that we can raise their standard in the game. 

The first step is to identify the talented ones among them before exposing them to world class coaching and tournaments. We are expecting players at junior and senior levels to be part of the competition and we will ensure that the identified ones are groomed to become world beaters just like their male counterparts,” Tikon said.

 The NTTF boss added: “Also in the past, Nigeria used to dominate the female event in Africa but now Egypt and other North African teams are coming up, so there is need to close the gap and that is why this tournament is very important to us.”

The tournament according to NTTF would serve as selection of team for major events while players within and outside Nigeria are expected to be part of the championship.

NFF thanks President Buhari after receiving AFCON money

Written By sportsweight.blogspot.com on Wednesday, June 26, 2019 | 12:26 AM

The Nigeria Football Federation has confirmed receiving part of the money approved by the Federal Government for participation of some National Teams in international competitions, including the Super Eagles’ participation at the ongoing 32nd Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

NFF’s Acting President, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi (in the absence of President Amaju Pinnick who is fully involved with organization as President of AFCON) said on Tuesday that the Federation received part of the money on Tuesday morning and had immediately launched the process to convert the sum to American Dollars to pay the players their only outstanding entitlement – the win bonus for the match against Burundi in Alexandria on Saturday evening – and for subsequent matches.

“We want to specially thank His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari for his keen interest in resolving this matter quickly, which has enabled us to receive part of the money in record time. We have immediately started the process of converting the money to American Dollars at the Central Bank in order to pay the players the bonus for the win over Burundi three days ago as well as plan for subsequent games.”

Akinwunmi added that on Monday, 24th June, the NFF had transferred to the players and their officials their camp allowances up to the last day of the group phase matches at the AFCON 2019, as well as the appearance fee for the friendly against Zimbabwe in Asaba on 8th June.

“We have paid these monies through our funds managers, Financial Derivatives Company on Monday, 24th June 2019. The only issue we had was that some of the players did not send their bank accounts and instead authorized the bank to pay their monies to some other individuals. The bank requested clear authorization for this to happen.

“I was on a telephone discussion with the Captain of the team Mikel Obi this morning and can safely say that all clarifications have been made and the usual cordial relationship and understanding between the players and we the administrators is still intact.  I have challenged them to go all out and win the trophy assuring them that their monies all the way to the final is guaranteed. It is now for the players to focus on the championship and deliver glory to the nation. I have no doubt of their ability to do that.”

Akinwunmi also specially commended the maturity of the team and its leaders, including skipper Mikel John Obi and for their unflinching focus on the job at hand which is winning the AFCON Trophy.

12th AAG: Falconets to tackle South Africa, Cameroon

Written By sportsweight.blogspot.com on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 | 10:50 PM

The draw for the football event of the 12th All-Africa Games has been conducted in Cairo, Egypt with host nation Morocco heading Group A that also has Equatorial Guinea, Mali and Algeria.

Nigeria head Group B and will trade tackles with Cameroon, South Africa and Zambia.

Organizers have reiterated that this year’s All-Africa Games women football event will be contested by players under the age of 20. This means Nigeria’s team will be composed of the U20 girls, also known as Falconets.

Some months ago, CAF announced that the teams that featured at the 11th Women Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana in November/December 2018 would be the same teams to contest the gold medal of the football event of the All-Africa Games.

The 12th All-Africa Games will hold between late August and early September this year.

Super Eagles target three points against Syli for Round of 16

Nigeria will reach the Round of 16 of the 32nd Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt if the Super Eagles put the Syli Nationale of Guinea to the sword in their second match of the tournament on Wednesday. The match starts at 4.30pm Egypt time, which is 3.30pm in Nigeria.

Guinea’s unexpected 2-2 draw against debutants Madagascar on Day 1, for which both teams shared a point each, means any team that harnesses six points in Group B would most certainly progress to the knockout rounds.

The availability of France –based forward Samuel Kalu, who can also play as wing back, has provided further options for Coach Gernot Rohr for Wednesday’s clash between the fierce West African rivals at the Alexandria Stadium.

Kalu elicited jubilation to the Nigeria camp on Monday evening after further tests in Cairo cleared him to play at the AFCON 2019, following a scare after he fell during training session and was stabilised before being taken to hospital on Friday. The incident ruled him out of Saturday’s clash with Burundi.

Kalu can fit into the right side of the attack, where he dazzled against Seychelles on Mahe Island in a qualifying match in September 2018 and against Libya home and away the following month, and can equally hold firm as wing back, as he did against South Africa in the penultimate qualifier in November 2018.

While AFCON 2019 is Nigeria’s 18th appearance (Wednesday’s encounter will be their 88th match), Guinea is showing up here for the 13th time. Nigeria have won the title three times, finished in second place five times and picked up the bronze medals seven times. Guinea has only a runners-up place to show for their endeavour, back in 1976 when the tournament was held based on a league format.

Honours are even in 14 previous matches between both countries, with Nigeria winning four times, Guinea winning four times and six matches drawn. Some of the games have been nail –biting affairs, including a 1982 World Cup qualifying match in Lagos in April 1981 in which Henry Nwosu’s 88th minute winner separated both teams over two legs, and the 2012 AFCON qualifier that ended 2-2 in Abuja in October 2011 with Ibrahim Diallo’s last minute equalizer stopping Nigeria from reaching the finals.

The Syli Nationale are bound to throw everything into Wednesday’s game, as defeat would gravely abbreviate their chances of progressing to the knockout rounds. And they have a coach who has a reason to want to put a knife through Nigeria’s ambition.

Paul Put was head coach of Burkina Faso’s Etalons who lost the final of the 2013 AFCON tournament to the Super Eagles at Soccercity in Johannesburg, three weeks after both teams ended their opening match of the finals 1-1 in Nelspruit.

It is probable that Coach Rohr will stick with South Africa –based Daniel Akpeyi in goal, with Kenneth Omeruo and Willian Ekong at the centre of defence and Ola Aina at left back. With Abdullahi Shehu injured, and Samuel Kalu now fit, the latter’s steel and attacking instincts could nip the right back shirt for him ahead of Chidozie Awaziem, while Wilfred Ndidi, Alex Iwobi and Oghenekaro Etebo may pull strings in midfield, if skipper Mikel Obi starts from the bench.

Samuel Chukwueze, Odion Ighalo and Ahmed Musa may start at the fore, against a very strong Guinea team and on a day Nigeria need the goals and points to ease into the knockout rounds with a match to spare.

Steadily, the Super Eagles has become a team reaching milestones with a match to spare, from qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup to earning the ticket to AFCON 2019.

Super Eagles B to play Togo as WAFU adopts new format

Written By sportsweight.blogspot.com on Friday, May 31, 2019 | 5:47 AM

Nigeria will square up with Togo in the 2019 WAFU Cup of Nations taking place in Thies, Senegal from 28th September to 13th October.

The new format means a first round straight knockout, with the winners proceeding to challenge for the trophy while the losers go on to contest for the Plate.

The Eagles B, which lost to host nation Ghana in the final of the last edition in September 2017, will battle Togo’s Sparrow Hawks on 29th September.

Matches will then proceed in the same knockout format until the winner emerges on 13th October.

Organizers were compelled to invite Morocco as a result of the subsisting FIFA ban that bars Sierra Leone from partaking in international football.

Although the ban may be lifted before the tournament kicks off, Sierra Leone’s footballers have again been denied of much –needed exposure and excitement due to the FIFA ban, occasioned by harebrained and ridiculous corruption allegations against FA President Isha Johansen and Secretary General Chris Kamara. 

Earlier in the week, after about one year of empty frenzy termed trial, the High Court in Sierra Leone discharged and acquitted the duo, stating that the allegations were frivolous, and restored them to office.

The FIFA ban was the reason Sierra Leone was thrown out of the 2019 AFCON qualifying series, in which they had a great chance of qualification after beating Kenya in Freetown.

Hosts Senegal will open the WAFU Cup of Nations finals against Guinea Bissau on 28th September.

Nigeria Vs Togo
Senegal Vs Guinea Bissau
Ghana Vs Gambia
Morocco Vs Liberia
Mali Vs Niger Republic
Cote d’Ivoire Vs Cape Verde
Burkina Faso Vs Mauritania
Guinea Vs Benin Republic   

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