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2019/2020 Season: Tornadoes 75% ready for the NNL season — Technical Adviser



The Niger Tornadoes Technical Adviser, Abubakar Bala Mohammed, on Tuesday said his team, the “Ikon Allah Boys” was almost ready for the new league season.

Bala gave the assurance to the club’s fans after assessing the team’s evening training session on Monday at the Bako Kontagora Stadium, Minna, as they gear up preparation for life in the Nigeria’s second tier league (NNL).

“Tornadoes are leaving no stone unturned to make an impressive outing in the league in the incoming season.

“We are aware of the challenges ahead; hence the Technical Crew and management have resolved to have a better pre-season engagements before the commencement of the new season.

“We will study the teams weaknesses and also perfect a system of play; this is in the buildup of which we participated in the Gold Cup Pre-season Tournaments in Ilorin, which we won.

“We also took part in the Gov. Okowa Cup in Delta, where we finished among the best four clubs,” he said in a statement by the club’s Media Officer, Alhassan Mohammed Kutigi in Lagos.

Bala added: “We have also forwarded a request to the management to facilitate at least, a week closed camping to enable us engage in one or two friendly matches.

“The friendly matches will help to understand the strength and weak department in the team to be able to proffer solution before the season kick starts,” he said.

Bala promised to employ capable hands that would replace the exodus of players from the club, adding that though their services would be missed, there were capable replacements within the fold.

“Players like, Reuben Ogbonnaya, Moses Ocheje, Mustapha Salihu, Sarki Ismail and Bashir Azado departed for greener pasture elsewhere.

“We have a goalkeeper already brought from Kano Pillars to fill the vacuum created by Mustapha Salihu’s departure,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of the management, the Secretary, Aliyu Muazu, noted the readiness of Bako Kontagora Stadium to host league matches.

He assured the people that Tornadoes would play its matches in front of home fans.

“The club’s Chairman, Adamu Aliyu, has graciously approved funds for maintenance work at the Stadium which, he says, will be carried out in days to come.

“I appeal to our supporters to accord the team maximum support, so as fast track a return to the elite division where the club belongs,” the statement said. (NAN)


(Editing by Peter Ejiofor)


2019/2020 NPFL: Sunshine Stars beat title-holders Enyimba



Sunshine Stars Football Club of Akure on Wednesday beat Enyimba Internatonal FC of Aba 1-0 in a Match Day 4 fixture of the 2019/2020 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the match’s only goal came in the 10th minute.

Alow shot from inside the box by midfielder Anthony Omaka settled the game, with striker Israel Abia assisting in the match was played at the Ondo State Sports Complex in Akure.

Abia had in the 50th minute missed scoring from 18 yards after facing Enyimba’s goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali face to face.

All efforts by the visitors to equalise were rebuffed by the home team to ensure maximum the three points were kept in the kitty.

The Technical Adviser of Sunshine Stars, Kabiru Dogo, later said he was happy his team picked the maximum three points from the game.

Dogo said he was much more happy that his team was creating scoring chances, adding that it was a matter of time before his team would be scoring more goals.

“I am very happy, if you look at the calibre of opposition we played, and we secured victory. We have to appreciate God and the players,” he said.

Speaking also, Omaka said he was happy to have scored in an encounter against the current NPFL champions.

On his part, the Head Coach of Enyimba FC, Usman Abd’Allah, said the first formation he planned to use in the match did not work out.

“This forced us into making quick substitutions in the second half,’’ he said.

Abd’Allah was however quick to point out that the match was a good game generally, in view of having o play against a strong home team.

NAN reports that Sunshine Stars now have five points from three matches.

(Edited by Dorcas Jonah and Olawale Alabi (NAN))

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NPFL: ‎Jigawa Golden Stars beat Pillars 1-0 in Kano



Jigawa Golden Stars Football Club of Dutse on Wednesday beat Kano Pillars ‎1-0 at the Sani Abacha Stadium in a week 4 match of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) fixture.‎

Jigawa Captain, Yusuf Muhammad, scored the only goal of the game in the 7th minute with a solo effort in their adopted home, Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano.

Kano Pillars made several efforts to equalise thereafter, but the brilliant efforts of Jigawa defence line denied them of any goal.‎‎

Kano Pillars made three changes in the second half and every effort to salvage a draw proved abortive as the newly promoted side claimed the three points in the Pyramid City.‎

Speaking with newsmen after the match, Jigawa Coach, Rabiu Tata, commended his players for their team work and fighting spirit.‎

“I need to appreciate the boys for their effort today, for keeping and playing to instructions. They maintained the tempo of the game from the beginning until the end.

“We played well, and I must commend my young team for beating a good and experienced club like Kano Pillars,” he said.

Pillars Coach, Ibrahim Musa, said the club would focus on winning subsequent games.‎

‎He also said that his team would gradually pick up from the situation they found themselves.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the Pillars management gave three match ultimatum to the technical crew of the club last week after losing at home to Lobi stars.‎

Pillars now ‎have one point from three matches played so far and occupy 18th position in the league table.

Edited by Tayo Ikujuni/Tukur Muntari. (NAN)

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Nasarawa United, Plateau United draw 1-1, host club official blames referees for fans’ misbehaviour



Hosts Nasarawa United Football Club and Plateau United Football Club of Jos on Wednesday in Lafia ended their Match Day 4 clash 1-1, with an orgy of violence trailing the game.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that after the game at the Lafia Township Stadium, the Match Commissioner, Centre Referee and the two Assistant Referees were among those who suffered attacks.

Also, Bala Nikyu, the Head Coach of Nasarawa United, was among victims of the attacks instigated by fans who felt that the match had been poorly officiated.

Players and officials of Plateau United FC were forced into the middle of the pitch till police reinforcements were in place to ensure their safety out of the stadium.

NAN reports that even before the end of the 2019/2020 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) fixture, tension had heightened in the spectators stands.

There was an agitation among the home club fans about the club’s poor performance since the beginning of the new season, and a good result was needed to douse tension.

When Nasarawa United’s Anas Yusuf scored in the 43rd minute, it seemed possible the home side would record their first win of the season.

But a glancing header by Mustapha Ibrahim made it 1-1 in the 54th minute to change the match’s complexion and for the fans to begin to express their frustration verbally.

NAN reports that the situation got worse with centre referee Bashir Salihu’s decision to overlook a tackle on a Nasarawa United player in their opponents’ penalty area late during the game.

The angry home fans were then joined by other fans who trooped into the stadium after the match ended, throwing stones, chairs and other objects at the referees.

It was during the attack on the match officials that an object hit the head of Nikyu, who was then quickly attended to by the club’s medical team.

In a reaction, Eche Amos, the Media Officer of Nasarawa United, who expressed sadness over the incident, blamed poor officiating for the violent melee.

“It’s quite unfortunate what happened today, but I think that our referees need to up their game, because part of what caused this situation is poor officiating,” he said.

A Nasarawa United FC supporter, who preferred anonymity, told NAN that aside the poor officiating, the fans were also reacting to the way “Nasarawa United players had been treated in away fixtures recently’’.

“In Katsina where we (the club) played an away match recently, they threatened to kill our players and the referees if the home side did not win the match there.

“Because of that, two penalty kicks were awarded to the Katsina United team and they won. Why will anyone then expect us to watch and not do anything? It is not possible.

“If this league must move forward, there must be fairness both for away and home teams so that even if you lose at home, you can still have hope that if you go away and play well, you will win,’’ he said.

(Edited by Olawale Alabi (NAN))

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Ezeonwuka wants more football actions in upgraded Rojenny football stadium



Ezeonwuka wants more football actions in upgraded Rojenny stadium


Oba (Anambra), Nov. 20, 2019 Rommy Ezeonwuka, the P0roprietor of Rojenny Stadium and Games Village, Oba in Anambra, says his facility remains one of the best but most under-utilised football stadium in the country.

Ezeonwuka made the assertion on Tuesday when he conducted newsmen round to see the ongoing upgrade work at the stadium in Oba, near Onitsha.

He called on the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and football administrators to visit the stadium and “’see the quality of the pitch and serenity of the environment at Rojenny”.

He said the facility was available for camping, training and for competitive football matches as well as athletics with eight lane tartan tracks around the pitch.

The proprietor said night matches could now be played at the stadium alongside other games.

“As you can see, the dimensions are FIFA standards with installed floodlight for night games.

“Rojenny is another home for Nigerian football, remember this is where the 1993 Kanu Nwankwo Golden Eaglets camped before they went to Japan to rule the world.

“You will agree that that team is the best U-17 Nigeria has produced.

“What we suffer here is effective use of this facility; Nigeria must look inwards and explore what we have.

“Camping here will not only build the individuals, it will instill team spirit because of the atmosphere,” he said.

He said Rojenny stadium was being prepared in readiness for the Nigeria Police Games which would be hosted in Anambra in 2020.

Ezeonwuka also called on the state government to direct some of its sporting activities to Rojenny and save the facility from lying idle.

“The secret of Rojenny is for government to package sporting competitions in this place so that it does not continue to lay idle,” he said.

(Edited by Buhari Bolaji/Peter Ejiofor (NAN))

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Kida commends D’Tigress for defeating Mali in semifinals



The President, Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), Musa Kida, has commended the senior women’s national team for beating Mali in the semifinals of the FIBA Africa Pre-Olympic qualifying game on Sunday.

Kida said on Wednesday that the qualification of Rivers Hoopers and Raptors of Lagos was the right result for hard work of the federation, players and coaches.

According to him, with the men already qualified for the 2020 Olympic Games, no stone will be left unturned to see that Nigeria’s chances of a podium finish is brightened with the presence of D’Tigress.

Kida lauded the players for their dedication in the face of stiff opposition in Maputo which he described as gruelling.

“It was very gruelling for them after all these qualifiers that never used to happen before.

“Nigeria has made proof of basketball in the world.

“I have no doubt about it and as such, 2020 is going to be a good year to show that Nigeria’s basketball has come of age.

“Nigeria and Mozambique will join 14 other countries from America, Asia-Oceania and Europeto fight for the 10 available slots to the Olympics.

“As already announced by the Federation of International Basketball Associations, Belgium, China, France and Serbia have been picked to host the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) from Feb. 6 to 9 2020.

“Official draw ceremony will take place on the 30th of November at the FIBA headquarters,” Kids said in a statement.

Edited by Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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Tambuwal charges Sokoto Utd. FC to strive harder in winning



Gov. Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto state on Wednesday charged the New Branded Sokoto United Football Club to always strive harder in winning laurels for the state.

Tambuwal, who spoke while inaugurating the new club restated his administration’s commitment toward providing an enabling environment for the sports men and women in the state to display their talents.

“As we all witness today Sokoto state has branded, formidable football team that is capable of competing with other clubs in the national football league.

“As such I implore on the club that is to start the Nigerian football league season to work hard to ensure victory in the league matches,” he said.

The Governor commended sports managers in the state for their efforts aimed at taking the game of football and other sporting activities to a greater level.

Nigeria News Agency reports that Sokoto United Football Club will start the Nigerian football league season with Niger Tornadoes Football Club of Minna on Nov. 22.

Edited by Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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