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NGOs are important in development of grassroots football – Football Promoter



Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) are important to the development of football at the grassroots, the Coordinator, Kunle Tuface Football Promotion, Mr Oluwatope Ayokunle, has said.

He stated this at a meeting of the stakeholders of his planned Ramadan Nations Cup, on Monday in Akure.

According to Ayokunle the grassroots football competition will kick-off on Saturday.

Ayokunle said that the motive behind the competition was far from the immediate financial gain, saying,”it is rather a way of contributing my own quota to get our youths busy and to take them off the streets.

“I embarked on this competition tagged ‘Ramadan Nations Cup’ just to create an avenue for our Muslim brothers to use the opportunity to preach the gospel of Islam.

“To create a platform to educate our youths on why they should do away with social vices during and after the Ramadan period,” he said.

He said the competition was tagged Nation’s Cup, to draw attention to the forth coming continental football match.

“We felt it’s a means of creating awareness about the forthcoming Nations Cup and to alert the people in the state and the country that if we develop our talented youths from the grassroots, they can fly the colour of the national team in future.”

“Godfrey Oboabana, Abe Sunday, Dayo Ojo had all made the state proud at the national teams and they were all products of grassroots football.

We are telling not only the government but cooperate bodies within and outside the state that going back to the grassroots to discover raw talents was doable,” he said.

Earlier, the Team Manger of Rising Stars, Mr Seun Betiku, had solicited the support of all and sundry to make the competition a success.

He lauded the coordinator for his vision to promote football at the grassroots .

Betiku said, “I am also a promoter of grassroots football, we have been able to discover two or three players from this competition that we signed to the Rising Stars.

“Players like Ajayi Raphael , Monday Ekeji are products of this kind of competitions, I believe so much in raw talents,” he said.

He, then admonished the coaches and the team managers to instil discipline in the players, saying, “even if a player is better than the likes of Ronaldo and Messi without discipline they can’t attain the pinnacle of their career”.

Also speaking, Chairman of Akure South Football Council, Mr Sunday Aladenika, assured the participating teams of balanced and good officiating.

The Chairman, represented by the secretary of Akure South  Football Council , Mr Fajorin Oluwashina, later presented a certificate of recognition to Mr Oluwatope Ayokunle.

“We need to appreciate him for his noble idea,  this competition will continue to help our talented youths to excel and get to the top of their careers.

“We should not see the competition as do or die ,it is not easy to organise a successful competition, we as FA have initiatiated many competitions in this state with good back up that was inconclusive,” he said.



African Games: Injury stopped my participation, says 2018 Youth Olympics silver medalist



The Games are scheduled for Aug. 19 to Aug. 31 in Rabat, Morocco.

Ineh told the Nigeria News Agency on Monday from his base in Delta that if not for injury he was sure of being a medal contender at the Games.

“My not attending the 12th African Games makes me feel sad, it is more or less like a big tragedy for me.

“As human, I must go through a lot of rough times but getting over this nightmare will be a great relief.

“The most painful aspect is knowing that I can win a medal in Morocco but I am handicapped by injury because in Africa, I am ranked among the top eight,’’ he said.

NAN reports that the entry standard for triple jump men and women are 16m and 13m respectively.

Ineh’s personal best of 16.34m at the 2018 Youth Olympics is the farthest by a Nigerian in recent times.

Ineh is also an African Youth and ECOWAS U-20 champion in the triple jump.

He, however, said that he was optimistic of better days as he was still young, saying that he would not lose focus of his target to be among the world’s best.

“I’m optimistic because better days are ahead, I’m still very young and I believe that God’s time is the best,’’ he said.

Ineh, who lamented over little or no support from anyone after he sustained the injury, said he hadn’t been undergoing any form of treatment as he could not afford it.

“I don’t have any form of support, so, I haven’t been undergoing any form of treatment but still, I’m optimistic that God will heal me because my talent cannot be wasted.

“Not competing get to me at times but as human, I have been trying to conceal the pain,’’ he said.


(Editing by Peter Ejiofor)

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12th Africa Games: It won’t be easy run for Nigeria, Egypt in T/Tennis — Official



As the 12th Africa Games officially opens on Friday in Morocco, an official of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF), Tayo Adesoji, says the ping pong event will not be a direct rivalry between Nigeria and Egypt.

Adesoji, who is representing the South-West on the NTTF board, told the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos that countries like Senegal and Congo have stepped up their game.

Adesoji was speaking against the backdrop of the performance of players that represented both countries in the recently-concluded 2019 ITTF Challenge Plus Nigeria Open held in Lagos.

“Nigeria and Egypt have dominated table tennis in Africa for years but the 2019 ITTF Challenge plus has shown that it will not be a battle between Egypt and Nigeria alone.

“We all saw the performance of Ibrahima Diaw of Senegal and players from Congo Brazzaville at the competition.

“The battle field has been expanded, so the rivalry will involve Nigeria, Egypt, Senegal and Congo Brazzaville in Moulay Al Hassan Arena, venue for the ping pong event of the Games,” he said.

On his expectations from the players, the board member said the country had what it takes to excel in the event, owing to the calibre of players assembled to represent the country.

“The coaches have selected quality players that will represent us with the likes of Segun Toriola, Aruna Quadri, Funke Oshinaike, Cecelia Edem and others who merited to be in the team,” he said.

Nigeria will jostle for medals in 22 events at the 12th edition of the Games that will feature 54 countries from the continent.

The country has so far amassed a total of 1,199 medals, having participated in all the editions of the competition formally known as the All Africa Games.

In the 11th edition held in 2015 and hosted by Congo Brazzaville, Nigeria clinched 47 gold, 55 silver and 42 bronze medals to finish second on the medals table.

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Richard Asibor maiden memorial chess festival to hold in Lagos



The maiden Richard Asibor Memorial Chess Festival organised by Dasaolu Rotimi on behalf of the Asibor Family will hold in Lagos from Sept. 4 to Sept. 8 with over N1.5 million in prizes.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the festival will consist of Knockout Blitz Event of 2 games, with a control time of three minutes plus 2 seconds added per move, according to World Chess Federation (FIDE) website on Monday.

Also there will be a Rapid Event of six rounds with a control time of 20 minutes plus 10 seconds per game.

“A Seven Round Classical Event with a control time of 1 hour 30 minutes plus 30 seconds per move.

“A Kiddies Event for children aged 12 and below with a control time of 25 minutes each,” the chess world body said.

NAN reports that tournament schedule dates are as follows: the Six Rounds Rapid Event holds on Wednesday Sept. 4.

The Knockout Blitz Event will hold from Sept. 5 to Sept. 8 and the seven Round Classical Event holds from Sept. 5 to Sept. 8.

The 11 Round Swiss Blitz Event holds on Sept. 7 to Sept. 8 and the Kiddies Event from Sept. 7 to Sept. 8, while the festival will hold at the Chevron Recreational Centre, Gbabada, Lagos State.


(Editing by Peter Ejiofor)

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NBBF Technical Director identifies funding as setback to basketball



Adamu Deshi, Technical Director of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), has identified inadequate funding as the only setback against the achievement of greater success in basketball development in Nigeria.

Deshi made the assertion in Abuja on Monday while reacting to the exploits of the national women’s basketball team, the D’Tigress, at the just-concluded 2019 FIBA AfroBasket Women’s tournament.

The D’Tigress on Sunday in Dakar, Senegal, retained the trophy they won in 2017 by defeating hosts Senegal 60-55 in a pulsating final to once again emerge as African women’s basketball champions.

Deshi told the Nigeria News Agency that, but for inadequate funding, basketball would have blossomed in Nigeria beyond its present state.

“Funds are not forthcoming, so the president of the board and his team frequently go round and source for funds and assistance each time any of the national teams has an outing.

“Finance has been a very big challenge for the NBBF. If we had adequate funding, the unprecedented successes recorded in Nigerian basketball scene could have easily been surpassed,” he said.

The D’Tigress were unplayable throughout the 2019 AfroBasket tournament and easily dispersed their opponents and made known their intention of retaining the title they won in 2017.

Deshi attributed their ruthless and determined style of play to a behind-the-scene action plan pursued by the NBBF for all national teams.

“Behind the successes you see our national teams achieve are actions, plans, commitment, dedication from the players and technical crew and, to be honest, patriotism on the part of the players and officials.

“For us, the recent successes recorded in Nigerian basketball are a Nigerian project. We are deliberate in our resolve to lace Nigeria on the map of world’s basketball.

“What you saw in Senegal was as a result of hard work.

“We trained hard in the United States and back home in Lagos and it is evident that we have a great potential for basketball in Nigeria,” he said.

Nigeria demolished the Democratic Republic of Congo 79-46 in the quarter-finals before shrugging off Mali 79-58 in the semi-finals to set a final date against hosts Senegal.

However, the Nigerian side were not in their blistering best on the final day at the Dakar Arena, especially in the final quarter of the game when Senegal launched a comeback which unsettled the D’Tigress.

However, Deshi told NAN that such was expected.

“It is normal for you to feel the heat when playing against a host country.

“The home crowd were massive and especially in the final quarter of the final, the D’Tigress were a bit nervous because it was like playing against the entire Senegal.

“However, we had discussed it and with control, determination and great understanding, the girls kept their cool and came out victoriously.

“The technical crew did a good job of preparing the girls for the worst case possible and they responded well,” he said.

Nigeria has recently been firing from all cylinders in the game of basketball. The men’s national team, the D’Tigers, were the first in the world to qualify for the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China.

The women’s team also became the first African team to reach the last eight of a FIBA Women’s World Cup.

Deshi said prominent on the agenda of the NBBF was to start grooming next generation of basketball achievers.

“What we are doing now is to groom the next generation of talents for the national team. We are now cross-pollinating talents by bringing the foreign-based players to play alongside the home-based players and motivate them.

“We also use the local league as a mentorship platform to raise players who can compete in the highest level of the game.

“It is part of our succession plan so that we maintain the growth and development achieved in our basketball in the past three years,” he said.


Edited by Felix Ajide


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12th African Games: More experienced athletes no threat, says Chukwuma



Rosemary Chukwuma, a 2018 Commonwealth 4x100m bronze medalist, on Monday in Lagos said that she was not threatened by the presence of top African athletes in the ongoing African Games in Morocco.

The athletics event at the Games is scheduled to begin on Aug. 26 at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium, Rabat, Morocco.

Chukwuma told the Nigeria News Agency on telephone that she would not boast but that she was optimistic of winning a medal as surprises could spring up.

“I am very happy to be among those that made the African Games team. By God’s grace, my target is to run a personal best, win a medal, not any kind of medal but gold, and also make my country proud,” she said.

She added that she was equally a determined athlete like Marie-Joseé Ta Lou and Murielle Ahouré of Cote d’Ivoire , saying that she had her eyes on the medal.

“I am not and will not be intimidated by anyone because we all have one head and I have been training the same way they have been training too.

“We will all meet at the finish line,” she said.

NAN reports that Chukwuma is a 2018 Youth Olympics Games 100m gold medalist. She is also a 2018 African Youth Games 100m gold medalist.

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