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Ambode receives Diouf, Kanu, Zokora, other soccer legends

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Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State has urged African countries to look inward and explore the possibility of using sports to grow their economies, saying it remains a veritable tool to foster growth and development.

Ambode said this on Friday when he received some top African football legends at the Lagos House in Alausa, Ikeja.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the soccer legends will be participating in a testimonial match on Saturday at the Agege Stadium in honour of the governor as he prepares to exit office.

They include Kanu Nwankwo, Finidi George, Victor Ikpeba, El Hadji Diouf, Diomansy Kamara, Didier Zokora, Khalilou Fadiga Austin Eguavoen, Mutiu Adepoju, Waidi Akanni, Uche Okechuku and Seydou Keita.

Ambode said the sense of brotherhood in sports must be played up for the benefit of the continent in terms of scaling up the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of African countries.

He recalled an initiative of his administration known as Project T.H.E.S.E which stands for Tourism, Hospitality, Entertainment and Arts and Sports for Excellence.

Ambode said right from inception, machinery was set rolling to use sports to grow the economy and tourism in Lagos.

“We have always used sports to build bridges, and there is this sense of brotherhood anytime that you switch on your television and there is an African playing on any line-up, be it Liverpool, be it Tottenham.

“That feeling is always there and that brotherhood is something that we can use to grow the economies of African nations.

“I had this dream when I came in as governor that I could use sports, tourism, entertainment and arts with some sense of hospitality to promote excellence.

“So, I had something called Project T.H.E.S.E and my dream was to catalyse everything around sports and use it to build tourism and also grow the GDP of Lagos.

“So, that was the dream and why we promoted as many sporting activities as possible, so that we could create a platform for tourism which made many people to travel here, and just like you have come now,” he said.

The governor said though four years may not be enough to do everything, he was grateful to God for the opportunity to serve the people, just as he expressed optimism that the next administration would take it up, improve on it and ensure that the dream and vision for sports development does not die.

“I am very honoured that you are all here in Lagos to celebrate with me as I finish my tenure in Lagos State. This match is not only for me but for the good of humanity.

“We are not promoting it because we want to make money out of it, but we are actually showcasing the fact that there is still something to be done about sports development in Africa, and then particularly in Nigeria.

“We have lost a lot of resources and economic growth because people cannot match sports with the economy, and that is the mis-match that we are having here.

“I mean, the question is why do I have to travel to Madrid to go and watch La Liga, meanwhile I will pay airline, pay for hotel and grow the economy of Spain? That is what Africa has to find out,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of the footballers, Diouf thanked Gov. Ambode for the opportunity given him and others to be in Nigeria to see the fans, vowing to run the show with exciting display during the match on Saturday.

Also speaking, Aliou Goloko, a French sports journalist, said Ambode deserved to be commended and appreciated for making Lagos a safe place.

He said that the soccer legends were also drawing inspiration from the purposeful leadership of the governor.

 

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African Games: Table Tennis umpire tip players on podium finish to secure Tokyo 2020 ticket

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Ranti Lajide, an International Certified Table Tennis umpire, has tipped Nigeria players in the ongoing African Games on podium finishing to secure their places for the 2020 Olympic Games.

Lajide told the Nigeria News Agency on Tuesday that the players were expected to perform creditably well, saying that the games would serve as their qualifier for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

NAN reports that Toriola Segun, Quadri Aruna, Abiodun Bode, Omotayo Jide and Mati Taiwo would feature in the men’s events, while Oshonaike Funke, Akpan Cecelia, Ojomo Ajoke, and Bello Fatima would compete in the female events.

“Our players must play this games with all commitment and seriousness it requires, especially the females, because the games also serves as Olympic qualifier for 2020; so, we expect they start and finish well.

“I am saying this because following the progress of our female team in recent times and at various championships, there is every need for them to do more to have a podium finish.

“We wish them well, and believe that they will give us quality and credible representation in all events during the games that will secure Nigeria’s place comes 2020 Olympics,” he said.

The umpire urged Nigeria female players to be focussed, and be on the look out for opponents from countries like Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia in the games, saying that they were dreadful.

Akpan Cecelia

According to him, it is high time Nigeria female silenced such opponents, adding they had participated in series of competitions in recent past that should reflect on their games.

“Nigeria females have gannered adequate exposure which I believe they will bring to bear and play up their games this time around,” he added.

NAN reports that Nigeria males are grouped alongside Madagascar and Kenya in Group A; Egypt, Congo, DRC and Eritea (Group B); Congo Brazaville, Mauritius and Angola (Group C), while Algeria, Senegal and Ethiopia are in Group D.

Also, Group E has Togo, Ghana and Djibouti, while South Africa, Tunisia and Morocco are in Group E.

In the females, Group A comprises Egypt, Kenya and Morocco; Group B Nigeria, Uganda and Congo Brazaville, Algeria, Mauritius are in Group C, with the Group D consisting of Tunisia, South Africa and Ethiopia.

NAN reports that two teams from each group will advance to the next stage with winners in the males and females event qualifying for 2020 Olympic Games.

MIL/GOK

Edited by Olagoke Olatoye

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Gov. AbdulRazaq appoints former KFA administrator, Rivers Utd Coordinator, chairman Kwara Utd 

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Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara on Tuesday announced the appointment of former Kwara Football Academy Administrator Kunbi Titiloye as the new chairman of Kwara United.

The Governor also dissolved the board of the state football club Kwara United led by Prince Oladimeji Thompson.

He also approved the appointment of Hamidu Olowo (Kwara Central) as the secretary, according to a statement by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr Mamman Jibril.

Other members are Bashir Badawi from Kwara South as the General Manager; Yahaya Jibril Usman (Kwara North) as Team Manager; AbdulKadir M. Saheed (Kwara North) as Welfare Officer; Hamid Alege Olarewaju (Kwara Central) as member; and Ajadi B. Ganiyu (Kwara South) as member.

“The appointment of the chairman and members is based on their good track records in football administration and passion for sports development,” the statement added.

It said the appointment of the seven-man board took immediate effect.

Edited by Donald Ugwu

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12th African Games: Nigerian beach volleyballers lose to Angola in first classification match

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Nigeria’s male beach volleyballers on Tuesday in Rabat at the 12th African Games lost 0-2 to their Angolan counterparts in one of the event’s classification matches.

The pair of Goodluck Anyasodike and Terhemen Sam failed to make hay against the pair of Edson Figueiredo and Eden Sequeira, losing 13-21 8-21.

This was after they lost 0-2 to the South African pair of Grant Goldschmidt and Leo Williams in the quarter-finals.

They had qualified for the quarter-finals on Saturday in spite of losing 1-2 to the Mozambican pair of Nguvo and Soares in their final Group B Match.

On Friday, they had beaten the pair of Alfred and Doobraz of Mauritius 2-0 and on Saturday the pair of Abdelnaeim and Shahin of Egypt 2-1.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the Nigerian pair will now go on to play in the 7th and 8th place classification matches on Wednesday.

OLAL/SH

edited by Sadiya Hamza

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Aigbogun says victory over South Africa not enough cause for his team to celebrate

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Paul Aigbogun, Head Coach of Nigeria’s national male football team, on Tuesday in Rabat said beating South Africa 2-1 was important but not a moment to celebrate yet.

The coach told Nigeria News Agency at the ASFAR Sports Centre on the outskirts of Rabat that the match was a difficult game for his team.

“We thank God that we won, which is the most important thing but it is not yet the moment for us to celebrate.

“It was a difficult game, but it was our problem. We should have gone four goals up at least by the end of the first half.

“But the situation here was not good for us. The sun was a problem, especially at this hour. However, we were not the only ones affected, and we will now see how it goes as we move on.

“The second half was better, and we were able to finish the job. Now, we will look ahead to our last group game on Friday to ensure we get a good result and progress to the semi-finals,” he said.

Speaking on the substitution of Yira Collins who scored the team’s first goal and was tormenting the South Africans, Aigbogun said it was highly necessary.

“Collins had a slight knock from our first match, and we only wanted just about 50 to 60 minutes from him.

“As it is, we have only him (Collins) and one or two others with slight injuries,” he said.

NAN reports that the Nigerian side beat perennial foes South Africa 2-1 to brighten their chances of advancing from Group A at the African Games in Morocco.

The Nigerian team had drawn their opening game played on Friday 1-1 against Burkina Faso at the ASFAR Sports Centre on the outskirts of Rabat.

They now needed a win to be able to have a chance of advancing to the semi-finals from the group which also have hosts Morocco.

Nigeria took charge of the game early, and were in clear dominance for most moments, but they failed to make the advantage count until the half hour mark.

Ofentse Mashiane drew South Africa level in the 56th minute when he pushed in a loose ball as a free-kick from the left flank by Onke Moletshe was left not cleared.

The inclusion of Success Makanjuola for Collins and Emeka Chinonso for Saeed Jibril, both in the 67th minute, however changed the tone of the game.

Abubakar Ghali finished off a sweeping move in the 77th minute to put Nigeria in the lead.

Goalkeeper Glen Tumelo was quick to save from Chinonso and Makanjuola in the 82nd minute after a delicate pullout by Ghali, as the Nigerian side sought to kill off the game.

Nigeria’s next and final Group A game is on Friday and they now lead the group with four points from two matches.

OLAL/JCE

Edited by Chukwudi Ekezie

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FIBA World Cup: D’Tigers departs for China, amidst financial delay

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The Men’s senior National Basketball Team will tonight leave for China for the final phase of their 2019 FIBA World Cup preparations.

The team’s General Manager, Musa Adamu revealed that the team had to wait for the NBBF President, Musa Kida to return from Senegal where he went to cheer the D’Tigress to their fourth African title.

“I want to thank the President, Kida specially for again making our trip possible and to participate at the World Cup.

‘’Without him and the support of the federation, it would have been a different story altogether,” he said.

Meanwhile, as the team continue to prepare and wait on government intervention, Kida said the federation had to source for loan to enable them to proceed to China.

He said the federation could not afford to allow Nigeria that became the first country in the world to qualify for the world cup to miss out or go to China as mere participants.

“The journey has not been easy due to delay in the release of funds by the Federal Government, however, the federation, once again has to ensure that we do what we have to do.

‘’We made it our responsibility to do what we could do to save Nigeria from global embarrassment of missing the World Cup,” he said.

The NBBF president expressed optimism that the Federal Government would intervene and rescue the team and the federation financially,  before the competition commences.

“We are trying to internally generate funds from sponsorships, but before then, the government has to support us.

‘’This is because the national teams are national property which must be catered for by the government,” he said.

Kida said the recent achievement by the vicorious D’Tigress and the heroic welcome by Nigerians was a huge encouragement to the federation.

” Despite the daunting challenges, the Coach Alex Nwora tutored side which had been in camp since July 7th, would participate in the Peak Invitational International tournament.

“The invitational comes up between Aug. 22 and Aug.2,” he said.

Nigeria will play against fellow World Cup bound Iran and Montenegro, before playing Poland in Yangzhou as part of their preparations.

The World Cup which has seen Nigeria grouped alongside Russia, Argentina and Korea, starts on Saturday, Aug. 31.

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