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Sports Officer commends President Buhari for naming Abuja National Stadium after late Moshood Abiola

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Elisha Musa, a sports official in the FCT, says President Muhammadu Buhari’s act of renaming Abuja National Stadium as Moshood Abiola National Stadium is very good for the facility.

Musa who is the Sports Officer of Kuje Area Council in the FCT told the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Kuje that the honour was deserved.

He said this was in view of the late M.K.O. Abiola’s contributions to sports development in Nigeria and Africa.

“Naming the Abuja National Stadium after Abiola is a good decision and it will help for easy identification, just as we have Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna, Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo, among others.

“The late Abiola did so much for sports development in Nigeria and was a key supporter of sports activities at the national and grass roots levels,’’ Musa said.

He added that President Buhari’s pronouncement at the Democracy Day celebration at Eagle Square in Abuja on Wednesday was a welcome development to sports-loving Nigerians.

NAN reports that President Buhari had announced the change of name in honour of the acclaimed winner of the 1993 presidential election.

The sports officer, however, called on the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) to complete the abandoned Kuje Township Stadium to encourage grassroots sports in the area.

He added that the abandoned stadium, if completed, could host Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) matches, as well as track and field competitions and other local league matches.

“The stadium is with a capacity of about 20,000, and when completed will encourage grass roots sports development, as well as massive social and economic activities in the area.

“Sports is the only language understood by many people of different religious and ethnic backgrounds.

“We need to have a modern stadium in Kuje. Whenever it rains, we find it very difficult to watch and play football matches on the pitch we have now, because it has been abandoned for too long,’’ Musa said.

(Edited by Mustapha Lamidi and Olawale Alabi)

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India expect ‘positive’ verdict on Davis Cup tie against Pakistan

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India expect ‘positive’ verdict on Davis Cup tie against Pakistan

David Cup

Mumbai, Aug. 21, 2019 The All India Tennis Association (AITA) is hopeful its security concerns for next month’s tie against hosts, Pakistan, will be addressed after the game’s global governing body referred the matter to its Davis Cup committee.

The AITA said last week they had written to International Tennis Federation (ITF) asking them to shift the tie to a neutral venue or to postpone it for a couple of months until tensions simmer down between the bitter neighbours.

The national body was scheduled to discuss its concerns on Monday with security advisers from the ITF over the Sept. 14 to Sept. 15 tie scheduled in Islamabad between arch-rivals India and Pakistan.

The call was, however, cancelled and instead the ITF said the Davis Cup committee, comprising eight members and chaired by Egypt’s Ismal El Shafei, would deliberate on the matter on Wednesday.

AITA General Secretary, Hironmoy Chatterjee said a “positive” decision was expected by Thursday.

“The committee members are from different parts of the world; so, they will set up appropriate time today that suits everyone. Then they will inform us of their decision.

“It’s a positive, yes. If there was no merit why will the committee discuss. We have given them more than enough,” Chatterjee told Reuters on Wednesday.

Earlier this month, Pakistan expelled India’s ambassador and suspended bilateral trade and all public transport links with its neighbour after New Delhi removed “special status” from its portion of the contested region of Kashmir.

The nuclear-armed neighbours have fought two wars over Kashmir since gaining independence from colonial power, Great Britain in 1947.

They came close to a third in February after a deadly attack on Indian police by a Pakistan-based militant group resulted in air strikes by both countries.

The AITA has named a six-member squad under captain Mahesh Bhupathi for the Sept. 14 to Sept.15 tie, but India’s players sought safety guarantees from the ITF before travelling to Islamabad.

The ITF shared security arrangements for the Indian team in Islamabad with the AITA and said they were satisfied with the safety plan.

An Indian tennis team last went to Pakistan in 1964 for a Davis Cup tie, defeating the hosts 4-0, while Pakistan lost 3-2 on their last visit to India in 2006.

Pakistan was forced to host Davis Cup ties at neutral venues for more than a decade as teams refused to travel to the country because of security concerns.

They played their first home tie after a gap of 12 years against Iran in 2017, while Hong Kong was relegated and fined by the ITF after they refused to travel to Pakistan the same year.  (Reuters/NAN)

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Outrage as Anambra FA stops SS/SE pre-season tournament

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Condemnation has trailed the decision of Anambra State Football Association (FA) to stop the 2019 pre-season tournament for clubs in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) and other leagues in the South-East and South-South.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the organisers had originally scheduled the tournament to kick off on Tuesday, Aug. 20, at the NEROS Sports Stadium, Nanka, Orumba North Council Area of the Anambra.

According to the fixtures released by the organisers, about 20 clubs, including four from the Nigerian elite division and 15 others from within the South-East and South-South and outside the zone, were to have participated in the tournament.

However, the Anambra FA had late Monday, denied knowledge of the tournament, saying the organisers never contacted the body and described the planned tournament as illegal.

The state FA in a statement by its secretary, Chijioke Onyedika, threatened to sanction any club and their officials under its jurisdiction that violated its directive.

The football association said the organisers’ action was capable of causing breach of public peace, saying it had invited them to explain why disciplinary action should not be taken against them.

The association said: “The FA hereby states that this competition is not known to them, the FA declares this competition as illegal and hereby warns all affiliate clubs from both the state and outside the state to stay away from this competition with immediate effect.

“Any team and technical attachees who participate in this competition shall be seriously dealt with in line with NFF statutes and code of conduct,” it said.

Patrick Nwaogu, chairman of the Main Organising Committee, who confirmed the suspension of the tournament to the NAN, said clubs, especially those in the elite division had called to notify him of their pulling out due to the development.

Nwaogu described the FA’s decision as drastic, saying there were other avenues the body would have remedied the organisers’ oversight.

He, however, said he was waiting for the outcome of the FA board meeting scheduled for Aug. 23 before he would decide what next line of action to pursue.

Football enthusiasts, who acknowledged that the organisers were wrong  to have side stepped the FA, however, noted that the FA’s decision was a little too harsh.

They described the development as a battle of ego, adding that the FA’s decision on the tournament was a colossal damage and a serious set back to development of soccer in Anambra.

Victor Nwangwu, a long time secretary of Anambra FA, said the FA owned and managed football anywhere and should have been duly informed by the South-East and South-South 2019 NPFL pre-season tournament organisers well ahead of time

Nwangwu said a member of the FA should have been part of the Main Organising Committee but blamed the FA for not working to remedy the situation rather than scuttling the entire tournament.

He said the state would lose hugely if the tournament failed to hold or the big teams eventually pull out after the issues would have been sorted out.

“In the matter, the FA should have played the role of father or big brother, but they have taken a decision that comes with colossal damage.

“It was the opportunity for our boys in the street and amateur teams to express themselves before the big teams for possible signings; but that chance is lost, especially if the NPFL teams finally withdraw.

“Twenty teams are supposed to play, 15 of them were likely to lodge in hotels in Anambra occupying not less than 10 rooms each.

“They will eat, there will be boom for businesses, transporters and others, hosting games comes with much benefit and we are at the risk of losing the economic gains.

“It is a pity, the FA did not consider all these before putting up that disclaimer, I just hope they can resolve it,” he said.

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Youth games: 4 wrestlers to represent Oyo State

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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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