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U-20 Women World Cup: We will provide best venue, says Okowa

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Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta on Wednesday promised that Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, would be the best venue for the U-20 Women World Cup scheduled to hold in 2020.

The governor gave the assurance in Asaba when the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) team on inspection of facilities in the stadium visited him in his office in Asaba.

Okowa said that his administration was determined to put in place, any further facility that would be needed in the stadium for the competition.

He recalled that international events, including the 21st Africa Senior Athletics Competition, Super Eagles matches with Seychelles and Egypt, among others, had been hosted at the stadium without any hitch.

The governor said that hosting the world cup would be a great event that would be welcomed by football enthusiasts and all Delta people.

“I am glad that you are here to inspect sporting facilities in our state; as a government, we have continued to do the best we can to develop sporting facilities and we have done very well in that area.

“It is good that you are happy with the facilities we have on ground and the compliments from you will help us to continue to do the best that we can.

“Asaba and our state generally is peaceful and I want to reassure you that we will do what we have to do if there are areas we need to improve on.

“Asaba is the place to be for this kind of championship; we have the crowd to cheer the teams, receptive people and friendly environment,” the governor said.

Earlier, the President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, said that the FIFA team was impressed with the facilities they met on ground at the stadium.

Pinnick commended Okowa’s administration for its commitment to sports development, especially, football.

He disclosed that the team would meet and appraise its findings for necessary observations and approvals to be made.

The FIFA delegation, which is led by Christopher Exley, is visiting Asaba, Uyo, Lagos and Benin to inspect facilities for the 2020 world female football fiesta. .

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12th African Games: It feels good jumping for Nigeria in senior category, says Erhire

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As athletics events of the ongoing 12th African Games is scheduled to begin on Aug. 26, Best Erhire, Nigeria representative in the men’s high jump, says he is happy to represent the country.

Erhire, who is debuting in the senior category, told the Nigeria News Agency from Rabat, Morocco that he felt good appearing for the first time in the senior category, promising that he would not disappoint.

The high jump event which is scheduled for Aug. 30 will feature 15 athletes.

“Being my first time in the seniors, the feeling is really good, no mixed feelings at all. I hope to jump up to expectations.

“God willing, I’ll surpass my 2:12m that qualified me for the Games. I just need that push from my competitors,” he said.

The Delta indigene debunked the rumour that he made the team and got selected due to the absence of Mike Edward’s who ranked top in high jump in Nigeria.

“My being selected among the team is not as a result of my mentor’s absence, I will say categorically that if he was here, I would still be listed in the team,” he said.

He also attributed his rising performance to his commitment and God’s grace.

“There’s actually no secret to the past improvement on my performance, I mean every athlete trains like I do or even more, it has been God’s grace and state of mind,” he said.

NAN reports that Erhire won a gold medal at the 2019 African U-18 and also at the U-20 championships in Abidjan.

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African Games: NTRA boss says athletes performing beyond expectations

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Ferguson Oluigbo, President, Nigeria Taekwondo Referees Association (NTRA), says the country’s athletes in this year’s African Games have performed beyond expectations by winning first gold medal for Nigeria on Thursday at the ongoing 12th African Games in Morocco.

Apparently happy that the first gold medal came from Taekwondo, Oluigbo told the Nigeria News Agency on Friday that it was a good starting point for the nation in the taekwondo event and he was impressed with the athletes.

NAN reports that Chinazum Nwosu clinched the gold medal in the female 53kg taekwondo event, while Sunday Onofe and Okuomose Benjamin won bronze medals in the 87kg and -87kg male classes respectively.

NAN also reports that the Nigeria Taekwondo national team comprised of eight male and eight female athletes taking part in required events at the ongoing Games.

“I am not always easily impressed but our taekwondo athletes’ performances in this year’s Games has changed that notion in me because they have overwhelmed me with their skills.

“It is obvious that the NTF technical officials did a fantastic job on the athletes during national camp, I must commend them and say a big kudos to the federation.

“On this happy note, I am saying a big congratulations to the taekwondo family and a very big cheers to Chinazum, Onofe and Benjamin for priding Nigeria in the taekwondo event in Morocco,” he told NAN000.

He said the medallists had set the ball rolling for other taekwondoists to follow as they represent the country in their events, adding that they must equally have podium finish.

The NTRA boss said that the victorious performances of the taekwondoists in the Games had increased expectations of Nigeria on the medal table in the thirteen-day event.

“We are expecting more gold medals from the likes of Otuadinma, a 2015 gold medallist in 73kg female class, Ifeoluwa, Okoko, Esuka and others because it’s a medal winning hope for Nigeria’s,” he added.

NAN reports that the 12th African Games which began on Aug. 19 in Rabat, Morocco, with Nigeria’s 427 athletes and officials among other 54 countries featuring 26 sports will end Aug. 31.

MIL/PDE

(Editing by Peter Ejiofor)

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Newcastle not in crisis but need results- Manager

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London, Aug. 23, 2019 Newcastle United’s poor start to the season has been blown out of proportion but the best way for the club to stem the “mini crisis” is to start winning games, manager Steve Bruce said on Friday.

Newcastle lost their first two league games against Arsenal and promoted Norwich City and the low-key performances have made critics question whether Bruce was the right man to replace Rafa Benitez.

Bruce, who is one of the odds-on favourites to be the first manager to lose his job, is also looking to avoid becoming the first Newcastle boss to lose his opening three Premier League games.

“After two games there is a so-called mini crisis. Everything is over-sensationalised,” Bruce told reporters ahead of Sunday’s trip to Tottenham Hotspur.

“There’s always a storm in Newcastle, at the minute we’re in one. The only way I can shut a few people up is by getting results. The buck stops with me.

“It’s not for me to comment on what’s been said… It’s two games and I just want it to be fair and responsible.

“ I know the only way I can shut people up is by winning games and I know the quicker the better.”

Unlike Benitez, who used a back-five or a back-four last season to lead them to a 13th-placed finish, Bruce has deployed a back-three formation which he insists the team will continue to use with Joelinton and Miguel Almiron leading the attack.

“We may tinker a bit and change a couple of things. It’s too early to change formations,” Bruce said.

“It’s new for Joe, it’s new for four or five players. Given time, we hope they can forge some sort of relationship.

“For Almiron, we’re working on getting him higher up the pitch and into a goal scoring position.”

Bruce said winger Christian Atsu was back in training from a hamstring injury and hoped Allan Saint-Maximin would also recover in time from a similar injury to play Spurs.

edited by Sadiya Hamza

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WSC4 unleashes Girl Power in Martial Arts combat championships

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A friendly contest between the Nigeria Army and Police is set to break out at the 4th Warrior Sports Championship (WSC) Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) event on Sept. 1.

Spearheading this MMA contest are ladies who are primed to thrill spectators that will pack the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, according to a statement by the organisers, WSC.

The deceptively pretty faced, but hard punching Rachael Idam from the Nigerian Army knows any slip ups may cost her dearly when she squares up to Police woman, Juliet Chukwu.

Another ladies affair, which appears one sided on paper, presents itself when Police girl Pamilerin Akintayo and the civilian fighter Eniola Busari collide inside the cage.

Pamilerin is known for her south paw stance, combining it with some strong kicks and unrelenting striking power.

Similarly, Eniola’s heart and never say die spirit make her a dangerous opponent, any day, anytime.

More spellbinding matchups are expected from other male fighters in the Nigerian Armed Forces in what the promotion has dubbed WSC4 #Naijafightnight.

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Pillar of Sports donates blocks as SWAN reiterates commitment to complete secretariat

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The Kwara State Chapter of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), has reiterated its readiness to partner relevant stakeholders to ensure the completion of the association’s secretariat.

The Chairman of the Kwara chapter of the association, Mr Jimoh Bashir, stated this on Thursday in Ilorin when he led other executive members of the association on a courtesy visit to the office of the Nigeria Pillar of Sports, Chief Donatus Ejidike.

Bashir, who described the relationship between the office of the Pillar of Sports and SWAN as strong and cordial, pledged to continue to support the programmes and activities of the Pillars of Sports without hassles.

He stressed that the priority of the body was to ensure that all lined up programmes towards moving the association to the next level was achieved without delay.

Responding, the Nigerian Pillar of Sports, Chief Donatus Ejidike, who expressed appreciation to the present leadership of SWAN, promised his unflinching support toward completing the Secretariat.

Chief Ejidike who pledged to donate 300 blocks to SWAN, assured that his office would also work with other stakeholders to ensure the dream of having a befitting SWAN Secretariat was accomplished.

In his remark, the Chairman of the Kwara football Association, Malam Musa Idris, reaffirmed the commitment of the FA to assist SWAN not only in the completion of its secretariat but also in all its programmes aimed at achieving target goals.

Edited by Donald Ugwu

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