President Muhammadu Buhari has charged Nigeria contingent to the 12th Africa Games scheduled to hold in Rabat, Morocco to stay clear from performance enhancing drugs.
Buhari’s admonition came during the ceremony of handling over the athletes to the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) on Wednesday in Abuja.
Buhari, who was represented by the Secretary of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, urgied them to win only clean medals for the country.
He noted the country would be proud of them even when they failed to win any medal than win medals that would be stripped off because of drug use.
The NOC scribe in a statement in Lagos said that Buhari promised to adequately take care of the athlete’s welfare, and also charged them to strive towards gunning for the top of the medals table.
“Let me assure you that the Federal Government is fully committed to our delegation’s successful participation in the African Games and will ensure that the welfare of the team is adequately taken care of.
“I want to charge all athletes and team officials going to the Games to be worthy ambassadors of our great country, both on the field of play and outside the sport arena.
“I therefore, urge you to keep the integrity of our nation intact by competing clean and fair, devoid of any form of doping at the African Games,” he said.
In the same vein, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Adesola Oludare, expressed absolute confidence in the ability of the athletes to represent the country well at the Games.
He noted that the selected Athletes had gone through very thorough training programme to get to this level.
In his reaction, President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), Habu Gumel, said it was the first time the Africa Games would be used as a qualifiers for the Olympics.
He said that it was an opportunity for the athletes to give their best so as not only to win medals but also qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
He also assured the President Buhari that the athletes would be adequately taken care of while in Rabat.
Meanwhile, a total of 562 athletes and officials will represent Nigeria at the Games, the statement said.
(Editing by Peter Ejiofor)
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 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.
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)
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
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.
Bayern Munich sign Coutinho on loan from Barcelona
Bayern Munich sign Coutinho on loan from Barcelona
Germany, Aug. 19, 2019 Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich have signed Barcelona midfielder Philippe Coutinho on loan for the season, the two clubs confirmed on Monday.
Bayern will pay a loan fee of 8.5 million euros and pay his wages. They have the option of making the deal permanent for a fee of 120 million euros.
Coutinho, who joined Barcelona in January last year for approximately 142 million pounds, was the third most expensive transfer in history but he failed to hit the same heights at the Camp Nou as he did with Liverpool.
“Barcelona would like to thank publicly Philippe Coutinho for his commitment and dedication, while wishing him all the best in this new stage of his career.”
Coutinho will wear the number 10 shirt previously worn by Dutchman Arjen Robben, who retired at the end of last season.
“We’ve been working on bringing in Philippe Coutinho for quite some time and we’re very happy that we’ve been able to complete this transfer.
“Our thanks go to FC Barcelona for agreeing to the transfer. With his creativity and outstanding skills, Philippe is a player who will immediately strengthen our attack,”Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said.
Bayern, who drew their first league game 2-2 with Hertha Berlin last weekend, play away at Schalke on Saturday. (Reuters/NAN)