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Egyptian Referees Take Over Heartland/Mazambe Game

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The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has appointed a new set of referees for Sunday’s CAF Champions League final, first leg match between Nigeria’s Heartland FC and TP Mazembe of Democratic Republic of Congo at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri.

Earlier, the continental governing body had picked South African Jerome Damon to be the centre referee, with Cameroonian Evariste Mekounde as Assistant Referee 1 and Damon’s compatriots Enock Molefe and Abdul Basit Ebrahim as Assistant Referee 2 and Reserve Referee respectively.

 However, CAF on Tuesday announced that Egyptian Abdel Fatah Essam will now be centre referee, while his compatriots Hassan Sherif, Mohamed Waleed and Farouk Mohamed will be Assistant Referee 1, Assistant Referee 2 and Reserve Referee respectively.

 But Togolese Gnofame Zoumarou is retained as the Match Commissioner while Djibril Traore of Mali will be General Coordinator.

 Sunday’s match in Owerri will be a tough test of character for both teams, who cancelled themselves out in both legs during the group phase. Heartland fell 0-2 to TP Mazembe in Lubumbashi, while the Nigerian flag –bearers won the second game between both teams on Owerri by the same margin.

 Tout Puissant Englebert Lubumbashi, fore –runner of TP Mazembe, won the then African Champions Cup successively in 1967 and 1968, and the feat was not repeated until Nigeria’s Enyimba won two times in a row in 2003 and 2004.

 Mazembe even came close to winning a third title on the trot in 1970, only to lose 1-2 on home soil to Ghana’s Asante Kotoko after both teams finished 1-1 in the first leg of the final in Kumasi.

 CAF has also appointed Algerian referee Mohamed Benouza to be centre referee of the return leg match, which will take place at the Stade de La Kenya in Lubumbashi on Saturday, November 7.

 Egyptian Abdel Naby Nasser will be Assistant Referee 1, with Mamar Chabane as Assistant Referee 2 and Mohamed Benaissa as Reserve Referee. Egyptian Mazen Marzouk will be General Coordinator, with the Match Commissioner to be appointed on match day.

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RSG Restates Commitment To Youth Dev Via Sports

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The Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor on School Sports, Chief Aribitonye Okiri, has said that the state government-led by Chief Nyesom Wike, is committed to develop youths in the State through sports. 
 He stated that it is not in doubt that the State has hidden talents at the grassroots that are yet to be discovered. 
Chief Okiri, said this at the finals of the National School Sports Competition held at Adokiye Amiesimaka Sports Complex in Port Harcourt, on Wednesday.
According to him, Governor Wike is poised to reach out to young ones in all the local government areas, in the state and engage them with sporting activities in a bid to discover hidden talents. 
“As I speak, the governor has reiterated his desire to reach out to the children in all parts of the state and unearth their talents through engagement in sports, believing that all Rivers children are talented” Chief Okiri said. 
Also speaking, the second Vice President of Nigeria School Sports Federation (NSSF), Pastor Emmanuel Ebong, thanked Governor Wike, for proving a worthy partner of NSSF and appeal to other corporate organisations to emulate Nigeria Breweries Ltd in partnering NSSF in sports development. 
At the end of the final competition, Community Secondary School, Okochiri in Okrika Local Government Area, dominated the medal table.

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24 States Set For Lagos Athletics Championship

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The Lagos State Athletics Association has confirmed the entry of 24 states and some clubs for its lucrative Athletics Meet fixed for Thursday, at the Teslim Balogun Stadium.
Yussuf Alli who is the Meet Director for the Lagos Open Athletics Championship made the disclosure at the weekend even as he hinted a few other states may still join the already confirmed 24 states and clubs.
He said: “Yes, we are very much on track for the Lagos Open Athletics Championship which will be coming up this Thursday.
“Right now, we already have 24 states and some top racing clubs that have confirmed their participation, a few more may join before we close the window.”
The Lagos Open Athletics Championship is a one-day meet simultaneously serving as another qualifying window for the Tokyo Olympics as well as a preparatory event for athletes that have already qualified for the sporting showpiece.
In the past days, Lagos has been a beehive of activities with the National trials at the Yaba College of Technology Sporting complex and now the train is moving to the heart of the city in Surulere as the build-up to the Tokyo Olympics continues to gather momentum.
 The list of events to be competed for at the Lagos Open Athletics Championship includes the 5,000 meters, 400 meters hurdles, 100 meters, 800 meters, 400 meters, and 100 meters.
There would also be top-quality action across the relay events including;  the 4×100 meters open, 4×100 meters open and 4×400 meters mixed relay.
Long jump, High jump, Triple jump, Shot put as well as 4×100 secondary schools relay and 4×100 secondary schools relay have all been penciled down for the maiden Lagos Open Athletics Championship.
Already, the top three finishers across all the events have been assured mouthwatering prizes by the organisers.

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Okagbare Sets New Record At Olympic Trials

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Blessing Okagbare will be heading to Tokyo Olympics in the best form of her life after running the second fastest time in the world this season.
The 32-year-old ran  10.63 seconds to win the Athletics Federation of Nigeria Olympic Trials at the Sports Complex of Yaba College of Technology in Lagos on Thursday. 
The 10.63 seconds time saw her tie with Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce’ best time in 2021 ahead of the delayed 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Okagbare ran 10.99 seconds in the semifinal of the event to set a new championship record , and before clocking 10.63 seconds in the final to set a new record.   The scorching 10.63 time is also a new African record. Only Florence Griffith Joyner who holds the world record at 10.49 seconds has run faster.        The Nigerian has now emerged one of the favourites for the 100m gold at the Tokyo Olympics alongside Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce who first ran 10.63 seconds this season.

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