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400,000 Nigerians Participate In Taekwondo – Korea Envoy

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The population of those now involved in taekwondo in Nigeria is now about 400,000, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Nigeria, Choi Jong-Hyun, said on Saturday in Abuja.

He said this in his address at the opening ceremony of the third edition of the Korean Ambassador’s Cup West Africa International Taekwondo Championship.

The Tidesports reports that the five-day championship which began on Thursday was officially declared open at the Velodrome of the Abuja National Stadium on Saturday.

Choi said the sport has grown tremendously in the country as it has acquired more universality with about 70 million practitioners in 191 countries across the world.

“It is said that sports has a universal language, and taekwondo has acquired more universality in that language.

“This has led to this traditional Korean sport being one of the official medal events at the Summer Olympic Games since the Sydney Games of 2000,’’ he said.

The ambassador said among Nigeria’s taekwondo 400,000 population are young members of the Taekwondo Club of the Korean Cultural Centre who displayed remarkable skills during the championship’s last edition in 2010.

He said the sport has enjoyed similar popularity in the other parts of the world, including the five other west African countries represented at the championship by their taekwondoists.

Choi pointed out that taekwondo was not just about sport but also about discipline, humility and perseverance, saying this was why the South Korean government has been making tremendous efforts to ensure its popularity.

“My government has made tremendous efforts over the past five decades to share this sport with all those living on this planet so that they can also benefit from such value by practising one of the oldest Asian martial arts,’’ he said.

The ambassador then thanked Sen. Uche Chukwumerije, the National Sports Commission (NSC) and the President of the Nigerian Taekwondo Federation (TFN), Jonathan Nnaji for their support for the sport.

He also expressed the full commitment of the government and people of Republic of Korea to further promoting the sport in Nigeria and West Africa as a whole.

In his address at the occasion, a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Habu Gumel, described the championship as a catalyst to the sport’s development in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.

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FG’s Basketball Ban Primitive, Shameful – Kienka

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The Director, International Tennis Academy and author of the recently published book, ‘Sports in Nigeria – Going Round In Circles,’ Godwin Kienka, has described Nigeria’s withdrawal from international basketball activities for two years as “very primitive and shameful sports politics.”
Last Thursday, Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), gave the approval following the crisis that rocked the factionalised Nigeria Basketball Federation in over a decade.
Kienka, in a statement said, “The Ministry of Sports hiding behind the Presidency to make that decision makes it even more odious. It just confirms what we have exposed in the book that most of those who run sports in this country do not care about the athletes, the coaches and the promotion and development of sports in the country.
“At a time when the national women’s basketball team qualified for the world championships and the men are on the way to making it a double, how does their participation or non-participation impede a grassroots or local league programme in Nigeria?”
He added, “If the decision was from the Presidency, why did the statement not come from the Presidency?”
Kienka lamented the decision, saying it denied the home-based players, who would have been a part of the two teams, the opportunity of being scouted by agents from across the world.
“We had the same mix-up and confusion in the Athletics Federation of Nigeria before the last Olympics, leading to the ban of several athletes essentially because of utter negligence of drug procedures by the ministry and the federation. It is said that when two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.”

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CAFCC Final : Okpara, Ndah Storm Uyo With Pirates

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Ahead of tomorrow’s final of the TotalEnergies CAF Confederation Cup 2021/2022, former Super Eagles goalkeeper, Willy Okpara and defender, Olisa Ndah  arrived late last night with their South African team Orlando Pirates to Nigeria.
The Soweto-based side who  will face  Morocco’s RS Berkane at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo for Africa’s second club football prize, touched down in Port Harcourt about 11:45pm last night before arriving  Uyo.
In their third appearance in the Confederation Cup, Pirates are playing the final for the second time, and first since 2015 when they lost 2-1 on aggregate to Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia.
Okpara made his debut for the Nigeria national team in 1996 and was selected for the 1998 FIFA World Cup squad. He was capped five times and after he retired, became a goalkeeping coach for Orlando Pirates.
Meanwhile, RS Berkane  breezed into Uyo earlier yesterday aboard a chartered  Air Maroc flight.
Our correspondent gathered  from aviation sources  yesterday  that on board  the Moroccan national carrier were six crew members along  with   96 strong RS Berkane ‘s contingent including players, officials  and  fans  ahead of tomorrow’s final.
The flight that departed  the Oujda Angads Airport in the Oriental region in Morocco  landed in the Akwa Ibom State capital by 3:55 pm Nigerian time for their decisive tie against  Orlando Pirates..
The Orange Boys as the Moroccan side are called, were Confederation  Cup   runners-up (to Zamalek of Egypt) in 2019   and emerged winners in 2020 after beating Egyptian side, Pyramids Egypt  courtesy of a  solitary goal by  Burkinabe  defender ,  Issoufou Dayo at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat.
In a related development,   Umbro, the CAF technical sponsors, yesterday revealed the official match ball , FIFA Quality Pro, for the eagerly awaited  fixture .
Based on Umbro’s renowned Neo Pro ball model, the official match ball is “FIFA Quality Pro” certified for use at the highest levels of the professional game and utilises the latest in structural and fabrication technology with a unique graphic that draws on the structural elements of the tournament’s trophy.

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F’Eagles Qualify For 2023 Africa U-20 Cup Of Nations

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Nigeria’s national under-20 male football team, on Tuesday overpowered Cote d’Ivoire in the first semi-final match to reach the final of the ongoing WAFU B Under-20 Championship in Niamey.
The 2-1 victory not only gave them a ticket to Saturday’s final match but also came a ticket to next year’s Africa Under-20 Cup of Nations scheduled for Egypt.
Midfielder Daniel Daga put Nigeria in front after only five minutes, when he cleverly escaped the attention of the Ivorian defenders to nod in from a well-weighted pullout.
The seven-time African champions then launched onslaughts after onslaughts on the Ivorian goal but failed to add to the tally.
It was rather the Ivorians who equalised just before half-time from an intelligently-taken free-kick at the edge of Nigeria’s penalty box.
Neither team could find another goal to gain upper hand before the end of regulation time inside the Stade General Seyni Kountché in Niamey, and the game went into extra time.
Forward Ibrahim Yahaya got the winner for Nigeria in the 111th minute of play when he tucked in from the penalty kick spot to make it 2-1.
The Tidessports source reports that Nigeria will now square up against neighbours, Benin Republic in Saturday’s final match.

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