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Nigeria, Heading For Best Olympics In London –Egbunike

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Head Coach of Nigeria’s Athletic team to the upcoming 2012 London Olympic Games, Innocent Egbunike,  has assured Nigerians of a memorable Olympic outing.

Egbunike, who gave the assurance in an interview with newsmen in Ikeja, yesterday, said, “We are aiming to have the best outing for the country’’.

He said the 31 athletes selected for the games were the best, having met the‘ A standard’ qualification for the games.

According to him, some of them have participated in many international meets to reach the standard.

“All you have to worry about is what you can do. You do not worry about anybody else, in track and field, looking at what somebody else has done, what they did, what they will do, will not matter.

“Till you line up with them and compete against them; if they are better than you at that moment, it’s only for that moment.

“We are going there at the fullness of our fitness, and by God’s grace we will give our best and hopefully our best will yield success but we are not going there to look at anybody else.

“Olympic Games is one competition, anything can happen because God knows best. The future belongs to God not any of us.

“No athlete goes to any championship to take second place, everybody goes to win, so that is the mindset and we are going to give our best and that is what matters.”

Egbunike noted that a lot still needed to be done in some areas, which he said, would be looked into within the next three weeks at Team Nigeria’s camp Surrey before the Games.

He expressed his pleasure at the team, noting that the team’s performance at the just-concluded 18th Africa Athletics Championship was an indication that Nigeria was prepared to do the country proud.

“We have to be honest with ourselves, Blessing is one blessed individual, she has so much talent, she has done so much for Nigeria so far and she has much to do for Nigeria.

“And I believe that she is one of the best in the world. We have to keep in mind this championships in Benin; that these athletes finished the Olympics trials. I do not care how good you are.

“You cannot go from one championship to another; these are human beings.

The body at times needs recovery and you start building a backup.

“So, for each of them that did what they did at the African championships, for them to accomplish to what they did, to me was great, was a blessing.

“ Because they competed at a time their body was saying “I need a break; I need rest.”

Egbunike urged Nigerians to pray for the success of the team at the London Games which are scheduled to hold from July 27 to August 12.

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Aiteo Cup: Diri Hails Bayelsa Finalists

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Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has lauded the feat of the state-owned football teams who reached the finals in the male and female categories of the 2021 Aiteo Cup.
Diri, while congratulating Bayelsa United and Bayelsa Queens for their outstanding performances, praised their indomitable spirit and resilience in surmounting the odds to qualify for the last stage of Nigeria’s oldest football competition.
Bayelsa United, who plays in the second tier Nigerian National League, on Friday defeated Premier League neighbours Rivers United 1-0 in the semi-finals, while Bayelsa Queens crushed perennial rivals Rivers Angels 5-0 to reach the women’s final.
The Governor, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Alabrah, on Saturday, described Bayelsa United as “giant killers” for defeating Premier League sides Enugu Rangers, Lobi Stars and Rivers United on their way to the final.
“The excellent run of Bayelsa United and Bayelsa Queens in this year’s Aiteo Cup is very heartwarming. Both teams reaching the finals is no mean feat. I congratulate them for making the state proud and setting a record of teams from the state playing in the finals of the male and female categories of the same competition for the first time,” Diri stated.
“By their outstanding performance, Bayelsa United and Bayelsa Queens have shown that the sporting revolution of our Prosperity Administration, which resulted in Bayelsa placing third in the last National Sports Festival in Edo State for the first time, is on course. I therefore urge them to complete their excellent run in the competition by bringing home the trophies.

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D’Tigress To Play Mozambique In Afrobasket

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Nigeria’s senior basketball team, D’Tigress, have been drawn to face Mozambique and a yet to qualify team in Group B of the 2021 Women’s Afrobasket, which holds from September 17 to 27 in Yaounde, Cameroon.
The draw was held in Yaounde last Saturday.
D’Tigress will be hoping to retain the title they won two years ago in Senegal, where they defeated the hosts in the final. A win in Cameroon will mean they have won the last three editions of the tournament.
The Nigerians will know their final group opponent when the FIBA Zone 6 qualifiers take place from August 16 to 22.
In Group A, hosts Cameroon will face Cape Verde and Kenya, while Senegal, the most successful team in the competition’s history with 11 first-place finishes, will slug it out with Egypt and Gabon in Group C.
Mali, Ivory Coast, and a team to be decided via wild card will fight for a slot in the next round in Group D.

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Ebonyi Football Fans Celebrate Nwankwo Kanu At 45

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Football fans in Ebonyi State yesterday, celebrated the birthday of formerNigerian international and Arsenal legend, Nwankwo Kanu.
The former Super Eagles skipper turned 45 yesterday.
Tidespoets source gathered  that the 1993 FIFA U-17 world cup winner, fondly called “Papillo’’ by his fans had 86 caps for Nigeria.
The former Iwuanyanwu Nationale Football Club of Owerri’s talisman scored 13 goals for Nigeria in an enviable career that spanned from 1994 to 2010.
Kanu is a recipient of the Member of the Order of the Niger (MON), an Olympic Games football gold medalist and had illustrious club careers with Ajax Amsterdam of Holland, Arsenal and West Bromwich Albion of England.
Defunct Ebonyi Angels FC of Abakaliki Defender, James Onele, said that Kanu thrilled soccer fans across the world with sublime skills and trademark passes.
“Kanu won two African Footballer of the Year awards, an AFCON silver medal, four AFCON bronze medals among other honours.
“He was the first Nigerian, alongside Finidi George to win the prestigious UEFA champions league trophy with Ajax in 1995,” said Onele.
An Arsenal FC supporter, Ejike Okoro, said the club’s fans were proud of Kanu’s achievements during his time with the English Premier League side.
“Kanu played 197 times for Arsenal, scoring 44 goals and was part of the club’s invincible team that did not lose any match in the 2003-04 EPL season.
“He was instrumental in endearing Arsenal to millions of Nigerian soccer fans, despite later dropping to lowly-rated clubs such as Portsmouth and West Bromwich Albion,” Okoro said.
A banker and football enthusiast, Chief Barry Ogoh, told active footballers to emulate Papillo in investing adequately for the ‘rainy day’.
“Kanu, Augustine J.J. Okocha, among other ex-internationals are still financially stable as many ex-internationals have become bankrupt.

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