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Pundits Allay Fears On Nigeria’s Friendly Losses

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Soccer pundits at the weekend in Lagos said that there was no cause for alarm in Nigeria’s two national teams’ losses recently in international friendly matches.

The Flying Eagles lost 0-1 to Rwanda in its preparation for the African Youth Championship (AYC) qualifier against Tanzania scheduled for July 29 in Dar-er-Salam.

The Falconets also lost 2-3 to Ghana in a tune-up match in preparation for FIFA U-20 female World Cup in September in Japan.

A sports analyst with Masters Sport International, Ejiro Omonode, said the matches were only to keep the two teams ready for the championships ahead.

“It is not by these matches we judge our teams, their friendly matches were just to test their skills and further sharpen their game plans to perfection.

“This showed that the two teams still need to work hard. The two competitions are not meant for unprepared countries. Every country in the two competitions is hungry for glory.

“So, my advice to their handlers is for them to use the loss to note areas they need to seriously work on,” Omonode said.

An ex-international, Okey Emordi, urged Nigerians not to allow the two losses to bother them, rather they should see them as challenges.

Emordi described the losses as wake up calls, saying he believed that the losses would tune up the teams.

“The handlers of the two teams should wake up to their responsibilities, the two Nigeria sides are well exposed; there is no ordinary opposition anymore.

“They should use these two losses to know that they are not invincible,” Emodi added.

Ex Super Falcons player, Okunwa Igunbor, however, said that the two teams’ losses proved that there was still more work to do.

“We cannot be losing to teams we should beat easily. Although the Ghanaian national female opposition is always a tough opposition, we still have that edge as African champions over them.

“This just proved that the teams need to work harder because we cannot afford to lose in the Africa qualifying competition having lost the Olympics tickets,” Igunbor said.

Igunbor, however, added that since FIFA does not use friendly matches to rate teams, Nigerians should not see the losses as set back.

She added that notwithstanding, the handlers of the two teams should not rest on their oars and must be well prepared for the international competitions ahead.

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Athletics: Okagbare Begins Preparation For Tokyo 2020

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Blessing Okagbare, yesterday started her preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics at the National Trials.
The opening day of the Tokyo 2020 National Trials will see Okagbare competing in the 100m against highly rated Grace Nwokocha
Okagbare, the 8th time national champions is the favourite to win the event again, but Grace Nwokocha remains one of her biggest threats.
The American-based track queen won the championship from 2009 to 2014 and returned to win the 2016 edition after missing out in 2015.
Despite her qualification for the Olympics, Okagbare will be hoping to continue her winning streak and go to the Olympics in high spirits.
Apart from the 100m finals expected to take place in the afternoon, there will be shotput men final with all eyes on  Chukwuebuka Enekwechi.

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LAA Holds Lucrative Track Meet, Next Week

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The Lagos State Athletics Association has announced it would be holding a lucrative Athletics Meet on Thursday, June 24, 2021, at the Teslim Balogun Stadium.
Yussuf Alli, who is the Meet Director for the Lagos Open Athletics Championship, made the disclosure on Wednes-day even as he revealed that arrangements were in top gear to have an elite cast of athletes in the one-day meet.
According to Alli, the Lagos Open Athletics Championship will simultaneously serve as a qualifying window for the Tokyo Olympics as well as a preparatory event for athletes that have already qualified for the sporting showpiece.
“This is another fantastic window for those seeking to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics as well as those seeking quality competition to stay in shape for the Olympics,” Alli said.
“The Lagos State Athletics Association, which is one of the most vibrant in the country, is out to organise a world-class event that would be the talk of the town as we count down to Tokyo,”  he added.
The list of events to be competed for at the Lagos Open Athletics Championship include, the 5,000 meters, 400 meters hurdles, 100 meters, 800 meters, 400 meters and 100 meters.
There would also be quality action in 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 pencilled down for the maiden Lagos Open Athletics Champion-ship.
Organisers have assured that the top three finishers across all the events will receive handsome prizes for their efforts.

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S’ Falcons Bow To World Champions

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The Super Falcons of Nigeria lost 2-0 to world champions, USA, in their final Group game at the 2021 Summer Series in Texas, USA.
The result means the African champions failed to win any of their three matches at the invitational tourna-ment, drawing one and losing the other two.
Kristen Press gave the Americans the lead on the stroke of half time, and before Lyn Williams killed Falcons hope of getting a draw with the second goal on the dot of 90 minutes.
With the victory, the world number one has now gone 42 games without tasting a defeat .As for the Falcons, the aim of participating in the Summer Series was to prepare them for a crucial 2022 African Women’s Champion-ship eliminator against perennial rivals, Ghana in October.
The African Women’s Championship will serve as qualifiers for the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

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