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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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Nigeria Now 34th Position In FIFA Ranking

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Nigeria has dropped by one spot in the FIFA ranking for September, placing 34th on the ranking table.
In the ranking table on the world football governing body’s website yesterday, Nigeria garnered 1, 482 points in the month under review as against 1,481 it had in August.
However, in spite of the drop by a spot, Nigeria still occupy the third position on the continent behind Senegal and Tunisia who have 1,546 and 1,493 respectively.
On the global scene, Belgium remain top of the FIFA World Ranking after an action-packed number of weeks in international football.
In the period under review, 78 friendlies, 74 continental qualifiers and 60 FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ qualifiers took place.
Although the teams in the top 10 remain unchanged, there has been some movements.
France (second, up 1) and Brazil (third, down 1) have traded places, while Spain (seventh, up 2) are the top 10’s biggest movers.
The Cayman Islands (193rd, up 11) and Grenada (160th, up 13) are the joint-biggest climbers by points, reaping the rewards after their successful showing in the CONCACAF Nations League.
Indeed, Grenada’s 13-place surge means that they are September’s highest climber by ranks.
Other notable upwardly-mobile nations include Jamaica (47th, up 5), who have broken into the top 50.
Others are the Republic of Ireland (28th, up 4), Russia (42nd, up 4), Guatemala (133rd, up 11), Suriname (142nd, up 9), Montserrat (187th, up 9) and Djibouti (186th, up 9).
Djibouti recently overcame Eswatini (150th, down 11) over two legs to advance to the second round of Africa’s World Cup qualifying for just the second time.
Meanwhile, Kosovo (119th, up 1) have been rewarded for their impressive performances in UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying by reaching their best-ever position in the FIFA ranking.
The Cook Islands are not ranked in the latest standings due to not playing an international “A” match in the last four years.
After their next international “A” match, they will be included in the ranking table again with their points total from July 2019, plus/minus the points won or lost in the new match.

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LSSC Salutes Sanwo-Olu, Lauds Athletes

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The Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC) is full of appreciation to the Governor of Lagos, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, for the support towards the state’s participation at the just concluded 5th National Youth Games (NYG) held in Ilorin, Kwara State.
Team Lagos came second overall at the end of the tournament, which ended on Monday at the University of Ilorin with 72 med- als consisting of 22 gold, 36 silver and 14 bronze medals, while Delta State with 41 gold, 32 silver and 31 bronze medals and Team Bayelsa with 17 gold, 6 silver and 22 bronze came second and third respectively.
Team Lagos was taking part for the second time in the history of the Games, which started since 2013.
Lagos was second in her first outing in 2018 and the state’s youthful and budding athletes ensured that they retained the position in their second outing in Ilorin.
Team Lagos was also adjudged as the Best Team in the March Past and was given an award of commendation in this year’s NYG.

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Adekuoroye Wins Bronze Medal At World Wrestling Championships

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Nigeria’s foremost female wrestler, Odunayo Adekuoroye, yesterday won a bronze medal at the ongoing World Wrestling Championships in Kazakhstan.
The 25-year-old defeated Anastasia Nichita of Moldova 10-0 in the women’s 57kg category to win the medal.
Adekuoroye had earlier beaten Sun Jong of North Korea 12-2 via technical superiority last Wednesday which helped her to gain a 2020 Tokyo Olympics slot.
The Tidesports source reports that Risako Kawai of Japan defeated Ningning Rong of China 9-6 to clinch the gold medal in the category.

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