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Focus On Talent Discovery, Kick Boxer Advises Festival Organisers

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A gold medalist at the World Kickboxing Championships in New York Loveth-Patra Ekufu,  has urged the organisers of the 18th National Sports Festival to focus on its objective of talent identification.

Ekufu, who fought in the female 50kg category, sponsored herself to the world championships which  held in March 2011.

She had at the 2006 National Sports Festival in Abeokuta, tagged “Gateway Games” won a gold medal in the -48Kg category.

She told newsmen in Lagos that it was important to win medals but the purpose of the festival which is talent discovery must be given its appropriate place.

The Delta state-born Ekufu said that participating to win at all cost was derailing the goals of the competition which are to discover talents and promote the unity of the country.

“The important thing is to identify talents at the grassroots, we must not allow winning of medal to take precedence over the progress of sports,’’ she said.

According to her, kickboxing is a growing sport that has potential to develop youth and as such athletes involved in it should be encouraged to make careers in the martial art.

She appealed to state associations and federation to use the opportunity offered by the festival to look for talents that would be groomed to stardom.

“Athletes are keen on exhibiting their talents during the festival, so I advise state associations and the national body to key into this occasion and discover talents,’’ she said.

Ekufu also advised athletes who would participate in the festival not to be aggressive but endeavour to show their skills.

The National Sports Commission (NSC) should support the federation to ensure that talents who would be discovered were not left to their faith by organising follow-up programmes, she said.

She also called on technical officials to adhere strictly to the rules in their officiating at the Games to enhance the effort to discover talent.

A  three-day refresher course was organised in October by the NKF where the officials were acquainted with the new rules of the sport.

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Infantino Reveals How Nigeria Can Host FIFA Competitions

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FIFA President, Gianni Infantino last Thursday, in Abuja, revealed how Nigeria can be made a destination for top Grade A football matches and FIFA competitions.
Infantino gave the insight when the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare took him on a tour of the renovated main bowl of the MoshoodAbiola National Stadium.
The FIFA boss, who was visibly happy with the re-grassed pitch at the stadium, said well-maintained stadia with good pitches were key to hosting grade A matches.
He said FIFA was ready to work more closely with Nigeria to develop the game and host more grade A matches in the country.
“We (FIFA) have to make sure when a country, when a government with the President, the minister and private persons are investing in football, in stadia, we work with them to give something back.
“It’s obvious that stadiums like this (MoshoodAbiola stadium) and others in Nigeria deserve the best quality games.
“They deserve top national team games, top club games and it’s not just about Nigerian football or African football, it’s about global football.
“We are working together to see what kind of new opportunities, competitions we can bring for men and women to fill this stadium and make the heart of the stadium beat for the fantastic spectacle that all of the Nigerian love, which is football,” he said.
Earlier, the minister said the Federal Government will continue to invest in sports development and facilities.
Tidesports source reports that the FIFA President, in the company of the minister, had earlier visited President Muhammadu Buhari at the Statehouse, as part of his engagement.

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Why NFF Must Offset Rohr’s Salaries, Bonuses  – Aikhomogbe

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Former Nigerian goal keeper, Andrew Aikhomogbe has called on the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) to resolve every outstanding salaries and bonuses owed to the Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr before the next World Cup qualifiers against Central Africa Republic (CAR).
Aikhomogbe made this known on the backdrop of the football body’s recent deal with Baba Ijebu.
Although the financial details of the deal was not disclosed, Aikhomogbe in an interview with Newsmen from his base in Cairo, Egypt, stated that the NFF should use this platform to offset Rohr’s salaries and bonuses.
“It’s a big delight to know that the Nigeria Football Federation have signed a deal with Baba Ijebu and this will serve as an opportunity for them to use part of the money to pay Rohr’s salaries and bonuses.
“There is no better time to motivate him than now before Nigeria’s next 2022 World Cup qualifiers against the Central Africa Republic (CAR) on October,” he said.

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Enyimba Players Vow To Support  Finidi

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Enyimba FC Goalkeeper, John Noble has stated that the players of the People’s Elephants will be key to the success of the newly appointed coach of the team, Finidi George.
Finidi, signed a two-year deal with Enyimba and oversaw his first full training session with the team on Thursday after a cameo appearance on Wednesday.
Speaking in a chat with Tidesports source, Noble  gave his assessment of the coach in his first session under the manager and believes the former Super Eagles winger has what it takes to lead the team to the next level.
He added that the Enyimba players will be the ones to hand Finidi George his success at the club.

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