As if waiting to be written off
and derided before showing their true colours, the Super Eagles as Nigeria on Saturday night forced many Nigerian football fans to eat their words and have a change of opinion over the chances at the ongoing FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014.
After a pathetic opening day performance against upstarts, Iran in which the Nigerian team eked out a scoreless draw, most fans were quick to give up on the team. Despite initially tipping the African champions to join Argentina as qualifiers from Group F, the insipid display against Iran eroded the confidence of many Nigerians.
But, just like in South Africa, during the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, the Eagles, after being scorned, raised their game in the second outing and piped the Edim Dzeko led Bosnia and Herzegovina 1-0, even if it was with a huge slice of fortune to be in pole position for the second Group F ticket for the knock out stage.
The rejected stone, as it were, Osaze Odemwingie, it was he who scored the crucial winner to give Nigeria a chance and hope for a second round outing, the first since France 1998 world cup.
Now, the cumulative sins of coach Stephen Keshi and the Eagles, since the World Cup friendlies have taken a slight in the minds of the fans and the team super again, even if the signs of the team’s past frailties still remain visible.
Not a few Nigerians are now, as against the opening match feelings, expecting the Super Eagles to berth in the second round, even anticipating a victory or draw against Argentina and one Lionel Messi on Wednesday.
According to one football fan Josiah Asiedu, who said he reluctantly stayed up late to watch the match the Nigeria/Bosnia and Herzegovina game, “the Super Eagles surprised him with their improved performance”. He said that the players showed renewed purpose and spirit that apparently took the opponents by surprise and urged them to maintain the tempo in subsequent matches.
For Augustus Ajere, a businessman and ardent football fan, “The inclusion of Osaze Odemwingie from the onset and the new found pace of the Eagles lifted Nigeria over their opponents. The aggression and determination noticed in the players also contributed to the success”.
Though most of the fans spoken to by the Tidesports singled out Odenwingie, Emmanuel Emenike and particularly keeper Vincent Enyeama as the cornerstones of the team, they believed that the victory was as a result of a better team work.
Keshi was also advised to seek ways of improving the team’s tactical play, especially, build up play, target shooting and marking. The fans believe that with the new attitude in the team, Nigeria can withstand Argentina and even surprise themselves in the competition.
Nigeria will tackle Argentina While Iran locks horns with Bosina-Herzegovina on Wednesday in the last Group F matches. The Super Eagles need to avoid defeat or Iran fails to beat Bosnia-Herzegovina to be guaranteed passage to the round of 16.
Reps Summon Dare Over Doping Crisis At Tokyo
The House of Representatives has begun investigation of the disqualification of Nigerian athletes at the 2020 Olympics over alleged doping, asking the Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Sunday Dare, to come and explain the preparedness of the Nigerian contingent for the sports festival.
Tidesports source gathered that the resolutions followed the unanimous adoption of a motion at the plenary on Wednesday titled, ‘Need to Investigate Activities of the Federal Ministry of Sports and Youth Development on Failed Doping Test by Nigeria Athletes at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.’
Consequently, the House resolved to “invite the Minister of Sports and Youth Development (sic) to brief the Committee on Sports on the level of Nigeria’s compliance with extant regulations set by the International Association of Athletics Federations and the independent anti-doping arm, Athletics Integrity Unit.”
The House also urged the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to put necessary measures in place to ensure compliance with extant regulations at both local and international competitions, while mandating the Committee on Sports to “investigate the immediate and remote cause of the failed doping test to forestall future occurrence.”
Moving the motion, Mr Babatunde Ayeni said the Nigerian delegation to the Olympic Games fared well in terms of performance, thereby raising the country’s rating in the comity of nations.
Ayeni recalled the outstanding performance of the Nigerian Football Team which bagged the historic first soccer gold medal at the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta, United States of America.
The lawmaker lamented the incident of July 20, 2021, where the Athletics Integrity Unit of the International Association of Athletics Federations barred 10 Nigerian athletes, including the highly-rated Blessing Okagbare, from the Tokyo Olympics for failing to meet requirements for out-of-competition drug testing.
He recalled that the Athletics Integrity Unit alleged that Okagbare, who won the opening heat of the Women’s 100 meters, had tested positive for human growth hormone.
“The House is also aware that the allegation further affirmed that the affected athletes failed to comply with the rules requiring those from countries deemed to be at high risk of doping to undergo three no-notice out-of-competition tests in a 10 months’ period leading up to a major event.
“The House is concerned that despite the huge funds being made available yearly for the regulatory agencies in the sports sector, adequate efforts have not been made to get Nigeria into the category where they would be deemed to have made significant improvements in anti-doping tests,” Ayeni added.
NYG: Rivers B’Ball Team Intensifies Preparations
Coach of the Rivers State Male Basket-ball Team, Dagogo Okumgba, has said that preparation, are in top gear for the forthcoming 2021 edition of the National Youth Games (NYG)scheduled to hold in Ilorin, Kwara State.
Coach Okumgba disclosed this yesterday during an exclusive interview with Tidesports in Port Harcourt.
According to him, the team is doing everything necessary to get a better outing in Ilorin when the chips are down, saying that the players are in high spirits and are poised to compete favourably when the competition gets underway.
The coach said his players are committed to their preparations for the task ahead and determined to do the state proud at the games come November this year.
“We are doing our part to prepare as a team and wait for a go ahead from the Sports Ministry for camping so as to further prepare and fortify on the earlier made preparation,” Okumgba added.
The team qualified from their zone at the recently concluded zonal elimi-nation for team sports ahead of “National Youth Games” coming up next month.
It would be recalled that the zonal elimination for team events which comprised Rivers, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Edo states took place in Asaba, Delta State, fortnight ago.
The date for the competition was earlier fixed for September 7 to 17 this year.
10 Athletes To Represent Nigeria At Winter Olympics
Following the successful completion of its inaugural Olympics Trials in Lagos last Saturday, the Bobsled and Skeleton Federation of Nigeria has stated that 10 athletes would represent Nigeria at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Games.
Technical Director, BSFN, Dr. Seun Adigun disclosed this in Lagos.
“Ten athletes will be named for the Winter Olympics.
“We will have two athletes for Bobsled, two in the Monobob women’s team, two athletes for the Bobsled men’s team, two male Skeleton and two female Skeleton athletes for the national team,” Adigun, who played a key role in Nigeria’s debut at the last Winter Olympics Games in Pyeongchang, Sourh Korea, said.
President, BSFN, Solomon Ogba stated that the team would train on ice in Europe, ahead of the Winter Games.
“This is the first stage of the preparation for the Olympics before the athletes train on ice,” Ogba said.
History was made earlier in the year when six athletes, who were selected from the first-ever trials in Lagos, trained and participated on ice for the first time in Pyeongchang.
Tidesports source reports that after a few days of training on ice, Perpetua Nwanna and Alawode Sekinat won bronze medal in their debut competition, after finishing third in the women’s double Bobsleigh IBSFSliding Korea Cup.
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