The much-awaited NFF
elections have come and gone. And its wake left some winners and losers. Below are some of the biggest losers as well as those throwing a party after the hotly-disputed polls.
LOSERS: SPORTS MINISTER DANAGOGO
By far the biggest loser in the whole drama series leading to Tuesday’s FA polls is Nigerian Sports Minister, Tammy Danagogo, whose very poor handling of the whole leadership tussle has questioned his competence. He did not wish for his townsman Chris Green to return to the board, and even fired a last-ditch phone call to a top official inside the congress hall in Warri to make sure he has his way, but the NFF congress decided otherwise. And in the coming days we expect to be bombarded by ‘exposes’ from those the minister openly backed about what the whole agreement was all about.
CHRIS GIWA AND COMPANY
The Warri elections, whose results have since been endorsed by FIFA, have buried once and for all whatever the claims of self-acclaimed NFF president Chris Giwa. He has been rejected twice by the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) and has now resorted to the courts to reclaim “my mandate”. His lieutenants are now jumping ship and begging to rejoin the mainstream.
The interim Super Eagles coach must now be increasingly nervous after some of his backroom staff openly complained the new executive committee is dominated by “Maigari’s men” who would rather love to see his back. Before any talk on a new contract, there is now the little matter of the must-win double-header against Sudan later this month for Nigeria to stand any realistic chance of reaching Morocco 2015.
UMEH AND COMPANY
“Acting NFF president” Mike Umeh, who for decades has been FA boss of Anambra State, was roundly disgraced at the polls as he did not get a vote in his bid to be president. Did that mean even the Anambra representative did not vote for him? His co-travellers who were first used and later dumped by Danagogo like Shehu Adamu and Muazu Suleyman suffered a similar fate at the polls.
WINNERS: NIGERIAN FOOTBALL
Millions of fans will now heave a sigh of relief that despite some close shaves, FIFA did not ban Nigeria leading to these elections. The world football governing body had warned that should there be any hindrance or mishap leading up to the elections, Nigeria will be automatically banned till the next FIFA congress in May 2015. Thankfully, it did not come to that at the end.
A spurious “security report” against “Dr Shehu Dikko”, which was dispatched to Warri on the morning of the elections by a Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) ferried by a private jet from Abuja, disqualified the front-runner for the presidential elections. But the manner and timing of this disqualification has only swelled the businessman’s popularity and acceptance across ethnic, regional and religious divides. Grown men broke down and wept when it was announced he has been disqualified. He may not be the NFF president, but he now commands a lot more influence and respect because of how he fought and, more importantly, how he has conducted himself even after this disappointment.
The Delta FA chairman and a passionate Arsenal fan was a late entrant to the presidential race. His dream to run Nigerian football has come true and now he must deliver on his many promises which include attracting more sponsorship cash for the game in this country. He has done it in Delta State and now he has to do it for the entire country.
The Rivers State FA chairman has yet again proved to be a dogged fighter. You either love him or loathe him. Many very powerful men dreaded his return to the board, but even in the face of two dehumanising experiences at the hands of the country’s secret police, he battled on to shame them and his critics. It is a mixed bag of congratulations and curses for Mr. Green.
The 44-man NFF congress soldiered on even putting their lives literally on the line in some instances. They have once again proved to be the supreme decision-making body of Nigerian football and must now walk tall for not allowing intimidation, lies and blackmail to cow them right up to the elections.
But it is not yet Eldorado for anybody. First of all fences must be mended, bridges built if the new board is to get all the support it needs to do well.
Audu writes for Africanfootball.Com.
NYG: Rivers Basketball Team Embarks On Preparations
The Rivers State Basketball Association,has commenced preparations for the forthcoming 2021 edition of the National Youth Games (NYG) scheduled to hold September, this year.
This was disclosed by Head Coach of the body, Dagogo Okumgba, yesterday during an exclusive interview with Tidesports, at the state basketball court.
According to him, the team has commenced the preparation, ahead of the upcoming sports fiesta to build and fortify its athletes for the task ahead and other engagements that may likely come up in the future.
Coach Okumgba explained that the athletes were in high spirit and are doing well in their preparation for the competition, saying that they (athletes) would compete honourably, when the fiesta eventually gets underway.
“The athletes are working assiduously to ensure they compete favourably and are poised for victory at the NYG scheduled to be hosted by Ilorin, Kwara State,” Okumgba said.
However, the coach feared team sports might not participate in the competition, as he lamented their (team’s) absence at the National Sports Festival (NSF) held in Edo early this year.
“I think the decision was made as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic to reduce the number of athletes to take part in the festival. I don’t know, if what happened then will repeat itself, considering the third wave of the virus,” he said.
He urged his athletes to keep faith and keep the fire burning, adding that they should not relent in their preparation for the competition, whether or not they take part in the fiesta, the preparation will definitely keep them fit for other engagements.
“ It is better to be ready than not, just as the motto of the Boys Scout, l believe early preparation, being prepared at all times, is one major key to success,” he concluded.
By: Nancy Briggs
Covid-19 Scare: Team Nigeria Undergoes Daily Tests In Tokyo
As Covid-19 cases continue to rise in Tokyo, venue of the 2020 Olympics, Team Nigeria’s camp has resorted to daily testing of the members of their contingent.
Tidesports source gathered that there had been daily reports of athletes and officials contracting Covid-19 at the Olympics Games Village in Tokyo.
The Tidesports also reported that a Nigerian official in his 60s was hospitalised after contracting the virus.
One of the athletes, who spoke with our correspondent on the condition of anonymity, said athletes and officials were taking necessary precautions to ensure they did not contract the virus.
According to him, this includes daily testing and staying away from the public.
“We are doing everything that needs to be done not to contract the virus. We test daily and don’t mingle,” he said.
Another athlete, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity, said it was not the type of Olympics she would have loved to compete in due to the deadly virus. “It has not been easy here trying to adjust to the high temperatures. Covid-19 here is real. Athletes, particularly me, are very careful. Life isn’t easy here at all. Not the kind of Olympics I would have loved to take part in but in all, I’m glad to be here,” she said.
Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Olympics Committee, Femi Adetula, said the unnamed Nigerian official was already getting better but declined to name the official, saying the NOC was respecting his rights.
“It’s been confirmed that an official contracted the virus. He is in isolation, receiving treatment and he is doing fine. In a matter of days, the official will be out of isolation because of the recovery rate,” he said.
NBA: Milwaukee Star Anxious To Visit Nigeria – Wants To Learn About His Roots
Milwaukee Bucks All StarGiannis Antetokounmpo wants to visit Nigeria soon and cannot wait to learn more about his roots.
Antetokounmpo, who produced a performance for the ages to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to their first NBA title since 1971 after a 105-98 win over the Phoenix Suns last Monday, was born in and represents Greece.
“Obviously, a lot of people don’t know where I’m from. A lot of people think my mom or my dad is from Greece, but no,. Both of my parents are black. Both of my parents are Nigerians.” Antetokounmpo said.
“I grew up in a Nigerian home, Obviously, I was born in Greece and went to school in Greece. But at the end of the day when I go home, there is no Greek culture. It’s straight-up Nigerian culture. It’s about discipline, it’s about respecting your elders, having morals,” he said.
Antetokounmpo, who said his original surname Adetokunbo was mispelt at the Greek Passport office, hasn’t traced his roots in person yet, but hopes to visit Nigeria either this summer or next summer , revealing that he got his Nigerian passport in 2015.
“I want to see where my family comes from, where my mom was raised, see my family, see where my dad was raised. That is very important. I hope my kids can do the same thing for me,” Antetokounmpo said.
Meanwhile, Basketball legend and NBA Hall of Famer, Hakeem Olajuwon said Nigerians were proud of Giannis Antetokounmpo despite the Milwaukee Bucks All-Star representing Greece.
“I’m sure Nigerians are very proud of him, especially because of the way he has conducted himself and how he is dominating the league,” Olajuwon said. He has accomplished a great deal in such a short period of time,” he said.
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