Jonathan on Wednesday splashed over N300 million on athletes and their officials who made the country proud at different international competitions in 2014.
Jonathan announced the cash rewards at a reception in honour of the 351 sports men and women at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Among the athletes were those who participated in the African Senior Athletics Championships in Marrakech, Morocco, and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.
Others were participants in the African Youth Games in Gaborone, Botswana; the World Junior Athletics Championships in Oregon, USA, and the 2014 FIFA Female U-20 Football World Cup in Montreal, Canada.
The list included athletes in the Partille World Handball Youth Championships, in Sweden; the World Powerlifting championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and the African Shooting Championship in Cairo, Egypt.
Also in the list were participants in the African Senior Wrestling Championship and the African Junior Wrestling Championship.
In a remark, Jonathan reassured Nigerians that his administration was determined to ensure that all sectors of national life were given the necessary motivation to achieve set goals.
Jonathan gave the assurance while hosting the country’s athletics and officials who emerged victorious at different international competitions in 2014
He noted that the athletes’ achievements attested to the fact that with adequate preparation and motivation, Nigerians could surmount all obstacles to attain set goals.
According to him, government will continue to appreciate and reward excellence to serve as inspiration to those who are called to represent the country.
While savouring the achievements of the athletes, the president recalled that the journey to the present was not easy.
“Realising the significance of sports in national transformation, I took the decision to organise a retreat for the sports sector in 2012.
“This arose from my conviction that our outing at the 2012 Olympic Games did not represent full potential.
“Of course, if you look at the continent of Africa, we have the largest population; we are highest in terms of diversity and our economy is also the largest.
“In any competition in Africa, third position is not good enough for us because in all the other parameters we are never third.
“I am happy to note that things have progressively changed for the better since that retreat,” he said.
Jonathan commended the National Sports Commission for the “dedicated implementation” of the decisions taken at that retreat.
The president noted that the exploits of the athletes had gone a long way in further boosting the country’s image in the comity of nations.
He added that their zeal and dedication were remarkable and Nigeria’s flag was raised high to the delight and glory of all citizens.
CAF Mulls Super League Idea
The Confederation of African Football [CAF] is discussing the idea of introducing an African Super League, a continental competition which would likely replace the current CAF Champions League and hopefully boost revenue for the organising body.
The revelation was made as CAF President Patrice Motsepe issued a statement outlining the changes and reforms the new leadership is making to ensure African football is globally competitive and self-sustaining.
The idea has taken shape even despite the disastrous European Super League [ESL] proposal earlier this year, which caused major controversy before being banned after most founding member clubs bowed to fan pressure and pulled out.
“ExCo [the CAF executive committee] may have to discuss and consider new CAF competitions which may generate additional funding or income for CAF, its member associations and bodies and also contribute to African football becoming globally competitive and self-sustaining,” Motsepe was quoted as saying by Tidesports source.
“In this regard, we are assessing and [are] in preliminary discussions to start an inclusive and broadly supported and beneficial CAF African Super League. We have been following the attempts by some top European clubs to form a Euro Super League and will learn from their experience and pitfalls.”
CAF is looking to boost income after recent forensic auditing revealed that the organisation has been beset by financial irregularities.
NPFL: Rivers United’s Coach Praises Players
The Chief Coach of Rivers United FC of Port Harcourt, Ndubuisi Nduka, has praised his players after a 1-0 win over Katsina United FC in the match day 28 of the Nigeria Professional Football League ( NPFL) in Port Harcourt.
He stated that his boys (players) gave all their best to ensure they secured the maximum three points for the team, and described the encounter as very tough.
Nduka, said this on Sunday, during a post match interview with sports journalists, after the Pride of Rivers, defeated their opponents 1-0, at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt.
According to him, what made the match more difficult for his players was that they failed to utilise goal opportunities they created in the first half of the game.
The only goal of the game came in the 77th minute by home boy, Malachi Ohawume, who made his goals four for this league season.
“It was a tough game; I think our boys gave it all.
What made it more difficult for us was the chances we lost especially in the first half, “ Nduka said.
He explained that the second round of the league is always difficult because every team is fighting to be at top and some are fighting not to be relegated.
“At this point and time of the league, the second round, we are stretching to the finishing point.
“It is always difficult and if you remember the position of Katsina United, they are not safe so they are looking for where to pick points, so I gave kudos to my boys as they secured three points for us, “ he stated.
Rivers United is now 4th on the log after 28 matches with 48 points.
By: Kiadum Edookor
Hockey Championship: Team Rivers’ Performance Excites Coach
The Head coach of Team Rivers State, (female) hockey, Comfort Nya, has commended her players after they defeated team Edo, 3-1 in the ongoing, 2021 Mabisel National Hockey Championship (MNHC) in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
She, described the match as one of the toughest games they have played, saying that the calibre of players she saw in the team Edo lineup was intimidating.
Nya said this on Monday in her post match interview with sports journalists, after their first victory in the championship, at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Sports in Port Harcourt.
According to her, their first game in the championship was difficult because of the heavy downpour, adding that they could not play well but today they are awesome.
“It was a tough one, honestly speaking I would not tell lies, and the players I saw in team Edo lineup are old and good players and my girls are just upcoming.
“I was thinking of draw or let them just play but with this result I am so happy with their performance, “Nya said.
The coach further explained that their next outing will be against team Kaduna, they are going to do more better.
“Our first game was disturbed by heavy rainfall, they could not play well but today they have performed well.
“In our next game against team Kaduna, we are going to do better,” She stated..
By: Kiadum Edookor
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