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Pillars Accuse Referees Of Favouritism

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Goalkeeper Lawrence
John of Kano Pillars Football Club has accused referees at the just concluded 2014/2015 Glo Premier League Super Four Invitational Tournament of favouring the national teams in the tournament.
John, who was the stand-in captain during his team’s 1-1 draw with the national under-23 team, Dream Team VI, made the assertion at a post-match conference last week.
He said the pre-season tournament, which held at the Abuja National Stadium’s mainbowl, ought to be an open game that everyone should enjoy.
The goalkeeper insisted that the referees were fair in their officiating.
“Though we had a good game today (Wednesday), the centre referee was not fair enough.
“The Super 4 is supposed to be an open game that everyone should enjoy, but with the way it is now, it is like they (the referees) want one of the national teams to win it.
“Going by all the matches, everyone has been complaining and that is why they (football fans) were stoning the referee after the match.
“It is an embarrassment to Nigerian football because we players are ready to play the game, but they just want to spoil everything,” John said.
The match officials were pelted with objects by a group of fans as they headed to the dressing rooms after the game.
During the match, the national team canceled out Kano Pillars’ 31st minute lead through a penalty kick in the 75th minute.
But, while speaking also after the match, the Assistant Coach of Dream Team VI, Fatai Amoo, said the officiating was fair enough to allow both teams play a good game.
“Everyone is entitled to their opinion and the referee is the sole judge in every match, but for me, he was fair enough.
“It was good enough to allow both teams play a good game, which we did,” Amoo said. He however noted that his team was not hell bent on winning the tournament.

The coach said they rather used the tournament to get a formidable team ahead of the 2015 All-Africa Games (AAG) qualifiers.
“The objective of Dream Team VI in participating in this tournament is to assess the players and give them the needed impetus for the AAG qualifiers.
“But, if eventually, we were able to emerge as the winners, it will be a plus for us. However, we are focused on building a formidable team from here,” Amoo said.
Kano Pillars used the tournament as a build-up to the 2015 CAF Champions League.
Dream Team VI on the other hand used the tournament as a build-up to the AAG qualifiers this month.
The Super 4 tournament which started on January 24 ended at the weekend.

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Aiteo Cup: Diri Hails Bayelsa Finalists

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Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has lauded the feat of the state-owned football teams who reached the finals in the male and female categories of the 2021 Aiteo Cup.
Diri, while congratulating Bayelsa United and Bayelsa Queens for their outstanding performances, praised their indomitable spirit and resilience in surmounting the odds to qualify for the last stage of Nigeria’s oldest football competition.
Bayelsa United, who plays in the second tier Nigerian National League, on Friday defeated Premier League neighbours Rivers United 1-0 in the semi-finals, while Bayelsa Queens crushed perennial rivals Rivers Angels 5-0 to reach the women’s final.
The Governor, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Alabrah, on Saturday, described Bayelsa United as “giant killers” for defeating Premier League sides Enugu Rangers, Lobi Stars and Rivers United on their way to the final.
“The excellent run of Bayelsa United and Bayelsa Queens in this year’s Aiteo Cup is very heartwarming. Both teams reaching the finals is no mean feat. I congratulate them for making the state proud and setting a record of teams from the state playing in the finals of the male and female categories of the same competition for the first time,” Diri stated.
“By their outstanding performance, Bayelsa United and Bayelsa Queens have shown that the sporting revolution of our Prosperity Administration, which resulted in Bayelsa placing third in the last National Sports Festival in Edo State for the first time, is on course. I therefore urge them to complete their excellent run in the competition by bringing home the trophies.

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D’Tigress To Play Mozambique In Afrobasket

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Nigeria’s senior basketball team, D’Tigress, have been drawn to face Mozambique and a yet to qualify team in Group B of the 2021 Women’s Afrobasket, which holds from September 17 to 27 in Yaounde, Cameroon.
The draw was held in Yaounde last Saturday.
D’Tigress will be hoping to retain the title they won two years ago in Senegal, where they defeated the hosts in the final. A win in Cameroon will mean they have won the last three editions of the tournament.
The Nigerians will know their final group opponent when the FIBA Zone 6 qualifiers take place from August 16 to 22.
In Group A, hosts Cameroon will face Cape Verde and Kenya, while Senegal, the most successful team in the competition’s history with 11 first-place finishes, will slug it out with Egypt and Gabon in Group C.
Mali, Ivory Coast, and a team to be decided via wild card will fight for a slot in the next round in Group D.

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Ebonyi Football Fans Celebrate Nwankwo Kanu At 45

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Football fans in Ebonyi State yesterday, celebrated the birthday of formerNigerian international and Arsenal legend, Nwankwo Kanu.
The former Super Eagles skipper turned 45 yesterday.
Tidespoets source gathered  that the 1993 FIFA U-17 world cup winner, fondly called “Papillo’’ by his fans had 86 caps for Nigeria.
The former Iwuanyanwu Nationale Football Club of Owerri’s talisman scored 13 goals for Nigeria in an enviable career that spanned from 1994 to 2010.
Kanu is a recipient of the Member of the Order of the Niger (MON), an Olympic Games football gold medalist and had illustrious club careers with Ajax Amsterdam of Holland, Arsenal and West Bromwich Albion of England.
Defunct Ebonyi Angels FC of Abakaliki Defender, James Onele, said that Kanu thrilled soccer fans across the world with sublime skills and trademark passes.
“Kanu won two African Footballer of the Year awards, an AFCON silver medal, four AFCON bronze medals among other honours.
“He was the first Nigerian, alongside Finidi George to win the prestigious UEFA champions league trophy with Ajax in 1995,” said Onele.
An Arsenal FC supporter, Ejike Okoro, said the club’s fans were proud of Kanu’s achievements during his time with the English Premier League side.
“Kanu played 197 times for Arsenal, scoring 44 goals and was part of the club’s invincible team that did not lose any match in the 2003-04 EPL season.
“He was instrumental in endearing Arsenal to millions of Nigerian soccer fans, despite later dropping to lowly-rated clubs such as Portsmouth and West Bromwich Albion,” Okoro said.
A banker and football enthusiast, Chief Barry Ogoh, told active footballers to emulate Papillo in investing adequately for the ‘rainy day’.
“Kanu, Augustine J.J. Okocha, among other ex-internationals are still financially stable as many ex-internationals have become bankrupt.

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