Some athletics fans have
urged the Athletic Federation of Nigeria (AFN) to monitor the development of the athletes who won the 12th African Junior Athletics Championships recently.
The championships held from March 4 to March 8 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
For Nigeria to retain its title as champions of the continent which it secured in 2014, the athletes topped the medals table with 12 gold, eight silver and seven bronze medals.
South Africa was second with nine gold, seven silver and seven bronze medals, while hosts, Ethiopia came third with six gold, 12 silver and10 bronze medals.
Egypt was fourth with five gold, five silver and three bronze medals.
The fans told newsmen that the country’s 34 athletes were worthy of commendation, saying that Nigeria was blessed with talents.
Deji Aliu, a 100m gold medalist at the 1994 World Junior Championships in Portugal, said he was impressed with the athletes’ performance, saying there should be a follow-up on the athletes.
“I am impressed with the performance of the athletes, the fact remains that they did well. But it usually ends there, that is the problem we have in this country.
“There should be follow-up these athletes, I hope that when the athletes return to their base, it won’t end there. They should be monitored, tutored to see how they have improved.
“There are abundant talents, there is no doubt we were going to win in Africa but how do we continue to groom them to become world class,’’ he said.
Christian Aiyegbeni, who took part in relays at the African Junior Athletics Championships in 1997, said the athletes were worthy to be praised, urging that they should be groomed to international level.
Aiyegbeni said the athletes if properly managed they would be ranked top at international events, stressing that the nation was blessed with a lot of talents.
“These young athletes have really done the country proud, they deserve all the praise they are given.
“With their performance and retaining title as Africa’s champions, proper grooming will push them to international standards,’’ he said.
AFN’s Technical Director, Commodore Omatseye Nesiama, expressed joy at the athletes’ performance, noting that they surpassed their past record of nine gold, seven silver and three bronze medals.
“I am happy with their performance, they have represented the country with so much hope, focus and determination and it worked for them,’’ he said.
Nesiama also said that the AFN would take fresh steps to improve on the men’s pole vault and heptathlon.
“We are making fresh moves into events like the heptathlon as well as the men’s pole vault to see how we can improve and win medals in the future,’’ he said.
‘Super Eagles Coach Lacks Class’
Former Nigeria international, Victor Ezeji, has slammed Gernot Rohr, describing the German as a coach who has not improved the Super Eagles, with reference to their style of play and talent management.
Rohr recently helped the three-time African champions qualify for the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon after their third-place finish at the 2019 tournament in Egypt.
Despite the team’s success, the former Enyimba striker said the tactician, who has been at the helm since 2016, has not impacted the Super Eagles with a particular style of football and he lacks the class to co-ordinate the players.
Ezeji expressed his frustration after Rohr’s men failed to score a goal in their twin friendlies against Cameroon. They suffered a 1-0 loss against the Indomitable Lions last Friday before playing out a goalless draw on Tuesday.
“I have never been a fan of Gernot Rohr but the truth is, sometimes it is not even about the result and sometimes, your team can play very well and lose, people could say they lost and there is prospect for the team,” Ezeji told news men.
“But in the case of this Gernot Rohr’s team, they are not playing very well and they are not winning; so, people will definitely complain. We have known our Super Eagles to have flair when playing, but that has not happened under him, whichever way he wins his game.
“There is no flair in their game, I think he is done with the team if you ask me because he is not showing anything, no class. We’ve got the players but I think what we lack is who co-ordinates them.”
Last year May, Rohr agreed on a two-and-half-year contract extension to remain as Super Eagles coach with the target of guiding the country to the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar and also win the 2022 Afcon.
Ezeji argued that the former Bordeaux manager has not been a success in Nigeria and he recalled how indigenous coaches Christian Chukwu also led the country to a third-place at 2004 Afcon before Stephen Keshi’s side triumphed at the 2013 edition in South Africa.
“I don’t know what his contract with the NFF looks like but personally, I don’t think he has achieved anything because even our indigenous coaches got to third at Afcon and we became the continent’s champions,” he continued.
“In his own case, third-place is not enough at all with the kind of personnel and abundant of talents we have in Nigeria presently, he should do better. As I stated earlier, it is not about winning the cup but it is about playing good football and there are ways you do that.
“Remember Imama’s [Amapakabo] U23 boys’ game against Libya in Asaba [U23 Afcon qualifier in March 2019], we needed three goals to go through but after the first-half, everybody was like even if they did not get through we are satisfied with their performance but the boys got the result and advanced.
“We need to start seeing that kind of performance in our Super Eagles, nobody has any confidence now that even if we play market women they will win. We need to have that confidence in our team and be rest assured of good football against any opponent.”
350 Golfers Set For IBB Golf Captain’s Tourney
No fewer than 350 golfers and 50 tennis players will be competing in the inaugural IBB Golf and Country Captain’s Tourney in Abuja.
The tourney which is expected to tee-off from Friday, June 10, to Saturday 11, 2021 at the IBB Golf and Country club which will see professional golfers battle in the Handicap 19 to 36 event while the amateur will clash in the Nest event.
According to the Chairman Organising Committee of the 2021 Inaugural IBB golf Captain’s club, Olabanjo Obaleye said preparations are in top gear to host a successful tournament.
He also noted that the golfers and officials would be in adherence to all the COVID-19 protocol towards ensuring the safety of all Stakeholders.
“This tournament is to usher in the new Executive Members of the IBB golf and Country, which is done after every new executive Member is elected.
“We have gotten some sponsors for the tournament and I can tell you that they would be mouthwatering prizes for the winner and consolation prizes for best loser.
We will also have a dinner on Saturday where the prizes will be presented to the winners.
“Also we have put some modalities in place to ensure the safety of all players and Officials for the tournament.” Olabanjo said.
HiFL: UNIBEN Royals Tackle UNICAL Malabites
Pace Sports and Entertainment Marketing Limited, the organisers of the Higher Institutions Football League (HiFL), has released the draws for the round of 16 games at an event held in Lagos. The games are scheduled to be held between June and September 2021.
In Week 1, AAUA Luminaries will play OAU Giants in Ondo, FUTA Tigers will tackle UNILAG Marines in Akure, LAUTECH Hunters will attempt to hunt down the FUTMINNA Transformers in Ogbomoso while KSU Steelers engages UNILORIN Warriors.
For the week 2 games, Uniben Royals will play defending champion UNICAL Malabites, IAUE Minders will tackle UNN Lions in Port Harcourt, ABU Nobles will confront UAM Tillers in Zaria while BUK Stallions slugs it out with UNIMAID Desert Warriors in Kano.
Speaking at the draws, Director, PACE Sports and Entertainment Marketing Limited, Sola Fijabi acknowledged the efforts of all participating schools and encouraged them to maintain their sportsmanlike conduct as the games go on. “We are now at a very exciting stage of the league. What was witnessed during the qualifiers was the tip of the iceberg. The schools are ready and what we assure lovers of collegiate sports is double excitement. We appreciate the support of NUGA and our sponsors Nivea Men and Minimie for their trust in HiFL and as we deliver value to all our stakeholders,” Fijabi said.
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