A delegation of Spanish
Premier League board, the La Liga led by its President, Javier Tesba arrived Nigeria early hours of Monday to a warm welcome by representatives of the Nigerian and Spanish governments who separately remarked that the technical partnership initiated by La Liga and the League Management Company (LMC) holds a huge prospect of deepening sporting, cultural and commercial ties between the two nations.
Tesba and his team were led by the top hierarchy of Nigeria’s football governing body including President Amaju Pinnick and LMC Chairman, Mallam Shehu Dikko to the office of Nigeria’s Youth and Sports Minister, Barrister Solomon Dalung and later to the residence of the Ambassador of Spain to Nigeria, Alfonso Barnuevo Sebastián de Erice.
Dalung in his welcome remarks reaffirmed the commitment of the Nigerian government towards making Nigeria investment- friendly by providing the enabling environment for such partnership between the LMC and the La Liga to succeed.
Barrister Dalung commended the LMC for keying into the policy thrust of government for the development of the elite league which provides jobs for thousands of youths through the 20 clubs and stimulating business activities within the areas matches are played.
“The league in Nigeria is indeed a major tool for social cohesion. Government is committed to putting in place enabling administrative and legal frameworks for international business partnerships”.
According to the Minister, government will work with and support the managers of football in the country for meaningful projects like the international collaboration with Spain.
“It is of significance that the NPFL and La Liga are entering into an understanding that will improve the business aspects of the league in Nigeria. Such areas will boost the earnings of football which will in turn impact positively on the welfare of the players while creating new frontiers for business” Dalung said.
Ambassador Barnuevo while receiving the delegation of LMC and La Liga noted that the partnership will strengthen the already strong cultural and trade ties between his country and Nigeria, stating that “at the moment, Spain is the third biggest buyer of Nigeria’s crude oil”.
On the occasion, the Chairman LMC, Shehu Dikko said discussions that led to the partnership that will be signed on Tuesday was initiated at that inaugural World Leagues Forum meeting in London in 2015.
“Our objective is to be able to move with the times. We need to get our league to conform to international standards and best practices. La Liga is one of the best leagues in the world. They have some of the richest clubs in the world and they have a system which is very attractive to us. The structure and management of their clubs is fantastic as well as the way the government and the clubs relate. They also have legislation by the government to ensure that the league is developed. We need to learn how they’re doing”, Dikko said.
Tebas, the La Liga President expressed delight at the prospects of sharing experiences with the NPFL, noting that while they will be providing technical assistance to the LMC in the administration of the league, they also will in turn learn something from Nigeria.
We are here not only to teach but to share experience and we are sure we can also learn from the Nigerian Professional Football League. This exchange of experience will help us to grow and we’ll ratify this in Nigeria during this visit with a Memorandum of Understanding. Football is not only a commercial issue but also an example of values especially for youths in any country and the La Liga will like to help develop these values for the Nigerian youths. We want to use the names of our stars to transmit the values of the sport. We will also offer our expertise not only to football but to the Nigerian government” Tebas assured.
President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Amaju Melvin Pinnick, was at the head of the Nigerian team during the visit to the Minister alongside the LMC Chief Executive Officer, Hon. Nduka Irabor, NFF Executive Board member, Alhaji Ibrahim Gusau and Chairman of Club Owners and Managers of the NPFL, Barrister Isaac Danladi.
Accompanying the La Liga President were Melcior Soler, the Director of Audiovisual Affairs, Fernando Sanz, International Projects Director and Antonio Baradas, Manager, African Affairs.
Athletics: Okagbare Begins Preparation For Tokyo 2020
Blessing Okagbare, yesterday started her preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics at the National Trials.
The opening day of the Tokyo 2020 National Trials will see Okagbare competing in the 100m against highly rated Grace Nwokocha
Okagbare, the 8th time national champions is the favourite to win the event again, but Grace Nwokocha remains one of her biggest threats.
The American-based track queen won the championship from 2009 to 2014 and returned to win the 2016 edition after missing out in 2015.
Despite her qualification for the Olympics, Okagbare will be hoping to continue her winning streak and go to the Olympics in high spirits.
Apart from the 100m finals expected to take place in the afternoon, there will be shotput men final with all eyes on Chukwuebuka Enekwechi.
LAA Holds Lucrative Track Meet, Next Week
The Lagos State Athletics Association has announced it would be holding a lucrative Athletics Meet on Thursday, June 24, 2021, at the Teslim Balogun Stadium.
Yussuf Alli, who is the Meet Director for the Lagos Open Athletics Championship, made the disclosure on Wednes-day even as he revealed that arrangements were in top gear to have an elite cast of athletes in the one-day meet.
According to Alli, the Lagos Open Athletics Championship will simultaneously serve as a qualifying window for the Tokyo Olympics as well as a preparatory event for athletes that have already qualified for the sporting showpiece.
“This is another fantastic window for those seeking to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics as well as those seeking quality competition to stay in shape for the Olympics,” Alli said.
“The Lagos State Athletics Association, which is one of the most vibrant in the country, is out to organise a world-class event that would be the talk of the town as we count down to Tokyo,” he added.
The list of events to be competed for at the Lagos Open Athletics Championship include, the 5,000 meters, 400 meters hurdles, 100 meters, 800 meters, 400 meters and 100 meters.
There would also be quality action in the 4×100 meters open, 4×100 meters open and 4×400 meters mixed relay.
Long jump, High jump, Triple jump, Shot put as well as 4×100 secondary schools relay and 4×100 secondary schools relay have all been pencilled down for the maiden Lagos Open Athletics Champion-ship.
Organisers have assured that the top three finishers across all the events will receive handsome prizes for their efforts.
S’ Falcons Bow To World Champions
The Super Falcons of Nigeria lost 2-0 to world champions, USA, in their final Group game at the 2021 Summer Series in Texas, USA.
The result means the African champions failed to win any of their three matches at the invitational tourna-ment, drawing one and losing the other two.
Kristen Press gave the Americans the lead on the stroke of half time, and before Lyn Williams killed Falcons hope of getting a draw with the second goal on the dot of 90 minutes.
With the victory, the world number one has now gone 42 games without tasting a defeat .As for the Falcons, the aim of participating in the Summer Series was to prepare them for a crucial 2022 African Women’s Champion-ship eliminator against perennial rivals, Ghana in October.
The African Women’s Championship will serve as qualifiers for the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
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