The newly-elected President of Nigeria Taekwondo Federation (NTF), Margaret Binga, has promised that her leadership would focus on the discovery of talents and better welfare for athletes.
Binga told newsmen in Abuja that her board would make deliberate efforts geared towards winning medals at all competitions.
She said this was because there were lots of talents at the grassroots level for the sport but they have not had the opportunity to showcase their talent.
“We will make sure that we organise competitions across the 36 states of the federation and the FCT so that the country can have the best athletes for international events.
“Over 90 per cent of members in the new board are athletes or former athletes. We know where the shoe pinches and we will ensure better days for the athletes so that the country can get more relevance in the game.
“We will also make sure we organise at least an NTF competition in each state of the country during our four-year tenure.
“This will give us the chance to get the best athletes and increase our medals in international events,” Binga said.
The federation president also said she would ensure the development of a data base for taekwondo athletes in the country.
“Our board will also develop a data base for taekwondo athletes in the country, so that we can follow their progression in the game and identify where there are gaps among the groups.
“That will help in planning for various local and international competitions, which is one of the major objectives of the federation.”
She also said there would be mixed-gender competitions, aimed at ensuring that the country raises athletes for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Binga was emphatic in stating that she harbours no fears of not being able to operate effectively in the male-dominated NTF board.
“I have no fears. My sights are focused on the set-out goals. All other things are distractions and irrelevant.
“Since the board members key into the vision I have, and the media are supporting our efforts, we can achieve a lot,” she said.
Tidesports source gathered that Binga was elected as president of the federation at the 2017 National Sports Federations Election on Tuesday in Abuja.
Binga, a serving officer in the Nigeria Customs Service, is the first female President of the federation.
Speaking also at a media interactive session, 2008 Olympics taekwondo bronze medallist Chika Chukwumerije said there was need for taekwondo to start developing itself beyond government funding.
“With adequate publicity, taekwondo can generate some fund for itself and people will come and pay some token to watch, learn and enjoy the game,” he said.
Chukwumerije, who is the newly-elected athletes’ representative on the NTF board, said many people get attracted whenever they come around.
“After watching the game, they always get fascinated and will be willing to pay something to see the game develop in Nigeria,’’ he said.
‘I Can Discover Ballon d’Or Winners In Nigeria’
Ex-Nigeria international Usman Abdallah has declared that he can help the country groom future Ballon d’Or winners if he is handed the U20 job.
Abdallah, who led Enyimba to win the 2019 Nigeria Professional Football League and a Confederation Cup semi-final finish, is favourite to replace Paul Aigbogun for the Flying Eagles’ head coach role.
His outstanding CV features a Uefa A license, a degree in football coaching and team management (France) and a Strength and Conditioning level 1 coaching certificate in Australia.
According to reports, the Nigeria Football Federation will announce the Franco-Nigerian in the coming days, a claim the tactician is unsure of when quizzed by newsmen.
“Just like every other person, I applied for the job but I’m yet to get confirmation if I was picked or not.
“Nigeria is my country and it will be nice if I eventually get this role because it will be a big chance to serve. Also, I have what it takes to discover future Ballon d’Or winners for the country.
“Without sounding immodest, I strongly believe that I will excel in this position not only because of my wealth of experience but because of my closeness to grassroots football.
“As I have always said, this level deserves a lot of serious work because players picked at this level form a pivot of future Super Eagles,”he told newsmen.
After a failed expedition at the 2019 Fifa U20 World Cup in Poland, Nigeria will be hoping to qualify for Indonesia 2021 through the Africa U20 Cup of Nations scheduled for Mauritania.
Champions, Europa Leagues Finals Likely For August
The Champions League and Europa League look increasingly likely to be played exclusively in August after more talks about the remainder of the 2019-20 season on Wednesday.
Uefa told the 55 associations on Tuesday there was still the possibility of the competitions being played throughout June, July and August.
But Tidesports source understands that the latest discussions revolved almost exclusively around a plan to complete the domestic leagues by 31 July, with European competition following after that.
Nothing definitive has been agreed but Uefa is keen to leave all options on the table for as long as possible given the general uncertainty across Europe and in the knowledge there is no guarantee the season will be finished.
However, there is a view that travel restrictions are more likely to have eased in August, which would be necessary for a cross-border competition.
The scenario envisaged would be for the quarter-finals and semi-finals of the respective European competitions to be played as two-legged ties between 11 and 22 August, although these could yet become one-off games.
In the plans now being discussed, there would be some flexibility for domestic fixtures to be played in August, should a July conclusion prove impossible.
The Premier League has nine rounds of fixtures remaining but in Spain and Italy, two countries that have been badly affected, there are still 11 and 12 rounds left respectively – although both have fewer cup games to fit into their schedules.
Uefa hopes the situation will become clearer in the next fortnight but completing the season in this way would cause the least disruption to its qualification competition for the 2020-21 season, which was supposed to start at the end of June but has been delayed indefinitely.
S’Eagles’ll Miss Mikel, Ighalo -Etebo
John Obi Mikel and Odion Ighalo would remain a big miss for Nigeria, concedes Oghenekaro Etebo, with the Super Eagles still coming to terms with their retirement.
After the Super Eagles clinched third-place at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, the duo drew the curtains on their international careers.
Mikel, 32, was the first to bow out before Egypt 2019 top scorer Ighalo followed the path of the former Chelsea star.
Coach Gernot Rohr is prepared to put faith in the likes of Joe Aribo, Alex Iwobi and Victor Osimhen as replacements for the duo.
The Getafe man said it was clear that the three-time African kings would miss Mikel and Ighalo for their leadership attributes, but believes Osimhen can fill the vacuum left by the Manchester United striker.
“They are leaders who we are going to be missed in the dressing room,” he stated.
“Mikel was a leader; I recall how he helped us during the Olympics when we had issues during our preparations for the Games. Not because I played with him but for the impact he had on me as a player.
“They helped the team make vital decisions during tough times and I guess it was just time for them to move on.
“Ighalo on his part is a goal poacher that we also miss but thank God that we have another goal poacher in [Victor] Osimhen, but we have to be patient with him to settle in well into that role.”
After the coronavirus pandemic, Rohr is expected to begin life without the retired players as Nigeria would be hoping to qualify for the 2021 Afcon billed for Cameroon.
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