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Quadri, Egypt’s Meshref, Win African Championships Qualifiers

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Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri and Egypt’s Dina Meshref have secured places at the 2017 ITTF Men’s and Women’s World Cup scheduled for later this year.
They qualified after emerging champions at the 2017 ITTF-African Cup which started on Saturday and ended on Monday in Agadir, Morocco.
A statement by ITTF-Africa Media Department shows that Quadri ended the dominance of  Omar Assar of Egypt in a tight seven-game encounter in the men’s competition.
He won 4-3 (11-7, 3-11, 11-8, 4-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-9) to make his second consecutive appearance at the Men’s World Cup.
The statement quotes the 28-year-old Quadri as saying after the match: “I am so happy that I won because it was not an easy match.
“I am happy that my backhand worked well in the match, because I was afraid to use it against my friend, Assar whom I know was in his best form this time.
“I think Assar played (well) and that I was just lucky today (Monday) because sometime luck played crucial role in matches.’’
The statement also has it that the women’s singles final was another classic encounter between Egypt’s Dina Meshref and Nigeria’s Olufunke Oshonaike.
The 41-year-old Oshonaike was unable to repeat her success against Meshref this time round, at the same venue where she shocked the young Egyptian at the 2016 ITTF-African Championships.
The 23-year-old Egyptian was determined not to let history repeat itself, by putting up an impressive performance to sweep the title 4-0 (11-7, 11-9, 11-8, 11-2).
“It was not an easy match and this cannot be judged by the result,’’ Meshref was quoted as saying after her victory.
“The first two games were very tough and I knew that if I could win the first two games, my confidence will grow and I have the opportunity to win the match.
“It was good winning at the same venue I lost to her last year. But, more important, it is better to qualify for the ITTF Women’s World Cup. It is a tournament that is very special to me.”
Tidesports source  reports that the 2017 ITTF-African Cup championships in Agadir is the continental qualification for the prestigious ITTF Men’s and Women’s World Cups.
While the Liebherr 2017 ITTF Men’s World Cup is scheduled for Oct. 20 to Oct. 22 in Liege, Belgium.
Also, the Uncle Pop 2017 ITTF Women’s World Cup is scheduled for Oct. 27 to Oct. 29 in Markham, Canada.
Tidesports source gathered that the ITTF World Cups are the second most prestigious events on the international table tennis calendar.
Only 20 of the top table tennis players in the world are eligible to play.
They must qualify through their respective Continental Cups together with the current World Champions, one host player and a wildcard.
The next continental qualification for the ITTF World Cups will be the ITTF-Pan American Cup in San Jose Costa Rica from July 28 to July 30.

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‘Super Eagles Coach Lacks Class’

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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.”

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350 Golfers Set For IBB Golf Captain’s Tourney

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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.

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HiFL: UNIBEN Royals Tackle UNICAL Malabites

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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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