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Al-Makura Donates N10m To Amazons FC

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Governor Umaru AlMakura of Nasarawa State has donated N10 million to Lafia-based Nasarawa Amazons FC for clinching the 2016/2017 Nigerian Women Football League (NWFL) title.
The governor also ordered the prompt payment of the players sign-on fees worth N38 million.  Al-makura made the donation at a brief ceremony held for the management and players of the club at the Government House in Lafia on Wednesday.
He said the team’s triumph was worth more than “silver and gold’’ and the only way to  show gratitude which could not be enough for their efforts was to recognise and celebrate them.
“It is with the greatest delight that I on behalf of the government and people of Nasarawa State welcome our victorious Amazons home.
“What these wonderful queens have done is worth more than silver or gold.
“Today is one of the golden days of Nasarawa State because these great daughters of ours have done the state proud by winning the NWFL title.
“This makes me proud and I am appreciating them with a donation of N10 million,’’ he said. Al-Makura, who praised the Amazons for their feat, assured them that between Wednesday and today, their total sign-on fees worth N38 million would paid as a sign of  the government’s commitment to their welfare.
“You are the single most exalted team among ladies in the country. I believe you are priceless. “What you have done for Nasarawa State cannot be quantified. We have already started reviewing your emoluments so that you can access them compared with other states.
“Also, I have already signed the N38 million documents for your sign-on fees. Today is Wednesday. I want to assure you that by Friday, your sign-on fees will be paid to you,” he added. The governor also revealed that the government had arranged for all necessary vehicles meant for the transportation and use by Nasarawa Amazons and Nasarawa United FC to be released to both teams on Wednesday.
“What you and Nasarawa United are doing is very encouraging and we will continue to play our part by ensuring that your welfare is always taken care of.
“I want to also inform you that we have also created a practicing pitch for your training just behind the government house,’’ he said.
He, however, urged the players to be patient with the government with regards to their emoluments compared to female footballers in Europe and other parts of the world. Al-Makura assured them that government was doing its best to develop sports to the level it should be.  Thanking the governor, , the club’s Chairman, Alhaji   Audu   Nuhu expressed gratitude to the government for its support and assured that the team would work harder to ensure that it retained the title next season and win the Aiteo Challenge Cup also.
“I cannot say we have ever gone out without our allowances and I cannot also say that any other club enjoys the type of support we get from our state government.
“We are indeed very grateful for all the support you have given the team.
“We must thank you sir for the approval given for the prompt payment of the players’ sign-on fees.
“This is just the beginning of the laurels we are going to bring to the state. We will continue to do our best so that whatever efforts you make is seen,’’ he said.
Earlier, the team’s Captain, Mariam Ibrahim said: “I want to say a big thank you to our daddy, the executive governor of Nasarawa State for your support because without the support, we may not have achieved this goal.
“He has been very supportive and I pray God continues to protect him,’’.

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Eguavoen, Lawal Call For Better Pitches Across Nigeria

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The Technical Director of the Nigeria Football Federation, Austin Eguavoen, and former Super Eagles midfielder, Garba Lawal, have lauded the new pitch of the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, venue of the ongoing Aisha Buhari Invitational Women’s Football Tournament in Lagos.
The duo, who spoke on the sidelines of the competition, want the stadium’s turf, which was constructed by Monimichelle Group, replicated across Nigeria.
“I remember playing in this stadium in the 1980s, but you can’t compare then and now because the turf is now completely refurbished, well planned with a great synthetic pitch of FIFA standard. We thank the government of Lagos State for this effort and we want more of this in different locations so that we can develop our football,” Eguavoen said.
Tidesports source reports that the former Super Eagles coach also commended the organisers of the Aisha Buhari Cup, saying it was a good test for the Super Falcons.
“I congratulate the person who came up with this idea. The organisation is very smooth, but it is quite unfortunate that all the teams will not play with each other. They are confined to play only two matches each according to the FIFA rules and regulations. But it is a good test for our girls and it affords Lagos residents the opportunity to see other countries play. It will be nice for our football if we can see more of this. It is a wonderful innovation.”
Another ex-international, Garba Lawal, said he would also like to see pitches like the one at the remodelled Mobolaji Johnson Arena turf across Nigeria.
“The pitch is fantastic, superb. The contractor did an excellent job and it is a good atmosphere for players to showcase their skills. I want to see more of this across Nigeria to fast track our football development,” Lawal stated.

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Ministry Will Reward Paralympians – Edoreh

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Athletes, who represented the country at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics have been promised rewards for their exploits at the games.
Speaking with newsmen, para-sports promoter and former Chairman, Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (Lagos State Chapter), Fred Edoreh,  said the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development was working on rewarding them.
Tidesports source  reports  that the paralympians, who came back from Tokyo with 10 medals – four gold medals, one silver medal, and five bronze medals, demanded that they be treated like the olympians.
At the olympics, Blessing Oborududu and Ese Brume got instant cash rewards of $10,000 and $7,500 respectively after winning silver and bronze medals respectively.
“I will advise the athletes to just exercise some patience. The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, is hugely committed to the welfare of our para-athletes and it is not imaginable for him to disregard them nor discriminate against them nor renege on the promise of government. They all will remember how the minister used his initiative to provide for the welfare of the athletes during the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020 without anybody prompting,” Edoreh said.
“I am aware that while in Tokyo the Chef de Mission met with the athletes and assured them that they would be rewarded with the same amount of money as was promised and given to  their olympic counterparts.”
He also added that the ministry didn’t want the athletes to go through the stress of changing their money from different currencies.
“The government meant well by not sending the money to them in Tokyo because the Japanese government would have insisted on receiving it in Yen and then they would convert back to dollars, before exchanging to Naira. All that would have reduced the value for them.
“Besides, the ministry would normally wait for the games to end to be able to ascertain the number of medalists.

and how much requisition to make for the reward,” he added.

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Sports Minister Pledges Support For Tennis Youngsters

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Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, has promised to put the Yakubu sisters, Oiza and Ohunene, and Marylove Edwards on the ministry’s sponsorship list  and also reach out to the governors of Oyo and Ekiti states to send the two most outstanding junior tennis talents in the country, Ganiyu Mubarak (Oyo) and Seun Ogunsakin (Ekiti) to tennis academies abroad.
Dare stated this after watching the junior players wow the crowd at the maiden Sapetro Futures Tennis Championship at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan.
 Tidesports source reports that Edwards, 16, and Oiza, 16, are already ranked No.2 and No.5 in the seniors, and have been precluded from playing in the ITA Junior Tennis Circuit.
Dare, who watched Ohunene, 13, overcome the spirited challenge from 14-year-old Success Ogunjobi to win the Girls 16s event 9-2, commended the partnership between the sponsors Sapetro and the International Tennis Academy adding, “This sponsorship, if it continues, will have tremendous impact on the development of tennis in Nigeria.”
The minister’s wish was immediately granted by the Vice Chairman of Sapetro, Senator Daisy Danjuma, represented by the company’s General Manager, Finance, Amos Garga.
Also at the event was former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Odein Ajumogobia.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the matches,” Ajumogobia said. “I’m amazed at the skill level of these junior players. If we can find a way to send the best 10 to academies abroad, Nigeria will make significant impact in the tennis world in the near future.”
Seun Ogunsakin had turned his match against Damilare Awe from Oyo State in the Boys 14s into an exhibition of his prodigious talent as he completely overran his  opponent 9-0, while Mubarak, 14, promoted to play the 16s, met the expectation of the organisers by beating his older opponent Basit Ajao from Lagos 9-6.
In the other finals, Khadijat Mohammed (Abuja) beat Mary Iorlumun (Benue) 9-1 to win the Girls 14s; Ndidi Osaji (Lagos) defeated Vanessa Inyang (Lagos) 9-7 in the Girls 12s. Onyekachi Ogumjiofor (Oyo) triumphed over Seyi Ogunsakin (Ekiti) 9-3 in the Boys 12s and Murewa Egbeyemi (Lagos) continued his domination of an emerging rival with Malcolm Osaji (Lagos) winning 9-4 in the Boys 10s event.
The Sapetro Futures Championship is now part of the ITA Junior Tennis Circuit, which provides the platform for juniors from all over the nation to showcase their talents.

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