The Proprietor of Bimo FC of Lafia, Mr Chinedu Okoye has faulted the decision of League Management Company (LMC) to end the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season with about 13 matches to play.
Okoye who is aspiring to become the President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) stated this on Thursday in Abuja, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Okoye also unfolded his six-point agenda, ahead of the forthcoming board election.
Tidesports source recalls that an emergency joint consultative meeting of the 20 NPFL clubs and the LMC met in Abuja in August and declared the 2017/2018 league season concluded after 24 matches.
The meeting said that the decision was against the backdrop of the adverse circumstances in the administration of football in the country, which resulted in the indefinite suspension of league, leading to huge fixture congestion for both league and cup competitions.
The decision meant that none of the 20 NPFL Clubs would be relegated to the lower league, while four would be promoted from the Nigeria National League (NNL) to bring the number of the NPFL Clubs for the 2018/19 season to 24.
But Okoye said that the termination of the NPFL with 13 games still remaining, while teams were separated from each other with just few points, can best be described as ‘match fixing.’
“This is the first time in the history of Nigeria football where the league was concluded with 13 matches to go.
“Four people just sat down and decided to award Lobi Stars FC the NPFL title.
“We all know that we have a problem; it is only in Nigeria that you know the winner of the league from the beginning of the season. We have to stop this,” Okoye said.
According to Okoye, time has come when Nigerians should find out how football especially the leagues are run in the country.
Okoye said if elected president, he would tell Nigerians what the football secretariat got from sponsors annually.
“There is sponsorship money from coca cola and other big companies; you cannot run NFF like a cabal or your father’s property because it has a mandate to develop football in Nigeria.
“NFF collects 4.3 million dollars every year from FIFA for the development of football in Nigeria including the payment of state Football Associations, as well as female football but unfortunately, these monies get into individual pockets.
“Is that the way to grow? No. We don’t need NFF president that will go and watch Arsenal when his national team is playing a friendly game; that is what we have currently in Nigeria, but it has to stop.
“I am talking about transparency and accountability in the NFF and I will be ready to answer anybody that will come to me to know how much comes into NFF and how much goes out.
“In this current administration, you dare not ask because if you do, you are pushed out the following day,” Okoye added.
The NFF presidential aspirant noted that the annual financial grant from FIFA was basically meant for the development of football at the grassroots with FA chairmen taking the driving seats and not to be spent on frivolities.
He said: “There is no facility and there is no age grade competition in Nigeria. Children from age eight to 18 don’t have any competition.
“Again the issue of doping in our games has to stop. If I become the NFF President, the people that dope will have no place in our sport.
NAN reports that election into the executive committee of the NFF is scheduled to hold on Sept. 20, according to the amended timetable of the Sani Katu-led electoral committee.
I’m Punching Like A Horse Kicking – Joshua
Anthony Joshua has said that he is “punching like a horse kicking backwards” and holds “no fear” going into his highly anticipated rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr.
At a charged news conference next to the Diriyah Arena where the two fight in Saudi Arabia tomorrow, Ruiz, 30, warned there is “no way” he will lose.
Joshua added he will weigh in lighter than the 17st 9lbs he posted before his New York defeat as part of a new plan.
“I may be less than 17 stone,” he told Tidesports source.
“I’m punching loose and heavy, rhythm and flow,” the 30-year-old added. “Before I was trying to bench-press a house. I used my body to get where I needed but then I started realising the sweet science of the sport.
“I am punching like a horse kicking backwards right now.”
Joshua has not weighed less than 17st since 2014 and an analyst, Steve Bunce said his projected weight was a “stunning revelation”.
Ruiz, perhaps playing mind games, arrived at the news conference sporting a New York Knicks jersey. Joshua was housed in the changing room of the NBA franchise for the first bout, where he suffered one of the most shocking defeats in heavyweight history and lost the IBF, WBA and WBO world titles.
As the pair faced off, Joshua’s team shouted “two times” behind him in reference of his chance to win the world titles for a second time. Ruiz’s team responded, shouting “and still” as the camera flashes lit up both men.
Joshua, who had his final six-round spar on Tuesday, was asked if winning the belts back would be a career high and replied: “I was asked if it will be a special moment and said ‘no’ as I know I belong there.
“When I got back from New York, I didn’t lose any heart or fire in my belly and started punching the heavy bag preparing for this day. There is no fear in my heart, my eyes or mind, I am confident.”
The venue for the news conference and fight, on the outskirts of Riyadh in Diriyah, are flanked by a fairground and a stage that will host US artist Usher and Chris Brown today.
The world’s best-paid fighter Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and former world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson are expected to attend a fight that has been widely criticised as a result of the host country’s human rights record.
Those involved have made no secret of the financial motivation to come here, with Joshua set to earn upwards of £50m and promoter Eddie Hearn defiantly told reporters it was “a wonderful, wonderful decision”.
Ruiz described Saudi Arabia as “the perfect place to make history” and his stunning stoppage win six months ago ranked high in the sport’s archive of upsets.
Asked if he held any fear over the kind of power that saw Joshua knock him down in New York, he said. “Not really. I was the one who had the strength, the one backing him up. When I jabbed I pushed him away.
“I know he lost weight and that he will try and box me around, so it’s my job to prevent that.
“I have been doing this since I was six and it is finally paying off. There is no way I am going to let these belts go, I will die trying. It has been a rollercoaster and now that I made the dreams come true there is no way I will let these go.”
Joshua’s back-to-basics approach for the bout has been well documented and he again said he had no interest in delivering a “show” but was just “here to win”.
His promoter Hearn has expressed how nervous he is given his marquee fighter would slip down the heavyweight pecking order with a second defeat.
Joshua’s trainer Rob McCracken, who faced criticism after the first loss, said his fighter was “in a much better place” this time around.
And Joshua also said that defeat made him use his “time wisely” in prioritising his skills over other aspects of training.
“When Muhammad Ali was training he said he would build a shack to train in,” added Joshua.
“There are clues to success and you have to go back to what it takes to be a great heavyweight champion. We had to bring in hard, rough sparring partners. I brought in the toughest and roughest.”
Confed Cup: Enyimba Aims To Bounce Back
Enyimba will be aiming to bounce back to winning ways in the 2019-20 CAF Confederations Cup when they play host to FC San Pedro at the Enyimba International Stadium in Aba on Sunday afternoon.
Kick-off is at 3:00pm CAT.
The Peoples’ Elephant slumped to a 2-0 loss away to Hassania Agadir in their Group D opener last weekend with two goals in five first-half minutes leading the Moroccans to victory.
San Pedro conjured a point from their opening group stage fixture with the Ivorian club held to a 0-0 draw at home to Paradou AC.
Enyimba head coach Usman Abdallah is confident that his side will learn from their defeat in Agadir, as they now set their sights on making home advantage count in their favour.
He was quoted as saying: “We lost but all is in the past, I had the full confidence that I am going to come out victorious in this match which turned out to be that we lost but that is football.
“I’ll take a lesson from that and we will learn a lot from the mistakes. I have seen a lot of things that we did right and many that we didn’t do right. So that’s the only way to gain more experience so that we can apply it elsewhere.”
The Nigeria champions have never won Africa’s second tier competition, but reached the semi-finals in 2018 before losing to eventual champions Raja Casablanca.
‘Govt Should Encourage Private Sector Participation In Sports’
Government at all levels should provide enabling environment and facilities to encourage private sector operators to go into sports for the much needed development to take place.
A former Commissioner for Youth Development and Sports in Anambra State, Chief Joseph Okeke, gave the advice in an interview with newsmen in Awka, yesterday.
“It is the duty of government at the federal, state and local levels to offer incentives in the form of patronage, waiver, etc to individuals, corporate organisations that promote sporting activities.
“Government should as well build sports facilities such as stadia, indoor sports halls, swimming pools and others at catchment locations.
“Then, motivated sports philanthropists will move to schools, towns to attract participants that are numerous, but not knowing how to start, to showcase their talents,” he said.
Okeke said that the country was losing huge resources by not producing sportsmen and women that would win laurels for us.
“Go to our primary, secondary schools, you will see a lot of budding young talents that are growing with nobody wooing them into sports.
“There are lots of benefits to be derived from being a sports person which include monetary reward, fame, scholarships and expense-free international travels which will make the fellow a household name,” he said.
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