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‘Facilities In Ebonyi,Good To Host National Teams’

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Ebonyi State is ready to host matches involving the national teams as well as other competitions because it has the facilities to host such events, a state government official said last Saturday.
The state’s Commissioner for Sports and Youth Development, Charles Akpuenika, said the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and other sports bodies should look the state’s way when taking decisions on hosting events.
“The facilities at the Pa Ngele Oruta Stadium are of international standard and the fans are very passionate about football and other sports events,’’ he told Tidesports source in Abakaliki.
“The players and officials who participated in the just-ended South-East/South-South Pre-Season Football Challenge gave eloquent testimonies about facilities at the stadium and we wish to draw NFF’s attention to this fact.
“We appeal to the Amaju Pinnick-led NFF to organise some of its engagements in the state and not concentrate on having most of national teams’ matches in one geo-political zone,” he added.
The commissioner urged the NFF to recall that a letter was sent to it by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) some time ago, asking it to come and inspect facilities at the stadium.
“We are eagerly waiting for NFF’s response on the invitation as we have better facilities than the stadiums which host national teams’ matches and other national sports competitions.
“The state government spent millions of Naira to renovate the stadium and other sports facilities in the state and we intend to put these facilities into good use.
“Facilities at the stadium have been upgraded and they include a good pitch, 500 KVA and 350 KVA stand-by generators for steady power supply, regular water supply, exquisite VIP stand, among others,” he said.
Akpuenika added that it was a blessing for the state to have produced the Senate Committee Chairman on Sports, Obinna Ogba.
He said the state was hopeful his influence would help to attract such matches and competitions to the state.
Patrick Ngwaogu, Coordinator of the South-East/South-South Pre-Season Football Challenge, supported Akpuenika’s contention, saying the stadium could host any competition.
“The stadium can host any type of tournament or competition, and I am confident that competitions such as the one we organised would let the world know that such a stadium exists in Abakaliki.
“Hosting of competitions in the stadium will also eliminate the apathy displayed by fans during the competition we hosted. That was one of our findings during the competition,” he said.
Adenrele Moses, the coach of Abia Warriors Football Club of Umuahia, one of the participants in the competition, described the Pa Ngele Oruta Stadium as impressive.

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Aisha Buhari Cup: FIFA, CAF Presidents Grace Kick-Off, Falcons Win 2-0

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Substitute Gift Monday handed Nigeria a sweet 2-0 victory on the opening day of the maiden edition of the Aisha Buhari Invitational Women’s Tournament in the City of Lagos.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State led eminent political big-wigs, and FIFA President, Gianni Infantino and CAF President, Patrice Motsepe led football’s top echelon, including President of NFF and FIFA council member, Amaju Melvin Pinnick, to the showpiece at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan.
Monday, interestingly a player of FC Robo Queens of Lagos, spurned in the air to meet a cross by Captain Asisat Oshoala in the 83rd minute and nodded past goalkeeper Fatoumata Karenta, six minutes after coming into the fray for Francisca Ordega.
The goal put the Super Falcons in the lead after a rather turgid day on Lagos island, with the Malians showing greater zest and desire in the opening half and returning after the recess with the same impressive fighting spirit.
The visiting Female Eagles had survived a raid on their area in the 5th minute as Nigeria looked to go into the lead with a corner, but the defence cleared. Nine minutes later, Ordega sidenetted from another quick dash upfront, and in the 18th minute, Ageusissa Diarra tested Goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie from a 30-yard free-kick.
In the second half, Uchenna Kanu sidenetted in the 67th minute, before Oshoala, who should have scored with only the goalkeeper to beat, failed to get past Karenta. In the 74th minute, Karenta again saved from Kanu.
In the 83rd minute, Monday rose highest in the box and nodded past Karenta, bringing so much excitement to the arena.
One minute into added time, Monday was again at the end of an Asisat’s assist, and looped the ball over an advancing Karenta to put huge smiles on the faces of Nigerians.

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Enyimba Appoints Finidi George As Head Coach

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The former Ajax and Real Betis winger, George Finidi, who replaces Fatai Osho whose contract expired at the end of August, has joined the eight-time Nigerian champions, Enyimba FC, on a two-year contract.
George, a legend of Nigeria’s men’s senior national team, made 62 appearances for the Super Eagles in an illustrious playing career that lasted up to fifteen years.
He was a key member of the glorious era that won the Africa Cup of Nations in 1994 and represented the country at two FIFA World Cups, the 1994 and 1998 editions.
Tidesports source reports that at club level, George won the UEFA Champions League with Ajax in 1995 and went on to play for Real Betis, RCD Mallorca, and Ipswich Town.
His first official game as Enyimba head coach will be the CAF Confederation Cup’s second preliminary round fixture against Senegalese side, Diambers FC in mid-October.
Speaking to Enyimba’s media immediately after putting pen to paper, George said, “I have to say it’s a great opportunity for the club to have this confidence in me.
“I want to thank the chairman, the members of the board, and the supporters for even thinking about me. On my own part, I will be here to just work and do the job. It’s never going to be easy but I’m here to work and make the team win.”
Chairman of Enyimba, Felix Anyansi Agwu, stated that the arrival of George represents a new chapter for the club.
“I believe that the time has come for us as a club to open up a new chapter, a chapter that will showcase the many hardwork that has been going on behind the scene and usher in lots of success.
“For us to have engaged a coach like Finidi George who is coming from Europe is a clear statement of intent about our aspirations,” Agwu said.

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Arteta Sees Light For Arsenal

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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta says he sees a bright future for the club despite suffering their worst start to a season for 67 years.
The Gunners climbed off the bottom of the Premier League table with their first goal and first points of the campaign by beating Norwich 1-0 last weekend.
However, Arteta’s position is still under scrutiny ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Burnley after spending £150 million ($207 million) on new players during the transfer window.
The Spaniard claimed after beating Norwich he had enjoyed the “best 10 days of his career in this industry” during an international break when his side was rock bottom of the table.
And Arteta was equally optimistic on where Arsenal are headed with all six of his summer signings aged 23 or under.
“I’m telling you I’m very positive most of the time. I’ve seen the light and I can see bright lights,” he said at his pre-match press conference on Thursday.
“There can be bumps in the road within that light, but I can see a lot of light.”
Arteta is also hopeful the criticism his squad suffered after defeats to Brentford, Chelsea and Manchester City will only serve to make them stronger.
“It’s tough because it hurts, because you want to see something different. But what you want is not always what happens,” he added.
“Things happen for a reason and maybe what is happening had to happen and it’s going to be really good for the club and really good for myself and everybody experiencing that situation. We have to believe that.”

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