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Young Tennis Star Targets International Circuit

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Young tennis player Rebecca Ekpenyong has said that her ambition is to play tennis at the International level.
Little Ekpenyong who made this known in a chat with Tidesports after Training session at the Anchorage Sports Club, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Rivers Port Complex, Port Harcourt stated that aside from her educational pursuit, she Is interested in becoming number one tennis player in Nigeria, Africa and in the World.
According to her, she had intensified her training in order to achieve her heart desire.
She expressed optimism that having won so many tournaments in the country and beyond, she would excel with necessary assistance from government, Corporate organisation and sports-loving spirited individuals, and appealed for sponsorship to achieve her dream.
Rebecca Ekpenyong hinted that she is leaving no stone unturned to become the world number one female tennis player as she currently prepares to play in the senior category of the National Sports Festivals, having appeared three times in the junior cadre, and to move on to represent the country in All African Games, Common-wealth Games and Olympic Games in the near future, adding that her greatest challenge had been sponsors to attend tournaments abroad and also gain admission to further her education in the United States of America (USA).
She used the forum to commend the Port Manager, Rivers Port Complex, NPA,
Alhaji Abubakar Garba Umar and the management of the Anchorage Sports Club for their encouragement and assistance to train on their tennis court while she is praying and waiting for her dreams to come true.
The Senior Secondary One (SSI) students also thanked her father, Coach Ekpenyong Peter Effiong who is an International Tennis Federation Coach for given her the basic trainings and encouragement, praying God to protect and bless them.

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2021 AFCON Qualifiers: Osimhen, Diedhov Inspire Nigeria, Senegal

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Victor Osimhen inspired Nigeria with a brace to record a 2-4 away win over Lesotho yesterday, just as a hat-trick from Famara Diedhiou helped Senegal win 4-1 away to eSwatini as the second round of group games in 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying got underway.
There were also wins for Burkina Faso, Mali, Uganda, South Africa, Congo Brazzaville, Guinea, Benin and 2021 Nations Cup hosts Cameroon.
Senegal, the 2019 Nations Cup runners-up, made it two wins from two in Group I in a match that was interrupted by a dramatic rain-storm in eSwatini.
In difficult conditions, Diedhiou scored a quick-fire hat-trick with goals in the 59th, 66th and 68th minutes.
In an eventful match, eSwatini came straight back with a 70th minute goal from Fganelo Mamba but Mamba was then sent off shortly after his strike for two bookings.
Senegal took advantage and scored a fourth through Badou Ndiaye to make it 4-1 to the visitors.
Congo Brazzaville is second in Group I, three points adrift of Senegal, after a 3-0 win over Guinea-Bissau.
Goals from Prince Ibara, Junior Makiesse and Silvere Granvoula earned Congo the victory.
In Group L, Nigeria survived a scare. For the second match running, the Super Eagles had to come from behind before winning 4-2 in Lesotho.
Masoabi Nkoto gave the hosts a shock lead after just 11 minutes, but Nigeria’s Victor Osimhen put on an impressive display to inspire his team to victory.
The in-form Lille striker set up goals for Alex Iwobi and Samuel Chukwueze and on a terrific day for the 20-year-old, Osimhen then scored twice to take the match away from Lesotho’s reach, although they did bag a late consolation goal when Chidozie Awaziem struck into his own net. Nigeria has maximum points in Group L. Earlier in this group, Benin, who lost to Nigeria in their opening match, were 1-0 winners over Sierra Leone at home.
Jodel Dossou scored after 28 minutes to give Benin their first points of the campaign.

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S’Eagles Get Defensive Boost Against Lesotho

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Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr has been handed a defensive boost ahead of the AFCON 2021 qualifying match against Lesotho, after Center Half Kenneth Omeruo was passed fit for the clash by the team doctor.
Omeruo was an injury doubt, after he picked up a knock during training before the game against Benin Republic, and he was dropped to the bench – an unused substitute in the 2-1 win
The Super Eagles arrived Maseru on Saturday with all 23 players invited by the coach and team doctor, Ibrahim Gyaran gave an update on the players’ match fitness
Although it is uncertain if the CB will be selected for Sunday’s game, Gyaran as quoted by told thenff.com confirmed, “that there are no injuries within the 23 -man playing body.”
Nigeria tops Group L with maximum points after match day one and can go three points clear if they pick a win in Maseru.

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Nigeria Misses Out On Olympic Football Event

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Nigeria missed out on a chance to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games football tournament when they were held 0-0 by South Africa at the U-23 Africa Cup of Nations in Cairo on Friday.
Unmarked Sunday Faleye wasted a great chance to snatch victory for the Nigerians in the final minute of their last Group B game by heading a cross wide when a goal seem inevitable.
Ivory Coast edged Zambia 1-0 through a goal from Kouadio-Yves Dabila in the other Group B match of the eight-nation qualifying competition.
The final group matches were played simultaneously in the Egyptian capital with all four countries in contention for semi-finals places before the kick-offs.
Ivory Coast (six points) topped the final standings followed by South Africa (five) and they advanced to the semi-finals tomorrow while Nigeria (four) and Zambia (one) headed home.
Impressive Group A winners Egypt will face South Africa at the penultimate stage followed by Ivory Coast against Group A runners-up Ghana.
The semi-finals winners are guaranteed places at the Tokyo Olympics while the losers get a second chance in the third place play-off to fill the third and last African slot.
Egypt has competed at Olympic football tournaments 11 times – a record for an African nation, but have never collected medals.
Ghana will be seeking a seventh appearance, South Africa a third and the Ivory Coast a second at a tournament where Nigeria (1996) and Cameroon (2000) have won gold.
Olympic qualifying is restricted to under-23 footballers, but three ‘over-age’ stars are permitted at the finals.
Meanwhile, Henry Nwosu has called on the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to go back to the drawing board after Dream Team VII failed to reach the semi-final of the 2019 Africa U23 Cup of Nations in Egypt.
The Imama Amapakabo’s men played out a goalless draw with South Africa in their final Group B game at Al-Salam Stadium on Friday and crashed out in the process.
Nwosu said that it will be unfair to blame the failure on the players and added that the NFF was distracted by the corruption case hanging around their neck affected the Nigerian teams.
“The team did not do well. They did not qualify for Olympic which is our expectation for them,” Nwosu told Tidesports source.
“I believe the corruption case the federation has been battling with affected out teams because if our house is in the order we will be able to make better planning and preparation.
“We need to re-plan and make the system better so that it can work for the players, the coaches and Nigeria will be the better for it.
“We can’t blame the players, they did their best. It is the federation that needs to put their house in order.”

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