Rivers State Government at the weekend unveiled the state-owned Real Madrid Football Academy in Port Harcourt, which was constructed to promote professional football.
Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, while inaugurating the academy, also unveiled the ultra-modern football training facility.
This was done in the presence of officials of Real Madrid Football Club and Rivers Government at the occasion.
Makinde, while speaking, said the Academy would groom the next generation of stars.
He said: “this project will allow the early discovery and harnessing of football talents in Rivers.
“There has always been great football talents from Rivers. Great players like Taribo West, George Finidi and Joseph Yobo. This project will create more stars”
Makinde said sports remained one of the greatest unifying factors in Nigeria, adding that by developing the Real Madrid Academy, the administration of Governor Nyesom Wike was promoting national unity.
He commended Wike for his commitment to the development of Rivers State.
In his address, Governor Wike said the unveiling of the Real Madrid Academy was one of the happiest events of his life as it marked the beginning of a new football era.
“Today is one of the happiest days of my life. Today, our dream has come to fruition by the help of God,’’ he said.
The governor said the state government resolved to construct a school and hostel in addition to current facilities at the Academy.
Wike said that 70 per cent of the students of the Academy would be from Rivers, while other Nigerians would form 30 per cent of the school’s intake.
“The money used to execute this project is from Rivers State. Therefore, Rivers money is for Rivers people. Seventy per cent of the students will be indigenes of Rivers, while the remaining 30 percent will be from other states.
“All Rivers indigenes to be trained in the Academy will school here free of charge,’’ he said. Wike said the people of Rivers deserved the best, and this was why his administration was committed to initiating and executing quality projects for the people.
Area Manager of Real Madrid Foundation for Africa and Middle East, Inigo Vallejo, assured the state government that the club would continue to support the Academy’s sustained development. He said after series of engagement with Governor Wike on the Academy, the club has keyed into it and would help drive the project.
NPFL Title Race: Kano Pillars Throw In Towel
Kano Pillars head coach Ibrahim Musa, has admitted that the title race could be over after leaders Akwa extended their advantage to six points at the weekend.
The Promise Keepers defeated Jigawa Golden Stars at home last Sunday and needs just four points from remaining three matches to seal their first ever league crown.
Musa who watched his side grind out a 1-0 win over Abia Warriors at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna, said the title could be heading to Uyo after what happened last Sunday.
“Sincerely speaking, it’s difficult to win the title now after Akwa United won [against Jigawa Golden Stars]. We cannot deceive ourselves [that we still have a chance to win the league]. Let’s go and fight for the second position in order to secure continental football.”
Ibrahim Musa however ever called on his boys to finish strongly starting with the game against Kwara United on Wednesday.
Pillars will then hosts Wikki Tourists in Kaduna on Sunday, before wrapping up the campaign away.
Team Nigeria Continues Poor Run At Tokyo 2020
Nigeria continued her poor run in the ongoing Tokyo Olympics games after players lost out in the table tennis singles event. The only remarkable point for the country was the induction of veteran table tennis star, Funke Oshonaike into the ITTF Club 7.
Despite crashing out of contention at the Games, Oshonaike officially joined the exclusive club of table tennis players who have attended seven Olympics.
Funke was presented, with a certificate of authenticity, crafted in sterling silver and layered with white gold at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium Hall.
The Olympic participation record dates back to her first Olympics in the 1996 Atlanta games as she is the first woman to hold such in the ITTF.
She attended the ceremony alongside Segun Toriola and the Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, Phemmy Adetula.
Meanwhile, another vetran and medal hopeful, Aruna Quadri, suffered a defeat in the men’s singles yesterday.
The Nigerian lost 4-2 to Brazil’s Gustavo Tsuboi in the third round and has been eliminated from the game.
Quadri who reached the last eight of the 2016 edition in Rio took the first set 15-13, but Tsuboi fought back to win the next two sets 11-9, 11-6.
Aruna responded and won the fourth game 11-7, but fell short in the final two sets as Tsuboi sealed passage into the next round with 11-7 and 11-6 victory.
Aruna has now followed his compatriot Olajide Omotayo, Funke Oshonaike, and Offiong Edem out of the competition.
Nigeria’s table tennis sensation, Offiong Edem was also eliminated from the Tokyo Olympics Women’s single event.
The 34-year-old kissed the event goodbye following a defeat to three-time American Champions, Lily Zhang in the early hours of Monday.
Edem, who was far from her best lost by four sets to one (13-11,2-11,2-11, 8-11,6-11).
Despite the defeat, Edem remains the only Nigerian table tennis star with a win at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics.
She defeated Csilla Dora Madarasz 8-11, 9-11, 9-11, 11-9, 4-11) in her first match, before the eventual defeat to the three-time Olympics champion.
In a related development, Nigeria’s Elizabeth Anyanacho has voiced her disappointment for missing out on a medal at the Olympics.
Anyanacho failed to make it to the podium in taekwondo following a narrow defeat to a Turkish opponent Nur Tartar on Sunday.
She competed in the women’s -67kg and suffered a 12-7 to much experienced Nur Tartar of Turkey.
“I lost to Turkey 7 – 12. Turkey then lost in golden point to the USA after a 1 – 1 draw. This means I am totally out of fighting for a podium place at the Tokyo Olympics,” she told the media.
“I have cried and I still feel hurt because I wanted to spring a good surprise, despite being four years early to my original Paris 2024 Olympics.
“It has been quite a journey. Truly, a long and challenging journey with a rollercoaster of emotions.
She added that the painful defeat will surely help her development in sports.
In basketball, it was an encouraging encounter for Nigeria’s D’tigress as they lost to World powerhouse, United States 72-81 in the opening group B match of the Tokyo Olympics games.
The Nigerian girls started the game pretty promptly and sharp as they ran into a 6 point lead early in the game and took the first quarter with a 3point lead over the USA at 20-17.
They fell short of the spark in the 2nd quarter as the experience of USA players came to the party as they racked up 27 points in the quarter to Nigeria’s 12 to take the quarter 32-44.
More of the same it was in the 3rd quarter as the match began to run agonizingly away from Nigeria’s D’Tigress as the USA began to drop huge 3pts shots and draw a lot of fouls from Nigeria due to the aggressive defensive full court play of the Nigerians as the quarter ended 50-70.
With almost all hope gone, the huge height of the United States girls began to show as they extended the lead by over 20pts and it was beginning to look like a landslide comfortable win for the USA but it wasn’t to be as Nigeria’s D’Tigress showed outstanding fighting spirit and accrued a massive 22points in the last quarter compared to USA’s 11points to reduce the deficit to just 9points.
Joshua Vows To Smoke Fury In Ring
Anthony Joshua has declared he would fight Tyson Fury even with no belts on the line and has vowed to “smoke that guy” should they finally meet in the ring.
WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight champion, Joshua had appeared set for a unification showdown with fellow Briton, Fury, the WBC title-holder, before a United States arbitrator in May ordered the latter to have a third bout against Deontay Wilder
That contest is due to take place in Las Vegas in October, rearranged from this month after Fury tested positive for Coronavirus, while Joshua is now preparing to face Oleksandr Usyk at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in September.
Speaking to Tidesports source, Joshua said when asked if he thought Fury did not want a fight against him: “He’s a fighter isn’t he? What’s the worst that can happen? You get hit. He’s been doing it for years.
“However, I just know on my end, my management team and my promoters, we’ve done everything we can to make this happen, and as long as I’m champion,I’ll compete with anyone.”
On meeting Fury regardless of if they win or lose their next fights, Joshua said: “Without the belts? I rate that, I rate that, that’s what I’m talking about.
“We’ll fight 100 per cent, let’s do it. I’ll smoke that guy. I will. It’s annoying.”
He added: “It’s not me. It’s the other side that are letting this down. We are keen, we are ready.”
Asked by Neville if he respected Fury as a man, Joshua said: “I don’t know, I don’t really look at anyone in my industry like that. That’s people I want to just fight.
“I haven’t got no time for none of them. I’m not friends with no-one, they’re all enemies at the end of the day.”
Joshua also gave his thoughts on taking the knee – something he said he would be prepared to do in the ring.
England players made the anti-racism gesture ahead of matches at this summer’s European Championship, which was booed by some fans.
Without the belts? I rate that, I rate that, that’s what I’m talking about.
Asked by former England and Manchester United defender, Neville for his view on what he had seen in terms of football and taking the knee, Joshua said: “I feel like the players and the teams have done a great job of explaining what the reasons are for taking the knee.
“As a fan, whether you’re there for that, or not, you’re there to watch the team win. The importance of supporting your team mates and your players – emotionally you’re with them through thick and thin. That’s the whole point of being like ‘I ride for this team’. That’s loyalty.
“The reason that has been explained of them taking a knee is to bring awareness to an issue that’s been going on. Before phones were recording certain incidents, these things were happening. Certain people are aware, some people have learnt more recently. But as I said, it’s nice that the explanation was made clear as to why the knee is being taken.
“This is just for a change for the better. It’s not political, it’s not about defunding anything or funding anything. The change wants to be made for the better. For the betterment of my kids, probably your kids, probably the person down the road’s kids, so harmony is created, because division is going to cause war.”
When then asked if he would take a knee in the ring, Joshua said: “Yeah, 100 per cent I would. I’d take the knee anywhere.”
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