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Sports Minister Identifies Key Areas For Dev

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The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare, has said that the upgrade and renewal of sports infrastructure around the country remains a top priority for the Ministry.
He said this while fielding questions from journalists on preparations of athletes for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
The Minister added that the welfare of athletes will not take the back seat under his leadership.
“Starting from their welfare, starting from the needed funds, making sure that we line them up to be at the different championships and trials they must attend, we are working with Federations to build up a calendar to also try and get the necessary funding in time to support our Federations but also to support our athletes directly and that’s why we came up with the Adopt an Athlete initiative,” he said.
On the efforts to improve Stadia across the country and how it would contribute to turning the fortunes of sports in Nigeria,  he said, “We will not have overnight changes between the coming batches and I dare say perhaps, those going to the Tokyo Olympics 2020 might not benefit directly from our efforts in the reparations of infrastructural renewal. It will take time but we have begun in earnest since last year. “Infrastructural rationalisation  is critical to sports development but not just the brick and mortar structures we have in the mainbowl but also, do we have requisite equipments. Modern digital sporting equipments that our athletes can use to improve their skills. So we have a plan and it is also embedded within the Adoption Campaign Initiative.
“Beyond that, we are also making a case to carry out an audit of all our sporting infrastructures and also see which ones are critical that we can marshal funds to fix and optimize their advantage for our athletes”.

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Interference: South-South Threatens To Boycott NFF Activities

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Miffed by the steps taken by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) in Delta State Football Association (DFA), the chairmen of Football Associations in South-South zone have threatened to boycott the activities of NFF.
It will be recalled that the NFF set up a Normalisation Committee chaired by Henry Nkeki that has three months mandate to organise a fresh election in Delta.
But in a statement signed by the FA Chairmen of Rivers (Christopher Green), Cross Rivers (Atuake Oswald), Bayelsa (Poubeni Ogun), Delta (Edema Fuludu) and Edo (Henry O. Asemota), the body faulted the setting up of the Normalisation Committee, which has created an artificial crisis where there was none.
“It has come to our attention that the President of the NFF Amaju Pinnick, the Chairman of Chairmen Ibrahim Gusau and the South South zonal Coordinator Emmanuel Ibah relying on Article 8 (2) of FIFA Statutes 2019 has set up a Normalisation Committee to manage the affairs of the Delta State Football Association.
“It is our firm view that in the absence of any crisis in Delta State Football Association prior to the constitution of this Normalisation Committee and in addition to the fact that the said Article 8 (2) has not been adopted by the Congress of the Nigeria Football Federation, their reliance on the said Article 8 (2) of the FIFA Statutes is misplaced.
The body added: “As far as we are concerned, what the aforesaid persons have done is create, an artificial crisis, which they then relied on to constitute the Normalisation Committee with the sole design of installing Tony Okowa the executive chairman of the Delta State Sports Commission as the chairman of the Delta State Football Association.”
They however, described the steps taken as a dangerous precedent that could lead to undermining the supremacy of Congress.
Arming themselves with the statutes of NFF, the body said: “Relying on article 13 (1) (f) of the statutes of the NFF, we request the NFF to immediately constitute an arbitration panel to resolve this dispute between the aforementioned persons and the Delta State Football Association.”
“Pending the resolution of this issue, we the undersigned Chairmen of the Football Associations in the South South Zone of Nigeria shall boycott all NFF events.
They expressed disappointment with the actions by the zonal coordinator Emmanuel Ibah in the handling of this matter, adding that he has abdicated his duties and responsibilities as the representative of the zone.
They therefore passed a vote of no confidence on Ibah. “Henceforth he (Ibah) ceases to represent the South South geopolitical zone in the NFF executive committee,” they said.

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Ikpeba Backs Nigeria For World Cup

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The 46-year-old believes the Super Eagles have all it takes to reach the final play-off round with ease following Tuesday’s draw
Victor Ikpeba has thrown his weight behind Nigeria to progress from their 2022 World Cup qualifying group effortlessly.
The three-time African champions have been drawn along with Cape Verde, Central African Republic and Liberia in Group C, with the Super Eagles being the highest-ranked side.
Ikpeba, who featured for the West Africans at the 1994 and 1998 World Cups, is confident Gernot Rohr’s men will have a good qualifying outing, although he warned Cape Verde may pose a big threat to their qualification target.
“Nigeria will win all their home matches, Cape Verde can cause some problems but they cannot stand on the way of the Super Eagles,” Tidesports source.
“CAR and Liberia are not a match but Super Eagles cannot afford to underrate them. The coach is very good and Nigeria has some of the best players in the world
“They can beat any team in the world and why not win the 2022 World Cup in Qatar?”
The winner of the group is guaranteed a place in the final play-off round, where the five teams to represent the African continent will be decided.
Meanwhile, former Nigeria international Yisa Sofoluwe has warned the Super Eagles to be wary of Cape Verde when hostilities begin in the second round phase of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The Super Eagles were drawn in a seemingly easy second round Group C that houses Cape Verde, Central African Republic and Liberia during the 2022 World Cup qualifying draw held in Cairo on Tuesday but Sofoluwe who earned 40 international caps during his heyday with the national team has called for caution.
He disclosed that there were no small teams again in football and that with only the group leaders making it to the final round of the qualifiers, Cape Verde who played at the quarter final stage in their debut appearance at the Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa in 2013 as well as President George Weah’s Liberia could pose great threats to the Super Eagles ambition of qualifying.
“We are in a group that we should easily qualify from but knowing the unpredictability of football, I want to appeal to the Super Eagles to take every game seriously,” said Sofoluwe who scored a goal in his impressive career with the Super Eagles.”
“We must prepare very well and respect our opponents if we are to qualify. Cape Verde, Central African Republic and Liberia are not in Nigeria’s class but they can shock us if we underrate them.
“Cape Verde surprised many at the AFCON (South Africa 2013) where they got to the quarter final before get narrowly lost out (to Ghana). We cannot joke with a nation like that,” warned Sofoluwe who was nicknamed the ‘Dean of Defence’ during his days with the Super Eagles.
Sofoluwe, who appeared at two AFCON in 1984 and 1988 during his glittering football career but now a coach still tipped the Eagles to pick the ticket ahead of their Group C rivals but noted that Nigeria must do the right thing for that to be possible.

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Minister Begins Payment Of Athletes’ Allowances

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Minister for Youth and Sports Development, Dare Sunday , has fulfilled his promise to pay Nigeria’s youth and junior athletes to the CAA U-18/U-20 championships in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire last April allowances owed them by the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN).
The athletes competed in the competition under the harshest of conditions, travelling by road for three days and were denied their allowances even after the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development released N13m for the competition.
The athletes, through their acting representative on the board of the AFN, Charles President of the Federation, Olamide George appealed to the Sports Minister to look into the athletes’ predicament.
The sports minister, who revealed at the start of the new year that athletes welfare will be one of his focus in his sports development policy made good his promise and ordered that the athletes should be paid part of their allowances.
“We are very grateful to the Honourable Minister for coming to the rescue of the athletes who were subjected to indecent treatments just because they wanted to represent their country, Nigeria,’ said the factional president who confirmed that the athletes started receiving bank alerts last weekend.
Meanwhile, Sports Philanthropist, Alhaji Ahmed Ahedjo Kaita has replaced Solomon Ogba on the board of the federation.

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