The Lagos Rugby team yesterday lamented lack of training kits ahead of the coming National Sports Festival billed for March 20 in Benin.
Ayo Johnson, coach of the team told newsmen during their training session at the National Stadium, Lagos that some of the players had been injured due to bad pitch and lack of kits for the game.
He said that the team’s challenge had been facilities for training, adding that the few substandard facilities provided for the team were returned to those who brought them.
The coach said in spite of the setback the team was prepared for all oppositions at the games as it had been training hard with a view to challenge any state for the gold.
“We are ready for the games. We are going to give every challenger a run for their money.
“We have 35 players in camp, both male and female, but we will select the best 25 out of the number to represent the state,” he said.
According to Tidesports, one of the players, Stephen Kiki said they were training under a hash condition without the necessary facilities such as balls, tackle bags, cones, headgear, body armour, teeth guard and supplements.
“We need standard gym and proper medical care for our injuries,” he said.
David Oyekanmi, captain for the male team said if all the items mentioned were provided, especially good pitch for training, their preparation would have been much easier.
Onyekanmi said that in spite of this, they were training hard for gold.
“We are still training to get gold. The Lagos State Government promised us during qualifying stages that all we needed would be provided if we qualify.
“We want the government to keep to its promises because we have qualified for the games.
“All logistics needed should be provided. We have about 10 players with injuries due to no right facilities to train with.
“The game of rugby is a dangerous one. One could sustain a fatal injury if care is not taking,” he said.
The Captain of the female team, Halimat Tiamiyu said the camp was not easy for the ladies due to no protective facilities to train with.
She called on the state government to provide the logistics it promised the team because the players were committed to winning gold for the state.
Tidesports source reports that Ogun and Lagos States qualified in the rugby game to represent the Southwest at the 2020 National Sports Festival in Edo.
Arsenal’s Saka Excites NFF President
President of Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick had nothing but praise for Arsenal wonderkid Bukayo Saka as he spoke about foreign-trained players who can add value to the Nigerian national teams instead of other countries securing their services.
Pinnick has likened the Hale End Academy product to a goldfish with no hiding place, saying that the winger does not need to lobby before he is invited to the Super Eagles.
Since the experienced Delta State administrator became the NFF boss, foreign-trained players such as William Troost-Ekong, Carl Ikeme, Ola Aina, Brian Idowu, Joe Aribo, Maduka Okoye, Tyronne Ebuehi and Josh Maja have chosen to pledge their international futures to Nigeria over their countries of birth.
In an interview with Tidesports source, Pinnick stated : “A lot of people call me, ‘I have a boy that is very good, he’s 21, he’s an exceptional player, he can fit in into any team’.
“The first thing I say to them is that it’s a lie. Once a player is exceptional, it’s like a goldfish that has no hiding place.
“If you see somebody like Bukayo Saka for example, do you need anybody to sell that player? You don’t need anybody.
“There are shortage of good players globally, so once a player is exceptional that player is a goldfish and he’s surrounded by people that have interests immediately.”
The 18-year-old Saka has established himself as a first team regular for Arsenal this season despite the presence of more experienced players, making 29 appearances in all competitions.
Ex-Liverpool Player Wants To Play For Nigeria
Former Liverpool defender Michael Ihiekwe has been named to the League One Team of the Season so far in the 2019-2020 campaign by Whoscored in partnership with Sky Sports.
Ihiekwe has been a key player for high-flying Rotherham United who are bidding to return to the English Championship at the first time of asking.
The Liverpool-born center back has contributed to an impressive 7 goals (4 goals, 3 assists) from 38 games across all competitions and has been yellow carded on four occasions.
Described as a defender with robust physical presence, pacy, dominant in the air and descent on the ball, Ihiekwe has committed his international future to Nigeria over his country of birth.
Explaining the choice of Ihiekwe in the Best XI, Ben McAleer wrote : “Ihiekwe has returned a rating of 7.42 this season, that the second-best in League One.
“Maximising a statistically calculated WhoScored.com strength of ‘aerial duels’, Ihiekwe is winning more headed battles per game (7.9) than any other League One player this term to help feature in this team.”
Yobe Stars Mgt Slashes Salaries By 75 Percent
The management of Yobe Desert Stars have resolved to cut down the club’s expenses following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rising from a meeting held on Friday, the club said players and technical crew of the main team will be receiving 25% of their monthly allowance while the feeder and Under-15 teams will receive 50% of their allowances.
This was contained in a statement signed by the chairman of the management committee, Hon Goni Bukar Lawan. Yobe Desert Stars is the first Nigerian club side that will be reducing the salaries of its team.
It will be noted that with the suspension of football activities across the globe, clubs in top leagues such as La Liga, Serie A, and English Premier League have begun to cut down the weekly salaries paid to their players.
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