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Igali Calls For Sustained Funding For Wrestling

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Chairman, Caretaker Committee of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF) Hon Daniel Igali Chairman, Caretaker Committee of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF) Hon. Daniel Igali, has called for sustained funding and sponsorship of the sport following the country’s historic performance at the recently-concluded Tokyo 2020 Olympics in Japan.
In Tokyo, Commonwealth champion Blessing Oborududu, 32, won Nigeria’s first-ever medal in wrestling, claiming silver in the 68kg final.
With the likes of 3-time World Championships medallists Odunayo Adekuoroye, 27, and 2-time Commonwealth champion Aminat Adeniyi, 28, unsuccessful in their attempts to win medals in Tokyo, the NWF boss said he has a long-term ‘succession plan’ for the top athletes.
However, the World and Olympic champion Igali stated that the ‘succession plan’ won’t materialise without the support and sponsorship from the private and corporate sectors.
“My goal is to ensure that I have a sustained succession plan for most of these athletes,” the Bayelsa State Commissioner for Youth and Sports said. “Which means, in terms of funding too, we need to have better communication even with the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports.
“Of course you know sports like basketball have funding directly from the Federal House of Representatives – from the budget. And I think wrestling deserves that status as well.
“So, we need to do a bit more in terms of sustained funding, not only from the Federal Government, but we need to look at, especially with the small or little success we had at the (Tokyo 2020) Olympics, for us to have private individuals and/or corporations that will give us that assurance of sponsorship for the next three, the next eight years.
“So, I think those are the foundations I want to lay. And once you’ve done that, you are rest assured that anyone coming after you will be starting on a pretty level playing field. They wouldn’t have to be climbing a very high mountain to maintain the success we’ve had.”
Igali further assured potential sponsors of the NWF’s transparency, while highlighting the importance of their support to wrestling.
“Well, I want to assure every, either, individual or corporation that is prepared to support the Nigeria Wrestling Federation that they have very trustworthy leadership,” he added. “Leadership that is very responsive, and that has over time, judiciously used funds that had been appropriated for any purpose.”
“We feel that to keep up even at the Commonwealth level, we need funding from private investors.
“Look at India for instance now. India and Nigeria were almost at par just four, five years ago. In fact, at the Commonwealth Games, our female team beat both Canada and India. But as we’re talking now, India is almost edging Nigeria because they have funding from Tata Motors to the tune of $3m (over N1.2b) a year.
“They just went to the Cadet World Championships and became overall Team champions. That tells you that in another four, five years, the 17-year-old kids will be 20, 21, and they will be world-beaters.“What the Nigeria Wrestling Federation doesn’t have now is to be able to even expose our young talents to international competitions because we don’t have the funds. And we can only do that when we have private investors partner with us on a long-term basis.” he added.
“Winning a gold medal in Tokyo is the biggest goal,” he told the International Tennis Federation’s magazine.
“Even though I have three medals from past Paralympics, gold in Tokyo would be so special and mean so much to me.”
Ugandan swimmer Kukundakwe could become one of the faces of the Tokyo Paralympics when she competes aged just 14.
Kukundakwe, who was born without her right forearm and also has an impairment to her left hand, is aiming to change attitudes in her home country, where she says people with disabilities are “not considered normal”.
She says swimming has given her confidence, allowing her to ditch the baggy sweaters she used to wear to cover her arms and hands.
Now she’s aiming to make a splash as the youngest athlete at the Games, after qualifying for the women’s 100m breaststroke.
“I don’t really expect much from swimming at the Paralympic Games since it’s my first time,” she said.

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Falcons Needs Overhauling – Ex-NFF Players

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Following the Super Falcons embarrassing 4-2 defeat to South Africa at the recently concluded Aisha Buhari Invitational tournament, former players of the team have unanimously agreed that the team needs an overhaul.
Two penalties and an own goal by defender Michelle Alozie handed the Banyana Banyana a famous win in the final played at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Lagos on Tuesday.
Speaking with Newsmen Stella Mbachu who starred for the Falcons from 1999 to 2014 and won six Africa Women Cup of Nations titles with the team said Randy Waldrum’s team lacked fitness and were out of sort in the finals.
“That was not a good game, it was obvious the Falcons were not in their right frame of mind,” she said. 
“The game was a bad one that is not the team I know. The entire team didn’t play well.
“They need to put this behind them and work harder to perform better during the Africa Women’s Qualifiers.
“They need to overhaul the team and reassemble a new team. The Falcons need to be worked on. They lacked fitness as a coach in my own opinion and that was why the South Africans out ran them.
Tidesports source reports that on Waldrum’s tactics, Mbachu said  she does not know his pattern since he arrived maybe he needs more time with the team. He needs to study the players more particularly those playing in the Nigeria Women Football League.
The Nigerian Football Federation President Amaju Pinnick also agreed that the Falcons needs a rejig as the defeat to South Africa exposed the weakness of the team.
“We are all disappointed by the performance of the Super Falcons, especially on a day we claim to be celebrating the Girl Child,” he said.
“The whole essence of this competition for us as NFF has been achieved. We have a qualifier against Ghana in the next few weeks so we needed these matches to test the readiness of our players for the task ahead.
“The Banyana Banyana team has exposed the weaknesses in our team. They came to Lagos with so many young players and gave our girls some football lessons on the day.
“For me, the lesson here is that, we need to inject more players from the NWFL into the team. As you can see, the outstanding players in Nigeria’s two matches against Mali and South Africa are home based players and that is the more reason why we must invest more in the Nigeria women’s football league to expose more of these hidden talents.”
Technical Director of the Nigeria Football Federation, Austin Eguavoen, also agreed on the overhaul but added it must be gradual.
“The whole crowd was shocked with the result. They are not playing well and that is why it is tagged the Aisha Buhari International friendly and it is an opportunity for the coach and the entire Nigeria especially football stakeholders to start looking inward.
“But we cannot wipe these girls out completely, it is impossible and that’s why it has to be a gradual process,” he added.

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Akwa United Boss Rues Elimination From CAF Champions League

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Head Coach of Akwa United Football Club Kennedy Boboaye has admitted that his team were eliminated from the CAF Champions League by the Algerian Champions CR Belouizdad, who were more technically superior.
Tidesports source reports that the Nigerian champions crashed out at the preliminary stage of Africa’s premier competition after losing the second leg 2-0 in Algiers last Sunday and are out of the competition on a 2-1 aggregate score.
In a reaction to his team’s defeat and elimination from the competition, Coach Kennedy Boboye said “The moment we won by just one goal in Uyo on September 12th, I knew it will be difficult for us to get a favourable result in Algiers, but at the same time it wasn’t an impossible task for us. 
After a careful study of the first leg, I realized that our opponents (CR Belouizdad) were technically better than us and that was why we came to Algiers with a game plan which, unfortunately, didn’t work for us.
“Two of my players Charles Okafor and Marshal Johnson had passport issues, one player Denis Nya sustained an injury during the warm-up and that altered the plans we had. We needed to move Dare Ojo to the centre back position, which he did very well but we missed his experience in the midfield and it affected our game plan.
“Having won the first leg, we knew that they (CR Belouizdad) will come out to attack us so our plan was to get at least a goal in the first half but we came up against a very good team. The way they played, one can tell that they have been playing together for a very long time. The first goal they scored was a good goal but the penalty against us wasn’t a good one, but that is football.
“We have to go back and start preparing for the new NPFL season and I think that the exposure and experience we have garnered from these two games will help the coaching crew and the players in subsequent outings both in the league and at the continental level” Boboye assured.
The Promise Keepers who won the Nigeria Professional Football League title for the first time in their history returned home on Tuesday.

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FIFA Confirms Venue For S’Eagles, CAR Double-Header

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FIFA has confirmed venues for the 2022 World Cup qualifying double-header between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and Les Fauves of the Central African Republic.
The Super Eagles will host Raoul Savoy’s men in a matchday three encounter at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos on October 10.
The reverse fixture will take place three days later at the Stade De Japoma, Douala, Cameroon.
The Super Eagles started their qualifying campaign with a 2-0 win against the Lone Star of Liberia last month.
Gernot Rohr’s charges then defeated the Blue Sharks of Cape Verde 2-1 four days later in Mindelo.
The three-time African champions top Group C with six points from two games.
The top team in the group will proceed to the final play-off for the final round.

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