In order to boost the performances of Nigerian sportsmen and women in international competitions, President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua has promised that the federal government will continue to provide adequate and high quality sporting facilities in the country.
He made this promise while speaking at the opening session of the 13th ordinary General Assembly of the Association of National Olympics Committees of Africa (ANOCA) in Abuja yesterday.
The President who was represented at the occasion by the vice president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, said that Nigeria will take part in the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) coming up in Singapore next year and the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The President while describing sports as a veritable tool for national and international cohesion said that if harnessed well, it has the potentials to make peace and unity reign in the world.
Sports provide opportunities for the youth to shun violence and other vices like drug abuse, armed robbery, kidnapping etc, he declared.
Praising the efforts of the International Olympic Committees (IOC) for sustaining the games over the years, the president said that the game has impacted greatly on other spheres of human life like education, medicine, environment, science and technology.According to him, the decision to host the permanent secretariat of ANOCA in Nigeria was informed by the desire to enhance rapid sports development in Nigeria at all levels.
Speaking at the occasion, the president of ANOCA, General Lassana Palento thanked the Nigerian government for accepting to host the general assembly and the secretariat of the body.
Also the IOC president, Jacque Rogge, praised Nigeria for her achievements in sporting events as he recalled the successful hosting of the 8th All African Games in 2003 by Nigeria.
While noting the achievement of African athletes at the 2008 Beijang Olympic Games, he expressed optimism that African athletes will continue to do well in the Olympic games.
2021/2022 NPFL Season Starts, Dec 17
The 2021/22 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season is expected to kick off on December 17th across 10 centres.
Defending champions, Akwa United, will start their title defence at home in a Match Day 1 fixture against Kano Pillar at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo
Elsewhere, Gombe United hosts Shooting Stars Sports Club to the Pantami stadium in Gombe in both teams’ first game of their returned season to the top flight.
The Pride of Benue, Lobi Stars, will host Rivers United at the Aper Aku Stadium, Makurdi with the club’s Manager, Eddy Dombraye, leading his side against his state for the first time in many years.
The first oriental derby match of the new season is among the opening fixtures with Enyimba FC playing host to their arch-rivals Abia Warriors in Aba, while Enugu Rangers travel to Katsina to face the Changi boys, Katsina United.
Niger Tornadoes will welcome Plateau United at their temporary home ground in Kaduna while there will be a reunion, sort of in Akure when Sunshine Stars face their former manager, Kabiru Dogo and Fuad Ekelojuoti who are now with Wikki Tourists at the Ondo Sports Complex, Akure.
Another matchday one fixture will see Kwara United host Dakkada in Ilorin. Kwara United almost won the league title last season, before Akwa United secured the title with seven points gap, while the Olukoya boys, MFM FC, will host regional rivals, Remo Stars, at the Agege Stadium.
The Solid Miners, Nasarawa United will travel to Owerri to face Heartland in another opening day tie.
Delta Principals Cup: Sponsor Splashes Goodies On Finalists
The sponsor of the on-going Delta State Principals’ Cup football competition, Zenith Bank, has promised that loads of goodies will be given to the finalists of the annual event.
The competition, now in its 5th edition, is a developmental football competition organised for all secondary schools in the state.
Zenith Bank’s Group Managing Director, Ebenezer Onyeagwu, said that the last four teams will be rewarded with various ranges of gift items as part of the final day activities.
“We are very committed to developmental pro-grammes in various ways. For sports, we believe in our catch them young initiatives, of which the Delta Principals’ Cup is one of them.
“I congratulate all the finalists for the 2021 event and wish to show that they are all winners, all of them will go home with attractive gift items on final day next week,” Onyeagwu said.
Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, will host the final match between Osadenis Mixed Secondary School and School of Com-merce on November 30.
Alaka Grammar School, Ozoro and Ovwor Mixed Secondary School will clash in the Third Place match billed to be the curtain raiser before the final match involving the defending champions, School of Commerce and Osadenis Mixed School.
US-Based Okorie Plans Maiden South-East Sports Festival
United States-based Nigerian former athlete, Victor Okorie, is planning to stage a maiden Southeast Sports Festival in 2022 to prepare athletes in the region for the national sports festival billed to hold in Asaba, Delta State.
Okorie, who is the Performance Director of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), said he would meet with governors and some stakeholders in the region soon, as part of his arrangements for the event.
Before his emergence as the Southeast zonal representative on the AFN board during the elective congress held in Abuja on June 14, Okorie had sponsored a competition for track and field athletes through his pet project, the South East Sports Foundation.
The competition, which held in Enugu, saw athletes from Abia, Anambra, Imo, Enugu and Ebonyi compete for prizes in sprint events, throw and jump.
The foundation also plans to organise competitions for the physically challenged athletes in the zone in line with Okorie’s view of taking physically challenged athletes in Southeast away from the streets, as well as integrate athletes in volleyball, handball, wrestling, and other sports on the same level with their foreign-based counterparts.
Speaking with newsmen, from his base in Tennessee, USA, Wednesday, Okorie, who won a silver medal for Nigeria at COJA 2003 All Africa Games in Abuja, said that the maiden Southeast Sports Festival would give the states chance to raise formidable squad for Asaba 2022.
“Sports are one major avenue governors in the southeast states can use to empower youths in the region,” Okorie said.
“I will meet with them and other stakeholders soon, on how we will stage a successful Southeast Sports Festival, which will serve as selection ground ahead of Asaba 2022 National Sports Festival. There is the need to re-awake sports campaign in the Southeast zone. Maybe, the next host of the national sSports festival will come from the Southeast after Asaba 2022,” he added.
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