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Minister Wants All Hands On Deck Junior World Cup

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The Minister of Sports, Engr. Sani Ndanusa, has called on Nigerians, especially the media to join hands with members of the Local Organising Committee [LOC], to make the FIFA U-17 Junior World Cup expected to take place in Nigeria a huge success.

Ndanusa who made the call while speaking to journalists shortly after inspecting facilities at the Nnamdi Azikiwe ultra modem stadium, Enugu recently, noted that the call became necessary because the importance of sports, particularly Football in the development of any nation cannot be over emphasized.

Maintaining that Nigeria is awaiting the final inspection of facilities at the various centers selected for the hosting of the forthcoming Under 17 FIFA World Cup, Ndanusa therefore called on contractors handling the various projects at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu to increase their pace of work.

The minister who was not happy with the slow pace of work at the Nnamdi Azikiwe stadium, stressed the need for all ongoing works at the stadium to be completed before the final visit of the FIF A delegation later this month, adding that “Enugu needed to record 100% completion in all the facilities”.

Engr. Ndanusa, therefore, ordered the contractor handling the projects to ensure completion of work not later than the end of July this year.

He made it clear that it was only FIFA that has the final say, stating that the Local Organising Committee would only monitor and inspect facilities and allow FIFA to deliver its verdict.

The minister explained that they were in Enugu to inspect facilities for the forthcoming competition as well as to explore ways of assisting the Enugu in its efforts to grip firmly, the hosting right granted to it by FIFA.

“We are here to inspect facilities for the Under 17 World Cup. You should be aware that FIFA expects 100% completion of all the facilities in all the selected centers. Anything short of that will not be accepted. The workers should increase their work pace. We are looking for 100% and nothing short of that.

Continuing, the minister further said: “Remember, we are not FIFA, we don’t have the final say but there is need for workers to increase their commitment. As you are aware, FIFA delegation will soon come for the final inspection and anything short of 100% completion of facilities will not be accepted”, he warned.

Earlier while responding to the minister’s questions, the contractor handling the various works at the main bowl of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Staduim, Nuri Gewk assured that the stadium would be ready before the final visit of the FIFA delegation.

He explained that his workers have been working day and night to ensure that the various works at the stadium are completed before the final inspection.

In the entourage of the minister who had already left Enugu for Abuja after the inspection, were the Executive Committee Member of FIFA, Dr Amos Adamu, and the Vice Chairman of the Local Organising Committee of FIFA Under U-17 World Cup, Manasari Ilo.

Former Golden Eaglet, Rabiu Mohammed (10) in a previous U-17 competition

Former Golden Eaglet, Rabiu Mohammed (10) in a previous U-17 competition

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Eagles May Play Home Games In Abuja

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Plans are underway to have the Super Eagles move their home games to Abuja after Dangote Group handed over the rehabilitated MoshoodAbiola National Stadium, Abuja to the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.
Contractors, Aron Nigeria Limited, handed over the rehabilitated stadium to the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, on Friday.
The rehabilitation work was carried out on the main bowl pitch and scoreboard.
Tidesports source reports that Dare had clamoured for the return of the Eagles to Abuja on several occasions, stating the need to have a permanent home stadium.
The Eagles last played at the Abuja stadium in 2012
“It is my wish that the Super Eagles and indeed the national teams of Nigeria, like elsewhere, have a permanent venue to play their matches rather than playing from one place to another,” Dare said last month while speaking to State House correspondents.
“There are great benefits for countries’ national teams to have a particular venue where the players understand very well. I believe very soon the Super Eagles will be playing their matches in Abuja or Lagos if the national stadium is fully ready too.”
In the last 10 years, the Eagles have played their home games at the GodswillAkpabio Stadium Uyo, Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin and AdokiyeAmiesimaka Stadium, Port Harcourt.
They, however, made a return to Lagos after 10 years and for the first time for a competitive match in 20 years when they played Lesotho in the 2022 World Cup qualifier at the TeslimBalogun Stadium on March 30.
They ended up playing their remaining World Cup qualifiers and the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in Lagos.
While the Eagles were hoping to make the TeslimBalogun Stadium their new home, news emerged last week that the Confederation of African Football had banned the stadium from hosting matches.
In a letter dated October 17, which was sent to the Secretary-General of the Nigeria Football Federation, Mohammed Sanusi,CAF said the stadium “lacks the CAF criteria and requirements in order to properly host international competitions”.
The letter signed by CAF Development Director Raul Chipenda said the stadium failed to implement the recommendations addressed to the NFF after the previous inspection.

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Court Bars Bash Ali From Defaming Minister

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Justice O.C. Agbaza of the High Court of the Federal  Capital Territory (FCT) has issued a restraining order, barring Bash Ali from further making or publishing any denigrating or defamatory material against the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare.
Tidesports source reports that the Minister had far back as June 25, 2021, approached the Federal High Court, Abuja division seeking a restraining order and charging Bash Ali with libel and defamation of character.
The lawyers to the minister from the Keyamo Chambers spent months unable to serve Bash and the judicial workers strike. Upon resumption and with the serial defamation by Bash Ali continuing, the lawyers approached the court. This time, the Keyamo team and Wole Olanipekun team as counsels secured the restraining order.
It would be recalled that sometime in April 2021, Bash Ali had in a letter, which he made available to the public, made several allegations against the Minister.
The Minister denied those allegations and to assert his innocence, the Minister filed Suit No. FCT/HC/CV/1269/2021seeking injunctive reliefs and pecuniary damages from Bash Ali on account of the defamatory publication.
Despite the pendency of this suit, Bash Ali recently published a video on social media in which he repeated those false allegations against the Minister and also issued several threats against the Minister and the Ministry.

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Nigeria’s Saidu Elected As Commonwealth Handball Scribe

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Nigeria’s Jibril Saidu has been elected the new secretary of the Commonwealth Handball Association.
The election, which took place via zoom on Monday, saw Saidu emerging unopposed but still polled 100 percent of the available votes.
Saidu,a former player became the second Nigerian to be elected as Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Handball Association succeeding General Ishola Williams who held the same position for almost three decades.
Also, Ruth Saunders, former President of South Africa Handball Federation defeated Steve Neilson of Scotland to become the first woman president of the Association.

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