Connect with us

Sports

Nigeria 2009: Future Stars Ready To Shine

Published

on

Africa stands at the very heart of the footballing world this term with September’s FIFA U-20 World Cup Egypt 2009 marking the start of a season that will end in style with next summer’s 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa. In between those two events, and almost equidistant in geographical terms, Nigeria is next to share its passion for the beautiful game in its role as FIFA U-17 World Cup host nation.
The action begins today, as the stars of tomorrow seek to take their first ever steps in the global arena. In total, 504 players have been called up to show their worth, and vie to take up the baton from illustrious former participants Ronaldinho, Iker Casillas, Nwankwo Kanu, Michael Essien, Luis Figo and others. The youngsters who have converged in Nigeria are nothing like as celebrated as their predecessors, of course, but some have already rubbed shoulders with the finest talents in the game by earning first-team experience despite their tender age. Even that is unlikely to rival the pressures they are about to face, however. “They know their obligations and they know that the national shirt sits heavy on the shoulders,” according to 1986 FIFA World Cup winner and current Argentina U-17 coach Jose Luis Brown.
Brown’s charges will get the tournament up and running against Group A rivals Honduras in a game that would not be out of place in the semi-finals, proof that the competition is likely to be engrossing right from the opening whistle. Runners-up on the South American stage and serious candidates to go all the way, the young Albicelestes must nonetheless face 2007 bronze medallists and recent European champions Germany in their section. And if that were not challenging enough, their final group opponents are another team heavily backed to take the title – reigning champions, hosts and three-time winners Nigeria.
As for Brazil, they will go into the tournament eager to clinch their fourth title at this level, having previously prevailed in 1997, 1999 and 2003. They will also be keen to erase memories of their last two appearances, which ended in defeat to Mexico in the 2005 final and a Round-of-16 loss to Nigeria last time out. Spearheading the Seleçao bid will be fearsome duo Neymar and Philippe Coutinho, who have already captured the imagination of the Brazilian public and given future opponents a stark warning thanks to their displays in the Brazilian top flight.
How concerned Spain will be by that warning is debatable, with the European side surely belonging among the elite company of the overall favourites. Regularly dominant on the Old Continent, La Roja hope to at last transfer their local supremacy to the highest level.
Talented and unpredictable in equal parts, Mexico went from winning everything in Peru in 2005 to failing to qualify to defend their title at the following edition in Korea Republic. Who knows what side the young Aztecas will bring to the party this year? Their American neighbours to the north cannot be written off either, particularly as they are the only country to have appeared in every edition of the competition, often faring well. They start as potential outsiders.
In terms of Europe’s representatives, the same goes for a solid Italy side, an ambitious Turkey team and a Netherlands squad out for revenge. All featured in Peru before failing to qualify for Korea Republic and all have enough quality to make a mockery of the prediction process. The same could also be said of Japan and Korea Republic, whose fluid play and excellent youth training programmes may be finally about to produce tangible results.
Lastly, a surprise of sorts could come from Gambia, though as two-time African champions at this level, it would be far from a shock to see them prosper. Enjoying a football renaissance at the moment, Algeria could also go far, and both they and Gambia will undoubtedly acclimatise themselves to the hot and humid Nigerian conditions ahead of their rivals.
As a country with a fervent love of the game, Nigeria looks likely to be the perfect venue for this festival of football. Thousands of fans travelled to follow the Golden Eaglets in Korea Republic two years ago and their noisy, playful support clearly lifted the team coached by Yemi Tella, who has since passed away. Those same supporters are doubtless readying themselves to fill the stands and cheer on the stars of the future, with Abuja, Bauchi, Calabar, Enugu, Ijebu-Ode, Kaduna, Kano and Lagos the eight cities selected to welcome the 24 trophy hopefuls.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Sports

Eagles May Play Home Games In Abuja

Published

on

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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Sports

Court Bars Bash Ali From Defaming Minister

Published

on

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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Sports

Nigeria’s Saidu Elected As Commonwealth Handball Scribe

Published

on

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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Trending