As dust is yet to settle over the age scandal rocking the Golden Eaglets, the man at the centre of the revelation, Adokiye Amiesimaka says he has his facts intact, insisting that Skipper Fortune Chukwudi is not eligible to play in the U-17 World Cup.
Adokiye, in his response to the widespread criticism that greeted his revelation, said the current article that is generating ripples is only one in a long list he has been writing, calling for sanity in the country’s age-grade competitions.”
I have written over 200 articles and even this one is part of a series that I started a few weeks ago, so how can anyone say I have not been speaking out?
“I recall clearly that during my time in Sharks, we played a friendly match against the Flying Eagles, who were camping in Port Harcourt in preparation for a qualifier, and Fortune Chukwudi was one of my prominent defenders then.
“In fairness to him, he looks as young now as he did then,” Adokiye said.
Adokiye went on to accuse the football leadership of failing in their responsibilities to clean up age cheats from the football system.
“We should actually ask those in the leadership of sports why they have done nothing against this age-cheating thing,” he said in kickoff.com.”
They have consistently failed in their responsibility to ensure that we comply with the eligibility rules. Real U-17s should be in secondary school or just passing out, and not men who have been playing in the League for years.”
Why can’t they organise competitions to get these talented players to represent the country?” the former Green Eagles player queried.
However, in a face saving response to Adokiye’s allegation, the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF yesterday expressed utter shock at the comments made by the former player about the Nigeria U-17 team.
The Acting General Secretary of NFF, Barrister Musa Amadu said:
“We are not claiming to be perfect, as that is a virtue that belongs to only the Almighty God. But Nigerians are aware of the efforts we made to ensure that we put forward a genuine team.”The team underwent MRI scans at the National Hospital in Abuja and at the world famous Aspire Academy in Qatar, and is still being subjected to scans at the ongoing competition. But simply because he wants to destroy, Amiesimaka has gone out to ‘invent’.”We are not bothered. It is left for Nigerians to judge the kind of statements coming in the middle of a World Cup. We are only stunned that there are Nigerians who so passionately hate their own country, simply because they are not at the helm,” said Barrister Amadu.
Amadu concluded: “We should learn to celebrate excellence some of the time, not trying to bring down other people all the time. Has Amiesimaka been obsessed with so much hatred for our successful players because he never played in the World Cup? It is possible.”
It is a shame that people can take personal hatred and vendetta to the level that Amiesimaka has taken his own. We are shocked by his statements, particularly coming from a former international player, but we remain resolute and committed to lifting the image of Nigeria through football and refuse to be ruffled by such unpatriotic and silly comments.”
“At a time that all Nigerians are happy with the team that we have put forward despite the odds, and the team’s performance is making many people to talk about the strength and savvy of Nigerian football once again, the ‘destroy-them- by-all-means’ attitude of the likes of Amiesimaka is very strange.”
Also, NFF Executive committee member, Taiwo Ogunjobi accused Adokiye of ‘having an agenda’ after the former Green Eagles winger claimed in his weekly column that Nigeria’s Under-17 captain, Fortune Chukwudi is overage.”
He is just looking for a way to discredit Nigerian football,” Ogunjobi said. People like him, we know their plans. They are not after the interest of the country. They just want to discredit those who are there now so they can come in and take over.”
Addressing the key question of Chukwudi’s age, Ogunjobi reiterated that the player passed the MRI test, and not just once.”
Regarding this set of players, we have the confidence that none of them is over aged,” he said.
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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