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2010 World Cup: Parreira Hopeful Of Bafana Bafana’s Qualification

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Two home game, two goalless draw: that is the record Carlos Alberto Parreira holds since his recent return to the South Africa hot-seat following an 18-month recess.
However, not even those lackluster results against Japan and Jamaica have dampened the Brazilian coach’s belief that Bafana Bafana will be a force to be reckoned with at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa.
“I see light at the end of the tunnel,” Parreira told Tidesports source. “When we have this team up to a good level of fitness, they will prove far more competitive.
This side has played at a high level before. When I worked here the first time we beat Paraguay 3-0, and that’s the standard I want the team to get back to.
“The matches against Brazil and Spain this year [single-goal defeats at the FIFA Confederations Cup] also showed what we can do when the team is ready. When the key players are in good shape and fit, the standard of the team will improve quickly. I have no doubt about it.”
Parreira admitted he was desperate for a victory to mark his return to the helm, and the side’s return to winning ways following a poor run of form under his predecessor Joel Santana.
“It would have been really good to have won and I’m disappointed we didn’t,” he lamented. “The results didn’t help, they didn’t make me happy. But I was happy with the performance during the two games. Now we have to think about the future.”
The 66-year-old will now turn his focus to a training camp in his native Brazil in March, when he will have four weeks to work with his squad, albeit without those based with European dubs. Encouragingly, South Africa’s domestic season is being curtailed to afford Parreira more time with his charges ahead of the 19th edition of the FIFA World Cup.
“We’ll be able to get them into good shape,” he vowed. “They will be with us for four weeks. We are going to go to Brazil. We are hoping to play about six games against good opposition. It is going to be very beneficial.
“We have to believe in the players we have. We have to keep the confidence and play to our strengths. Ball possession is important: keeping the ball, circulating it on the ground, playing possession football. It was very dear that when we do this we are a much better team.
“Of course, if you include our fullbacks overlapping, it is even better. In our system, we need overlapping fullbacks. We love to see our fullbacks supporting and overlapping. You don’t attack only with one striker, you attack as a team.”
Parreira was not in charge during South Africa’s run to the semi-finals of the FIFA Confederations Cup in June, but says he saw enough there to know there is hope.
“You have to count the Confederations Cup as a starting point. The players had been together for a while, they were very fit. That’s what will happen before the World Cup too.”

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Okowa Lauds Athletes Ahead Olympics Trials

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President, Athletics Federation of Nigeria, Tonobok Okowa, has once again mandated all athletes looking to represent the country at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games to attend the Nigerian Trials, which hold from June 16 to 18 inside the main bowl of Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin-City.
Making his stance clear in Monday’s release by the athletics body, Okowa commended the athletes for their determination to qualify for the Olympics.
He said, “The athletes have shown commitment, determination, and desire to succeed in their careers by picking Olympic qualifications. They deserve our collective appreciation.”
He added, “The athletes would be picked in accordance with their performances at the trials because it would largely determine who goes to Paris for the Olympics.”
Meanwhile, the Chairman, Edo State Sports Commission, Yusuf Alli, says the state is waiting to welcome athletes for the trials.
He said, “We are the hosts of the national trials, and athletes and spectators are welcome.”
The trials are expected to throw up the best of Nigeria’s athletes based at home and abroad for the Olympic Games in Paris in July.

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Emerging Star Eyes Olympics Place For Nigeria

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Nigerian track and field star, Favour Ofili, has set her sights on the upcoming national Olympics trials after she pulled off a stunning victory in the women’s 100m at the New York Grand Prix, defeating a stellar field that included Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica last Sunday.
The 21-year-old clocked a season-best 11.18secs to take the win, America’s Morolake Akinosun was second in 11.20secs while her compatriot Aleia Hobbs ended in third place in 11.21secs.Thompson-Herah, the Tokyo Olympics 100m and 200m gold medalist, could only manage ninth place in 11.48secs as she continues to search for her best form this season.
“Just like practice, stay calm and just go, finish your transition because that’s the issue, and whatever happens will happen. I wanted to get the standard here and I give God glory for the win,” Ofili told Tidesports source after the race.
“For the trials, stay calm and just do what I know how to do, go back and do some training before I go back home for the national trials.”
The Olympic trials are scheduled to hold in Benin City, Edo State from June 16 to 18. The trials will serve as the selection of the nation’s athletes for both the Senior Africa Athletics Championships, holding between June 21 and 28 in Douala, Cameroon and the Paris 2024 Olympics, which hold from July 26 to August 11.

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Olympic Day Celebrations Hold June 29

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The Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), at the weekend, said the annual Olympic Day celebrations would be held on June 29 across the country.
The Olympic Day is a global event that commemorates the birth of the modern Olympic Movement, founded by Pierre de Coubertin in 1894.
Speaking with news men, the Secretary-General of the NOC, Babatunde Popoola, said this year’s celebration holds special significance as it precedes the highly anticipated Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
It’s where Nigerian athletes will compete and inspire the world with their achievements.
“Olympic Day is a chance for people of all ages and abilities to experience the magic of the Olympic Games in their own communities.
“It is an ideal platform to highlight the benefits of physical activity and the Olympic values of excellence, friendship, and respect,” Popoola said.
Popoola said that NOC had received positive responses from various states and stakeholders, and preparations were well underway for the nationwide celebration.
He added that no fewer than 21 states and the Federal Capital Territory have indicated their plans to organise activities for the event.
The states are: Abia; Anambra; Bayelsa; Delta; Edo; Enugu; Ebonyi; Lagos; Kogi; Gombe; Jigawa; Kebbi; Kano; Kwara; Taraba; Imo; Ondo; Plateau; Rivers; Nasarawa and Osun
Also speaking, the Chairman of the NOC Sport For All Commission, Abdul Ibrahim, said that Olympic Day was a special day to come together, move together, and learn about the Olympic values.
“We encourage everyone to participate and experience the joy that only sport can bring,” he said.
According to him, a series of activities have been lined up in Lagos, with fitness clubs at the National Stadium Complex and the general public gearing up to take part in the global event.
“The celebration will conclude with the presentation of diplomas signed by the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach.
The President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, Engr. Habu Ahmed Gumel and other dignitaries will officially flag off the event in Abuja,” he added.

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