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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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2021/2022 NPFL Season  Starts, Dec 17

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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.

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Delta Principals Cup: Sponsor Splashes Goodies On Finalists

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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.

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US-Based Okorie Plans Maiden South-East Sports Festival

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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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