Nigeria’s striker Obafemi Martins has assured his countrymen of his services as the nation prepare to play in the Africa Cup of Nations in January.
The Wolfsburg striker who recently underwent surgery on his troubled shin says he is well on his way to recovering in time for Nigeria’s preparations for the continental tournament.
“Let me first assure Nigerians that I will be very fit for the Nations Cup” Martins told Complete Sports in an interview.
“The operation went very well and I am happy to report that I have started doing some stuff with the bike. I believe in about [ten] days from now I should be back on the field to commence full training.”
Martins, popularly referred to as the Weapon of Mass Destruction by his countrymen said he looks forward to a very interesting tournament in Angola in January.
“I am happy too that I will have an opportunity to play for my country at the Nations Cup again. I was there in 2008 in Ghana but the experience wasn’t a good one. I hope we can do better than we did in Ghana this time around in Angola.”
Martins also commented on Nigeria’s draw in the World Cup where the Super Eagles have been grouped alongside two-time former champions Argentina, former European champions Greece and two-time Asian champions South Korea.
“I think it is a good draw for us. The Super Eagles are a big team and should think and act as such. We already know it won’t be a stroll in the park for us in South Africa and this should determine the kind of preparation we make for the championships.
“This is better than drawing teams we feel we can run over easily and (then) fail to prepare adequately. In Argentina we know we will be playing against a former world champion while Greece were also once champions of Europe.
“South Korea are no pushovers too. I still remember what they did in 2002 when they co-hosted the FIFA World Cup with Japan. I think they went as far as the semi-final which means they have the experience at that level as well.”
In conclusion, Martins who scored two goals in the 3-2 win over Kenya that saw the Eagles qualify for the World Cup said, “I am always ready to help my country and Nigerians should give us the support we will need to succeed in Angola.
NDDC U-17 Peace Cup To Resume In Uyo
The long awaited finale of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) U-17 Peace Cup would expectedly resume next week as two qualified teams from the nine states converge in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom capital.
Technical Director of the tournament Etim Esin in a statement on behalf of the Local Organising Committee Chairman John Ekpeyong and Secretary Ada Gwegwe yesterday said the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Chief Senator Godswill Akpabio, CON, will declare the tournament open.
It added that the Special Assistant to the President Muhammad Buhari, on Sports Development, Coach Daniel Amokachi, NFF Technical Director Coach Augustine Eguavoen along with football legend Taribo West and other notable Niger Delta-based and foreign scouts will be on ground.
The LOC appreciated the Sole Administrator of the NDDC, Effiong Akwa, for his support towards the conclusion of the tournament, adding that it is better late than never, as the competition will still be among his numerous legacies.
According to the statement, the arrival date for participating teams is 11th of December, while screening of teams and official kick off, will take place the following day.
The statement further called on the Coordinators of the states not to forget the rules of engagement, especially on the age bracket of the players, as the screening will be strict, for the aim of the competition to be achieved.
FIBA World Cup: Kida Lauds D’Tigers’ Strong Qualifiers Start
Top basketball administrator and immediate past Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) president, Engr Musa Kida, has congratulated the D’Tigers for starting their 2022 FIBA World Cup on a strong note after picking two victories in three matches.
With five points from a possible six and a superior point difference, the team sits comfortably atop group A ahead of the next round of games coming up by the 27th of June, 2022.
Kida described the team’s performance as inspiring despite peculiar circumstances surrounding the federation’s election as well as FIBA’s stance over Nigeria’s participation at the qualifiers.
“It is really nice to start such important qualifiers on a winning note which is very good for our chances of qualifying for the World Cup. We had to put our administrative differences aside for the sake of Nigeria and Nigerians.”
“We feel elated and justified that our decision to give FIBA the go ahead to register the team which enabled them participate paid off in the long run as we join hands with all stakeholders to continue growing the game in Nigeria”.
16 teams are vying for the available five spots at the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup with Nigeria grouped alongside Mali, Cape Verde and Uganda.
“The top three teams from each group will advance to the Second Round of the African Qualifiers and will join three other teams to create two six-team groups with results from the preliminary rounds carried over,” Musa added.
AWCON Qualifiers: Ebi Targets Revenge Against Ivory Coast
Super Falcons defender, Onome Ebi, says the team will go all out for revenge when they clash against Ivory Coast in their final 2022 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations qualifiers next year.
The qualifying game which will be played on a home and away basis is scheduled for February 13 and 17 with the winners qualifying for the AWCON in Morocco.
The Falcons who will be hoping to defend the title they won at the 2018 in Ghana are eyeing their 10th trophy Morocco but to qualify for the event, they’ll have to go past the Ivorians who knocked them out of contention for the 2020 Olympics in Japan.
Ebi, who is Nigeria’s current longest-serving player says her aim is to avenge the loss that saw them miss out on the 2020 Olympics at the hands of the Ivorians.
“I can tell you that we still nurse the pain of missing out of the Tokyo Olympics as a result of the loss to Cote d’Ivoire in the qualifying series,” Ebi said.
“This time, we will repay them in their own coins. Personally, I want to play in the Africa Cup of Nations and the FIFA World Cup, and I know it is the same for my teammates.”
The Falcons are the most successful African women’s team in the world and have won the AWCON a record nine times and will be hoping to get their 10th next year after the 2020 edition was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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