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Europe’s Loss, Africa’s Gain

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While Africa is getting excited about next month’s kick-off of the African Nations Cup in Angola, many clubs in Europe are dreading the start of the competition.

For them it will mean that a number of important players from the countries such as Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria will be away on international duty.

Every two years the ‘club vs country’ issue comes to the fore at this point, and both sides have valid arguments when one considers their differing perspectives for a moment.

The clubs want to hold onto players whose wages they pay on a weekly basis, as they do not want to be paying for a player to go and take part in an international tournament while domestic leagues, cups and competitions go on as normal.

Another major issue is that a number of players return from such competitions with injuries, and once again the player receives wages whilst having injured himself in the colours of his national team, rather than that of his club side.

The player must then recover from the injury, meaning the club loses the player for an extended period of time.

From the national team’s side it is also fair that these countries benefit from the use of their best players based throughout Europe and the world, as this is their premier continental championship, determining the champions of Africa every two years.

The pride of playing for one’s country is something that should be respected by the clubs, but they are the entities who stand to lose the most during and after the January tournament.

Many people have called for the tournament’s timing to be changed to the end of the season, with some saying that playing it every four years instead of two, like the World Cup, would allow for the players to go to the competition with the blessing of the clubs, while giving the players some much-needed rest from the congested calendars of modern football.

The Nations Cup is traditionally staged in the first two months of the year because of the continent’s unpredictable weather conditions in the summer months. The rainy season hits western and central Africa in June and July, while the weather in South Africa, which will be hosting the 2010 World Cup in those two months, is usually cool.

The competition is staged in different countries every two years to make it fair and to allow the whole of Africa to benefit from the tournament, so changing the timing does not seem to be a viable option.

The second reason why changing the tournament to June or July would be unlikely is the fact that the World Cup takes place at that time every four years, and this would force the African tournament to revert to a four-yearly affair, or change to alternate years, avoiding the World Cup as a result.

Coaches of the top European sides containing African players are becoming increasingly irritated with the damaging consequences of the Nations Cup being staged in the middle of the season, but there is little chance of it being moved to accommodate the rich clubs spending millions on some of Africa’s finest.

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ICC U-19: Nigeria Battles Big Wigs In Abuja

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Nigeria was presented the tough task of battling with Rwanda in the opening game of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) U-19 Men’s World Cup Africa Division 2 Qualifiers, which began at the twin-ovals of the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, yesterday.
The One Day International (ODI) format championship also had in contention such tough nations as Kenya, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Ghana and Sierra Leone. They were all trying to be among the top-three nations to move from the qualifiers to the next level.
Ahead of the competition, Ghana and majority of Bostwana’s team arrived late Thursday night, which development caused slight changes in the tournament fixtures.
According to the Chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), Ogbonnaya Okogeri, the big win for Nigeria is being able to put up the standard required for hosting this international event.
“This is the second ICC event that Nigeria will host, but this is unique in that it is on a higher level because of the quality of facility and personnel required to pull it off.
“So far, we have been able to meet up on so many fronts and as the event gets off the ground formally, our joy will be to coast home smoothly with a successful hosting.”
ICC Global Developmental Manager, William Glenwright, who was around earlier in the week, had said the country’s feat in cricket developmental index has been impressive and has earned a look in from the global body for more support.
Nigeria between 2018 and 2019 scaled the U-19 World Cup ticket for her maiden appearance on the global stage at the World Cup in January 2020 in South Africa, an achievement Nigeria’s team handler, Daniel Gim, has assured they have set as benchmark.
“We have put in the hard work and I am sure, as a team, we are hungry to scale to the next stage and above all return to the World Cup,” he ahead of today’s opener. The tournament will end on October 9.

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Globacom Unveils Amusan As New Ambassador

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Telecommunications services provider, Globacom, has unveiled current African, Commonwealth and World 100m hurdles champion, Tobi Amusan, as its latest brand ambassador.
Tobi became the first Nigerian world champion in an athletic event, when she won the gold medal in metres hurdles at the 2022 World Athletics Championships. She set a new world record of 12.12 seconds in the semifinal, and followed this up with 12.06 seconds (wind aided) in the final to take the gold medal.
Speaking at the event, Globacom’s Regional Manager, Sales, Lagos, Lawrence Odediran, said the company’s decision to make Amusan its ambassador was not just to reward her for her sterling accomplishments, but also to help the growth of sports in Nigeria. Odediran also said the endorsement would encourage the country’s teeming youths to aspire toward realising their dreams by looking up to the new ambassador as mentor.
“At Globacom, we are very proud of what Tobi Amusan has achieved in her athletics career. She is an embodiment of the Nigerian spirit of resilience, hard work and enterprise, which enabled her to excel irrespective of the enormity of the challenges she encountered in her quest for success. These are qualities that Globacom identifies with,” Odediran stated.
He explained that Amusan has become a testimony to the famous saying by Malcolm X that “the future belongs to those who prepare for it today,” adding, “she prepared very hard in the previous years and today belongs to her.
“Tomorrow is also waiting for other determined Nigerian and African youths who begin their preparations today. We, therefore, urge them not to be discouraged by present challenges, but to continue to strive to realise their dreams.”

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Gusau Emerges NFF President

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Alhaji Ibrahim Musa Gusau has been elected the new President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
He was elected yesterday at the NFF’s 78th Elective Congress in Benin, the Edo State capital.
In the first ballot, Gusau polled 21 votes to finish first ahead of former Ist Vice President, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi who got 12 votes while the erstwhile League Management Committee (LMC) Chairman, Shehu Dikko got just six votes. Peteside Idah and Abbah Yola got one vote each.
While the trio of Akinwunmi, Dikko, Yola opted out of a possible rerun since Gusau did not get the mandatory 22 votes to win in the first ballot, Idah pressed for a rerun and it was conducted by the electoral body.
In the ensuing rerun, Gusau polled 39 votes while Idah got one vote, while one was voided.
With that, the former Chairman of Chairmen in the last board led by Amaju Melvin Pinnick becomes the 40th man to lead Nigerian football.

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