Nigeria’s preparations for the World Cup may well suffer even more setbacks after it was learnt that the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) are demanding hefty cash payments from teams, who wish to engage the Super Eagles in warm-up matches prior to South Africa 2010.
Indepth investigations by our source have revealed that organisers for Nigeria’s only confirmed World Cup warm-up match against Colombia on May 30 in London have asked the NFF to review the Eagles match fee of $150,000.
They have also asked the Nigeria football authorities to dip into their pockets and come up with at least $50,000 as part of their own contribution to the London stadium hire of about $150,000.
NFF officials are also asking organisers for the Colombia game to pay for their flight tickets to London even though Nigeria are due there before the match for their World Cup training camp in Essex.
The NFF have confirmed that they are deep in negotiations with Iceland for a friendly on May 26, but this game may hit the rocks because while Iceland are disposed to foot the travel and boarding expenses of the Eagles, officials are believed to be demanding for an appearance fee of $100,000.
“We’re not an irresponsible organisation,” insisted NFF official, Tunde Aderibigbe.
“We know how important it is to prepare well so as to do well at the World Cup and as such we cannot compromise on this.
“But we also have bills to pay. We have to pay for our training camp, bonuses and allowances of the players, among other costs.”
It was gathered that the NFF splashed over 70 million naira for the participation of the home-based Eagles at the WAFU Nations Cup in Abeokuta as well as the FIFA Under-17 Female World Cup qualifying match against South Africa.
However, a perplexed football pundit wondered, “It is rather baffling that the NFF wish to commercialise these World Cup friendlies even though FIFA have paid them a million US dollars to prepare for the competition.
“Rather than be asking to be paid, it should be Nigeria even paying these teams to play them because they are the ones who really need these matches to prepare for the World Cup. Colombia and Iceland did not qualify for the World Cup.”
Proposed World Cup warm-ups against Paraguay, Ukraine and North Korea have all fallen through in the last few weeks and officials insist they will remain mum about other test games until they have been finalised.
Nigeria are pitched against Argentina, Greece and South Korea at the World Cup in June.
Scholarships Up For Grabs For 10 Winners At MTN Champs
The grand finale of the MTN Champs will commence from today and end on Sunday at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja where 10 winners will bag scholarship and financial benefits.
MTN CHAMPS is a program in Nigeria that aims to unearth and foster athletics talent across the country.
It is modeled after the Jamaican High school CHAMPS and is poised to become the primary platform for identifying and nurturing promising athletes who could go on to represent Nigeria in prestigious international competitions such as the Olympics and World Championships.
Before the finals in Abuja, the track and field event was held in three different regions namely: Uyo, Benin and Ibadan where over 7,000 athletes have competed and 42 finalists emerged.
Speaking at the MTN Champs Press Conference held on Wednesday in Abuja, the General Secretary of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, Rita Mosindi appealed for the introduction of anti-doping lectures for the young athletes.
“ I want to appeal for the introduction of anti-doping lectures for the kids to educate them on the side effects of taking dope substances.
“These are raw talents that we can manage and nurture them to stardom.
“My advice is to do seminars concerning this just as we have started doing as a federation to reduce doping cases in Nigeria.”
Founder and CEO of Making of Champions (MoC), Bambo Akanni, who is the brain behind the MTN Champs revealed that 10 young athletes from the championship will get special scholarship in the USA and Jamaica.
“MTN Champs involving Secondary School Championship is to discover future Olympians for the country, building youth to excel in sports and academics. This is in line with MTN history of supporting local athletes for global aspirations.
NBPL Final Four: Winning Tournament Excites Rivers Hoopers Player
Rivers Hoopers of Port Harcourt player Effiong Abel has expressed joy for winning the just concluded Nigeria Basketball Premier (NBPL) League Final Four in Port Harcourt.
According to him, the game was not an easy one, adding that they were going through a hard training before the competition.
Effiong disclosed his excitement last Saturday in an exclusive interview with Tidesports shortly after Rivers Hoopers defeated Nigeria Customs basketball team 77-57 in the final game of the four of the NBPL in Port Harcourt.
He stated that it was a team work that saw them through, adding that he was very happy winning the tournament in the front of his fans.
“ I feel very excited today for winning the Nigeria Basketball Premier League Final Four in Port Harcourt.
“ It was not an easy one because of the type of training we were undergoing to ensure we get victory in the tournament.
“I give kudos to my teammates and the coaching crew, they were awesome.
“ Also kudos to the fans, they came out in numbers to support us” Effiong said.
Effiong personally took charge at some point of the game delivering three pointers which eventually created a lee way for a sumptuous finale.
By: Kiadum Edookor
MOC Makes Appeal Over Age Cheats
Organisers of the ongoing school athletics competition, MTN Champs, Making of Champions (MoC), have appealed to all athletes who have participated in the three legs of the championship, as well as their schools, parents, coaches and everyone connected to them to support the body in its efforts to eradicate the systemic age cheating in Nigeria’s athletics by committing to use their real ages at the Abuja grand final and in future.
“MTN has provided a historic opportunity for Nigeria to finally tackle the pressures that our athletes have long faced to cut their ages,” MoC said in a statement made available to news men.
“Never in our nation’s history has there been a nationwide series of championships that has provided three age groups cutting across ages 11 to 19, to give everyone possible opportunity to compete fairly in their own age groups, and we have even relaxed the junior age group from U-20 to U-23.
The grand finale will hold in Abuja from December 1 to 3.
The MoC statement added: “Despite the fact that appropriate age groups have been provided for everyone, we have seen widespread age discrepancies across all three age categories – Cadet (U-14) and Youth (U-17) categories, which are strictly for secondary schools only and juniors (U-20), which is open to all other teenagers.
“For example, we have seen a systematic pattern of an unusually high number of SS2 and SS3 students claiming to be 13 and 14 years old respectively. We have seen athletes who were 14 in 2021 claiming to still be 14 now, 18-year-olds who have finished secondary school already claiming to be 13 so that they can run against the cadets, and we have seen many athletes competing for schools they are not part of and in the wrong age categories as well.
“One of such schools, which was biggest offender in this area, is currently in the process of being disqualified, which will be announced shortly.”
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