President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday in Abuja charged the Super Eagles to lead a successful African onslaught on the World Cup trophy at the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals.
Jonathan who gave the charge at a sendforth dinner tagged “Super Eagles Celebration Night’’, said African leaders were hopeful that one of their six teams in the competition would win the trophy which no African country has ever won.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup finals are scheduled for June 11 to July 11 in South Africa.
Hosts South Africa, Nigeria, Algeria, Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire and Cameroon are participating in the 32-team event that is being hosted on the African continent for the first time.
“African leaders are hopeful that one of us will win the competition, and therefore I enjoin you to go there and do it because my government will reward you adequately and your names will be written in the annals of history,’’ Jonathan said.
He said the team should go on to give the country a surprise birthday gift as it clocks 50 years after independence.
This, he said, would motivate him to give the players a surprise package.
“There will be no promise for you of what I will do, but when you give the nation that surprise gift, nothing will be too much then for us to give you.
“You have every reason to do well at the World Cup in this year of our 50th Independence Anniversary. So, bring the golden trophy for us as a golden birthday gift,’’ he said.
President Jonathan promised to be in South Africa for the June 11 opening ceremony and the team’s opening Group B game against Argentina on June 12 as the team’s number one fan.
“I will be there and I am expecting you to make me and other Nigerians happy,’’ he said, while advising the team to display the highest sense of discipline and teamwork at the event.
He said he was counting on the team’s Technical Adviser Lars Lagerback to properly guide the team to victory at the competition.
“I and all Nigerians count on the experience of Lagerback and his team to guide the players to success, and I believe he will train the team adequately to bring success to Nigeria,’’ the President said.
Jonathan praised the late President Umaru Yar’Adua for his contributions in ensuring the team earned the ticket to be part of the historic competition which would be the first time six African countries would take part in its 80-year history.
“I say congratulations to all who contributed to the qualification of the team. But this history cannot be completely recorded without mentioning the contributions of our late President Yar’Adua.
“His foresight in setting up the Presidential Task Force (PTF) to complement the efforts of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) is what we are seeing today,’’ he said.
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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