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Amodu’s Eagles Were Predictable – Odemwingie

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Osaze Odemwingie says Nigeria became too predictable under former coach Shuaibu Amodu and Lars Lagerback has already created a buzz around the squad.

Osaze, 29, was one of the more outspoken critics of Amodu’s regime but he said that he did so without malice.

“For the past two years, with Amodu, we’ve been easy to predict. We have to have more variety in our tactics and our attack.

“There’s not much negative or bad about his coaching. It’s just that it’s not enough if we are aspiring to go up there. It’s the difference between good, and better.”

After four training sessions with Lagerback, Odemwingie said things were already looking up, with the Swede instilling a fear no foe confidence in his new team.

“He doesn’t look like someone who doubts his own quality and I think he can bring a result that Nigerians expect. I see him relaxed, as someone with a plan, who took this job after watching our games and knowing that he can do better than where we were.

“From the first training, he is looking at attacking football. He is looking at a passing game. He is looking at the penetrating pass, a pass that creates danger, less square passes and more forward passes. He keeps reminding us that we have to play beautiful football and that results are also very important.

“At the same time, you can see that he doesn’t want to play a game where Nigeria is scared of the opponent, any opponent.”

Odemwingie says already the atmosphere in camp is different.

“You could feel it. You cannot deny it. Like our people say, oyibo na oyibo. There is a touch they add to Africans when they bring their ideas, their calculations, their tactics, their organisation, their way of being more effective on the field. That is going to be added for sure.

“The training so far has been good, the build-up and the movement. I think Lagerback is the best choice Nigeria made.”

More importantly, the forward says Nigeria have to return to their attacking traditions.

“We need to be more ourselves. I think that is what we were denied these past few years. We were not playing like Nigeria. We were more defensive minded. That is why we didnt score so many goals lately, and that is also why we have been struggling even with the average African teams.

“But we could also understand that choice of tactics because it looks like there was a little bit of lack of confidence in our defence line.

“A few times we conceded silly goals, but at the same time, we needed the result and changes had to be done.

“We hope now that things will be better.”

On his first day at work with his squad, Lagerback showed the players individual videos and Osaze said it came as a bit of a surprise.

“I was surprised because we never had that before in our coaching.

“That’s another little thing. Those little things make a difference. Europe has gone far. I am not here to criticise our situation. Its just that right now we have to admit that we are still a little bit behind. In our clubs we see that those things are important. Here, he showed us a few highlights, pointed out some things and everybody is commending it.”

He is under no illusions though, as to how much work remains to be done, but says there is a positive feeling about.

“We have a lot of work to do. The whole team have been commending the training sessions, and we hope to continue for the remaining days.

“We are getting a positive feeling now about ourselves, because it is in the hands of the coach how he motivates his team.”

Ultimately though, he says it will be up to the players to do the business on the pitch.

“We have to believe in ourselves, and in what we can do and go out there on the pitch and show it for the love of our country. There are a lot of people who just want a chance to play and that means that if you are lucky enough to be selected, you have to give your best at all times.”

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Okowa Lauds Athletes Ahead Olympics Trials

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President, Athletics Federation of Nigeria, Tonobok Okowa, has once again mandated all athletes looking to represent the country at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games to attend the Nigerian Trials, which hold from June 16 to 18 inside the main bowl of Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin-City.
Making his stance clear in Monday’s release by the athletics body, Okowa commended the athletes for their determination to qualify for the Olympics.
He said, “The athletes have shown commitment, determination, and desire to succeed in their careers by picking Olympic qualifications. They deserve our collective appreciation.”
He added, “The athletes would be picked in accordance with their performances at the trials because it would largely determine who goes to Paris for the Olympics.”
Meanwhile, the Chairman, Edo State Sports Commission, Yusuf Alli, says the state is waiting to welcome athletes for the trials.
He said, “We are the hosts of the national trials, and athletes and spectators are welcome.”
The trials are expected to throw up the best of Nigeria’s athletes based at home and abroad for the Olympic Games in Paris in July.

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Emerging Star Eyes Olympics Place For Nigeria

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Nigerian track and field star, Favour Ofili, has set her sights on the upcoming national Olympics trials after she pulled off a stunning victory in the women’s 100m at the New York Grand Prix, defeating a stellar field that included Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica last Sunday.
The 21-year-old clocked a season-best 11.18secs to take the win, America’s Morolake Akinosun was second in 11.20secs while her compatriot Aleia Hobbs ended in third place in 11.21secs.Thompson-Herah, the Tokyo Olympics 100m and 200m gold medalist, could only manage ninth place in 11.48secs as she continues to search for her best form this season.
“Just like practice, stay calm and just go, finish your transition because that’s the issue, and whatever happens will happen. I wanted to get the standard here and I give God glory for the win,” Ofili told Tidesports source after the race.
“For the trials, stay calm and just do what I know how to do, go back and do some training before I go back home for the national trials.”
The Olympic trials are scheduled to hold in Benin City, Edo State from June 16 to 18. The trials will serve as the selection of the nation’s athletes for both the Senior Africa Athletics Championships, holding between June 21 and 28 in Douala, Cameroon and the Paris 2024 Olympics, which hold from July 26 to August 11.

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Olympic Day Celebrations Hold June 29

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The Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), at the weekend, said the annual Olympic Day celebrations would be held on June 29 across the country.
The Olympic Day is a global event that commemorates the birth of the modern Olympic Movement, founded by Pierre de Coubertin in 1894.
Speaking with news men, the Secretary-General of the NOC, Babatunde Popoola, said this year’s celebration holds special significance as it precedes the highly anticipated Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
It’s where Nigerian athletes will compete and inspire the world with their achievements.
“Olympic Day is a chance for people of all ages and abilities to experience the magic of the Olympic Games in their own communities.
“It is an ideal platform to highlight the benefits of physical activity and the Olympic values of excellence, friendship, and respect,” Popoola said.
Popoola said that NOC had received positive responses from various states and stakeholders, and preparations were well underway for the nationwide celebration.
He added that no fewer than 21 states and the Federal Capital Territory have indicated their plans to organise activities for the event.
The states are: Abia; Anambra; Bayelsa; Delta; Edo; Enugu; Ebonyi; Lagos; Kogi; Gombe; Jigawa; Kebbi; Kano; Kwara; Taraba; Imo; Ondo; Plateau; Rivers; Nasarawa and Osun
Also speaking, the Chairman of the NOC Sport For All Commission, Abdul Ibrahim, said that Olympic Day was a special day to come together, move together, and learn about the Olympic values.
“We encourage everyone to participate and experience the joy that only sport can bring,” he said.
According to him, a series of activities have been lined up in Lagos, with fitness clubs at the National Stadium Complex and the general public gearing up to take part in the global event.
“The celebration will conclude with the presentation of diplomas signed by the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach.
The President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, Engr. Habu Ahmed Gumel and other dignitaries will officially flag off the event in Abuja,” he added.

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