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NPL: SWAN Congratulates, Charges Owumi

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The newly elected chairman of the Nigeria Premier League (NPL), Prince Davidson Owumi, has been congratulated by members of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Enugu state branch, even as they  described  him “as a square peg in a square hole.”

In a statement issued in Enugu and made available to sports writers at the weekend  by the state secretary of the body, Mr. Ignatius Okpara, the organisation, applauded the transparent and peaceful manner in which  the poll was conducted.

The Association, also expressed the hope that the new NFL chairman  would use his wealth of experience in the round leather game to turn around the bastardised nation’s soccer regulatory body.

SWAN was also of the view that   that having  played and managed the game of soccer,  the Delta state born football administrator and tactician  has all it takes to take the nation’s domestic league to the next level.

“AS a player, and seasoned football administrator who has seen it all in the game of soccer, we believe and have no doubt in our minds that with the support and encouragement of all major stake holders in the foot ball business,   Owumi, would deliver”

The Association  equally  believed that  going by  the former Rangers FC of Enugu player and manager’s antecedent and  pedigree as far as football administration is concerned  in Nigeria, it is obvious to say that  the  nation domestic league is in for a new dawn, adding that it is only by engaging the right person  as Owumi in such a position that the nation football could  be moved forward.

“While assuring the brand new NFL boss, who is also one of the Enugu SWAN patrons  of our support and cooperation at all times”, the Association urged him to immediately start  putting  in place progammes that would assist in  making   the nation’s domestic league once attractive  like it used to be in the 70s  and 80s. NFL must do every thing humanly possible to ensure that the nation’s soccer fans return back to all the stadia, because the  laying of much emphasis on the foreign leagues has done more harm than good to our football”, he further stressed.

     The organisation, however,  advised  the new NFL chairman, to beware of sycophants if he wants to succeed in office, just as they want him to take the issue of soccer  hooliganism and alleged corruption among match officers very seriously.

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2021/2022 NPFL Season  Starts, Dec 17

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The 2021/22 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season  is expected to  kick off on December 17th across 10 centres.
Defending champions, Akwa United, will start their title defence  at home in a Match Day 1 fixture against Kano Pillar at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo
Elsewhere,  Gombe United hosts Shooting Stars Sports Club to the Pantami stadium in Gombe in both teams’ first game of their returned season to the top flight.
The Pride of Benue, Lobi Stars, will host Rivers United at the Aper Aku Stadium, Makurdi with the club’s Manager, Eddy Dombraye, leading his side against his state for the first time in many years.
The first oriental derby match of the new season is among the opening fixtures with Enyimba FC playing host to their arch-rivals Abia Warriors in Aba, while Enugu Rangers travel to Katsina to face the Changi boys, Katsina United.
Niger Tornadoes will welcome Plateau United at their temporary home ground in Kaduna while there will be a reunion, sort of in Akure when Sunshine Stars face their former manager, Kabiru Dogo and Fuad Ekelojuoti who are now with Wikki Tourists at the Ondo Sports Complex, Akure.
Another matchday one fixture will see Kwara United host Dakkada in Ilorin. Kwara United almost won the league title last season, before Akwa United secured the title with seven points gap, while the Olukoya boys, MFM FC, will host regional rivals, Remo Stars, at the Agege Stadium.
The Solid Miners, Nasarawa United will travel to Owerri to face Heartland in another opening day tie.

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Delta Principals Cup: Sponsor Splashes Goodies On Finalists

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The sponsor of the on-going Delta State Principals’ Cup football competition, Zenith Bank, has promised that loads of goodies will be given to the finalists of the annual event.
The competition,  now in its 5th edition, is a developmental football competition organised for all secondary schools in the state.
Zenith Bank’s Group Managing Director, Ebenezer Onyeagwu,  said that the last four teams will be rewarded with various ranges of gift items as part of the final day activities.
“We are very committed to developmental pro-grammes in various ways. For sports, we believe in our catch them young initiatives, of which the Delta Principals’ Cup is one of them.
“I congratulate all the finalists for the 2021 event and wish to show that they are all winners, all of them will go home with attractive gift items on final day next week,” Onyeagwu said.
Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, will host the final match between Osadenis Mixed Secondary School and  School of Com-merce  on November 30.
Alaka Grammar School, Ozoro and Ovwor Mixed Secondary School will clash in the Third Place match billed to be the curtain raiser before the final match involving the defending champions, School of Commerce and Osadenis Mixed School.

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US-Based Okorie Plans Maiden South-East Sports Festival

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United States-based Nigerian former athlete, Victor Okorie, is planning to stage a maiden Southeast Sports Festival in 2022 to prepare athletes in the region for the national sports festival billed to hold in Asaba, Delta State.
Okorie, who is the Performance Director of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), said he would meet with governors and some stakeholders in the region soon, as part of his arrangements for the event.
Before his emergence as the Southeast zonal representative on the AFN board during the elective congress held in Abuja on June 14, Okorie had sponsored a competition for track and field athletes through his pet project, the South East Sports Foundation.
The competition, which held in Enugu, saw athletes from Abia, Anambra, Imo, Enugu and Ebonyi compete for prizes in sprint events, throw and jump.
The foundation also plans to organise competitions for the physically challenged athletes in the zone in line with Okorie’s view of taking physically challenged athletes in Southeast away from the streets, as well as integrate athletes in volleyball, handball, wrestling, and other sports on the same level with their foreign-based counterparts.
Speaking with newsmen, from his base in Tennessee, USA, Wednesday, Okorie, who won a silver medal for Nigeria at COJA 2003 All Africa Games in Abuja, said that the maiden Southeast Sports Festival would give the states chance to raise formidable squad for Asaba 2022.
“Sports are one major avenue governors in the southeast states can use to empower youths in the region,” Okorie said.
“I will meet with them and other stakeholders soon, on how we will stage a successful Southeast Sports Festival, which will serve as selection ground ahead of Asaba 2022 National Sports Festival. There is the need to re-awake sports campaign in the Southeast zone. Maybe, the next host of the national sSports festival will come from the Southeast after Asaba 2022,” he added.

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