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Haruna Set For Improved Attitude, Performance For Nigeria

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Haruna Lukman’s representative John Ola Shittu is confident that his ward has put his attitude problems behind him.

Lukman is one of four players, the others being Joseph Yobo, John Mikel Obi and Chinedu Obasi, managed by Shittu, giving the agent the singular distinction of being the only manager with four players in the Nigeria squad.

But apprehension remains as to the discipline of his youngest charge, especially after a near miss with Colombian players during last Sunday’s friendly match.

That altercation did nothing to calm frayed nerves back home with many suggesting that he is a red card away from costing Nigeria dearly at the World Cup. But Shittu says that will not be a concern.

“He is gradually becoming a changed player now. His attitude is improving and as he gets older, he is getting more matured,” Shittu told Tidesports source, “I dont think he will pick up a red card if he plays at the World Cup.”

Shittu also pointed to the calming influence of team captain Nwankwo Kanu.

“Kanu is like his mentor when they are in camp, and he advises him and takes care of him. He is a really big influence on the young man’s career and I believe he will learn from Kanu.”

Shittu also says the Monaco midfielder will be spoken to prior to kick-off.

“We have been talking to him and we will still talk to him and make him understand that he has a huge responsibility on his shoulders. He is a young boy, and he will learn from his past experience.”

Lukman captained Nigeria at both Under-17 and Under-20 levels but became the subject of government, media and fan displeasure at the 2009 African Youth Championships when he was caught on camera chewing gum during the national anthem.

Things did not improve when he missed a penalty in a 1-2 loss to South Africa, and his hairstyle and general attitude drew widespread condemnation.

He was also axed by coach Ladan Bosso during the tournament.

Haruna’s growing reputation as one of the rising stars of  Nigerian football also took a tumble following reports of poor discipline, and a lack of commitment to the cause when Samson Siasia took over from Bosso for the World Youth Championship and Siasia stripped him of the captaincy, handing it to Odion Ighalo instead.

The youngster’s misery was complete when a rush of blood to the head saw him give away the ball in the dying seconds of the quarterfinal game against Germany at the World Youth Championships in Egypt.

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Delta Insists To Host Best Ever NSF Opening Ceremony Nov 30 

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After months of preparations, the 21st National Sports Festival tagged Delta 2022 will finally begin on November 30, with the State government insisting on delivering the best ever Games in history of Nigeria sports.
With two brand new indoor sports hall, a new swimming pool, new tartan track, new shooting range all within the Stephen Keshi Stadium as well as new hockey pitch at Okpanam and new hostel facilities at the NYSC camp at Issele-Uku, the Secretary of Local Organising committee (LOC), Chris Anazia declared yesterday that Delta would leave a legacy that will be difficult to surpass in the nearest future.
“Whenever Delta agree to do anything, we always go for the best,” Anazia said. “We are not just going to host a sports festival, but the best ever in the history of the Games. I am sure by the time the festival ends on December 10, all Nigerian athletes and officials will praise the government and people of Delta State for a job well done.”
Apart the hostel facilities being put in place at NYSC camp at Issele-Uku, headquarters of Aniocha north local council, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa is also building hostels in some schools in Asaba to serve as accommodation for the athletes.
According to Anazia, arrival date for State contingent in November 28 and 29, while the opening ceremony will hold on November 30.
Meanwhile, the Adviser to the LOC, Chief Solomon Ogba, has revealed that the Festival Torch of Unity, which has been moving round the country will arrive Delta State on November 28, and will travel round all local government headquarters for chairmen and council officials to have a feel.
Ogba, a former Sports Commissioner, ex-President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) and currently the First Vice President of the Nigeria Olympics Committee (NOC), stated that the Festival Torch of Unity would arrive Asaba on November 30, the day of the opening ceremony.

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U-23 AFCON: Bosso Invites 40 Players To Camp 

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The  Head Coach of the U-20 Boys’ National Team, Isah Bosso, has called up 40 players to begin camping in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja from today in preparation for the 2023 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations finals in Egypt
This is according to a statement by the Nigeria Football Federation Communications Department, obtained on Saturday.
The list is made up of five goalkeepers, nine defenders, 13 midfielders and 13 forwards. The players will stay at the Serob Legacy Hotel in the Wuye area of the nation’s capital.
The seven-time African champions triumphed at the WAFU B U-20 Championship held in Niger Republic in May and thus qualified to represent the zone at the 2023 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations to be staged in Egypt from February 18 to March 12.
All four semi-finalists at the U-20 AFCON will fly Africa’s flag at next year’s FIFA U-20 World Cup finals holding in Indonesia.

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WAC: Amusan, Brume Others Set To Compete

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Five Nigerian female athletes have qualified to compete at the 19th edition of the World Athletics Championships next year August in Budapest, Hungary,  Tidesports source  reports.
The five athletes are sprinters Favour Ofili, Grace Nwokocha and Rosemary Chukwuma; sprint hurdler Tobi Amusan and long jumper Ese Brume.
The five individual athletes secured their qualification at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham last August while Amusan automatically qualifies as the reigning World 100m hurdles champion albeit she could have made the cut either through the entry standard or the wild card her Diamond League victory conferred on her.
The Commonwealth Games period fell within the qualification window for the Championships.
Two of the five relay teams the women’s 4x100m and the Mixed 4x400m also secured qualification to the championships, the flagship event of World Athletics.
The two relay teams are able to secure qualification following the cancellation of the 2023 World Relays in China due to the resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Three other Nigerian athletes also qualified provisionally for the World Athletics Championships as area champions.
They are Oyesade Olatoye (Hammer Throw), Chioma Onyekwere (Discus) and Chukwuebuka Enekwechi (Shot Put).
The trio won their respective events at the 22nd African Athletics Championships in Mauritius last June.

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