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We Can Make South Africa Proud – Parreira

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Carlos Alberto Parreira is not only pleased with how his South Africa side are playing, he is confident that they have crafted an image of their own before they embark on their ambitious mission to appease 47 million South Africans when they face Mexico in the opening act of the 2010 FIFA World Cup at Soccer City.

“We respect everyone, but we fear nobody,” Parreira said after his team beat Denmark 1-0 last weekend at Super Stadium in Tshwane/Pretoria. “If you had asked me five months ago if we were ready, I would have told you that ‘no, we have a long way to go’. But today, I’m happy with the progress, we are up there, we are ready for the task that awaits us. We still have time to work on one or two things, but overall, I’m happy.”

Rehired in October last year to guide Bafana Bafana to the Promised Land, Parreira is left with only five days to iron out the rough edges before the world gets a first view of the team’s progress “We now have an identity, we now have our own style,” the 1994 FIFA World Cup-winning coach added. “We are playing with a lot of confidence and the most important thing is, this team is playing to its strengths.

“When I took this job, I said that my biggest priority is to give this team an identity, I sold that vision to the players and today, watching them play like that, I was very happy with the fact that they have bought into the vision. This team is more comfortable with the ball at its feet, we like to keep possession and to pass the ball around. That is what we are doing and that is why I’m very happy.”

Wearing a broad smile and looking relaxed, the Brazilian is now confident that his side is ready to “make all South Africans proud” after the polished performance against the well-regarded Danes. “Our aim is to win, the result against Denmark was very important for us. We played against a very good team, an experienced team. But as I said, we played with confidence. We have played a number of games in our preparations, but I knew that the game against Denmark was going to be a huge challenge for us.”

Parreira arrived in South Africa last year at a time when Bafana were going through a rough patch under then manager Joel Santana. Parreira’s first task was to win back hearts and restore confidence in the team. “I remember when I came back to this job, people, ordinary people, used to stop me in the streets and they would say ‘coach, make us proud, please make us proud’,” said the Brazilian. “They were not saying ‘please win us the World Cup’, but they wanted something to be proud of. I took that message to the players and I told them that it was their responsibility to make this country proud. Now they are ready.”

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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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