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AFN To Commence Trials, Feb

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The Athletic Federation of Nigeria (AFN) said it has fixed Feb. 18 to Feb. 23, 2013 for trials ahead of the Africa Athletic Youth Championships holding in Warri, Delta, between March and April 2013.

The Federation plans to use the All-Nigeria Secondary Schools’ Championship to test-run in readiness for the African champions.

Commodore Omatseye Nesiama, AFN Technical Director, told newsmen in Lagos at the weekend that a fitness test would also be conducted for officials and volunteers ahead of the championships.

“We have fixed Feb. 18 to Feb. 23 next year to carry out a test-run of all the facilities, the technical officials and all those that will be involved, volunteers inclusive, for the championship.

“To achieve that, I have planned to organise a technical officiating refresher course that same period between Feb. 18 and Feb. 23. The end of the refresher course will coincide with the competition to test-run the facility.

“It is after that time that we can beat our chest to say that we are fully ready or not, we still need to make one or two adjustments because we are going to test every aspect.

“The competition itself, the officials, the equipment including the timing devices.’’

Nesiama said the AFN would use the secondary schools championships in Port Harcourt in January, while some athletes from the 18th National Sports Festival would also be selected for the national team.

He warned, however, that the championships would be strictly for athletes between the ages of 16 years and 17 years, saying any athlete, who had clocked 18 years by December 2012, would not be given the chance to compete.

“It is open to youths of 16 years and 17 years old, the youth must not exceed 17 years by December 2013. It means from 16 years to 17 years can compete, 18 years old cannot.

“And we are very serious about that and that is why we are taking our preparations in that light very seriously also, in terms of a kind of selection processes we are adopting.

“We are going to use the All-Nigeria Secondary School Championships taking place in Port Harcourt early next year as one of our platforms for selection.

“And the other platform will be the National Sports Festival; we were able to get the athletes that are within the age range.’’

Nesiama also told newsmen that officials of the Africa Athletic Confederation had inspected the facilities to be used in Warri, and that they were satisfied.

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… As Coach Expresses Optimism To Qualify For 2026 W’Cup

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Newly appointed Super Eagles coach Finidi George has set his sights firmly on securing qualification for the 2026 World Cup, demanding unwavering commitment from his top players as the team aims to get their faltering qualifying campaign back on track.
Unveiled to the media in Abuja on Monday, Finidi, who succeeded the outgoing Portuguese coach Jose Peseiro, wasted no time in laying out his immediate priorities, two crucial 2026 World Cup qualifiers against South Africa and Benin early next month.
“Nigeria comes first, that’s what I expect from every player I invite. You have to be playing in your club, and you must have the commitment,” Finidi told reporters on Monday.
Recognising the importance of a strong start, the former Ajax winger emphasised the significance of the upcoming clash against South Africa.
“The first targets are to qualify for the World Cup and AFCON (Africa Cup of Nations), and a win over South Africa will set the tone.”
Nigeria currently finds itself in third place in their qualifying group, with just two points from as many games, while South Africa sits second with three points.
Finidi, who has signed a year’s contract with an option for an additional year, acknowledged the immense pressure that comes with leading the national team of a country with over 200 million people.
However, he exuded confidence in his ability to withstand the scrutiny, stating, “I have a tough skin.”
While his salary remains undisclosed, the 53-year-old coach expressed a willingness to prioritise performance over immediate financial rewards.
“The salary is good enough for me, it’s not as much as that of (Jose) Peseiro.
“Money is good, but if you add value to what you do, the money will come. Then they can come and ask ‘Coach, how much do you want?” Finidi said.

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I’m Not Under Pressure, I’ve Tough Skin – Finidi

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New Super Eagles Coach, Finidi George, has underlined that the word pressure is not in his dictionary and appealed for support from key stakeholders including the media.
Speaking after his unveiling yesterday in Abuja, the former Enyimba of Aba coach said; “In life you cannot be afraid. As you see me here, I am a quiet person but I’m not afraid of anything. The worst you can get in football is not getting the result, the best you can get is winning all the time, and I will try my best to make sure that the team functions properly and we start winning games.”
On whether is under pressure to justify his appointment, the coach stressed; “Pressure, I don’t think I have it. I have that tough skin and I want to plead you guys, the media we need your support.
“What is in the contract is boldly written, what the NFF wants and Nigeria in general, but for me personally my first target is to make sure we are in line to qualify for the World Cup. AFCON qualifiers definitely will be coming up soon, but the major step for me is these two games that we have.
“If we can win against South Africa and Benin, we will set the tone.”
During the unveiling ceremony, the NFF confirmed that ex-Super Eagles striker; Daniel Amokachi and Abiden Baruwa will be the assistant coach and goalkeeper coach respectively.
The first assignment for Finidi, who won the Champions League with Ajax in 1995, is to qualify for the 2026 World Cup.

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Amusan Becomes World’s Fastest Woman, Sets New Track Record

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Nigerian sprint icon Tobi Amusan has become the world’s fastest woman in the women’s 100m hurdles after running a world-leading 12.40 seconds.
In a thrilling race, the world record holder secured the victory, leaving behind Danielle Williams, the world champion, who clocked her best time of the season at 12.46 seconds. Following closely was American Christina Clemons, claiming the third spot with a time of 12.54 seconds.
This triumph means the Nigerian athlete has now claimed the top spot globally, surpassing American Tonea Marshall’s previous record of 12.42 seconds set in late April.
Tobi Amusan’s impressive win arrives just two months before the Paris 2024 Olympics, setting the stage for an exciting competition ahead.
John Enoh, the minister of sports development, on his X handle congratulated Amusan over the feat.
Take your flowers Tobi Amusan, you stormed to an emphatic win in the women’s 100m hurdles at the Jamaica Athletics Invitational, clocking a time of 12.40s (0.9), a World Lead time!
You defeated World Champion Danielle Williams, who came 2nd in 12.46s, while Christina Clemons.
“Take your flowers Tobi Amusan, you stormed to an emphatic win in the women’s 100m hurdles at the Jamaica Athletics Invitational, clocking a time of 12.40s (0.9), a World Lead time! You defeated World Champion Danielle Williams, who came 2nd in 12.46s, while Christina Clemons was 3rd in 12.54s,” he wrote.
“Tobi, you keep making our country proud. Paris Olympics is around the corner, your performance gives us hope just like others, that Nigeria is set to break a jinx. Keep soaring, we are proud of you.”

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