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Badminton Boss Predicts Better Years Ahead

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The President, Badminton
Federation of Nigeria (BFN),Justice Danlami Senchi, on Monday in Abuja said he was optimistic the sport would witness another great year in 2015.
BFN, a member of Africa Badminton Federation (ABF), is charged with the responsibility of taking badminton to an enviable height in Nigeria.
Senchi told newsmen that the past few years had been rewarding for the sport in the country, even though they have not been without enormous challenges as well.
At the last All-Africa Games (AAG) in Maputo, Mozambique in 2011, Nigeria bagged nine medals, comprising of three gold, one silver and five bronze.
Nigeria placed second on the sport’s medals table, with South Africa topping with one silver medal extra.
“Going into the AAG competition this year and ahead of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, we are therefore expected to produce badminton athletes who can stand the test of time.
“A better outing at this year’s event will also cancel out a not-too-impressive performance which our athletes put up at last year’s Thomas and Uber Cup tournament held in New Delhi, India.
“We could not go beyond the group stage and therefore finished in the 16th position, in spite of being the only African nation at the championship held in May,’’ the BFN president said.
The 11th AAG are scheduled for September 4 to September 19 in Brazzaville, Congo.
Senchi also said the decision to hold the third edition of the Nigeria International Badminton Championships last year was to create awareness and strengthen the performance of the country’s badminton players.
“The championships have been a huge success and we decided to organise the international event in a bid to ensure that our players compete favourably with their counterparts anywhere in the world.
“However, due to the challenge of funding, knowing fully that government cannot be left to do everything, we are seriously in talk with private sponsors and they have been responding.
“We hope to get more of them on board to expand the frontiers of what we do,’’ he said.
The championships was well attended by countries such as Uganda, Switzerland, France, Egypt, the Czech Republic, among others.
It attracted sponsorship from many lovers of the badminton game, including the Sokoto State Government.
Team Nigeria’s representatives at the event, Jinkam Bulus and Ola Fagbemi, gave a good account of themselves to take all points in the men’s doubles finals to emerge winners.
Their performance went further to confirm Nigeria as the leading light in the continent, ahead of South Africa, Uganda, Seychelles, Ghana and Mauritius.

Dolphin FC player trying to outsmart opponent during premier match recently.

Dolphin FC player trying to outsmart opponent during premier match recently.

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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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