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NFA Crisis May Cost Nigeria Another AFCON – Ladipo

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The President-General of
the Nigeria Football and Other Sports Supporters Club (NFSSC), Rafiu Ladipo,  says he was concerned that Nigeria may lose another Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) ticket.
Ladipo said on Monday, while speaking with newsmen in Abuja, that Nigeria stood the chance of not qualifying for the 2017 AFCON if the ongoing leadership crisis was not settled.
The 2015 AFCON is holding presently in Equatorial Guinea without Nigeria, who are the defending champions, after winning in South Africa in 2013.
Ladipo, who blamed the country’s failure to qualify on the crisis, said the Eagles might be distracted from the qualifiers for 2017 AFCON if the parties involved continue to disagree.
“We should blame our failure to qualify on the crisis which rocked the NFA, and that crisis of leadership was necessitated by the board elections.
“Before we knew what was happening, we had started losing matches. Whereas the Eagles were expected to qualify even before the last two games, we lost games we were not supposed to lose,’’ he said.
Ladipo said he was at the NFA secretariat to let the association know how to prepare for the 2017 AFCON.
He said many Nigerians would not want a repeat of the Eagles’ failure to go for the competition.
“Some NFA officials are there (at Equatorial Guinea, venue of the 2015 AFCON) and I hope they will come back with some lessons that will ginger our boys and put them in a better position to qualify for the next edition of AFCON,’’ Ladipo said.
He said the NFA must put its house in order to avoid a repeat of what happened in the 2015 qualifying series.
The NFSSC official said the distraction which characterised the Eagles’ participation in the qualifying series contributed mostly to the non-qualification.
Ladipo urged the NFA to ensure the Eagles qualified and go on to win the 2017 AFCON to make up for the absence at the ongoing edition.
He said his club lost so much financially due to the country’s inability to qualify for the biennial competition.
“Before now, members of the club had put aside substantial amounts of money to produce souvenirs like T-shirts, caps and other materials which they are going to sell to make money for the club.
“What we had put in place before we realised that we could not go ran into millions of Naira.
“We were going to the qualifiers with some souve

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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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