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AYC: Flying Eagles Coach Still Hopeful On Iheanacho

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Flying Eagles’ Head
Coach Manu Garba has expressed optimism that striker Kelechi Iheanacho could still join the team ahead of the 2015 African Youth Championship (AYC).
Garba told newsmen in Abuja on the sidelines of the 2014/2015 Glo Premier Super 4 Invitational Tournament that if Iheanacho’s injury healed on time, he could join the team.
“Iheanacho can still add value to this team with his performance, but he is being held back by an ankle injury.
“But once he is fit again, we will try to make him join the team ahead of the AYC because he is a valuable player,” the coach said.
Iheanacho is one of the foreign-based players invited to the Flying Eagles camp ahead of preparations for the 2015 AYC.
However, he was not released by his English clubside, Manchester City, due to the ankle injury.
Garba who was the player’s coach during his time with the Golden Eaglets two years ago said however that his optimism did not suggest that he would get an automatic shirt.
He said the player, who was the toast of the national under-17 team then, said Iheanacho would have to fight his way in.
“Although we still hope he will join us, this does not mean he will get an automatic shirt when he comes.
“There is no automatic shirt in Flying Eagles. So, when he comes, he will have to show us that we still need him in the team,” Garba said.
The Flying Eagles’ coach however said there were other substitutes for him in the team if Iheanacho was not able to make it at the end of the day.
“We do not rely on any player in the team because we have a pool of players to select from.
“So, if Iheanacho is not able to meet up with us eventually, we have other players in the team that can give us what we want.
“At the FIFA U-17 World Cup in the UAE when Isaac Success was injured, everyone was doubtful of the team. But Taiwo Awoniyi stood up to the task and even did more than many people expected.
“So, that is exactly what we are doing at the under-20 level and we are sure it will lead us to success,” Garba said.
NAN reports that the Flying Eagles have been in camp in preparation for the AYC scheduled for Senegal from March 8 to March 22.
They are also participating in the ongoing 2014/2015 Glo Premier League Super 4 Invitational Tournament as part of their preparations.

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NDDC U-17 Peace Cup To Resume In Uyo

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The long awaited finale of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) U-17 Peace Cup would expectedly resume next week as two qualified teams from the nine states converge in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom capital.
Technical Director of the tournament  Etim Esin in a statement on behalf  of the Local Organising Committee Chairman John Ekpeyong and Secretary Ada Gwegwe yesterday said the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Chief Senator Godswill Akpabio, CON, will declare the tournament open.
It added that the Special Assistant to the President Muhammad Buhari, on Sports Development, Coach Daniel Amokachi, NFF Technical Director Coach Augustine Eguavoen along with football legend Taribo West and other notable Niger Delta-based and foreign scouts will be on ground.
The LOC appreciated the Sole Administrator of the NDDC, Effiong Akwa, for his support towards the conclusion of the tournament, adding that it is better late than never, as the competition will still be among his numerous legacies.
According to the statement, the arrival date for participating teams is 11th of December, while screening of teams and official kick off, will take place the following day.
The statement further called on the Coordinators of the states not to forget the rules of engagement, especially on the age bracket of the players, as the screening will be strict, for the aim of the competition to be achieved.

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FIBA World Cup: Kida Lauds D’Tigers’ Strong Qualifiers Start

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Top basketball administrator and immediate past Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) president, Engr Musa Kida, has congratulated the D’Tigers for starting their 2022 FIBA World Cup on a strong note after picking two victories in three matches.
With five points from a possible six and a superior point difference, the team sits comfortably atop group A ahead of the next round of games coming up by the 27th of June, 2022.
Kida described the team’s performance as inspiring despite peculiar circumstances surrounding the federation’s election as well as FIBA’s stance over Nigeria’s participation at the qualifiers.
“It is really nice to start such important qualifiers on a winning note which is very good for our chances of qualifying for the World Cup. We had to put our administrative differences aside for the sake of Nigeria and Nigerians.”
“We feel elated and justified that our decision to give FIBA the go ahead to register the team which enabled them participate paid off in the long run as we join hands with all stakeholders to continue growing the game in Nigeria”.
16 teams are vying for the available five spots at the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup with Nigeria grouped alongside Mali, Cape Verde and Uganda.
“The top three teams from each group will advance to the Second Round of the African Qualifiers and will join three other teams to create two six-team groups with results from the preliminary rounds carried over,” Musa added.

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AWCON Qualifiers: Ebi Targets Revenge Against Ivory Coast

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Super Falcons defender, Onome Ebi, says the team will go all out for revenge when they clash against Ivory Coast in their final 2022 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations qualifiers next year.
The qualifying game which will be played on a home and away basis is scheduled for February 13 and 17 with the winners qualifying for the AWCON in Morocco.
The Falcons who will be hoping to defend the title they won at the 2018 in Ghana are eyeing their 10th trophy Morocco but to qualify for the event, they’ll have to go past the Ivorians who knocked them out of contention for the 2020 Olympics in Japan.
Ebi, who is Nigeria’s current longest-serving player says her aim is to avenge the loss that saw them miss out on the 2020 Olympics at the hands of the Ivorians.
“I can tell you that we still nurse the pain of missing out of the Tokyo Olympics as a result of the loss to Cote d’Ivoire in the qualifying series,” Ebi said.
“This time, we will repay them in their own coins. Personally, I want to play in the Africa Cup of Nations and the FIFA World Cup, and I know it is the same for my teammates.”
The Falcons are the most successful African women’s team in the world and have won the AWCON a record nine times and will be hoping to get their 10th next year after the 2020 edition was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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