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Pillars Accuse Referees Of Favouritism

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Goalkeeper Lawrence
John of Kano Pillars Football Club has accused referees at the just concluded 2014/2015 Glo Premier League Super Four Invitational Tournament of favouring the national teams in the tournament.
John, who was the stand-in captain during his team’s 1-1 draw with the national under-23 team, Dream Team VI, made the assertion at a post-match conference last week.
He said the pre-season tournament, which held at the Abuja National Stadium’s mainbowl, ought to be an open game that everyone should enjoy.
The goalkeeper insisted that the referees were fair in their officiating.
“Though we had a good game today (Wednesday), the centre referee was not fair enough.
“The Super 4 is supposed to be an open game that everyone should enjoy, but with the way it is now, it is like they (the referees) want one of the national teams to win it.
“Going by all the matches, everyone has been complaining and that is why they (football fans) were stoning the referee after the match.
“It is an embarrassment to Nigerian football because we players are ready to play the game, but they just want to spoil everything,” John said.
The match officials were pelted with objects by a group of fans as they headed to the dressing rooms after the game.
During the match, the national team canceled out Kano Pillars’ 31st minute lead through a penalty kick in the 75th minute.
But, while speaking also after the match, the Assistant Coach of Dream Team VI, Fatai Amoo, said the officiating was fair enough to allow both teams play a good game.
“Everyone is entitled to their opinion and the referee is the sole judge in every match, but for me, he was fair enough.
“It was good enough to allow both teams play a good game, which we did,” Amoo said. He however noted that his team was not hell bent on winning the tournament.

The coach said they rather used the tournament to get a formidable team ahead of the 2015 All-Africa Games (AAG) qualifiers.
“The objective of Dream Team VI in participating in this tournament is to assess the players and give them the needed impetus for the AAG qualifiers.
“But, if eventually, we were able to emerge as the winners, it will be a plus for us. However, we are focused on building a formidable team from here,” Amoo said.
Kano Pillars used the tournament as a build-up to the 2015 CAF Champions League.
Dream Team VI on the other hand used the tournament as a build-up to the AAG qualifiers this month.
The Super 4 tournament which started on January 24 ended at the weekend.

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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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