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Enyimba Decries Champion’s League Hostility In Tunisia

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The ill treatment meted to
Enyimba FC players by Etoile Du Sahel of Tunisia was a ploy to distract Enyimba in the group stage of the CAF Champions League, Enyimba’s top scorer Mfom Udoh said.
The sensational striker made the assertion in an interview with newsmen yesterday in Lagos.
Udoh, who was reacting to the outcome of the match with the Tunisian side, said that Enyimba had an ugly experience during the qualifiers in Tunisia.
The current highest goal scorer in the CAF Champions League with seven goals helped Enyimba to the group stage when he scored a sensational hat-trick in the first leg of the competition.
The former Akwa United striker scored 23 goals for the People’s Elephant last season to emerge the league’s highest goal scorer.
“The hostility meted out to us by our host is a ploy to distract our team from winning the crucial encounter.
“The Tunisia game is over now and we are happy that we won which is the most important thing.
“We scaled through, in spite of the antics of the Tunisians, what happened are antics and distractions to make us lose focus which almost happened.
“What we need to do now is to prepare well ahead of other tough matches, football is a challenge and we want to make sure that the cup comes back to Nigeria.
“We are already challenged and we are on the right track now, it is our target to return the cup which had eluded us. We are working hard to achieve that,’’ he said.
On Enyimba’s prospect of retaining the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) top slot in the current season, Udoh said the club was on course to achieving the feat again.
“We have what it takes to retain the NPFL; we must match our records even to do well in the continental. We have to take it from home where charity begins.
“We are aware of our status at home and abroad and we will ensure that we do well domestically.’’
Udoh added that he might be plying his trade in the North African club but that his task was to ensure that Enyimba had something to show at the end of the season.
According to the Media Officer of Enyimba, Farriel Alaputa, the team was badly treated by their host, prompting a petition to CAF on the matter.
Alaputa said that no Etoile du Sahel representative was on ground to receive the team except officials of the Nigerian embassy who assisted them.
“ The threat of violence was so high that Enyimba officials were on the bench during the game as that was the only safe place they could hide.
“In spite of that, rocks, iron rods and plastic bottles were rained down on the roof of the bench throughout.
“During half time, the match officials and match commissioner were victims of the stoning and they had to retreat to the bench of Etoile,’’ he said.
Enyimba FC, two-time winner of the CAF Champions League, is the nation’s only representative left in the continental competition this season.
Other Nigerian representatives, including Akwa United, Nasarawa United and Warri Wolves crashed out before the group stages.
However, basking in the euphoria of their remarkable victory over the reigning CAF Confederation Cup winners, Enyimba got what they did not bargained for in Tunisia.

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Okowa Lauds Athletes Ahead Olympics Trials

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President, Athletics Federation of Nigeria, Tonobok Okowa, has once again mandated all athletes looking to represent the country at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games to attend the Nigerian Trials, which hold from June 16 to 18 inside the main bowl of Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin-City.
Making his stance clear in Monday’s release by the athletics body, Okowa commended the athletes for their determination to qualify for the Olympics.
He said, “The athletes have shown commitment, determination, and desire to succeed in their careers by picking Olympic qualifications. They deserve our collective appreciation.”
He added, “The athletes would be picked in accordance with their performances at the trials because it would largely determine who goes to Paris for the Olympics.”
Meanwhile, the Chairman, Edo State Sports Commission, Yusuf Alli, says the state is waiting to welcome athletes for the trials.
He said, “We are the hosts of the national trials, and athletes and spectators are welcome.”
The trials are expected to throw up the best of Nigeria’s athletes based at home and abroad for the Olympic Games in Paris in July.

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Emerging Star Eyes Olympics Place For Nigeria

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Nigerian track and field star, Favour Ofili, has set her sights on the upcoming national Olympics trials after she pulled off a stunning victory in the women’s 100m at the New York Grand Prix, defeating a stellar field that included Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica last Sunday.
The 21-year-old clocked a season-best 11.18secs to take the win, America’s Morolake Akinosun was second in 11.20secs while her compatriot Aleia Hobbs ended in third place in 11.21secs.Thompson-Herah, the Tokyo Olympics 100m and 200m gold medalist, could only manage ninth place in 11.48secs as she continues to search for her best form this season.
“Just like practice, stay calm and just go, finish your transition because that’s the issue, and whatever happens will happen. I wanted to get the standard here and I give God glory for the win,” Ofili told Tidesports source after the race.
“For the trials, stay calm and just do what I know how to do, go back and do some training before I go back home for the national trials.”
The Olympic trials are scheduled to hold in Benin City, Edo State from June 16 to 18. The trials will serve as the selection of the nation’s athletes for both the Senior Africa Athletics Championships, holding between June 21 and 28 in Douala, Cameroon and the Paris 2024 Olympics, which hold from July 26 to August 11.

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Olympic Day Celebrations Hold June 29

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The Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), at the weekend, said the annual Olympic Day celebrations would be held on June 29 across the country.
The Olympic Day is a global event that commemorates the birth of the modern Olympic Movement, founded by Pierre de Coubertin in 1894.
Speaking with news men, the Secretary-General of the NOC, Babatunde Popoola, said this year’s celebration holds special significance as it precedes the highly anticipated Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
It’s where Nigerian athletes will compete and inspire the world with their achievements.
“Olympic Day is a chance for people of all ages and abilities to experience the magic of the Olympic Games in their own communities.
“It is an ideal platform to highlight the benefits of physical activity and the Olympic values of excellence, friendship, and respect,” Popoola said.
Popoola said that NOC had received positive responses from various states and stakeholders, and preparations were well underway for the nationwide celebration.
He added that no fewer than 21 states and the Federal Capital Territory have indicated their plans to organise activities for the event.
The states are: Abia; Anambra; Bayelsa; Delta; Edo; Enugu; Ebonyi; Lagos; Kogi; Gombe; Jigawa; Kebbi; Kano; Kwara; Taraba; Imo; Ondo; Plateau; Rivers; Nasarawa and Osun
Also speaking, the Chairman of the NOC Sport For All Commission, Abdul Ibrahim, said that Olympic Day was a special day to come together, move together, and learn about the Olympic values.
“We encourage everyone to participate and experience the joy that only sport can bring,” he said.
According to him, a series of activities have been lined up in Lagos, with fitness clubs at the National Stadium Complex and the general public gearing up to take part in the global event.
“The celebration will conclude with the presentation of diplomas signed by the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach.
The President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, Engr. Habu Ahmed Gumel and other dignitaries will officially flag off the event in Abuja,” he added.

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