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Buhari Receives FIFA World Cup Trophy, Super Eagles

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday in Abuja received the FIFA World Cup Trophy ahead of the FIFA World Cup tournament in Russia in June.
Speaking at the event, President Buhari noted with delight that the Super Eagles were the first African team to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
Buhari also received the CHAN Super Eagles team and Nigeria’s Bobsleigh Winter Olympic team at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
The president pledged his administration’s support for the team towards winning the trophy in June.
According to him, football has been a great unifying factor among the ethnic groups in the country.
He lauded the world football ruling body for allowing the trophy to tour two cities in Nigeria, Abuja and Lagos.
“I wish to thank FIFA for deeming it fit to include two cities in Nigeria, Abuja and Lagos, in the FIFA World Cup Trophy tour by Coca Cola.
“Football has a cult followership in Nigeria. Our passion for football cut across all ethnic groups and also plays a key role in unifying our peoples from various backgrounds,’’ he said.
President Buhari commended Coca Cola for investing part of its resources in the development of football in Nigeria and urged other organisations to emulate the company.
He also appreciated the efforts of members of the CHAN Eagles that won silver in Morocco as well as the 2018 Nigeria’s Bobsleigh Winter Olympics in South Korea.
“We are proud of you and the team to the Bobsleigh Winter Olympics in South Korea,’’ he said.
The Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Mr Solomon Dalung, appreciated the efforts of President Buhari for his continued support for the Super Eagles and other sport activities in the country.
He disclosed that the two ladies that brought honours to Nigeria at the Bobsleigh Winter Olympics in South Korea deserved commendation.
He said that the duo, who were based in the United States, sponsored their training and participation at the competition.
In his remarks, the FIFA representative, Mr Christian Karembeu, who presented the FIFA World Cup trophy to President Buhari, urged the Super Eagles to believe in themselves in order to go far in the competition.
The President of Coca Cola West Africa, Peter Njonjo, revealed that the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour was launched in 2006 as an exclusive partnership by FIFA and Coca Cola.
He expressed the hope that the ceremony on Wednesday would turn out to be “a dress rehearsal for the return of the trophy in July if the Super Eagles win the competition.’’

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Expert Wants Parents To Enroll Children In Vector Programme

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In a bid to have more young talented Nigerians to play professional football abroad, Johnny Ogbah, a sports lawyer and football intermediary, has called on parents to enroll their children in Vector Programme.
He stated that the programme is in conjunction with Conventry Football Club in United Kingdom (UK), saying that the programme includes academics where a child can acquire a degree.
Ogbah, made the call while addressing sports journalists recently in Port Harcourt, as the programme will admit students into Brooke College between the age of 11 and 18 Football Academy.
The major objective of Vector Programme is to give the young ones a career through sports and good education. The programme does not train people on football only but also other things that is related to sporting environment, he said.
According to him,  more than 20 Nigerians have benefited from the programme on scholarship and most of them are now playing football in top clubs in Europe.
“Vector programme was poised to create an avenue to give people to play football to the highest level.
Apart from football the child can also have quality education. It will interest you to know that those in Vector programme play friendly games that attracts scouts from different countries and football clubs.
The programme doesn’t train you on only football but also train people on everything that is associated to sports”, Ogbah said.
The former Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) player further disclosed Vector programme pathways provides the practice opportunities that players need if they are to successfully graduate as a professional player.

By: Tonye Orabere

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NLO: Khana FC Coach Blames Players For Missing Chances

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The Head Coach of Khana FC in Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State, Sam Ledor, has blamed his players as they were unable to convert scoring chances.
According to him, if those chances created in their opening match against Jet Bomber FC at the ongoing Nation wide League One (NLO), in Omoku centre were  converted, it  would have given them victory.
Ledor, said this on Saturday in a chat with Tidesports shortly after they played goalless draw against Jet Bomber FC in their opening match in 2024 NLO Division in Omoku, Rivers State.
“ We created a lot of scoring chances but could not find the net”, he said.
He explained that playing goalless draw is not a bad result in football but in a competition like this, they need to score goals and win matches.
“ My brother, we missed a lot of scoring chances which is not good. I trainned my players  on how to create chances and to convert them.
“ What is important in a competition is winning but as we did not lose the game,  we will look forward for our next game.
“We will go back to the drawing board and correct the grey areas in our game and ensure we get better results in our next outing.
“Today’s game is gone, what we need to do is to make sure we win our next game,” he stated.
He pointed out that no game comes easy but the effort you put in will give good result. They tried their best today and the result was good for both teams but we need to win our next game.
“My opponents were also  a good side; they tried all what they could but didn’t score also. It was a good game but my team needs to win games,” he added.

By: Kiadum Edookor

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Wilkins Backs Rivers Hoopers To Spring Surprises At 2024 BAL

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A French-American, John Walter Wilkins is confident Rivers Hoopers can make it to the playoff round of the 2024 Basketball Africa League (BAL).
Wilkins, who is the son of former NBA player Jeff Wilkins, linked up with his Hoopers teammates at the team’s training camp in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, ahead of the 2024 BAL Savannah Conference games, which tip off on Saturday, 4th May, 2024, in Dakar, Senegal.
Wilkins is no stranger to African basketball, having played for Moroccan sides AS Salé (2015-2016) and Ittihad Tanger (2017-2019), before leading Stade Malien to a third-place finish at BAL 2023.
Looking ahead to the 2024 BAL, Wilkins says the quality of basketball across Africa has improved, with the BAL requiring a high level of competitiveness, but backed Rivers Hoopers to spring a surprise at the tournament.
“It’s a really high level, a great competition; [it’s] one of the best I’ve played in since I’ve been in Africa. But we don’t need to be scared. We need to just attack the moment, be there, be present, and I think if we are confident in our abilities, we can surprise people,” he said.
Since its inaugural season in 2021, Nigerian teams have appeared twice at the BAL, with Rivers Hoopers playing in the inaugural edition of the tournament in 2021 and Kwara Falcons featuring at BAL 2023.
Despite failing to reach the playoffs on both previous occasions, Wilkins is optimistic that with the quality of players in the Hoopers squad as well as the recruitment done ahead of the BAL, Rivers Hoopers will be more competitive in this season’s BAL.
“I’m really optimistic. I know that those past years the teams from Nigeria didn’t do well, but I think with me, Kelvin [Amayo], Will [Perry], and the other guys, I think we can show the way, have some wins, and be more competitive,” he stated.
The Nigerian Champions were drawn in the Savannah Conference alongside former BAL Champions US Monastir (Tunisia), last year’s runners-up AS Douanes (Senegal), and APR (Rwanda).

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