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NRFF Gets New Name, Soon

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The President of Nigeria Rugby Football Federation  Kelechukwu Mbagwu, (NRFF), has disclosed that the federation would soon change its name to Nigeria Rugby Football Union (NRFU).
Mbagwu revealed to newsmen on Monday in Lagos that the new name would be effective from June following the decision taken at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the federation held in Lagos over the weekend.
“In line with the international body’s instruction, NRFF is changing its name to Nigeria Rugby Football Union.”
“ The AGM, which is the first after our constitution was approved by the Sports Ministry and the NOC, sat in Lagos at the weekend to approve the new name.
“We took the decision to comply with the international body’s directive but it will be effective from June,’’ Mbagwu said.
According to the NRRF president, the federation has direct all state affiliates to conduct election into their boards by December.
“Other far-reaching decisions were also taken at the AGM.
“All the state affiliates are expected to conduct elections into their boards on or before December.
“Those states that are ready to have their elections should contact the federation to send delegates to monitor their elections.
“However, the states must ensure that all stakeholders are carried along in the process of the election.
“A three-member committee was set up to come up with guidelines within three months for the elections,’’ Mbagwu said.
Mbagwu also added that AGM had approved Nigeria hosting of the Africa Silver Cup.
“At the level of the board, we accepted to host the Africa Silver Cup tournament.”
“The tournament will take place in Lagos in June from June 7 to June 17.”
“Although we are the host but we are hosting to win because we have what it takes to win,’’ he said.
Rugby Africa Cup 2019 Pool A tournament would see Nigeria play host to Madagascar, Botswana and Ghana.
The competition would be an opportunity for the country to increase rugby’s awareness.
Cote d’Ivoire would also play host Senegal, Mauritius and Rwanda in Pool B from June 15 to June 23.
The winner of Pool A would then meet Pool B winner in a final match to determine the Silver Cup champion.
The tournament is continental second tier tournament behind the Gold Cup and the winners would gain promotion to the elite division of Rugby Africa Gold Cup where they stand a chance to earn a slot at the World Cup in the year 2023.

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European Clubs Distasteful, Disrespectful Over Afcon – Ikeme

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Former Nigeria goalkeeper Carl Ikeme has described the reaction of European clubs to the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations as distasteful.
Ikeme, who made 10 appearances for the Super Eagles before his early retirement in 2018, weighed in on the issue of releasing players for the tournament during the European season and he described it as disrespectful to African football.
The former Wolverhampton Wanderers star believes the foremost African football competition is just as important as the European Championship and that players derive joy in representing their countries in a major event like Afcon.
“I don’t think it is professional, I think it is distasteful. I don’t think it helps the reputation of African football, I think it is disrespectful,” Ikeme told Tidesports source.
“Whether you are playing for England, Spain, Nigeria or Egypt, there is no difference. These players find pride in wearing their national team jerseys.
“When I was playing, it was the biggest honour I had in my career, playing for my national team and nothing can be compared to it.
“To think any player who is looking at Afcon as a burden is wrong because they love representing their countries, as you can see when Iheanacho scored Nigeria’s goal against Egypt, how Nigerians in Cameroon celebrated.

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AFCON 2021: ‘Good Times Are Back For Nigeria’

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Good times are back for the Super Eagles declared Nigerian legend Jay Jay Okocha after the team wrapped-up their Group D campaign with a perfect record on Wednesday.
Nigeria made it three-out-of-three following a 2-0 win over Guinea Bissau on Wednesday to see the two-time AFCON champions march on to the last 16 with a 100 percent record after topping Group D on 9 points, scoring 6 goals and conceding just one in the process.
Okocha said it was even more gratifying to see Nigeria coach Augustine Eguavoen make a massive eight changes in Wednesday’s game.
The highlight saw striker Sadqi Umar score in his first AFCON start when he netted the opening goal in the 56th minute before Nigeria captain William Ekong wrapped-up the match in the 79th minute.
“He has got a great team of not just eleven good players but also twenty-something good players that he can rely on,” Okocha stated.
“There is nothing better for the coach than giving a player a chance and him paying you back by restoring his confidence in you.
“I think it is good to see that we are flying high but the game today is gone, the most important one is the next one and we can only justify our performances so far if we go on and win the next one.”
Nigeria returns to action this Sunday and await the best third place finisher from yesterday’s night’s tight Group E and F encounter’s.
“So every next game is the toughest one for you and the one you have to win,” Okocha said.
“I hope we will carry on the good job that we are doing so far.”

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Nigeria, Egypt Tipped For AFCON 2021 Title

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Sudan coach Burhan Tia has tipped Nigeria for a long run at the Africa Cup of Nations following the Super Eagles’ strong group-stage campaign.
The Falcons of Jediane were defeated by both the West African giants and Egypt’s Pharaohs during their brief stint in the competition, and has seen enough from both sides to expect great things from them in the fixtures to come.
“Could Egypt or Nigeria be champions?” Tia asked rhetorically. “Both teams are very good and both played good football in the group.
“They are two teams who could go very far in the competition.”
The Super Eagles faced off with Sudan in their second group match, having dispatched Egypt 1-0 in their opener.
The result was a 3-1 triumph for Augustine Eguavoen’s men, with Samuel Chukwueze, Taiwo Awoniyi and Moses Simon netting the goals to confirm Nigeria’s passage to the Last 16.
The West African giants subsequently downed Guinea-Bissau 2-0 in their final group game on Wednesday to ensure they reach the knockout stages as the only team in the tournament with a 100-percent record.
It’s the first time since 2006 that Nigeria has navigated a Nations Cup group stage with maximum points, fuelling expectation that the West African giants can go the distance in the tournament for the first time since 2013.
Sudan’s campaign ended with a narrow 1-0 defeat by an unconvincing Egypt side in Yaounde on Wednesday, although coach Tia was downhearted with his side’s performance.
“We were concentrated on our game and we did as much as possible to see to it that we could put up a good fight,” he continued. “It wasn’t perfect but we tried our best.”
Ex-Al-Merreikh boss Tia was not happy with the mistakes his team made as they tried to keep their North African rivals at bay in the Nile Derby, but believes his side can hold their head high as they exit the competition.
“We played our game as much as we should have, we played quite well but I think that we had a number of mistakes as far as our players are concerned,” he concluded. “We will get better and we will try as much as possible to try and correct our mistakes.
“It was possible for us not to make them, but it was an important game for us, and we made effort and tried our best.

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