The Nigeria Taekwondo Federation (NTF), has expressed optimism of picking 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games tickets at the Africa Taekwondo Qualification Tournament slated for Rabat, Morocco.
NTF Technical Director, Chika Chukwumerije, told newsmen on Monday in Abuja ahead of the tournament scheduled to hold between February 22 and February 23.
Chukwumerije said that the team had been training for the past seven weeks and were in shape physically and mentally for the competition.
He said that four athletes comprising two males and two females were shortlisted for the tournament.
The technical director said that the federation was awaiting the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development’s directive on the team’s travel arrangements.
According to him, the team are scheduled to depart Nigeria today or tomorrow, subject to the release of funds from the ministry.
“I can assure you that we are good to go as far as our training and preparations are concerned.
“We are now waiting for the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to finalise our travel arrangement.
“Once everything is sorted out, we should leave by Tuesday or Wednesday because other teams have started arriving Morocco for the Olympic qualifier,’’ he said.
Chukwumerije, however, called on all stakeholders to support the team in their bid to secure qualification for the Olympics and the general development of the sport in the country.
“We have a young and dynamic team and an experienced technical crew.
“The entire team are driven and motivated and this is important to achieve our objectives, despite the paucity of funds,’’ he added.
It would be recalled that Nigeria Taekwondo team were at the Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016 Qualification tournaments, and only failed to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
NFF Yet To Offer Finidi, Shorunmu Contract
Four months after the Nigeria Football Federation announced ex-internationals George Finidi and Ike Shorunmu assistant coaches to Super Eagles coach, Jose Peseiro, both are yet to be offered a contract by the federation, Tidesports source has learnt.
On May 15, the NFF appointed Peseiro as the new Eagles head coach, with Finidi named the Portuguese first assistant. Salisu Yusuf serves as the second assistant as well as head coach of the CHAN and U-23 National Teams.
Shorunmu was named the goalkeepers trainer, with Usman Abdallah third assistant, while Eboboritse Uwejamomere is the match analyst.
While Peseiro, 62, was offered a performance-based one-year contract and will reportedly earn $70,000 (N30m) monthly, Finidi and Shorunmu don’t know how much they will be paid, four months after they were ‘employed.’
It was gathered that the duo will not be on the bench when Nigeria take on Algeria for the 22nd time at the 40,000 Stade Olympique in Oran next Tuesday in an international friendly if they are not offered a contract and repaid their outstanding flight fares.
“The team traveled out of Nigeria for the game against Algeria last Sunday without Finidi and Shorunmu,” a top NFF official told only the Tidesports source.
“They have not been offered contracts by the NFF since they were appointed in May. It has been a while that the duo has been demanding their contract papers from the NFF but they are yet to get one.
Ndidi, Blow For Nigeria’s S’Eagles
Nigeria has suffered further blow ahead of the Super Eagles international friendly match with Algeria as Wilfred Ndidi joins the list of injury hit Nigerian players. The tough-tackling star is on his way back to England as confirmed by the Nigerian Foootball Federation
Ndidi was part of the Super Eagles squad that is preparing to play an international friendly game against Algeria on September 27 in Oran. The 25-year-old was named in Jose Peseiro’s midfield alongside Frank Onyeka, Alex Iwobi, and Richard Onyedika.
Peseiro’s plan will have to be changed with the latest development as confirmed by the Nigeria Football Federation. “Wilfred Ndidi is injured and out of the game against Algeria. He has left the team’s camp and returned to England. Get well soon Wilfred,” the NFF posted on their Twitter handle on Thursday.”
Ndidi is just one of a number of key players who have pulled out of the build-up owing to injuries. Notable absentees are Napoli attacker Victor Osimhen who is set to return in a couple of weeks while Real Sociedad forward Umar Sadiq might be out for the rest of the season. The Super Eagles are also missing Leon Balogun, Ahmed Musa, Emmanuel Dennis, Henry Onyekuru, and Samuel Chukwueze.
After his latest setback, the midfielder will potentially miss out on Leicester City’s Premier League match against Nottingham Forest and the chance to help his club side climb off the bottom of the table. Despite not knowing the precise nature of the injury, Ndidi must be hopeful he will be match fit in time for Nigeria’s friendly game against Ronaldo’s Portugal on November 17.
Invitation To National Team, An Added Motivation – Duru
Rivers United FC of Port Harcourt left back Ebube Duru has expressed delight over his call-up to the Nigeria National team, Super Eagles, saying that it would motivate him to greater things.
He said that it is a thing of joy for every Nigeria Professional Football League, (NPFL) player to be invited to the National team, the Super Eagles, adding that is not just the home based players but every Nigerian player.
Duru made the assertion on Tuesday in a chat with the national team’s media officer, which was made available to Tidesports.
He was included in Super Eagles manager José Santos Peseiro’s’s squad for their forthcoming International friendly against Algeria slated for next week Tuesday.
“ it is a thing of joy for me as a person to be invited to play in the main team of my Country.
“It’s a thing of joy playing with the main Super Eagles.
“ It’s the main desire of every NPFL players to play for Super Eagles not just the home based players but every Nigeria players.
”So I’m very excited and so happy that I have the opportunity to play with the foreign based players.
“ I will now know most of them and interact with them.
“ This is a big morale booster for me as a player and am so excited” Duru said.
The left back has featured for the Super Eagles B (CHAN) team and has impressed while playing for the Pride of Rivers.
Three-time African Champions Nigeria trade tackles with the 2019 AFCON kings in Oran on Tuesday, next week.
By: Kiadum Edookor
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