‘Nigeria Can Excel Internationally With Adequate Support’
Nigeria has all it takes to excel in football and to become the best on the African continent.
The Coordinator, Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Club Secretaries Forum, Mr Chibuzor Nwogu, said this in an interview newsman on Monday in Abuja.
According to him, all we need to do is to bring all our potential to bear, and to create an enabling environment for football to thrive.
He noted that though, much was being done to improve the sport in the country, a lot still needed to be done for Nigeria to get it right.
“We have great potential in football, there are budding talents all across the country, we need to deploy our resources toward making sure we bring them on board,’’ Nwogu said.
Nwogu, who is also the secretary of Enyimba FC, said that there was the need for all hands to be on deck to ensure Nigeria became a country to reckon with in terms of football.
Speaking on Enyimba Football Club’s performance in the league season, he said that the club did not really play many matches due to the activities of the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
Nwogu, however, said that the club had achieved a lot, adding that the management of the club was putting measures in place to ensure the club excelled in the NPFL.
Commenting on the sack of former Head Coach of Enyimba FC, Usman Abdallah, he said that the management of the club felt he had been managing the club for a long time and there was the need to inject “fresh blood with new ideas’’ into the club.
According to him, Abdallah is a good coach any time, any day but has to move on to more adventurous ventures and he is doing well in his present assignment.
Tidesports source gathered that Abdallah was sacked after the club’s 0-4 loss to Plateau United on January. 3.
According to the management of the FC, after disappointing results, the club decided to remove the Head Coach Abdallah in order for it to regain its lost glory.
On the maiden edition of the NPFL Club Secretaries Forum Annual General Meeting/Awards, Nwogu noted that it was aimed at bringing together stakeholders in the sector to contribute and exchange ideas on how to move football forward.
He said that it was also to recognise and give awards to some governors and stakeholders who have contributed immensely to the development of sports in Nigeria.
The Enyimba FC secretary listed the governors to include Nyesome Wike of Rivers, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu, Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom, Simon Lalong of Plateau and Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia.
Other stakeholders he said are Sunday Dare, the minister of Sports, the President of the Nigeria Football Association (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, the General Secretary, NFF Dr Sanusi Mohammed, and the Chairman, League Management Compqny (LMC), Shehu Dikko among others.
Tidesports reports that the event which opened yesterday will end tomorrow.
AATF President Lauds Aruna’s Performance At WTT In Singapore
President of Africa Table Tennis Federation (ATTF), Khaled El-Salhy, has commended Quadri Aruna for his exploits at the just-ended World Table Tennis (WTT) Singapore Smash.
Aruna made it to the quarterfinals of the Grand Smash series in Singapore, beating some top seeds on the way to becoming the first African to reach that stage at the WTT.
Remarkable was the Nigerian top seed’s defeat of Japanese star, Tomokazu Harimoto, who had beaten Aruna on three occasions. The Nigerian eventually fell 4-0 to the superiority power of World number four, Brazil’s Hugo Calderano.
For reaching the quarterfinals in Singapore, Aruna will earn 350 ranking points, which will also raise his rating at the next ranking by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF).
El-Salhy stated that the Nigerian has continued to set the pace for Africa at the Olympics, World Championships and now WTT.
“Congratulations for your fantastic show-up in Singapore, especially for the great win in the round of 16 against Japan’s Tomokazu Harimoto to qualify for the quarterfinal.
“I will like just to pass to you my full appreciation on behalf of the ATTF Executive Council (EC) as the main ambassador of African table tennis in ITTF super events. We wish you to continue to make the continent proud and a great ambassador of your country and Africa,” he said.
Again, Aruna has been picked to compete in the world elite table tennis stars, WTT Champions $800,000 prize money in Xinxiang, China next month.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Para Table Tennis team arrived from Italy, yesterday, where it featured at the ITTF Lignano Masters Para Open 2023. The team won two silver and bronze medals.
As NFF Denies Allegation
The Professional Footballers Association of Nigeria (PFAN) may clash with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) following the ‘sack’ of Super Eagles’ assistant coaches, Finidi George and goalkeepers’ trainer, Ike Shorunmu.
The duo were barred from Super Eagles’ camp, allegedly, on the request of head coach, Jose Peseiro, as the team prepares for Friday’s 2023 African Cup of Nations qualifier against Guinea Bissau at the MKO Stadium, Abuja.
The NFF, has however, denied the sack saying: “As part of cost-cutting measures instituted at the beginning of the new administration, we established a rotation policy among the assistant coaches, based on the high number, which was agreed with all of them. The last time that the team had a programme, Mr. Finidi George was the person who travelled for the friendly match in Portugal. This rotation policy is only for matches. When there is a tournament, all of them will be with the team.”
The Federation claimed that Finidi knew he would not be in the team for the games against Guinea Bissau, saying that the current trip is for Usman Abdallah.
“The other person, who could have been contending, Mr. Salisu Yusuf, has been sent to the U23 team. There was no victimisation, sleight of hand or any disrespect meant to our illustrious ex-international players.
“The case of goalkeepers’ trainer, Ike Shorounmu, is somewhat peculiar, as the former Nigerian goalkeeper showed a clear lack of desire to be in camp for the matches against Guinea Bissau.
CAFCC: Rivers United Secures Quarter Final Ticket, Eyes Trophy
Nigeria representative in CAF Confederation Cup Football competition, Rivers United FC of Port Harcourt, has secured one of the quarter final tickets in the competition with a game left in the group stage.
Rivers United, the Pride of Rivers, as fondly called, on Sunday at Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, forced their visitors, Motema Pembe of DR Congo to a 2-2 draw to top group B, with ten points.
This is the first time in history, United has reached the quarter final stage of the competition and vowed to make the State proud by bringing the trophy home.
In his post match interview, the technical manager of Rivers United, Stanley Eguma, said the game was a tough one, saying that their opponents have the permutation that if they win there are chances for them to qualify.
“ The game was a very tough one because our opponents have the permutation that if they win us, they have chances to qualify, that is why I was not surprised when they scored the first goal but I thank my players for showing a good character in the second half and went ahead and unfortunately they equalised.
“ In the dressing room, I have to talk to players to boost their morales. I commend our opponents for their impressive performance , they are a good side”, Eguma said.
Also speaking, the Coach of Motema Pembe, Tumba Mukanda Djene, attributed the draw to poor officiating, saying that referee was really against his side.
As it is, Rivers United top group B with ten points, three goals advantage over ASEC Mimosas that also has ten points but one goal advantage.
Rivers United will play her last game with ASEC Mimosas April 2nd, in Ivory Coast, but draw or win will make United finish top.
By: Tonye Orabere
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