Nigeria’s preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics has hit top gear as 16 Athletes departed the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, on Thursday, for Texas where they will take part in relay qualifiers.
A statement from the media office of the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, stated that the 16-member team, including coaches, decked in their new kits were seen off by the minister.
The team was camped in Abuja for three weeks, in preparation for the relay races in the U.S. which serves as qualifiers for the Olympics, the statement said.
“This came after missing out of the World Relays in Poland due to visa issue. This is contrary to the reports in a national daily which claimed team Nigeria was stranded due to lack of funds,” it said.
According to the Secretary General, Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Niyi Beyioku, the athletes are highly motivated to participate in various relays in the U.S.
“Contrary to a report which claimed the team was stranded, you can see that it is not true. They are decked in their new kits, courtesy of the Minister, who pulled all the stops to make the trip a reality. The team has no financial problems.
“Team Nigeria’s Olympic preparations is on track. This is evident in what we are seeing. The advance party went ahead to fine tune all arrangements.
“This is a mark of the commitment of the Honourable Minister to ensure a hitch-free event and podium success in Tokyo,” he said.
Beyioku further affirmed that the Athletes had trained well and were motivated to make the country proud.
“All the COVID-19 protocols for a successful trip have been carried out.
“To underscore the importance of the trip, the Minister lived up to his promise to see the athletes off, to motivate them, to make Nigeria proud by qualifying for the Olympics and win medals.
“The team will take part in the first relay on May 9,” he said.
Pinnick Woos FIFA For Tenure Elongation
The drama, intrigues as well as clandestine moves that have characterised the September 2022 planned Nigeria Football Federation, NFF election took a new twist recently as incumbent president of the federation, Amaju Pinnick has written to FIFA seeking for tenure extension by shifting the election to 2023
According to Tidesports sources, in a letter sent to the world body last week and signed by General Secretary, Muhhamed Sanusi, the outgoing board led by Amaju Pinnick appealed to the world body to allow it to hold the forthcoming election next year’s January instead September.
Amaju Pinnick and his board were reelected for a second term in office on September 20, 2018 in Katsina and his tenure is meant to elapse next month.
However, sources revealed that the letter was already sent to FIFA before the NFF topshots informed the board members in an online platform of the federation.
The plan is to read the FIFA response at the AGA expected to take place this week in Bayelsa State.
The source added that the members were irked that a few people on the board took such a decision without informing others from the beginning and they are hoping to use the response to extend their tenure at the Annual General Assembly scheduled for Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
“It is indeed a taboo. Rather than get the consent of the board members and the Congress before sending the letter to FIFA, the letter was sent.
“There is no doubt, a few people at the top echelon of the current board want to remain in office beyond the September date,” our source revealed.
“There is a tentative date of August 16 for the AGA in Bayelsa and another date of September 21 for the elective Congress in a yet to be decided venue but it is clear the current board is reluctant to leave office.
“The majority of the board members are resolute to take out this current leadership for so many reasons especially because many of them were never informed about crucial decisive issues in the administration of the game,” a source told Tidesports source
Although Amaju Pinnick had stated time without number that he would not seek a new term in office, the former Delta State FA Chairman recently said that “influential people” are pushing him to contest for a 3rd term.
Nigeria U-21 Volleyball Team Departs For Tunisia
As the team departed for Tunisia at the weekend for the African U-21 Volleyball Championship Nations Cup, President of the Nigeria Volleyball Federation (NVBF), Engineer Musa Nimrod, has said that the country is all out to gain from the outing to qualify for the World Championship.
He stated this while biding the team farewell at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna on Friday, adding that the target for the participation of Nigeria is to qualify for the world championship, stressing that, “We are also building them up for the All African Games next year and the next Olympics,” he said.
Also Speaking with Sports Writers, Coach Sani Mohammed Musa of the male U-21 men, said that the team are African champions and have featured in World Championship twice.
He said that bearing in mind that the North Africans would be battle ready for Nigeria, they will leave no stone unturned to ensuring they achieved their objectives.
Female Footballers, Officials Abducted In Edo
Six people, which include players and officials of a grassroots female team, have been reportedly kidnapped by gunmen in Uronigbe, a border community between Edo and Delta states in Orhionmwon Local Government Area of Edo State.
Tidesports learnt that the six victims were kidnapped around 6pm on Friday, while returning from a game at Owa-Alero in Ika North-East Local Government Area of Delta State.
A source in the community said the kidnappers had contacted some families demanding a ransom of N5million each for the victims.
He said, “They (footballers) went to Owa-Alero to play a football match, but on their way back, they were kidnapped at Uronigbe area, the boundary between Delta and Edo States.
“The victims include Mrs Precious Agbajor, one Abraham, Nancy, Beatrice, the driver and one other person. They are six in number that are in the kidnapper’s den.
Tidesports learned that the matter has been reported at the Uronigbe police station.
“The kidnappers have contacted the family of Agbajor and asked them to pay N5million for his wife.”
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer in Delta State, DSP Bright Edafe, confirmed the kidnap, adding that the incident happened in Edo State.
His Edo State counterpart, Chidi Nwabuzor, said from the records available at the State Command, there was no information on the incident.
“You know we transmit our records to Force Headquarters everyday. There is no such record before us. From the Command’s record, no such incident happened on Friday, so the police will not give account of anything unreported.
“It is only when an incident is reported that the police can act on it. In most cases, citizens are not aware of the powers to report incidents. So the record I have from the Command is that no such incident happened on Friday, Saturday and even on Thursday.”
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