Former Super Eagles’ assistant coach, Emmanuel Amunike, is keen to see a reform of the international match calendar to allow more players from Nigeria – and across Africa – to play on the highest stage.
Players have been asked for their input to a wide-ranging review on football’s future, with expertise also being sought from other stakeholders across the sport. While nothing is decided for the schedule after 2024, FIFA has welcomed diverse views and a debate in order to optimise the calendar for all involved, giving a broader cross-section of the world’s talent the chance to shine.
Amunike was a member of Nigeria’s golden generation that won the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations title in Tunisia and qualified Nigeria for a first-ever World Cup in USA.
The former Barcelona winger was also part of the squad that clinched a historic Gold at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. He believes reforms isthe only way African football can develop and equip its players with more knowledge of the game like the Europeans
“Football is continuously evolving and changing,” Amunike said.
“I think the only way we Africans can do better, is by going back and developing our players. It is true that we have a lot of great players playing in Europe, doing very well but, of course, we also have to think about those playing in the country, how we can aid them to become much better players and how we can develop them.”
“I have always believed that in football, when a player is more knowledgeable about the game, his decision-making becomes much better. I think educating our young players and preparing them for the future is the key.
We went to Chile World Cup with slippers, no kits – Amuneke
“Over the years, people have said ‘Africa is going to win the World Cup’ and I agree but we cannot win the World Cup just by talking. We have to develop the young generation and lay foundations for the young ones to be in a position to be able to compete.”
Amunike stressed that global stars are under in terms of intercontinental travels and the need for players to have rest periods in order to optimise the performance.
“I think that period of resting for players is key,” Amunike added.
“And in the calendar, if there is a way to fix that, it’s a welcome development that can aid the clubs and the national teams.”
Rangers Approve Three-Week Break For Players
In a brief session with players, coaches, and backroom staff of the club, at the weekend, the Administrative Secretary, Barrister Ferdinand Emeka Ugwuarua, thanked the players and coaches for their efforts in the ended season though, he lamented the inability of the club to achieve its set targets.
Ugwuarua charged the players to be professional in conduct during the break so as to come back refreshed for the task ahead in the coming season, stressing, “We all understand that we could not achieve our set target for last season and we are desirous of achieving in the coming season, hence, I urge you to be professional in conduct during this break period so as to come back refreshed for the task ahead.”
Also speaking, the Technical Adviser of the side, Coach Abdul Maikaba praised the players and management for their determined display in the concluded season, stressing, “Even when our collective efforts did not result in achieving our set targets, I must thank you all for the cooperation shown and believe that we shall get it done in the coming season. I implore you all to display maturity as you take time off the game for the approved period and return stronger for us to strategize going into the new season.”
Recall that the Enugu landlords, Rangers International F.C ended the NPFL 2021/2022 season in the 5th spot amassing 56 points from 38 matches scoring 41 goals, and leaking in 30 goals, while they were eliminated from the Aiteo/Fed cup in the round of 32 by Oriental rivals, Heartland, 8-7 in a marathon of penalty-kicks after the regulation time, ended 1-1 inside Samuel Osaigbovo Ogbemudia stadium, Benin-City.
Scrabble In The Jungle Championship Debuts August 26
The tournament, put together by Scrabble Las Vegas in conjunction with the Nigeria Scrabble Federation (NSF), will involve eight top-ranked players selected by NSF, as well as four wildcard nominees. They will compete over 36 round of games in a closed location over a three-day period.
According to the organisers, the 12 players will be kept in a boot camp, a controlled space where they will test their skills in the board game for three days without connecting with the outside world.
At the championship, the top players are expected to hunt for points on the boards using different strategies to outsmart their opponents.
The organisers added that fans and supporters would be given the chance to adopt any of the players, who they feel could win the title and the grand prize-money at the end of the show.
Speaking ahead of the championship, President of Scrabble Las Vegas, Musa Olasupo, who is the convener of the Scrabble in the Jungle series, said the desire to raise the stakes and make the sport more attractive and sustainable birthed the new variant of Scrabble in the Jungle Championship.
“The Scrabble In The Jungle Championship is a boot camp arrangement where we keep players under one roof to live, eat and drink scrabble for three days.
“Our focus is to encourage competitive scrabble that will reward excellence. This maiden edition will feature the top eight players, according to NSF July ratings, and four wildcards.
“Management of Vegas has discretionary powers on the four wildcards, but we hope to make the players of equal strength.
Fourth OPSH Peace Football Tourney Kicks Off In Jos
Initiated by The Special Task Force (STF) code-named Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), the opening ceremony of the competition was attended by dignitaries from within and outside Plateau State.
In his opening remarks, the General Officer Commanding Third Division Jos, who also doubles as the Commander, OPSH, Major General Ibrahim Ali, said the tournament was significant in the peace building process towards ensuring lasting peace in Plateau State and in all the local councils within OPSH Joint Operation Area.
General Ali noted that the core essence of the tournament was to use sports as a unifying tool to emphasise the benefits of peaceful co- existence, unity and teamwork.
Represented by the Deputy Commander, OPSH, DCP Mohammad Rabiu, the Commander described football as a universal sport that bonds people of diverse ethnic, cultural, political and religious affiliations together.
He promised to do everything possible to ensure successes recorded in the peace building efforts are not reversed, while urging the people to join hands and move away from behaviour that could subvert the collective growth of the people and enhance harmonious living.
Also speaking, the Chairman, House Committee on Navy and member representing Pankshin/Kanke/Kanam Federal Constituency, Yusuf Gagdi, applauded OPSH for improving the security situation of Plateau and other areas within its jurisdiction.
Gagdi maintained that the tournament would help to unite youths of diverse religious, cultural and political differences. He also pledged to continually support any initiative of OPSH designed to sustain peaceful co-existence in the state.
The climax of the event was the ceremonial football match between the 2021 champions, Barkin Ladi Boys and Zango Kataf Football Club.
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