Okoye, A Boost For Super Eagles – Eguavoen
Nigeria interim head coach Augustine Eguavoen will welcome the news that Maduka Okoye is set to return to action for Sparta Rotterdam.
The 22-year-old goalkeeper, who has won 12 caps for the Super Eagles, has been sidelined since November 28 when he sustained a shoulder injury against Ajax Amsterdam.
The Nigerian squad will convene in the coming weeks to begin their preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations, which kicks off in Cameroon on January 9.
Okoye is expected to be fit for the tournament after Sparta head coach Henk Fraser confirmed that his number-one keeper could feature in their clash with Vitesse Arnhem at Het Kasteel on Saturday evening.
“It is going well. There is a very good chance that Okoye is back,” Fraser said in his pre-match press conference.
“The other keepers (Benjamin van Leer and Tim Coremans) have done a great job, but Okoye is our undisputed number one.”
‘Ondo Didn’t Abandon Sunshine Queens’
Ondo State commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Bamidele Ologun, says the state’s female football team, Sunshine Queens, has not been abandoned by the state government, The Tidesports source reports.
He said why too much has not been heard about the team in recent times was because they were relegated last season.
Sunshine Queens were relegated to the NWFL Championship last season after finishing bottom of the table in Group B with seven points from 12 matches.
Ologun maintained that the management and coaching crew of the team were working hard to ensure the 2015 Federation Cup champions returned to the Nigeria Women’s Football League.
“It’s unfortunate that the team got relegated, but relegation is part of football, we will stand with the team to return to the (NWFL).
“Since they went on relegation last year, we retained the players and also recruited fresh legs that can complement them in order to return the team to the women’s elite league. We motivate them, we did not reduce their salaries, it has always been paid regularly.
“When they complained about their hostel, we also ensured that we got them a befitting hostel to make them feel comfortable and relaxed ahead of their Championship playoffs scheduled for Abuja in the next few weeks,” he said
The NWFL Championship playoffs is scheduled for June 26 to July 3 in Abuja.
Aruna Explains Withdrawal From Lagos WTT Contender
Nigeria’s table tennis icon, Quadri Aruna, has explained why he will not participate in the upcoming World Table Tennis Contender in Lagos.
In a video post on his Instagram handle @quadriaruna on Tuesday, Aruna said the development was due to club engagements.
“Nothing is as good as playing in front of my home fans and it’s always fun getting support from them year after year.
“I am really sorry that I won’t be able to make the WTT Contender in Lagos next week due to my club engagements.
“I really hope that all of you (fans) will support my compatriots and other players participating in the Contender.
“Thank you also for the support over the years and I really hope to see all of you at the next WTT event,” he said.
Aruna lost out in the Round of 32 at the recently-concluded World Table Tennis Championship in Durban, South Africa.
He joined Fakel-Gazprom Orenburg table tennis club of Russia early in the year.
Meanwhile, the tournament is billed for Monday to June 18 at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, with Nigeria presenting a 25-man contingent to compete against their foreign counterparts.
The Contender Series, which is the first in sub-Saharan Africa, will afford players the opportunity to garner ranking points in their quest to pick tickets to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Finidi Unhappy Over Draw Against Insurance
Following their 1-1 draw against Bendel Insurance on match-day three of the ongoing Nigeria Professional Football League Super 6 playoffs in Lagos, Enyimba coach, Finidi George, was dismayed by his team’s inability to move up to seven points in the title race, Tidesports source reports.
After going ahead in the early stages of the game, Enyimba were pegged back by a stubborn Insurance side on Wednesday at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Lagos as their bid for a ninth NPFL title and a return to the continent suffered a setback.
Sadiq Abubakar scored first for the People’s Elephant with a beautiful left curler, but his effort was cancelled out minutes later by Divine Nwachukwu, who headed home for Insurance.
It was the second time the eight times champions will drop points from a winning position in the playoffs.
“It’s unfortunate we didn’t take the three points, but we had a good performance. I’m quite disappointed we didn’t win because we could have won it,” Finidi said after the game
“Moreover, when you play with 24 hours in between and all games at 2pm, it’s really energy sapping, so, we have to get our boys back to full fitness ahead of the two crucial games ahead.”
Enyimba’s next game is against Sunshine Stars on Friday, before facing off with champions Rivers United on Sunday.
With a win and two draws, Enyimba currently have five from a possible nine in the playoffs as the race opens up between them, Rivers United and Remo Stars.
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