The United Arab Emirates has claimed that Nigerian athletes and officials were stopped from participating in the FINA World Swimming Championships holding in the country over COVID-19.
UAE, in a statement through the local organising committee of the competition, hinted that a member of the Nigerian delegation tested positive for Covid-19.
For this reason, all other athletes from Nigeria were asked to quarantine and subsequently withdrawn from the competition.
But the claims by the UAE are contrary to the narratives of the Nigerian athletes and officials.
Tidesports source had reported that Nigeria athletes were denied access to participate in the competition amid diplomatic row among the two countries.
The athletes also explained that none of them had contact with the official that reportedly tested positive.
According to them, when an athlete from Britain tested positive, other members of the team were allowed to participate.
Though the athletes alleged discrimination, UAE denied any form of discrimination against athletes and national teams participating in the competition.
“Since the very beginning of the pandemic, the UAE has implemented health and safety procedures to protect and safeguard the lives and wellbeing of its citizens, residents and visitors.
“The event’s local organising committee (LOC) remains steadfast in its commitment to adhere to these procedures, based on the local health authority regulations.
“As per the safety protocols, anyone who has tested positive for Covid-19, including those in contact with someone who has tested positive, must quarantine immediately. Following robust testing procedures at the World Swimming Championships 2021, the necessary rules were effectively adopted.
“These rules have been applied to all national teams without exceptions. Any claims of discrimination against those who tested positive for Covid-19, including those in close contact with someone who did, are categorically untrue and without merit.” the statement read.
Sports Development Subject to Economic Performance – Consultant
A golf consultant, Sam Emetelu, has said that golf like any other sport cannot thrive when a nation’s economy is unstable.
Emetelu said this in an interview with newsmen on Wednesday in Lagos.
According to him, the state of a country’s economy plays a vital role in the development of other sectors.
In view of this, he said, there had been little activities for golfers in both the amateur and professional categories.
“Sports in recent time has been struggling, it’s not just peculiar to golf. So, the backlash is that activities have been slow, because it is an election year.
“When the economy thrives, other sectors thrive too; it’s not rocket science.
“The only thing that has been sustaining golf is committed individuals who are lovers of the game who invest their money in because of their love for the sport,” he said.
He, however, predicted that the last quarter of the year would take a more positive turn as companies and individuals would have started regaining momentum.
“With the ember months, most corporate organisations are taking stock and probably thinking of how to structure their Corporate Social Responsibility, maybe then they’d think of sponsoring golf tournaments.
MTN To Co-Sponsor Nigerian Football League
MTN Nigeria has entered into a partnership with the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL), GTI Investment Ltd. and Propel Sports Africa to sponsor the Nigerian league.
Media Officer of GTI Investment Ltd., Andrew Ekejiuba, said this in a statement this week in Lagos.
He said following the recent announcement of the joint venture between the NPFL, GTI and Propel Sports Africa to stream NPFL games live, Propel Sports was delighted to announce that it had entered into a deal with MTN Nigeria for the exclusive broadcast of the league.
He said the sponsorship would cover eight live games each weekend, which would translate to over 300 games per season.
Chairman of Propel Sports Africa, Basil Kabbani stated: “The engagement with MTN has been amazing, from the Digital VAS, to the Marketing and Commercial team, their approach has been consistently professional.
“The enthusiasm for the NPFL content has been infectious. From the very start of our negotiations, we knew MTN was the right partner to give our great content, the platform it deserves.”
The deal, concluded by Propel Sports Africa president, Edward Simons, and MTN Chief Operating Officer, Hassan Jabar, would include in-and-post-game highlights delivered in real time to MTN subscribers through the NPFL Live OTT platform.
Osimhen Can Win Ballon d’Or – Peseiro
Super Eagles coach, Jose Peseiro believes Napoli forward Victor Osimhen can win the Ballon d’Or in the future.
Osimhen is among the 30 players nominated for the 2023 Men’s Ballon d’Or as well as one of the 12 nominees for the 2023 FIFA The Best Men’s Player Award.
He is the first Nigerian male footballer in 24 years to get nominated for the prestigious Ballon d’Or.
Peseiro believes the 24-year-old has the potential to win the Ballon d’Or award in future even if it seems unlikely for him to achieve the feat in 2023 as he is set to compete with a star-studded cast of nominees.
Pesiero is optimistic that Osimhen can claim the award in future as he does not lack any potential to do it.
“He (Osimhen) can surely win the Ballon d’Or in the future. He’s not lacking anything to do it,” Peseiro said in an interview with Tidesports source.
“He has different characteristics than other players that are at the top at this moment, but he scores a lot as well.”
Osimhen had a stellar 2022–23 season with Napoli, leading the club to their first Serie A title in 33 years, and also won the golden boot.
The Napoli striker scored 26 Serie A goals last season to guide the Partenopei to the Scudetto for the first time in more than three decades.
He also becomes the 7th Nigerian male footballer and 8th Nigerian player to earn a Ballon D’Or award nomination after Finidi George (1995), Austin Jay-Jay Okocha (1995), Daniel Amokachi (1995), Nwankwo Kanu (1996, 1999), Victor Ikpeba (1997), Sunday Oliseh (1998), and Asisat Oshoala (2022, 2023).
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