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S’Eagles Will Bravely Defend Their Chances In Cameroon – Amuneke

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A member of the Technical Study Group (TSG) of the coming TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations, Cameroon 2021, Emmanuel Amuneke   spoke to CAFOnline.com about his view of the 9 January – 6 February 2022 tournament. Amuneke who won the 1994 AFCON title with Super Eagles and was Tanzania’s coach in the 2019 edition in Egypt, says he expects a better edition.
“I expect it to be better than the previous edition. The 2019 edition in Egypt was the first Africa Cup of Nations with 24 teams, and this will be the second time. We have newcomers like Gambia and Comeroons, this shows that African football is progressing. AFCON is a tournament watched and followed around the world. Therefore, despite the difficulties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, this tournament must rise to international standards. Africa must show that its flagship competition is making giant strides. We are going to discover new stars. I am very positive,” Amuneke said.
Speaking about favourites in the competition he said that Algeria is the reigning champions, and they are the favourites. Senegal is a very strong team, so are the hosts Cameroon, Egypt, Nigeria, Morocco and Tunisia. It will be very difficult to predict who will win the title because we have so many great teams here.
“There are big changes in African football, players with a global dimension, it is promising. In Europe today, African footballers play the leading roles in their clubs and evolve in the top clubs in the world. That must be reflected in this competition.”
According to him, despite the African football progress, all African representatives came out in the first round in Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup because their representatives were missing things.
“We have to wait to get an idea of our next representatives in Qatar 2022. Either way, we must learn from our mistakes in Russia 2018. We weren’t very far, but our representatives were missing things. It was not the quality of our players that was the problem, but we struggled to find tactical solutions to the equations posed by our opponents. The main thing is to have learned the lessons and try to move forward next time,” he added.
He said it’s clear that the teams will have a certain advantage and a great opportunity, despite that the play-offs have nothing to do with the Africa Cup of Nations. The teams present in Cameroon are of great quality, saying that  he, personally cannot predict the future AFCON winner because all the teams are of such quality. With this competition, the teams will know at what level they can be and have an idea of what remains for them to do. In terms of preparation, we couldn’t get better.
He said that Nigerians would have liked to see players like Victor Osimhen who is doing very well in a very tough league in Italy. But the most important in life is health and we pray he will regain his health very quickly. He will play other tournaments for his country and certainly the World Cup qualifying play-offs.
Osimhen is a young footballer, but he is part of the present and future of Nigerian, African and world football. It’s sad not to see him at TotalEnergies AFCON, but he will be there soon. Despite everything, the selected players have a lot of quality. Nigeria will bravely defend their chances in this competition.

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Okowa Lauds Athletes Ahead Olympics Trials

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President, Athletics Federation of Nigeria, Tonobok Okowa, has once again mandated all athletes looking to represent the country at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games to attend the Nigerian Trials, which hold from June 16 to 18 inside the main bowl of Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin-City.
Making his stance clear in Monday’s release by the athletics body, Okowa commended the athletes for their determination to qualify for the Olympics.
He said, “The athletes have shown commitment, determination, and desire to succeed in their careers by picking Olympic qualifications. They deserve our collective appreciation.”
He added, “The athletes would be picked in accordance with their performances at the trials because it would largely determine who goes to Paris for the Olympics.”
Meanwhile, the Chairman, Edo State Sports Commission, Yusuf Alli, says the state is waiting to welcome athletes for the trials.
He said, “We are the hosts of the national trials, and athletes and spectators are welcome.”
The trials are expected to throw up the best of Nigeria’s athletes based at home and abroad for the Olympic Games in Paris in July.

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Emerging Star Eyes Olympics Place For Nigeria

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Nigerian track and field star, Favour Ofili, has set her sights on the upcoming national Olympics trials after she pulled off a stunning victory in the women’s 100m at the New York Grand Prix, defeating a stellar field that included Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica last Sunday.
The 21-year-old clocked a season-best 11.18secs to take the win, America’s Morolake Akinosun was second in 11.20secs while her compatriot Aleia Hobbs ended in third place in 11.21secs.Thompson-Herah, the Tokyo Olympics 100m and 200m gold medalist, could only manage ninth place in 11.48secs as she continues to search for her best form this season.
“Just like practice, stay calm and just go, finish your transition because that’s the issue, and whatever happens will happen. I wanted to get the standard here and I give God glory for the win,” Ofili told Tidesports source after the race.
“For the trials, stay calm and just do what I know how to do, go back and do some training before I go back home for the national trials.”
The Olympic trials are scheduled to hold in Benin City, Edo State from June 16 to 18. The trials will serve as the selection of the nation’s athletes for both the Senior Africa Athletics Championships, holding between June 21 and 28 in Douala, Cameroon and the Paris 2024 Olympics, which hold from July 26 to August 11.

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Olympic Day Celebrations Hold June 29

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The Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), at the weekend, said the annual Olympic Day celebrations would be held on June 29 across the country.
The Olympic Day is a global event that commemorates the birth of the modern Olympic Movement, founded by Pierre de Coubertin in 1894.
Speaking with news men, the Secretary-General of the NOC, Babatunde Popoola, said this year’s celebration holds special significance as it precedes the highly anticipated Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
It’s where Nigerian athletes will compete and inspire the world with their achievements.
“Olympic Day is a chance for people of all ages and abilities to experience the magic of the Olympic Games in their own communities.
“It is an ideal platform to highlight the benefits of physical activity and the Olympic values of excellence, friendship, and respect,” Popoola said.
Popoola said that NOC had received positive responses from various states and stakeholders, and preparations were well underway for the nationwide celebration.
He added that no fewer than 21 states and the Federal Capital Territory have indicated their plans to organise activities for the event.
The states are: Abia; Anambra; Bayelsa; Delta; Edo; Enugu; Ebonyi; Lagos; Kogi; Gombe; Jigawa; Kebbi; Kano; Kwara; Taraba; Imo; Ondo; Plateau; Rivers; Nasarawa and Osun
Also speaking, the Chairman of the NOC Sport For All Commission, Abdul Ibrahim, said that Olympic Day was a special day to come together, move together, and learn about the Olympic values.
“We encourage everyone to participate and experience the joy that only sport can bring,” he said.
According to him, a series of activities have been lined up in Lagos, with fitness clubs at the National Stadium Complex and the general public gearing up to take part in the global event.
“The celebration will conclude with the presentation of diplomas signed by the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach.
The President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, Engr. Habu Ahmed Gumel and other dignitaries will officially flag off the event in Abuja,” he added.

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