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AFCON 2021: No Target For Nigeria’s Coach, Eguavoen- NFF

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The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has revealed that no target has been set for Nigeria’s interim coach, Augustine Eguavoen at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.
Eguavoen, who represented the Super Eagles for 11 years, was named as interim manager of the national team in December following the sacking of Gernot Rohr after five years.
He will be replaced by Portuguese tactician, Jose Peseiro, after the 33rd edition of the biennial African football showpiece in Cameroon.
Following victories over Egypt and Sudan, the country has booked a place in the Round of 16 with a match to spare.
In the wake of the 56-year-old’s fine start at AFCON 2021, the NFF Director of Communications, Ademola Olajire, was asked if the country’s football ruling body has set a target for Eguavoen, he said: “He is on an interim basis, he has just been handed the mandate to do his very best, and we know what his very best is.
“Sixteen years ago, he led the team to a bronze medal in Egypt and of course, he is the coach with the highest percentage of wins in matches for Nigeria, 12 wins in 14 games over three stints is not something to sneeze at.
“So, we [NFF] believe that we will go all the way to lead the team to the final.”
Despite doubts about Nigeria’s ability to defeat Egypt in their opening match, the team subdued the North Africans 1-0 with Kelechi Iheanacho’s 30th-minute strike settling the encounter staged in Garoua.
On Saturday, the 2013 African kings subdued the Falcons of Jediane 3-1 to book a place in the knockout phase.
Olajire expressed the NFF’s delight with this development while hoping Eguavoen and his men don’t rest on their oars.
“The NFF is quite happy and delighted with this because you know all the circumstances in which we got here, such as the new technical crew having only a few days to train with the team,” he continued.
“There was so much pessimism here and there, but we are happy with that first we took the three points from Egypt in the first match was a good starting point before the three points against Sudan – also very good.
“We are looking forward to another three points in the game against Guinea Bissau. It is a very excellent start and we just hope that the team keeps up to that momentum and goes all the way to the final.”
Since their first participation in Ghana 1963, Nigeria have made 19 appearances in the tournament – winning it on three occasions (1980, 1994 and 2013).

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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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