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S’Eagles: It’s Time To Rely On Our Own– SWAN President

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Following the Super Eagles shock loss and subsequent crash out from the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon at the last 16 stage, the President of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, SWAN, Sir Honour Sirawoo has called for an introspection from the managers of football in the country and the taking of the right decisions to ensure that the national team builds on the positives noticed at the Championship.
The SWAN President, who was of the opinion that the Eagles ouster at the first knock-out stage after so much promise was unfortunate, believed that the team under an indigenous coach put up more impressive performances than they have done in recent years under an expatriate. He, thus, called for the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, to look inwards and give more opportunities to local coaches.
“It’s time to rely on what we have, our own”, said Sirawoo. ‘I think it’s time to give the local coaches opportunities to get better because the more you give an individual chances, the better he becomes. Austin Eguavoen has done well despite not getting beyond the Round of 16’.
According to the President, who is also the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Sports, Rivers State,” it is unfortunate that we had to crash out at the stage we did but that should not make us to begin to clamour for foreign coaches. We have good number of local coaches who have done well with our youth teams and some who distinguished themselves with national teams of other countries. We should be able to open them up to opportunities and equip them by sending them on courses to improve themselves”
Sir Sirawoo agreed that technical and tactical deficiencies on the part of the Nigerian bench contributed to the loss to Tunisia, as the team failed to react early and positively to the opponents’ strategy, he however, believes that Nigerian coaches have the potential to develop and take the country to the desired height if given the room, support and cooperation by the relevant authorities.
On the chances of the Super Eagles surviving Ghana and qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the President was positive that Nigeria would qualify.
“I think we would qualify for the world cup and going by what we have seen at the AFCON, Nigeria’s team and performance were better than Ghana and considering that the Eagles were missing some key game-changing players at the AFCON, I don’t see Ghana stopping Nigeria.
“Also, by the time the final qualifying round would come, I expect that due analysis on why we failed in Cameroon, what needs to be done to get better and the right personnel to prosecute the matches would have been concluded. In fact, I think Nigeria should be able to beat Ghana and be at Qatar 2022”, concluded Sirawoo.

By: Gabriel Nwanetanya

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FG’s Basketball Ban Primitive, Shameful – Kienka

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The Director, International Tennis Academy and author of the recently published book, ‘Sports in Nigeria – Going Round In Circles,’ Godwin Kienka, has described Nigeria’s withdrawal from international basketball activities for two years as “very primitive and shameful sports politics.”
Last Thursday, Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), gave the approval following the crisis that rocked the factionalised Nigeria Basketball Federation in over a decade.
Kienka, in a statement said, “The Ministry of Sports hiding behind the Presidency to make that decision makes it even more odious. It just confirms what we have exposed in the book that most of those who run sports in this country do not care about the athletes, the coaches and the promotion and development of sports in the country.
“At a time when the national women’s basketball team qualified for the world championships and the men are on the way to making it a double, how does their participation or non-participation impede a grassroots or local league programme in Nigeria?”
He added, “If the decision was from the Presidency, why did the statement not come from the Presidency?”
Kienka lamented the decision, saying it denied the home-based players, who would have been a part of the two teams, the opportunity of being scouted by agents from across the world.
“We had the same mix-up and confusion in the Athletics Federation of Nigeria before the last Olympics, leading to the ban of several athletes essentially because of utter negligence of drug procedures by the ministry and the federation. It is said that when two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.”

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CAFCC Final : Okpara, Ndah Storm Uyo With Pirates

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Ahead of tomorrow’s final of the TotalEnergies CAF Confederation Cup 2021/2022, former Super Eagles goalkeeper, Willy Okpara and defender, Olisa Ndah  arrived late last night with their South African team Orlando Pirates to Nigeria.
The Soweto-based side who  will face  Morocco’s RS Berkane at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo for Africa’s second club football prize, touched down in Port Harcourt about 11:45pm last night before arriving  Uyo.
In their third appearance in the Confederation Cup, Pirates are playing the final for the second time, and first since 2015 when they lost 2-1 on aggregate to Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia.
Okpara made his debut for the Nigeria national team in 1996 and was selected for the 1998 FIFA World Cup squad. He was capped five times and after he retired, became a goalkeeping coach for Orlando Pirates.
Meanwhile, RS Berkane  breezed into Uyo earlier yesterday aboard a chartered  Air Maroc flight.
Our correspondent gathered  from aviation sources  yesterday  that on board  the Moroccan national carrier were six crew members along  with   96 strong RS Berkane ‘s contingent including players, officials  and  fans  ahead of tomorrow’s final.
The flight that departed  the Oujda Angads Airport in the Oriental region in Morocco  landed in the Akwa Ibom State capital by 3:55 pm Nigerian time for their decisive tie against  Orlando Pirates..
The Orange Boys as the Moroccan side are called, were Confederation  Cup   runners-up (to Zamalek of Egypt) in 2019   and emerged winners in 2020 after beating Egyptian side, Pyramids Egypt  courtesy of a  solitary goal by  Burkinabe  defender ,  Issoufou Dayo at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat.
In a related development,   Umbro, the CAF technical sponsors, yesterday revealed the official match ball , FIFA Quality Pro, for the eagerly awaited  fixture .
Based on Umbro’s renowned Neo Pro ball model, the official match ball is “FIFA Quality Pro” certified for use at the highest levels of the professional game and utilises the latest in structural and fabrication technology with a unique graphic that draws on the structural elements of the tournament’s trophy.

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F’Eagles Qualify For 2023 Africa U-20 Cup Of Nations

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Nigeria’s national under-20 male football team, on Tuesday overpowered Cote d’Ivoire in the first semi-final match to reach the final of the ongoing WAFU B Under-20 Championship in Niamey.
The 2-1 victory not only gave them a ticket to Saturday’s final match but also came a ticket to next year’s Africa Under-20 Cup of Nations scheduled for Egypt.
Midfielder Daniel Daga put Nigeria in front after only five minutes, when he cleverly escaped the attention of the Ivorian defenders to nod in from a well-weighted pullout.
The seven-time African champions then launched onslaughts after onslaughts on the Ivorian goal but failed to add to the tally.
It was rather the Ivorians who equalised just before half-time from an intelligently-taken free-kick at the edge of Nigeria’s penalty box.
Neither team could find another goal to gain upper hand before the end of regulation time inside the Stade General Seyni Kountché in Niamey, and the game went into extra time.
Forward Ibrahim Yahaya got the winner for Nigeria in the 111th minute of play when he tucked in from the penalty kick spot to make it 2-1.
The Tidessports source reports that Nigeria will now square up against neighbours, Benin Republic in Saturday’s final match.

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