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Okagbare Yet To Appeal 10-Year Ban, As Deadline Draws Close

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Nigerian Sprinter, Blessing Okagbare, may not appeal the 10-year-ban handed her by the Athletics Integrity Unit for doping as the 30-day appeal deadline nears expiration.
The AIU February 18 banned the 2008 Olympics long jump silver medallist for “multiple breaches of anti-doping rules.”
Okagbare was handed a five-year ban for the multiple prohibited substances found in her out of competition test, which was carried out on July 19, 2020, and another five-year ban for failing to cooperate with investigators.
Tidesports source reports that the 33-year-old was provisionally suspended just hours before she was due to run in the semi-finals of the women’s 100m at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo last year.
Reacting to the ban, Okagbare took to social media on February 19 stating that her lawyers were studying the decision in order to advise her on the next course of action.
“My attention has been drawn to the statement issued by the AIU regarding its disciplinary panel’s decision. My lawyers are currently studying it for our next line of action, which we will inform you soon,” she stated.
However, according to our findings, Okagbare is yet to make an official appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport with just five days to the expiration of the deadline.
In a letter sent to our correspondent and signed by CAS’ Communications Officer, Katy Hogg, dated March 10, 2022, CAS stated that there was no record of Okagbare filing an appeal in its log.
“Please be advised that at the time of writing, no appeals have been filed at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in relation to this matter.”
Should the 33-year-old file an appeal and lose, she will be made to pay indemnities to both CAS and World Athletics.

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Expert Wants Parents To Enroll Children In Vector Programme

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In a bid to have more young talented Nigerians to play professional football abroad, Johnny Ogbah, a sports lawyer and football intermediary, has called on parents to enroll their children in Vector Programme.
He stated that the programme is in conjunction with Conventry Football Club in United Kingdom (UK), saying that the programme includes academics where a child can acquire a degree.
Ogbah, made the call while addressing sports journalists recently in Port Harcourt, as the programme will admit students into Brooke College between the age of 11 and 18 Football Academy.
The major objective of Vector Programme is to give the young ones a career through sports and good education. The programme does not train people on football only but also other things that is related to sporting environment, he said.
According to him,  more than 20 Nigerians have benefited from the programme on scholarship and most of them are now playing football in top clubs in Europe.
“Vector programme was poised to create an avenue to give people to play football to the highest level.
Apart from football the child can also have quality education. It will interest you to know that those in Vector programme play friendly games that attracts scouts from different countries and football clubs.
The programme doesn’t train you on only football but also train people on everything that is associated to sports”, Ogbah said.
The former Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) player further disclosed Vector programme pathways provides the practice opportunities that players need if they are to successfully graduate as a professional player.

By: Tonye Orabere

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NLO: Khana FC Coach Blames Players For Missing Chances

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The Head Coach of Khana FC in Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State, Sam Ledor, has blamed his players as they were unable to convert scoring chances.
According to him, if those chances created in their opening match against Jet Bomber FC at the ongoing Nation wide League One (NLO), in Omoku centre were  converted, it  would have given them victory.
Ledor, said this on Saturday in a chat with Tidesports shortly after they played goalless draw against Jet Bomber FC in their opening match in 2024 NLO Division in Omoku, Rivers State.
“ We created a lot of scoring chances but could not find the net”, he said.
He explained that playing goalless draw is not a bad result in football but in a competition like this, they need to score goals and win matches.
“ My brother, we missed a lot of scoring chances which is not good. I trainned my players  on how to create chances and to convert them.
“ What is important in a competition is winning but as we did not lose the game,  we will look forward for our next game.
“We will go back to the drawing board and correct the grey areas in our game and ensure we get better results in our next outing.
“Today’s game is gone, what we need to do is to make sure we win our next game,” he stated.
He pointed out that no game comes easy but the effort you put in will give good result. They tried their best today and the result was good for both teams but we need to win our next game.
“My opponents were also  a good side; they tried all what they could but didn’t score also. It was a good game but my team needs to win games,” he added.

By: Kiadum Edookor

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Wilkins Backs Rivers Hoopers To Spring Surprises At 2024 BAL

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A French-American, John Walter Wilkins is confident Rivers Hoopers can make it to the playoff round of the 2024 Basketball Africa League (BAL).
Wilkins, who is the son of former NBA player Jeff Wilkins, linked up with his Hoopers teammates at the team’s training camp in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, ahead of the 2024 BAL Savannah Conference games, which tip off on Saturday, 4th May, 2024, in Dakar, Senegal.
Wilkins is no stranger to African basketball, having played for Moroccan sides AS Salé (2015-2016) and Ittihad Tanger (2017-2019), before leading Stade Malien to a third-place finish at BAL 2023.
Looking ahead to the 2024 BAL, Wilkins says the quality of basketball across Africa has improved, with the BAL requiring a high level of competitiveness, but backed Rivers Hoopers to spring a surprise at the tournament.
“It’s a really high level, a great competition; [it’s] one of the best I’ve played in since I’ve been in Africa. But we don’t need to be scared. We need to just attack the moment, be there, be present, and I think if we are confident in our abilities, we can surprise people,” he said.
Since its inaugural season in 2021, Nigerian teams have appeared twice at the BAL, with Rivers Hoopers playing in the inaugural edition of the tournament in 2021 and Kwara Falcons featuring at BAL 2023.
Despite failing to reach the playoffs on both previous occasions, Wilkins is optimistic that with the quality of players in the Hoopers squad as well as the recruitment done ahead of the BAL, Rivers Hoopers will be more competitive in this season’s BAL.
“I’m really optimistic. I know that those past years the teams from Nigeria didn’t do well, but I think with me, Kelvin [Amayo], Will [Perry], and the other guys, I think we can show the way, have some wins, and be more competitive,” he stated.
The Nigerian Champions were drawn in the Savannah Conference alongside former BAL Champions US Monastir (Tunisia), last year’s runners-up AS Douanes (Senegal), and APR (Rwanda).

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