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Grassroots Development, Key To Basketball Growth – Mark

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Factional President of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), Igoche Mark, has said that Nigeria must invest in the youths and encourage grassroots development for the country’s basketball to grow to its desired level.
Mark, who said building the game from the grassroots is his main priority, said that the country has the talents to challenge the best teams in the world, adding, however, that the country must invest in its talents to reach the desired height.
Speaking in Lagos at the weekend, the proprietor of Mark Mentors Basketball Club said: “The decay in Nigerian basketball has been alarming in the last four years, that’s why I joined the race for the election and January 31 I was elected NBBF president in Abuja. It’s a heavy task, but it’s doable.
“We want to focus on grassroots basketball development, we have the talents but we don’t harness them. If we had eight NBA Drafts last time, it means we have the talents. Then why is it not impacting on the local scene? That’s the problem and reason we want to focus on the grassroots.
“What’s killing the game here is lack of facilities. Playing on hard surfaces isn’t good, it shortens the careers of the players. We want to bring back age-grade events and the local leagues; without the local leagues, we can’t progress.
“Ejike Ugboaja was drafted from the local league to the NBA. If we had a sustainable league, only God knows how many players would have made it like Ejike.”
Tidesports source reports that Mark regretted that some players have been forced to retire from the game because of inactivity in the last five years.
“We have very good players who left to become labourers and casual workers, but they could have gone farther in the game if they were given the opportunity.
“That’s what politics does, so I think it’s time we stopped this. My dream was to play in the NBA but I couldn’t, but I’m here to help the players achieve that. And with that, I’ll be much fulfilled.”

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Rivers FA Cup: 15 Clubs To Battle For Glory

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A total of 15 clubs  are participating in this year’s Aiteo Cup Competition in Rivers State, despite the fact that two clubs are to represent the state at the national level, as Rivers Angels do not have an opponent in the female category.
This year the number of registered clubs was far below the previous year’s, where the number of registered Clubs got up to 30 or more. This may not be unconnected with the short time given for registration by Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
Earlier, the Acting Chairman of Rivers State Football Association (RSFA), Ibigoni Benjamin Akobo, has called for  the readjustment of the time table.
According to him, the deadlines given to State FAs to register clubs, preparation of licences,  commencement of the  competition and conclusion were really short and tasking.
“ For them to have waited from January, for only last week to make a statement and send timetable for the competition was a near failure.
We are not expected to commence registration without given a go ahead” Akubo said.
He equally said that this was exactly what happened last year and finally came up to say that states should submit one team each.
“ Last year too, they came up with this delay manner and ended up saying that states should produce one team each” he stated.

By: Tonye Orabere

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Edo Set To Host NWFL Super Six

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All  is now set for Edo State to host the best of the Nigeria’s Women Football League, the Super Six Tournament, billed for Monday, May 16 to Sunday, May 22,  2022.
Six giants in the fast developing women league will battle for the sole ticket to represent Nigeria at the regional second edition of the CAF Women Champions League .
The six participating  teams  are host state team, Edo Queens , defending champion, Rivers Angels, Bayelsa Queens, new comers, Naija Ratels, Nasarawa Amazons and runners up in the first edition,  Delta Queens .
The teams qualified from two groups, based on their placement in each group in the regular season.
While Nasarawa Amazons, Edo Queens and Naija Ratels emerged the three best teams from their group, Bayelsa Queens, Rivers Angels and Delta Queens, outwitted other teams to pick the three available tickets from their group .
Edo Queens, who narrowly lost the top spot by a point to Nasarawa Amazons at the conclusion of the 2021/2022 regular season is poised to clinch the top prize going by  preparations , motivation by the state government and support by the home fans in Benin.
The Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium and the University of Benin Sports Complex are the two venues with three matches  scheduled daily .
Two games will be played simultaneously  by 10am and 4pm respectively.
The hosting of the Nigeria Women Football League  Super 6 is a pointer to the fact that Edo State is a sports hub and preferred destination for stakeholders as well as investors in the sports industry, with state of the art facilities .
No wonder , the state successively hosted   the Aiteo Cup for male and female categories, the Betsy Obaseki pre-season women football  tournament , the 20th National Sports Festival and now set to host the 2nd edition of the Super 6.

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Eguma Blames Players Over 2-0 Loss Against Heartland

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The Technical Manager of Rivers United Football Club of Port Harcourt, Stanley Eguma has blamed his players for the defeat of the team by Heartland Football Club of Enugu. Heartland had defeated Rivers United 2-0 at the weekend, in match day 28 of the ongoing Nigeria Football Professional League (NFPL).
“We would have gotten two goals before the end of  first half but my players could not convert their chances,  but  Heartland made use of theirs,” Eguma said.
He further attributed the loss to the poor state of the pitch, saying that his players could not pass the ball effectively due to the poor nature of the pitch.
Eguma said this in a post match interview with sports writers. However, he stressed that the technical crew will go back and work on the grey areas.
“ I commend Heartland, they won two zero, that is football, you don’t take chances,” he stated.
In his response, the chief coach of Heartland, Erasmus Onuh said the team will continue to improve in every match.
“ As I came, one of things I requested was to relocate the team from Orlu and the result has started coming.
I  am under pressure but later I will explain that,” Onuh said.

By: Tonye Orabere

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