The Nigeria senior national team will, according to the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, kick off their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualification campaign against Sierra Leone,
The Super Eagles learned their opponents en route to qualifying for the biennial football showpiece billed for Cote d’Ivoire.
According to the draw held last week in Johannesburg, which was steered by the Confederation of African Football director of competitions, Samson Adamu and assisted by South African football great Lucas Radebe and former Chelsea star Salomon Kalou, the three-time African kings were zoned in Group A alongside the Leone Stars, Guinea Bissau as well as Sao Tome and Principe.
In a press release made available to news men, the NFF stated that the country will host John Keister’s side before heading to Sao Tome and Principe.
The window for these two matches is between May 30 to June 14, 2022.
With the window for Matchdays 3 and 4 being 19th to 27th of September, the 2013 African Kings will try the Wild Dogs of Guinea for size home and away.
The last two matches are within the period of March 20th to 28th, 2023. Then, Nigeria will head to Freetown for their reverse fixture against Sierra before returning home for their last encounter against Sao Tome and Príncipe or Mauritius.
Meanwhile, Mauritius has a pending protest against Sao Tome and Príncipe, who won their preliminary qualifying fixture.
The Dodos insisted that one of Sao Tome’s players had tested positive for COVID-19. Should they win their appeal, Adriano Eusebio’s team would be thrown out of the competition for Mauritius.
The two top placed teams in each of the twelve groups at the end of the campaign will qualify for the 34th AFCON billed for the West African nation.
Hosts Cote d’Ivoire will tackle Zambia, Comoros and Lesotho even though they have already secured their place in the tournament which means only one other team from their group will qualify for the competition.
Notwithstanding, if the suspension placed on Kenya and Zimbabwe is not lifted two weeks before their first matchday of the qualifiers, both associations will be considered losers and eliminated from the competition.
Scholarships Up For Grabs For 10 Winners At MTN Champs
The grand finale of the MTN Champs will commence from today and end on Sunday at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja where 10 winners will bag scholarship and financial benefits.
MTN CHAMPS is a program in Nigeria that aims to unearth and foster athletics talent across the country.
It is modeled after the Jamaican High school CHAMPS and is poised to become the primary platform for identifying and nurturing promising athletes who could go on to represent Nigeria in prestigious international competitions such as the Olympics and World Championships.
Before the finals in Abuja, the track and field event was held in three different regions namely: Uyo, Benin and Ibadan where over 7,000 athletes have competed and 42 finalists emerged.
Speaking at the MTN Champs Press Conference held on Wednesday in Abuja, the General Secretary of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, Rita Mosindi appealed for the introduction of anti-doping lectures for the young athletes.
“ I want to appeal for the introduction of anti-doping lectures for the kids to educate them on the side effects of taking dope substances.
“These are raw talents that we can manage and nurture them to stardom.
“My advice is to do seminars concerning this just as we have started doing as a federation to reduce doping cases in Nigeria.”
Founder and CEO of Making of Champions (MoC), Bambo Akanni, who is the brain behind the MTN Champs revealed that 10 young athletes from the championship will get special scholarship in the USA and Jamaica.
“MTN Champs involving Secondary School Championship is to discover future Olympians for the country, building youth to excel in sports and academics. This is in line with MTN history of supporting local athletes for global aspirations.
NBPL Final Four: Winning Tournament Excites Rivers Hoopers Player
Rivers Hoopers of Port Harcourt player Effiong Abel has expressed joy for winning the just concluded Nigeria Basketball Premier (NBPL) League Final Four in Port Harcourt.
According to him, the game was not an easy one, adding that they were going through a hard training before the competition.
Effiong disclosed his excitement last Saturday in an exclusive interview with Tidesports shortly after Rivers Hoopers defeated Nigeria Customs basketball team 77-57 in the final game of the four of the NBPL in Port Harcourt.
He stated that it was a team work that saw them through, adding that he was very happy winning the tournament in the front of his fans.
“ I feel very excited today for winning the Nigeria Basketball Premier League Final Four in Port Harcourt.
“ It was not an easy one because of the type of training we were undergoing to ensure we get victory in the tournament.
“I give kudos to my teammates and the coaching crew, they were awesome.
“ Also kudos to the fans, they came out in numbers to support us” Effiong said.
Effiong personally took charge at some point of the game delivering three pointers which eventually created a lee way for a sumptuous finale.
By: Kiadum Edookor
MOC Makes Appeal Over Age Cheats
Organisers of the ongoing school athletics competition, MTN Champs, Making of Champions (MoC), have appealed to all athletes who have participated in the three legs of the championship, as well as their schools, parents, coaches and everyone connected to them to support the body in its efforts to eradicate the systemic age cheating in Nigeria’s athletics by committing to use their real ages at the Abuja grand final and in future.
“MTN has provided a historic opportunity for Nigeria to finally tackle the pressures that our athletes have long faced to cut their ages,” MoC said in a statement made available to news men.
“Never in our nation’s history has there been a nationwide series of championships that has provided three age groups cutting across ages 11 to 19, to give everyone possible opportunity to compete fairly in their own age groups, and we have even relaxed the junior age group from U-20 to U-23.
The grand finale will hold in Abuja from December 1 to 3.
The MoC statement added: “Despite the fact that appropriate age groups have been provided for everyone, we have seen widespread age discrepancies across all three age categories – Cadet (U-14) and Youth (U-17) categories, which are strictly for secondary schools only and juniors (U-20), which is open to all other teenagers.
“For example, we have seen a systematic pattern of an unusually high number of SS2 and SS3 students claiming to be 13 and 14 years old respectively. We have seen athletes who were 14 in 2021 claiming to still be 14 now, 18-year-olds who have finished secondary school already claiming to be 13 so that they can run against the cadets, and we have seen many athletes competing for schools they are not part of and in the wrong age categories as well.
“One of such schools, which was biggest offender in this area, is currently in the process of being disqualified, which will be announced shortly.”
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