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Basketball: Mixed Reactions Over Reversal Of International Ban

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Following the decision by the Federal Government to reverse the two-year international ban placed on basketball, stakeholders have hailed the development while expressing concern over the inability to address the main issues affecting the sports in the country.
In a statement released last week and signed by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Ismaila Abubakar, the decision to reverse the ban was based on the appeal from concerned stakeholders, former Nigerian international basketball players and well-meaning Nigerians.
Abubakar stated that the decision was also based on the fruitful meeting between FIBA and Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare which he said produced common understanding in certain general areas with a commitment from the world basketball ruling body to explore and collaborate on enhancing relationships.
In addition, the apology letter from the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) board singed by Musa Kida to the President and Minister over the embarrassment with a pledge to set up a team to reconcile all contending parties in the basketball family within and outside the country necessitated the reversal.
Gbadegesin  Olatona, who is the coordinator of the Youth Alive Basketball Community League, believed  the decision by the government is necessary to save the future of the athletes.
“I am happy that the ban has been reversed especially considering the career of most of the players both within and outside Nigeria,” he said.” This is good for them to see the need for them to aim to represent Nigeria in international competitions.
“However, the issues that prompted the ban are yet to be addressed especially in terms of the structure of the sport.”
grow the sport at home and this is why there are still struggles in football.
“ But I believe we should have taken a cue from this and allowed the sport to go beyond any individual with proper structure in place for the sport to stand on its own,” he added.
Similarly,  Abimbola Faniran, who is the founder of the Akofa Foundation , supported Olatona while calling for the abnormality in the NBBF Constitution to be addressed.
He offered: “I am happy with the reversal but it is yet Uhuru for the sport as the contending issues that caused the ban is still not yet addressed.
“Particularly the abnormality in the NBBF Constitution which stated that the President and Vice President can be chosen by a few people.
“So these issues must not be swept under the carpet while all stakeholders in the sport must be assembled to forger way forward for the sport,” Faniran noted.

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UNIPORT Coach Blames Weather For Exiting HIFL

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The Head coach of University of Port Harcourt football team ( Sharks of Uniport) Egwin Ifeanyi has blamed  bad weather for playing out a goalless draw against University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) at the ongoing Higher Institution Football League (HIFL) 2023 season.
He stated that the weather was not favourable to his players in the first half of the game, adding that in the second half when the rain subsided they played better.
Ifeanyi said this on Wednesday in his post match interview with Sports journalists shortly after they were knocked out of the HIFL in their second  match, after playing 0-0 at the Uniport Sports Complex.
UNN Lions will now progress to the quarter finals of the competition on aggregate, after winning the first leg 4-2 in Nsukka.
Coach Ifeanyi stated that they were playing under pressure because of the goals they conceded in Nsukka, adding that their intention was to win the game but it was a difficult game to see off, he added.
He Congratulated his players for doing their best but believed that the luck of the game was not on their side.
“ I will say kudos to the UNN team for their better performance today and their progress to next stage of the competition.
“I wish them all the best of luck in the competition” Ifeanyi said.
The reigning NUGA champions missed a plethora of chances especially in the second half, failing to break down a dogged away side, earning UNN Lion’s defender Ifeanyi Emeka  man of the match award in Port Harcourt.
Also speaking, Head coach of the UNN Lions, Ike Chijioke, said that his boys (players) played according to instructions.
UNN Lions may be back in Port Harcourt for the quarter finals to play Ignatius Ajuru University Minders, who advanced to the round of 16 after winning their second leg game against DELSU Titans to qualify on 3-2 aggregate score..

By: Kiadum Edookor

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CAF Launches $100m Super League

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The Confederation of African Football (CAF) on Wednesday launched a new lucrative $100 million Super League aimed at injecting financial muscle to the cash-strapped clubs on the continent.
Twenty-four clubs, yet to be decided, will take part in the first edition, which has the backing of world governing body FIFA and will be played between August 2023 and May 2024.
CAF president Patrice Motsepe, who announced the new competition, did not say if it would replace CAF’s existing Champions League and the second-tier Confederation Cup.
“The African Super League is a very important initiative. One of the major problems in Africa is finance,” said Motsepe at the launch held in the northern Tanzania town of Arusha.
“The Africa Super League is one of the most exciting developments in the history of African football and the objective in terms of what we are trying to achieve is very clear, to make sure African club football is world class and competes with the best in the world.
“Our intention is to use the $100 million as prize money and to do that every year in the African Super League, so that the club which wins gets $11.5 million,” he added.
The chairman of four-time Champions League winners Esperance Tunis, HamdiMeddeb, before the launch said that sides would be better not to play in the current top-tier competition due to costs.
Africa is a huge continent and sometimes we have to charter flights at a cost of more than $100,000 each,” Meddeb said.
“When we won the Champions League (in 2018 and 2019), more than half the prize money was spent on bonuses and allowances for the squad and the technical staff. Those are contractual obligations.”
Motsepe said CAF will use some of the 50 million dollars from the Super League to make football attractive and ensure the best players remain in Africa and improve the quality of the sport on the continent which has lagged behind other parts of the world.
“Each of the 24 clubs that will take part in the initial tournament will receive an annual contribution of three-and-half million dollars to buy players, pay for transport and player transfers,” Motsepe said.
Motsepe appealed to African governments to help with the construction of CAF-approved stadiums to ensure every club play their football in their own countries.
Not everyone is excited about the Super League with Cape Town City FC owner John Comitis calling it a “super silly idea.”
“The Super League will kill African club football,” he warned. “You can switch off the lights on the domestic leagues.”

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Obaseki Football Tourney To Drive Campaign Against Drug Abuse

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The second edition of the yearly Betsy Obaseki Football Tournament has been themed to drive the Edo State government’s campaign against drug abuse and illicit trafficking.
This much was said on Wednesday by the State’s Deputy Governor who doubles as the  Vice-Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Betsy Obaseki Women Football Tournament (BOWFT) while briefing journalists at the  Government House on the preparedness  for the second edition of the tournament.
He said the tournament which will commence next month , will have 12 teams participating, with 10 coming from the Nigeria Women Football League (NWFL), while the other best two Edo State women’s team  will join the competition, adding: “The opportunity given to the teams from the state is to expose our young girls and catch them young.”
“At the final of the competition on the 17th of September 2022, First Ladies from the 36 states of the federation will attend the game at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City.”
He continued: “We don’t discriminate in Edo State as this is the only state where our female and male football teams earn the same salaries. We are building up the girl-child and giving them support to thrive in all they do. Look at the performance of our female team in the Commonwealth Games, winning 12 gold medals while the men won none. Females need to be encouraged to do better.

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