Less than 24 hours to the beginning of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, some important members of Team Nigeria’s contingent to the Games are still in Oregon, United States, battling to secure entry visas to the United Kingdom.
Some of the athletes billed to represent Nigeria at the Games travelled to the United States for the just-concluded World Championships, where Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan and Ese Brume won gold and silver medals, respectively.
However, while their opponents have already relocated to England, Ese Brume and her coach, Kayode Yahaya, are still in Oregon because the coach has not been granted a British visa.
Yet to secure the documents also are five athletes, including Favour Ashe, Godson Brume and Samson Nathaniel.
The Tidesports source learnt on Wednesday, that world record breaker, Amusan and other athletes will depart Oregon today for the Commonwealth Games.
Meanwhile the Athletics Federation Nigeria (AFN) has described as unfortunate the attitude of some Nigerians, who have taken to social media to dissipate energy on the rest sprinter, Favour Ofili wore during the 4x100m relay event at the just-concluded 18th World Athletics Championships in Oregon, United States.
The letter ‘i’ was missing from the spelling of Nigeria on the vest and according to the AFN, instead of celebrating the unprecedented feats achieved by sprint hurdler, Amusan, who set a new world record en route to winning Nigeria’s first gold medal, and long jumper, Brume, who became the first Nigerian to win a medal in two straight World Championships, some people chose to deliberately paint the Federation in a bad light.
“It is really disheartening to know that a few Nigerians could shift their focus from the incredible feats our athletes performed in Oregon, which attracted commendation from President Muhammadu Buhari to a factory error made by giant sportswear and equipment company, Nike and which affected just the vest Ofili wore at the championships,” AFN Secretary General, Prince Adeniyi Adisa Beyioku, said on Wednesday.
Beyioku said the AFN was not distracted by the actions of the ‘idle few’ and has already shifted focus to the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Also speaking on the issue, AFN’s Performance Director, Victor Okorie, explained that the wrong spelling of Nigeria on the Nike kit worn by Ofili was a factory error.
Okorie, who was Team leader in Oregon said: “Some people drew our attention to the mistake on Ofili’s kit on the final day of the 4x100m relay and I quickly reached out to Nike to know what happened. Their explanation was that it was a factory error.
“Nike said it has so much respect for Nigeria and the athletes, and there is no way it will deliberately produce a bad kit to portray Nigeria in a bad light.”
He added: “Do not forget that Nike gave Nigeria these kits free of charge for Oregon 2022 World Athletics Championship and the World U-20 Championship in Cali, Colombia.
“You can imagine how our athletes would have looked like appearing in different kits at Oregon. The AFN board really appreciated what Nike did for us. I am sure if Ofili had noticed the error, she would have pointed it out and asked for a change. Such mistakes do happen at times, and I want Nigerians to understand the situation.”
UNIPORT Coach Blames Weather For Exiting HIFL
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
CAF Launches $100m Super League
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.”
Obaseki Football Tourney To Drive Campaign Against Drug Abuse
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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