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Fans Invade Pitch For Selfies With Ronaldo, Coach Concerned

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Fans invading the pitch to try to take selfies with players is a concern, said Portugal manager Roberto Martinez after his side’s victory over Turkey at Euro 2024 at the weekend.
Five people made it on to the pitch to try to take photos with Portugal captain, Cristiano Ronaldo in their 3-0 win in Dortmund.
Security guards at Westfalenstadion had to chase after each supporter while players and fans in the stands grew increasingly frustrated.
“It is a concern. Today, the intentions of the fans were good. We all love a fan who recognises the big stars and icons,” said Martinez.
“But you [must] understand there’s a difficult moment if their intentions are wrong. We need to be careful. It shouldn’t happen, there’s a lot of security.
“We should give a message to the fans also because it is not the right way. It may get worse for the future. It’s not good to have the players so exposed on the pitch.”
The first supporter to break on to the pitch was a young boy and Ronaldo gave him a hug before smiling for a photograph.
But Ronaldo was annoyed when the third person tried it while Portugal were preparing to defend a corner in the second half and security guards had to restrain the fan by the side of the goal.
At full-time, Ronaldo pushed away a fifth supporter and was escorted off the pitch by a member of security.
However, Portugal team-mate Bernardo Silva said he was personally not really concerned by the pitch invasions.
“It’s just a bit annoying in terms of always having to stop the game because a fan enters the pitch,” said Silva.
“I think that’s the price you pay for being so recognised in the world of football and having a player like [Ronaldo] with us in the team. But in terms of being in danger, no I don’t feel that personally.”
Questions will be asked of the security.
“The security here has been lacking and this stadium will host a semi-final, they’re going to have to tighten it up,” he added.
UEFA’s disciplinary body will await reports from officials before deciding any action going forward.

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Team Nigeria wrestlers off to pre-Olympics camp

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The Nigeria wrestling contingent left Madrid, Spain for Germany in what is their last camping before the Olympic Games in Paris, France.

The Wrestlers which participated in Spanish Grand Prix, a pre-Olympic tournament in Madrid, had Esther Kolawole 62kg and Ogunsanya Christianah 53kg record bronze for Team Nigeria respectively.

Ogunsanya defeated her USA counterpart Brianne Gonzales (10-0) to win Bronze medal while Kolawole won Swedish Johanna Lindborg by (8-0) for the Bronze Medal.

Multiple time world medalist Odunayo Adekuoroye lost (4-4) on technical grounds to Norwegian Othile Hole in the quarter final. Similarly, African champion Hannah Reuben lost her first bout to Tatiana R. her Colombia opponent (3-0).

Reacting to the performance of the team, the female head coach Akuh Purity assessed it was an opportunity for the wrestlers to warm-up ahead of the Paris Games.

“It was a good outing for our girls in the sense that it offered us opportunity to look at areas we needed to improve on,” Purity stated. “It also gave the wrestlers the avenue to wrestle competitively although not as if it were to be in Paris, but it was great and we have known areas we need to improve upon.”

Before the team’s departure for Germany,  the Nigeria Wrestling Federation President Daniel Igali, urged  the contingents led by the Secretary General, Mohammed H. Maigidansanma, to learn from all that transpired in Madrid for their technical advantage.

 

 

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Stakeholders unveil plans for athletics dev

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Stakeholders in the southwest have moved to set up a trust fund for athletics initiatives in the zone, in order to drive positive changes in the management of track and field talents and events.

This is part of a series of recommendations made during the inaugural two-day Southwest Athletics Conference which ended in Abeokuta, Ogun State last Friday.

The conference was attended by 55 delegates representing the six states in the region and supported by the Athletics Federation of Nigeria.

In a communiqué jointly signed by the chairman of the working committee, Olatunde Makanju, and the secretary of the communique drafting committee, Oluyomi Oluwasanmi, the conference highlighted seven blueprints towards revamping athletics in the region.

“Key recommendations from the conference include the formation of the Southwest Athletics Group that would be governed by a board comprising all the chairmen of the states association, with each chair taking annual turns leading the board.

“To enhance sports development, the conference called for the creation of a trust fund dedicated to supporting athletic programmes and initiatives in the
region.”

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Paris 2024: Falcons hold first training session

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Ahead of their participation in the women’s football event of the 2024 Paris Olympics Games, the Super Falcons held their first training session in their Seville camp on Sunday.

The Games will be held from July 26 to August 11 and Nigeria are returning to the women’s football event since they last featured in 2008.

The Super Falcons camp opened in Spanish City on Friday but didn’t hold any training sessions until Sunday due to the small number of players in camp.

Following reports that most of the players are yet to hit camp, perhaps the numbers are just swelling, as the video released by the Super Falcons Show on X showed a few players and officials strolling into the training ground.

In the video were captain Rasheedat Ajibade, goalkeeper Tochukwu Oluehi, Deborah Abiodun, Toni Payne and Rivers Angels keeper Morufat Ademola. Some other officials were spotted in the background.

Other players reported to be in camp are goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie, Gift Monday, Chidinma Okeke, and Christy Ucheibe.

The team is expected to depart Spain for France on July 18 after their two-week training in Seville.

Super Falcons head coach Randy Waldrum last Wednesday named 18 players and four others as alternates for the women’s football event.

Changes are however expected to the squad in the coming days following an injury to midfielder Halimatu Ayinde.

Nine-time African champions Nigeria will tackle Brazil, Spain and Japan, in that order, at this year’s tournament.

Their first game, against Brazil, comes up at the Stade Bordeaux on July 25, before confrontations with Spain (July 28) and Japan (July 31).

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