Abia Warriors Football Club of Umuahia continued their preparations for the forthcoming Glo Premier League Campaign with a resounding 2-0 victory over Rangers International of Enugu in an inter-club friendly match to avenge the 1-0 loss they suffered in their first game in Enugu.
The encounter, which took place at the renovated Umuahia Township Stadium, was watched by some high profile personalities who had thronged the arena to catch a glimpse of the new Abia Warriors, including the State Commissioner for Sports, Chief David Chigbu and the Chairman of the Nigeria National League (NNL) Chief Emeka Inyama who is also the Chairman, Abia Warriors Fc.
Captain Chima Uluocha gave the home side the lead from the penalty spot with the game barely 10 minutes old while new boy, Kwassi Judicael doubled the advantage shortly after with a powerful missile from outside the 16-metre box.
The Ochendo Babes, whose attack was marshaled by Peter Onyekachi prodded the defense of the Flying Antelope several times but failed to increase the tally until the blast of the final whistle by the referee.
Speaking to sports writers after the game, a member of the Rangers International Technical crew, Kingsley Obiekwu said he was satisfied with the way his boys reacted particularly after conceding the two early goals and assured of a better performance in future matches.
Obiekwu, a member of Nigeria’s U-23 Gold-winning squad to the Atlanta Olympic Games in the United States of America in 1996, said the aim of the team was to win trophies this season.
On his part, Emeka Ezeugo, the Technical Adviser of Abia Warriors, described the team as “a work in progress” insisting that although
they won the match, some more work will still be needed to enable the team rub shoulders with the big boys in the Premier League.
World Series of Boxing Week 7, Group B Opportunity for Fires?
Lausanne, Switzerland, January 31, 2014 – With third placed Russia facing a tough away match against defending champions Astana Arlans Kazakhstan, the Azerbaijan Baku Fires have the chance to draw level with the European giants on points; but only if they can muster a win in Mexico.
Cuba Domadores vs. Hussars Poland
01/02/2014, 01:30 (GMT), Watch live or on demand for FREE on AIBAboxingTV.com
The Domadores look set to delight their 14,000 home fans in Cuidad Deportiva, Havana, again this weekend with a display of force against the bottom placed Hussars Poland. The Hussars performances, which have always been robust displays of determination, have been improving of late, with them snatching a point in their last match against arch rivals Russia. It will be interesting to see how the underdogs now hold-up with the pressure of competing against the stand-out team of the season, and in the most challenging away venue in the World Series of Boxing (WSB).
World bronze medallist Yosbany Veitia, who is the number one ranked Light Flyweight (46-49kg) this year, will lead his team out in the night’s opening bout against Dawid Jagodzinski. The Pole has yet to win a bout this season. Life will be no easier for his team mate Lukasz Zygmunt. The 31 year old Pole will have his work cut out for him against the number 1 ranked Heavyweight (91kg). Erislandy Savon, who is the nephew of one of the greatest boxers of all time, three time Olympic Gold medallist and six time World Champion Felix Savon. Elsewhere, Ramon Luis, who lost his last bout against the Fires will want to improve his 2-1 record against Piotr Gredke (0-1) at Light Welterweight (64kg). Luis’ search for redemption means that this should also be a bout worth watching.
Mexico Guerreros vs. Azerbaijan Baku Fires
01/02/2014, 02:50 (GMT), Watch live or on demand for FREE on AIBAboxingTV.com
The Guerreros have had a tough season this year, but have also shown signs of a late revival. However they can expect a serious test this weekend against an ambitious and aggressive Baku Fires, who have the chance to pull level with Russia on points. Should they manage to secure an away win. Mexico City, which was a veritable fortress for the Guerreros last season has been breached on several occasions already this year. The prize for successfully storming the proverbial ramparts for the “Bad Boys” isn’t just third place, it is the hope of avoiding Season III finalists the Ukraine Otamans in the quarter-finals. The Fires seemed to have sensed that an opportunity lies in the Foro Polanco and have sent an extremely strong team to Mexico. They will be lead out by 2012 WSB Individual Champion Gairbek Germakhanov at Bantamweight (56kg), who is 11-2 across three seasons in the WSB. Support will be on hand for him via Heavyweight Vladimir Cheles (4-1) and Soltan Migitinov at Middleweight. Both boxers make their first appearance of the season with Migitinov making a return to the WSB after a two season absence. Despite that he comes to the ring with six bouts of experience and his only losses were to WSB superstars Michel Tavares (Italia Thunder) and Sergiy Derevyanchenko (Astana Arlans). The Guerreros meanwhile will be relying on the experience of Juan Romero at Light Welterweight (64kg) who has a 9-2 record to lead home side and to stem the assault.
Astana Arlans Kazakhstan vs. Russian Boxing Team
01/02/2014, 13:50 (GMT), Watch live or on demand for FREE on AIBAboxingTV.com
The defending champions Astana Arlans, respectful of the threat posed by the enigmatic Russian team lined up some of their best boxers for the match this weekend. This season’s Heavyweight sensation Vasilii Levit is so far unbeaten across three bouts making him the number two ranked athlete in his weight category. He will face an interesting challenge this week in the guise of WSB debutant Aleksei Egorov. We don’t know much about the young Russian, but with the European boxing super-power talent rich, you never know what they may be bringing to the ring in Egorov; which is a comment we made in Week 1about Levit himself.
At Middleweight, the WSB’s most successful boxer of all time, the Ukrainian Sergiy Derevyanchenko will be once more gracing the canvas for the Arlans. He will be putting his 20-1 record on the line against Russia’s up-and-coming Petr Khamukov. The Russian will be making his first appearance of the season but he successfully won both his bouts last year. At just 22, is energy levels may pose a threat to the great Ukrainian. But being 28 years old, Derevyanchenko is just coming into his prime so we can expect this to be a difficult night in the office for the Team Russia boxer.
We may have a more tightly contested battle in the Light Flyweight category as 2-0 Mardan Berikbayev of Kazakhstan takes on Belik Galanov of Russia who is 1-0 in the WSB. The real question will be: can the Russians do enough to take a point from the Arlans this week or will they find themselves on an equal pegging with the tough Azerbaijan Baku Fires come Sunday?
Don’t forget that you can keep up with all the latest news by following the WSB on Twitter and Facebook!
World Series of Boxing Week 7, Group A Battle of the Americas
Lausanne, Switzerland, January 31, 2014 – With the match between the table topping Ukraine Otamans and third placed Team Germany postponed to Friday 14th, the Dolce & Gabbana Italia Thunder have the chance to close the gap on the group leaders. Meanwhile, both the USA Knockouts and the Argentina Condors will be meeting in a crunch match at the bottom of the table. Should the Condors win, they will find themselves back in third place, meanwhile the Knockouts could also scrape into a Playoffs slot should they grab a surprise win away from home.
Argentina Condors vs. USA Knockouts
01/02/2014, 02:45 (GMT), Watch live or on demand for FREE on AIBAboxingTV.com
This looks set to be an intriguing match with both teams fielding some excellent talent. The hosts will be looking to Super Heavyweight (91+kg) Luis Bravo to lead the team with his 2-2 record. His opponent, Mohamed Sallah from Sweden, is not likely to be a pushover however as he is making his second WSB appearance, after having won his debut against the Ukraine Otamans. One to watch out for is Lightweight (60kg) Brian Nuñez. His 0-3 WSB record doesn’t look that special on paper, but when you see who the 20 year old Argentinian has had to face in his first few bouts, you may forgive him. His debut was against former World Champion and current World silver medallist Robson Conceição of Brazil and the Italia Thunder, his second bout was against the 2012 Olympian and up-and-coming Otamans star Pavlo Ishchenko, and his most recent bout was against four-season veteran Irish boxer David Oliver Joyce. Moreover to give Nuñez credit, he pushed them all hard. His opponent this week, Luis Arcon of the Knockouts, is making his WSB debut this weekend and may find Nuñez a real handful. On the Knockouts side, keep an eye out for Welterweight (69kg) Gabriel Maestre who was extremely impressive in the AIBA World Boxing Championships in Almaty last October where he took a bronze. He was an excellent find for the USA talent scouts and makes his WSB debut this weekend.
Dolce & Gabbana Italia Thunder vs. Algeria Desert Hawks
01/02/2014, 20:00 (GMT), Watch live or on demand for FREE on AIBAboxingTV.com
With the Italia Thunder having such a strong team this season, it is interesting to note which young boxers they are offering experience to in their line ups. Typically the Italians are sending three top boxers and two up-and-coming young guns to the Regular Season matches this year, in a bid to keep the squad fresh and nurture the talent that is coming through. This week Welterweight Riccardo Pintaudi gets a second bite of the cherry after losing his WSB debut against the dangerous former pro-boxer Brian Castaño of Argentina. His opponent Sofiane Tabi is 0-2 in the WSB and will also want to improve his record. Light Heavyweight (81kg) Dutchman Peter Mullenberg has got off to a better start in his WSB career and looked very good in his debut against the Argentina Condors. His opponent Hichem Kaalaour however lost his debut match in Week 1 against Team Germany and hasn’t made the cut for the team since. Thus he will be looking to prove a point and there could be some fireworks in both these bouts.
The real excitement of course comes from the appearance of star Italia Thunder boxers Vincenzo Picardi (9-2), Domenico Valentino (10-4) and Joseph Joyce (6-1). The English Super Heavyweight Joyce was something of a sensation for the British Lionhearts last season but has only been given one opportunity to box so far this year for the Italia Thunder. He is competing for a place in the team with the likes of the great Mihai Nistor. Consequently, he will want to cement his place in the team’s plans against Algerian debutant Fateh Touahar. Lightweight (60kg) Valentino also has a debutant in Reda Benbaziz, while Picardi has Amine Khentache who has the unfortunate record of 0-3 at Flyweight (52kg). On paper you would expect both Desert Hawks to struggle against two of the best boxers in the WSB, but you never can tell in boxing
The delegation of U-17 Women National Team of Ghana for Sunday’s friendly international with the Nigeria U-17 girls, Flamingoes,
arrived in Abuja on Friday morning.
Led by Augustine Asante, the Black Maidens landed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport around 9.30am and were immediately driven to the Chida International Hotel. The delegation was received by NFF’s Director of Competitions, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi and Assistant Director (Communications), Ademola Olajire. Also at the Chida Hotel to welcome the team was Ghana’s Acting High Commissioner to Nigeria, His Excellency, Charles Baah.
“The NFF President is happy that your delegation arrived safely and wants you to feel very comfortable. We look forward to the match on Sunday that will help prepare our two teams for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica,” Sanusi told leader of delegation, Augustine Asante.
Both African representatives clash at the football turf of the FIFA Technical Centre, Abuja from 4pm on Sunday, in the first of a two-leg
international friendly fixture. The return leg will take place in Accra on Sunday, 9th February.
The Maidens’ 25-man delegation is made up of 18 players and seven officials, though 17 players and two officials arrived in Abuja, with the rest of the delegation scheduled to be in Abuja on Friday evening.
In their recent tour of some States of the Federation to play top women Clubs, the Flamingoes defeated Nasarawa Amazons 2-1, lost 1-3 to Rivers Angels and drew 1-1 with Delta Queens.
GHANAIAN U-17 WOMEN’S TEAM DELEGATION
PLAYERS: Rita Gyasi, Azume Adams, Florence Fosuaa Annor, Kate Adu Agyemang, Amina Fusieni, Vida Opoku, Ernestina Abambila, Lily Niber Lawrence, Samira Abdul-Rahman, Sandra Owusu-Ansah, Venoria Kuzagbe, Laadi Issaka, Jemima Dussey, Olivia Anokye, Rahma Alhassan, Kubra Abukari, Elizabeth Ephraim
OFFICIALS: Augustine Asante (Head of Delegation); Evans Augustine Adotey (Head Coach); Ben Fokuo (Assistant Coach); Victor Eddy Williams (Goalkeeper Trainer); Dzormo Adzekwei (Welfare Officer); Mabel Welhelmina (Doctor); Baba Nuhu (Equipment Officer)
Our lead correspondent, Sola Rogers had a chat with Nigerian international, Super Eagles’ Central Mid-Fielder and midfielder for Académica de Coimbra, Ogu John Ugochukwu on January 28.
“Ugochukwu is quite a down to earth gentleman” said Rogers. So let us read and get to know more about the man, Ogu John Ugochukwu
Q. Which club did you start your career? A. I Started from Starlet fc Ijeshatedo Lagos before Moving to Flying sports Academy At FESTAC
Q. Tell us the first professional club you started your football career? A. My First professional club is NK DRAVA PTUJ in Slovenia
Q. Who is your role model is and why? A. Role Model is Mikel Obi and why is cause I like the way he plays and organise play and also what he has achieved as a player for club and country
Q. How many languages do you speak? A. I speak 3 languages not too well which are: Slovene, Spanish and Portuguese and I speak English well and undisputedly my native Ibo; so that make 5 Languages.
Q. Which specific accomplishment have you achieved in recent times? A. I will say, when I first accomplished my dream to become a Professional Player and also Playing for my country’s national team, the Super Eagles and eventually representing my country in major tournaments like the FIFA CONFEDs Cup and being part of the squad to have qualified Nigeria to the World Cup.
Q. The most satisfying moment in life so far? A. When i first signed my first professional contract in Slovenia with NK DRAVA
Q. How long have you been playing football? A. I have been playing for 8yrs now
Q. What made you decide to play this particular sport? A. I will say it a gift from God and a dream to play football in high profile games; so I followed my dream, have loved football and am glad for what I have accomplished.
Q. If you didn’t play football professionally, which vocation would you have choosen? A. I would have chosen to be a Banker (he laughs)
Q. Tell us what do you like most about your profession? A. The unity it brings among people is the reason why I so much love my profession.
Q. What you do at your spare time? A. I just relax, watch football and movies
Q. Tell us your favourite colour? A. White and black
Q. Favourite food and drinks? A. I like rice and meat and also Garri and Egusi Soup, and for Drinks; I like soft drinks and fruit juice and a bit of Alcohol but not to get drunk.
Q. Favourite Artiste? A. Don’t have any, but I kind of like Rap Artist; not too hard-core.
Q. Best song of all time? A. Wow… African Queen by Tuface
Q. Favourite city in the World? A. I like Paris
Q. Dream Car? A. X6
Q. The Nigerian club you support? A. I like Enyimba
Q. Which Foreign club do you support and that’s apart from the club you’re playing for? A. Arsenal
Q. Which Other sport Do you follow? A. BASKETBALL
Q. How did you feel when you received your first Super Eagles call up and your first cap? A. Wow… I felt great and am grateful to God and to Chief Coach, it was a great feeling for me, and dreams come through for me after all I have gone through in the past
Q. Which Super Eagles player are you close friends with? A. Everyone is… (Pauses for a moment) but I am close to Oduamadi, Ideye, Onazi and Azubuike
Q. Any pre Match rituals John, please share with us? A. Yes I pray to God
Q. What volunteer/charity work are you involved in? A. Yes I do charity work in my own little way, i like supporting the less privileged, and also support Orphanages. When I think about what I have been through in life you’ll know when you have that opportunity you do the little you can.
Q. Tell us your strong points? A. My strengths are my shots, and passing accuracy
Q. What part of your game would you like to improve on? A. I would like to improve on all, my passing accuracy, tactical knowledge, speed, scoring and so on.
Q. What are your thoughts on Nigeria’s World Cup Group? A. It not going to be an easy game in that group for us but we will fight till the end and come out with maximum points in all games so as to qualify to the final.
Q. What are your long term plans? A. I just want to continue to do my best on the field for my club and country
Q. Favourite Nigerian coaches or coach of all time? A. I have only worked with just Coach Stephen Keshi, so he’s my Favourite
Q. All time Nigerian 11? A. It is difficult to choose but i will choose all that has made our country proud by winning trophies in major tournaments and reaching heights others dream of till date
Q. Finally John, please tell us your all time World 11? A. Ah! I really have no Idea because they are a lot.
“Thank you John for your time and we wish you all the best in your endeavours’ Rogers says. “The pleasure is mine bros” John replies.
That was Ogu John Ugochukwu, up, close and personal and we’ll be bringing more great and iconic sport personalities.
The Media Officer’s Forum (MOF) of the Glo Premier League in a special meeting held in Abuja on Tuesday 28th January 2014 discussed the way forward for the 2013 / 2014 Glo Premier League season and other salient issues affecting the Forum and it was resolved as follows.
The Forum elected seven members to man the affairs of the body for a period of two years.
China Acheru of Dolphins FC was elected as Chairman of the forum to be assisted by Kano Pillars’ Media-Officer Idris Malikawa who was elected Vice Chairman of the Forum.
Cajetan Nkwopara of Heartland FC is the Secretary of the body, while Musa Elayo of Nasarawa Utd was elected as the Assistant Secretary
Sunshine FC of Akure’s Media-Officer Adewumi Ayodele Johnson is now the Treasurer.
Uwem Ekoh of Akwa Utd was also elected as the PRO of the MOF and last but not the least Mark Agbo of Lobi Stars will serve as Welfare Officer.
The Forum commended the League Management Company (LMC) led by Hon Nduka Irabor for putting machineries in motion for the smooth take off and success of the league.
The Forum also appealed to Chairmen/Boards of various clubs to pay serious attention to their Media Officers by giving them good incentives and good working environment to enhance their performance. This we at Newfanzone believe will go a long way towards enhancing the coverage of the League.
The MOF also talked about Security issues and other logistic challenges its members face in the process carry out their duties and this challenges can be met
The forum also commended members of the Nigerian team currently flying the Nigerian flag in South Africa.
Racing Satander players on Thursday the 30th of January 2014 made good their threat to down tools if the Board of Directors of the club refuse to resign, the players want Club president Angel Lavin especially to resign with immediate effect, and if anybody was in doubt that the players would carry out their threat all these was put to rest when eleven players of the club filed out for their Copa Del Rey match versus Real Sociedad but refused to kick the ball, according to reports from several websites the referee had no choice than to call off the match so as it stands Sociedad will now face FC Barcelona in the Semi-Finals of the tournament.
The Racing Satander player’s grouse stems from the fact that all players of the club are being owed salaries by the club with some stretching back over 3 months. The implications of the players action will definitely reverberate across the spanish football world for weeks to come.
In Nigeria the issue of players being owed salaries and sign-on fees is nothing new to us, football players from our league have been known to go months without pay but this was before the restructuring of the Nigerian Football League. The League management company popularly referred to as the LMC has now put in place structures that would prevent the kind of situation that would see players work hard for their pay but not get paid.
While many remain pessimistic about the Nigerian League and recent moves to reposition it, a few people have started to notice the changes being wrought in our League, and the recent display by the Home Eagles is a good advert for the GLO NPL, who would have thought that in 2014 an European team would face kind of crisis that Racing is facing ?
What is more shocking is the fact that this kind of thing is happening in Spain, a country that has got one of the best football leagues in the world, The Spanish Liga BBVA. Although Racing Satander now ply their trade in the Spanish Segunda Liga, it still goes to show that UEFA have got a lot to do with it financial reforms.
While we hope that this issue is resolved as soon as possible at least for the sake of the players and fans of the club, back home in Nigeria we hope that all clubs will strive to meet the new regulations being put in place by the LMC to ensure that the Nigerian Premier League takes it’s pride of place amongst the best leagues in the world
The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) is excited to open bids for the GAC Group 2015 ITTF World Tour.
The ITTF World Tour is the biggest table tennis tour on the planet, with the best table tennis players in the world battling for millions of dollars in prize money in all corners of the globe.
ITTF Marketing Director Steve Dainton stated: “We look forward to continue working with our long time organisers, newer organisers and welcoming new cities and countries to bid for these prestigious and commercially growing events.”
“We believe this bid process will attract a growing number of larger cities around the world and ensure the ITTF World Tour events continue to grow and prosper as a commercially attractive sporting product, one that any city in the world should be actively looking to host.”
The GAC Group 2015 World Tour will comprise of 3 tiers:
Super Series x 6 events
Major Series x 6 events
Challenge Series x multiple events
The higher the tier, the more exposure available for your city/country, more prize money, more world ranking and World Tour standing points and higher quality of competition on offer.
The GAC Group 2015 ITTF World Tour is one of the hottest properties on the Table Tennis calendar, as it promises millions of TV and online viewership, extensive media coverage and attractive commercial rights for any city/country looking to host the event.
The ITTF World Tour (formally Pro Tour) was formed in 1996 and has gone from strength to strength ever since. In 2013, there were 1393 players from 83 countries playing in 19 events.
During the World Tour, players accumulate World Tour standing points, with the top 16 male and female players being invited to the one-million-dollar World Tour Grand Finals.
MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS, Jerez, Formula One Testing, 28-31 January 2014, Lewis Hamilton (photo courtesy MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS)
Date : Thursday 30 January
Track :Circuito de Jerez
Driver : Lewis Hamilton
No of Laps : 62 laps
Best Lap Time : 1:23.952
Kms Covered : 274.536 km
Track Length : 4.428 km
Weather : Clear, dry, warm, high temperature of 13°C (ambient)
MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS continued its pre-season testing programme at the Circuito de Jerez earlier today, with Lewis Hamilton taking the wheel of the F1 W05 for the third day of running in Spain. The team completed good mileage during the morning before a transmission issue curtailed running in the afternoon. Lewis’s best time of 1:23.952 from 62 laps was good enough for third position on the time sheets, and second in the lap count behind the combined total of McLaren Mercedes pairing Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen.
Lewis emerged for his first run a matter of minutes after the green flag, completing 45 laps in the morning.
After two runs of medium length during the afternoon, a transmission issue brought the team’s day to an early conclusion with a total of 62 laps on the board.
Mercedes-Benz Power Units today completed a total of 965 km between all teams.
MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS has so far completed 783 km at the Circuit de Jerez, with one day of the test remaining.
Nico will be in the car tomorrow for the fourth and final day of the opening pre-season test at Jerez.
At the moment we’re definitely happy. We’ve shown the strength within this team through all the hard work that’s gone into getting the car here, bouncing back from the issue on Tuesday and then going out there and following up 97 laps yesterday with a further 62 today; it’s a huge accomplishment for everyone involved. Proving reliability at this stage is crucial and every lap is precious, as this is going to be a seriously challenging year for every team. I’m feeling very positive after these tests and every day on track is another step forwards, but there are so many challenges ahead of us in the coming weeks and months that we just have to take those steps one at a time.
It was good to get Lewis back in the car today for his first real opportunity to drive some good laps and explore the performance of the W05. We made a relatively strong start to the day and completed two medium length runs before lunch. We began running again at around 14:30, completing a couple more runs before a transmission issue brought our day to an early close. Nevertheless, we achieved reasonable mileage overall with a total of 62 laps and learned a great deal more about the car. The target for tomorrow will be to continue making progress in our understanding of the car and put more miles on what is still a very new technical package.
MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS, Jerez, Formula One Testing, 28-31 January 2014, Lewis Hamilton (photo courtesy MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS)