The Minister of Youth and Sports Barrister Solomon Dalung has assured that the report of the National Sports Reform Committee will be implemented. Receiving the report presented by the 13-man committee today at the Abuja National Stadium, Barrister Dalung stated that he was aware of public skepticism and criticism which greeted the setting up of […]
Rivers United technical manager, Stanley Eguma faces the sack unless results improve swiftly for the club in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) in the next three matches.
The Port Harcourt club currently sit in 11th place in the NPFL standings with 10 points from a possible 24 and have failed to amass even a single point on the road this season.
The sponsors of the club are unimpressed with recent performances and have now read the riot act to Eguma and the rest of the technical department of the club following yet another underwhelming display on Wednesday.
“The Rivers State Government has invested heavily in the club and so far, the results have been far from impressive.
“Following the unimpressive 0-0 draw on Wednesday with a struggling side like Sunshine Stars who are just one place from the bottom of the table, we have decided to act.
“The technical crew led by Stanley Eguma have now been given a three-match ultimatum to improve the fortunes of the club and justify the huge amount of money spent on the club by the Rivers State Government or be shown the way out.
“This is not a witch hunt but an honest and concerted effort in ensuring that all involved in this club key into our philosophy of making Rivers United the foremost football side in the country,” Rivers State Sports Commissioner, Honourable Boma Iyaye said while reacting to the 0-0 draw between United and Sunshine Stars on Wednesday.
United will face Ikorodu United (in Lagos on March 27), El Kanemi Warriors (in Port Harcourt on April 6) and Heartland (in Owerri on April 10) in their next three league games this season.
Rivers United fired blanks in a drab Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) contest against Sunshine Stars that ended 0-0 at the Yakubu Gowon (former Port Harcourt Liberation) Stadium on Wednesday.
The big news before kickoff, was the omission from the match day squad of Obomate Frederick from the Rivers United with Bernard Ovoke starting in his place.
In the absence of the midfielder, the hosts struggled to control the game and boss possession with deadly efficiency as has been the case in recent matches.
Striker, Guy Kuemian missed a sitter from two yards in the first half when it appeared easier to score and Chigozie Ihunda also came close with a half volley as well as United looked to put the game to bed early on. It was however the visitors that created the best chances in the game.
The Sunshine Stars coach, Solomon Ogbeide was pleased with the point in the end. “We had our plan and it worked for us. We wanted to play on the (break).
“On two occasions, we had one-on-one opportunities with just the (Rivers United goal keeper) to beat but we did not take them,” he told Rivers United Media.
Eguma on his part said his charges have yet to fuse into a unit. “We have not really started playing as a cohesive unit but we are one of the best-playing teams in the league at this moment. “I believe we will get it right in the shortest possible time,” he said.
Rivers United are now in 11th place on the NPFL standings with 10 points from eight matches while Sunshine Stars remain one place from bottom in the 20-team log with three points from six matches.
There was immense joy and excitement when the Super Eagles duo, Chisom Chikatara and skipper Austin Obaroakpo returned to the Abia Warriors Camp in Umuahia after they were not considered for the 2017 Africa Nations Cup double header against the Pharaohs of Egypt by the Super Eagles Interim coach, Samson Siasia.
As soon as the final list was released, in Abuja both Abia Warriors players jetted back to Umuahia with the next available flight and the camp exploded in ecstasy when they were seen by their colleagues.
The duo later participated in the evening training session where they gave a good account of themselves.
Speaking to Abia Warriors website, both players said they had no hard feelings about the decision of the National Team handlers to drop them and wished the Super Eagles well in the double header.
According to Chikatara, who certified himself 100 per cent fit, the players who were chosen by Coach Siasia are good enough to handle Egypt in both qualifiers, adding that he would continue to work hard in order to get future call-ups.
“All of us cannot play for Nigeria at the same time, so I will wait for another opportunity to play for my fatherland” Chikatara, who has been acquired by Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca, said.
He disclosed that all his attention is now focused on helping Abia Warriors achieve success in the domestic League beginning with the week eight mid-week clash against Wikki Tourists of Bauchi in Umuahia.
Obaroakpo, on his own, said in as much as he was physically, mentally and psychologically ready for the Egypt match, he has no hard feelings for being drooped, adding that it is the dream of every player to don the Country’s National Team colours.
He believed the door is not closed for him in the Super Eagles and thanked the organizers for the invitation extended to him in the first place.
The Abia Warriors Captain also said his attention is now focused on how to help his beloved Club grab the league diadem or at least pick a continental ticket at the end of the season.
Assistant head coach of Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries Football Club of Lagos, Alli Suleman Obinna has declared that Kano Pillars football club will fall in Lagos on Wednesday in Match Day 8 of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) tie involving the two sides.
The Agege Stadium will witness yet another interesting and entertain top flight action as the Olukoya Boys go head to head with four times league champions, the Sai Masu Gida but coach Alli believes the visitors will fail in flying colours.
He said: “Kano Pillars are a very good team, they’ve been in the league before us, you know we just came back from Owerri where we lost to Heartland fc, I strongly believe we are not going to lose two matches in a row. On Wednesday, by the special grace of God, Kano Pillars will fall and we will claim the three points.
“Experience matters a lot in football but at the same time MFM FC has some experienced players who can match the Kano Pillars team, in football you can’t tell because anything can happen but I strongly believe that MFM FC is a team that people will look up to before the season ends,” he told MFM FC Media.
The Lagos-based team is second on the NPFL table with 13 points from 7 league games while the visitors occupy the third spot on the log with 11 points. A win for MFM will take them to the league summit again.
A board member of the Nigeria Judo Federation, Segun Gbayi has appealed to the Honorable Minister of Youths and Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung to come to their aid and urgently arrest the dwindling fortune of the sport in Nigeria.
Gbayi traced the problem being faced by NJF to the leadership problem after ignorantly electing Prince Timothy Nsirim as the federation president.
“The president of the Nigeria Judo Federation’ Prince Timothy Nsirim does not know where the shoe pinches and does not know anything about the sport”.
He alleged Nsirim of conniving with the Secretary of the NJF of human trafficking as they use international competitions to collect money from individuals and smuggle them out of the country under the guise of going for tournaments.
Gbayi said this has continued to affect the country in international circuit which will have a ripple on the Ministry of Sports and the honorable minister if not urgently tackled.
The players representative on the board absolved the current Chairman of Obiapor Local Government of Rivers state of any blame because he was voted for, without the voters doing a proper background check on him. He explained that after committing the fatal mistake, they have done so many things to correct it with every move turning out to be futile.
“We tried to correct it last year, but, they (NSC) are saying we should allow him finish his tenure”.
“But, as it is right now, judo is not making the Olympics. We came back with a very bad result at the All African Game. It is because we have a wrong person as the president.”
“I pray that the ministry of sports will sit us back again and let buys put the right person in the right position.”
Speaking further, Gbayi revealed that Nsirim was impeached in 2014 before the AAG, but the then Director General of the National Sports Commission, Alhassan Yakmut appealed to the aggrieved members on the need for peace and giving the impeached president a grace of 3months to turn a new leaf.
“As I am talking to you now, months after the All African Games, there has been no single board meeting. He has remained incommunicado.” “Judo is going behind on a regular basis which is bad in the history of judo in Nigeria.”
A baffled Gbayi concluded that despite being impeached by 8 other members of the board, Nsirim is still clinging on to power.
After making his presence felt at the just concluded ITTF World Tour tagged Kuwait Open, Egypt’s Shady Magdy is hoping for a return to Lagos for the Nigerian Open scheduled for May 18 to 22 at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of the Teslim Balogun Stadium.
The 20 year-old Egypt defeated Nigeria’s Ojo Onaolapo to claim the U-21 title at the 2015 Nigerian Open and with his performance at the Kuwait Open, he is roaring to conquer in Lagos.
Despite being edged out in the semifinal of the Kuwait Open at the weekend, the impact Shady Magdy made in Kuwait caused heartaches to some top players from Japan and Denmark.
Shady Magdy caused a major surprise by beating Japan’s Toni Ryuzaki, the no.11 seed, in the first round and he maintained his good form as the player with no current world ranking in the second round accounted for another Japanese Kohei Sambe, the no.4 seed, saving three match points in the fourth game, before gaining and early lead the fifth and never looking back (3-11, 12-10, 9-11, 15-13, 11-8).
Equally, in the opening round of the Men’s Singles qualification event, he had been in good form; he had extended Denmark’s Zhai Yujia, listed at no.105 on the current Men’s World Rankings, the full seven games distance (11-7, 11-9, 5-11, 11-7, 9-11, 12-14, 11-8).
But Shady Magd’s adventures came to a conclusion on Friday March 18 at the semi-final stage of the U-21 Men’s Singles event. He found the fast attacking skills of Hong Kong’s Ho Kwan Kit, the no.2 seed, just too hot to handle; a straight games defeat was the order of the day (11-5, 11-3, 11-9).
Disappointment for Shady Magdy but he was realistic. “Looking back I have to be pleased with my level here”, he concluded. “Now I want to play more high level matches; hopefully I will go to the Polish Open and the Nigerian Open,” he said.
In Nigeria he is the defending U-21 Men’s Singles champion; last year he beat the host nation’s Ojo Onaolapo in the final. Notably on that occasion he recovered from a two games to nil deficit to secure success (6-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-3, 11-9).
As registration deadline ends today, Lagos, Ondo and four others have confirmed their participating in the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) maiden U-16 national league.
Already, Lagos, Ondo, Ekiti, Kwara, Oyo and Abia beat the March 21 deadline with the registration of their teams for the competition.
For Ondo State Coach, Dotun Omoniyi, the idea of the league is commendable as it would afford the players the chance to test might among one another in a competitive atmosphere. “ I am so excited about the league because it is not going to be a one-off competition but a continuous tournament that will allow the players to improve in each match. Also it will give the national coaches the opportunity to unearth new talents for the country. I am eagerly looking forward to the commencement of the league,” Omoniyi said.
However, there are plans to give more states the opportunity to be part of the championship as most states are yet to complete their final registration for the league.
According to the NTTF, the league will involve players across the country and it is meant to give new players the opportunity to make national junior teams as well as work their way into the senior team.
It will serve off on March 29 to April 8 at the National Training Centre in National Stadium while the grand finale which is known as Super League will hold on May 14 at the Teslim Balogun Stadium.
Each state across the country is expected to present two boys and two girls while the top eight players in the boys and girls event will qualify for the Super League.
According to the prospectus of the tournament, states wishing to participate will register with the NTTF, while only the first 20 boys teams and the first 16 girls teams to register for the League shall be accepted to participate and only players registered by states which are affiliated to NTTF are eligible to participate, in addition all players shall hold the current NTTF Player’s License, which must be produced on demand.
Gbenga Ogunbote’s Giwa FC compounded the woes of Ikorodu United as they lost 2-1 at the Onikan Stadium on Sunday.
Giwa took the lead after just five minutes through their striker David Sunday. The Oga boys drew level in the 16th minute when Ifegwu Ojukwu exquisitely chipped the ball over the onrushing Giwa FC goalkeeper Olorunleke Ojo.
In the second half, it was all about Ikorodu United creating chances but lacking the finishing to get on the score sheet. In the 88th minute, Amos Gyang secured all three points for the Jos Elephants when he finished off a training ground routine free kick.
Giwa FC coach Gbenga Ogunbote said after the match he knew Ikorodu United will be desperate to get a win after losing their last two matches and his side where “lucky” the game went the way they planned. Ikorodu United Assistant coach Okechukwu Emechete on the other hand expressed his disappointment about the result and revealed that the new technical adviser will “psych up” the players.
Ikorodu United are now in the 17th position on the league table while Giwa FC who have 10 points from 6 matches are in 9th position.
Ikorodu United Starting XI: Jimmy Bello Onyx, Rafiu Monsuru, Edjebare Lucky, Abdullahi Fatai, Moshood Kabiru, Nnedum Francis, Onuwa Ebeye, Ajar Oluwasegun, Ebiye Moses, Harrison Egbune, Ifegwu Ojukwu
Coach : Benson Edema
Giwa FC Starting XI: Ojo Olorunleke, Aminu Mbai, Shittu Lawal, Jimmy James Ambrose, Akide Ibrahim, Raji Nojeem, Amos Gyang Danladi, Bobby Abel, David Sunday, Olawale Isiaka, Salau Ibrahim
Coach: Gbenga Ogunbote
NPFL Match Day 7 Results
Plateau Utd 2-1 Lobi
Rangers 3-0 Akwa Utd
Shooting Stars 1-0 Rivers Utd
El-Kanemi 2-1 Ifeanyiubah
Heartland 1-0 MFM FC
Wikki 2-1 Tornadoes
Ikorodu Utd 1-2 Giwa FC
The impressive performance of Team Nigeria at the 39th ITF/CAT African Junior Championship concluded over the weekend in Pretoria, South Africa has been rewarded with a ticket for the Junior Davis Cup scheduled for Egypt later this year.
Also, Michael Osewa emerged silver medalist in the boy’s 14&under category of the 11-day tournament following a 7-5, 6-4 loss to Damien Laporte of the Seychelles.
Osewa went into the match as the favourite having triumphed 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 in the most recent meetings between the two players which was at the Top 8 African Junior Masters held in Casablanca, Morocco last November but it was his opponent from the Indian Ocean Island that carried the day.
Osewa had made it a trademark of recovering after losing the opening set, a feat he achieved against top seed Younes Adnane of Morocco in the last-16, Jason Espitalier of Mauritius in the quarterfinal and Ryan Randiek of Kenya in the semifinal but it was not to be this time as Laporte broke him in the ninth game of the second set before taking his remaining two games on his own serves.
Nigeria Tennis Federation boss, Sani Ndanusa commended the feat achieved by the Nigerian team which was highlighted by Osewa’s masterful display.
He said: “The fear of the North Africans is now a thing of the past for us. Our immediate task is to complement our performance here which is the best in Nigeria’s history with a bigger support for our junior players especially now that we are back in the Davis Cup after missing for about three years.”
Yousef Khamis claimed the Boys’ 16 & under singles title beating Philip Henning of South Africa 7-6, 6-2 butMakayla Loubser restored the pride of the host nation by winning the Girls’ 14& under title with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Aisha Niyonkuru of Burundi.
ITF Moroccan Centre player Sada Nahimana of Burundi, made history as she claimed her third ITF title in succession at the expense of Morocco’s Diae El Jardi 7-5, 6-2.
Friday Gabriel, Christopher Itodo, Christopher Bulus, Barakat Quadri, Marylove Edward, Angel McLeod and Adetayo Adetunji are the other players that featured for Nigeria at the 11-day championship which attracted about 120 players from 25 countries.
The closing ceremony followed on centre court, with ITF Board Member Ismail El Shafei, Tennis South Africa Vice-President Riaad Davids, Confederation of African Tennis President Tarak Cherif, ITF Executive Director Luca Santilli and other distinguished guests all present.
Wasiu Jimoh converted a penalty five minutes before half time to condemn 10-man Rivers United to a 1-0 defeat to Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) in a closely-fought Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) contest in Ibadan on Saturday.
United were reduced to ten men after Ofem Inah, who was making his season’s debut in the absence of the suspended Ayobami Asekunowo, received a straight red card for upending Nojeem Olukokun in the box.
He was the last man and had to go.
United should have been at least two goals up before Jimoh scored in the 40th minute as Chukwunonso Okonkwo and Guy Kuemian wasted excellent chances inside the opening quarter hour at a frenzied Lekan Salami Stadium.
Okonkwo, a live wire all evening, was extremely unfortunate not to open the scoring in the 19th minute as he watched a swerving low drive canon off the post with the Shooting Stars goalkeeper, Emmanuel Fabiyi beaten.
The hosts’ only real chance of the half (before they eventually took the lead), arrived on the half hour when Sunday Rotimi easily saved Bright Babaunde’s long range effort.
Real clear cut opportunities were few and faw between after the break with Yusuf Jaiyeola wasting the visitors’ best chance to level matters with a header which he planted widein the 73rd minute following an exemplary delivery by substitute, Daniel Israel.
The 3SC head coach, Kadiri Ikhana was full of charitable words for his vanquished opponents describing them as a ‘great force’.
“No doubt about it (Rivers United is a good team).If you combine Sharks and Dolphins FC (both clubs were merged to form Rivers United), you will have a great force.
“By the time the team blends, they will play better than this; I have no doubts about it,” Ikhana told RIVERS UNITED MEDIA after the game.
Eguma also attempted to pick positives from the defeat, singling out the penalty conceded just before half time as the only blot on his side’s report sheet.
“If you exclude the infringement that led to the penalty to 3SC, I think my players lived up to expectations.
“We failed to convert the chances that came our way.
“My players performed above average but we failed to take our chances.
“We have been scoring in previous matches and it’s just unfortunate that we could not score today.
“It’s one of those things in football,” he said.
The win lifts 3SC up to 8th place on the NPFL standings with nine points from five matches while United dropped to 9th with nine points from seven matches.
Rivers United attacker, Chukwunonso Okonkwo says his side will “have no chance of escaping defeat” unless they play the game of their lives against Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) on Saturday.
The two sides go toe to toe in a match day seven Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) fixture at the Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba, Ibadan, with United searching for their first points on the road this season.
Okonkwo reckons his side will not avoid defeat unless they play the perfect game against the “Oluyole Warriors” on Saturday.
“I will be playing against my former coach (3SC head coach), Kadiri Ikhana who is a great tactician.
“He was the first coach to lead a Nigerian club to success in the Caf Champions League.
“We have to play as a team on Saturday and avoid making any mistakes if we want to get any (points) on Saturday,” Okonkwo told Rivers United Media. United’s season has been one of great contrasts following three wins at home and three defeats on the road after their first six matches.
The Port Harcourt club are yet to concede at home though and are the division’s top scorers on the road (four goals from three matches). Okonkwo believes “a complete change of attitude” is key if rich rewards are to be reaped on Saturday. “I will say we have no chance of escaping defeat in the hands of 3SC unless we play as a team.
“The players must show a complete change of attitude.
“We have a good defence but we sometimes concede unnecessary goals. “We score in all our games and I believe that if we stop conceding, we will win away sooner, rather than later. “To achieve this, we must work as a team; it’s not just the defenders,” he said.
Rivers United currently occupy eighth place on the NPFL standings while 3SC are in 14th with six points from four matches.