54 Sport Extra
19 SEPTEMBER 2015
Eagles return for Enyeama, Mikel, Ighalo
uper Eagles’ Head Coach, Sunday Oliseh, has listed goalkeeper and skipper Vincent Enyeama, midfielder John Mikel Obi and forwards Victor Moses and Odion Ighalo among 24 players for next month’s friendly internationals against Democratic Republic of Congo and Cameroon in Belgium. Enyeama is joined by England – based Carl Ikeme, who in his debut kept clean sheets against Tanzania and Niger Republic in two internationals earlier this month, as well as home – based stars Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Femi Thomas. Former junior international defender Abdullahi Shehu gets his first opportunity at senior level, and Moses Simon, who scored against Niger Republic, is also considered, alongside home boys Chima Akas, Austin Oboroakpo, Paul Onobi and Prince Aggrey. The Super Eagles play the Leopards of the Democratic Republic of Congo on October 8 and the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon three days later, in Belgium, as the Nigeria Football Federation activates its plan to entrench stronger bond and cohesion among the relatively new group. The winner of the preliminary round between Swaziland and Djibouti will host the Super Eagles on November 9 in a 2018 FIFA World Cup first round qualifier, with the Eagles hosting the return leg in Nigeria eight days later. All invited players are expected to arrive in Belgium on Monday, October 5.
Adekunle Salami firstname.lastname@example.org 08050498539 (sms only) Basketball action between Nigeria and Angola at the AAG
AAG: NSC increases gold medal bonus
Charles Ogundiya he National Sports Commission on Friday increased the winning bonus of Team Nigeria gold medalists at the ongoing All Africa Games in Brazzaville, Congo. While appreciating the athletes for their commitment and passion, the Director General (NSC) Alhassan Yakmut, revealed the increase in the cash prize given to the gold medalists. He explained that the previously announced winning bonus of US$2,000 for gold medalists was inadequate, hence as a global standard practice, gold medals should attract something different
from other medals. Therefore, the gold medal winning bonus has been increased to $2,500. Yakmut told athletes that had earlier collected $2,000 to come for the balance of $500. However, other winning bonuses of $1,500 for silver and $1,000 for bronze medals remain the same. Addressing the athletes at the Nigeria Olympic Hostel, Kintele, during the award ceremony of the second batch of Team Nigeria athletes who won medals, the DG said the athletes displayed commitment regardless of the fact that they did not camp outside the country in preparation for the games. The recipients were athletes in powerlifting, para-athletics and table tennis.
‘No better candidate than Kalu’
he presumed ambition of former Abia State governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, to become the next FIFA President has been described as the best thing to happen to Africa. Chancellor of the Akpabiosm Centre for Leadership Development and Convener of the Southern Youths Development Forum, Pastor Bassey James, who made this submission on Thursday stated that there was no better candidate than Kalu for the FIFA job. He said: “Kalu’s aspiration is the best thing to happen to Nigeria, Africa and the black race. For the first time in the history of Nigeria and Africa, the country won
the CAF Cup back-to-back, through Enyimba International Football Club, when he was the governor of Abia State. He transformed the club completely and this motivated the team to put in their utmost best. “As the pillar of sports, he inspired innovations in football. He has been able to establish himself in the hearts of people across Nigeria, Africa and the world. “He is one of the few notable African business leaders with a real love and passion for football development in the continent and a great eagerness to see a radical improvement in the management of the round leather game.”
... Ex-governor 'not against Odegbami, any contestant'
he Orji Uzor Kalu Media Centre, Abuja, has reacted to an article published on September 17 in The Guardian with the title, “Odegbami petitions NFF over conditions for nomination as FIFA presidential candidate." A statement issued by Mrs. Rubby Obinna of the Media Centre, noted that while the opinion and views of Mr. Segun Odegbami should be respected, he should not drag the former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, into the scuffle he (Odegbami) disclosed he was having with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF). She cited an instance where Odegbami made reference to Kalu in a letter to the NFF: “As part of your response to me, you mentioned the interest of another Nigerian – Orji Uzor Kalu – even though you also said, at this meeting, that he had not officially notified the NFF of his intention...” Mrs. Obinna said that Kalu’s global
media team would not like its principal to be dragged into what is clearly NFF’s affairs with Odegbami. She pointed out that Kalu "is still consulting beyond the shores of the country and is of the belief that this is the time for Africa to produce the next FIFA president after Mr. Sepp Blatter and build on the policies Blatter has set for FIFA." According to her, the Centre "totally believes in Kalu, owing to the fact that after 100 years of the formation of the world football body, it was the right time for Africa to produce the next president of the body. "As a social democrat, Kalu is not against any contestants and no contestant should be against him should he indicate an interest in the race, which would probably be made public in a few weeks time." The statement adds that the former governor has expressed gratitude to individuals and groups that were endorsing
him for the FIFA presidency. “Kalu is indebted with gratitude to persons like former Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd); CAF president, Issa Hayatou; former Director-General of the National Sports Commission (NSC), Dr. Amos Adamu; Sports Ambassador and ex-footballer, Mr. John Fashanu, who have endorsed him for the FIFA presidency. “Others are Chairman of Nigerian National League side, Bussdor FC, Oscar Igbokwe who pledged a N20m financial backing; the initiator of the campaign, Peterside Idah; Chief Executive Officer of Pamodzi Sports Marketing (PSM), Mike Itemuagbor; a former vice chairman of the NFF and Chief Gabriel Chukwuma, for supporting with N1B; the National Vice-Chairman of the Youth Sports Federation of Nigeria (YSFON), South-East, Ndubuisi Opara and Mr. Stanley Okoro, journalists and fans.”
The crisis in athletics family 'A house divided against itself cannot stand'
fter football, athletics is the next sport that attracts huge followership in Nigeria. The attention the Super Eagles’ best scorer gets is also accorded to the fastest man or woman in Nigeria especially if he or she is also the fastest on the continent. Till date, names like Chidi Imoh, Olopade Adeniken, Osmond and Davidson Ezinwa, Yusuf Ali, Innocent Egbunike, Henry Amike, Uche Emedolu, Deji Aliu, Soji Fasuba, Adewale Olukoju, Chioma Ajunwa, Mary Onyali, Falilat Ogunkoya, Beatrice Utondu, Mercy Nku, Omolade Akinremi, Fatima Yusuf, Bisi Afolabi, who competed in the ‘80s, ‘90s and early 2000s are still household names in Nigerian athletics. They posted consistent results for the country at the All Africa Games, Commonwealth Games and even at the Olympics. At that time, there was peace in the athletics family. Between 2000 and now, the athletics family in the country has been swimming from one form of crisis to the other. The unending crisis within the federation is the major bane of the sport and the athletes as well. Between 2001 and 2005 when Dan Ngerem was the President, the body was recording results because of the template inherited and the professionalism he brought on board. Ngerem was heavily criticised because of his uprightness. He was not ready to cut corners or engage in shady deals in the name of promoting athletics. When Violet Udogwu-Nwajei took over in 2005, the problem within the federation persisted for another four years. She was accused of lacking the managerial ability to handle athletes despite her pedigree as the first Nigerian to win a Commonwealth Games medal. In 2009, Chief Solomon Ogba took over and despite his track record as a grassroots sports administrator, the problems within were still evident. It became worse as some board members and former athletes opposed the programmes and ideas coming from the same federation they belong to. The athletes on the other hand are not friendly with one another. The effects of the incessant crisis in the federation are the rather shocking and poor results being recorded at global and continental levels. At the World Athletics Championships in Beijing recently, Nigeria failed to pick a medal. High expectation was on Blessing Okagbare who finished in the last position in the 100m final. It was so bad that she was the only hope. So much pressure was on Okagbare and the lady was unable to handle it, hence, Nigeria missed out on the medals table. Why is it that Okagbare is the only worldclass sprinter in the country today? That is a big question for the AFN to answer. At the ongoing All Africa Games, Nigeria failed to win a medal in the female 100m event. That was absurd and it has not happened in over 50 years! The country only managed silver in the men’s 100m courtesy Ogho-Oghene Egwero who recorded 10. 17secs. Cote d’Ivoire won both the men and women’s 100m event in Congo. Nigeria’s Cecilia Francis was 5th in the women’s final with 11.53sec while Seye Ogunlewe who won the trials in Delta came 4th in the men’s final with 10.45secs. The best Nigerian men were unable to record sub 10 secs while the best woman was also unable to hit sub 11 secs. It is a shame because sprint is Nigeria’s area of strength. In the 400m men Nigeria was 6th with Orukpe Erayokan finishing with 45.73 secs and in the women, Patience Okon with 50.71 secs led two other Nigerians to place 2nd, 4th and 5th respectively. I recall that in the same event, Egbunike and Ogunkoya were unbeatable for many years on the continent. They went further by winning individual Olympic medals. The surprise performers at the AAG are Oluwatobi Amusan (110m hurdles), Nwanaga Kelechi (Javelin) and Chinzom Amadi (long jump). They won gold medals to boost Team Nigeria’s haul but every keen follower of athletics should be worried with the overall performance at the games. In the 4x100m relays, Okagbare inspired the women to clinch gold but the men finished second in a disgraceful manner. Ogunlewe was leading with about 10metres only for Cote D Ivoire’s Ben Youssef to beat him at the tape. I am worried about the time posted by the country’s best athletes and the AFN should also be worried. It is time for the body to unite and address the various problems facing athletics in the country.
Saturday, September 19, 2015