Governor Udom,Pinnick Strategize Ahead World Cup Qualifier

President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick on Tuesday met with Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State and members of the State’s cabinet as the countdown begins for next month’s 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying battle between Nigeria and Cameroon in Uyo.

The NFF President, alongside Chairman of the NFF Technical and Development Committee, Barrister Chris Green and Chairman of the Akwa Ibom State Football Association, Mr. Emmanuel Iba met with Governor Emmanuel at the Government House in Uyo, where the Governor and his team assured the Federation officials that every item on the checklist for organisation of the match was being painstakingly attended to.

“We had a useful meeting with His Excellency on all areas concerning organization. The NFF does not want to leave any stone unturned with regards to arrangements for this match.

“While we are doing everything necessary to prepare our team for the big match, we are also fully focused on the organization. Nothing must be left to chance. I am happy His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel and his top officials are on the same page with the NFF. We are confident of having a very successful match on all fronts,” Pinnick told thenff.com after Tuesday’s meeting.

The Super Eagles, three –time African champions, welcome reigning African champions Cameroon to the ‘Nest of Champions’ in two-and-half weeks, in what could prove one of the deciding games of Africa’s 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Series’ Group B.

Nigeria won the last encounter between the two countries at senior level, when the Eagles lashed the Lions 3-0 in a friendly in Brussels, Belgium on 11th October 2015.

 

Presently, the Super Eagles perch at the top of the pool, with six maximum points from two matches, after edging Zambia 2-1 in Ndola in October 2016 and defeating Algeria 3-1 in Uyo the following month. The Lions are second with only two points, after 1-1 draws with Algeria away and Zambia at home.

 

<<THENATION>>

Championship Qualifier: National Women Volleyball Team Heads For Abidjan

The Nigerian female volleyball team will depart the country on Thursday for Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, to honour the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship qualifier.

Maikano Adamu, Secretary of the Nigeria Volleyball Federation (NVBF), told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja that 13 players were selected to represent the country at the championship.

“Thirty-four players were invited to camp but only 13 were selected for the championship holding between Aug. 17 and Aug. 24,’’ he said.

According to him, two coaches, a referee, one technical official and the federation’s secretary are part of the contingent.

“All is set for the championship but we are still looking for money to go. We are hoping to leave either on Wednesday or Thursday for the competition,’’ Adamu said.

He said Aug. 17 was the arrival date for the 24 teams that would feature in the championship.

 

<<thenation>>

Table Tennis: Oyebode Explains Why He Chose Italy Over Nigeria

Nigerian-born Italian table tennis player, John Oyebode, says his decision to play for Italy is to associate himself with the numerous opportunities available in the Italian table tennis circuit.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Oyebode is representing Italy in the ongoing “Seamaster ITTF Challenge Nigeria Open, holding at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Sports Hall, Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.

Oyebode, who claimed two gold medals in the Cadet event of the 2017 International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Italian Junior and Cadet Open, told NAN that his decision was already yielding results.

“I believe that playing for Italy is the right choice for me and I don’t have any regrets about it so far.

“The system over there supports players in all areas and gives room for development in both sports and education.

“Also, there is regular sponsorship to go for training tours and participate in major international competitions to enhance players skills and welfare and many more benefits too numerous to mention,’’ the 15-year-old said.

Oyebode, whose father, Michael was part of the Nigerian coaching crew to the Rio 2016 Olympics in Brazil, told NAN that his aspiration is to be among the top 10 players in the world.

On the ongoing Challenge, the player said the event had been competitive so far due to the number of players and countries taking part.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that 95 male and 55 female players are participating in the 46,000 dollars prize money ITTF Challenge.

Olar Benedek of Finland and Shao Jieni of Portugal won the 2016 men’s and women’s singles event respectively.

The competition which served-off on Aug. 9 will be concluded on Aug. 13

Neymar In Line For Debut As PSG Go To Guingamp

Neymar is poised to make his much-anticipated debut for Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday when they travel to Guingamp in their second game of the Ligue 1 season.

The French Football Federation finally received the necessary documents to register the Brazilian on Friday after Barcelona confirmed the 222 million-euro ($261 million) cheque used to pay his buyout clause had cleared.

“Neymar’s contract will be ratified during the afternoon. He will be able to play on Sunday,” said the LFP on Friday.

The world’s most expensive player should therefore run out into the mundane surroundings of the Stade du Roduourou — capacity just over 15,000 — in the tiny Brittany town of barely 7,000 people.

“Quite honestly it’s better if he’s there, much better,” said Guingamp coach Antoine Kombouare, a former PSG player and Paris coach from 2009 to 2011.

“For us it is an extra source of motivation. We know that by beating PSG with Neymar it would be even more momentous.

“If Neymar is there it is all the better for the spectacle, for the supporters and for those who want to see him play, but we will be ready with or without him.”

Neymar was unveiled to the PSG fans at the Parc des Princes last weekend but was forced to watch from the stands as his new team-mates cruised to a low-key 2-0 win over newly-promoted Amiens in their Ligue 1 opener.

The 25-year-old Brazilian scored 105 goals in his four seasons at Barcelona, and his new team will be expecting him to score far more over the next few years.

Although the main goal for the capital club is to finally challenge for the Champions League crown, their first task this term will be to retake the Ligue 1 title from Monaco

We’re Buying Three More Players – Guardiola

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said the club is not done with its spending spree and vowed to “buy one, two, maybe three players” over the next few years.

Guardiola, who for the first time in his career ended last season without a medal, has spent more than £200m on players this summer.

The manager said he is building for the future and has since signed goalkeeper Ederson, Bernardo Silva, Kyle Walker and Danilo.

Guardiola says the current squad are “young and will stay for the future.”

“We had one of the oldest teams in the Premier League so we decided to put energy in the team for the next five, six years,” he said.

“Hopefully next season I will be here and we are not going to spend how we have this season.”

NFF To Name New Falconets Coach Today

The Nigeria Football Federation(NFF) Technical Committee headed by Barr. Christopher Green will  announce the  name of  the new  handlers of  National U – 20 Female team (Falconets) today.

According to Head of NFF Technical Department, Bitrus Bewarang,  he, stated the need for  the Federation  to make the appointment as the team has just one month to prepare for  the first leg African FIFA World Cup qualifier against Tanzania slated for  15 to 17 September, 2017.

“We need to appoint coaches now to enable them start preparations especially our U – 20 Female National team that are bill to face Tanzania 2nd week of next month.  Tanzania is not a push over. They defeated their opponent before getting to this stage to face Nigeria. We have to be serious and the best will be given the job.”  Bewarang disclosed

Bewarang also revealed in a chat that the process of engaging other National team coaches will be in place by the committee.

He said appointment would be base on merits and they must be active in their various clubs.

<<the nation>>

IAAF World Championships: Nathaniel Qualifies For 400m Hurdles Semis

Glory Onome Nathaniel,Monday evening at the Olympic stadium in London made it a dream IAAF World Championships debut as she ran a new personal best of 55.30 seconds to qualify for the semi-final of the women’s 400m hurdles.
The Nigerian,drawn in lane 3 of the fifth and final heat of the first round was impressive as she placed third to pick one of the four automatic slots on offer for a place in Tuesday’s semi-final.
She has thus become the fifth Nigerian woman after Maria Usifo (1987),Omolade Akinremi (1995),Muizat Ajoke Odumosu (2009 and 2011) and Amaka Ogoegbunam (2009) to qualify for the semi-final of the event.
No Nigerian has made it to the final of the event in the history of the championships.
Meanwhile,reigning African triple jump champion,Tosin Oke Monday at the Olympic stadium in London failed to hop,step and jump into the final of the event on Day 4 of action at the 16th IAAF World Championships.
Oke,finalist at the 15th edition of the championships two years ago in Beijing,China jumped 16.17m,83cm short of the 17.00m qualifying mark set for the event and will now watch the final as a spectator on Thursday night.
The performance was the former British junior international’s worst since he made his debut at the championships in 2009 in Berlin,Germany.There he jumped 16.87m which fetched him the 16th spot in the final ranking and only 9cm short of making the final.
He failed to show up in 2013 but jumped his way into the final two years later before placing eighth in the final classification.
<<the nation>>

IAAF World Championships:Nigerian 400m Trio Crash Out

The Nigerian quartermile trio of Patience Okon George,Yinka Ajayi and Margaret Bamgbose Monday night at the Olympic stadium in London failed to advance to the final of the women’s 400m while quartermile barrier runner,Glory Onome Nathaniel must run inside 55 seconds to make a historic 400m hurdles final after the semi-final starlist was released by the IAAF.
George,who has made it a back-to-back semi final appearance in the championships placed seventh (52.60 seconds) in the first of three semi-finals,Ajayi improved to sixth place in the second semis with her 52.10 seconds run while Bamgbose,semi-finalist last year at the Olympics in Rio De Janiero,Brazil was last (8th,52.23 seconds) in the third semi-final.
Meanwhile Nathaniel has been drawn in a very tough semi-final heat of the 400m hurdles which holds Tuesday night.
The reigning Nigeria champion who set a new 55.30 seconds personal best to make the semi-finals in her debut at the championships has been drawn in the
second semi-final and will compete for the two available automatic slots for the final against four athletes who have broken 55 seconds this year with
Switzerland’s Léa Sprunger with 54.29 seconds personal best achieved this season leading the pack.
Others are Jamaica’s Ristananna Tracey who holds a 54.49 seconds season’s best,Sara Slott Petersen (54.35 seconds) and USA’s Cassandra Tate who has ran
54.59 seconds this season.
No Nigerian athlete has qualified for the final of the event since Maria Usifo became the first to make it to the semi-final of the event 20 years ago albeit she did not eventually start the race and Nathaniel will be hoping for a miracle of some sort Tuesday night to make history.
<<thenation>>

George, Ajayi, Bamgbose Set To Crack 400m Final

Nigeria were dealt a huge blow at the 2017 World Athletics Championships after their  best hope for a metal disk  at the athletics showpiece  Blessing Okagbare crashed out in the semifinal of the  women’s 100m in London on Sunday.

The 28-year-old Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games  double sprint champion, who competed in the third heat, placed fourth.

Okagbare, who arrived in London with a season’s  best of 10.99, was tipped to make it to the final but   the United States-based sprinter ran a disappointing 11.08.

USA’s Tori Bowie (10.91), Ivory Coast’s Murielle Ahoure (10.99) and  Trinidad and Tobago’sMichelle-Lee Ahye (11.04) made it to the final from the group. Bowie progressed to win the title after running 10.85 ahead of Ivory Coast’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou (10.86). Okagbare failed to reach the final of the  Rio 2016 Olympic Games after running 11.09 in the semifinal.

The  Beijing 2008 Olympics long jump  bronze medallist, who  won silver  in long jump and bronze in  200m  in her second appearance at the worlds in Moscow in 2013,  will now shift  her attention to the long jump, which begins on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, three Nigerians –  Patience Okon-George, Yinka Ajayi  and Margaret Bamigbose – will attempt to crack the women’s 400m  final  when they compete in the semis at the Olympic Stadium  on Monday.

But each of the women must run  inside 50  seconds to  realise her dreams  of reaching the final at the global championship  for the first time.

Okon-George, Ajayi and Bamgbose  are the second Nigerian  quartermiler trio to qualify for the semifinal of the  worlds after  Folasade Abugan, Sorina Nwachukwu and Amaka Ogoegbunam in  Berlin in 2009.

Okon-George came second in Heat 5 behind USA’s Quanera Hayes in 51.83  while  Ajayi  (51.58) and Bamgbose (51.57) came third in their respective heats.

Ajayi, who is making her debut in the London championships, will run  in the second semis against  defending champion USA’s Allyson Felix, the Jamaican Shericka Jackson and  Novlene Williams-Mills, as well as 2015 World Youth Championships winner Salwa Eid Naser of Bahrain.

Bamgbose faces  USA’S  Phyllis Francis, the only athlete in her heat who has run inside 50 seconds (49.96) this season, Great Britain’s  Zoey Clark, Zambia’s  Kabange Mupopo  and former world champion Amantle Monthso of Botswana.

Falilat Ogunkoya and Fatimah Yusuf  are the only Nigerians  who have reached the final of the event.

Also, Glory Onome  and triple jumper Tosin Oke will  be in action  on Monday.

British Media Slam Gatlin

Justin Gatlin may have sensationally regained the world 100m  title denying superstar Usain Bolt a golden farewell but like the crowd in the London Stadium the British  media slammed the fact the former drugs cheat had gatecrashed the party, AFP   reports.

The 35-year-old American – the Olympic 100m champion in 2004 and world champion in 2005 (also winning the 200m world crown to achieve the double) –  showed great character to shut out the jeering to storm home and beat young compatriot Christian Coleman and Bolt, who for once was unable to find the gas to make up for a woeful start.

Some saw it as the ultimate redemption for Gatlin to have prevailed after serving a four year ban – reduced from eight – from 2006-2010,  having also been barred during his college days though his medication was for his Attention Deficit Disorder.

“Take GAT – Usain Bolt sunk as drugs cheat Justin Gatlin ruins his golden goodbye,” headlined The Sun.

Never one to mince their words the newspaper described how Bolt received the adulation of the crowd whilst Gatlin – who had brought a finger to his mouth after being named the winner to hush the crowd – slunk off.

“Gatlin disappeared from view after a brief run down the home straight, but when he returned for interviews he was greeted with chants of “cheat, cheat cheat” while he was live on air.”

The Mail on Sunday took a similarly dim view of Gatlin ruining the 30-year-old Jamaican’s bid for a 12th world gold.

“A terrible silence met the end of the men’s 100m final here,” wrote their correspondent.

“Not only was Usain Bolt, the great hero of the sport, denied victory in his final individual race, but it was won by two-time drugs cheat Justin Gatlin. Athletics’ worst nightmare had just unfolded in front of a watching world.”

The broadsheet press was largely in agreement although The Guardian believed that chickens had come home to roost for the sport itself.

 

<<PUNCH>>