Sports

FIFA okays Aisha Buhari Cup

World football–governing body FIFA on Wednesday provided the Local Organizing Committee with a final go-ahead to stage the maiden edition of the Aisha Buhari Invitational Women’s Tournament, otherwise known as Aisha Buhari Cup.

The six-nation invitational is being organized in honour of the name and Office of the First Lady of the Federal Republic, Dr (Mrs) Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, according to a statement.

In a letter dated 8th September 2021 and signed by Gordon Savic, Head of Qualifiers and International Matches, the world body noted it has sanctioned the 15th – 21st September showpiece that holds at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena and Agege Stadium in the City of Lagos, and featuring hosts Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Mali, Morocco and South Africa’s ‘A’ Women teams.

“In accordance with article 7 of the regulations, FIFA is happy to provide official authorization for this women’s tier 1 tournament…we hereby remind the participating teams that the Laws of the Game must strictly be applied to these tier-1 matches.

“Finally, we would also like to draw your attention to the contents of FIFA’s circular no.1735 of 1st October 2020. The strict application of the FIFA’s Return to Football – International Match Protocol (IMP), or an equivalent protocol of your confederation compliant with the said Protocol, is required.”

With this authorization, all is now clear for the commencement of the six-nation showpiece starting on Wednesday, 15th September with the clash between nine–time African champions, Super Falcons and the Female Eagles of Mali at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan.

PUNCH

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Sports

Lewandowski wants to leave Bayern Munich for ‘new challenge’ -Report

Robert Lewandowski wants a new challenge away from Bayern Munich but the club has valued him at more than £100m.

Sky Sports News reports that Lewandowski, who turns 33 on Saturday, is happy at Bayern but wants to secure a move to another top European club before the age of 35.

The German champions’ valuation, designed to keep him until the end of his contract in 2023, is likely to price the FIFA and UEFA player of the year out of a departure.

Bayern have not currently offered any extension beyond his current deal, when it could be more difficult to secure a move to another big club because of his age.

The Poland striker is understood to be frustrated by their reluctance to sell, but is unlikely to do anything that will harm his good relationship with the club.

Considered one of the best strikers in world football, he scored 56 goals for club and country last season.

He has already scored three in Bayern’s two opening games, including the midweek Super Cup victory against Borussia Dortmund.

Lewandowski is widely renowned in the game for a dedication to his physical condition, with Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola once describing him as “the most professional player I’ve ever met”.

PUNCH

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Nation

Why Nigerian Politicians don’t invest in football –Sen Kalu

The Chief Whip of the Nigerian Senate, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu has shed lights on why Nigerian politicians shy away from identifying with football in the country.

Fielding questions from journalists, on a WhatsApp platform called NSM Realoaded, Senator Kalu disclosed that football in Nigeria is not profitable and requires a lot of sacrifices and passion and investments for anyone to suceed in the project.

The former governor of Abia State, going down memory lane, revealed that the success Enyimba Football Club of Aba recorded during his tenure as governor was because of his commitment, investment and self sacrifices.

“Nigerian football is not profitable because there are no infrastructures and it is not something anybody can run. 

“I was almost turning Enyimba into be profitable team in 2000 downwards. When I left, a lot of scenarios came into play, the Osisikankwu scenario and the insecurities in Aba, because immediately I left, they started attacking Aba which  made it impossible for investment in football.

“We don’t  have the infrastructure to be able to place football to where it is supposed to be. We needed rail line, we needed electricity, we needed for me to stay in Abuja and enter train at 9 am or 12 pm and go to Aba to be there to watch the match live by 3 pm.

“These are the infrastrures we don’t have, these are investments we need to make to be able to get our football where we want it to be.

“We don’t have income. Our people do not have stable income; traders today might not be a trader tomorrow. So we have to a stable economy to have a steady income, because the economy has to be well developed for us to be able to move forward and see what tomorrow says. Without all these things, we cannot go far in developing football in the country.

Source: SUN NEWS

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Sports

Dortmund, Bayern ‘reject’ Super League

Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund said Monday that they and German rivals Bayern Munich both rejected proposals to form a European Super League.

In a statement on Monday, Dortmund chairman Hans-Joachim Watzke said that the members of the European Club Association had met Sunday evening and expressed “a clear opinion to reject the foundation of a Super League”.

He added that the two German clubs on the ECA board, Bayern and Dortmund, had taken “100 percent” the same position “in all discussions”.

The announcement appears to confirm that neither of Germany’s two biggest clubs will join the breakaway league, whose announcement on Sunday threw European football into turmoil.

Overnight, 12 of Europe’s most powerful clubs announced the launch of the so-called European Super League to oversee a new midweek competition. 

Six of the breakaway clubs are from the English Premier League. Three are Spanish and three Italian. Three more are to be announced.

AFP.

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Sports

Sports festival continues, FG counters Edo govt

The Federal Government says activities at the ongoing National Sports Festival in Edo State will continue as planned.

This is against the earlier announcement by the Local Organising Committee that the festival will end abruptly 12noon on Thursday (today) over lack of fund.

FG made its position known in a by Ramon Balogun, Assistant Director Press
Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, on Thursday morning.

The statement read, “The Ministry of Youth and Sports Development has clarified that the 20th National Sports Festival, Edo 2020, is going on as planned with competitions going on as scheduled.

“The Ministry and the Main Organizing Committee for the festival are unaware of any plans or threat by the Edo State Government to shut down the sports festival as there has been no official meeting or communication that relayed such information.

“The Honorable Minister, Permanent Secretary and Directors are on ground in Benin City where the Festival is holding, and it is expected that the Edo State Government would formally invite the Ministry for a meeting should any urgency exist around the National Sports Festival or communicate officially with the Main Organizing Committee for the festival. The Ministry has no such communication.

“For the records, the Edo State government due to the cost implications of postponements occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic requested financial assistance from the Federal government through the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.

“The Ministry has since been at work to secure the financial assistance which it believes is being processed. The MYSD and EDSG are determined to deliver a successful National Sports Festival.”

Earlier, the Coordinator of Media and Publicity, National Sports Festival, Ebomhiana Musa, in a statement on Wednesday night, said a decision to end the competition was taken taken at an emergency meeting of the Local Organising Committee headed by
Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu.

He said, “The Local Organising Committee, Edo2020 regrets to announce that it will end the games abruptly tomorrow, Thursday, April 8, 2021, for lack of funds.

“Rising from an emergency meeting this evening, the LOC says it has to take this hard decision due to lack of funds having expended its reserves to kick start the games.

“Regrettably, the FG is yet to redeem its pledge to support us as the host state financially for the cost of postponements. So, we are left with no option but to end the games at noon tomorrow.”

The development is coming despite the postponement of the festival on several occasions.

No fewer than 8,000 athletes from different states of the federation are participating in the festival.

Edo State had raised the alarm over the Federal Government’s failure to provide fund 24 hours to the commencement of the festival.

Source: PUNCH

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Nation

National Sports Festival to end Thursday over lack of fund -LOC

Instead of 12 days, the National Sports Festival will end after seven days over the failure of the Federal Government to release fund.

The Coordinator of Media and Publicity, National Sports Festival, Ebomhiana Musa, made this known to The PUNCH.

In a statement on Wednesday night, he confirmed that the decision was taken after an emergency meeting of the Local Organising Committee headed by
Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu.

According to him, the Edo State Government will shut down the ongoing 20th National Sports Festival by 12 noon on Thursday (today).

He said, “The Local Organising Committee, Edo2020 regrets to announce that it will end the games abruptly tomorrow, Thursday, April 8, 2021, for lack of funds.

“Rising from an emergency meeting this evening, the LOC says it has to take this hard decision due to lack of funds having expended its reserves to kick start the games.

“Regrettably, the FG is yet to redeem its pledge to support us as the host state financially for the cost of postponements. So, we are left with no option but to end the games at noon tomorrow.”

The development is coming despite the postponement of the festival on several occasions.

No fewer than 8,000 athletes from different states of the federation are participating in the festival.

Edo State had raised the alarm over the Federal Government’s failure to provide fund 24 hours to the commencement of the festival.

Source: PUNCH

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Sports

Oyo bids to host National Sports Festival

The Oyo State Sports Council has disclosed that the state has signified its intention to host the next edition of the National Sports Festival.

The Chairman of the state sports council, Gbenga Adewusi, made the disclosure to leaders of the state chapter of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria who paid a courtesy call on him at his office this week.

Adewusi said the political leaders and sports administrators in the Pacesetter State have communicated their desire to the Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare, who is an indigene of the state.

The last time Oyo State hosted the National Sports Festival was in 1976.

Adewusi said, “The sports-loving Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Seyi Makinde, is interested in hosting the next edition of the National Sports Festival. And we have told the Minister for Sports that we want to host the next edition after the one in Edo State. We have begun preparations for this, with the ongoing upgrade of the Lekan Salami Stadium. In addition, we are also upgrading some mini stadia in six geo-political zones as well as sports arenas in the state capital.”

Speaking further, Adewusi said the state was working at ensuring that the athletes from Oyo excel at the forthcoming National Sports Festival in Edo State.

He said, “We are leaving no stone unturned at ensuring that our contingent perform excellently in Edo State. Aside giving the athletes sound preparations, we have also proposed on-the-spot reward to each athlete who wins medal, to the state governor for approval.

“In addition to state government’s reward, I am also promising to give each of the state gold medalists 5per cent of my monthly salary.”

Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of SWAN in the state, Niyi Alebiosu, who led the delegation of sports journalists on the visit to Adewusi, said the gesture was to appreciate the good works that he has been doing since his appointment in 2020.

Alebiosu used the occasion to call on the Oyo State Sports Council boss to look into the possibility of bringing back female football teams for the state, saying that “It will not only help the talents in the state but will also give employment to various officials in the state.”

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Politics

Edo has no funds to host festival – Obaseki

The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, says the state is ready to host the National Sports Festival, but expressed fears over lack of funds to host 11,500 athletes and officials at the 20th edition of the sports meet.

Obaseki disclosed this when he received members of the Main Organising Committee from the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and the Local Organising Committee, who paid him a courtesy visit in Benin City on Tuesday.

The Governor said COVID-19 had taken its toll on the finances of various states and countries across the globe with Edo State not left out.

He noted that the impact of the virus might have a negative effect on hosting the Games in the state.

Obaseki said, “Since March last year, you know the financial strength of most states, sub-nationals and countries. For us as a state, we are ready to host but don’t have the funds at this point in time to host the Games; this is the plain truth.

“If the Federal Government however in its wisdom decides to bring the funding for the Games, we will be too willing to host the country. We have to live with COVID-19 because it has come to stay; even with the vaccination, the virus will still be around. Cancelling the Games is not the solution to this issue. We have to sit down and look at all these issues critically before reaching a final decision.”

Obaseki added, “Beyond the Games itself, which is an instrument of unity and a way of engaging the youths, there is the Tokyo Olympics to prepare for. But how do we prepare for the Olympics without Edo 2020? Can we afford to expose our young people to the dangers of COVID-19 or would there be other Olympics in the future? We have to balance these things.

“We have to make a decision whether we want to go to the Tokyo games. If we want to, how do we prepare Nigeria’s contingent, where are the trials?”

Earlier, the leader of the delegation from the sports ministry, Nebeolisa Anako, expressed delight with the facilities inspected by the committee for the festival scheduled to hold from February 14 to 28.

“We are here to look at the preparedness of the state and determine how it would be hosted in a safe manner, considering the pandemic. What we saw while inspecting the facilities for the festival gladdens my heart. It shows that the state government is prepared to host the event. We are also looking at the funding for the Games,” he said.

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Sports

Real Madrid coach Zidane tests positive for COVID-19

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has tested positive for Covid-19, the Spanish club announced Friday.

The positive test comes a day before Madrid travel to Alaves in La Liga seeking to bounce back from an embarrassing midweek Copa del Rey exit.

“Real Madrid C.F. report that our coach Zinedine Zidane has tested positive for Covid-19,” the club said in a statement.

Zidane already had to self-isolate this month after coming into contact with a person infected with the virus.

He tested negative at the time and was able to oversee the team.

After successive defeats in the Spanish Super Cup and Copa del Rey, the second a shock loss to third-tier Alcoyano, Zidane is again under pressure as Real Madrid try to reignite their La Liga title challenge away to Alaves.

Zidane’s side are playing catch-up to Atletico Madrid after draws against struggling Elche and Osasuna, two of the league’s bottom three, in recent weeks.

Alaves beat Madrid 2-1 in the capital in late November but have won just once in eight matches since, their slide into a relegation scrap costing coach Pablo Machin his job last week with former Spain international Abelardo Fernandez returning to take charge.

Real assistant coach David Bettoni said that Zidane was “fine” after his positive test, although “sad” not to be among the players.

“I spoke with the coach this morning and he is fine,” said Bettoni.

“He was a little sad this morning not to be with us. He will not physically be with us, but we all know that he will be with us supporting.

“He will not be with us physically during tomorrow’s game, but he will be with us to support the players, give his energy and help everyone.”

Bettoni also played down talk of Zidane’s future after their Copa del Rey embarrassment.

“You know the boss, he likes football, it’s his passion. He is fortunate to coach this great club. In football it is a complicated time, but he is in good spirits,” said Bettoni.

“I see him every morning with a smile, with joy, wanting to train. We want to carry on, we are fortunate to train at this club, so we enjoy them every day with our players.”

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Politics

Rivers begins admission into Madrid academy

The Rivers State Ministry of Education, in collaboration with the Real Madrid Football Academy, Rivers State, on Monday kicked-off selection process for admission into the Real Madrid Football Academy in Port Harcourt.

The process began with an aptitude test held at the premises of Model Girls Secondary School, Rumuokwuta in the state capital.

This was contained in a statement issued by the media aide to Prof. Kaniye Ebeku, the State Commissioner for Education, Faustina Nwanekwu and made available to journalists in Port Harcourt.

The statement read, “Supervised by the state Commissioner for Education Professor Kaniye Ebeku and the S.A on Real Madrid Football Academy, Rivers State, Mr. Christopher Green, the exercise was held under strict compliance with all COVID-19 health protocols.

“Candidates were required to wear nose masks, and to ensure physical and social distancing; 24 classrooms and 120 sitting capacity hall was used for the test.

“The exercise was well organised and managed. There was palpable enthusiasm for the exercise, and equal eagerness on the part of prospective candidates to gain admission into the specialised academy.

“The process continues on Tuesday at the Sharks Stadium, Port Harcourt, with practical screening to assess the candidates’ footballing skills.”

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