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Nigeria: Targets Fifa Top 10 Ranking



Olawale Ajimotokan
Lagos

Shaibu Amodu has told the Super Eagles to brace up for the challenge of taking Nigeria back to the top echelons of world football ranking.

Nigeria has in recent times failed to match the all time peak position of fifth place in the FIFA ranking attained in 1994 on the eve of the World Cup finals in USA.


With some gains made in the ongoing Angola/South Africa 2010 qualifying campaign, Amodu has tasked the players that his long term objective apart from securing Nigeria a World Cup slot in 2010 is to guide the Eagles to the 10th spot in world ranking.

The quarter final ouster of the Eagles at Ghana 2008 has made Nigeria to take a slide in FIFA monthly ranking, occupying the 34th position in the world.

Super Eagles sources informed THISDAYSports that in the wake of the team's superb start to the World Cup 2010 campaign, Amodu now in his third tenure as Nigeria's coach, told the players to make improving the team's world ranking a priority.

With an unbeaten stretch in three matches since February, Amodu could be on course to actualising this desire by expectedly picking the maximum points in their next three matches against Equatorial Guinea (away and home) and Sierra Leone respectively ahead of the visit to Johannesburg against South Africa.

At the moment, Nigeria is the fifth ranked African team in the world behind Cameroon, Ghana, Egypt and Cote d'Ivoire.

However, by benchmarking, it is a far cry behind Cameroon which at 13th is the highest ranked team in Africa.

The Eagles were the best ranked team in Africa for better part of last year before ceding that status to Ghana at the end of the Nations Cup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Olympics - Yar'Adua Approves Country's Reduced Participation

President Umaru Yar'Adua has given qualified approval for a scaling down of Nigeria's participation in the forthcoming Olympic games in line with the recommendations of the Minister of Sports and Chairman of the National Sports Commission, Barrister Abdulrhaman Gimba.

President Yar'Adua in a response to a letter from the Sports Minister seeking Nigeria's withdrawal or drastic reduction in the level of participation nevertheless put a suspension on the administrative changes sought by the Minister in the NSC.

In his letter dated March 25, 2008 Gimba had also sought the sack of Dr. Amos Adamu from his position as Director_General of the NSC and the removal of three other directors on the allegation that they were impediments to his desire to move the country's sports to a higher level. The Minister had also insisted that the removal of Adamu, Patrick Ekeji as Director of Sports Development and two other directors was a condition by the private sector for their funding of sports. The President in a response communicated through the Chief of Staff, gave a qualified response to the desires of the Minister as he was asked to forward the antecedents and career progression of Dr. Adamu and other affected directors.

Besides, the Minister was asked to await the passage of the NSC bill presently in the National Assembly before his venture to the private sector. The President's response dated April 4, 2008 communicated through the immediate past Chief of Staff, Maj Gen. Abdullahi Mohammed (rtd.), a copy of which is in possession of Sports Vanguard read thus:

Re: Reform of National Sports Commission I write with reference to the above subject and to inform that Mr. President has approved the following:

i.HM/NSC to provide the details of antecedents and career progressions of the DG, the Directors and other staff you seek to redeploy to the Office of the Head of Service as well as the ground for such action; ii.

The reconstitution of the Local organizing Committee (LOC) for the FIFA Under 17 World Championship 2009 holding in Nigeria;

iii. The reconstitution of Team Nigeria following the resignation of the other board members;

iv. The scaling down of Nigeria's participation in the forth coming Olympics as recommended by you.

2. Mr. President has also approved that the following should await the outcome of the Bill considered by the National Assembly:

i. That the NSC to engage private sector to give it privately funded experts to give the country the desired orientation in Sports;

ii. That the National Sports Commission to operate as a Commission like other Commissions in the country;

iii. That the Minister carries out the much desired administrative changes in the Commission in accordance with best practices.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Nigeria/Equatorial Guinea: Country Girls for Equitorial Guinea Team

Sequel to not finding a place in the Nigeria Female National Team, a Nigerian player, Gladys Okonkwo is presently undergoing trials in Malabo to enable her feature for their national team. The player, who once played for the Pepsi Footbal Academy Female team handled by Coach Kashimawo Laloko came to the former Spanish Colony late last month. Revealing this to LEADERSHIP Sports in Malabo, the Imo state-born player said that seven Nigerian are already in the country for the same program, while four have already been give the nod to play for the Guineans. According to her, six Brazilians are already playing for the team. She said that three Burkinabes, three Camerounians are also playing for the team. Disclosing further, she said that the quest to have a national team action necessitated her actions. She however agreed to play for Nigeria if given the opportunity to try her skills. "home is home. I remain a Nigerian always:" she concluded.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
NFA Supports Tinapa Invitational Fiesta

Chairman of the Nigeria Football Association, Alhaji Sani Lulu Abdullahi minced no words when he said Monday that the Association will fully support the Tinapa Invitational Fiesta 2008, which will see European champions Manchester United, English FA Cup winners Portsmouth FC, the Super Eagles and one Nigerian Club play a 4-team Invitational sometime next month.

"We will not only have our people involved in the project, we will fully support it so that the entire programme does credit to Nigeria football as a whole", Abdullahi said in Abuja while receiving a delegation of English Barclays Premiership, Manchester United and Portsmouth at the NFA Secretariat in Abuja.

The delegation comprised of English Barclays Premiership chairman, Sir David Richards, United's Executive Secretary Ken Ramsden, Chief Operating Officer of Portsmouth Bruce Vandenberg and Phil Morris and Charles Coxon of United FC.

Sir Richards disclosed that the English League is discussing with a beverage company to partner with the Nigeria Football Association on the National Teams.

The NFA team that received the British delegation included Alhaji Lulu Abdullahi, 1st Vice Chairman Amanze Uchegbulam, 2nd Vice Chairman Oyuki Obaseki, Executive Committee Members Abubakar Ladan, Obinna Ogba, Patrick Ekong, and Stephen Gyebgon, and NFA Secretary General, Bolaji Ojo-Oba.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Adamu, Not Problem of Country Sports - Aggrey

In the wake of several accusations against Dr. Amos Adamu, the director-general of the National Sports Commission (NSC), the attorney-general and Commissioner for Justice in Cross River State, Barr. Leo S. Aggrey has stautly risen in defence of former sole administrator of the Nigeria Football association (NFA).

Aggrey, 46, admitted that the factors holding Nigerian sports hostage are collective and insisted that Dr. Amos Adamu alone can not be the problem of Nigerian sports.

Recently, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Sports and Social development in Bayelsa State, Dr. Peter Singabele told members of the Senate Committee on Sports that the problems be devilling sports in the country could be traced to insincerity by some individuals, who had become a cabal.

Singabele specifically mentioned Dr. Amos Adamu as the leader of the cabal that had held Nigerian sports in the jugular and asked the distinguished members to call him to order, pointing out that if nothing urgently was not done to cage them, the Nigerian sports, especially soccer would continue to nose-dive.

But in a swift reaction, the Cross River State Commissioner for Justice, however, defended Dr Adamu, insisting that the NSC director-general a lone can not be the problem of Nigerian sports.

"I don't think Adamu alone is the problem of Nigerian sports. He is not a bad man as regarded in some quarters. Agreed as human, he may have his own faults, but he alone can not be our problem in sports. Our problems are enormous and collective. However, I'm not faulting Singabele's position. He has made his points too and raised some fundamental issues that need to be addressed urgently," said Leo Aggrey.

Speaking further on the problem and the way foreward of Nigerian sports, the Jusice Commissioner said: "Our sports administrators are not serious at all. They are not sincere and are corrupt. We should learn how not to pocket public funds and focus on getting things right. We need to cultivate maintenance culture and a good sports policy to regulate our sports."
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Gimba, Lulu Salute Eagles

Shortly after Super Eagles of Nigeria's clean slate in the ongoing Nations Cup and World Cup qualifiers, sports minister and chairman, National Sports Commission, Abdulrahman Hassan Gimba has called on the team and its technical crew to remain focused and win all remaining matches.

Speaking after the Eagles picked the needed away maximum 3 points against the Nzalang Nacional on Sunday, the minister said with what he is seeing, the team will improve subsequently but that no matter the reaction of Nigerians, the most important thing in that circumstance was the maximum points which is good. "There is nothing more to ask for because no matter what you think, the most important thing is to pick the maximum points which the team has done. Nigerians should support the team. I believe they would improve with time but I implore them also to remain focused and win their remaining matches."

According to him, as the team prepares to host the Equitorial Guineans this weekend in Abuja, quest for the maximum points should be the driving force of the boys and the technical crew.

In a related development, NFA Chairman, Sani Abdullahi Lulu while expressing delight over the victory called on Nigerians to intensify support for the team and the Nigeria Football Association so as to enable them reach the promised land. "I thank Nigerians and Eagles for their performances so far in the Nations Cup and World Cup quest. Their clean slate maintenance shows that with more support from Nigerians, the NFA and the team will do better. Already, we are on the right path and we intend to maintain the tempo," he promised.

The NFA boss disclosed that by this weekend, the Glass House officials and the team's technical crew are looking forward to crowning their Group 4 leadership slot by maintaining a four over four winning streak.
 

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Is there a site the shows about the qualification matches (african) for the 2010 WC? I doubt there would be any site showing live streaming as we have in europe but any site that keep records/news in an orgainized manner?

I have been so out-of-touch with nigerian football (or rather african football on the whole) for quite long except the latest ACN. :eek:hno:
 

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AIT brings you live pictures and commentary in the UK, US and some part of Europe. If you are a SKY subscriber in the UK you can watch it on Channel 198.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Okocha Hits Eagles' Camp for E'Guinea

Erstwhile Super Eagles skipper Austin Jay Jay Okocha will be joining the team's camp in Abuja ahead of tomorrow's Angola/South Africa 2010 World Cup qualifying match against Equatorial Guinea.

Although the former Eagles playmaker is not returning to fight for a place in Coach Shaibu Amodu's starting line-up, the Nigeria Football Association (NFA) confirmed last night that Okocha will be in Abuja to boost the players, who are determined to end the campaign without dropping a point.

Ademola Olajire, chief media officer of the NFA confirmed to THISDAYSports last night that Okocha, whose testimonial game is billed for next Thursday in Warri, will meet with the players before the match and also be physically present at the stadium to cheer them to victory.

"Austin Okocha will be at the players' camp before the match and also be present at the main bowl to see how they will fare against Equatorial Guinea on Saturday. It going to be a morale booster, most especially for the younger generation who didn't meet him at the senior national team," said the NFA spokesman.

Okocha, who just ended his stint at Hull FC last season, is to be honoured next week by the Super Eagles players at the testimonial, which will also feature some other top African players.

Even as the NFA image-maker could not confirm the arrival of injured Danny Shittu in Abuja, the Watford FC of England defence ace was reported to also be on the way to Abuja to cheer his colleagues against the visitors from Central Africa.

Meanwhile, Super Eagles Head Coach Amodu says he sees no different scenario from what happened last weekend playing out tomorrow.

"I don't foresee any problem whatsoever. It's true that we have a couple of injuries and came out of Malabo with a couple of knocks, but everyone will be fine and ready," said Amodu.

Nigeria goes up against Equatorial Guinea having amassed nine maximum points from their first three matches of the World Cup/Nations Cup qualifying campaign.

"It's a dream start, but we're not dreaming yet. We want to do the business on the pitch, and then we can start thinking of what the reality will be when the final phase begins."

Yakubu Aiyegbeni returned to training yesterday with the rest of the Super Eagles squad ahead of tomorrow's game.

Yakubu had been given a one-day extension by Amodu and so did not resume with the rest of the rest of the squad on Wednesday but was back in camp in time for yesterday's training session.

Amodu spent most of the session working on tactics and movement with his players while also correcting some of the positional errors noticed during the last game in Malabo.

Yakubu's return was not the only piece of positive news for the Nigeria technical crew, as all players showed no signs of injury or illness, leaving the coaches with a selection headache ahead of tomorrow's game.

And in a related development, a one-hour media session with the players has been scheduled for midday today at the NICON Luxury hotel.

Eagles will pick an early ticket for the final phase of the African qualifying campaign for the 2010 World Cup finals if they defeat Equatorial Guinea on Saturday and neither Sierra Leone nor South Africa triumphs in their match-up in Pretoria on the same day.

With nine points from three matches, Nigeria lead Group 4 by six points, with South Africa, Equatorial Guinea and Sierra Leone on three points each.

A win would take the Eagles to 12 points, with only two matches remaining for each contender in the pool. Should Sierra Leone and South Africa draw, they will remain on four points each, no longer able to assail the Eagles. Even if one of the two teams triumphed in South Africa tomorrow, the Eagles will still finish ahead in the group if they avoid defeat against South Africa in September.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
NFA Pledges Support for Falconets

The Nigeria Football Association (NFA) has pledged maximum support for the Falconets after the girls smashed Ghana 5-2 on aggregate to reach this year's FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup, billed for Chile later in the year.

Secretary General, Bolaji Ojo-Oba said on Wednesday evening that the Coach Daniel Evumena-led team will get the best of support to prepare, just as the other national teams have been enjoying.

Presently, the national U-23 men's team and the senior women's squad are preparing for the Beijing Olympics.

The victory over two legs by the Falconets took them to Chile, making it the third major tournament that Nigeria would qualify for in less than three months.

"We will give the technical crew everything they want to be able to prepare the team adequately for the championship. The era of going to major competitions just to participate is over. We want to win trophies - plenty of them," said Ojo-Oba.

Nigeria has maintained a streak of reaching all major women's football championships since 1991.

Stella Michael scored twice, one in each half to ensure victory for Nigeria.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
WC 2010 World Cup qualifying African zone


Nigeria's Nwankwo Kanu (L) is challenged by Tsepo Masilela of South Africa during their Group Five World Cup qualifying African zone second round soccer match in Abuja, June 1, 2008. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde (NIGERIA)


South African Tsepo Masilea (R) collects the ball after hitting the face of Nigerian attacker John Utaka during FIFA 2010 World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match in Abuja on June 1, 2008. Nigerian defeated South Africa 2-0. (Photo credit should read PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)


Uche Ikechukwu of Nigeria, left, battles with Kagisho Dikgacoi of South Africa during their World Cup preliminary match in Abuja, Nigeria Sunday, June 1, 2008. Nigeria defeated South Africa 2-0 in the first round of World Cup qualifying matches. (AP Photo/Segun Ogunfeyitimi)
 

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The 2010 qualifying picture

After a frantic four consecutive weekends of action in the combined 2010 World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, the picture as to which teams will reach the second qualifying stage is becoming clearer.

The 12 group winners will progress, along with the eight best runners-up, who will be determined by a complicated formula.


The remaining matches in this phase take place in September and October.

Nigeria became the first team to reach the second group stage, and Burkina Faso need just a point in their next game to be certain of topping their group.

World Cup hosts South Africa seem to have a slim chance of taking one of the best runners-up spots.

Egypt, winners of the last two editions of the Nations Cup, are battling against DR Congo to win their group.

ALREADY QUALIFIED

With four wins from four games, Nigeria are in an unassailable lead at the top of Group Four.

OUT

Bad news for Tanzania, Mauritius, Seychelles, Djibouti, Niger and Mauritania. They are all out of contention, as they are mathematically unable to finish in first or second place in their groups.

Lesotho and Burundi are all but out, but still have a slender mathematical chance of qualifying.

ALMOST THERE

Burkina Faso's perfect tally of 12 points from four games means that they need only to draw at home to Tunisia in September to win the group.

If Tunisia fall short, they still look to have a good chance of taking one of the best runners-up places.

The unbeaten Ivory Coast need a draw away to Mozambique and a home win against Madagascar to be sure of winning Group Seven.


Cameroon are only a point ahead of Cape Verde, but the Indomitable Lions seem unlikely to surrender the lead in Group One.

ALL TO PLAY FOR

The rest of the teams have everything to fight for in their final two games in this group phase. Mali are looking in a strong position in Group Ten, with nine points so far.

Group Two is wide open, with Guinea and Kenya on seven points. But Zimbabwe and bottom-placed Namibia can still qualify.

Group Three is going to be a three-way contest between Benin, Angola and Uganda, who have recovered from a poor start.

Ghana and Libya are tied in Group Five, and the clash between the two teams in Tripoli in September looks likely to be decisive.

Algeria will need to beat Group Six leaders Senegal at home if they are to take pole position, and The Gambia still have some hope of a best runners-up place.

Morocco and Rwanda both have nine points in Group Eight, and they both play Ethiopia and Mauritania to determine the outcome of the group.

All three teams in Group Eleven are very much in the picture - Swaziland, Zambia and Togo.

DR Congo and Egypt both have nine points in Group 12, with the two meeting in Kinshasa in September.


Malawi could still take one of the top runners-up slots.

ARE SOUTH AFRICA IN TROUBLE?


Very much so. Even if they manage to finish as runners-up, they must hope that Equatorial Guinea are not the bottom team.

This is because, to determine which of the teams that finish in second place will proceed to the next phase, results against the bottom-placed side will not be considered.

Of South Africa's four points, three came against Equatorial Guinea, and they meet again in October.

A home win against Nigeria is crucial for Bafana Bafana. Of course, they automatically qualify for the World Cup as hosts, but qualifying for the Nations Cup finals in Angola is vital in terms of preparing the team.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
New Coaches, New Dreams, New Experiences

The vast majority of countries competing in the second phase of the African zone preliminaries for the FIFA World Cup have been doing so with new coaches, all of whom have been thrown in at the proverbial deep end.

More than 30 of the 47 teams seeking to advance to the final group phase later this year went into their campaign with a new face at the helm, while four countries have already made changes during the campaign and three more are due next month. Another statistic worth noting is that almost half of the teams have an indigenous coach in place, which will come as great comfort for a growing lobby of pundits pressing for better opportunities for African coaches at full international coaching level.

Three nations, meanwhile - Libya, Mali and Swaziland - have employed coaches from other African countries, and there is also a predictably large foreign influence too. Seven French coaches, five Brazilians and three Dutchmen are joined in African battle with coaches from Croatia, Germany, Portugal, Belgium, Bosnia, Serbia and Hungary.

The first change in the qualifying campaign came in Botswana, where Englishman Colwyn Rowe was fired after their first Group 7 game, a goalless home draw with Madagascar, and replaced by Stanley Tshoane, a local army officer. In the time since, there have also been changes in the dugout for Benin, Mauritania and, this week Madagascar, where Franck Rajaonarisamba made his debut in Maputo against Mozambique last weekend.

Next month, Roger Lemerre will move from Tunisia to Morocco, where he will take charge of their last two Group 8 qualifiers in September and October. His place is being taken by Humberto Coelho, who is ironically a former coach of Morocco. The 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, Ghana have also announced their intention to hire a high profile coach in the forthcoming weeks, having already had talks with former German international, Guido Buchwald.

In the weeks before the qualifiers started on 31 May, there was an almighty scramble to find a coach among some top sides, notably Côte D'Ivoire, Congo DR, Nigeria, Zambia and 2010 hosts South Africa. It has been a particularly tough baptism for Vahid Halilhodzic, whose Ivoriens have been depleted by injuries and absentees for their first four matches, and a similar situation has affected Patrice Neveu in his new job in charge of the Leopards of Congo DR.

Nigerian coach, Shaibu Amodu walked back into a job he had previously held on several occasions and the seamless transition from German, Berti Vogts has given the Super Eagles an unblemished start. But it is a pity for poor Joel Santana, the Brazilian who replaced compatriot Carlos Alberto Parreira in charge of South Africa's Bafana Bafana. His first match was a tough tussle with the Nigerians away in Abuja, and he has found the going little easier since.

The job doesn't seem so tough, however, for Paulo Duarte, who has been lauded for the way he has guided Burkina Faso thus far, nor indeed for Branko Tukac, who has led unfancied Rwanda to a 100 per cent start.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
As Minna Team Braces Up for Surprises



As the Kano International Polo Tournament begins July 5, Minna Jamil Farms has disclosed that they are ready for the tourney that will feature other 24 teams across the country. Mohammed Ndazuru, a Minna-based Polo stakeholder, while speaking to Leadership Sports, said that the Minna Jamil Farms have prepared very well for the competition and are expected to put up an impressive performance to win any of the Cups.

Ndazuru also commended the efforts of Dantata and Sawoe for their dogged support for the Game of Kings in Minna in particular, and Nigeria in general, for the better part of 20 years. He further poured accolades on Alhaji Abdukadir Dantata, who is also of the Polo family and Managing Director of Dantata and Sawoe for his untiring support for polo in both Kano and Minna, as he single-handedly supported the Governor Babangida ALiyu Cup Tourney in June, 2007.

Prizes to be won at this year's Kano Tourney include: The Governor's Cup, The Veterans' Cup, The Emir of Kano Cup and The Beginners' Cup. Other prizes are: The MTN Cup and the round-up trophy, which is the Muhammadu Sanusi Cup.
 

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African champions gather in Abuja for CAA Grand Prix

Francoise Mbango returns to action with world leader in Addis Ababa (Jiro Mochizuki (Agence shot))

Francoise Mbango returns to action with world leader in Addis Ababa (Jiro Mochizuki (Agence shot))

Abuja, Nigeria - Cameroon's Françoise Mbango, the reigning Olympic and African champion of the women’s Triple Jump, is headlined to be in Abuja, with 4 other reigning African champion should provide the central quality of the CAA Grand Prix here in Abuja this Monday (23).

The Abuja meeting is one of a select group of Area meetings at which points can be acquired by athletes to qualify for the IAAF / VTB Bank World Athletics Final, to be held on 13-14 September in Stuttgart, Germany.

The two other African permit meets in this category this year were held in Brazzaville and in Algiers.

A week before the Nigerian Olympic qualification trials all the best national sprinters, jumpers and throwers will be on show against their international opponents.

10 events are scheduled at international level -

Men: 100m, 400m, 1500m, 110mH, Long Jump.
Women: Triple Jump, Shot Put, 400m, 100m, 100mH

Expected highlights:


MEN

100m

The comeback of Ghanaian Aziz Zakari will make the dash a close contest. Nigeria’s 2008 African champion, Olusoji Fasuba will also have a good fight against his compatriot the Addis Ababa runner-up Uchenna Emedolu, who is a former World Cup winner.

400m

The three best African one lap runners will face each other in Abuja. The reigning Africa Champion from Sudan, Ali Babiker Nagmeldin will take on the two runners-up from the Addis Ababa final, and USA’s America’s Leo Settle is also in the field.

WOMEN

100m

Nigeria’s Ene Francisca Idoko, who won this race last year and in Brazzaville three weeks ago takes on her compatriot the reigning Africa Champion Damola Osayemi. Other Addis Ababa finalists will also be present including the silver medallist from Ghana Anim Vida, the Cameroonian Delphine Atangana, the bronze medallist in Ethiopia, and 2007 All Africa Games bronze medallist from Ivory Coast, Amandine Allou Affoue.

100m Hurdles

In this event, Guinean Fatmatah Fofanah, the 2008 Africa champion who has a PB of 12.96 will again meet Nigeria’s Toyin Augustus, the silver medallist in Addis Ababa.

Triple Jump

Françoise Mbango Etone is slated to compete in what would be only her second African meet since 2005. If the Olympic champion shows it will be the undoubted highlight of the meet.

Shot Put

Nigeria’s African champion Vivian Chukwuemeka, who was only third in the Brazzaville GP leg, will face her Addis Ababa runner up from South Africa Veronica Abrahamse, and the Germany’s Denise Hinrichs who has already put 19.01m this year.



 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Amodu Kicks Over Felele Ball for FA Cup

SUPER Eagles coach, Shuaibu Amodu took his hunt for fresh legs in the Super Eagles to the Dan Anyiam Stadium in Owerri where he watched the two semi final matches of the FA Cup.

The Coach who has kept a clean slate with the Super Eagles, winning four games in the dual Nations Cup and World Cup qualifier without conceding a goal came out from the stadium, disappointed. Amodu did not hide his disappointment with the pitch of the Dan Anyiam Stadium which undulating surface made play difficult for the players.

He also frowned at the sub-standard ball used for the game which he referred to a 'felele', the light, flying ball commonly used by kids in primary schools.

"The FA Cup, no doubt, is growing in leaps and bounds but I was disappointed with the pitch of the stadium which made it difficult for good play by the players.

The ball bounces at one place and changes position, making it difficult for the players to lay fine passes. It's not good for the competition at this stage and I know that the sponsors will like to produce ball in their colours but they should do it to meet up with international standard", the coach said. And truly, the ball used for the semi final matches were directed by the wind as kicks were easily swayed by wind..

And Imo State Sports Commissioner, Prof Nnamdi Obiaraeri agreed that the Government of Ikedi Ohakim would carry out repair works at the stadium before Heartland FC embark on their continental assignment later this year.

"The undulating surface of the pitch will be repaired and even the perimetre fencing will be touched. Our Governor knows the yearnings of the people and tackles them to their delight. We shall upgrade the stadium for the team to do Imo people and Nigeria proud in the continent", Obiarareri who has positively changed the face of sports in Imo State emphasised.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Abuja Set to Host Biggest Exxonmobil Ever

For the first time since ExxonMobil took over the sponsorship of the All Nigeria Open Athletics Championships, this year's edition has witnessed a 1,300 record number of entries as at Sunday evening.

The development Samuel Fatunla, the only internationally recognised athletics statistician in Nigeria confirmed is unprecedented.

"As at Sunday evening, we had received as many as 1,300 entries. Virtually all the states of the Federation have sent in entries. Clubs have also sent in theirs too. We have never witnessed this huge number since 1990 when the first Mobil Championships was held," he said.

Meanwhile sponsors of the Championships, ExxonMobil has reiterated its commitment to sports development in Nigeria Mr victor Olaiya, a representative of the company told the media in Abuja at the press briefing heralding the 19th edition of the championships said the fact that ExxonMobil has been supporting the Athletics Federation of Nigeria for almost 20 years is a pointer to their commitment.

"Nineteen years of consistent support to athletics shows our commitment to sports development in this country," Olaiya said.

He noted that ExxonMobil values the development of human resources, saying that "we add to the development of human resources to areas where we operate".

Earlier Mrs Violet Odogwu- Nwajei (MON) AFN President commended the support from ExxonMobil saying that "This is a proof of focus and understanding".

She said that arrangements have been concluded for a successful championship aimed at selecting athletes who will represent Nigeria in the forthcoming Olympic Games in Beijing.
 
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