Tambuwal Hosts Eaglets, Tasks Team To Go For Victory In Niamey

Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal Wednesday night urged officials and players of the national U17 team to make Nigeria proud when they face Niger Republic in an African championship second leg qualifying encounter in Niamey, this weekend.

Speaking in Sokoto where the team camped ahead of their departure to Niger, Tambuwal said the level of determination shown by the players during their preparations showed that they mean business.

“I want you to take up this challenge and take this as a match that can make or mar your soccer careers but with the kind of determination I see on your faces, victory is certain by the grace of Almighty Allah,” the Governor said.

“I want to believe the reason you camped here in the City of the Caliphate is not only because we share border with Niger but also because this is a peaceful state; and it is great privilege to have you with us. I congratulate all of you
for being part of this contingent on your way to Niger Republic and
I’m charging you to go there and win, and qualify (for the next round), he added.”

In his remarks, General-Secretary of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Dr. Mohammed Sanusi eulogized Governor Tambuwal for his selfless service to
Nigerian football even long before now.

“I want to use this opportunity to thank our sport-loving Governor because not many knew that the Rt. Honourable Tambuwal had long been supporting Nigerian football even before he became the Governor of Sokoto State.

“We (NFF) had turbulent time when he was the Speaker but he was always there to assist us; and we would forever be grateful for that. To our joy, his administration also accepted to host the Golden Eaglets at a very short notice and we are indeed very grateful.” Sanusi added.

Dr. Sanusi who is an indigene of Sokoto State, urged the government to provide befitting sports facilities in the state, adding that sport and indeed football has become a veritable avenue for physical and human development with other inherent economic benefits.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Rio Olympics: Nigeria’s Dream Team Cruise Into Quarter Final

Nigeria’s Dream Team VI booked their place in the quarterfinals of the men’s soccer event of the Rio 2016 Olympics, following a lone goal victory over Sweden at the Amazona Arena in Manaus on Monday morning.

Nigeria entered the game seeking to imprint the gung ho approach that produced two goals in four of the opening 10 minutes against Japan. While their dominance in the opening exchanges was never under threat, they were facing a solid Swedish side, which meant there were no clear-cut chances early on.

Sweden slowly began climbing into the game but never quite tested Emmanuel Daniel in goal.

The chances began filtering in as the first half approached its midway mark, but a combination of anxiety and poor decision-making saw the Dream Team waste a number of opportunities, Oghenekaro Etebo and Sadiq Umar the major culprits.

Notably, in the 30th minute, a patiently-worked buildup play left the ball at the feet of Umar, but the AS Roma frontman sent his effort straight at goalkeeper Andreas Linde.

Etebo soon flashed a shot past Linde’s goal and — minutes later — wasted what was up till that point the best chance of the game. Imoh Ezekiel, who had been lively all night, swerved a fine cross to a free Etebo, but the CD Feirense forward could only glance his header above the post.

It seemed only a matter of time before the Dream Team broke the deadlock; and that was exactly what happened on the dot of 39 minutes, when the enterprising Stanley Amuzie struck a sweet cross towards Umar, who curled a flying header past the outstretched hands of Linde. For the first time in the match, Umar, cutting a frustrated figure earlier with each missed chance, was beaming with smiles. It was reward for all of his hard work, having harassed the Swedish defend for much of the match.

It was the Swedes who were down and in dire need of a goal, but it was the Nigerians who resumed the second half on the stronger footing, Mikel Obi uncharacteristically drawing Linde into a diving save after Umar had unselfishly laid a pass down for him on the edge of the penalty box.

Etebo nearly scored a goal-of-the-tournament contender in the 51st minute when he picked up the ball from the left flank and drove it past a maze of Swedish defenders before unleashing a curler that seemed destined for the far right corner of the net. But Linde was on hand to tip it out for a corner kick.

Nigeria looked the likelier side to get a goal, doing all the buildup play and pressing, while the Swedes resorted to playing long balls that always ended up fruitless — but two of them could have lifted the European champions into the game, were it not for the alertness of Daniel, who played the role of a sweeper a la Manuel Neuer.

Joakim Nilsson nearly sparked an unlikely comeback for the Swedes in the first minute of added time, releasing a cutback for a teammate when the Nigerian defenders were expecting a cross, but Sincere Seth displayed a great deal of composure to divert the resultant shot off the goalpost.

With two wins from two games — and Thursday’s 2-2 draw between Sweden and Colombia meaning only one team in the group can now finish above the Dream Team at worst — Nigeria secured passage to the quarterfinals with a game to spare.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Rio 2016 Olympics: Nigeria Defeats Japan In Football Opening Match

The Nigerian Under-23 team, the Dream Team VI Friday morning defeated Japan in the opening match of the Rio 2016 Olympics

Nigeria went ahead in the seventh minute, after good work by Imoh Ezekiel on the right flank saw him carve out space to fire a left-footed shot that goalkeeper Masatoshi Kushibiki could only parry onto the path of an onrushing Sadiq Umar, who grabbed the gift colly before racing towards the byline to begin the Dream Team’s celebrations.

But the celebrations had barely died down when Japan struck back, forward Shinzo Koroki sending goalkeeper Emmanuel Daniel the wrong way in the ninth minute after Stanley Amuzie was adjudged to have fouled an opponent.

Nigeria paid the Japanese back in their own coin by scoring after just two minutes, Oghenekaro Etebo deftly controlling a long ball before powering home from close range.

Having conjured a quick equalizer once, the Japanese were quick to pump players forward in search of another goal; it worked. A lapse in concentration by the Dream Team plus a perfectly-executed through ball sent Takumi Minamino towards goal, and he made no mistake, slotting the ball through Daniel’s legs to cap an unexpected four goals within six minutes.

There was no quick goal to follow, as both teams settled into the game, though it was Nigeria who had firmer grip of the match, confidently distributing play and forcing their East Asian opponents to sit deep with an eye on counter attacks.

Nigeria’s dominance paid off three minutes before half time, but it also came with a bit of fortune. Umar received the ball in the penalty zone and laid off a pass for Etebo, whose scoffed effort bounced back off an opponent for a second and clearer chance at goal. There was only one possible outcome, and the ball was soon nestling in the back of the net.

On resumption of second half, the Nigerians continued from where they stopped, Umar again doing all the dirty work. Two Japanese defenders seemed to have possession of the ball, but Umar courageously charged through them, stole the ball and raced towards goal. He was about to lay the ball from a teammate when he was hurled down, prompting the referee to point to the penalty spot. Etebo stepped up to send Kushibiki the opposite direction.

Etebo was the hero again but he had captain John Obi Mikel and striker Umar to thank, the former sending in a sweet cross and the latter giving it a chase to force Kushibiki into a hurried clearance that ended up on Etebo’s feet. But the CD Feirense of Portgual midfielder still had a lot to do, as the ball was a distance from goal. Etebo hit it at once to notch his fourth goal of the game and his 11th in 17 appearances for the team. Five goals to two on 66 minutes.

The game swung to Japan from then on, as Nigeria tired out as the commentators had predicted from the start of the match as a consequence of nearly a week of being stranded in Atlanta and arriving Brazil only a few hours to the match. Japan deservedly narrowed the deficit to two on 70 minutes, Takuma Asano poking home following good work from a team mate that left Nigeria’s entire defence stranded.

Despite a late rally from the Japanese, which produced a goal by substitute Musashi Suzuki in the final minute of added time, Nigeria held on to secure a narrow victory.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

GTBank Commonwealth Team Wins Royal Salute Coronation Cup

On Saturday July 23, 2016, the GTBank Common Wealth Team, made up of players from Pakistan, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada, emerged victorious against the England team to win one of Polo’s most iconic trophies. The Commonwealth Team, sponsored by leading African financial institution, Guaranty Trust Bank plc, defeated the England Team 12 – 11 in what was an amazing showpiece of fast-paced polo filled with pure passion, competitiveness and fair play.

The Royal Salute Coronation Cup is one of the most historic of polo trophies which annually pits the finest international players against the England team in a contest attended by members of the British Royal Family as well as distinguished personalities from the world’s Diplomatic, Aristocratic, Business, Arts, Government and Celebrity circles

The match, which held Saturday July 23, 2016 was played on the prestigious Smiths Lawn at Guards Polo Club, Ascot, within the magnificent surroundings of Windsor Great Park in London, United Kingdom. The Commonwealth team, represented by South African Chris Mackenzie, Canadian Freddie Mannix, Pakistani Hissam Ali Hyder and New Zealander John Paul Clarkin defeated an English team of tournament veterans Jack Richardson, Max Charlton, James Beim and James Harper to become only the second guest team to win Royal Salute Coronation Cup since 2009.

According to Brigadier John Wright, Chairman of the Hurlingham Polo Association, “This year’s Royal Salute Coronation Cup showcased international polo at its best. I would like to thank the organizers of this event for creating a world-class platform on which to promote polo to an increasing audience.”

Commenting on the Bank’s sponsorship of the Commonwealth Team, Segun Agbaje, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Guaranty Trust Bank plc, said; “We are proud to sponsor the Commonwealth Team in a tournament that is second to none in the world of Polo and which showcases the noble values of passion, quality and competitiveness – values deeply enshrined in the GTBank culture and which have made the bank a truly African and proudly international financial institution.”

GTBank has consistently played a leading role in Africa’s banking industry. The Bank operates from over 230 branches in Nigeria and has banking subsidiaries in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Cote D’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and the United Kingdom. Regarded for its superior financial performance and best in-class product and service delivery, the bank has received numerous awards from industry watchers and analysts, some of which are the “Best Banking Group of 2016, Nigeria,” by the World Finance Magazine and the 2016 Bank of the Year by Euromoney, a leading authority for the world’s banking and financial markets.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

GTBank Ogun State Principals Cup Season 4 enters Semi Final stage

The semi-finals of the GTBank Ogun State Principals Cup, Season 4, kicks off Thursday, July 7, 2016 at the Dipo Dina Stadium, Ijebu-Ode with 8 secondary schools in Ogun state competing for a final berth in both the male and female categories.

Established in 2012, the GTBank Ogun State Principals Cup is an annual football tournament geared towards the development of grassroots football, the discovery of young football talents and fostering camaraderie amongst secondary school students. It also provides a platform for identifying, nurturing, grooming young and talented players as well as helping students actualize their dream of becoming professional footballers.

The season has already produced an exciting display of football skill and talent, and the semi-finals promises to raise that excitement with eye catching match ups in the male and female categories. The first semi-finals in the female category will see Iganmode Grammar School, Ota tackle Our Lady of Apostles, Ijebu-Ode, while Muslim High School, Isolu will face Makun High School, Sagamu in the second match of the day. In the male category, Alamuwa Grammar School, Ado Odo will battle Adeola Odutola College, Ijebu Ode as Pakoto High School, Ifo challenges Methodist Comprehensive College, Sagamu for the second slot in the finals.

Commenting on the tournament, Segun Agbaje, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Guaranty Trust Bank plc, said that “over the years this tournament has helped pave the way for youth to cultivate their sporting talents and work towards actualizing their dream of becoming professional footballers, while fostering and building a healthier lifestyle at a critical stage in their lives”. He added that “GTBank will continue to invest massively in youth development through education and sports.”

Guaranty Trust Bank plc is one of the few Nigerian financial institutions that have maintained a defined Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy since its inception in 1990. The Bank actively supports in-classroom and out-of-classroom.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Kano Sport Institute To Produce Sport Graduates

Federal Government in collaboration Kano State are exploring avenues to develop Kano State Sport Institute into the first sports degree awrding body in Nigeria.

This was revealed by the Minister of Youth and sports Barr Solomom Dalung when paid a courtesy visit to the Ag Governor of Kano state Professor Hafiz Abubakar at Government house.

He noted that Kano Sport Institute as an affiliate  of the State University of Science and Technology has needed  frame work  to replicate the South African model where the country’ Sports Institute under  University of Pretoria admits candidates with sporting talent to  produce sport graduates.

The Minister described Kano as a house of sport with many well established games such as Rugby, Basket Ball, bally ball and hockey among others that are rarely played in other states of the country.

He said  with demographic configuration dominated by youth and many Sporting facilities, Kano has all the potentials for investors to harne in sport development.

The minister who was along with foreign investors said he is going inspect the sport institute and other sporting facilities in the state with a view to developing policy that will support the development of sport.

In his speech the Ag Governor welcomed the federal government move with assurance of the state government support.

He revealed that recent survey carried out by DFID on the investment potentials of the state showed that film making and sports have the highest potentials for return on investment than other businesses.

Prof Hafiz Abubakar said Kano by all indices  deserves intervention of the Federal Government and International donors as well as investors in sport development.

He pointed out that the in last five years, Government has made stride to address sport development among which is construction of the Sport Institute,  to meet up with current and future challenges in sport.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

GTBank –Lagos State Principals Cup (Season 7) Finals Holds On Friday

The Teslim Balogun Stadium will on Friday, June 10, 2016 host the finals of the GTBank-Lagos State Principals Cup; the biggest grassroots soccer competition in West Africa. Now in its 7th year, this season’s finals promises to be an exhilarating encounter between two teams as they stake their claim as ultimate champions of the prestigious tournament.

In the boys’ category, Dairy Farm Senior Secondary School who won the title in 2012 & 2014 will be seeking to permanently retain the trophy as they go in search of their 3rd title. Debutants Ejigbo Senior Secondary School will be playing for glory, having eliminated Keme Balogun Grammar School in a keenly contested semi-finals battle.

In the girls’ category, defending champions; Ikotun Senior High School will be playing for glory as they seek to defend their title against their old nemesis; CMS Senior Girls Grammar School, in what will be a rematch of the 2013 finals wherein the latter lost 4-2 on penalties. Will history continue as we know it or will history be rewritten; is a story that will be told when these titans collide at the Teslim Balogun stadium.

Winners will be rewarded with the sum of N750,000.00, N500,000.00 and N350,000,00 for the 1st ,2nd and 3rd place winners respectively in both male and female categories.

Over the years, the GTBank Lagos State Principals Cup has produced exceptional players at country and club levels. Yetunde Fajobi of Government Senior College, Agege, and Esther Adeboye of State High School, Alimosho (2014 edition players) were part of the Nigerian U-17 national team (The Flamingos) that qualified for the 2016 FIFA U17 World Cup.Amongst some of the notable players discovered in this year’s competition are; leading goal scorer in the Girls category, Edemekop Ndiana from CMS Girls Grammar School, Anusilem Amarachi from Ikotun Senior High School with 6 and 5 goals respectively.

Commenting on the significance of the competition in Nigeria’s educational framework, the MD/CEO of Guaranty Trust Bank plc Segun Agbaje, believes “the competition paves the way for youths to cultivate their sporting talents, whilst fostering and building a healthier lifestyle at a critical stage in their lives”. He enjoined the students to imbibe the spirit of fair play, hard work, and discipline, which are some of the core values of GTBank.

Guaranty Trust Bank, a youth oriented brand maintains the lead in providing support for education and sports to enable young boys and girls explore their talents and reach for their dreams. It is one of the few Nigerian financial institutions that have maintained a defined Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy, most especially in sports education. The Bank actively supports in-classroom and out-of-classroom educational programmes, infrastructure development, students’ scholarship and teachers training across Africa.

Alongside the Lagos State Principals Cup, GTBank also sponsors the Ogun State Principals Cup, and the Masters Cup tournament in Lagos.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Mourinho Signs Three-year Deal As Manchester United Manager

Jose Mourinho has a three-year deal signed with Manchester United, for £30 million after Louis Van Gaal was sacked, following two underwhelming years at Old Trafford.

The 53-year-old Portuguese agreed terms to become Louis van Gaal’s successor, accepting a three-year deal worth £12 million-a-year.

It took United some days to smoothen out the deal due to a six-figure bill to secure the rights to Mourinho’s autograph and even his own name, which was trademarked in 2005 by Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea football club.

The Blues ownership of Mourinho’s name was not due to expire until the year 2025.

The United job will be his first back in football since he was sacked by Chelsea in December, 2015, following a second unsuccessful spell at Stanford Bridge.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

FIFA Threatens Sanction Against Nigeria Over Pinnick’s Sack

The World Soccer Ruling Body, Fifa, has again written to the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, on the renewed leadership crisis, noting that implementing the Jos Court ruling would amount to interference in the internal affairs of the NFF.

Last Friday, the Federal High Court sitting in Jos, had ruled in favour of the 2014 ruling by Justice Ambrose Allagoa, annulling the Warri Elective Congress that produced the Amaju Pinnick-led Board of the NFF.

Reacting, Fifa in a letter emailed to President Amaju Pinnick, dated April 11, 2016, and made available to Prompt News Online, noted that Chris Giwa’s appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sports, CAS, had since been dismissed.

The letter signed by the Acting Secretary General of Fifa, Markus Kattner, warned that appropriate Fifa authorities might invoke relevant sanctions which may include suspension of NFF from Fifa activities should the Nigerian Government go ahead to implement the Jos Court ruling.

We reproduce the Fifa letter below:

Mr Amaju Melvin Pinnick

President

Nigeria Football Federation (NFF)

E-mail: nigeria_fa@yahoo.com

Zurich, 11 April 2016

ASG/pco

Verdict of the Jos Federal High Court

Dear President,

We acknowledge receipt of your correspondence dated 8 April 2016 with regard to the ruling of the Federal High Court in Jos which apparently nullified the elections of 30 September 2014 of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF).

In this respect, and first of all, we would like to remind you that according t0 articles 13 and 17 of the FIFA Statutes, all members associations have t0 manage their affairs independently and with no influence from third parties.

In addition and according to article 68 of the FIFA Statutes, recourse to ordinary courts of Law is prohibited unless specifically provided for in the FIFA regulations.

Furthermore, it is the duty of each member association to ensure that these provisions are implemented by its members and possibly take sanctions against those which fail to respect these obligations.

In view of the above, the decision of the Federal High Court in Jos, if implemented, would likely be considered as an interference in the internal affairs of the NFF and the case would be brought to the highest authorities of FIFA for consideration of sanctions, including the suspension of the NFF.

Lastly, we would like to Stress that the plaintiff in question already filed an appeal in relation to the same matter with the highest judicial Sport authorities, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), and that said appeal was dismissed by the CAS on 18 May 2015.

We thank you for taking note of the above and kindly ask you to keep us informed of any development.

Yours sincerely,

FIFA

  1. (l Markus Kattner

Acting Secretary General

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Mourinho Signs Pre-contract Agreement With Man United – report

Jose Mourinho has signed a pre-contract agreement to join Manchester United in the summer, according to a report in El Pais.

Mourinho left Chelsea in December and has been heavily linked with Louis van Gaal’s job at Old Trafford, with sources telling ESPN FC that he would target Tottenham striker Harry Kane if he were to take over.

The 53-year-old told BT last week that he had already decided to join a new club in July, and that he wanted to clear up a few “lies” about his future.

Van Gaal, who has a three-year contract at the club which ends in summer 2017, has taken sixth-placed United to only nine wins in 26 games and crashed out of the Champions League and Europa League. But he insisted that he does not feel under pressure and is confident of keeping his job.

However, the report claims that Mourinho has agreed to take over and will be paid £15 million if he is not appointed before June 1 according to a source from his agent Jorge Mendes’ company Gestifute.

A clause reportedly inserted in his agreement says that United will pay Mourinho £5m if they do not appoint him before May 1, and a further £10m if they don’t before June 1.

El Pais also claims that the reason for the clause is because senior figures at the club such as Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Bobby Charlton are not certain that the Portuguese is the right man to take over.

Sources told ESPN FC in February that Mourinho and his representatives are increasingly confident he will be Manchester United manager next season, while the club were also looking at Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino as a possible successor to Van Gaal.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Sunday Oliseh Resigns As Super Eagles Coach

Nigeria’s Super Eagles Head Coach Sunday Oliseh resigned his appointment in the early hours of Friday.

He took to his Twitter Handle to break the news to his employer, Nigeria Football Federation, NFF and the public.

Oliseh, who has been having misunderstandings with his employer, NFF, anchored his decision to quit the job on contract violations and unpaid wages.

“Due to Contract violations, lack of Support, Unpaid wages, Benefits to my players, Asst. Coaches & myself, I resign as Super Eagles Chief Coach,” he tweeted.

Earlier he had tweeted, “I feel fortunate, blessed and eternally grateful for having had the honour to Play, Captain & Coach this great Nation of ours, Nigeria.”

It will be recalled that the NFF Executive Committee had last week after its meeting in Abuja handed down some fresh conditions to Oliseh after overlooking his outbursts on the social media.

The Board had directed him to report to the Technical Department and former Coach of the Super Eagles, Shuaibu Amodu.

His Personal Assistant, Tijani Babangida, was also sacked.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Messi Beats Ronaldo To Win 2015 FIFA Ballon d’Or

Argentine superstar Lionel Messi has won the 2015 FIFA World Player of the Year after he was announced as the award recipient at the Ballon D’Or ceremony in Zurich.

Messi saw off Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona team-mate Neymar to win the award for the 5th time having won in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively.

The 28-year-old forward received 41.33% of the votes ahead of Ronaldo(27.76%) and Neymar(7.86%).

Also, United States midfielder Carli Lloyd, who scored a hat-trick in the World Cup final, won the women’s award. England coach Mark Sampson was beaten to the women’s football coach of the year award by USA boss Jill Ellis.

AWARD RECIPIENTS IN FULL:

PLAYER OF THE YEAR(WOMEN): CARLI LLOYD(USA)

PLAYER OF THE YEAR(MEN)?: LIONEL MESSI(ARGENTINA)

COACH OF THE YEAR(WOMEN): JILL ELLIS(USA)

COACH OF THE YEAR(MEN): LUIS ENRIQUE(BARCELONA)

PUSKAS AWARD: WENDELL LIRA(BRAZIL)

FAIRPLAY AWARD: ALL CLUBS AND ASSOCIATION HELPING REFUGEES

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]