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“IF THERE IS A TEAM TO BEAT NIGERIA AT HOME, IT IS ZAMBIA”, SAYS KALUSHA BWALYA

BY KUNLE SOLAJA. Ahead of the Nigeria versus Zambia encounter which undoubtedly is the pick of the pack of the series of World Cup qualifying matches in Africa this weekend, the mind game has started in earnest. Zambia’s greatest ever footballer, Kalusha Bwalya has thrown the first dice as he has expectedly marshalled the Chipolopolo to play the game of their lives on Saturday. In a facebook post this Tuesday, Kalusha is confident that his compatriots will be able to upstage Nigeria at home on Saturday. He wrote: “if there…

Abuja to host 2017 National Taekwondo Open

Names committees Rising from its inaugural board meeting on Tuesday in Lagos, the Nigeria Taekwondo Federation has picked Abuja as the host of the 2017 National Open Championships holding in December. The meeting was held at the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) board was attended by President, Mrs Margaret Elizabeth Binga, the Secretary-General, Mr Taiwo Oriss and seven board members – Chief Jonathan Nnaji , Dr Mrs Patricia Anyanwu , Mr Obumneme Arum , Mr Anthony Anafulu , Alhaji Sani Lawal , Mr Adewale Adebisi and Chika…

Zambia’s Pirate-Bound Shonga Joins Chipolopolo for Nigerian Challenge

BY KUNLE SOLAJA. When Zambia’s coach, Wedson Nyirenda announced his 20-man squad to face Nigeria in next month’s World Cup qualifier, a major absentee was Justin Shonga, a striker with local club, Nkwazi. He played major role in the elimination of Algeria in the twin fixtures in early September. Zambians reacted over his conspicuous omission in the list releases last Thursday which is taken as the final squad to face Nigeria in a crucial tie for both sides. A win by Nigeria guarantees the Super Eagles’ sixth World Cup…

Nigeria’s Junior Ajayi is Hero of Al Ahly’s Victory

Nigeria’s Junior Ajayi is Hero of Al Ahly’s Victory Al Ahly of Egypt shocked hosts Esperance of Tunisia 2-1 Saturday to reach the CAF Champions League semi-finals with Nigerian Junior Ajayi scoring the decisive goal. After holding record eight-time champions Ahly 2-2 in Alexandria last weekend, Esperance took a second-leg lead through leading scorer Taha Yassine Khenissi off a 40th-minute penalty. Tunisian defender Ali Maaloul levelled for Ahly soon after half-time and midfielder Ajayi struck the crucial second goal on 62…

UCI to help IOC set-up Independent Testing Authority

International Cycling Union (UCI) President Brian Cookson has revealed that the governing body has agreed to help the International Olympic Committee (IOC) set-up the anti-doping Independent Testing Authority (ITA). The Briton confirmed the UCI's role at a media round-table here today, called as he seeks re-election for another term. Plans for an ITA, which would take over all aspects of doping control at major events, were approved by the IOC Executive Board earlier this month. It is planned to be launched in time for next…

India star targets Belgium feat at Nigeria Open

. LOC names media interns Sathiyan Gnanasekaran is the second Indian after Sharath Achanta to have won an ITTF Tour title after his triumph at the 2016 Belgium Open and 24-year-old believes he can repeat last year’s feat at the ITTF Nigeria Open ‘Lagos 2017’. Also, the Local Organising Committee (LOC) has selected two Mass Communication undergraduates for the media internship being part of the legacy of the competition. The Chenna-born star is making his first visit to Africa is hoping that he can cause several upsets…

Birmingham 2021 organisers confident of reducing budget by $25 million

Birmingham 2021 chief executive DJ Mackovets has revealed here today that organisers of the next World Games realistically think they can reduce their budget by around $25 million (£19 million/€21.2 million). The American city, located in the state of Alabama, was awarded the 2021 World Games in January 2015. Mackovets revealed during a press briefing this morning alongside Birmingham Mayor William Bell that their initial budget was $75 million (£57 million/€64 million). However, it appears that following evaluations, they…

Retaining title won’t be easy in Lagos – Olah

With the quality of players coupled with the presence of Africa’s highest ranked star – Aruna Quadri, men’s singles defending champion, Finland’s Benedek Olah has admitted that retaining the title would be difficult at this year’s ITTF Challenge Nigeria Open ‘Lagos 2017’. The Finnish who won his first international title at the 2016 edition of the Nigeria Open has described his experience in Lagos has a unique one considering the enthusiasm of the spectators at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of the Teslim Balogun Stadium.…

2017 World Table Tennis Day Biggest Ever

The 2017 World Table Tennis Day held on 6th April 2017, proves table tennis to be popular, universal & inclusive, attracting over 90,000 participants in 93 countries to rejoice the sport of table tennis, making it a true sport for all. 453 events were held in 93 countries in all 6 continents, with one common theme – Table Tennis for Everyone, Everywhere! To celebrate the third edition of the World Table Tennis Day, the ITTF also held 2 main events, at the United Nation Headquarters in New York, USA, and at the Sports…

DALUNG INAUGURATES GYMNASTICS BOARD

The board of the Gymnastics federation of Nigeria has been inaugurated. On the occasion which took place today at the conference room of the Minister of Youth and Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung who presided over the inauguration charged the board members to eschew violence and work together towards taking the sport to greater heights. "The Harmonization Committee met today to resolve all grey areas surrounding the election of the Gymnastics Federation of Nigeria. Rowdiness and unruly behavior were pointed out as some of…

Eagles, Black Stars renew rivalry in WAFU Nations Cup

All is now set for the WAFU Cup of Nations tournament for senior national teams in the sub –region after the Draw Ceremony for the tournament scheduled for September took place at the Labadi Beach Hotel, Accra on Thursday. The competition has been scheduled for September 9 -24, and teams are expected to feature wholly home –based professionals.  Nigeria’s Super Eagles have been drawn in Group A alongside host nation Ghana, with Mali and Guinea also involved in a unique format that will see teams play single games before…

NFF sets record straight on U15 National Team coaches

The Nigeria Football Federation has decried a publication which claimed its chieftains had not only handpicked coaches for the U15 National Team, but had also gone ahead to ‘share coaching positions in the various National Teams among their friends and cronies.’  Chairman of the NFF Technical and Development Committee, Barrister Chris Green, frowned at the said report, saying that at no time of recent had any member of the NFF Executive Committee or Management forwarded names of coaches to him as an individual, or the…

Wuxi to host World Taekwondo’s Grand Slam Champions Series through to 2020

World Taekwondo President Chungwon Choue has revealed that the Chinese city of Wuxi will play host to the new Grand Slam Champions Series through to 2020. Choue was speaking at a press conference in Beijing, where it was confirmed that the first edition of the eight-tournament series will be held from the end of this year to early 2018. The South Korean was joined by World Taekwondo director general Jin-bang Yang, while China’s two Rio 2016 Olympic gold-medal winning taekwondo players - Zhao Shuai and Zheng Shuyin - were…

DALUNG CALLS FOR FOREIGN POLICY REVIEW OF VISA ISSUANCE TO NIGERIAN ATHLETES

Minister of Youth and Sports Barrister Solomon Dalung has called for a review of policy on issuance of visas to Nigerian sports men and women. Dalung made the call in a protest letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama  over the refusal of the United Kingdom and the United States of America to issue transit visas to Team Nigeria to the Commonwealth Youth Games in Nassau, Bahamas. Nigeria, having secured Bahamas visas had applied to the United Kingdom for transit visas to enable the team to fly through…

I’ve made Lagos my fortress – Omar Assar

As the most successful player in the history of the championship and since the inception of the ITTF Challenge Nigeria Open in 2013, Egypt’s Omar Assar has been unbeaten apart from his absence in 2016, which paved way for Finland’s Benedek Olah to claim the men’s singles title. Omar Assar, who recently moved to Germany to sign for Werder Bremen in the German Bundesliga, believes his huge fans base in Lagos has made the city a fortress for him. “I cannot wait to return to Lagos this year because last year, it was a bit tight…