Chairman of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Technical and Development Committee, Alhaji Ahmed Yusuf Fresh has activated the mood of the Nigeria national U17 team, the Golden Eaglets, who defeated their West Africa counterparts, Ghana Starlets to emerged as the Champions of this year's WAFU B U17 Cup of Nations in Niger Republic on Saturday night as they sealed the sole ticket to 2019 Africa U17 Cup of Nations in Tanzania.
Nigeria emerged victorious 3-1 on penalties after the game ended 1-1 on duration time. The NFF Chieftain has congratulated the West Africa Zone B representative in next year AFCON U17 in Tanzania.
"I congratulate you on your hard fought victory, your stories have changed from ordinary Nigeria national U17 team to West Africa Zone B Champions. The Technical Committee make bold to say that you will replicate this at the tournament proper in Tanzania next year," Fresh said.

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The Niger State Football Association Chairman will redeem his promise of Two Million Naira cash reward promised to the team before the final game after Manu Garba wards have fulfilled their ends of the terms between them and the generous CAF Technical and Development Committee Member.
"The Eaglets tasted part of my good nature when they bundled out the host Niger Republic in the semifinal which prompted me to reward them with One Million Naira. 
Before the final game I charged them to seal the AFCON U17 ticket, make Nigerians proud while I doubled the cash reward. As a man who moves around the world with pocket of promises, the cash reward will be added to the team celebration," Fresh assured.
Golden Eaglets captain Samson Tijani was voted as the Most Valuable Player of the tournament, as maximum goal poacher of the Eaglets, Olakunle Olusegun scooped the Top Scorers award with four goals in the tournament.


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FIFA President Giovanni Infantino and
Amaju Melvin Pinnick

The coast is now clear with regards to the 20th September elections into the NFF Executive Committee 2018-2022, following the official release of the list of candidates for the polls by the NFF Electoral Committee on Friday.

Four persons are battling for the presidency, including incumbent Amaju Melvin Pinnick, who is also the 1st Vice President of CAF, Member of the Organizing Committee for FIFA Competitions and President of AFCON.

Pinnick, a former Chairman of the Delta State Football Association and Executive Chairman of the Delta State Commission, is the highest –placed Nigerian ever in football’s boardroom globally, and has a very useful cordial relationship with world football’s top hierarchy. His Board also holds the ace of a blossoming positive appreciation by Corporate Nigeria that has galvanized considerable private sector funding of NFF’s activities.

Alhaji Aminu Maigari
There is also Alhaji Aminu Maigari, immediate past President of NFF, who was for several years Chairman of the Bauchi State Football Association and also headed the Bauchi sub –seat for the FIFA U17 World Cup that Nigeria hosted nine years ago.

Chief Taiwo Ogunjobi
Chief Taiwo Ogunjobi, former Nigeria international defender, also has his hat in the ring. Ogunjobi captained and administered one of Nigeria’s traditional powerhouse clubs, Shooting Stars of Ibadan, served as Secretary General of then Nigeria Football Association (2002-2005) and was Member of the NFF Executive Committee 2006-2010. He is presently Chairman of the Osun State Football Association and We also Mr. Chinedu Okoye, proprietor of amateur league club, Bimo FC.

For the 1st Vice President’s position, there are two candidates. The incumbent, Barr. Seyi Akinwunmi, whose stock has risen steeply as a result of his passion, commitment and investment in youth football development and charity, slugs it out with another South West chieftain, Otunba Sunday Dele-Ajayi.

Incumbent Alhaji Ibrahim Musa Gusau will battle club proprietor, Dr. Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah for the slot of Chairman of Chairmen on the board.

For other positions on the Executive Committee, Alhaji Sharif Rabiu Inuwa, a Member of the present Board, is the only candidate from the North West.




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Comrade Ahmed Yusuf Fresh

The battle in the North Central has been somewhat narrowed with the withdrawal of FCT FA chairman Musa Talle. However, Alhaji Ahmed Yusuf ‘Fresh’ and Honourable Suleiman Yahaya-Kwande, ranking Members of the Board, have to contend with Alhaji Busari Ishola, chairman of Kwara State FA.

Similarly, incumbents Babagana Kalli and Musa Duhu from the North East have to contend with Farouk Yarma Adamu.

Malam Farouk Yarma
In the South East, Hon. Chidi Ofor Okenwa (presently Chairman of the Nigeria National League), will vie with Enyimba FC chairman, Chief Felix Anyansi-Agwu (ranking Member of Board); Barrister Jude Obikwelu (Vice Chairman, Anambra State FA); Sir Emmanuel Ochiagha (Vice Chairman, Imo State FA) and; High Chief Emeka Inyama (former Chairman of the NNL and former Chairman of NFF Marketing and Sponsorship, and also Chairman of NPFL side Abia Warriors).

From the South West, only Alhaji Ganiyu Majekodunmi, chairman of Ogun State FA, is seeking an Executive Committee member position. From the South South, Oswald Atuake from Cross River State is up against Emmanuel Ibah, chairman of the Akwa Ibom State FA.

Elections into the NFF Executive Committee 2018-2022 will hold as scheduled on Thursday, 20th September 2018 in the city of Katsina.


World football –governing body, FIFA, has concluded plans to send a top ranking official as observer to the elections.

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The Golden Eaglets of Nigeria with
Coach Manu Garba

Nigeria rode majestically back to the Africa U17 Cup of Nations after the Golden Eaglets defeated Ghana’s Black Starlets 3-1 on penalties (following 1-1 in regulation time) in the final of the CAF U17 WAFU B Qualifying Tournament in Niamey on Saturday.

A pulsating encounter at the Stade General Seyni Kountche saw the Starlets shoot into the lead in the 54th minute, but the Eaglets equalized minutes later when Akinkunmi Amoo finished brilliantly, sending the Nigerians in the stands into ecstasy.
                                                              
Both teams tried hard but failed to get the winner in the regulation time, and the game had to go into penalties. Samson Tijani, Muhammad Ibrahim and David Ishaya scored for Nigeria, and even though goalscorer Amoo missed, the Eaglets were winners as the Ghanaians fluffed a kick and Nigeria’s goalkeeper John Amah saved another of their kicks. There was no need for the final kicks as the Eaglets were by then, unassailable.

Victory was confirmation of Nigeria’s edge over Ghana in cadet football, with Nigeria posting five world titles to Ghana’s two, and was also somewhat sweet revenge for Ghana’s victory in the final of the maiden edition of the Africa U17 Cup of Nations in Mali 23 years ago.


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Before the final, President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick had promised the Eaglets training tours of Qatar and Jordan before their participation in the Africa U17 Cup of Nations taking place in Tanzania early next year should they emerge champions and qualify.

At the end, the organizers chose Nigeria’s Samson Tijani as Most Valuable Player of the Tournament, while the nimble –footed Olakunle Olusegun was top scorer with four goals.

The Golden Eaglets’ delegation will return to Nigeria on Sunday.


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Portland Trailblazers forward Al Farouq Aminu ticked all boxes as he powered D’Tigers to a 84-73 win against Cote d'Ivoire in their first game of the second round FIBA World Cup qualifiers played in Lagos on Friday.

Al Farouq Aminu was instrumental as Nigeria dominated the game to remain unbeaten in the qualifiers with a record of 7 wins from 7 games.

He scored 11 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, a block and +15 efficiency.
Obi Emegano also played a critical role in the team’s win with 15 points. Benjamin Uzoh who had 6 rebounds emerged as rebound leader while Alade Aminu led in steal with 3.

Mouloukou Souleyman Diabate was Ivorians’ top performer with 11 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals.

A breakdown of the game saw D'Tigers lead their counterparts 21-19 in first quarter, 20-13 in the second quarter, 23-16 in the third while CIV took the 4th with 20-25.

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Despite a 52% accuracy from 2-point shots, 38% from 3 pointers and 80% accuracy from the free throw line, the team’s coach, Alex Nwora was coy as he said the boys could have done better.

“Yes, the time for preparing for this window was very short but same was applicable to other teams too. We are happy that we got this win, but if we have to defeat Central Africa Republic and continue our unbeaten run, we will have to improve.”

Later today at 8pm, D’Tigers will clash with Central Africa Republic who lost 65points to 66 against Mali.

Mali and Senegal will open the floor before Rwanda will battle Cote d’Ivoire.




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Stanley Okoye in action for D'Tigers 
D’Tigers returnee, Stanley Okoye says it feels good to be back in the team after being away since 2015. He said he is back on a mission to prove his worth and importance to the team.

Speaking after their team’s final training session on Thursday before their opening game against Cote d’Ivoire on Friday, Stanley said his mission is to prove a point and show how important he is to the team.

“For me, it’s important personally to show how much I deserve it, how much I can help this team and how important I can be as a player.

“It feels good, it’s a great honour to be back. It’s been a few years since I played for this team. It feels good to see a lot of new faces.”

As a team, he said they have a lot to prove to their fans at home and show the African continent that Nigeria’s time is now.

“We have a lot to prove. I think we are a team that everybody wants to beat. In the last  couple of years, we have dominated Africa and it’s time for us to show that not only can we compete in Africa but also be one of the best teams in the world.”

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According to him, having gone 6 games unbeaten and leading the group with 12 points, every team will be out to defeat them.

“Ivory Coast is a great team, Central African Republic is a great team, Senegal is a great team but right now we are going to focus on Ivory Coast because that is the first game. 

But I think as long as we do our thing, work on our game plan, play our defence, play to our strength, I think we will be very successful in this tournament.”

Portland Trailblazers’ star, Al Farouq Aminu confirmed that camping and preparation has gone well so far and they are looking forward to a flawless qualifiers.

On whether the team can continue their 6 games unbeaten runs, Al Farouq said, “We will continue to do what we know how to do. We are going to make sure we put our best foot forward.”




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With less than 24 hours to the start of the 2019 FIBA World Cup qualifiers today (Friday) in Lagos, the camp of the D’Tigers is buzzing with positive energy and optimism ahead of their opening game.

The team billed to face Cote d’Ivoire in the first game of their 2nd round qualifier billed for the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium in Lagos is determined to get the job done and keep to their unbeaten run as they continue their journey of picking a world cup ticket.

D’Tigers Point Guard, Ben Uzoh who has been a constant decimal in the team since 2015 says it feels good to be back in Lagos again amongst the coaches, players and the fans in their quest to continue building support at home.

He described the team as a united unit focused on bringing glory to Nigeria.
“We are brothers. Behind the scene we are always in group chats. We keep in touch, we joke we bounce a lot of ideas off each other behind the scene.”

Although he is not giving anything to chance regarding their opposition, Uzoh said D’Tigers will continue to work hard in ensuring they maintain their unbeaten run.

“Obviously, those teams have been working hard and preparing to put their best foot forward just as much as we are, but I am just excited to be amongst such great talents again. It’s going to be fun because we look forward to the competition.”



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In the same vein, one of the breakout stars for the team at the 2017 FIBA Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia, Ikenna Iroegbu said it’s another unique opportunity called upon to represent the country again.

“I feel blessed to be here. Whenever you can play for your home country, it’s a great opportunity and I am just fortunate that they called me to play again.”

He ruled out pressure ahead of their final game against their perennial rivals, Senegal on Sunday as he said the games must be taken one match at a time.

“Those teams are really good, but we are good as well. We just have to focus on ourselves, never worry about what the people have to say, take one day at a time and we will be fine.”

He ruled out any unhealthy rivalry in the team.“All we want to do is help the team win by doing our best. We all want to play good and win by playing hard and doing whatever we have to do to help Nigeria win.”


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The Honorable Minister of Youth and Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung has charged the D’Tigress to compete clean and fair when they start their FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup in Tenerife, Spain.

He gave the charge on behalf of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday  in his office in Abuja during a brief sent forth party organised for the team.

“It is the belief of this government that for every competition, you should compete clean and fair. The country is standing solidly behind you.  We are looking out for you with hope that with hardwork, you can bring the trophy home.”

Barrister Dalung said that the Ministry under his watch is giving equal opportunities to all sports men and women to excel at the grassroots and international stage.

“We are deliberately looking toward the development of female sports and we believe that once we are able to equitably tackle the inbalance between the men’s football, women’s football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball, our women will do us proud because they have less of the controversies compared to the men.”




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The Minister thanked the players for their dedication and willingness to heed the clarion call to represent Nigeria in Spain.

“I want to thank you sincerely for honouring the invitation to come to camp, for considering service to your country as a priority. You are a team that is very compact, driven by common interest and also determined. “I believe that the sky will be the limit of this team”, he continued.

In her response, the team’s captain, Adaora Elonu promised that D’Tigress will do their best to give a good representation of the country who will be playing at the competition as African Champions.

Elonu thanked the NBBF President, Engineer Musa Kida for ensuring the team’s early call to camp and early preparations to stand a chance of competing seriously at the world cup.

The Nigeria Basketball Federation President who was represented by the Vice President, Babatunde Ogunade thanked the Minister for his support since they were sworn in in 2017.

“We cannot thank you enough for your level of support to the board. You have shown yourself to be a good and dependable father. Like Oliver Twist, we still ask for  more.”

At the ceremony were the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Mr Olusade Adesola, the President, Nigeria Olympic Committee Engr. Habu Gumel and other staff of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.


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Boxing Champion Larry Ekundayo
Nigeria's Pillar Of Sports, Chief Donatus Agu- Ejidike has disclosed his plans to help lift Nigerian sports, particularly, at the grassroots level.

In a chat with the press, the businessman cum philanthropist was upbeat about the potentials of the average Nigerian athlete, which he describes as immense.

Ejidike who is also a board member of the Nigeria Karate Federation revealed that the office of the Nigeria Pillar Of Sports is set to organise a national karate championship that would be spread across the six geopolitical zones of the country.

" I understand that sports in Nigeria is yet to hit the desired heights. Therefore, I am determined to continue to contribute my quota to the growth of Nigerian sports," Ejidike stated.

" The next Olympics is just around the corners. We need to have our athletes ready and well motivated. My office is bent on ensuring that this country is well represented at continental and global sports events. As we shall soon roll out plans to help uplift our sports," he said.

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Ejidike went on to express his happiness on the impressive strides of Nigerian athletes in various sporting events. He was particularly, effusive in praises for Nigerian born,  UK based welterweight boxing champion Larry Ekundayo, on his recent achievements.

" I have always maintained that our country is blessed in all of its ramifications. And the recent achievements of Larry Ekundayo as a boxer, further attests to what we can achieve as a people.

" We must rally to encourage such Nigerians to achieve their dreams. I want to implore well meaning Nigerians and corporate bodies to to support our athletes. We shouldn't leave the development of our sports and athletes to government alone," Ejidike further stated.



Written By Our Correspondent: Akeem Busari

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Uche Chinonso celebrate with team mates
Ekiti was an independent state prior to the British conquest. It was one of the many Yoruba states in what is today Nigeria. Ekiti State is a state in southwest Nigeria, created on October 1, 1996. 

It came as a big surprise when a poor young Ibo boy Uche Chinonso was saved by football in a Yoruba Land, the young boy could not further his education due to lack of funds and dropped out of school while in J.S.S 2 and all hope lost concerning his education, 

"Young Uche was discovered by Favom academy a year ago, through a grassroots football tournaments organized by Broadcasting Service of Ekiti State and was later invited for trials which he excelled without any further questioning. 

"Uche's exceptional football skills and knowledge of the round leather game made Phoenix Athletics Sports Club offered him academic Scholarship and would resume with Ekiti Baptist High School to complete his Secondary Education, 




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Speaking with the Owner of Phoenix Sports Club Bayo Olanlege why such magnanimous act, my heart bleeds when i found out he has dropped out of school because his parents who are petty traders could not afford his bills.

"My heart was broken when i ask the question, where is his School and what class is he? The answer saddens my heart for i was told he dropped out of School in J.S.S 2 due to lack of Fund and i said to myself Uche Chinonzo will resume at Ekiti Baptist High School with five others on our Scholarship scheme in September Gods willing, all bills paid, he enthused.

"He further said, i fell in love with 12 year old Uche when he lifted his team with a heart filled with hope, energy and vigor from hopeless situation. his team were 2 goals down and with 5 mins to go from glory to victory and we decided to get the kid covered on academics. 

Reckit B makers of Dettol has also got young uche covered on Sport which makes it double scholarship for the talented lad on Sport and Academics. As at the time of this reports all efforts to speak with the parents is still on going. 


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Golden Eaglets of Nigeria in celebration mood

Nigeria and Ghana will rekindle a 67 –year rivalry when the Golden Eaglets take on the Black Starlets of Ghana in Niamey on Saturday for a place in the 2019 Africa U17 Cup of Nations finals.
 
The Eaglets kept their heads and did the hard work they had to do when defeating host nation Niger Republic 2-1 in a very competitive match at the General Seyni Kountche Stadium in Niamey on Wednesday evening, to set up a mouth –watering final with the Black Starlets, three –time winners of the global championship.
                              
It was sweet revenge for the five –time world champions, as the Nigeriens knocked out the Eaglets from the 20177 Africa U17 finals on a 3-2 aggregate, when the home-and-away leg contests still held sway.
 



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Following a tinkling of the old format, countries in each of Africa’s six football regions now gather in one venue to take part in a qualifying tournament, with only the winning team eligible for the final tournament, save the region of the defending champion that produces two.
 
Akinwumi Amoo set Manu Garba’s wards on their way with a fine finish from a pull out in the 45th minute, and Olakunle Oluwasegun, who had scored a brace in the 2-3 defeat to Burkina Faso in their opening match and another in the 5-1 mauling of Cote d’Ivoire last week, made the scoreline comfortable with another magnificent strike two minutes before the hour.
 
The home team pulled a goal back late on but the Nigerian boys held on, and reward is a potentially –explosive final against Ghana, who had earlier defeated Cote d’Ivoire in the first semi final at the same venue.
 
Oluwasegun was named man of the match. The finals of the 2019 Africa U17 Cup of Nations will hold in Tanzania.  


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