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Nigerian Football

Education, Sports are Compatible, Akwa Ibom Commissioner Tells players

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BY MFON PATRICK

 

 

The U15 football team of Akwa Ibom State may have failed to qualify for the quarter finals of the LMC /Spanish La Liga U15 Tournament after placing third behind Rivers United and IfeanyiUbah in the South East zonal competition, the state is undeterred in its efforts to ensure good future for the players.

The state commissioner for youth and sports, Monday Ebong Uko has encouraged the players to also take their education seriously, even as they play football. He gave the advice while receiving the e U15 team at the conference room of Akwa United Football Club in Uyo.

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The state U15 team failed to qualify from the zone after recording two wins and two losses, with six points from a possible twelve. The team finished third in the group behind Rivers United and FC IfeanyiUbah who jointly topped the group with 10 points each.

The commissioner called on the players not to be laid back by their inability to qualify to the quarter final of the tournament but to build on the experience garnered while also focusing on their academics.

He thanked the team for representing the state at the tournament and urged them to utilize the experience of the tournament into good use, stressing that the exposure will help them become stars for the state and the nation in future.

The commissioner commended Governor Udom Emmanuel for investing in sports development which he said has helped the youths in the state to discover their talents in sport.

In similar vein,  the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Sport and Chairman of Akwa United, Elder Paul Bassey, expressed appreciation to the state governor Mr. Udom Emmanuel for the just concluded first ever Akwa Ibom Youth Sport Festival which he said produced some of the players that made the U15 team.

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Elder Bassey stressed that it was necessary for the team to participate at the tournament, adding that the state would soon reap the dividends following the invitation of four players from the team to the National U15 team.

The club boss promised to give opportunity to outstanding U15 players to join Akwa United senior team when they are up to the age of playing professionally.

He charged them to desist from acts capable of destroying their careers but to be disciplined and focused in their chosen career and academic pursuit.

Elder Bassey congratulated the LMC for collaborating with La Liga to give the youngsters the opportunity to take part in the tournament.

In a remark, the Technical Adviser of Akwa United Abdul Maikaba congratulated the youngsters for their efforts at the tournament and promised to give the team technical assistance that will help them to achieve their aim.

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Twenty-two players and ten officials attended the two weeks tournament which took place in four centres across the country.

Top two teams from each of the zones will progress to the quarter final in which the winner of the tournament and some selected players would travel to Spain to play in an invitational U15 tournament later in the year.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Nigerian Football

Nigeria’s broadcast icon, Danladi Bako hails NFF on choice of Finidi George

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Nigerian broadcasting icon, Dr. Nasir Danladi Bako has praised the Nigeria Football Federation for settling for former international and ex-Enyimba FC strategist Finidi George as Head Coach of the Super Eagles.

The Kogunan Sakwatto, 66, who created a plethora of famous TV programmes including Morning RideMastersports and Second Chance, among others, and served as Special Adviser to a number of Sports Ministers many years ago, insisted the NFF leadership struck a bull’s eye with the appointment of the two-time FIFA World Cup star, stating that George oozes class and character, and an iron determination to succeed despite his public carapace of a quiet person.

“Finidi George has that cultured, disciplined mien and personality that makes you want to trust him with a big project. He understands the meaning of constituted authority and right from his playing days, has always displayed the attribute of a team player. He has always had that calm, collected nature even in the face of pressure or danger.

“Above all, he is not someone who thinks he is doing the nation a favour. He is grateful for the opportunity and I believe that he has all it takes to succeed. I am calling on the Federal Ministry of Sports Development, the NFF and Nigerians as a whole to support him to take the Super Eagles to brand-new heights.”

Bako, who holds a doctorate degree in development communication from the Ahmadu Bello University and was Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission between 1999 and 2002, says all hands must now be on deck to ensure victories in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches against South Africa and Benin Republic on 7 June and 11 June respectively.

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“No doubt, the NFF got this one appointment right. Very much on point. Now, they should endeavour to give George all the support he needs to succeed in his task of qualifying Nigeria for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.”

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Nigerian Football

Nigeria’s sports minister, Enoh applauds NFF for ‘buying local material’

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Sports Minister Enoh (left) and NFF President Gusau (right) unveil Finidi.

Nigeria’s Minister of Sports Development, John Owan Enoh on Monday praised the leadership of Nigeria Football Federation for settling for an indigenous Head Coach for the Super Eagles, despite the plethora of foreign tacticians who applied for the job.

Enoh, who spoke at the unveiling ceremony of the Eagles’ new substantive Head Coach, Finidi George at the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, charged the NFF to give the former winger all the support to succeed, while also soliciting the support of all Nigerians for the new helmsman.

“As a student of the University of Calabar in those days, I used to go to the UJ Esuene Stadium to watch Calabar Rovers, which included Finidi George. I am excited to see him seated here as the new Head Coach of the Super Eagles.”

President of NFF,  Ibrahim Musa Gusau exuded delight with the ‘new chapter’ the Federation is opening about the Nigeria game, saying the football-governing body is determined to fully support George and his assistants to lead the Super Eagles to new heights.

“When we returned from the Africa Cup of Nations in Cote d’Ivoire, we began the search for a new Head Coach. There was a plethora of foreign applicants, far more than the indigenous applicants. However, we undertook a thorough process that has produced an indigenous Coach and we are very happy about that. Finidi George was part of the technical crew that came close to winning the AFCON, and we have faith in him that he will lead the team to the title next time.  

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“Our objective now is to ensure the enthronement of excellence at all levels of the National Teams.”

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Nigerian Football

No more bench-warmers in the Super Eagles, says Finidi George

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New man on the managerial saddle of the Super Eagles, Finidi George has stated that  he will invite for international assignments, only players who feature regularly at their clubs either in Nigeria or in the diaspora, and promised that the Super Eagles will remain even more competitive in the years ahead.

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