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Nigerian Football

MTN, NPFL and La Liga ignite Remo Stars Stadium with  U-15 Youth Football League

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The NPFL/La Liga U-15 Youth League Tournament has kicked off at the Remo Stars Stadium in Ikenne Ogun State.

According to a press statement by MTN Nigeria, the tournament kicked off on Thursday and is featuring 16 teams.

It is expected to showcase football’s best and brightest young talents as it promises to be one of the most exciting sporting events of the year.

The winner is among the 16 youth football teams from across the country  is expected to be crowned after the month-long competing.

From L-R: La Liga Ambassador for Nigeria, Mutiu Adepoju; Chairman, Ogun State Football Association, Alh. Ganiyu Majekodunmi; Brand, Digital, and Marketing Communications Lead, ValueJet, Aisha Adams; President, Remo Stars FC, Hon. Kunle Soname; Manager, Sponsorship & Promotion, MTN Nigeria, Njide Ken-Odogwu; and Head, Special Projects, Nigeria Professional Football League, at the press briefing of the 5th edition of the NPFL U-15 Youth League, supported by MTN, which held at Remo Stadium, Ikenne, Ogun State, on April 13, 2022.

According to Harry Iwuala, Head of Communications for the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL), the tournament provides an opportunity to further invest in and develop grassroots football in Nigeria.  

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“The philosophy behind this tournament is the same as the philosophy behind every global youth football development program: find tomorrow’s professionals today and hone their skills to become tomorrow’s professionals.

We are excited to see how this tournament has grown over the years. We will continue to improve the tournament and be a true platform for developing football in Nigeria.”

Representing the Chief Marketing Officer, MTN Nigeria, Adia Sowho, at the press briefing, Njide Ken-Odogwu, Manager, Sponsorship and Promotion, MTN Nigeria, spoke about MTN’s commitment to the development of grassroots football in Nigeria.

 “MTN is committed to the growth of sports in Nigeria, with a particular focus on grassroots football.

At MTN, we believe everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life, and we bring this to light by becoming an enabler of these young Nigerians’ dreams and aspirations.

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We are partnering with the NPFL and La-Liga for the U-15 Promise Youth League because we believe there are many undiscovered raw talents out there waiting to be discovered, and this is the right platform to help them reach their full potential.

We remain committed to the development of football in Nigeria because we believe that this is Naija where football lives.”

The U-15 tournament ensures that Nigerian youth football receives ongoing local and international exposure, as well as capacity building for players and coaching talent, all of which contribute to the advancement of developmental football in the country. 

Mutiu Adepoju, La Liga Global Ambassador for Nigeria, adds that the tournament is critical for identifying future football players in the country. 

“Since 2016, La Liga has supported the development of football in Nigeria because we recognize how much talent exists in the country, and with more tournaments like this, we will be able to do more than we are currently doing.

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We will continue to offer support in ensuring that Nigerian football thrives.”

In addition to the competition on the field, the tournament will include a one-week coaching seminar where seasoned La Liga coaches will interact with their local counterparts on modern youth coaching techniques. 

The seminar will benefit over sixty NPFL coaches, national team coaches, and other youth coaches from across the country.

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

Relief for continental ticket-seeking Enyimba

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Enyimba FC who are desperately seeking a return to the continental fixtures next season have been relieved of a little financial burden by the Disciplinary Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation.

 The initial N10 million fine imposed on the team has been reduced almost by half.

 In the ill-tempered match with Enugu Rangers three weeks ago, the Nigeria Premier League fine Enyimba N5 million as part of the disciplinary measures taken, claiming that Enyimba disrupted the live telecast of the match.

The NFF committee disagrees with the decision and therefore set aside the fine imposed.

Enyimba will this Sunday host Plateau United in a potentially volatile match as both teams have varying chances of picking continental ticket to feature in either the CAF Champions League or the Confederation Cup.

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Nigerian Football

All eyes on Aba, Ibadan and Ikenne as battle for continental tickets goes down to the wire!

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A stroll in the park to be followed by victory parade are the anticipated spectacles in Jos when Enugu Rangers face ‘home’ sides, Gombe United this Sunday.

But elsewhere, it could be ‘thunder and blood’ battle as four eligibles fight for two obtainable continental tickets in three venues of Ikenne, Ibadan and Aba.

Remo Stars, Shooting Stars, Enyimba and Plateau United are aspirants jostling for continental tickets.

On the other side of the struggle is also the battle to evade relegation. Coincidentally, Ibadan  provides the venue for both dreams where the hosts, Shooting Stars, will be hoping to pick a ticket to any of the two CAF inter-clubs competitions while the debuting Premier League sides, Sporting Lagos are expected to play the game of their life.

Coincidentally, Shooting Stars were expected to give the Lagos sides the succour last weekend when they faced Bayelsa United.

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 Had Shooting Stars won the match, Sporting Lagos which upstaged Enyimba 2-1, would have been in comfort zone, making Sunday’s duel at the Lekan Salami a ‘merry-making’ venture for both sides.

But a twist of fortunes which saw Bayelsa fighting back to a 2-1 win means Shooting Stars will have to spare no weapon on Sunday to beat Sporting Lagos.

The visitors on the other hand have a mountain to climb to avoid the looming drop.

 Ikenne provides another battle ground, though with lesser gravity than what is expected in Ibadan and Aba. A win of any margin secures CAF Champions League ticket for Remo Stars as they host Katsina United who stay without threat in the middle of the league log.

But the battle will be fiercer in Aba where both hosts, Enyimba and visiting Plateau United have arithmetical and conjectural chances of making the top three and obtaining a continental ticket.

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While the battle at the top of the log is for two teams to join Enugu Rangers in getting continental ticket, so also it is at the bottom as both Gombe United and Heartland await the two others that will escort them to the lower league.

 Battling to avoid the drop are Sporting Lagos, Doma United, Akwa United and Bayelsa.

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Nigerian Football

Coronation day for champion-elect, Enugu Rangers

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Enugu Rangers can afford to lose 56-0 this Sunday to Gombe United and erase the record negative goal difference of the already relegated side. Such a scoreline will not change the destiny of both sides as Rangers will merely enter the pitch to fulfill the fixtures for formality sake. They will be more interested in the post match event – their coronation as the new king of Nigerian league.

 A win will only add icing to the celebration cake, taking their points to 70, just three short of 73 obtained by the defunct Dolphins in the 2010/2011 season.

 But it is taking nothing away from Enugu Rangers who will be presented with the league trophy this Sunday by the NFF president, Ibrahim Musa Gusau.

The NFF chieftain headlines a choice list of eminent guests expected at the occasion, which will see the champions, who will be crowned for the eighth time since a national football league was introduced in 1972.

Their success this season was confirmed last weekend when they beat Bendel Insurance 2-0 at home while their three rivals – Remo Stars, Shooting Stars and Enyimba lost their respective away games with identical scorelines of 2-1.

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