The Football Intermediaries Association of Nigeria (FIAN) have started the distribution of free face-masks to grassroots teams across the six geo-political zones of Nigeria.
The distribution of the face-masks to the grassroots football clubs and less privileged members of the society, which is a part of FIAN Covid-19 palliative initiatives kicked off in Ajegunle area of Ajeromi-Ifelodun local government, Friday, last week.
Seven core grassroots teams were represented by team captains, three players and a coach respectively. And they smiled home with packs of 50 pieces high quality FIAN branded face-masks and 1Kg rice each. While the coaches got extra bags of 5kg and 10kg rice.
The well attended event was witnessed by Ajeromi-Ifelodun local government’s Director-General of Sports, Hon. MacAnthony Anaelechukwu and other Supervisory Councillors, who represented the Council boss, Hon. Fatai Ayoola, also assisted in the distribution of the palliative packages.
The distribution of the packages supervised by FIAN’s Public Relations Officer, Kelvin Irikefe, was swift and seamless. As the maintenance of health and social distancing protocols of the government were strictly adhered to by FIAN .
Speaking on behalf of FIAN Chairman, Ayodele Thomas, after the distributions, Irikefe admonished well placed individuals, groups, government, private and public sectors respectively to reach out to the real grassroots and most vulnerable enclaves of the Nigerian society who urgently need the palliatives at this perilous period.
He disclosed that FIAN next distribution point In Lagos State will be at Etiosa local government, slated for Wednesday next week. While the distributions of the palliative packages to the less privileged grassroots footballers, fans and the vulnerable in Kaduna, Uyo, and Port-Harcourt will follow simultaneously. As it plans to cover the entire country with its tokens of corporate love.
Snooker’s Championship League will return with an exciting new format from June 1st to 11th live on ITV, bringing world-class sport back to living rooms nationwide.
Featuring 64-players in round-robin groups, the new-look Championship League will take place behind closed doors at Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes with strict rules on social distancing, COVID testing and hygiene in place, in line with government guidelines. Marshall Arena has been selected as the venue as it has an on-site accommodation meaning no players, officials or staff will need to leave the venue once they have entered.
All 128 World Snooker Tour card holders will be invited to participate, with the top 64 who enter receiving a place in the tournament. Top players including Judd Trump, Neil Robertson, Mark Allen and Kyren Wilson have already confirmed they will enter the event.
Championship League will be split into three phases, with all matches during all stages played as the best-of-four frames. Play will begin at 3pm each day, running continuously until both groups are complete, with the exception of Friday, June 5th when play will begin at 4pm.
• GROUP MATCHES from June 1st to 8th will feature 16 groups of four players, with two groups played each day across two tables. The player who tops each group table will progress to Phase Two. Players will be awarded three points for a win and one point for a drawn match.
• GROUP WINNERS from June 9th to 10th sees the 16 group winners split into four further groups of four, with two groups per day also played over two tables.
• TOURNAMENT FINALS from June 11th will see the four Phase Two winners battle it out over one final group, played on one table, to determine the Championship League winner.
The total prize fund will stand at over £200,000. Players will earn a guaranteed £1,000 with the winner taking home £30,000 and a place in November’s Champion of Champions. Championship League will not be a ranking event and will be promoted by Matchroom Multi Sport.
All players, staff and contractors will be virus-tested prior to entering the venue and will be in isolation until their results are known. Players will require a negative test result in order to enter the venue. They will play all group matches on one day, remaining on site throughout, and will then leave the venue.
Other safety measures in place will include:
• Social distancing measures in place throughout the venue.
• Players seated at least two metres apart during matches.
• Players using anti-bacterial hand sanitiser before matches and avoiding handshakes.
• Referees endeavouring to keep two metres away from players where possible.
• There will be no access for players’ guests.
• First aid personnel on site at all times
Matchroom Sport Chairman Barry Hearn said: “During the challenging times of the past few weeks we have examined the opportunities which still exist and worked relentlessly towards the goal of getting our tour going again. While most other sports remain sidelined, we are ready to return from June 1st. This sends out a message to the sporting world that snooker is at the forefront of innovation.
“Our first priority has to be safety and we have had detailed discussions with government in creating a set of approved guidelines for the event which will be rigorously followed. We are making this very clear to the players and everyone working on the event.
“We will be the first major sport to get back to live televised action. That’s not by chance, it’s because of the hard work and preparation we have done during the lockdown to make sure we are ready to get going again as soon as it is legal.
“Liaising with government advisors, we have prepared highly detailed health and safety documents which will be followed to the letter during the tournament. These measures surpass any others made in any other professional sport right now.
“In particular, procedures are being put in place for testing players, staff and contractors, which ensure that we are doing everything possible to keep the event safe. Players who have any doubts about their own welfare can rest assured that all precautions are being taken.
“I am confident that there is no other major sport which can meet health and safety criteria on isolation and social distancing as stringently as snooker can, so we are able to return more quickly than others.
“One of the reasons we have selected the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes is that the accommodation is on site, which means that once players arrive for testing the night before they play, they don’t need to leave until their matches have finished, and they can remain isolated within the venue. It is a superb venue with ideal facilities.
“Following testing, the players will remain in an isolated environment until they are eliminated from the event. It is a group format so the group winners will leave the venue, then come back for their next group when the process begins again. Keeping players isolated at all possible times is an integral part of the procedures we are putting in place.
“These are challenging times but as always we are looking at the opportunities rather than the limitations.
“Championship League will provide 11 days of televised sport with extensive live coverage, from 3pm until 10pm each day. For the fans out there who are starved of live sport it will be a fantastic boost and a very welcome diversion from these tough times we are all going through.
“We are thrilled to be working with ITV on Championship League for the first time, with an exciting new format. The field of players and more details will be announced in the coming days.”
Controller of ITV Sport Production, Mark Demuth, said: “We know fans have been missing live action since the lockdown has been in place, so we’re delighted to bring snooker back, marking the return of live sport to free-to-air TV. Behind the scenes, our team has been working with the event organisers to ensure strict adherence to guidelines to safeguard the well-being of all involved, which is our priority.”
The clamour of Soccer loving Nigerians for a return of the Super Eagles to play its matches in Lagos, would soon become a reality.
According to Prince Anthony Adeyinka Adeboye, Senior Special Assistant on Sports to Lagos State Governor, the state government, through the state sports commission have embarked upon massive renovations and constructions of sports facilities across the state.
Speaking in an interview with journalists on Nigeria Sports Centre WhatsApp group, the affable sports administrator and President of Lagos based amateur side, Smart City football club, stated that the government is determined and committed to the provision and improvement of sports facilities in the state. He added that it points to the plan to make Lagos State regain its pride of place as the leader in sports in the country.
“We remain committed to improving sports facilities across different parts of the state. We understand the importance of using sports to empower, encourage and of course, take the youths off the streets.
” Already, work has started at Teslim Balogun Stadium and the Onikan Stadium, which has been rebuilt to a world class facility,” he quipped.
On the desires of football fans to see the Super Eagles back to Lagos, he restated that it would become a reality, as the state sports commission and other relevant agencies are working around the clock to improve on the stadiums and raise it to international standards.
“I can assure you that our amiable and hardworking governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is equally committed to the development of sports in the state. He is a sports lover. And I can confirm that he is also desirous to see the Super Eagles return to play its matches in Lagos.
“Remember the good old days of Nigerian football. The national stadium in Surulere, Lagos, was home to the various Nigerian national teams. We have defeated several top teams and also won many titles at that famous stadium. I want to reassure soccer fans that those sweet days would return soon,” he enthused confidently.
Ex-Super Eagles star Olofinjana partners Ekiti FA…to mentor the next generation of stars
Ekiti Football Association on the wake of its recent deal with leading Nigeria football academy, Mees Palace, have moved its desires to develop football in the state, notches higher.
According to a statement by the State FA boss, Bayo Olanlege, it has entered into another partnership with Imperial Sports Limited, co-owned by ex-Nigeria international and Wolverhampton Wanderers’ midfielder, Seyi Olofinjana and Atiba Bankole.
The partnership deal which is for the initial period of one year and renewable on satisfactory terms of both parties. It would have the FA and the club work on players development, with the Odogbolu, Ogun State based club, providing technical and logistic supports to the FA.
According to the Memorandum of Understand ( MoU), agreed by both parties, the former Super Eagles midfielder will mentor budding football talents in Ekiti State by coming to town once in a while, to speak and socialise with members of the State FA affiliated clubs and organisations.
It was also agreed that Imperial Sports Limited will also from time to time, invite and allow friendly matches to be played with Ekiti FA teams and also offer logistic support to such teams. This logistic support include accommodation the contingent of the visiting team.
Importantly, the partnership will provide opportunities for Ekiti football association players to be scouted, admitted to and exposed to local and foreign football opportunities after periodic scouting programmes.
Speaking on the partnership on behalf of Imperial Sports Limited, Olofinjana, a former Crown FC of Ogbomosho and Hull City star, was confident about the positive impacts the deal would have on the fortunes of both parties.
“I have always been a big advocate of grassroots football and development, as I am of the opinion that’s where we are getting it wrong as a nation and perhaps the continent. The more time we have to educate our players, the better.
The unassuming football administrator, further revealed that he has always been driven by his passion for the game. As well as, the ‘give back’ opportunity to a country that has given him so much in life.
He describes the partnership as an opportunity to better the lots of Ekiti State football and the footbalIers.
“All we are trying to do is create an avenue where players from our state can have pathways away from their base, for further education and exposure to opportunities,” he added.
Ekiti FA Chairman, Bayo Olanlege remarked that the partnership with Imperial Sports Limited is part of the several moves of the state football association to develop football in the state.
International Boxing Association Executive Committee voted in favour to hold AIBA Ordinary Congress on December 12-13, 2020. The decision was made this week by a mail vote with the majority.
Extraordinary Congress, scheduled for June 20, 2020, was canceled due to coronavirus pandemic.
The main topic to discuss of the Ordinary Congress will include such points as approval of accounts, reports by commissions, and two following additional items:
adoption of a new AIBA Constitution;
election of AIBA President.
‘We hope that sanitary situation will allow us to hold AIBA Ordinary Congress in December,’ AIBA Interim President Dr. Mohamed Moustahsane claimed.
‘AIBA is actively working on reforms, not only Statutes changes but also reviewing the competition format and schedule’, he added.
Mark Selby, represented by Scott Edwards, won the inaugural Virtual Betfred World Championship, beating John Higgins 3-2 in the final.
The new tournament featured 16 of the best gamers from snooker’s official video game Snooker 19, each representing one of the sport’s actual top 16.
Edwards, age 40 from Gloucester, steered Selby to victory and his prize includes a trip to the actual Crucible Theatre in Sheffield to receive the trophy. He knocked out Ding Junhui, Neil Robertson and Mark Williams to reach the final, before getting the better of a dramatic clash with Higgins, who was represented by Belgium’s Benny de Nayer.
After losing the opening frame at the virtual Crucible, Selby took the second with an excellent break of 92. Higgins regained the lead with a run of 65, then Selby’s 74 clearance in frame four made it 2-2.
Both players had chances in a marathon 70-minute decider. The key moment came when Selby, leading 57-43, trapped his opponent in a tough snooker with two reds remaining. From the chance that followed, Selby built a lead of 33 points which proved enough.
“I am just relieved because it was such a tough match, and the last frame was incredible,” said Edwards. “It was draining but I had set my mind on keeping it safe and waiting for him to make a mistake. I ground it out in the end.”
Selby himself, a three time actual World Champion, sent a message to Edwards: “I watched it from start to finish and thought you played really well in the final. It was nerve-racking towards the end, a lot like my games! I hope we can meet at the World Championship if it goes ahead so I can say congratulations in person.”
The tournament ran on the original dates of the Betfred World Championship, with matches broadcast on WST’s YouTube and Facebook channels. WST, Ripstone and Lab42 teamed up to run the virtual tournament, which featured gamers competing on PlayStation 4 consoles.
As well as a trip to the Crucible (which may happen next year if this year’s event is played behind closed doors), Edwards’ prize package also includes a cue signed by the world’s top pros and a copy of the Snooker 19 Gold Edition on PlayStation 4.
Snooker19, developed by Lab42, was released last year as the first official WST video game in a generation and received widespread acclaim, as the most true-to-life snooker game ever made.
The board, management, coaches, players and staff of former Nigeria league champions, Rangers International F.C have joined millions of football aficionados around the world to mourn the sudden passing-on of NFF executive committee member, NNL chairman and Enugu state F.A chairman, Honourable Chidi Ofo Okenwa.
In an emotion laden voice, G.M/CEO of Rangers, Prince Davidson Owumi, described the death of Okenwa as a great loss to the whole nation with regards to the round leather game and his wealth of experience would be greatly missed.
“I am indeed short of words to describe the feelings going round in the camp of Rangers on the sudden death of the Enugu F.A chairman, Honourable Chidi Ofo Okenwa. We can’t come to grips with the sad fact that our dear F.A boss is no more. Life is indeed cruel in this situation. This was a man that came up with a lot of contributions as we made plans for the burial of our late player, Ifeanyi George, few weeks back. This is a very, very big loss,” stated Owumi between sobs.
The former NPL boss, further said, “I pray God to grant his immediate family the fortitude to bear this loss while the entire football family in the country are urged to key into the positives he left behind. May his gentle soul rest in peace”
Also reacting to the death of the football guru, the administrative secretary of Rangers, Barrister Ferdinand Ugwuarue, said, “A great Iroko has fallen and it will take some time to grow another. He left us when his massive intellectual prowess was most needed, We will miss his inestimable support.”
Recall that the Obinagu-Uno, Ogonogo-Eji-Ndiuno, Akpugo, Nkanu West LGA, Enugu state born but highly de-tribalized astute football administrator, joined his ancestors, Tuesday, May 5, 2020 at about 10.00 hours.