NFF Crisis: Giwa And Group Lose Again

The Supreme Court on Monday struck out two motions by Chris Giwa and his group seeking to stay the execution of the ruling of the Court of Appeal baring one Mr. Oba Maduabuchi from appearing before it on behalf of Giwa and his group, and the judgement of the same court vacating the orders of the Federal High Court re-listing the case and restoring the orders.

Giwa, proprietor of Giwa FC of Jos, has been in and out of court against Nigeria football in the past 28 months, sustaining his quest even after a celebrated loss at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland.

On Monday, Justices at Nigeria’s highest court were of the view that the said Oba Maduabuchi cannot appear in the case until the ruling of the Court of Appeal refusing him audience is vacated.

Giwa’s lawyers immediately saw the futility of the twin applications and withdrew same, and the Supreme Court promptly struck out both applications.

NFF, Nigeria Football Federation

Giwa and a member of his group, Yahaya Adama, were both in court on Monday when the Supreme Court made the ruling.

It would be recalled that on Monday, 25th July 2016, the Court of Appeal, Jos Judicial Division, had thrown out Giwa’s case, vacating the order of the Federa High Court of the same division that re-listed the case and restored earlier orders.

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LOC Unveil Plans For Nigeria 2016 AFCON Beach Soccer

The Local Organising Committee of the Nigeria 2016 CAF Beach Soccer Cup of Nations on Saturday gave a progress report on its preparations to host a tournament that will set a mark for other major beach soccer competitions globally.

At a press conference in Lagos attended by members of the LOC, the Nigeria Football Federation and officials of the Lagos State Government, LOC chairman Seyi Akinwunmi disclosed that the committee has been working assiduously for the past six months, for the competition scheduled to hold from 13th-18th December 2016.

“We are committed to hosting the best–ever CAF Beach Soccer Championship. Our tenor is on putting up a world –class event, and we believe that with the support we have received and still receiving from the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports, the NFF, the Lagos State Government, we will deliver.

“We are very grateful to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode for his decision to support the event. Nigeria 2016 will be a show–stopper. The annual COPA Lagos Invitational Tournament, which has been on for the past five years, has shown us how interesting and how much fun beach soccer can be.”

Akinwunmi, who is also 1st Vice President of NFF, added that Nigeria has been challenged to pull out all stops to put up a fabulous fiesta after Seychelles successfully hosted the 1st CAF Beach Soccer Cup of Nations in 2015, and with The Bahamas preparing to host the 2017 Beach Soccer World Cup.

Chairman of the Lagos State Sports Commission, Hon. Deji Tinubu unveiled the logo of the championship, and assured that the Lagos State Government will work harmoniously with the NFF and the LOC to achieve the objective of getting the whole world to say positive things about Nigeria.

“We want people to see, and to say positive things about our country. We see no reason why Nigeria cannot host the Beach Soccer World Cup. The capacity of Nigeria is huge, and what Samson Adamu has been doing with the COPA Lagos is tremendous. There will be something massive in December.”

LOC Unveil Plans For 2016 AFCON Beach Soccer
LOC Unveil Plans For 2016 AFCON Beach Soccer

President of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Honour Sirawoo, pledged the support of sports journalists to the LOC, saying the body should see media representatives as partners in the cause of delivering a successful tournament.

Also at the press parley were Director of Organisation, Mr. Samson Adamu, LOC secretary Bola Oyeyode, LOC members Sunny Moniedafe, Salisu Nakande, Bolaji Yusuf, Nansel Nimyel and Athanasius Okon, NRA president Tade Azeez, Dr. Kweku Tandoh, Mr. Mojeed Adegbindin and a host of Lagos State Government officials.

CAF awarded the hosting right to host the 2nd Beach Soccer Cup of Nations to Nigeria through a letter addressed to NFF President Amaju Pinnick in February this year. The tournament is also Africa’s qualifying event for the 2017 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, taking place in The Bahamas.

Nigeria, Egypt, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire will lock horns in Group A, while Cup holders Madagascar play Libya, Morocco and Senegal in Group B.

Aruna Quadri Has Raised The Bar For African Players – ITTF Africa

For being the first African table tennis player to make it to the quarterfinal stage of the men’s singles at the Olympic Games, Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri has indeed raised the bar for upcoming players to aim at in their chosen career.

At the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the 28-year-old Nigerian created history by becoming the first African to reach the last eight stage in the men’s singles.

For this, the final day of the just concluded 2016 ITTF Africa Senior Championship in Agadir, Morocco, the world number 25 was honoured by the ITTF Africa with an award for outstanding performance.

The award was presented by the ITTF Africa President, Khaled El-Salhy and Vice President of ITTF, Cherif Hajem.

The ITTF officials said that the two Nigerians – Segun Toriola and Aruna Quadri played an instrumental role in putting Africa on the world map in Rio and for this, the Executive Committee agreed that the two players must be acknowledged and honoured in order to motivate upcoming players to aim high like them.

President of ITTF Africa, Khaled El-Salhy said, “We were overwhelmed with the huge publicity that Africa got in the table tennis event at Rio Olympic Games because of the performance of Aruna Quadri because in the history of table tennis, no African has made it to the last eight of the Olympic Games.”

Emphasizing on the importance of motivating young kids to follow Quadri Aruna’s footsteps, he added,

“Players like Aruna Quadri are very rare and I know his performance was due to his commitment and hard work which was obvious in his performance. This honour is not just to celebrate him but also to inspire the other players to work hard because without hard work and discipline it will be impossible for any player to make it to the world stage.”

Aruna Quadri has raised the bar for African players –ITTF Africa
Aruna Quadri has raised the bar for African players –ITTF Africa

“From his performance at the 2014 World Cup in Germany where he became the first African to make it to the quarterfinal round of the competition to being named the Male Table Tennis Star of the year at the Dubai 2014 ITTF Star Awards, Aruna Quadri has raised the bar for others to aim at and with his performance of record, more people in the continent are now paying attention to the sport and we hope he will continue to move up and other African players will surely come through,” El-Salhy added.

Quadri Aruna made a giant leap in world rankings in November 2014. He moved from number 73 in October 2014 to number 30 in November 2014. After his success at the Rio Olympics in August this year, Aruna once again climbed up the ladder from number 40 in August 2016 to number 25 in September 2016.

More than anything else, its Quadri Aruna’s killer instinct and his “forever fighting till the end” attitude that makes him a world class player. It’s a treat to watch him play as he gives his heart and soul to win in each point which displays his passion and love for the game.

ITTF African Senior Championships: Oshonaike Reclaims African Title

Olufunke Oshonaike reclaimed her long lost African title at the ITTF African Senior Championships after beating Egypt’s Dina Meshref 4-2 in the final of the women’s singles.

The Egyptian has been unbeaten in the last two years, but Oshonaike with her experienced confused the young North African to emerge as the new continent number one star.

An elated Oshonaike said she was happy that her experience was very handy against the Egyptian. To emerge as the new African Champion, Oshonaike won (7-11, 11-13, 11-5, 11-9, 7-11, 7-11).

A joyful Oshonaike said: “I knew it was going to be tough because being the African champion and she has been unbeaten in the last two year. I just told myself to go out there and have fun and show my experience and when it started working I gained more confidence. But when the match was 2-2 my coach, Segun Toriola told me not to give up and I kept on going and it worked for me at last. This victory means a lot to me that I can still become African champion at my age. It shows that nothing is impossible regardless of age inasmuch as you put your mind at it. I am so happy despite the challenges of making it to Morocco. I feel great and I am so excited that I can still do it and this is also an inspiration for girls that no matter your age, you can achieve whatever you put your mind to in life,” she said.

African Women's Table Tennis Single's Champion  Funke Oshonaike
African Women’s Table Tennis Single’s Champion Funke Oshonaike

However, Aruna Quadri’s efforts of becoming the continent champion failed as the Nigerian fell 4-3 to defending champion, Egypt’s Omar Assar in an entertaining final.

An elated Omar Assar said after the match, “It was really a crazy match because Aruna is always very exciting. I think I gave my 100 per cent concentration and I listened more to my coach, Helmy Ashraf. I think Aruna played very well because he was always changing service and he was more aggressive on his forehand. I am so happy retaining the title and I hope I can play better than this in future tournaments,” Assar said.

Korea’s Cho Proves Himself As Future Star At ITTF World Cadet Challenge

After claiming the Cadet Boys’ team Gold with the Asian team few days earlier, Korea Republic’s CHO Daeseong proceeded to bag the Boys’ Singles and Mixed Doubles Gold today, 29 October, to end his fruitful trip at the World Cadet Challenge in Shanghai, China.

The World Cadet Challenge is the international tournament for world’s best under-15 players to fight for the honor of their continents, and has long been a budding ground for young talents around the world. Many World Champions, such as Grand Slam Champions ZHANG Jike, MA Long and DING Ning, all started their debut on the international arena at the World Cadet Challenge.

CHO battled his teammate and Boys’ Doubles partner Yukiya UDA (JPN) in the Singles final. to win the top seed in six games (8-11, 11-5, 11-8, 17-15, 6-11, 11-6).

“I didn’t expect I’ll win the finals. But I did better in handling the crucial moments. UDA wasn’t fully focused at the beginning of this match, so I got the opportunity,” stated CHO after his victory.

The 15-year-old added “I was well prepared for this match mentally and in terms of all the strategies. I played the Mixed Doubles final and the Boys’ Doubles final before this, it’s been an exhausting day, it’s hard to recover from the fatigue.I enjoyed these seven days. I think the competition is well organized, and I made lots of friend here.”

Same as the case of the Boys’ Singles final, the Girls’ Singles Gold medal match was a hot contest between 2 teammates within the Asian team.

Favorite for the title, Japan’s Miyuu KIHARA seized the Girls’ Singles crown with a convincing 4-1 (11-9, 11-6, 2-11, 11-6, 11-9) victory over her good friend LEE Ka Yee (HKG).

CHO Daeseong
CHO Daeseong

In the Girls’ Doubles matchup, Girls’ Singles rivals LEE and KIHARA teamed up against HUANG Yingqi (CHN) and RYU Hanna (KOR), whom they won the team Gold with, to fight for the title. Familiar with the opponent pair’s strengths and weaknesses, the quad pushed each other to the full distance, and it was HUANG and RYU who recovered from 1-2 game down to take the Gold medal 3-2 (11-8, 5-11, 7-11, 11-6, 11-7).

2015 Boys’ Team Champion Europe avenged their loss to the Asian team in the team semifinals with Maciej KOLODZIEJCZYK (AUT) and Vladimir SIDORENKO (RUS) upsetting top seeded pair CHO Daeseong and Yukiya UDA 3-2 (13-11, 7-11, 11-4, 8-11, 11-6).

Finishing fifth in the Singles event to miss out on a spot on the podium, fourth seeded Amy WANG paired with Singles Champion CHO to defeat UDA and 11-year-old Elena ZAHARIA from the ITTF Hopes team 2-1 (11-7, 6-11, 11-4) to claim the Mixed Doubles title, and secure the first ever Gold medal for North America.

The Asian team with their outstanding performance, took home the title as the Overall Standing Champion.

Gold medalists:

Girls’ Singles: Miyuu KIHARA (JPN)
Boys’ Singles: CHO Daeseong (KOR)
Girls’ Doubles: HUANG Yingqi (CHN) / RYU Hanna (KOR)
Boys’ Doubles: Maciej KOLODZIEJCZYK (AUT) / Vladimir SIDORENKO (RUS)
Mixed Doubles: CHO Daeseong (KOR) / Amy WANG (USA)
Overall Standing Champion: Asia

NIGERIA SPORTS TO BE REVOLUTIONIZED -Dalung

The Ministry of Youth and Sports says it will no longer invest in elite sports development.

Barrister Solomon Dalung made the statement when Otunba Femmy Carrena CEO/President of Arabella 21st Century, a sports Promo/marketing company made a proposal to invest about $1.5b in the Nigerian league.

According to Carrena, some investors in the United Kingdom were willing to invest the amount in the Nigerian Professional Football league.

Enyimba FC Fans in Jubilant mood
Enyimba FC Fans in Jubilant mood

“They want to bring in about $1.5b into Nigerian football but there is a caveat to it. They are not going to tamper with the constitution, statutes or football article. It is the same thing they did in China and Japan. The league board will operate with the NFF and the Ministry will be involved. They want to set up a Football Development Company that will be quoted on the stock exchange and same will apply to all the football clubs in Nigeria. ”
Carrena also hinted that like any other investor, they’ll like to make money.

” They want to come to Nigeria and manage our league for the next twenty years. After a meeting with the ministry and other stakeholders, they’ll set up the company but their Nigerian counterparts are expected to invest 30% of the $1.5b. They’re ready to put their own money into the stock exchange but they’ll have the controlling share”.

Carrena stated that after this process, there will be a football conference in the country to let the various clubs know what to expect. They will give them subvention, put the various stadia to use but it will not be a government appointed board. The CEO said that It will be a board that will be appointed by the people who buy into the clubs.

Chairman of the LMC, Shehu Dikko
Chairman of the LMC, Shehu Dikko

“They will restructure the league, get the television rights but not before a conference which will explain to everyone how it will work. They will be coming with technical experts from the premiership who will be operating in the development company that they will set up which include representatives of the ministry, the LMC and the NFF.

Carrena said that the National teams will also benefit in terms of training and subventions while talks are already in progress with the Confederation of African Football CAF.

In his response, Barrister Dalung restated that sports will henceforth be private sector- driven.

“It will now be stake holder- defined . You must put your money in it. The days of when government will make huge budgetary allocations for people who have no single contribution is over. We’re only going to invest our budgetary allocation in grassroots sports development. Elite sports should be owned by the private sector. Put your money in it. Manage it and make profit or loss. The era of running sports only on sponsorship without your own contribution is over.

“If you want to come and set up another league, you’re welcome. Since we as government are interested in it, we will buy shares and become stakeholders. We have kick-started the machinery to reform sports. We maintain the monopoly of policy regulation. Government is going to invest in the new sports architecture. Government is going to be a stakeholder in each emerging business entity that will own sports in order to create wealth on budding potentials for talent development and employment.

NPFL All-Stars training ahead of Ramon de Carranza tourney photo credit: @LMCNPFL
NPFL All-Stars training ahead of Ramon de Carranza tourney
photo credit: @LMCNPFL

“With the stagnated sports architecture like the one we have now , where the stakeholders are undefined and they cannot even figure out any single interest or investment in sports is no longer acceptable. We are only going to be preoccupied as government in investing in grassroots sports development and policies”

Dalung however charged Carrena to go and compete with the current league.

“If you want to run a league, run the league and if you want to do 419, EFCC is there. We are now more interested in institutional sports and the development of young people. Elite sports should be able to produce the money that will sustain itself. So whatever you want to do, we will be involved wherever we are concerned” the Minister said.

Nigeria Retains Men’s Doubles Title At ITTF Africa Senior Championships

Having watched Egypt claimed three titles ahead of them in the ITTF Africa Senior Championships, Nigeria showed their quality in the men’s doubles as the pair of Aruna Quadri and Segun Toriola retained the men’s doubles title.

Pairing for the first time in a major championship, the partnership of Aruna Quadri and Segun Toriola conquered Egyptian teams to hold on to the title won in 2015 by Aruna Quadri and Kazeem Makanjuola.

Aruna Quadri and Segun Toriola
Aruna Quadri and Segun Toriola

The Nigerian duo defeated ageing Egyptians – El-Sayed Lashin and Ahmed Saleh 4-2 to give Nigeria its first gold medal in the one-week championship holding in Agadir, Morocco.

An elated Toriola said: “For us winning this title is very good because I had said earlier that it is a must for us to win this doubles title. But I must also tell you that it was not an easy match because the match was strange to us in all departments. Also our opponents are very experienced players and clever, so we are so excited claiming the first gold medal for Nigeria in this competition.”

For the women’s doubles, Egypt’s duo of Dina Meshref and Yousry Helmy won the title ahead of their compatriots.

Aruna Quadri and Segun Toriola
Aruna Quadri and Segun Toriola

Meshref described the win as special, “Winning the doubles title this year is very special because this is the first time I am partnering Yousra Helmy, who is my cousin and I think we played very together as doubles partner. The absence of players from Congo Brazzaville and Nigeria may have taken the shine off the event but what is most important is that we have won for Egypt,” she said.

Meanwhile the paring for the semifinal of the singles event will see Aruna Quadri going up against experienced Ahmed Saleh and it will be an Egyptian affair in the second semis as Omar Assar battles El-Sayed Lashin.

Aruna Quadri and Segun Toriola
Aruna Quadri and Segun Toriola

In the women’s pairing Nigeria’s Olufunke Oshonaike will face Egypt’s Farah Abdel-Aziz while defending champion, Egypt’s Dina Meshref will battle compatriot – RAHMO Aida for a place in the final.