FUNDING, ACCOUNTABILITY THE BANE OF SPORTS IN 2016 – Dalung

The federal government says it is determined to continue with its current drive to sanitize the sports sector to make it more viable and credible to investors.

In his New Year message, the Minister of Youth and Sports Barrister Solomon Dalung said that the sports sector recorded successes in 2016 which could be improved upon in the new year with measures put in place to ensure transparency in sports.

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“In 2016, we recorded achievements in the Olympics and Paralympic Games. We have also improved in our football and basketball rankings by FIFA and FIBA.

“With Federal Government’s timely financial intervention, the Super Eagles have been able to start their World Cup campaign on a very strong footing with two victories recorded so far after two games. We must also thank his Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari for paying special attention to the Super Eagles and Super Falcons despite the current economic situation following the recent payment of all outstanding allowances and bonuses.

Dalung Opens 2016 Nigeria National Youth Games At Ilorin
Dalung Opens 2016 Nigeria National Youth Games At Ilorin

“We hosted and discovered new talents from the recently held National Youth Games in Ilorin, Kwara state despite paucity of funds but these could be improved upon with an increased budgetary allocation for sports in 2017.”

The Minister noted that despite the successes recorded by football recently, it is unfortunate that the audit report in which the NFF was indicted by FIFA is trying to dent the image of Nigeria and football in general.

“The policy direction of the Ministry is that we will stop at nothing to preserve the image of Nigeria. Nigerians should also know the determination of government on issues of accountability, especially the FIFA audit report, to unravel all issues surrounding the report and all other monies associated with such practices which could bring the image of the country and Nigeria’s sports to disrepute”.

Barrister Dalung said that some of the challenges of sports in 2016 had to do with funding, sponsorship, transparency and accountability and called on all sports federations to submit their programs for 2017 within the first week of the year to allow for proper planning.

A group Photograph of the FIFA, CAF, NFF and NASS members with the Senate President, Bukola Saraki
A group Photograph of the FIFA, CAF, NFF and NASS members with the Senate President, Bukola Saraki

“All federations including the NFF should avail the Ministry of their programs for the year to enable the government to plan and scrutinize for intervention appropriately. Failing to do so on time will mean forfeiting contingent arrangements for those programs and federations should not fall back to blackmail the government.

” In the New Year, we are looking at sports with high hopes. We are hopeful that the potentials in sports will be unbundled for the benefit of the teeming youths we have in Nigeria. All hands must be on deck to achieve this while wishing Nigerians a prosperous New Year.” Dalung said.

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Rivers United’s Ihunda Undergoes Successful Surgery In India

Rivers United defender, Chigozie Ihunda has undergone successful surgery on his knee and is expected to be back in action for the ‘Pride of Rivers’ in the next three to six months.

Ihunda injured his left knee during United’s 1-0 win over Warri Wolves at the Warri City Stadium, Warri on May 8 and has not played competitively ever since.

ihunda-prays-before-the-game-vs-wolves-rivers-united-chigozie-ihunda-npfl-nigeria-professional-football-league

The right back is currently in New Delhi, India where he has now undergone successful surgery and will now continue his rehabilitation with a view to returning to active competition.

Rivers United doctor, Chukwuemeka Agi who is with the defender in India explained that the procedure which took place on December 24 was successful.

“Ihunda has been operated upon at the Artemis Hospital in New Delhi, India.

“We arrived in New Delhi on December 22 and he (Ihunda) had blood tests and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) done on the same day.

“We had a review with the surgeon on December 24 and agreed to have the surgery two days later.

“The surgery lasted for two hours.

“The operations that were done were in two phases; the first was a key hole surgery on the left knee while the second was an open surgery.

“He is currently in the first phase of recovery and we will now need to commence rehabilitation.

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“He has already started minor physiotherapy which we hope will be good and effective.

“The time line for his return to action will be between three to six months but it could also be earlier depending on how the physiotherapy progresses.

“We wish to thank the Rivers State Government led by the Governor, His Excellency, Barrister Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike for facilitating this trip and ensuring the career of this young man did not end prematurely,” Dr Agi told the club’s official website, http://www.riversunitedfc.com.ng.

Ihunda who is recovering well after the surgery also took the time to discuss his current situation.

“This is an important moment in my career. Football is my life and I feared I may never play again.

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“It is God that will bless the Governor and the Rivers State Sports Commissioner, Honourable Boma Iyaye for the role they played in bringing me here (to India).

“I also want to thank my teammates for their support during my trying moments.

“Hopefully, I will be with them soon on the pitch to help Rivers United FC win things,” a very emotional Ihunda said.

Ihunda scored two goals for Rivers United last season before he sustained the unfortunate injury on match day 15.

Kano Governor Abdullahi Ganduje Welcomes New Kano Pillars Players

Kano state Governor Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje yesterday (thursday) Welcomed newly recruited Kano Pillars Football Club players on board.

The Governor welcomed the players yesterday at the Sani Abacha Stadium kano shortly after their training.

The meeting occurred shortly before Pillars moved to Kaduna for last phase of their pre-season camping in readiness for the 2016/2017 NPFL Season.

Ganduje who spoke through the chairman kano state sports commission Alhaji Ibrahim Galadima assured them that they would not regret joining kano pillars football club.

Dr. Ganduje said his administration would continue doing its best in maintaining the status of the club as the best in terms of players welfare in the country.

He pledged that the salary problems of some new players would be sorted out by by the first week of next month January 2017.

The spots loving Governor also charged both new and old players to use the Kaduna Closed-Camping period as an avenue of promoting unity and understanding among them for the success of the club in the forthcoming season.

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“You should be aware that Government and good people of kano state are behind you and they want you to revive the wining mentality of the club that you are known for” the Governor said.

Responding the Technical Adviser of the club Kadiri Ikhana thanked him for the visit and assured that both the technical crew and the players currently in the team would do everything humanly possible to meet the set goals at the end of the season.

Spokesman of the club Idris Malikawa later confirmed that the club has since arrived kaduna and they would commence training this morning at Ahmadu Bello Stadium kaduna.

Al-Mohannadi Announces Candidacy For The ITTF Presidential Election

ITTF Deputy President Khalil AL-MOHANNADI has announced his candidacy to become the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) President, where elections will be held on 31 May 2017 in Dusseldorf, Germany.

Mr AL-MOHANNADI from Qatar has an array of international experience, being the Qatar Table Tennis Association President since 1995 and serving as ITTF Deputy President from 2005-2006 and 2015-present, and as ITTF Executive Vice President between 2007 and 2014.

“I am proud that the Qatar Table Tennis Association has made huge progress during my years of office and has become one of the leading and most successful organizers of high level world table tennis events.”

Under Mr AL-MOHANNADI’s leadership, Qatar have organized the following international events:

* The Liebherr 2004 World Team Championships;
* Commencing in 1994, highly successful ITTF World Tour tournaments which continue to attract the very best players in the world. Almost US$ 4,000,000 has been distributed in prize money at ITTF World Tour Qatar Open;
* ITTF World Junior Circuit Qatar Open tournaments;
* The 2011 Peace and Sport set an example to the world and was universally acclaimed;
* The 2012 Olympic Games World Qualification tournament;
* Most recently the ITTF Star Award and Seamaster Qatar 2016 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals.

Mr Khalil Al-Mohannadi addressing the guests at the recent Seamaster Qatar 2016 ITTF Star Awards
Mr Khalil Al-Mohannadi addressing the guests at the recent Seamaster Qatar 2016 ITTF Star Awards

If Mr AL-MOHANNADI is elected President, his proposals are:

* Ensuring major marketing improvement with title sponsors for all World title events; in particular the ITTF World Tour;
* Increasing the popularity of table tennis worldwide, gaining the recognition of all major television channels;
* Promoting ITTF Development Programmes in all aspects;
Unifying the eligibility rule for all international events to be the same as the regulations required for the Olympic Games;
* Transparency in all ITTF financial transactions.

There are now two official candidates for the ITTF President position, with current ITTF President Thomas WEIKERT announcing in October that he will run for this highest position in table tennis.

The deadline for National Associations to submit nominations for Presidential candidates is 30 April

NFF: Nobody Shortchanged Super Eagles

The Nigeria Football Federation has denied a report on an African football website that it shortchanged players of the Super Eagles with regards to payment of their win bonus for the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Algeria in Uyo in November 2016.

Eagles’ Team Administrator Dayo Enebi Achor confirmed to thenff.com: “That report is a fabrication. The estimate we sent to the Government was for the sum of N1million for each player for a win. Nobody has been shortchanged.

“Sometimes in March this year, the NFF held a meeting with some technical crew members, team captain and vice captain, on behalf of the team, and told them to open bank accounts (in Nigeria) as the Federation was no longer disposed to paying cash. It was also at that meeting that the NFF told them they would no longer be paid in dollars for home matches, and that the win bonus for home match was a flat rate of N1million. The meeting took place at the team’s hotel in Kaduna and I was present at the meeting.

“It was based on this that the players were paid the sum of N500,000 each for the draw against Egypt in Kaduna (2017 Cup of Nations qualifier, March 2016) and the sum of N1million each for the win against Tanzania in Uyo (2017 Cup of Nations qualifier, September 2016). Their camp allowance has also been paid in naira (N50,000 per day) since March 2016.”

Nigeria Super Eagles Celebrate Victory over Algeria photo credit Elderson Echiejile
Nigeria Super Eagles Celebrate Victory over Algeria
photo credit Elderson Echiejile

Achor also confirmed that for away matches, the players are entitled to the sum of $5,000 at the official rate obtaining at the time of match.

“The NFF has not shortchanged the players. The match against Algeria was a home match. Whenever the win bonus for the match against Zambia in Ndola is being paid, it would be $5,000 per player at the official rate that obtained at the time the match was played.”

Go Round FC Unveil Coach Esu For 2017 Season

The management of Nigeria National League, NNL side, Go Round FC have unveiled Caleb Esu as chief coach for the next football season.

Ngozi Elechi was with the club last season as head coach and has now been named the Technical Adviser, while Caleb Esu joins the team from Unicem Rovers and will assist Elechi as Chief coach.

Other members of the coaching crew are Okey Eluozo as trainer and Abiye Iyalla who is goalkeeper coach.

General Manager of Go Round FC, Soni Uboh is optimistic that the team’s coaching crew is good enough to help them achieve their ambitions of playing in the top flight by 2018.

“It has been a good fight to play in the top division and every year we give it our best shot. We have always been unlucky but we are not giving up in our ambitions to play in the top tier of the league,” Uboh said.

“We believe the coaches are the right mix. Ngozi Elechi is someone we all know so well having played for some of the top sides in Nigeria like Eagle Cement, Lobi Stars and Bendel Insurance before going into coaching. He has also been our head coach for a while now.

“Caleb Esu is also a top coach who served time with Unicem Rovers and we believe that both of them at the helm will give us what we want for the season.

Esu has the right mentality and has worked under difficult environments and these are the reasons I went for him. His lifestyle is also devoid of vices that affects most Nigerian coaches.

Go Round FC Unveil Coach Caleb Esu For 2017 Season
Go Round FC Unveil Coach Caleb Esu For 2017 Season

“We will soon be announcing a date that the team will resume for the season as well as some other changes in the side so our fans will know we are indeed ready for the task ahead,” Uboh said.

Club president, Felix Obuah told GoRoundFc media that he had always given the General Manager a free hand to run the club.

“I do not mind where the players and coaches are coming from. When Soni brings somebody, I only ask if he is sure and when he tells me he is I support him all the way.

“All I want is for him to deliver the Premier League ticket to me at the end of the season because I will not deny him any resource to ensure that we succeed every season we play,” Felix Obuah said.

Victor Ezeji Testimonial Fixed For January 7th 2017

The Victor Ezeji Testimonial, VET will now hold on Saturday, January 7, 2017. This is according to the chairman of the Main Organising Committee, China Acheru.

The testimonial was previously scheduled for December, 17, 2016 but had to be moved after that date clashed with the Annual General Assembly, AGA of the Nigeria Football Federation.

Acheru in a statement released by the MOC offered his committee’s apologies for whatever inconveniences the previous change of date might have caused but also expressed delight that the disappointment had also presented an opportunity to get more people involved and make it a bigger and better event.

“It was unfortunate we had to move it then, but it is better to delay it and hold a befitting testimonial for Victor Ezeji than have one with most stakeholders in Nigerian football absent because they are occupied elsewhere,” Acheru said.

“We still expect the governor of Rivers State, Barrister, Nyesom Wike as Special guest of honour on the day.

The NFF president, Amaju Pinnick as well as the LMC chairman, Shehu Dikko, who will incidentally play for one of the teams on the day are both expected to be in attendance.

Victor Ezeji
Victor Ezeji

“Also expected is the chairman of the Club Owners Association, Barrister Danladi Isaac who would be leading a delegation of all 20 club chairmen in the top division to the event. You can thus see our planning continued even while we consulted for a new date,” the MOC chairman said.

The testimonial which will feature a ‘Team Ezeji’ up against a ‘Team NPFL’ already has the likes of Etim Esin, Kelechi Osunwa, Ahmed Abdulrahman, Kennedy Boboye, Dominic Oruma, Imama Amapakabo, Onyekachi Okonkwo, David Tyevkase and many other stars of the Nigerian league billed to take part.