Pinnick: 2017 Was Great, But 2018 Will Be More Glorious

President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick has expressed the satisfaction of the Federation with on-field and off-field results for Nigerian Football in the outgoing year, while expressing conviction that the year 2018 will bring forth more honours and even greater global recognition for the Nigerian game.

In the year 2017, the Super Eagles qualified for the FIFA World Cup finals with a match to spare from a so –called ‘Group of Death’; the Eagles B qualified for the African Nations Championship starting in Morocco in a forthnight and; the U20 and U17 girls swept aside opposition to reach the final round of qualification for their respective FIFA Women’s World Cup finals taking place in 2018.

FlFA President Infantino , Secretary General arrives Nigeria

Off the field, a string of victories in the boardroom has given Nigerian Football a louder voice in international football politics and; a number of worthwhile sponsorship deals with corporate organizations has greatly reduced the financial burden on the nation’s supreme football–ruling body.

“Largely, it has been an excellent year, on and off the field. The bookmakers, analysts and football fans all over the world thought we were going to find it difficult in our World Cup qualifying group, but we made it to Russia with a match to spare. Now, we have already kick –started the preparations to the finals with a landmark agreement with the team on funds and renewal of the Technical Adviser’s contract to keep him fully focused on the job.

“Like the World Cup, qualification for the CHAN was also down to hard work and focus. We are ready to work even harder and focus much more ardently on our objectives in the year 2018, because we want to win the CHAN and achieve our best –ever outing at the FIFA World Cup,” Pinnick told thenff.com at the weekend.

The CAF Executive Committee Member and Member of the Organizing Committee for FIFA Competitions also revealed that big plans are afoot for the women’s game.

NFF President Amaju Pinnick (right) with Aiteo Group DMD Francis Peters (left) in expansive mood after the signing of the agreement that made Aiteo Official Optimum Partner of the NFF.

“It is unfortunate that the Coach we had contacted and approved for the Super Falcons’ job opted for something else before the contract was signed, but that is water under the bridge and we have moved on. In a few weeks, we will unveil a highly qualified Coach for the team and we will then take it from there. Already, we have signed a contract for a friendly match with the women’s national team of France for 4th April 2018 in Paris. We are also mindful of the on –going campaigns of the Falconets and Flamingoes for World Cup tickets and we will continue to give them maximum support.

“We were absent from the youth tournaments in 2017 because we lost out of the qualifiers wanting to do things right. We have no regrets for insisting on doing what is right. We have already set the machinery in motion for a credible and enduring system that Nigerians will be proud of in a short while.”

Pinnick insisted victories in the boardroom were major achievements considering Nigeria’s near zero presence in football politics’ top table for several years hitherto. “Now, we have someone high up in CAF and important in FIFA and we have people in FIFA committees and CAF committees. That is a step in the right direction.

“I admit there were a couple of glitches in administration but that only showed we are human, but we have put measures in place to forestall unwholesome experience in the future. It is going to be a very busy, busy first half of 2018 and I have told the secretariat to wake up and move at the same pace as the Executive. In 2018, we will be thorough, we will be diligent, we will be professional and there will be zero tolerance for negligence and laxity. We are taking a winning mentality into 2018 and anyone not cut out for that will have to excuse us.

“The World Cup is the big one next year and I believe we are going to be very ready when the tournament kicks off. We have lined up four friendly matches starting with the game with Poland in Warsaw on 23rd March. There will be other matches on 27th March, 28th May (in Nigeria) and 2nd June.

Amaju Pinnick Receives Globall Excellence Awards,

“Certainly, we have been able to activate our plans thanks to tremendous support from the Federal Government. We are forever grateful to the President of the Federal Republic, His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR), Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (GCON) and the Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung who is always there for the Federation, intervened for us at critical times and made out time to watch the Super Eagles’ World Cup qualifying matches.”

The NFF boss also handed big kudos to other highly –placed personalities who contributed in no small measure to the NFF’s achievements in 2017.

“The President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, other cabinet ministers, the Executive Governors of Akwa Ibom, Kano, Lagos and Edo States and chairmen of sports committees of the National Assembly were pillars of support and I commend them.

“Our partners and sponsors have been marvellous. AITEO Group, Zenith Bank, Guinness Nigeria PLC, Emzor Pharmaceuticals, IGI, NIKE, TGI, Payporte, Supersport and Radio Brila have all stood behind us like rocks and we are very, very grateful. In a few weeks, we will be signing more sponsorship contracts, which means we will have many more organizations and personalities to appreciate at the end of 2018.

“I cannot fail to appreciate the members of the Fourth Estate of the Realm (the media). They kept us on our toes and have continued to play a creditable role in the development of Nigerian Football.”

Advertisements

Nigeria can beat Croatia At The World Cup – Ajayi …expects Eagles call up

Former Nigeria U-23 and Al- Ahly of Egypt forward, Ajayi Junior has expressed his confidence in the abilities of the Super Eagles to come out tops in its group matches in Russia 2018 world cup.

Speaking from his base in Cairo, Egypt, the fast paced attacker was quick to rubbish the statement credited to former Croatian star, Robert Prosineksi, stating that the Eagles stand no chance against the Croats.

Oluwafemi Ajayi Ezekiel (Ajayi Junior), Saliu Popoola and Ezekiel Imoh
photo credit: Hajji Gafar

“The Croatians have been boasting that they would beat Nigeria. But they have refused to reckon with the the abilities of our players and that would be their greatest undoing at the world cup,” the highly rated forward stated.

Ajayi who has scored several important goals that has been instrumental to the impressive runs of the Egyptian giants this season, went ahead to express his desire to be a part of the Super Eagles squad to Russia.

Junior Ajayi

” It is the dream of every player to play at the world cup,” the former 3SC and SC Sfaxien of Tunisia star said.
” And yes, I would love to play in the world cup. Gernot Rohr has promised to take the best players to the world cup and I look forward to a call up, taking into consideration my present form both locally and on the continent for my team,” he quipped.

Akeem Busari

Nadal Pulls Out Of Brisbane, Eyes Australia Open Return

World Number One Rafael Nadal as tweeted that he would not be taking part in Brisbane as he shifts his focus to the first Grand slam of the year which serves-off in Australia January 2018.

The Spaniard who had an incredible 2017 that saw him win two Grand Slam titles and four other titles on the ATP tour which eventually saw him rise to number one on the ATP Tour Ranking ahead of long time rival Roger Federer who also had a phenomenal 2017.

Nadal had also pulled out of the Rolex Paris Masters and Nitto ATP Finals

Rafael Nadal
photo credit: Manuel queimadelos
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

Men’s Tennis Rankings 2017

ATP TOP FIVE

Rank Player Points
1 R. Nadal 10645
2 R. Federer 9605
3 G. Dimitrov 5150
4 A. Zverev 4610
5 D. Thiem 4015

Huge excitement, As Seyi Akinwunmi Charity Ball Rolls Again

There is a high level of excitement and infectious ecstasy as the fourth edition of the Seyi Akinwunmi Charity Mini-Tournament comes to a climax at the Lagos Campos Mini-Stadium on Friday.

Sponsored by the 1st Vice President of Nigeria Football Federation, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi, the show –stopping event has over the years attracted leading administrators, top–drawer artistes and ex-international footballers to the finale, while a number of promising talents have been unearthed during the youth competition.

Akinwunmi with star discoveries Musa Alli (left) and Elvis Onyenze (right) as they graduated from Greensprings International School this year.

The competition’s main objective is provision of scholarships for smart but indigent children and support for ailing ex-international players. Over 200 children have been supported through the Courage Education Foundation, which has chosen the game of football to bring people together and raise funds for the Foundation’s goals.

Thorough, deliberate and averse to doing things in half measures, Akinwunmi, who has been Chairman of Lagos State Football Association for more than six years now, has driven the mini-tournament and the Foundation with a touch of class, charisma and consistency.

A well–thought partnership with Greensprings International School, Lagos has provided the perfect station for star discoveries to combine first –education with sport, which ultimately makes for a better athlete. This year, Musa Alli and Elvis Onyenze, who have shone for Nigeria’s U15 squad and look good enough to be considered for the next Nigeria U17 squad, graduated from Greensprings International School.

Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi NFF 1st Vice President and Chairman LSFA

“Our goal is to provide the perfect platform for the gifted but indigent child to fulfill his dream, through combining good education with a career in sport. Alli and Onyenze are examples of what we set out to do and they are still going strong, but there are many more on the way.

“The finale which we hold at the Campos Mini-Stadium is a spectacle for both good youth football and fun, with administrators and ex-internationals taking part in the novelty game. Here, we raise funds for the goals of the Foundation,” Akinwunmi told thenff.com.

This year, NFF President Amaju Pinnick is leading a team of Pinnick and Friends against Family United By Sports, with names like Festus Keyamo (SAN), Ayodeji Tinubu (SA to Lagos State Governor on Sports), Olusegun Odegbami (former Nigeria captain), Taiwo Ogunjobi (former Nigeria international and former NFF GS and Executive Committee Member), Chris Green (ranking member of NFF Executive Committee) and Imama Amapakabo (NPFL title –winning coach with Enugu Rangers last year) already signed up for FUBS.

They will be coached by Nduka Ugbade, who captained Nigeria’s first cadet team to win the FIFA World Cup and was an assistant coach when the U17 team won it for the fourth time in the United Arab Emirates in 2013.

Popular stand-up comedian Gbenga Adeyinka will be referee of the match.

“The truth is that talents abound in the nooks and crannies of our country. They are waiting to be discovered and nurtured. Most are from poor homes and need support to climb that ladder to get close to their dreams.

“I want to really appreciate Greensprings International School for the hand of partnership they have lent to the Foundation. Together, we believe we can take this project very far and in a way that would be great for Nigerian Football development,” Akinwunmi added.

NPFL Newboys Go Round FC Players Resume Pre-Season Camp January 2nd 2018

Players of Go Round FC will return for their final phase of preparations ahead of the new League season on January 2, 2018.

The players departed for the Christmas break on Friday, December 22, 2017 after closed door preparations at their base in Omoku.

It has never been the club’s policy to play high profile friendly matches before registration is concluded, hence the seeming silence as regards preparations for the new season.

As stated just after the club gained promotion to the NPFL, the coaching crew had been enhanced with a few additions.

Ngozi Elechi has continued in his role as head of the Technical crew (Technical Adviser), assisted by Okey Eluozor as chief coach of the team. Abiye Tamuno Iyalla continues as goalkeeper coach, while Afam Nnam Obi was with the team as trainer. Peter Abaje joined the crew as Technical Assistant/ Video analyst.

Go Round FC will start their first ever NPFL campaign with a road trip to Bauchi against Wikki Tourists then host Akwa United in midweek at the KrisDera Hotel Stadium.

CAVB Completes Beach Volleyball Coaching Course in Eritrea

The CAVB Beach Volleyball Coaching course completed in the Eritrean Capital Asmara on Monday after 5 days of excessive work during the event which held in the Eritrean Olympic Committee Hall.

In attendance at the closing ceremony to distribute the certificates to the succesfull participants, were National Olympic Committee President Mehari Tesfay, the local Volleyball Federation President Col. Desale Kalei and the FIVB Instructor for the course Mohamed Benhamida.

The course attracted 26 coaches from the different provinces of the eastern African country.

COMMONWEALTH GAMES 2018: ATHLETES INTENSIFY TRAINING IN ABUJA, LAGOS AND PH

Athletes preparing for the Commonwealth Games billed for April 2018 have intensified preparations in various camps across the nation.

The Ministry of Youth and Sports began its first phase of camping on December 17, 2018 in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja.

Boxers, Table tennis and Para Table tennis players are camping in Lagos, the weightlifters are in Abuja while Port Harcourt is hosting Athletics and Para Athletics.

Speaking on activities at the Brai Ayonote Boxing Gymnasium where the boxers are currently training, the camp Commandant Dr Segun Akinlotan said that a total of 32 boxers and 4 coaches led by Tony Konyegwachie will camp till January 16, 2018 for the 1st phase. According to Akinlotan, the boxers are in high spirit.

“The boxers and officials are in high spirit. Training kit including track suits, T-shirts, slippers and knickers have been supplied to the boxers. Feeding is okay and the atmosphere is generally conducive.

“By the end of the first phase of camping, the boxers will be reduced to 16 as the 2nd phase is billed to start from Jan 17th to 16th February 2018.”

Elsewhere at the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research Yaba Lagos, 16 players including 8 para table tennis players, 8 able players and 14 officials are camped.

Camp Commandant Ms Mbora Ikana Mbora said the players train twice daily at the Knock-up hall of the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos and are well kitted for training.

“Feeding is adequate and timely as supervised by the Medical team. Haruna Quadri and two other para players Faith Bazuaye and Tope Ogunsanya have already qualified for the games. We are targeting a podium appearance”, Mbora said.

In Abuja, a total of 12 Weightlifters comprising 7 female and 5 male are camping at Package B of the Abuja National Stadium.

The Camp Chaperone Mrs Chinedu Ezeala said that the lifters have shown great sense of responsibility and discipline.

“The weightlifters have obeyed camp rules to the latter and have displayed a great sense of responsibility. We want to ensure a podium performance at the forthcoming Commonwealth Games in Australia,” Ezeala stated.

The IAAF High Performance Center at the University of Port Harcourt is hosting 40 track and field athletes and 9 Para athletes.

Camp Commandant and Assistant Director Elite Athletes Mrs Maria Wophill said athletes enjoyed a peaceful celebration on Christmas Day.

“We celebrated Christmas in camp and it was peaceful. There are no complaints on feeding.”

Mrs Wophill spoke further on preparations to get the best athletes for the Commonwealth Games.

“Our first trial comes up on January 15, 2018. It will be an open trial as athletes who are not in camp will be allowed to fight for qualification. The second Phase of camping will commence immediately after the trials as we expect changes in times and performance. Facilities here are of high standards so we also expect good performances from the athletes,” Wophil said.