Nigeria’s 3×3 D’Tigers Handed Tough World Cup Qualification Draw

The senior men’s 3×3 National team has been grouped alongside France, Germany and Italy in Group A for a place in the 2019 FIBA 3×3 World cup.

The men’s team currently ranked 76th in the world and 10th in Africa failed to secure an automatic qualification after falling short of the FIBA Africa Cup title in Benin Republic. hey face the 3×3 super powers in San Juan, Puerto Rico between May 4th and 5th.

Despite being the underdogs in the group, the team will hope to defeat world number 25, Germany and Italy ranked 17th on the global ranking table if they are to stand a chance of qualifying for the World Cup.

The FIBA 3×3 Africa Cup 2017 winners will have their hands full when they come up against FIBA 3×3 World Cup 2016 bronze medalists France.

Team captain and Rivers Hoopers Basketball club new recruit, Abdul Yahaya believes the team stand a chance of qualifying for the world cup.

“We learnt vital lessons during the 2018 edition in the Philippines and we hope to bring that to bare when we get to San Juan.”

Although, it is not going to be an easy task, we are not going to just fold our arms and let Germany, Italy or France have an easy ride over us.”

photo credit: NBBF

Group A and B winners automatically qualify for the semifinals while the 2nd and 3rd placed teams will play in the quarterfinals to determine the other 2 semifinalists.

Winners of the semifinals will qualify for the FIBA 3×3 World Cup 2019 holding in Amsterdam, Netherlands between June 18-23.

Losers of the semifinals will play a final game for the final spot.

Nwora Slams Cameroon Basketball Federation Match Fixing Allegation Borne Out Of Frustration

Head Coach of Nigeria Senior Men’s Basketball team, Alex Nwora has come down hard on the Cameroon Basketball Federation (FECABASKET) for their match fixing allegation against the D’Tigers.

According to information, FECABASKET and Cameroonians allegedly blamed D’Tigers for wilfully losing to Côte d’Ivoire to aide their qualification for the 2019 FIBA Men’s World Cup.

He said such careless statement borne out of frustration capable of bringing the sport into disrepute should not be taken lightly by the Federation of International Basketball Associations (FIBA).

Nwora blasted Cameroon saying they embarked on a self-destruct mission during the qualifiers which ultimately cost them a world cup ticket.

“If such is coming from Cameroon that is hypocrisy. Instead of employing average coaches, they should have gone for the best. They have a very good coach who I know very well, he is one of the best coaches and I learn most of the stuff from him”.

According to him, angry Cameroonian should hold their federation responsible for costing the country a place in China after their gamble backfired.

Nwora reckoned that losing 5 games in the qualifying series sealed their fate and not Nigeria that FECABASKET or Cameroonians are trying to blame.

He wondered how much cash or incentives would have been enough for the players and the coaching crew for the match to have been fixed.

“I wanted to go undefeated, make history for my country. Do you how much Nigeria has for Cameroon to insinuate that we came here to sell a game? How much are they going to pay us? Who will pay us to sell a game?”

D’Tigers Coach Alex Nwora,

“These are professional players who make money. If they want to do something right, they should not blame their stupidity on these kids and Nigeria because these guys are professional.”

He described the allegation as an insult on his person, profession, players and what the NBBF stands for.

The US based coach is threatening legal action against FECABASKET or any individual who will stop at nothing to malign his name.

“If anybody is trying to question my integrity, my country and the people that I represent, that is an insult and this is the last time I want to hear that. If my name comes in, I will sue Cameroon or whoever does that.”

NFF Congratulates President Buhari On Re-election

The Nigeria Football Federation on Wednesday congratulated His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR on his re-election as President and Commander-In-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

In the early hours of Wednesday, the electoral body, Independent National Electoral Commission, declared President Buhari successfully re-elected along with his running mate, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, GCON.

“The NFF is excited by the victory of President Buhari. We attribute all the successes that we have had in football in the past four years to His Excellency, working closely and in unison with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and other key members of his administration.

“The Government of President Muhammadu Buhari has been providing the conducive environment necessary for the game of football to thrive in our dear country and we believe that the next four years will be even more fruitful for Nigerian football,” NFF President Amaju Melvin Pinnick, said.

Pinnick, who alongside NFF General Secretary Mohammed Sanusi is attending the FIFA Executive Football Summit in Rome, Italy, said the various accomplishments of Nigerian Football locally and internationally in the past four years, on and off the field, could not have seen the light of day without the active support and encouragement of the Buhari Government.

“We will always remain very grateful to His Excellency and his Government. We have received the maximum support from the administration. We will work even harder in the next four years to take Nigerian Football to even higher heights of excellence.”

President Muhammadu Buhari

In the past four years of the Buhari administration, Nigerian Football has blossomed on and off the field, with FIFA and CAF appointments for Nigerians more than ever before. Pinnick himself became the first –ever 1st Vice President of CAF from Nigeria. He is also a Member of the Organising Committee for FIFA Competitions, and President of the organising committee for the AFCON – CAF’s flagship competition.

Other Nigerians such as Justice Ayotunde Phillips (Ethics Committee, Adjudicatory Chamber) and Shehu Dikko (Football Stakeholders Committee) are in FIFA, while Senior Advocate A. U. Mustapha is president of the CAF Appeal Board. Samson Adamu (Director of Competitions) and Christian Emeruwa (Head of Safety and Security) have lead roles in CAF.

Pinnick’s deputy, Seyi Akinwunmi (Youth Competitions); Dikko (Inter-Clubs and Club Licensing); Ahmed Yusuf (Technical and Development); Ibrahim Gusau (CHAN); Ifeanyi Ubah (AFCON); Obinna Ogba (Futsal and Beach Soccer); Peter Singabele (Medical) and; Chisom Ezeoke (Women’s Football) are all in CAF committees.

Expectation high for Ghanaian Table Tennis Youngsters

For the new generation of table tennis players in Ghana, the forthcoming ITTF World Junior Circuit(WJC) and the African Junior and Cadet Championship (AJCC) will surely provide ample opportunity for them to showcase their talent in front of their home fans against the visitors.

The Media officer of Ghana Table Tennis Association (GTTA), Nathaniel Kwesi Somuah spoke to some of these players on their expectations as well as their targets for the double-header tournaments holding at the Trust Emporium Hall in Accra from April 1 to 13.

Promising junior and cadet players such as Baidoo twins – Augustine and Augustina, Samuel Hagan, and Godwin Nyarko Aseku are leaving no stone unturned, as they have continue to intensify their preparation for the training championships.

“I’m extremely happy Ghana is hosting this year’s WJC. I have never had the opportunity to watch any major tournament before and so I am excited that I will be playing in my first international tournament in my own country. This tournament will help us get the necessary exposure, boost our confidence and increase our enthusiasm for the game and also help us gain international recognition. We will get the chance to meet players from other countries which I think will improve our level of play,” said Samuel Hagan

Samuel Hagan

The teenager added: “I have weekly training schedules with my personal coach. We train not less than four hours every day. Training is going on perfectly. I am focusing on tactics now and I can see an improvement in my techniques. I have my personal training I do as well. I am fully prepared physically and mentally for this competition. My plan for this competition is to win a medal for Ghana in this very important tournament. I am sure my colleagues have same agenda.”

“I have a dream, not just an ordinary dream. I want to break into the current national team. It is possible. I have played senior team players in many tournaments and I have done extremely well. The agenda is to get selected into the national team for the African Games. Even though it is a tough task, I think with hard work and perseverance I will qualify during the national trials for the African Games,” said Samuel Hagan.

Lagos Media Marathon Will Enhance Ambode’s Road Races Revival – Yussuf Alli

Athletics legend Yussuf Alli has described the decision of the Lagos chapter of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) to organise a road race as one of the best things that happened to marathon and road races since Governor Akinwunmi Ambode revived the culture in February 2016 with the Lagos City Marathon.

“The media is the fourth estate of the realm because journalists set agenda and we follow. The decision to organise a road race which is open to all Nigerians with special prizes for journalists and non-journalists will make millions of Nigerians embrace the culture of running, I am so happy with the decision.”

Alli who was within the Top 10 ranking in the world during his active years in the men’s long jump alongside legends like Carl Lewis and Mike Powel for a decade is now the poster face for the organisation of top road races across Nigeria, including the Lagos City Marathon which is an IAAF Bronze Label race, Okpekpe Road Race, Aba Half Marathon and others.

He said that when media practitioners sing the gospel of walking, jogging, running, general exercise and its immense health benefits more and more citizens will embrace it thus leading to a healthier and more productive workforce and less spending by the government on healthcare.

(R) Yussuf Alli

He added: “ Since Governor Ambode revived the culture of marathon in 2016 with the Lagos City Marathon, there has been an upsurge in the interest of Lagosians and Nigerians alike in road races and marathon, so with the media coming in now, that will even help further.”

Alli said he would be more than willing to also help with the Lagos Media Marathon to make it a success right from its first edition.

The Lagos City Marathon General Manager commended the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, and other relevant bodies that were involved in the planning of the Lagos Media Marathon fixed for May 1, 2019.

RED-HOT OFOEDU AWAITS SUPER EAGLES INVITATION

The recent pronouncement by the Super Eagles Coach Gernot Rohr that Nigerian players doing well in their various clubs stand a chance of being invited for the upcoming games against Seychelles and Egypt has been applauded across board.

Israel-based forward, Chikeluba Ofoedu who has 9 goals and seven assists in 17 games so far this season for Isreali giants, Maccabi Tel Aviv is one of those believed to be on the radar of the Franco-German who is keen to bolster the Super Eagles’ squad ahead of AFCON 2019 in Egypt.

Chikeluba Ofoedu
photo credit: Chikeluba Ofoedu

While Ofoedu agrees that he has already done enough to at least attract the attention of the national team handlers, he was quick to state that he would not rest on his oars until he achieves his long-time ambition of playing for the National team.

“I believe I have done a lot to attract a call to the National team and I trust I will not disappoint if given a first chance to impress,” Chico as he is fondly called by fans stated.

“I want to emulate big players like Vincent Enyeama and Nosa Igiebôr who both played for Maccabi Tel Aviv and went on to play for Nigeria” the pacy and skilful forward added.

After his exploits in Turkey, Ofoedu is fast becoming a household name with Maccabi Tel Aviv where he is enjoying a fantastic season but the former Rangers International striker remains focused on wining the league shield with his team this year.

Chikeluba Ofoedu
photo credit: Chikeluba Ofoedu

“It’s been a very interesting season so far but we have not won the title yet despite our 20 points lead, there is still top 6 playoffs after the regular season but our Spirits are high in expectations” the 26 year old noted.

Rohr is currently making the list of players to be invited for the dead rubber AFCON 2019 match day 6 and final qualifier against Seychelles on March 22 and a friendly international against Egypt four days later both in Asaba.

IAAF WORLD RANKINGS LAUNCHED

The IAAF has today launched its new official world rankings system, designed to provide a more effective way of identifying the top athletes in each discipline by rewarding consistency and competition among the world’s best.

Athletes’ positions in the IAAF world rankings will be based upon the points they score, determined by their performance and place, and the importance of the competition in which those results are achieved to the IAAF global calendar.

Following a 10-month period of consultation with stakeholders from across the athletics family, the final rankings system balances the wide-ranging feedback and competing needs of those within the sport.

The world rankings will not be used for qualification for the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019, but today’s launch will enable athletes, member federations and key stakeholders to see during the 2019 season how the world rankings system works in practice.

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The world rankings will also bring clarity to the competition structure from national through to global events, incentivising the top athletes to support the best competitions.

“For the first time in the sport’s history, athletes, media and fans will have a clear understanding of the hierarchy of competitions from national through to area and up to global events, allowing them to follow a logical season-long path to the pinnacle of athletics’ top two competitions,” said IAAF President Sebastian Coe. “The IAAF world rankings will drive and shape the global competition system including entry into future major championships and enable everyone in and interested in our sport to know who is No.1 in the world.”

IAAF