Enyimba technical adviser, Usman Abd’Allah, is looking forward to an exciting outing when the former champions engage MFM in the Nigeria Professional Football League at the Agege stadium on Sunday(today).
The game offers the People’s Elephant a chance to pull ahead of their hosts who currently lead group A with twenty-two points, three ahead of Sunday’s opponents.
Enyimba came out tops in the reverse fixture in January, but the Olukoya Boys have gone on to keep an impeccable home record with wins in all six matches.
Abd’Allah however remains confident that his side, unbeaten in their last six, have what it takes to take home a good result.
“The match is very important to us and we are confident that with the way the team is going – everybody is doing well and most of our players are back – I think we will come out with a positive result.
“They (MFM) are one of the team’s contesting for a playoff spot so it’s very important to go out there and get something out of this game.
Abd’Allah is also full of praise for MFM who, against popular predictions, have emerged as one of the favourites to qualify from group A.
“They are a young and vibrant team, and when you see the work the coach has done you have to give him credit because most of the players are new in the league and attention is on them because they are at the top”.
Enyimba are unbeaten in six previous meetings with MFM, with two wins and four draws..
Head Coach of the Super Falcons, Thomas Dennerby has revealed that the target for the Super Falcons at the 8th FIFA Women’s World Cup finals in France this summer is to surpass the performance of every Nigerian team that has been at the championship previously.
Speaking during a parley with the media at the team’s camp, Pennsylvania Avenue Hotel, Utako, the Swede insisted that having surpassed the target he set for the team at the 2018 Women Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana by winning the title, he also hopes the team will excel at in France
“When I arrived in Nigeria, I said that first we needed to qualify for the World Cup at the AFCON, and then try to win it, and we eventually did both. For France, when you set a target, you have to be honest and set a target that everyone can meet. So far, the only target we have set is that we want to be the very best Nigerian team that has even been to the World Cup. That is our target”.
Dennerby lauded the Nigeria Football Federation for organising various pre-World Cup camps for the nine-time African champions in preparation for the France 2019 World Cup in June and also shared his experience from the camps.
“I am really happy that the NFF helped us with the camps and the tournaments. We have had China camp, we had Cyprus camp, we go to Spain next week and we also have the final camp in Austria. One experience from our game against Belgium in Cyprus is that we will not play a lower defence line.”
He however noted that it is too early to determine how many home –based professionals will be in the World Cup team. “It is hard to say because it is still three and half months away.”
At tonight’s IAAF Dinner ahead of tomorrow’s IAAF/Mikkeller World Cross Country Championships Aarhus 2019, IAAF President Sebastian Coe announced the winner of the competition to design the IAAF World Athletics Heritage Plaque.
Coe also took the opportunity of an enjoyable evening in Aarhus City Hall to confirm the award of plaques to six more recipients whose historic contribution to athletics were recognised in the ‘competition’ category.
The winner of the public competition to design the plaque, which Coe opened when he launched the new award on 2 December 2018, is Fernando Silva, a 27-year-old resident and recreational runner from the Brazilian city of Manaus.
The main oval of the design represents the ‘global’ sport of athletics, while the gold colour of that ring represents ‘excellence’. The six bright modern colours surrounding the main gold oval stand for the ‘universality’ of Athletics as represented by its six Continental Areas and the six core event groups of athletics: sprints, hurdles & relays; middle/long distance; combined events; jumping; throwing; ‘out of stadia’ (cross country, mountain, road, trial and ultra running and race walking).
Entries from across four continents
Coe commented “the concept of the World Athletics Heritage Plaque was very well received when we announced the project and the first dozen recipients in December. I’m delighted to confirm that the design competition attracted a high standard of entries across four continents. Now that we have a winner, we have moved an important step towards the first unveilings of plaques around the world in 2020.”
The plaque design will now undergo some further work ahead of manufacture at the end of the year.
Fernando Silva, who wins a trip for two to the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019, commented, “I’m extremely proud and honoured that my design has been recognised and that it will be permanently displayed in athletics locations around the world.”
“The folklore of sport”
Six more plaque locations, all ‘out-of-stadia’ competitions, were confirmed by Coe bringing the total number of recipients so far honoured to 18.
Appropriately given the reason for tonight’s IAAF Dinner, three of the new plaques recipients are historic cross country competitions. The English Cross Country Championships (founded 1877) and the USA Cross Country Championships (1889) are two of the oldest national championships in the multi terrain discipline and hold an aura which only comes from more than 100 years of running heritage. Italy’s annual Cinque Mulini (1933), an IAAF Cross Country Permit meeting, was also recognised for being an emblematic competition which over the decades has attracted many of the world’s best middle and long distance runners, including Coe.
In terms of road running, no other marathon race has a longer continuous tradition in the world or represents such history as does the B.A.A. Boston Marathon (1897).
The ‘Athens Marathon The Authentic’ (1972) might be a youngster by comparison to Boston having only have been founded under 50 years ago but, running on the original course from Marathon to Athens, its roots stretch back to Pheidippides’ famous run in 490BC.
When it comes to race walking there are few competitions to match the stature and history of the meeting in La Coruna, Spain. The annual Gran Premio Cantones de La Coruña (1986), which hosted the IAAF World Cup in 2006, is a beacon of excellence and the oldest IAAF Race Walking Challenge meeting.
“Tonight, we have recognised competitions which rest at the very heart of the history of athletics,” said Coe. “These six races have over the decades caught the imagination of athletes and fans alike, for whom they are high up in the bucket list of athletics events which must be experienced. Some elements like Boston Marathon’s Heartbreak Hill have become part of the folklore of world sport and have set these events apart as truly appropriate Heritage locations.”
Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries FC head coach Fidelis Ilechukwu has said to his team that anything short of victory against Enyimba International FC will amount to failure ahead of this weekend’s game in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
Group A leaders, MFM FC will host seven-time NPFL champions on Matchday 13 of the top-flight at the Soccer Temple, Agege Stadium this Sunday as they look forward to recording their first-ever win against the People’s Elephant.
“The Enyimba game is very important for us, You know we have never beaten them before,” said Ilechukwu
The young coach talked about the importance of the match to his team’s ambition in the NPFL this season and also shared his knowledge of the opponents.
“It’s a game we must win to remain at the top. We know their antics, we know their strengths and we know everything about Enyimba Football Club. I can tell you their possible line-up.
“(Austine) Oladapo, (Abdulrahman) Bashir, (Thomas) Zenke, Onuwa (Chukwuka) and (Stanley) Okorom may likely start but we have prepared for them. So anything less than three points is failure for us. We have prepared for the game and we are waiting for them,” Ilechukwu said.
Despite the visitors’ impressive unbeaten streak in recent matches this season, Ilechukwu believes his charges will at the end of the match put the Aba-based team to the sword.
“I am aware that Enyimba is a technical side and also of their unbeaten run. MFM Football Club, we are number one on the log on merit and we are no push overs, so come Sunday Enyimba must fall.”
Coming on the heels of the unveiling of its logo and trophies, the board of Ekiti FA have concluded plans to hold its flagship championship, the Bet9ja Ekiti football league in May, this year.
In a statement signed and released by the acting chairman of the FA, Ariyo Amos, it disclosed that about 48 teams drawn from different parts of the state, are expected to participate in the much anticipated championship which is sponsored by Nigeria’s foremost sports betting company, Bet9ja.
“We are expecting about 48 youth teams to take part in the league, which kicks off late in May,2019, and with 200 matches in various venues across the state,” he stated.
“This is in line with our vision to take football in Ekiti state to higher heights. And we want to assure all stakeholders in Ekiti state that these are, indeed, better times for football in Ekiti state,” he enthused.
AIBA Executive Committee has elected by a vote of 23-0 with 2 abstentions Dr Mohamed Moustasane to serve as the AIBA Interim President.
Dr Moustashane replaces Mr Gafur Rahimov who has chosen to step aside pending resolution of some political issues. Dr Moustahsane will assume the position of AIBA Interim President effective immediately.
Boxers from around the world who have been training for years towards their Olympic dreams continue to be left in the dark about where, when and how they can qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games in a little more than a year.
This is the main concern of the International Boxing Association after taking note of the statements made today by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) regarding the ad-hoc inquiry committee report to the Executive Board.
While AIBA has provided not one, but four comprehensive reports over the course of the last year to the IOC EB for review, it is very surprising that the IOC are unable to provide a conclusive decision regarding boxing’s Olympic future at this time. Given that an additional report was submitted on February 20th2019 and assurances were given that an official hearing and inquiry would be made before the IOC EB meeting in March 2019, AIBA is gravely concerned by the indifference shown towards the process and preparation of athletes for the Games.
Since late 2017, there were claims of concern regarding AIBA and in response AIBA has undergone a complete transformation, working positively with a number of Olympic partners to rebuild all areas of the organisation. Improvements have been made on all fronts and the organization has clearly demonstrated its dedication to moving forward and improving its practices for the sake of the sport of Boxing and its athletes.
Tom Virgets, AIBA Executive Director said: “We have done everything in our power to work with the IOC, providing them with numerous reports and documentation. There is no more information left to give; it is now time to wrap up this inquiry and move forward. This further delay has a direct impact on our athletes, it is a complete disaster for boxers around the world who are being left in limbo without any support or access funding. We don’t understand why we can’t put the well-being of boxers ahead of anything else, it is time to move on – our boxers are waiting, our officials are waiting and our fans are waiting.”