Category Archives: Feature

Ejidike Pledges Support for Peter Rufai’s Soccerthon Project

It has been a week of top notch engagements for Nigeria’s Pillar Of Sports, High Chief Donatus Agu- Ejidike, as he continued his drives for a better society, using sports as a veritable tool.

The latest engagement was the courtesy visit paid on him, by the former Super Eagles goalkeeper, Peter Rufai, Thursday, in his office in Ilorin, Kwara State.

According to Peter Rufai the visit to the state was also to promote his Dodo Mayana Soccerthon project.
Rufai explained that the Dodo Mayana Soccerthon Project, is designed to discover talents from the grassroots and push them to greater heights, career wise.

He added that the program is an avenue to give back to the country, what he has benefitted from Nigeria, as a nation.

He equally commended the the Nigeria Pillar of Sports for his contributions towards Sports development in the country.

Ejidike Pledges Support for Peter Rufai’s Soccerthon Project

He also took time to appreciate the support of the Kwara State Football Association chairman, Abdullahi Musa-Thuraya, for his warmth, and supports since he came in to Kwara state.

In his welcome address, Chief Agu-Ejidike expressed his usual willingness to partner with Dodo Mayana foundation in its drive to unearth talents that would do the Nation proud, like Rufai himself.

” Let me assure you of the support and willingness of the national office of the Nigeria pillar of sports towards your project, which we believe would help discover and expose great talents that would make Nigeria proud like you did in your playing days,” Ejidike, who is also a board member of the Karate Of Federation of Nigeria, assured.

Akeem Busari

WHO IS AFRAID OF EDO STATE SPORTS COMMISSION? By Osaretin Aghedo

When in 2018 Governor Godwin Obaseki scrapped the Edo State Ministry of Sports and replaced it with the Edo State Sports Commission though an Executive Order, members of Nigeria’s sports fraternity hailed the move as a good step towards reposition sports in the state.

Shortly after that decision, the Governor followed it up by sending a bill to the Edo State House of Assembly intended to give the Sports Commission legal backing.

EDO State Governor Godwin Obaseki

The Bill titled, “A bill for a law to provide for the establishment of the Edo State Sports commission”, defines the functions of the Commission as being to:

a. Formulate and implement Edo State sports policy

b. Encourage mass participation in sports

c. Support financially or otherwise, sport organizations, clubs, schools, associations in programmes designed for the purposes of encouraging participation in all forms of sports

d. Work with schools and relevant agencies in the Ministry of Education to develop school sports

e. Facilitate and provide for the training of coaches and sports administrators

f. Work with Local Governments through their sports committees in promoting and developing sports in the state

g. Regulate and supervise the activities of the sports associations, sports committees in the Local Governments, and all other sports activities within the state.

h. Promote activities aimed at discovering and nurturing sport talents across the state

i. Promote the use of sports as a tool for social, economic and tourism development in the state

j. Establish and maintain playing fields and premises for all sports activities, professional and amateur

k. Control and where it is in the opinion of the Commission so to do, take over and manage sports activities, for such period as the Commission may think fit

l. Establish standards for the activities of any sports association in the state; and

m. Perform other such duties or functions as may be required to give effect to the provisions of this law.

In Section 4 of the bill announcing the establishment of the Commission, it is described as a “corporate body with perpetual succession and a common seal”, which can sue and be sued.

The section added that the Commission being a corporate entity has the capacity to sue and can also be sued. It also invested the Commission with the authority of, “acquiring, holding or disposing off any property for the purpose of carrying out any of its functions under this law”.

It was clear from the wording of the bill and its provisions that great care had gone into its formulation. Indeed, before the Commission was established, Governor Obaseki has set up a committee headed by Edo State Deputy Governor, Hon. Phillip Shaibu to hammer out its outlines and structure. That committee, which prominent Edo sons of diverse professional backgrounds including the current chairman of the Commission, Godwin Dudu-Orumen, had painstakingly, come up with useful ideas on how a modern sports body should be structured for effective service delivery.

The setting up of the Commission signposted a new dawn for sports in Edo State as many looked forward to more dynamic and pragmatic ways of administering sports completely different from the effete and obtuse formulas of the past, which had only encouraged lassitude, graft and mental laziness.

Under this old regime, Edo State had witnessed a steady diminution in stature nationally, moving from its primal position of Nigeria’s leading producer of sports talent to a middle of the road position.

Without the requisite vision and administrative acumen and operating a system with an outmode template of sports administration, sports inevitably atrophied in the state with its sportsmen exiting the state in droves to states with more perceptive and result oriented sports administrators. Under this era, key sporting institutions belonging to the state became either degraded or moribund; chief of them being Bendel Insurance Football Club, which in the 1970s and 80s was one of the leading football clubs on the African continent. In football circles today, Insurance is regarded as a huge joke and was only recently booted back to the second tier of the Nigerian Football League from the Premier League where it was clearly out of its depths in the one season it spent there after being away for a whopping 11 seasons.

One year after the setting up of the Edo State Sports Commission, discerning observers of events on the Nigerian sports scene have come to the realization that perhaps Governor Obaseki was merely engaged in political posturing when he assured the people of Edo State that he meant business about giving sports enough latitude to act as a key platform for the empowerment of Edo sons and daughters.

Every hope that the old and unprofitable system and structures, which throttled sports development in Edo State would give away to a more modern and pragmatic order, has proved forlorn as Governor Obaseki has watched helplessly as key figures within his government frustrate the work of the Commission by actively working against the passing of the bill establishing the Commission into law.

The clique with a very senior member of the Obaseki administration as its arrow head, have since last year consistently manipulated the process involved in the passing of the bill. The group acting through its cronies in the immediate past Edo State House of Assembly “killed” the passing of the bill. Whilst everyone eagerly waited on the House to subject the bill through the processes leading to its passage and eventual transmission to the Governor for assent, no action was taken on the bill at all. Had that House exercised diligence, the Edo State Sports Commission would be a fully functional legal entity.

It has taken the diligence and courage for the present House of Assembly under the leadership of Hon. Franklin Okiye to dispose of the first and second reading of the bill. The realization that the bill is inexorably inching its way to becoming law, a situation that would put full powers to act independently into the hands of the Chairman and the board of the Commission has thrown this clique into panic. Right now, they are working frantically to frustrate the passage of the bill into through the use of political and other subtle means of pressure on the members of the House. So far, the members of the House are standing their ground but given the peculiar nature of our politics, it is not clear for how long they will resist before caving in like the immediate past House.

Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki

If they succeed in their plans it would only be because Governor Obaseki refused to rise to the challenge of leadership by stamping his authority on his government. He has to put his foot down and ensure that whilst members of the House are not his employees and so cannot take orders from him, they are provided with an atmosphere conducive to the proper discharge of their constitutionally assigned functions.

Governor Obaseki must seek out those blacklegs in his government and rein them in. He and members of the Edo State House of Assembly should borrow a leaf from their counterparts in Imo State where Governor Emeka Ihedioha within a few months of coming into office has signed the Imo State Sports commission bill into law after the current Imo State House of Assembly within three months of inauguration pass the bill and seven others into law.

It is quite tragic and deplorable that it has taken Edo State one whole year to get to the second reading of its own sports commission bill. It is deplorable because in just six months time Edo State will be hosting the 20th edition of the National Sports Festival and the Commission that is supposed to driving the process does not a legal leg to stand on. One year after its establishment by Governor Obaseki it has no office space from which to operate with its chairman squeezed into one small space in the offices of Bendel Insurance Football Club. How sports development can be driven by the Commission under this rather shoddy arrangement remains to be seen.

Governor Obaseki would do well to ponder on Franz Fanon’s words:

“Every generation must out of relative obscurity, seek to discover its mission and then fulfil it or betray it”

The ball is clearly in his court and how he plays it will determine whether sports in Edo State moves forward or remains trapped in the vicious cycle of mediocrity and backwardness.

Aghedo is a Benin based sports enthusiast and public affairs commentator

FIAN Can Curb Football Frauds In Nigeria – Okpe

Okpe Emmanuel Alexander, Football Intermediaries Association of Nigeria (FIAN) Welfare Officer says the body can curb football frauds in the country.

This he made known with sports reporters at the Royal Championship Scouting programme which kicked off in Lagos on Tuesday.

According to Okpe, “Ignorance is bliss. Football fraudsters are all over the World and it’s a menace we can’t put a total stop to but we can curb it in our own little way by educating our grass-root players and coaches.

“Imagine while the 2018 World Cup was on, some innocent players were being duped with fake trials in Russia. How was this possible?.

“Coaches, players who are the major prey on their part need to be wise by asking questions from these agents or see genuine evidence that they are registered members of FIAN before they give money or put pen to paper for any paper.

“Another way to curb it, is by organising seminars for coaches and players. Though tough as some are difficult to deal with, it may amaze you that some of them see us as threat, that we try to hijack their players from them.”

Speaking further, “Our executive is relatively young but we really need the media to champion this cause. We plan to organise one or two seminars before the year runs out or probably come next year to enlighten them.”

For Ogburie Anthony Chidozie a FIAN member based in Lagos.

Okpe Emmanuel Alexander

“We’re creating the needed awareness as we have found out that education is lacking our domestic football.

“Many of our players and some coaches have little or no idea what a transfer deal or what makes up the content of a contract.

“That’s why you see many people falling victim to fraudsters or to debtor clubs.

“We hope that on the long run that things will be done professionally devoid of quacks, contract terms must be respected by all parties as a way to growing our domestic football.”

Hosting A FIFA World Cup At This Period is “Misplaced Priority” – Sola Rogers

It’s Funny How you are Branded as a “dissident” rebel or whatever just because you share a different view from the “powers that be” My Name Is Sola Rogers and I strongly believe that Hosting a “Women’s World Cup” shouldn’t not be a priority at the moment.

Infrastructure:

Virtually all the stadiums “owned” and managed by the Federal Government Of Nigeria are in a state of disrepair.

Nigeria has hosted 2 FIFA World Cups in the past Most of these structures were “Upgraded” for both events then as soon as the “visitor” depart the owners depart too.

Is there any Federal Government owned “Stadium” that is up to scratch?

There’s So much to be said about infrastructure, worthy of note is that most of the stadiums being proposed are owned and “maintained” by State Governments.

And due to the Poor State of our stadiums and security issues in some parts of Nigeria we are proposing to host a “world cup” that will be hosted in Lagos and a few “South South cities” (Lagos, Benin City, Asaba and Uyo).

Sola Rogers

Talent Discovery?:

Contrary to what we’ve heard in the media I Know for a fact that you do not need to host the “World Cup” before you unearth “fresh talent” It’s actually the other way round, Invest a fraction of the “World Cup hosting budget” on organising Grass roots tournaments, work with the genuine football academies, School sports associations and the State FA’s. Milo has done so much for basketball, ChannelsTV is doing this with Channels KId’s Cup, Rashedat Ajibade and so many like her were discovered at the Grassroots.

Government after Government, “Sport Administrator” after “Sport Administrator” have neglected the grassroots for “Elite Sports” Talent is discovered a the grassroots not at World Cups…

Hosting Elite Sports events is good, A few of our athletes will get the so called “exposure” but Targeting the grassroots with a deliberate plan of action will reach hundreds of thousands of Nigeria Youths, The health benefit are immense, The huge effect on security and the economy will be profound.

There’s more to be said but i’ll like to leave it here for now, Call me what you want, it still doesn’t change the fact that our reason for bidding to host the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup is “Misplaced Priority”

Sola Rogers

Kwara Sports Writer’s Association Appeals To Kwara State Government To Support Akinloye Oyebanji

The Kwara state chapter of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) has appealed to the state government, under the leadership of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq to urgently assist ailing former staff of the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Mr Akinloye Oyebanji.

In a release jointly signed by the Chairman, Jimoh Bashir and Secretary, Olayinka Owolewa, the body also called on well meaning “Kwarans” to also show concern.

Oyebanji hails from Oke-Obigbin, in Isin Local Government Area of the state.

Oyebanji is presently at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the National Hospital, Abuja, and requires medical attention in an hospital in India to survive.

According to reports, the illness has been on for almost four months now, and Oyebanji has been in and out of hospital, until it developed into the present state.

The report also added that the family has spent huge amount of money, and is in dare need of support to fly him abroad for comprehensive treatment.

Akinloye Oyebanji

He would need the sum of $25,000 (Twenty-five thousand dollars) for both transportation and treatment for himself and two caretakers.

“Kwara SWAN, on behalf of the family, is appealing to the government and spirited Kwarans and Nigerians to come to the aid of ailing Oyebanji” the statement said.

Oyebanji was a strong member of SWAN, who worked with the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) in various capacities.

ASSOCIATION FOR FORMER FEMALE ATHLETES TO BE LAUNCHED IN OCTOBER

The Association of Former Female Athletes of Nigeria AFFAN is to be formally inaugurated on October 18-20, 2019.

The Chairperson of the association Dr (Mrs) Esther Oluwatoyin Aluko made this known on Thursday July 11, 2019 at a press conference held at the Nigeria Institute for Sports in Lagos to announce the establishment of the Association and sensitise the society of the aims and objectives of the body.

Dr Aluko called on all former female athletes to come on board and contribute their quota to the welfare of active and retired sports women in Nigeria and in the diaspora.

ASSOCIATION FOR FORMER FEMALE ATHLETES TO BE LAUNCHED IN OCTOBER
photo credit: Oluchi Tobex Tobe-Chukwu

“I am delighted to officially introduce to you the Association of Former Female Athletes of Nigeria (AFFAN).
AFFAN was established in response to the yearnings of thousands of former female athletes across the federation and in the diaspora who have distinguished themselves in various spheres of life.

“The primary objective of the Association is to give back to the society by serving as role models to female athletes and ensuring academic, moral and sports excellence required for a complete female athlete during and after participation in sports”

AFFAN plans to establish a scholarship scheme to encourage female athletes to successfully combine sports with academics. Consequently, Dr Aluko said that the Association will partner with sports institutions, federations and associations to bring this to fruition.

ASSOCIATION FOR FORMER FEMALE ATHLETES TO BE LAUNCHED IN OCTOBER
photo credit: Oluchi Tobex Tobe-Chukwu

“Sports women will no longer be called school drop outs. AFFAN will partner with corporate bodies to encourage and support female athletes’ education through the award of scholarships. Education makes an athlete to be relevant at decision-making levels after active sports participation, therefore, AFFAN will collaborate with media organisations to ensure a comprehensive and accurate portrayal of the image of female athletes.

“We want to create an awareness that will motivate retired female athletes to continually contribute meaningfully to sports development in Nigeria by taking up positions locally and internationally in the administrative, technical (officiating & Coaching) and in politics.”

AFFAN is registered as an autonomous organisation with activities linked to the promotion of active and retired female athletes.

Referee Stéphanie Frappart: “FIFA Women’s World Cup Final Role A Huge Source Of Pride”

Stéphanie Frappart was appointed as match referee for the final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™, which will be contested between USA and the Netherlands at 17.00 CET on Sunday in Lyon.

Stéphanie Frappart will referee the final of France 2019

She has already officiated games in Ligue 1
Frappart: “VAR has had a positive impact on this World Cup”
The French official has already officiated three games so far at the tournament: the 0-0 group stage draw between Argentina and Japan, the Netherlands’ 2-1 defeat of Canada in the same round, and Sweden’s 2-1 quarter-final win against Germany.

Frappart is widely known in France for having become the first woman to referee a professional men’s game, in Ligue 2, before subsequently taking charge of matches at Ligue 1 level.

She spoke about her pride at having been selected, and gave her thoughts on the tournament as a whole.

Stephanie, what does it mean to you to have been appointed referee for the final of France 2019?

It’s a huge source of pride to be appointed for this match because I represent all of the referees at this World Cup. It’s a major recognition. It’s impossible to describe my emotions because we’ve all been working for several years to get here, a bit like the players.

What is your take on the groundbreaking use of video assistant referees at this Women’s World Cup?

VAR has had a positive impact on this World Cup. We’ve been working for the past year on how to apply the system. It’s a great tool for us. We’re here to referee and make decisions on the pitch, and VAR is like a parachute for us in case we’re unsure or get something wrong, because it allows us to make the right decision in the end.

What are your general thoughts on the tournament so far?

This World Cup has been a huge success for women’s football. The stadiums are full, there’s a lot of enthusiasm and everyone has been following the competition as closely as a men’s World Cup, so it’s a real success for us.

Stéphanie Frappart
Photo credit: FIFA

How did you prepare for this tournament?

Our preparations began just after Canada 2015. We had seminars, training courses and a preparation programme focusing on fitness, tactics and technique. In terms of fitness, we had trainers working with us throughout the year and even during the tournament. We also went through all the preparations for the use of VAR.

You have already refereed men’s top-flight matches in France. What did that mean to you?

I started refereeing in Ligue 1 last season, taking charge of two games. It was a huge recognition of my abilities and hard work. It was also a way of showing every young girl that it’s possible to reach that level if you work hard and give yourself the means to get there.