The Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, has revealed that it was politics that took the Super Eagles out of Port Harcourt as a host state of the senior national team.
The Super Eagles began their campaign for the Russia 2018 World Cup with a resounding 2-0 victory over Swaziland at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, Port Harcourt.
The home matches of the team in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers were originally scheduled for Port Harcourt but the team ended up not kicking a ball at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium throughout the campaign.
Wike exclusively revealed that the Nigeria Football Federation obviously had a change of heart after the incident surrounding the Nigeria, Tanzania match in 2016. He said the 2017 African Cup of Nations qualifier was billed for the Garden City but the notice given by the NFF was short.
The Governor said: “The NFF did not inform us on time about the match and we had already endorsed a church crusade at the same stadium for same day. I asked if the match could be moved they said no.
“I was the one who called my colleague in Akwa Ibom State (Emmanuel Udom) and pleaded with him to host the match. After that time, the team has been taken here and there and they never came back here.”
Wike stressed that the state would not beg to host Super Eagles games and he also debunked insinuations that the facilities in the state were not good enough.
He added: “We have two world-class stadia in Port Harcourt city in good condition. One is grass and the other is synthetic. I will always support the Super Eagles as a Nigerian but the federation officials are the ones who could explain why Eagles are no longer coming to Rivers State.
“I take this to be football politics but it’s okay. I love sports and will continue to boost it. We have been helping other sports in a great way. The investment of the state in wrestling is huge. We hosted polo as well last year and it is clear we are a sports-loving state. I can tell you that some officials of the federation cannot look at me in the eyes anytime we meet.”
The President of the NFF, Amaju Pinnick, however explained to journalists last year that the choice of Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo was due to the convenience of the players.
“The players are the main actors and they say they had found home in Uyo. We have to respect that and there are no strings attached. All states that hosted before and still plan to host the Super Eagles are partners to the federation and we appreciate them all,” Pinnick said.
Moses out of DR Congo match
- Mikel, Ogu join team, injury scare for Simon
Chelsea midfielder Victor Moses has been ruled out of the Super Eagles’ international friendly match against DR Congo billed for Port Harcourt next Monday. According to the Super Eagles Twitter handle, the winger will now join up with the team in London ahead of their June 2 international friendly match against the Three Lions of England at the Wembley Stadium A source in the team said the player had personal issues to sort out and got the approval of the coach to stay away from the DR Congo match.
The twitter handle also revealed that captain Mikel Obi and midfielder John Ogu arrived at the team’s Ibom Hotels and Golf Resort, Uyo camp to swell the number of players around to 29 with Moses being the only absentee.
“Camp update ahead #2018FIFAWorldCup. Captain @mikel_john_obi and @ogujohnugo have arrived in camp.@VictorMoses will join the team in London.#SoarSuperEagles,” the Super Eagles tweeted.
The handle also stated that members of the media would have an opportunity to meet with the Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr and the players at 1.45pm on Friday. “Coach Gernot Rohr and the rest of the team are inviting members of the media to a parley at the Ibom Hotels and Golf Resort, Uyo at 1.45pm on Friday, May 25, 2018,” official handle of the team stated Meanwhile, there was an injury scare for winger Moses Simon as he limped out of the team’s training session Thursday morning. The winger was replaced by Leicester City striker Ahmed Musa for the remainder of the practice game. The Super Eagles medical team had to wrap an ice pack to Simon’s injured thigh and he looked okay after the treatment.
Dalung laments low budgetary allocation to sports
…indicts FIBA over NBBF crisis
Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung, on Thursday frowned at the low budgetary allocation to the ministry over the years in the country. Dalung, who was speaking at a news conference on the recently concluded Commonwealth Games, stressed that it was unfortunate that poor funding was affecting the development of sports in the country. He cited the example of the National Youth Games that was grossly undervalued with a budget of N9m approved for it.
The minister said: “Few years back, N300m was released for the Youth Games and we now have N9m for same event. That amount will not even be enough to pay for accommodation. “The legislative attitude to sports has to change.” Dalung showered praises on President Muhammadu Buhari for persistently coming to the aid of sports ministry at critical times.
“The President has been wonderful; he comes up with huge support each time we run to him. If not, Nigeria would have missed out on many major international competitions,” he said. The minister revealed that a unit in the ministry would be created to be in charge of linking up with athletes based abroad who are willing to represent the country in sports. He noted that it would be unfair to deny eligible Nigerian athletes based abroad simply because they are not staying in the country.
On the crisis ravaging the basketball federation, Dalung vowed to finally resolve the impasse soon. “FIBA came to the country to further add to the problem. We are taking legitimate steps that will resolve the matter. Very soon, names of all the federation presidents will be sent to all security agencies and any other person not on that list but still parading himself as President will be dealt with by the law,” he stressed.
Dalung also promised that the ministry would probe the circumstances that led to the non-inclusion of female table tennis players from the 21st Commonwealth Games that took place in Gold Coast, Australia. “We did not select athletes for the federations and when we learnt about the case of table tennis, it was too late to step in but we are going to find out what really happened,” he added.
Ebola: Fresh fears for Eagles, DR Congo match
There are fresh fears over the international friendly game between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and The Leopards of DR Congo as the World Health Organisation has announced that there might be spread of Ebola Virus Deasease which recently broke out in the country. The Eagles are set to take to the field on Monday, May 28, in a valedictory game against the Congoless before their departure for the World Cup in Russia.
There has been call for the match to be cancelled due to the outbreak of Ebola in DRC with 27 lives already lost. WHO recently warned that the disease might spread nationally and internationally if something drastic was not done.
“The Democratic Republic of the Congo remains on an “epidemiological knife-edge” regarding the spread of the deadly Ebola disease, in spite of the quick response by authorities and international partners to the threat,” WHO warned.
Speaking in Geneva at the World Health Assembly, Dr. Peter Salama, WHO Deputy Director-General, who heads Emergency Preparedness and Response, said that there were several reasons why the current outbreak – which has claimed 27 lives since it was declared on May 8 – had yet to be contained. “It’s hard to recall a situation of an outbreak where a Government has responded more quickly and more decisively than in this outbreak,” Salama said. “A multi-partner effort and it’s not over yet. We’re really just at the
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