Braithwaite supports FIFA against Nigeria 
NIGERIA  Advanced Party  (NAP) Presidential candidate, Dr. Tunji Braithwaite, has said that FIFA should not be blamed for its lack of support for the Nigerian-led five-nation joint bid for the 2010 World Cup.

Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, Braithwaite said the world football body “knows how badly we treat our footballers’’.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter on Tuesday criticised  Nigeria’s plan to co-host the 2010 World Cup which FIFA has allotted to Africa. The plan seeks to include Ghana, Togo, Cameroun and Benin Republic.

“This idea of Nigeria is not feasible,” Blatter told the BBC. “Even if there is to be a co-hosting, which would  be in exceptional circumstances, there will only be one organising committee.

“But we will not consider this idea, as the other countries are not candidates.’’

Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and South Africa have also submitted bids to stage the tournament.

Braithwaite said Nigeria’s sports policy and administration were “afflicted by poor, unenlightened and corrupt leadership’’ which a NAP government will reverse.

He said a NAP-controlled federal government would make overtures to FIFA to reconsider its views on the hosting  of the World Cup which it zoned to the African continent.

Braithwaite said a NAP-government would encourage sports, describing sports as a “wonderful ambassador. The mileage from sports is far longer, and richer than what all your ambassadors can do for your country’’.

Looking back on the country’s poor performance at the 2002 Korea/Japan World Cup, Braithwaite faulted the “cool approach’’ of the Super Eagles coach Adegboye Onigbinde on the bench.

“I fault his too cool approach on the pitch. The way he sat on the bench. He could have stood up, dished out instructions and marshalled the boys. He could have made some impact,’’ he said.

The NAP presidential candidate whose son, Olumide, organised a series of warm up matches for the Super Eagles ahead of the Korea/Japan World Cup, expressed disappointment that the team could not go beyond the first round.


5th Cadbury golf tourney ‘ll be unique — Adebija

Sponsors of the 5th Cadbury Cup golf tournament have said that the current edition of the tournament would be unique as they intend to honour legends of the Nigerian golf circuit.

Mr Gbenga Adebija, Corporate Affairs Manager of Cadbury Nig. Plc., told newsmen on Tuesday in Lagos, that in commemoration of the fifth anniversary of the competition which began as a quardrangular in 1999, legends would be honoured for their pioneering role.

According to him, the idea was to thank them on behalf of the entire nation.

He announced the tee-off this weekend of the first of the three preliminaries billed for Kano between March 22 and March 23, featuring golf clubs from some northern states which would vie for a place in the finals.

Adebija said that by the weekend of March 29 and March 30, it would be the turn of Aba Golf Club to host the second preliminaries for clubs in the eastern states.

The last of the preliminaries would be hosted by the Ikoyi Club 1938 (Golf Section) featuring clubs in the western states including Kwara and Kogi states, he said.


Nigerian Army declares support for Abuja 2003

THE Nigerian Army has pledged an all-round support for the 8th All-Africa Games holding in Abuja, October this year.

Chief of Army Staff, General Alexander Ogomudia stated in Abuja   that no sacrifice was too much on the part of the Army in its desire to contribute to the success of the 8th All -Africa Games.

The Director of Army Physical Training Corps, Col. Mahmud Maharja, gave this tacit tone of total support on behalf of the Army Chief, during a visit to COJA Executive Director, Dr. Amos Adamu in Abuja.

Col. Maharja outlined various possible areas of support the Army can be of assistance to the organisers of the biggest Games in Africa, explaining that, “the Army is well equipped professionally to render adequate service if called upon at the shortest notice.”

Areas of assistance the Army has comparative advantage according to Col. Maharja are, security, physical training, medical, nutrition, communication, Games programming, displays during the opening and closing ceremonies and musicals as the occasion demands.

The visit from the Army High Command was complementary to an earlier one paid by COJA management under the headship of Dr. Amos Adamu to the Army Headquarters to seek for support for Abuja 2003.

Thanking the Army delegation for their interest in the affairs of COJA, Dr. Amos Adamu reiterated the long held opinion of his team to involve the military in areas their bearing are professionally ahead of the civil society.

Dr. Adamu thanked the Chief of Army Staff, General Ogomudia for this understanding and concern for the success of the 8th All-Africa Games, stating, “a blueprint will soon be presented to the Army on possible areas of co-operation. We need their support and no kidding about it”.

...Soyinka, others brain storm on opening ceremony
ARRANGEMENTS for a unique and symbolic opening ceremony for the 8th All-Africa Games go into full throttle this weekend in Abeokuta.

The co-ordinator of the event, world-acclaimed Professor Wole Soyinka and other stakeholders in the planning process, are expected to come out with a blueprint at the end of proceedings in the Ogun State capital.

Joining Professor Soyinka in the rocky city of Abeokuta to harmonise for Abuja 2003 opening and closing ceremonies, are the 26 South Korean consultants already in Nigeria, local and international artists of diverse creative bearing, technocrats fromuniversities and COJA.

Inputs from the different groups gathered in Abeokuta towards a compact package for the opening ceremony tops the agenda of the one-day retreat, as COJA insists on the prominence of the nation’s diverse cultural background in the programming of the opening ceremony.

The choice of Abeokuta for the brain storming session, according to Professor Soyinka, is informed by its natural quietness that allows for full mental comprehension of issues, which the assignment demands. 

Clubs’ registration  for IFA league begins Friday
THE Ibadan (zonal) Football Association has announced that registration of clubsides for the rejuvenated IFA league will start  on Friday, March 21, 2003.

Mr. Banji Akintayo, the chairman of the association disclosed this while fielding questions from sportswriters shortly after the finals of the governor’s cup at the Olubadan Stadium, Ibadan.

A press release made available to Tribunesports  and signed by Mr. Folorunso Oyelakin, Publicity Secretary of the association, quoted Mr. Akintayo as saying that the registration of team is the first step towards the commencement of the IFA league which has been on hold for about three years.

He noted that the Olubadan Stadium which had come under severe hardship due to neglect  would wear a new look soon as some local councils and corporate bodies were looking into ways of uplifting the pride of Ibadan from its present sorry state.

Mr. Akintayo added that this time around, clubs vying for the IFA League shield would now receive  handsome cash prizes which would help in raising the standard of the game in Ibadanland.

Meanwhile, the Ibadan (zonal) Football Association has disclosed that it would start the visitation to local governments, corporate bodies and individuals in order to raise fund for the Olubadan Stadium rehabilitation project.

The release added that it had become imperative for the body to scout for fund to enable it prosecute its programme and objectives.

The release listed the 11 local governments in Ibadanland as among those to be approached. He added that Blue-chip companies like the Nigerian Breweries, British American Tobacco, Fan Milk, Askar Paints, etc and several notable Ibadan indigenes and residents would be approached to help save Olubadan Stadium and soccer in Ibadanland.

Oyelakin noted that the vision for the new Olubadan Stadium was realisable as several encouraging signals have been received on the renovation one of the few existing heritage of Ibadanland.

The IFA spokesman stressed that renovation work which would start soon would not affect the new IFA League scheduled to commence soon. 


  2010 WORLD CUP
Nigeria goes for sole bidding
FOLLOWING FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s criticism of Nigeria’s plan to co-host the 2010

World Cup with Ghana, Togo, Benin Republic and Cameroun, Nigeria Football Association (NFA) secretary-general, Taiwo Ogunjobi said on Wednesday that the country would go for the bid all alone.

Ogunjobi told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that the 2010 World Cup Bid Committee, headed by Chief Segun Odegbami, would abandon the old idea and concentrate on doing it alone.

“This idea of Nigeria is not feasible,” Blatter had told the BBC on Tuesday. “Even if there is to be a co-hosting, which would be in exceptional circumstances, there will only be one organising committee.

“But we will not consider this idea, as the other countries are not candidates.’’

Ogunjobi said Nigeria’s letter of intent to FIFA did not contain the co-hosting plan.

“All along we did not tell them (FIFA) that we want to co-host the World Cup. The co-hosting aspect is our internal arrangement which we believe will help our neighbouring countries’’ Ogunjobi, who is a member of the bid committee, said.

He insisted that Blatter’s comments did not mean that Nigeria had lost out, adding that he only rejected the idea of co-hosting.

Ogunjobi said the committee would soon meet to deliberate on the next line of action.

Odegbami has made similar comments, saying that Blatter’s statement was premature since Nigeria had not put in a formal bid.

Nigerian players lack discipline in Turkey— Turkey’s FA head
SAMI Golgecen, Head of Turkey FA International Committee, has said Nigerian players in the Turkish league are good but lack discipline.

“Nigerian players that have featured in the Turkish league are good but don’t have discipline except a few like Uche Okechukwu and Ike Shorunmu,’’ Golgecen said on Tuesday after a friendly match between the Pepsi Fooball Academy and the Turkey Under-18 side at the National Stadium, Lagos.

The match, won 2-0 by the Pepsi Academy, was organised as part of the fund-raising activities of the Kanu Heart Foundation.

“Uche Okechukwu is a good player, he is dedicated, disciplined and has sportsmanship and Ike Shorummu is a very good goalkeeper and a gentleman as well,’’ he said.

Golgecen also commented on Daniel Amokachi and Austin Okocha, both of whom featured for Besiktas and Fernebahce respectively.

“Daniel Amokachi is a very talented and very strong player, but lacks discipline on and off the pitch.

“Part of Amokachi’s problem at Besiktas is indiscipline.

“That was why the club was not keen to come to his assistance when he had an injury.’’

“Okocha plays for himself. In my own opinion, he is not a player for modern football because he only plays for himself. He is not a team player.’’

Golgecen also commented on Nigeria’s bid to host the 2010 World Cup and advised the country to forget it.

“South Africa is most likely to win the bid because they have the means. Although their football is not as good as Nigeria’s, they have the facilities to host the World Cup,’’ he said.

He said although Nigeria had the football culture, it did not have what it takes to host the Mundial.

“With what I have seen of your country, you don’t have the transportation, you don’t have the stadiums and hotels for it. Nigeria cannot host the World Cup yet.

“But Nigeria has a good chance of going far in the World Cup, so I advise that you concentrate on doing well in the World Cup because you have good football culture.’’ 

Westerhof re-employed in Zimbabwe
DUTCHMAN Clemens Westerhof returned to coaching on Wednesday when he was appointed by Zimbabwe club Sporting Lions as its new technical director.

    The 62-year-old Westerhof will take charge of all the club’s teams and also initiate a youth development programme for the Harare-based premier league club.

    Westerhof last coached more than a year ago during a brief spell at Zimbabwe’s glamour club Dynamos. He is also a former national coach of Zimbabwe and was at the helm when Nigeria made its first World Cup finals appearance in the U.S. in 1994.

    He has also coached in the Netherlands, South Africa, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. 

September date for De la Hoya, Mosley
THE rematch between WBC and WBA super-welterweight champion Oscar de la Hoya and Shane Mosley has been agreed for September 13, Mosley’s agent Judd Burstein said on Tuesday.

Mosley beat de la Hoya in June 2000 - one of only two defeats the American has suffered in his career.

He has been hunting a rematch since and Burstein said the financial terms of the fight were now agreed.

“Shane is on board, and he’s planning on doing to Oscar what he did to him the first time,” said Burstein.

But de la Hoya’s promoter Bob Arum remained cautious.  “It was a done deal before and I’m not going to make an idiot of myself and say it’s a done deal until it’s signed, but a contract is being prepared,” said Arum.

De la Hoya who has 35 wins against his two defeats, has not fought since September, when he recorded an 11th-round technical KO of fellow Mexican-American Fernando Vargas to capture the WBA belt.  In the meantime he will defend his WBC and WBA belts on May 3 against former champion Yory Boy Campas of Mexico.  

Laloko hails Pepsi Academy’s victory over Turkey
KASHIMAWO Laloko has said the Pepsi Football Academy’s 2-0 victory over the Under-18 team of Turkey on Tuesday is a huge achievement for the academy.

“Most of these boys have been with us since when they were nine years and are gradually maturing. So to have beaten a national team is a big achievement. I don’t think there is any team in this country in this age group that can beat us,’’ Laloko, the Director of the academy, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

The match, played at the National Stadium, Lagos, was organised as part of the fund-raising activities of the Kanu Heart Foundation.

The leader of Turkish delegation, Sami Golgecen, said the better team won.

“I am happy that both teams played within the framework of FIFA fair play. The players had good orientation and in my opinion the better team won. The Pepsi Cola team was a better side.’’

He, however, said the bad pitch affected both teams from displaying their true potentials.

“The pitch was not so good. I’m sorry to say that the pitch is not up to the standard of football that had been played today,’’ Golgecen said. 

NIS director makes case for local coaches
Niyi Alebiosu, Lagos
DIRECTOR National Institute for Sports (NIS), Professor Lasun Emiola, has clamoured for the appointment of local coaches for the national team as against the employment of a foreigner being considered by the Nigeria Football Association (NFA).

Addressing the 82 matriculating students of the institute on Wednesday, Professor Emiola said that he had always been an apostle of good coaches for the national team, he believed that the NIS products were always better.

The NIS director said, “we train and produce better coaches here at NIS, and I believe that if NIS can produce good coaches, why then can’t they handle national team and produce good results.”

Emiola, who advised the new students to be of good character while in school or at their various teams in future, added, “if our coach local can win junior World Cup at any point in time without the so-called foreign coach that is to tell you that our coaches are good.”

He, however, advised the students to  see their academic pursuit in the institute as a way of putting them in a position to fashion out modern scientific coaching and sports management strategies that will lift Nigerian sports to enviable heights and also urged the students to cultivate the culture of patience in their approach to solving problems. 



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