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SUPER 8 MUST GO AHEAD, NFF EMERGENCY COMMITTEE RULES

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The Emergency Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation, chaired by the President of NFF, Amaju Melvin Pinnick, rose from a meeting at the weekend and announced that it had directed the go-ahead of the Super 8 Tournament of the Nigeria National League (NNL) to produce four teams to be promoted to the Nigeria Professional Football League for the 2018/2019 Season.

   This is, as enshrined in the NNL 2018 Rule Book and in line with the propositions of the expanded meeting of chieftains of the NFF, the LMC, the NPFL Clubs, the NNL and NNL clubs, that the NNL should stage its statutory Super 8 to produce the four teams for NPFL.

The Emergency Committee said it took the decision after careful consideration of the relevant rules and regulations, contemporary best practice and what is obtainable and defensible in the international sphere.

Members commended the NFF President for the tremendous efforts he made to meet with the NNL leadership,the eight NNL Clubs qualified to participate in the Super 8 as well as the proprietors of the clubs with a view to explaining to them the need to stage the tournament.

“I am imploring the various club owners and other investors, promoters and facilitators, as well as the administrators of the two Leagues, to see the current situation as a consequence of the special circumstances that we found ourselves and consider the best interest of Nigerian Football.

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“Nobody foresaw these special circumstances. Yet, it is only by obeying the rules and regulations, and being guided by global best practice that we can move forward. Nigerian football is operating within the international football community, and not an oasis in any desert.

The NFF Emergency Committee endorses the resolution of the expanded meeting that the best eight teams in the NNL should contest the Super 8 Tournament, from which the best four teams will be promoted to the Nigeria Professional Football League for the 2018/2019 Season.”

Pinnick further stated that the decision to endorse the NPFL proposal of 30th August 2018 to end the League at Week 24, should be seen for what it is – a measure to deal with an exceptional circumstance to meet up with the deadline for submission of Nigeria’s flagbearer in the CAF Champions League, and the need to redraft the league calendar from August – May as directed by the Confederation of African Football.

 “We are calling on stakeholders to see these decisions as the only way of getting out of the special circumstances and forge ahead.”

It would be recalled that the meeting of the NFF Executive Committee, held in Asaba, Delta State on 20th November 2018, had mandated the NFF President to take a decision on the matter having considered the propositions/decisions of an expanded meeting of NFF chieftains and LMC leadership, after a meeting of Administrators and Club Owners of the NNL.

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However, in his quest for  wider consultation, Pinnick referred the matter to the NFF Emergency Committee for deliberation.

The Emergency Committee thus directed that teams contesting the Super 8 Tournament, scheduled for Aba, should arrive the Abia State capital on Wednesday, 19th December, and the tournament must be concluded by Sunday, 23rd December for the Nigeria National League to present teams to the Nigeria Professional Football League for the new season.

The Super 8 Tournament must go ahead with all the teams arriving on or before Wednesday, 19th December.

“I enjoin all the eight qualified teams to endeavour to be in Aba for this tournament, in order to ensure that the LMC has the names of the four teams promoted from the NNL, and go ahead to conduct its draws for the new season.”

 The Committee also directed that the NNL must proceed with the tournament as scheduled with the Clubs that report to Aba while stating that disciplinary action would be taken against those who fail to honour their obligations to participate in the Super 8 and the directives of the NFF.

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At the same time, the League Management Company must make best efforts to ensure that all parameters,processes and procedures are set to commence the new Nigeria Professional Football League season before the first day of January, 2019.”

Gombe United FC, Remo Stars FC, Shooting Stars Sports Club, Bendel Insurance FC, Delta Force FC, Kada Stars FC, Real Stars FC and Kogi United are the teams qualified for the NNL Super 8 Tournament.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Manu Garba proud of Eaglets as team countenances Niger Republic

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Coach Manu Garba has asserted that he is proud of the Golden Eaglets after Thursday’s scoreless encounter with their Burkina Faso counterparts in the Group B opener of the WAFU B U17 Championship.

 Five-time champions Nigeria created several scoring chances particularly late in the game at the Accra University Stadium, but failed to utilise even one that could have earned them the three points and handed them early leadership of the pool.

 However, Garba said the boys played a cohesive game in their first-ever international outing and deserve credit for their display.

 “We are proud of our team’s performance. Although we didn’t secure the win that we hoped for, our players showed great teamwork and sportsmanship. We look forward to our next match and the opportunity to continue growing and improving.

 “The boys will get better with experience and exposure.”

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 Against the Burkinabes, the Eaglets showed flair and fluency, but a heavy downpour in the final 15 minutes of the game disrupted the general flow of play, with the pitch waterlogged and effective control and passing impossible.

 The Golden Eaglets go up against their counterparts from the Niger Republic on Sunday evening (6pm Ghana time; 7pm Nigeria) with renewed hope and vigour to pick up the three points that will enhance their chances of a place in the last four.

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Paris to face major disruption ahead of Games opening ceremony, says police chief

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Paris will face major disruption ahead of the Olympics opening ceremony along the Seine on July 26, as organisers ramp up security measures to safeguard the event, the city’s police chief said on Thursday.

Organisers hope the opening ceremony, in which 160 boats carrying athletes from around the world will travel a 6 kilometre route along the Seine river towards the Eiffel tower, will deliver a jaw-dropping spectacle. Some 300,000 spectators will watch from the banks of the Seine as a global audience tunes in on TV.

But the ceremony is also a major security headache, taking place against a backdrop of wars in Ukraine and Gaza. French President Emmanuel Macron has already floated the possibility of scrapping the river ceremony and reverting to at least two back-up plans if the security risks become untenable.

Paris residents with a view of the Seine can invite friends to watch the opening of the 2024 Summer Games from their balconies, but should prepare for heavy traffic and limited movement, Paris police chief Laurent Nunez said at a press conference.

Adjacent metro stations, most river crossings and all water traffic will be halted in the week before the open-air ceremony, Nunez said, adding that some bridges will remain open “in order not to cut Paris in two halves.”

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Everyone who wants to access the immediate surroundings of the Seine in the week before the Games will need to sign up on an online platform, Nunez said. Local residents hoping to access their homes, which are among the most prestigious addresses in France, will need to do the same.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, who also spoke at the event said the disruption would impact around 20,000 residents and business owners.

Asked about Macron’s comments earlier this month, Nunez said his teams were still working on the ‘Plan A’ of the river ceremony.

“As of today, we have no reason to be worried,” Nunez said.

-Reuters

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New dawn expected as Nigeria sports ministry partners with Yanga Games

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Towards creating a new dawn for Nigerian Sports,  the Federal Ministry  of Sports has signed a landmark  agreement with  top lottery  company Yanga Games to raise the revenue profile of the Ministry  and ensure a new deal for the welfare of athletes. 

Speaking during the unveiling  of the partnership between  the Ministry  and  Yanga  Games in Lagos on Friday,  Chairman/CEO of Yanga Games  Derrick  David Kentebe  said: “we are so super excited by this opportunity to work  with the Ministry  of Sports Development to change the narrative about Sports in the country. 

Continuing, he remarked: “We see opportunity for marketing our athletes  and sports generally . We shall avail ourselves  the best use  of this unique and  special partnership. We shall pursue this mandate with vigour, passion and unrivaled  commitment  to bring benefits to all the critical stakeholders.”

The agreement  according  to Kentebe  will provide  support for retired athletes, enhance grassroot  sports Development and advance the potentials of  special athletes.

He assured that ” Yanga Games has the capacity to  raise funds on behalf of the Ministry  of Sports for athletes  Development, endorsement and sponsorship deals for athletes”. 

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Minister of Sports Senator John Owan Enoh assured that the Ministry has total and absolute  confidence  in Yanga Games to deliver on the given mandate.

“Gone are the era when we depended solely  on government  to fund sports  development.  We are partnering with  Yanga Games to bring maximum  benefits  to the athletes and all critical stakeholders.

“We shall give institutional encouragement and support to the Management of  Yanga Games to succeed in this onerous task of rebuilding our sports sub sector.”

Speaking further, Kentebe  said ” We shall raise about 34 Billion in the next four years to assist athletes and improve sports in the country.

“We shall help to develop  grassroot  sports and  sustain youth involvement  through raffle draws, fund raiser and other avenues.

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