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Four Nigerians take to the ring as boxing events begin at African Games –

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Four Nigerians take to the ring as boxing events begin at African Games

The boxing event of the African Games begin this Friday in Accra, Ghana.   There are 27 bouts on the card on the opening day. Four of them involve Nigerians.

The first Nigerian to take to the ring is Nene Ojo who will fight in the women’s 57kg. She will take on Uganda’s Ndagire Sharua.

Another Nigerian, Dolapo Omole will take on Egypt’s Amir Kelany in the Men’s 57kg  preliminaries.

Also, Aremu Ibrahim in the 71 kg bout will take on Ethiopia’s Daniel Abenisem while Alaore Adams in the 92kg will fight against Abuti Alwanga of Kenya.

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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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WAFU U17

WAFU B U17 Championship: Eaglets cruise into semi-finals, to face Baby Elephants

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Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets sailed majestically into the semi-finals of the ongoing WAFU B U17 Championship in Ghana with a 3-0 whiplash of Togo’s Baby Sparrow Hawks, that catapulted them to the top of group B and set the stage for a last-four confrontation with the Baby Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire. The match, which should have been played on Wednesday evening, was postponed to Thursday morning after the venue became water-logged following a heavy downpour.

Forward Abdulmuiz Adeleke came up big in the morning encounter with a brace, while Rapha Adams did his rising reputation no harm with his second of the tournament.

Adeleke fluffed an opportunity to put Nigeria ahead in the 6th minute, but made no mistake five minutes later with an assist from Abdulmuiz Oladimeji, to emburden a Togolese side that had lost its previous two games in the championship.

Adams, scorer of the lone goal that earned the five-time world champions all the points against Niger Republic on Sunday, got close in the 20th minute off a pass from Oladimeji, but his hit missed the target.

The forward would make no mistake 15 minutes later, nodding home a sublime pull-out by captain Simon Cletus.

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Adeleke got his brace and Nigeria’s third in the 57th minute, off another assist from captain Cletus.

The forward should have made it a hat-trick, but fluffed a penalty kick awarded the Eaglets in the 68th minute.

Nigeria’s Edward Ochigbo was selected as Player of the Match.

Victory meant the Golden Eaglets finished as group B winners, following Burkina Faso’s 1-0 defeat of Niger Republic in the other match of the pool.

Nigeria will now clash with Cote d’Ivoire in the second semi-final on Saturday evening (7pm Nigeria time), after the first semi-final between Ghana and Burkina Faso.

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EUROPA League

Hat-trick hero Lookman takes winding road to Europa League triumph

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 Europa League - Final - Atalanta v Bayer Leverkusen - Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland - May 22, 2024 Atalanta's Ademola Lookman poses for a picture with the trophy after winning the Europa League Final REUTERS/Paul Childs 

Atalanta’s Europa League hat-trick hero Ademola Lookman admitted that he had to wait a while for success after years in and out of favour at different clubs but said it was “just the beginning” after he sank Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday.

The Nigeria forward became the first person to score a hat-trick in a Europa League final in the 3-0 win, which handed the Bergamo club their first major trophy in 61 years and ended the German champions’ remarkable 51-game unbeaten streak.

“Maybe it could have come earlier, but it’s come now,” said the 26-year-old Lookman, who bounced around in England with Everton, Fulham and Leicester City and in Germany with RB Leipzig before settling in Atalanta two seasons ago.

“This is just the beginning. I hope for more nights like this and to just keep getting better and better,” he told a news conference.

Lookman, who was a youth international for England, credited the Atalanta coaching staff and leadership of manager Gian Piero Gasperini for his revival. Since arriving at the club, he has scored 30 goals in 76 matches.

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He pointed in particular to Gasperini’s belief in attacking football that has helped him to flourish.

“The first conversations I had with him made me look at football a lot different. It made things simple. It allowed me to play my game in a different light. I’m very grateful to him,” he said.

Asked if he would have imagined such a night in his wildest dreams while starting out as a teenager at Charlton Athletic, Lookman responded: “Probably yeah.”

“I’ve always had the confidence in my ability to create, to score goals, to help my team mates. In the past two years I’ve been able to take my game to a whole new level,” he said.

-Reuters

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National Sports festiva;

Gateway Games begin on Armed Forces Remembrance Day as dates are fixed

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The Federal Ministry of Sports has announced dates for the 22nd Nationals Sports Festival scheduled to hold in Ogun State. This is one of the major decisions taken at the National Council of Sports meeting held in Enugu. The National Sports Festival will now run from 12th to 25th January 2025.  The Games Village will open from 12th to 14th January 2025.

The Opening Ceremony for the festival, tagged Gateway Games will hold at the MKO Abiola Stadium, Abeokuta on 15th January 2025 which is also the  Armed Forces Remembrance Day (AFRD), also simply known as Remembrance Day in Nigeria. It is observed on 15 January to commemorate the servicemen of the Nigerian Armed Forces. It also honors veterans of the World War I and II as well as the Nigerian Civil War.

 The competition period for the festival will be from 15th to 24th January while the closing ceremony will be on 25th January 2025.

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