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With 18 days to their Paris 2024 first match, Super Falcons’ camp bubbles with 14 players  

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It is 18 days to Nigeria’s Super Falcons’first match at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, the squad has began  preparations for their return to the Olympic Football Tournament after a 16-year hiatus.

 The Nigerian side that will face Brazil in Bordeaux has opened camp in the city of Jerez de la Frontera outside Sevilla in Spain.

Spain are one of their opponents at the tournament. According to a press release by the NFF, the Super Falcons’ camp has come alive with most of the invited players in camp.

With 12 players at breakfast on Monday, Team Administrator Mary Oboduku told thenff.com that two more players were being expected at the team’s Hotel Barceló Montecastillo Golf and Resort by Monday afternoon.

“We started training on Sunday, and the camp is calm. The players are in very high spirits as they look forward to the tournament in France,” Oboduku told thenff.com.

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Team captain Rasheedat Ajibade and first-choice goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie are at the head of the squad already in camp, with goalkeeper Tochukwu Oluehi, defenders Chidinma Okeke and Nicole Payne, midfielders Christy Ucheibe, Toni Payne, Deborah Abiodun and Jennifer Echegini, and forward Esther Okoronkwo also in. Alternate players, goalkeeper Morufa Ademola and forward Gift Monday are also in camp.

Defenders Osinachi Ohale and Michelle Alozie were being expected at the team’s hotel Monday afternoon.

The nine-time African champions, who last played at the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament in China in 2008, will take on reigning Olympic champions Canada in a training match in Sevilla on Wednesday, 17th July.

Canada’s ladies defeated their counterparts from Sweden 3-2 after a penalty shootout, following a 1-1 draw in regulation and extra time, to clinch the gold medal in Tokyo three years ago.

In their last outing at the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament, the Falcons lost 0-1 to Korea Democratic People’s Republic, 0-1 to Germany and 1-3 to eventual silver medallists Brazil.

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Women’s football debuted at the Olympic Games as a demonstration sport in 1996, but the Super Falcons made their entry in 2000 in Australia, where they lost 1-3 each to China, eventual winners Norway and eventual silver medallists USA. Perpetua Nkwocha scored the lone goal against China while Mercy Akide was the scorer against both Norway and USA.

Nigeria’s best outing – so far – at the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament was in Athens 20 years ago, where the Super Falcons finished in 6th place after exiting the tournament in the quarter-finals.

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.

Olympics

Will Nigeria flag fly at Paris 2024? CAS to decide this Friday

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WADA Suspends Africa's Only Anti-doping Laboratory -

The fate of Nigeria will be decided this Friday afternoon  as judgement will be delivered by the Court of Arbitration for Sports in the case brought by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) against the country.

WADA is seeking the banning of Nigerian flag at the Olympics which begin in 13 days time in Paris.

Nigeria was referred to CAS for alleged failure of the country’s  anti-doping agencies to comply with WADA rules.  Earlier this week, WADA cleared Angola. If the ruling expected to be delivered at about 12 noon Nigeria time is unfavourable, the Nigerian flag will not be hoisted at Paris 2024. The implication is that Nigerian athletes will only compete as individuals.

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Olympics

Russia compensates athletes not invited to Paris Games

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Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia To Contest Paris 2024 Spots -

The Russian Olympic Committee has paid compensation to 245 athletes who failed to meet the criteria allowing them to compete at the Paris Games this month, the RIA state news agency reported on Thursday.

Athletes from Russia and Belarus, Moscow’s closest ally in the 2022 invasion of Ukraine, are barred from the Games unless they compete as neutrals without flags, anthems and emblems.

Russian and Belarusian athletes have also had to undergo an additional vetting process to ensure they do not support Russia’s war and have no connection to its military – which Moscow says amounts to a “conspiracy” to exclude its athletes.

“We have paid compensation to 245 athletes. These are those athletes who initially did not get the right to compete in international competitions and those who did not receive neutral status,” RIA quoted Russian Olympic Committee general director Vladimir Sengleyev as saying.

Artur Dalaloyan, a 28-year-old gymnast who won gold at the Tokyo Games in 2021, told RIA he had received about 500,000 roubles ($5,600).

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RIA did not specify which other sportspeople were compensated and how much money they received.

The list of Russian athletes who will head to Paris has thinned to just over a dozen, as several sports federation heads have said their squads will not take part under what they see as humiliating restrictions.

Only 16 Russian athletes are scheduled to appear in the Games, which run from July 26 to Aug. 11, compared to 335 athletes at the last Summer Games in Tokyo in 2021.

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National Institute for Sports to organise seminar on Olympic Games

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Nigeria’s top tier sports institution, the National Sports Institute (NIS) will on Tuesday organise a seminar on the Olympic Games.

The seminar is being organised in conjunction with Newstap Communications.

According to a statement from the organisers, the seminar holding at the  National Institute for sports on 16th July,  2024 will be a convergence of renowned physical  and health education lecturers,   Olympians.

 On line to deliver lectures are two foremost professors in related field –  Clement Fasan and Olawale Moronkola.

To also share their experiences are some Nigerian Olympians – Olumide Oyedeji,  Chioma Ajunwa and  Eniofiok Udo-Obong .

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While Professor  Fasan from the Lagos State University will be speaking on the topic: “Olympics Spirit  and global Peace”, Professor Moronkola will  dissect “The Essentials  of Team Nigeria last minute preparation for podium success in Paris 2024.”

Also expected at the event is the Secretary  General of the Nigeria Olympics Committee, Tunde Popoola  who will be speaking on Team Nigeria’s  preparations.

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