THE Nigerian youth athletes were saved from an imminent embarrassment on Wednesday, April 21, when Tammy Danagogo, minister of sports, directed the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN, to do everything possible to ensure Nigeria’s participation in the 2015 African Youth Athletics Championship which started in Mauritius on Thursday, April 23.
Based on the development, the AFN officials pleaded with organisers of the championship to give the Nigerian contingent 24 hours grace to enable it make the trip on Wednesday and arrive at the venue on Thursday, April 23.
Nigeria is the defending champion of the championship, which would be used to determine qualifiers for various international championships lined up for the year, including the All Africa Games.
The AFN said it had been hampered by serious financial problem, which would have denied the country the opportunity of defending its title this year.
Nigeria Needs a Loveable New Team – NFF
THE Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, wants Stephen Keshi, coach of Super Eagles, who signed a new two-year contract with federation on Tuesday, April 21, to build a team Nigerians would love and be proud of its playing style.
Seyi Akinwunmi, first vice-president of the NFF, who gave the mandate, said that Keshi must lead the redevelopment of a Nigerian football culture through the discovery of new talented and exceptional players from the local leagues.
Akinwunmi said that despite the pressure created by a lot of ‘untruths and rumours’ peddled by sections of the public, the board remained resolute in its desire to think long term and to ensure that as administrators, the appointment of the coach of the Super Eagles was part of a holistic strategy and not a knee jerk reaction to yearnings of the public.
“One of the biggest challenges we are giving him is to build upon the progress we are making with the U-20s and to ensure a seamless transition into the senior national team, the Super Eagles,” Akinwunmi said.
Keshi was unveiled as Super Eagles’ coach in Abuja on Tuesday, April 21, where he was given another two-year contract. His first two-year contract expired after Nigeria’s ouster from the Brazil 2014 World Cup, last year, but the National Sports Commission, NSC, allowed him to handle the team on an interim basis following the crisis that engulfed the NFF shortly after the World Cup. The contract could not be renewed immediately because of lacklustre performances of Super Eagles, which led to the failure to for the last AFCON in Equatorial Guinea, thereby causing many Nigerians to fall out of love with him and the team.
Even the signing of the new contract did not come easy with Keshi as it witnessed so many postponements and strained relationship with the NFF.
After appending his signature to the contract, Keshi described the event of as a fresh start. He pleaded with Nigerians to give him another chance. “To succeed we all need to come together as one because Nigeria belongs to us, this is not Stephen Keshi’s team but our national team. I understand we still have some disappointed people out there but our dedicated players deserve our encouragement and support,” he said.
Zenith Bank Increases Sponsorship Fees For Women Basketball League
ZENITH Bank Nigeria Plc has increased its sponsorship fees from N25 million to N30 million for the Nigerian women’s basketball league for the 2015 league season jump-starting in Abuja on Friday, April 24.
Speaking at the cheque presentation ceremony in Lagos on Tuesday, April 21, Marcel Okeke, assistant general manager and head, Research and Economic Intelligence Group, said that the bank was committed to the development of women’s basketball in the country, thus the need to improve the sponsorship fee.
Okeke while commending the Nigeria Basketball Federation, NBBF, for its good work, said the bank had been encouraged to do more for the federation. “Though the sponsorship package will run out next year, we will continue to support basketball in the country. The NBBF have also shown that they have the wherewithal to run a flawless league and for this they shall continue to enjoy the support of Zenith Bank beyond the 2015/2016,” he said.
Tijani Umar, president of the NBBF, announced an increase in the prize money for the winning teams. With the improved fee, the winner of the league would get N1.2 million; the second placed team would receive N1 million, while the third placed team would smile home with N800, 000. This is the biggest prize money in the history of the women basketball league in the country.
Tickets for Mayweather and Pacquaio Fight On Sale
TICKETS for May 2 boxing bout between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquaio at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, United States, went on sale on Thursday, April 23. By Wednesday, April 32, it was speculated that a ticket could go for as much as $100,000 or N19,600,000 on the resale. This is because the MGM Grand has 16,500 but only 1,000 seats of the capacity but only about 1,000 seats can be bought by the public. The rest went go to the fighters, the casino, sponsors and promoters.
The cheapest ticket for the May 2, bout will cost $1,500 or N294,000, rising to about $7,500 or N1,470,000. Earlier, the MGM also announced the sale of thousands of closed circuit seats at its various properties at $150 or N29400 apiece.
Just a few days to the fight, the sale of tickets had become a key issue as the two sides were arguing over who got what tickets and where they were located.
MGM announced the sale of tickets with closed circuit seats on Thursday, April 23.
Mayweather, 38, has won all 47 of his fights, 26 by knockout, while Filipino Pacquiao has a record of 57 wins, five losses and two draws.
Mayweather, an American, at a press conference on Wednesday, April 22, defended his claim that he was a superior fighter to Muhammad Ali, regarded as one of the greatest heavyweight boxers in history. “No disrespect to Muhammad Ali, but he did it in one division. There were some other fights he lost and he’s still known as ‘The Greatest’ because that’s what he put out there. It is what it is,” he said.
— May 4, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT