FOUR state governors are to take part in this year’s second edition of the 10 kilometres tagged Okpekpe Race. Ahead of the race billed for May 3, governors Rauf Aregbesola, Chibuike Amaechi and Emmanuel Uduagha of Osun, Rivers State and Delta states have respectively promised to challenge Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State for some of prominent prizes in the race.
A close aide of Oshiomhole recently told journalists that three governors threw challenge on the by sending in their registration forms for participation in the race billed for May 3, 2014. The aide said the governors also sent in words that they were not participating to make up the numbers of athletes but to win one of the star prizes of the competition.
He specifically mentioned governors of Rivers and Osun state as having vowed to give Oshiomhole a run for his money. “My brother, our governor is in for trouble this time around. I heard that governors Amaechi and Aregbesola are ready for a big show down and if our governor refuses to train hard, they will knock him out,” he said.
However, in order to meet up with the challenge Oshiomhole has engaged the services of Yusuf Ali, a retired Nigerian athlete, as his trainer. Ali who is also the administrator of the Okpekpe Road Race confirmed the development on Sports Ville programme aired on independent television. Based on the scheduled the governor would start his training on three times a week before the competition date.
Ali also disclosed that 14 foreign athletes and more than 5,000 Nigerian athletes had sent in their registration forms to participate in this year edition of the road race.
At Last, Burnley Promoted to English Premier League
BURNLEY ended their four-year wait to return to the English Premier League in emphatic fashion following their 2-0 win over Wigan Athletic on Monday, April 21. Sean Dyche’s team kicked off knowing a victory would guarantee their lucrative place among English football’s elite next season, and they finished the job with a flourish in front of their jubilant supporters at Turf Moor.
Ashley Barnes put the Clarets ahead in the 22nd minute and Michael Kightly’s 42nd-minute goal allowed Burnley’s supporters to begin celebrating their return to the top flight.
Second-placed Burnley, eight points clear of third-placed Derby County with just two games remaining, join already-promoted leader, Leicester City, in securing a top-two finish in the Championship table.
As the referee blew the whistle for the end of the match, hundreds of fans poured on to the pitch to celebrate the promotion. The fans mobbed the players in celebration of their good fortune. “These are great scenes. The season seems like it’s been forever, but we plugged away and the lads deserve it. Promotion to the Premier League means everything. We were fourth favourites to go down, but the character we have shown has been amazing,” Kightly said.
Dyche, dubbed the ‘ginger Mourinho’ by Clarets fans, was lifted into the air by his players before they returned to the dressing room, where they popped champagne corks. “We were intent on getting promoted ourselves, not having to rely on anyone else for help,” Dyche said, adding: “It’s getting harder to win automatic promotion to the Premier League because of all the constraints on teams like ourselves. I’m extremely proud.”
Coach Recommends Workshop, Seminar for Coaches, Referees
OBED Ogunedo, head coach of the Nigeria Judo Federation, on Monday, April 21, urged the federation’s board to start organising workshop and seminars for coaches and referees regularly. Ogunedo noted that the rules of the sport had kept changing, hence the need for young and old coaches to be kept abreast with new rules.
According to him, the growth and popularity of the sport in the country, is tied to the improved technical competence of handlers. “Regular seminars and workshops within and outside the country, have the potential of transforming the sport, as the coaches and referees will be well-grounded in modern rules of the game,” Ogunedo said.
The coach also advocated for the organisation of grassroots competitions and national tournaments regularly, to discover hidden talents that could be groomed to represent the country. He noted that the country’s failure to participate in many continental competitions was due to poor funding, adding that the situation had affecting the development of game.
He, therefore, advised the Nigeria Judo Federation to seek for sponsorships to enable the national team take part in invitational and major tournaments.
Giggs Takes Charge at Manchester United
RYAN Giggs, a veteran midfielder, was on Tuesday, April 22, appointed interim manager of Manchester United, shortly after the club announced the sacking of David Moyes. “Following the departure of David Moyes as manager, Manchester United has announced that Ryan Giggs, the club’s most decorated player, will assume responsibility for the first team until a permanent appointment can be made,” the United website said in a statement, adding: “The club will make no further comment on this process until it is concluded.”
Giggs, 40, made his United debut in March 1991 and has made a record 962 appearances for the club, winning 13 Premier League titles, two Champions Leagues, four FA Cups, four League Cups and one FIFA Club World Cup. He has no previous managerial experience, but has combined his role as a player with a position on United’s coaching staff since the start of the current campaign.
The Welshman, Britain’s most decorated player, was informed of the news after arriving at United’s Carrington training ground on Tuesday morning.
His first game at the helm will be a home fixture against Norwich City in the Premier League on Saturday, April 26, which will be followed by matches against Sunderland, Hull City and Southampton.
Louis van Gaal, the current Netherlands coach, has been tipped as the favourite to succeed Moyes on a permanent basis by British bookmakers. However, Jurgen Klopp of Borussia Dortmund, another rumoured contender, has already ruled himself out of the running.
Klopp told The Guradian, a British newspaper: “Man United is a great club and I feel very familiar with their wonderful fans. But my commitment to Borussia Dortmund and the people is not breakable.”
Moyes was dismissed earlier on Tuesday following his dismal performance as manager. His leadership at Old Trafford saw the team making his worst season in more than 20 years. The defending English champion is currently in seventh position with 23 points below Liverpool, league leader, and can no longer qualify for next season’s Champions League.
— May 5, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT