BLESSING Okagbare, reigning Africa queen of the tracks, stirred up a hornet’s nest on Tuesday, May 5, when she accused the leadership of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN, of killing the nation’s athletics. “For those hoping for a change in Nigeria track and field should not just wait, but also pray,” Okagbare said in a message sent through her twitter handle.
Okagbare, who propelled the Nigerian women 4x200m relay team, including Regina George, Dominique Duncan and Christy Udoh, to win gold at the just concluded IAAF World Relays in the Caribbean Island country, Bahamas, said: “Honestly, I have been so calm about these people killing our grassroots section/home based athletes with their recruiting of athletes from other countries instead of building the great talents that we have. What a show of shame the administration has become.”
The athlete’s comment has been receiving diverse reactions. For instance, Solomon Ogba, president of the AFN, described Okagabre’s comments as unfortunate. Ogba said: “Blessing is going about it wrongly and I won’t take it. In as much as I don’t want to join issues with her, I want Blessing to know that she is becoming too self-centred.
On his part, Omasteye Nesiama, a Navy commodore and the technical director of the AFN, carpeted her over the bombshell, saying such comment was least expected from her considering that Okagbare had been one of Nigeria’s most ‘pampered’ athletes.
That notwithstanding, the comments received the backing of home-based athletes. Speaking on the issue on Thursday, May 7, Ogho-Oghene Egwero, a home-based sprinter, stated that Okagbare had the support of all the home-based athletes and advised the AFN to rather heed her advice instead of castigating her. “Blessing is quite comfortable ordinarily, she could have kept quiet. But she owes it to all Nigerian athletes who are struggling to make a mark. In her heart she is not happy being the only Nigerian athlete who is making world standard performance,” Egwero said.
Pele Undergoes Prostate Cancer Surgery
EDSON Arantes do Nascimento, globally known as Pele, was in a stable condition following surgery on a prostate condition on Tuesday, May 5. It was his second surgery in six months.
The Brazilian great footballer, 74, was treated at the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo in November last year, for a urinary tract infection, which stemmed from an earlier procedure to remove kidney stones. He was released from the facility in December, after two weeks. But words got out on Thursday, May 7, the three-time World Cup winner had been back in hospital with a separate issue, before returning home.
“Albert Einstein Israelite Hospital reports that the patient Edson Arantes do Nascimento (Pele) is hospitalised after having undergone surgical procedure of transurethral resection of the prostate. He is now stable at his apartment. The hospital will provide a new statement as soon as there is new information,” a brief statement read.
Brazilian media reports that the surgery was aimed at preventing a repeat of the urinary infection that put him in hospital last year.
No Rematch for Pacquiao – Mayweather
FLOYD Mayweather, world welterweight champion who extended his unbeaten run to 48 on May 2, when he defeated Manny Pacquiao, has changed his mind about giving his opponent a rematch. Mayweather, who had earlier told ESPN’s reporter on Tuesday, May 5, that he would be willing to put off his planned September retirement to grant Pacquiao a rematch next year, said he had changed his mind.
“Did I text Stephen A. Smith and say I will fight him again? Yeah, but I change my mind. At this particular time, no, because he’s a sore loser and he’s a coward,” the American champion said, in an interview with Showtime network television. “If you lost, accept the loss and say, ‘Mayweather, you were the better fighter,” he said.
Mayweather won a unanimous decision in the welterweight world championship fight, which will go down as the richest in boxing history and one of the most anticipated fights ever. After the fight, Pacquiao said he went into the ring with a right shoulder injury that hampered his performance. Pacquiao had arthroscopic surgery Wednesday, May 6, in Los Angeles to repair what Neal ElAttrache, his surgeon, called a “significant tear” to his rotator cuff.
Pacquiao will be out of the ring for nine months to a year, but Mayweather, who planned to fight again in September in the final bout of his six-fight Showtime/CBS contract and then retire.
No Agreement on Nigeria/England Match Yet
THE Nigeria Football Federation is yet to reach a deal for a proposed international friendly between Nigeria and England. The NFF officials, who expressed shock about reports that the match was already fixed between the Nigerian Super Eagles and the English Three Lions, said every discussion done on the proposal was merely verbal with no date fixed yet.
Mohammed Sanusi, general secretary of the NFF, said on Thursday, May 7, in an official statement posted on the FA website that no agreement had been reached on a date for the proposed game.
Sanusi’s statement said: “The aspect of a proposed friendly between Nigeria and England as discussed by Amaju Pinnick, NFF president, and Greg Dyke, chairman of The FA, at their meeting in London on Tuesday, May 5, has been somewhat overblown in the social media.
“It is understandable that any news of a proposed friendly between Nigeria and England would generate global interest, as it has done. Both teams last played any match at senior level about 13 years ago.
“However, we must say at this stage that the proposal is still at the level of discussions and nothing concrete has been agreed as to when the match will hold. We are awaiting feedback from the English FA and will report on the outcome accordingly.”
— May 18, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT