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Tokyo 2020: You carry hopes of millions, Osinbajo tells Team Nigeria

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Prof-Yemi-Osinbajo.j
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo
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Vice President Yemi  Osinbajo has urged the Nigerian team to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to put in their best as they represent the hopes and aspirations of millions of Nigerians.

Osinbajo made the call on Monday at the send-off ceremony for Team Nigeria, formal handover of the Nigerian contingent to the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) and unveiling of the team’s official kit.

The event was held at the State House Conference Hall, Abuja.

The vice president told the athletes that their performance at the tournament would be an opportunity to immortalise themselves.

“I am delighted to welcome here today the very best of the best Nigerian Athletes.; the great Nigerian team to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics; 58 outstanding athletes and 18 world class coaches.

“When the Games begin on July 23, you will, as Team Nigeria, be joining other athletes from over 210 countries and territories of the world in the biggest and the most spectacular sporting event on the planet – the Olympic Games.

“Every one of you participating in the games is opening a page in history for yourself, your families, your community and the nation.

“Your performance at the games will inscribe your names in national and world sporting history;  you carry the hopes and aspirations of millions as you compete in Tokyo.

“But you will in this endeavor have the assurance of the prayers and best wishes of all Nigerians.”

The vice president implored the team to be motivated by the great exploits   of former Nigerian Olympians.

He cited Chioma Ajunwa who won the gold medal at the 1996 Olympics for the long jump and became the first black African woman to win an Olympic gold medal in a field event.

Osinbajo also made reference to the Nigerian Olympic football team that won gold at Atlanta 96.

” The Super  Eagles in 1996 who   won the gold medal for football, that was the team that had the greats, Augustine Okocha, Celestine Babayaro , Daniel Amokachi , Sunday Oliseh, Taribo West  Kanu Nwankwo, Abiodun Obafemi, Emmanuel Amuneke , Emmanuel Babayaro , Garba Lawal , Joseph Dosu , Kingsley Obiekwu , Mobi Obaraku , Uche Okechukwu , Teslim Fatusi , Tijani Babangida, Victor Ikpeba , and Wilson Oruma,.

“That was the year we defeated the world best foot balling nations, Argentina and Brazil and we all held our heads high.

“And for anyone who thinks we are joking maybe they haven’t seen our exhibition basketball game on Saturday with the USA team especially that amazing block by Precious Achiuwa against KD {Kevin Durant} who is probably the best player in the NBA right now.

“So, Precious, you are the real MVP.

“And in the year 2000 in Sydney, again we beat the best in the world.

” We won the gold in  4 × 400 metres relay after the American team was disqualified for using performance enhancing drugs, that was the team which had Clement Chukwu, the late Sunday Bada, Enefiok Udo-Ubong, Jude Monye, and  two other members of the team Fidelis Gadzama and Nduka Awazie.”

He commended the work done and still being done by the staff and management of the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

Osinbajo also lauded the various sporting federations for developing the talents to enable Nigeria to participate in nine different sports.

“I understand that you are departing first to the city of Kizarazu in continuation of your pre-games training before your participation in the Olympic Games.

“I think you should make good  use of this window  to prime yourselves fully for the competition.

“We must also commend the Nigeria Olympic Committee, under the leadership of Engr. Habu Gumel and the International Olympic Committee, under the Leadership of Mr  Thomas Bach as well as the Government and good people of Japan for their determination to host the 2020 Olympic Games in spite of the global challenge posed by the Coronavirus pandemic,’’ he said.

Earlier, Gumel, in his acceptance speech reassured that the NOC would be worthy ambassadors of Nigeria throughout the stay in Japan.

According to him, all athletes and officials have all received their full jabs of the COVID-19 vaccination.

Miss Odunayo Adekoroye, who will be competing in wrestling, told State House correspondents that Team Nigeria was going to the Tokyo Games as a disciplined and patriotic group and would not tarnish the image of country.

She said she hopeful that the team would win multiple medals for Nigeria. (NAN)

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Nigeria qualify for 2023 Africa U20 Cup of Nations

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Nigeria’s U20 boys, Flying Eagles, on Tuesday night overpowered fit-fighting Cote d’Ivoire in an explosive semi final match to reach the final of the ongoing WAFU B U20 Championship in Niamey.

The ticket to Saturday’s final also came with a ticket to next year’s Africa U20 Cup of Nations taking place in Egypt.

Midfielder Daniel Daga put Nigeria in front after only five minutes when he cleverly escaped the attention of the Ivorian defenders to nod in from a well-weighted pull out.

The seven-time African champions then launched onslaught after onslaught on the Ivorian goal but failed to add to the tally, before the Ivorians equalized just before half time from an intelligently-taken free kick at the edge of Nigeria’s eighteen-yard box.

Neither team could find another goal to gain upper hand before the end of regulation time inside the Stade General Seyni Kountché, and the game went into extra time.

Forward Ibrahim Yahaya got the winner for Nigeria in the 111th minute of play when he tucked in from the penalty spot to make it 2-1.

Nigeria will square up against neighbours Benin Republic in Saturday’s final.

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Arsenal squandered Champions League spot after loss to Newcastle United

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Ben White score own gaol
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Arsenal’s Champions League hopes suffered a major blow as Newcastle powered their way to a deserved win at a raucous St James’ Park.

Newcastle’s Bruno Guimaraes condemned the Gunners to a costly 2-0 defeat with an 85th-minute strike after Ben White’s own goal had put the Magpies ahead in front of a crowd of 52,274.

As a result, Arsenal will go into Sunday’s final round of fixtures two points behind their North London rival Tottenham, who are fourth on the table and with their fate out of their own hands.

Victory was no more than Eddie Howe’s side deserved as they bounced back from successive defeats to Liverpool and Manchester City to take their tally to 46 points, the most they have collected since returning to the Premier League in 2017.

Arsenal, were first to threaten when Granit Xhaka fed Eddie Nketiah, who cut inside from the left, but saw his right-foot shot blocked.

Callum Wilson’s pace made life difficult for Arsenal and White had to block a Sean Longstaff cross and a Joelinton shot within seconds as the home side pushed for the opener.

Bukayo Saka threatened on 21 minutes and the England international’s second strike forced keeper Martin Dubravka into another save before Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsdale produced a solid 37th-minute stop from Allan Saint-Maximin.

Martin Odegaard then flashed the ball across the Magpies’ penalty area, but the Gunners fell behind on 55 minutes.

Saint-Maximin played Joelinton into space down the left and he crossed to the near post, where White could only guide the ball into his own net.

Newcastle Utd celebrate White’s own gaol

As the visitors chased an equaliser, Wilson sent a 63rd-minute snapshot just over, Ramsdale palmed away Jacob Murphy’s shot and was relieved to see Wilson’s late lob from 40 yards drop just wide.

The keeper dived bravely at Wilson’s feet with five minutes remaining, but the rebound fell perfectly for Guimaraes, who wasted no time to seal the points.

Mikel Arteta was fumed after witnessing his team throwing away a whole season’s hard work in a woeful 2-0 defeat at St. James’ Park.

Mikel Arteta

With his team’s Champions League dram almost over, Arteta could not hide his exasperation anymore.

“Normally, I will always defend my players. Not tonight, it is too difficult. We didn’t compete. We never got into the game. We lost every duel. They were comfortably better than us.

“I am incredibly disappointed. It’s a very painful one. It was in our hands, it’s not in our hands now. We have to put our head down and swallow all the poison that we feel,” He told a press conference

Arteta’s anger was echoed by Granit Xhaka, who pulled no punches during an explosive post-game interview. The Arsenal midfielder declared the Gunners didn’t deserve a spot in Europe’s showpiece event next season.

Granit Xhaka 

“From the first minute to the 90th we didn’t deserve to be on the pitch today,” he told Sky Sports. “What happened was a disaster performance and like this you don’t deserve to play Champions League, you don’t even deserve to play Europa League. It’s very hard to take at the moment. I don’t know why we’re not doing what the coaches ask for.”

“If someone isn’t ready for this game, stay at home. It doesn’t matter the age. If you’re not ready or you’re nervous, stay on the bench, stay at home, don’t come here. We knew this game was maybe the most important for us but, with a performance like this, it’s not acceptable.”

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Official: José Peseiro now Super Eagles Head Coach

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José Peseiro
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The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has appoint Joeé Santos Peseiro as the new Head Coach of the national team after weeks of endless reports of the Portuguese being the frontrunner for the Super Eagles Head coach job.

The NFF announced the appointment on Sunday, saying appointment is with immediate effect but subject to the signing of agreed terms between the NFF and Peseiro.

Peseiro, 62, will take charge of the Super Eagles starting with friendlies with Mexico and Ecuador later in May.

Mr Peseiro has coached clubs and national teams in four continents— Europe, Asia, Africa and South America.

He has coached at Sporting Lisbon, FC Porto, Panathinaikos, Rapid Bucharest, Sporting Braga, Victoria Gumaraes, Al-Hilal, Al-Wahda, Al-Ahly Cairo, Sharjah FC and Real Madrid (assistant coach during the Galacticos era), and worked as Head Coach of the Saudi Arabian and Venezuelan national teams.

A statement from the NFF said Peseiro is expected to lead out the Super Eagles for the first time against Mexico at the AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas on May 28, before flying to New Jersey to face Ecuador at the Red Bull Arena in Harrison on Thursday, June 2.

NFF in the statement also announced that former Nigerian international forward, Finidi George will now be the First Assistant to Peseiro, with Salisu Yusuf to be the Second Assistant as well as Head Coach of the CHAN and U23 National Teams.

Usman Abdallah is the Third Assistant while Eboboritse Uwejamomere will be the Match Analyst and another former Nigeria international, Ike Shorounmu will be the Goalkeepers’ Trainer.

Peseiro succeeds Augustine Eguavoen who failed to qualify the Super Eagles for the 2022 World Cup holding in Qatar.

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