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University Of Agriculture Makurdi Wins Maiden HIFL Title

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CBN All Financial Institutions Football Tourney Kicks Off With 24 Teams
Highflying University of Agriculture, Makurdi (Tillers) at the weekend in the Agege Stadium, Lagos defeated University of Calabar (Malabites) by 5-4 penalty shootout to win the maiden Higher Institutions Football League (HIFL).

The exciting game ended goalless at full time and the teams had to be separated through the penalty lottery. UAM emerged victorious after the pulsating five kicks each.

According to HIFL officials, the best players of the competition would be picked to represent Nigeria in the 2019 International University Sports Federation Games scheduled for Naples, Italy.

Speaking at the end of the match, Stanbic IBTC Bank’s Acting Head, Marketing Communications, Margaret Oyefeso- Odusami applauded the finalists and all the teams that participated in the football league for giving their best in the championship and promised that the bank would continue to support the growth of grassroots football development in Nigeria.

Also speaking at the event, Chief Strategy Officer, Pace Sports and Entertainment Marketing, Olamide Adeyemo, whose company organises the league, said with the success of the 2018 edition of the HIFL, 2019 would feature more teams from across the country.

The HIFL league, which was supported by the Nigeria University Games Association (NUGA), featured 30 games played by 16 teams.

Coach of University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Priscilla Vande, who is the only female coach in the HIFL, said she was filled with joy for leading her team to win the tournament.

Earlier, OAU defeated the University of Ilorin Warriors 3-1 to win the third place match.

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AWCON 2018: Dennerby Out To Prove Doubters Wrong

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AWCON 2018: Dennerby Out To Prove Doubters Wrong

The 2018 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) kicks off in Ghana this weekend. Nigeria’s Super Falcons will be defending the AWCON title won two years ago in Cameroon, seeking to add another triumph to their past accolades.

The continent’s most successful national team almost by rote, they go into the tournament once again as massive favourites. This makes the continued lip service paid to them somewhat difficult to understand. Less than a fortnight ago, much to the chagrin of many in the industry, the team embarked on the final leg of preparation in Abidjan clad in casual mufti, looking very much like a rag-tag bunch hastily assembled at a moment’s notice.

It was a damning microcosm of the levity with which the nation’s women’s teams, and women’s football in general, is treated. Predictably, what followed was hand-wringing, apologies and a bizarre explanation centred on kits being stuck at customs.

While in Ivory Coast, the team proceeded to face the ASEC Mimosas’ under-16 Boys team. Undeniably the level of opposition the Nigeria Football Federation seems to believe the Falcons will have to contend with in Ghana. However, it all rankles on so many levels.

It seems, sometimes, the football authorities feel the need to put obstacles in the way of our own athletes. It is a weird, and unseemly way to foster resilience. Apologies are simply not good enough when nothing ever changes.
Besides, there is a feeling that this year’s edition might not be the foregone conclusion that it has always been.

The host country, Ghana will have the home support behind them and will draw confidence from their WAFU tournament victory earlier this year, even though that competition only permitted home-based players.

Cameroon and South Africa will also be competitive, but perhaps the biggest threat comes from Equatorial Guinea, who are the only other nation to have won this tournament previously. Though initially expelled after Kenya lodged a complaint about player eligibility, the two-time winners were re-admitted and will be precarious. They will compete out of Group B, same as the Falcons, and should both nations progress, it even sets up the prospect of a final rematch, a repeat of the riveting 2010 final which the Falcons won 4-2.

This implies that there is a tremendous amount of pressure on Swedish manager Thomas Dennerby. He comes with some pedigree, having led Sweden to a third-place finish in the Women’s World Cup, but that was seven years ago. This job will be a far sterner examination of his abilities

He has the hardest job of anyone who has ever managed the Super Falcons. There is a suspicion that, with the outstanding record of success on the continent, just about anyone can coach the team to victory at an AWCON. As such, there will be a greater focus on the ‘How’ – his methods and the manner in which the team plays.

Like a curveball, the AWCON will serve as a FIFA Women’s World Cup eliminator, with the top three sides in Ghana earning a ticket to represent the continent next year in France. A quantum leap for Nigeria will also be expected on that front.

In terms of talent, Dennerby still has the finest assortment to choose from in the competition. If anything, he will face a bit of a headache when it comes to picking, especially in the forward positions where the likes of Asisat Oshoala, Desire Oparanozie, Francisca Ordega will compete for positions. There is also the youngster Rasheedat Ajibade, highly rated and making her first appearance at an AWCON.

If Dennerby can bring them all together, it would go some way toward convincing his doubters, that his appointment has not simply been a waste of scarce resources. It would also give hope of better days to come.

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SA Stadium Manager Worries That Nigerian Fans Will Outnumber Hosts

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SA Stadium Manager Worries That Nigerian Fans Will Outnumber Hosts
As Nigeria prepares to take on their South African counterparts in the AFCON qualifiers series, the Chief Executive Officer of South Africa Stadium Management Body, Jaqcues Grobbelaar has expressed worries that Nigeria’s football fans could outnumber those from his country in their match at FNB Stadium, Johannesburg.

Despite the fact that the South African team will be hosts, reports have shown that Nigeria has a large presence in Johannesburg, and this has stirred up worry for Grobbelaar who acknowledged that their renowned love for football means they could throng the arena more than their hosts.

In their previous match against Seychelles, the South African team played in an almost empty stadium.

Grobbelaar has now admitted that the situation has led to awareness campaigns and offer of freebies, to ensure South Africans show the same zeal they give to matches between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.

He admitted; “We are worried by the low numbers. We are playing against one of the best teams on the continent and our biggest rivals.”

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NBBF Men’s League To Hold As Scheduled

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NBBF Men's League To Hold As Scheduled

The Nigeria Basketball Federation has said the men’s league will hold as scheduled despite two clubs – Gombe Bulls and Kwara Falcons – dragging it to an Abuja high court over their rights to represent the country in the FIBA Africa Zone 3 club championship.

Gombe and Falcons were the two finalists of the 2018 Kwese Premier Basketball League, which was organised by the Tijjani Umar faction of the NBBF.

But the NBBF under the leadership of Musa Ahmadu-Kida recently said it would organise an abridged league from November 13 to 17 to determine the country’s representatives in the tournament, which holds from November 20 to 25 in Benin Republic.

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