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Falcons Target WAFCON 2022 Campaign Revival against Botswana

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By Orkula Shaagee, Abuja

It is another day in the hunt for points and Nigeria’s Super Falcons say they are ready to rekindle their campaign for FIFA World Cup ticket and the tournament trophy when they clash with their counterparts from Botswana today.

The Cup holders suffered a 1-2 defeat to South Africa’s Banyana Banyana in the opening match of Group C on Monday and know their work is cut out against table-toppers Botswana, who turned back Burundi 4-2 on Monday night.

“We feel bad to have lost the opening match, and against South Africa for that matter, but we have been able to put that behind us. We resolved immediately after the match that we will give what it takes to win all remaining games.

“There is no need for too many words. All we want to do is get the win against Botswana to restore our confidence, and then we can take things from there,” Captain Onome Ebi said on Wednesday.

First choice goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie returns against the Botswanans after missing the first match due to suspension, and the forced departure of Asisat Oshoala means the vibrant Gift Monday or Mexico-based Uchenna Kanu will start in the fore for the nine-time champions.

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Midfield ace Rasheedat Ajibade, who scored the goal against the South Africans, is expected to again be the pivot as the Falcons search for early goals as from 9pm at the Prince Moulay Al-Hassan Stadium.

Coach Randy Waldrum could ring changes in some departments, with Glory Ogbonna likely to take her place at left back to allow the energetic Ashleigh Plumptre return to her accustomed role at centre-back alongside Captain Ebi, while Osinachi Ohale moves to right back.

Victory today will calm Nigerian nerves and allow the Falcons to look forward to Sunday’s encounter against Burundi with much confidence.

The team’s medical crew declared on Wednesday that Oshoala sustained a Grade 2 Medial Ligament strain in the 6th minute of the encounter with the Banyana on Monday, and would be out of action for between two and three weeks, with another one or two weeks period for recovery.

She is due to fly out of Morocco on Thursday after medics at her club, FC Barcelona Feminine, advised that she return to Spain.

SPORTS

 Baker Calls for  more Technical Basketball Academies in Nigeria

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Ganon Baker, an international high-performer basketball trainer has called for more technical basketball academies in Nigeria to raise the standard of the game.

Baker made the call on Monday in Abuja at a week-long training clinic for Nigerian coaches and players organised by Sports Renaissance Africa Partners (SRAP).

The renowned U.S certified coach with over 30 decades of experience in the game, stressed the need for technical and systematic coaching to nurture the abundant basketball talents in the country.

He said his visit to Nigeria was to teach kids, players and coaches the rudiments of the game and how to win basketball championships.

” I see a lot of talents in Nigeria but they are unpolished, they are inexperienced, they are not secure, unbelievable talents, but it comes down to coaches, to nurture them that is why we are here.

“If you have good coaches, you are going to have good players, if you don’t have good players may be coaches don’t give them enough information.

“My experience with African players is that they’re very humble and hungry to win,” he said.

Baker said with proper coaching and exposure, a lot more Nigerian players can make it to the U.S National Basketball Association (NBA).

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Earlier, the Chief Executive Officer of SRAP, Relindis Mbu said the clinic is aimed at leveraging on the wealth of tactical experience of Baker to help develop young talents and Coaches in Nigeria.

“The real goal of our project is to give tactical training to coaches so they can transfer it and build eco system of basketball in the world, Africa and Nigeria.

“The end goal is technical expertise that will bring our athletes to international standard so that they can excel locally and internationally in any where they are.” she said.

Baker is one of the most respected premier basketball skill coaches in the World, he is renowned with working with the NBA, WNBA, CBA, Euro League, NCAA, NJCAA, U Sports among others.(NAN)

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SPORTS

FIFA U- 20 Women’s World Cup: Falconets Defeat South Korea 1-0

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Nigeria’s Under-20 National Women’s Football Team (Falconets) defeated  South Korea 1-0 on Sunday in their Group C Match Day Two of the ongoing FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica.

The News Agency of Nigeria ( NAN) report that the Falconets got a vital boost at the Estadio Alajuela Morera Soto Stadium with the defeat of the South Koreans to reach the knock-out round.

The Falconets also got off to a winning start on Thursday with a 1-0 win over highly-rated France.

However,  the South Koreans shot to the top of the group when they beat Canada 2-0.

Falconets got on a sound footing with excellent passes to the admiration of few spectators but no goal to show for their display in the first half of the match.

They started very well, but their Korean opponents grew into the game, and even hit the post from a free kick but the Nigerian girls held on.

Both teams played almost all their tactics and skills all to no avail in the pursuit of a goal that never came

The Falconets dominated  possession with 64 per cent as against the South Koreans’ 36 per cent.

Both teams continued from where they stopped with the Falconets dominating  in the second half of the game .

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Esther Onyenezide finally scored for the Falconets in the 83rd minute  of the game for the winning goal.

Nigeria will be up agsinst Canada on Aug.19 in their next match.

NAN reports that the victory lifted Falconets to the knockout rounds of the World Cup even before a final group game against Canada.

The Falconets were paired in Group C along with France, South Korea  and Canada.

Meanwhile, in another match played earlier in Group D, Japan defeated Ghana 2-0.

The FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, which started  on Aug. 10, is expected to end on 28 in Costa Rica.(NAN)

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POLITICS

Edo Deputy Gov. Retires From Professional Football in Style

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Edo Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu on Friday, announced his retirement from professional football.

Until his retirement, Shaibu was a signed player of Bendel Insurance FC, a club that he helped to secure a ticket to the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL).

The deputy governor announced his retirement in Benin at a news conference, shorty after the Insurance’s last match in the Nigerian National League (NNL) against Vandrezzer FC of Lagos.

Insurance won the week 22 by a lone goal to end the 2021/2022 soccer season, amidst jubilation among the fans at Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium.

He had earlier distributed souvenir which included jersey with his name and balls to scores of fans who were present at the venue of the final league play.

Briefing newsmen, the Edo deputy governor said he was elated that his six years sojourn with the Benin side ended with a ticket to the Nigerian apex league.

Shaibu commended stakeholders, who helped to restore the past glory of the ancient football club.

“I am so excited today that in good health, I am retiring from professional football and thank the stakeholders in Bendel Insurance for this historic moment of retiring with jersey number 40.

See also  Morocco Secure Maiden World Cup Berth, Beat Botswana to Reach WAFCON Semi-Finals

“It’s first of its kind and I am so excited and happy about it,” he said, noting that he was more elated that his commitment to and rebranding of Bendel Insurance yielded the desired result.

The deputy governor, who recounted his football stints in Federal Capital Territory with YSFON U-20, Foreign Affairs FC as well as defunct Ijesha United and Nigerian Prisons FC, said he won all matches in the clubs except for a draw.

The retiring player, who noted that he exited without any injury, said the qualification for promotion of Bendel Insurance to the elite NPFL was his happiest moment in the football career.

He recalled winning a gold medal for Edo during the 20th National Sports Festival.

He urged Coach Monday Odigie to live up to the bidding in the NPFL, assuring the club of the necessary state government’s support.

The club, he noted, could not afford to go back to the lower league, as they were back to where they rightly belonged.

He said the present government in Edo had demonstrated genuine love for sports with the upgrade of facilities at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium and rebranded both the men and women football clubs in the state.

According to him, Edo Government has returned the state as a home to sports, and a tourist site for sports development in the country. (NAN)

See also  Morocco 2022: Falcons Begin Camping for Ghana Clash
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