Nigeria’s Flying Eagles were on Friday in Zurich drawn in Group D alongside Brazil, Italy and Dominican Republic for the first round of the 2023 FIFA Under-20 World Cup.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigeria were among the 24 countries which earlier secured their respective places in the competition.
Nigeria secured their place in the competition billed for May 20 to June 12 in Argentina after they finished third at the 2023 Under-20 African Cup of Nations in Egypt.
They and the 23 others have now been drawn into six groups of four teams each.
Group A has hosts Argentina, Guatemala, Uzbekistan and New Zealand, while Group B has the U.S., Ecuador, Fiji Islands and Slovakia.
Group C has African champions Senegal,
Colombia, Japan and Israel, the country which indirectly brought about the switch in tournament venue from Indonesia to Argentina.
Group E has Uruguay, Iraq, England and Tunisia, while Group F has France, Korea, Gambia and Honduras.
NAN reports that hosts Argentina are the most successful team in the tournament while Nigeria are two-times finalists, in 1989 and 2005.(NAN)
Mutual Benefits National Badminton Championship Kicks off in Lagos
Over 160 players from twenty seven States will jostle for honour at the fourth edition of the Mutual Benefits National Badminton Championship which flags off today the 29th of November 2023 at the NIS Gym, National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.
The Championship is coming back in its 4th edition after 3 years of absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 3rd and last edition was held in 2019.
Before the 3 years break, the Championship had become one of the biggest national badminton events in Nigeria.
Players will be playing for a total N5,340,000 prize money and ranking points to improve their national ranking with the finals and closing ceremony billed for Saturday the 2nd of December, 2023.
The National ranking will be a major criteria for inviting players to the national camp early January next year to select the National team for the two major continental events in the first quarter of next year.
These are the All Africa Senior Badminton Championship in Egypt in February and the All Africa Games scheduled for Ghana in March.
As the Competition serves off today, the players, administrators and technical officials are all excited with anticipation especially after a long draught of such outings, a statement from the Badminton Federation of Nigeria (BFN)said.
The President, Francis Orbih couldn’t hide his excitement and has promised to look at other possible meets to “keep the players calendar crowded”.
Super Eagles need Home Based Players, not Peseiro’s Sack – Ekpo
Ex-international, Friday Ekpo, says sacking Super Eagles Head Coach, José Peseiro, is not as crucial as adding fresh home based and foreign professionals to key departments of the team.
Ekpo said this in an interview on Tuesday in Lagos, against the backdrop of Super Eagles unimpressive performance in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign.
Reports says that Super Eagles drew 1-1 in Uyo on matchday one against Lesotho, a team that has never qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations.
A few days later, the Super Eagles were held to another 1-1 draw against Zimbabwe in Rwanda to bag only two points from their first two games.
The Portuguese has been under immense criticism after guiding the three-time African champions to two disappointing results in November.
Ekpo, the Former Super Eagles midfielder, appealed to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) not to heed the call by football enthusiasts to sack the coach.
“I’m not calling for Jose’s head like most people are, sacking him will be counterproductive at this point in time. These results can be reversed in subsequent matches.
“My only concern is that we shouldn’t have only foreign based players in the team, because selecting his team for matches will be tough.
“No foreign based player would like to leave their clubs just for them to come and seat on the bench, we’ve done it in the past and it worked, we can do that again,” he said.
Peseiro is set to submit a 55-man provisional list ahead of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations on Dec.14.
Reports says that participating countries can name a maximum 27 players in their squad for the 2023 AFCON finals as against the usual 23. The final roaster is expected to be submitted by Jan. 3, 2024.
Ekpo, a member of the 1992 African Cup of Nation squad, says that the victory of Super Eagles at the 2013 AFCON was sealed by a home based player at the time, Sunday Mba.
“Sunday Mba was a Warrior Wolves of Asaba player. Late Stephen Keshi did that, and the result was glaring. Moreover, this is the only way we can truly develop our domestic league.
“We all want results but it’s important we pay attention to history and learn from it,” he said. (NAN)
Gboko City Chiefs Emerge Champions of 2023 Bullet Energy Basketball Invitational
Both Gboko City Chiefs and Mark Town basketball club reached the final having defeated FCT Hard Rockers 87-100 and Warriors 313; 84-73, respectively in the semi-finals on Thursday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the five-day tournament, which dunked off on Monday, ended on Friday in Abuja.
The Jeff Verem-led team emerged champions after recording an impressive (90-77) at the end of the fourth quarter.
With the victory, Gboko City Chiefs smiled to the bank with a N1 million prize money, while Mark Town basketball club recieved a N500,000 runners up prize.
After faltering in the first quarter (19-22) to the runners up, Gboko City Chiefs never looked back, taking control of three other quarters (28-11, 19-21, 24-23) in the second, third and fourth quarters to claim the title.
Interestingly, the champions are one of the four teams that qualified for the finals of the 2023 Nigeria Basketball (NBBF) Final Four to be held in Port Harcourt, Rivers.
Haruna Friday won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award to pocket a N20,000 prize money, while Umar Garba emerged the competition’s top scorer with 22 points.
Speaking after the final, the organiser, Sam Ogwuche, said he was satisfied with the outcome of the championship.
He noted that the competition surpassed the expectations of basketball fans who trooped in their numbers to the Mo Arena.
“I feel very excited because it’s not easy planning a competition like this. For me the objective of the competition has been achieved because the winners are going to the NBBF Final Four.
“This serves like a preparatory competition for them, and of course I wish them all the luck going to Port Harcourt.
“As organiser we supported the winners with N1 million as prize and we will keep supporting the team and we believe that in the subsequent editions, the prize money would be jacked up.
“We are planning a competition also for the girls and that will come up anytime soon. The men’s competition will also be back in January,” he said. (NAN)
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