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ITTF World Table-Tennis Championships: Quadri, Mati Advance to Round of 64

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Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri and Taiwo Mati have both advanced to the round of 64 at the ongoing 2023 ITTF World Table-Tennis Championships finals in Durban, South Africa.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that World number 12 Quadri defeated Ovidiu Ionescu of Romania 4-2 (11-7, 12-10, 8-11, 11-5, 7-11, 11-9) in a men’s singles round of 128 encounter.

Quadri who is also Africa’s number one ranked player, was on the front foot early in the match as he took a 2-0 lead against his opponent ranked number 109.

Ionescu looked poised to stage a comeback as he broke Quadri’s serve in the third set to make it 2-1, but it was short-lived as the Nigerian bounced back in the fourth for a 3-1 lead.

The Romanian had another short spell in the fifth as he narrowed the gap to 3-2, but Quadri came back roaring in the fifth and final set to make it 4-2.

He overpowered his opponent as he ammased a superior point of 60 as against the Romanian’s 53 with his biggest lead (6) coming in the fourth set to advance to the round of 64.

Also, campatriot Taiwo Mati pulled a stunning comeback victory from the brinks of two sets down to win Czech’s Lubomir Jancarik 4-2 (7-11, 7-11, 11-6, 11-9, 12-10, 11-8) in another round of 128 fixture.

World number 94 Jancarik looked to dominate and impose his game early on Mati who is currently 99 on the ITTF rankings as he took the first two sets in quick successions.

But the 18 year-old Nigerian was resilient, showing character and mental strength to upset his opponent against all odds.

He came back strong in the third set and never looked back from then on, hitting his opponent with his trademark left-handed attacks in the final third to progress to the round of 64.

In the women’s singles round of 124 fixtures, Nigeria’s world number 61 ranked player Fatimo Bello walked over Liopa Santhy of Vanuatu 4-0 to advance to the round of 64.

However, Nigeria’s other representative in the women’s singles event, world number 154, Olufunke Oshonaike crashed out after she lost 0-4 (7-11, 4-11, 6-11, 7-11) to world number 153, Charlotte Lutz of France.

Lutz proved too strong for the Nigerian as she totally dominated her opponent with 44 overall points won as against Oshonaike’s 24 with her biggest lead of 7 coming in the first and fourth set.

In the men’s doubles event, the pair of Bode Abiodun and Quadri were knocked out as they lost 2-3 (14-16, 11-5, 11-8, 4-11, 3-11) to the duo of Hungry’s Nandor Ecseki and Adam Szudi in a round of 64 encounter.

While the pair of Nigeria’s Cecilia Akpan and Offiong Edem also crashed out of the women’s doubles event after losing 0-3 (5-11, 3-11, 10-12) to the duo of Hungary’s Dora Madarasz and Georgina Pota in the round of 64.

The week-long 2023 ITTF World Table-Tennis Championships which served off on Saturday will end on Sunday in Durban, South Africa. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
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2023/2024 NPFL Match Day 36 results

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The following are the results of Match Day 36 fixtures played on Wednesday in the 2023/2024 Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL):

Gombe United FC 1-3 Abia Warriors FC

Bendel Insurance FC 2-1 Rivers United FC

Niger Tornadoes FC 3-2 Lobi Stars FC

Remo Stars FC 4-1 Heartland FC

Kwara United 2-0 Kano Pillars FC

Akwa United FC 3-1 Katsina United FC

Enyimba International FC 1-1 Bayelsa United FC

Sporting Lagos FC 1-2 Plateau United FC

Shooting Stars FC 1-0 Rangers International FC

The match between Doma United FC and Sunshine Stars FC will be played on June 19.

( NAN)

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Ono Akpe Stages Refresher Course For Referees In Bayelsa

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From Mike Tayese, Yenagoa

The Governor’s Cup in Bayelsa was initiated and managed by Mr. Onoriode Kelvin Akpe  since the time of former governor Henry Seriake Dickson.

He started the tournament with the titled “Restoration Cup” which produced young bayelsans football athletes and since then, the governor’s Cup has come to stay in Bayelsa and has been acknowledged by government across the federation.

Ono as is fondly called was the former Director General on New Media to former governor Dickson.

Not relenting in it efforts continued from where he stopped after Dickson left office with the current administration of governor Douye Diri  but this time termed “Prosperity Cup”.

In May, the Prosperity Cup Season 6 was kicked Off by the state deputy governor, Senator Lawrence Ewrhudjakpo at the  main bowl of the Samson Siasia stadium in Yenagoa the state capital.

Ono Akpe who is the Director General of Prosperity Cup was not only interested in recruiting young talented footballers  that will represent the state and by extension Nigeria as a country and also play in an international clubs but also interested in equipping Bayelsa Referees by training them to understand new techniques in carrying out there job and acquire knowledge that will help them Excel in order to be at par with their counterparts in other states and across the world.

Seeing and knowing the importance of training decided to collaborate with the Bayelsa state Football Association  to organised a One Day Training for all of them with the mindset of equipping them with required knowledge by an erudite, a scholar and thorough bread professional with several years of experience in the field to come and refresh the Bayelsa state Referees for them to perform maximally and effectively without biased and good sense of judgement especially in the ongoing Prosperity Cup.

It’s with this love and passion that the Referees Refreshers Course was organised for the Referees at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Yenagoa, Bayelsa state.Participants who participated in the training  not only commended the Organisers of the Bayelsa State Governor’s Football Tournament Season 6, (Prosperity Cup 2024) for  putting together a one-day refresher course for the national referees’ council, Bayelsa chapter,but implored other states to emulate it, as the importance of training and retraining for any professional body cannot be over emphasized. While talking to the participants, the man who initiated and bring to birth the Governor’s Cup, Mr Ono Akpe, said the refresher course which was in partnership with the Bayelsa State Football Association, was aimed at enhancing officiating skills of the referees and equip them with updated information of the game, inline with best global practices.
Speaking to journalists in their various interviews after the refresher training for referees,  a resource person Mr Chukwudi Chukwujekwu (FIFA RTD) and Deputy President of  Nigeria Football Referees Association, Mr Kelechi  Mejuobi believed that the initiative  of refreshers course for training of referees was not only worthy of emulation by other states, but timely in view of the on going prosperity Cup ,a grass root tournament targeted at  hunting  professional youth  footballers.

The duo described the collaboration as fantastic and promised that the young referees will be invited to Abuja soon.According to them , they are happy with Bayelsa state government’s target at young referees,other states needs to emulate this initiative.Also speaking , Mrs Felicia Okugbawa Okonji ( FIFA RTD ) reiterated the essence of refreshers course for referees and the training will go along way for the improvement on officiating of matches in line with global practices. On his part, the Tournament Director of the Prosperity Cup season 6, Perela Aboro , host of the event, averred  that the training will enhance the participants confidence on modern techniques in Nigerian referees in their officiating of matches.


The Chairman of Bayelsa state Nigeria Football Referees Association, Ebi Nwankwe applauded the organizers of the training and with  rich contents from distinguished resource persons, the members have been massively impacted  and that will bring about  improvement on their officiating henceforth,while soliciting for more regular programmes for the improvement on the skills and performance of it’s members.” We look forward to more of such collaborations in future and to our members to whom much  is given,much is expected ” he said.

The one day event had the Director General of the Prosperity Cup season 6 ,Mr Ono Kelvin Akpe  as it’s chief host and was graced by Chief Patimidi Tukuru, permanent secretary, Ministry of special projects, as special guest 

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2026 WC qualifier: Finidi invites Lookman, Osimhen for Bafana, Cheetahs

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Rave-of-the-moment Ademola Lookman, and African Player of the Year Victor Osimhen, are among the 23 Super Eagles players invited for the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches by Coach, Finidi George.

Nigeria’s Super Eagles will tackle South Africa’s Bafana Bafana and the Cheetahs of Benin Republic in the qualifiers.

George, also selected goalkeeper Maduka Okoye, England-based defenders Calvin Bassey and Semi Ajayi, midfielders Wilfred Ndidi, Alex Iwobi and Alhassan Yusuf.

Forwards Kelechi Iheanacho, Victor Boniface and Terem Moffi are also invited for the qualifiers.

Similarly, Remo Stars’ hard-as-nails defender, Sadiq Ismael, is called for the first time, with Turkey-based midfielder Fisayo Bashiru, Bayer Leverkusen of Germany’s Nathan Tella and lanky forward Paul Onuachu also called.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigeria will clash with South Africa on June 7 at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo, starting from 8.00 p.m.

The team will then fly to Abidjan to tackle Benin Republic at the Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny on June 10 by 5.00 p.m. (Nigerian time).

Super Eagles full team list

Goalkeepers: Stanley Nwabali (Chippa United, South Africa); Maduka Okoye (Udinese FC, Italy); Ojo Olorunleke (Enyimba FC).

Defenders: Chidozie Awaziem (Boavista FC, Portugal); Bright Osayi-Samuel (Fenerbahce FC, Turkey); Sadiq Ismael (Remo Stars FC); Oluwasemilogo Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion, England); Calvin Bassey (Fulham FC, England); Benjamin Tanimu (Ihefu SC, Tanzania).

Midfielders: Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Raphael Onyedika (Club Brugge, Belgium); Alhassan Yusuf Abdullahi (Royal Antwerp FC, Belgium); Frank Onyeka (Brentford FC, England); Alex Iwobi (Fulham FC, England); Fisayo Dele-Bashiru (Hatayspor, Turkey).

Forwards: Nathan Tella (Bayer Leverkusen, Germany); Victor Osimhen (SSC Napoli, Italy); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Samuel Chukwueze (AC Milan, Italy); Paul Onuachu (Trabzonspor FC, Turkey); Ademola Lookman (Atalanta FC, Italy); Victor Boniface (Bayer Leverkusen, Germany); Terem Moffi (OGC Nice, France). (NAN)

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