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NFF Seeks Increased Corporate Organisations  Funding of Nigerian Football

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The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), has called on corporate organisations to increase support to the federation to help develop football in the country.

The NFF President, Ibrahim Gusau made the call when MTN Nigeria hosted the Super Eagles on Tuesday in Abuja.

Reports says that Super Eagles finished as runner up to the host country, Ivory Coast at the just concluded 2023 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cote d`Ivoire.

Gusau said without finance the team would not have achieved what it achieved in the tournament.

“All of us today would have loved to be celebrating here with the trophy but unfortunately God knows why.

“We thank God at least as we heard from the captain this is the beginning of the new dawn as far as Nigerian football is concerned.

“I want to use this opportunity to thank MTN for their support and I hope that other corporate organisations will come up to see how they can support us the most.

“Without finances we cannot achieve what we have been able to achieve, so we need more corporate organisations to support us to build on what we have so far built,” he said.

The Chairman MTN Board of Directors, Prof. Ernest Ndukwe, said that  MTN’s support for  the Eagles was  its own way of giving back to the society.

“This is because MTN is a sport loving organisation. Over the years, we have always wanted to support the Super Eagles in various ways. MTN is fully committed to continuing the Super Eagles.

“We are building a nation where sports have a great role to play as a unifying force. So if we support sports, we are actually promoting unity among Nigerians,” he said.

The MTN’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Karl Toriola on his part appreciated the emotional commitment of the players to succeed.

“What I liked about this team which we haven’t seen in other teams of other nations was the visible emotional commitment to succeed.

“Unfortunately we didn’t bring the cup home but that is always going to be difficult when you are playing against your host country.

“You guys have shown your complete commitment through your leadership, and we are extremely proud of you supporting the Nigerian football federation and the super eagles,” he said

Head Coach of the Super Eagles, Jose Peseiro, thanked everyone that supported the team all through their preparations and the tournament proper.

“To the NFF I thank you, MTN I thank you, Nigerians I thank you for all the support,”he said

The Assistant Captain of the Super Eagles, Troost Ekong who spoke on behalf of the team, said this was the beginning of a new era.

“Thank you NFF, thank you MTN, thank you Nigerians, thank you our fans. We have given everything we have and have made everyone proud.

“We will be better in the future. Because this is not the end but the beginning of something new and we are hoping for the best,”he said.

Mrs Ifueko Okauru, Board Member, MTN Nigeria and former Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), said MTN supported all gender, age brackets, abled and disabled persons in the society.

“MTN supports all genders and all of us able and disabled, young and old. Whatever is needed to support MTN is here to support.

“Sports development is more than just what corporate organisations do; it needs significant funding and it also needs passion to ensure that this is done and done excellently.

“I must say though we all love sports, the fans are a major part of sports development.

“The economic condition of the fans is very important to ensure that as a corporate organization, we drive sports development by encouraging fans development and developing businesses around sports to grow sports,” he said. (NAN)

SPORTS

Mbappe says Winning Champions League Matter of Pride

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Paris St Germain’s Kylian Mbappe has said that helping his hometown club to finally win their first Champions League title is a matter of pride for him.

This was after he scored twice to help guide his side to a 4-1 comeback win at FC Barcelona and into the semi-finals with a 6-4 aggregate victory on Tuesday.

Mbappe, who is set to leave PSG in the summer with Real Madrid as the biggest favourite to sign him, told reporters that his future is not in his mind and that his focus is totally on bringing glory to the French capital.

“I have the dream of winning the Champions League for Paris,” Mbappe told reporters at Barcelona Olympic stadium on Tuesday.

“I’m proud to be at PSG since the first day.

It’s not because there are good times and bad times that my pride takes a hit.

“The pride of playing for this club, of representing the club of the capital of my country, it’s something special for me who grew up there.

“To experience an evening like this one as a Parisian, it’s great. We have one more step to go before we reach the final in Wembley, so we need to stay calm.”

After loosing 3-2 in the first leg in Paris, PSG fought-back down 1-0 at FC Barcelona after the locals went down to 10 men just before the half-hour.

This was when last man Ronald Araujo was red-carded for fouling Bradley Barcola.

Former FC Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele equalised for the visitors just before the break while Vitinha and Mbappe finished the job in the second half.

The result meant PSG would face Borussia Dortmund in the semi-finals after the Germans beat Atletico Madrid also on Tuesday.

PSG achieved success having failed to get past the round of 16 in the last two seasons and being pinned against the ropes by a FC Barcelona side who were in the ascendancy.

The Parisian put on a gritty performance to make the most of the home side’s mistakes and turn the tie around.

“We beat a great team this evening, but even if we had lost, I would be proud to be Parisian. Now it’s certain that during evenings like this, the pride is even greater,” Mbappe said.

“We are very happy, we beat a team that we wanted to beat and to be closer to the final.

“This one is for the fans that came here to support us and those back home. It’s a night to be proud.”(Reuters/NAN)

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SPORTS

Sports Ministry to Ensure Early Release of Funds for 2024 Olympics – Enoh 

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The Minister of Sports Development, Sen. John Enoh, has said that the ministry would ensure the timely release of funds to prepare Nigerian athletes for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

The games will take place from July 26  to Aug. 11 in Paris .

The minister gave the assurance on Thursday in Abuja in a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Media, Diana-Mary Nsan.

Enoh stressed the importance of securing funding in a timely manner to facilitate comprehensive preparations for the Olympic Games.

He added that the ministry will actively pursue partnerships with private individuals and the corporate sector to bolster financial support and ensure that athletes are set up for success.

Drawing from the successful model implemented during the African Games in Ghana, where all athletes were insured, the minister pledge to build on that success.

“Plans are underway to provide insurance coverage for Team Nigeria athletes to mitigate risks associated with injuries and unforeseen circumstances, reflecting a proactive approach to athlete welfare,” he said.

Enoh also announced plans to implement salaries for grade A athletes, noting that the initiative aims to provide ongoing support and motivation to athletes as they prepare for the Games, enabling them to focus on their training and performance without financial constraints.

The minister expressed confidence in Nigeria’s athletes and their potential to achieve success at the Paris Olympic Games.

Reports says that the Paris 2024 will feature the debut of breaking (also known as breakdancing) as an Olympic event.

The Games will be the first to feature identical number of athletes between men and women. (NAN

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SPORTS

PSG can Recover to Win Tie Against FC Barcelona – Enrique

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Paris St Germain Manager, Luis Enrique, said he is still confident his team can overcome a 2-3 home loss to FC Barcelona in their Champions League quarter-final.

Enrique hopes PSG can shine against the Spanish side next week to progress.

Still looking for a first Champions League crown, PSG gave up a 2-1 lead late in the second half on Wednesday against an FC Barcelona side who made the most of the chances they had.

The result meant FC Barcelona earned a narrow advantage for the return leg in Spain.

“It is clear that all defeats hurt and annoy, but I believe we played a good game against a very strong team,” Luis Enrique told a press conference.

“We are only going to change the things that didn’t work, we always have to appreciate what a match of this magnitude means.

“We’re going to Barcelona with a lot of desire. It’s a positive point of view to think that we can win there. It’s going to be a final for us. I’m confident in my team.”

Luis Enrique refused to comment on Kylian Mbappe’s performance, as the France captain was shackled by Barcelona’s defence and had little impact on the game.

The Spanish manager, who won the treble with Barcelona in 2015, said his side deserved to win and that Barca were not necessarily favourites even with a win in hand and the home field advantage.

“We are going to go to Barcelona to fight a war,” he said.

“I never see the opposition as favourites, whoever they are. In top-level competition, that’s how I see it. And I will continue to believe that we will go to Barcelona to win the game.

“I repeat. We could have won this game. (Football) is about small details and let’s hope that the small details go our way in the second leg.” (Reuters/NAN)

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