The board of the nation’s soccer governing body, NFF has thrown her weight behind the bid of Amaju Melvin Pinnick to vie for the presidency of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) early next year in Morocco. Amaju who played a major role in ending the reign of Africa’s football emperor, Issa Hayatou of Cameroon three years ago in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia may square up against incumbent president Ahmad Ahmad. Ahmad had after the “Ethiopia coup” that ousted Hayatou fallen out with Amaju, a situation that saw him Ahmad dropping Amaju as his second in command last year in Egypt during the CAF Executive Congress.
With Amaju no longer on the same page with Ahmad both could do electoral battle next year in Morocco should Amaju decide to contest. Amaju has until November 12 to pick up nomination form. On the home front, the NFF board had during her virtual meeting held Tuesday last week via video conference given Amaju the needed endorsement to contest the CAF election. The communique issued by the NFF after the meeting stated in part…”The Executive Committee unanimously approved and endorsed for the NFF President, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick to vie for any elective position in the forthcoming CAF and FIFA elections as deemed appropriate.” Praising the NFF President for the adroit and efficient leadership he has been provided for navigating the rather difficult terrain of Nigeria football administration for the past six years, the Executive Committee further congratulated Amaju for the exceptional representation that he indeed provided for Nigeria, WAFU B and indeed Africa in his current position as CAF Executive Committee Member, and enjoined all stakeholders to fully support him in the upcoming CAF and FIFA elections.
Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Organizers set to reopen more venues
Organizers of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics which has since been postponed to next year are set to reopen more of the venues billed to host events in the world’s biggest sports fiesta. Agency report monitored in Lagos disclosed that the step is being taken despite the second wave of Covid-19. According to the report, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government early this week announced the reopening dates for two more Tokyo 2020 venues, with sports federations and the public able to access tennis and table tennis facilities in the coming months. Ariake Tennis Park is set to open to sports federations from October 25 to November 2, before personal use will be granted from November 8 to February 28. Sports federations will be able to use both the indoor courts and the Ariake Coliseum centre court, while the public may only use the indoor courts. To maintain court condition for Tokyo 2020, the outdoor courts and the show court will not be reopened.
Ariake Tennis Park will host the tennis and wheelchair tennis at the Olympics and Paralympics respectively. The Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, which will host table tennis at the Games, will only be open to sports federations. They will be able to use the main arena and the sub arena from December 21 to March 31. The athletics track, indoor pools and training rooms that are part of the building will not be reopened to the public to ensure security for the Games. Both venues are scheduled to reopen under new COVID-19 safeguarding measures, with the pandemic causing the postponement of the Games to 2021. The Olympics are now scheduled to take place from July 23 to August 8 next year, with the Paralympics due to follow between August 24 and September 5. Other venues that have opened for use due to the delay include those for swimming, hockey and badminton.
UEFA Champions League: Barcelona not favorites for trophy -Koeman
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Barcelona’s new manager, Ronald Koeman has declared that the Camp Nou giants are not in anyway favorites in the UEFA Champions League this term despite starting the group stage campaign with a 5-1 bashing of Hungarian side Ferencvaros. Barcelona are billed to also take on Italian giants, Juventus and Dynamo Kyiv in the group. While Barcelona made a mincemeat of Ferencvaros at home, Juventus in the other match of the group secured a 2-0 away victory over Dynamo to set the stage for what could be an easy passage for the duo in the group. Though, Koeman doesn’t see his side as favorites, he is however confident they would go far in the money spinning competition. Hear him: “We aren’t the favourites, but we can go far.<
” It would be noted that Barcelona who parades one of the world’s best, Lionel Messi are yet to lift the UEFA Champions League diadem since 2015, a situation which fans of the club are not comfortable with, especially against the background of the success story of their rivals, Real Madrid in the competition in the last three terms. Koeman who also spoke on the performance of Messi since the start of the season, especially after his failed bid to leave the club, said Messi has not done badly insisting that the Argentine is happy and playing his captain’s role very well. “I don’t have any complaints or doubts about his effort,” Koeman said, adding… “Right now his performances could be better. On a day-to-day basis, he’s happy and wants to play and be the team’s captain.” It would be noted that Messi is in the final year of his contract with the Catalan giants. He scored the opener in the Tuesday night victory over Ferencvaros.