World swimming governing body, FINA has confirmed the final FINA Swimming World Cup 2021 calendar, which will be composed of four legs spread throughout October in attractive European and Middle-Eastern locations. The first two legs will be contested in Berlin (GER) and Budapest (HUN) on October 1-3, and October 7-9, respectively, while Doha (QAT) and Kazan (RUS) will stage the two remaining legs on October 21-23 and October 28-30. These long-time partner cities have provided continuous support to FINA by welcoming this top-notch yearly circuit and the world’s swimming elite. All four stops of the 2021 World Cup will be competed in 25m-pools and are qualifying events for the postponed 15th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) to be held in Abu Dhabi (UAE) from December 16-21, 2021. A sum of US$ 224’000 to the top 20 athletes of each stage as Meet Prize Money will be available, and a total of US$ 556’000 will be given to the top 10 athletes at the end of the series based on the overall ranking. The total prize money dedicated to the SWC 2021 represents US$ 1’452’000. FINA President Husain Al-Musallam said: “The FINA Swimming World Cup has become an iconic annual meet that is greatly valued by the entire swimming community. The world’s best ranked athletes participate every year and outstanding performances are always witnessed. This year, the World Cup circuit is a qualifier for the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m), where an increased prize money will also be distributed. As promised in June when I took office, athletes are my priority and the increase of prize money reflects my pledge. “FINA is looking forward to welcoming the swimmers to the World Cup circuit as the world of sport is slowly recovering from the halt imposed by the pandemic. The FINA Task Force is working closely with the local organisers to ensure a safe and COVID-free environment for the athletes, coaches and officials.” 2021 FINA Swimming World Cup calendar:1. Berlin (GER) – October 1-3 2. Budapest (HUN) – October 7-9 3. Doha (QAT) – October 23-25 4. Kazan (RUS) – October 28-3
Ejike Uzoechi hungry for more after great sunshine season
I f there was an award for the Sunshine Stars impact player of the just ended 2020/2021 NPFL season, there would be little debate as to the winner as that will surely go to one Ejike Uzoechi, a Central defender who shone like a million stars. Uzoeshi joined the struggling Sunshine Stars during the midseason transfers window on a short loan spell from Nigeria National League (NNL) side, Nnewi United FC of Nnewi. Sunshine Stars Coach, Deji Ayeni saw him play first hand when as then Ekiti United Coach his side faced Nnewi United in their NNL clash at the Ekiti Stadium and Uzoechi was superb. The moment Ayeni got appointed Coach of the relegation haunted ‘Owena Waves’ to replace Gbenga Ogunbote his first midseason signing was Ejike ‘the incredible’ Uzoechi and the young man did not disappoint. He sllotted into Sunshine’s team with ease. Sunshine Stars and the City of Akure were without any shine and had almost forgotten how to celebrate victory with an NPFL record Eighteen (18) consecutive winless games, Uzoechi was immense in his debut driving his team as he scored on his debut to end what was becoming a jinx. The Enugu born defender had carefully directed his header into the net for a 1-0 victory over visiting Dakkada FC of Uyo for their first win in five Months.
“I could not believe it but it was a great feeling for me, even though the fans were not there in their numbers but the joy i saw on the faces of all present gave me unquantifiable happinness.” Uzoechi said. After that performance the 6’2 tall defender became a favourite amongst Sunshine Stars fans. Uzoechi practically carried Sunshine Stars on his back to swim out of the murky waters of relegation and bring the shine back in the Sun at the Akure Township Stadium. He played Eleven key league matches and four Aiteo Cup games. He scored three match winning goals against Dakkada 1-0, Plateau Utd 3-2, Rivers Utd 1-0 and scored a vital one point grabbing goal for their 1-1 draw against Enyimba in Aba. It was a Man of the match performance on the final day of the season as he proved very decisive scoring the only goal of the game in the 5th minute to disunite Rivers Utd to send the Akure fans into wild jubilation as the goal and win helped the Akure Gunners escape the drop on the last match day of the season. While two of his four goals were headed in, the other two were scored with his stronger right foot to show that he is an all action centre back with incredible aerial ability and penchant for goals. “I can’t wait for the new season as I want to really show the stuff I am made of, what you all saw last season, there are much more where that came from and I cant wait to showcase them.” If you are searching for one of the most consistent and modern centre backs in the Nigeria Professional football league, look towards the big, strong, reliable and formidable Ejike Uzoechi who is hungry for more.
Sports federations: Group drums support for Kida, Nimrod, Yakubu, Igali
Ahead of the September elections into the various sports federation boards in Nigeria, a group of sports enthusiasts, journalists and stakeholders, under the aegis of Friends of Nigeria Sports (FSN), have declared their support for the re-election of some sports federation caretaker chairmen as presidents in their respective federations. In a release signed by the spokesperson of the group, Asiwaju Akeem Busari, it stated that for a sustainable development and growth in Nigeria sports, there should be consistency and continuity of developmental programmes and delivery. “Nigerian sports, for several decades, have suffered from apparent inconsistency in policy formulations and delivery. “ It has also painfully, been left at the mercies of the whims and caprices of corrupt, egoistic, mindless and unpatriotic administrators in recent past. Continuing the group stated…”the narratives are changing now. Today, Nigerian sports can boast of some quality, experienced, patriotic and dedicated administrators in not a few sports federations.” The group went ahead to emphatically declare its support for the return of Engr. Ahmadu Musa Kida, Musa Nimrod, CSP Abubakar Yakubu and Daniel Igali of Basketball, Volleyball, Kickboxing and Wrestling respectively. “The likes of Musa Kida, Daniel Igali, Musa Nimrod and Abubakar Yakubu have brought fervour, vitality, vibrancy, experience, selflessness and patriotism to sports administration in Nigeria. These administrators have been expending their personal funds and resources for the growth of Nigerian sports. And it is not for nothing that we’re experiencing successes. The development and growth witnessed in their various federations are testimony to their class, experience and commitment to sports development.” While enjoining stakeholders to support and ensure the administrators are returned for the benefits of Nigerian sports, the group went on to commend Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, for his passion, patriotism and leadership qualities that has continued to impact positively on Nigerian sport