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WWC 2023: Kerr calls for more funding for women’s game in Aussie



In the wake of Australia’s elimination from the Women’s World Cup, Matildas star Sam Kerr has called for more investment in Australian women’s football.

At the moment that the entire country connected with the Women’s World Cup and Australians rallied behind the Matildas, the team’s joyride at these finals came to an end with a 3-1 semi-final defeat to European champions England, but a sense of pride prevails and amid all the disappointment of not making a maiden World Cup final, Kerr demanded increased funding for the women’s game.

“I can only speak for the Matildas but, we need funding in our development, we need funding in our grassroots. We need funding everywhere,” said Kerr.

“You know, comparison to other sports isn’t really good enough. Hopefully, this tournament kind of changes that because that’s the legacy you leave, not what you do on the pitch. The legacy is what you do off the pitch. I think the way the country has got behind us and the television ratings, all of that, this isn’t a once-in-a-lifetime.”

In the 63rd minute, Kerr levelled the score in the first match of the tournament that she started. The striker’s fitness became the focal point of attention for weeks in Australia. As a talisman, her image fronted ads, buildings and other public places.

As her fitness gradually improved, she played an hour against France in the quarter-finals before delivering a sumptuous goal against the Lionesses that allowed Australians to dream of playing the tournament’s showpiece match against Spain. Ultimately, they were left to rue what could have been. In 2021, the Matildas reached the final of the Olympic Games, but lost against Canada.

Australia manager Tony Gustavsson said that his team and Australian football had “maximized” what they could do with the resources at their disposal. “It’s bigger than 90 minutes of football,” said Gustavsson. “We’re very disappointed that we lost, but hopefully we won something else. We won the heart and the passion for this team in this country.

“But I agree with the players. This is not the end of something, this needs to be the start of something. And with that comes money as well.”

England and Australia come from very different football backgrounds, but the success of the Matildas, Gustavsson and Kerr believe should prompt investment, be it from the government, corporate sponsors and broadcasters. Before the Women’s World Cup, Football Australia rolled out a legacy program that will entail $357 million to foster a better football environment across the board.

“We are right now maximizing the resources we have, whether it’s registered players or whether it’s the work we’re doing at clubs locally, whether it’s the grassroots football, whether it’s the return on investment. But let’s invest more and be genuine contenders for medals and tournaments moving forward as well. This is now the second semifinal, two tournaments in a row, the Olympic Games and this one. But right now we’re not happy about being in the semifinal. We’re disappointed not to be in the final.”

The legacy of the tournament will come into greater focus after the final whistle, but first, the Matildas will bow out of the finals in the third-place playoff against Sweden.

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We have a modern sports administration in Lagos – Aiyepeku




Sports administration has moved beyond the outdated rhetoric that characterizes the Nigerian system and inevitably leaves the country behind when results do not match inputs.

However, things have become different in Lagos over time, especially since the administration of Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu at the helm of the Lagos State Sports Commission is ensuring that round pegs are put in round holes.

The duo of Mr. Sola Aiyepeku, Executive Chairman and Mr. Oluwatoyin Gafaar, Director General of the Sports Commission are goal scorers and technocrats in sports administration.

There has been synergy between the Sports Commission and other stakeholders, both in the public and private sectors in order to drive the THEMES agenda of Governor Sanwo-Olu.

Chairman Aiyepeku gave an insight into how sports is being run in the Centre of Excellence on Wednesday when he was the guest of over 300 journalists covering the ongoing 7th National Youth Games in Asaba, Delta State. The Youth Games has witnessed a high influx of sporting media since its inception at the Asaba 2023.

Aiyepeku told the journalists that he was ready for any jab of questions from the sportswriters, as he knows his onions when it comes to facing the inquisitiveness of sporting media as he was on media practitioner.

The session at the media centre of the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba was very entertaining, informative and educative as some of the journalists later confessed to Independent News Express.

Aiyepek took the time to explain to the journalists how sports are practiced in Lagos State. According to him, the administration lacks the old-fashioned style.

He stressed that as an administrator who has seen it all in the world of sport and traveled near and far, he knows that modern ways of working deliver results.

He revealed how the Sports Commission has integrated over 400 games masters and mistresses from educational districts in Lagos State into a modern school sports system by given them retraining at a recent workshop.

“It was a kind of revolution because we showed them the best sports practices. Not only have we equipped them to carry out their active-duty duties, but we have also equipped them with knowledge so that they can be useful to the society and their families after their service,” Aiyepeku said.

He also revealed what the state is doing to ensure that no sport is left behind.

“We value development, which essentially means giving everyone a sense of belonging. We have also managed to separate and classify these sports so we can focus on the results.

“We don’t necessarily want to win at all costs like other states do, but we want to advance the development agenda. According to us at the Lagos State Sports Commission, we are not desperate as we see these youth games as a talent scouting program,” he added.

He said that the Sports Commission also places a strong emphasis on development, as many of Lagos’ athletes benefit from some form of grant to help them prepare for and compete in tournaments without stress.

Aiyepeku stressed that Lagos is a breeding ground for athletes and will continue to be at the forefront of ensuring the comprehensive development of athletes.

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Sports Minister Excited About Young Talents Emerging From National Youth Games




The Honourable Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Owan Enoh has expressed his delight over the number of emerging talents being discovered at the ongoing National Youth Games, taking place in Asaba, Delta State.

Senator Enoh stated that the Games stays true to its purpose of providing a platform for young talents to be unearthed.

He noted that talents are not in short supply in the country, what is needed is the platform for visibility. He stressed that the ministry is not oblivious of this need, and his administration is determined to make available these platforms across the federation.

“This edition of the National Youth Games has given visibility to very talented kids that represent the future of our sports as a nation. Availability of talents has never been a problem for our sports, but instead, the provision of platforms for these talents to be seen has remained our Achilles heel,” the Minister said. “This administration is committed to ensuring that platforms are available for budding stars, especially in our rural areas.”

“While our elite athletes continue to make us proud, we want to guarantee the future by creating a production pipeline for emerging talents to come through, transition, get nurtured and collect the baton when the time is right on the elite stage,” Senator Enoh concluded.

At the end of Day 6, Delta State remained top of the medals table with 36 Gold, 25 Silver and 23 Bronze medals. Lagos State sits second with 18 Gold, 12 Silver, and 15 Bronze medals, while Edo State occupies the third spot with 17 Gold, 12 Silver, and 13 Bronze medals.

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Lagos Cycling Gold Medalist Canvasses For Regular National Tourneys To Keep Athletes In Top Form




The need to have regular local competitions is necessary to keep the athletes, especially the young boys and girls, who are outstanding in the National Youth Games in their top form and busy out of social vices.

This was the submission of one of Team Lagos cyclists, Isiaka Ibraheem who won two medals at the Asaba 2023 Games.

Ibraheem, a student of Government Junior College, Ikoyi, Lagos won a gold medal in the Point Race on Thursday. He had earlier won a silver medal in the Individual Time Trial.

While Ibraheem was so excited winning the gold and silver medals for Team Lagos, he wanted the sports authorities at both the state and national levels to organise more competitions to keep the athletes busy as lack of regular competitions slow down the development of the athletes in their choosing sports.

“We cannot demand for more at this stage if not for any other thing but to keep the athletes busy and in good form. When there is no competition, the form of these athletes would definitely go down. I want to beg the Federal Government of Nigeria to channel resources into exposing athletes from the National Youth Games to more local and international competitions,” Ibraheem said.

He gave kudos for what the Lagos State Government is doing for sports in the state, adding that the officials in Lagos Sports know their job and they take the welfare of the athletes serious.

“We have good training before traveling down to Asaba and this is what helped most of us at the National Youth Games,” he said.

Head Cycling Coach in Lagos, Lukman Oyebola also corroborated Ibraheem that more competitions are needed to give these young athletes future in sports.

He said if there could attention for Ibraheem, who had proven beyond reasonable doubt to be a good cyclist, the country would be better for it in the nearest future.

“Ibraheem is just going to 14 and the potential in him is great. I have no doubt that he would win gold in Asaba because he performed very well in tournaments we went to in Ibadan and Ogun State recently,” Coach Oyebola said.

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