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House Committee on Sports, NFF and Sports Ministry: A Partnership Nigeria Football Desperately Yearn

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By MICHAEL OBASI

It is not often seen that the NFF, her supervisory body, the Sports Ministry and the House Committee on Sports are on the same page, and this has been a major setback in the growth of Nigeria Football over the years.

Nigeria as one of the world’s most naturally talented footballing countries has the capacity to be a leading light when it comes to football development.

But this has been a far cry because of perpetual internal wrangling among the various institutions responsible for the Country’s Football.

In fact, some persons feed on this very often for their own selfish agenda at the expense of genuine growth in the football ecosystem.

But there is always a time for something old to stop and something new to start to engineer a different result.

As a Country it is a new Government in Power expected to be at the helms for the next four years and for Nigeria to fully maximise all that is coming within the next, a cordial relationship is not negotiable between the NFF, the Sports Ministry and two Committees of Sports in the National Assembly.

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) led by Ibrahim Gusau has lots of barriers to break to be able to satisfy the yearnings of an average football fan on the street.

Top on the list of those barriers are lack of adequate funding and inadequate Sponsorship.

These two barriers are very key to anything the NFF wants to achieve and the Football House has struggled to live up to expectations over the years because of this.

Hence the need for a good partnership to exist amongst the football institutions.

As it is normal in every family there will be times when there will be issues but the ability to iron them out amicably without flexing ego is what will make the difference.

All the various Sporting institutions have their well-stated functions without ambiguity and who says they all cannot carry out these roles without unnecessary friction and Media war.

The Sports Ministry can perform its supervisory role on the NFF and still be a good partner, the same way the National Assembly through both the House Committee on Sports and Senate Committee on Sports can adequately undertake its oversight functions on both the Ministry and the NFF without cold war.

The Chairman House Committee on Sports, Honourable Ekene Adams who is an astute football administrator himself has stated unequivocally that he is determined to partner with both the NFF and the Sports Ministry to revamp Nigeria Football.

And this has been evident so far with its recent activities where it organised a peace parley with the NFF to resolve some of its lingering crises.

The House Committee on Sports has also shown its readiness to partner with the Sports Ministry and the Chairman recently showed this by being one of the first to congratulate the new Sports Minister Senator John Enoh.

*Michael Obasi is one of the media aides to the Chairman, the House Committee on Sports

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Sports Analysis

Inter Miami vs Real Salt Lake – MLS preview: TV channel, team news, lineups and prediction

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The Herons endured a pretty disappointing preseason international tour, picking up just one win against Hong Kong team while losing to the likes of Al Nassr, Al Hilal and Vissel Kobe.

Superstars Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets and Luis Suarez all picked up knocks along the way – which angered not only the fans but also the Hong Kong government – but all three are expected to take part in the opening league fixture.

RSL, meanwhile, picked up two wins in preseason, also drawing against fellow MLS franchise Toronto FC.

What time does Inter Miami vs Real Salt Lake kick-off?
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Stadium: DRV PNK Stadium
Date: Wednesday 21 February
Kick-off Time: 20:00 ET / 17:00 PT / 01:00 GMT * 22 February 2024

Inter Miami vs Real Salt Lake H2H record
This is the first-ever meeting between Miami and RSL.

Current Form (all competitions)
Inter Miami: LLWLD
Real Salt Lake: WLLWW

How to watch Inter Miami vs Real Salt Lake on TV and live stream

Country          TV channel/live stream

United Kingdom

Apple TV – MLS Season Pass

United States        Apple TV – MLS Season Pass

Canada                   Apple TV +

 

Inter Miami team news

After sustaining injuries during Miami’s international preseason tour, many thought Messi, Suarez and Busquets wouldn’t be ready to go for the first game. But based on the Herons’ starting llineup against Newell’s Old Boys last week, all three ex-Barcelona figures should be good to go.

Messi appears to have fully recovered from his adductor problem, while Suarez’s case was more of a precaution with his peculiar knee situation. While Busquets didn’t feature against Messi’s boyhood club, head coach Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino confirmed last week that the midfielder should be alright for their clash with RSL.

Jordi Alba featured in each preseason game and hasn’t picked up any knocks as of yet. Miami will be a little bit short in their midfield ranks, as Gregore was recently transferred to Brazilian side Botafogo in order for the Herons to be roster compliant.

Inter Miami predicted lineup vs Real Salt Lake

Inter Miami predicted lineup (4-3-3): Callender; Yedlin, Aviles, Freire, Alba; Ruiz, Busquets, Gressel; Messi, Suarez, Gomez.

Real Salt Lake team news

Midfielder Pablo Ruiz remains out through injury as he’s still recovering from a knee injury suffered back in August. With Ruiz expected to return to the mix in March, RSL added to their midfield ranks by bringing in Matt Crooks from EFL Championship side Middlesbrough.

Real Salt Lake predicted lineup vs Inter Miami

Real Salt Lake predicted lineup (4-4-2): MacMath; Brody, Vera, Glad; Katranis, Gomez, Ojeda, Palacio, Luna; Julio, Arango.

Inter Miami vs Real Salt Lake score prediction

Both sides have played plenty of games in the preseason to be warmed up for the league’s opening fixture, and there will be plenty of pressure on the Herons to get three points at home to bring in the new campaign.

Messi and Suarez will put on a show and find the back of the net, but it won’t be enough to keep Cristian ‘Chicho’ Arango off the scoresheet to make things interesting late on in a rusty performance from Miami.

Prediction: Inter Miami 2-1 Real Salt Lake

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Simon ranks fourth best dribbler in Europe

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According to Opta, a British sports analytics company, Super Eagles forward, Moses Simon, ranks the fourth best dribbler in Europe’s top five leagues, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.

In one of the latest posts on Ligue 1 X handle quoting OptaJose, the Nigerian is only bettered by Barcelona wonderkid, Yamine Lamal, Manchester City’s Jeremy Doku and Bayern Munich’s Leroy Sane.

Simon is in his fourth season with Nantes and has been one of the club’s most influential players guiding them to a Coupe de France title in 2022 to help the French club claim their first trophy in 2022 years.

The 28-year-old has been the club’s major outlet in the final third, and the vital part of his game is his physicality and prowess in one-on-one situations. A recent stat by Opta has accentuated this.

According to Opta, per Ligue 1, Simon is the fourth-best dribbler in Europe’s top five leagues. He has a 55.1 per cent dribble completion rate, and is just behind Yamal, who has 59.7 per cent, Doku, who has 58.6 per cent, and Sané, who has 55.5 per cent.

With Yamal playing in the Spanish league, Doku in the English Premier League and Sane in the German Bundesliga, it means that the Nigerian is the best dribbler in the French League, ahead of Kylian Mbappe, Jonathan David, Takumi Minamino and countrymates Terem Moffi and Akor Adams.

So far this season, the Super Eagles star has scored three goals and provided five assists in 18 Ligue 1 games for Nantes who currently sit 14th in the French top-flight, three points above the relegation zone.

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Sports Analysis

Inter Miami vs. Newell’s Old Boys: How to watch preseason friendly, live stream

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Inter Miami’s difficult preseason has finally reached its finale, as the Herons host Newell’s Old Boys on Thursday at DRK PNK Stadium.

The club has experienced injuries to key players, a showdown between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo that didn’t materialize, and angry fans in Hong Kong and China.

All the while, Miami has won just one of six matches so far. That leaves the club in dire need of some positive vibes heading into next week’s MLS opener against Real Salt Lake.

Watch Inter Miami vs. Newell’s Old Boys
The match against Newell’s will carry special meaning for Messi and head coach Tata Martino.

Both are natives of Rosario, the city Newell’s calls home, and both played for the six-time Argentine champions as youngsters. Messi would famously depart for Barcelona in 2000 before making a first-team appearance, while Martino played nearly 500 games for Old Boys and managed the club in the 2012-13 season.

Though Messi has struggled with a muscle injury during the preseason, Martino has said he will start on Thursday. Sergio Busquets is likely to miss out, however, as he battles an ankle injury.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the match.

Inter Miami vs. Newell’s Old Boys (preseason friendly)
When: Thursday, Feb. 15
Where: DRV PNK Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Channel/streaming: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV (WATCH LIVE)

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