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Benue FA Clear The Air Over Lobi Stars’ Controversy



The leadership of the Benue State Football Association (BSFA) has clearly stated that it is only committed to ensuring the development of the round leather game at all times without interfering in the day-to-day activities of any club.

BSFA Chairman, Barr. Paul Edeh, in a terse statement on Monday, August 28, 2023, urged stakeholders in Benue, particularly in the football arena to exercise restraint, be patient and tolerant as the current administration led by Governor Rev. Fr. Dr. Hyacinth Alia will at the right time consider most appropriate decision regarding Lobi Stars.

Making reference to recent happenings, Barr. Edeh, who since assumption into office emphasised massive grassroots football development said, “I have for the past few days read with fascination the arguments on this platform regarding the leadership of Lobi Stars FC arising from the stakeholders’ meeting held by His Excellency, Rev Fr Dr Hycenth Alia last week with Lobi Stars stakeholders.

“I have also been inundated with calls and messages seeking to know the Benue State Football Association (BSFA) position on the issue.

“The position of the BSFA is that the matter at hand is the internal affairs of Lobi Stars FC, which is an affiliate of the BSFA like every other club in the state.

“The BSFA under my watch will not interfere with the internal affairs of any of its affiliates, including Lobi Stars FC, especially when its opinion is not sought. However, we will offer guidance and advice when called upon to do so as a body responsible for administering football in the state.”

The veteran football administrator stressed, “The BSFA will continue to maintain its independence in football matters in Benue State and protect the sanctity of its statutes and that of the NFF.

“Furthermore, the BSFA under my watch will continue to insist on cordiality amongst all football stakeholders in the State and encourage all members of the Benue Football Family to please identify and promote what unites us as stakeholders which will lead to the development of the game so we can together put Benue State back in the Nigerian Football map once again.”

He also appealed that, “We must eschew from verbal abuses and stalking each other when we voice our opinions. We must understand that it is our divergence that most often brings out the best in us and makes us much stronger as critical stakeholders. Hence, when we ventilate our grievances, let’s not do so to the point of being disrespectful to one another. Let’s focus more on ideas that will promote football in our dear state. This was the point of the Stakeholders meeting that the BSFA Board organised in Makurdi a few weeks ago.

“There is no way we can move football forward in Benue State with the discordant tunes sung for the past few days. It is clear to me that there are challenges bedeviling football in Benue State, wounds have been inflicted in the past, a lot of us have been trampled upon and we all want football in the State administered better. I will continue to appeal to all aggrieved individuals to please trust that there is light at the end of the tunnel and crave the indulgence of all stakeholders to please trust the Board under my watch that we will change the narrative of football in Benue State and make the State the pride of football again.”

The BSFA boss further urged all football stakeholders to instead of unnecessary bickering, focus on issues that will move Benue football development forward.

He said, “As the saying goes, a house divided against itself cannot stand. Let’s desist from washing our dirty linen in public and be conscious of the fact that the internet does not forget issues that are brought to public space. Let us together build and grow the game. Let it start from this point forward and not backward. Let’s rechannel our energy towards promoting the game from the grassroots to the centre.

“As all well-meaning stakeholders of Lobi Stars and the general public await the final verdict of His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Benue State, Rev. Fr. Dr. Hycenth Alia …, I admonish and urge that all concerned Benue Football Family sheathe their swords on this matter and continue to hope for the best for Lobi Stars FC and support the decision that His Excellency will consider most appropriate for the Club given the circumstance. Irrespective of where the pendulum swings …., we must continue to join hands together as Benue Football Family to support Lobi Stars FC as the pride of Benue State to succeed regardless of the storms.”

He reassured of the resolve of BSFA to maintain an open-door approach for all to make meaningful contributions geared towards the upliftment of football in the state.

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F1 great Hamilton kept his Ferrari move so quiet even his parents didn’t know




Formula 1 great Lewis Hamilton kept his Ferrari move so closely guarded that he didn’t even tell his parents until the day it was announced.

The British driver rocked the F1 world when it was announced on Feb. 1 he was joining the Italian manufacturer next year, despite signing a new contract with Mercedes last summer.

“I didn’t speak to anybody. I didn’t tell my parents till the day of it being announced. So, no one knew,” Hamilton told a BBC podcast. “I really wanted to do it for myself. Ultimately, I had to find out what would be the best for me.”

It then emerged that the two-year deal penned with Mercedes and announced last August was actually for one year with an option for a second year, which Hamilton did not take.

Hamilton informed Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff of his decision to leave only the day before over breakfast at Wolff’s home. They have become close friends over the years after Hamilton joined Mercedes from McLaren in 2013.

The 39-year-old Hamilton and Michael Schumacher have a record seven F1 titles each, and Hamilton is the outright leader with 103 race wins and 104 pole positions.

Hamilton has spoken in the past of the lure of racing with Ferrari, where Schumacher won five of his world titles.

“I mean, the opportunity just popped up and I was like, ‘OK, I’ve got to think for a second,’” Hamilton said. “(But) I didn’t have a lot of time to think and I had to just go with my gut feeling and I decided to take the opportunity.”

Hamilton begins his last season with Mercedes on Saturday at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

His last win was at the Saudi Arabian GP in the penultimate race of the 2021 campaign, where Max Verstappen won the first of his three straight titles with Red Bull.

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The nominees for 2024 Laureus Sports Awards




Manchester City star Erling Haaland, athletics speedster Sha’Carri Richardson, and Ivory Coast football star Sébastien Haller are among the nominees for the 2024 Laureus Sports Awards.

The Laureus Sports Awards is the most prestigious honour given to sportsmen and women in recognition of an iconic season, and those shortlisted for this year’s honours have done exceptionally well in their various fields.

Football star Haaland, in contention for Sportsman of the Year, scored 52 goals in 53 games during his debut season as City completed the Treble by winning the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League.

Track star Richardson is shortlisted for the Sportswoman of the Year after an exceptional season that saw her become the world’s fastest woman by winning the 100m title at the World Championships in Budapest.

Tennis youngster Gauff made the nomination list for Breakthrough of the Year for her gallant efforts last season, highlighted by winning her first Grand Slam title at the US Open.

Also in this category is Real Madrid football star Jude Bellingham, who at age 20, has become a key player for Real Madrid following his 103m euro (£89m) move from Borussia Dortmund last summer, scoring 20 goals in 29 games this season.

Newly crowned AFCON 2023 champion Sébastien Haller is shortlisted in the Comeback of the Year category for his valiant efforts at fighting cancer and coming back to help Ivory Coast become African Champions for the third time in the country’s history.

Here’s the full list of nominees for the 2024 Laureus Sports Awards.

Sportsman of the Year

Novak Djokovic (Serbia) – tennis

Mondo Duplantis (Sweden) – athletics

Erling Haaland (Norway) – football

Noah Lyles (USA) – athletics

Lionel Messi (Argentina) – football

Max Verstappen (Netherlands) – motor racing

Sportswoman of the year

Aitana Bonmati (Spain) – football

Shericka Jackson (Jamaica) – athletics

Faith Kipyegon (Kenya) – athletics

Sha’Carri Richardson (USA) – athletics

Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) – skiing

Iga Swiatek (Poland) – tennis

Team of the year

European Ryder Cup Team – golf

Germany men – basketball

Manchester City – football

Red Bull – Formula 1

South Africa – rugby

Spain women – football

Breakthrough of the year

Jude Bellingham (GB) – football

Linda Caicedo (Colombia) – football

Coco Gauff (USA) – tennis

Qin Haiyang (China) – swimming

Josh Kerr (UK) – athletics

Salma Paralluelo (Spain) – football

Comeback of the year

Simone Biles (USA) – gymnastics

Sébastien Haller (Ivory Coast) – football

Katarina Johnson-Thompson (UK) – athletics

Siya Kolisi (South Africa) – rugby

Jamal Murray (Canada) – basketball

Marketa Vondrousova (Czech Republic) – tennis

Sportsperson of the year with a disability

Simone Barlaam (Italy) – swimming

Danylo Chufarov (Ukraine) – swimming

Diede de Groot (Netherlands) – tennis

Luca Ekler (Hungary) – athletics

Nicole Murray (New Zealand) – cycling

Markus Rehm (Germany) – athletics

Action sportsperson of the year

Rayssa Leal (Brazil) – skateboarding

Caroline Marks (USA) – surfing

Kirsten Neuschafer (South Africa) – sailing

Bethany Shriever (GB) – BMX

Filipe Toledo (Brazil) – surfing

Arisa Trew (Australia) – skateboarding

Sport for good

Bola Pra Frente (Brazil) multi-sport & employability

Dancing Grounds (USA) – dancing & social integration

Fundacion Rafa Nadal (Spain) – tennis & education

ISF Cambodia – football & education

Justice Desk Africa (South Africa) – multi-sport & human rights

Obiettivo Napoli (Italy) – multi-sport & inclusion

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South Africa boss Ellis sets sight on Super Falcons clash




Banyana Banyana of South Africa head coach Desiree Ellis has warned her side against complacency as they bid to set up a clash with eternal rivals, Nigeria.

The Super Falcons defeated Cameroon 1-0 in Abuja on Monday to earn a place in the final round of the 2024 Olympic Games qualifiers.

The African champions will take on Tanzania in the return leg of the third round fixture on Tuesday (today).

Banyana Banyana defeated Tanzania 3-0 away in the first leg last Friday.

Jermaine Seopesenwe, Thembi Kgatlana and Hildah Magaia were on target for the reigning African champions in the game.

The reverse fixture is expected to be an easy affair for South Africa but Ellis is not ready to take anything for granted.

“We have to finish the job back home. We don’t want to become complacent. The next goal in the match could change things,” Ellis told CAFonline.


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