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Benue FA Clear The Air Over Lobi Stars’ Controversy

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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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National Anti-Doping Bill 2024: Sports Minister applauds Tinubu’s foresightedness

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The Honourable Minister of Sports Development Senator John Owan Enoh salutes President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for placing premium on the National Anti-Doping Bill , thereby giving the Nation a reputation.

The transmission of the Anti-doping Bill 2024 to the National Assembly and the accelerated passage of same remains a landmark achievement of this administration. It is a show of the courageous and bold leadership of the president, a final and appropriate response to the perennial issues of doping that have characterized Nigeria’s relationship with the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA).

Senator John Owan Enoh the sports minister always made it clear that this administration was greeted with WADA issuing a notice to ban Nigeria from International Competitions which degenerated to the point that the agency took Nigeria to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS). Amidst other non-compliant issues, the main challenge was Nigeria’s inability to domesticate the National Anti-doping Law and setting up a National Anti-Doping Organization (NADO) as part of its obligation having signed the international convention in 1999.

“ for years,the country has grappled with meeting up to the expectations of the World Anti-Doping Organization ,despite being a foundational signatory for 25 years.
Nigeria has been in the eye of the storm due to its inability to domesticate the Anti-Doping Law with the backing of parliament.
I must thank our sports loving president for his foresight immediately the issues were brought before him .His foresight and actions have put the country on the right path in sports.
I also appreciate the National Assembly for the passage of the bill ,consideration and approval of the report of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters during plenary.
The county will no longer have doubts of its participation in global sporting events, eligibility to host sports competitions amongst other perennial issues” the Sports Minister said.

This welcome development comes weeks before the country’s participation at the Paris Olympics 2024.

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Bafana Bafana Must Fall, Sports Minister Charges Super Eagles

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Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Owan Enoh, on Monday, rallied support of critical stakeholders and Nigerians for Finidi George,

With the FIFA World Cup qualifiers in full swing, the Honourable Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Owan Enoh has called on the Super Eagles to shift their focus from their recent African Cup of Nations (AFCON) and concentrate on the crucial task of securing a spot in the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

The Super Eagles are set to face Bafana Bafana of South Africa on Friday at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo, and Senator Enoh stated that Nigeria must approach the tie as a make-or-break one, as victory will put the team back on track for qualification.

“The FIFA World Cup is the biggest showpiece in football,” Senator Enoh emphasized. “We cannot afford to miss out on the World Cup again. The disappointment of missing the last tournament, especially after the disappointing home match against the Black Stars, must drive us to ensure we qualify this time.”

Senator Enoh urged all stakeholders, including players, coaches, and support staff, to be fully committed to the qualification campaign. “All hands must be on deck to ensure the team qualifies for the World Cup,” he stressed. “I urge the players to get the job done in the first half of the game by scoring early goals, so they are not under pressure in the second half.”

“The upcoming match against South Africa is critical,” Senator Enoh said. “The players need to put the AFCON glory behind them and concentrate fully on this task. Early goals will be key to taking control of the game and ensuring a less pressured second half.”

Senator Enoh concluded by expressing confidence in the Super Eagles’ ability to rise to the occasion and secure a much-needed victory. “We have the talent, the passion, and the support of millions of Nigerians. Let’s channel that into a winning performance and take a significant step towards World Cup qualification.”

The match will kick off at 8 p.m. local time on Friday, June 7, at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo. Nigeria currently has two points from two games and sits third in their group of six teams.

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South Africa coach names Super Eagles winger as danger man ahead of WCQ

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South Africa coach, Hugo Broos, has named Super Eagles and Atalanta winger, Ademola Olajade Lookman as the danger man for Nigeria ahead of both teams’ clash this evening, Soccernet.ng reports.

Both sides met in the semi-final of the AFCON 2023 tournament in Ivory Coast, with the Super Eagles emerging victorious after 120 minutes of intense football. Stanley Nwabali was the hero, denying Bafana Bafana twice from twelve yards.

Lookman is a leading candidate for the CAF Player of the Year Award, after a stellar season with Atalanta, getting to the Copa Italia final, and scoring a hat-trick against Bayer 04 Leverkusen in the UEFA Europa League final.

Broos, speaking in his presser ahead of their game against Nigeria, highlighted the Atalanta man as the threat for his side but admitted their focus as a team won’t be on the former Leicester City forward.

“Obviously, the (Nigeria) danger man is Ademola Lookman, but we are not focusing on that. We are focusing on our game, we have the ability and we have proven that at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Côte d’Ivoire,” the Belgian said in quotes revealed by Score Nigeria.

Lookman is primed to step up for the Super Eagles of Nigeria against South Africa tonight, alongside Victor Boniface, after the Nigerian attackers enjoyed success with their European club sides this season.

Samuel Chukwueze is a doubt for Finidi George ahead of tonight’s game. The A.C. Milan right winger did not take part in the final training session of the Super Eagles.

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