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Table Tennis: Nigeria Rivals Egypt, As Battle For Paris 2024 Paralympic Games Tickets Hots Up

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The battle for the continent’s highest slots in the table tennis event of Paris 2024 Paralympic Games will be between Nigeria and Egypt when the qualifying tournament begins on September 20 in Egypt.

Already, some established players like Isau Ogunkunle, Faith Obazuaye, Tajudeen Agunbiade and a host of others have been confirmed for the 2023 ITTF African Para Table Tennis Championships which will take place at Hassan Moustafa Sports Hall in Giza, Egypt.

In their usual style, host country, Egypt is planning to assemble some of its finest players that will battle Nigeria which will also assemble a large contingent to secure more slots from the tournament.

From the previous qualifiers coupled with performance from the last edition of the African championships, Egypt and Nigeria are the dominant teams in the continent with the likes of Algeria and South Africa joining the fray in the medal chase.

At the Paralympic Games, Egypt and Nigeria have also been representing Africa with both countries having medals to show for their participation at the games.

However, 2022 Commonwealth Games medalist Ogunkunle believes he would be unstoppable in Egypt.

“I am going to Egypt to confirm my ticket to Paris because I cannot afford to start travelling abroad again to pick up my ticket.

“This is the best chance for me, and I know it is not going to be easy because my main challenge remains the Egyptian veteran Mohamed Sameh Eid Saleh who is eyeing a record sixth appearance at the games. I am confident I can beat him to the sole slot in the class four division of the men’s singles,” he said.

Already, ‘Team Nigeria’ is in camp in readiness for the tournament as most of the players are putting the finishing touches to their training before their departure next week.

Meanwhile, President of the African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF) Khaled El-Salhy said the organisers; the Egypt Table Tennis Federation have been working tirelessly to stage a befitting tournament.

“I am looking forward to the best para players in Africa slugging it out for the few slots available as it is only the winner from each class that will qualify for the Paralympic Games, while others that are yet to meet the required points will have to compete in other tournaments to pick up the maximum points to be part of the party in Paris next year,” he said.

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Nigerian League

Dreams FC land in Uyo for crunch clash with Rivers United

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Ghanaian club, Dreams FC have arrived Uyo for their CAF Confederation Cup clash with Rivers United.

Abdul Karim Zito’s side top the Group C table with 12 points from five games.

The Ghanaian FA Cup champions need just a point from the game to secure a place in the quarter-finals.

Rivers United occupy third position in the group with nine points from same number of matches and just 1-0 win will be enough for the Port Harcourt club to qualify for the knockout round.

The encounter is slated for the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo on Sunday.

Tunisia’s Club Africain and Academica do Lobito of Angola will clash in the other group game.

 

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Nigerian League

StarTimes to air four NPFL games weekly

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StarTimes has increased its weekly live broadcast of Nigeria Professional Football League matches to four from February, instead of the usual two live matches per week.

The Pay-TV firm said fans should brace themselves for an electrifying weekend as the NPFL serves scintillating fixtures on Beta Sports channel 244 on StarTimes.

As the sun sets on Saturday (today) at 5:30pm, Remo Stars take on Bayelsa United. Remo, renowned for their attacking flair, aim to extend their winning streak, while Bayelsa, hungry for points, will be out to play party spoilers.

Also, Doma United square off against Sporting Lagos on Monday. The stakes are high as both teams jostle for mid-table supremacy.

Midweek, two matches were already aired live. Some of the other matches scheduled for this weekend like the Gombe United vs Shooting Stars match have been rescheduled to Tuesday.

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Nigerian League

NPFL U-17 Youth League: Elegbeleye Reveals Major Reason Behind Programme Creation

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The Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) has revealed that the major reason for making inroads into the NPFL Youth League is to have a pool of players the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) can consider for international youth tournaments.

At a media parley in Benin, venue of the maiden edition of NPFL Youth League Playoff, NFF 2nd Vice-Chairman and NPFL Chairman, Gbenga Elegbeleye also said the league body has picked some former Super Eagles players whose recommendation would be relied upon to assemble a solid structure for the junior national teams.

“Nigeria have an enviable record of winning the U-16 World Cup on five occasions. However, we couldn’t even qualify from Africa the last time the competition was held due to our lack of planning.

Now that we know that without good planning, you can’t get result, we decided to come up with the idea of the NPFL Youth League exclusively for players in the elite league.

With that, we hope to have a pool of talented players where NFF can pick for U-17 Africa Cup of Nations or FIFA Under-17 World Cup.

He insisted that NPFL should be the main focus of such players.

Four ex-Nigeria International players were unveiled as brand ambassadors.

They are current Super Eagles coordinator Patrick Paschal; Nigeria’s third highest scorer of all time, Yakubu Aiyegbeni; Seyi Olofinjana, a chemical engineer and NFF technical director, Augustine Eguavoen.

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