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Nasarawa State: Governor Sule Visits NFF, Seeks Collaboration For Football Development



In his relentless pursuit to make Nasarawa State the home of sports in Nigeria, Nasarawa State Governor, Engr. Abdullahi Sule, has voiced his desire to partner with the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, in the aspect of football, in order to harness the pool of talents that abound in the solid minerals’ State for job creation and development.

The Governor echoed this when he undertook a historic visit to the leadership of the NFF headed by Ibrahim Musa Gusau, at the Federation’s Secretariat in Abuja on Friday.

According to the Governor, “I am here to sincerely congratulate you, Alh. Ibrahim Musa Gusau, on your emergence as President of the Nigeria Football Federation at the last NFF election held in Benin City, Edo State.

“Your victory is due to your contributions, not only to football, but to sports in this country.

“I thank you for the good job that you have been doing, along with your team, because since you came on board, we have continued to see positive changes happening in the football cycle.

“Equally, too, I want to congratulate you and the NFF leadership for the wonderful performance of our Senior Women’s Football Team, The Super Falcons, at the recently concluded FIFA Women’s World Cup co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia, as well as the qualification of the Super Eagles for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast. We hope to see wonderful results like these in the future.

“But most importantly, I wish to inform you that we have a lot of talents in Nasarawa State.

“Since I assumed office as Governor, I have been trying my best to bring out those hidden talents, having spent most of my life in the private sector.

“In Nasarawa State, we are doing the best we can to catch those talents young which was what necessitated my visit

“We are seeking your support in this area to ensure that we continue to support our young people to show interest in football because sports is no longer for recreation, but a huge business, and this depends on the way you approach it.

“Coming from the business background, I want to ensure that sports really mean business in Nasarawa State.

“However, for us to get to that level, we have to invest. I am happy to inform you that the investment started with our stadium which has been completed now.

“That Stadium was one of the reasons Nasarawa United got relegated, when it was undergoing renovation. But now, I am on my feet to ensure that this relegation doesn’t proceed beyond one season, because we don’t belong to where we are now; we have to move back to where we belong, which is the top-flight league.”

Sule further appreciated the leadership of the NFF for appointing some illustrious sons and daughter of Nasarawa State into various Boards and Committees of the Nigeria Football Federation, among whom are Hon. Silas Agara(NLO Board Chairman); Barr. Isaac Danladi(Vice Chairman, Legal Committee), and Hajiya Hussaina Suleiman Nagogo(Vice Chairman, NWFL Board) as well as Abraham Danladi(Member, Referees’ Committee).

In his response, President of the NFF, Ibrahim Musa Gusau, thanked the Governor for the visit.

He said the Governor’s act was an indication that he is sincere and passionate about sports and its development in Nasarawa State and country at large.

“From what you have said, Your Excellency, you have demonstrated that you are always a part of whatever that’s happening in our sports.

“I wish to express our profound gratitude for this visit. I am happy to hear that under your dispensation, to whom much is given, much is expected.

“We have been following up on all you have been doing in Nasarawa State in the area of sports, especially football.

“I am like a son of Nasarawa State when it comes to football, because I love coming to see what is going on there.

“I am glad to also hear that the Lafia City Stadium is now completed and ready for use.

“Why Government continues to invest in sports is to make sure the youth see, feel and use what the Government is doing.

“What we promised Nigerians in our pre-election manifestoes, we are doing everything humanly possible to achieve them and change the narratives, and this is the only way to attract investors.

“We hope Your Excellency will continue to support Nasarawa United so that they can return to where they belong and that requires the full support of everyone in the State and beyond.

“As regards indigenes of Nasarawa State who were appointed into the various Boards and Committees of the NFF, we felt we needed their wealth of experience to help the Federation grow higher.

“Whatever we are going to do, we won’t leave Nasarawa State behind. It’s the first door we will knock before going anywhere, as things stand now.

“This gesture of Your Excellency shows that you are a part of us. We assure you that we will treat you as our leader, brother and partner in progress, and will continue to seek your vast experience to enable us succeed, just like we are ready to support you, especially through the development of grassroots football, alliance with the Ministry of Youth and Sports in the State and the local Football Association, to achieve your lofty goals for Nasarawa State and Nigeria.

“On behalf of the entire Board, Management and Staff of the NFF, I want to thank Your Excellency for this historic visit, and we hope this relationship continues.”

Among members in the Governor’s delegation included Hon. Jafaru Ango (Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development), Barr. Isaac Danladi (Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Sports Development), Mallam Yusuf Mai-Angwa(SSA, Abuja Liaison Office), Hon. James Thomas (Executive Chairman, Karu Local Government Area), Hajiya Hussaina Suleiman Nagogo(Chairperson, Nasarawa Amazons FC), and Abraham Danladi.

Other members of the NFF delegation comprised Dr. Emmanuel Ekpeme (Deputy Secretary-general), Ruth David (Director, Competitions), Barr. Sylvanus Okey Obi (Director, Legal), Rajan Jaka (Deputy Director, Accounts), and Abubakar Barde (SSA to the NFF President).

It was the first time, in many years, that a sitting State Governor would pay an official visit to the leadership of the NFF at its Secretariat.

Highpoint of the visit was the presentation of a customized National Team Jersey to the Governor by the NFF President in his office.

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Football Stakeholders commit to FIFA’s new initiatives for talent discovery




There was palpable enthusiasm and avowed commitment to new initiatives on talent discovery and nurturing as a stakeholder workshop on FIFA Talent Development Scheme took Nigeria’s federal capital, Abuja by storm on Thursday.

NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi opened the workshop by expounding on the theme, saying the FIFA Talent Development Scheme is designed to discover football talents from the grassroots, which is truly a key component of the vision of the Ibrahim Musa Gusau-led NFF administration. “This is a welcome development for Federations like our own that are interested in growing the game from the grassroots. This workshop has the objective of enlightening all stakeholders on the scheme and to let them know the various aspects in which they have to support the Federation and where the Federation will support them.”

Dignitaries and stakeholders included a representative of Sports Development Minister, Senator John Enoh; Director General of the National Institute for Sports, Professor Olawale Morounkola; Member of the House Committee on Sports, Hon. Aminu Balele Kurfi; President of the NFF, Alhaji Ibrahim Musa Gusau; NFF’s two vice presidents Chief Felix Anyansi Agwu and Hon. Gbenga Elegbeleye; Chairman of NFF Technical Committee, Alhaji Sharif Rabiu Inuwa; former NFF Board Member, High Chief Emeka Inyama; representatives of chairmen of the Senate Committee on Sports in both houses of the National Assembly; chairmen and secretaries of the State Football Associations; NFF Management and Staff; eminent coaches; former Nigeria international players including Dr. Olusegun Odegbami; former General Secretaries of the NFF Ambassador Fanny Amun and Barr. Musa Amadu; chieftains of the various Leagues; Super Falcons’ captain Onome Ebi; proprietors of leading football academies; sports marketing gurus and; prominent media personalities.

Gusau used the opportunity to espouse his Vision 2030 with so much passion and assurance, and charged the stakeholders that they no longer have any option than to do the hard lifting of discovering talent from the grassroots and nurturing them, with world football-governing body, FIFA’s decision to organize annually the FIFA U17 World Cup (male and female) from the year 2025.

“You can now see that we have no alternative to doing the hard work, and to do the work we have been elected to do with great energy, enthusiasm and diligence. The ethos of discipline, dedication and integrity must be enthroned, and we must commit to eliminating the scourge of age cheating at youth level.”

FIFA High Performance specialists Abdul Faisal Chibsah and Amit Desai expatiated further on the scheme, and pledged that FIFA will monitor the scheme globally for sincerity, credibility and sustainability.

NFF Technical Director and former Nigeria captain and coach, Augustine Eguavoen, explained the NFF’s long-term talent discovery plan and its strategic focus areas.

Odegbami, as well as Professor Morounkola, Coaches Isah Ladan Bosso and Sam John Obuh as well as former NFF scribes Amun and Amadu reported the positions of breakout groups, with emphasis on discovering truly young talents that will be nurtured through a sustainable process to keep Nigeria at the top of the global tree in U17 football.

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Football stakeholders gather in Abuja for FIFA talent development scheme




Nigeria’s football administrators and stakeholders across different spectra will converge in the nation’s capital, Abuja on Thursday to mull, deliberate and cogitate on new developmental initiatives as the FIFA Talent Development Scheme project drivers hold a workshop in the city.

As the game of football (nicknamed The Beautiful Game by the late King Pele) continues to grow in all its ramifications, the need for new ways and manners of discovering talent to make the game even more beautiful cannot be overemphasized, and this has brought world football-governing body, FIFA into the mix to help the cause of bringing to the fore future matadors of the game.

FIFA High Performance specialist Abdul Faisal Chibsah and FIFA Talent Development Scheme strategist Amit Desai are in Nigeria to moderate Thursday’s meeting which seeks to educate all stakeholders on the importance of the scheme and to get them to key into the initiative.

President of Nigeria Football Federation, Alhaji Ibrahim Musa Gusau will declare the meeting open, with Members of the NFF Executive Committee and the Management, led by Dr. Mohammed Sanusi (General Secretary) also expected to be in attendance.

Dr. Sanusi told “The FIFA Talent Development Scheme is designed to discover football talents from the grassroots, which is actually one of the key objectives of the Ibrahim Musa Gusau-led NFF administration. The meeting is meant to educate administrators and stakeholders on the scheme and to get their buy-in.”

The principal objectives of the gathering, according to the visiting FIFA officials, is to “initiate conversations and create greater alignment towards our goals for Nigeria Football, and to understand how we as the team can get the best out of one another and the team as a whole.”

The mission is chiefly designed to initiate the dialogue and feedback between the Nigeria Football Federation and its key stakeholders towards joint goals, and to understand where each stakeholder can support the NFF across its technical priorities.

NFF’s Technical Director, Coach Augustine Eguavoen and assistant directors Abdulrafiu Yusuf and Faith Ben-Anuge have been working in tandem with the FIFA officials to develop the programme of the day, including the topics for discussion.

NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi will deliver an opening address to administrators and stakeholders that will include NFF Executive Committee members, NFF Management, Chairmen of the State Football Associations, representatives of the Federal Ministry of Education, representatives of the National Institute for Sports, representatives of the Nigeria School Sports Federation, chairmen and chief executive officers of the Leagues and representatives of the Universal Basic Education scheme.

The Honourable Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Enoh and the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Alhaji Ismaila Abubakar are expected to be special guests.

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Morocco 2024: Madugu confident Falcons will fly, as Cape Verde girls storm Abuja




Coach Justin Madugu has expressed deep faith in his Super Falcons’ squad to excel when they clash with their Cape Verdean counterparts in a 2024 Women Africa Cup of Nations final round, first leg qualifier at the MKO Abiola National Stadium on Thursday evening.

“We are without a few regular players for various reasons but we are not here to dwell on that. The Super Falcons’ team remains the Super Falcons anytime, anyday and anywhere. We have players in camp who will do justice to the badge and get us the qualification ticket to the AFCON.

“Surely, we would have wanted a couple more days for the team to train together, but the fixture is the fixture and the window is the window, and we just have to make do with what we have and get the best out of the arrangement. Everyone in camp will play their part for the Super Falcons to qualify for Morocco 2024.”

A total of 20 of the 21 invited players were at the team’s camp on Tuesday morning, with only University of Pittsburgh of America’s Deborah Abiodun still expected.

Nine-time champions Nigeria reached this final stage of the qualification series following the withdrawal of Sao Tome’s senior girls from a second-round fixture in September.

The delegation of Cape Verde’s senior girls flew into Nigeria’s capital, Abuja on Monday morning, and the visiting team will have its official training at the mainbowl of the MKO Abiola National Stadium on Wednesday evening from 4pm.

Thursday’s encounter will begin at 4pm, with Madugu most likely to hand leadership of the rearguard to Mexico-based veteran Osinachi Ohale, who was among the first players in camp, and with Captain Rasheedat Ajibade to lead a midfield and attack that could include Peace Efih, Toni Payne, Esther Onyenezide, Omorinsola Babajide, Esther Okoronkwo, Uchenna Kanu and Gift Monday. Goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie, in the shortlist for the CAF African Player of the Year awards holding in Morocco this weekend, will be in goal.

The 13th edition of Africa’s flagship women football championship will be staged in Morocco in July next year.

For the encounter in Abuja on Thursday, the Confederation of African Football has picked Ghanaian official Ama Boateng-Nkansah as referee, with her compatriots Doris Darko, Alice Chakule and Barikisu Salifu as assistant referee 1, assistant referee 2 and fourth official respectively. Oumou Sy from Guinea will be commissioner while Madeleine Somda from Burkina Faso will be the referee assessor.

For the return leg in Praia on Tuesday, 5th December, Liberian Sylvina Welma Garnett will be the referee with her compatriot Hannah Moses as assistant referee 1. Sierra Leoneans Precious Amara and Humu Marah will be assistant referee 2 and fourth official respectively, while Oumou Souleymane Kane from Mauritania will serve as commissioner and Fadouma Dia from Senegal will be in the role of referee assessor.

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