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Enoch Nwali On Cloud 9 After Winning 2023 Lekki Scrabble Classics



The tense muscles on Enoch Nwali’s face began to relax as they stretched into a smile, revealing a sigh of relief for the African champion as he confirmed his first-place position at the 2023 Lekki Scrabble Classics after a rigorous 18 rounds of games over two days.

Playing in the Nigerian circuit by any crowned champion in this game has shown that nothing is guaranteed as every player is capable of creating a devastating upset- the signature of the finicky game in Nigeria.

For Nwali who is the current African champion, the journey to the top was interestingly arduous despite having a dominating run, starting from the first day when he recorded a draw in round three against former African champion Moses Peter after 11 rounds.

His winning streak appeared to have ignited some flames as other top players took turns to challenge him on Table 1.

Former World Champion and two-time winner on the continent Wellington Jighere, Sunday Oshodi and Timi Doko all tried to remove him by out-pointing him as games were running out but failed.

Only Olatunde Adigun on 13 wins, who has found good ground in Lekki in the past succeeded twice but faltered on his third attempt in the crucial 18th round for Nwali to win the coveted title and a prize of N500,000 with an unassailable result of 14 wins, one draw and two defeats.

His impressive stats showed he played a total of 43 Bingos with an average of 2.4 per game while his opponents played 27 Bingos.

“I really don’t know what made me stand out, but I was very calm even when l was losing a few at the closing stages, I wasn’t scared. I just didn’t allow the loss to get to me. What I just did was to focus on the next game, and remain calm. Even when I knew I could have won the game against Adigun” he revealed.

Jighere came second with 13 wins same as Adigun, James Ewruje, Dayo Tayo and Oshodi following suit but with different cumulative points.

Unexpectedly, the LSC2023 organisers would surprise all by awarding spot prizes to the top three players in other categories.

In the intermediate, Dayo Tayo, Adowei Ebikeme, Akpojotor Ochuko and Curtis John all got rewarded as well as Priscilla Akhabue who got 100,000 naira as the Best Female.

Dickson Iyelih, Kuye Ademola, James Eteng and Eniola Ashaolu were also rewarded as top Open players.

Adowei who was the immediate past President of Lekki Scrabble Club Adowei showed he was truly at home as he shocked bookmakers to claim the Most Valuable Player.

Players were also presented with opportunities to win with monetary rewards in every round once they could meet different criteria set during the tournament.

LSC President Engr. Samuel Anikoh commended all participants as he extolled members for the success of the Classics.

“I feel honoured to be honest as the President of the club. It’s quite interesting that joining the club, I just felt I would play based on my childhood passion, but things just evolved, and I took up the mantle as the president. Under the leadership of Adowei Ebikeme, the former president he helped establish our tournament as a mainstay in Nigeria. “

“It’s been an exciting two days. Lots of players, lots of fun and I think worthy winners have emerged as well. Scrabble is an intellectual game and it’s also an interesting sport good for our youths especially children in schools.”

“We hope one day, players will be able to win as much as N10m as prize money because it’s such a game that offers so much for development. We want support,” he said.

He thanked the management of Ikoyi Club 1938 where the LSC was held for its support in making the second edition more memorable.

Over 90 players from Lagos, Oyo, Ondo, Ekiti, Ogun, Rivers, Edo, Delta, Osun and Kwara states featured at the Classics.

Nigeria remains one of the strongest bases of Scrabble in the world and the best in Africa.

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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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