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More wins for Naija Ratels, Edo Queens as Elegbeleye storms 6th Sheroes Cup, hails organisers



The Chairman of the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL), Hon. Gbenga Elegbeleye, was a Special Guest on Monday morning at the ongoing 2023 Sheroes Cup tournament in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

Hon. Elegbeleye who is the 2nd Vice President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) was on ground early on Matchday 3 of the 6th edition of the tournament at Area 3 Play Ground.

At the end of Monday’s hostilities, Honey Badgers played out a 2-2 draw against new Nigeria Women Football Football League (NWFL) Premiership side Sunshine Queens, while Edo Queens, former Sheroes Cup Champions walloped new NWFL entrants Dannaz Ladies 5-0.

Another NWFL Premier League club Naija Ratels whip debutants Ekiti Queens 3-0 in the pre-season tournament expected to end on Friday, October 13, 2023.

The results so far have shown that Edo Queens and Naija Ratels have won two out of two matches in the competition, formerly known as Flying Officer’s Cup.

This is as the Ratel Sports Development Foundation (RSDF), organisers of the pre-season competition, announced and gave out 10 free top quality branded footballs to each of the participating women clubs. 

Presenting the balls, Hon. Elegbeleye thrilled by the top organisation of the tournament vis-a-vis high-grade display by young talented players, singled out RSDF President, Barr. Paul Edeh, for peculiar commendation.

The seasoned Football Administrator and former Director-General of the National Sports Commission particularly acknowledged Barr. Edeh for continuously spending personal resources in uplifting mostly women’s football in Nigeria.

He said, “I came here as a mark of solidarity to a friend I know who is investing so much in Women’s football in this country. He is also Chairman of the Benue State Football Association which is doing so great among his peers.

“I’m very sure that the sponsor of this competition is not making any money, but he is spending so much from his personal earnings to keep this afloat. This is the kind of character the Nigerian football needs to grow… this is very lovely and I’m sure other spirited Nigerians will emulate what you are doing to help women’s football.”

While also expressing further delight that the tournament has remained a reference point in any of the country’s private-driven football initiatives, Hon. Elegbeleye reasoned that “the World is in dire need of those who will help promote women football and assist in making our women not be prey to unscrupulous characters in the society.

“I’m so impressed with the way the competition is organised with top-level officiating by referees who take part in the officiating at the Premier League. To me, it’s another pre-season tune-up for even the referees, apart from the various participating teams. This is the best way to prepare for the November 15 kick-off of the upcoming NWFL Premier League.

“I’m so happy, especially with the quality of young talented players who are taking part in the tournament. These are players who can fit into any of our national teams, be it U17, U20 and even the Super Falcons.”

Earlier, Barr Edeh who congratulated the participating clubs for putting up outstanding performances so far, said aside the donated footballs, jerseys will be given to all teams before the end of the competition.

“As it’s the tradition, we usually deem it fit that the clubs participating should be given apparel, balls and other souvenirs that will help them as they prepare for the opening of the League season.

“Consistently, we have been providing jerseys, balls and other training equipment for the participating clubs in the past editions. Today also, we are making available a minimum of 10 balls to each club and we are hoping that these balls will help the clubs prepare ahead of the November 15 league kick-off.”

From the kick-off of this year’s edition of the Sheroes Cup, there has been an influx of top dignitaries in the country’s football circle who came and watched matches unfold.

Among them is the NWFL Chairperson, Ms. Nkechi Obi, Chairman of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Referees Committee, Mrs Faith Irabor and Super Falcons captain Onome Ebi.

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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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