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Football stakeholders gather in Abuja for FIFA talent development scheme

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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 thenff.com: “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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2024 Olympic Qualifier: Super Falcons will beat Cameroon in Abuja — Waldrum

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Super Falcons head coach, Randy Waldrum is confident his side will get the job done against Cameroon in Abuja on Monday.

The nine-time African champions held the Indomitable Lionesses to a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their 2024 Olympic Games third-round qualifying fixture in Douala on Friday.

Jennifer Echegini’s 52nd-minute strike was controversially ruled out for offside in the game.

“We don’t fear anybody,” Waldrum said after the game.

“We played the European champions (England) to penalty kicks in the World Cup and held the Olympic gold medalist (Canada) to a draw at the World Cup, we got a victory over Australia. We can play with the best teams in the world.

“I give credit to Cameroon for the job they did. But there is no fear on our part.”

Victory against Cameroon will see the Super Falcons face either African champions, South Africa or Tanzania in the final round.

South Africa defeated Tanzania 3-0 in the first leg on Friday.

 

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CAF Confederation Cup: Rivers United arrive Luanda for Academica do Lobito clash

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Rivers United have arrived in Angola for the CAF Confederation Cup matchday five clash against Academica Petroleos Clube do Lobito.

The former Nigeria Premier Football League champions arrived in Luanda in the early hours of Saturday.

The Pride of Rivers departed the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos on Friday night.

Rivers United will lock horns with Academica Petroleos Clube do Lobito at the Estádio 11 de Novembre on Sunday.

Stanley Eguma’s side defeated the same opponent 3-0 on matchday one at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo.

Academica Petroleos Lobito are yet to record a point in four matches.

Rivers United are third on the Group C table with six points.

 

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Kenya bids farewell to marathon sensation Kiptum

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Top athletes and dignitaries joined hundreds of mourners at the funeral on Friday of Kenya’s world marathon record-holder Kelvin Kiptum in the nation’s athletics heartland where he was born, trained and died.

Kiptum, a 24-year-old father of two, was killed in a late-night car crash on February 11, just months after shattering the marathon record in Chicago.

Kiptum’s wife, Asenath Rotich, was overcome with emotion as she read a tearful tribute to the marathon prodigy.

“It’s unbelievable that today I have learnt to stay with our beloved kids without you coming home again,” she said, revealing that the couple had planned to hold a wedding ceremony in April.

“I will still make my vows of love even in your rest.”

Although Kiptum only competed in three marathons, he won all of the races, posting three of the seven fastest times in history for the event.

Coe said his death was “a cause of intense sadness” and eulogised the young athlete for scaling “the highest peaks of achievement” during his short life.

“Rest assured your achievements are treasured, indelible and secure in the annals of our history and never ever forgotten,” the athletics chief said.

‘Worked against odds’

Kiptum ran the Chicago race in October in two hours and 35 seconds, slicing 34 seconds off the previous fastest time set by his Kenyan rival, the marathon legend Eliud Kipchoge.

His sudden death has left Kenya, and the wider athletics community, reeling.

Ruto said the East African nation had seen “the future of athletics” in Kiptum.

“He had more reasons not to succeed than to succeed but he worked against the odds,” he said, describing his death as “a very heavy moment”.

Mourners started arriving at the funeral venue at dawn, some wearing black T-shirts with a picture of Kiptum emblazoned across the front.

They viewed the body, laid out in a half-open casket on a red carpet, as a choir sang hymns.

Four giant screens were mounted to stream the event for the many villagers gathered outside the venue.

Dozens of athletes including 1,500m record-holder Faith Kipyegon and two-time Olympic 800m champion David Rudisha knelt in prayer near Kiptum’s casket before showering it with pink and white rose petals.

Neighbours described the star athlete as a “very generous man”.

“In his short life as an athlete, he’s helped in funding (the) education of some of the children at (his alma mater) the Chepsamo primary school,” neighbour Jackson Komen told AFP.

“He was so down-to-earth that when he had broken the world record he would still join his friends at the Chepkorio centre to play pool,” Komen added.

Candlelight vigil

Hundreds of people had turned out Thursday as Kiptum’s coffin was taken from the Rift Valley town of Eldoret to his home village of Chepkorio.

Hundreds of mourners also joined a solemn candlelight vigil in the nation’s capital Nairobi on Thursday, paying an emotional tribute to the rising star who had been the overwhelming favourite for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

After the funeral ceremony, Kiptum will be laid to rest in Naiberi, near Eldoret, where the government has built a new home for the family of the national hero.

Police said Kiptum was driving near Eldoret at around 11:00 pm on February 11 when his car careered off the road into a ditch and hit a tree.

Kenya’s chief government pathologist, Johansen Oduor, said on Wednesday an autopsy found Kiptum had suffered severe head injuries.

Toxicology tests were still under way, he added.

Kiptum’s Rwandan coach Gervais Hakizimana, 36, also died in the crash.

Hakizimana, who had trained Kiptum since 2019, was laid to rest in the Rwandan capital Kigali on Wednesday.

Known for maintaining a gruelling training schedule that sometimes topped 300 kilometres (190 miles) a week, Kiptum had recently announced he was hoping to smash the mythic two-hour mark at the Rotterdam Marathon in April.

 

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