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Flying Eagles 1983 set honours Ali Jeje’s legacy, awards son full scholarship

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Guided by the leadership of Paul Okoku, the 1983 set of Flying Eagles, has honoured the memory of their late captain, Ali Jeje, by awarding

Guided by the leadership of Paul Okoku, the 1983 set of Flying Eagles, has honoured the memory of their late captain, Ali Jeje, by awarding a full scholarship to his son, Abdul Rahman Jeje.

The 1983 Flying Eagles team to the first World Cup in Mexico, became the first Nigerian national football team to qualify and represent the country in a FIFA-World Cup tournament.

Paul Okoku, assistant captain of the team, alongside his then-teammates, engaged Abdul Rahman Jeje regarding his aspirations before reaching the decision of granting him a full scholarship. The team was reminded of the gentleman-like nature of Ali Jeje, who led the team and Nigeria in the watershed moment at the first World Cup 41 years ago.

Ali Jeje passed away in early 2000s, after being faced with hardship and illness. However, his comrades of over four decades determined that supporting his son’s educational journey through scholarship, would be a perfect way to demonstrate brotherliness.

In a statement released by him, Paul Okoku recalled how Nigeria defeated Guinea over the two legs to qualify for the tournament, achievements in Nigeria football history at the competition, and thanked all his teammates for being part of the goodwill towards the family of the late Nigeria international.

“During his tenure as our able captain, I had the privilege of serving as his deputy captain. This historic moment marked the first time a Nigerian national team represented Nigeria in any FIFA organized World Cup tournament, in the football history of Nigeria. Hence, the team represented the continent of Africa during the FIFA World Cup championships, in Mexico, in 1983. Excerpts from the interview with the late Fetus Okubule, the first Nigerian referee at any FIFA World Cup tournament, in Mexico, 1983, courtesy of the 1983 Flying Eagles squad: ‘Meanwhile, it was in 1983 that Okubule became the first Nigerian referee at a FIFA tournament when he was picked for the FIFA Youth Championship (now FIFA U-20 World Cup) in Mexico,’” he wrote.

“Incidentally that was also the first FIFA tournament attended by a Nigerian national team, when the Flying Eagles qualified after beating Guinea over two legs and he was the centre referee in the Group B match between Poland and the United States in Pueblo as well as the game between Brazil and Holland at the Jalisco Stadium, Guadalajara. At the tournament, two other African referees – Bernard Grah of Cote D’Ivoire and Mohammed Larache of Morocco – were sent home after the Group games while Okubule was among the 12 retained to proceed with the remaining matches. Nonetheless, Ali Jeje endured significant hardships, facing years of illness before his passing in the early 2000s. In light of his contributions and the legacy he left behind, we believe it is fitting to support his son’s educational journey through this scholarship.

“Furthermore, on behalf of the Esteemed Solidarity Flying Eagles Team, 1983 set, and as the vice captain of the history-making squad, I salute you, my fellow teammates, I extend my heartfelt gratitude to all our team members who generously supported this initiative financially and in kind who deserve our genuine appreciation for their integral role in the scholarship scheme: Chibuzor Ehilegbu, Otti Amaechi, Paul Okoku, Femi Olukanni, Segun Olukanni,

Dehinde Akinlotan, Taju Disu, Dahiru Sadi, Tarila Okorowanta, Manu Garba, Alphonsus Akhahon, Sunday Edema Benson, Yemi Adebanjo, Samson Siasia, Patrick Udoh, Muyiwa Manny Motajo, Humphrey Edobor, Bright Benson, Wahab Adesina, Wilfred Agbonabare, Christopher Anigala, Yisa Sofoluwe, Raymond King, Mike Igbeka and Tarfa Kpako.

“I couldn’t be prouder of your courage, as a team, and dedication to our association. Your involvement in this initiative exemplifies true teamwork and demonstrates the power of collective action. Your unwavering support has made this scholarship possible, allowing us to honor Ali Jeje’s memory and invest in the future of his family. My humble gratitude is in line here as I once again express my thank you immensely to all our teammates for your outstanding support and commitment. Your contribution to this scholarship is not only commendable but also life-changing for Abdul Rahman Jeje. It is essential to reflect on the profound impact you have had on his life, especially considering the challenges he has faced, including the loss of his grandmother, who played a significant role in his upbringing following Ali Jeje’s passing. Your generosity and kindness have made a meaningful difference, and for that, we are deeply grateful.”

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Lagos Sports Commission DG Meets French Consul General At France Embassy

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The Director General of Lagos State Sports Commission, Lekan Fatodu on Wednesday hosted in Lagos by the Consul General of France

The Director General of Lagos State Sports Commission, Lekan Fatodu on Wednesday hosted in Lagos by the Consul General of France and his team at the Consulate in Ikoyi, Lagos.

Discussions held centred around strengthening the existing ties between Lagos State and France, with a particular focus on Sports.

Avenues for mutually beneficial collaboration that would not only deepen the cultural exchange between the two nations but also accelerate the development of sports in Lagos State from capacity building for sports administration and coaching to facilitate sports business opportunities, as well as organising joint sporting events were explored.

The Consular General, the French Embassy in Nigeria, Mr. Laurent Favier assured Lagos State Sports Commission of support on sports development particularly in technical aspects of sports aimed at enhancing talent growth.

The Director General appreciated Favier and his team, stating that the kind expression of support by the French Embassy will be a remarkable pivot in the extraordinary investment and assistance Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is providing towards sporting excellence

“France has a rich sporting heritage, and their expertise in various disciplines can undoubtedly elevate the standards of sports in our state. Likewise, the vibrant and passionate sporting culture and ecosystem in Lagos holds immense potential for fruitful partnerships”, Fatodu stated

He expressed his gratitude to Mr Favier and the entire team at the French Consulate for their warm hospitality and their commitment to furthering closer ties between the two nations and looked forward to the countless opportunities that lie ahead for the development of sports in Lagos State and the enrichment of cultural ties with France.

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Ijebu United Raises Alarm Over Ownership Of Golden Eaglets Player

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Ogun State based Nigeria National League side Ijebu United have raised the alarm over the ownership of youngster AbdulGaniyu Damilare

Ogun State based Nigeria National League side Ijebu United have raised the alarm over the ownership of youngster AbdulGaniyu Damilare Ibrahim, who is currently playing for the Golden Eaglets in the ongoing WAFU B championship in Ghana.

In a letter of concern and protest signed by its General Manager, Fatai Olayinka, which was sent to the Nigerian football authorities and also made available to the media, it categorically stated that the said player is a legally acquired player of Ijebu United.The letter reads, “Attention of Ijebu United Football Club has been drawn to the final list of players of the Nigeria National U-17 squad presently in Ghana for the WAFU tournament and particularly, in reference to the above player – ABDUL GANIYU DAMILARE IBRAHIM, purported to belong to Hero Power Academy. We hereby wish to state as follows:

1.That ABDUL GANIYU DAMILARE IBRAHIM is a bonafide player of Ijebu United Football Club.

2. That Ijebu United FC discovered and declared interest on the said player after a scouting tournament held at Ilorin, kwara State, in Year 2021.

3. That Ijebu United FC, immediately relocated the said player to Ijebu Ode, enrolled him in school and took complete charge of his welfare on a daily basis since same year 2021. (documents of the player in school uniform and photos besides official vehicle of Ijebu United FC herewith attached).

4. That in view of the fact that the said player, was a minor and in order to register him for the league, Ijebu United FC requested and got the parental consent from the biological parents of the said player and properly documented same at the High Court of Justice in kwara State precisely, on January 16th, 2023. (copy of the parental consent referred to is herewith attached).

5. That the player has since been enjoying remuneration from Ijebu United FC and was actually registered and participated during the 2023/2024 Nigeria National League football season and equally registered duly for the current 2024 edition of the Federation Cup Competition for Ijebu United FC (player’s licences herewith attached).

6. That Ijebu United FC was aware all along in respect to the involvement of the said player during activities and programmes of the Nigeria National Team and with our full blessings.

7. That it therefore, comes to us as a shock and disbelief that the said player is being credited to another football outfit and not Ijebu United FC. (copy of publication herewith attached).

8. That we are categorical in our claims that ABDUL GANIYU DAMILARE IBRAHIM, is a player belonging to Ijebu United FC, and plead with the authority concerned to use appropriate offices to reflect accordingly in the spirit of justice, fair play and protections of our investment on the said player over the years.”

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Lawmaker Hon Shittu pledges support for Kwara SWAN

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Chairperson, House Committee on Sports in the Kwara State House of Assembly, Honourable Rukayat Shittu, has pledged support towards robust media coverage of sports activities in the state.

Speaking to executive members of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, (SWAN), Kwara State chapter, in Ilorin on Tuesday, the lawmaker said that with the massive investments by Governor Abdulrahaman Abdulrazaq at the Kwara State Stadium, it is imperative that media support must be enhanced.

“With the renovation of sports facilities in the stadium, more sports activities will definitely come to Kwara. The media and press are the complementary arm of sports.

“These are media and brand related events that our state will benefit from immensely. Tinkering with our media sports oversight function to support sports reporting in the state,” Hon Shittu.

She also hailed the present administration of Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq for the total overhauling of sports facilities since inception.

The lawmaker explained that the state legislative arm will continue to initiate policies through effective legislation to all year round development.

“Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has been doing alot in sports since his assumption of office, the reactivation of state sports festival, state’s participation in the National and International l championship and prompt release of funds for Kwara United were some of his milestones in the last five years in office” she said.

Shittu is one the youngest lawmakers to win an election in Africa and was once a journalist herself.

While speaking to the representatives of the guild of sports journalists in the state, Hon Shittu pledged to partner SWAN ahead of the 2024 Kwara SWAN Media Games.

Expressing thanks, Chairman of Kwara SWAN, Ayodeji Ismail hailed Hon Shittu for her vibrancy and versatility as the youngest lawmaker whose positive impact and contributions at the floor of the house has become a reference point.

Ayodeji, who asked for the assistance of Hon Shittu in the appropriation of media budget for sports writers for coverage of championship, noted SWAN will continue to objectively report the activities of the government tailored to the growth of sports.

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