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Nigeria makes impact in track cycling championship



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By Gistflash News

Sept 12, 2021

Nigeria is doing well at the ongoing 2021 Tissot International Cycling Union (UCI) Championship in Cali, Colombia.

Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of the Cycling Federation of Nigeria (CFN),  Giandomenico  Massari,  made this known while congratulating Nigerian female track cyclists taking part in the event.

Massari told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in an interview on Saturday in Abuja, that the Nigerian team was chalking up points in the competition.

“We are acquiring points and the Olympic qualification is based on continent and in African for now we (Nigeria) are leading.

“We have two African countries participating, Nigeria and South Africa.

“Although Nigeria is not as experienced as the other countries that have decades of experience, it is doing well.

“This is our first appearance in the UCI Track Cycling Championship… We are only participating in the women’s categories,’’ Massari said.

Massari disclosed that Nigeria was being represented in the competition by four female riders, Tawakalitu Yekeen, Mary Samuel, Grace Ayuba and Ese Ukpeseraye.

According to him, even although Nigeria started participating in the sports since 2018, it is better than some other teams with decades of experience.

He said Nigeria’s initial target was to qualify to participate in the Colombia tournament and that it achieved.

The ongoing game 2021 Tissot UCI Track Cycling Nations Cup championship in Colombia commenced on  Sept. 9 and is expected to end on Sept.13.

He expressed the hope that Nigeria would come back successfully.

The 2021 Tissot UCI track cycling championship in in Colombia comes in the build-up to next month`s UCI Track World Championships billed to take place in Roubaix, France from Oct. 20 to Oct. 24.

He said Nigeria would also take part in the France championship.

Some of the participating countries in the Colombia women cycling event are Belgium, Canada, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Costa Rica.

Barbados, Czech Republic, Ecuador, France, Germany, Malaysia, Mexico, Ukraine, US, Uzbekistan and Poland are also taking part.



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We’ll use football to promote unity, national devt., says President Buhari



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By Gistflash News

Sept 16, 2021

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday in Abuja declared his administration’s commitment to use football for the girl-child’s development and also inspire young people to have rewarding careers in the game.

Buhari stated this while receiving at the State House a FIFA delegation led by president Gianni Infantino, and which also had the president of Confederation of African Football (CAF), Patrice Motsepe.

He called on the top echelon of football’s world governing body to see Nigeria as “one of its greatest assets when it comes to the development of football’’.

On women’s football, President Buhari expressed delight that Nigeria has produced excellent role models to inspire the next generation of stars to take up the sport.

‘‘Our national women’s football team, the Super Falcons, are a force to reckon with both on the continent and internationally.

‘‘Some of our women footballers include Asisat Oshoala, who only recently became the first African to win the Women’s European Champions League with her club in Barcelona.

‘‘There are also Rasheedat Ajibade, Rita Chikwelu, Onome Ebi, who is the only African to have played in five FIFA Women’s World Cup Finals, and Desire Oparanozie.

“Before them we had Perpetual Nkwocha, Mercy Akide-Udoh, Nkiru Okosieme and Ann Chiejiene, and they are globally recognised stars,’’ he said.

President Buhari, therefore, urged the leadership of the world football governing body to consider Nigeria among the first in its plans for support and investment.

He also informed the visiting FIFA president, who is in Nigeria for the six-nation Aisha Buhari Invitational Football Tournament, that his administration has since 2017 adopted football as a national asset.

The President said sport was being accorded the highest level of attention possible by his government to enable rapid development of abundant talents in the country.

‘‘I have also approved the unveiling of a committee to draw up a 10-year football development master plan for the country.

‘‘I expect that the recommendations of this committee will accelerate the development of football. It is my hope that it will further improve the fortunes of the game internationally.”

On the Aisha Buhari Cup (ABC) competition, which has the theme “Playing for Good”, President Buhari said the tournament could not have come at a better time.

‘‘This women’s football competition is a novel idea here and I am sure it will be exciting in its execution for our women folk and lovers of football.

‘‘It is also a confirmation of what we already know about our women,’’ he said.

The President thanked FIFA for making ABC a ranking tournament, adding that he looks forward to more countries joining to participate in the future.

Describing football as one of the greatest sources of unity in the country as well as in many parts of the world, President Buhari said:

‘‘Our hearts beat as one any time our teams are playing a football match. Our youths are always positively engaged when our national football teams are on assignment.

‘‘Without any doubts here, football is a major tool of national unity’’.

The Nigerian leader commended the enormous work done by FIFA in the development of football, using it as a tool for positive social change and to drive global unity.

He pledged support for the latest FIFA initiative, the FIFA Connect programme which aims to drive football development at the grassroots using technology.

Buhari assured the football body’s top echelon of Nigeria’s active participation in the programme.

He also emphasised Nigeria’s huge pedigree in global and continental football.

According to the president, the country has achieved successes in many international and continental competitions while maintaining close, cordial and mutually-beneficial relationship with FIFA.

‘‘Nigeria is one of the few nations of the world which have participated in all FIFA competitions, at all the different levels for both men and women.

‘‘These have opened doors of opportunities for a lot of our young boys and girls, men and women to have rewarding careers in the game,’’ he said.

In his remarks, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, said Nigeria as the leading black nation in the world was central to all that FIFA is seeking to achieve in its football development plan.

‘‘We love football and we follow the game passionately,’’ he said.

Also speaking, Infantino renewed FIFA’s commitment to support the development of football in Nigeria.

He also pledged to strengthen FIFA’s partnership with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

‘‘Nigeria is a big football-playing country. We need Nigeria to lead the football movement in the world, together with Africa as a continent,’’ the FIFA president said.

He thanked President Buhari for supporting the development of the game, appealing to him to help FIFA amplify the message of football as a uniting force.

‘‘When football is played there are no divisions in a nation or continent. Football brings people together and to do that we need important countries like Nigeria,’’ Infantino said.



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Nigeria remains world’s 34th, Africa’s 5th in FIFA world ranking



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By Gistflash News

Sept 16, 2021

Nigeria’s Super Eagles remained world 34th in the FIFA September ranking in spite of their two wins in the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers.

Nigeria is still with the 1,492 points it had in the last ranking, in spite of beating Liberia 2-0 and Cape Verde 2-1 in the qualifying matches.

The points also kept them as the fifth-placed team in Africa behind Senegal, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco respectively.

On the global scene, with 177 international matches played in the month under review, there were changes to the top positions in the ranking.

There were no fewer than 152 FIFA World Cup qualifying games as well as 25 friendlies played across the globe in the first half of September.

While Belgium (ranked first) and Brazil (second) continue to lead the way, there is a new face on the podium.

Following mixed results in Qatar 2022 qualifying this month (two draws and a win), France dropped one step to fourth.

It allowed England to take their place courtesy of two wins and a draw, some nine years after they were last there.

With three victories in as many games, Denmark (now 10th, one step up) broke into the Top 10.

Portugal (7th, one step up) and Spain (8th, one step down) swapped positions.

The most notable climbs among the Top 50 came from Iran (22nd, +4), Russia (37th, +4),  Norway (39th, +4), Scotland (45th, +4) and Northern Ireland (47th, +4).

However, it is below 50th place that we see the best progressions in this edition.

These are those of Libya (110th, +12), Canada (51st, +8), Liberia (144th, +6), Malta (171st, +6), Panama (68th, +6), Bulgaria (70th, +5) and Saudi Arabia (56th, +5).

Special mention has to go to Kosovo (109th, +6) who, having beaten Georgia (1-0) and held Greece (1-1), climbed to 109th place and an all-time high.



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Pele to leave intensive care this week, daughter says



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By Gistflash News

Sept 14, 2021

Pele will be moved out of intensive care in the coming days as the Brazil footballing great continues his recovery from surgery, his daughter Kely Nascimento has said.

The 80-year-old, who is the only male player to win three World Cups, has been in the Alberto Einstein hospital in Sao Paulo.

He has been there since doctors removed a tumour from his colon earlier this month.

“He is doing well post-surgery, he is not in pain and is in a good mood (annoyed that he can only eat jello but will persevere!),” Nascimento said on Instagram.

“He will move into a regular room in the next day or two and then go home.

“He is strong and stubborn and with the support and care of the brilliant team at Einstein and all of the love, energy and light that the world is sending, he will get through this!”

Pele, whose real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, has had mobility problems since a failed hip replacement surgery in 2012 and cannot walk unaided.

His public appearances were already being cut before the COVID-19 pandemic and since then he has made few unnecessary forays outside his house near Santos.

Pele won the 1958, 1962 and 1970 World Cups and remains Brazil’s all-time leading goalscorer with 77 goals in 92 matches.



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