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Page 55 stories Moses, Melissa win CBN Tennis Championship From Yahaya Ibrahim, Lagos Moses Michael and Melissa Ifidzhen on Saturday emerged men’s and women’s singles…

Page 55 stories

Moses, Melissa win CBN Tennis Championship

From Yahaya Ibrahim, Lagos

Moses Michael and Melissa Ifidzhen on Saturday emerged men’s and women’s singles champions of the 38th Central Bank of Nigeria Open Tennis Championship in Lagos.

Moses bagged a 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 win over Sylvester Emmanuel for his first title at the event while Melissa successfully defended her crown with a dominant 6-3, 6-2 win over top seed Christy Agugbom, the same player she defeated in last year’s final.

“The last Tombim and Dayak ITF Futures really helped me because it keeps me in good shape and it showed in the way I played in this tournament,” said Michael, who was beaten in last year’s final by Thomas Otu.

On her part, Melissa, Russia-based Melissa said she looks forward to dominating the CBN Championship for more years to come.

“I came for this tournament from Egypt and my only intention was to win like I did last year and I’m happy I achieved my goal. Next year I will aim to do the same,” she said.

Both winners pocketed N700, 000 each while the finalists got N500, 000 each.

CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele said the standard of the tournament reflect that. The future of Nigerian tennis is high.

Emefiele, who was represented by the CBN Director in charge of Capacity Development, Mrs Victoria Chizoba appealed to corporate bodies and stakeholders to pool efforts at raising the profile of tennis in Nigeria.

Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF) president, Sani Ndanusa expressed appreciation of the apex bank stressing, among others, that the tournament is of the great value to the players through its economic empowerment.

Lawal Shehu and Abdulmumin Babalola defeated Moses Michael and Christian Paul 6-4, 6-4 to win the men’s doubles title while Melissa partnered Sarah Adegoke to beat Agugbom and Blessing Samuel 6-0, 6-1 for the women’s doubles crown.

Alex Adewale and Foluke Shittu beat Wasiu Yusuf and Kafayat Omisore for the wheelchair category titles.

The NTF also honoured its late board member, Prof. Philomena Ikulayo with a post-humous award.

Nigeria need miracle to qualify for World Cup – Babangida

Ex-Nigeria star Tijjani Babangida has fired a damning verdict on the country’s World Cup chances after he told AfricanFootball.com the Super Eagles will need a miracle to be at Russia 2018 because they are not ready for the challenge.

Babangida featured at the 1998 World Cup and was recently a special assistant to former Nigeria coach Sunday Oliseh.

The former Ajax Amsterdam star told AfricanFootball.com that while other teams are busy preparing hard for the 2018 World Cup qualifying series which begin in October, Nigeria are yet to have a permanent coach.

“The worse happened already after we were not seeded,” he said.

“And now with Algeria, Cameroon and Zambia in our group, only a miracle could take us out of this group, let’s be realistic even though we also know that anything is possible in football.

“Other nations are already 100 percent ready for the qualifiers, while we are still not certain who our coach will be.”

Ladipo warns against hiring foreign coach for Eagles

From Yahaya Ibrahim, Lagos

The President General of the Nigeria Football Supporters Club, Chief Rafiu Ladipo has urged the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) against hiring a foreign coach for the Super Eagles.

Ladipo, who gave this advice at the weekend while speaking to journalists at the National Stadium, Lagos, said Nigeria has experienced local coaches who can take the team to the World Cup.

“Though I will not kick against it if the NFF decides to employ a foreign coach but I believe local coaches know the players very well,” the supporters’ club president said.

Ladipo also advised the NFF to put its house in order so as not to affect the teams’ performance for the World Cup.

Reacting to last Friday’s grouping of Nigeria alongside, Cameroon, Zambia and Algeria for the Russia 2018 World Cup qualification, Ladipo expressed confidence that with the calibre of foreign and local players the Nigeria have, the country will qualify for the global soccer tournament.

“What we need is good preparation for the qualifiers; a lot of friendly matches should be organized for the team. I believe with this, they will qualify from the group,” he added.

LaLiga foundation donates to El-Kanemi

LaLiga Foundation, a charity arm of the Spanish League Association has announced that it will support El-Kanemi Warriors of Maiduguri with cash and equipment in furtherance of the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the League Management Company (LMC) for collaborations with the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).

While in Nigeria during the official ceremonies to unveil the NPFL-LaLiga partnership, the Spanish League officials were touched by the impact of the Boko Haram insurgency in the North East which led to El-Kanemi Warriors having to play their home games for two seasons away from their traditional Maiduguri ground.

Following discussions and presentations made by the LMC to LaLiga, their response was positive.

“We are writing to you from LaLiga Foundation in relation with our next collaboration and would through this official communication confirm our intention to collaborate with the El-Kanemi Team as a great opportunity to start working together,” wrote Olga de la Fuente of the Professional Football Foundation of LaLiga to the LMC Chairman, Shehu Dikko.

The partnership will consist of a cash grant of 54,000 Euros and Sporting Materials including training shirts, official balls and other equipments.

“We are very grateful to LaLiga for the assistance they have offered. We intend to deploy the fund to upgrade some of the facilities in our camp, build a gymnastic where the players can train without going out and also repair some of the basic facilities inside the stadium that may have run down”, said Zana Malla Kakaje, Chairman of El-Kanemi Warriors FC.

LMC Chairman, Dikko said “we are delighted to see the first fruits of the partnership with the LaLiga and it sign-posts a greater and brighter future for the NPFL and the clubs. The LMC will explore other areas of mutually beneficial partnership as provided for in the MOU to maximize the opportunities inherent in this collaboration”.

The formal presentation of the cash grant and the equipment will be made on a date to be announced.

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