President of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF) Hon. Daniel Igali has restated his resolve to ensure the country’s wrestlers get ‘adequate’ preparation ahead of the forth-coming Olympic Qualifiers and African Championships both in El Jadida, Morocco.

The Africa/Oceania Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualifying tournament is billed for 2nd to 4th April, and it will be closely followed by the 2021 African Championships at the same venue from 6th to 11th April, 2021.

 

 

In preparation for both tournaments, the Igali disclosed that a 3-week intensive camping will commence in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital on 6th March.

 

 

During the camping exercise in Yenagoa, the World and Olympic champion hinted that there would be a mini-tournament to put the wrestlers in tip-top shape before their departure to Morocco.

 

 

“As we’ve maintained, we will ensure that our athletes are adequately prepared for the Olympic qualifying tournament and also the African Championships, which follows right after,” the Wrestling Federation Chief said.

 

 

“We’ll as a result, be calling our athletes to camp on the 6th of March to the 30th of March. So, we intend to have a good three weeks of camping, with possibly a match set up in the second week of camp.

 

 

“So, we’ll bring in about two training partners (per athlete) or the two second and third athletes from different states and have a mini-wrestling competition in the camp to ensure that every athlete has between five and six matches over a two-day period to get them slightly have their heads turned around in a competition mood.”

 

 

At the Olympic qualifying tournament in El Jadida, Team Nigeria will be hoping to pick no fewer than seven tickets to the delayed Tokyo 2020 Games in Japan, which will run from 23rd July to 8th August.

 

 

At the moment, former world number one and back-to-back Commonwealth champion Odunayo Adekuoroye (57kg) is the only Nigerian wrestler to have qualified for the Tokyo Games.

 

At the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Team Nigeria was represented by 7 wrestlers.

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English Championship side Watford confirmed Isaac Success is gradually working his way back to full fitness, but is not ready to join the first team yet.

Success, who has been sidelined for over 3 months, hasn’t featured for the Hornets this season due to the injury.

 

The club revealed, Tuesday, that the player is making a progress as he continues to work with the medical team having featured for the Under-23s in recent weeks.

 

Similarly, Success’ compatriot is Tom Dele-Bashiru has began his rehabilitation as the midfielder is now back full-time at the training ground.

 

Dele-Bashiru suffered an Achilles injury against Reading back in October 2020 and underwent a successful surgery.

 

The 21-year-old joined Watford in 2019 following the expiration of his contract at Manchester City.

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MFM FC coach, Lekan Gabriel said the team will go into the NPFL fixture against Plateau United with the aim of picking at least a point.

Gabriel is making immediate impact at MFM FC, picking seven points from their last four matches, including back to back home wins.

 

The latest win against Nasarawa United, a 1-0 result at the Soccer Temple in Agege in midweek buoyed the side’s confidence.

 

Speaking ahead of the Sunday’s clash at the New Jos Stadium, the young coach said his players are not afraid to face any side in the league.

 

“We are ready for every team we are playing. we have to play every team according to their names and what they have done in the league and how big they are,’ Gabriel said enthused.

 

“We don’t respect anybody. We prepare all the players that we have. Everybody is up to the task to play and we will set the team very well.

 

“We are going to Plateau United to get a result, of which I think my boys are ready to do that for me.”

 

Meanwhile Plateau United will welcome Rivers United to Jos on Wednesday for their rescheduled week 10 encounter.

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Liverpool Training Session
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He’ll likely miss pre-season and possibly the first few games of the 2021/22 season.

Mohamed Salah has been selected as one of the two senior players in Egypt’s squad for the Summer Olympics tournament in Tokyo. This should inconvenience Jürgen Klopp a great deal, considering that the Egyptian’s goal scoring (17 goals so far) has been one of the few bright spots in a season wrecked by injury. The Olympics is typically contested by national under-23 sides. However, each team can call up three players over the age limit as senior party members.

The tournament is slated to run from July 23 to August 8, with 2021-22 Premier League supposed to start on August 7. Salah would likely miss both pre-season and the opening weeks of the new campaign with Liverpool FC if he reports to play in the tournament.

Egypt’s U-23 coach Shawky Gharib had this to say about Salah’s call-up (Ahram Online):

Egypt U-23 team’s preliminary squad will be led by Mohamed Salah and Mohamed El-Shennawy alongside another goalkeeper. Salah is currently one of the most important players in the world and it’s normal to call him for Egypt’s Olympic squad.

We will start the official talks with Liverpool after the international break next March.

It’s yet another tricky wrinkle Klopp will have to deal with, unless of course we just sign Mbappe and call it a day. We’ll see.

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Liverpool Training Session
Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

The former was absent after the death of his father, while the latter two have been dealing with injuries.

Liverpool FC could be boosted by the return of three-first teamers for their Anfield showdown against Chelsea as Alisson Becker, Fabinho, and Diogo Jota have all been spotted in training ahead of the game.

The two sides are separated by a single point, with the Blues in pretty decent form since moving on from Frank Lampard to Thomas Tuchel.

Alisson Becker missed the game against Sheffield United after the tragic passing of his father, while Diogo Jota should be back in contention, having missed his return last week due to illness. He has been missing since December due to a knee injury suffered uring a mid-December visit to Midtjylland in the Champions League. Meanwhile, Fabinho has been dealing with niggling issues all season, his previous return from a three-game absence against Manchester City was quickly beset by another lay-off, this-time a muscle problem.

Together with the recent return of Naby Keita, let’s hope that the team has turned the corner on the injuries and can mount a strong push to the end of the season.

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McClelland Save
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The Liverpool legend passed away on Monday night at the age of 82.

Liverpool fans on Merseyside and all around the world are mourning this week after news of Ian St John. St John passed away on Monday, and since then, memorials have popped up around the internet as fans and players alike recall their fond memories of a true Reds’ legend.

St John was slightly before the time of another Liverpool legend, Kenny Dalglish. However, the two Scotsmen were friends for decades, and so Dalglish had some heartfelt words at St John’s passing.

“I think it’s right to use the word ‘icon’ and I send my prayers to Betsy, his wife, and the family and I just hope they are coping as well as they possibly can,” Dalglish said.

“He certainly was [an icon], and deservedly so, an iconic figure in and around Liverpool Football Club because he came in at the very beginning with Shanks and big Yatesey [Ron Yeats].

“He got off to a terrible start by scoring a hat-trick against Everton at Goodison in the Liverpool Senior Cup, so I think after he did that he was always going to be revered in and around Liverpool.”

Current Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp wasn’t lucky enough to have the same close connection with St John as Dalglish, he recounted the story of their one meeting.

“When Ian arrived, it’s so funny because you see the pictures of the legends on the walls everywhere, on the walls and in other situations, and he looked like he looked like on those photos. It was easy to see, ‘Oh my god, yes, Ian St John!’” Klopp said.

“He was not only football-wise a legend, but a true legend as a person. It was a pure pleasure to meet him.

“He had a little present with him; I’m not sure it was his first game for Scotland, but it was [a shirt] from a game against West Germany with the number 12. I am now 53 years old so I don’t remember 100 per cent who the player was, but in my mind it was Heinz Flohe, a player from Cologne, I think he said.”

St John was a singular talent, playing 425 games as a Red and scoring 118 goals. He will be missed.

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Gernot Rohr has confirmed that he’s scouting Rangers duo Calvin Bassey and Nnamdi Ofoborh for Nigeria.

The highly rated English and Italian born youngsters are still eligible to play for Nigeria due to their parentage and Rohr hinted that he would like to see them committed to the Countries.

 

 

“We have been watching Rangers a lot and scouting all their games and there’s also Calvin Bassey and Nnamdi Ofoborh, who is an Under-20 international who both have Nigerian roots so the challenge is there for them to join them,” Rohr said to Scottish tabloid Daily Records.

 

Bassey and Ofoborh are yet to establish themselves in Rangers’ first team but they could get squad roles next season.

 

Ofoborh is a 21-year-old midfielder who plays like Gerrard, Lampard and Vieira, while Calvin Bassey is a left back.

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President of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation Engr. Tikon Ishaku is backing the World Table Tennis Middle East tour quest of Africa’s last man standing Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna as he continues his bid for success today against India’s Sathiyan Gnanasekaran in the mains draws of the competition after sailing through three preliminary rounds.

Ishaku speaking in a chat with brila.net believes Aruna is good enough to eliminate his Indian opposition who is ranked 16 places behind Aruna on 37th in the world and also believes the competition will also allow Aruna to advance his world rankings to get better draws during seeding for future competition.

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Assistant coach of Nigeria’s women basketball national team Peter Ahmedu has stated that the release of the official fixture schedule by FIBA for the Tokyo Olympic games later this year will aid the preparation of the Nigeria women basketball team now that they know the order of games and how to approach the group stage.

Ahmedu speaking in a chat with brila.net said the official schedule is favourable to the Nigerian team who will get her Olympic preparation in full swing in the USA where they had pre-Olympic camping and the choice of USA as the team’s first fixture will mean the team can concentrate on having as many friendlies in the USA and set the team on a tough course from the start of the Olympics basketball events.

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Assistant coach of Nigeria’s U20 national team Jolomi Atune has stated that availability of players remains the biggest setback of transition at the age-grade national teams level after recent failures of the Nigerian team especially at the U20 level after a good outing at the U17 level would have raised the expectation of what is to come.

Atune speaking in a chat with brila.net while taking a cursory look at Nigeria’s failure to make the ongoing CAF Africa U20 cup of nations in Mauritania after a failed WAFU outing said the inability to get a good number of players from the previous U17 team which he was part of contributed largely to whatever transition plan may have been envisaged.

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