50th Asoju Oba Cup Serves Off Today as Players Begin Hostilities

first_imgAlso, schools like Indian Language School and Greensprings School are coming with strong teams in the cadet and junior events for the one-week championship.Nigeria’s longest serving table tennis umpire – John Peters who has been officiating at the tournament since 1972 described the tournament as a grooming ground for Nigeria’s table tennis stars.“In preparation for Nigeria’s hosting of the 2nd All Africa Games in 1973 in Lagos, the then Chairman of Nigeria Table Tennis Association, Dr. Adegboyega Efunkoya of blessed memory, invited in 1972, interested Sports Clubs members to train as Umpires who would officiate at the Games. I attended and thus qualified as a National Umpire. My first opportunity to umpire Table Tennis was at the 1972 Asoju Oba which was in its 4th edition then.After a few years, I got involved in anchoring the closing ceremonies of the annual event. The Sponsor, Chief Dr. Molade Okoya-Thomas was so impressed by the manner of my presentation that he nicknamed me ”Olohun iyo’ which literally means ‘the man with a sonorous voice’,” the Septuagenarian recalled.For Peters who is Nigeria’s only ITTF blue badge certified umpire, the tournament would continue to attract the best in the country.“The tournament attracted, and still thus, the best of the best players from across the length and breadth of Lagos State. This has always led to the frequently asked question by journalists at the Press Conference why the tournament was not open to players from outside the State. I remember that the recurring answer of the Sponsor was to refer the journalists to the title of the tournament which was started when he was conferred with the title in 1968.“The tournament is the longest non-stop for 50 years now in Lagos, in Nigeria and possibly in Africa. It is important to note that every player that has won in it has always gone ahead to become a national champion.  Most of the players who have represented Nigeria came through the tournament,” he added.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram The Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium will hug the limelight again from today as table tennis players in Lagos begin the race for the top prizes at the 50th Asoju Oba Molade Okoya-Thomas Table Tennis Cup serves off.With 24 titles at stake this year in the cadet, junior and senior categories, all eyes will be on the men and women singles as surprise packages have been earmarked for the winners in the events.Several former champions are expected to be in action when the tournament serves off as it promises to be explosive in the singles events.last_img read more

Confed Cup: Rangers FC Hit Next Phase after Win over USM

first_imgBy Femi Solaja with agency reportFor the second year running, Nigerian clubs will have stake in CAF club competitions following the decent 2-0 win by Enugu Rangers against visiting USM Bel Abbes of Algeria yesterday at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium in Enugu.Although there is still a hurdle before qualifying for the group stage, the Flying Antelopes showed the character of a team to go far in the CAF Confederation Cup competition. Earlier on Saturday, Nigeria’s representatives in the CAF Champions League, Lobi Stars defeated Kenya’s Gor Mahia 2-0 but progressed to the knock out phase on the away goal rule.Lobi lost the first round first leg 1-3 in Nairobi but the away goal gave the Makurdi team the edge despite the aggregate 3-3 scoreline.Unlike the last edition of the CAF continental competitions that Nigeria presented four teams based on the country’s co-efficient, poor results occasioned the reduction of the country’s slot to just one each in the two top club competitions.However, Nigeria’s determination to get the four slots back (two in each competition) may have started with these two wins by Lobi and Rangers.Bright Silas scored both goals as Rangers took the game to their visitors from the onset at the ‘Cathedral in Enugu’ on Saturday.The former JUTH FC star opened scoring after six minutes before he doubled the lead in first half stoppage time after he was assisted by defender Isaac Loute.The Algerians were reduced to 10 men on 90th  minute after one of their players Boualem received his second caution.Rangers created the better chances, but poor finishing or some resolute defending and good goalkeeping denied them a bigger win.With this victory, Ogunbote’s side will wait until December 28 before knowing their next foes.They will be drawn against the losers of the Champions League first round, with Rangers billed to host the second leg.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

Leicester Confident of Halting Man United Run

first_imgYouri Tielemans could make his Leicester debut after joining on Deadline Day.The Belgium international midfielder signed for the Foxes from Monaco in a deal that saw Adrien Silva move in the other direction. He is set to be available, subject to clearance, as Leicester look to avoid a third straight Premier League home defeat and fourth loss in their last five matches in all competitions.However, they did draw at Premier League leaders Liverpool in midweek. Leicester have no injury concerns aside from Daniel Amartey, who is recovering from an ankle injury sustained in October.Pogba and Martial should be available for United while Chris Smalling returned to the bench in midweek after a foot injury and is pushing for his first appearance in two months.Leicester have won only one of their 12 home Premier League matches against Man Utd, coming from two goals down to win 5-3 in September 2014 (D4 L7).Manchester United have won 16 of their last 20 matches against Leicester City in all competitions (D3 L1). Leicester have won more points from losing positions than any other Premier League side this season (13).Manchester United are the only team to have received a yellow card in all 24 of their Premier League matches this season.They are looking to win five consecutive away matches in all competitions for the first time since October 2012 under Sir Alex Ferguson.Man Utd’s Juan Mata has scored four goals and assisted two more in his last five Premier League appearances against Leicester, scoring in each of his last two games at the King Power (three goals).Since the start of the 2014-15 season, no player has scored more Premier League goals against Manchester United than Leicester striker Jamie Vardy (4, level with Gylfi Sigurdsson and Sergio Aguero).Paul Pogba has been involved in 53 per cent of the 19 goals scored by Manchester United in the Premier League under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (6 goals, 4 assists).RESULTS & FIXTURESTottenham 1 – 0 NewcastleBrighton 0 – 0 WatfordBurnley 1 – 1 SouthamptonChelsea 5 – 0 HuddersfieldCrystal Palace 2 – 0 FulhamEverton 1 – 3 WolvesCardiff 2 – 0 BournemouthNapoli 3-0 SampdoriaBarcelona 2 – 2 ValenciaLeicester v M’United 3:05pmMan City v Arsenal 5:30pmRoma v Milan 8:30pmShare this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba are expected to be fit for Manchester United’s trip to Leicester today.Martial, who signed a new long-term deal last week, missed Tuesday’s 2-2 draw with Burnley with a slight injury sustained in training, while Pogba was seen limping out of Old Trafford after the match. However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hopeful both will be available as United look to return winning ways, having dropped their first points under their caretaker manager in midweek.Looking ahead to the trip to the King Power Stadium, Solskjaer said: “They defend well so it’s hard to break them down and they’ve got pace and energy up front, so it’s going to be a tough challenge, but we like challenges.”last_img read more

AFCON: Super Eagles Battle Desert Foxes for Final Ticket

first_imgWilliam Teoost-Ekong celebrates his winning goal against South Africa with Moses Simon who provided the assist Nigeria’s Super Eagles and Algeria’s Desert Foxes will clash for the 22nd time this night at the Cairo International Stadium Egypt, in what promises to be a match filled with fireworks.Three –time champions Nigeria won their first title on home soil at the expense of Algeria in 1980, while their opponents are hoping to book a place in the final for a shot at a second title after their only cup was won on home soil against Nigeria in 1990.It was the last time the Algerians beat the Eagles, with no victory in eight subsequent matches. Previous encounters between the Eagles and the Foxes have always been keenly contested, and the nature and balance of the rivalry is reflected in the record which shows that Nigeria has won nine, Algeria has won seven, with five drawn.After Nigeria swept to Africa Cup of Nations glory on the back of a 3-0 lashing of the Foxes in Lagos in 1980, the Foxes got their pound of flesh by not only stopping Nigeria from reaching the 1982 World Cup, beating the Eagles home and away for their first –ever FIFA World Cup ticket, but also edging Nigeria 2-1 in a group phase match at the 1982 Africa Cup of Nations in Libya.At the 1984 and 1988 Africa Cup of Nations, their matches were drawn, though the Eagles prevailed on penalty shoot-out in the latter as it was a semi final match and a winner had to emerge.Nigeria also stopped Algeria reaching the 1988 Olympics, beating the North Africans 2-0 in Enugu after a lone goal reverse in Annaba, for a 2-1 aggregate win.In 1990, Algeria hosted the AFCON and opened with a 5-1 spanking of Nigeria, before again edging their opponents by the odd goal in the final match.Three years later, Nigeria would stop Algeria qualifying for the World Cup, beating the Foxes 4-1 in Lagos and drawing 1-1 in Algiers for their own first –ever FIFA World Cup ticket.At the 2002 AFCON in Mali, Nigeria won Algeria 1-0 in a group phase match, and it was the same scoreline eight years later at the AFCON hosted by Angola, with victory this time earning Nigeria the bronze medal.Most recently in 2017, Nigeria stopped Algeria from qualifying for the FIFA World Cup, as they bashed the Foxes 3-1 in Uyo and tied the second leg in Constantine 1-1 before FIFA awarded the match to Algeria after the Eagles fielded ineligible defender Abdullahi Shehu.Both teams have secured their best wins over each other on Algerian soil. Algeria’s 5-1 win over Nigeria was in Algiers, in the opening match of the 17th Africa Cup of Nations. Nigeria’s 5-2 win over Algeria was in Oran, in a 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying match.At the ongoing 32nd Africa Cup of Nations, the Desert Foxes have emerged as perhaps the best organized team, tactically aware and disciplined while also being very aggressive, with swift counter-attacking competence.They have beaten Africa’s number one –ranked team Senegal, Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire among others.The Super Eagles have been very resilient and have shown good fitness by scoring late goals in multiple matches. They have been cautious but able to smell opportunities and strike with swift counter attacks through pacy wingers.This approach has put to the sword teams like Guinea, Cup holders Cameroon and the hosts’ conquerors, South Africa.Coach of the Foxes, Djamel Belmadi, made it clear yesterday that his wards are aiming for the trophy and would like to pay Nigeria back for stopping Algeria reaching the 2018 World Cup.On his part, Coach Gernot Rohr says defeat by Madagascar has awakened his team to the approach they must adopt to win each game, by not under-rating any team, and he believes the same will be deployed against Algeria this night.Today’s winner will proceed to the final match of the biggest ever Africa Cup of Nations championship, billed for the Cairo International Stadium on Friday, 19th July, against the winner of the first semi final between Senegal and Tunisia.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more