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We want to create viable career pathways for young Nigerian talents — Sports Minister



By Dave Okpogadie, Asaba

The Federal Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Owan Enoh has stated that beyond laurels and glory at competitions, his administration is focused on ensuring teeming youths with talents in the country forge viable career pathways as athletes.

The minister, who made the statement while briefing journalists at the ongoing National Youth Sports in Asaba, reiterated the unwavering commitment of His Excellency, President Bola  Tinubu, to continually pay utmost attention to every facet of sports development in the country.

“I can assure you that the present leadership of His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, shall pay undivided attention to the development of the abundant talents we have all around the nation,” John Enoh said.

“We do this not just with an eye on podium performances, but to also create career pathways for our youth and millions of job opportunities in the sports value chain,” he added.

Senator Enoh also stated that the ministry will collaborate with industry stakeholders to strengthen the fight against age-cheating in sports, as well as forestall the violation of doping rules, especially amongst young athletes.

“The issue of age cheating in sports is an area in which the Ministry requires the support and collaboration of all stakeholders. On our part, one of the innovations at this year’s edition of the Games is the introduction of the National Identity Number (NIN) as part of the verification process for athletes.

“Working with other stakeholders, we shall keep improving the process as we move along until we reduce this menace to the barest minimum. We have to get this right as a nation if we hope to achieve sports excellence,” Senator Enoh said.

“Do your best in your respective sports disciplines and compete cleanly without the use of performance-enhancing substances that will eventually ruin your career in sports. I also encourage you to utilize the opportunities provided by the Games to develop enduring friendships and career paths for yourself,” he advised.

Medals have started rolling in for States, with Delta, Lagos, Cross River, Abia, Rivers and Bayelsa States, as well as the Federal Capital Territory winning laurels in different categories of weightlifting events.


EPL: Amazing cross – Havertz hails Arsenal teammate after latest win



Arsenal star Kai Havertz has hailed teammate Bukayo Saka for his assist, which enabled Mikel Arteta’s side to beat Brentford 1-0 in a Premier League clash over the weekend.

Recall that Saka delivered a delightful cross from the right flank, dissecting Brentford’s defence.

An unmarked Havertz headed home from close range at the back post to give the Gunners all three points against Brentford at the Gtech Community Stadium.

“These late winners are nice and then to celebrate in front of the fans it was a good feeling for sure,” Havertz told Match of the Day.

“The cross was amazing and I thought maybe why not do this run and the ball was perfect and I scored.”

The win over Brentford moved Arsenal to the top of the Premier League table with 30 points from 13 games.

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Ronaldo was crazy about ex-Real Madrid star, Drenthe – Van der Vaart reveals



Former Real Madrid midfielder, Rafael Van der Vaart has revealed that Cristiano Ronaldo was ‘crazy’ about former Los Blancos teammate, Royston Drenthe’s abilities.

Drenthe joined Real Madrid from Dutch club Feyenoord back in 2007.

He made only 65 appearances for Real Madrid and eventually left the Spanish La Liga giants permanently in 2012.

However, Van der Vaart, who spent time with Drenthe and Ronaldo in Madrid, has reflected on how the pair used to enjoy facing each other in training.

“I think it is unfortunate that Royston is the best left-back Holland has ever had. If he had put aside his ego and his love for street football, he would have still played for the national team,” Van der Vaart said, as quoted by Sports Klub.

“He enjoyed playing against Cristiano Ronaldo in training. It was a challenge for him. He kept asking ‘Cristiano, who is that?’ Ronaldo was crazy about him in training. Royston was fast, agile and technically outstanding.”

Drenthe, meanwhile, hung up his boots this month at the age of 36.

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Mathew can help solve Super Eagles midfield problem — Manu Garba



Former Golden Eaglets and Flying Eagles head coach, Manu Garba believes Ifeanyi Mathew will be a good addition to the Super Eagles.

The Super Eagles have struggled for midfield creativity since the erstwhile captain of the side, John Mikel Obi quit international football.

Mathew, a former Flying Eagles and home-based Super Eagles midfielder has been overlooked by the national team selectors despite his impressive club form.

The 26-year-old has been in fantastic form for the Swiss club, FC Zurich this season.

The talented midfielder has scored one goal and provided three assists in 15 league appearances for FC Zurich in the Swiss Super League this term.

Garba stated that Mathew possessed the qualities to become a key star for the Super Eagles.

“I discovered Ifeanyi Mathew alongside Musa Muhammed in 2013 in Kano during my time as Golden Eaglet head coach,”.

‘Mathew was also instrumental in my team that won the U-20 AFCON in Senegal in 2015 and he was with us at the U-20 FIFA World Cup in New Zealand.”

“I have been motoring his progress since he was in Sweden up till now that he is in Switzerland.”

“He is the most consistent Nigerian midfielder in Europe at the moment and for him to join the Super Eagles will be of great value addition to the team ahead of AFCON especially in the midfield area where obviously the coach needs to work on going by the two games against Lesotho and Zimbabwe during the 2026 World Cup qualifiers.”

“One of his greatest qualities is his vision in connecting with the attack and defence in addition to his knack for goals from long range.”

“If you go back and watch our 2015 U-20 campaign in Senegal, most of the goals we scored were created by him.”

Mathew was also a member of the home-based Super Eagles side that featured at the 2016 Africa Nations Championship under coach Sunday Oliseh.

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