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AFN unveils programme for 2022, names sub-committee heads, members




Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN, has unveiled its programme of activities for the year 2022. The federation also named heads of its sub-committees and members.

The year 2022 has started with the traditional registration and documentation of all states and clubs affiliated to the federation and new clubs willing to be part of its programmes.

The registration and documentation exercise is ongoing at the federation’s secretariat in Abuja.

This will run throughout the month of January with the first AFN All-Comers event featuring non-Olympic events scheduled to hold on the 29th of this month at Ozoro or Asaba.

The second AFN All-Comers competition which will hold between 25 and 26 February will also have on its sidelines an anti-doping seminar for athletes and coaches.

There will be two AFN Relays competitions and four AFN Classics events during the course of the year among other events to guarantee enough competitions to get the athletes into shape for the major Continental, Commonwealth and Global Championships and Games holding this summer.

The two road races which enjoy exclusive World Athletics label ratings are also in the calendar starting with the Silver-label Access Bank Lagos City Marathon on February 12 and the Silver-label Okpekpe International 10km road race in Okpekpe, Edo state on May 28.

read also:Cape Verde takes all three points in AFCON against Ethiopia

The All Nigeria Open Athletics Championships which will serve as selection trials for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, United Kingdom, and the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, USA will hold in June at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba.

The AFN has also named heads and members of its sub-committees with the first Vice-President, Tafida Gadzama heading the road race committee which also has such experts in road running like Chief Tony Osheku, coach Gabriel Okon and reigning national 5000m record holder Timon Gunen as members.

The performance sub-committee is headed by Victor Okorie, a former Nigeria 400m hurdles champion who is the fourth fastest in the Nigerian all-time list. Other members include the 1990 World Junior and Commonwealth Games 400m champion, Fatima Yusuf-Olukoju and renowned coach Porbeni Seigha.

Rosa Collins, the first winner of the triple jump event in the history of the African Games and former Nigeria and African record holder in the event fittingly heads the Women’s sub-committee while Mrs. Maria Worphil, a former Secretary-General of the AFN heads the Protocol and Ceremonial sub-committee.

read also:Cape Verde takes all three points in AFCON against Ethiopia

The Technical sub-committee is headed by a former Nigeria track star, Samuel Onikeku with former Nigeria and Commonwealth Games long jump champion Yusuf Ali and an International Association of Track and Field Statisticians recognised statistician Samuel Fatunla as some of the members.

Ken Anugweje, a Sports Science Professor and Emmanuel Ojeme, a Professor and lecturer at the University of Benin head the anti-doping and education/institutional Sports Development committee/commission respectively while the ethics and disciplinary committee is headed by Ambassador Manta Haruna Mohammed.

Athletes relations and media/publicity sub-committees will be headed by Dr Henry Okorie and Dare Esan respectively while Commodore Nesiama Omatseye (Rtd), a member of the technical committee of the CAA and a qualified World Athletics Athletes representative will be in charge of the sub-committee in charge of organisations of all AFN local events.

Two-time AFN president, Evangelist Solomon Ogba will head the Youth and Sports development commission. He will be assisted among others by two double Olympic medallists chief Falilat Ogunkoya and Enefiok Udobong as well as multiple award-winning journalists, Olukayode Thomas.



Serie A: Dzeko strikes late to save Inter against Venezia



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Edin Dzeko made sure that Inter Milan would hold off their Serie A title rivals on Saturday with a last-gasp strike which gave the league leaders a 2-1 win over Venezia.

The Bosnian’s first goal in nine matches in all competitions put the champions five points ahead of AC Milan, who now need to beat Champions League-chasing Juventus on Sunday night to make sure that their local rivals don’t start to pull away from the chasing pack.

With the Milan derby next up after the coming international break, Dzeko’s bullet header relieves the pressure on Inter, who were below their best against spirited opposition who had come into the game hit with a host of Covid-19 cases.

Third-placed Napoli are now seven points behind Simone Inzaghi’s side before they host bottom-side Salernitana on Sunday afternoon.

Defeat was a crushing blow for Venezia, who opened the scoring through Thomas Henry but sit 17th, two points above the relegation zone.

Henry gave the away side a shock lead in the 19th minute when he met Ethan Ampadu’s deep cross with a powerful header that flew past Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic.

From that moment on it was almost entirely one-way traffic, with a well-organised Venezia holding off a wave of Inter attacks which lacked their usual incisiveness.

A home crowd limited to 5 000 by Covid regulations grew frustrated as hosts struggled to break down their relatively lowly opposition, with Lautaro Martinez sending a bicycle kick way over the bar 10 minutes before the break.

However they did find the breakthrough five minutes five minutes later when after Ivan Perisic’s fizzing volley was pushed away Nicolo Barella lashed home his second league goal of the season on the rebound.

A baffling Dzeko miss left fans opened-mouth just before the hour mark, the Bosnia striker somehow poking over the bar from inches away after Luca Lezzerini fumbled the ball into his path from Stefano de Vrij’s header.

Inter created little after Federico Dimarco’s powerful free-kick was pushed away but Dzeko made up for his earlier miss by meeting Denzel Dumfries cross with a header to which Lezzerini couldn’t get near.

Earlier Genoa played out a goalless draw with Udinese in the struggling Serie A side’s first match under new coach Alexander Blessin.

Blessin, a top-level novice, arrived on the Italian riviera from Belgian team KV Oostende on Wednesday as Genoa try to climb out of the drop zone.

Genoa performed with more verve than under his predecessors Andriy Shevchenko and Davide Ballardini but missed some presentable opportunities.

They kept pushing for their first league win since mid-September after Andrea Cambiaso was sent off with 11 minutes remaining.

Read Also: AFCON: Moses Simon, Troost-Ekong listed in CAF Best XI

However they stay second-bottom in Serie A after their 20th match without victory, on 13 points, five behind Venezia.

Blessin was a left-field name for Genoa, as Oostende was Blessin’s first senior coaching position after coming up through the academy system at RB Leipzig.

He took over at Oostende in 2020 and led the team to fifth in the Belgian top flight. His former team sat 15th in the 18-team league, four points above the relegation play-off spot, when he departed for Genoa.


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EPL: Man City held by Southampton




Aymeric Laporte spared Manchester City’s blushes as the Premier League leaders were held to a 1-1 draw at Southampton on Saturday.

City were rocked by Kyle Walker-Peters’ first ever top-flight goal in the opening minutes.

After a poor first half by their high standards, Pep Guardiola’s side kicked into gear after the break.

Spain defender Laporte headed the equaliser, but City could not extend their winning streak in a one-sided finale that saw the visitors lay seige to the Southampton goal.

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Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte

Read Also: AFCON: Moses Simon, Troost-Ekong listed in CAF Best XI

The champions had to settle for a result that left them 12 points clear of second-placed Liverpool, who have two games in hand and face Crystal Palace on Sunday.

For the first time since they were beaten 2-0 by Palace on October 30, City finished a league game without all three points.


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Comoros hit by Covid-19 outbreak at Cup of Nations



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The Comoros Islands have been hit by an outbreak of Covid-19 in their camp, including their coach and two available goalkeepers, two days before they are due to meet Africa Cup of Nations hosts Cameroon in the last 16.

A total of 12 cases have been reported in their camp, the Comoros Football Federation said on Saturday.

They now face a crisis in goal with first choice Salim Ben Boina injured and their other two keepers, Ali Ahamada and Moyadh Ousseni, now forced to isolate.

Coach Amir Abdou, who has been in charge for the last eight years and credited for his country’s giant-killing run, is now also in quarantine.

The Comoros qualified for the last 16 against all expectations after a shock win over Ghana on Tuesday but now have a major crisis on their hands some 48 hours before the biggest game in their footballing history.

CAF has laid down strict rules regarding Covid-19 at the Cup of Nations finals.

Read Also: EPL: Lindelof given time off by Man Utd after home burgled

If a player tests positive he will not be authorised to go to the stadium or participate in the match, while teams must play as long as they have a minimum 11 players available.

If they have no goalkeeper available, another player must play in that position.

Teams that do not have a minimum of 11 players available will be considered to have lost the match 2-0, according to CAF.


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