EIGHT MONTH OLD WOMAN, AMINAT IDREES WINS GOLD AS TEAM DELTA EMERGED VICTORIOUS IN THE JUST CONCLUDED NATIONAL SPORTS FESTIVAL AT BENIN, EDO STATE.
The Nigerian National Sports festival tagged “Edo2020” eventually came to an end on Wednesday, 14th of April 2021.
The competition which was held largely at the Samuel Oghemudia stadium and its environs at Benin, Edo state, was originally slated to hold in March 2020, but was postponed more than thrice due to the Coronavirus pandemic and lack of funds.
The competition, which had hundreds of athletes and officials from all the states of the federation (FCT inclusive) participating in about 32 different sports, was not without its own drama and excitements.
In one of its memorable events, the deputy governor of Edo state, Dr. Philip Shuaibu, got himself a gold medal in the men’s football category.
Dr. Shaibu, who also doubles as the Chairman, Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the sporting fiesta, came in and was handed the captain armband 3 minutes to the end of the final match of the football competition, which saw team Edo come from behind to defeat team Lagos 3-2 to clinch the gold medal.
Another drama that happened was that of an 8-month pregnant woman, Aminat Idrees, who won a gold medal in the taekwondo event on Tuesday, 6th April 2021.
Idrees defied the odds to win a gold medal at the sports festival on Tuesday, a few hours before the Games was officially declared open.
Eight-month pregnant Idrees, who fought in the mixed poomsae category, surprised fans at the taekwondo hall with her aggression and agility despite her heavy state. Her feat was Team Lagos’ first gold at Edo 2020.
Also, in a rather almost unfortunate situation, the games were almost called off due to lack of funds on the 7th day of the competition due to complaints of lack of funds by the state government, but the situation was salvaged by the Federal government’s intervention and the sports events eventually went on as planned.
The tournament finished with team Delta, the defending champion, defending their title by winning it the 6th time on the record with more than 300 medals, Team Edo and Team Bayelsa finished in 2nd and 3rd place respectively.
The tournament was declared closed on the evening of April 14th by the Honourable Minister for Youths and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, who also declared Delta State to be the host for the competition’s next edition.
Summarily, the competition, as described by sports enthusiasts and observers was a great one, as it provided athletes the opportunity to show their worth on a national stage. But it also shows Nigeria as a country, still has a long way to go in the area of sports development and funding.
CHELSEA, MANCHESTER CITY PROGRESS, AS LIVERPOOL CRASHES OUT OF THE UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE.
It was an interesting week of European football as the second leg of the quarter finals of both the Champions League and Europa League took place. In the Champions League, following a 2-0 away win by Chelsea against FC Porto in the reverse fixture that happened a week earlier. The beautiful overhead kick scored by Mehdi Taremi from Nanu’s cross in the 94th minute of the 2nd leg encounter could do no more than a mere consolation for the visiting side as their run of luck came to an end in the elite competition as they (FC Porto) lost 2-1 on aggregate.
A similar scoreline was also recorded on the same night at the parc des princes stadium where Bayern Munchen who had previously also trailed their opponent, PSG by a 3-2 score also in the previous week could only score a single goal through an Eric Choupo Moting’s strike in the 40th minute. But the 1-0 scoreline could only mean Bayern Munchen won (the match), drew (on aggregate) but also lost (the tie) via away goal rules and the defending champions were left to rue their wasted chances in both the first and second leg of the encounter.
A tensed match between Real Madrid and Liverpool on Wednesday which ended 0-0 means Real Madrid who won by a 3-1 scoreline in the 1st leg automatically qualify for the semi finals with an aggregate score of a similar scoreline.
Man City survived a first half scare following a Jude Bellingham’s strike in the 15th minute for Borussia Dortmund, but a Riyad Mahrez penalty in the 55th minute, and a great goal from Phil Foden in the 75th minute means the host would eventually lose on a 4-2 aggregate to the premier league run away league leaders.
The results mean Chelsea sets up a semi final clash with Real Madrid while Manchester City will be slugging it out with PSG in the round of matches scheduled to come up between 27th April and 5th May 2021.
IN THE THURSDAY EUROPA LEAGUE QUARTER FINALS
It was a night to forget for the Slavia Prague team and their fans at their home ground (Sinobo stadium) as they were severely battered by the visiting English team (Arsenal), in a match that ended 4-0 in favour of Arsenal. Goals by Nicolas Pepe, Bukayo Saka & double strike from Lacazette meant the North London team need not worry on the away goal scored by the Czech team a week earlier in the 1-1 draw. It also meant the home team’s 33 match unbeaten record at their home ground will be a thing of the past.
The other English team in the tournament (Manchester United) also enjoyed a great night as they consolidated their 2-0 first leg victory away at Granada with another 2-0 win on their home ground.
A wonderful strike from Edinson Cavani in the 6th minute and a Jesus Vallejo own goal in the 90th minute meant the Red devils qualify on a 4-0 aggregate.
A Brian Brobbey strike in the 49th minute for Ajax at the Stadio Olimpico would also not be enough as an Edin Dzeko’s leveller in the 72nd minute meant the Italian team (Roma) qualifies with a 3-2 aggregate in a keenly contested tie that saw the Holland team crash out of the competition.
At the Estadio de la Ceramica, a 2-1 win for Villarreal against their opponents, Dinamo Zagreb meant they also qualified for the last 4 via a 3-1 aggregate score.
The results mean that Arsenal will face Villarreal (managed by their former coach, Unai Emery) and Manchester United face Roma in the Semi finals of the competition which will be going down on April 29 and May 6 for the first and second leg respectively.