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BAL 2023: Igoche Mark Hails Kwara Falcons’ Performance 

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The Initiator of the Mark D Ball Basketball Championship, Mr. Igoche Mark has hailed Kwara Falcons’ bravery as the team crashed out of the Basket Africa League, BAL.

The Ilorin Based team and Nigerian Champions, made their continental debut but failed to win any of their five games in BAL 2023.

Mark, in a message to the team, described their continental outing as superb, magnificent, and majestic; Insisting that the team’s performance shouldn’t be about results but the experience gained.

“I salute the bravery of Kwara Falcons, Nigeria’s representative at BAL. Your outing was superb,

magnificent, and majestic. As a player and a lover of the game, I was thrilled by your performance, as results matter less when compared to the experience gained.” Mark stated.

The statement berated the lack of domestic basketball in Nigeria for years, which in turn has affected the team’s output. 

“Sadly, the lack of domestic games in recent times played a huge role in the outcome of results at BAL. The team could have done better if the domestic league of basketball was still alive, as it would have provided that competitiveness before going to BAL. 

“Since the last Mark D Ball Championship, no competitive game has been played which would have made the team form that synergy among the players. You did well in the continent, but we have failed in the aspect of developing the game locally.”

Continuing, Mark added “In your opening game against Rwanda Energy Group, you fought back from a 12-point deficit in the second quarter to tie 31-31 in the early third quarter. This singular action shows that we have the potentials that need to be refined.”

“The New Face of Basketball is proud of your prowess, especially taking the fighting spirit displayed in last year’s Mark D Ball Basketball Championship to the continent. This will further spur us to do more for domestic basketball in Nigeria.” Mark stated.

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Sports

FCT SWAN Celebrates Hot Coal Boss At 50

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By Our Reporter 

The FCT Chapter of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) congratulated prominent sports investor and philanthropist, Dr. Ubon Udoh, on his 50th birthday.

Dr. Udoh, founder of the Hot Coal Basketball Club of Abuja and MD/CEO of the Abdul Samad Rabiu Initiative for Africa (ASRi) at BUA Group, celebrates his golden jubilee this week.

In a statement issued on Saturday in Abuja, FCT SWAN Chairman Kelechi Onwudiwe praised Dr. Udoh’s remarkable achievements and extended best wishes for his future endeavors.

“The FCT Chapter of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) joins your family, friends, and well-wishers to celebrate this milestone,” Onwudiwe said. “As a seasoned sports philanthropist, investor, and promoter, your contributions to the development of sports in Nigeria are highly commendable. Your dedication to nurturing young talents through the Hot Coal and Hot Sizzlers Basketball Clubs in the FCT is a testament to your passion for the game.

“Your leadership as MD/CEO of the Abdul Samad Rabiu Initiative for Africa (ASRi) at BUA Group reflects your exceptional professional skills and expertise. We pray that this new chapter in your life brings you continued success, good health, and fulfillment,” the statement concluded.

Dr. Udoh was recently appointed to the National Philanthropic Office (NPO) committee by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, which supports SME startups.

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SALLAH: SWAN President, Benjamin Greets Muslim, Reaffirms Commitment To Purposeful Leadership

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Appreciates Father’s

By Sani Yarima, Jalingo 

The Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) celebrated Eid-el-Kabir with the Muslim Ummah in a grand manner on Sunday. 

SWAN President, Mr. Isaiah Benjamin, conveyed his best wishes through the Association’s Secretary-General, Amb. Ikenna Okonkwo. 

He emphasized the importance of love, sacrifice, and selflessness in our daily lives on the occasion of Eid al-Adha.

He extended warm greetings, “Eid Mubarak! May this special day bring you joy, peace, and prosperity. May Allah’s blessings be upon you and your loved ones.” 

Mr. Benjamin underscored the need for sports media professionals to work together in unity, guided by ethical values exemplified by Prophet Ibrahim and Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

Furthermore, he emphasized the message of Eid al-Adha as a reminder of the commandment to show love to one another and maintain peaceful interpersonal relationships. 

He urged SWAN members to uphold these values and extend compassion and support to those in need, especially during the current challenging times.

Additionally, the top Sports Writer in Nigeria extended greetings to all practitioners, especially men, on Father’s Day. 

He emphasized the importance of celebrating and honoring fathers as pillars of homes and society.

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Irish-Born Nigerian Defender Nwubani Joins  Bundesliga Club VfL Bochum

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In a move that has excited soccer fans across Nigeria and Ireland, former Flying Eagles center-back Osinachi Keleb Nwubani has signed with German Bundesliga club VfL Bochum. 

The 21-year-old defender penned a 2-year contract with the option for an additional 1-year extension on April 12th, 2024.

Nwubani, who was born in Ireland to Nigerian parents, has long been regarded as one of the brightest young prospects in African football. 

After impressing with the Flying Eagles, Nigeria’s U-20 national team, Nwubani has now earned the opportunity to showcase his talents on the big stage of the Bundesliga.

“I’m thrilled to be joining a historic club like VfL Bochum,” Nwubani said in his first interview as a Bochum player. “This is a tremendous opportunity for me, and I’m eager to give my absolute best and help the team achieve success.”

The 6ft 3 versatile defender, who can play both in the center of defense and as a full-back, will now have the chance to represent either Nigeria or the Republic of Ireland at the senior international level. 

Both national teams have been monitoring his progress closely, and his decision on which country to pledge his allegiance to will be highly anticipated.

As Nwubani embarks on this new chapter in his career, Nigerian fans will be eagerly hoping that he provides answers to Super Eagles’ defensive problems.

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