The female youth national team, Falconets were on Thursday boosted to go for victory against Cameroon in the Africa Games women soccer final by the presence of new sports minister, Sunday Akinlabi Dare, who arrived in Rabat, Morocco on Wednesday evening.
Dare quickly visited the Falconets’ camp, where he gave the players and coaches a bold charge to ensure they win the gold medal that has always been elusive to Nigeria, and the players rose to the occasion to win via penalties 24 hours later.
While acknowledging that he was in Rabat to lend support, motivation and leadership direction to all sporting events Nigeria is competing in at the 12th Games, Dare added that he wants to see the country pick gold in both the male and female soccer events.
Dare’s arrival coincided with Nigeria’s rise to fourth spot in the medals’ table, but the contingent ended the day placed third on the log.
Folashade Lawal and Joy Ogbonna-Eze increase the country’s medal haul by winning 6 gold medals in the weightlifting event at Salle Nahda Arena, while Hope Adele won bronze medal in men’s +84kg karate.
Lawal won 3 Gold medals in the 59kg women’s weightlifting with 93kg (snatch), 117kg (clean and jerk) and 210 (total), to set a new African record, while Ogbonna-Eze lifted a total of 218kg with a lift of 97kg in snatch, 121 in clean and jerk in the -69kg women’s weightlifting event.
Raymond Ekewo and Itsheriki Ushoritse won gold and bronze medal respectively in the Men’s 100m final held at the Moulay Abdellah Sports Complex, Rabat on Tuesday.
Ekevwo, who has now qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, became the second Nigerian sprinter to go sub-10s by winning the African title in a PB of 9.96s.
He finished ahead of second placed Cisse Gue Arthur of Cote D’Ivoire, who finished in 9.97s, while Itsheriki ran a 10.02s win the bronze medal and as well to place third as well as qualify for Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Commonwealth Games Silver medalist, Chukwuebuka Enekwechi also registered Nigeria’s name in the gold medal section of the Africa Games table by winning the Men’s Shot Put final.
To wrap up the days haul for Nigeria, 2018 African Championships silver medalist, Oyeniyi Abejoye also won silver in the 110m Hurdles, clocking 13.90s, much to the delight of Dare, who took to social media to celebrate the contingent’s feats
Dare disclosed: “Arrived Rabbat Morocco. Nigeria’s Gold haul stands at 20. A feat no doubt. Nigeria leads on the Athletics medal scoreboard. Team Nigeria continues to do Nigeria proud.”