New Nigeria Beach Soccer League Kicks-Off In Lagos

The Elegushi Beach in Nigeria’s commercial city, Lagos is bubbling with the commencement of the new Nigeria Beach Soccer League.
NFF President, Amaju Pinnick with other officials at the commencement of the Nigeria Beach Soccer League in Lagos

The Elegushi Beach in Nigeria’s commercial city, Lagos is bubbling with the commencement of the new Nigeria Beach Soccer League.

The League, which is the baby project of the Nigeria Football Federation, is also supported by Beach Soccer Worldwide, and Africa Beach Soccer Union.

Member of world football governing body, FIFA’s Council, Executive Committee Member of CAF and President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Mr Amaju Melvin Pinnick did the official kick-off at the event.

Speaking on the sidelines after the inauguration, Mr Pinnick, who was in company with NFF 1st Vice President, Barr Seyi Akinwunmi, Nigeria Beach Soccer League Coordinator, Mahmoud Hadejia and other officials, said he was excited to be part of the historical moment, and that he was at the event despite his busy schedule, to reiterate the NFF’s endorsement, whilst also pledging his total support for the newly formed Nigeria Beach Soccer Association.

“I’m not going talk much today because I’m very excited that we are finally kicking off the Beach Soccer League in Nigeria. I’m here to officially endorse this project and to also physically express the Federation’s full backing,” he said.

“I want to appreciate everyone that made this happen because it has been a collective effort despite the many hurdles. It has been long overdue. By God’s grace, we will take beach soccer to greater heights of excellence.”

In a thrilling first-round Group A opener, Kebbi Beach Soccer Club beat Badagry United 4-2 to get their title contention underway.

Adams Taiwo set the ball rolling for them on the 8th minute when his low drive beat goalkeeper Zomoto Idowu of Badagry to give Kebbi the lead. Badagry came close to grabbing their equalizer in the closing stages of the first period through Achior Valentine but his effort went wide to end the first period 1-0 in favour of Kebbi BSC.

The Bashar Aliyu-tutored boys began the second period like they did the first, as a free-kick in the 5th minute by Badmus Faud gave them a comfortable two-goal lead. Down but not out, Badagry kept asking all the questions and were duly rewarded in the 8th minute through Akewusola Jamal. B Kebbi responded almost immediately when S. Ilimi Abubakar restored their two-goal cushion just on the stroke of the second period for 3-1.

Badagry started the 3rd period on the front foot and came close to getting their reward again through Atemo Samuel but his shot was blocked by goalkeeper Arome Isah who had a terrific day between the sticks.

The ever-vibrant Isah could however do nothing to stop Achior Valentine’s free-kick in the 10th minute as Badagry pulled one back for 3-2.

Kebbi then made sure that any hope of a comeback was off the table for Badagry as they responded almost immediately via Adams Taiwo, who bagged his brace on opening day to lead the race for the Golden Boot.

In other matches played in Group B on Sunday, Igbogbo BSC of Lagos pummeled Edo HCF 6-3, Anambra BSC were 5-3 better than Kwara BSC in Group A, and Kada BSC squeezed past the Smart City of Lagos, 5-2.

Results

Group A

Kebbi BSC  4-2 Badagry United

Kwara BSC 3-5 Anambra BSC

Group B

Igbogbo BSC 6-3 Edo BSC

Kada BSC 6-4 Smart City

Total
7
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The Commander, U.S. Africa Command, U General Stephen Townsend, wrapped up a three-day West African visit February 22-25, 2021, with a stopover in Nigeria to meet with the nation’s leaders and further the long-standing partnership and security cooperation between the two countries.

A press statement by the Embassy on Friday, said: “During the visit, Townsend met with the Nigerian President’s Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, and National Security Adviser, Babagan Monguno, to discuss regional security issues and to express the command’s gratitude for the assistance provided during a hostage rescue operation last year.

“When we asked for their help, the Nigerian government answered the call. Our hostage recovery mission in October would have been impossible without their support.

“They quickly provided assistance that helped the U.S. military to save an American life. That is a strong example of our partnership with Nigeria.”

Townsend also met with senior military officials, including the Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi Magash, and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Leo Irabor, to talk about on-going cooperation in the region and greater maritime security and threat mitigation.

Nigeria is a key partner in countering violent extremist organizations throughout the Lake Chad Basin.

Townsend said furthermore: “The bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the U.S. is built on several pillars including security cooperation.

“U.S. Africa Command will do our part to advance the security cooperation pillar, so that Nigerians can enjoy the more secure future they all deserve.”

As close partners, the U.S. and Nigeria have worked at ensuring the collaborative relationship continues to grow to include a commitment to interoperability. Nigeria purchased 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, which will be delivered later this year.

“Nigeria’s purchase of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft is another example of their commitment to interoperability and security in the region,” he added. “Our economic relationship with Nigeria is already strong, and we look forward to the continued strengthening of security relationships. Nigeria’s leaders understand the importance of a collaborative approach to ensuring stability in West Africa and partnering on areas of mutual interest.”

The Commander also met with the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard.

Leonard said: “General Townsend’s visit to Nigeria demonstrates the strategic importance the United States places on our bilateral relationship with Nigeria.

“Our security cooperation partnership with Nigeria’s military will strengthen the country’s capabilities to secure land and sea borders, enhance overall security, and combat terrorism in the North East.”

As part of the visit, Townsend participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Nigeria Military National Cemetery to honour those who have given their lives in the service of their nation.

During the visit, the delegation expressed their condolences for the seven service men killed in the crash of a Nigerian Air Force aircraft in Abuja.