Joshua, Falconets, others to bounce back better, Dare insists

BY Oviri Kelvin, Sports Editor, Abuja

The weekend has not been that favourable to Nigeria sports men and women in boxing, football, volleyball and UFC 278 where Anthony Joshua, Falconets, U21 volleyball men’s team and Kamaru Usman lost at different stages in various competitions.

To Joshua, he was unable to reclaim the heavyweight title belts, WBO, WBA and IBF, he lost in September last year to the undefeated heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk in Jeddah, King Abdullah Sports City Arena in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.

The British-born Nigerian, who got infuriated that he was unable to reclaim the belts, applauded the Ukrainian and called him the heavyweight champion of the world.

While in football, the high flying Falconets who neither lost a game in the group stage nor drew any, lost 2-0 to Netherlands in the quarter-final to see their blistering campaign in the 2022 U20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica hampered on Sunday.

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Also on Sunday, the U21 men’s volleyball team fell to Egypt at the semi-final of 2022 U21 Men’s African Nations Volleyball Championship.

Although the team projected to clinch a World Cup qualifying ticket and was backed by the technical crew, who did proper assessment reports on other contending teams with the needed support from Nigeria Volleyball Federation (NVBF), the U21 men’s team were defeated 3-0 by Cameroon.

Also a regrettable experience that happened on Sunday was our own UFC 278 welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, who was ahead in the final round with a few seconds to go, received a stunning head kick from Leon Edwards that knocked him out of the contest.

However, the Honourable Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Sunday Dare on Monday has charged the sportsmen and women to bounce back better.

Dare urged the Nigerian sports men and women to shrug off the defeat and get back on their feet.

In a statement by the Sports Minister on Monday, the sportsmen and women should keep their heads up high because they gave the best of themselves.

“Nigeria is still proud of them and they remain national heroes and heroines, believing they will bounce back again, stronger and better,” Dare said.

The Minister also advised Nigerians to rally round these sportsmen and women to hasten the process of recovery.

He underlined that these crop of national heroes and heroines at a time made Nigerians proud and must invigorate them back to stardom.

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