The new year, 2016, offers so many exciting sporting events and tournaments , both on the local and international scenes. Completesportsnigeria.com's IZUCHUKWU OKOSI highlights these major tournaments which will happen in the new year.
1. WINTER AND SUMMER TRANSFER WINDOWS
The transfer windows are both exciting and nervous times for football fans all over the world.
Some will be keen to see new players signed by their clubs while others will be scared of losing their club's best assets. The January transfer window officially opened on Saturday, January 2, but it was a quiet opening day.
The January transfer window in particular will officially end on February 1, 2016.
2. GLO CAF AWARDS:
The 2015 GLO-CAF Awards will hold on Thursday, January 7, 2016 in Abuja to honour the continent's best football stars, coaches, teams, administrators and legends.
Some of the categories will be CAF Player of the Year, African Footballer of the Year, Most Promising Talent of the Year and also Women Player of the Year amongst others.
Yaya Toure (Cote d'Ivoire/Man City) has been the Footballer of the Year four times in a row and he is among the top three contenders alongside Andre Ayew(Ghana/Swansea City), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang(Gabon/Borrusia Dortmund).
3. FIFA BALLON D'OR:
The football world will be keen on who wins the FIFA Ballon d'Or (Golden Ball) award between Lionel Messi, Neymar (Barcelona) and Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) when the award ceremony holds on Monday, January 11 at the Kongresshaus, in Zurich.
The award is based on the votes from national team coaches and captains, as well as journalists from around the world, and it has been dominated by Ronaldo and Messi since the merger in 2010 with Messi winning it three times in 2010, 2011 and 2012, while Christiano Ronaldo has won it twice in 2013 & 2014.
4. AFRICAN NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIP:
The 2016 African Nations Championship (sometimes referred to as African Championship of Nations or CHAN) will be hosted by Rwanda and it will begin on the 16th of January – 7th of February.
Nigeria's home-based Super Eagles team will be gunning for the title this time after their 3rd place finish in their debut outing in South Africa in 2014.
5. UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE:
This season's UEFA Champions League enters its knockout stages from February 16 and will come to a fitting end with the final to be played on May 28 at the San Siro Stadium in Milan, Italy.
The winner of this tournament qualifies for the UEFA Super Cup and the Fifa Club World Cup. The most sucessful team in this competition is Real Madrid with 10 wins under their belt but the current champion are Barcelona who beat Juventus 3-1 to win the trophy in 2015.
6. AFCON QUALIFIERS AND 2018 WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS:
The 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers will resume towards the end of the year, with the draws for the final and group stage of qualifiers in Africa to be held at the CAF headquarters in Cairo in June 2016.
Nigeria's Super Eagles reached the final round of qualifiers after eliminating Swaziland in a two-legged contests in November 2015.
Meanwhile, the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers will resume in March 2016 with Nigeria poised to face Egypt.
The qualifiers for the tournament to be hosted by Gabon started in June 2015 and will commence this year on 23rd – 29th of March; 3rd – 5th of June and 2nd – 3rd of September.
7. The ENGLISH FA CUP FINAL:
The month of May also brings us the FA Cup final. The 2016 final will be held at the Wembly Stadium on May 21.
Arsenal are the current champions of the competition. The Gunners defeated Aston Villa 4-0 last year (2015) to retain the trophy after their win against Hull City in the previous final.
8. FIFA ELECTION:
The world football governing body; Federation of International Football Association will hold an election in Zurich, Switzerland, on February 26 to elect a successor to the banned and disgraced president, Sepp Blatter. Blatter will step down from his position as the President of FIFA in the aftermath of the 2015 FIFA corruption case.
The names of the five candidates contending for the position are Prince Ali bin Hussein, Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa, Gianni Infantino, Jérôme Champagne, Tokyo Sexwale.
9. UEFA EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP:
The 2016 UEFA European Championship, commonly referred to as UEFA Euro 2016 or simply Euro 2016, will be the 15th edition of the UEFA European Championship every four years.
This year's tournament is scheduled to be held in France from 10 June to 10 July 2016. Spain are two-time defending champions.
10. CAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE AND CONFEDERATION CUP:
The 2016 CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation campaigns kick off in February with preliminary round games and subsequently the round robin group stages.
Enyimba and Nasarawa United (Champions League); Warri Wolves and Akwa United (Confederation Cup) will represent Nigeria in both competitions.
The winner of the tournament earns a berth for the FIFA Club World Cup, and also faces the winner of the CAF Confederation Cup in the following season's CAF Super Cup.
11. AFRICAN WOMEN'S CUP OF NATIONS
The 2016 Africa Women's Cup of Nations (known as the African Women's Championship until 2015) is another football tournament to have in a football fan's diary.
Nigeria is the most successful nation is the tournament's history, having won a record nine titles, meaning they have won all but two of the previous tournaments. Cameroon will host this year's championship from November 19th – 3rd December.
12. U-17 AND U-20 WOMEN'S WORLD CUP:
The FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup will be held in Jordan from 30 September to 21 October 2016.
The U-20 Women's World Cup will be held in Papua New Guinea from 13 November to 3 December 2016 and Nigeria's Flamingoes and Super Falconets will take part in both tournaments .
13. COPA DEL REY:
The 2015–16 Copa del Rey will be the 114th edition of the Copa del Rey. The winners will be assured of a place for the group stage of the 2016–17 UEFA Europa League.
Barcelona enter as the defending champions after winning the 2014–15 edition. We will expect to see more wonderful football from the Spanish teams.
14. EL CLASSICO:
Global football fraternity willl wait with an unabated breath for the El Classico of 2016. Real Madrid and Barcelona's rivalry will continue and we hope for another explosive show in this coming year. With great goals and amazing talents to be on parade.
Barcelona humiliated Real Madrid 4-0 in the first leg of this epic fixtures in 2015 at the Santiago Bernabau while the return leg will hold on Sunday, April 3, 2016at the Camp Nou. Not to forget the first of the 2016/2017 El Clasico later in the year.
We expect the Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo rivalry to continue this year and aside the goal-scoring ambitions of both stars, their team-mates will also provide plenty excitements.
15. 2017 AFCON DRAW
The draw for the group stage of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations will end late 2016. Nigeria and other African nations will be involved in the qualifiers for the 31st edition of the tournament and the anticlimax comes with the group stage draws.
16. THE OLYMPIC GAMES
The 2016 Summer Olympics is scheduled to be held from 3 to 20 August in Brazil.
Athletics, Football, Boxing, Swimming, Taekwando, Gymnastics, Judo etc are some of the events that athletes will take part in. 206 nations are expected in Rio with 28 sports to be competed in.
17. AFRICA HANDBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Nigeria will participate in the 2016 African Men's Handball Championship in Egypt from January 21-30.
It will be the 22nd edition of the Championship and it acts as the African qualifying tournament for the 2016 Summer Olympics and the 2017 World Men's Handball Championship.
Nigeria are pooled alongside hosts; Egypt, Algeria, Cameroon, Morocco and Gabon in Group A.
18. RACING: 2016 DAKAR RALLY
The annual Dakar Rally kicked off on Sunday, January 3 and will end on the 16th.
The game have already been marred after 10 people were seriously injured when China's Guo Meiling's speeding car careened off the road and smashed into spectators during the prologue of the Dakar Rally in Argentina, leaving at least 10 people injured, five of them seriously.
Latest information have revealed that the competition will be suspended due to bad weather.
19. 2016 AUSTRALIAN OPEN
The 104th edition of the Australian Open will hold from January 18 to 31st in Melbourne, Australia.
The Australian Open is usually the first grand slam of the year and will feature events for professional tennis players in singles, doubles and mixed doubles play.
Junior and wheelchair players also compete in the singles and doubles.
Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams are the respective defending champions in the men's and women's singles.
20. 2016 FRENCH OPEN
The 2016 French Open is the second grand slam tennis event for the year.
Otherwise called the Roland Garros, the 2016 French Open will hold in Paris from May 22 to June 5.
Stanislas Wawrinka (men) and Serena Williams (women) are the defending champions. Last year's triumph was Williams' 20th grand slam title.
21 THE WIMBLEDON
The next tennis grand slam tournament of the year will hold at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon, London.
Novak Djokovic (men) and Petra Kvitova (women) are the current champions.
The 2016 Wimbledon will hold June 27 to July 10.
22. THE US OPEN
The 2016 US Open will be held at The Flushing Meadow, New York, USA from August 29 to September 11.
Marin Cilic (men) and Serena Williams (women) are the defending champions.
Serena Williams has won the grand slam a record 18 times.
23. BOXING: TYSON FURY v DEOONTAY WILDER
Boxing in 2016 is expected to be interesting but not all scheduled boxing fights come to fruition but two seem the most realistic to be fought.
With WBA and WBO champion Fury having ruled out a clash with the returning David Haye and Anthony Joshua at least 18 months away from a world title tilt, a unification bout with WBC champion Wilder would seem to make perfect sense. Boxing politics, however, is likely to nix it.
24. BOXING: KELL BROOK v AMIR KHAN
While Sheffield's Brook was establishing himself as one of the world's most dangerous welterweights, Bolton's Khan was busy wishing away some of the best years of his career. A dream fight against Floyd Mayweather never materialised, while Manny Pacquiao has overlooked Khan in favour of a third match with Timothy Bradley.
25. ATHLETICS: IAAF ANTRIM CROSS COUNTRY
Aside the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, there will be a few IAAF sanctioned-meets in 2016.
There will be IAAF Cross Country meetings with the major in kicking off on January 16.