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THIS IS OUR YEAR! Nollywood Superstars Expect Big Things For Nigerian Sports In 2016

The African Nations Championship has already kicked off 2016 with the Super Eagles in the hunt for the trophy. There are many more major events left in the year, including the Olympics, and sports-loving Nollywood stars spoke exclusively with Completesportsnigeria.com's IZUCHUKWU OKOSI on their expectations for the New Year…

OKEY BAKASSI
I feel individual athletes; be it in football, athletics, boxing, weighlifting and so on are doing their best really to survive. But they are doing so to elevate their careers. It's no longer about their country anymore. And that is because they are not motivated by the government.

The country and government are not adequately motivating our sports stars. Take for instance, the Golden Eaglets that won the FIFA U-17 World Cup recently. They are yet to be rewarded for their feat.

We know the economy of the country is not in a good state and that the Federal Government are doing their best but sports is vital in the development of the youths and I'm worried when that is not the case. Well, unless of course there's a change in that direction.

Recently our football teams have won laurels for Nigeria. The U-17 team made us proud by winning the FIFA U-17 World Cup for the fifth time and Samson Siasia's U-23 team qualified for the Olympics. So I hope to see our football teams do well at the football tournaments or qualifiers they will take part in.

I just believe the fighting spirit of the individual athletes will see them through at the Olympics.

JOHN OKAFOR  (MR IBU)
I've not been able to follow Nigerian football  and sports in recent times like before though I hear people talk and write about it. But that does not mean I dont care about the performance of our teams.

Boxing for instance which I love so much is almost dead in Nigeria. We have just one or two boxing competitions to talk about now. Our boxers these days are not as good as those we had in the past.

Boxing could be a medal prospect at the 2016 Olympics if good boxers are selected to represent Nigeria.

Karate and taekwando are other sports that we could have good chances in if we have good representatives. I was a black belter and introduced the sport in some secondary schools.

For football, I see Nigerian teams doing well. The administration of the game however must be better than we have seen in recent years.

RICHARD MOFE DAMIJO
The Olympics will hold this year and basically we want medals to come from virtually all the sports that Nigeria will take part in. However the tradition of financial rewards for our athletes must be stopped. The government should honour our sports stars with national awards, scholarships and so on. It must not always be about money whilst representing the country.

YUL EDOCHIE
I wish Nigerian football teams all the best in 2016 but I must be honest, that's the last thing on my mind at the moment.
Our dear country is going through so much hard times now.
People are going through hard times but football is important  because we realise that it has the power to unite us.

PETE EDOCHIE
Nigerian sports? I was a broadcaster  and I covered the 1973 All Africa Games as well as many CAF club continental matches by the likes of Rangers International of Enugu. However that was a long time ago. Perhaps we can talk more about this when competitions come around. For now, all I can say is good luck to our various teams in 2016. They must be of good conduct when representing us because they are ambassadors of the country.

FRANCIS ONWOCHEI
The year 2016 surely holds great prospects for Nigerian sports, especially football. We did very well with the U-23s who qualified for the Olympics and I pray they replicate the achievements of the 1996 team.

 Other sports should also win medals for us at the Olympics.

I also expect the domestic league in Nigeria to get better in terms of standards and our clubs making their marks in continental engagements.

AYO MAKUN (AY)
I look forward to growth in Nigerian football in 2016. I believe Nigerian football teams will do well in the different tournaments they will take part in.

The Nigeria Football Federation President, Amaju Pinnick, is a good administrator. He is somebody I trust judging by his pedigree as the former Sports Commisioner in Delta State. He made Delta State the number one state in terms of sports in Nigeria and he has continued with his great leadership as NFF President. The national teams are doing so well under him.

For medal prospects at the Olympics, the sprints is almost a sure banker. The likes of Blessing Okagbare and other track and field stars will win us medals in Rio de Janeiro.

I really have high hopes for football and athletics next year.

EBUBE NWAGBO
I hope the Nigerian team perform well at the Olympics but one area  I want to talk about is welfare of the Nigerian athletes, especially for the female ones.

The women's football teams and individual athletes in other sports have consistently performed well but the support they get is low compared with the guys.

I hope the government and corporate bodies will appreciate our female sports stars more this year.

MIKE EZURUONYE
Well, I am looking forward to the Super Eagles qualifying for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations and the 2018 World Cup.

The U-23 football team will also take part in the Olympics and I wish them the best of luck. We all watched the Olympics in 1996 when Nwankwo Kanu and co won the tournament. That is what we all want for this present team.

Samson Siasia has been there before. He won silver at the 2008 Olympics, maybe the aim now will be to go one better and win the gold in 2016.

SEGUN ARINZE
The 2017 Africa Cup of Nations and the 2018 World Cup qualifiers will continue in 2016 and they are tournaments we must qualify for.

I want to see our football teams to take their opponents very seriously at matches and tournaments. The attitude must change, that is the only way we can be Africa's best again.

 The Olympics as well will be fun and a repeat of the 1996 football feat will be wonderful. Then hopefully our players will raise their games so that they can be in the running for the next Africa Footballer of the Year award.

AMECHI MUONAGOR
I hope very soon, Rangers International of Enugu will become one of the best that they were in Nigerian and African club football back in the good old days.

 I am not happy with how the fortunes of Rangers have dwindled. The focus by those managing the club is no longer to make the club a force.

I want to see Rangers compete for the domestic titles in 2016 and even beyond.
 

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