Super Falcons head coach, Edwin Okon has said top grade warm-up matches will be important to the side successful campaign at the forthcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada.
The African champions are expected to open camp on Sunday, February 22 in Abuja to commence preparations for the All Africa Games (AAG), Olympic Games qualifiers as well as World Cup campaign in June.
Falcons are pitched in Group D at the World Cup together with former champions, USA, Sweden and Australia.
Okon said he discovered that the All Africa Games and Olympic qualifying matches against Mali are inadequate to put the side in good stead for the tough football hostilities at the World Cup.
“We need top flight friendly matches to prepare adequately for the challenges at the World Cup.
“The AAG and Olympic qualifying matches against Mali are quite inadequate to push us up to World Cup fitness.
“I thought we would’ve several matches during the qualifying campaigns prior to the World Cup but now it has been narrowed down to just a country the side will be happier with many top grade friendly matches.”
Okon said the side foreign-based players may not expected to kick start the camp with the domestic players on February 22.
“None of the invited professional players is expected in camp on February 22 but the domestic ones though any of the professionals chanced to come around are welcomed.
“I normally give the foreign professionals two-week to match day to hit the camp to enable the coaches ascertain their level of fitness.
“We hope to field our best legs for the AAG and Olympic qualifiers against the Malians.
“We won’t take anything for granted nor underrate any side as we’re determined to qualify this time around as well as excel at the championships proper,” said the Rivers Angels head coach.
Falcons are expected to confront Mali both in the AAG and Olympic qualifiers in March and May respectively.
NCF unveils 2015 calendar for chess players
Following the FIDE rating boom achieved by numerous chess players last year, there are strong indications that better chess empowerment await all ambitious players following the activities lined up for the year by the board of Nigeria Chess Federation (NCF).
According to Femi Solaja, the board’s spokesman, in a press statement he issued from Lagos “the last meeting held recently in Asaba, Delta State, a total of rated tournaments are available both within and outside the country this year and the availability of these events according to the President of NCF will add value to the development of the game in the country.
According to the programme of activities made available to the media, the registration and licensing of players is on-going alongside the payment of affiliation fees to the World Chess body, FIDE.
In March, Achiever University in Ondo State will stage the maiden National University Chess championship in in Owo from 25th-29th of the month and it is FIDE rated.
The Chess boss futher that the famous Millionaire Chess Satellite championship will debut in Abuja from 3rd-7th of June and the South-south zonal Chess championship in Benin will follow from 10th-28th while Pro-Chess Quarterly event in Ibadan from 24th-28th will wrap up the half-way mark for the year.
The National Chess League by all the registered clubs with NCF will hold at the Liberty Stadium in Ibadan from 1st- 5th of July will allow ambitious players to improve their ratings jus as the National Inter-collegiate Team Chess championship will take the stage at the Indoor Sports hall of National Stadium in Lagos from 15th-19th while the Northern States Chess championships will debut in Kaduna from 22nd-25th of the month.
Four tournaments, namely: National Schools Chess championship, Tunde Omotosho Memorial Rapid Chess championship, National U-20 Chess championship and Chess Height event will hold in August in Ibadan, Benin and Lagos respectively.
In September, moments after the 86th FIDE Congress in Abu Dhabi, UAE, the Blind Chess championship for impaired chess players will hold in Lagos from 10th-12th and the National Women championship will follow from 17th-20th in Ibadan while Pro-Chess quarterly will round up the month at the same city.
Delta State will host the maiden Victoria Ossai Memorial Rapid Chess championship in Warri and the event will hold on the 1st of October and in the middle of the month, the 38th edition of Nigerian Breweries Plc International Chess Championship will hold from 14th-18th of the month and the 3rd Lagos Chess Classic will follow from 21st-25th. Both events will hold at the Molade-Okoya-Thomas hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.
The second edition of NCF President Cup will hold in November in Benin while NUGA Games in Markudi will allow players to improve their ratings as well.
The year will wind up with the Ashtonwells Chess championship in Abraka, Benin Chess Championship (Oba’s Cup) and the National Closed championship in Ibadan from 8th-13th of December, MTN Chess tournament and Gladiators Chess event will round up a busy year of activities to Nigerian chess players.