There are lots of sporting events involving Nigeria in year 2020. No doubt, the arrival of Covid-19 has necessitated the postponement of numerous sporting competitions across the world.
In Europe, the UEFA Euro Championship slated for 2020 was postponed to this year due to the presence of the contagion.
Another postponed sporting event is the Tokyo 2020 Olympics that involves nations of the world, participating in different kinds of sporting activities.
The African continent was not left out, as 2020 CHAN, AFCON Qualifiers and AWCON also suffered postponements.
Even in Nigeria, the National Sports Festival has been postponed several times since last year, this can also be traced to the availability of Coronavirus.
Therefore, the effect of the dreaded disease on sports cannot be overemphasized. As a result of these postponements, 2021 has come with a handful sporting competitions, not in Africa alone, but in the world even as the second wave of the disease lurks around in some countries.
Having witnessed the WAFU U-17 Competition which involved Nigeria, as well as the Champion of Champions Wrestling Championship (Bayelsa) in January, there are more sporting events that involves Nigeria that would shape the country’s achievement in sports, come December 2021.
Sporting Events Involving Nigeria In 2021
Football – AFCON Qualifiers
Having emerged as the third best placed team at the 2019 edition in Egypt, the Nigerian National Football Team (Super Eagles) would join other African countries to conclude their qualifications for the 2022 African Cup Of Nations in Cameroon.
Before the qualifiers were postponed, the Super Eagles after four matches sit on the first position in Group L with eight points (one point above Benin republic who sit second).
While Sierra Leone and Lesotho occupy the third and fourth positions respectively with three and two points each.
The next international break comes up in march. Benin Republic will host the Super Eagles on March 22 to battle for the top spot in the group, and Nigeria’s last game will be at home against The Crocodiles of Lesotho.
Athletics – Access Bank Lagos City Marathon
The Marathon couldn’t take place last year due to the presence of Covid-19, but after satisfying all protocols, the organizers of the event, Nilayo Sports Management Limited, were given the green light to stage the competition.
So, Lagos will be frenzied come February 13, 2021. However, there is reduction in the number of participants expected at the event, from over 100,000 to just 300, but at least, 20 elite athletes from Africa and Europe are expected to grace the marathon.
Also, all elite runners are expected to tender a certificate of clearance from Covid-19 not later than 72hrs before their arrival in the country.
Suzuki Abeokuta 10KM Road Race And Remo Value jet IAU African Championship
Still from the stable of Nilayo Sports Management Limited, the latter part of 2021 will witness two other exciting Marathon races in Ogun State.
The winners from the two races will be granted branded Suzuki cars alongside cash prizes from the organizers.
The Abeokuta road race is billed to happen on the 13th of November, 2021. While the Remo Valuejet IAU African Championship is to come up on the 4th of December, 2021.
CAA Zone 3 Athletics Championship in April
Still on Athletics, amidst the leadership crisis rocking the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), it announced last year that the CAA Zone 3 Athletics Championship will take place in April this year.
It remains to be seen how that would happen but it’s expedient that it starts because our Athletes must be prepared for the Olympics and other international Championships.
Wrestling – African/Oceanic Olympic Wrestling Qualifiers in April
This is one sporting event that has suffered postponement since last March, it was expected to happen in Morocco last year but no thanks to Covid-19, it was also affected. Other continents also had their qualifiers postponed.
For Nigeria, it’s a must for her wrestlers to take part if they’re to be at the Olympics later this year as Odunayo Adekuoroye and Blessing Oborududu remains the only Nigerian Wrestlers to have qualified for the Tokyo olympics.
Nigeria is expected to take part at the Summer Olympics in different games. Several athletes from different categories have qualified for their respective sports.
So far, we have qualifiers for Wrestling, Basketball, Taekwondo, Table Tennis, Rowing and Sprint in the male and female categories.
National Sports Festival
The future of the biennial competition is up in the air as a fresh postponement has just been pronounced on it by the Nigerian government.
The Sports festival has just suffered the fourth postponement and this has brought about skepticism whether it will eventually take place or it would be scrapped totally.
The last edition took place in Abuja in December 2018 and the wait for the next edition after that continues.
Other Notable Sporting Events are the National Division One Handball League that’s bound to happen in April and the National U-18/21 Handball Championship in March.