Soccer fans in Nigeria have expressed mixed reactions to the emergence of Lionel Messi as the Best Player of the World for the second consecutive year.
The Barcelona striker was voted the FIFA Ballon d’Or on Monday in Zurich, Switzerland.
The Argetine beat his Spanish club team mates Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez to clinch the crown.
While Barcelona fans are happy that Messi won the award, others are questioning his emergence, particularly as he failed to sparkle at the World Cup and ouster of Argentina in the quarter-finals in June in South Africa.
Former Rangers International player, Arthur Nwankwo, in Awka wondered why Messi should win the award when he failed to score at the World Cup following the early exit of his country in the competition.
“Since it is a World Cup year, I just do not know why Messi should be chosen ahead of those that performed well at both club and World Cup in South Africa.
“What do you say of the accuracy of Xavi Henandez and his consistent passes that earned him a double. His team, FC Barcelona won the league, FA Cup and Spain his country also won the World Cup,” said Nwankwo.
From Aba, two members of the Nigeria Football Association (NFA), Mike Umeh and Felix Anyasi, said Messi deserved to win the award.
Anyansi, who is the Chairman of Enyimba FC, said.
“It’s an award well deserved,” and noted that his consistency for club and country earned him the award.
“He has become a role model to many who watched him play at the club and the Argentina national team.”
He, however, expressed regrets that no African player had won award after Liberia’s George Weah clinched the award in 1995.
He noted that many African players, including Samuel Etoo of Cameroon and Didier Drogba of Cote d’Ivoire, had performed creditably for their respective countries and clubs to deserve the award.
Umeh said that Messi’s scintillating skill gave him the award.
“The young man improves with each game, which helped Barca to be among the best teams in the world,’’ he said.
The Chairman of the Ebonyi FA, Obinna Ogba, told our source that Messi took soccer entertainment to an art form in 2010, especially with Barcelona “as his contributions ensured that the club excelled in club competitions.
“Though Argentina flopped at the World Cup in South Africa, he was the only bright spot in the team which showed his immense talent,” he said.
A governorship aspirant on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Adol Awam, described the award as a gain of youth development in football.
“At 23, Messi had shown with his exploits that if adequately nurtured, the future of football in the world lies with the youths,” said.
Vincent Okpalaka, former Enugu Rangers International FC defender, said the award was previously won by players who excelled during the World Cup year and expressed surprise Monday’s award did follow the criteria.
“Players who held the world spell bound at the World Cup in South Africa, such as Diego Forlan of Uruguay, Wesley Sneidger of Holland among others, were not even nominated for the award,” Okpalaka said.
A female youth activist, said it was a wake-up call to soccer authorities in Africa to develop football to ensure players from the continent were short-listed for future awards.
Football fans were seen arguing among themselves at newspaper stands in Onitsha.
They said FIFA should be consistent in giving the award to players whose national teams won the World Cup.
John Obosi, a football analyst, with Contact Sports newspaper, said that there was no need in arguing over whether Messi deserved the award or not.
“It was done by national team coaches selected around the World which clearly shows that FIFA had no hand in the decision,” Obosi said.
Osita Unachukwu, Anambra Pillar FC Secretary, said that he least expected somebody such as Messi to be given the World Footballer of 2010.
“There is sometime amiss; if not, the tradition should have continued. I can see some politics in the whole show,” Unachukwu said.
Ike Okeke, an ardent fan of Barcelona FC, said that Messi had made an indelible mark in all the matches he played for his club in 2010.
“For me, Messi has no rival, he deserves the award; and his outstanding performance had improved the game in 2010.
“He has dwarfed other efforts made by the other players at the World Cup in South Africa,” said Okeke.
Terony Unity Cup Commences Soon In PH
Terony Sports Foundation says arrangements have been concluded to commence Unity Cup 2022, at the end of this month.
According to the organizer of the football tournament, AminaTamuno, the registration that started December 2021will end next week Tuesday.
He said the competition was slated to take place at Number six field old Port Harcourt Township.
Tamuno explained that the competition will be on knock out bases, saying that the reason for the one month tournament was basically to foster the existing and unity in the area.
“We are organizing this tournament just to sustain the peace and unity we are enjoying.
Besides, will we use it to discover talents from the grassroots and groom them to stardom” Tamuno said.
He equally uses the forum to appeal to well-meaning individuals, corporation organizations and multi Nationals to Sports grassroots football Competitions so that talents will be discovered.
By: Tonye Orabere
NWFL: Coach Wants Players To Put More Efforts
The Head Coach of Rivers Angels FC of Port Harcourt Edwin Okon has tasks his (players) to do more if they want to qualify for the continental game.
He said that the Nigeria Women Football League (NWFL) is a strong one, adding that for them to make to super six they have to put in extra effort. .
Okon said this on Wednesday in his post-match interview with sports journalists shortly after his player whitewashed Abia Angels FC 4-0 in the match day four of the NWFL at the University of Port Harcourt Sports complex.
According to him, they need to put more effort to ensure that the team qualifies for Super six.
He thanked God for the victory, adding that they want to maintain their position in the league.
“First and foremost I want to thank God for the victory.
The league is a strong one but we want to maintain our position in the league.
We need to put in more effort in the game to ensure we keep to our task” Okon stated.
Despite the four goals scored the number one Female football Coach in the state, said that in every game there are mistakes adding, that he will still go back to the drawing board to perfect those grey area.
Also speaking the head coach of Abia Angels Ann Chiejine, blamed is goalkeeper for the loss, saying that she will go and do more of ball work.
“General my girls played well but we need to go back and do more of technical play,” Chiejine said.
By: Kiadum Edookor
Open Trials ’ll Create Opportunities For Youths -Hon Wobo
Port Harcourt based Football Club Sticmaclloyd, in partnership with 433 Football Agency of Ukraine, Germany football academy and Sports Mate 360 football academy of Poland says arrangements have been concluded to hold a two day Port Harcourt City Open Football Trials, between 17 to 24 years.
The open trials is slated to hold 29th -30th of this month at Sharks Football Stadium, Port Harcourt and expected to commence 6:00 am each day.
Speaking with Tidesports in an exclusive interview on Saturday, in Port Harcourt, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sticmaclloyd FC, Hon.Wobo I. Stanley, said the opening trials will create opportunity for talented footballers in the State to play in Europe.
According to Stanley, who was an ex international, selected players will also the have opportunity to enhance their football career in Germany, Poland, Ukraine and Italy.
“My club Sticmaclloyd Fc, is affiliated to 433 football agency, Germany, Poland and Ukraine football academies, besides, we have also signed Memorandum of Understanding ( MoU) haven fulfilled their requirements to ensure that selected players have good contract” Hon. Stanley said.
He further, revealed that players that will go to Poland will combine both studies and football.
“Our foreign representatives have already sent their coaches to do the selection” he stated.
Stanley uses the forum to advice youth in the State to come and show their talents.
“We are sure players that will participate in the trials that selection will be purely on merits. Players who did not make it this time can make it next time” he added.
By: Tonye Orabere
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