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Nigerian Hotshots Move To North Africa

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Three strikers who shone
in the Nigeria premier league last season have joined top clubs in the Maghreb this month.
Emem Eduok after a transfer controversy joined Esperance of Tunisia, Ighodalo Osaguona sealed a four and half year deal with Raja Casablanca (Morocco) and Peter Ebimobowei joined Al Ahly(Egypt).
The leagues in these countries are better organised and pay players better than what obtains in Nigeria, and this may well explain why these Nigerian talents cannot resist the lure.
Having fulfilled their dreams of playing outside Nigeria, do they have what it takes to excel in those countries with mounting expectations from fans, the media and even the clubs?
Tidesports source x-rayed their chances to excel as they face a new challenge in their career.
Ighodalo Osaguona
The big striker proved to be a prolific goal scorer at Enugu Rangers last season after he struggled for goals at 3SC the previous campaign.
He netted 16 goals in the Nigeria top flight league and has been capped at full international level by Nigeria.
Osaguona is a direct striker with power and aerial prowess. He has good techniques for a big man and will therefore be expected to do well in Morocco.
The tempo of the game is higher in Morocco and he will face tougher defenders, who have more experience than those he faced in Nigeria as most of their players are better exposed.
Osaguona’s showing for the Super Eagles has underlined the fact he has what it takes to also shine in Morocco especially if the club play to his strengths.
Emem Eduok
After the controversies, he has inked a deal with Tunisian giants Esperance. Emem equaled Jude Aneke’s 20-goal record in a season in the colours of Dolphins.
The left-footed Emem is an all-round forward who could play from the wings or as top striker.
He is strong, quick, has good positioning and he is one of the most dangerous strikers in Nigeria league around the box.
The former Flying Eagles star, who was the first player to score six goals in a league game in history of Nigeria in Dolphins 6-1 win over Nembe City, will be the hottest bet of the other Nigeria strikers off to the Maghreb to shine as Esperance has proved to be a favourite hunting ground for the lies of other Nigeria stars like Garba Lawal, Michael Eneramo and Julius Aghahowa.
Peter Ebimobowei
He has been a consistent goal scorer in the Nigeria league, but joining the best club in African football history Al Ahly of Egypt will come with added pressure.
How well and quickly he copes with this pressure will define his time at the Cairo Red Devils.
Al Ahly are a massive club and the Bayelsa United star must adapt quickly as there won’t be much time for him to do that going by the high demands from the club’s fans.
He has joined a team who are undergoing a major transition following the exit of some of their ageing top stars like Wael Goma and Mohamed Aboutrika.
He is a powerful striker with good techniques, who has proved clinical in front of goal.
He scored 18 goals last season to help Bayelsa United escape relegation.

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Tokyo 2020: Naomi Osaka Beats China’s Saisai In Straight Sets

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Japan’s Naomi Osaka returns a shot to China’s Zheng Saisai, during their Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games women’s singles, first round tennis match at the Ariake Tennis Park in Tokyo .
Japan’s Naomi Osaka won in straight sets on her highly-anticipated return to court at the Tokyo Olympics yesterday, while world number one Ashleigh Barty crashed out in the first round.
Osaka, the star of the opening ceremony, defeated China’s Zheng Saisai 6-1, 6-4 in her first match since taking an eight-week break for mental health reasons.
“I feel like more than anything I’m just focused on playing tennis. Playing the Olympics has been a dream of mine since I was a kid,” said Osaka, chosen as the first tennis player to light the Olympic cauldron on Friday.
“I feel like the break that I took was very needed, but I feel definitely a little bit refreshed and happy again.”
The Australian Open champion had not played since May, when she walked out of Roland Garros, saying that media commitments were harming her mental health.
Osaka showed few signs of rust as she reeled off the opening five games on the Ariake Coliseum centre court, which likely would have been packed to capacity if not for a spectator ban because of coronavirus restrictions.
The second seed broke the 52nd-ranked Zheng for a 2-1 lead in the second set and closed out an 87-minute victory on her third match point.
The 23-year-old Osaka is attempting to become Japan’s first Olympic tennis champion. She will play Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic in the last 32.

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Insurance FC Records Second NNL Win On Return

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Bendel Insurance recorded their second win in a row since returning to the second tier of Nigeria National League with a 1-0 win over Abia Comets on Saturday at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium.
Defender Tanimu Benjamin scored the only goal of the encounter in the 26th minute to hand the hosts the maximum points.
Both results have brightened their chances of qualifying for the Super 8.
According to Tidesports source, the Edo State Government in June withdrew the team from the competition after several of their players were injured by home fans during their game against Remo Stars in Ikenne, Ogun State.
On their return, Insurance pulled off an away win over Holy Arrows in Enugu before the win at the weekend 
“I am happy with the goal and the overall performance from the boys. Our aim is to return to the topflight and we are working hard to achieve it,” goal scorer Benjamin, who was injured in the violence at Ikenne, said

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Karagumruk To Pay Musa N1bn Annually

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Super Eagles captain, Ahmed Musa was on Thursday unveiled by Turkish Lig 1 side, Fatih Karagumruk, having signed the winger on a two-year deal with an option to extend the deal for another year.
Tidesports source gathered that the financial details of the deal were undisclosed by both club and player, Musa will earn about$2.5million (N1.02billion) annually with a weekly pay of $40,000, with bonuses.
Karagumruk were promoted to the Turkish topflight in the 2019/2020 campaign, ending a 35-year wait for a return to the Super Lig and want to remain there, thus, the acquisition of star players like Musa.
“It’s a good deal no doubt, the club wanted Musa because of his wealth of experience, having played at the World Cup and the UEFA Champions League. Since they were promoted to the topflight two seasons ago, their major aim is to remain in the Turkish topflight and also win games against the big sides like Galatasary, Fenerbahce and Trabzonspor and they believe Musa can help them achieve their goals. That’s why they signed him for $2.5million annual salary, besides bonuses and allowances,” a close friend of Musa said.
It was also reliably learnt that there were financial incentives for Musa, if the club qualified for European competitions, and if he ended up as their highest scorer at the end of the season.
Musa, in an interview with newsmen said Karagumruk’s ambition was a major reason he joined them.
“I was very impressed with the team’s philosophy, style of play and it’s clearly an ambitious club.

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