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Tributes Pour In For ‘Big Boss’

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Stephen Keshi’s achieve
ments were beyond Nigeria and as such tributes following his passing have come from across Africa with CAF president Issa Hayatou leading the way.
The 2013 Africa Cup of Nations –winning Coach died in the early hours of Wednesday after complaining of irregular heartbeats and pain in his legs. He passed on before reaching the hospital.
In his letter addressed to NFF president Amaju Pinnick, Hayatou wrote: “We have learned with great dismay and immense sadness the passing away of African and Nigerian football legend Stephen Okechukwu Keshi today (Wednesday).
“Even if Stephen Keshi left us too early, he achieved an incredible career, both as a player and as a coach, being one of only two people in African football history, along with Egypt’s Mahmoud El-Gohary, to have won the Africa Cup of Nations as both a player, in Tunisia in 1994, and as a coach, in South Africa in 2013.
“After having played mostly with French and Belgian clubs, Stephen Keshi became a tremendous professional coach, coaching the Togo national football team between 2004 and 2006, and incredibly achieving the dream of any nation by making the West African nation to qualify to its first ever World Cup in 2006 in Germany.”
In his own tribute, also addressed to Pinnick, president of the Tanzania Football Federation, Jamal Malinzi wrote: “I am truly sorry to hear of the loss of Nigeria and Africa’s football legend Stephen Keshi.
“In this sorrowful time, I would like on behalf of the football community in Tanzania to extend to you our heartfelt condolences…
“Though he is gone, his service to football has not lasted with his passing as he will always have an everlasting legacy in the game of football.”
Football Association of Zambia President Andrew Kamanga wrote: “It is with deep sense of sorrow to learn of the passing on of your former coach of Nigeria, Mr. Steven Keshi.
“On behalf of the Executive Committee of the FAZ, the Secretariat staff, the Zambian football fraternity and indeed on my own behalf, we wish to extend our heartfelt condolences to the Nigeria football family and indeed Mr. Keshi’s family on the passing on of our beloved colleague.”
Pinnick, NFF 1st Vice President Seyi Akinwunmi and general secretary Mohammed Sanusi were the first persons to sign the condolence register opened for the departed legend at the Glass House in Abuja.
The Group Sports Editor of THISDAY newspapers Duro Ikhazuagbe was among those who called at the NFF secretariat to sign the condolence register.

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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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