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Agent Charges Nigeria On Sports Dev

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A top football agent in Sage Sports Consult (SSC), Rajih Rahman, yesterday said that Nigeria could only lay claim to meaningful success in grassroot football development through the number of its exports.
Rahman told newsmen in Lagos that it was true that the nation was blessed with abundant talents but it had yet to be seen more in the international circuit.
“The truth is that we have so many grassroot sports programmes with little to show for it. The ones we have are not developmental; no monitoring of the progress of the footballers.
“The young players we have at the grassroot are amazing but they needed the right exposure in terms of exports which will be the best way to measure our performances.
“Other countries send their young ones to European countries at mind-boggling prices, and they earn good from their exports.
“Our country can also earn it big from exporting our products, especially our footballers. The developmental programmes from our grassroot are inconclusive without export,’’ he said.
Rahman, urged the various agencies of government and other organisations responsible for the grassroot sports development to come out with all-inconclusive programmes for the project
“I am not satisfied with the various grassroot developmental programmes we have in Nigeria because it is always half done. No room for monitoring of the players progress.
“The players discovered from the grassroot need to be properly monitored so as to get the required knowledge to excel; the habit of leading them out and dumping them halfway is not right.
“All the grassroot developmental agencies should evolve a way of making sure that their labours are not in vain by monitoring players they discovered which is where the profit is.
“We have more of Kelechi Iheanacho at the grassroot, some of them were discovered but not provided the opportunity to excel, while wasting our resources and time on them?’’
Rahman said that the aim of his outfit was to give the players discovered at the grassroot opportunity they were looking for which was to ply their trade overseas.
“What Sage Consult is all about is providing the opportunity for the young players from 15 to 17 years to play professionally in countries of their dreams.
“It is not just about discovering them but giving them the right exposure because opportunities abound all over the world for quality players that are abundant in Nigeria.
“Exporting them is the greatest and the pinnacle of their careers, so, we will strive to achieve that,’’ he said.
Tidesports gathered that Sage Sports Consult in partnerships with the Dubai-based Variant Sports, a grassroots developmental agency is responsible for training young footballers between ages 15 and 17.
The developmental sports outfit is currently conducting an open trial at the Legacy Pitch of the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, with the motive to export those to be selected to Europe.
The trials have more than 75 players drawn from across the country participating.

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Aisha Buhari Cup: FIFA, CAF Presidents Grace Kick-Off, Falcons Win 2-0

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Substitute Gift Monday handed Nigeria a sweet 2-0 victory on the opening day of the maiden edition of the Aisha Buhari Invitational Women’s Tournament in the City of Lagos.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State led eminent political big-wigs, and FIFA President, Gianni Infantino and CAF President, Patrice Motsepe led football’s top echelon, including President of NFF and FIFA council member, Amaju Melvin Pinnick, to the showpiece at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan.
Monday, interestingly a player of FC Robo Queens of Lagos, spurned in the air to meet a cross by Captain Asisat Oshoala in the 83rd minute and nodded past goalkeeper Fatoumata Karenta, six minutes after coming into the fray for Francisca Ordega.
The goal put the Super Falcons in the lead after a rather turgid day on Lagos island, with the Malians showing greater zest and desire in the opening half and returning after the recess with the same impressive fighting spirit.
The visiting Female Eagles had survived a raid on their area in the 5th minute as Nigeria looked to go into the lead with a corner, but the defence cleared. Nine minutes later, Ordega sidenetted from another quick dash upfront, and in the 18th minute, Ageusissa Diarra tested Goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie from a 30-yard free-kick.
In the second half, Uchenna Kanu sidenetted in the 67th minute, before Oshoala, who should have scored with only the goalkeeper to beat, failed to get past Karenta. In the 74th minute, Karenta again saved from Kanu.
In the 83rd minute, Monday rose highest in the box and nodded past Karenta, bringing so much excitement to the arena.
One minute into added time, Monday was again at the end of an Asisat’s assist, and looped the ball over an advancing Karenta to put huge smiles on the faces of Nigerians.

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Enyimba Appoints Finidi George As Head Coach

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The former Ajax and Real Betis winger, George Finidi, who replaces Fatai Osho whose contract expired at the end of August, has joined the eight-time Nigerian champions, Enyimba FC, on a two-year contract.
George, a legend of Nigeria’s men’s senior national team, made 62 appearances for the Super Eagles in an illustrious playing career that lasted up to fifteen years.
He was a key member of the glorious era that won the Africa Cup of Nations in 1994 and represented the country at two FIFA World Cups, the 1994 and 1998 editions.
Tidesports source reports that at club level, George won the UEFA Champions League with Ajax in 1995 and went on to play for Real Betis, RCD Mallorca, and Ipswich Town.
His first official game as Enyimba head coach will be the CAF Confederation Cup’s second preliminary round fixture against Senegalese side, Diambers FC in mid-October.
Speaking to Enyimba’s media immediately after putting pen to paper, George said, “I have to say it’s a great opportunity for the club to have this confidence in me.
“I want to thank the chairman, the members of the board, and the supporters for even thinking about me. On my own part, I will be here to just work and do the job. It’s never going to be easy but I’m here to work and make the team win.”
Chairman of Enyimba, Felix Anyansi Agwu, stated that the arrival of George represents a new chapter for the club.
“I believe that the time has come for us as a club to open up a new chapter, a chapter that will showcase the many hardwork that has been going on behind the scene and usher in lots of success.
“For us to have engaged a coach like Finidi George who is coming from Europe is a clear statement of intent about our aspirations,” Agwu said.

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Arteta Sees Light For Arsenal

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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta says he sees a bright future for the club despite suffering their worst start to a season for 67 years.
The Gunners climbed off the bottom of the Premier League table with their first goal and first points of the campaign by beating Norwich 1-0 last weekend.
However, Arteta’s position is still under scrutiny ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Burnley after spending £150 million ($207 million) on new players during the transfer window.
The Spaniard claimed after beating Norwich he had enjoyed the “best 10 days of his career in this industry” during an international break when his side was rock bottom of the table.
And Arteta was equally optimistic on where Arsenal are headed with all six of his summer signings aged 23 or under.
“I’m telling you I’m very positive most of the time. I’ve seen the light and I can see bright lights,” he said at his pre-match press conference on Thursday.
“There can be bumps in the road within that light, but I can see a lot of light.”
Arteta is also hopeful the criticism his squad suffered after defeats to Brentford, Chelsea and Manchester City will only serve to make them stronger.
“It’s tough because it hurts, because you want to see something different. But what you want is not always what happens,” he added.
“Things happen for a reason and maybe what is happening had to happen and it’s going to be really good for the club and really good for myself and everybody experiencing that situation. We have to believe that.”

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