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We Play Football For Money …Amokachi Backs Moves To China

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Former Super Eagles star, Daniel Amokachi has backed the host of Africans lured by the riches of the Chinese Super League.
Several Africans moved to China prior to its transfer window closing this week, including Super Eagles John Mikel Obi, Odion Ighalo and Brown Ideye.
“We play football because we want to make a living,” said Amokachi.
“We don’t have that platform whereby everything has already been set for us from the day we were born – like Europeans. We don’t live on welfare.”
A former assistant coach of Nigeria who now manages JS Hercules in Finland, the onetime Everton forward said this lack of financial support explained the wave of Africans and South Americans moving to China.
While some have questioned the ambition of footballers who have quit the top leagues of Europe for the vast wealth of China, Amokachi begs to differ.
He points to Mikel who has yet to turn 30 but who won the European Champions League, two Premier League titles, four FA Cups and the Europa League during his decade-long spell with Chelsea.
The midfielder joined Tianjin Teda in January after failing to feature for the Blues this season.
“Mikel played for a top team in Europe and won practically everything that he needs to win as a footballer,” Amokachi told our source.
“What’s left for him is to make a lot of zeros to secure his future and that of his kids and family back home.”
Like Mikel, the 28-year-old Ideye has signed for Tianjin Teda who finished 11th in last season’s Super League.
Ighalo, meanwhile, was sold for £20m by Premier League side Watford to Changchun Yatai.
Amokachi’s former international team-mate Sunday Oliseh fully agrees that the players are entitled to chase riches above glory.
“If a man leaves his country and goes abroad, firstly he wants to work,  because football is his job,” the former Nigeria coach told Tidesport Source
“Secondly, he goes to the country where he gets better remuneration for the services he is giving – so it’s going to be good and the way the Chinese are really putting attention on football now, it can only be good.”
Amokachi, who went by the nickname ‘The Bull’, said selectors should not be put off choosing Nigerians in China for the national team.
“Don’t forget that the Chinese are very physical when it comes to training,” he explained.
“I think the players will be fit but match fitness is a different ball game. That’s why it’s important for a manager to look at players who have that 90 minutes week in week out.”
Last week, Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr left Mikel, Ighalo and Brown out of the squad for this month’s friendlies against Senegal and Burkina Faso.
This was to allow the trio time to settle in China, while also giving an opportunity to younger players to have their chance.
Other Africans to have moved to China in recent times include Senegal’s Demba Ba, Ivorian Gervinho and Cameroon’s Stephane Mbia.

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Eguavoen, Lawal Call For Better Pitches Across Nigeria

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The Technical Director of the Nigeria Football Federation, Austin Eguavoen, and former Super Eagles midfielder, Garba Lawal, have lauded the new pitch of the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, venue of the ongoing Aisha Buhari Invitational Women’s Football Tournament in Lagos.
The duo, who spoke on the sidelines of the competition, want the stadium’s turf, which was constructed by Monimichelle Group, replicated across Nigeria.
“I remember playing in this stadium in the 1980s, but you can’t compare then and now because the turf is now completely refurbished, well planned with a great synthetic pitch of FIFA standard. We thank the government of Lagos State for this effort and we want more of this in different locations so that we can develop our football,” Eguavoen said.
Tidesports source reports that the former Super Eagles coach also commended the organisers of the Aisha Buhari Cup, saying it was a good test for the Super Falcons.
“I congratulate the person who came up with this idea. The organisation is very smooth, but it is quite unfortunate that all the teams will not play with each other. They are confined to play only two matches each according to the FIFA rules and regulations. But it is a good test for our girls and it affords Lagos residents the opportunity to see other countries play. It will be nice for our football if we can see more of this. It is a wonderful innovation.”
Another ex-international, Garba Lawal, said he would also like to see pitches like the one at the remodelled Mobolaji Johnson Arena turf across Nigeria.
“The pitch is fantastic, superb. The contractor did an excellent job and it is a good atmosphere for players to showcase their skills. I want to see more of this across Nigeria to fast track our football development,” Lawal stated.

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Ministry Will Reward Paralympians – Edoreh

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Athletes, who represented the country at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics have been promised rewards for their exploits at the games.
Speaking with newsmen, para-sports promoter and former Chairman, Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (Lagos State Chapter), Fred Edoreh,  said the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development was working on rewarding them.
Tidesports source  reports  that the paralympians, who came back from Tokyo with 10 medals – four gold medals, one silver medal, and five bronze medals, demanded that they be treated like the olympians.
At the olympics, Blessing Oborududu and Ese Brume got instant cash rewards of $10,000 and $7,500 respectively after winning silver and bronze medals respectively.
“I will advise the athletes to just exercise some patience. The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, is hugely committed to the welfare of our para-athletes and it is not imaginable for him to disregard them nor discriminate against them nor renege on the promise of government. They all will remember how the minister used his initiative to provide for the welfare of the athletes during the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020 without anybody prompting,” Edoreh said.
“I am aware that while in Tokyo the Chef de Mission met with the athletes and assured them that they would be rewarded with the same amount of money as was promised and given to  their olympic counterparts.”
He also added that the ministry didn’t want the athletes to go through the stress of changing their money from different currencies.
“The government meant well by not sending the money to them in Tokyo because the Japanese government would have insisted on receiving it in Yen and then they would convert back to dollars, before exchanging to Naira. All that would have reduced the value for them.
“Besides, the ministry would normally wait for the games to end to be able to ascertain the number of medalists.

and how much requisition to make for the reward,” he added.

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Sports Minister Pledges Support For Tennis Youngsters

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Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, has promised to put the Yakubu sisters, Oiza and Ohunene, and Marylove Edwards on the ministry’s sponsorship list  and also reach out to the governors of Oyo and Ekiti states to send the two most outstanding junior tennis talents in the country, Ganiyu Mubarak (Oyo) and Seun Ogunsakin (Ekiti) to tennis academies abroad.
Dare stated this after watching the junior players wow the crowd at the maiden Sapetro Futures Tennis Championship at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan.
 Tidesports source reports that Edwards, 16, and Oiza, 16, are already ranked No.2 and No.5 in the seniors, and have been precluded from playing in the ITA Junior Tennis Circuit.
Dare, who watched Ohunene, 13, overcome the spirited challenge from 14-year-old Success Ogunjobi to win the Girls 16s event 9-2, commended the partnership between the sponsors Sapetro and the International Tennis Academy adding, “This sponsorship, if it continues, will have tremendous impact on the development of tennis in Nigeria.”
The minister’s wish was immediately granted by the Vice Chairman of Sapetro, Senator Daisy Danjuma, represented by the company’s General Manager, Finance, Amos Garga.
Also at the event was former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Odein Ajumogobia.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the matches,” Ajumogobia said. “I’m amazed at the skill level of these junior players. If we can find a way to send the best 10 to academies abroad, Nigeria will make significant impact in the tennis world in the near future.”
Seun Ogunsakin had turned his match against Damilare Awe from Oyo State in the Boys 14s into an exhibition of his prodigious talent as he completely overran his  opponent 9-0, while Mubarak, 14, promoted to play the 16s, met the expectation of the organisers by beating his older opponent Basit Ajao from Lagos 9-6.
In the other finals, Khadijat Mohammed (Abuja) beat Mary Iorlumun (Benue) 9-1 to win the Girls 14s; Ndidi Osaji (Lagos) defeated Vanessa Inyang (Lagos) 9-7 in the Girls 12s. Onyekachi Ogumjiofor (Oyo) triumphed over Seyi Ogunsakin (Ekiti) 9-3 in the Boys 12s and Murewa Egbeyemi (Lagos) continued his domination of an emerging rival with Malcolm Osaji (Lagos) winning 9-4 in the Boys 10s event.
The Sapetro Futures Championship is now part of the ITA Junior Tennis Circuit, which provides the platform for juniors from all over the nation to showcase their talents.

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