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How many African stars have played in the NFL?

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It is well known that the four major North American sports leagues are famous around the world. The LA Lakers, New York Yankees, Dallas Cowboys and Montreal Canadians jerseys can be found on fans from any of the seven continents. It is also becoming more obvious that each of the four major league sports are looking to expand their fan base, exposure and potentially some sort of international expansion or partnership with other countries.

For the past few seasons, the NFL has scheduled exhibitions or regular season games in Canada, England and Mexico. One continent that is chomping at the bit for some NFL action is Africa. While the NBA currently holds down the popularity title due to the number of professional players and the league’s offseason tours and programs, the increase in NFL players from Africa may one day help put the homeland of many Africans on the schedule.

In 1970, the Dallas Cowboys roster featured the first African born player to sign with a NFL club. Zambian placekicker Howard Mwikuta would fall short of cracking the regular season roster, but the Northern Rhodesia born soccer star would be the first African player to suit up for an NFL franchise.

As Mwikuta did a dozen years prior, Gary Anderson, born in Parys, South Africa, exchanged one football career for another as he would crack the regular season roster for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1982. Anderson, the NFL’s third all-time leading scorer, would wind up playing for six teams over his twenty-three-year career, collecting six Pro-Bowl spots along the way.  Last season, 30 of the 32 teams in the NFL featured a native born or first-generation player from one of eighteen African countries on their regular season roster.

Christian Okoye, one of the most popular African born NFL players was famously dubbed the “Nigerian Nightmare” due to his power and speed. During Okoye’s six seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs (1987-92), he was twice named to the Pro Bowl. Although there were others before him, the running back became more of a focal point and inspiration for African born talent to follow their dreams and aspirations of playing professional American football at a position that required more than a solid foot.

Arguably one of the best linebackers to suit up for the Kansas City Chiefs, Tamba Hali finished his twelve-year career holding down second spot on the team’s all-time tackle list, with 591 tackles, 51 behind leader Derrick Thomas. While he won’t be enshrined in the Hall of Fame like Thomas, the Liberian was acknowledged for his efforts with five straight Pro Bowl appearances.

While he may not have the on field accolades that his countrymen may have, Amboi Okoye (no relation to the Chiefs star, but also Nigerian) holds the distinction of being the youngest player ever selected in the NFL’s first round of the amateur draft, leading the NCAAF betting picks, at just 19 years old. Okoye would play in only 87 games over his six-year NFL career before trying to catch on with the CFL’s Saskatchewan Rough Riders.

After being relatively unknown to most fans and experts during his first three years in college, Ghana born Ezekiel Ansah turned heads during his breakout senior season and was drafted with the fifth overall pick in 2013 by the Detroit Lions.  While the defensive end has had his struggles remaining healthy, when he managed to stay off the injured list, he produced a Pro Bowl worthy season, something that the Seattle Seahawks hope he can replicate in 2019-20.

There are currently only a handful of players in the NFL to have a Super Bowl ring on their finger. Just as it does with North American born players, those who are fortunate enough to have reached the pinnacle of NFL success and can proudly bring back to Africa a sign of hope into more youngsters following their footsteps.

Whereas many players from the United States have a neighbourhood betting on their successes, any player from Africa will have an entire country and maybe even a continent applauding their hard work, sacrifice and achievement, hoping that they too one day will be the next star to represent their homelands.

 

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The Tide News Cheltenham Festival Guide

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The Cheltenham Festival is almost upon us. It’s the annual horse racing pilgrimage where tens of thousands of punters gamble millions at National Hunt racing’s ‘Holy Grail’.

Over the course of four days the bookmakers and punters will compete in what has become a ‘them vs us’ battle, namely the cream of the Irish horse racing crop in a heads-up battle with the home defence.

Of course there is a dark cloud looming over Cheltenham 2020 with the very real threat of the Festival being cancelled due to the spread of coronavirus. Back in 2001 the Festival was cancelled due to an outbreak of foot and mouth disease and bookmakers are already speculating on this year’s event going ahead. Right now it is considered around 9/4 (approximately 30 percent chance) on the Betfair betting exchange that Cheltenham will be cancelled this year.

Let’s presume things proceed as planned, just how is the best way to experience the buzz of the Festival in 2020? For starters if the prospect of winning big for limited outlay excites you, you can enjoy Cheltenham free bets at freebets.co.uk which means you are guaranteed a lot of fun for nothing. But where will the big winners come from?  This is how we see it:

Banker Bet

 

Paisley Park won last year’s Stayers Hurdle and has done nothing wrong this term. Seeking to join a long list of back-to-back winners this winner of his last seven starts looks the banker bet of the 2020 Festival and the one to stick into your doubles and treble bets.

Each-Way Bet

At 6/1 Abacadabras is an each-way price because you will more than get your stakes back if he makes the frame but fails to win.

Owned by Michael O’Leary who runs Ryanair, Abacadabras has only been beaten once in his last four starts and in taking the Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown looks capable of huge run in the Supreme Novice Hurdle, the opening race on the opening day of the Festival.

Big Race Winner

This year’s showpiece Cheltenham Gold Cup looks massively competitive. The home trained Santini is the bookies favourite.

Last year’s Gold Cup winner, Al Boum Photo, is well fancied in the betting odds at 7/2. But it’s the Irish trained Kemboy that makes the most appeal. He may have been slightly disappointing so far this year but he accounted for Al Boum Photo last May at Punchestown and might just be a ‘spring horse’ who shows his best form once the cold wet winter has passed.

 

 

 

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Some curiosities about football and bets

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Football is one of the most practiced sports all over the world, so much so that when checking the list of the most important teams per league, issued by the International Federation of FootballAssociation(FIFA), there are teams from Europe and the Americas.

In the case of the classification by country teams, the list ranks countries like: Belgium, France, Brazil, England, Uruguay, Croatia, Portugal, Spain, Argentina and Colombia. When an international event takes place or league games are played, the analysis per game begins days before, as well as forecasts and bets.

Well, yes. Football betting has existed practically since the beginning of that sport and has evolved over time, going from being informal to being done online through certified companies.

Today, there are countless teams and leagues, and every day a large number of national and international football games are played on which you can place your bets.

Placing a bet is not a process that can be taken lightly, unless you don’t mind risking a certain amount of money. Many people take it as a hobby, but others see it as an opportunity to make some extra money.

In any case, to place a bet on football, you must follow three key steps: the first one, bet only in competitions you know. For example, if you know about the Spanish League you should place your bets there and not in Copa Libertador games. Before doing so, you should know better the teams that participate, as well as their statistical data.

The second step is to open an account with an online sportsbook. There is a great variety of options, but the important thing is that you check their security, reliability, odds offered, as well as the range of bets they allow.

One of the bookmakers that offers a good welcome bonus, various alternative markets, more odds on football bets, live, direct and special bets as well as high odds, is Bet9ja, a Nigerian bookmaker.

The last step is to get to know the different football betting markets. The most common bets are: 1×2, bet on winner, first goal scorer, as well as live bets, which are made when the game is in progress.

Other types of odds on Bet9ja include: winner (predicting the winner of the tournament), relegation (team that will be relegated to another division), no winner, top 2 to 5, top by club, HH team, top scorer, top scorer of the team, direct betting, tricast, exact group points, winner and top scorer, etc.

Football betting is one of the favorites among users given the breadth of the market it offers. Just choose the bookmaker that offers the best conditions in your bet and apply the right strategies to get it right.

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Who Is Nigeria’s Best Soccer Player of the Decade?

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2020 marks the end of what many soccer fans would call the golden age of Nigerian football. Austin Okocha, KanuNwankwo, Daniel Amokachi, Finidi George, and Taribo West were some of the players that highlighted this golden generation while excelling their talents. As such, the legacy of that decade will be long remembered in club careers and national team moments.

While the 2010s led to the emergence of a new football era, the likes of Obafemi Martins, Mikel Obi, and OsazeOdemwingie were already established before the beginning of the decade. However, other players emerged as the decade wore on, leaving indelible marks on the game. We’ve deiced to close the decade with a shortlist of a few best players in different positions on the field over the last decade.

Among these players we can find those who made the secade for the ones who bet on soccer online at one point or the other, we’ve selected them based on impact on their clubs and national teams, titles won and consistency.

Goalkeeper- Vincent Enyeama

Considered as one of the greatest goalkeepers in Africa, Enyeama is undoubtedly the Nigerian goalkeeper of the decade. Enyeamastarted the decade with a league win while with the Israeli side, Hapoel Tel Aviv, before moving to Lille.

After moving to France, Vincent didn’t have a great start, but he soon sprung back to the first-choice goalkeeper after moving back to Israel on load during the 2012/2013 season. The following season, he recorded 11 straight clean sheets for his League 11 games, almost breaking the league record.

Right Back – Efe Ambrose

For the better part of the decade, Ambrose has been the most consistent player in Nigerian football. While he also played the central defender position, he was the ultimate Super Eagles right-back for several years. The defender moved to Scotland in 2012, winning five league titles consecutively.

While playing for Celtic, he took four consecutive league titles, playing over 20 games in every season. The defender was also key to the Super Eagles win of their only trophy of the decade, playing six out of their seven AFCON 2013 games.

Defensive Midfield – Wilfred Ndidi

Since moving to Leicester in January last year, Wilfred Ndidi has increased his strength significantly to become one of the best Premier League midfielders. While with the foxes, Ndidi had an impressive consistency, and he improved significantly to become a world-class Nigerian Player. Ndidi has also been a reliable player for the Super Eagles during the last three years, with the 2019 AFCON under his belt.

Best Overall – John Mikel Obi

While playing at the highest level in European Soccer, Mikel Obi is arguably the most consistent Nigerian player of the decade. Mikel had won every trophy in his club career, succeeding effortlessly at Chelsea in a time when Nigerian football wasn’t enough for the international audience. Even better, Obi played an important role in helping the Blues win the FA Cup, Europa League, Premier League and Champions League.

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