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Osimhen, Chukwueze’s Progression Delights Amuneke

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Emmanuel Amuneke has voiced his gladness seeing Villarreal’s Samuel Chukwueze and Lille’s Victor Osimhen become ‘household names’ for Nigeria and their respective European clubs.
Both players contributed a great deal as Nigeria U17 won the 2015 FIFA World Cup staged in Chile.
While Osimhen won the Golden Boot and Silver Ball, Chukwueze walked away with the Bronze Boot.
Since then, the youngsters have been key figures for their European teams as well as the country’s senior national team, helping them place third at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
For the 1994 African Player of the Year, who was their coach at National U17 and U20 levels, credit for their meteoric rise should be given to the coaches who discovered them, while hoping Nigeria builds on this to groom more superstars in future.
“Football is like a school where you progress from the primary school down to the tertiary institution. Even after that, you continue to educate yourself,” Amuneke told newsmen.
He said: “Playing in the youth team is an opportunity for a young player who is dreaming big to become a professional. Helping your team win the World Cup at youth level means you have something special as a player
“It depends on capacity, abilities and mentality to continue to progress as a footballer, so seeing (Samuel) Chukwueze and (Victor) Osimhen progressing gives me joy.
“These are players we all picked without anybody knowing anything about them. We saw the qualities they possessed and tries to guide them to develop.”
“They have answered some of the questions asked during the 2015 U17 World Cup in Chile, on why African players after doing well in a cadet tournament fail to progress,” he continued.
“Seeing them becoming household names for their clubs and the Super Eagles in their early 20s is a very good thing and it means that those people who have worked hard in the U17 category since 2013 have done a good job and have set a pace,” he said.
“It’s up to us to be able to build on that and see how our players can transform from the youth level to the senior level towards becoming better players in future.”
Before European football leagues went on a hiatus owing to the Covid-19 outbreak, Osimhen contributed 13 goals in 27 French top-flight appearances this term.
For Chukwueze, in 26 Spanish elite division outings, he has found the net thrice as the Yellow Submarine stay eighth on the La Liga log.

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Aiteo Cup: Diri Hails Bayelsa Finalists

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Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has lauded the feat of the state-owned football teams who reached the finals in the male and female categories of the 2021 Aiteo Cup.
Diri, while congratulating Bayelsa United and Bayelsa Queens for their outstanding performances, praised their indomitable spirit and resilience in surmounting the odds to qualify for the last stage of Nigeria’s oldest football competition.
Bayelsa United, who plays in the second tier Nigerian National League, on Friday defeated Premier League neighbours Rivers United 1-0 in the semi-finals, while Bayelsa Queens crushed perennial rivals Rivers Angels 5-0 to reach the women’s final.
The Governor, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Alabrah, on Saturday, described Bayelsa United as “giant killers” for defeating Premier League sides Enugu Rangers, Lobi Stars and Rivers United on their way to the final.
“The excellent run of Bayelsa United and Bayelsa Queens in this year’s Aiteo Cup is very heartwarming. Both teams reaching the finals is no mean feat. I congratulate them for making the state proud and setting a record of teams from the state playing in the finals of the male and female categories of the same competition for the first time,” Diri stated.
“By their outstanding performance, Bayelsa United and Bayelsa Queens have shown that the sporting revolution of our Prosperity Administration, which resulted in Bayelsa placing third in the last National Sports Festival in Edo State for the first time, is on course. I therefore urge them to complete their excellent run in the competition by bringing home the trophies.

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D’Tigress To Play Mozambique In Afrobasket

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Nigeria’s senior basketball team, D’Tigress, have been drawn to face Mozambique and a yet to qualify team in Group B of the 2021 Women’s Afrobasket, which holds from September 17 to 27 in Yaounde, Cameroon.
The draw was held in Yaounde last Saturday.
D’Tigress will be hoping to retain the title they won two years ago in Senegal, where they defeated the hosts in the final. A win in Cameroon will mean they have won the last three editions of the tournament.
The Nigerians will know their final group opponent when the FIBA Zone 6 qualifiers take place from August 16 to 22.
In Group A, hosts Cameroon will face Cape Verde and Kenya, while Senegal, the most successful team in the competition’s history with 11 first-place finishes, will slug it out with Egypt and Gabon in Group C.
Mali, Ivory Coast, and a team to be decided via wild card will fight for a slot in the next round in Group D.

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Ebonyi Football Fans Celebrate Nwankwo Kanu At 45

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Football fans in Ebonyi State yesterday, celebrated the birthday of formerNigerian international and Arsenal legend, Nwankwo Kanu.
The former Super Eagles skipper turned 45 yesterday.
Tidespoets source gathered  that the 1993 FIFA U-17 world cup winner, fondly called “Papillo’’ by his fans had 86 caps for Nigeria.
The former Iwuanyanwu Nationale Football Club of Owerri’s talisman scored 13 goals for Nigeria in an enviable career that spanned from 1994 to 2010.
Kanu is a recipient of the Member of the Order of the Niger (MON), an Olympic Games football gold medalist and had illustrious club careers with Ajax Amsterdam of Holland, Arsenal and West Bromwich Albion of England.
Defunct Ebonyi Angels FC of Abakaliki Defender, James Onele, said that Kanu thrilled soccer fans across the world with sublime skills and trademark passes.
“Kanu won two African Footballer of the Year awards, an AFCON silver medal, four AFCON bronze medals among other honours.
“He was the first Nigerian, alongside Finidi George to win the prestigious UEFA champions league trophy with Ajax in 1995,” said Onele.
An Arsenal FC supporter, Ejike Okoro, said the club’s fans were proud of Kanu’s achievements during his time with the English Premier League side.
“Kanu played 197 times for Arsenal, scoring 44 goals and was part of the club’s invincible team that did not lose any match in the 2003-04 EPL season.
“He was instrumental in endearing Arsenal to millions of Nigerian soccer fans, despite later dropping to lowly-rated clubs such as Portsmouth and West Bromwich Albion,” Okoro said.
A banker and football enthusiast, Chief Barry Ogoh, told active footballers to emulate Papillo in investing adequately for the ‘rainy day’.
“Kanu, Augustine J.J. Okocha, among other ex-internationals are still financially stable as many ex-internationals have become bankrupt.

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