Nigeria striker, Benjamin Chukwuka Onwuachi says his move to Greek top side Kavala affords him the opportunity to prove he can succeed in a competitive atmosphere.
Onwuachi will be featuring in the Greek championship for the second time, after playing for Ionikos between 2006 and 2008.
The 25-year-old joined Kavala on Wednesday night from rivals Ionikos after the latter failed to conclude a deal with Cyprus side APOEL Nicosia.
“Both APOEL and Ionikos failed to reach an agreement and it was time to look elsewhere,” Onwuachi told Tidesports source.
“I enjoyed my time in Cyprus football but once the opportunity to play in the Greek top flight surfaced I felt wonderfully excited.
“I had little chance in Italy (with Juventus), I scored goals in the Cypriot league and Greek second division but nothing compares to the challenge of the top division with Kavala.
“This is probably the last chance to prove I can be a big hit in a competitive league and I am sure things will go really well.”
Onwuachi came to prominence in Italian football when he scored on his debut for Juventus in the Coppa Italia against Siena in 2003.
But with established stars like Alesandro Del Piero, David Trezeguet, Zalayeta and Miccoli ahead of him in the pecking order, he was farmed out on loan to Salernitana in the Italian Serie B.
Three goals in 15-games was the outcome of his stint at Salernitana before he returned to the Stadio delle Alpi.
With several names arriving at the Old Lady, another loan deal to Belgium was hastily arranged as the club refused to sell off their outright ownership of the Nigerian.
But that loan switch to Belgian giant Standard Liege only derailed his progress as the big money arrival from Juventus only took comfort on the bench of Standard instead.
“It was the biggest mistake of my career because while scoring freely in training and friendly games, the coach just refused to play me in any match,” Onwuachi recalled.
Ionikos rescued him from that meltdown as he attempted to resuscitate his career and a promising start which had earned him the moniker ‘Investment’.
The former FC Ebedei and AC Regianna striker may have played in Italy, Belgium, Greece and Cyprus but nothing compare to his 21 goals in 69 appearances for Ionikos.
On loan to Cyprus last season Onwuachi helped APOEL Nicosia to the Cypriot title scoring 12 goals in 32 games.
Missing out on Champions League football, Onwuachi is looking ahead to better days and fortunes with Kavala: “All that is in the past now and my immediate target is to help Kavala achieve success,” he added.
“It is a fresh start for me and I just can’t wait.”
With the chance to play alongside midfielder and compatriot Wilson Oruma in the colours of Kavala, the striker knows he has a chance to blossom in front of goal.
“After just one training session together I could tell I have a chance to be the best I can be in front of goal with him helping out.”
Kavala’s fans will be hoping their new signing can make their dream of playing European football come true.
Scholarships Up For Grabs For 10 Winners At MTN Champs
The grand finale of the MTN Champs will commence from today and end on Sunday at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja where 10 winners will bag scholarship and financial benefits.
MTN CHAMPS is a program in Nigeria that aims to unearth and foster athletics talent across the country.
It is modeled after the Jamaican High school CHAMPS and is poised to become the primary platform for identifying and nurturing promising athletes who could go on to represent Nigeria in prestigious international competitions such as the Olympics and World Championships.
Before the finals in Abuja, the track and field event was held in three different regions namely: Uyo, Benin and Ibadan where over 7,000 athletes have competed and 42 finalists emerged.
Speaking at the MTN Champs Press Conference held on Wednesday in Abuja, the General Secretary of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, Rita Mosindi appealed for the introduction of anti-doping lectures for the young athletes.
“ I want to appeal for the introduction of anti-doping lectures for the kids to educate them on the side effects of taking dope substances.
“These are raw talents that we can manage and nurture them to stardom.
“My advice is to do seminars concerning this just as we have started doing as a federation to reduce doping cases in Nigeria.”
Founder and CEO of Making of Champions (MoC), Bambo Akanni, who is the brain behind the MTN Champs revealed that 10 young athletes from the championship will get special scholarship in the USA and Jamaica.
“MTN Champs involving Secondary School Championship is to discover future Olympians for the country, building youth to excel in sports and academics. This is in line with MTN history of supporting local athletes for global aspirations.
NBPL Final Four: Winning Tournament Excites Rivers Hoopers Player
Rivers Hoopers of Port Harcourt player Effiong Abel has expressed joy for winning the just concluded Nigeria Basketball Premier (NBPL) League Final Four in Port Harcourt.
According to him, the game was not an easy one, adding that they were going through a hard training before the competition.
Effiong disclosed his excitement last Saturday in an exclusive interview with Tidesports shortly after Rivers Hoopers defeated Nigeria Customs basketball team 77-57 in the final game of the four of the NBPL in Port Harcourt.
He stated that it was a team work that saw them through, adding that he was very happy winning the tournament in the front of his fans.
“ I feel very excited today for winning the Nigeria Basketball Premier League Final Four in Port Harcourt.
“ It was not an easy one because of the type of training we were undergoing to ensure we get victory in the tournament.
“I give kudos to my teammates and the coaching crew, they were awesome.
“ Also kudos to the fans, they came out in numbers to support us” Effiong said.
Effiong personally took charge at some point of the game delivering three pointers which eventually created a lee way for a sumptuous finale.
By: Kiadum Edookor
MOC Makes Appeal Over Age Cheats
Organisers of the ongoing school athletics competition, MTN Champs, Making of Champions (MoC), have appealed to all athletes who have participated in the three legs of the championship, as well as their schools, parents, coaches and everyone connected to them to support the body in its efforts to eradicate the systemic age cheating in Nigeria’s athletics by committing to use their real ages at the Abuja grand final and in future.
“MTN has provided a historic opportunity for Nigeria to finally tackle the pressures that our athletes have long faced to cut their ages,” MoC said in a statement made available to news men.
“Never in our nation’s history has there been a nationwide series of championships that has provided three age groups cutting across ages 11 to 19, to give everyone possible opportunity to compete fairly in their own age groups, and we have even relaxed the junior age group from U-20 to U-23.
The grand finale will hold in Abuja from December 1 to 3.
The MoC statement added: “Despite the fact that appropriate age groups have been provided for everyone, we have seen widespread age discrepancies across all three age categories – Cadet (U-14) and Youth (U-17) categories, which are strictly for secondary schools only and juniors (U-20), which is open to all other teenagers.
“For example, we have seen a systematic pattern of an unusually high number of SS2 and SS3 students claiming to be 13 and 14 years old respectively. We have seen athletes who were 14 in 2021 claiming to still be 14 now, 18-year-olds who have finished secondary school already claiming to be 13 so that they can run against the cadets, and we have seen many athletes competing for schools they are not part of and in the wrong age categories as well.
“One of such schools, which was biggest offender in this area, is currently in the process of being disqualified, which will be announced shortly.”
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