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Santana Question Bothers S/African Football

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It seems the phrase that pays in South African football at the moment is ‘Fire Joel Santana’.

The media, fans, ex-players and even some managers have jumped on the bandwagon and called on Safa to replace the Brazilian before the World Cup to give the national team some chance at the finals. I see even the Dutchman Leo Beenhakker has now been mentioned as a possible replacement.

 Well, that may not be the way to go. Why should we fire Santana now?

 We are all in agreement that he did an outstanding job during the FIFA Confederations Cup. Bafana came within three minutes of holding Brazil and Spain and generally we played some attractive football.

 Yes, the loss against the second-string Republic of Ireland side was not great, and neither was the performance against a very young Madagascar side. But I believe the question we have to ask is where do we want Santana to succeed?

 Do we want him to do well in friendlies? No, we wanted him to do well in the Confederations Cup and we want him to do well at the World Cup.

 He achieved the first objective, to reach the semifinals at the Confederations Cup. So let’s give him a chance and see what he can do at the World Cup.

 It’s important to understand what Santana’s brief is. He must succeed at the big tournaments, not the other matches along the way. Do you think Alex Ferguson is upset when they lose pre-season matches? No, he has his eye on the bigger prizes and that, I believe, is the case with Santana as well.

 The other big talking point also regards the national team, what should we do with Benni McCarthy?

 Look, we need someone who can put the ball in the back of the net on a regular basis and Benni certainly knows how to do that.

 Benni must have realised that, after missing the Confederations Cup, he would not want to miss the World Cup as well. Every player dreams of playing at such a tournament and, with his career slowly winding down, it is something he would want to have to look back on. He must now say ‘whatever has annoyed me, I have made my point’, and move on.

 Similarly, Safa must realise that Benni is our best striker and the most likely source of goals, so do we swallow our pride and invite him back? Both parties need to come to the table and find a solution, and quickly too.

 Looking at the World Cup itself, quite a few of the favourites have already made it through. Obviously Brazil will always be up there for the title contenders, while the Dutch are master-class with their ‘Total Football’, always a joy to watch.

 But this time England have as good a chance as ever. They have a good squad, they are great going forward and solid at the back, although they must still decide on a goalkeeper.

They have star players like Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Wayne Rooney, who is in top form right now. A look at the Castrol Index shows he is the top player in the World Cup qualifiers at the moment with a rating of 9.61 out of 10, and he has taken 28 shots at goal with 14 on target, the highest in the competition. He will be key to their chances.

 Above all, they have a very good manager in Fabio Capello. He is low profile compared to someone like Diego Maradona, but he is the ultimate professional and someone that can help England to World Cup glory.

 On that note, I have always said that great players do not necessarily make great players, and Maradona has certainly proven that. They have an incredibly talented squad, but just can’t translate that into results. I really hope they can pull it together and qualify for the World Cup – it will be a shame for South Africans to be deprived of seeing Leo Messi in action.

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Obuah Lauds Nwabali Over Chieftaincy Title

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The proprietor of Go Round FC , Bro. Felix Obuah cups he was  on cloud nine seeing  his former ward, Super Eagles’ first choice goalkeeper  at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023  in Cote d’Ivoire,  Stanley Bobo Nwabali,  being conferred with a chieftaincy title at his Egbema Kingdom home in  the Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area (ONELGA) of Rivers State .
The 27-year-old  Chippa United goalie was led to the ceremony  on Sunday by Bro. Obuah as  he first paid a courtesy call to the ONELGA council headquarters where the Chairman, at the Nzeobi’s palace in Aggah-Egbema,  HRM Eze Everestus Amuda conferred the chieftaincy title ‘Ugo Egbema 1 of Egbema Land’ which means the Pride of Egbema on the Chippa United goalkeeper.
Amuda eulogised Nwabali for his performance especially his penalty saving heroics which he noted, engraved him in the hearts of many Nigerians both home and abroad.
Sir Vincent Job announced a  cash gift  of N5 million in addition to a street  being named after .
At the Nzeobi’s palace in Aggah-Egbema,  HRM Eze Everestus Amuda conferred the chieftaincy title ‘Ugo Egbema 1 of Egbema Land’ which means the Pride of Egbema on the Chippa United goalkeeper.
Amuda eulogised Nwabali for his performance especially his penalty saving heroics “This is the dream of every father, that his son or daughter makes it to the top. When we started, I had the dream that one day if they put in their best, they will reach the zenith of their careers,” Bro Obuah said.which he noted , engraved him in the hearts of many Nigerians both home and abroad.
A grand reception was later  held in Nwabali’s honour at the Community Primary School, Okwuzi where top dignitaries  including  Sir Job, Chief Whip of the Rivers State House of Assembly and member Representing ONELGA Constituency I, Hon Franklin Nwabochi as well as member representing ONELGA Constituency II, Hon Dcns Nkemjika Ezekwe showered encomiums on the Super Eagles shot stopper.

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Rivers Hoopers Coach Sure To Make Statement

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Rivers Hoopers head coach Ogoh Odaudu says his team will face a huge task after Thursday’s 2024 Basketball Africa League draw.
Hoopers were drawn against former champions US Monastir, APR of Rwanda, and Senegal’s AS Douanes in the Sahara Conference.
Top two teams will advance to the BAL playoffs scheduled to take place in Kigali, Rwanda, from May 24 to the first of June.
There will also be a slot for two best third-placed teams from across the three conferences (Kalahari, Nile, and Sahara).
“The group is obviously a very tough one, Odaudu said.”
‘’Former champions US Monastir, APR who defeated the Rwandan team (REG), who were at the BAL last year; they are a very tough team too. Of course, last year’s finalist, AS Douanes, is in that group, so we have been placed in the group of death.
While the other two conferences will hold in March and April, the Nigeria Premier League Champions won’t play until May 4.
Odaudu added, ‘’Notwithstanding, we have enough time to prepare and be there. We will overcome once the jump ball comes.’’
Since the inaugural edition in 2021, Rivers Hoopers and Kwara Falcons are the only Nigerian teams who have played in the BAL, and neither have gone past the group stage.
The former Nigeria international wants his team to be the first Nigerian team to make it to the playoffs of the Basketball Africa League.
“First and foremost, getting out of the group is our target for this year’s BAL. We are tired of just going to participate and coming back home after the first round.
“For us this season, we want to ensure we get to Kigali and be in the playoffs. Whatever happens from there on is a bonus.

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SWAN Gets New Leaders In Rivers

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The Rivers State Chapter of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) has elected a new leadership.
On Monday, February 19, Peter Abaje of DAAR Communication was voted Chairman alongside other executive members: Vice Chairman – Deinma Abaku; Secretary, Ekpor Temple; Financial Secretary, Bath Ndubuwa, and Eyo Kelvin, Welfare Officer, who will pilot the administrative activities of the association for three years.
While other officers were elected unopposed, Mr. Abaje beat the out gone Chairman, Ms Sarah Atonye David by 10 votes to five to emerge.
The election was held under the supervision of Mr. Gabriel Nwanetanya National Ex Officio, who represented the Zonal Vice President, Azuka Chiemeka.
Inaugurating the newly elected officials, Mr. Gabriel Nwanetanya described the electoral process as peaceful and orderly and charged the Executive members to live above board by re-positioning the association in the state as no excuses would be given for non-performance.
He encouraged them to be creative and look inward to discover and showcase the abundant sports talents existing in Rivers State and also appealed to them not to apply personal interest to move the association forward.
In his inaugural speech shortly after the election, Peter Abaje, the newly elected Chairman of SWAN in Rivers State, said that the conclusion of this election signaled a new dawn in the state chapter of the association and vowed to lift the association to greater heights.
The Chairman also promised to carry every member along in the scheme of things as well as operate an open-door policy.
“The new leadership under my watch would collaborate with the private institutions and Rivers State Government to promote and develop community sports as well as encourage the education of members in areas of sports journalism, he assured.
Members of the association who voted and witnessed the election process, applauded the SWANECO for delivering a hitch-free, fair and transparent election.

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