Injury-ravaged African Nations Cup contenders Ghana have received a welcome boost with the return to full fitness of star player Michael Essien.
Essien tore his hamstring in Chelsea’s Champions League game against APOEL Nicosia on December 9 but resumed full training last week.
The 27-year-old midfielder was due to join up with his Ghana teammates in Angola yesterday, but is doubtful for the Black Stars’ opener against Togo today Essien is expected to be accompanied by a Chelsea doctor, according to a report, Ghana, four time winners of this biennial continental championship, face a tough opening group with favourites Ivory Coast waiting for them after Togo followed by Burkina Faso.
Serb coach Milovan Rajevac has had to contend with a spate of injuries to key personnel, with central defenders John Pantsil and John Mensah and midfielders Stephen Appiah and Laryea Kingston all ruled out.
The first side from Africa to qualify for the World Cup aside from hosts South Africa Ghana are seeking their first Nations cup title in 28 years.
This appetising World Cup forerunner gets under way in Luanda today with hosts Angola taking on Mali.
Sports Development Subject to Economic Performance – Consultant
A golf consultant, Sam Emetelu, has said that golf like any other sport cannot thrive when a nation’s economy is unstable.
Emetelu said this in an interview with newsmen on Wednesday in Lagos.
According to him, the state of a country’s economy plays a vital role in the development of other sectors.
In view of this, he said, there had been little activities for golfers in both the amateur and professional categories.
“Sports in recent time has been struggling, it’s not just peculiar to golf. So, the backlash is that activities have been slow, because it is an election year.
“When the economy thrives, other sectors thrive too; it’s not rocket science.
“The only thing that has been sustaining golf is committed individuals who are lovers of the game who invest their money in because of their love for the sport,” he said.
He, however, predicted that the last quarter of the year would take a more positive turn as companies and individuals would have started regaining momentum.
“With the ember months, most corporate organisations are taking stock and probably thinking of how to structure their Corporate Social Responsibility, maybe then they’d think of sponsoring golf tournaments.
MTN To Co-Sponsor Nigerian Football League
MTN Nigeria has entered into a partnership with the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL), GTI Investment Ltd. and Propel Sports Africa to sponsor the Nigerian league.
Media Officer of GTI Investment Ltd., Andrew Ekejiuba, said this in a statement this week in Lagos.
He said following the recent announcement of the joint venture between the NPFL, GTI and Propel Sports Africa to stream NPFL games live, Propel Sports was delighted to announce that it had entered into a deal with MTN Nigeria for the exclusive broadcast of the league.
He said the sponsorship would cover eight live games each weekend, which would translate to over 300 games per season.
Chairman of Propel Sports Africa, Basil Kabbani stated: “The engagement with MTN has been amazing, from the Digital VAS, to the Marketing and Commercial team, their approach has been consistently professional.
“The enthusiasm for the NPFL content has been infectious. From the very start of our negotiations, we knew MTN was the right partner to give our great content, the platform it deserves.”
The deal, concluded by Propel Sports Africa president, Edward Simons, and MTN Chief Operating Officer, Hassan Jabar, would include in-and-post-game highlights delivered in real time to MTN subscribers through the NPFL Live OTT platform.
Osimhen Can Win Ballon d’Or – Peseiro
Super Eagles coach, Jose Peseiro believes Napoli forward Victor Osimhen can win the Ballon d’Or in the future.
Osimhen is among the 30 players nominated for the 2023 Men’s Ballon d’Or as well as one of the 12 nominees for the 2023 FIFA The Best Men’s Player Award.
He is the first Nigerian male footballer in 24 years to get nominated for the prestigious Ballon d’Or.
Peseiro believes the 24-year-old has the potential to win the Ballon d’Or award in future even if it seems unlikely for him to achieve the feat in 2023 as he is set to compete with a star-studded cast of nominees.
Pesiero is optimistic that Osimhen can claim the award in future as he does not lack any potential to do it.
“He (Osimhen) can surely win the Ballon d’Or in the future. He’s not lacking anything to do it,” Peseiro said in an interview with Tidesports source.
“He has different characteristics than other players that are at the top at this moment, but he scores a lot as well.”
Osimhen had a stellar 2022–23 season with Napoli, leading the club to their first Serie A title in 33 years, and also won the golden boot.
The Napoli striker scored 26 Serie A goals last season to guide the Partenopei to the Scudetto for the first time in more than three decades.
He also becomes the 7th Nigerian male footballer and 8th Nigerian player to earn a Ballon D’Or award nomination after Finidi George (1995), Austin Jay-Jay Okocha (1995), Daniel Amokachi (1995), Nwankwo Kanu (1996, 1999), Victor Ikpeba (1997), Sunday Oliseh (1998), and Asisat Oshoala (2022, 2023).
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