Haruna Lukman’s representative John Ola Shittu is confident that his ward has put his attitude problems behind him.
Lukman is one of four players, the others being Joseph Yobo, John Mikel Obi and Chinedu Obasi, managed by Shittu, giving the agent the singular distinction of being the only manager with four players in the Nigeria squad.
But apprehension remains as to the discipline of his youngest charge, especially after a near miss with Colombian players during last Sunday’s friendly match.
That altercation did nothing to calm frayed nerves back home with many suggesting that he is a red card away from costing Nigeria dearly at the World Cup. But Shittu says that will not be a concern.
“He is gradually becoming a changed player now. His attitude is improving and as he gets older, he is getting more matured,” Shittu told Tidesports source, “I dont think he will pick up a red card if he plays at the World Cup.”
Shittu also pointed to the calming influence of team captain Nwankwo Kanu.
“Kanu is like his mentor when they are in camp, and he advises him and takes care of him. He is a really big influence on the young man’s career and I believe he will learn from Kanu.”
Shittu also says the Monaco midfielder will be spoken to prior to kick-off.
“We have been talking to him and we will still talk to him and make him understand that he has a huge responsibility on his shoulders. He is a young boy, and he will learn from his past experience.”
Lukman captained Nigeria at both Under-17 and Under-20 levels but became the subject of government, media and fan displeasure at the 2009 African Youth Championships when he was caught on camera chewing gum during the national anthem.
Things did not improve when he missed a penalty in a 1-2 loss to South Africa, and his hairstyle and general attitude drew widespread condemnation.
He was also axed by coach Ladan Bosso during the tournament.
Haruna’s growing reputation as one of the rising stars of Nigerian football also took a tumble following reports of poor discipline, and a lack of commitment to the cause when Samson Siasia took over from Bosso for the World Youth Championship and Siasia stripped him of the captaincy, handing it to Odion Ighalo instead.
The youngster’s misery was complete when a rush of blood to the head saw him give away the ball in the dying seconds of the quarterfinal game against Germany at the World Youth Championships in Egypt.
CAFCC: Rivers United Defeats Al Masry 2-1 In Aba
Rivers United FC of Port Harcourt, yesterday at the Enyimba International Stadium, Aba, saw off Al Masry of Egypt 2-1 in the first leg of the CAF Confederation Cup, (CAFCC) The pride of Rivers got the early lead in the 24 minutes of the first half by Uche Onwuasonaya while the Egyptian, equalised three minutes after .
In the 35th minutes, Ishaq Kayode restored United to the lead which was assisted by Malachi Ohawume.
Speaking with Tidesports shortly after the game, the Sole administrator of Rivers United FC, Barrister Christopher Green, described the result as not what they expected.
According to him, they expected the pride of Rivers to have scored more than the two goals but well, they still need to fight back in the second leg.
“ Not what we expected.Well it was a highling contested game.
But we need to fight back in the return leg,” Green said.
Green who is also the Special Adviser to the Rivers State Governor on Real Madrid Football Academy further explained that, the pride of Rivers will have to fight back to get the ticket to qualify for the group stage of the tournament.
Why Budweiser Brought Terry, Carlos To Nigeria – Adedeji
Marketing Director, International Breweries Plc., Tolulope Adedeji, in this interview with newsmen talks about Nigerians’ passion for football and the global impacts of Budweiser Game of Kings, among other sundry issues
Budweiser, the official beer sponsor of the Premier League and Spanish La Liga, understands the love for football by all Nigerians. Football is one of Nigerian’s strongest passions. The love for football goes beyond watching matches to the banter that connects consumers online and offline.
According to Adedeji, every fan believes they know what’s best for their team and always have something to say about managers and coaches’ decisions. The Budweiser Game of Kings aimed to create a unique experience for consumers.
She noted that consumers get to have a say on what happens on the pitch by being the team managers of Kings FC captained by John Terry and Kings FC, captained by Roberto Carlos. And for the first time, both international players played alongside Nigerian Professional Football League players.
As the official beer of the Premier League and Spanish La Liga, the aim was to bring two international football greats from the Premier League and La Liga. And after months of research among football fans in Nigeria, we identified John Terry and Roberto Carlos as two international players who have impacted the Nigerian players and fans over the years and they both formed the perfect duo for the campaign.
She explained that the idea by Budweiser was to use the opportunity to put the Nigerian professional league under the spotlight. We decided to partner with the Nigerian Professional League. Allow our very own professional league players to play alongside the international legends on the same pitch.
She said that the campaign was successful beyond our expectations. Budweiser gained massive media attention and every football lover was excited to be a part of the campaign. Several fans were at the stadium and millions watched the match from their homes on television. The match was broadcast across NTA Network, STV Network and SuperSport Channels on GoTV and DStv. Others also watched online on YouTube and other Budweiser social media platforms.
Budweiser created a first of its kind experience for the Nigerian professional league players and fans with a series of events that they will live to remember for a long time.
“As the official beer of the FIFA World Cup, Premier League and Spanish La Liga, Budweiser’s commitment to creating unique football experiences in Nigeria remains intact and, we are planning something even bigger for the World Cup year in 2022.
“Consumers interested in becoming managers were required to look under the crown cork of Budweiser for the unique code that gives them a chance to participate in the draw to become managers. Successful consumers selected from the draws received invites to audition for the manager position,” she said.
”The audition panel consisted of officials from the National Professional League organising committee. The audition panel, therefore, conducted the interviews to determine the managers.
“Budweiser is committed to consistently bringing consumers new and exciting experiences. To stay in touch, I will suggest you follow our social media pages @BudweiserNigeria.
“Football is one of the platforms that unite the world, and it is a strong passion point of Nigerian consumers. Budweiser is therefore committed to bringing consumers elevated experiences and joy.” She concluded.
Firm Honours Jonathan With Wrestling Competition, Other Sports
Renew Empire Group of Companies based in Republic of Turkey and Bayelsa State, in Nigeria, says it would commemorate former President Goodluck Jonathan’s birthday with a wrestling competition, other sports and cultural displays annually.
Speaking with newsmen in Otuoke, home town of the former president, at the weekend, Managing Director/CEO of the company, Engineer Gospel Obolo identified sports as having the capacity to reduce crime and criminality in the society.
According to him, wrestling is the number one sports in Ijaw-land, adding that no meaningfully engaged youth would take to crime.
“We’ve been planning this event for almost a year now. We decided to take a date which would coincide with the celebration of our icon, former president’s birthday so as to use these wrestling and the other sporting and cultural activities to commemorate his birthday by drawing the attention of the world.
This is the maiden edition,but we intent to carry out this programme annually.With sports,we can create jobs for our teeming youth and other unemployed citizens of this country,” Engr. Obolo said.
The Tidesports reports that the maiden edition of the event which was tagged, ‘Ibe Onin’ is expected to last for 17 days and has since begun with musical performance by notable artists and mock traditional wrestling trials.
In the same vein,the Paramount ruler of Otuoke, His Royal Highness, Ariwareni Paul(Oke xi) has also described the idea behind the event as unique.
The monarch who spoke through the second deputy paramount ruler of the community, HRH Mirobebh Dogood Akpufu decried the spate of youth restiveness in the area, saying that an event of this magnitude would not only curb youth restiveness, but can also create jobs for youths.
He commended the organisers for the feat, just as he noted that Bayelsa was blessed with abundant talents and tourism potentials waiting to be harnessed for the economic advantage.
By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa
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