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2014 W/Cup: S’Eagles Stun Nigerians With Victory

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As if waiting to be written off
and derided before showing their true colours, the Super Eagles as Nigeria on Saturday night forced many Nigerian football fans to eat their words and have a change of opinion over the chances at the ongoing FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014.
After a pathetic opening day performance against upstarts, Iran in which the Nigerian team eked out a scoreless draw, most fans were quick to give up on the team. Despite initially tipping the African champions to join Argentina as qualifiers from Group F, the insipid display against Iran eroded the confidence of many Nigerians.
But, just like in South Africa, during the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, the Eagles, after being scorned, raised their game in the second outing and piped the Edim Dzeko led Bosnia and Herzegovina 1-0, even if it was with a huge slice of fortune to be in pole position for the second Group F ticket for the knock out stage.
The rejected stone, as it were, Osaze Odemwingie, it was he who scored the crucial winner to give Nigeria a chance and hope for a second round outing, the first since France 1998 world cup.
Now, the cumulative sins of coach Stephen Keshi and the Eagles, since the World Cup friendlies have taken a slight in the minds of the fans and the team super again, even if the signs of the team’s past frailties still remain visible.
Not a few Nigerians are now, as against the opening match feelings, expecting the Super Eagles to berth in the second round, even anticipating a victory or draw against Argentina and one Lionel Messi on Wednesday.
According to one football fan Josiah Asiedu, who said he reluctantly stayed up late to watch the match the Nigeria/Bosnia and Herzegovina game, “the Super Eagles surprised him with their improved performance”. He said that the players showed renewed purpose and spirit that apparently took the opponents by surprise and urged them to maintain the tempo in subsequent matches.
For Augustus Ajere, a businessman and ardent football fan, “The inclusion of Osaze Odemwingie from the onset and the new found pace of the Eagles lifted Nigeria over their opponents. The aggression and determination noticed in the players also contributed to the success”.
Though most of the fans spoken to by the Tidesports singled out Odenwingie, Emmanuel Emenike and particularly keeper Vincent Enyeama as the cornerstones of the team, they believed that the victory was as a result of a better team work.
Keshi was also advised to seek ways of improving the team’s tactical play, especially, build up play, target shooting and marking. The fans believe that with the new attitude in the team, Nigeria can withstand Argentina and even surprise themselves in the competition.
Nigeria will tackle Argentina While Iran locks horns with Bosina-Herzegovina on Wednesday in the last Group F matches. The Super Eagles need to avoid defeat or Iran fails to beat Bosnia-Herzegovina to be guaranteed passage to the round of 16.

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Expert Wants Parents To Enroll Children In Vector Programme

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In a bid to have more young talented Nigerians to play professional football abroad, Johnny Ogbah, a sports lawyer and football intermediary, has called on parents to enroll their children in Vector Programme.
He stated that the programme is in conjunction with Conventry Football Club in United Kingdom (UK), saying that the programme includes academics where a child can acquire a degree.
Ogbah, made the call while addressing sports journalists recently in Port Harcourt, as the programme will admit students into Brooke College between the age of 11 and 18 Football Academy.
The major objective of Vector Programme is to give the young ones a career through sports and good education. The programme does not train people on football only but also other things that is related to sporting environment, he said.
According to him,  more than 20 Nigerians have benefited from the programme on scholarship and most of them are now playing football in top clubs in Europe.
“Vector programme was poised to create an avenue to give people to play football to the highest level.
Apart from football the child can also have quality education. It will interest you to know that those in Vector programme play friendly games that attracts scouts from different countries and football clubs.
The programme doesn’t train you on only football but also train people on everything that is associated to sports”, Ogbah said.
The former Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) player further disclosed Vector programme pathways provides the practice opportunities that players need if they are to successfully graduate as a professional player.

By: Tonye Orabere

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NLO: Khana FC Coach Blames Players For Missing Chances

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The Head Coach of Khana FC in Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State, Sam Ledor, has blamed his players as they were unable to convert scoring chances.
According to him, if those chances created in their opening match against Jet Bomber FC at the ongoing Nation wide League One (NLO), in Omoku centre were  converted, it  would have given them victory.
Ledor, said this on Saturday in a chat with Tidesports shortly after they played goalless draw against Jet Bomber FC in their opening match in 2024 NLO Division in Omoku, Rivers State.
“ We created a lot of scoring chances but could not find the net”, he said.
He explained that playing goalless draw is not a bad result in football but in a competition like this, they need to score goals and win matches.
“ My brother, we missed a lot of scoring chances which is not good. I trainned my players  on how to create chances and to convert them.
“ What is important in a competition is winning but as we did not lose the game,  we will look forward for our next game.
“We will go back to the drawing board and correct the grey areas in our game and ensure we get better results in our next outing.
“Today’s game is gone, what we need to do is to make sure we win our next game,” he stated.
He pointed out that no game comes easy but the effort you put in will give good result. They tried their best today and the result was good for both teams but we need to win our next game.
“My opponents were also  a good side; they tried all what they could but didn’t score also. It was a good game but my team needs to win games,” he added.

By: Kiadum Edookor

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Wilkins Backs Rivers Hoopers To Spring Surprises At 2024 BAL

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A French-American, John Walter Wilkins is confident Rivers Hoopers can make it to the playoff round of the 2024 Basketball Africa League (BAL).
Wilkins, who is the son of former NBA player Jeff Wilkins, linked up with his Hoopers teammates at the team’s training camp in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, ahead of the 2024 BAL Savannah Conference games, which tip off on Saturday, 4th May, 2024, in Dakar, Senegal.
Wilkins is no stranger to African basketball, having played for Moroccan sides AS Salé (2015-2016) and Ittihad Tanger (2017-2019), before leading Stade Malien to a third-place finish at BAL 2023.
Looking ahead to the 2024 BAL, Wilkins says the quality of basketball across Africa has improved, with the BAL requiring a high level of competitiveness, but backed Rivers Hoopers to spring a surprise at the tournament.
“It’s a really high level, a great competition; [it’s] one of the best I’ve played in since I’ve been in Africa. But we don’t need to be scared. We need to just attack the moment, be there, be present, and I think if we are confident in our abilities, we can surprise people,” he said.
Since its inaugural season in 2021, Nigerian teams have appeared twice at the BAL, with Rivers Hoopers playing in the inaugural edition of the tournament in 2021 and Kwara Falcons featuring at BAL 2023.
Despite failing to reach the playoffs on both previous occasions, Wilkins is optimistic that with the quality of players in the Hoopers squad as well as the recruitment done ahead of the BAL, Rivers Hoopers will be more competitive in this season’s BAL.
“I’m really optimistic. I know that those past years the teams from Nigeria didn’t do well, but I think with me, Kelvin [Amayo], Will [Perry], and the other guys, I think we can show the way, have some wins, and be more competitive,” he stated.
The Nigerian Champions were drawn in the Savannah Conference alongside former BAL Champions US Monastir (Tunisia), last year’s runners-up AS Douanes (Senegal), and APR (Rwanda).

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