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Stop Looking For The Next Jay-jay, Okocha Urges Nigerians

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Former Super Eagles captain Austin Okocha has stated that the Nigerian obsession with finding a new ‘Jay-Jay’ has to stop.
The same position was echoed by his World Cup teammate Mutiu Adepoju, who has said that there is too much pressure on the national team’s young players.
The 47-year-old Okocha, who retired in 2008, admitted to news men recently that the lack of creative midfielders is holding the current Super Eagles squad back. He however asked that players should be allowed to develop and be themselves.
“We should support these players and let them flourish on their own instead of unfairly putting them under pressure by calling them the next this or that,” said Okocha.
“I think people need to stop the obsession with that new Jay-Jay label because it’s unfair on these young players.”
In recent years Under-17 World Cup winners Rabiu Ibrahim and Kelechi Nwakali, Joel Obi and Alex Iwobi have all been hailed as a successor to Okocha in the Nigerian midfield that many believe lacks flair and creative verve.
Okocha made his debut for Nigeria against the Ivory Coast in 1993, before going onto win Olympic gold three years later and then become the first Nigerian to play in three World Cups in 1994, 1998 and 2002.
The former Bolton, Hull City and PSG midfielder is regarded as one of the finest players to have emerged from the West African nation and his talent saw him win twice crowned the BBC African Footballer of the Year.
Midfielder Adepoju, who also participated in three World Cups with the Super Eagles, agreed that the local media and fans are guilty of putting too much pressure and spotlight on the young players.
“I believe calling young players in the youth teams as next Messi or Jay-Jay Okocha is unfair and unnecessary,” Adepoju who turned 50 this week reportedly said.
“Indulging in this comparison is setting them up for failure because the weight of expectations will definitely affect these players mentally.
“It’s the main reason some players refused to work hard and be themselves because they easily get carried away by what the press was writing about them.”
He says that he has seen plenty of younger talent that has not made the step-up to senior level over the last ten years.
“We’ve seen in the past decade that we have talented players all over the field, who can make our team tick again,” he explained.

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Euro 2024: Mikel Oyarzabal Clinches Victory For Spain

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Mikel Oyarzabal scored a late goal to give Spain a 2-1 victory over England in the Euro 2024 Final yesterday at Berlin’s Olympiastadion.
Coming off the bench, Oyarzabal scored the winning goal to give Spain a record fourth European Championship, their first since 2012.
Following a cagey first half in Berlin, in which neither team scored, Spain increased the intensity early in the second half.
A lovely infield shuffle from the 17-year-old Lamine Yamal followed by a cross-pass in the path of Spain’s left-winger, Nico Williams ended up as the opener.
Williams slotted the ball past Jordan Pickford at the bottom corner of the far post to make Spain go ahead of the game.
In the 70th minute, Cole Palmer was substituted in for Kobbie Mainoo.
The Chelsea player took three minutes to combine alongside Jude Bellingham for England’s equalizer.
The winner finally came via another substitute, this time for Spain, as Oyarzabal pounced onto a Marc Cucurella’s low cross from the left to see his team win the game.

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Napoli Reject PSG’s €200m Offer For Osimhen, Kvaratskhelia

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Napoli have turned down a mammoth €200m bid from Paris Saint-Germain for Super Eagles striker Victor Osimhen and his teammate Kvicha Kvaratskhelia.
According to Italian sources, the French champions tabled the mega offer in an attempt to secure the services of both players. However, Napoli are only willing to consider offers for Osimhen this summer.
PSG’s interest in both players is well documented, but Napoli remain firm in their stance regarding Kvaratskhelia. The Georgian international is considered indispensable, and the club have no intention of parting with him this summer.
Osimhen, who has been heavily linked with a move away from the former Serie A champions, has a release clause in his contract reportedly set at €130m. However, with a lack of concrete proposals, Napoli may be open to negotiating a lower fee for the Nigeria international.
PSG’s interest in the duo comes as no surprise, with the French side desperately seeking marquee signings to fill the void left by Kylian Mbappé’s impending free transfer to Real Madrid.

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Squash: Apata Tops Ladder At Lagos Country Club

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The Squash Section, Lagos Country Club recently held its annual 2024 WorkNigeria Squash Ladder tournament where winners emerged in various categories.
The nine-day tournament climaxed last Friday with Bunmi Apata becoming the number one on the gold ladder in the men’s category,
Funmi Bamkole, past president and a patron of squash topped the Ladder in the veteran category and the chairman of the section, Semoore Badejo came tops in the super veteran category.
In the female category, Mrs Abiola Kolawole came first followed closely by Moniola Gege and Mrs Wuraola Adeseun.
The just concluded annual tournament saw players playing a cumulative number of three hundred and forty-three games with Mr Adeboye Teriba winning the prize for the player who played the highest number of games. Kolawole Adeyemi won the prize for the most improved player of the tournament.
In his remark, the president of Lagos Country Club, Mr Seyi Adewunmi commended the high spirit of sportsmanship among the playing members and noted improvement on the standard of the game over the years.
He urged the sectional executives to keep raising the bar in subsequent tournaments.
Olufemi Oyebanjo, the managing director of Worknigeria, sponsors of this year’s Ladder tournament expressed satisfaction on the massive turnout for the event and members obvious enthusiasm towards the game of Squash.
This, according to him, resonates with the goal of the organization to ensure that it develops sound minds fit for the labour market. “When you engage in a rigorous sport like Squash, you are not only fit physically but, you are equally alert, mentally. And this ensures your productivity at your place of work”, he concluded.

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