Nigeria’s efforts at rebuilding its senior national team after the failure to qualify for the Qatar 2022 World Cup continues today in San Jose, where a new set of players will test their might against Costa Rica’s national team.
While Costa Rica is bound for the World Cup, which kicks off on November 20, the Super Eagles have arranged a series of friendly games to test their available materials with a view to building a team that would not be found wanting at crucial times.
The game against Costa Rica will be prosecuted by players who were not part of the team that failed to beat Ghana to the Qatar World Cup ticket.
The idea, according to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), is to see how many of the new players can fit into the emerging Super Eagles.
The Super Eagles’ delegation arrived in San Jose on Sunday evening ahead of the game, which will hold in the early hours of tomorrow.
The Super Eagles’ squad, who are lodged at Real Intercontinental Hotel, San Jose, is made up of mostly home-based players, some of who were drafted from the national U-23 team.
The match is part of major activities to send forth the Los Ticos to the FIFA World Cup finals in Qatar.
The game, scheduled for the National Stadium in San Jose, will kick off at 8.00 p.m. Costa Rica time today, which is 3.00 a.m. in Nigeria.
According to the NFF, players who excel in this friendly against Costa Rica would be drafted to the main team, which is billed to meet Portugal in another match three days to the World Cup.
The three-time African champions were initially scheduled to play Guinea Bissau in a double-header Africa Cup of Nations’ qualifiers in the FIFA international break.
But with the qualifiers postponed until March 2023 by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) last month, the NFF arranged the matches to keep the rebuilding process on the right path.
The match against Portugal will be the first time the countries will meet at the senior level, even though they played against each other three times at the U-20 World Cup with Portugal winning all three meetings (twice in 1989 and 2013).
Coincidentally, Cristiano Ronaldo and his team are in the same group with Ghana, who beat Nigeria to the World Cup ticket after playing a 1-1 draw with Nigeria at the Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abuja in March.
Tidesports learnt that Coach Jose Peseiro and his team would start preparations for the game against Portugal once the major European leagues begin their World Cup break this week.
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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