Former international, Felix Owolabi, has expressed gratitude to the late Brazilian legend, Edson Arantes do Nascimento, popularly known as Pele, whom he said inspired him in his illustrious football career.
Pele passed on at the age of 82 on December 29, after a long battle with cancer at the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo. The late Brazilian icon remains the only player to have won the World Cup on three occasions.
Speaking to Tidesport source on Monday, Owolabi said the coming of Pele to Nigeria in 1977 was a blessing in disguise. To him, that visit was something that would linger in his memory forever, adding that the words he spoke concerning his football career made him an household name in Nigerian football.
“Pele’s visit to Nigeria was divine; divine in the sense that he prophesied into my life and it came to pass. I was playing for Raccah Rovers of Kano then and I can remember vividly when he was asked whether the team he played with had potential.
“His answer at that time was that he saw me as a potential for the nation. I remember he came to Nigeria with the Cruisero Football Club of Brazil in 1977. The team played against Shooting Stars, Raccah Rovers and the National Team. Pele himself played for and against the teams in each half.
“But that statement he made concerning me, which was captured on the pages of all the national dailies inspired me to get me to where I am today. I later followed his career and even bought his book. He was my role model because he was complete gentleman.
“Pele was also a ‘bulldozer’ on the pitch and a moving train. He possessed very good qualities and he mesmerised and passed through defenders at will. I watched Pele score many goals with bicycle kicks.
“The number 10 jersey was his exclusive reserve and today the jersey is regarded as a jersey for special players whose i nfluence on the field cannot be underestimated. His popularity cut across the length and breadth of the globe. He was a great player of repute, who commanded fame and popularity,” he said.
The former manager of IICC Shooting Stars, while commenting on the issue of who the greatest footballer of all time is, Owolabi said: “We should not for any reason and on any platform compare Lionel Messi and Maradona with Pele at all. Pele is the greatest footballer of this century.”
Napoli To Offer Osimhen €7m Yearly Contract
Napoli is prepared to break their wage structure to keep Victor Osimhen at the club and offer him a much bigger salary than he earns now, Tidesports source reports.
The Nigerian striker is having a great season at Napoli and has scored 14 times in 19 appearances in all competitions in the ongoing campaign.
He has been heavily linked with a move away from the Serie A giants next season, with multiple clubs across Europe believed to be interested in him.
According to reports in Italy, as reported by AreaNapoli, it has been claimed that Napoli are ready to break their wage structure to keep the striker beyond next summer.
They have a maximum salary limit of €3.5m per year for any player, but Napoli are prepared to make an exception for Osimhen.
The club are set to meet the forward’s representatives and offer him a contract worth up to €7m per season and Napoli believe it could help them convince Osimhen to stay on for at least one more season.
Although it is a huge contract offer by Serie A standards, Manchester United, who are keen to sign the Nigeria international, are in a position to offer him a lot more than that and Osimhen will surely want to test himself in the Premier League.
However, if he wants to leave, Napoli are likely to accept offers in the region of €120m for him next summer and with the remarkable form he is showing this season, there will be no shortage of suitors once the transfer window opens.
It is no surprise that the biggest clubs in Europe are eyeing the striker, as he is powerful, has pace and is a superb finisher with a career record of 80 goals in 171 outings, which is only expected to keep rising as he is still only 24.
Delta 2022: Bayelsa Offers Automatic Employment To Medallists
Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has announced a reward package for athletes that represented the state at the 2022 National Sports Festival held at Asaba, Delta State.
Bayelsa placed a historic second behind Delta, surpassing its earlier best position of third recorded at the 2020 festival hosted by Edo State in 2022.
Governor Diri, who received the state’s contingent on Wednesday inside the Executive Council Chambers of the Government House, Yenagoa, recalled that Bayelsa won 109 gold, 104 silver and 87 bronze medals.
This was contained in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, and made available to Tidesports source , the governor announced N1 million each to individual gold medallists and N750, 000 each for team gold.
He also rewarded individual silver medallists with N500, 000 and N300, 000 went to team silver medallists, while individual bronze medallists got N300, 000 and N150, 000 for each team bronze medallist.
Coaches and secretaries of gold medal teams got N500, 000 each, while their assistants got N300, 000 each. Those in silver category got N300, 000 each and their assistants N200, 000.
The governor also rewarded non-medallists with N50, 000 each.
He also announced automatic employment for those yet to be employed in the state sports council and directed the Ministry of Youth and Sports to work out the modalities.
We’ll Turn The Table Around In Subsequent Games – Nasarawa Coach
Nasarawa United Chief Coach, Abubakar Arikya, has assured fans and people of the State that they will turn the table round in their subsequent games in spite of their unimpressive performances in recent times.
The Solid Miners, as they are fondly called, lost 3-0 to visiting Akwa United on Sunday at the ongoing abridged 2022/2023 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Week three game, at Jos International Stadium, Plateau State.
Coach Arikya said this in his post match interview with sports journalists and made available to Tidesports through the club’s Media Officer, Eche Amos, shortly after his side lost to Akwa United.
According to him, he accepted the outcome of the game in good faith and hoped to turn around the situation for better in subsequent matches.
“It’s never our making to lose any game, however, we accept the outcome in good faith with the hope of turning around the situation for better in subsequent games.
“The boys (players) played very well in the first-half and we had a lot of chances but could not convert them.
“But the game changed towards the closing stage of the first half and the second half wasn’t good for us.
“In all, it’s a day we have to forget in a hurry and move on,” Coach Arikya said.
As it is, Nasarawa United has suffered three straight loss in NPFL, as they lost to Enyimba, Abia Warriors and Akwa United but the technical crew still believed that they will record winnings in future.
Nasarawa United will Saturday pay visit to Gombe United to play one of the week four games in NPFL scheduled to hold at different match venues in the country.
By: Tonye Orabere
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