sports

THUNDERBOLTS AND SCREAMERS: THE STORY OF JAY-JAY OKOCHA AT FENERBAHÇE

So good they named him twice. That is what is commonly said about the brilliance of Jay-Jay Okocha. He is renowned for his fondness of the stepover and technical brilliance, particularly remembered for helping Bolton reach currently unimaginable European heights. What is less known, however, is the time the Nigerian spent honing his craft in the highly charged arena of Turkish football.Okocha’s European journey began in Germany playing in the lower leagues, before signing for Eintracht Frankfurt in 1992. It started well with a third-place finish in his debut season, however things turned sour under the reign of Jupp Heynckes. The German clashed with Okocha, as well as Maurizio Gaudino and Tony Yeboah, over a perceived lack of effort in training. The other two would be quickly sold, leading to Eintracht’s relegation at the end of the 1995/96 season, after which Okocha also left the club.His destination of choice was Turkish champions Fenerbahçe, with Okocha arriving for a fee of around £1m. He debuted in the first round of Champions League qualifying, playing the full 90 minutes of the first leg against Maccabi Tel-Aviv. Four days later he would score in his opening Süper Lig match against Samsunspor….

sports

Villarreal's Chukwueze Sheds More Light On Failed Moves To Arsenal, Porto, Salzburg

Villarreal winger Samuel Chukwueze has opened up on his failed moves to Arsenal, Porto and Red Bull Salzburg. The Diamond Academy product came to prominence at the 2015 FIFA U17 World Cup, winning the Bronze Boot as the third highest goalscorer of the tournament with three goals and three assists to his name.After the tournament in Chile, Arsenal had been in pole position for the services of Chukwueze, offering him a five-year deal following a successful medical he underwent with the club in London, but the proposed move collapsed after the Gunners and Diamond Academy could not agree on the payment terms.The Nigeria international also attracted concrete interest from Porto and Red Bull Salzburg in Austria but it was Villarreal that eventually won the race for his signature.Speaking philosophically, Chukwueze opined that the disappointment of not joining the three clubs worked out in his favour in the long run.He told the Super Eagles Media Team via YouTube : ''I have had setbacks, when I had so many options to sign with Porto, Arsenal and Salzburg but it didn't happen actually then I went back to my academy and started training allover again.''It was difficult for…

sports

'Iheanacho Is Very Similar To Muller' – Fans Hail Leicester Striker After Latest Goal

Super Eagles striker Kelechi Iheanacho continued his brilliant form in front of goal after scoring and assisting for Leicester City in their 4-1 win over Aston Villa on Sunday afternoon.The 23-year-old laid on a sublime through ball for strike partner Jamie Vardy after 20 minutes for the opening goal before getting on the blindside of Ezri Konsa to covert for his effort in the first period.The goal was his second in his second Premier League appearance this season and got football fans talking on the micro-blogging media.Below are some of the reactions :@GbadmanN: Kelechi Iheanacho with the classic finish. Assist from Maddison 1-2@ManlikeLaxx: Be like iheanacho, Man's been outta favour for over a year at Leicester, had his chance last week and he took it, an assist and a goal last week got him back in the starting lineup & he's done it again this week with yet another assist & another goal. That's how to take chances.@Mozay_esq: Seems iheanacho has found his feet again #Leicester@diaryofpersues: Kelechi Iheanacho is a player reborn.@Ayokunle01: I've always said it, Iheanacho is very similar to Muller…@BabaAs: Iheanacho Reinventing himself. BR man management is in another…

sports

EPL Wrap : Iwobi Goes 90 Vs Chelsea; Solanke Fires Blanks Vs Liverpool; Watford's Success Unused Sub

A round-up of Nigerian players that were in action for their respective clubs in the English Premier League on Saturday, December 7th.Nigerian players with dual nationalities and have played competitively for the senior national teams of other countries have been omitted.In the early kickoff, Everton ended a run of three successive defeats after beating Chelsea 3-1 at Goodison Park.Richarlison opened the scoring after five minutes before his teammate Dominic Calvert-Lewin added another two while Mateo Kovacic scored a consolation for the Blues.Nigeria international Alex Iwobi started and went the distance for the Toffees.At Vicarage Road, Watford and Crystal Palace played out a goalless affair.Isaac Success did not come off the substitutes bench for the Hornets while his compatriot Tom Dele-Bashiru was not in the match day squad.Elsewhere, Liverpool made light work of opponents, Bournemouth 3-0 at the Vitality stadium.Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita and Mohamed Salah were the goalscorers.Philip Billing and Dominic Solanke started for the Cherries, with Billing making way for Lewis Cook after 58 minutes. Jordan Ibe was a non-playing substitute for the hosts.

sports

Nigeria striker Oparanozie continues goalscoring form in Guingamp

The forward notched his third goal in three consecutive games but the effort was not enough to earn her side a win at homeDesire Oparanozie was on target in Guingamp's 1-1 draw with Dijon in Saturday’s French women's top-flight game.After scoring in successive matches against Paris FC and Montpellier respectively, the 25-year-old maintained their form against the visitors at the Stade du Centre de Formation.Oparanozie, who was making her eighth league appearance for Fredric Biancalani’s ladies this season, fired her side in front with just nine minutes into the match.

sports

Omeruo Reveals He Told Chelsea Star Tomori To Switch His International Allegiance To Nigeria

Former Chelsea defender Kenneth Omeruo has revealed that he asked Fikayo Tomori to switch his international allegiance to Nigeria before he became cap-tied to England. Both Tomori and Omeruo were part of Chelsea loan army last season and frequently exchanged messages via WhatsApp.The Super Eagles star completed a permanent switch to CD Leganes in the summer, while Tomori was brought into the first team fold by manager Frank Lampard after Chelsea were slapped with a transfer ban by FIFA, which was reduced to one window by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Friday.The one-cap England international has grown in leaps and bounds since returning to Stamford Bridge after successful loan spells at Hull City and Derby County.Speaking to The Sun UK, Omeruo explained : ''Tomori was a bit younger but he has really improved a lot. Unfortunately for him he chose England. I wanted him to play for Nigeria!''(The WhatsApp messages) were good, the boys could catch up and share videos whenever a player made it into team of the week or was man of the match. That was a good connection.''Tomori is the third Chelsea player of Nigerian decent now cap-tied to England,…

sports

Aribo: Okocha, Odemwingie Influenced My Decision To Play For Super Eagles

Joe Aribo says his decision to represent Nigeria on the international scene was inspired by the legendary duo, Austine Okocha and Osaze  Odemwingie.Aribo made his debut for the Super Eagles in a friendly match against Ukraine in September, scoring one of the goals for the three-time African champions in the 2-2 draw.The Glasgow Rangers midfielder followed up with another classy strike in the 1-1 draw against five-time world champions Brazil in October.Aribo stated that in a video posted on the NFF Youtube page that he enjoyed watching the Super Eagles while growing up in Europe.“Jay Jay Okocha and even Osaze Odemwingie inspired me and I really enjoyed watching them while growing up,”he remarked.He also  admitted it is a big challenge wearing the number 10 jersey vacated by former Super Eagles captain John Mikel Obi.“It’s a big challenge to take the number 10 jersey and it’s a challenge I’m willing to take and I intend to do what they (Mikel and Okocha) as number 10 have done in the past,”“I just want to be able to show what I can do in a game.”

sports

'He's Like A Mentor To Me' – Joe Aribo On Steven Gerrard's Influence On His Career

Nigeria international Joe Aribo has hailed Steven Gerrard for the influential role the Liverpool legend has played in his career. Regarded by many as one of the best midfielders to have played the game, Gerrard convinced Aribo to join Rangers despite the Nigerian attracting genuine interest from Championship clubs and abroad.Aribo highlighted that Gerrard has been acting as mentor to him since his arrival at Rangers in the summer.On his coach at Glasgow Rangers, Steven Gerrard and his prospects at the club, Aribo told the Super Eagles Media Team via YouTube : ''He's my manager but he's just so down to earth, so easygoing and he's like a mentor to me also, he just helps me, he gives me points on how to improve my game.''I don't really look too far but I'd just say I want to keep my head down, playing for Rangers, doing the best I can''. The former Charlton Athletic star revealed that he wants his opponents to be scared when they play against him. Aribo added : ''It's just being the worst person to play against, like your opponent is thinking to himself I don't want to play against this person today…

sports

YEDI helping Nigeria Rise To The Challenge

Founded in 2011, YEDI (Youth Empowerment and Development Initiative) is a Nigerian non-governmental organisation that supports children and young people aged 10 to 24, who are particularly impacted by the health, social and economic difficulties facing the inhabitants in Africa’s most populous country.Football is the most popular sport in Nigeria and the NGO has sought, since its foundation, to use the beautiful game to get key health-prevention messages across to young people, raising their awareness in particular of the AIDS epidemic afflicting the country.Nigeria's young people are especially vulnerable to AIDS and other diseases such as malaria and polio. Thanks to programmes tailored to different sections of society, football provides an entertaining and effective means of informing people about the kind of behaviour that they and others should be adopting.Since the foundation of YEDI in 2011, 200,000 young people have participated in the association's programmes which incorporate prevention messages about malaria, polio, AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.The Skillz Girl programme seeks to engage with young women aged 13 to 19. In playing football and taking part in other physical activities, they learn to make the right health and physical well-being choices, while also boosting their…

sports

BELGIAN-BORN HOT-SHOT WANTS TO PLAY FOR NIGERIA

Belgian-born red-hot striker Cyriel Dessers says he wants to play for Nigeria in what will be a boost for Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr.The 24-year-old, who plays for Heracles, is the leading scorer in the Dutch league with 11 goals and qualified for Nigeria through his mother.“There has already been contact with the Nigerian association. After the match against ADO Den Haag, the assistant from Nigeria sent me a message that I was doing well,” Dessers told Sporza.“But that is not going to be easy either because there are 300 million Nigerians worldwide. I have never been to Nigeria, also because the political situation has not been so calm in recent years.“The last year is only slightly better. I would like to go there and it would be twice as good to do that even if it’s only to play a friendly game against Madagascar or Mauritius.”The tall forward had had something of a journeyman career in Belgium and the Netherlands, but has scored 47 goals in 70 starts for NAC Breda, Utrecht and Heracles in the last three-and-a-bit seasons.