‘Osimhen impressed by Napoli project’

first_imgVictor Osimhen’s representative has confirmed that the Lille forward is ‘very impressed’ by what Napoli have to offer. “Then he met the coach, Gattuso: they talked about the Napoli project and he was also very impressed on that occasion. “Today he’ll meet the President, Aurelio De Laurentiis. He was impressed by Naples and its people, even though the tour around the city was short. “However, everything went in the right direction. Now, all we need to do is make a decision about the lad’s future. read also:Osimhen ‘pressured’ into Napoli move “I’m not sure what Napoli’s fans think of him, but I knew that everyone who crossed paths with him was very happy to see him in the city. “I thought that was very nice of the Neapolitan people. I’m convinced the fans would also really like Victor’s style of play and that could impact positively on his final decision.” FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 Osimhen has been in Naples since yesterday, when he met coach Gennaro Gattuso at the club’s base in Castel Volturno, amidst talk of a €70m deal being in the pipeline. Osita Okolo, who is also the Nigerian’s brother-in-law, admits the trip is going so well that they are meeting President Aurelio De Laurentiis today. “Yesterday, when he arrived in Naples, he headed straight to his first meeting with the club,” Okolo told Radio Punto Nuovo. “On the way, he watched people walking around the city streets and confessed to me that he was positively impressed.Advertisementcenter_img Loading…last_img read more

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George Redelman August 19, 1959 – March 31, 2020

first_imgGeorge Edward Redelman, age 60 of Lawrenceburg, Indiana passed away at his home Tuesday, March 31, 2020. Born August 19, 1959 in Hamilton, Ohio the son of Arnold “Flick” and Juanita (Myers) Redelman.George, a 1977 graduate of William Henry Harrison High School, attended St. Lawrence Catholic Church, and was a 4th Degree Knight with the Knights of Columbus William Kreis Council 1231 in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. George also volunteered at the Community Center and the Community House in Lawrenceburg.George is survived by his mother Juantia Redelman, children Andrea (Eddie) Vignale and Rob (Kortney) Redelman. Grandfather of Makenzie and Ryan Vignale and Dalton and Ethan Redelman. Brother of Kenneth Redelman, John (Faye) Redelman, Julie (Greg) Schafer and Leah (Barry) Anderson.George is preceded in death by his father Arnold “Flick” Redelman, brother Eric Redelman, and sister Janet Schaible.All services will be for immediate family and by invitation only, Visitation will be held Friday evening, April 4, 2020 from 5:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. at Jackman Hensley Funeral Home 215 Broadway Street Harrison, Ohio 45030 and Mass of Christian burial will be at 11:00 A.M Saturday, April 5, 2020 at St. John the Baptist Church 10010 Carolina Trace Rd. Harrison, Ohio 45030. Burial will follow at Glen Haven Cemetery in Harrison, Ohio.Memorials may be directed to the Knights of Columbus William Kreis Council 1231 Lawrenceburg, Indiana c/o the funeral home.Due to the COVID-19, if you are not feeling well, or those who have compromised immune systems which in anyway increases the chance of complications from the COVID-19 virus are strongly encouraged to stay home. We will be uploading the recorded service to our website for all those who cannot attend and posting it via Facebook live. Everyone is encouraged to sign the online guestbook for the family at jackmanhensley.comlast_img read more

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EPL: Tammy Abraham, Mount seal vital victory for Blues

first_imgRelatedPosts Ighalo: My best moment as ‘Red Devil’ Ings not interested in leaving Saints, Southampton manager says Live stream Premier League, La Liga, Serie A on Showmax Pro this weekend Returning Tammy Abraham shone a light on a winning combination for Chelsea but they failed to make it easy despite limping over the line against Aston Villa in a vital victory at Stamford Bridge.Having seen West Ham nullify his side at the weekend, Frank Lampard was searching for some inspiration to break down Villa and it initially came in the form of Mateo Kovacic.The majestic Croatian assumed playmaking duties in the absence of Jorginho, sweeping the ball between the lines for Christian Pulisic and Mason Mount to scurry towards goal. Each move proved a little too intricate though, leading to the more obvious route at goal through Reece James.Relentless at advancing into the final third against West Ham – with a monstrous eight dribbles and nine crosses – James resumed that role in his third start in a week. It yielded the opener after Kovacic reset the play and found James, who, after a neat one-two with Willian, flipped it over the top for Abraham to cushion beyond a stranded Heaton.Villa’s enthusiasm did not dip though, with Jack Grealish always willing to receive the ball and the No 10 proved influential in the build-up to the equaliser with half-time approaching: feeding John McGinn on the edge of the area before Ahmed Elmohamady’s cross was fortuitously bundled in by Trezeguet.After a subdued first half, Mason Mount started the second half reinvigorated, lurking dangerously just inside the area, Abraham cushioned a cross into his path, which was swatted powerfully into the roof of the net. Another goal from the alertness of Abraham inside the box.Willian almost added breathing room for the hosts when his delightfully curled free-kick arrowed towards the top corner, only for Heaton to nudge it on to the post and back across goal. Villa scrambled it clear and when Abraham hobbled off they found their second wind, marching down the pitch and hoisting the ball into the area for Wesley to half-win, sparking chaos.A poorly-cleared corner dropped to Elmohamady on the half-volley, but his wild effort sailed into the away fans.There was time for one last scare as nerves spread like wildfire in the closing stages around the Bridge, but Kepa Arrizabalaga dropped low to deny a well-directed Douglas Luiz header and confirm a precious win. Tags: Christian PulisicPremier Leaguelast_img read more

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Ronaldo’s brace sees Portugal past Latvia 3-0

first_imgPORTUGAL’S Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice, taking his tally in the World Cup qualifiers to 11, to help them claim a somewhat flattering but important 3-0 win away to Latvia yesterday.Portugal’s fifth successive win in Group B left them with 15 points from six games but still three behind leaders Switzerland who beat Faroe Islands 2-0 to maintain their 100 percent record.Ronaldo, Portugal’s all-time leading scorer, took his tally to 73 goals for his country after another decisive performance. The forward even had time to hug a young supporter who invaded the pitch to meet his hero.last_img

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Shahin Nouri: The Swiss Racing for Nigeria

first_imgMotorsport may not be popular in Nigeria, yet at the last Lamborghini Super Trofeo Championship in Belgium, the Nigerian flag was not only hoisted, its national anthem was also rendered. It was the first for any African country in the history of motorsport– all courtesy of Swiss-born, Shahin Nouri, who chose to race for Nigeria as against his native country, Switzerland. Kunle Adewale reports on why Nouri chose to race for Nigeria, his plan for motorsport for the country and his ambition to climb the podium as champion in the European Lamborghini ChampionshipMotorsport, which was initially leisure for Shahin Nouri has now become a serious business. “When I was a kid my dad was always watching Formula1 on television and that was how I got hooked up. I realised I had some talent to be a good racer. In 2007, I had the opportunity to sit in a racing car, and from then on, there was no turning back and I became very serious with it. Initially, I was doing it as a hobby until 2013 when I started serious racing. In my second race, I won and since then there was no turning back,” he recalled.In his latest race in Belgium on the F1 circuit of Spa-Francorchamps, Nouri, racing for Nigeria, emerged winner and for the first time in the history of motorsport and African Nigeria’s national anthem was rendered. For ‘Fine Boy Racing’, as Nouri is fondly called by admirers, it was an amazing feeling winning on one of the most challenging tracks in motorsports– the most loved track among the racing drivers.Asked what he did differently in his preparation towards the Belgium on the F1 circuit of Spa-Francorchamps, he said: “What I did differently in my preparation was that I did a lot of simulations; I did one in Geneva and another one in Monaco with my coach and we did six hours simulation daily. It was very tiring because it involves a lot of mental process. I have to learn the layout of the track, the breaking points and the turns.”On how long training he puts in before a competition, he said he trains all year round to keep in shape to know how to react vis-à-vis the setup of the car.“It’s an ongoing thing because if you stop racing, you will need another six months of vigorous training to be back to your best. The track in Belgium is one track with lots of hills, unlike on a flat track that you drive on the same level of elevation. There are turns on the track that are very challenging and it takes a lot of courage to go on a maximum speed especially on the turns,” he noted.It is not common to see a white man compete for an African nation and Nouri was always confronted with the reason for his choice to compete for Nigeria as against his country of birth–Switzerland.“People always ask me why I do put the Nigerian flag as against Swiss flag whenever I am competing, but I tell them that I live in Nigeria and I am very proud of the country. Also I want to prove to the world that Nigeria is a great place to live in. My family is in Nigeria and my wife is a Nigerian. I am very proud to live in Nigeria and be the country’s ambassador in motor racing. I also want to correct the erroneous impression of the Western world that Nigeria is not a safe place to live in. I’m very proud to be living in Nigeria. It’s a country with great opportunities, though its image is not palatable outside but I’m very proud to be representing Nigeria. I see myself as a good ambassador of the country and I can do whatever any Nigeria can do.“I don’t see Nigeria as big security risk as presented by the western media, though we have the issues of Boko Haram and the likes, but fortunately we don’t witness them in Lagos where I live, which for me is safe. Honestly, I feel safer in Lagos than when I travel to a city like Paris. In Lagos, I know how and where to go to, but in Paris I don’t whether it’s safe to go to a neighbourhood at a particular time. As for security issues, we have to live within our environment, be careful and be on our toes.“I don’t think am more careful in Lagos than in Paris or in New York. On the whole, I think Nigeria is safer than any country in Latin America,” he said.In spite of his achievements in motor racing and how much he has portrayed Nigeria’s image in good light with the sport, the government of Nigeria has not acknowledged his effort, but he is not losing any sleep over this.“Nigeria has its problem for now; the country is also in a very difficult situation economically, but I am sure at some point I’ll get some form of recognition from the government. If you look at my car, it was completely branded in Nigeria’s colours with a Nigerian flag on it. I’m not pressuring anyone; I am just doing it for the love of doing it. It makes me happy when people see me, a white man representing a black country. After all, in football there are lots of African players playing for France, Switzerland, Italy and many other European countries, but now it’s the other way round. It gives me a lot of joy,” he said.On what is doing to make motorsport more popular in Nigeria, he said.“What we should do in Nigeria is to put in some infrastructure in place, construct a racing track for young talents. On my part, I am already making enquiries on how to go about making the sport more popular in Nigeria. For now, we don’t have a learning or racing centre.“Nigeria is the number one country in Africa and I don’t see why we cannot have proper racing track. No doubt, it is capital intensive but with government support, it could be achieved with a land proposed in Lagos or Abuja. Government could also use Motorsport to promote tourism, which would also boost the economy of the country. There is also another series called Formula E, it is like Formula 1 but with electric car and it is done inside the city. Maybe Lagos State government can delve into that and be the first to host the event in Africa.”Recalling how he felt after coming out tops in his last race, he said: “I was super happy, when I was driving on the last lap knowing I had won. Though, no member of my family was there, and maybe it was good for me because there was no distraction but I was constantly getting in touch with them. My wife has been very supportive of me and the children were very happy because they were watching the race live on television. On the podium I was feeling great.”In spite of the risk involved in the sport, the Swiss-born motor racer would not discourage any of his children if they decide on motorsport for a career.“All my children are very interested in motorsport as they watch all my races. They are already into it; so, if they want to go fully into it why not? It’s risky but if you do it properly it’s okay by me. As long as they are not just crazy going into it just because they want to go fast because motor racing is not just about going fast. You have to be prepared. It’s like running a company. You have to ensure the foundation is there, that the talent is there and you are quick enough.“The logistic have to be there it’s not just about running. It’s not just about jumping into a racing car; it’s really about preparation, logistics and planning. So, if they really have the right mind set, why not. But they must focus on their education first,” he said.Asked about how he came about the name, ‘Fineboy’, he said, “When I was doing my racing licence, I asked my wife what name to put on my licence to represent Nigeria and she said, ‘Why not Fineboy?” And before then, sometimes when I’m travelling from Lagos to Abuja at the airport some attendants would look at my direction and say ‘fineboy, come here: And I thought it is a good name and that was how I adopted the name ‘Fineboy Racing’.”His wife is a third-generation Nigerian with her great grandfather, late Michael Elias, who came to Nigeria in 1886.At the end of his racing career, Nouri would want to be remembered as being a proud Nigerian. As someone that promoted and showed good side of the country to the outside world.The story of Nouri would not be complete without mentioning famous Brazilian Fomula1 driver, Ayrton Senna. Watching Senna race inspired the Swiss-Nigerian so much that he always wanted to be like him, if not better. His death was however a sad moment for Fineboy Racing.He is hoping to come up tops in the overall championship and one day win the European Lamborghini Super Trophy.“Thanks to those good results I recorded in Belgium, I was first in the first race and was second in the other race, which earned me a lot of points and now I am second placed in the overall championship with only two points behind the first person with two rounds of four races left,” Nouri said.His next race is slated for September 17 and 18 in Germany and another race in December in Valencia, Spain. His focus now is to do well in those races to overtake the current number one racer– Trendy Steve. Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

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Players’ Union Queries Shift of AFCON 2021 Back to January

first_imgJonas Baer-Hoffmann, the secretary-general of world players’ union FIFPro Players’ representatives are worried that moving next year’s Africa Cup of Nations to January will create difficulties for the continent’s footballers, but say there is no easy solution as to how to fit the competition into the calendar.Host nation Cameroon announced last week that the 24-team competition would take place in January and February because the original June/July slot coincided with the rainy season.However, this means European clubs will have to release players in the middle of the season which was described as a catastrophe by Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Jonas Baer-Hoffmann, the secretary-general of world players’ union FIFPro, said that neither period was ideal as June/July would have been sandwiched between the revamped Fifa Club World Cup and the start of the European season.“With the Club World Cup being pressed into the calendar, we thought it would be unacceptable for the players to be playing all of those competitions in succession,” he told Reuters on the sidelines of an International Labour Organisation conference.“But (January/February) has also proved over the last few years to be very difficult because you are asking players to step away from their club environment for weeks.”He said that missing weeks of the club season was a challenge even for star players while, for those battling for a place in the team, it would be “very, very difficult”.“Ultimately, we need to have a conversation about aligning all these tournaments to the four-year cycle. That will create a little bit more space and a bit more room for compromise between national team and club obligations,” he said. “Right now, it feels like there is not a really good solution.”The Afcon, traditionally held every two years in January and February, was moved to July for the 2019 edition in Egypt to avoid clashing with the European season, but this prompted complaints about the heat.Former Cameroon international Geremi Njitap, who won over 100 caps and is now the head of his country’s players’ union Synafoc, said some players might quit their national sides rather than miss club games.“It will put the players in a tough position… some players will resign from their national teams,” the former Real Madrid and Chelsea player told Reuters. “And if a lot of teams lose their players, it will devalue the competition.”He said it might also make it more difficult for African players to earn moves to European clubs.“Once the club realises he will go to the national team, his chances of being signed will drop,” he said.He said that a four-yearly tournament would be the best solution. “It’s better to organise every four years and find a fixed period, not change all the time,” he said.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

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Brock finishes career as one of Badgers’ best

first_imgHere’s the set, the wind and the delivery … swing and a miss, strike three, batter’s out.These are the sights and sounds that UW fans have become accustomed to over the past four years when senior hurler Eden Brock steps into the circle. When Brock’s career is all said and done, she will likely go down as one of the best pitchers to ever don a Wisconsin softball uniform.”My goal has just been to be successful,” Brock said.Her numbers indicate that she has accomplished her goal.As a freshman, Brock made an immediate impact, collecting 12 victories and finishing with an impressive 1.71 ERA.In her sophomore year, Brock had perhaps her best season at Wisconsin, guiding the team to the NCAA tournament. She not only started a career-high 33 games, but also earned her first 20-win season. Along the way, she struck out 135 batters — a stat she would repeat as a junior.Last year, Brock won 18 games, and pitched 21 complete games for the Badgers.This year, her numbers continue to impress. Brock set a new career high in strikeouts, and currently has 165 on the season with a few games remaining. She also has 14 victories, and her ERA stands at 2.04.Over the span of her career, she has collected 500 strikeouts, placing her in elite company; she is just one of three players in program history who can make that claim.The numbers, however, don’t tell the entire story.The ace pitcher contributes her success on the field to hard work and dedication off the field, and she feels that her coaches have been instrumental in getting her where she is today.”Just being adaptive to what’s going on and being able to change and listen to what the coaches say has really helped me,” Brock said. “Just learning how to pitch to batters at a higher level and work around them a little more has helped me the most.”Not only has Brock worked diligently to improve her own game over the years, but now, as a senior, she has been put in charge of helping freshman pitcher Letty Olivarez transition to the collegiate game.Olivarez has started 17 games for the Badgers, and has shown signs of promise under Brock’s tutelage, as has Leah Vanevenhoven, another of the team’s young pitchers.”She’s in there talking to [Letty] in between innings about what she should be doing, what she should be looking for, how to practice,” assistant coach Julie Wright said. “They work together in the bullpen, and she does the same thing with Leah.””I just try to help them out whenever they have problems,” Brock added. “We all talk to each other, we all help each other out. Whoever’s pitching, the other two pitchers have her back. … We kind of work together to help each other out in any way we can.”Even though Brock and Olivarez’s pitching styles differ, with Olivarez throwing more rise balls and Brock utilizing drop balls, the freshman has been able to gain valuable lessons from the senior.”On days when I’m pitching, she’s always there to comfort me,” Olivarez said. “Even when I’m having bad days, she’s like, ‘Oh Letty, you’re okay. Just do this to fix this.’ She’s always there to pick me back up.”With more than 100 starts in her college softball career, Brock has gained a tremendous amount of confidence and poise on the mound. This mentality has helped her to be the foundation for the Badgers year in and year out.”From her freshman year to now, the biggest difference … is that she truly wants that ball,” Wright said. “She’s taken charge on that mound and she wants it every pitch, every inning, every game. … She’s taken on that challenge from us to be our number one, to go out there and lead our young pitching staff, and to lead our team.””I’ve seen her improve most on her confidence, and just being comfortable on the mound,” catcher Joey Daniels said. “I think one of her best qualities is she is able to maintain composure in sticky situations.”Needless to say, it will be tough for the Badgers to replace Brock, who plans to move back to Florida after her senior year in pursuit of her off-the-field goal: graduate school for counseling psychology.”She’ll leave a huge hole,” Wright said. “She’ll have some shoes that are very large that we’ll have to fill, and we’ll miss her presence on the mound.”last_img read more

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Ground attack: Syracuse looks to stop Stony Brook’s vaunted running game

first_img Published on September 13, 2012 at 4:03 am Contact Michael: mjcohe02@syr.edu | @Michael_Cohen13 The game against Western Illinois still stands out to Scott Shafer. Five jobs and more than a decade ago, Shafer was a member of the Northern Illinois coaching staff when his Huskies took on a Football Championship Subdivision team with a slew of former Division-I players.He runs through the breakdown with ease: six kids that started their careers in the Big Ten, Southeastern Conference or Mid-American Conference only to wind up at Western Illinois.“If you look across the board, there are a lot of kids that signed Division I and transferred,” said Shafer, the Syracuse defensive coordinator.But he has faced perhaps no FCS player with more D-I accomplishments than running back Marcus Coker, who ran for 1,384 yards in his sophomore season at Iowa in 2011 before transferring to Stony Brook. Now Coker is part of a loaded Seawolves (2-0) backfield that averages 411 rushing yards per game and should provide a test at 4 p.m. Saturday inside the Carrier Dome as Syracuse (0-2) looks for its first win of the season.It would be easy for the Orange to pay no mind to the rushing statistics Stony Brook accumulated through its first two games, writing them off to a lower level of competition as part of the FCS. But Syracuse linebacker Dan Vaughan said any team that rushes for 521 yards and nine touchdowns, as the Seawolves did last week against Pace, must be taken seriously.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“Any time you face a team that can put up close to 600 yards of offense, I don’t care what level it’s at,” Vaughan said. “That’s a big deal.”Though Coker’s name carries the most clout, he is certainly not the only Stony Brook tailback who can run wild against an opposing defense. The Seawolves have four different rushers with more than 140 yards already this season, including Miguel Maysonet, who leads the team with 225 yards and a touchdown.Coker, who is still adjusting to a new scheme and new teammates, scored in the season opener against Central Connecticut and earned the start last week against Pace.“I think Maysonet is probably a little bit more shifty, and Coker will run it right down your throat,” Shafer said. “They are a little bit different, they really are. But they are incredibly competitive. You can tell that they’re fighting for reps, too.”Shafer said that Stony Brook’s offensive line is a strong one led by sophomore center Mike Lisi and junior right tackle Michael Bamiro. He highlighted Lisi’s athleticism and ability to pull around the edge as two of his strengths, and said Bamiro’s 6-foot-8-inch, 345-pound frame is simply monstrous.Put together, the line guided the Stony Brook offense to the top of the FCS in total offense with 591 yards per game through the first two weeks of the season — nearly 50 yards more than any other team in the country.“They’ve got a bunch of big old offensive lineman there that have played a lot of football that do a good job pulling,” Shafer said. “They try to get you on the edge, and then those (running backs) can slash it back against the grain. They’re a very good offense.”It presents Syracuse’s defense with a platform to stifle a unit that is yet to be contained in 2012. Defensive tackle Jay Bromley said any team that comes into a game determined to run the ball 60 or 70 times — the Seawolves ran it 57 times last week — is disrespecting its opponent.So Bromley and Co. plan to come out fiery on Saturday, prepared for a physical battle with bragging rights up for grabs if the Orange can become the first defense to slow down Stony Brook.“We can’t let anyone come in and run the ball down our throats,” he said.Yet that will undoubtedly be Stony Brook’s goal, as the Seawolves’ quarterbacks have attempted only 25 passes through two games. To put that in context, SU’s Ryan Nassib threw 65 passes in Week 1 alone.That’s why Bromley said the plan is to hit Stony Brook’s offensive linemen hard on Saturday and hopefully shut down the run. He said the Seawolves have no interest in passing the ball, and if the Orange can force them to do so, the game will likely be tilted in Syracuse’s favor.Every defensive lineman loves to take on a quarterback like Southern California’s Matt Barkley, since it’s a chance to get a few sacks against a pass-happy offense. But it’s the smash-mouth game that linemen love, so Saturday should be fun.“This game is not on the linebackers, it’s not on the defensive backs, it’s on us,” Bromley said. “They want to put their hand in the ground and run the ball, so we have to show them that we’re not going to back down from anybody.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

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Gov Obaseki, Here’s Why You Need Ogbe Hard Court and Bendel…

first_imgThe rewards will be huge. I understand that as a businessman Obaseki may want to fully turn sports over to private business people, but that may not be the solution, especially in a country where we do not have tried and tested sports management companies. What should happen instead is a transparent partnership between the state and the private sector. For sports to be successful, facilities have to be brought up to decent contemporary standards and only the government can fund these, as Lagos State is beginning to do today. If Edo finds the right private sector partners, their investments will be repaid several times over. Even in the United States where there is no sports ministry and the industry is largely run as private enterprise, public sector infrastructural funding is still huge.So how can sports and the revival of Bendel Insurance and Ogbe Hard Court benefit Edo State? Let us look at the economic picture first. Imagine tens of thousands of people visiting Benin City every year to experience quality sports, imagine the boost to business for hotels, bars, local transportation, healthcare (sports medicine), eateries, suppliers of sports facilities, media, and tourism, as Benin City remains one of the best examples of Nigeria’s rich history and culture. Then add sponsorship and other forms of commerce. When they return to the top-flight, Bendel Insurance is a brand that can attract Nigerians in the diaspora. This can translate to a rich market for merchandising and broadcast rights. It all depends on the game you want to play. There is also more money in African football these days, with the CAF Champions League winners pocketing $2,500,000. Think about new jobs that will be created, boosting employment and disposable income as well as the state’s IGR. The club can also make a lot of money grooming and selling players to clubs around the world.Socio-culturally our young are in dire need of quality Nigerian heroes. Growing up our heroes were the Odizors and Kadiri Ikhanas. Who can forget the fever that gripped this nation when Odizor reached the last 16 of Wimbledon in 1984? Who can forget the Bendel Insurance heroes that crushed Rangers 3:0 in the 1978 Challenge Cup finals? Today, the heroes our children have are foreign. An Edo teenage boy may not know one player in Bendel Insurance but can name half the Manchester United, Arsenal or Chelsea squad. People miss the cultural damage this inflicts. Today we have a generation of young people who know little or care little about this country, and think they have to be western wannabes to matter, and these are our leaders of tomorrow.Sports also give cities character, the kind that Benin City needs to fight a lingering negative reputation for kidnappings, prostitution and student cult violence among others. These brands would serve to promote the state across the world. The culturally rich Benin City has for too long been in the shadows in Nigeria, and sports offer the one platform to bring it back to the center of national discourse. In addition, sports are a wonderful way to promote camaraderie and unify people. Edo, like most Nigerian states, needs this.The way forward is not just to play in sports as a social empowerment tool, but to play big as a huge business opportunity. We are talking of a global industry whose earnings were projected to reach $143b in 2015, according to global giants PwC. The challenge for the governor though will be to get the right management team for these brands in a country where political and clannish considerations are placed way ahead of competence and the greater good. For one, civil servants should not run sports.Ours is still a culture where local sportspeople enjoy little respect. I imagine it would be a no-no for a “not-very-educated” sportsman to earn more than a permanent secretary, yet we live in a world were Brazilian player Neymar earns 515,000 GBP per week, which is probably more money than many PHDs would earn in a lifetime.A state investing in sports should however not mean free money to political jobbers and mercenary dealmakers as seems to be the case in many state-run sports businesses in this country today. That is why governor Obaseki needs a crack team comprising savvy financial, marketing and sports executives. Beyond assembling this team must be a sound business plan drawn up by the likes of PwC, McKinsey & Co etc. (expensive stuff) that becomes not just a guide on how to turn these brands into big money spinners, but a leverage with top local and foreign business partners and major sponsors. Nothing, for instance, says Bendel Insurance cannot have a long-term strategic partnership with a top English club like Tottenham or Chelsea. It would probably cost a fortune to prepare the groundwork, but with good funding and close scrutiny, over a five to ten-year period, Benin City would be at the heart of Nigerian sports once again, while the economics would make any man of finance sleep easy.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram The relatively new governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, is not your traditional politician. The 58-year-old made his name as a businessman playing the financial markets, before crossing over to politics. Hopefully this helps in the appreciation of my argument that Edo State should invest in bringing its once towering sports brands, Ogbe Hard Court and Bendel Insurance FC, back to life. Despite decades of neglect, both still rank among the best known brands in the entire country and should command a few billion naira in brand equity valuations. Bendel Insurance made their mark in football in the 70s to mid-80s, about the same time Ogbe Hard Court was arguably the most highly-rated tennis tournament in the country. The pair garnered a huge following back then when Nigerians passionately followed local sports. For my generation, who are now scattered around the planet, the sentiments linger. Though from Delta State, and the casualty of the decimation of this country into smaller, largely insolvent states, I still feel a deep connection to these brands. Ogbe Hard Court inspired many tennis stars from Bendel to rule our local tournaments and represent Nigeria creditably on the international stage. Among these stars were the likes of Nduka Odizor, widely regarded as Nigeria’s greatest tennis player to date, Veronica Oyibokia and David Imonitie. The exploits of Bendel Insurance remain the stuff of legend. Who can forget the Kadiri Ikhanas, the Felix Agbonifos, and the Henry Ogboes. These successes firmly planted Benin City in the national news for the right reasons: from secondary school competitions, through tertiary competitions, state and national competitions, the state, along with its Delta half, dominated or held its own against the best in the country.Those days may be long gone, but great brands hardly die easy. Even with successive administrations ignoring sports because of a failure to grasp the economic and socio-cultural value of the industry, a mention of any of these brands today still evokes deep nostalgic trips back in time. Few can doubt that the state would have lost plenty in financial and cultural terms by failing to leverage on these famous brands. Their slide into coma and the rise of foreign sports on our television, has done immeasurable damage to our country. However governor Obaseki has the power to change things, and the training to understand the economic and cultural benefits of this.last_img read more

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Fab-5 Football Challenge Set for Season Six

first_imgWhile commending the State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB, Lagos State Sports Commission, LSSC, and Barca Academy, Lagos, Amokeodo, said the programme had recorded a huge success based on the unflinching support from their reputable partners which stood firmly in helping to produce Nigeria’s future stars.The programme is proudly supported by Indomie Noodles, Access Bank, Fryda Limited and Ritefoods makers of Bigi Drinks.   Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram The 6th edition the Fab-5 Football Challenge tagged ‘The Evolution Series’ is back with a big bang. According to the Project Director, Dare Amokeodo, the Fab-5 Football Challenge has witnessed rapid growth and acceptance since its inception in 2012. Amokeodo, who explained that over 650 primary schools have featured in the football event, said the competition which started with public primary schools would include Junior Secondary and Private Schools categories. According him, the competition, correlates with the children’s- day celebration, said the two-day bumper-packed grand finale is coming up on May 31and June1. last_img read more

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