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Abandoned in London as a kid, Nigerian-born Efe Obada now earns $575,000 with Panthers

Efe Obada’s journey from Stockwell to the NFL was not easy. A refugee from Nigeria, he was reportedly trafficked from the Netherlands to the United Kingdom at the age of 10.

He was left homeless and then placed into foster care in Lambeth. In foster care, he bounced from one home to another.

Obada, now 27, didn’t pick up a football until his early 20s, let alone play college ball like most NFL draft prospects. At the age of 22, when he was working in a North London warehouse, a friend recommended that the 6ft 6in Obada try the British American football team, the London Warriors’ training session. He was scouted shortly after, and the rest is history, Brixtonblog has narrated.

According to the NBC, the coaching squad was immediately impressed with his speed, especially considering his 6-foot-6-inch frame. One coach, who had been an intern with the Dallas Cowboys, flagged Obada to his former team and recommended they offer him a tryout.

After just five games of experience with the Warriors, the Cowboys signed Obada to its practice squad in 2015.

He was sent from Dallas to the Kansas City Chiefs to the Atlanta Falcons before finally landing in Carolina in 2017.

After years on the sidelines, Obada played in his first NFL game last season as a Carolina Panther — and he seized the opportunity. Playing defensive end, he posted a sack and an interception in his debut game. His performance earned him the game ball from head coach Ron Rivera and the distinction of being named NFC Defensive Player of the Week.

His story is far from complete: Obada needs to prove his ability on the field in order “to extend his work visa beyond the one year, $570,000 contract he signed with Carolina in January. If he doesn’t get re-signed or find another opportunity, he will have to move back to London,” UK Mirror reports, quoting the ESPN.

The stakes are high — but for Obada, it fuels the fire. “He practices 100 miles per hour,” Rivera said.

As Obada put it: “I go hard every time.”

On Sunday (today), the Carolina Panthers will play the division-rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. Kick off is set for 9:30 a.m. ET.

For the 27-year-old Brit, Sunday’s meeting with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will mark the first time he has played on UK soil as an NFL player and takes him back to the place where his football journey started.

Although he has visited his hometown several times since making his NFL debut last year, it is easy to see how much this particular trip means to him as he looks around visibly struggling to express his emotions, Mirror has reported.

Despite being new to the game, it didn’t take long for the 6ft 6 defensive lineman to make an impression and for those at the Warriors to see that he possessed many of the qualities needed to play at a higher level, such as the hunger and the eagerness to improve.

“When we got the kit on him and got him into practice, his speed was just silly for a guy that size,” says Simon Buckett, who was the team’s special teams coordinator and defensive backs coach at the time. “I haven’t seen anyone come to the Warriors before or since with that size and that kind of speed.” Buckett said.

One of the biggest sources of support for Obada at the Warriors both on and off the field was then-defensive coordinator Aden Durde, who made an early impression by giving him a pair of cleats.

“Just having Aden invest himself and his time – taking time out of his family and investing in someone he didn’t really know – was amazing,” Obada says.

“I’ve never had any role models, any male figures investing time in me, and that was very impactful, so I stuck it through.

“He sold me a dream. At the time, there was no other opportunities for the NFL. It was just solely ‘Okay – you want to play American Football – let’s train and let’s try and get you better,’ and I bought into it.”

NFF shocked by death of former U23 skipper, Isaac Promise

The Nigeria Football Federation has described as ‘shocking’, reports on the evening of Thursday that former Nigeria U20 and U23 captain Isaac Promise had died.

NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, said the Federation and indeed the entire Nigerian Football was greatly saddened by the report, coming less than 48 hours after two women footballers of Nigeria Women Professional League side, Police Female Machine FC of Uyo were crushed to death by a hit-and-run Jeep driver after a training session in the Akwa Ibom State capital.

“This has been a tragic week for Nigerian Football. Isaac Promise was a very disciplined, energetic, committed and patriotic player who gave his all everytime he put on the green-and-white.

“We do not know yet the cause of death, but we mourn his untimely passing at such a young age. Our prayer is that Almighty God will grant his soul eternal rest and also grant those he has left behind the fortitude to bear the big loss.”

Promise was captain of the Nigeria U20 squad that won the 2005 African Youth Championship (later renamed U20 Cup of Nations) in Benin Republic with a flourish and finished as runner-up at the FIFA U20 World Cup in The Netherlands the same year, losing narrowly to Argentina (complete with Lionel Messi) in the final.

He also captained the Nigeria U23 team that won silver medals at the men’s football tournament of the Beijing 2008 Olympics, again finishing second behind Lionel Messi-led Argentina.

Lionel Messi wins best men’s player of the year

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi won the best men’s player at the Best Fifa Football Awards in Milan as Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo and Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk missed out on the top prize.

It is the sixth time Messi has been voted the best player in the world.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp won the men’s coach of the year.

Klopp was nominated for the award along with two other Premier League bosses – Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola and Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino.

Liverpool beat Spurs in the Champions League final in June and came second in the Premier League in 2018-19.

Messi: See the Stats
Messi: See the Stats

The Reds have also won all six league matches at the start of 2019-20.

“It is great, nobody expected this 20, 10, five, four years ago that I would be standing here,” said Klopp.

“We know what an incredible job you [Mauricio Pochettino] did and what Pep did. I have to say thank you to my outstanding club Liverpool FC.

“To the owners thank you, they gave me an incredible team. I have to thank my team – as a coach you can only be as good as your team is. I’m really proud of being manager of such an incredible bunch of players.

“This is an individual prize, I don’t 100% understand individual prizes, I’m here for a lot of people.”

In accepting the award, Klopp announced that he is joining the Common Goal initiative set up by Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata. It means the Reds boss will donate 1% of his salary to the charity, which pledges to “generate social change and improve lives”.

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson was also a winner as he took the best goalkeeper prize ahead of Manchester City’s Ederson and Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa won the fair play award after he ordered his team to allow Aston Villa to score an uncontested equaliser during their 1-1 draw in their Championship match in April.

Bielsa’s side had gone ahead controversially when the Villa players stopped as they expected the ball to be kicked out of play when Jonathan Kodjia was injured, before the Argentine intervened.

Eighteen-year-old Daniel Zsori won the Puskas award for the best goal with his spectacular 93rd-minute overhead kick for Debrecen against Ferencvaros, just after he came on as a substitute for his Hungarian league debut in February.

His strike beat Messi’s chip from the edge of the penalty area against Real Betis and Juan Quintero’s powerful 30-yard free-kick for River Plate against Racing Club.

ICPC may arraign NFF Pinnick, Dikko over alleged fraud

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) may arraign the President, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick and Shehu Dikko for alleged fraud.

Pinnick and Dikko, 2nd Vice President NFF, are presently being investigated by the commission over alleged FIFA grant misappropriation.

ICPC spokesperson, Rasheedat Okoduwa said this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday.

NAN reports that the commission had on its twitter handle, posted that “ICPC places under investigation, mansion belonging to Amaju Pinnick, President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) located in Park View Estate, Lagos.

“The Commission has also placed a mansion in Maitama, belonging to Dikko under investigation.”

Okoduwa explained that the commission so far has reasonable suspicion that the emoluments that have been earned by the NFF officials could not have bought those houses.

“Investigating around assets probably acquired through proceeds of crime is one of the first steps in corruption investigation,” she said.

While noting that the commission was proceeding with the investigation, Okoduwa said that when completed, the press would be briefed on the details.

“Our official have proceeded with the investigation, when they are ready, they will let me know and I will tell you people.

“We want to keep things under wraps for now so that we don’t expose too much information that will jeopardise the investigation.

“There is something about investigation, when you let out information, if for example we say this is what we are investigating against some people, those people can go and tamper with documents relating to the matter.

“In that case, the investigation will not be concluded, or take much longer to be concluded,” Okoduwa said.

On possible arraignment of the NFF officials, Okoduwa said that “they can only be arraigned after the investigation.

“Arraignment is when we are ready to go to court and we have all the facts, and if the investigation points to the direction of arraignment and they are indicted, they are real suspects, then we take them for arraignment.

“If after the investigation, they were able to prove to us that they got the houses legitimately and they are cleared of other allegations,

I deserve more Ballon d’Or awards than Messi, says Ronaldo

Juventus forward, Cristiano Ronaldo, said he deserves to end his soccer career with more Ballon d’Or awards than his Barcelona counterpart, Lionel Messi, and hopes to establish himself as the greatest player of all time.

Ronaldo, 34, has won the renowned France Football magazine trophy for the world’s best player five times – as many as Messi – but is eager for more as he moves into the twilight of his career.
“Messi’s in the history of football,” Ronaldo told broadcaster Piers Morgan in an interview with Britain’s ITV on Tuesday.

“But I think I have to have six or seven or eight to be above him,” he said, referring to the Ballon d’Or awards.
“I’d love it, I think I deserve it.”

The Portugal captain said he was no friend of the Argentine, but credited his rival for helping push him further in his own career.

“My relationship with him is, we are not friends, but we have shared this stage for 15 years,” Ronaldo said.

“I know that he has pushed me to be a better player and I have pushed him to be a better player as well.”

Ronaldo, who also played for Manchester United and Real Madrid, has five UEFA Champions League winners’ medals, and led Portugal to victory at the 2016 UEFA European Championship and 2019 UEFA Nations League tournaments.

“I don’t follow the records, the records follow me. I’m addicted to the success, and I don’t think it’s something bad, I think it’s good,” Ronaldo said.
“It motivates me. If you’re not motivated, it’s better to stop.”

Raheem Sterling could match Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, says Pep Guardiola

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says Raheem Sterling could be capable of reaching the level of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

After two fine displays for England this week, national boss Gareth Southgate said Sterling has the potential to become as good as the duo.

Guardiola says “nobody can compare” with them currently but that Sterling should aspire to reach that level.

“It would be a dream for him, for all of us,” said the Spaniard.

“If Raheem can target that level – wow.

“We will be here to help him and of course he can do it but I will not be the guy to put limits to cancel it, to say ‘don’t, don’t think about that’. No, absolutely not – I want it.

“But right now, nobody in all the clubs in the world can compare with these two guys and what they have done every single week during 10 years.

“They are absolute legends and nobody can compare, nobody.”

Sterling has scored eight goals in eight appearances for club and country this season, including in both of England’s Euro 2020 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Kosovo.

Guardiola says he hopes Sterling does not get distracted by the praise for his performances.

“I’m so happy for him, for the way he’s playing here and with the national team, but hopefully he won’t read too much,” he said.

“He cannot listen to these kind of things – that wouldn’t be good for him, because nobody can compare with Cristiano or Messi.

“I’m so happy with what he’s done since we’ve been together, not just right now. Everything that has happened to him has been good because he has an incredible work ethic and is an incredibly nice guy. I’m delighted for him.”

Guardiola rules out defensive signings

Guardiola also said Manchester City were unlikely to sign a defender in the January transfer window despite having just two fit senior centre-backs.

It was confirmed on Friday that French defender Aymeric Laporte will be out until February after knee surgery.

That leaves City with just Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones as centre-backs, following the departure of Vincent Kompany to Anderlecht.

MOTD analysis: Does Guardiola trust Stones and Otamendi to cover for Laporte?
“We are going to survive with the players we have,” said Guardiola.

“My advice to you is not to write too many names about the winter transfer window because you are going to make a mistake. I don’t think it’s going to happen.

“I heard already we are interested in this player or the other player but I would like to say to all the clubs in the world don’t be nervous, because we are not interested in any players or central defenders in Europe.”

England defender Stones could play at Norwich City on Saturday in the 17:30 BST kick-off after recovering from a thigh injury that has kept him out since the opening game of the season.

Kano club buys player for N5,000

Super Stars, a division two football club in Kano state, has signed Ibrahim Iriyos, a player, for N5,000.

According to BBC Pidgin, Iriyos accepted the offer because Super Stars Club plays in a division that is higher than Aston Villa Gano, his former club.

The transfer is said to be the most expensive in the town.

Super Stars reportedly picked interest in Iriyos when he trained with them while Aston Villa Gano was on break.

The striker was said to have scored many goals.

Aston Villa Gano is a football club in Dawakin Kudu Local Government Area for Kano State. The same town where the Super Stars club is located.

 

Bianca Andreescu denies Serena Williams quest for 24th Grand Slam

Serena Williams’s quest for a 24th Grand Slam title came unstuck again as teenager Bianca Andreescu won her first major in a gripping US Open final.

Williams, 37, could not cope with the 19-year-old Canadian’s quality in a 6-3 7-5 defeat.

Andreescu, seeded 15th, lost a double break in the second set before taking her third match point and falling to the ground in disbelief.

“This year has been a dream come true,” Andreescu told the crowd.
Again, Serena Williams fails to match Margaret Court’s tally of all-time major wins, defeated by Bianca Andreescu in US Open final
Bianca Andreescu

“I am beyond grateful and truly blessed. I’ve worked really hard for this moment. To play on this stage against Serena – a true legend of the sport – is amazing.”
To the disappointment of a stunned home crowd, Williams has now lost four successive major finals.

“Bianca played an unbelievable match,” Williams said. “I’m so proud and happy for you, it was incredible tennis out there.”

Williams, seeded eighth, looked edgy throughout as she aimed to match Australian Margaret Court’s tally of all-time major wins, handing over three of Andreescu’s five breaks of serve with double faults.

By contrast, Andreescu – playing in the US Open main draw for the first time – played with the confidence which has marked her out as a star in a stunning breakthrough year.

She is the first Canadian to win a tennis major and the first teenager to win a Grand Slam since Maria Sharapova claimed the 2006 title at Flushing Meadows.

She is the first teenager to win their maiden Slam since Russian Sharapova at Wimbledon in 2004.

Andreescu kept her nerve to take a third match point with a forehand down the line, dropping her racquet to the ground and then, after a warm hug with Williams, lay on the court with her arms spread out as she contemplated her achievement.

After returning to her feet, she used a hastily-arranged step ladder to climb into her player’s box and embrace her nearest and dearest, including parents Nicu and Maria.

‘Have sex now, get two-week paternity leave for Euro 2020’

Although Euro 2020 tournament will commence June 2020 in 12 cities across Europe, with the final played at Wembley, England fans are already planning a big way to lap it up.

They are plotting how to secure two weeks at home just to watch Euro 2020.

The fans are sharing the top tip on social media, and it is a very simple strategy — get your wife or girlfriend pregnant before mid-September and, pronto, you can expect a baby in time for the championships and enjoy two-week paternity leave.

As reported by the SUN, three Lions fans are sharing the top tip on social media pages dedicated to football.

One male initiated the tip: “Heads up: If you get your missus pregnant in the next week, you can get two weeks off for paternity leave during Euro 2020.”

One supporter commented: “Don’t forget the women who are having the babies. Some will like football as well!!”

Messi ‘can leave’ at end of season – Barca president

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu said on Friday the Spanish giants are not worried about Lionel Messi’s future, despite the Argentinian star being able to leave the club at the end of the season.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner signed a new four-year deal with Barca in 2017, but Bartomeu says he is free to end his contract beforehand.

“Leo Messi has a contract through to the 2020/21 season, but the player is able to leave Barca before the final season,” Bartomeu told Barcelona’s in-house television channel.

Samuel Eto’o retires after 22-year playing career

Samuel Fils Eto’o, Cameroon’s football legend, has hanged his boots from the game after a 22-year playing career.

Eto’o took to his Instagram page to make the announcement on Friday after leaving Qatar SC earlier this year.

He is arguably Africa’s most decorated player — a title held in fluid contention with Nigeria’s Kanu Nwankwo.

“The End. Towards a new challenge… thanks to all of you… big love.”

The 38-year-old is best remembered for his glittering spell at the Nou Camp, helping the Spanish giants to win three La Liga titles and two Champions League triumphs.

The former African Player of the Year joined Inter Milan in 2009 where he won the coveted European crown for a third time – this time under the guidance of Jose Mourinho.

Among his 13 professional teams he played for, he had a short stint with Chelsea and Everton.

Eto’o, who is regarded as one of the greatest African players of all-time, earned his first international cap a day before his 16th birthday on March 9, 1997.

He scored 56 goals in 118 appearances for Cameroon.

Eto’o was a part of the squads that won the 2000 and 2002 Africa Cup of Nations and was a gold medalist at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Australia.

Eto’o was voted African Player of the Year four times, a joint-record he holds with former Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure.

Caster Semenya begins ‘new journey’ at football

Embattled athlete Caster Semenya has traded her running shoes for football boots after joining JVW Football Club in the South African SASOL League.

The two-time Olympic 800 meter champion has been barred from defending her world 800m title in Doha this month unless she takes hormone-suppressing drugs.
And while her athletics career is on ice, the 28-year-old has been training with JVW in eastern Johannesburg.

“I am grateful for this opportunity and I appreciate the love and support I already get from the team,” Semenya said on the club’s website.

“I am looking forward to this new journey, and hopefully I can contribute as much as I can to the club.”Semenya is not able to play first team football for the club this season as the transfer window has closed. Instead she will have to wait until 2020 to make her debut should her hiatus from athletics continue for another year.

JVW founder and South African women’s captain Janine van Wyk, who has recently signed with Danish outfit Fortuna Hjorring, said she was “extremely elated to have such an iconic athlete” join her ranks.

“I welcomed her at her first training session with the team on Tuesday,” she said on the club’s website. “I was impressed to see that she definitely has all the fundamentals.”

Semenya is fighting a case against the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) after the institution approved the International Association of Athletics Federation’s (IAAF) new testosterone limit for female athletes.

Under the rule, all athletes with a difference in sex development should reduce their blood testosterone to a specific level for at least six months — and then maintain that for the rest of their athletic career — in order to compete in events from 400 meters to a mile.

South African Semenya, who has naturally elevated levels of testosterone, has remained “steadfast in her defiance” of the rule, according to a statement released by her representative in July.

Formula 2 driver Anthoine Hubert killed in crash at Belgian Grand Prix

Formula 2 driver Anthoine Hubert has died after a crash at the Belgian Grand Prix, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) has confirmed.

The Frenchman’s car was hit at high speed by Juan-Manuel Correa’s at Spa-Francorchamps. They were treated by emergency medical crews before being taken to a medical center.

Hubert, 22, died at 6:45 p.m. local time, the FIA said, while American Correa remains in a stable condition and is being treated at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (CHU) de Liege hospital.

The third driver involved, France’s Giuliano Alesi, was declared fit at the medical center. The race was canceled soon after the crash occurred on lap two.
Formula 2 is a feeder series for Formula One and is seen as the final step before progressing to F1.

Hubert, who won two races this season and the Formula 3 championship last year, drove for BWT Arden and was an affiliated driver for the Renault Formula One team.

Teams and drivers from across the motorsport community paid tribute to Hubert, with former F1 world champion Jenson Button calling the youngster “super talented.”

Ndidi returns for Leicester … Iheanacho, Balogun missing

Super Eagles midfielder Wilfred Ndidi returned to the starting line-up for Leicester City who defeated Bournemouth 3-1 in their Premier League clash at the King Power Stadium on Saturday

Ndidi, who missed the Foxes last league game against Sheffield United due to injury. featured for 90 minutes in the game.

It was Ndidi’s third league appearance for Leicester City this season and he has scored once.

His international teammate, Kelechi Iheanacho was not listed for the game by the hosts.

Iheanacho has now been left out of the matchday squad by the Foxes for their last three games in all competitions.

Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy was involved in all three goals as Brendan Rodgers’ side beat Bournemouth 3-1 in an end-to-end contest at the King Power Stadium.

Leicester, who were industrious both on and off the ball against the visitors, move provisionally up to third in the table with eight points after four games.

“We were worthy winners I felt,” Rodgers said. “I’m so, so proud of them. They gave so much against a very good side.

“Vardy is a top-class striker. From the day I walked through the door, he’s been amazing. It was a difficult (first) goal today… on the bounce, his connection and finish.”

Isaac Success featured as a substitute in Watford 1-1 away draw against Newcastle United.

Success replaced the Hornets goal scorer in the game, Will Hughes in the 71st minute.

The other Nigerian at the club, Tom Dele-Bashiru failed to make the matchday squad for Watford in the encounter.

At the Etihad Stadium, Leon Balogun was left out of the matchday squad for the fourth consecutive game as his club, Brighton&Hove Albion lost 4-0 to Manchester City.

In other fixtures, West Ham United defeated Norwich City 2-0 at the London Stadium, while Crystal Palace edged 10-man Aston Villa 1-0 at the Selhurst Park.

Koulibaly’s own goal hands Juventus dramatic win to ruin Napoli comeback

Napoli defender, Kalidou Koulibaly, scored an injury-time own goal to hand Juventus a 4-3 Serie A victory in Turin on Saturday after the visitors had fought back from three goals down.

Goals from Danilo, Gonzalo Higuain and Cristiano Ronaldo gave the Italian champions a 3-0 lead with less than half an hour remaining.

Napoli refused to give up as Kostas Manolas and Hirving Lozano scored within two minutes of each other before Giovanni Di Lorenzo completed a stunning comeback.

But Koulibaly volleyed a free kick into his own net in stoppage time to hand Juve an early advantage in the Serie A title race.

Juventus face a trip to Fiorentina next after the international break, while Napoli host Sampdoria.

Bayern fire six past hapless Mainz for second win in a row

Bayern Munich scored six times in a span of 45 minutes to come from a goal down and crush visitors Mainz 05 6-1 on Saturday.

The result saw Bayern climb to seven points from three games, two off the top.

Benjamin Pavard’s fine volley in the 36th minute cancelled out Mainz’s lead through a Jean-Paul Boetius header and launched Bayern’s sustained attack.

A sensational David Alaba free kick on the stroke of halftime turned the game around before Ivan Perisic gave Bayern a two-goal cushion with a header at the far post in the 54th minute.

Kingsley Coman stabbed in their fourth 10 minutes later and league top scorer Robert Lewandowski also got onto the scoresheet, firing in his sixth goal in three league matches in the 78th.

Substitute Alphonso Davies completed the rout two minutes later.

RB Leipzig are top on nine points after their 3-1 win at Borussia Moenchengladbach on Friday.

Liverpool triumphs with record-breaking win at Burnley

Premier League leaders Liverpool set a new club record of 13 straight top flight wins with a 3-0 victory at Burnley on Saturday, maintaining their two-point advantage over champions Manchester City.

After Burnley started brightly, with forward Chris Wood forcing an early save out of Adrian, Liverpool got ahead in the 33rd minute, albeit in fortunate fashion.

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s attempted cross from deep on the right hit the back of Wood and looped over Burnley keeper Nick Pope into the far corner.

If Sean Dyche’s side felt luck was against them with the opener, they had only themselves to blame when they handed Liverpool a second goal four minutes later.

Burnley skipper Ben Mee passed straight to Roberto Firmino, who burst forward and then slipped the ball left to Sadio Mane, who finished with precision into the bottom corner.

Firmino wrapped up the win nine minutes from the end, driving past Pope after good work from Mohamed Salah, who skipped past two challenges before setting up the Brazilian.

The club’s previous record run was set between April and October 1990, when the team was managed by Kenny Dalglish.

Nigeria finishes second in 2019 All African Games

After 15 days of intensive competition, the curtain will fall on the 12th African Games tonight in Rabat.

Team Nigeria was conveniently occupying the second spot on the medals table at the close of events on Friday night.

Only two events are yet to be completed.

The position will certainly not change, but there would be additional medals for events not concluded.

Team Nigeria ended Day 15 of the ongoing African Games on a high as its medal haul increased to 126 (46 gold, 33 silver and 47 bronze medals) at the end of proceedings.

Egypt occupied first spot with 102 old medals while South Africa was third with 36 gold medals.

Sade Olatoye was Nigeria’s only individual gold medalist on the last day in athletics as she emerged victorious in the women’s Shot Put. Her first-round attempt of 16.61m was good enough for the gold. It was Olatoye’s second medal of the Games, having won bronze in the Hammer Throw.

In men’s Javelin, Nnamdi Chinecherem won bronze, throwing a distance of 73.24m.

On the track, Divine Oduduru failed to meet the expectations once more as the sprinter once again finished 2nd with a 20.54s clocking in the men’s 200m final.

Nigeria’s other representative, Ogho-Oghene Egwero, was 6th in 21.00s. Zambia’s Sidney Siame won the race with 20.34s.

Nigeria’s only athlete listed to run in the women’s 200m final, Rosemary Chukwuma, did not take part in her race.

In the women’s 400m Hurdles, Abasiono Akpan rallied her way back into contention as she was able to claim bronze for her efforts. She clocked 57.66s.

Nnamdi Chinecherem won bronze in men’s Javelin, throwing a distance of 73.24m. It is his first senior medal, having won gold at the African junior championship in April.

Nigeria women’s 4x400m made up of the quartet of Patience Okon-Geroge, Blessing Oladoye, Kemi Francis and Favour Ofili combined to run a time of 3:30.32s which fetched them gold.

MEDALS  TABLE

For the men, they settled for bronze in 3:03.42s.

After her earlier heroics, Ayomide Bello showed how good she is in the C1 200m Women Final of Canoeing. She returned a time of 50.51s to win the event. She also teamed up with her compatriot Foloki to win the doubles in the event.

Nigeria on the last day of action in weightlifting got more medals. Obeyi Joseph was the first to clinch the medal as she settled for bronze in the women’s +87kg (245kg), Snatch (105kg) and Clean-Jerk (130kg) classification. In the same vein, Olawale Barde won bronze in the men’s 102kg (343kg), Snatch (158kg) and Clean-Jerk (185kg).

Also, Tijani Abdul secured bronze in the men’s +109kg (323kg), Snatch (180kg) and Clean-Jerk (143kg).

Finally, Nigeria scooped two gold and two silver medals in weightlifting. Daniel Amaas proved too strong for The Gambia’s Mbal Cumba as he edged him 3-1 to win gold in the men’s Freestyle 65kg Finals. Also, Emmanuel John pipped Sami Mustapha 3-1 to claim gold in the men’s Freestyle 74kg final.

Soso Tamurau lost to Egypt’s Hosam Meghany 3-1 to win the men’s Freestyle 97kg final, while Ebikewemimo Wilson was overpowered by Algeria’s Abdelhak Khebache in the men’s Freestyle 57kg final.

On a rather dissaponting note, Nigeria’s wait for a first gold medal since 1973 in the men’s football event continues as the Flying Eagles, who represented the country, lost to Burkina Faso 2-0 in the final.

Nigeria also finished second at the last edition of African Games in Congo Brazzaville albeit with 47 gold medals.

Neymar’s picture in new Barca kit leaked

Neymar’s wish to return to Barcelona looks to have been granted after one of the Brazilian star’s sponsor put a photo of him on social media in the Catalan side’s new shirt.

While the post, uploaded to Instagram by watchmaker Gaga Milano who boast Neymar as a brand ambassador, was deleted minutes after going live, it appears to all but confirm an agreement has been reached for him to leave Paris Saint-Germain.

Neymar left Barcelona for £198million in 2017 but has grown unhappy in Paris in recent months and has made no secret of his desire to return to La Liga.

While the move is seemingly close to completion, Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde admits he will be glad to see the transfer window close on September 2.

Speaking to Sport, Valverde said, “I am looking forward to Monday. We can all take a break (from transfer talk) then.

“He’s a PSG player and we respect our rivals, but I will repeat we’re looking forward to this all coming to an end.”

Neymar is yet to play for PSG this season as his future remains unresolved but he has appeared in good spirits during training at the club’s base.

Despite winning four major titles across two seasons in France, Neymar has reportedly been keen on a departure and the post by Gaga Milano looks to suggest his time in Paris is over.

If the deal does go through he will also team up with fellow Barcelona new-boy Antoine Griezmann who completed a £108m move from Atletico Madrid during the summer.

He will also reunite with Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi, the three attackers having formed a lethal combination together at the Nou Camp.

Together they won two La Liga titles, in 2015 and 2016, as well as the 2015 Champions League.

The 27-year-old spent four seasons in Spain, scoring 101 goals in 185 games, before leaving for the Ligue 1 champions.

Feet ‘N’ Tricks names Fashanu, Ikpeba, others as Ambassadors for 2019 African Freestyle Football Championship

Feet ‘N’ Tricks International Limited, organisers of the Nigerian and African Freestyle Football Championships, has named its ambassadors for the 2019 African Freestyle Football Championship to hold in Lagos between September 14th and 15th,  2019.

Former professional English footballer, John Fashanu; former Nigerian footballer, Victor Ikpeba; Nollywood actors, Tonto Dikeh and Williams Uchemba are some of the brand ambassadors for this year’s competition.

Others are Nigerian street dance sensation Poco Lee; hype man/MC, Kunle Oshodi-Glover popularly known as Shody; ex-Big Brother Naija contestant and ex- Big Brother contestant, Iwuchukwu Marianne Ahneeka.

Chairman of Feet ‘n’ Tricks International, Mr. Valentine Ozigbo, who expressed delight while announcing the ambassadors, noted that the company is on a mission to make Africa the home of freestyle football.

According to him, this informed the organisation’s decision to work with creative and like-minded ambassadors who embody the high energy and vigour displayed in freestyle football.

He said, “Over the years, our selected ambassadors have demonstrated great leadership qualities and have continuously been a part of societal development and youth empowerment across Africa. With their exemplary dedication to the growth of football and entertainment, we trust their ability to engage and inspire our audience as well as promote freestyle football.”

He also noted that since its inception in 2017, Feet ‘N’ Tricks has recorded rapid growth while its championship events were recognized as the Freestyle Football Championships with the widest live coverage globally in 2018. “This year, we returned more grounded as our just concluded regionals – which held in Lagos, Owerri, Warri, and Abuja – pulled in more than 200 freestylers from across the regions with select freestylers in the male and female categories qualifying for the National Championship round,” Ozigbo announced.

The National competition of the 2019 African Freestyle Football Championship slated for the 14th and 15th of September, 2019 at the Balmoral Convention Center, Federal Palace Hotel, Lagos, is expected to be a perfect fusion of Freestyle Football and Entertainment, with over 120 participants, and will feature musical performances, dance competition, and other side attractions.

This event is endorsed by World Freestyle Football Association and proudly sponsored by SuperSport, Red Bull GmbH, Heritage Bank among others.