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USA vs. Nigeria Preview: Musa Doubtful; Omeruo, Echiejile Ruled Out

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Elderson Echiejile, Kenneth Omeruo and Ahmed Musa missed the Super Eagles training session at the EverBank Field, Jacksonville, Florida, ahead of Saturday night’s final World Cup warm-up before the team’s departure for Brazil.

The trio have certainly been ruled out of Saturday’s 11pm kick-off against the US national team (USMNT).

A scan result of Echiejile’s muscle injury is still inconclusive. The Monaco of France defender suffered the injury in the first-half of the Tuesday’s warm-up against Greece.

Echiejile, Omeruo and Musa Were Absent from the Super Eagles Training on Saturday. Image: Twitter @NgSuperEagles

Echiejile, Omeruo and Musa Were Absent from the Super Eagles Training on Saturday. Image: Twitter @NgSuperEagles

“We don’t want to rush things, we are talking of the World Cup here, not just any other competition, so we have to be careful what we say regarding our top players,” Keshi cautioned.

CSKA Moscow forward Ahmed Musa has some tightness in his thigh, after the match against Greece in Philadelphia.

The good news is the return of FC Ashdod’s defender Juwon Oshaniwa from a bout of malaria. Oshaniwa will most likely play his first game for Nigeria since the Afcon 2013 final in February 2013.

The African champions have recorded just two goals and conceded the same number in their pre-World Cup tune-up games so far.

Both nations will use Sunday morning (Nigerian time) match to finalise their strategies before leaving for the South American host nation of the tournament.

The Eagles were faulted for their lack of goal threat in the goalless draw against Brazil-bound Greece, with a 25-yard Ogenyi Onazi shot in the closing minutes of the encounter being the most salient of the team’s effort at goal.

Nigeria’s defence have had to withstand serious pressure from opponents in their first two pre-tournament friendlies and were lucky not to have fallen behind against the 2004 European champions.

However, Keshi must find a way out for his attackers, who in less than two weeks of camping have not gelled with a midfield formation that boasts of the world revered John Obi Mikel.

Coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s side have recorded two out of two victories in their warm-up games so far and will look to make a statement of their readiness for a group which includes Germany, Portugal and another West African nation Ghana.

Sunderland’s Jozy Altidore and Seattle Sounders’ Clint Dempsey have been used up top by Klinsmann in a diamond 4-4-2 formation, but the former’s lack of goal since October last year is a major concern for the Yankees.

The USMNT have followed a 2-0 victory against Azerbaijan with a 2-1 win over Turkey, both opponents who are not competing in Brazil.

They were 3-2 winners against the Eagles on June 11, 1995, in Foxborough, Mass.

Tit Bit: Berti Vogts, the USMNT’s special advisor through the 2014 Fifa World Cup, coached Nigeria from 2007-08- a period in which Nigeria lost out of the 2008 Afcon tournament to hosts Ghana in the semi-finals.

Nigeria’s Starting 11 vs. USMNT (Unofficial): Enyeama; Oshaniwa, Yobo (c), Oboabona, Efe; Onazi, Mikel, Azeez; Odemwingie, Ameobi, Moses

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Talented Nigerian Players of the NFL

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The NFL is quickly becoming one of the most popular leagues for Nigerian athletes. Over the last few years, we have seen some immensely talented players from Nigeria, or with Nigerian ancestry, come into the league and take over. While all positions in the sport of American football have benefited, notably there has been a focus on defensive positions from these athletes, with linebackers and defensive ends rising to prominence. Here are some of the most talented Nigerian athletes in the NFL that you need to know.

Jeremiah Attaochu

Jeremiah Attaochu is a 6’3”( 1.91m) outside linebacker who is currently playing for the Denver Broncos. He was a member of the 2014 draft, selected in the 2nd round as pick #50 overall. Attaochu played briefly for several teams like the 49ers and the Jets as he gradually tried to find the perfect fit. Recently, Attaochu has been re-signed by the Broncos on a one-year $1.5 million contract. Clearly, the Broncos liked what he brought to their defensive line.

Since Peyton Manning left the Broncos, the squad has been testing new offensive schemes, but their defense remains very strong. All-star player Von Miller has recently been placed on the injury list, so Attaochu will be called on to perform his best. With his aggressive tackling and limitless gas tank, Attaochu certainly helps bring the Broncos favorable American football odds. The team’s main division rivals are the Kansas City Chiefs who have one of the strongest offenses in the league. Heading into the 2020 season, defense is a priority for the Broncos.

Jeff Okudah

Okudah was born in Texas, USA in 1999 to Nigerian parents, making him one of the youngest players on this list. In the most recent NFL draft, Okudah was one of the most in-demand athletes and was selected #3 overall by the Detroit Lions. In the buildup to his NFL debut he quickly became known as the best cornerback in the entire country, and has proven to be yet another exceptional Nigerian athlete to gr3aduate from Texas universities.

This is excellent news for the Lions, who certainly need all the help they can get on defense. Okudah made his NFL debut this past Sunday, playing against the Green Bay Packers and MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers. All things considered, Okudah played well and showed that he can perform at the professional level.

Emmanuel Ogbah

Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Ogbah has come a long way on his journey to becoming the standout outside linebacker that he is. He was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 2016 as the #32 overall pick. After two years with the squad, he was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs, where he really came into his own as a linebacker.

Ogbah played a big role in the Chief’s 12-4 record while he was active during the 2019 season. His standout performance was during week 3 versus the Baltimore Ravens, when Ogbah sacked quarterback Lamar Jackson 1.5 times. Unfortunately, a pectoral injury ended his exceptional season at game 10, but his efforts ultimately helped the Chiefs get to the playoffs and win the Super Bowl. Afterwards, Ogbah signed a two-year $15 million dollar contract with the Miami Dolphins, where he currently helps round out their defense.

Noah Igbinoghene

This young athlete is an exceptionally talented cornerback. He was recently drafted in the first round as #30 overall by the Miami Dolphins. Though he was born in the US, he is of Nigerian descent and lived in the country for part of his life in his earlier years.

Notably, both of his parents were talented athletes in their own right. Igbinoghene’s father not only competed in the Men’s Triple Jump in the 1996 Olympics, but also won a bronze medal at the 1990 Commonwealth games. His mother was a track and field star, and was part of the relay team that won a bronze medal for Nigeria at the 1992 Olympics.

NFL analysts gave the Dolphin’s an A+ for the Igbinoghene pick, saying that he was the right player for their team and helped the Dolphins patch up a weakness on defense. He played well against the Buffalo Bills this past weekend, ultimately blocking many passes that came his way.

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Barcelona Sell Luis Suarez To Atletico Madrid

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Barcelona have sold striker Luis Suarez to La Liga rivals Atletico Madrid.

The transfer was confirmed on Wednesday evening, with Suarez reportedly crying as he left Barcelona’s training grounds for the last time the same day.

“FC Barcelona would like to publicly express their gratitude to Luis Suarez for his commitment and dedication and wishes him all the best for the future,” the statement said.

The club said a “farewell event” would take place for Suarez on Thursday before a press conference.

Suarez leaves Barcelona after six successful years. He scored 198 goals – making him Barcelona’s third top scorer, and won 13 titles.

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Messi and Ronaldo miss out on UEFA Men’s Player of the Year nominations

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No Messi or Ronaldo in UEFA Men’s Player of the Year nominations for first time in 10 years as De Bruyne & Lewandowski battle it out.

Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is also in the running for the award, with a new winner set to be announced at the start of October.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have been left off the final shortlist for the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award for first time in 10 years, with Kevin De Bruyne and Robert Lewandowski set to battle it out for the individual prize.

Ronaldo, who currently plies his trade in Italy with Juventus, has picked up the accolade on three occasions and also has a total of nine nominations to his name, while Barcelona superstar Messi has won it two times and made the final shortlist in six of the last 10 seasons.

Both men have stood out as the best players of their generation for well over a decade, but as they continue to advance into their thirties, an inevitable changing of the guard is beginning to take shape.

News Credit: Goal.com

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