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Keshi Expects Eagles to Bounce Back in Cape Town

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Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi has expressed his disappointments about his side’s lacklustre performance against Congo in the 3-2 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier loss in Calabar on Saturday.

The Super Eagles’ lack of inspiration in the UJ
Esuene Stadium pitch cost them the chance to mount early pressure on Group A leaders South Africa, who won 3-0 in Sudan less than 24 hours earlier.

Keshi and his wards left the country on Sunday for the second of the group stage qualifier in South Africa scheduled for Wednesday and the 52-year-old insists Nigerians most continue to rally behind the team, as they bid to earn a vital 3 points in Cape Town.

Keshi Disappointed By Eagles Lack of Precision Against Congo. Image: Getty.

Keshi Disappointed By Eagles Lack of Precision Against Congo. Image: Getty.


“It’s football. Brazil lost 7-1 and we lost (on Saturday). Everybody is going to lose someday. We cannot win all the games all the time. This is where we need the media and Nigerians. They have to be behind the team, so that we can go to South Africa and win,” said a disappointed Keshi.

“I’m very disappointed. It was not just the result but the way we played in the first half. I was like a soothsayer because I saw it coming and I talked to the boys that they had to be aggressive and first to the ball.”

The loss saw the ‘Diable Rouge’ tie Nigeria on head-to-head (W3, L3, D2), and also was the hosts’ first in a competitive home game since 1981.

The ex-Nigeria international was captain in the early 90s when the Green Eagles beat the same side in Point Noir and Lagos in a 1994 World Cup qualifier.

Keshi lamented his side’s poor tactical approach in the first-half as well as their inability to convert chances. Moreover, he says the Eagles were frustrated by the Congolese in the second-half, despite their new-found aggression on the forward line.

“I’ve played against the Congolese team before and I know they play tip-tap football. We scored the first goal and that was it. It’s a shame that we had opportunities, mostly in the second half, but we could not score, Keshi said.

“I told them (players) they were not playing their game. They were not themselves, they were not playing, they were second to the ball and they needed to change the mentality.

“They came back in the second half and you could see the difference. But if you are playing a team like this, they are going to come hard and park the bus. And that’s what they did in the second half. Who won’t do it?

“I can understand the frustration, the Congolese team delaying the game, killing the game. It became an anger problem and its part of the game.”

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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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