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Keshi Exempted from a 5-Man Shortlist for Ivory Coast Job



Nigeria national team coach, Stephen Keshi, has not been named among a 5-man shortlist for the vacant Côte d’Ivoire national team job.

The Ivory Coast football federation (FIF) had, on Friday, 19 June published names of 59 peoples to have disclosed interest in the race to succeed Herve Reinard, with the 53-year-old’s name popping up- though the page was later taken down from the federation’s website.

A committee set up by the FIF to conduct a search for a substantive national team manager has trimmed that list to five men, including Patrice Neveu, Paolo Duarte, Michel Dussuyer, Henry Kasperczak and Frederic Antonetti.

An investigation by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) had ordered Keshi to appear before a disciplinary committee. And while the coach’s manager, Emmanuel Ado, had not been able to calm down the storm in a lengthy Facebook statement, Keshi himself stood before the NFF committee a week ago to categorically deny applying to the Côte d’Ivoire coaching position after he had signed a new two-year contract as coach of the Super Eagles in April.

The NFF were expected to write to their Ivory Coast counterparts to demand for explanation for intending to nab a coach with an existing contract.

Stephen Keshi Led the Super Eagles to Afcon 2013 Success. Image: BackPagePix via Caf.

Stephen Keshi Led the Super Eagles to Afcon 2013 Success. Image: BackPagePix via Caf.

It is yet to be confirmed, who actually filed an “indication of intention” on behalf of the ex-Mali and Togo’s coach as per “the June 15 deadline for submission of application,” according to a statement on the FIF website.

As highlighted by the FIF, candidates are “required to hold a high-level coaching diploma, to have a good international experience, to be willing to live in Ivory Coast during the duration of the contract, to have a great capacity for adaptation and ability to teamwork and able to speak French.”

The FIF have, nonetheless, found the aforementioned qualities in the five shortlisted managers. French coach, Neveu, 61, was sacked as manager of Mauritanian national team in August.

Portuguese and TP Mazembe coach, Duarte, led Burkina Faso to the group stages of the 2010 and 2012 Africa Cup of Nations and was recently named among contenders for the Sfaxien job.

Former Nice and Rennes coach Antonetti has been out of management since quitting the Roazhon Park.

Former Poland international, Kasperczak, 68, was in charge of Les Elephante between 1993 and 1994, guiding the side to a third-placed finish at the 1994 Afcon in Tunisia, following defeat in the semi-finals (via penalties) by Nigeria.

He led Tunisia to a runners-up berth in South Africa two years later, and was in charge of the North African nation at the 1996 Summer Olympic and the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France; getting the sack after their opening 1-1 draw with Romania. He also led Mali to a fourth-placed finish on home soil in 2002.

Guinea coach Dussuyer, 56, led Benin Republic national side to the 2010 Afcon.

The list will subsequently be shortened to just three men, where from Reinard’s successor will emerge.

New LOSC Lille coach Reinard led Côte d’Ivoire to their second Afcon title in Equatorial Guinea earlier this year, but opted against extending his contract to join the French Ligue 1 club.

Former Nigeria international, Keshi, played for two Ivorian clubs Stade d’Abidjan and Africa Sports between 1985 and 1986 and is one of two managers to have won the Afcon both as a player and as a coach.


Talented Nigerian Players of the NFL



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



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



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.

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