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I Grew Up Watching Him Bully Defenders – Aiyegbeni Names Amokachi As His Role Model

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Jay Jay Okocha and Nwankwo Kanu were two of Nigeria’s most recognised players in the nineties but, for Yakubu Aiyegbeni, compatriot Daniel Amokachi towered above them all.

The former Everton star has identified another former Toffee ace Amokachi has the role model he tried to mould his style after while growing up in Nigeria.

Born in Kaduna, Amokachi emerged as a promising forward on the domestic scene starring for Ranchers Bees, where he was picked by Nigerian national team coach Clemens Westerhof to participate at the 1990 African Nations Cup.

A key member of Everton’s 1995 FA Cup-winning team, Amokachi was also crucial as Nigeria won the 1994 African Cup of Nations as well as the 1996 Olympic Games football gold medal.

The talented attacker’s powerful playing style and robust displays earned him the nickname ‘The Bull’ and adhered him to the hearts of millions of Nigerian fans.

A young Aiyegbeni watched the exploits of the former Club Brugge striker and imbibed some of his qualities en route a prolific goalscoring career.

And when the highest scoring Nigerian in Premier League history was asked to name his footballing role model growing up, he didn’t hesitate to call Amokachi.

“Growing up watching (Daniel) Amokachi was something nice, I call him sexy big brother. He’s a nice guy,” the former Portsmouth star told South African journalist Carol Tshabalala via Instagram.

“He was the assistant manager of the national team as well when I was in the national team, so it was an honour to be with him in the same team, we didn’t play together there, we were very close.

“Watching him on TV, the way he bullied the defenders, the way he scores goals, you can see the smile on his face, and the dedication is there.

“Watching him, Kanu and Jay-Jay is unbelievable,” added Yakubu.

Sourced From: Soccernet.ng

 

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Gernot Rohr Reveals Who Is Better Between Lionel Messi And Diego Maradona

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The head coach of the Nigerian national team played against the late Argentine legend when they were both in their prime, and he does not doubt that the Napoli icon has few equals

Manager Gernot Rohr admits that Argentina hero Diego Armando Maradona was one of the greatest players to grace the game, highlighting the late playmaker’s qualities with the ball at his feet.

While comparing Diego Maradona to his fellow Argentine great Lionel Messi, the Super Eagles handler insists that the Barcelona forward is better than the 1986 FIFA World Cup winner.

Maradona arrived in Europe in 1982 in a world-record transfer to Barcelona and spent two excellent years at Camp Nou before departing for Italy’s Napoli in another world record transfer fee of £6.9 million.

He was instrumental as Napoli claimed two Serie A titles, the UEFA Cup, the Coppa Italia, and the Supercoppa Italiana, during his seven-year stay at the club.

En route to lifting that UEFA Cup in 1989, Maradona’s Napoli duelled against Girondins Bordeaux – which had a certain Gernot Rohr as a fullback – in the last sixteen round of the old UEFA competition in December 1988.

Rohr maintains that encounter and a similar one with Maradona convinced him that the former Barcelona star was an incredible footballer.

“I was lucky enough to play him twice,” Rohr told German regional newspaper, Mannheimer Morgen.

“In 1983, he was even my direct opponent at the 100th anniversary of Girondins Bordeaux against Barcelona, ​​and then again in the 1988/89 UEFA Cup, which Maradona then won with SSC Napoli.

“He was a gifted footballer. Maradona was smart, didn’t run much, but his left foot sucked the ball.

“Unfortunately, he had to fight hard after football. Applied to today’s conditions, one could compare him to Lionel Messi.”

But when asked if Maradona was the greatest footballer of all time, the German tactician claimed that Messi was better than his celebrated compatriot.

“I have a lot of sympathy for Messi. He’s a bit better because he was also very fair within a team and to the opponent – and didn’t have to score a goal with his hand (laughs),” said the Super Eagles coach.

1986 World Cup winner Maradona died aged 60 after suffering a cardiac arrest at his home in Tigre, Buenos Aires, Argentina, in November 2020.

Sourced From: Soccernet.ng

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Taiwo Awoniyi: Time To Cut Short The Dream And Leave Liverpool Permanently

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It has been five years since the former Golden Eaglets star joined the Reds, but he is not any closer to playing for Jurgen Klopp’s side

Taiwo Awoniyi has not played a single game since moving to Liverpool in 2015, and the Nigerian youth international says he seriously considered quitting the club permanently in the summer.

Awoniyi is still not eligible for a work permit in England as he hasn’t featured yet for the Nigeria senior national team. This situation has robbed him of the chance to play in the English Premier League.

A hero of Nigeria’s triumph at the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates and the 2015 African U20 Championship in Senegal, Awoniyi is yet to light up his career as expected.

The 23-year-old has had seven loan spells in clubs across the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and agreed to a temporary deal with Union Berlin in September for the entire 2020-21 season.

Awoniyi insists he retains the ambition of playing for the Reds, but he prefers to leave Liverpool for the opportunity to settle down somewhere else.

“It is my dream to play for Liverpool. But me playing for Liverpool has to do with getting my work permit,” Awoniyi told ESPN.

“Without it, there is no chance for me discussing about playing for Liverpool for now.

“This season was maybe a bit tough to make the decision because honestly, I was hoping to leave permanently.

“Liverpool have been great, they have been so supportive, and we always talk with the director and every time, they tell me to be patient.

“But the reason I discussed something permanent this season was just that I felt most loans I have been to have not really been the way I want it.

“And I felt like it happens that way because the loan players get less of an advantage than the players of their own club.

“That was what made me think, okay, maybe it’s time to find a home with my family.”

Awoniyi has featured seven times for Union Berlin in the Bundesliga this term, opening his goal account for the club in the 2-1 defeat of Cologne a fortnight ago.

Sourced From: Soccernet.ng

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Young Nigerian Goalkeeper Stars In Paris’ Win Over Reims

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Chiamaka Nnadozie saw every minute of action to lead Paris FC to a 3-1 win over Stade de Reims in a Feminine Division 1 clash at the Stade Robert Bobin on Saturday afternoon.

The 19-year-old Super Falcons goalkeeper started her third consecutive league match of the season and was assured and composed all game to help the home side secure their third win of the season.

Nnadozie, who joined the French side on January 22, 2020 on an 18 month deal, couldn’t keep out Rachel Corboz’s first-half penalty but a hat-trick from teammate Clara Mateo gave the day to the home side.

The 2018 Africa Women Cup of Nations winner kept a clean sheet in her first game of the season, as Paris defeated Issy 5-0 on October 10.

Nnadozie was also in goal when Sandrine Soubeyrand’s ladies managed a 1-1 draw at Fleury 91 seven days later.

The teenage shot-stopper was Nigeria’s number one gloves at the FIFA Women World Cup last year, where the Super Falcons made it to the knockout stage.

Nnadozie played in all but one of Falcons game in France including the 2-0 win over South Korea where she became the youngest ever goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet in a Women’s World Cup game.

Sourced From: Soccernet.ng

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Ronaldo Reveals His First Encounter With Taribo West

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The defender and the Brazilian phenomenon shared the same dressing room at Inter Milan, but the attacker revealed that both of them had met many years earlier.

Taribo West excelled as a defender against some of football’s greats, including Brazil’s Ronaldo de Lima, in a football career that spanned almost 15 years. While the two former stars became teammates and friends at Inter Milan, the 2002 World Cup winner has shared his first-ever encounter facing West on a football pitch.

West was only 19 years old when he moved to Europe to join French side Auxerre in 1993. He had been a revelation in the domestic scene for the four previous years, starring for Sharks of Port Harcourt, Enugu Rangers, and Julius Berger.

The young defender had also become the defensive pillar of the Nigeria U20 team.

Another four successful years in France brought the Ligue 1 title and two Cup trophies before West completed a summer switch to Serie A giants, Internazionale.

It was at Inter Milan that he became teammates with Ronaldo.

But the two players’ paths had earlier crossed in 1996 when West stood firm in defence as Nigeria’s Dream Team brushed aside a Ronaldo-inspired Brazil on the way to claiming the Atlanta Olympic Games gold medal.

But Ronaldo, 43, insists they had both met before that time at an international youth tourney when West featured for Nigeria’s U20 team against an Under-17 Brazilian team that Ronaldo in its lineup.

Recalling in an Instagram chat with Italian striker Christian Vieri monitored by ilbianconero, Ronaldo hints that he endured a difficult time battling his future teammate.

“I was in the under 16, and we were in retreat with the Brazilian national team for two weeks.

“At the time I was 15, and we made a friendly match with Nigeria Under-20 team where Taribo played.

“They were very fast; they were adults, we were only 15 years old. On that occasion, I exchanged shoes with Taribo, but we didn’t know each other yet.

“After so many years, we met at Inter.”

Sourced From: Soccernet.ng
Image Credit: Getty Images

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