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Obasi, Uche, Taiwo Didn’t Deserve To Be In Keshi’s Super Eagles— Sylvanus Okpala

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Sylvan us Okpala has said no coach will allow players like Chinedu Obasi, Ikechukwu Uche and Taiye Taiwo in a team given their unprofessional conduct at the time late Stephen Keshi was coach of the Super Eagles.

Okpala, who was part of Keshi’s technical team, spoke in defence of Keshi, who some ex-national team players have accused of asking for bribe.

According to him, Keshi, who won the Africa Cup of Nations in 2013, had good reasons not to pick Chinedu Obasi, Ike Uche, Brown Ideye and Taiye Taiwo as part of the 2014 Brazil World Cup-bound team.

Meanwhile, Chinedu Obasi had said Keshi and his coaching crew asked him for money before he can be part of the team, adding that it was why other players did not make it to Brazil.

However, Sylvanus Okpala, who said the players were not good enough to be in the team at the time they were not included, said Obasi wasn’t even part of their plans; not even for the Nations Cup.

In an interview with Vanguard, Okpala wondered “what stopped Obasi from saying this since 2014? Was he dreaming of coming back to the national team? You have to check your age; then you can damn the consequences and come out to say the truth. He should have said it when Keshi was alive.

“I’m not trying to defend anyone or say that it’s not happening. But I didn’t experience this in the squad that went to the Nations Cup and while I was there, there was no such thing.

“Everything we did was based on merit. If you’re good, you’re good. But if you weren’t good, sorry, we picked players based on merit.

“Obasi said he played in Europe and in the Champions League when he was dropped. What does that mean? That you’re playing in the Champions League doesn’t mean that a player who is not playing in the Champions League cannot be better than you.

“Football performance is not measured that way. The only difference is that your team is playing the Champions League and you’re fortunate to be in the team, but it doesn’t make you better than a player whose team is not playing in the Champions League.”

Also speaking on Brown Ideye, Okpala agreed that he was instrumental to the team winning the Africa Cup of Nations in 2013 and made a lot of sacrifices.

He said: “Ideye was one player then that if you said you didn’t have a player on the left; Brown would go and perform creditably well. But that didn’t mean he had to relax because he won the Nations Cup. You must be in form for a coach to pick you.”

But while explaining the omission of Taiwo and Uche, Okpala said they were rebellious; characters no coach would allow in his team.

Sylvanus Okpala said: “I was not surprised that Ikechukwu Uche did not make it to the World Cup because I knew what we went through with him during the 2013 AFCON.

“In our first game, we were playing 1-1, but were reduced to 10 men and he was asked to come in. The coach told him what to do. When he got onto the pitch, he refused to do those things.

“We had to change another player to fortify our defence. When that player was going in, Stephen Keshi told him what to tell Uche, but he still refused to play to instruction. We were one man down and Uche was not falling back to defend.

“He was dropped from the team because he was disobedient. He kept on telling us that in his club, this was how they used to play. Then at a point in time, I called him and said there is a way we want you to play here. This is the Nigerian National team and not your club; so this is how we want you to play.

“Don’t come and tell us about your club. I told him that if he played for Villarreal and Liverpool bought him, will he go to Liverpool and start telling them that this is how they play in Villarreal?”

Okpala also revealed that Taiwo almost caused a mutiny in the build up to the Nations Cup.

His words: “I also read about Taiye Taiwo’s outburst in the papers. After our experience with him, we never invited him again.

“During our AFCON qualifier against Rwanda, Taiye didn’t play well in that game. Keshi complained after the game, but the players went back to their rooms and started plotting how to remove Keshi.

“They never knew that Keshi’s room was the next to Taiye’s room.

“Taiye was telling other players that Keshi was shouting at him and that he will do to Keshi what he did to other coaches and that they would ensure that Keshi was sacked.

“Keshi was in his room listening to their conversation. Now, most of them are now coming to talk about money. It wasn’t about money because I knew about these two issues involving Taiye and Uche.

“Which coach will like to invite a player who wants him sacked in his team? It’s not possible. I am telling you what happened as an insider,” Sylvanus Okpala added.

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Guinea Withdraws from Olympics ‘Over Covid-19’

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AFN Boss Promises Adegoke SUV If He Wins Olympic Gold

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The President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, Engr Shehu Ibrahim Gusau, has promised to give Enoch Olaolu Adegoke a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) if he wins a gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics holding from July 23 to August 8, 2021.

During an elaborate send forth ceremony held by the Edo State Government for its athlete, Enoch Adegoke on Tuesday, Gusau said the gesture is his little way of motivating the athlete participating in the track and field events.

Gusau, who was part of the virtual ceremony via Zoom said that if Adegoke wins any other medal apart from gold, he will receive a surprise gift still from him.

“Olympics is a big stage where every qualified athlete is motivated to go for gold and we need to motivate them more.

“I am talking about a tear rubber SUV, not a fairly used vehicle. If he wins any other medal, the AFN will give him a gift still.”

“I promised Blessing Okagbare during the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and it was redeemed. This cannot be different,”

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Tokyo 2020: AFA Sports Provides Apparel For Nigerian Delegation

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AFA Sports has been announced as the official apparel provider for the Nigerian delegation to the Olympics.

The national apparels were displayed to the world by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, as he bid the athletes farewell before they boarded their flights on Tuesday to Japan.

The historical deal makes AFA Sports the first indigenous African apparel partner to ever feature at the Olympics.

Announcing the partnership in Lekki, Lagos, Ugo Udezue, the CEO of AFA Sports said, “This is a golden opportunity and a golden moment not just for AFA Sports but also the Nigerian contingent. We are very passionate about the opportunity to represent our country and the African populace.

“We are proud to be actively participating on a global scale and are excited to continue rendering active support to the development of sports, and in particular the Olympic games.

“We are also grateful to the Ministry of Sports for creating an enabling environment for local sports enterprise.”

This partnership is yet another proof of AFA Sports long-standing tradition of support which first began with providing apparel for the male and female national basketball teams to the Afrobasket and the World Cup games, then the male and female Volleyball teams, the Para-powerlifting federation, the first-ever African Knockout involving mixed martial arts and down to local athletes.

As a brand that has been conscientious to the needs of African athletes, just as when it developed the Humid-resist-fabric to keep the body cool in Africa’s extreme humidity, AFA Sports conducted an extensive research on the Japanese climate in order to curate the best performance fabrics for the Olympics team where the margins of success can come down to the athletics products.

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