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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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Former Senegalese Footballer, Papa Diop Dies At 42

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By Agency Report

Former Senegalese International, Papa Bouba Diop has died at the age of 42, according to reports. Canal+. The former Fulham and Portsmouth midfielder passed away following a long illness.

Diop also represented West Ham and Birmingham in England, as well as winning 63 caps for his country Senegal.

Diop retired from professional football in 2013 after leaving Birmingham.

He started his career at Senegalese club ASC Diaraf in 1996 and had spells in Switzerland with Vevey, Neuchatel Xamax and Grasshoppers.

Diop moved to France to play for Lens in 2002 before he joined Fulham in 2004.

He spent three years at Craven Cottage, scoring nine goals in 84 appearances, before his switch to Portsmouth in 2007.

He was part of the Pompey side that won the 2008 FA Cup, coming on as a 78th minute substitute in the 1-0 win over Cardiff.

Diop played 72 times for Portsmouth before leaving to join AEK Athens.

He only had a brief spell at AEK between 2010 and 2011 before moving back to England with West Ham in 2011.

Diop’s international career began in 2001 and he played for his country at the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea.

He will be remembered for scoring the goal to beat defending champions France 1-0 in the first game of the tournament.

Tributes have flooded in for the former midfielder.

Lens posted a message on their Twitter account shortly after the news of Diop’s death.

The tweet read: “It is with great sadness that Racing Club de Lens has just learned of the disappearance of its former player Papa Bouba Diop, at the age of 42.

“We offer our deepest condolences to his loved ones.”

Former England striker Gary Lineker tweeted: “How terribly sad. Taken so young. RIP Papa Bouba Diop.”

(SOURCE: Express UK)

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Maradona No Longer Wanted To Live, Says Manager

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Agency Reporter

Diego Armando Maradona’s manager and friend, Stefano Ceci, said the legend ‘was tired and let himself die’ while the family around him was ‘tearing each other’s hair out.’
The Napoli and Argentina icon died on Wednesday at the age of 60 after numerous health problems and addictions that ravaged his life and career.
“There’s an investigation into Diego’s death and people now point the finger at what could’ve been done, but that’s a concept that should be extended to his entire life,” manager Stefano Ceci told Radio Kiss Kiss.
“Diego was always alone: people only ever thought about Maradona. Diego stopped being Diego when he turned 17. He was very difficult to deal with as a person, because he was fragile, full of insecurities, humble and good-natured. I have 20 years of wonderful memories.
“Recently he was letting himself go, physically and mentally. I think he was tired and let himself die, he no longer really wanted to live.
“The family chaos that surrounded Diego meant he never had real peace. Even now that he’s dead, they are still tearing each other’s hair out.
“At least now he can be with those he loved the most, his mother and father. Now Diego is in peace.”
Maradona was buried next to his parents in Buenos Aires.

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Football Legend, Maradona Is Dead 

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Football legend Diego Maradona has died at the age of 60 as a result of cardiac arrest.
He recently underwent an operation to remove a blood clot on his brain on October 30.
Mirror reports that the Gimnasia boss fell unwell after his side beat Patronato 3-0 and was taken to hospital in La Plata, near the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires.
Scans discovered a subdural hemetoma, requiring Maradona to undergo immediate surgery to remove the problem before being sent home to continue his recovery.
Reports in Argentina say Maradona was showing signs of recovery, but the 60-year-old then suffered a cardiac arrest and has passed away.
A tweet by the Argentine Football Association through its President Claudio Tapia, expressed its deepest pain at Maradona’s death saying he will always be in their hearts.
Gary Lineker referred to Maradona as “arguably the greatest of all time”.
Lineker tweeted: “By some distance the best player of my generation and arguably the greatest of all time. After a blessed but troubled life, hopefully he’ll finally find some comfort in the hands of God.”

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