Yemi and Dolapo Osinbajo: The 30 Years Love Story

0

Plus cover 

As the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and his beloved wife, Dolapo mark their 30th wedding anniversary, Yinka Olatunbosun reflects on how their individual personalities and attributes, especially that of the family head, contributed to their heart-warming love story 

Anyone that grew up in the 70s and 80s will be familiar with the television comedy series, ‘The Love Boat’ and many classic love songs that celebrated everlasting love. It was about that period, precisely in 1989, that the duo of Yemi and Dolapo Osinbajo became a couple. Since then, till present day, divorce rates have soared globally, making love-lasting marriages particularly newsworthy. But for Yemi and Dolapo, it has been 30 years of heavenly marriage. On the anniversary day last Monday, Dolapo shared a throwback photo from their wedding day and wrote: “Hand in hand on the 25th November 1989. It is our 30th wedding anniversary to the glory of God. #WeddingAnniversary #ByGodsGrace.”

Both had roots in Ikenne, the hometown of one of the foremost nationalists in Nigeria’s independence era and the first Premier of the Wester n Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. 

As a matter of fact, Dolapo is a grand-daughter of the late Awolowo. Yemi Osinbajo’s brother, Pastor Akin Osinbajo, who was the Attorney General and Commission­er for Justice in Ogun State between 2003 and 2011, would later reveal in an interview published online that the Osinbajos are actually Awolowos’ cousins.

Cousins or not, the love story of the two lawyers, Yemi and Dolapo is deeply fascinating. There are quite a lot of lessons to learn from their love story. As a screenwriter in the television series, ‘Desperate Housewives’ once wrote, “the only perfect couples are the ones you find standing on the wedding cake; they don’t look at each other.” Hence like many marriages, theirs would have experienced some difficult moments but you can’t find a proof of that anywhere because they have kept the marital affairs away from public glare.

On the one hand, Yemi, the family head, always seems to wear a permanent smile on his face. The loving father of three biological children – Damilola, Kanyinsola and Fiyinfoluwa, was like a father to many students who had known him as a lecturer in the university days. Back then at the University of Lagos, he was always surrounded by students who were either seeking his advice or having some wit-sharpening conversations or simply just teasing him. Yes, he was that approachable. That attribute might have helped in building a strong relationship with his wife and children.

Osinbajo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and a Professor of Law, is no doubt an intelligent man. As a family head, saddled with the crucial responsibility to make important decisions in the home, this is a non-negotiable attribute. Having schooled at Corona Primary School in Lagos and Igbobi College, Yaba, his records proved his ilk.  

He was the winner of the State Merit Award (1971); the School Prize for English Oratory (1972); Adeoba Prize for English Oratory (1972-1975); Elias Prize for Best Performance in History (WASC, 1973); School Prize for Literature (HSC, 1975); and African Statesman Intercollegiate Best Speaker’s Prize (1974) From 1997 to 1999 he was made Professor of Law and Head of Department of Public Law, University of Lagos. From 1999 to 2007, Osinbajo was Member of Cabinet, Lagos State Ministry of Justice, also Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice. From 2007 to 2013, Osinbajo was once again employed as a Professor of Law, Department of Public Law, Faculty of Law, University of Lagos. In 2007, Osinbajo was made Senior Partner, Simmons Cooper Partners (Barristers and Solicitors), Nigeria. Osinbajo was also a Senior lecturer at the Lagos State University.

Osinbajo is also very firm. In this era where many women are too glad to be the ‘neck that turns the head’, it is a good virtue for the men to be firm, not stubborn or too lay-back in taking tough but goal-oriented decisions. A case in point was recorded on 7 August 2018, when Osinbajo fired the State Security Service boss, Lawal Daura for illegal invasion of National Assembly by armed and masked operatives of the department. He was subsequently  replaced by Matthew Seiyefa.

On the other hand, Dolapo, born on July 15, 1967 was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1990, a year after her wedding. She is an example of a simple woman of substance. A writer, Yahaha Balogun once wrote about her contribution to the happy home: “If you see a family, or a man in a house dwelling in the euphoria of love and happiness, please, do not hesitate to give unblemished accolades and praises to the woman (manager) in the house for a job well done. Our loveable Vice President is a happy man with every simplicity he represents. She’s a well-cultured woman, very respectful, faithful, loyal and friendly to everyone she comes across.” Pictures of her kneeling down to greet elderly ones are on the internet. It’s no mere show; it is more like a die-hard habit.

Then again, the Vice President never misses the opportunity to acknowledge publicly the loving support of his wife. For instance, he showered praises on his wife, Dolapo as he was sworn in for a second term in office. On his verified Twitter handle, Osinbajo shared a photo of himself and wife, looking into each other’s eyes and thanked her for standing by him in the last four years. He also told Dolapo that he was ready for the next four years of service with her by his side.

He wrote a public love letter: “My dear Dolapo, Thank you for years past. Thank you especially for the last four years, You are my rock. And with you by my side, I am ready for the next four years of service.” Kind words always reinvigorate marriages.

Mutual respect also characterised the journey for Yemi and Dolapo. There is no report of one talking down the other anywhere and that is imitable.

Loyalty plays a big part in lasting marriages. Whether at work or in the home, loyalty is a quality that is never overrated nor does it escape the notice of people to whom it matters. One can recall how the Emir of Daura, Faruk Umar described Osinbajo as “the most trustworthy Vice President of Nigeria” and thanked him for his loyalty to President Buhari’s administration. The Emir gave him the title of Danmadamin Daura, the highest traditional title in the emirate. Being loyal even to the wife of one’s youth is a rare find now that having a side chick or babymama has become more fashionable than ever.

Resting the pillar of the union in God is considered as the most important thing for many Christians who value prayers, scriptural counsel and principles. Osinbajo won’t be caught with a wedding ring because he thinks the bible itself constitutes the symbol of holy marriages.

Sport  stories 

Victor Obinna

Battling for  Career Revival

From a humble beginning with Plateau United and Kwara United in the home front, Victor Obinna went on to play in all the top-four European Leagues-Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga and Serie A. Now at the twilight of his career, the Olympic silver medalist is struggling to be signed by a fourth tier Italian side 

A

s recent as 2017, Victor Obinna was still dreaming of a call-up to the Super Eagles for a place in Nigeria’s World Cup team to Russia.

Two years on, however, the former Nigerian international is on the verge of signing for a club in Italy’s fourth division.

The ex-Super Eagles star has been training with USD 1913 Seregno in Serie D, and the club are hoping to bring the 32-year-old on board after he failed with recent trials at Potenza and Vedeggio.

Obinna is a free agent and last played competitive football for South African side Cape Town City, from where he was released in February 2018 having failed to make an impact.

He had earlier played for Chievo and Inter Milan in Serie A, West Ham United in England, Malaga in Spain, SV Darmstad in Germany and played for Nigeria at three Africa Cup of Nations finals and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Reflecting on his three-year spell at the Nerazzurri between 2008 and 2011, the former Inter attacker said: “It was very exciting when I signed for Inter. As a child, I dreamed of playing in Europe. Some of my compatriots like Taribo West, Nwankwo Kanu and Obafemi Martins had all worn the Inter shirt and it was a dream for me to follow in their footsteps as a child,” the 32-year-old, had told FC InterNew.it.

“Mou (Jose Mourinho) was the best coach I worked with. I learned a lot from him. From the first day he showed up in Appiano Gentile, we understood how he wanted to win. In fact, he really wanted to change the history of Inter and he succeeded in doing so by winning the Triplete.”

He then went on to share that he believes Inter lack leadership on the park.

“We were a complete team, in every department. Composed of young talents and players with great experience. Above all, there were so many leaders, something that is perhaps missing now.

“Matches are not just won by the best players. A leader is someone who takes responsibility and helps his teammates out. Always. In my Inter there were a few players like that. There were players who could come off the bench and change games and this is missing from the current Inter side.”

He then reminisced about his only goal for the club.

“I only scored once for Inter but it was a great feeling. It was an unforgettable goal, scored against a very strong Roma side.”

Obinna  returned to Africa in 2017, to join the South African Premier Soccer League (PSL) side Cape Town City after 12 years playing in Europe, claiming he rejected offers from European clubs.

“I had other offers in Europe but this move was the right one for me, it feels great to return home playing again on African soil.

“To play football to the fullest of your abilities, you have to be happy. So Cape Town City FC with its ambitions and objectives, as well as Cape Town as a city convinced me and my family to come over.”

Obinna joined City as a free agent after his contract at SV Darmstadt in Germany was terminated by mutual consent.

Known for his string of acrobatic somersaults, Obinna found himself one day doing a different type of somersault – one which scarily involved him, his car, and a ditch. It was an accident that came close to killing him if it hadn’t been for a miracle. Ten years on, though, the Nigerian is around to tell the tale.

After trials with Juventus, Perugia and even Brazilian side Internacional, a young and a naive teenager from the city of Jos in Nigeria arrived on the Italian peninsula back in 2005 ready to turn out in the famous yellow and blue strip of Chievo Verona. Despite what the club nickname suggested, the Flying Donkeys were far from airborne. Instead, that year they spent the majority of the season fighting relegation, with the last matchday of the season sentencing them to their dreaded fate.

One man who had started to win over the hearts of the Gialloblu faithful was Obinna, a striker who had scored six goals in 23 appearances in his debut season with the club. His charismatic celebrations coupled with his ability to take on defenders drift wide to the left flank and fire goals from inside and outside the box left many fans impressed with his ability. Their admiration only grew when he opted to remain at Chievo the following season to help the club in their fight to return to the top flight.

It was the ultimate display of loyalty from Obinna, who warmly recalls the family atmosphere at the club and how the management and his teammates affectionately took in a young African living in a foreign land. “For me, it was the best time of my career. As a young player, it was the best moment in my career,” he happily tells These Football Times. “I was young and I was stupid. I used to see myself as if no-one could stop me.

“I saw a lot of platforms opening up for me, including the first time I played for the senior national team. I had a fantastic three years playing for that club. They were the best moments of my football career. As a young player playing in a foreign land where I had no family, they took me in and they made me one of theirs. I am still thankful to president Luca Campedelli for all the things they did for me. It is pretty difficult for a young player, who comes from Africa, to adapt to such environment. I thank God for everything – that was a stepping-stone to conquering the next step in my career.”

That next step, which saw him form part of Jose Mourinho’s Inter side, almost never came, though, as tragedy almost struck one crisp autumn afternoon in October 2007. What should have been a normal day of training under head coach Giuseppe Iachini instead turned out to be one of the most haunting experiences for the Nigerian.

“How do I say, it’s an unforgettable memory I have within me. I was very young when it happened. I was 18.” Obinna’s warm demeanour changes ever so slightly and an eerie silence lingers. “I was new to driving and it happened barely three or four months after I had got my driver’s licence in Italy. I was comfortable and everything was going fine … I had an Audi A1 and as a young 18-year-old, you know what that means,” he recalls, as he lets out a slight giggle.

“I was driving like an old man. Easy. Without wanting to scratch the car or anything. Unfortunately, there are certain things that happen and you are there at the wrong time … I thank God that I survived that accident. It was a terrible, terrible accident and a horrible feeling and situation, because I had never experienced that.”

The location of the accident took place on Via Pastrengo – an area notorious for such calamities, which Chievo knew all too well. Only 100 meters away from where Obinna narrowly cheated death lies the harrowing memory of Jason Mayélé – a Chievo player who tragically lost his life along with Luigina Recchia, a 61-year-old woman whose car struck that of the Congolese midfielder.

“In Italian, they call it maledetta strada (cursed street). I don’t know if there is something in that street or what, but that is the superstition that everyone has been saying,” recalls the Cape Town City striker. “There is a very dangerous curve around that area where you cannot see the car that is coming from the other side. It is on top of a little hill, where the wind is always blowing. You need to have a lot of attention.”

Obinna shuffles in his seat before continuing on with his haunting memory, visually describing the incident and its surroundings with his hands, all the while evoking frightening visuals while he talks. “I was going around the curve and unfortunately for me, there was a guy in a Mini Cooper who was overtaking on a curve. On a curve! He was coming into a front-on collision with me. In a split second, my life flashed before my eyes and voom, I went out.

“In the space of one, two, three seconds, if you don’t go out, it goes boom! I had to get away. Fortunately for me, God saved my life. I went down into a deep pit. I wasn’t going at a high speed, and then I heard boom, boom, boom,” as he indicates the car doing somersault-like flips down the embankment. “I had my seatbelt on. That was the only thing that was in my head when I heard all these booms. Then, the next thing I know, the car was upside down and I was looking around. I wasn’t thinking properly.

“I tried to take off the seat belt and it was stuck. So I was kicking and it came out. So then, I hit the door and it wasn’t opening – it was stuck. I was hitting, hitting, hitting and, fortunately for me, some of my teammates take the same road. They stopped and they saw my car. They came and helped me out the car.”

Fellow Mussi Volanti teammate Aleandro Rosi was the first on the scene, helping Obinna out of the car before he was taken to hospital at Bussolengo. “They thought I had a serious trauma. Fortunately,” he says before taking a sigh of relief. “I was not hurt. I don’t know if you can still see.”

Obinna then raises his arm and takes off his cap to display the battle wounds left behind on that infamous day, most of them barely visible, unlike the memory of that traumatic incident. “That was it. No fracture or anything. I was able to overcome that with just scratches on my head and my elbows. That was it. It was a miracle.”

Luckily for Obinna, his life was spared, and while he has moved on from ramifications of what could have happened that day, there is one thing that still haunts him. “The thing that still gets me, though, is that the guy drove away. He then went to the newspaper the next day and said it was my fault, that I was trying to hit him,” he adds with an understandable look of frustration and disappointment. “At the end of the day, God has the final say. It is his decision to do that. I am glad I am alive. I am alive to even explain it now.”

Obinna has been capped 46 times by Nigeria, scoring 12 goals, and he appeared twice for his country at 2010 World Cup as well as in three African Cup of Nations tournaments in 2006, 2008 and 2010.

Mourinho Wants a Taste of Cherry  as Spurs Welcome Bournemouth

Tottenham Hotspur head into today’s Premier League clash with Bournemouth looking to register their third successive win under Jose Mourinho. After beginning his reign with a 3-2 triumph over West Ham United, the Portuguese watched his new side come from behind to beat Olympiacos in the Champions League on Tuesday night. However, the 56-year-old continues to deal with a number of fitness issues, which could complicate his thinking in the build-up to the clash with the Cherries

T

ottenham Hotspur’s resurgence under Jose Mourinho will take them home to North London to host Bournemouth in the Premier League.

It’s been a rollercoaster ride of a few weeks for Tottenham Hotspur fans, but they finally appear to be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with Jose Mourinho. This is a team that was able to reach the Champions League final just a matter of months ago, and prior to Pochettino’s dismissal, they looked more likely to slip out of the top half than to finish in the top four. There’s still a long way to go before they can be confident in their immediate future, but they’ve taken the right early steps.

Even prior to Poch leaving you could argue that Tottenham weren’t on the worst run of form in the world, with their only loss as of late being a defeat to Liverpool. They did draw with Sheffield United and Everton but a win over Red Star Belgrade helped to ease their concerns, with wins over West Ham and Olympiakos coming since the change in management.

However, the Cherries have been forced to listen to endless speculation regarding the future of manager Eddie Howe, and ironically, it’s Tottenham’s bitter rivals Arsenal that have been linked with a move for him. On the pitch they have a clear aim and objective to make a push for a spot in the top half, as opposed to lingering down towards the relegation zone. Whether or not they’re able to do so remains to be seen, as inconsistency has always been one of their biggest issues in the top flight.

The only win for Bournemouth since early October, weirdly enough, came against Manchester United. Aside from that they were unable to beat Watford and Norwich in goalless draws, and they lost tight yet disappointing games against Arsenal, Newcastle and Wolves.

Bournemouth are going to give as good as they get which is what have come to be expected from them throughout the course of their time as a Premier League side.

Reigning champions Manchester City will look to continue their chase of league leaders, Liverpool as the visit Newcastle at St James’ Park in today’s early kickoff.

The home side has enjoyed an up and down campaign so far. The Magpies are currently 14th place in the Premier League table after taking just 15 points from their first 13 games this season.

A promising three-game unbeaten run in the top-flight ended last time out, as Steve Bruce’s team suffered a 2-0 defeat Aston Villa. One worrying factor for the north east side of late is their defensive record, as they have kept just one clean sheet in their last seven top-flight outings.

One positive for the Magpies of late is their Premier League record at St James Park. The team from the north east are five games unbeaten on home soil in the English top-flight. Their recent home matches have been tight and low-scoring affairs, with under 2.5 goals scored in five of their six games.

Newcastle will be hoping for a repeat of last seasons clash with City at St James, as the Magpies pulled off a 2-1 victory against the reigning champions.

The Citizens form has dipped this season and their unconvincing displays have seen Pep Guardiola’s team fall a massive nine points behind leaders Liverpool in the race for the title.

The visitors have now won just one of their last four matches in all competitions. However. The reigning champions have recorded four wins from their previous five matches in the Premier League. The biggest factor in those victories has been City’s attacking prowess, as they have scored at least twice in four of their last five league games.

One factor that may affect City’s attacking efforts this weekend is the absence of star forward Sergio Aguero. The Argentinian is currently suffering from a groin injury. The injury gives a chance to Brazilian international Gabriel Jesus to lead the City attack.

Guardiola’s team have a slightly inconsistent away record of late in the top-flight, as they have won two and lost two of their last four matches in the English top-flight. They have remained a major attacking threat on their travels of late, though, scoring at least two goals in six of their last seven away games.

Newcastle are an unpredictable team at the moment. With City’s injury problems and unconvincing form, the Magpies may feel they have a chance of picking something up against Pep Guardiola’s team.

City are now under massive pressure not to slip up, as they cannot afford to fall even further behind Liverpool if they are to have a hope of catching the Merseysider’s in the title race.

Meanwhile, Liverpool’s attention is back on the league following a disappointing draw at home with Napoli in the Champions League. That draw means the Reds will need to get a result in their final group game, something they were hoping to avoid. On the home front, however, they are looking to make it five Premier League wins on the bounce.

Brighton will be banking on a fatigued Liverpool side to turn out on Saturday if they are to have any chance of taking points south. The Seagulls have only scored once against the league leaders in their last four meetings, and have gone on to lose all those games.

Liverpool are unbeaten in the Premier League after 13 games, winning 12 of those along the way. They have an eight-point lead over nearest rivals Leicester, and nine over current champions Manchester City. Although they have been winning, there have been some scrappy affairs. In fact, in seven of their 12 wins they have won by a one-goal margin. This includes the 2-1 win over Crystal Palace last weekend.

Jurgen Klopp faces a tough December schedule, with 12 games being played in 36 days (including the Napoli game). This also includes a Merseyside derby mid next week and a tricky trip away to Leicester. Given the fact that they have not yet qualified for the Champions League makes it all the more difficult. The Reds now travel to Salzburg on the 10th December needing at least a draw to progress.

In contrast, Brighton face only seven games in the same period having been knocked out the EFL Cup back in September. Their only focus is on the league at the moment. The Seagulls are having an okay season, perhaps as predicted. They currently occupy 12th spot in the table having picked up 15 points from the opening 13 games. Weirdly, they find themselves in the exact same position as they were last season at this time with four wins, three draws, and six losses.

The Seagulls looked as though they might be moving up the table when they put together a run of three wins in four games recently. However, the winning streak didn’t last long and they have lost their last two games away to Manchester United 3-1 and 2-0 at home to Leicester. During the latter, Brighton failed to register a single shot on target the entire game.

 

Arsenal Sacks Unai Emery as Head Coach 

Ljungberg steps in as interim head  

Gunners contact Massimiliano Allegri

Arsenal have sacked head coach Unai Emery after the club’s worst run of results since 1992.

The North London club are without a win in their last seven matches following Thursday’s 2-1 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League. The Gunners have won only four of their 13 Premier League games this season and are now eighth, eight points adrift of the Champions League places.

Emery was appointed head coach at Arsenal in 2018 on a two-year deal, succeeding Arsene Wenger after his 22 years in charge of the club.

However, the Spaniard has been sacked after just 18 months in the role “due to results and performances not being at the level required”, according to a club statement.

Freddie Ljungberg, former Arsenal midfielder and member of ‘The Invincibles’, will take charge of the first team while the club searches for a permanent replacement for Emery.

Arsenal director Josh Kroenke said: “Our most sincere thanks go to Unai and his colleagues who were unrelenting in their efforts to get the club back to competing at the level we all expect and demand.

“We wish Unai and his team nothing but future success.”

Arsenal say they have “full confidence” in Ljungberg, who will take charge of the Gunners for the first time against Norwich on Sunday.

Sky Sports News understands several senior figures at the club, including head of football Raul Sanllehi and technical director Edu, had decided before the Frankfurt match that Emery needed to be replaced.

Sanllehi had flown to the United States earlier this week along with managing director Vinai Venkatesham to hold talks with Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke and his son Josh Kroenke over Emery’s future.

It is believed Kroenke was willing to give Emery more time but lost faith in the Spaniard after Thursday’s defeat.

Emery arrived for training on Friday morning and was sacked during a meeting with Sanllehi and Edu.

It is understood some senior figures at Arsenal wanted Jose Mourinho to replace Emery before he joined north London rivals Tottenham as head coach.

Arsenal have made contact with former Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri, who has been without a role since leaving the Italian champions at the end of the 2018-19 season.

But former Arsenal striker Charlie Nicholas told Sky Sports News: “Arsenal need to get a bit of leadership and togetherness, and if they’re really serious about moving this forward and moving it on, they must go and get Brendan Rodgers now.”

Glo Excites Golfers at Ikoyi Golf Tourney

Globacom, one of the telecommunications companies in the country, has rewarded winners of 2019 Southern Sun Ikoyi Annual Golf Tournament held on the lush course of Lakowe Lakes and Gold Resorts with its best in class ICT solution products.

The victorious golfers received 25 Glo Routers and Mifi modems for their exemplary performance in the competition. 

Fielding questions from journalists, Globacom’s Head of Enterprise Corporate, Lagos, Mr. Abiodun Sanni, said that  the outcome of the event justified the company’s decision to partner with Southern Sun Ikoyi on the tournament.

Golfers from within and outside Lagos had the time of their lives when the best among them fought for glory at the Eighth Southern Sun Ikoyi Golf Tournament. Sanni promised more good times for the players in future competitions.

Adewemimo Sumonu won the men’s category of the competition, while Funke Majekodunmi came tops in the ladies’ category in a Stableford styled tournament which kept the fans cheering as the golfers displayed spectacular show of competitiveness and sportsmanship throughout the tournament. The field had about 70 male and female golfers competing for glory.

As the event came to a close, guests and participants were gifted with various special packages including weekend stays and complementary dining opportunities at Southern Sun Ikoyi, Cases of premium wines, prepaid routers and Mifis, courtesy of Globacom, business and economy class tickets to various international travel destinations amongst other exciting giveaways.

According to Sanni, “I’m sure that the winners of the routers and Mifi model will put them into good use and also appreciate us for the gesture. Today, we presented 25 routers with one month 15GB data. The Mifi routers also have 4.5GB data on them. He said Globacom had contributed to sports, entertainment and education in the past years “…and we would continue to give back and support Nigerians in other areas of endeavours,” he said. He promised that Globacom would look for ways to make the next edition more exciting for players and golf fans.

Earlier, the General Manager, Southern Sun,  Mark Loxley commended the athletes, sponsors, guests and the media for taking out time to participate at this year’s edition of the tournament despite the long drive and their busy schedules, whilst reiterating the hotel’s continued commitment to promoting golf as a sporting activity within Lagos’s thriving business community.

Olajide, Obadina Win Alake 14th Coronation Anniversary Golf Tourney

Owolabi Olajide of Abeokuta Golf Club and Hannah Obadina of Tiger Golf Club, Ibadan have emerged winners at the 14th Coronation Anniversary Golf Tournament held at Abeokuta Golf Club, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, Ogun State capital.

The golf tournament which featured over a 100 golfers across the South West States, Kwara State and Benin club golf section (BCGS), was promoted by the club while OANDO Plc was the main sponsor of the tournament organised in honour of His Royal Majesty (HRM) Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo, Okukenu IV CFR, Alake of Egbaland, an ardent golfer in the club.

The closing ceremony had in attendance Agura of Gbagura, HRH Oba Saburi Babajide Bakri who represented the Alake, Deputy Managing Director of OANDO Plc, Onamofe Boyo; Chairman of the club Board of Trustees, Hon. Justice Ademola Bakri, and many other dignitaries.

Olajide, handicap one, was at his best form in the yearly golf tournament when he played a net score of 69 to emerge winner in men’s category ahead of Igbokwe O. (hcp. 17) from Dolphin golf club whose net score was 70, while Sam Owolabi (hcp.7) of Sagamu golf club placed third with 73 net. Dimeji Sorunke, (hcp.1) from Abeokuta golf club was adjudged the best gross winner in the men’s cadre having played 73 gross.

Obadina, (hcp.10) was crowned the ladies event champion with ease as her best performance of 67 net outclassed Abeokuta based golfer, Adenike Jimoh (hcp.23), who played 71 net to place first runner up while her compatriot, Kessy Agana, (hcp.26), settled for second runner-up having recorded 73 net. Alaba Adetunji from Ikeja golf club won the best gross award with 87 gross.

Other winners include Ruth Luwoye and Dimeji Sorunke, both from Abeokut golf club won nearest the pin hole 10, while Obadina, and Tolu Martins from Ikoyi club won the ladies and men’s longest drive award respectively. Oluwasegun Oluseye, (hcp.23) played 75 net to win the veteran category ahead of Okuboye Lemboye with 78 net.

The highlight of the event was the presentation of trophies and other valuable prizes to winners in various categories as well as others who distinguished themselves at the one day tourney.

 

Barca Academy Nigeria’s New Technical Director Tour Facilities

After a weeklong physical and technical assessment and appraisal of the Barca Academy Group Nigeria to ascertain the level of physical fitness and technical depth of the Academy’s Technical crew which is the pivot of the FC Barcelona as a global brand Jorge Couto, a reputable Camp Coach of the world football giant has embarked on the facility tour of the Academy’s premises in Nigeria.

In conformity with this approach, his first point of call was the Corona School, Gbagada, Lagos, facility, where he met with Mrs. Herrinta Eguagie, Head, Corona School, Gbagada, who received the team led by Leshe Oghomienor, chairman, Blaugrana Group International, himself an old pupil of the 60 years old school that has been doing great all around exploits. 

After thorough inspection of the facilities from the dressing room for different age group to the evenly restructured spectators stand on the pitch addressing the media, Couto expressed his satisfaction in the quality and standard of working elements and tools in the school which he said were of very high grade and quality and no wonder the Barca Academy Nigeria Group has performed excellently in her only three years of existence compared to older academies in other climes.

He further stated that what he had seen was a motivating factor to make him work harder to achieve the mission of the drivers of the project in Nigeria.

“From what I have seen proves that Blaugrana Group is a top notch brand with very high taste and a passionate zeal to achieve excellent results, this informed her partnership with the grade A school like Corona. Here, nothing is short of the best,” he explained.

In her response Mrs. Herrinta Eguagie, in delight said that she was very excited to be part of a novel cause initiated by an old pupil of the institution a genuine pointer that indeed Corona is a worthy brand of great substance to partner with and so it is with FC Barcelona believed to be over a hundred years and still very strong and vibrant the world over.

“Firstly, I am very excited that the initiator of this noble project of taking a lot of our children off the streets through sports, especially football via the Elite 96 Scholarship make one a very proud mother. As teachers, we are always in bliss to see our own children excel in their own endeavors. It encourages us to do more in our own way just as we teach them to do. We are very delighted to be chosen as a partner in this axis for the Barca Academy.

 We strongly believe that this relationship is bound to rub off positively on the parties involved,” she stated, Leslie Oghomienor who left the school forty years ago, said that he himself cannot fathom that he would ever have something to do with his alma mater in this direction that his entire premium formation began in the four walls of the school in Gbagada, Lagos.

Expressing his appreciation to the management and staff of the school he said, “After many years in the oil and gas sector, venturing into dealing with children has made me realised with all conviction that teaching is the noblest of all profession. A teacher is a god for he or she created all others from the footballer in a village in Delta State to the President in Aso Rock, Abuja, and others, we are at some point left under the care of a teacher. That deserves the best. We highly commend organisations who are rewarding this group in one way or the other…”

Couto, told the media that his next poi nt of call would be the Academy’s facility at Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, where it all started in November 2016.

 

2019 Nigeria Bankers Games  

Curtains would be drawn on the 2019 Nigeria Bankers Games on Sunday after five weeks of sporting action at the YabaTech Sports Complex, Yaba, Lagos.

Sunday’s action, according to the organisers, MediaVision, would determine the football and overall champions of the 2019 Nigeria Bankers Games. In athletics finals, male and female participants will take to the track to battle for medals in 100, 200, 400 and 4×100 metres races as there are eight medals up for grabs in the athletics event alone.

The day will also witness the third-place and the final match of the football event. FCMB will be taking on Union Bank in a repeat of last year’s third place match.

Last year, FCMB won the bronze medal but Union Bank will be looking to take their revenge to their opponents.

The final match is also a repeat of last year’s as reigning champions – UBA look to defend their title against Fidelity Bank. Last season, it took a late goal from UBA’s Samir Bello to clinch the title but both teams and spectators alike expect tomorrow’s final to be even tougher.

Fixtures

Novelty Match: CWAY v Corporate Nigeria Hall of Famers– 10:00am

Athletics Finals: (100m, 200m, 400m & 4x100m – Male/Female) – 11:00am

ThirdPlace: Union Bank v FCMB – 12 noon

Final: UBA v Fidelity Bank – 2:15pm

 

Ibrahim Said

Premier League Clubs’ New Bride 

Nigeria may not have been impressive at the recently concluded U-17 World Cup in Brazil as the team was knocked out in the second round of the competition. However, one of the outstanding player in the team was Ibrahim Said and little wonder English Premier League clubs like Manchester City, Chelsea and Leicester City are scrambling for his signature

T

wo English Premier League clubs are now head-to-head in the scramble to sign Nigerian U-17 sensation Ibrahim Said.

The Dabo Babes Academy attacking midfielder was one of the stars for the Golden Eaglets at the recently concluded FIFA U-17 World Cup and his performance during the competition in Brazil has attracted the attention of several English teams.

Chelsea and Leicester City are the latest clubs to have made inquiries over signing Said but face competition from Premier League rivals Liverpool, Manchester City and West Ham.

The 16-year-old has drawn comparisons with Chelsea star Victor Moses due to his playing style and ability to play in several positions.

Dutch and Belgian clubs have shown interest in signing Said but he has been advised to join a team with Nigerian players in their ranks so he can quickly settle in his new environment.

Leicester City pay the wages of Super Eagles stars Kelechi Iheanacho, Wilfred Ndidi, and Nigeria-eligible players such as Calvin Ughelumba, Josh Eppiah, Chituru Odunze, Layton Ndukwu and Daniel Obi, while the likes of Faustino Anjorin, Jordan Aina, Prince Adegoke and Kelechi Chibueze are on the books of Chelsea.

Said’s second goal against Ecuador at the FIFA U-17 World Cup was nominated for the FIFA U-17 World Cup Brazil 2019 Goal of the Tournament, an award eventually won by Mexico’s Santiago Munoz.

Said became the seventh Golden Eaglets to hit the back of the net three times in a U-17 World Cup match more than any other nation in the tournament.

“I just want to make my country proud of the team,” the midfielder told FIFA.com after the match helping Nigeria thrash Ecuador.    

After two games in the tournament in Brazil 2019, Said has shown he has the qualities to join the likes of Philip Osondu, Sanni Emmanuel, Kelechi Iheanacho and Kelechi Nwankali who had walked away with the tournament’s golden ball award but it was not to be as Nigeria did not progress beyond the second round of the competition.

Sport Xtra

Ahmed Musa Craves for More Milestone with Super Eagles

Contrary to media reports suggesting that Al Nassr of Saudi Arabia star, Ahmed Musa was planning to retire from the Super Eagles, the former Leicester City forward has reiterated his commitment to the national cause.

Musa, who is the first Nigerian to score more than once in a FIFA World Cup match, after scoring twice against Argentina in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, has stated his desire to continue to reach more milestones for the national team before he hangs his boot.

The Super Eagles captain is the first Nigerian to score in two FIFA World Cup competitions, after scoring twice against Iceland in the group stage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The 27-year-old has however revealed his desire to keep breaking new records for the Super Eagles.

“Since I started my career with the national team, I’ve always broken records,” Musa told the Saudi Gazette .

“No player has ever scored two goals at a World Cup for Nigeria. I am now the highest scorer at the history of the World Cup for Nigeria.

“I think with the years I have remaining with the national team I will reach more records than my former teammates,” Al Nasr player added.

Ahmed Musa has amassed 91 caps for Nigeria, scoring 15 international times.

Musa revealed that the sincere hospitality and warm affection of the Saudi people has made his stay in the country worthwhile.

The 27-year-old scored seven goals and registered as many assists as defending champions Al Nassr cruised to another league title last term.

The SPL has seen five different winners since 2012 a testament to the strength and competitiveness of the Saudi championship.

 “The SPL is one of the hardest leagues. The people may look at it as very easy, but I don’t think so,” the Super Eagles skipper told the Saudi Gazette.

“Many people think the league is easy, but when you play here you know it’s not that easy. The fans here are crazy about football, they’re not the same as Europeans.”

“When I first came here, it was difficult for me because of how much fans love football — they don’t want to lose! Over here, fans are always crazy when you lose a game.

“One of the best moments here is whenever I go out and everyone wants to take a picture with you. I give the Saudi fans credit for this.

“Back in my country (Nigeria), everyone always comes to Saudi, so I know the lifestyle here. So, nobody asks me how I cope or what I do in Saudi because most Nigerians are always here.”

“We now have some four Nigerian players playing in the Saudi Professional League. I would love for more Nigerian players to come and play here.”

 

 

Omeruo Returns to Training after Muscular Injury ahead of Sevilla Clash

Nigeria international Kenneth Omeruo has made a quick recovery from injury, according to reports in the Spanish media.

The central defender had been rated highly doubtful for CD Leganes trip to Sevilla after he suffered a muscular injury in the closing minutes of the 2-1 loss to Barcelona last weekend.

The good news is that the Super Eagles star trained without any discomfort at ID Butarque on Friday morning.

However, it remains to be seen if he will be included in the starting line-up by manager Javier Aguirre for Sunday afternoon’s clash at Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán (Sevilla).

Omeruo’s 2019-2020 campaign has been blighted by fitness concerns, which made his miss games against Villarreal, Levante, Mallorca and SD Eibar.

The other game he didn’t feature was the opening day clash with Osasuna, where he was an unused substitute, because he returned to the club late following international commitments with the Super Eagles at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

Chidozie Awaziem has no injury worries and is in contention to travel with the Leganes squad to Andalusia.

 

 

 

 

Ruiz Jr Vows to Knockout Joshua Early in their Rematch

Andy Ruiz Jr has dealt a stark reminder that Anthony Joshua fought “something he’s never seen before” in their first meeting, and threatened to beat him “even faster” in the rematch.

Ruiz Jr also believes Joshua will aim to regain the IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight championships next Saturday by adopting a cautious in-ring strategy.

“I’m expecting that. But if he wants to bang, it’s better for me. I love to bang because that’s the fighter that I am,” Ruiz Jr exclusively told Sky Sports, six months after flooring Joshua four times and completing a memorable shock.

“December 7 we have to pressure, work the body, break him down. Especially his mentality.

“We’ve got to see where he’s at because all the pressure is on him. The pressure isn’t on me because I followed my dream, made my dreams come true.

“Of course I want more – I want the legacy of Andy Ruiz Jr.”

Ruiz Jr had previously explained that his sparring partners were being “slick” in anticipation of Joshua trying to be elusive.

“People haven’t seen me cut off the ring,” Ruiz Jr warned. “I actually break them down even faster when they try to box me around.

“We all have a plan until we get hit, like Mike Tyson would say. I’m pretty sure he will want to box me around.

“One punch can change the fight. That’s what happened on June 1. It might be a little harder than the first time. I’ve got to show my skills, my talent.”

Ruiz Jr’s only defeat in 34 fights came via majority decision to Joseph Parker in 2016, a verdict he still disputes. He insists that his style will always be a problem for Joshua.

“Especially me staying small. I don’t think he likes fighting against that style,” Ruiz Jr explained. “I don’t think he’s ever fought a short guy that pressures, and is pretty slick.

“I felt like I was boxing him around even though I was the shorter guy. I was counter-punching him. When he would throw, I would throw back with more punches.

“He saw something that he’s never seen before.

“People said before, who would you rather fight: Joshua, Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury? I always said Joshua because of his style.

“Styles make fights. His style was perfect for me to become the unified heavyweight champion.”

 

FIFA Announce Plans to Raise $1bn for Africa

Football’s world governing body has announced plans to raise $1bn dollars to build at least one stadium meeting FIFA standards in each African country.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino was talking in Lubumbashi during the 80th anniversary celebrations of DR Congo side TP Mazembe.

He insisted that FIFA wants African football to shine and will work with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and other stakeholders to improve refereeing, infrastructure and competitions on the continent.

“We want to bring it (Africa) to the highest of heights and show the world the outstanding talent and amazingly gifted players your continent possesses,” he said.

“To do this, we want to implement a three pillar approach: refereeing, infrastructure and competitions, in close cooperation with Caf, all of its 54 member associations across Africa and other stakeholders.

“I am positive that we will make African football reach the top level where it should be because the quality and potential are definitely here.”

One of the plans is for FIFA to create a professional and elite group of African referees who will be independent of administration and political bodies.

This follows on from the decision taken in the last executive committee meeting of CAF where a decision to implement reforms in the refereeing sector was approved.

On infrastructure, Infantino said FIFA would mobilize companies and entrepreneurs to raise around $1bn with the objective of building at least one stadium that complies with FIFA’s standards in each African country.

He said FIFA will focus on developing new and better competitions to generate more revenue so that the African clubs can retain talented players.

Infantino hinted at the possibility of creating an African League that would see the best clubs from the continent play against each other, without giving further details or outlining how the plan might impact the Champions League.

He also talked about plans to organize regional competitions and youth tournaments to further help the development of young players in Africa.

Infantino is touring along with his general-secretary-turned-African-delegate Fatma Samoura, CAF president Ahmad Ahmad and African legend Samuel Eto’o among other people.

He then took part in a commemorative match that featured Eto’o, Zambian legend Kalusha Bwalya and TP Mazembe owner Moise Katumbi.

 

 

Murray has No Chance of Winning another Grand Slam-Ivanisevic

Andy Murray has “no chance” of winning another Grand Slam title, according to former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic.

The former world No 1 recently revealed he contemplated retirement a matter of weeks before winning the European Open in Antwerp last month.

But gaining more confidence during tournaments in Zhuhai, Beijing and Shanghai, the Scot produced a remarkable level of consistency to win in Belgium – his first title since 2017.

Although he was only able to compete in one match for Great Britain at last week’s Davis Cup, Murray confirmed he was “ahead of where I expected to be at this stage” with regard to his hip.

Ivanisevic, who is the current coach of Novak Djokovic, was brutally honest in his assessment of three-time Grand Slam champion ever winning a major again.

“A Slam? No chance. But he can make some surprises, he can go far but to win I don’t think that he can survive seven matches – best-of-five,” said the 2001 Wimbledon champion, who was speaking ahead of the Champions Tennis tournament at the Royal Albert Hall.

“It’s only about health – if he’s healthy and the hip is okay I don’t think that anyone wants to play against Andy next year. He’s a great competitor and when he steps on the court, he wants to win. He’s not good for the opponents.

“It’s going to be good. I don’t know what ranking, it’s tough to say no, but if he’s healthy he can be up there.”

“Andy, I think I agree with Goran. He’ll do well at the Slams and I think that he’ll be competitive, but to win a major that is hard enough when you’re healthy,” added Rusedski.

“He’s the only British man to win an ATP tour event this year as well, that just shows what an amazing competitor he is and his desire to actually come back.

“Most people, wouldn’t be accomplishing what he’s done. It’s up there, from an emotional point of view and a satisfaction point of view, with his major trophies.”