Vanguard Newspaper 10 january 2018
46 — SATURDAY Vanguard, FEBRUARY 10, 2018 Tottenham confront Arsenal in London derby Action returns to the Premier League this weekend, with many marquee football games on show from today through Monday. The north London derby between Tottenham and Arsenal stands out as the clear highlight of the upcoming Premier League weekend. All the matches will be live in HD on Supersport, exclusive to DStv. Speaking on the Premier League fixtures and the North London Derby, Mr. Martin Mabutho, General Manager, Marketing and Sales for MultiChoice Nigeria, said: “Millions of people around the world will tune in to watch the Premier League and its showpiece games including the North London Derby between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, a game that has always showcased some of the best footballers in the world. MultiChoice is thrilled to bring all of the excitement of the clash live and in HD to our viewers across Nigeria and we ask our viewers to tune in to find out who wins this time.” Also today, Manchester United will be guests of Newcastle United on Saturday, while Southampton host Liverpool on Sunday. Manchester City will look to maintain their lead when they host Leicester City, while Chelsea will be hoping to recover from the horror of their last two Premier League fixtures when they face West Bromwich Albion on Monday. “We remain committed to providing the best sporting content to our customers. Football fans in Nigeria can look forward to mouthwatering football fixtures including the La Liga, the FA Cup and the Champions League knockout round,” Mabutho enthused. Joshua ready for Parker Anthony Joshua appears to have sent the strong message that he is fit and ready to step back inside the boxing ring after showing off an incredibly cut physique in his latest Instagram post. The world heavyweight champion shared a photo of himself lifting a medicine ball in his latest training regime and looked fitter than ever as he displayed a torso that any champion bodybuilder would be proud of. But the 2012 Olympic goldmedallist will find a much more functional use for those muscles than mere display on March 31, •Asensio when he defends his IBF, IBO and WBA belts against Joseph Parker at the Principality Stadium. It will be Joshua’s 21st professional bout and the sixth defence of his IBF heavyweight title. He will also have the chance to win another belt with Parker the current holder of the WBO heavyweight title. Both go into the bout unbeaten with Parker boasting 24 wins and 18 knockouts compared to Joshua’s 20 wins and 20 knockouts. The New Zealander’s last fight came against Hughie Fury last September, which he won by a controversial split decision after 12 gruelling rounds. •Joshua ASENSIO WANT ANTS OUT The Spain international has been linked with a move away from the Bernabeu in recent months. Asensio, 22, is desperate to get more game time at Real under Zinedine Zidane. The attacker has started just nine La Liga games this time out, netting four goals and chipping in with four assists. And according to Spanish news outlet Diario Gol, Asensio will leave Real this summer. They claim the winger already contacted Liverpool and Chelsea over a possible transfer. Diario Gol say Liverpool want Asensio as a replacement for Philippe Coutinho, while Chelsea are in for the forward with Eden Hazard’s Stamford Bridge future up in the air. •Kane •Team Nigeria •Aubameyang Conte’s position at Chelsea uncertain Chelsea boss Antonio Conte appeared less than happy as he left the club’s Cobham training base on Thursday, with his future at Stamford Bridge remaining shrouded in uncertainty. Sportsmail revealed there is major dressing-room unrest at Chelsea but the Italian has insisted he would not be forced out of his job. Conte has privately acknowledged he will not be Chelsea manager next season but he is refusing to walk away, preferring for owner Roman Abramovich to Winter Olympics will have the greatest African representation ever. But it’s the Nigerian women who will compete in the bobsleigh and skeleton event who are among the most remarkable. The 2018 Winter Olympics began in Pyeongchang, South Korea on Friday and while South Africa has sent a lone competitor – alpine skier Connor Wilson – the Games will have a broad African representation. decide his fate. Some players, however, find Conte’s training regime repetitive and monotonous. Similarly, some have blamed the tension at the club’s Cobham HQ on Conte’s ‘bad moods’. Conte, who earns £9millionper-year, left the complex driving his £15,000 Nissan Juke. ‘This is my wife’s desire to have a small car because a small car is easier to drive and then especially if you are starting to In fact, the Games will feature the most African countries at a Winter Olympics. Eight countries from the continent – Kenya, Morocco, Ghana, Madagascar, South Africa, Togo, Eritrea, and Nigeria – will compete at this year’s event with 13 athletes (a record since 1994) all vying to become the first African to win a medal. It is a monumental effort considering the challenges the athletes face to compete. •Antonio Conte drive on the right,’ he has said of the car choice. ‘This car is enough for my daughter, for my wife because my wife uses the car to bring my daughter to school and if we want to have a dinner around Cobham we can go. PyeongChang 2018: Team Nigeria in search of gold Beyond the usual – maladministration, lack of funding and you know, the weather – there’s the added complexity that in many countries, the federations that govern winter sports simply do not exist. When Senegal’s Lamine Guèye became the first black African athlete to compete in the games back in 1984, he had to ask for the help from the International Ski Federation to set up the sport’s federation.
I was better in football than in athletics — Urhobo •How they chased us out of our father's church Toni Urhobo is a name that needs very little introduction to followers of athletics in the country. He was an athlete of repute who was to become a coach, a period he produced some of the best athletes Nigeria has ever known in track and field. He also became the Chairman of Athletics Association as it was known then. He spoke with Jacob Ajom on his early days as a school boy all-round sports star. Excerpts. How did you start your sporting career? I come from a home of a father who was an evangelist and at the same time he was sports loving. He loved sports. My father was one of the earliest Pentecostal founders in Warri, that was in the 30s. He founded a Christian church called GKS, God's Kingdom Society, in Warri with branches all over Lagos, Benin, Port Harcourt. I was the 5th son of my father. He was also into education. He used to be a headmaster. When God called him, he resigned from teaching and formed the church. He had a big battle with his family because they thought he was crazy; how could he leave government job for preaching the Gospel. It was a very serious battle with his family, which they regretted at a latter date. When I confronted my uncle upon the death of my father, several years after, he told me they never knew that the church thing was a lucrative business and so they didn't support him because how could he have resigned from government work and started carrying microphones and loudspeakers and saying I want to preach the word of God. But my dad was very popular. He was first a Roman Catholic, very knowledgeable in the Bible, then later in Jehovah Witness. When he got the vision, when the Holy Spirit spoke to him to go out and preach the Gospel, he had serious battle with his former Jehovah Witness members. Although I was a kid then in Port Harcourt, I wouldn't know much, some members of the Jehovah Witness came and fought him seriously, that he was preaching against their doctrine. He was almost killed in Port Harcourt. And so he faced a lot of trials and tribulations. Even the Catholic Church community saw him as a child of the devil, that he was being used to attack the church. He was a very brave man. How did this influence your sports background? At that time,he built the church in such a way that he introduced sports into the church. I remember, there used to be a football competition among the various branches of the church. It was a fanfare, a week-long event called 'the Feast of Tabernacle.' Delegates from Lagos would come with their football team, the ones from from Port Harcourt would come up with their own football team. It was like a gala. He loved sports and participated in it. He sent his children to school. My elder brothers, two of them attended Government College Ugheli and I, too, attended Government College Ugheli. It was one of the best schools in those early days. My father died, I would say mysteriously, abruptly. Because he was sick for just about three days. I was just seven when my father passed on at the age of 49. I really missed him because after his death, everything fell apart in my family. We, our father's children suffered a lot of persecution from the man who took over the church. The man who took over the church married my mother and started maltreating us. He stopped us from going to school. He stopped my elder brother from going to school. I was in class 2 in the secondary school in 1961. Our step father, had a problem with my elder brother. The year my father died was the year my elder brother was going to the UK to study. That was in 1952. He was on his way out. He had already moved to Lagos to take his flight to the UK when my father passed on. He had to postpone his flight, he returned to Warri for the burial. While abroad, they stopped sending his school fees and asked him to stop schooling and return to Nigeria. But he refused to come back. As we were growing up, we were made to understand that they saw him as a threat; that as the eldest son of my father, he would one day want to take over his father's church and so they made things difficult for him. He also went and married a white woman, that was the woman who helped him throughout his stay there. By the time he came back, they summoned him to a meeting and asked why he refused to return when they asked him to do so. They broke out with him, and he left them. The executive of the church sat and suspended him,and told the whole church that nobody should have anything to do with him. They went FG treats sports people with disdain, Semitoje cries out Former Super Eagles defender, Isaac Semitoje has accused the Federal Government of treating sports men and women who brought honour to the country with disdain, adding that he will never advise his friend, son or relation to play for Nigeria because the country was not worth dying for. Semitoje who played for the Super Eagles as a player of then Iwuanyanwu Nationale Football Club of Owerri in the 1990s, said in a chat with newsmen that football in particular will never get it right because politicians have taken over and advised that and dislodged the tires of the car that they bought for him. He was excommunicated from the church. Few months after that they stopped us from going to school. For one and a half years I was virtually at home, with the explanation then that education was not good for children; just like what Boko Haram stands for; that western education makes children to go away from God. The man who took over the church was doing all that because his own children had not grown up to school age yet. But when his children became of school age, they sat again and changed the rule to favour those ones to now go to school. It caused a lot of problems in the church. Eventually, I left the church, my sister left and everybody in my family left the church our father started. In the process, two of my brothers died mysteriously. When I was home, after they asked me to stop schooling, my Games Master -- because I was an outstanding sportsman – made way for me. As a matter of fact, I was admitted into Warri Township School, Primary 5. I was in a private school and for one to get your First School Leaving Certificate one had to go to a government school so I decided to go to Township school Warri. I was to go into primary six but they said there was no space so I had to repeat primary 5. I passed to primary 6 the next year and sat and passed my standard 6 exam. There was something significant about my admission into that school because they said there was no space. The Headmaster asked me, who was then an uncle of mine but I didn't know. He asked me if I had any talent because the class was full. "Can you run?" he asked. I asked him to bring his best runners in the school so I could compete with them. He went and brought them. They timed us, and I beat all their best sprinters. Then he asked if I could play football. During the break we played and I was an instant hit. I was offered admission immediately. And I became popular in the school because I was outstanding in sports. I was not among the best academically, but I was the only one offered admission into Government College. They were other brilliant boys all over the place. But I believe it was God, because two of my brothers had already attended Govt. College Ugheli. When I went in for the interview, the Principal, a white the country must return to the basics if it must grow. “I cannot advise any of my friend, son or relation to play for Nigeria because they are not worth dying for. Can you believe that the Nigerian government is still indebted to us? Just look at how ex- Internationals in the country are being treated. If some of us had not travelled out of Nigeria to work out something for ourselves, only God knows what would have happened to us. Football in Nigeria has been taken over by politicians, we can never get it right until the right thing is done.” •Toni Urhobo SATURDAY Vanguard, FEBRUARY 10, 2018 — 47 man, only asked me, David, how is your brother Edmund? And what about Victor, and I said both were fine. I was given an automatic admission based on what my brothers did there while they were in school. But before then, they took us out for sports. During the interview they tried you in all sports - athletics, football and all. I scored very high marks that after the interview, it was the Principal that went to drop me. As things turned out, I learnt some of the sports through my elder brothers. Each time they were home on holiday, I saw how they played and I observed with keen interest. I was the best poll vaulter in all the schools in the mid west then. When I got into Government College, from my class 2, I started breaking all records. I had that natural talent as all I needed from you was for you to demonstrate what you wanted me to do and that was it. Our school had HSC and it was almost impossible for junior students to break into the school's senior team. I was one of the few who broke into the school team from my class three or four. I played alongside HSC students and they used to call me one name: Odeshu. When you are so good, they call you son of the devil. Like Messi is sometimes addressed “It is very disgusting and surprising that after serving this country with the whole of your heart as an ex- International player, you get nothing in return. I’m not too happy with the way the government of this country do treat us. I thank God that some of us struggled to find our way out of the shores of this country may be we won’t have been able to survive it,” he lamented. Speaking about the Super Eagles World Cup campaign, Semitoje said, “I’m not against the national team, I want them to do very well at the World Cup as an alien. I was so fast, so athletic and they never got me. I was never injured. My talent was so special that after my class five, my brother who was paying my fees said he did not have money to pay for my Higher School education. I said okay. I returned to Warri. One of the best schools then was Hussy College owned by two private individuals O. N. Rewane, the elder brother to the popular Alfred Rewane who was a lawyer. His children were my friends and when they came to our house they said to me, Toni, we want you to come to our school. I told them I had no money for further studies. They assured me not to worry, they would talk to their father. The next day they came to our house they informed me that their father wanted to see me. When I met their father, he told me if I wanted to come to his school, he would offer me scholarship. I just kept quiet because I never believed it could happen. But when I summoned courage to speak, I told him that if he wanted me to go to his school I would go on one condition: and that was if my friend would also be offered admission and a scholarship. I told him I could not leave Government College and leave him(my friend) behind. He asked me, is he also a sportsman? I said yes, because he threw javelin and also played football. Rewane then said he would give him a scholarship as well. This my friend was Temi Ejoor, who later became the Military Administrator of Enugu and Abia States. That was how I ended up at Hussy College. After that I was invited to the Midwest Academicals. When we were preparing for the National Sports Festival, they now removed me from the football camp to athletics. The argument was that football has just one medal and there were always substitutes, while athletics had multiple medals. I was an all rounder in the sprints, long jump, high jump, pole vault etc. So they removed me from football and it pained me because I was better in football than in athletics. I was a top striker, I wore No 9. As they removed me, that marked the end to my secondary school football career. When we were through with that, we went to All Nigeria Secondary Schools competition. I set a national record in Long Jump and eventually I became the number one athlete in the whole country. I set numerous records. To be continued but our players must bear in mind that to play at the World Cup, you must h a v e something to offer. We must go back to the basics if we want our football to grow.” •Semitoje C M Y K