African Freestyle Football (AFFC) Championship 2019 in collaboration with World Freestyle Football Association (WFFA) have commended Heritage Bank Plc for its pivotal role in enhancing youth development and engendering the Nigeria’s entertainment space on the world’s stage.
The 2019 African Freestyle Football Championship ended on a high note, with defending champion Abdul Titi Kone of Cote d’Ivoire emerging as the African Champion once again. This event marked the 2nd edition of the African Championship and the 3rd annual edition of the Nigerian Championship hosted by Feet ‘n’ Tricks International Limited. The final was a repeat of the 2018 championship, as Kone again defeated Egypt’s Yousef Mohamad just as he did in last year’s final while Ashley Mhkize of South Africa placed third.
In the female category, Evelyn Okafor (Nigeria), Hadhara Charles (Tanzania) and Augustina Unamba (Nigeria) placed first, second and third respectively.
This year’s edition accommodated at least 30 African countries that participated at the championship.
The Chairman of AFFC, Valentine Ozigbo, who commended bank for being at the forefront of promoting freestyle football for the past two years, said Heritage Bank is “always very innovative and supportive to the cause of entertainment and youth development.
According to him, these achievements would have been impossible without the extensive support of the official bankers (Heritage Bank) for the championship for two years running.
Speaking further, Ozigbo hinted, “since inception, Feet ‘n’ Tricks has been committed to promoting freestyle football talent to stardom and we haven’t relented. Through this platform, we have seen talented freestylers get a head start in life, travel to exciting places and represent our beloved continent doing what they know how to do best.”
The MD/CEO, Heritage Bank, Ifie Sekibo, said the bank has strong desire towards developing and positioning youths to become world-class citizens equipped and ready to be absorbed into an increasing competitive professional skills and endeavours.
Sekibo, who was represented by an Executive Director, Jude Monye advised the youths who were participants to adopt strong positive character to enable them take advantage of the platform being presented to them.
“One of the reasons why we chose, as an organization, to support the freestyle championship is to enhance youth development in sport and entertainment, which will empower them play vital roles in the socio-economic development of the country and help curb the high level of unemployment,” he stressed.
According to Sekibo, the drive to support youths seeks to create, preserve and transfer wealth across generations.
It is against the backdrop of the competition that Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President, Amaju Pinnick, promised to give more support to the entertaining part of football.
“We need to encourage this entertaining part of football because what they are doing here is great. Freestyle is quite interesting, and I am happy with what I have seen so far.
“With this project, a goal has been achieved. I also want more ladies to come out and do freestyle football because it is highly entertaining and competitive.
“I will see to how we can give more support to freestyle football in the future,”he said.
Congratulating the Feet n Tricks team, Daniel Wood, Co-founder and Head of Global Partnerships, World Freestyle Football Association (WFFA) said, “Feet n Tricks have proven that they can produce world class events and we are so excited to be extending our partnership. We are fully committed to creating opportunities for young people and this event is to be the focus point for our sport in the continent of Africa.”
We Won’t Disappoint Nigeria, Rohr, Musa Assure
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has charged Super Eagles of Nigeria to beat the Squirrels of Benin Republic and Crocodiles of Lesotho in the crucial 2021 African Cup of Nations qualifying matches.
Governor Sanwo-Olu, who promised to support the team, tasked the technical crew and players to work tirelessly to defeat Benin national team on Saturday at Porto Novo and beat Lesotho during a match to be played at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos on Tuesday.
Speaking during a dinner with the President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick; Super Eagles Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr, technical crew and players, held at Lagos House, Marina on Wednesday evening, Governor Sanwo-Olu, said his administration is committed to improving sports activities in Lagos State.
The Governor during the dinner also surprised a member of the Atlanta 1996 Football Gold Medalist, Patrick Pascal by giving him a new three bedroom apartment in the 360 units Prince Abiodun Ogunleye Housing Estate in Igbogbo, Ikorodu.
Sanwo-Olu, said he is very excited that the senior national team is returning to Lagos to play competitive march after 20 years.
He said: “When it was said that we are going to have the match in Lagos, we did not only jump at it, we saw it as an opportunity to rewrite our history again.
Lagos used to be home for everything around football and sports in this country. Over 80 footballers came out of Lagos. Henry Nwosu, Samson Siasia, Jonathan Akpoborie, Odion Ighalo and many others were discovered in Lagos.
“We are supporting sporting activities in different parts of Lagos so that we can get younger ones that will be coming behind and after you so that Nigeria can get back her glory; the glory of 1996 when we won the Atlanta Olympic Gold Medal in the football event. It was a glorious time for some of us.
“We have here, Patrick Pascal (Super Eagles team coordinator), who was part of the team that won the gold medal in Atlanta 96. Surprisingly, what we promised him as a nation has not been fulfilled, but Lagos will fulfill that today. Patrick will get a three-bedroom flat in Prince Abiodun Ogunleye Housing Estate, which I commissioned today (Wednesday).
“Sports is a unifier for all of us. Sports is a detribalised means of identification. Sports speaks no language, it speaks no tradition, it speaks no religion. It is something that usually heals our country. Even when things are down, when we have security issues and all sorts of negative things in the country, you can use sports and football to heal that wound for us. And it is on that note that I want to charge you, encourage and appeal to you to do everything you can to win the matches.”
Governor Sanwo-Olu disclosed that his administration would build a stadium in Igbogbo and Agboyi-Ketu parts of Lagos, added that his administration will support all the local teams in the State with necessary infrastructure they need to boost sporting activities.
Speaking earlier, Rohr commended Governor Sanwo-Olu for his support for the team and for putting the necessary infrastructure in place at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere for next Tuesday match.
He assured the governor that his team will win the two matches.
Also speaking, captain of the Super Eagles, Ahmed Musa said the best they can do is to defeat Benin Republic in Porto Novo on Saturday and also win the match against Lesotho in Lagos on Tuesday.
“You are a man of the people. On behalf of myself and my team mates, we thank you. You are a man that promises and fulfills them. The best we can give you is to win the game.
“I think Benin Republic have not lost since 2013 in their home. We will break that by the grace of God and come to Lagos and do our best to win the game against Lesotho,” he said.
Musa later presented Super Eagles jerseys to Governor Sanwo-Olu and First Lady of Lagos State, Dr. (Mrs) Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu.
Just In:Nigeria Beats Libya 4-0
Odion Ighalo scores a hat-trick for Nigeria as they trounce visiting Libya national team 4-0 in an African Cup of Nations qualifier on Saturday.
The match was played at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital.
Ighalo, who plies his trade with the Chinese club, Changchun Yatai, grabbed the first goal from the penalty spot after a blunder from the Libyan goalkeeper in the second minute.
In the 58th minute, Arsenal’s midfielder, Alex Iwobi, delivered a lovely pass to Ighalo who maintained his composure, dribbled the goalkeeper and scored his second goal for Nigeria. He completed his hat-trick 10 minutes later after latching on a cross from Ahmed Musa.
Samuel Kalu completed the Super Eagles victory at the 91st minute.
The Super Eagles are second on the table with six points from three matches behind South Africa who are on seven
Thierry Henry: Monaco appoint former Arsenal striker as head coach
Former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry has been appointed as head coach of Monaco until June 2021.
The 41-year-old Frenchman, who had been Belgium’s assistant manager, began his professional career at Monaco and helped them win Ligue 1 in 1997.
The club are third from bottom in Ligue 1 and sacked manager Leonardo Jardim on Thursday.
“It seems like fate that I will begin my managerial career here,” said Henry, who is Arsenal’s record goalscorer.
The former Juventus, Barcelona and New York Red Bulls player was linked with Aston Villa in recent weeks and said he received some “very attractive offers” over the last few months.
“Monaco will always be close to my heart,” he added. “I’m incredibly excited to be given this opportunity but now the hard work must begin.”
Monaco have won just once all season in all competitions. In Ligue 1 they have six points from nine games with five defeats and they have lost both games in the Champions League.
Henry’s first game in charge will be against Strasbourg in the league on 20 October, before a Champions League tie with Club Brugge four days later.
Portuguese boss Jardim was appointed in 2014 and led the club to the French title in 2017, their first since 2000.
The 44-year-old also guided Monaco to the Champions League semi-finals in 2016-17 and helped develop players such as Paris St-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe, Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Lemar, and Manchester City pair Bernardo Silva and Benjamin Mendy.
Henry was with Belgium on Friday as they beat Switzerland 2-1 in the Nations League. In July he helped the team finish third at the World Cup.
He started his career at Monaco in 1994 under former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, before joining Juventus in 1999.
After just one year in Italy, he signed for the Gunners and went on to win two Premier League titles and two FA Cups in eight years in north London.
Then came a move to Barcelona, where he won the treble of La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League in 2008-09.
In 2010 he signed for Major League Soccer side Red Bulls, where he spent five seasons and also had a two-month loan spell back at Arsenal in early 2012.
Henry was a World Cup winner with France in 1998 and won the European Championship two years later, scoring 51 goals in 123 appearances for Les Bleus.
He retired as a player in December 2014 to work as a television pundit, before joining Belgium’s coaching staff in 2016.
“His knowledge of football, his passion for the game, his high standards and his commitment to our colours make his nomination a reality,” Monaco chief executive Vadim Vasilyev said.
“Thierry is both aware of the task ahead and eager to start his new job. He can count on our trust and all our support to bring a new dynamic to the team and carry out its mission. ”
Patrick Kwame Ampadu, a coach at Arsenal’s academy and father of Chelsea and Wales player Ethan Ampadu, will join Henry’s coaching staff, alongside Benfica Under-23 coach Joao Carlos Valado Tralhao.
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