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Thierry Henry: Arsenal legend installed as ‘Igwe’ of goals in Lagos

Thiery henry installed as ‘Igwe’ of goals in Lagos

After receiving the title, Henry revealed that Kanu Nwankwo, his one-time teammates at Arsenal never told him that they call him Igwe in Nigeria.

After years of being fondly called ‘Igwe’ by Nigerians, Arsenal legend Thierry Henry has finally been installed with the title in Lagos.

Henry arrived in Lagos on Sunday, December 17, 2017 on a two-day visit sponsored by an alcoholic beverage brand.

At an event on Sunday, the Arsenal legend was installed as the ‘Igwe’ in reference to the name he has been fondly called by Nigerians since his hay days in the Premier League.

 

The former France striker became very popular to Nigerians during his time at Arsenal where he won two Premier League and two FA Cup titles.

A proven goal-scorer in the Premier League, Nigerians started calling the former striker 'Igwe' which translates to king in English.

ALSO READ: Thiery henry tries to speak Pidgin English and it's hilarious

After receiving the title, Henry revealed that Kanu Nwankwo, his one-time teammates at Arsenal never told him that they call him Igwe in Nigeria.

 

He spoke of his admiration for Kanu and Victor Ikpeba whom he played with at Monaco.

“Kanu was overrated, such a positive, fun and humble guy, his techniques were amazing,” Henry said at the event which held in Landmark Centre.

Ikpeba was like a big brother to me in Monaco,” he added.




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SPORT: Dalung reaffirms FG’s commitment to hosting CAA in Asaba

Dalung

Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung yesterday reaffirmed the Federal Government’s commitment to hosting and providing a safe environment for the African Senior Athletics Championships billed for Asaba, Delta state in August next year.

Speaking when the Local Organising Committee paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja, Dalung said that other arms of security would be involved to compliment efforts of the state government during the games.

“Nigeria is committed to hosting and providing a safe and secure environment to host Africa and the world and we will compliment the efforts of the state government. Delta is a coastal city and therefore will require more of marine security arrangements. We will engage the Chief of Defence staff for very good complementary support,” he said.

He thanked Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa for his support to sports development in the country and called on other governors to emulate the state.

“We have many Sports Federations and nothing stops each state government from adopting a sport, federation or games. Delta State assisted us with the National Youth Games. Rivers State will host the African Wrestling Championship and Bayelsa has also hosted wrestling in the past,” he added.

Dalung stated that hosting the African Athletics Championship in Asaba will change the economic fortunes of the state.

Earlier, the Chairman of the LOC, Solomon Ogba briefed the minister on how far the LOC has gone in its preparations.

“The state government has released N1.9 billion because we want to host the best games in Africa. The Governor has given us 10 Marcopolo buses to refurbish. We have concluded arrangements with GAC Motors to give us 100 protocol vehicles for our top dignitaries. The Governor will sponsor three people heading transport, accommodation and accreditation to the Commonwealth Games to understudy them and see how it’s done.




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SPORT: Oluwaninshola wins as Washington DC club begins talent hunt in Lagos

Supervisory Councilor of Education, Kosofe Local Government and owner, Oluwaninshola Football Club, Olanrewaju Oladunjoye (Second right) and Secretary to Kosofe Local Government, Abayomi Ologbonori presenting the trophy to Oluwaninshola FC, winners of the 2017 Oluwaninshola Cup… at the weekend.

Oluwaninshola Football Club at the weekend defeated Golden Stars FR 3-1 to win this year’s edition of the Oluwaninshola Cup organized by the Supervisory Councilor of Education, Kosofe Local Government, Olanrenwaju Oladunjoye.

The final match at the IBB Stadium, Lagos ended in a draw, but champions won the ensuing penalty shoot out to take the title.

Golden Stars’ Emmanuel Ekpeyong opened the scoring in the first half, but Oluwaninshola’s Ihende Emmanuel equalized with a late minute penalty to ensure the regulation time ended 1-1.

Meanwhile, El-Musty FC defeated Royal FC 2-0 to clinch the third place prize, with Joel Odinaka scoring a brace for his team.

The champions received a cash prize of N250, 000 and a tour to Ghana, while the first and second runners up got N200, 000 and N150, 000 respectively.

Oladunjoye, who is also the Oluwaninshola FC owner, said the grassroots competition was aimed at engaging the youths of Kosofe Local Government Council and building their careers in sports.

“We noticed that for the past 10 years, youths were always restless because they didn’t have any activity to express themselves. So I decided to use football as a vehicle to develop them since most of the players require platforms to leverage on,” he said.




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SPORT: Group uses football to kick against gender-based violence

PHOTO:Football Fancast

The Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC) at the weekend held a football match to sensitize the public on the need to end gender-based violence (GBV).

The event, which came up at Yabatech Stadium in Lagos, was part of activities making the end of the 2017 United Nations programme GBV.

Highlight of the event was the symbolic kicking out of GBV by 500 male and female participants, who had a football.

According to the executive director WARDC, Dr. Abiola Afolabi-Akiyode, the kick-out was not just symbolic, but it also a step further to speak against the ills of the recurring cases of GBV in the society. It is also a call on relevant agencies to bring to book all perpetrators.

Afolabi-Akiyode said: “The 16 days of activism against GBV is also a time to remember victims and survivors of GBV and further re-evaluate the effectiveness of interventions currently in place to address the problem.”

Afolabi-Akiyode had earlier called on the Federal Government to create more institutions to address the root causes of gender-based violence, the impunity that often went with the scourge, implement policies and enact laws, for a stronger national response that could support victims and survivors of violence.




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SPORT: Adegoke beats Samuel to win Rainoil Open National Tennis title

Sarah Adegoke won the women’s singles of the just concluded Rainoil/Ikoyi Club Masters… Back in February, 2017

Sarah Adegoke yesterday at the Lagos Country Club, Ikeja beat Blessing Samuel 6-3, 6-3 to win the women’s singles title of the Rainoil Open Tennis Tournament.

The top seed raced to a 4-0 lead in the opening set, breaking Samuel in the second and fourth games. Although Abuja-based Samuel got two breaks to close the score to 5-3, Adegoke hit more winners, which helped her to close the set 6-3.

Samuel triumphed on their last meeting at the Dala Hard Court in Kano in November, but there was no stopping Adegoke, who started the year with the Top Eight Masters’ title, as she broke three times in the second set that also ended 6-3.

“I was nervous because I knew Blessing has improved a lot. She is a very good player but somehow she did not play to her standard today,” said Adegoke, who went home with N350, 000 for her efforts in the 10-day tennis tourney.

Speaking at the end of the tournament, Ranoil CEO, Gabriel Ogbechie, pledged more support for the development of Nigerian tennis.

He said: “The tournament will help our players get more familiar with clay court because they are used to hard surface and to be the best one has to master all the surfaces. We are going to continue this way to ensure we bring out the best in our youths,” Ogbechie said.

The Rainoil boss assured that the tournament would be an annual event.




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SPORT: Fabamwo counts gains of Yoruba Tennis Club’s youth tournament

Chairman of the Yoruba Tennis Club, Professor Tokunbo Fabamwo has revealed that its youth championship, which was conceived by the club’s trustee, Alhaji Lateef Olufemi Okunu, has so far produced talents now competing at the international level.

Fabamwo, who disclosed that efforts were being made to reinforce the competition to achieve more on its objectives, added that the club would in due course organise triangular and quadrangular tournaments with sister clubs to promote Nigerian tennis.  

Speaking at the 19th edition of the championship for secondary schools in Lagos State, which ended yesterday, Fabamwo said the club was determined to fish out more hidden talents and give them the platform to hone their skills.




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SPORT: NOC AGM holds tomorrow in Lagos

PHOTO: google.com/search

The Annual General Meeting of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) holds tomorrow In Lagos, the committee has announced.

According to NOC President, Habu Gumel, the meeting at the Conference Hall of Airport Hotel, Ikeja in Lagos, will be a fruitful ground for all federation presidents to review their scorecards for the outgoing year and map out strategies on how Nigeria will excel at the forthcoming Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.




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SPORT: Mourinho vows to fight on as Liverpool returns to top four

Manchester United FC coach Jose Mourinho . / AFP PHOTO / SERGEI SUPINSKY

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho vowed his side would “fight until the last match” after they moved back to within 11 points of Premier League leaders Manchester City by holding on to beat West Brom.

Romelu Lukaku opened the scoring with a header - his second goal in as many games - against the team he played for during the 2012-13 season.

Jesse Lingard doubled United’s lead before the break with a shot that deflected off Albion’s Ahmed Hegazi.

The Red Devils appeared to be heading for a comfortable win until Albion substitute Gareth Barry poked home from close range with 13 minutes left.

Baggies boss Alan Pardew’s two other substitutes almost combined for an equaliser - Jay Rodriguez shooting wide from a Chris Brunt cross.

But, despite finishing strongly, the Baggies could not add to their first goal in four games under Pardew, remain second from bottom and are on a club record run of 17 games without a win.

“Every match we try to win,” said Mourinho. “I know the questions are always coming in the same direction and I keep saying the same.

“Last match in the Premier League, Watford at Old Trafford, mid-May... until then, every match we go.”

Mourinho said on Wednesday he would be on holiday if he felt the chance of catching City had gone, and his team must keep grinding out the wins while hoping their local rivals falter.

“We don’t want to go on holidays,” he added. “We want to play until the last match.”

Also, Liverpool produced a dominant performance to beat Bournemouth and move up to fourth in the Premier League table.

Philippe Coutinho, who had earlier hit the post with a free-kick, put the visitors ahead with a fine individual goal and Dejan Lovren headed in a second six minutes later.

Jermain Defoe hit the post for Bournemouth, but Mohamed Salah made it 3-0 before half-time after an excellent jinking run.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also hit the woodwork before Roberto Firmino headed in from Coutinho’s cross to seal the impressive win for Jurgen Klopp’s side.

The victory extends Liverpool’s unbeaten run in all competitions to 12 matches, while Bournemouth have not won in six games.

Liverpool took only 20 minutes to break down Bournemouth, and it came from a piece of magic from Coutinho as he scored his fifth goal in as many games.




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SPORT: Igali bemoans paucity of fund as Oborududu, others shine

President of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation, Daniel Igali

President of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation, Mr. Daniel Igali has expressed delight at the performance of the four athletes that represented the nation at the Commonwealth Wrestling Championships in Brakpan, South Africa. The championship was held between December 14 and 17.

In a text message to The Guardian, Igali said the nation won four medals from the four wrestlers that took part at the championship.

According to him, Aminat Adeniyi won bronze in the 63 kg; a silver by Blessing Oborududu in 68kg; also silver by Gofit Winnie (72kg) and gold by Kemeasuodei Dressman in the 76 kg.

Igali is thrilled that despite the circumstances surrounding their preparations for the tournament, the wrestlers still made the nation proud.

“The performance of the wrestlers was fantastic. God keeps away flies from the tailless cow. I was able to offset the first two days of our hotel accommodation, but the last two days are a problem now.

“I am still negotiating the $2, 700 bill to be paid at a later date. Anyway, considering that this was a core preparatory ground for the Commonwealth Games, I can tell you we have a ton of work to do.

“However, considering the circumstances and preparations for this tournament, I am really proud of the girls as they made the nation and me proud,” he said.

It will be recalled that only four wrestlers and three officials travelled for the Commonwealth Wrestling Championships in South Africa, which was part of preparations for next year’s Commonwealth Games in Australia.

The athletes dropped due to paucity of funds include 2014 Commonwealth gold medalist, Mercy Genesis; 2014 World Bronze medalists, Makanjuola Bisola and Samuel Bose; Africa champions, John Emmanuel, Victor Firstman and Daniel Amas.

The nation’s medal hopeful, Odunayo Adekuoroye, gained an automatic qualification for the Commonwealth Games after her feat World Wrestling Championship event in Paris, France.

Adekuoroye narrowly missed out on becoming the first African woman to win a gold medal at the world championship when she was beaten to the gold medal by Japan’s Haruna Okuno, who won the 55kg final match 5-4.




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SPORT: StarTimes, VOE Foundation host FC Bayern Youth Cup in Nigeria

PHOTO:Football Fancast

Pay television company, StarTimes has revealed that it is working with VOE Foundation to host the FC Bayern Youth Cup tournament in Nigeria, the first time an African country is taking part in the competition.

The FC Bayern Youth Cup Nigeria 2018 is a U-16 tournament for boys born between January 1, 2002 and December 31, 2003. 

According to StarTimes, the tournament will see the best 10 players selected to represent Team Nigeria at the world finals in Germany. The competition has three stages; the national qualifiers, the national finals and the world finals in Germany.

The national qualifiers will take place in eight locations across the country, including Kano, Jos, Kaduna, Enugu, Port Harcourt, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland and the Federal Capital Territory,Abuja.

“12 teams per state are expected to compete across all the locations with champions qualifying for the national finals.

“The national qualifiers will commence on January 13, 2018 in Abuja and end on February 25, 2018 in Lagos, while the national finals will be played on March 10 and 11, 2018 in Abuja,” Brand and Marketing Director at StarTimes, Qasim Elegbede revealed.

Also speaking on the competition, the Director of the Nigerian tournament and representative of VOE Foundation, Victor Edeh, noted, “Team Nigeria will be selected at the national finals by the attending FC Bayern representative. 

“The FC Bayern representative will stay a couple of days in Abuja for the finals and also conduct trainings with local players. Before the final tournament in FC Bayern’s Allianz Arena in Munich, the 10 young talents from Nigeria and other participating countries will enjoy a five-day training camp with FC Bayern in Munich,” he said.

Reacting to the competition in Nigeria, Hasan Salihamidzic, sports director of FC Bayern, is proud that the country for the first time is part of the FC Bayern Youth Cup. “The FC Bayern Youth Cup is a great platform for young players from all over the world to showcase their talent. 

“The chance to win a trip to Munich and take part in a five-day training camp with FC Bayern is unique. The young players from Nigeria will meet FC Bayern 1st team players, visit the last Bundesliga match of the season and play the final tournament just one day after in the Allianz Arena,” he added.




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SPORT: Erico wants Gernot Rohr to join CHAN Eagles’ preparation for Morocco 2018

Gernot Rohr1

Former Super Eagles goalkeepers’ trainer, Joe Erico has advised the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to draft Super Eagles’ Coach, Gernot Rohr to the home-based national team currently preparing for the Morocco 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN).

He said the NFF should mandate members of the technical team, including foreign and local backroom staffers, to assemble a quality team for the African tournament. 

The CHAN Eagles featured in the NPFL Invitational Championship, which ended in Kano yesterday.

Erico told The Guardian that apart from winning the CHAN championship, the Eagles’ coaches should use the competition to work with and train more domestic players, saying that the NPFL was the standard to measure the level of Nigerian football development.

He advised the NFF to organise more friendly games for the CHAN Eagles, stressing that the domestic players needed enough psychological and moral support to excel. 

“I am not comfortable with the CHAN team’s preparation for the African tournament. Despite participating in the Super six, the team needs enough mental and psychological packaging ahead of the tournament. Money is not everything when it comes to team management. If the NFF deployed all the tactical measures used in supporting the main Eagles by exposing the domestic players to quality friendly games outside the country, it would go a long way to sharpen the horizon and confidence of these players.

“The domestic players are the bedrock of Nigeria football. The whole preparation for the championship from my perspective is empty. NFF should work with the coaches to explore means of getting the players in high spirit for the championship,” he said.

Erico also advised the NFF to pay more attention to the national cadet teams, saying the quality of the youth team players determine the future of the country’s senior team.




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SPORT: CHAN Eagles beat MFM 3-2, lift NPFL Invitational trophy

Home-based Eagles. PHOTO: Football Naija

MFM FC of Lagos yesterday showed glimpses of what their fans should expect at the 2018 CAF Champions League when they put up a gallant fight in the final game of the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) Invitation Championship.

At the end they lost 2-3 to CHAN Eagles, but they were just unlucky.

Enthusiastic fans, who had been witnesses to the entertaining football served by six of the biggest teams in the country in the last one-week, as usual filled the Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano, venue of the championship.

They were made to sit on the edges of their seats, as both teams chose the final game to advertise all the ingredients that have made the NPFL one of the best competitions in in Africa.

Rising star, Anthony Okpotu and Kingsley Eduwo gave the CHAN a 3-0 lead in the early part of the game, but the Olukoya Boys showed the fight in them when they reduced the tally to 3-2 with strikes from Jonathan Zikiye and Chuka Uwaga.

It made for a tense final moments as the Olukoya Boys sought the equaliser, which the national team was not ready to allow.

Sunday Faleye was rewarded for his heroics in the last group game against Enyimba, thus, securing a spot up front with Okpotu who was making his first start in the tourney.

Salisu Yusuf returned to regular suspects with Rabiu Ali, Moses Eneji, Ifeanyi Ifeanyi all returning to the fold but there was no chance for team captain, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, with Theophilus Afelokai in his stead.

Fidelis Ilechukwu stuck with the starting XI that secured the decisive 1-1 draw with hosts, Kano Pillars.




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SPORT: Odoh wins Plateau Governor’s cup, gets N1.8m

golf

Martin Odoh of Minna Cantonment Golf Club has emerged winner of Plateau Governor’s Cup 2017 Golf Tournament in the professional category.

Odoh defeated other players with the net score 298 with over 10 gross to emerge as winner and pocketed N1. 864 million as his reward.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the prize money was N864,000 but Gov. Simon Lalong gave him an additional N1 million as an encouragement.

The first runner-up was given N700,000 while second runner-up got N500,000 from the governor.

In the amateur and veteran categories, the winners went home with different gifts including televisions, deep freezers, washing machines, vacuum cleaners and water dispensers.

Odoh in his remarks after collecting the cheque, dedicated his victory to God the giver of victories.

He said that he had longed for the victory and worked very hard and thanked God that he won.

Gov Lalong expressed happiness that the tournament which stopped before he became governor was revived with different golfers trooping to the state to compete.

The governor said that his administration would work hard to sustain the existing peace to keep attracting people to the state.

Tang Dapoet, Captain, Lamingo Golf Club, said that it was the first time the tournament was played on 18 green holes since the club was established in 1968.

He commended the governor and the sponsors for making tournament which took place from Dec 11 to 17 a huge success.




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SPORT: Aubameyang extends Dortmund deal to 2021

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. PHOTO:AFP

Borussia Dortmund's prolific Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has extended his contract with the club until 2021, German media reported on Sunday.

The 28-year-old finished as the leading scorer in the Bundesliga last season with 31 goals, one ahead of Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski, and he has netted 13 times in 15 matches this term.

His previous deal was due to run until June 2020. Kicker magazine said Aubameyang's extension included an increase in his salary.

Aubameyang, who was born in France, joined Dortmund in 2013 from Saint-Etienne.




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SPORT: Five things we learned from the Premier League

Manchester United's English midfielder Jesse Lingard (R) celebrates with Manchester United's Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku (C) after scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester United at The Hawthorns stadium in West Bromwich, central England, on December 17, 2017.Oli SCARFF / AFP

Manchester City made it sweet 16 with a rout of Tottenham, while Manchester United managed to hang onto their rivals' coat-tails.

Liverpool showcased their awesome firepower against hapless Bournemouth, while Chelsea were made to sweat before seeing off Southampton.

Here AFP Sport looks at five things we learned from the Premier League this weekend:

Ederson gives Man City platform to shine
Manchester City's attacking players took most of the plaudits after a 4-1 trouncing of Tottenham Hotspur that extended their winning run to 16 games, with Kevin De Bruyne sparkling and Raheem Sterling scoring twice, but some of their best football started with their goalkeeper. Ederson's inch-perfect distribution helped City to bypass the Spurs press and several raking passes drew approving purrs from the Etihad Stadium crowd. The 24-year-old Brazilian looked much more composed with the ball at his feet than opposite number Hugo Lloris, his ability on the ball helping City to find their passing rhythm before they'd even left their own penalty area.

Lingard makes case for starring role
Jesse Lingard's fourth goal in five league games underlined his surprise emergence as a key figure in Jose Mourinho's Manchester United plans. Lingard's strike in United's 2-1 win at West Bromwich Albion may have been deflected, but it was a reward for the youngster's refusal to be denied. That tenacious attitude has allowed Lingard to work his way into the United team at a time when many had written him off. His solo strike at Watford and a match-winning brace at Arsenal were his coming-of-age moments and now there seems to be no stopping the winger. It marks quite a turnaround after scoring just once in his previous 47 league matches.

Salah shines as Liverpool's leading man
Mohamed Salah's remarkable first season with Liverpool hit a new high at Bournemouth as he became the first Reds player to reach 20 goals in a season before Christmas since the great Ian Rush. That Salah reached the landmark with yet another virtuoso finish underlined his case to be regarded as Liverpool's main man. Even Liverpool legends like Luis Suarez, Fernando Torres, Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler never made the 20-goal mark by Christmas. It has been that kind of season for Salah, who also helped Egypt reach the World Cup finals. Doubted by even Reds boss Jurgen Klopp prior to his pre-season move from Roma, Salah is proving that his previous disappointing experience of the Premier League with Chelsea was an entirely deceptive first impression.

Conte in self justifying mode
Chelsea's defence of their title is over before the end of the calendar year, according to Blues boss Antonio Conte. After an uninspiring 1-0 win over a turgid Southampton side, Conte felt it necessary to paper over his side's lacklustre title defence by saying that his side's recent good run was being overlooked because of Manchester City's record-breaking exploits. That may be the case but the numbers say that Chelsea are 14 points behind City, with dismal defeats against strugglers West Ham and Crystal Palace raising concerns that Conte could find his position under threat if silverware isn't secured in other competitions.

Ozil gem keeps doubters at bay
Arsenal may not be piling up the goals but they are in a more stable situation than last season and Arsene Wenger cannot be criticised for his side being well behind City, as everyone else is in the same boat. They ground out a 1-0 win against a Newcastle side short of confidence, form, money and Christmas cheer thank to Mesut Ozil's wonderful first half volley, but some things never change at Arsenal and the question of star player contracts remains a burning issue. This time round it is the turn of mercurial Ozil, who is a Manchester United target. Wenger said he was confident that the German international will sign a new contract, but then the fans would say they have heard it all before.




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Thierry Henry: How Arsenal Legend levelled a plate of Fufu in Lagos

How Thierry Henry levelled a plate of Fufu in Lagos

While addressing the media, the France international revealed that he his a huge fan of the Super Eagles that played in the 1994 FIFA World Cup.

Arsenal legend Thierry Henry has arrived Lagos, Nigeria on Sunday, December 17, 2017, and he is already exploring Nigerian delicacies.

Shortly after his arrival, Henry got into a plate of Fufu, a popular local delicacy in Nigeria, and also learnt how to make Jollof rice the Nigerian way.

 

Henry is in the country for a two-day visit sponsored by a alcoholic beverage brand.

While addressing the media, the France international revealed that he his a huge fan of the Super Eagles that played in the 1994 FIFA World Cup.

 

He also did not forget to mention, proudly, how he levelled a plate of Fufu upon arrival.

After addressing the media, Henry was introduced to a local chef who taught him how to make jollof rice, another popular African dish.




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SPORT: Lukaku, Lingard strike as United beat West Brom

Manchester United's English midfielder Jesse Lingard (R) celebrates with Manchester United's Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku (C) after scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester United at The Hawthorns stadium in West Bromwich, central England, on December 17, 2017.Oli SCARFF / AFP


Goals from Romelu Lukaku and Jesse Lingard gave Manchester United a 2-1 win over West Bromwich Albion on Sunday as Jose Mourinho's men kept their faint title hopes alive.

Lukaku put United ahead at the Hawthorns and Lingard netted with the aid of a deflection to double the visitors' lead before half-time. But what looked destined to be a comfortable win became tense when Gareth Barry prodded home a second-half goal for the hosts.

And United ended the game defending for their lives before claiming the win that kept them 11 points behind neighbours Manchester City in the Premier League title race.

United made a dominant start with West Brom guilty of squandering cheap possession on a frequent basis.

Yet it was the hosts who threatened first in the ninth minute courtesy of a clever backheel from Salomon Rondon to release James McClean on the left.

He crossed towards the far post for Oliver Burke, but the winger could not control a difficult ball on his full Premier League debut.

United's first sight of goal came on 14 minutes when Ashley Young angled a dangerous cross from the left towards Romelu Lukaku at the far post.

Baggies defender Kieran Gibbs made an important header and Lukaku was penalised for handball as he tried to keep the move alive.

West Brom enjoyed a handy spell of possession midway through the opening half as United lost their way following a decent start.

The home side forced two corners on the left but both were poorly directed by Grzegorz Krychowiak.

But United opened the scoring on 28 minutes as Lukaku returned to haunt his former club.

Burke lost the ball cheaply on the Albion right, Marcus Rashford was given too much space and his cross was glanced home by Lukaku, who had ghosted between Jonny Evans and Gibbs.

There was a glimmer of hope for Albion on 34 minutes when Allan Nyom crossed towards Rondon at the near post but he was denied by Chris Smalling's interception.

But a minute later it was 2-0 to United as Lingard struck.

Heated
He was set up on the edge of the area by Juan Mata after good work by Lukaku, and Lingard's low shot struck the leg of defender Ahmed Hegazi and looped past helpless goalkeeper Ben Foster.

West Brom already looked beaten but just before half-time Jake Livermore did at least draw a save from goalkeeper David de Gea with a low shot that the keeper held well.

There was a heated start to the second half when Rashford went down holding his face after a collision with Hegazi.

Replays showed there had been little contact but the United player was booked after leaping up and confronting Hegazi head to head.

But that clash did not provide the spark for a fiery second half as United sat back on their lead and Albion were unable to pose any consistent threat.

They had a rare chance when Rondon forced De Gea into a routine save with 17 minutes remaining before substitute Chris Brunt fired over the crossbar from the edge of the area.

But with 13 minutes to go Albion did grab the goal that gave them hope.

Brunt delivered a corner from the left, United failed to clear and Barry profited from an ugly scramble to poke home the club's first goal under Alan Pardew and his first for Albion.

Things might have got worse for United in the closing stages but Brunt's superb left-wing cross was headed wide of the near post by fellow substitute Jay Rodriguez.




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SPORT: Barca reach agreement with Griezmann

Atletico Madrid's French forward Antoine Griezmann celebrates after scoring a goal during the Spanish league football match Club Atletico de Madrid vs RC Celta de Vigo at the Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid on February 12, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / CURTO DE LA TORRE


Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has met with the family of Atletico Madrid's star forward Antoine Griezmann ahead of a possible summer move, sports daily Mundo Deportivo reported on Sunday.

The French international, who has been Atletico's top scorer for the past three seasons, has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United in the past.

However, Barca appear willing to meet his 100 million euro ($118 million) buyout clause as they seek to again unite Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez with a prolific attacker following the departure of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain in August for a world record 222 million euros.

"Barca settled on Griezmann as an objective for 2018 and they spoke with his entourage to see if he was willing to wear the blue and red shirt," reported Barcelona-based Mundo Deportivo.

"After receiving a 'yes' in response, an agreement was reached with the French goalscorer involving Pep Segura, Barca's general manager, and Robert Fernandez, the director of football.

"President Josep Maria Bartomeu has now entered to finalise the operation." the newspaper reported adding that "Bartomeu met recently with Griezmann's family to eat in Barcelona."

Griezmann, 26, agreed to sign a new contract with Atletico in June after the club had an appeal against a transfer ban rejected.

The top scorer at Euro 2016, Griezmann said it would have been "dirty" to walk out on the club when they couldn't replace him until January.

However, Atletico coach Diego Simeone accepted this week that Griezmann's departure is inevitable. Many of Atletico's other outstanding players, including strikers Fernando Torres, Sergio Aguero, Radamel Falcao and Diego Costa, have also left in recent years for pastures new.

"Of course Griezmann will be able to leave at some point, as Diego Costa, Diego Ribas and Arda Turan have gone," Simeone told French sports daily L'Equipe.

"If a player comes to me and says, 'coach, I have a chance of a lifetime and want to leave', and if he's left everything on the pitch for me like Griezmann, I'll say, 'no problem'."

Atletico are also likely to come under financial pressure to sell after moving into a new 310-million euro stadium in September and falling to make it into the last 16 of the Champions League for the first time in five years.

The club have also already committed to nearly 100 million euros in transfers for January with Costa returning from Chelsea and Spanish international Vitolo joining from Sevilla.




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ENTERTAINMENT: I paid huge ransom for my release - Edo musician Osayomore


Edo State ace musician, Mr. Osayomore Joseph says he paid huge ransom before he was released by his abductors. Osayomore was kidnapped on October 4 and released on November 4 .


 His wife was shot during the abduction. Speaking for the first time about his ordeals in an interview with a local television station, Osayomore said he was taken to a forest in a creek after travelling on the high sea.

He described his ordeal as a traumatic experience that is better imagined. The veteran musician said he has narrated his experience in his new album titled “30 days and 30 nights in the evil forest” set to be launched tomorrow.

His words: “I was dragged through the forest close to Gelegele and taken on a boat to a creek. I have never stepped my legs on a boat before. The speed of the boat on the high sea was enough to give me high blood pressure. “The kidnappers called themselves forest soldiers. Those who came to kidnap me did not know me. It was when I got to the creek that some learned ones started singing my old songs.

They did not know that I started fighting before they were born. “They might have overestimated that I am very rich. They collected money from me. I may not mention the amount but it was huge . That will not deter me from doing what I know how to do best. “I did not know I will come back alive. I later knew I will not die there when they started asking for money. The ransom was collected on the high sea. “They called the boat that brought the ransom freedom boat. After they brought the bags containing huge sums of money, the kidnappers collected it and released me.”


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SPORT: Wenger expects Arsenal revival over Christmas

Arsenal's French manager Arsene Wenger looks on during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Newcastle United at the Emirates Stadium in London on December 16, 2017. Glyn KIRK / AFP

Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal's 1-0 victory over Newcastle will breed the confidence they need to cope with a hectic Christmas schedule.

After seeing his side end a three-match winless run thanks to Mesut Ozil's spectacular first-half goal at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, Gunners boss Wenger has no worries about a potential lack of stamina.

"You could see that we had played three games in six days and the third game is a bit more difficult physically. Nobody else had to play Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday, but I still think we had plenty of chances to score more goals," Wenger said.

"If you look historically, it happens every year that finishing is a bit cyclic. Sometimes you will score three or four, converting every chance, and sometimes you will have six or seven chances and score only one.

"I know that people are not happy with it, but it's part of the game and you need to live with it."

Ozil's current form had Wenger purring in admiration and more desperate than ever to ensure that the Germany international does not leave the club in January or at the end of the season when his contract expires.

"It was a superb finish. He can deliver that. It's important for him that he takes the risk to do what he did," Wenger said.

"Usually he is a guy who, 99 per cent of the time, in this position, he controls the ball and gives it to somebody else, so I'm pleased he took the gamble to finish and I'm happy as well that he scored a very important goal.

"I am confident that he will stay here, but what does that mean? I don't know."

With Newcastle slipping into the bottom three for the first time this season, manager Rafael Benitez will no doubt be grateful for Wenger's support.

Mutual respect

The Frenchman and Spaniard exchanged a warm greeting pitch-side before kick-off and that mutual respect was echoed afterwards.

Wenger said of his Newcastle counterpart: "I think he is doing a good job because Newcastle is not one of the teams who invested hugely to compete at the top when they came up.

"His team overall looks to me to be organised, they look mobile and they look to have a good spirit.

"The job of a manager is to take the best from the potential of his team and I believe Benitez does that very well."

Because it is unlikely the mooted takeover of Newcastle can be sanctioned and completed before the transfer window closes at the end of January, Benitez is aware he faces a tough task to keep the club from dropping back into the Championship.

First, he must halt a run of results that has reaped just a solitary point from the last nine games.

"Obviously, the last results haven't given us confidence but I always said that coming back from the Championship, this team would be in the bottom half of the table," Benitez said.

"We didn't win games when we had them against teams around us in the table. Now we have to put everything right, playing better if we can, and hopefully bring in one or two additions in January to give a lift to everyone.

"The main thing is to stay calm, do our jobs properly and give ourselves the chance to move up the table if the team continues to work like they did today."




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