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Kanu advocates for establishment of standard soccer academies



Establishment of football academies geared towards discovering of raw talents at their formative age has been declared as the only solution to the dwindle fortunes of football development in Nigeria.
This assertion was made recently by the former Nigerian Super Eagles Captain and Arsenal star, Nwankwo Kanu, during a football clinic held at the main-bowl of Ilaji Hotels and Sports Resort’s stadium, Akanran, Ibadan, Oyo state.
Kanu, who was on a two-day visit to the resort urged well meaning Nigerians and football administrators in the country to look at the less development parts of the country for raw footballing talents.
Speaking further, the most decorated Nigerian footballer who is popularly addressed as ‘Papillo’ by his numerous fans , kanu,  urged every football loving Nigerian to emulate Chief Dotun Sanusi, the Chief Executive Officer of Ilaji Soccer Academy, who has spent fortunes to set up a proper football Academy.
“The facilities I have witnessed here (Ilaji Hotels and Sports Resort) since I have been in this Resort speaks volume of Chief Dotun Sanusi’s genuine sincerity for sports development in general and football development in particular. We need to pray to have more of the owner of Ilaji Soccer Academy for spending huge resources with a view to helping the raw talents in this community.
“Fine, we do talk about grassroot development but yet all we do is to look for finished products but what we need to do is to set up a football academy like the one witnessed here which will see to the proper development of our raw talents. I can assure you that football talents in every part of the country have been praying to have a facility such as this”.
On the hospitality of Ibadan people, Kanu stated that since he breezed in into the city since Sunday afternoon, the people of the city have shown him genuine love and affection, adding that the passion the people of Ibadan has for football has been translated to him.
“Ibadan is a very big city and I must confess that the people here have been very kind and warmth. I can see that the people here are so passionate about football, there is no way you can talk about football in Nigeria without mentioning Ibadan”, he said.
While commenting on the Super Eagles chances in the forthcoming African Cup of Nations, the former African footballer of the year stated that Nigeria has enough talents in the Super Eagles to perform creditably well in the competition.
“We have the talents and we have had enough trainings to do well in the competition and couple with the fact that other African Countries do scare of us because of our potentials, I believe Super Eagles will do very well in this year African Cup of Nations.
Meanwhile, the management of Ilaji Soccer Academy, as part of their preparations to welcome Kanu into the Resort, organised a novelty match between the Team A and Team B of its Soccer Academy.
‘Papillo’ after the novelty match engaged the academy boys’ in a football drilling training session while also tutoring them about the basic rules of football.
In his response, the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Dotun Sanusi, commended the humility and genuine passion for raw talents displayed by Kanu Nwankwo since he has lodged in the Resort.
“Now I saw first hand why Nwankwo Kanu achieved so much in his footballing career. In him, I saw a star who is willing to inspire and nurture other stars like him for the country. We are very proud to have him in our midst. And like he promised we shall be glad to have him again mentoring and tutoring our academy lads on how to become a successful professional footballer like him”, Sanusi added.

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Kidnapped Nigerian Players Regain Freedom




Enyimba FC star, Dayo Ojo, and Abia Comet’s Benjamin Iluyomade  who were kidnapped on Sunday have regained freedom.

Dayo and Benjamin, as reliably gathered were kidnapped while coming back from their teams camp on Sunday following the suspension of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) due to the outbreak of the COVID-19.

Enyimba FC in a statement informed that the players were abducted along the Benin-Owo Expressway but three days after, they were released.

” GREAT BIG NEWS!” the club also tweeted on their verified handle. “Our midfielder man, Dayo Ojo has regained freedom from his kidnappers” the club tweeted.

Their release followed combined efforts from the Aba-based club and their families.

The duo have been reunited with their families, the club’s statement further explained.

Ojo has seven caps for the Super Eagles and featured at the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) were Nigeria placed second.


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COVID -19: Anthony Joshua goes into self-isolation after meeting Prince Charles




Following a meeting with coronavirus victim Prince Charles, the World heavyweight boxing champion,  Anthony Joshua has placed himself in self-isolation.

Officials on Wednessday confirmed that Charles, the eldest son and heir to Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, is showing mild symptoms of coronavirus and is self-isolating in Scotland.

Though, it remains unclear when Charles caught the illness but on March 9, he spent the day with the Queen, prime minister Boris Johnson and stars of sport and entertainment, including Joshua  at the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey.

“AJ is at home following government guidelines, he is fit and well. He wishes everyone affected a speedy recovery and a huge thank you to all the front line key workers”, Anthony Joshuah’s spokesman told the Daily Mail.

Joshua is due to defend his IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles against mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on June 20.

But the coronavirus could delay that bout and push back a hugely anticipated all-British fight with WBC champion Tyson Fury until next year at the earliest.

In a series of Twitter posts on Tuesday, Joshua thanked all those involved in trying to combat the coronavirus by saying: “It’s humbling to see people giving their everything right now to keep us safe. Shout to everyone on the front-line.

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Drogba scores big tourism win for Côte d’Ivoire




International soccer star Didier Drogba has helped his birthplace, Côte d’Ivoire, strike gold by helping to collect MOUs for a total of $15 billion in commitments to back tourism projects in the west African country.

The breakthrough comes ahead of the UNWTO Forum for Africa, which will take place in Abidjan next week (February 20-22) and the influential Forum de l’Investissement Hotelier Africain (FIHA), which takes place in Abidjan next month (March 23 – 25). FIHA is known for its ability to link up the new investors with developers, consultants, contractors, hoteliers and political leaders.

The former Chelsea striker – and now UN world tourism ambassador – was part of a successful global push to promote the rising success and attractiveness of Côte d’Ivoire’s tourist economy. The country boasts a GDP growth rate of about 8% in 2019 and, as a destination, it’s in third place in Sub-Saharan Africa, with 2 million international visitors, behind South Africa and Zimbabwe, ahead of Uganda, Botswana, Kenya or Mauritius (according to UNWTO 2018 data).

Matthew Weihs, Managing Director, Bench Events, which organises FIHA, said: “This is an extraordinary and impressive effort by Côte d’Ivoire; and it makes this year’s Forum particularly interesting because the funding commitments are in place and the task now is to make projects happen.” Last year’s successful FIHA in Marrakech attracted 300 delegates from 28 countries.

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Under the banner, Sublime Côte d’Ivoire, Didier Drogba was a key player in a team of top Ivorian business and political leaders, as well as showbusiness figures, who took a roadshow to Dubai and Hamburg. They returned with more than 15 billion dollars of funding commitments for a variety of tourism projects, from hotels, to resorts and coastline development. All the backers have been invited to attend FIHA.

Philippe Doizelet, Managing Partner of Horwath HTL, the world’s largest and most experienced hospitality consultants, has been guiding Côte d’Ivoire’s efforts. He said: “It’s a blank page that the industry can write on in the most exciting way. Much has to be built – hotels alongside cultural centres and conference facilities, among other things. The amazing coastline offers great ‘bleisure’ (a mix of business and leisure) opportunities. Beyond Abidjan; Boulay island, Bassam and Jacqueville are currently the most promising locations.” He sees the greatest potential in ‘mixed-use’ projects, combining leisure, office and retail units with hospitality, in particular, branded 2-star & 3-star hotels and extended stay apartments.

Leading the country’s ambition to make tourism one of the main pillars of the economy, is Tourism Minister Siandou Fofana. Described by Philippe Doizelet as “visionary and deeply committed. He works hard to bring people together and attracts the best experts.”

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Bench Events, Managing Director, Matthew Weihs concluded: “FIHA and its affiliated event, the Africa Hotel Investment Forum, are central to driving investments in regional hotel and mixed-use projects. The events connect key international and regional stakeholders, private and institutional investors to the hotel developers and operators that are fuelling the growth of the hotel industry across the continent. The projects that are promoted and funded at FIHA drive investments in tourism, stimulate economic growth in regional markets, create jobs and encourage much needed infrastructure.”

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