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Grooming World-Class Soccer Players From Nigeria

Grooming World-Class Soccer Players From Nigeria.

Posted by: Wisdom O. Ogbor - Lagos, Nigeria
Sunday, December 3rd, 2017 - 6:29 pm
The groups for World Cup 2018 in Russia have been drawn. Nigeria is grouped with Argentina, Iceland, and Croatia, in Group D. About eleven talented soccer players, with their substitutes, supports, officials and coaching staff will be representing Nigeria, fighting for glory and honor in this 2018 World Cup. Did you know that there are about four thousand Nigerian soccer players playing professionally for over ninety foreign countries all over the world?

These are great times to be a talented soccer player from Nigeria; if you are at the right place, at the right time, there are soccer scouts and agents waiting to take you to great heights in Europe and other foreign countries. Sad to say, that there was once upon a time, when this was not so.

Flashback to the 1970’s, just a decade after Nigeria’s independence, high schools in Nigeria, known as Secondary Schools, were adrift with great athletes of all types. The names of those who were great in soccer are still in many memories. I could mention some names now from my old Village school, like “Mezambo”, “Marcopolo”, “Okito”, “Saba”, “Polo-Ude”, “Burnsin Burner”, “Shagasha”, and many of you will remember other names too. These athletes thrilled us with their great talents, but they remained local and never carried their art over to a national stadium or a world stadium. This was more so, because the schools they were affiliated with, were Village schools, and not City schools. There was even a case of a well-known Nigerian soccer star called Nduka Ugbade. I knew Nduka Ugbade when he was a student at our Village school, Akwukwu-Igbo Grammar School. After he went out and got discovered to lead Nigeria to world victories and international fame, nowhere in his soccer story is our Village school mentioned. What the world knows now is that Nduka Ugbade attended St. Fimbars Grammar School, a City school in Lagos where his talent started to gain attention. Such are the stories of the soccer stars from Nigeria, who made it to the world stadiums, and those who did not.



Now, check this next story out. There is the Oba of Lagos, who is the king that rules all of Lagos; and there is “Oba Soccer”, as he is called, who rules in soccer circles in and around Lagos. His real name is Daniel Agbagwu, who was born in the right city, and has been at the right places, at the right times. Born in 1989 in Lagos Nigeria, Daniel was lucky to grow up with parents who recognized his athletic talents, and an uncle who was a football coach. They all supported the dream to develop Daniel’s soccer talent further.

Described as a very dedicated, disciplined and humble player with positive attitudes on and off the field, Daniel is a team player that can adapt to any playing condition. He was groomed for soccer in Nigeria at the Unique-Ultimate FC Academy where he started as a central midfielder because of his stamina. He was later developed into a full striker where he overcame many defenders with grace and ease while playing 77 games, and scoring 59 times. From then on, he moved to the senior league and became a professional player. He played for Eko United FC of Lagos, Ebiede FC, and First Bank FC. Daniel has represented Nigeria with the Flying Eagles in international soccer competitions playing for the U-17, U-21, and U-23. His talent as a striker and scorer elevated him to Europe where he played for Atletico Baleares in Spain. He has also played for Mbabane Swallows in Swaziland, Freestone Star FC in South Africa, Sharks FC in Port Harcourt, and rounding up with Mansheyat Bani Hasan FC in Jordan from 2014 to 2016.



While Daniel is waiting for his next opportunity to play for another club, he is undertaking some player development projects and coaching to groom the next international soccer players from Nigeria. His camp has attracted several young soccer talents in Lagos where he is well known as “Oba Soccer”. His Selected Stars team is now making waves in Lagos, attracting attention from soccer scouts and agents who are relying on Daniel’s professional record in the search for world-ready new soccer talents from Nigeria. Some teams from Mexico and Latin America are currently in consultation with Daniel Agbagwu so that they can benefit from the next new soccer talent discovery from Nigeria as soon as they emerge from the soccer camps of the Selected Stars. The next talent to watch out for? Oba Soccer says, “Keep your eyes on Oluwasegun Moses”.

 

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Tobe Ekechi -- 'Thursday, December 7th, 2017 - 2:03 pm '

All my heros are Nigerian football players in abroad. I hope to be like them soon when I begin to play with one of the best international clubs. Naija no de carry last!
Tobe Ekechi


Cynthia Duru -- 'Tuesday, December 5th, 2017 - 8:00 am '

Nigeria all the way!!! We must show them this talent in this 2018 world cup. Nothing do Nigeria.
Cynthia Duru


Shina Ogunsanya -- 'Monday, December 4th, 2017 - 1:21 am '

With so many good soccer talents coming out of Nigeria, it's such a surprise that people only talk about bad things about Nigerians. How many other countries in Africa can boast of having such a huge number of international soccer players all of the world like the Nigerians?
Shina Ogunsanya


Wale K. (Lagos) -- 'Sunday, December 3rd, 2017 - 8:05 pm '

Thanks for writing this. It is definitely a glowing tribute to a deserving star, Daniel "Oba Soccer" Agbagwu, and respect to all the soccer players who have seen action in Nigeria in high and low places.
Wale K. (Lagos)


 

 

Why The USA Did Not Qualify For The 2018 World Cup



Posted by: Sports Desk - Chicago, Illinois
Posted on: Sunday, October 15th, 2017 - 4:59 pm

On Tuesday October 10, 2017, Trinidad and Tobago defeated the USA soccer team by 2 goals to 1 in the fifth round of the World Cup Qualifier games, to deny the Americans an opportunity to appear in the 2018 World Cup for the first time in 28 years. American soccer fans are deeply disappointed especially since their team had been re-organized precisely to enable them to qualify for this upcoming world Cup in Russia. The new coach, Bruce Arena, had been hired in order to achieve that world cup goal. He injected a new pride in the American team, brought in some new technical players like Christian Pulisic, and benched some old players. But at the end, that was not enough to secure victory against Trinidad and Tobago, a team not considered by the Americans as a very difficult contender. So, what was it that went wrong?

In hindsight, it is easy for analysts to begin to apportion blames here and there. But credit must first be given to Trinidad and Tobago, a team that has suffered many humiliating defeats to the Americans in the past. This time around, Trinidad and Tobago was simply hungrier, and more eager than the Americans to achieve victory. And they did so against an American team that seemed like they had no style, and had become more complacent and bugged down by their playbook technics. To make America more competitive to do better in future soccer tournaments, certain critical measures have to be taken to guarantee a consistent level of playing that are associated with national teams like Brazil, Mexico, or Argentina.

It is true that America re-entered into international soccer competitions relatively weak in the 80’s after so many years of inactivity. To compensate for that long absence, America had sought for players who were already established from different countries and integrated them into the American team. The result has been that this produced a team that played for money and fame without a coherent national focus. This, coupled with a “computer generated” training and strategizing coaching method, ensured that results from the US national soccer team were usually unpredicted, and victories seemed to occur only by chance. That was why when Americans played very well established teams like Mexico and won, there were always speculations and rumors that the loosing teams had been paid off to give victory to America.

America as a country of immigrants boasts of a representation of people from all over the world as her own citizens. That means that you have Americans from all the soccer-favored regions of the world like Africa, Latin America, and Europe. But it is yet to be seen that the US national team is a fair representation of all these cultural make-up. Because only those who can afford to pay money are the ones who are participating in the sports of soccer all over America, it is hard to discover the poor Latino players, or the poor African players who are good and play the game from their heart and soul. It is no secret that some of the best soccer players in the world have emerged from the slums of Latin America, and Africa, and have gotten better with little coaching coupled with an inherent trait.

Even though the people who have been paid by soccer moms and dads to coach children in soccer workshops since soccer became popular again in America in the 80’s are Africans and Latin Americans, the US national team has refused to recruit these Africans and Latin Americans. This has left the American national team with robotic soccer players who cannot dance with the ball like the Brazilians and Mexicans, or manage complicating dribbles like the Africans. But they play good technical games like the Europeans which unfortunately leave them short at the end of the day because of a lack of the long term national breeding factor which always drive all the good European players.

With the resignation of the American coach, people are speculating on the best way forward for the US national soccer team. Old players are calling for re- organization while the outgoing coach is insisting that no changes are needed. It might just be that the only change needed is for the soccer officials in the United States to learn something from other American sports like basketball, football or baseball. They all have something that the sport of soccer lacks. American soccer lacks those players who were born dreaming about the game, and growing up playing, and scheming of how to be the best in the world. If you do not believe this, ask yourself, what other countries can stand against the great USA in basketball, or baseball, or football?


 

Behold Colin Kaepernick, America’s New Civil Rights Hero!



Posted by: Sports Desk - San Francisco, CA
Posted on: Tuesday, October 10th, 2017 - 5:34 am

The sports world is very busy now. The 2018 world cup qualification matches are in full gear, the American baseball games are winding down soon for their World Series, and the other favorite American sport, football, is caught up in a major brawl with the offices of the president and vice president of the United States of America. This brawl over a protest by some football players to kneel, instead of standing for America’s national anthem, is threatening to overshadow all other sporting activities in the USA.

An American football player named Colin Kaepernick started a one man protest last year, to not stand for the national anthem, in protest of a wave of police brutality that seemed to be targeting black people, claiming the lives of several young black men during very simple encounters with police across America. Every time the cases were brought up in court, the police officers involved in the shootings were usually set free, and it seemed like black people in America lacked the power or support to do anything about it. The incidents gave birth to the organization called “Black Lives Matter”, fueling demonstrations and riots across major American cities, and triggering revenge shootings against the police in Texas, Florida and Pennsylvania.

While all these were playing out, notable and affluent black Americans remained silent until Colin Kaepernick, a back-up quarterback for a San Francisco football team decided to do something. Kaepernick, a bi-racial American raised by a white mother and white father, began to sit down during his team’s football games when the national anthem is being played. He made it clear that he was doing that to raise awareness to the indiscriminate use of force and brutality by the police, against black people and minorities in America. In a sport dominated by black people, Kaepernick’s protest found sympathizers and he soon decided to begin kneeling on one knee instead of sitting, as a sign of respect for the flag of the United States of America. Before the end of the football season last year, Colin Kaepernick’s protest picked up great momentum and support from some of his team mates; and other black athletes in high schools and universities also joined with Kaepernick as they found their participation in popular sports as the only avenue to get their grievances noticed.

As a punishment to Colin Kaepernick, no football team agreed to sign him up when the new football season started this year, even though he is rated as one of the best and very reliable players in the National Football League. Teams were willing to retain second-rate players instead of employing Colin Kaepernick, in order to distance themselves from the protest he started. But as the football season progressed, and it became clear that Kaepernick was being punished by not getting hired by any team, football fans and football players galvanized Kaepernick’s one man protest, now making it a national protest that is involving all the football teams in the National Football League, one way or another. That was what caught the attention of President Trump, but instead of recognizing the reason behind the protest in the first place, President Trump began turning the table around on the protesters, urging that they get fired for disrespecting the flag of the USA.

There seem to be no end in sight for this protest now as the whole of the NFL is showing support in this sport that is so disproportionally dominated by black players. That is why critics of Donald Trump are saying that the president is picking on the protesting players while failing to acknowledge the reason behind their protests. Trump himself is refusing to see anything else other than disrespect for the great American flag and all the people who have died while fighting to protect it. And of course, that plays real well to Trump’s critics who claim that Trump will never speak up against the way black men and women have died in the hands of the police in America. As a matter of fact, President Trump has encouraged the police to be less nice to people when they get arrested, implying that the police should let people hurt even though the police could ease the hurt when arresting people.

Meanwhile, Colin Kaepernick is not even in the game any more even if he would have been willing to end his protest now. Instead, his grievance has taken a life of its own, without him. And as the whole of the football league is now partaking in the protest which Kaepernick started, it seems unfair that he is now the only one suffering the penalty by not being called into a team where it is mostly believed that he could lead one to the Super Bowl championship like he has done before for his old team in San Francisco.


 
 
 
 

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