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Football

Nsofor Insists to take his goal-scoring magic to the league

 
Victor Obinna has dedicated his FA Cup hat-trick to the West Ham United’s supporters, he admitted, he let down by being sent-off in the Carling Cup semi-final against Birmingham City. The Nigerian star netted his first treble in English football in Saturday’s 3-2 fourth-round win over Nottingham Forest, helping the Hammers to set-up a last-16 meeting with Burnley at the Boleyn Ground.

While Obinna was delighted to collect a matchball signed by his jubilant team-mates, he conceded that he had let both them and the club’s fans down by being red-carded in the first-leg for kicking Birmingham’s winger, Sebastian Larsson.

“I was very stupid to get suspended that way. It happens in football but I apologise to the fans about that. I was mad with myself after the game because I left my team-mates with 10 men and I had to miss three games.
“I didn’t know I was missing three games until later, so I apologise to the fans and take full responsibility for that and it is definitely something that will never happen again.”
One thing Obinna hopes will happen again and again is netting a hat-trick such as the one he scored against Forest on Sunday.

The 23-year-old was naturally pleased with his personal haul, but also happy to help the team make it through to the fifth round after an indifferent first-half display against the Championship promotion hopefuls.
“It was a fantastic game. We didn’t play very well in the first half. I think the first half was poor but we were able to level at half-time, which was very important.

“I think the second half was better than the first. We created so many chances to be able to have won 5-2. Freddie Piquionne had some chances and their goalkeeper was good. The third goal was a clear penalty.
“I thought we deserved to win the game, but the first half was really poor. It was a fantastic game for the fans. After the disappointment against Birmingham in the Carling Cup, everybody was down but I think we just have to move on because that is football.

“Most of all, we have to take our winning mentality into the Premier League, which is our priority this season.”
The highlight of Obinna’s treble was his second goal, even if the forward admitted he had not exactly meant to beat the Forest’s goalkeeper with a swerving, dipping 30-yard strike from near the right touchline.
“Well, so many people have asked me about the same thing! As a striker, the most important thing is to put the ball in the back of the net. I was a bit lucky for that goal.

“It was a mix. I wanted to cross and I wanted to shoot but in the end it went in, so I was very happy.
“In England, it is the first hat-trick I have scored. I scored one in Italy. I scored one in Serie B for Chievo Verona against - I can’t remember the team we played, but it was a fantastic hat-trick! They were good goals!
“This (ball) is really nice. Maybe my Mum will be able to keep it!” 
 

Chukwu, The New Apostle Of Amateur Football


 
CHRISTIAN Chukwu is considered one of the best footballers to have graced the fields of Nigerian soccer. The former Enugu Rangers Captain, who was known as ‘Chairman’ in his days as the skipper of the ‘Flying Antelopes’ and the senior national team (the Green Eagles) in the 1970s and early 80s, has at various times been the coach of the Enugu Rangers and the Super Eagles. He led the country, as a player, to its first big international trophy in 1980 when Nigeria hosted and won the African Nations Cup.

Since leaving the position of national team coach in 2005, Chukwu has gone through the gamut of the local league with stints as coach of Heartland of Owerri and Enugu Rangers. The aficionado late last year tried to join the board of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), but somehow he failed in that bid.

Now he is at the verge of joining the amateur league board, as chairman because he believes strongly that Nigeria would only regain its lost glory in the game if amateur football were well structured.
Elections into the board of the Amateur League will hold between January 28 and 29 in Abuja.

Speaking to The Guardian in Abuja on his decision to the vie to become chairman the chairman of the board, Chukwu said he was motivated by the potential in the grassroots of Nigerian football, which the amateur league represents, adding, “amateur football is the bedrock of the game of football, professional football feed and depend on it to thrive. So to ensure that professional football in Nigeria grows to its potential the amateur league must be put in good shape.”

According to Chukwu, “Nigeria enjoyed its best days in global football in the recent past because the amateur league was well managed, and unless the football authority reverts to grassroots football, it will be pretty difficult for us to realize our aim of football development in the country.

“I have a strong desire to change the face of Nigerian football from the amateur and grassroots cadre. I intend to leave an enduring legacy because many great footballers and leaders have come and gone, but most of their ‘achievements’ did not stand the test of time.”

Chukwu has 11 other candidates to contend with for the chairmanship position, with only four contesting to join the board. Chukwu, who is representing two Enugu amateur clubs, Inter. F.C and Relaxer Football Club, is optimistic of victory.

“I played my best football as an amateur player and I am proud to say that because the greatest achievements Nigeria recorded in its football history could be traced to the country’s abandoned grassroots development programme.

“Go to the records, from the China 1985 Cadet championship to the Atlanta Olympics, all the players in the victorious teams had their football tutelage in the Nigerian amateur league.  But we have not won anything substantial since then because we no longer have the incubator that moulds raw relents into world beaters.”

He reminded Nigerians that all members of the Tunisia ’94 Nations Cup victories squad and the gold medal winning Atlanta team, including the Keshis, Amokachis, Rufais, Okechukwus, Amunekes, Finidis and the Kanus, among others, all have their roots in the amateur league in Nigeria.

“No doubt, there is money in professional football, but we all don’t have to pursue that and lose focus on the basics and foundation of football. If you want to watch natural and beautiful football you go to the grassroots. So many people played for Nigeria after featuring for the academicals, but that no longer happens now. So, we must also resuscitate the Academicals competition in the journey to reposition our football,” he submitted.

 

Last Updated ( Monday, 24 January 2011 20:06 )


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