STEPHEN Keshi, Nigeria’s head coach and a number of his backroom staff have travelled to Brazil to for a FIFA-organised World Cup seminar ahead of the June spectacular. The course is aimed at preparing participating nations for the world event. The Nigerian Super Eagles will be part of the 32 teams battling it out for global glory in Brazil 2014 World Cup.
The travel plans were made possible by Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan’s willingness to provide the national team with the necessary funds, and Chigozie Agbim, team captain, is eager to repay the faith shown by the president. “We are very delighted and on the part of the players we hope to bring more joy to Mr President and the nation because he has always showed us love,” he said.
Nigeria has been drawn in Group F at the World Cup alongside Argentine, Iran and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Besides Keshi, the other Nigerian on the trip were: Dayo Enebi Achor (administrator), Ibrahim Gyaran (team doctor), Ben Alaiya (media officier), ACP Abubakar Baba (chief security officer), Christian Emeruwa (NFF security committee member) and Chuks Alizor (NFF marketing department).
Heather Watson’s Unbeaten Run
HEATHER Watson, British tennis player, has continued her bright start to 2014 by winning a second-tier tournament in the United States. The 21-year-old number three beat Russia’s Ksenia Pervak 6-4 6-0 in the Michigan final to extend her unbeaten run to nine matches since the Australian Open.
Her win in the ITF event in Midland came after four straight Fed Cup victories for Great Britain last week. Watson should now rise about 40 places from her current world ranking of 161. The Guernsey player, who had not dropped a single set in Michigan, got off to a bad start against Pervak in Sunday’s final and trailed 4-1 in the opening set. But a run of 11 games in a row saw her clinch victory in one of the biggest tournaments on the ITF circuit.
Watson, who endured a miserable 2013 as she battled to shrug off the effects of glandular fever, also won the doubles tournament in Michigan with partner Anna Tatishvili, beating second seeds Sharon Fichman and Maria Sanchez 7-5 5-7 10-6.
Henry Ponders Arsenal Return
THIERRY Henry, former captain and Arsenal’s all-time record goal-scorer, believes his future lies in London, not in New York. Henry joined MLS, an outfit of New York Red Bulls in 2010, making 92 appearances and scoring 41 goals. Now, with less than a year left on his contract, he has stated that he would most likely return to London at the conclusion of his deal.
“I’m very comfortable in New York, but my life is in London. There I have my daughter, my house. I think that my future is there, but in these moments I do not know it,” he told Spanish newspaper El Mundo Deportivo. The former Gunners striker is still contemplating his career prospects and could make a bid for a third stint with Arsenal.
“I have one more year of my contract and I still feel good and in shape. I enjoy the game, so at the end of this year we’ll see,” the Frenchman said.
Should he call time on his playing career, Henry may look to become involved behind the scenes at the Emirates. “You notice when it’s time to go. When I get that feeling I’ll leave it. And when I leave I think that in some way I will continue to be linked to football,” he added.
Gebrselassie Asked to Set World Record Pace
HAILE Gebrselassie, former world record holder and two-time Olympic gold medallist in 10,000m, will be lead pacemaker at this year’s London Marathon. The 40-year-old Ethiopian clocked two hours, three minutes and 59 seconds in 2008 and will attempt to take the field to the 30km mark at world record pace. “I’m going to do something useful to keep the right pace at the right time to attack the world record,” he said.
The double Olympic champion will face Wilson Kipsang, the current world record holder and Stephen Kiprotich, who holds both the world and Olympic marathon titles. Gebrselassie has broken 27 world records and claimed victory in four Berlin Marathons – a race where the world’s top athletes often target the world record.
Hugh Brasher, director of the London race said: “With Haile pacing and four of the fastest marathon runners in history in the race, there’s a real chance we will see something special.”
Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia winner of last year’s London Marathon, will also compete.
— Mar. 3, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT