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Henry Nwosu I was like a New Born Baby whom Everybody…

first_imgAsked how he felt when he was invited to the senior national team as a teenager in 1980 in preparations towards the Africa Cup of Nations. “I felt so delighted, great and honoured to be invited to play alongside the likes of Christian Chukwu, Segun Odegbami, Adokie Amesieamaka, late Muda Lawal and the rest them. A young boy just coming out of school and making it to the senior national was great feat then and I thank my senior colleagues in the team for accepting me as one of them. I respected them and they reciprocated, which really helped me a lot in settling down and matured into the team proper.”On if he was ever scared of being dropped during the screening sessions considering the caliber of players in camp then.The former captain of the defunct ACB of Lagos said: “I never thought of that. In fact it never crossed my mind because my mission and objective was to play for the national team and I concentrated and tried to improve on my game and played to the delight and expectations of the coaches. As a matter of fact, the number 10 jersey was bestowed on me immediately after my first training with the national team. So, the thought of being decamped was not just there, rather, how to establish myself as a first team player was the priority.”The former New Nigeria Bank midfielder would not want to attribute his invitation to the Green Eagles to the then Brazilian technical adviser, late professor Otto Gloria as he also played under some local coaches after the reign of the Brazilian as the national team coach.“I played under some Nigerian coaches after Gloria and most of them liked my game and personality, so I wouldn’t have known if I would have been given a call up to the national if an indigenous coach were to be at the helms of affairs of the national team then or not. But then I wouldn’t want to attribute my invitation to a foreign coach as the national team coach.”The Member of the Niger (MON), who despite his exploits internationally with the national team never took his game to Europe, something which he attributed to the strength of the Naira and the cold weather in Europe, which he claimed was not favourable to his body system.“As at that time playing in Europe was not very popular, because the Naira was very strong when compared to the dollar. Then it was about 43 kobo to a dollar, so why would I want to play in Europe to earn dollars when the Naira is stronger. Comparatively, the difference was not much so the attractiveness was not there.”“But the main reason why I didn’t really play in Europe was because I could not stand cold weather in Europe, so I felt playing in Europe would not be good for my health. On so many occasions I was invited by some agents to play in England and Spain but I turned down the offers because my health could not stand the cold of Europe and under such a situation I would not be able to play at my best,” he said.Nwosu indeed stated that he dumped one of the invitation letters he received from a Spanish club into the trash bin because he couldn’t read it as it was written in Spanish and another letter of invitation from a team in England did not get to him as it was confiscated by the then Nigeria Football Association Chairman, Colonel Mike Okochime (retd).Nwosu however hailed coaches like Mike Malagu, who he said helped him to develop his game as a secondary school boy and Kashimawo Laloko, whom he claimed helped in developing his psyche as some of the coaches that influenced his game, but said it was Otto Gloria that shaped his game the most.“Then, Laloko never saw anything good in my game, he would always criticise me, but behind me he praised me. I didn’t know he was working on my psyche but it made me to strive harder. Malagu helped brush my game from the secondary school and I really thanked them a lot. But in terms of the technicality of the game kudos must go to Otto Gloria. Even, it was through his influence that I am into coaching today,” he said.Brazilian legend, Edson Arates des Nascimento, aka Pele would however remain the mentor of the Union Bank FC of Lagos coach. “My role model will forever be King Pele,” he said with a smile.Recounting the Nations Cup victory of 1980 on home soil, the former international described the moment thus: “I was like a new born baby whom everybody wanted to carry. I was a young boy, who just came out of secondary school and was already making waves and being supported and liked by everybody. Decorated with a national honour, a car, a house and several other gifts so everybody wanted to associate with me. I felt great and on top of the world.”Asked which team is greater between the victorious Eagles on home soil and the one that won the trophy 14 years later. “If you compare the two teams individually and players’ commitment, the 1980 team was greater than that of 1994. The only thing that was in favour of the latter was their exposure because most of them played in Europe,” he opined.Ironically, Nwosu denied his first son of choosing football for a career, rather he made education a priority for him, and today MON, as he is fondly called by friends and admirers is happy that his first son is a Masters Degree holder. “If the younger ones want to play football they could go ahead, but as for my first son I charged him to concentrate on his education. The other younger ones I taught them the rudiments of the game without them losing focus on their education,” he said.Continuing, Nwosu opined that one of the greatest challenges facing our football today is that players no longer go through the rudiments of the game and therefore lacked good ball control. They do not know when to pass the ball and when to dribble and they also lacked positioning.Nwosu, who is involved in grassroots development, would however want to be remembered as someone that discovered a lot of young talents for Nigeria for the future of the game.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Winning the 1980 Africa Cup of Nations was Nigeria’s first major breakthrough in sports and 40 years down the line, one of the gladiators of that historic feat, Henry Nwosu, still recalls the moment with ecstasy, he spoke with Kunle AdewaleIt was something that was unthinkable at that time that a secondary school boy would be invited to play for the senior national team. Undaunted, Nwosu broke this odd to play for the Green Eagles (as the Nigeria senior national team was then known) in 1980 and went on to win the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time for Nigeria.Though now with grey hair and some little wrinkles on his face, Henry Nwosu still have that trait of the young innocent boy that starred for the Super Eagles 40 years ago. Even on the field of play the touches are still very conspicuous, except that there is not much stamina to match it.“Football runs in the family, my eldest brother played football and he was very good. He was good that people said I didn’t measure to half his competence, though he did not get to the height of his career as a result of reoccurring injuries. My immediate senior brother also played football substantially, so the game runs naturally within the family. I started football at a very tender age at Obele Odan boys and girls club in Surulere, when we use to play inter streets football games,” he said.last_img read more

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No. 3 seed Boeheim’s Army survives late scare to edge No. 11 seed GaelNation in double OT, 106-100, to advance to Super 16

first_imgPHILADELPHIA — Donte Greene waved both hands in the air. He pounded his feet and let out a roar. His and-one in double overtime finally provided a group of Syracuse fans reason to let out a collective sigh of relief, then rise to their feet in unison to celebrate a 106-100 double-overtime victory on Sunday afternoon.A few minutes earlier, when GaelNation’s D’Angelo Harrison tied the score with a long 3, capping off a 20-point second-half comeback, he waved to the very same section of orange. From around midcourt, Harrison, a two-time First Team All-Big East selection at St. John’s, stared at the contingent of fans he had just stunned. They sat, clad in orange, and hushed.This time, with Boeheim’s Army again leading after Green’s and-one, the fans could rejoice. The Syracuse Alumni, up by 15 at the break and 20 early in the second half, let GaelNation, a group of Iona alumni, erupt for a furious second-half comeback to pull within one. Then Steven Burtt scored a transition layup to give GaelNation its largest lead of the game, three, with two minutes to play.“We got a little stagnant offensively,” head coach and former SU big man Ryan Blackwell said. “We were a little bit tired. We weren’t communicating when they made a run. But we kept our composure and executed … we made individual plays.”With each basket, the celebration grew fiercer, the towel waves stronger and the jolt off of the GaelNation bench a little bit more passionate. Fans in maroon banged their feet to the bleachers as GaelNation inched closer to an upset over a team with significant Final Four experience on the floor.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textNo. 3 seed Boeheim’s Army staved off a 20-point comeback from No. 11 seed GaelNation in double overtime on Sunday at the campus of Philadelphia University. Greene finished with a team-high 28 points in his first game this year and, for the third consecutive year, Boeheim’s Army will advance to the Super 16 of The Basketball Tournament, a 64-team, single-elimination tournament that awards a $2 million grand prize. (In November, the Orange hosts Iona for the first time since 2010.)The Syracuse alumni, now boasting a 7-2 record over three summers in the tournament, will play July 20 in Brooklyn. Should No. 2 seed Supernova move on in its matchup later on Sunday, Boeheim’s Army will face former members of the Villanova Wildcats.Both Blackwell and Cooney pointed to the difference a few days may make. Last year, only four players practiced for a couple of days in Syracuse. This year, all eight players played pickup ball in the Carmelo K. Anthony Basketball Center the week leading up to this weekend’s tournament. Both said that the extra repetitions proved critical in edging out the victory Sunday, and that they will dictate how far Boeheim’s Army can go this summer.Saturday night on the same floor in Philadelphia, Boeheim’s Army scored 14 points before the No. 14 seed DuBois Dream made a basket, in a 99-66 victory in the opening round of the tournament. Brandon Triche tallied a triple-double (11 points, 11 rebounds, 12 assists) and John Gillon scored a game-high 26 points, hitting four 3-pointers and handing out five assists.Matthew Gutierrez | Asst. Sports EditorIn round two, Greene kicked off the scoring brigade with a baseline jumper. Forty-nine first-half points followed, including a handful of Greene 3-pointers, a two-handed jam by 7-footer DaShonte Riley and a nifty drive by Eric Devendorf, who scored 23. The 2009 Syracuse graduate, who ranks 14th on the program’s all-time scoring list, was trapped in the corner with nowhere to run. He nearly lost the handle, then hesitated, spun baseline and pounded two dribbles before laying in a basket.What followed in the second half hardly mirrored that of the night prior, when Syracuse trounced a team without a single former Division I player. C.J. Fair, a former First Team All-ACC selection and forward on Syracuse’s 2013 Final Four team, grooved his way to a transition dunk to create a 20-point advantage. Trevor Cooney, who two years ago started at guard on Syracuse’s Final Four team, drilled a pair of 3s.“Our zone bothered them a bit” Cooney said. “And we found a rhythm.”But then GaelNation found its stride, using its length inside to gain loose rebounds and hitting several 3-pointers against Boeheim’s Army’s 2-3 zone. Burtt, a left-handed guard, used a mix of elusiveness, craftiness and shooting prowess to score a game-high 34 points and lead the charge. Missed box outs, sometimes sloppy defense and more than 13 offensive rebounds let GaelNation sneak back in.That is until Greene allowed Boeheim’s Army to regain its footing in double overtime.“We want the $2 million,” Greene said. Comments Published on July 9, 2017 at 5:21 pm Contact Matthew: mguti100@syr.edu | @MatthewGut21 Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

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Kenley Jansen serves up ninth-inning grand slam as Padres walk off with win over Dodgers

first_img Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire The next batter, Wil Myers, made it two bunt hits in a row when his rolled untouched through the grass on the third-base side of the pitcher’s mound as Seager went to cover second base, Turner third and Jansen broke slowly from the mound.Good Wil bunting loaded the bases.“I’ve got to get to my responsibility and make sure we get an out,” Turner said. “They have their 7 and 8 hitters coming up. Get an out there and let Kenley pitch his way out of it.“It wasn’t a great bunt. But my responsibility there is to make sure we get an out.”Jansen nearly did work his way out of it anyway. He struck out Greg Garcia and got Francisco Mejia to pop out, moving an out away from escaping with the win.“Oh, man – that’s the suck part of it because I visualized myself out of it,” Jansen said.Renfroe came off the bench to pinch hit and took a called strike down the middle from Jansen. The second pitch was another cut fastball over the heart of the plate, only slightly higher.Renfroe didn’t hesitate. He drove it deep into the left-field stands, tossing his bat away and throwing his arms in the air before starting his victory lap.“Second pitch I tried to go up and up,” Jansen said. “I tried to climb the ladder but the ball stayed a little down and he put a good swing on it.“Sometimes stuff like that is going to happen. … Things happen. You can’t question yourself. How about that perfect bunt Margot put down? JT thought that was going to go foul. It stayed fair. Stuff like that is going to happen sometimes. This sucks right now. At the same time, I fought well out there.”Renfroe’s slam was the fourth home run Jansen has given up already this season (after giving up 13 last year, the most by any reliever in the NL). But it was the paper cuts that lingered.“You know, if that’s the way they have to beat me, I’ll take that,” Jansen said of the bunt singles by Margot and Myers. “It’s a compliment for me. Two perfect bunts, that’s how they beat me today.” PreviousThe Los Angeles Dodgers’ Max Muncy, center, reacts with teammate David Freese, right, after hitting a three-run home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres, Sunday, May 5, 2019, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)San Diego Padres’ Hunter Renfroe reacts after hitting a walkoff grand slam during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Sunday, May 5, 2019, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)San Diego Padres’ Hunter Renfroe, center, celebrates with teammates after hitting a walkoff grand slam during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Sunday, May 5, 2019, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull) SoundThe gallery will resume insecondsThe San Diego Padres’ Wil Myers, bottom left, scores off a sacrifice fly by Francisco Mejia as Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes, top, is late with the tag during the fourth inning of a baseball game Sunday, May 5, 2019, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)The Los Angeles Dodgers’ Chris Taylor watches his two-run home run hit during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres, Sunday, May 5, 2019, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)The Los Angeles Dodgers’ Max Muncy rounds the bases to score on a two-run home run hit by Dodgers’ Chris Taylor during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres, Sunday, May 5, 2019, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)The Los Angeles Dodgers’ Chris Taylor (3) celebrates with teammate Max Muncy (13) after hitting a two-run home run as San Diego Padres catcher Francisco Mejia looks on, right, during the eighth inning of a baseball game Sunday, May 5, 2019, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)The Los Angeles Dodgers’ Chris Taylor hits a two-run home run during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres, Sunday, May 5, 2019, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)The San Diego Padres’ Franmil Reyes, front left, is greeted by teammate Manny Machado, right, after hitting a home run during the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, May 5, 2019, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)The Los Angeles Dodgers’ Kenta Maeda hits a single during the third inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres, Sunday, May 5, 2019, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)San Diego Padres starting pitcher Nick Margevicius works against a Los Angeles Dodgers batter during the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, May 5, 2019, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Kenta Maeda stretches before facing his first San Diego Padres batter during the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, May 5, 2019, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Kenta Maeda points up as San Diego Padres’ Ian Kinsler fouls out during the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, May 5, 2019, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Kenta Maeda works against a San Diego Padres batter during the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, May 5, 2019, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Kenta Maeda works against a San Diego Padres batter during the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, May 5, 2019, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)San Diego Padres pinch hitter Hunter Renfroe reacts after hitting a walkoff grand slam during the ninth inning of a game against the Dodgers, Sunday, May 5, 2019, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Kenta Maeda works against a San Diego Padres batter during the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, May 5, 2019, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)The Los Angeles Dodgers’ Kenta Maeda runs to third from first off a double by the Dodgers’ Corey Seager during the third inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres Sunday, May 5, 2019, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)Members of the military watch a fly-over by an Air Force C-5 aircraft before a baseball game between the San Diego Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Petco Park Sunday, May 5, 2019, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)The Los Angeles Dodgers’ Max Muncy, center, reacts with teammate David Freese, right, after hitting a three-run home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres, Sunday, May 5, 2019, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)San Diego Padres’ Hunter Renfroe reacts after hitting a walkoff grand slam during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Sunday, May 5, 2019, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)NextShow Caption1 of 19San Diego Padres’ Hunter Renfroe reacts after hitting a walkoff grand slam during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Sunday, May 5, 2019, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)ExpandSAN DIEGO — The Dodgers spent the weekend in San Diego with their outstretched arm planted firmly on the Padres’ forehead, letting them swing away only to come up short.The Padres connected Sunday afternoon.Hunter Renfroe’s pinch-hit grand slam with two outs in the ninth inning off Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen gave the San Diego Padres an 8-5 walkoff win Sunday afternoon and prevented a Dodgers sweep of the sold-out series at Petco Park.The series drew 133,456 fans (a lot of them wearing Dodger blue), a record for a three-game series at Petco Park and prompted questions about the “rivalry” between the two teams – questions Dodgers manager Dave Roberts joked he seems to get in every city the Dodgers visit.center_img Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season After a miserable first month to the season (he was batting .162 three days ago), Taylor came to life in San Diego. He was 7 for 13 in the series with two home runs, a double and four RBI.“He’s getting opportunities to go out there and play,” Roberts said, alluding to the five consecutive left-handed starters the Dodgers faced this week. “I think he’s taking better swings. When he does get a ball in the strike zone, he’s getting it going forward and not fouling it off or swinging through it.“And when you start to get some hits it breeds confidence – even a couple balls that were softly hit. You see an ‘H’ on the board and you start to get a little more confidence.”Starter Kenta Maeda and relievers Pedro Baez and Ross Stripling retired 14 consecutive Padres – seven in a row on strikeouts at one point – through the bottom of the eighth and handed the one-run lead to Jansen who saved each of the first two games in this series.But Jansen gave up a leadoff single to Eric Hosmer then Manuel Margot dropped a bunt down the third-base line. Justin Turner had no play, instead hoping it would go foul. It didn’t.Related Articles “That one hurts, for sure,” Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager said. “We’re down all game, come back to get the lead. That stings. But we won the series and that’s what matters.”They did, despite leading after just three innings, one each day.“They’re hungry. They want to beat us,” Jansen said after Sunday’s loss. “Everyone wants to beat us in this division. Everyone wants to beat us in the National League. We’re two-time National League champions so every game we’re going to play against teams it’s going to be their ‘A’ games.“They’re hungry to beat us. But I can’t let this beat us. A situation like this happens. I’ve got to turn the page on it.”For the third consecutive game, the Dodgers spotted the Padres an early lead and seemed poised to ruin their day. Max Muncy hit a three-run home run in the fifth to make it a one-run game, 4-3, then Chris Taylor gave the Dodgers a 5-4 lead with a two-run home run in the eighth inning. 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