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Osimhen eyes African Footballer of the Year award



Super Eagles striker, Victor Osimhen, has revealed that his utmost dream is to one day win the African Footballer of The Year Award, reports.

The last Nigerian, to win the award was Nwankwo Kanu in 1999 when he edged Ghana’s Samuel Kuffour and Ivory Coast’s Ibrahima Bakayoko to the gong.

Osimhen’s remarkable form this season for Napoli who are closing in on the Serie A title for the first time in 33 years has put him in good contention for the award which no Nigerian player has won in the last 21 years.

The 24-year-old Nigeria international is the highest-scoring African player in Europe’s top five leagues with 21 goals and he is third overall behind Manchester City’s Erling Haaland and Harry Kane of Tottenham who have scored more goals than the former Lille striker. The pair has so far scored 30 and 23 goals respectively.

“I am not going to lie, it would be my dream to be African Footballer of the Year,” Osimhen was quoted by Daily Mail.

“I was at the ceremony in 2015 when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang won the award. As an African, you dream of this prize and maybe I can win.

“I think I still have a long way to go in achieving that dream. I am really working towards that direction and I think I’m on the right path. But as a man, it won’t be easy but I think having my own family (here) has a dream come true.

“I have a long way to go, so, football is the only thing on my mind and I want to keep focusing, and of course, a lot is expected of me so I’m here to deliver.”

Osimhen, who joined Napoli for an African record fee of €81m will however face stiff competition for the award from Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, Bayern Munich’s Sadio Mane as well as Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez.

Meanwhile, The Guardia di Finanza, on behalf of the Naples Public Prosecutor’s Office, have gathered some important documents as they continue investigating Napoli’s deal for Osimhen.

La Repubblica details how the Partenopei agreed to a €71.2m deal for the Nigerian striker with Lille back in September 2020, but around €20.1m of that was made up of four players sent in exchange. The suspicion is that these four players were widely overvalued in order to inflate capital gains.

The Guardia di Finanza – Italy’s financial police – visited Turris, a Serie C team, and gathered the documents relating to the purchase and subsequent sale of Claudio Manzi, one of the four players involved in the Osimhen deal alongside Luigi Liguori, Ciro Palmieri and Orestis Karnezis.

Manzi was sent to Lille in September 2020 for €4m, but in reality, he never went to France, instead signing a loan deal with Fermana immediately.

Less than 12 months later, the Ligue 1 outfit released him on a free transfer and he joined Turris, who then sold him to Virtus Entella for around €120,000 18 months later.


EPL: Guardiola reveals Tottenham manager that made title hard to win



Manchester City boss, Pep Guardiola has claimed it is now harder to win the Premier League.

Guardiola was speaking to the media on Friday, ahead of the visit of Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

According to him, Spurs have “always been up there” since Mauricio Pochettino became their manager.

“It [the Premier League] is a more difficult competition to win and I have said many times that every season it is getting better. So more teams involved and every single game is so difficult.

“Ever since Mauricio Pochettino has arrived, I would say Spurs have always been up there, so yes, they are a fantastic team.

“Of course, they have a lot of absences now, but I saw the first 15-20 minutes against Aston Villa and they created a lot of chances, especially in their approach.

“So it is definitely really good for football,” Guardiola said.

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Rivers United’s Odeh makes CAF Confederation Cup Goal of the Week



Rivers United’s Paul Odeh’s goal against Academica Petroleos club do Lobito has been selected among the best of matchday one fixtures in the CAF Confederation Cup.

Odeh scored a fantastic long-range strike in Rivers United’s 3-0 victory at the Godswill Akpabio International, Uyo.

Other goals selected are USM Algiers’ Islam Merili screamer against Al-Hilal SC, Mordern Future’s Ghanam Mohammed’s goal versus Supersports, Sagrada Esperanca’s Simone Lepau’s close-range strike against CO Coyah SC and Zamalek’ Yusuf Obama’s header against Abu Salam completes the list.

The former Nigeria Premier Football League champions will battle Dream SC of Ghana in their matchday two fixture on Sunday.

The match is billed for the Baba Yara Sports Stadium, Kumasi.

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He reminds me of Berbatov – Michael Owen lavishes praise on Arsenal star



Former Real Madrid and Manchester United striker, Michael Owen has heaped praises on Arsenal’s Kai Havertz, comparing him to former Tottenham Hotspur attacker Dimitar Berbatov.

Owen likened Havertz’s touch and ability on the ball to that of Berbatov, who also played for Manchester United during his football career.

This is coming after Arsenal’s recent 6-0 thrashing of RC Lens in the Champions League on Wednesday.

“It is a bit of a conundrum with him, I don’t think he scores enough goals to be a centre-forward, has he got the pace to be a wide man? Maybe ghosts in and plays inside a little bit, there is no doubt about his talent,” Owen said on TNT Sports about Havertz.

“He’s got a lovely touch, a lovely way about him. He reminds me a bit of Berbatov, the way he takes the ball and his lovely touch. There is definitely a brilliant player there.”

Havertz joined Arsenal from Chelsea in the summer transfer window for a reported fee of £65 million.

The German endured a difficult start to life at the Gunners, scoring just one goal in his first 19 appearances for the club.

However, Havertz has seen an upturn in form recently, scoring the match-winner in Arsenal’s 1-0 win over Brentford last weekend.

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