Olympics Special Special Page 6 THE BRILLIANT BOYS DANIEL AKPEYI* CLUB: Chippa United (SOUTH AFRICA) DOB: March 8, 1986 (age 30) POSITION: Goalkeeper JERSEY NO: 1 GAMES PLAYED: 1 TOTAL MINUTES PLAYED: 90 MUENFUH SINCERE CLUB: Rhapsody (NIGERIA) DOB: 28 Apr 1998 (age 18) POSITION: Defender JERSEY NO: 2 GAMES PLAYED: 6 TOTAL MINUTES PLAYED: 540 KINGSLEY MADU CLUB: AS Trencín (SLOVAKIA) DOB: 12 December 1995 (age 21) POSITION: Defender JERSEY NO: 3 GAMES PLAYED: 4 TOTAL MINUTES PLAYED: 118 SHEHU ABDULLAHI CLUB: União da Madeira (PORTUGAL) DOB: March 12, 1993 (age 23 POSITION: JERSEY NO: 4 GAMES PLAYED: 5 TOTAL MINUTES PLAYED: 448 SATURDAY ERIMUYA CLUB: Kayseri Erciyesspor (TURKEY) DOB: 10 January 1998 (age 18) POSITION: Defender JERSEY NO: 5 GAMES PLAYED: - 1 TOTAL MINUTES PLAYED - 4 WILLIAM TROOST-EKONG CLUB: Haugesund (NORWAY) DOB: 1 September 1993) POSITION: Defender JERSEY NO: 6 GAMES PLAYED: 6 TOTAL MINUTES PLAYED: 540 AMINU UMAR CLUB: Osmanlispor (TURKEY) DOB: 6 March 1995 (age 21) POSITION: Striker JERSEY NO: 7 GAMES PLAYED: 5 TOTAL MINUTES PLAYED: 3560 EMMANUEL DANIEL CLUB: Enugu Rangers (Nigeria) DOB: 17 December 1993 (aged 22) POSITION: Goalkeeper JERSEY NO: 18 GAMES PLAYED: 5 TOTAL MINUTES PLAYED: 450 IMOH EZEKIEL CLUB: Anderlecht (BELGIUM) DOB: 24 October 1993 (age 22) POSITION: Striker JERSEY NO: 9 GAMES PLAYED: 6 TOTAL MINUTES PLAYED: 448 JOHN OBI MIKEL* CLUB: Chelsea (ENGLAND) DOB: April 22, 1987 (age 29) POSITION: Midfielder JERSEY NO: 10 GAMES PLAYED: 6 TOTAL MINUTES PLAYED: 526 OLUWAFEMI AJAYI CLUB: CS Sfaxien (TUNISIA) DOB: January 29, 1996 (age 20) POSITION: Striker JERSEY NO: 11 GAMES PLAYED: 2 TOTAL MINUTES PLAYED: 31 POPOOLA SALIU CLUB: Seraing United (FRANCE) DOB: 7 August 1994 (age 22) POSITION: ATTACKING MIDFIELD JERSEY NO: 12 GAMES PLAYED: 5 TOTAL MINUTES PLAYED: 95 UMAR SADIQ CLUB: Roma (ITALY) DOB: February 2, 1997 (age 19) POSITION: Striker JERSEY NO: 13 GAMES PLAYED: 6 TOTAL MINUTES PLAYED: 492 AZUBUIKE OKECHUKWU CLUB: Yeni Malatyaspor (TURKEY) DOB: April 19, 1997 (age 19) POSITION: Midfielder JERSEY NO: 14 GAMES PLAYED: 5 TOTAL MINUTES PLAYED: 445 NDIFREKE UDO CLUB: Abia Warriors (NIGERIA) DOB: 15 Aug 1998 (age 18) POSITION: Defender JERSEY NO: 15 GAMES PLAYED: 4 TOTAL MINUTES PLAYED: 180 STANLEY AMUZIE CLUB: Olhanense (PORTUGAL) DOB: 28 February 1996 (age 20) POSITION: Defender JERSEY NO: 16 GAMES PLAYED: 6 TOTAL MINUTES PLAYED: 460 USMAN MOHAMMED CLUB: União da Madeira (PORTUGAL) DOB: 2 March 1994 (aged 22) POSITION: Midfielder JERSEY NO: 17 GAMES PLAYED: 6 TOTAL MINUTES PLAYED: 453 OGHENEKARO ETEBO CLUB: Feirense (PORTUGAL) DOB: 9 November 1995 (age 21) POSITION: ATTACKING MIDFIELDER JERSEY NO: 8 GAMES PLAYED: 3 TOTAL MINUTES PLAYED: 270 Nigeria’s Olympic Soccer Treble GOLD1996 EMMANUEL BABAYARO, CELESTINE BABAYARO, TARIBO WEST, NWANKWO KANU, UCHE OKECHUKWU, EMMANUEL AMUNIKE, TIJANI BABANGIDA, WILSON ORUMA, TESLIM FATUSI, JAY JAY OKOCHA, VICTOR IKPEBA, ABIODON OBAFEMI, GARBA LAWAL, DANIEL AMOKACHI, SUNDAY OLISEH, KINGSLEY OBIEKWU, MOBI OPARAKU, JOSEPH DOSU, ABIODUN BARUWA*, PASCAL PATRICK*, NDUBUISI NDAH*, JONATHAN AKPOBORIE* COACH: JO BONFRERE (HOL) *ALTERNATE PLAYERS SILVER2008 AMBRUSE VANZEKIN, CHIBUZOR OKONKWO, ONYEKACHI APAM, DELE ADELEYE, MONDAY JAMES, CHINEDU OGBUKE OBASI, SANI KAITA, VICTOR OBINNA, PROMISE ISAAC, SOLOMON OKORONKWO, EBENEZER AJILORE, OLUBAYO ADEFEMI, PETER ODEMWINGIE, EFE AMBROSE, VICTOR ANICHEBE, EMMANUEL EKPO, IKECHUKWU EZENWA, OLADAPO OLUFEMI COACH: SAMSON SIASIA (NGR) BRONZE2016 DANIEL AKPEYI, MUENFUH SINCERE, KINGSLEY MADU, SHEHU ABDULLAHI, SATURDAY ERIMUYA, WILLIAM TROOST-EKONG, AMINU UMAR, OGHENEKARO ETEBO, IMOH EZEKIEL, JOHN OBI MIKEL, OLUWAFEMI AJAYI, POPOOLA SALIU, UMAR SADIQ, AZUBUIKE OKECHUKWU, NDIFREKE UDO, STANLEY AMUZIE, USMAN MOHAMMED, EMMANUEL DANIEL, COACH: SAMSON SIASIA (NGR)
Olympics Special Special Page 7 NIGERIAN LEAGUE STAR...NIGERIAN LEAGUE STAR... NIGERIAN LEAGUE STAR...NIGERIAN LEAGUE STAR... First name: Last name: Nationality: Date of birth: Age: Position: Godwin Obaje Nigeria 1 Jan. 1997 19 Striker MOVING TO WIKKI TOURISTS My move to Wikki Tourists came at a time I didn't expect. I remember an agent came to Mighty Jets with some players to train with us and was particularly impressed when he saw me in training. He was the one who recommended me to coach Abdu Maikaba, who then invited me to train with the Wikki Tourists team at the start of last season. It was an opportunity I have been waiting for, so I did my best to impress him and the other coaches in training. They too were impressed with what I did in training and that was how I joined Wikki. It wasn't easy for me at the beginning coming from the lower league coupled with my age and experience, but I have a coach who believes so much in my ability and gave me the opportunity to integrate gradually into the team. PLAYING AGAINST MY BROTHER, JOSHUA It was real fun for both of us. The first time we faced each other in a competitive game was on June 26, 2016. It was a Nigeria Professional League match day 24 fixture played at the Rwang Pam Stadium, Jos. It was really strange for me, coming up against my big brother We exchanged banters before the game and I told him I will put into practice everything I learnt from him to make sure we beat his team (Plateau United). In the end they beat us 2-0, ending our five games unbeaten streak. He was very happy with the result though he didn't score any of the goals. JOSHUA'S IMPACT ON MY CAREER He is someone I always looked up to when I was growing up. I love watching Joshua play and I made up my mind to be a striker like him because of his goal scoring prowess. He always encourages me to work harder and not allow anything distract me from getting to the top. AS TRENCIN MOVE I was close to linking up with AS Trencin of Slovakia last season, but the deal was cancelled because they failed to fulfill their contractual obligations. My mind was really set on the move and I was disappointed that I couldn't join them at the end of the day. CHALLENGES GODWIN OBAJE WIKKI TOURISTS ODWIN OBAJE is the younger of the Obaje boys who have taken the Nigerian GPremier Football League by storm. While older brother Joshua is leading the line for Plateau United, Godwin is topping the chart in the league and aims to power his modest team to a first-ever league title at season’s end… Interview by ADEBOYE AMOSU GROWING UP YEARS Life as a young boy was exciting and at the same time very tough for me. My father was in the military and he was very strict. As it is with all military men, they are always disciplined. It's good to grow up in that type of setting as it prepares you for the future. The nine of us in the family, six boys and three girls were brought up in a disciplined way and it is reflecting in our life today. Though we hail from Kogi State, I grew up in Kaduna, where I attended Army Primary School and Sarduana Memorial Secondary School. CAREER BEGINNING After leaving secondary school, I joined Modrasa Academy, Kaduna. I actually didn't stay there long before moving over to Road Safety Football Club of Abuja which was playing in the National League. From there, I joined another NNL side, Mighty Jets Football Club. It was really tough for me then because we earned little money which didn't even come regularly. We just kept pushing hard and even though one is not there yet, there is remarkable difference in where I was then and where I am now. SECRET OF WIKKI TEAM One major thing working for us at Wikki Tourists is the fact that we don't have big names in the team. We all work together as a team and that has been the secret of our success. It's really disappointing that we couldn't pick a continental ticket last season despite all the efforts that we put in, but experience has really been helpful to us this time around. I hope we can win the title at the end of the season and emulate what Leicester City did in the English Premier League. The National League is more physical than the Premier League. This is good for my development though because it is not easy to move from a lower league to a top league like the NPFL. The many years of playing football on the streets have also prepared me for these challenges. We were trained at the academy to always be ready for whatever comes our way in future. I want to thank coach Abdu Maikaba and my team mates for helping me integrate fully into the team. I must also emphasise that the quality of officiating in the National League is very bad. It's something that football authorities in the country must work on. GOAL SCORING PROWESS Last season, I scored just five goals for Wikki Tourists, but I challenged myself do better this term. I have really worked very hard to get to this stage and I look forward to scoring more goals before the end of the season. Breaking Mfon Udoh's all time record (23 goals in a season) is a possibility and I will give it my best shot. TOUGHEST OPPONENT That has to be Obinna Nwokolo. I came up against him last season when we played against Taraba United. Though we ended up winning the game 2-1 and I also scored one of our goals, he really gave me a tough time in the game. Obinna is tall, strong and a tough tackling defender. I don't think I would ever like to play against him in future. ROLE MODEL My biggest inspiration is Sweden forward, Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He is one player I love so much and one that watching him play is always a joy to me. It is a good thing that people always compare me with him. My team mates also say I play like him.