Uzoho: Messi Made My Best Day In Football

first_img Uzoho’s inclusion in Nigeria’s squad to the football fiesta was a massive surprise to many. The young shot-stopper was part of the victorious Nigeria squad at the 2013 FIFA Under-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates, albeit without playing a single minute at the tournament. But Uzoho moved to Deportivo La Coruna from Qatar’s Aspire Academy in January 2017 and, later that year, became the youngest foreign goalkeeper to ever play in La Liga, marking his memorable Deportivo debut with a clean sheet. His form in Spain caught the attention of Gernot Rohr, who had been looking for solutions to the Super Eagles’ goalkeeping problems caused by the premature retirement of Carl Ikeme. Then only 19, Uzoho made his Super Eagles debut against Argentina in a November 2017 friendly, a game Messi missed, and Nigerian won by a 4-2 scoreline. Despite his relative inexperience, Uzoho was elevated as the first-choice keeper ahead of the experienced duo of Daniel Akpeyi and Ikechukwu Ezenwa, heading to the World Cup.Advertisement Loading… He was in goal when Rohr’s men lost to Croatia, defeated Iceland, and succumbed to a late 2-1 loss to Argentina, with Messi netting a fine opener. Despite the Super Eagles losing that encounter, Uzoho feels privileged sharing the same pitch with the six-time Ballon d’Or winner. “Playing at the World Cup for the first time as a first choice goalkeeper came as a grace to me,” the Omonia Nicosia keeper said, as quoted by the media. read also:Uzoho: Why I married at 20 “In fact, the day Nigeria played against Argentina was my best day in the game because I stood on the same field with Messi and Higuain, players I respect a lot. “I had to control my excitement as a professional keeper to give my best in the game.” FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 Francis Uzoho has picked the Super Eagles last group match against Messi’s Argentina at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia as the best day of his football career. Promoted ContentA Hurricane Can Be As Powerful As 10 Atomic Bombs7 Theories About The Death Of Our UniverseThe Best Cars Of All TimeBest Car Manufacturers In The WorldTop Tastiest Foods From All Over The WorldThe Most Beautiful Middle Eastern Actresses9 Facts You Should Know Before Getting A TattooHow Good The CGI Effects In Those Movies Were!This Guy Photoshopped Himself Into Celeb Pics And It’s Hysterical6 Incredibly Strange Facts About HurricanesYou’ve Only Seen Such Colorful Hairdos In A Handful Of Anime6 Ridiculous Health Myths That Are Actually Truelast_img read more

Simon Zebo backs Ian Madigan to succeed if needed at scrum-half for Ireland

first_img Press Association Head coach Joe Schmidt has gambled on selecting just two scrum-halves in his final 31-man squad, opting to retrain fly-half Madigan as back-up to Conor Murray and Eoin Reddan. Versatile playmaker Madigan can comfortably operate at 10, 12 and 15, but has never yet worn nine on his back. Madigan’s jinking feint and cute switch-pass sent Zebo in for an astute try in Ireland’s 28-22 Dublin win over Scotland last month. Zebo believes it is in those defence-unlocking moments where Madigan outlines the natural aptitude for subbing in at nine. “I haven’t seen him train there too much to be honest. He’s probably been doing his own thing,” said Zebo. “He’ll love it if he’s called to go in at nine, he’ll have no issues. “He’s just a natural footballer: he goes out and expresses himself. “He’s very talented and no matter where he is, as long as he has his hands on the ball he’s dangerous and effective.” Schmidt spent Sunday night calling the unlucky players who had missed the World Cup cut, with Zebo relieved not to see the head coach’s number light up on his phone. The 25-year-old wing has made Ireland’s final squad at the expense of close friend Felix Jones, but Zebo has been at pains not to console his Munster team-mate. “I haven’t spoken to Felix, I’ve left it alone,” said Zebo. “He’s one of my best friends up here. I know what he’s like as a person, I know he doesn’t want any sympathy, he just wants to put his head down now and work hard for Munster. “I don’t think I’ve ever refreshed my email so much in my life, just hoping for something to pop up, but Sunday was a long old day. “I spent it wisely by chilling out with my family, trying to get them to take my mind off things, and thankfully it worked out well.” An injury to one of Ireland’s regular scrum-halves 48 hours or less away from a World Cup clash could change all that though, with Madigan then stepping up to break new ground. “I’m sure Ian will be well up for it, he’s a talented boy,” said Munster wing Zebo of Madigan’s positional switch. “You could put him in anywhere and he’d go through it with ease and confidence. “You’d have no fears of him going in there.” Ireland face England at Twickenham on Saturday in their final World Cup warm-up clash, before opening their Pool D campaign against Canada in Cardiff on September 19. Schmidt has hedged the risk of selecting two scrum-halves against the ease and speed with which either Isaac Boss or Kieran Marmion could arrive at the World Cup in the event of injury. That theory runs into trouble when set against the regulation that teams are not permitted to make injury replacements 48 hours or less away from a match. Should one of Murray or Reddan run into trouble one training session away from action then, Madigan will be thrust into scrum-half deputy duty. Ireland have “no fears” of facing Rugby World Cup action with Ian Madigan as a makeshift scrum-half, according to Simon Zebo. last_img read more

Vucevic declares for draft

first_imgFreshman Curtis Washington sat patiently at Friday’s press conference in the Galen Center, waiting for junior forward Nikola Vucevic to announce if he would return for his senior season.“We would ask [Vucevic] and he would never tell us,” Washington said.Big shoes to fill · With Vucevic declaring for the NBA draft, USC will need to replace its leading scorer and rebounder from this season. – Tim Tran | Daily Trojan Vucevic’s announcement that he will declare for the NBA draft and sign with an agent, forfeiting his final season of collegiate eligibility, means Washington’s minutes for next season will significantly increase.“Of course I always want to work hard, but it makes me work that much harder knowing that I will have a larger role,” Washington said. “It is going to be difficult to fill Nikola’s role, so we are going to have to work hard.”With Vucevic (34.9 minutes per game) and senior forward Alex Stepheson (32.9 minutes per game) departing, USC will rely heavily on an inexperienced frontcourt next season. The Trojans’ post rotation will include transfers James Blasczyk, DeWayne Dedmon and Aaron Fuller, in addition to Washington, who did not score last season.“Curtis is a lot like me when I was a freshman,” Vucevic said. “He is a young guy who works really hard every day. He is one of the guys who works the hardest on the team.”USC coach Kevin O’Neill said he plans to recruit one or possibly two new players.“We are not going to take anybody that cannot come and help immediately, because that is just wasting a scholarship,” O’Neill said. “If we can find another big, we would be interested, and if we found the right wing player, we might be interested in both, but we are not going to rush into taking somebody for the sake of it.”Only two of USC’s top seven scorers from last season, guards Jio Fontan and Maurice Jones, are expected to return next season.“When you lose a guy like [Vucevic], obviously it is going to be a blow to you,” O’Neill said. “It is our job with the guys coming in, and whoever else we end up signing in the late period, to make sure that we have a team that can be competitive in the Pac-10 and get into the postseason.”After deciding to declare for the NBA draft, Vucevic signed with agent Rade Filipovich of BDA Sports Management.“It was a tough decision,” Vucevic said. “I thought that if I came back we could have done a lot of good stuff, but at the same time, I wanted to take the next step in my life.”Had Vucevic not signed with an agent, he would have had until May 8 to withdraw his name and return to college for his senior season.“I feel like if you do something, you have to go into it 100 percent,” Vucevic said. “It is a lot easier when you have somebody who can take care of the scheduling part.”Vucevic said he plans to continue taking classes this semester while preparing for the NBA draft, and to take summer school so that he can eventually graduate.This past season, the 6-foot-10 Vucevic averaged 17.1 points and 10.3 rebounds per game, and was named to the All-Pac-10 First Team. He had a double-double in his final eight regular season Pac-10 games.Vucevic was the leading scorer and rebounder for the Trojans, who lost to VCU in the first round of the NCAA tournament.“Nikola’s great advantage is that he is going to be able to guard [NBA power forwards and centers], which very few people can do,” O’Neill said.last_img read more