Arsenal’s winger, Bukayo Saka, has picked The Three Lions of England ahead of the Nigerian senior national team.
The Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) had courted the 19-year-old for the Super Eagles. However, hopes by Nigerian fans that the teenager will some day represent the country was put paid to after he was invited for England’s upcoming games against Wales, Belgium and Denmark.
Saka, who was born in Ealing, Greater London, has expressed happiness at the invitation, tweeting “honoured and grateful to get my first
England call up ! #Blessings.”
The Three Lions play the Welsh side in a friendly at Wembley on October 8 before taking on the Red Devils and the Danish team in Nations League outings.
Saka had in July said that he had a difficult decision to make when it came to international football, and whether to stick with England after progressing through the youth ranks, or switch to Nigeria.
“It’s a tough choice,” Saka said at the time. “I’m happy to have represented England at youth level but I’m also proud of my Nigerian heritage from my parents.
“We haven’t been picked by any team so it’s about staying humble and when the time comes we’ll make the decision.”
Saka has been in fine form for Arsenal since breaking into the Gunners first team and last season he featured prominently as Mikel Arteta’s men finish eighth in the Premier League and also helped the club clinch the FA Cup title.
Anthony Joshua and Odion Ighalo Weigh in on Violence in Nigeria as Soldiers Open Fire on Protesters
Sports stars of Nigerian heritage have taken to social media to condemn the brutal crackdown on protesters in Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos and other cities following days of protests in the country.
Since October 8, protesters have been carrying out peaceful demonstrations across the nation and social media calling for the disbanding of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police.
However, the protests assumed a violent dimension last week when thugs attacked peaceful protesters in Lagos and Abuja. And on Tuesday 20 October, the violence escalated with 43 protesters and six policemen reportedly killed. There were also reported cases of arson and looting.
Two-time unified heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua posted on social media that he was praying for peace in the country and doing his best to support victims. The WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO champion, whose full name is Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua, was born in Watford, England to Nigerian parents.
In a video uploaded on his Twitter handle, he said:
“This is a message to the people of Nigeria. Even though i’m no there with you in the physical, we’ve been making some tangible efforts to try and support your protests on the ground.
“I know it’s getting to a stage where things are heating up and tensions are high, but in my prayers at night, i’m praying for peace and positivity, because i know that the people on ground aren’t trying to be heard for their own benefit. It’s for the benefit of the next generation.
“Me myself, i’ve had to take time to understand the issues that people in Nigeria are facing. Why sometimes i’m silent is because i’ve learnt that my silence can’t be misquoted. So me and my family and my close friends have been trying to do something tangible things and we’re organizing many care packages for the people on the ground. So even if i’m in my training camp and we’re in London, we can support you guys from a distance.
“December the 12th, i’m competing and after that i’m going to try and make some plans to come to Nigeria to meet my friends and family and meet some of the people trying to make long lasting change. But for sure, from London and far and wide, your voices are definitely being heard.
“So keep on pushing, keep on striving. You have my support through and through. My ears and my eyes have been opened. I understand the issues that you guys are facing and for some people what i’m going to do will be enough. And for some people it may not be enough. But together as we hold hands and push for a better change, we all move forward in a positive direction. So keep on pushing. Your voices have definitely landed in my ears. And you definitely have my support.”
It was announced last week that Joshua would make a mandatory title defense against Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev on December 12 at the O2 Arena in London.
However, Manchester United and former Nigeria international Odion Ighalo was particularly scathing of the authorities, condemning the violence and urging the UK government, the UN and world leaders to act.
Also speakng in a video posted on his Twitter handle, he said:
“I’m sad and heartbroken and i don’t know where to start from. I’m not the type of guy that talks about politics but i can’t keep quiet anymore about what is going on back home in Nigeria.
“I would say to the Nigerian government, you guys are a shame to the world for killing your own citizens. Sending military to the streets to kill unarmed protesters because they are protesting for their rights is uncalled for.
“Today 20th October 2020, you people will be remembered in history as the first (civilian) government that sent the military into cities to start killing its own citizens.
“I am ashamed of this government. We are tired of you guys and we can’t take this anymore. I’m calling on the UK government, calling on leaders all over the world, to please see what is going on in Nigeria and help us. The government is killing its own citizens. We are calling on you guys and the UN to see to this matter. And i want to call on my brothers and sisters back home to remain safe. Stay indoors and don’t come out because this government are killers and they will keep killing if the world does not talk about this.”
Ighalo posted the video after Manchester United won 2-1 at the Parc des Princes in Paris against Paris Saint-Germain in their opening Group H match of the UEFA Champions League. He was an unused substitute.
In the Lekki area of Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos, armed soldiers allegedly shot sporadically at protesters, killing no fewer than seven persons in the process. The soldiers had been deployed to enforce a curfew announced by the Lagos State governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
Many protesters were also said to have sustained bullet wounds as a result of the attack that occurred suddenly after the giant video billboard on a tollgate where the protesters have been demonstrating for days and the streetlights within the area were switched off.
The Nigerian government, led by President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired military general, had announced the scrapping of the SARS unit as well as a raft of reforms over a week ago. Officials called for the demonstrations to be suspended to give the authorities time to make good on their pledges. However the move failed as protesters responded that they had no trust or faith in the government.
Around half of Nigeria’s 200 million population is estimated to live in extreme poverty. Unemployment is widespread among the youth who have been reportedly targeted for arbitrary arrests, extortion, abduction, torture and extra-judicial killings by the security forces, especially the much loathed and dreaded SARS.
Africa’s biggest oil producer is currently facing a recession as the fall in crude prices sparked by the coronavirus pandemic has battered government finances creating much social unrest.
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) estimates the Nigerian economy could have lost an estimated N700 billion (over $1.7 billion) to the #EndSARS protests in the last 12 days.
Sierra Leone Players And Officials Contract COVID-19
No fewer than three members of the Sierra Leone national football team have tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
The infected include Sierra Leone captain Umaru Bangura and two other members of Leone Stars Phillip Kor, a fitness coach, and Eric Fomba, an official.
Nigeria play a doubleheader with Sierra Leone in November. The Super Eagles host the Leone Stars on November 9 in a 2022 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier, before travelling for the reverse fixture billed for the Siaka Stevens Stadium in Freetown the following week.
The trio contracted COVID-19 while on international duty with the Leone Stars in Niger and they are self-isolating, a statement from the Sierra Leone Football Association confirmed.
Bangura featured in the Leone Stars’ recent 2-1 loss to Mauritania in a friendly, but missed their 1-0 defeat to Niger at the General Seyni Kountche stadium in Niamey due to injury.
Sierra Leone have recorded only one win in their last six games ahead of their clash with the Super Eagles.
The Eagles lead Group L of the qualifiers with the maximum six points, after their opening double victories against Benin and Lesotho.
The Squirrels of Benin Republic are second on the log, followed by Lesotho and Sierra Leone.
Top 5 Sports Preview
Wondering what is on this weekend, here is a preview of the top 5 African-sports stories this weekend – October 16 – 18, 2020.
”Government Sent Soldiers To Kill Innocent Civilians For Their Economic Gain” – Chioma good hair
Actress Ada Ameh Loses Her Only Child
#Endsars protest day 14 second eyewitness account
Aishat Yesufu Says Buhari and Osinbajo Are Callous, Heartless, Irresponsible And Pathetic
NC Reports #Endsars protest day 14 eyewitness account
Zambian Musician, Daev, Is Dead
Breaking: Tanker Explodes In Lagos Nigeria
Tanzania’s NEC Summoms Chadema Candidate Over Rigging Claim
Hoffenheim Star Akpoguma Keen On Nigeria Switch
Mali, Spain Invite Wolverhampton’s Adama Traore
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Breaking: Tanker Explodes In Lagos Nigeria
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Nigeria’s Central Bank Denies Anonymous Hacked Its Website Over #EndSARS Protests
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Art4 days ago
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#EndSARS: Hoodlums Attack Nigeria’s Benin Prison, Free Inmates (Video)
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