[SPORTS]: Star announces Okocha, Kanu as ambassadors

Nigerian Breweries, makers of Star has announced two Nigerian football icons, Jay Jay Okocha and Kanu Nwankwo as ambassadors with their new sport initiative, Star Football, which is a social project established to celebrate Nigerian football fans.

Driven by a passion for football, Star will help millions of fans experience the game in an exciting, innovative way, with the mantra #ShineOnNigeria as the driving spirit.
The new platform will allow football lovers share information, have access to live local and international matches, enjoy breaking news with football stars and so much more.

According to the Marketing Director of the company, Walter Drenth says, ‘Football is such an important part of our lives and also a source of national pride, which is why Star launched the #ShineOnNigeria project to compel our team to victory in competitive football games.
‘Football is my life and I couldn’t have gotten here without encouragement and support from the fans. It is an honour to associate with a notable brand like Star to reward our fans’ says JayJay.
 
‘We commend Star for recognizing the important role that fans play in supporting their team and look forward to working with Star to reward fans,’ adds Kanu.
To further demonstrate her support to the fans, Star is rolling out a nationwide cheer anthem competition where fans can send their celebratory messages to the national team.
Star Football was announced today, at a glamorous event in Lagos.

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[SPORT]: 10 Best Players Not Playing at The World Cup in Brazil

Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, England’s Wayne Rooney and Argentina’s Lionel Messi are among some of the best international soccer players that will vie for a World Cup when the 32-team tournament officially kicks off next month in Brazil. But a star-studded field will be missing from this year’s championship, which is set to begin on June 12. Teams which failed to qualify as well as late-season injuries have forced out some of the biggest names from the 20th edition of the World Cup. Four years ago in South Africa, a car accident involving Charlie Davies kept the striker off the American roster while now-retired midfielder Michael Ballack of Germany was sidelined with an ankle injury. In 1998, four years after Brazil had won its fourth World Cup crown, striker Romario was left off the team’s roster due to a muscular injury. Here’s a look at 10 players not making the trip to Brazil next month.

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[SPORT]: Tottenham sack manager Sherwood

(AFP) – Tim Sherwood has been sacked as manager of Tottenham Hotspur, the English Premier League club announced Tuesday.
The 45-year-old former England international replaced the axed Andre Villas-Boas on an 18-month deal in December but the short-term nature of his contract meant his position was subject to constant speculation.
Sherwood, whose final game in charge was a 3-0 league win at home to Aston Villa on Sunday, guided Spurs to a sixth-placed finish in the Premier League, ensuring the north London club’s qualification for next season’s Europa League.
But that wasn’t enough to convince the Spurs’ hierarchy he was the right man to take the team into the top four of the Premier League.
“We appointed Tim mid-season as someone who knew both the players and the club,” said Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy in a statement.
“We agreed an 18-month contract with a break clause at the end of the season and we have now exercised that option.”
“Since appointing Tim as assistant first team coach in 2008 and then as technical co-ordinator in 2010 and head of football development in 2012, we have been supportive of him during football management changes throughout that period.
“On behalf of the club, I should like to state our thanks for all his efforts during his years with us. We wish him great success in his managerial career.”
Levy added: “Moving forward, now the season is over, we shall embark on the process of finding a new head coach. We have a talented squad and exciting young players coming through.
“We need to build on this season, develop our potential and inspire the kind of performances that we associate with our great club.”
Sherwood, who at various times during the season compared his position to that of a babysitter and supply teacher, was well aware of the precarious hold he had on his job.
As if acknowledging the point, Sherwood let one fan from the group of supporters who sit behind the manager’s dug-out at White Hart Lane offering ‘advice’, briefly take his seat on the bench during Sunday’s match against Villa.
The supporter was even wearing the same type of club-branded body-warmer favoured by Sherwood, who said afterwards: “This guy sits up there every week, shouting ‘Get him off Tim, get him on Tim’. He is the proper manager, so it was his chance to have a go.
“He’s nicked my gilet too! Football is all about the fans. It’s only friendly banter and we should have more in the game.”
Asked if the fan was in the running to become Tottenham manager, Sherwood replied: “No chance, he’s English.”
– Sherwood proud of win record –
In the programme for the Villa match, Levy criticised Tottenham’s style of play by saying: “Even in games where we gained maximum points, our football was not always what we have come to expect and associate with our club.”
However, Sherwood, talking to reporters after the game, defended his record.
“I’ve got a 59 percent win ratio in the Premier League and I think if I had started the season in charge we’d be in the Champions League,” Sherwood said.
“It’ll be interesting to see how I’ve been judged and what I’ve been judged on. It can’t be on results, can it? If I’m to leave it can’t be on results.”
Frank de Boer, the manager of Dutch giants Ajax and Mauricio Pochettino, the Argentinian boss of Spurs’ Premier League rivals Southampton, have both been touted as Sherwood’s Spurs’ successor.

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[SPORT]: Spain Names Provisional World Cup Squad

MADRID – Spain’s provisional 30-man squad for the World Cup finals in Brazil, was named by manager Vicente del Bosque on Tuesday:
Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Pepe Reina (Napoli/ITA), David de Gea (Manchester United/ENG)
Defenders: Dani Carvajal, Sergio Ramos (both Real Madrid), Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba (both Barcelona), Cesar Azplicueta (Chelsea/ENG), Juanfran (Atletico Madrid), Javi Martinez (Bayern Munich/GER), Raul Albiol (Napoli/ITA), Alberto Moreno (Sevilla)

File photo
Midfielders: Sergio Busquets, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas (all Barcelona), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Ander Iturraspe (Athletic Bilbao), David Silva (Manchester City/ENG), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal/ENG), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Tiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich/GER), Juan Mata (Manchester United/ENG)
Forwards: Diego Costa, David Villa (both Atletico Madrid), Alvaro Negredo, Jesus Navas (both Manchester City), Pedro Rodriguez (Barcelona), Fernando Llorente (Juventus/ITA), Fernando Torres (Chelsea/ENG)(AFP)

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[SPORT]: Enyeama Makes History, Wins Africa Player Of Ligue 1 Award

PARIS (AFP) – Vincent Enyeama became the first Nigerian, the first goalkeeper and first player from English speaking Africa to be named France’s Ligue 1 African player of the season on Monday.
The 31-year-old, who is set to feature at the World Cup finals for his country in June, has played all 37 championship games for his club Lille this season conceding just 25 goals.
At one point this season — which comes to an end next weekend — he went 1,062 minutes without conceding a goal in the championship.
He won the Marc-Vivien Foe award — named after the Cameroon international midfielder who died aged 28 of a heart attack during the 2003 Confederations Cup semi-final — ahead of Ivory Coast defender Serge Aurier, who plays for Toulouse, and Lyon’s Cameroon defender Henri Bedimo.
Enyeama, who captained Nigeria to Africa Cup of Nations success last year, succeeds Borussia Dortmund’s Gabonese international striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who won it after a successful season with St Etienne last season.
The award is voted on by 60 journalists from all branches of media and is co-sponsored by Radio France Internationale (RFI) and France24 TV news channel.

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[SPORT]: Japan Names Kagawa, 22 Others In World Cup Squad

Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni promised the Asian champions will fear nobody at the World Cup as he named a full-strength 23-man squad on Monday, spearheaded by Shinji Kagawa and Keisuke Honda.
The 61-year-old Italian backed his Blue Samurai to give Ivory Coast a severe test in their opening game in Brazil on June 14, insisting that reputations will count for nothing.
“We will respect our opponents but certainly won’t be frightened,” Zaccheroni told reporters a little over a month before Japan square off against the West Africans, led by Didier Drogba and Yaya Toure.
“If you go into a game with fear, you’re in trouble. We need to go in prepared and bring our own qualities. We have a lot of attacking players.”
Asian Cup-holders Japan also face Colombia and Greece in Group C, which on paper gives them a decent chance of progressing to the knockout stage, as they did in 2010.
“I’ve had the squad in my head a while but I wanted to have a look at as many players as possible,” said Zaccheroni, who expressed confidence that captain Makoto Hasebe and right-back Atsuto Uchida would recover from injury in time for the tournament.
“It was a struggle to get the list down to 23. I wanted to call up (FIFA president) Sepp Blatter and ask him to let me pick more. But this group of players knows how I want them to play tactically and understands the team ethic.”
Zaccheroni sprung a surprise in recalling striker Yoshito Okubo from the international wilderness, his name causing an audible gasp from the press throng.
“He’s got experience, knows the game and can bring us a little something different,” said the Italian. “It’s a great group, and we’re determined to show the strides Asian football has made.
“Yes, we will be judged on results but if we concentrate on playing our game, I believe the results will come.”
Japan stormed through Asian qualifying to secure a fifth successive World Cup appearance, finishing four points clear of Australia at the top of their final-round group after winning five and losing just one of their eight games.
Squad list
Goalkeepers – Eiji Kawashima (Standard Liege/BEL), Shusaku Nishikawa (Urawa Reds), Shuichi Gonda (FC Tokyo).
Defenders – Yasuyuki Konno (Gamba Osaka), Masahiko Inoha (Jubilo Iwata), Yuto Nagatomo (Inter Milan/ITA), Masato Morishige (FC Tokyo), Atsuto Uchida (Schalke/GER), Maya Yoshida (Southampton/ENG), Hiroki Sakai (Hannover 96/GER), Gotoku Sakai (Stuttgart/GER)
Midfielders – Yasuhito Endo (Gamba Osaka), Makoto Hasebe (Nuremberg/GER), Toshihiro Aoyama (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Hotaru Yamaguchi (Cerezo Osaka), Keisuke Honda (AC Milan/ITA), Shinji Kagawa (Manchester United/ENG)
Forwards – Yoshito Okubo (Kawasaki Frontale), Shinji Okazaki (Mainz/GER), Hiroshi Kiyotake (Nuremberg/GER), Yoichiro Kakitani (Cerezo Osaka), Manabu Saito (Yokohama F-Marinos), Yuya Osako (1860 Munich/GER).

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[SPORT]: Ghana Names 26-Man Provisional Squad

Ghana’s national football coach, Kwesi Appiah, Monday in Accra announced a 26-man squad for the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup finals.
Appiah told a news conference that the list would be pruned to 23 after the friendly match with Holland on May 31.
The Black Stars are in Group G at the World Cup, alongside former winners Germany, Portugal and the U.S.
Their opening game will be against the U.S. in Natal on June 16.

*Black Stars’ – Ghana’s national football team players jog during a training session on October 9, 2013 in Accra. Ghana will play Egypt on October 15 in a qualification match for the 2014 Football World Cup. AFP PHOTO
The following is the provisional 26-man list as published by the Ghana Football Association (GFA) website:
Goalkeepers: Adam Kwarasey, Fatau Dauda, Stephen Adams
Defenders: Samuel Inkoom, Daniel Opare, Harrison Afful, Jeffrey Schullp, John Boye, Jonathan Mensah, Jerry Akaminko, Rashid Sumaila
Midfielders: Michael Essien, Rabiu Mohammed, Agyemang Badu, Kwadwo Asamoah, Sulley Muntari, Albert Adomah, Wakasu Mubarak, Christian Atsu, David Accam, Andre Ayew, Afriyie Acquah
Strikers: Asamoah Gyan, Kevin-Prince Boateng, AbdulMajeed Waris, Jordan Ayew.

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