I’m Getting Married — Rita Dominic

Rita Dominic
Rita Dominic, Nottywood Super Star
Nollywood star actress, Rita Dominic, has revealed that she is quitting spinsterhood soon. The AMAA 2012 Best Actress disclosed this in an interview with Entertainment Café.

“I will surprise you, as my wedding invitation will get to you very soon,” she said.

The news will certainly delight fans of 37-year old actress, who was quoted recently by a celebrity magazine that she was finding it difficult getting the right man.

Rita recently hosted to the creme de la creme of the Nigerian society, including the representatives of President Goodluck Jonathan, at the premiere of her movie, The Meeting, held at the Oriental Hotel, Lekki, Lagos.

Culled from NaiJ

My Hair Doesn’t Make Me Feel Like A pop Star —Neymar

European clubs are falling over themselves to get their hands on Brazilian prodigy Neymar but the 20-year-old said on Wednesday he was still not ready to leave his homeland.

“I’m happy here in Brazil, I’m happy at Santos. I have a dream of playing in Europe, but it’s still not the right moment,” the Santos forward told Reuters in an interview.

The timing of a move to Europe can be critical for Brazilian players.

Many leave too soon, struggle to adapt abroad, are pushed into reserve teams and then see their careers go downhill as they are shunted around clubs on loan.

The biggest worry for Neymar, on the other hand, is that he could stay too long in Brazil where defences are generous in the amounts of space they offer and referees award free kicks for the slightest of brushes.

Neymar struggled in arguably the two biggest games of his career, last year’s Club World Cup final where Santos lost 4-0 to Barcelona and the Olympic Games final in August where Brazil were beaten 2-1 by Mexico.

He also had an unhappy experience at last year’s Copa America where Brazil were knocked out in the quarter-finals by Paraguay.

“We were very upset about the Copa America,” he said. “A lot of people were upset about the Olympic Games, but none more so than us. I am very proud to have taken part in the Olympics and won a medal.”

Financially, there is little need for him to go abroad.

Although he could earn higher wages in Europe, in Brazil he has 11 sponsorship contracts and a Neymar shop selling licensed products ranging from mouse pads to cushions and toys.

Children copy his distinctive Mohican hairstyle and he has 5.5 million followers on Twitter.

“I know they copy my hair, my way of doing things, almost everything, but I don’t feel like a pop star,” he said. “I’m happy with the affection because I was a fan, I’m still a fan today and I know what it’s like to have an idol.”

Neymar has made a big effort to calm his temper after being involved in an episode which resulted in Dorival Junior being fired as Santos coach two years ago.

Neymar, then 18, enraged the coach by questioning why he was not chosen to take a penalty. He was banned for the next match but when Dorival tried to extend the suspension, the Santos board fired the coach.

Often accused of being too individualistic and going to ground too easily, Neymar said he is a team player.

“I don’t feel like the big star,” he said. “Everyone plays their part. If they play the ball to me but nobody else moves, I’m not going to be able to dribble past my marker. It’s a collective sport.”

“(Responsibility) is always divided,” he added. “Everybody does their part on the pitch. One man can’t do it alone. In the World Cup there will be 23 determined players, looking for the win. I will be just one more Brazilian, chasing after the title.”

After two years of experimenting, often with unconvincing results, Neymar believes Brazil are managing to move away from the physical, counter-attacking game they played at the 2010 World Cup and find their own style.

“The national team is on a very good upwards curve,” he said. “We are creating our identity and the team is getting more confident and tighter knit. In a short time, it will suit us, our Brazilian way of doing things and things will happen.”

Culled From: Pm news

“Don Jazzy Deflowered me”- Tonto Dike

tonto dike
Tonto Dike, A Nollywood Super Star
Nollywood actress and Nigeria’s newest singer Tonto Dikeh is back in the news and this time it is not about her tattoo, music or karma, it’s about her first sex experience.

Tonto Dikeh shocked many fans and followers on twitter when she tweeted that she was deflowered by Mavin boss, Don Jazzy. ‘I got disvirgined by @DONJAZZY” i think this a lil bit Too Much info.’ Don jazzy wasted no time in responding to her comment, but he simply made a joke of it, ‘lol me dat im still a V,’ (‘V’ meaning Virgin). As expected fans pounced on the tweets, leaving surprised comments – some took it to be a call for attention, while others laughed it off.

Tonto’s confession may well be true – NX gathered that she and Don Jazzy once dated in the past. And her submission, ‘I think this a lil bit too much info’ may have given her away as Tonto Dikeh is known to be a very blunt person who does not hesitate to say exactly what is on her mind. However, if you take Don Jazzy’s word about being a virgin seriously, then you must be the only one who thinks Tonto Dikeh will win a Grammy!

Culled from 24/7

Marriage Took Me Out Of Nollywood –Rita Nzelu (Tina in Living in Bondage)

Rita-Nzelu-610x250

She was there at the very beginning of Nollywood. From Living in Bondage where she played the role of Tina, a call girl, to several other films including Nneka The Pretty Serpent, Unforgiving, Blind Trust, Ukwa and a host of others, delectable actress, Rita Nzelu is no doubt a pioneer.

But sometime in 2003, the actress suddenly disappeared from the screen with several tales told about the reasons for her exit. The Entertainer trailed vivacious Rita to the United Kingdom where she relocated after leaving the shores of Nigeria. The actress, who is now preparing for the premiere of her new film entitled, International Games, bared her mind on sundry issues including her sojourn in London, her family, why she quit Nollywood and why she’s now staging a comeback. Enjoy:

Can you recall the last movies you made before leaving Nigeria?

I did a series of movies then in 2003 before I left Nigeria. The last one I did was called Supreme Ladies while on location but I may not know what title it came out with. But there were several of them.

Several stories have been told about why you left Nigeria, abandoning a very blossoming career. Why did you leave?

I left Nollywood and traveled out of Nigeria because of marriage. I left so as to join my husband. I believe a woman should join her husband and not the other way round. In the past seven or eight years, we had two children in between. I can tell you, I now have three boys to take care of. My husband and two sons.

You seemed to have cut off entirely from Nollywood during those years?

Not exactly. I decided to concentrate on my family but of course I was abreast with happenings in the industry. I didn’t attend all the functions in town, and so was not seen by all at all times but I was in touch. It was deliberate because during this period, I got a full grip and bonding with my family. So, I can begin a gradual return now.

You left at the highpoint of Nollywood, do you miss anything especially when you hear stories that artistes are now well remunerated and getting all the endorsements from corporate organisations?

I do not feel I missed anything. There is time for everything as far as I know. I left Nigeria and Nollywood when God wanted me to leave. I am very happy that what came in terms of marriage at that time and which took me away came when it came. I do not miss Nollywood in the manner that you imagine or because actors are well rewarded and getting endorsements these days. Those times were gone. The Bible says there is time for everything. I do not feel I miss anything and neither do I have any regret leaving. You win some and lose some in life. Well, I got a strongly bonded family.

You mean you don’t miss anything about Nollywood?

Far from the endorsement and actors’ remuneration, I think I miss the brand itself and feel great to have been one of those who started the so-called revolution in Nollywood. It is like a baby for me so I have a very strong bond with it. I am very happy for the artistes who have gone ahead to win endorsements because they got it because of the Nollywood brand of which I am happy to be a foundation member, If I am allowed to use that word. I feel positive. Maybe if I were in Nigeria, I may have gotten part of the endorsement, may be not. However, every mum is happy with the progress being made by her children. In 2012, about 20 years after, I am happy for Nollywood and with those who sustained the brand ever since. I recall those ad hoc lessons we took in Lagos from people like Jude Orhorha, core professional, who drilled us to practice all the plays in this world. No, no, no, it is nostalgic to realize that Nollywood is a big brand that is alive and very much kicking.

It looks like you are an actress for life…?

I see myself as an actress for life. I have always known that I was born for the stage and screens. It was from my days at Amuwo Odofin Secondary School, Lagos where I was part of the acting system and headed the drama group. It was after secondary school that we started this ad hoc training at the National Theatre. I was also part of the group organized and led by Sola Sobowale and the one at Ikeja where I told you Jude Orhorha played great roles.

When you talk, one gets a feeling of nostalgia about the very first times…What do you recall of Living in Bondage, Nollywood’s acclaimed first film? How did you get the role in the first place?

I played the role of Tina, a call girl, in Living in Bondage. Chief Kenneth Nnebue of NEK had watched me rehearsing at the National Theater and invited me to come for audition in his office, which I did and won the role. I later went on to do Nneka The Pretty Serpent, Blind Trust, Unforgiving, Ukwa and so on. I cannot recall all the movies I did.

Every one is talking about your new movie; International Games, what is it like to return to the turf that you seems to know too well after many years of absence?

It feels good. It feels very refreshing to be back… like a breath of fresh air. It is like renewing a marriage vow. I tried to keep a lot of my private family matters very private, so I kept everything low about my family. I have always not wished that my very private came into the public.

Let’s talk more about your new movie, can we?

It is a movie very dear to my heart. I had been away from the screens for more than seven years so we needed to play according to standards and professionalism required of us. It is a film directed by Tchidi Chikere who also put the story together in a wonderful screen play. I play the lead role while Jackie Appiah also plays big in the film, which tries to mirror the condition of life of Africans living in Europe as they relate with fellow Africans and their European friends as a whole. It tells tales of the shock in cultures between the British and the African. It throws light on what happens when two cultures meet in drama. It is loaded in intrigues brought about by the emotions of love. We also have several other very talented actors and actresses in the movie. All of us are happy with the production.

It must have cost a fortune. How about funding for the movie?

The film was very cash sapping; very capital grossing. It was financed with resources that came from personal sources. My only backbone, my husband who is my first son in whom I am well pleased gave me total support. He also had his friends, brothers Chinedu and Felix Ebenuwa also investing. When I see the rushes and the editing process, I thank the Almighty for a good production.

With the cries that movie marketing channels in Nigeria are not structured, how do you plan to market this new production?

For now, we are putting finishing touches to the editing. We hope to get it ready for premieres across the U.K and other parts of the world including Nigeria. Until we have done this, we may not talk about home video sales. But I rather would say that when we get to the bridge, we’ll cross it.

Why did it take you several years before venturing again to the screens?

Before my marriage, I had set time for myself that after about eight years of break, I would return to the system. Yes, it was between me and my God, I had said so because my family matters so much to me. We seem to have bonded well; my husband is my first baby while the two other sons follow.

As a pioneer, do you think that in the past 20 years, Nollywood has progressed or retrogressed?

I am a positive thinker and I dare say Nollywood has moved forward. In any developing brands, there are issues, positive and negative. We should not continue to talk on the negatives when outsiders are even full of admiration for the giant strides Nollywood has made. We have not done badly at all. However, it could be better.

If you say that it was marriage that whisked you off the screens, you could as well throw more light on the man who swept you off your feet and what made you fall for him?

He is such a caring man who loves to see me progress from point A to B. He accepted me for who I am. He stood his ground gidigba even after a lot of discouragements. I could see he was genuine. He did not beat about the bush. He just told me point blank ‘let’s get married’. We only courted for two months and we got married.

So interesting, what about a review of your marriage timetable?

We met in December 2003 and we did the traditional marriage in March 2004. He had proposed marriage two weeks after I met him.

So fast?

There was this particular kind of bonding that held us together. It was nice to be with someone who knows you well. It was not riches or being cute. There was a real connection somewhere. In marriage and family matters, there is more to it than riches and being handsome. If it were riches or being handsome, they may have faded after eight years. Yes, my husband is very much handsome but loves me dearly. He was so serious and genuine so I got convinced that he meant well. I have heard stories of those who get married and get abandoned by their husbands in Nigeria to rot away because they also have other romantic entanglements. I only worried about that but got a conviction that it wouldn’t be so for me.

For you, its boys, boys all the way, don’t you feel alone without a girl?

No, I don’t feel alone at all. Why should I feel alone when God gives them, and we must glorify His name whether its boys or girls. I do not mind which He gives so long as they are children.

What’s the secret of your being gorgeous?

My main secret is using no chemicals and their likes, leaving God to do the rest. I am only natural. When people ask me what I do to look the way I look, I laugh because I am just a natural person and would readily appear natural. I will regularly dress in blazers and inner tops. I also could be found in jeans to feel free to work. But I dress to suit the occasions.

Culled From: The Sun

MTV Europe Music Awards: D’Banj Loses To Moroccan Artiste

d banjNigerian Pop-star D’banj has lost out of the forthcoming 2012 MTV Europe Music Awards as he did not make the final list for Worldwide Act in the Africa-India-Middle East region.

The hit-maker had initially edged out stiff opposition from the likes Wizkid, Camp Mulla and Sarkodie as he received the most votes from fans across sub-Saharan Africa.

He, however, lost to Morocсan singer Ahmed Soultan who will represent the Africa/India/Middle East region

More than 160 artists from every corner of the world have enjoyed the MTV EMA spotlight as part of the Worldwide Act voting competition.

The final five Worldwide Act nominees were recently revealed as: Dima Bilan (Europe); Han Geng (Asia Pacific); Ahmed Soultan (Africa/India/Middle East); Rihanna (North America); and Restart (Latin America).

Hosted by supermodel, entrepreneur and hometown girl Heidi Klum, the 19th annual MTV EMA will be broadcast live from Frankfurt’s historic Festhalle on Sunday 11 November and will feature performances from Taylor Swift, Muse, No Doubt, Carly Rae Jepsen, FUN, Rita Ora, Alicia Keys, Pitbull, The Killers and Psy.

Culled from NaiJ

Bimbo Odukoya’s Daughter Walks Down the Aisle With School Sweetheart

tolu odukoyaThe lovely couple celebrated their traditional wedding just a few days ago and today, Saturday 3rd November 2012, Tolu Odukoya and Olumide Ijogun were joined together as husband and wife at the Fountain of Life Church in Lagos.

The bride’s father, Pastor Taiwo Odukoya is the senior pastor of the Fountain of Life Church, while her mother is the late Pastor Bimbo Odukoya who ran the hugely popular Single and Married programme before a tragic plane crash claimed her life. The couple, family and friends have now proceeded to the Haven Events Centre in GRA Ikeja, Lagos for their wedding reception.

Tolu Odukoya, first child of Pastor Bimbo Odukoya, and husband Olumide Ijogun speak about their 14-year-walk to the altar and how their courtship was guided by the teachings of the late televangelist.

Courting the daughter of pastor’s has understandable challenges, and Olumide Ijogun must have felt what is perhaps the most unsettling several times: having no trysts where you can cast all inhibitions because you’re obliged to meet your heartthrob nearly all the time at her parents’ home, and having to endure that probing stare that seems to ask the question – have they crossed that forbidden line?

Olumide tries to recall: “It all started many years ago; was it ‘99, 2000?” – “It was ’98,” Odukoya reminds him…

The First Meeting

The couple met while they were both in Greensprings, a secondary school in Lagos. “It was quite a magical moment because as I walked into the class I noticed her amongst the rest,” Ijogun recalls.

“It was really a moment that I still cannot express in words. I knew it was a sign and this was a sign from God. I knew I might not have fully recognized it but I couldn’t miss it. If I can express it in words it would be like recalling how the spotlight shines on someone among so many people. I have never felt that way again with someone else.”

For Odukoya, it was an equally memorable occasion. “It all started for me when he came into Greensprings. Because Olumide is a fine boy, all the girls were all over him. I didn’t want to follow the crowd so I kept my distance and did my own thing. We knew we liked each other but we were kids at that point in time. So, I travelled away to America and came back. Then we started the relationship and we have been together ever since.”

Love at First Sight

Apparently, it was love at first sight for both. “It wasn’t really love at first sight,” she said. “There was so much fuss around him.” Ijogun countered. “It was love at first sight for her but she was denying it,” he said as they broke into an infectious laughter.

“We spent most of the first year just looking at each other. I was coming from a British curriculum trying to fit into the Nigerian curriculum which was very tough. And being the son of a very strict Ondo man, I had to look and focus on academics, because we had always been told when we were young that if you don’t get this right, other things will not follow, and if you got this right other things would follow. I think it was me prioritizing as much as I wanted to approach her. And she is a very fine girl too; she had so many guys on her. I was just watching from a distance while other guys flocked and jumped around. I was patiently waiting and focusing on my first goal. It was fantastic.”

Dating

“I think we started dating, like in 2000. We graduated in 2001. Then I went to America and he went to London. We broke up in-between and, even when we dated other people, we knew we had to behave ourselves because we knew we were definitely going to come back together. And we always talked about our relationships like “Who did you date? What did you do?” And “How long were you with the person?” We always knew where it was going. We were always in contact. I was always going to London for summer and we always came back home for Christmas,” Tolu Odukoya says.

Was it something spiritual? “I won’t say it was something spiritual for me,” Odukoya said. “He is somebody I am comfortable with; I can be myself when I am with him. I realized that in church I was this child everybody looked at, but in school I was just a normal child like everyone else. So I could actually be myself with him; he was not like, ‘you are pastor’s daughter’. I could just be normal and that’s what I cherished about the relationship. We were friends and we grew together, and knowing that I could not be like that with anyone else was just something that kept me going.”

“My relationship with her makes me sure. I think it’s déjà vu, and you know déjà vu can be either positive or negative. It can even be a warning if you are spiritual. I feel right when I am with Tolu. You can’t explain these things, so if anyone wants to explain how love is I think the person is joking. You can never really express these things. I like who she is inside, as a person. You can see someone at face value and you don’t know what is going on inside. She has got a good heart.”

Following Their Hearts

“A lot of people expected me to marry someone else who is always speaking in tongues and falls under the anointing. Olumide is someone I have seen grow; somebody I have seen God’s hand work on. He is not clouded. He is real. He is not trying to impress anybody,” Odukoya explains.

“We have grown together, we have had our ups and downs, and we have seen God manifest in our lives. He is my friend, my best friend, and I am a very, very strong woman. He is one guy, apart from my father, that I respect and listen to and look up to. A lot of guys, older than him, have tried to approach me but it is not about the age; it is about what you carry inside, and he carries what is right for me. He is somebody I respect and I want to listen to and I am so enthusiastic about a future with him. I can’t see precisely where God is taking us to, but I know that it’s huge because of the kind of person he is.”

The Proposal

Proposal was nothing dramatic because Ijogun “is a very simple guy,” Odukoya said with a spark in her eyes. “I didn’t really expect to see anything crazy because I would have said ‘this is not you’. He had travelled back from his MBA graduation. I was asking to see his certificate and he brings out two boxes and he held on to them, and I was thinking it was a bracelet or chain. My husband is very prudent with money; he doesn’t just spend money, so I thought he had gone all out this time to buy me something very expensive.

“But before he brought out the box, he was hugging me and telling me he loves me and he wants to spend the rest of his life with me. Then he turns it to me and there were two rings and he was really sweating and he tells me he loves me and he wants to spend the rest of his life with me and I said ‘yes, put the ring on my finger’. It was very simple because that is who he is. It was a precious moment.”

But, really, how does it feel marrying into a family where both parents are pastors?

“I have known the family for so long,” Olumide says. “You tend to see people from a different perspective because you don’t know them. You won’t really believe the perspective that I see the family from. Like she said, she has seen me grow. I have also seen Fountain grow for like, how many years now?”

“Fourteen,” Odukoya reminds him. “I have seen transitions; so I feel normal and I don’t feel any weight, no pressure, nothing.”

Not even when the late Odukoya invited them both to the church office for a matter-of-fact discourse?

“The crazy thing is that my mum actually spoke to us in 2005,” Odukoya said. “She knew we were in a serious relationship. She called us into the church office and we came into the office and we sat down and she said, ‘This Tolu you say you like, do you want to marry her?’ And he said yes. She said, ‘Hmm, this girl, she has problems o. She gets angry. I hope you know the bad part of her?’ He said ‘Yes, ma, I know’. She spoke to us like we were about to get married in a couple of months.”

And as if on cue, Ijogun adds: “She said marriage is not a contract but a lifetime commitment.”

“It’s amazing that she did that because people always ask me: ‘Did your mum meet him?’ And I say ‘Yes, my mother knew him’. She was at first driving him away. She was like ‘She is too young, don’t come to the house’ because then we were like 13. He used to come and teach me some math and my mum would be like ‘You people are just joking’. But then by the time we got to SS3 and we started dating. My mother was like ‘Maybe my approach is wrong, maybe I should let her have a boyfriend but they must meet here in the house’. And then she started asking questions like ‘This relationship you guys are having, what do you do and what do you say?’ She wanted to be a part of it.

“By then, my dad had known, my mum had known, both families had known about it and they have been guiding us in the right step. From both sides, my family and his family, it’s been long-awaited.”

It’s inevitable the sad loss of her mother will soon be reflected on. How much of her counsel did they internalize?

“We don’t even have a choice. You want to do this, you hear her voice. You want to do that, you hear her voice,” Ijogun explained. “And we use her books too,” his wife adds.

“For me it’s conscience,” Ijogun continues: “It is very easy to take stuff for granted. So, I’m always saying ‘let’s sit down’ and we start asking each other questions and that was something she kept drilling into people: ask each other questions. And when we do, we are so happy and it’s always like that was good we talked about that.”

Again, it’s inevitable the couple has to confront the question of chastity before marriage which is something the late pastor often advocated. How did they overcome carnal desires for 14 years?

“It has been hard, it has been very difficult,” Odukoya says.

Perhaps sensing some reluctance in his bride to deal with the subject, Ijogun chimes in: “Hold on, I will handle this. It’s not been easy. It’s either you believe in something you have faith in or you don’t, no one is perfect. We all try to do what we can do, to walk according to the will of God and His purpose so we can receive not just half of His blessings but His full blessings. So, it’s been hard but we’ve pulled through.”

Odukoya agrees, but concedes that the real challenge may be apparent after marriage. “Anytime I want to do something bad, it’s like I hear my mother’s voice. It’s been drilled into my brain. So it’s been fun but I guess until we enter marriage, we won’t understand the full story. But so far, it makes sense.”

For her husband, there is a reassuring recipe for success. “I will say life is full of choices and choices are informed by something. If that something is not positive, if it’s not something that’s going to make you better, you need to go back to your source. In every relationship, you should make God the centre. If your choices are informed by the Bible, I don’t think anything will go wrong. Like one of our Aunties told us, marriage is like a triangle; you have God in the middle. The closer you get to him, the closer you get to each other. The farther you are from Him, the farther you are from each other. We all are humans, and we all have our temperaments, but once you are focused on the right source, everything will be okay.”

It may seem presumptuous to ask the rather young couple what their advice to other would-be couples, but that is what they have done in part.

“My own advice is get to know each other because it’s easy to get lost in the whole of what you feel. Feelings are very deceptive; they are like seasons, they come and they go. I think what keeps two people together is the friendship you have. And how can you be friends with a person you don’t know?

“I don’t feel like the 14 years we have spent together is really enough because I keep knowing new stuff about him and the new stuff that I get to know is not stuff that will drive me away. It’s stuff that gets me closer to him because if you love somebody you get to see their weaknesses and their strengths. It’s good to also ask questions, ask as many questions as you can, because some situations will only happen after you get married. Ask your boyfriend or girlfriend, what would happen if this happened? What do you think about this? What would you do in this situation? All that will help you see whether you are in the right relationship or whether you are wasting your time.”

Both first child of their parents, the couple flaunts impressive resumes.

“I went to Mahdi International School in Cairo, Egypt,” Ijogun narrates. “I was there for about six years. Then I came back to Nigeria and went straight to Corona for a year, and then went to Greensprings for three years. I did mostly sciences and went to do A-levels in the U.K. in 2001. Then I went to Loughbrough University to study computer science and electronic business.

“I graduated in 2007. I worked with Zenith Bank for a while and I have constantly been working with Ackmen Nigeria Limited. It’s a real estate company. It’s a family business so I have always been a part of it. While I was with Zenith I left to do an M.B.A. at Nottingham Business School where I majored in operations strategy. So, I am a trained management consultant, especially for small to medium sized enterprises. I am also skilled in capabilities and everything that has to do with efficient running of businesses. After that I came back and proposed.”

“I went to Starland,” Odukoya says. “Then I went to Little Saints and to St Gloria’s School. I also went to Greensprings for part of my Secondary School. I went to High School in America then came back to Greensprings. I went to Oral Robert University and got a B.A. in public relations and government pre-law. I moved back in 2006 and started working with Prima Garnet Ogilvy. I left in 2009 and went for my masters in advertising at Buckingham University in London then came back to work with Guaranty Trust Bank as a Product Manager in the Corporate Affairs Department. Now I work in GSK as a brand manager for Lucozade Sports.”

Cullled from NaiJ

Liverpool Need Nigerian Flair – Hamman

Dietmar-Hamman

Former Liverpool midfielder, Dietmar Hamman, is in love with the way Nigerian footballers play. He is hopeful that very soon the Reds will sign on Nigerian players, whom he believes, would bring a different kind of flair to the English giants, reports ’TANA AIYEJINA

Although now retired, football fans continue to remember Liverpool legend, Dietmar Hamman, for his bravery in the 2005 UEFA Champions League final.

The German suffered a broken toe in the epic battle against more-fancied AC Milan after coming on for Steve Finnan in the final.

With the Reds 3-0 down, Hamman engineered a resurgence that is regarded as one of the greatest comebacks in football history.

The Reds rallied back to a 3–3 draw and finally won the penalty shootout 3-2. During the shootout, Hamman was the first to play despite his injury and he scored paving the way for Liverpool’s fifth European title. That

Hamman was in Lagos recently for a two-day football clinic organised by Liverpool shirt sponsors, Standard Chartered Bank, and he rated that game his best ever.

“Obviously my best moment in the game was seven years ago when Liverpool won the Champions League in Istanbul. It’s one big moment for me,” Hamman said.

Barely six months later, there was a twist of fate and he would experience his worst time as a footballer in Yokohama, Japan.

“There are not too many bad memories for me but one moment was when I was injured and we went to Tokyo and lost to Sao Paolo in the FIFA World Club Cup. People may think it is not very important but you have to win the Champions League to get the chance to play in it. We had three goals disallowed in second half and penalty claims turned down. That was probably my worst moment as a Liverpool player.”

Now Hamman, a friend of Nigeria Legend, Austin Okocha, is hoping that sooner than later, Nigerian players will bring their flair to Anfield.

“Absolutely I would like to see a Nigerian in Liverpool because they will bring flair and something extra to the team. I played with some African players like Titi Camara, El Hadj Diouf. You know they are players who always bring something to the table because they’ve got something the Europeans haven’t got.

“They are unpredictable; you don’t know what they are going to do next, so it’s very hard to play against them. I like to see more African players in the Premier League and obviously for Liverpool as well. It will be a perfect scenario. Standard Chartered Bank and Liverpool have started something here (Nigeria) and in a few years time we will get a Nigerian player.

“I think it will be great for the club and for the country (Nigeria) to have somebody in a top club like Liverpool. And I am sure the talents are here. They just need to be found at the right time, coached the right way and then hopefully we will see somebody that will play for Liverpool.

“Nigeria is a big country and if you spot the players at the right time and give them the right education, I’m sure you will see a lot more Nigerian players in the top European leagues. That is what we are doing with Standard Chartered Bank.”

The German does not mince words on his choice of the best Nigerian player he played against.

“In my time you had Finidi George, Jay Jay Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu and some other fantastic crop of players. The one I always had a lot of respect for was Jay Jay. I first played against him when he was 16; he came on trials to Bayern Munich. He played a game with us and our paths crossed in the next 10 to 15 years thereafter.

“We always had a chat after a game; usually you are always in touch with the players you have played with but with him there was always some kind of fun; he spoke German too. Even when he played for Bolton and I played for Liverpool, we always had a chat before and after games. He was outstanding, so I would probably go for Jay Jay.”

The football pundit and former Stockport County boss is optimistic that with the array of talents in Africa, Nigeria and indeed an African country can win the World Cup pretty soon.

“You can only talk about winning the World Cup from the group stage. You have to take it step by step. I look at Nigeria, Senegal and Ivory Coast and I think they have got some fantastic players and they came very close in the past.

“But it’s going to be very hard at the moment because in (Lionel) Messi you’ve got a player, whenever he goes on the pitch, he scores. He is always a delight and for Spain they have dominated world football in the last seven years. So, it’s very hard for any team.

“In Brazil in 2014, it might be an opportunity for African teams to go far because the climate and the time the World Cup would be played might be a slight advantage for the South American and African teams. So, it may be the right time to really do well at the World Cup for African teams. They have got fantastic teams but you need a bit of luck. In the future I am sure over the next 10 and 15 years, we will see an African World Cup winner.”

For someone who has played with and against the best black players of his generation, he is baffled that racists still bring the game to disrepute and recommends serious sanctions against the culprits.

Hamman said, “Obviously we have to take a stand. There was a problem recently when England played Serbia in the U-21 qualifiers. But I don’t think racism is a huge problem in the Premier League. The incidents with (Luiz) Suarez and (John) Terry, I think they are isolated cases.

“So, racism is not a big problem in England but if it does occur, it has to be tackled because it takes us back to the dark ages. If you see the scenes in Serbia, you would think we’ve gone back 50 years. Obviously the people there haven’t learnt their lessons. FIFA and UEFA have to be very drastic in their sanctions because this must not happen. If they have to throw a team out of the qualifiers or out of the tournament, I think they have to do it.”

After a distinguished football career in which he won two Bundesliga titles, DFB-Pokal (twice), English FA Cup (twice), English League Cup (twice), FA Charity Shield (once), UEFA Champions League (once), UEFA Cup (twice), UEFA Super Cup (twice) and a runners-up medal at the 2002 World Cup with Germany, you would easily conclude that his next mission is to create an impact as a coach.

But the 39-year-old leaves his options open despite stints as a coach at Milton Keynes Dons (Wimbledon), Leicester City and Stockport County.

“Well, I am doing my last coaching qualifications with options to go into coaching or management. So, I keep the options open,” he says with a smile.

Culled From: The Punch

Van Persie Sinks Arsenal …As Man United Climb Top Of EPL Table

Manchester-United-players-

Robin van Persie struck inside three minutes against his former club as Manchester United went top of the Premier League table with a comfortable 2-1 victory over 10-man Arsenal at Old Trafford.

The prolific Dutchman was taunted throughout by visiting fans but reminded them of his talents in the opening moments in a Premier League contest United dominated from the outset.

Wayne Rooney missed United’s fourth penalty of the season but Patrice Evra added a second and Arsenal’s misery was compounded by the sending off of Jack Wilshere before Santi Cazorla hit an injury-time consolation.

England midfielder Wilshere had been making only his second appearance for the Gunners after a 14-month injury lay-off.

The result took United top and they stayed there after Swansea’s Pablo Hernandez struck an 88th-minute equaliser to earn a 1-1 draw against previous leaders Chelsea at the Liberty Stadium. Victor Moses’ 61st-minute header had given Chelsea the lead.

Steve Sidwell’s last-gasp goal helped Fulham salvage a 2-2 draw against a Marouane Fellaini-inspired Everton.

The Cottagers took the lead after Bryan Ruiz’s exquisite 25-yard free-kick came back off the upright before cannoning off Tim Howard’s back and into the net.

But a brilliant brace from Belgian Fellaini turned the match on its head before substitute Sidwell struck from close range.

Toffees’ captain Phil Neville last week expressed his desire to see his side claim a Champions League place this season and they moved into the top four after Tottenham suffered a shock 1-0 home defeat to Wigan.

The Latics, who had won just two of their nine opening fixtures, were not content to sit on the back foot and had three decent chances to open the scoring, with Spurs keeper Brad Friedel keeping the scores level at half-time.

But after the interval, the American punched clear an inswinging Shaun Maloney corner into the path of Ben Watson to volley over the line.

Culled From: The Punch

Nigeria Risks Losing 19 States to Boko Haram Terrorism – Gen Olanrewaju

gen. olanrewajuFormer General Officer Commanding, GOC, Third Division of the Nigerian Army and ex Minister of Communications, Major General Tajudeen Olanrewaju, has called for an immediate declaration of a state of emergency in Borno State in view of the revelations involving the immediate past governor of the state and two serving senators over Boko Haram activities that have dragged the progress of Nigeria especially the Northern part of the country in the mud for over two years. He said Nigeria risks losing 19 States to Boko Haram.

Olanrewaju spoke following the killing of former GOC, 2nd Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Muhammadu Shuwa in the early hours of yesterday by gunmen suspected to be members of the Boko Haram Islamic sect at his home in Maiduguri, the state capital. General Shuwa, a contemporary of General Benjamin Adekunle, was renowned for his strategic role during the Nigeria-Biafra civil war, which he fought on the Nigeria side.

Olanrewaju said with the alleged involvement of the former governor, Alli Modu Sheriff and the two serving senators with the sect, Borno State was under siege and no longer under control, adding therefore that the only option for peace in the North Eastern state was for Mr. President to declare a state of emergency in the area.

He warned of the consequence of the government’s failure to do so even as he reminded the government of the fate that befell the neighbouring State of Mali, where the same Islamic insurgency had led to declaration of the Islamic State in Northern Mali.

“Two senators have been indicted or interrogated and a former governor is said to be involved. General Shuwa has just been killed at his home in Maiduguri. This is a strong pointer to a very unpredictable situation about to happen and Mr. President cannot be at peace with himself now. It is like when you kill a police man, the Inspector General of Police, IGP, will not be in peace. The best way to it is for President Jonathan to, as a matter of urgency, declare a state of emergency in that state of Borno and there will be peace. Theres no other way to it,” he added.

Meanwhile, former governor of Yobe State, Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim, yesterday indicated his readiness to mediate in any talk between the Boko Haram sect and the Federal Government aimed at bringing about peace in the country.

The former governor, who is now a Senator, was one of the northern leaders named by the sect as possible mediators they would accept in any negotiation for ceasefire with the government.

Culled from NaiJ

Mr. Ibu: “Homosexuals Want To Sleep With Me”

mr ibu
Mr. John Okafor, Veteran Nollywood Comedy Star
Famous comic actor, John Okafor, otherwise known as Mr. Ibu, has lamented that the Nigerian motion picture industry – globally known as Nollywood – is currently being ravaged by a virus called homosexuality. In this interview, the thespian discloses that some guys had been after him, trying to harass him sexually.

He says: “One idiot came toasting me o! That is true, as funny as it would sound.

“Something is happening in this Nollywood. These upcoming actors are being used by some of the established producers who are gays. If you want to get a job as an up and coming actor, you must sleep with them. You must be sexed to get a job.

“We are no longer in the era of the female actresses suffering from sexual harassment; it is now man to man. Abomination! God has a lot of things to judge.

“Man to woman is also bad, but we can easily overlook that. Why not put your penis in the right place. There is something spiritual in that thing (frowns). Why would you bend down for one idiot to penetrate you, thereby destroying your future? You left God and bowed to devil… by the time you get up, you get up as a woman, while the idiot that penetrated you walks away majestically! Their payback is sudden death, and it keeps happening.”

This is not the first time the actor would talk about his experience with gays in the make-believe industry.

In a recent interview in Houston, Texas, US, Mr. Ibu also voiced his conviction about the virus eating deep into the industry:

“I am sorry if my friends are involved. It is a virus and it is killing our industry. If there is any way in this world that people can make them stop it or kill it, please do it. God will punish you, because God did not advise you to do it. God designed woman and dashed us for free,” he stated.

Culled from NaiJ

Eko 2012: Police Assure Contingents Of Security

Lagos – The Nigerian Police on Friday assured contingents to the 18th National Sports Festival (NSF) in Lagos of their safety during the festival holding from Nov. 27 to Dec. 9.

ACP Vincent Brown, who is the Chairman, Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the festival, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the contingents should not fear.

Brown said adequate security measure had been put in place to ensure a successful festival.

“We have already started raiding criminal hideouts in Lagos to make the state crime free during the sports festival,” he said.

Brown said security men would be at all entry points into Lagos by Nov. 23.

“Our main duty is to maintain law and order while protecting life and property in the society, we cannot fold our hands and allow miscreants to put us to shame,” he said.

Brown said although, police roadblocks had been outlawed, arrangements had been made to secure the populace through joint security patrols of the army, the navy and the police during the festival.

Culled from VANGUARD