Top 10 Nigeria Football Foreign Legions

Football is a universal sport, and Nigeria remains the biggest exporter of talented footballers Worldwide. A bulk of these foreign legions however ends up playing for their adopted countries in place of their country of birth or origin.

The list is endless, as countless numbers of Nigerian born footballers are daily seeking greener pastures or opportunities to showcase their potential in the color of their adopted countries. Nigeria ultimately becomes the biggest loser, as it is denied of quality players through this football drain.

Muri Ogunbiyi

Muri Ogunbiyi is an attacking midfielder who once played for the famous Enyimba football club of Aba. He presently plays for the squirrels of Benin Republic.

Carlton Cole

Carlton Cole was born of a Nigerian father and a Sierra Leone mother, but presently plays for England senior National football team. He is a top striker with English Premiership club- West Ham United.

Onyewu Oguchi

Onyewu is a regular central defender in the United States of America senior National soccer team, with Nigerian root.

Gabriel Agbonlahor

Gabby as he is fondly called turned down several invitations to play for Nigeria, and opted instead to honor a call up to play for England. He has a Scottish mother and a Nigerian father. He is a key member of Aston Villa F.C in the English Premier League.

Toto Tamuz

Toto Tamuz is a son of former Nigerian international footballer Clement Temile. He presently stars for the Israeli National footballer team. His mother is an Israeli. Like his father, Toto Tamuz plays in the attacking positing for the Israeli national senior team.

Dennis Aogo

Dennis is an experienced defender with the German U-19 national team. He has a Nigerian Father and presently plays for Hamburg SV in the German Bundesliga.

Rubin Rafael Okotie

Rubin is an Austrian U-21 international striker with Nigerian father and Austrian mother. His father hails from Delta State in Southern Nigeria.

Emmanuel Adebayor

The former Togolese national team captain was born to Nigerian parents in Lome, but currently playing for the Togolese National football team and Manchester City of England.

Paul Mc Grath

Paul Mc Grath is an Irish international who holds the distinct record of being the first Nigerian-born footballer to play for an adopted country, born to a Nigerian father and an Irish Mother.

Emmanuel Olisadebe

Emmanuel Olisadebe was in sensational form during the FIFA 2002 World Cup co-hosted by Korea-Japan. He is a Nigerian footballer who switched allegiance to his adopted country-Poland.

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EPL Team Profile – Arsenal

The official name of the club is Arsenal Football Club, or Arsenal FC. It is usually referred to simply as Arsenal, or by its nickname, the Gunners.

The club’s registered office is at Drayton Park, London, and it was founded in 1886, and was known as Dial Square, at the time of its founding.

Arsenal’s home venue is the recently built Emirates Stadium that has a seating capacity of about 60,000.

The club’s owners are Arsenal Holdings plc, and the Chairman is Peter Hill-Wood. The players are coached by manager, Arsene Wenger, a Frenchman.

The squad comprises of the following players: Almunia, Clichy, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Diaby, Nasri, Eboue, Sagna, Wilshere, Arshavin, Chamakh, Fabianski, Rosicky, Robbie van Persie, Vela, Walcott, Song, and Gibbs.

The new signings this season are Chamakh and Koscielny, while the players who have left are Gallas, Eduardo and Sol Campbell.

Arsenal have won 13 top division titles in English football, including 3 Premier League titles, the last one in 2003-04.

In their EPL 2010-11 opener on August 14, Arsenal took on Liverpool, and the match ended in a draw, fortuitously for Arsenal, in the 90th minute, after a goalkeeping error by Liverpool keeper, Pepe Reina resulted in an own goal.

Pre-Season Preview

Arsenal’s summer has been dominated by the Cesc Fabregas story. The speculation as to whether or not the Spain star would bid goodbye to the club has continued right up to the week before the Premier League kicked off.

But now there’s no doubt that Fabregas will stay on at Arsenal, although it may not be for more than a year, and unlikely to be for five years as the club»s manager Arsene Wenger has claimed.

The other Arsenal players appear excited by Fabregas’s s decision to continue with the club, as this year, Arsenal fancy themselves as hot prospects for the League title.

The last trophy the club won was in 2005, when they lifted the FA Cup.

Holland’s Robin van Persie could be the man to help Arsenal break their title drought. In the tradition of his predecessors at the club, Thierry Henry and Ian Wright, Van Persie’s goal scoring is crucial to the club’s success.

As long as the striker remains fit, rival defences will shudder at the prospect of playing against him.

Teenager Jack Wilshere has been singled out by England coach, Fabio Capello, to play for the national squad. Clearly, a bright future lies ahead of the young man, and the current Premier League season could play a big role in moulding Wiltshere into a competent international.

Every time Wiltshere starts for Arsenal, he will be the focus of attention of those trying gauge his potential as an England player of the future.

Arsene Wenger is clearly aware that this could be Fabregas’s last year with the club, and he wants to ensure that he has the guns to transform the championship dream into reality.

He was quick to sign up Marouane Chamakh, a few days after the transfer window opened. Another big buy is defender, Laurent Koscielny.

Eduardo, William Gallas and Sol Campbell, players who have left, are past their sell-by date. Eduardo, in particular, broke a leg three years ago, and is yet to recover fully.

Arsenal will always be in the reckoning without quite winning the title. They will give the leaders a run for their money, and in the last month or so will probably fight for a place in the top four and a champions league contention.

And that’s a goal I think the Gunners will surely achieve.

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Premiership Football Draws Fans and Players From Around the World

Soccer, better known as football in Europe (except for Italy where it’s called «calcio»), has become the world’s most popular sport. From China to Mexico and everywhere in between, professional soccer draws crazed crowds, amazing athletes and big business.

Soccer madness overseas

While soccer enjoys a devoted fan base around the globe, none love the so-called «Beautiful Game» with as much ferocity as fans in the England. In fact, footie enthusiasts in England may qualify as fanatics, rather than fans. If you think the crowds at American gridiron football games are passionate, you’d likely describe English soccer spectators as raving lunatics. This reverence explains why 80 percent of the money made from professional soccer is made in England alone.

Americans are finally catching soccer fever

Despite European fervor for the game Americans call soccer, professional soccer is a relatively new venture in the United States. Somehow professional soccer has yet to emerge from the shadows of basketball, baseball and gridiron football here. North American soccer fans will certainly hope the success of Major League Soccer will eventually make soccer the national sport. In fact, in the past twenty years, soccer has become the most popular participatory youth sport in North America.

Youth players from the U.S. head to England for training and pro careers

Inevitably, young players raised in the U.S. and Canada are growing up with a thirst for pro soccer splendor. With pro soccer still in its infancy in their own country, many are turning to study abroad soccer boarding school programs and international soccer training camps. Drawn to the sharp competitive edge of English teams and the unmatched keenness of English fans, most players will prefer to train in England.

Premiership football, the heart of soccer in England

The top teams in Europe play under the English Premiership Professional Football Club. The Premiership, as it is often referred to, is the world’s most profitable football (soccer) league, not to mention the most-watched sporting league in the history of professional sports. Aspiring pro soccer players the world over dream of playing in their midst.

The Premiership takes young international players under its wing

English soccer camps and schools mentored by Premiership teams, such as Blackburn Rovers FC and Bolton Wanderers FC, make this dream a reality for many players. The best of these programs, like those sponsored by EduKick, provide intense pro soccer development courses, as well as cultural exposure and strong high school or university level academics. In addition, soccer students training in England have an excellent chance to be noticed and recruited by The Premiership’s leading teams.

Get in the game!

If you’re a young soccer player, ready to take on the world of professional soccer, England is the place to be. You’ll broaden your cultural horizons, get the world’s finest soccer training, and have a shot at professional soccer glory. You’ve got to admit, that’s a hat trick of epic proportions.

Learn more about English soccer schools and enroll for the upcoming school year at the Edukick Web site.

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Liverpool FC Player Profile – Jose ‘Pepe’ Reina

Jose Reina is Liverpool’s first choice goalkeeper and rated by many as one of the best goalkeepers in the world of football. Born in Madrid in 1982, Reina is the son of former Barcelona and Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Miguel Reina, who also represented his country Spain.

Jose, nick named Pepe, Reina began his football career with the youth academy at FC Barcelona after initially playing in Barcelona’s reserve team he made thirty appearances for the first team in the 2000-2001 season, incidentally making two appearances against Liverpool in the semi-final of the UEFA Cup. The following season he was dropped from the Barcelona first team and secured a loan move to Villarreal in 2002 making his move permanent in 2004, he made over 100 appearances for the club. Reina signed for Liverpool in 2005 by then manager Rafael Benitez, who described him as the best goalkeeper in Spain.

Reina was immediately installed as the first choice goalkeeper at Anfield, making his debut against Welsh side Total Network Solutions in a Champions League qualifying game in July of 2005 and a month later he won his first cap for his national team Spain.

The Spaniard became an immediate favourite with the fans at Liverpool, famed for his accurate distribution of the ball and his fantastic penalty saves, he had saved seven of the nine penalties he faced in his previous season with Villarreal. During his first season at Liverpool he was part of the team that set a club record for eleven consecutive games without conceding a goal.

At the end of his first season with Liverpool, Reina played in the FA Cup Final against West Ham United. An amazing game saw the scores level at 3-3 after extra time and the match was then decided on penalty kicks, the amazing shot stopper then obliged by saving three of West Ham’s penalty kicks to secure a 3-1 shoot out victory for the Reds.

After his first fifty games for the Reds, Reina had not conceded a goal in twenty eight of those matches, setting a new club record which had been previously held by the legendary Ray Clemence. Later that season he was on hand again as Liverpool beat Chelsea on penalties in the Champions League semi-final, he followed in his father’s footsteps by appearing in the European Cup Final, unfortunately the Reds lost 2-1 to AC Milan in the final.

Having made over 300 appearances for the first team, Reina signed a new six year contract with Liverpool in 2010 and although he has still to become the first choice as goalkeeper for his national side he has already become a Liverpool legend.

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Tommy Smith – Liverpool FC Legend

Tommy Smith was born in Liverpool in 1945 and had a reputation as a real ‘hard man’ a defender who determined, powerful and who’s raw aggression in the tackle quickly earned him a reputation, but he could also play as well, making over 600 appearances for the club he supported as a boy. He was a key player during the 1960’s and 70’s as Liverpool rose from second division mediocrity to dominate the English game.

Smith joined Liverpool as an apprentice in 1960 at the age of fifteen and he was soon playing in the reserve team, his determination in the reserves saw him make his debut for the first team during the 1962-63 season in a 5-1 victory over Birmingham, but it wasn’t until 1965 that Smith began to play regularly, and during this season that he was instrumental in Liverpool’s FA Cup winning team that beat Leeds United.

By the 1965-66 season Smith had cemented his place in the first team as Liverpool went onto win the league title, which would be the first of his four titles with the Reds. Despite his reputation as a hard man, Smith was only ever sent off once during a match and that was for swearing at the referee and not for one of his infamous tackles.

After a period of re-building under manager Bill Shankly in 1970 which saw numerous new players arrive at Anfield, Smith was given the Liverpool captaincy and despite losing the FA Cup final to Arsenal in 1971, success wasn’t far away, and in the 1972-73 season he became the first Liverpool captain to lift a European trophy as they won the UEFA Cup as well as regaining the League title.

Six months later however, following a disagreement with manager Bill Shankly, Smith was stripped of the Liverpool captaincy and dropped from the team, to make matters worse, arch rival Emlyn Hughes was installed as the new club captain. After the differences were settled, and despite rumours that he wanted a transfer away from the club, Smith regained his place in the team, now playing at full back, rather than his favoured central defensive position.

He went onto to win the 1974 FA Cup final against Newcastle, and two more League titles in 1976 and 1977, which was probably Liverpool’s most memorable season. After winning the League title, Liverpool looked set to achieve an unprecedented ‘treble’ but narrowly missed out after losing the FA Cup final 2-1 to Manchester United.

Just days after losing the FA Cup final, came a unforgettable night in Rome as Liverpool faced German side Borussia Monchengladbach in the European cup final, an injury to Phil Thompson meant that Smith started the game and he scored the second goal in the 3-1 victory, that saw Liverpool win their first European cup.

One final season at Anfield saw Tommy Smith bring down the curtain on his Liverpool career in 1978, after 638 appearances and 48 goals for the club, nick-named the Anfield-Iron, after his hard man reputation, he will never be forgotten.

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