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Ebonyi: Fans celebrate ‘Jay-Jay’ Okocha at 50



Jay-Jay’ Okocha

Some fans of former Super Eagles skipper, Augustine Okocha, popularly called, Jay-Jay, on Monday felicitated the midfield impressario as he clocked the quinquagenarian age of 50.

The dribbling wizard was born on Aug.14, 1973 in Enugu.

Okocha began his football career with Rangers International Club of Enugu and made his maiden appearance for the country at the U-20 AFCON in the island country of Mauritius, in January 1993.

A cross-section of his fans, who spoke with NAN in Abakaliki on Monday, said that Jay-Jay deserved to be celebrated for a life dedicated to the service of his fatherland.

They said that he brought joy to his fans and lovers of the round-leather game across the globe.

Emmanuel Uzor, the Chief Press Secretary to former Gov. David Umahi, described Jay-Jay as “easily Nigeria’s most celebrated player on national team honours”.

Uzor said: “Jay-Jay won gold at the I994 AFCON and the 1996 Olympic Games, a silver medal at AFCON 2000 and bronze medal at the 2002, 2004 and 2006 AFCONS.

“He was the mainstay of the squad which ensured the country’s first World Cup appearance in 1994 and a top-notch player in France 1998.”

A member of the Board of Ebonyi Football Association, Ikenna Odo, described Okocha as “a skills workshop”, who kept fans at the edge of their seats each time he was in action.

“Pa Jay was described by the late football icon, Pele, as one of the greatest footballers to have existed and his skills brought such global review to him.

“It is a fact that the country has not found his replacement upon his retirement in 2006, with the Super Eagles fortunes dropping since then,” he said.

Rangers Media Officer, Nobert Okolie, said the club would always celebrate Okocha for bringing the name of Rangers to international limelight.

“Young Jay-Jay, alongside his elder brother, Emma, made waves in Rangers before he left for greener pastures in August, 1990.

“The Rangers’ family will never forget his goal from the centre circle against the defunct African Continental Bank (ACB) of Lagos, shortly before he left the country,” Okolie said.

Another soccer enthusiast, Chiaka Ejeh, hailed Okocha for “planning his life well, unlike many retired footballers, who cannot make ends meet.

“Okocha wisely invested the fortunes from his active days and has remained financially and socially afloat.

“He is still very fit and never fails to dazzle fans, while featuring in exhibition games across the globe,” Ejeh, a teacher, said.


16th INAC: Indian instructor educates Nigerians on benefits of Yoga



The Indian High Commission in Nigeria on Friday in Abuja urged Nigerians to embrace Yoga as a means of exercise for their overall well-being..

Diptiranjan Mohanty, Teacher of Indian Culture, High Commission of India in Abuja, gave the advice during the 16th International Arts and Craft Expo (INAC).

Mohanty, who demonstrated the exercise , said that Yoga is an aspect of Indian culture known to reduce stress, anxiety as well as improve brain function.
He said that practicing Yoga also improves cardiovascular function, quality of sleep, bone health and reduces inflammation.

“Yoga is part of our culture, we want our Nigerian friends and people across the globe to practise it as a lifestyle.
“It improves body flexibility and balance.

“Yoga is known to harmonise the mind, body and soul, and it is a method to detoxify theo body and make a healthy mind and a happy soul,” he said.

Mohanty said that Nigerians who were interested in learning how to practice yoga could attend free classes for the execise at the Indian High Commission in Abuja.

According to him, this is held Monday to Friday, from 4.00p.m. to 7.00p.
He said that India was at the expo to showcase its arts and crafts like Saree fabric, Masala Chai (indian tea), locally prepared to reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol.

In the course of the expo, delegates from Taraba, Kaduna, Borno, Katsina, Ogun and Rivers states presented colourful dance performances.

Ogun and Rivers as well as Cuba presented cuisines peculiar to their culture, which delegates from other nations savoured.

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UEFA to raise payments for clubs not in European competition



Clubs that fail to qualify for UEFA’s competitions are set to receive a greater share of revenue from the European governing body from next season.
The arrangement is under a new distribution model announced on Wednesday by UEFA.
UEFA and the European Club Association (ECA) signed a renewed working agreement until 2030 which will “bolster long-term stability and sustainable growth in European club football,” the governing body said in a statement.

The change will be effective from the start of the 2024-25 season, coinciding with a new format in UEFA’s Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League.

Under the new model for the 2024-2027 cycle, seven per cent of the revenue UEFA earns from the three competitions will be distributed to clubs not competing in them, up from four per cent.

The European Leagues Association, which represents professional soccer leagues in Europe, said the change would result in 308 million euros ($330.02 million) being shared among non-participating clubs, up from the current 175 million euros.

“Today’s announcement … will help all clubs across Europe to safeguard their competitiveness on and off the pitch while keeping investing in youth and talent development,” it said in a statement.

UEFA said further details of the new system would be unveiled at a later date.

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