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‘Nigeria has the potential to win World Cup’, CAF President Motsepe says

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President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), Patrice Motsepe believes the Super Eagles of Nigeria has the potential to win the World Cup in the nearest future if the football authorities in the West African country can invest in the right infrastructure for the development of football in the nation.

Motsepe who spoke on a Nigerian television sports programme on Friday, said with the talent Nigeria is blessed with, the “Super Eagles should be dining with the rest at the high table of world football, but they need to put in place the right structures to harness their enormous potential.”

The African football chief said though Nigerian football has been on the decline in the last few years and missed out on the recently concluded FIFA World Cup in Qatar, the potentials to be a dominant force in world football is still in the Nigerian team.

“I am absolutely confident because of the talent, God-given skills, and history of Nigerian football,” Motsepe said.

“Nigeria is one of those countries that have the potential, not just to go to the semi-final, not just to go to the final, but to win the World Cup.

“However, they have to focus on youth football development, football facilities for boys and girls, amateur football, and football development at club level.

“They have to train coaches and train the trainers. Nigeria have to develop referees and very importantly, to make sure that we work together with the football federation in Nigeria so that they can continue the leadership that they have provided for many years.

“We are confident that Nigerian football will continue to be not just amongst the best in Africa but in the world. I know Nigeria will make us proud as it has on so many occasions in the past. Our plan is to see Nigeria in the next World Cup,” he added.

Despite Nigeria’s pedigree in football, the Super Eagles have not gone beyond the second round of any World Cup they have attended, with their best performance being a round of 16 berth achieved on three occasions, in 1994, 1998 and 2014.

So far, only Morocco, Senegal, Cameroon, and Ghana have crossed the second round hurdle while the Atlas Lions went a step further in Qatar by qualifying for the semi final where they lost to France.

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Agent of Ghanaian international, Christian Atsu, debunks rescue from Turkey earthquake

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The agent of Ghanaian Black Star international, Chrstism Atsu, has debunked reports the player who was trapped under the rubble of a 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria on Monday, has been rescued.

Atsu, who plies his trade with Hatayspor of Turkey was one of several people affected by the quake, was reported to have been rescued alive on Tuesday but the agent, Nana Sechere, in a statement on Wednesday, said the he and the player’s family have been unable to confirm whether he was rescued nor his whereabouts.

A number of conflicting reports had surfaced following the initial news regarding Atsu, with a spokesperson for Hatayspor claiming he had been taken to hospital injured.

Sechere who released the statement on Twitter, however said so far, the reports are not true.

“Following yesterday’s update from the club that Christian had been pulled out alive, we are yet to confirm Christian’s whereabouts,” Sechere wrote.

“As you can imagine, this continues to be a devastating time for his family and we are doing everything we can to locate Christian.”

“Official updates will be provided as more information comes to light. Please respect the families privacy during this harrowing time, and refrain from spreading unsubstantiated news as this will only hamper the search efforts for Christian Atsu.

“Thank you for all your prayers and support,” he posted in another tweet.

The confusion over Atsu’s situation was also accentuated by an update by Hatayspor manager, Volkan Demirel, who told reporters that Atsu and the club’s director Taner Savut, were still missing.

“There is no news from Atsu and Taner Savut yet. Would I share this if they were in the hospital? As soon as the news comes, I will share it.”

Hatayspor club doctor Gurbey Kahveci also said:

“We went to the hospitals, but he was not there. Unfortunately, we accept that Taner and Cristian Atsu have not been found at the moment.”

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Ghanaian footballer, Christian Atsu, rescued alive from Turkey earthquake rubble

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Ghana international footballer, Christian Atsu, who was reported to be one of those buried under the rubble following a 7.8-magnitude earthquake that hit Turkey on Monday, has been rescued alive, according to officials of his club,
Hatayspor, on Tuesday.

The 31-year-old former Chelsea and Newcastle winger was reported missing in Turkey’s Hatay province following the quake and its aftershocks that brought down thousands of buildings, killing around 5,000 people in several Turkish and Syrian cities.

But in a statement on Tuesday, the club said the Black Star player has been found alive after being buried under rubble, but with injuries and have been evacuated to a hospital.

“Christian Atsu was pulled out injured. Our sporting director, Taner Savut, is unfortunately still under the rubble,” club vice president Mustafa Ozak told the media on Tuesday.

Atsu, who joined Chelsea from Porto as a teenager, has played in the English Premier League for both Newcastle United and Everton, on loan from Chelsea, before joining Hatayspor last September.

He played a League match for Hatayspor on Sunday before the early morning earthquake which across southeast Turkey and northern Syria.

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