Former captain of Nigeria scrabble national team, Paul Sodje, has died after he was abducted by suspected herdsmen.
Chairman of the Nigeria Scrabble Federation, Publicity Committee, Akintunde Akinsemola, told our correspondent that Sodje’s body was found inside the bush in Idoani, Ose Local Government Area of Ondo State, September 1.
Sodje was said to have taken ransom money to the kidnappers, who had abducted his brother, Chris, four days earlier.
“Chris was going for his uncle’s funeral in Okwagbe, Delta State on August 28, when he was kidnapped at Ifon, Ondo State. The Fulani men demanded N100m but later reduced it to N1m. His wife Flora and friends rallied round to raise the ransom.
“Then his elder brother Paul and a friend took the ransom to them, yet the Fulani men murdered the two of them. Chris has not been found and the kidnappers have stopped communicating with the family,” Akinsemola told The PUNCH.
“Idoani elders led by Otunba Oladele Olapeju, who were searching for their kinsmen, who were also kidnapped, saw Paul Sodje’s body and that of the man that accompanied him to the herders rendezvous.
“They took the bodies to the Federal Medical Centre, Owo, where they still lie,” he added.
The late Sodje, who would have been 55 on Wednesday (yesterday), captained Nigeria to the African Scrabble Championship in Zambia, 2012.
Meanwhile, the scrabble federation held a virtual post-homous birthday for the late Sodje on Wednesday.
“We keep mourning, he was to celebrate his 55th birthday today (Wednesday), which would have been a great landmark for him but his life was nipped in the bud,”Akinsemola quoted NSF President, Sulaiman Gora, as saying.
I have no regrets leaving Real Madrid – Bale
Gareth Bale says he “grew up” during his time with Real Madrid and has “no regrets” having departed the Spanish club to return to Tottenham.
Bale joined Spurs on a season-long loan earlier this month seven years after having departed north London for a then world-record transfer fee.
Despite having played a key role in Real winning four Champions League titles, Bale fell out of favour with manager Zinedine Zidane and made just 20 appearances last season as he was frozen out by the Frenchman.
The 31-year-old also endured a strained relationship with the Spanish media, who were highly critical of him, particularly towards the end of his time in Spain.
“No I don’t have any regrets, no,” Bale told Sky Sports. “I just try and play football, that’s all I can do and everything else that’s said externally is out of my control.
“As I said, I have no regrets of what I’ve done, whatever anyone else has said, that’s up to them. I know my opinion of myself and my family know exactly what I am, so that’s all I’m worried about.
“Obviously going into a different culture, a different country, I’ve had to grow up as a person, never mind a footballer.
“You just learn how to deal with the situations that you’re in. Obviously I’ve been in immense pressure situations. I’ve had people on the pitch whistling in the stadium to me.
“So yeah I’ve just learned how to deal with those type of things, to not take it to seriously, take it too much to heart, and yeah just get on with it. It’s football – something that you love doing and you just need to give your best and sometimes that’s all you can do.”
Tottenham finished sixth in the Premier League last season, and with Bale’s arrival, the club will be aiming for a return to the top four and Champions League qualification.
After a surprise defeat at home to Everton in their season opener, Spurs overcame a lacklustre first-half performance to thrash Southampton 5-2 on Sunday, giving them some much-needed momentum to take into this weekend’s match against Newcastle.
“Of course when you come into any club you want to do well, you want to help the team as much as you can,” Bale said.
“We have a great team here now with a great squad. They’ve been doing great. Obviously in the time that I’ve gone away they’ve gone on and on and obviously reached the Champions League final, the club’s got a new stadium, the club itself is better, they’re doing better in the Premier League every year.
“So I just want to add to that. I want to try and bring a bit more to the team and try and progress even more and keep pushing in the right direction.”
I’m not desperate for CAF presidency, says Pinnick
President of Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick, says he is not desperate to contest for the presidency of the Confederation of African Football, adding that he is yet to take a decision on gunning for the continent’s top football job.
Speaking to our correspondent after the unveiling of the official logo and brand ambassadors of the National Principals’ Cup at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos on Monday, Pinnick said consultations were ongoing to determine if he would contest.
“I’m still consulting because the CAF presidency is not a cup of tea,” the NFF president said.
“You have to ask God for direction, ask your wife because she is also a boss and if she says no it is a no. You have to ask your children, who are your immediate family, then the extended family who are the football family, the (NFF) Technical Committee, the (NFF) congress, political stakeholders. “After you must have gotten endorsement, you have to go to the (sports) ministry, the Presidency, and from there I need to inform my zone because I’m in WAFU B, I will also have to talk to my friends.
“We are on all those things and if it works out it is fine but if it doesn’t I might find myself with the FIFA Council. We are not doing it out of desperation but there are a lot of things people would not understand.”
PSG submit Neymar-Alvaro video to league
Paris Saint-Germain have sent French football authorities a video that some lip-reading experts say confirms Marseille defender Alvaro Gonzalez used a racial slur against Neymar, leading to an on-pitch brawl, Brazilian media reported.
A week after PSG’s 1-0 loss to their arch rivals ended with Neymar slapping Gonzalez on the back of the head — triggering a melee that ended with five players sent off — Brazil’s Globo Esporte said the Brazilian superstar’s club had submitted video of the preceding minutes to the league “to attempt to prove that Neymar was the victim of racism.”
Brazilian news site UOL said Monday it had confirmed the information.
Three Brazilian lip-reading experts interviewed by Globo TV Sunday agreed that Gonzalez had called Neymar “mono” — “monkey” in Spanish — just before the brawl, after watching the footage from French broadcaster Telefoot.
However, other lip-reading experts — notably in Gonzalez’s native Spain — have analyzed the same tape and found no evidence the defender used a racial slur.
According to some Spanish media reports, Neymar in fact used a homophobic slur against Gonzalez.
The French league, which suspended Neymar for two matches over the incident, has announced a probe into his accusations, which Gonzalez denies.