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Disu bemoans Lagos J-League doldrums

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Lagos, April 15, 2019 The Technical Director of Lagos Junior League (J-League), Tunde Disu (OFR), on Monday bemoaned the continued postponement of the competition which, he said, had not been held for the past four football seasons.

Disu told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos that the continued absence of the grassroots development football competition had continued to rob the state off of new talents.

NNN reports that the once vibrant grassroots football league has produced many great footballers for the national teams at the age grade and the senior team.

Some of the players include, Sporting Charleroi of Belgium ace goal poacher and Super Eagles forward, Victor Osimhen, and Leicester City and Super Eagles midfielder, Wilfred Ndidi

Others are Feirense FC of Portugal and Super Eagles goal tender, Dele Alampasu, former MFM FC highest goal scorer and FC Zurich highest goal scorer, Stephen Odey, and Sikiru Olatunbosun among others.

It is worthy of note that Lagos J-League has produced more stars for the national team than any other grassroots football tournament in Nigeria, yet it has been overlooked for the last four years.

However, that league is the inactive is giving the man at the helm of affairs of the league, Disu, a serious concern as he appealed for sponsorships from government and private sector.

He said that the league with its reputation as the best grassroots league in the country had been left in the doldrums for too long, adding that he would stop at nothing to revive it.

“J-League is the best organised grassroots league in Nigeria because the records are there for everyone to see. The league has its reputation as the best where scouts do come to make discoveries.

“The prolonged absence of J-League is due to some factors beyond our capacity because it involves all the Local Government Councils (LGCs) and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) the original co-owners.

“Some of the reasons are the delay in the election of the council chairmen which was done two years ago, then, this year as an election year again.

“After the election, we tried to get the attention of the chairmen to the importance of this league and we got a favourable response; on our own part, we’re making frantic efforts technically,” he said.

Disu said that the management of the J-League was considering other options for getting the league back to the field, adding that the marketing department was working assiduously on it.

“We understand how difficult it is for government alone to run a competition like this, so, we on our won part with the marketing department are considering other options.

“We have set out to reach some companies for partnership and sponsorship. Sponsorship proposals has been sent to some private companies, while we hope to have good responses.

“We have also reached out to some sports betting company because most of the youths are now involved in sports betting which is good for their business.

“The gains of J-League are much because it is the only recognised grassroots league that has produced many players in the age-grade national teams.

“The league has discovered many talented players that have graduated from the age-grade teams to senior national team players like Wilfred Ndidi, Victor Osimhen, Stephen Odey, Dele Alampasu, and the CNN Goal of the Month recipient, Sikiru Olatunbosun,” he said.

Disu said that football was a rewarding venture for potential investors, noting that opportunities abound in the sport because it involved youths that form the largest chunk of the population.

“Football is a big business with high returns; countries that take it serious are already reaping its rewards because it does not come with a loss.

“Football can absorb as many youths as it can because of its passionate appeal to many. Looking at the population, one will find out that youths constitute the largest chunk.

“We can also latch unto this opportunity that we have to effectively engage our teeming youths in sports and also the investors smiling to the bank for the reward on their investment,” he said.

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Disu says Ighalo will surely succeed at Manchester United

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Tunde Disu, a former Technical Director of the defunct Nigeria Football Association (NFA), on Monday said Nigeria’s Odion Ighalo would surely have a successful spell at Manchester United in England.

Disu told the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos that Ighalo would be successful in view of his high level of performance at the various clubs he earlier played for.

NAN reports that Ighalo recently joined the English Premier League side on loan from Shanghai Shenhua in China for six months, with the former English champions having an option to buy.

Disu said Manchester United could not have made a mistake in acquiring Ighalo, adding that his successful spell at various clubs was a testimony of his impressive career.

“Ighalo should have meant something to a great club like Manchester United before they can move for him. He is a good (penalty) box player with a lot of energy.

“He is a type of player that does not miss a scoring opportunity, a penalty box player with proficiency like the late Rashidi Yekini and he is not an injury-prone player.

“Having played top-flight football before now, I think he should also be successful playing with Manchester United, I have no doubt about that because he is also athletic.

“Although Ighalo now have a tougher assignment because of expectations from a top club like Manchester United, I am hopeful that he will do well,’’ he said.

The 30-year old Ighalo had previously played for Julius Berger of Lagos in 2006, where he started his professional career.

He then proceeded to play at Lyn Oslo in Norway and Udinese in Italy from 2008 to 2014.

The versatile striker moved to Spain where he played for Granada and Cesena on loan, before moving to Watford where he was also on loan before being acquired by the club.

He later moved to China where he played for Changchun Yatai and then Shanghai Shenhua.

Disu however said the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) highest goalscorer needed to understudy other established Manchester United players such as Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford to succeed.

“Ighalo is also a tough striker, but he needs to understudy those before him, players such as Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial who are a bit fast.

“I know that he shoots well and he is strong for opponents, but he needed to also help in the defence as well or sometimes come to the midfield to take the ball for attack.’’

Disu who coached the Flying Eagles to a second place finish at the 1989 World Youth Championship in Saudi Arabia however said he was hopeful Ighalo would return to the Super Eagles.

“I really didn’t like it when he retired from the national team and I hope he will rescind his decision if he gets a call for the coach, Gernot Rohr.

“For Manchester United, he is the type of striker they need and I hope that he will justify the faith they have in him. Also, for Nigeria, he is our type of player,’’ he said.

(
Edited By: Joseph Edeh and Olawale Alabi)

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NYSC: panacea for disunity, says Monarch

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Oba Ajibade Gbadegedi Ogunoye of Owo kingdom, in Ondo, has described the National Youth Service Corps Scheme (NYSC) as the panacea for disunity in the country.


The newly-crowned monarch stated this when he hosted the Ondo State NYSC Coordinator, Mrs Grace Akpabio, and her management team in his palace on Monday.


He said that the establishment of the scheme had eroded the primordial knowledge and beliefs which made one ethnic group to suspect the other.


According to Ogunoye, NYSC over the years has encouraged social and cultural integration, which is now the reason suspicion has given way to mutual trust among citizens.


He observed that some of the corps members who observed the one year mandatory service in particular states and communities were now staying back to contribute meaningfully to the development of such states and communities.


He said that such people were thus making those states and communities their second homes.


“NYSC has remained the only catalyst that made it possible for citizens of this country to see themselves as one indivisible entity.


“You can imagine how the programme has promoted inter-tribal marriages thus fostering the much anticipated national unity.


“The coming together of graduates from different ethnic groups and backgrounds to contribute to the overall development of this nation has great influence on our being as no ethnic group can operate as an island,” he said.


Ogunoye, who said that corps members were germane to the development of the country, promise to use his position to attract development to NYSC in the Sunshine State.


“The corps members are doing great in all the communities they are posted to.


“As a custodian of people within the Kingdom, we shall do the needful within the ambit of the law to provide a conducive environment for them to function effectively at all times,’’ he said.


The traditional ruler promised to liaise with the relevant security agencies within the Local Government as well as vigilance groups to monitor and secure the corps members in his Kingdom.

“I will also liaise with the Chief Medical Director of Federal Medical Centre, Owo, to provide a more befitting accommodation and ensure adequate security for corps members serving with the institution.


“I want to thank the state coordinator, who has always acceded to my request for corps members when I was in the Civil Service,’’ he added.


He described the coordinator as “a very accommodating and detribalised Nigerian who is making waves with the development she is bringing to NYSC in the Sunshine State daily”.


Speaking earlier, Ondo NYSC Coordinator, Akpabio, felicitated with the Monarch on his ascension to the throne of his forefathers and prayed that his reign shall be peaceful like those of his predecessors.


The coordinator appealed to the royal father to use his position in the state to influence the establishment of NYSC Local Government Committee in all the Councils of the state.


Edited by Zainab Garba/Donald Ugwu

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Don’t use social media to promote disunity, NYSC DG tells corps members

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The Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brig-Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim, has cautioned corps members against the use of social media to promote disunity in Nigeria.

Shuaibu gave the advice when he visited NYSC Permanent Orientation Camp, Emure-Ekiti on Thursday during the ongoing Batch B Stream 11 orientation course.

According to him, rather than promoting division among the different ethnic groups, the corps members should be  ambassadors of national development.

“Corps members should tread with caution. The social media should not be used to propagate disunity in the country.

“Do not be an evangelist of hate speech, rather be ready to render selfless service for national development and transformation, Shuaibu advised.

The director-general urged corps members, particularly the current set in camp, to contribute meaningfully to their host communities in their places of primary assignment.

“Identify the challenges facing your host communities, see opportunities in them , source for ways to leave the place better than you met it,” he said.

Ibrahim decried the spate of road accidents involving corps members, warning them against unauthorised journeys.

“In recent times, corps members have been involved in motor accidents, therefore, it is mandatory to take permission from the appropriate authorities before embarking on any journey.

“Henceforth, all the keys to the buses (vehicles) of the religious bodies, NCCF, NACC, and MCAN shall be in the care of the State Coordinator and approval sought before their usage,” he  said.

The NYSC boss said that corps members, as nation builders, must refrain from all forms of criminal activities, such as cyber-crime, robbery, sexual harassment and other social vices.

The director general later took a tour of  facilities in the camp in company of the State Coordinator, Mrs Emmanuella Okpongete,  and other NYSC officials.(NAN)

JIG/CHOM/SOA

Edited by Chioma Ugboma/Oluwole Sogunle

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Ighalo’s retirement premature — Disu

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The former Technical Adviser of the Nigeria Football Association (NFA), Tunde Disu OFR, has said that the decision of Super Eagles Striker, Odion Ighalo to retire was premature.

NAN reports that Ighalo, who emerged as the highest goal scorer in the just-concluded Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt announced his decision to quit the Super Eagles after the competition.

Disu, said that Ighalo could still rescind his decision to quit the national team, adding that the team had a lot to learn from him as a senior colleague.

“The decision of Ighalo to quit the national team is premature, the team still needs him and he cannot afford to quit now.

“My reason is based on no other assumption other than the fact that the team at present did not have any standby player, with experience to take over.

“My position is not that the country did not have quality strikers, no, but other strikers should have been paired alongside him to learn,” he said.

Disu said that the decision of the striker to quit should be a concern because he was the only tested striker among his peers, noting that he should have been played alongside other strikers.

“Ighalo’s decision to quit should give the technical crew a concern because I have been in that position before. There is a need to get this right.

“Ighalo has yet to play alongside other players, maybe play as a main striker with others as supporting strikers behind him.

“Sometimes as well, we need to tweak our formation to test new players, mainly during friendly games to give a deserving view of the whole team.

“Criticisms are part of life, we cannot run away from it, even the best footballers of this world had faced the same situation one time or the other, he cannot be an exception,” he said.

Disu also advised the Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr, to allow the players to play their natural position instead of converting them to positions that cannot allow them to realise their full potential.

“I think Rohr should allow the players into their natural position instead of converting them out of position; this is not helpful.

“I noticed that most of the players in the national team are being played out of position, Mikel Obi from defensive midfielder to attacking.

“Also, Oghenekaro Etebo from assistant striker to a defensive midfielder, same goes for Iwobi who has never played as a playmaker in Arsenal to playmaker in the Super Eagles.

“To get the best from these players they should not be played out of their natural positions they are playing in their clubs because they must have mastered the play more than what they are doing now,” he said.

Disu said that the decision of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to send Rohr on a refresher course was right, adding that same gesture should have been extended to his assistants as well.

“The decision of NFF, to sponsor Rohr to a refresher course is a right step in the right direction, he has a contract and he has done his best for the team.

“What NFF should have considered is to extend same gesture to Rohr’s assistants like Imama Amamakpabo and other technical crew members.

“Even, there are some refresher courses that are free; NFF can afford to send the technical crew to such refresher courses in other to upgrade their knowledge.

“Its high time we trust our own indigenous coaches to take over the realms of affairs of the national team.

“We have been relatively successful with coaches like Stephen Keshi who won the AFCON for us and also Shuabu Amodu who are both late now. We can also support our own as well,” he said.

(Editing by Peter Ejiofor)

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Super Eagles need better goalkeeper now, says Disu

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A former Technical Adviser to the Nigeria Football Association (NFA), Tunde Disu OFR, has said that the senior national team, Super Eagles deserves a better goalkeeper to keep up with football’s current standard.

Disu, a former Assistant Coach to Otto Gloria, the 1980 African Cup of Nation winning coach, said that the Eagles needed a more tactically experienced safe hand.

“We seriously need another goalkeeper for now, and if I may ask, what is the duty of the goalkeeper trainers and technical crew that we have in camp?

“The technical crew should now go round to look for goalkeepers and we should not be lazy about it, we should not be comfortable with what we have now, we should look towards the local players.

“There were times when we have good goalkeepers in the country; we have produced the likes of Emmanuel Okala, Peter Rufai, Alloy Agu and recently Vincent Enyeama.

“My own take is that we still have good goalkeepers around that can do better than what we have right now, we should look for them either in the local league or foreign clubs,” he said.

“The performance of Akpeyi was not up to standard and I wonder what other goalkeepers are doing on the bench if they are not good enough which means that they are not as good as him.

“Another point is that, how will a coach take three goalkeepers that he cannot use to a big competition of this magnitude? The fact is that Akpeyi cannot cope with pressure.

“When the pressure is too much on the goalkeeper; he losses concentration, an example of how he conceded the last goal against Algeria, Akpeyi organised a wall and stood behind the wall.

“I watched the clip over and over and I can see his deficiency. He cannot have a clear vision of the ball the way he stood behind the wall he created,” he said.

Disu said that he expected Akpeyi to have stood out of the wall so he could have a clear vision of the ball.

“I think that even if he wants to gamble or predict Mahrez, being a left footer he should have known that he would shoot to his left preferably.

“If the goalkeeper wants to gamble, he should have targeted exactly where the player would love to play since he is a left footer.

“Akpeyi should have stood away from the wall apart, but his position during the free kick was unprofessional,” he said.

(Editing by Peter Ejiofor)

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What went wrong with Super Eagles against Les Fennecs — Disu

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The former Technical Adviser of the Nigeria Football Association (NFA), Tunde Disu OFR, on Monday attributed the Super Eagles loss to the Les Fennecs of Algeria to many factors such as pressure and lack of tactical discipline.

Disu gave the reasons in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria while commenting on the Eagles Sunday’s loss to the Algerians.

The former Assistant coach submitted that the Eagles allowed too much pressure unnecessarily and also lacked tactical discipline.

“The Eagles defence was too open for the Algerians to operate and penetrate and this caused the first goal because they forced us to make errors.

“The Eagles worked with two central midfielders while one of them, Etebo, is too much conscious of going forward leaving the backline to be porous and the goalkeeper to be panicky.

“We already have Ahmed Musa, Alex Iwobi and Samuel Chukwueze who are conscious enough in the attack so the other midfielders joining should be occasional.

“The Algerians are relatively better coordinated in the middle, likewise the flanks so we need to be tactically alert to curtail the Algerians which the Eagles failed to achieve,” he said.

Disu said that allowing the Algerians to dictate the pace of the game was an undoing to the team, adding that the Eagles should have attacked their opponents.

“The Algerians had too much control of the game yesterday because they saw the Eagles too much on the defensive, so they kept on coming to the Eagles.

“There is something called pressing in coaching, this means you attack your opponents from their own half, but the Eagles were constantly allowing the Algerians to pressurise them.

“The attack should have been from the defenders, note that we used the same formation 4-3-3 so we should have played them with the same strength moreso, they are not better than the Eagles.

(Editing by Peter Ejiofor)

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AFCON 2019: Super Eagles will face tricky, tougher tie against Bafana Bafana — Disu

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The former Technical Director, Nigeria Football Association (NFA), Olatunde Disu OFR, on Monday warned that the Super Eagles would face a tricky and a tougher encounter against the Bafana Bafana in the quarter-finals of the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt.

NAN reports that the Gernot Rohr tutored-side will on Wednesday face the Stuart Baxter-side in the quarter-finals duel in Cairo.

The Bafana Bafana got a 1-0 surprised win over the host Pharaohs of Egypt in the round of 16

While the Super Eagles got the quarter-finals through a 3-2 win over their eternal rivals, Indomitable Lions of Cameroon at the Alexandria Stadium in Egypt.

It is on record that the Super Eagles had failed to beat Bafana Bafana in during the qualifiers as the first meeting at the Nest of Champions in Uyo went the way of the Baxter side.

Tekelo Rantie and Percy Paul goals condemned Nigeria to defeat while the return leg in South Africa ended one goal at piece.

Disu, a former Green Eagles Assistant Coach, said that the Bafana Bafana now know the Eagles pattern of play better than before, adding that the team should brace up for tougher challenge.

“The Eagles must not be careless against this South Africans because they now know us better than before. We need to play with caution because they can outwit us.

“We should remember that they defeated us right here in Nigeria and we also failed to defeat them in South Africa that should mean something to us.

“I am not saying that the Eagles cannot beat them, no, we have a stronger team to beat them, but technically we must not rely on that, we should play better than them.

“The Eagles are better now, with what they have displayed so far in AFCON, not minding the Madagascar debacle, they are at their best,’’ he said.

Disu said the technical crew should look into the goalkeeping department, adding that the current first choice goalkeeper, Daniel Akpeyi could be suspect.

“Technically, I may not be supporting the idea of putting Akpeyi in between the sticks because the South Africans knows him better, he plays in their league.

“Akpeyi remains a suspect in goal for the Eagles because he sometimes fumbles with the balls which resulted in our first defeat in the hands of the Bafana Bafana during the qualifiers.

“The goalkeeping area remains an issue because the South Africans can shoot from outside the box because they understand our keeper very well, he himself may be too cautious against them,’’ he said.

Disu also said that he preferred Kenneth Omeruo to be in the heart of the defence with the pairing of Troost Ekong or Leon Balogun.

“I will prefer Omeruo to be at the heart of the defence because he is strong and has a lot of tackles won, maybe anyone between Ekong or Balogun can pair him.

“So far so good, the Eagles have showed character in this AFCON, but they should not be careless, they have good ball distribution and well organised defence.

“I will want them to attack more instead of defending; they need to play to attack the South Africans because they make use of the middle while the Eagles play from the flanks.

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Disunity, threat to democracy – Group  

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A group, Intellectual Reformers Organisation, has urged Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of unity and harmony, saying these were the principles behind the Democracy Day celebration.

The President of the group, Mr David Opeyemi, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Ibadan on Wednesday that lack of unity and harmony was  threatening the nation’s democracy.

He said that while the group celebrated the choice of the new date for Democracy Day, there was more to be done by both the government and the citizens to gaurantee the benefits of democracy.

” Government at all levels of power- civil service, armed forces, legislature, judiciary and executive-are to imbibe the spirit of June 12.

“Such spirit include unity, harmony, the direction of purpose, institutional strength, war on poverty and provision of people-oriented leadership,” he said.

Opeyemi recalled that Nigerians across the country were united in electing Chief M.K.O. Abiola as president on June 12, 1993 before the election was annuled.

“He was elected, not because of his ethnic or religious leaning, but because majority of our countrymen believed in his campaign promises which were hinged on the war against poverty.

“However, the victory was annulled by the Babangida-led military administration and sadly, 26 years after, we are still in the struggle to have the Nigeria of our dream,” he said.

According to him, the Nigerian dream will emerge only when goverment rises up to the challenge of providing worthy governance and citizens become more patritotic.

“As it is, ours is still a democracy without dividends; a skeleton without the flesh of good governance, strong institutions, patriotic citizens, selfless leaders and unity of purpose and destiny,” he said.

He admonished Nigerians to hold their leaders accountable and to approach national policies, actions and deeds without the lens of partisian politics.

“We all must turn deaf ears to the words of disunity and blind our eyes to those who may want to use us as pawns for parochial interests,” he said.

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June 12 26th Anniversary: What late MKO Abiola promised us before death — Disu

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Lagos, June 11, 2019 Former Technical Director, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Tunde Disu, on Tuesday described the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 Presidential Election as a sports philanthropist without a rival.

Disu made the assertion in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria while reflecting on the late philanthropist’s gesture in supporting sports in Nigeria.

NAN reports that M.K.O Abiola died on July 7, while awaiting freedom after the death of the then Military Head of State Gen. Sanni Abacha.

During his lifetime, Abiola was well known and recognised as the “Pillar of Sports in Africa’’ and he was so honoured.

The African Football Confederation (CAF) then honoured him as the first Pillar of Sports in Africa.

MKO Abiola, as fondly called, supervised one of the most flamboyant football club sides in history of football in Nigeria, Abiola Babes. Accordingly, Abiola Babes players were said to always receive medical attention in Germany.

The team was also reputably known to be the best club in terms of players’ welfare and general administration. The club won the Nigerian FA Cup in 1985 and 1987.

Also, within a short time, the crème de la crème of Nigerian football stars such as Muda Lawal, Rashidi Yekini, Friday Ekpo, Toyin Ayinla, Dominic Iorfa, Best Ogedengbe and Yisa Sofoluwe were wearing the clubs jersey.

Abiola during his lifetime blazed the trail as a financial backbone to sports in Nigeria and Africa and was honoured by Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) as a Grand Patron of the association before his demise.

Disu in his tribute to the great philanthropist, described him as a man who will forever be remembered not just for his contributions to sports development but his passion for humanity.

“MKO Abiola’s mark in sports is indelible in history. The business guru funded a club named after him “Abiola Babes’’, a club which instantly gained prominence in the football circle.

“I often regard him as someone from another planet but he is a Nigerian because of his philanthropic gesture to humanity, he was loved by everyone.

“When my father died, he came to our house regardless of the environment we were staying in Ikate-Itire, he didn’t care whether it is a ghetto or slum.

“He also sponsored my brother Taju Disu to the U.S. to go and further his studies when he was playing for his club, Abiola Babes,’’ he said.

Disu said that the late sports icon also sponsored his brother’s marriage ceremony and also sent him for courses abroad.

“MKO Abiola sponsored my brother’s marriage ceremony and did not do this to my brother alone but to all and sundry that came across him during his life time.

“MKO was a great sportsman. Abiola was awarded the best philanthropist in Africa and the world at large.

“He sent me for courses in Germany and Brazil when I was with the Nigerian Football Association (NFA). He had soft spot for sportsmen and women.

“He said to me that “as a wealthy man, if I  should give him one naira he would take it that I have shown appreciation because I use to give wall decorations anytime I am coming from abroad for my courses,’’ he said.

Disu said that the late great sports philanthropist promised him a brand new car if they emerged winners at the Saudi Arabia 1989 after the Miracle of Daman.

“After we came out of the Damann Miracle, Abiola promised to give me a brand new car but unfortunately, we lost.

“MKO Abiola and Gen. Sani Abacha then brought an empty plane to pick the team from Saudi Arabia. It was incredible. They were sent by the Head of State then, General Babangida.

“On our way back to Nigeria, I went to meet him on his seat. Gen. Abacha was seating on the other side. I greeted both of them and MKO asked me to seat beside him.

“I guess he knew what I came to meet him for when I kept looking at him in anticipation for him to say something. And he said to me, `I know what you came for Super Coach’,’’ he said.

Disu said that MKO later gave him a Tokunbo Car instead for his efforts during the age-grade World Cup.

“Abiola told me to go and price a Tokunbo car and at that juncture, I did not know what he meant by Tokunbo car. I just kept looking at him.

“Later, he said, my son and I said Sir, and he said do I know that he has 250 businesses and when he gets anywhere in the world he picks his money. That is a lesson for all of us.

“MKO Abiola’s Legacy will live forever to be remembered, especially his contributions during and after the Saudi ’89 Miracle of Daman,’’ he said.

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