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Solskjaer Aims to Replicate Spirit of ’99 at Manchester United

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hopes to replicate the spirit of Manchester United’s treble-winners at Old Trafford as he plots a route back to the top for the club.

Solskjaer, last month appointed as the permanent United boss, famously scored the injury-time winner in the Champions League final when Alex Ferguson’s United side won three trophies in 1999.

The Norwegian, preparing his side to face Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final at home on Wednesday, intends to build the side around the principles that worked so well 20 years ago.

“We challenged each other every day in training,” he told ESPN. “There were fights and there was an inner justice that I’ve not seen in too many teams.

“We never, ever accepted anyone being below par in training. We kicked each other and we had to win every single day. That moved over into games and we never gave in. There was an unbelievable team spirit.

“I want my players to really push each other and demand 100 per cent attitude from each other every single day. That’s the only way you can improve and it’s the only way you can win.

“We had something special. It’s a different group now and the challenge is, ‘How can I make these players winners as we were?’”

United are currently sixth in the Premier League but are just three points behind third-placed Tottenham and are still in contention in the Champions League.

United are the underdogs for the Barcelona tie but Solskjaer, who oversaw a stunning comeback victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the last round, is confident.

“We’re playing against a good team but there is something special about this group of players,” he said. “It will be fantastic.”

And the United boss is not worried that Manchester City could surpass United’s achievement in 1999 by winning a quadruple this season.

“United fans want us to win it (the Champions League) because they want to win it,” Solskjaer said. “I think we should look at what we can achieve and not what we can stop others achieving.”

(AFP)

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AFCON: Tinubu Rewards Super Eagles Players with Lands, Flats, MON Honours

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President Bola Tinubu has confered national honours on all members of the Super Eagles squad that won the silver medal at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cote d’Ivoire. 

The president also granted a plot of land in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and a flat to each of them for their feat at the just concluded competition.

Nigeria’s run to claim the country’s fourth AFCON title came to a disappointing end after the Eagles lost 2-1 to Cote d’Ivoire in the final on Sunday.

The Eagles took the lead in the match after William Troost-Ekong scored a powerful header in the first half, but Franck Kessie and Sebastien Haller scored in the second half for the Ivorians.

While receiving the team at the presidential villa, Abuja, on Tuesday, Tinubu honoured every member of the silver medal-winning squad with Member of the Order of Niger (MON).

The president then praised the team’s resilience, sportsmanship and can-do attitude.

He also thanked the players for lifting the nation’s spirit with their performance at AFCON.

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Super Eagles Honour Nigerians Who Died During Game Against South Africa with One Minute Silence, Prayers

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By Eric Elezuo

The Super Eagles players and their coaching crew on Thursday observed a minute silence in honour of four identified Nigerians, who lost their lives as high tension build up during the semi final encounter against the Bafana Bafana of South Africa.

Leading the process during the recreation time at the camp in Abidjan, the team captain, Ahmed Musa, noted that four Nigerians died while cheering the team, and called for a minute silence in honour.

Afterwards, he mandated a member to say a prayer for the repose of their souls while promising that the team will do within its power to win the trophy on Sunday so that the dead don’t in vain.

It was reported that a former member of the House of Representatives, Cairo Ojougboh, Deputy Bursar of Kwara State University, Ayuba Abdullahi; billionaire businessman based in Ivory Coast, Chief Osondu Nwoye and a serving NYSC member, who was simply identified as Samuel, all died from heart related concerns while watching the tension soaked encounter.

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AFCON: Go for the Cup, Glo Charges, Lauds Super Eagles

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Glo lauds Eaglesurges team to go for Cup 

Digital telecommunications solutions provider and notable sponsor of Nigerian football, Globacom, has congratulated the Super Eagles, the country’s football team, on their victory over South Africa, which  propelled the team to the final of the competition. The company called on the team to go for the cup in the final match on Sunday.

The Nigerian team sent home the daring Bafana Bafana on Wednesday in Bouake, Cote d’Ivoire, 4 goals to 2 on penalties. The score was tied at one goal apiece after extra time.

Nigeria will on Sunday play the hosts, Cote d’Ivoire, in the final in Abidjan. In the second semifinal match, the Ivoriens defeated Congo DR.

“We congratulate the players and officials for qualifying for the final. They have made the country proud, and inspired hope in every young Nigerian. They have once again demonstrated the resilience and can-do-spirit that Nigerians are known for”, Globacom said in a statement in Lagos on Wednesday.

The company also affirmed that the Nigerian squad was capable of winning the championship game and called on them to overcome the challenge of their upcoming opponents to bring the trophy back to Nigeria.

Globacom, led by its Chairman, Dr. Mike Adenuga, Jr., has been the biggest backer of Nigerian football over the years. The company has committed more than N20 billion supporting various sports programmes, the national teams, and the professional football league in Nigeria.

Dr. Adenuga gave the Nigerian national football team, the Super Eagles, a $1 million gift in 2013 for winning the 29th African Cup of Nations, which took place in South Africa.

His businesses have contributed to the growth of the sport in the nation by sponsoring the Nigerian national teams for N2 billion in 2011 and the Nigerian Premier League for three years at a cost of N1.9 billion.

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