ACN 2008: Group B (NIG, IVC, MAL, BEN) - Xtratime Community
View Poll Results: Who will advance from Group B?
Nigeria 5 14.29%
Ivory Coast 26 74.29%
Mali 4 11.43%
Benin 0 0%
Voters: 35. You may not vote on this poll

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post #1 of 95 (permalink) Old January 7th, 2008, 18:52 Thread Starter
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ACN 2008: Group B (NIG, IVC, MAL, BEN)

Group B consists of:

Nigeria
Ivory Coast
Mali
Benin

Fixtures:
21/01/08: Nigeria v Ivory Coast, Sekondi
21/01/08: Mali v Benin, Sekondi

25/01/08: Ivory Coast v Benin, Sekondi
25/01/08: Nigeria v Mali, Sekondi

29/01/08: Nigeria v Benin, Sekondi
29/01/08: vory Coast v Mali, Accra

Mens Sana In Corpore Sano

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post #2 of 95 (permalink) Old January 7th, 2008, 18:58
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Superb group this.

Mali will hopefully go through together with Nigeria, but Ivory Coast are the favourites of making it through.

Benin will get a tough time..

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post #3 of 95 (permalink) Old January 7th, 2008, 21:38
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toughest group

iam expecting both Mali and IC to go through

toughest and best group to watch

Summer wishlist [/U]
-CR/Kaka/Ribery
-Villa
-Xabi will go to Real Madrid
-Agger

Last edited by Raulito; January 8th, 2008 at 01:12.
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post #4 of 95 (permalink) Old January 7th, 2008, 23:23
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Cote D'Ivoire & Nigeria for me. NT over Club dude.
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post #5 of 95 (permalink) Old January 9th, 2008, 09:02 Thread Starter
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Article about the battle for the goalkeeping position in the Nigerian team between Enyeama, Ejide and Aiyenugba. Personally I cannot name my favourite. I know Enyeama, and he's not that bad (for a Nigerian GK ), but I don't know much about the other two. Maybe someone else does?

War Over Eagles No 1 shirt
Super Eagles goalkeeper of the moment, Dele Aiyenugba, says he has taken the team’s goalkeeper’s jersey for keeps
Tuesday, January 8, 2008

It is war in Malaga, Spain. It is a fierce battle between in-form Dele Aiyenugba, Austin Ejide and come-back Vincent Enyeama to wrest the Super Eagles No. 1 jersey. But Aiyenugba says the other contenders have to kill him first for him to surrender the shirt.


Photo: Sun News Publishing
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Aiyenugba spoke with Daily Sunsport a few hours before he left Israel for Malaga and, from his voice, it was obvious that the battle for the goalie’s jersey would be fierce.

"My coming in as No. 1 goalkeeper in those friendly matches against Australia and Switzerland was never by accident," Aiyenugba said. "It was designed by God who has revealed to me that my time has finally come. I’m ready to fight for the shirt, but I’m convinced that it is my time to shine in Ghana.

"I know it would be a strong contest but I’m poised to improve on my previous performance. I acknowledge the fact that Enyeama and Ejide have been there in the past but the shirt is not anybody’s inheritance. My time has come.

"It is going to be total war. I am not mincing words.

The era of someone monopolising the No.1 shirt at major competitions is over. I am ready to defend my words. We have good goalkeepers in this country that can challenge the monopoly of the Eagles’ goalkeeper’s jersey, like what is obtained everywhere in the world. I am going to lead this revolution with my abilities at stopping the ball from crossing the goal-line when we converge in Malaga.

"I am happy with the attitude of the present technical crew, as it concerns players positions and, if this attitude continues, I want to bet you that the best legs will represent Nigeria in Ghana.

"As you are aware, Vincent Enyeama had held sway at the goalkeeping position in the Super Eagles since the exit of Ike Shorunmu after the 2002 World Cup. But that equation has changed since the emergence of Berti Vogts as the manager of the team some months back.

This situation, which threw up Austin Ejide, has given me the confidence to fight on, and claim what rightly belongs to me.

The three of us now know that nobody can permanently lay claim to the Super Eagles’ goalkeeper’s shirt, and I feel it would give room for a healthy competition, which would eventually produce the best for the team.

"I am, however, confident that I’ll come out tops in this titanic battle for the soul of the Eagles and, by the grace of God, Nigerians will not be disappointed in me. Let me also say here that other positions in the team will witness the same competition when hostilities begin in Malaga and I can assure you that there will be surprises when the final list is made public. Strange faces will make the team from defence, midfield and attack.

"This is not to say that the deserving ones among the regular players will not be included in the team, all I am saying is that the best will eventually be selected at the end of the camping exercise in Malaga," Dele revealed.

The safe-hands also queried the statistic behind those who are bent on scuttling the camping arrangements in Malaga, using the cold weather as an excuse, and asked them to leave the decision to the Nigeria Football Association (NFA) and the technical crew.

"The fuss about the cold in Malaga is unfounded, as far as I am concerned. For goodness sake, all invited players are professionals who can adapt to changes in any weather conditions. So, the choice of Spain to me is not a misplaced priority.

Don’t forget that all the players started their playing careers back home in Nigeria with the attendant hot weather, but we all went to Europe and adapted almost immediately. In the same way, I can assure you that we will train in Spain and go to Ghana and do our nation proud."

On the issue of winning the trophy for the third time for Nigeria. Aiyenugba says the players have resolved to win in Ghana, even if it means laying down their lives as sacrifice to make the dream a reality.

"In the past three editions we had returned home with bronze medals, lamenting one excuse or the other but, in this edition, we are going to sing a new song of victory. It is either the trophy or nothing. The threats associated with the pairing of Mali and Cote d’Ivoire in our group is just a figment of some people’s imagination.

"No doubt, Cote d’Ivoire and Mali have good individual players but, as you are aware, the game of football is a collective game. I want Nigerians to do away with the fear of these countries and concentrate on prayers for the success of Nigeria in Ghana.

"We have the squad that can beat any team on the continent and I am happy that we now have enough time to play together as a team before the tournament kicks off.

"I want to thank all Nigerians for the confidence reposed in me all these years, and I promise not to disappoint them," Aiyenugba said.

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post #6 of 95 (permalink) Old January 9th, 2008, 17:18
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Ivory Coast temporarily replace coach Stielike

Ivory Coast have temporarily replaced coach Uli Stielike less than two weeks before the start of the African Nations Cup after the German's son fell into a coma, the Ivorian Football Federation said on Monday.

French coach Gerard Gili, who has steered Ivory Coast's under-23 team to their first Olympic Games in Beijing this year, will take over from Stielike.

"The national coach Ulrich Stielike has a few family problems, notably his son who is in quite a critical situation. Given this situation the president of the federation and his colleagues had to find a temporary solution," Ivorian Football Federation secretary general Ouattara Hegaud told Reuters.

"While we wait for Stielike's family situation to normalise, the team's preparations will be directed by Gerard Gili, the Olympic coach.

"Everything that was planned by Stielike remains the same, this is simply a human issue. But I think it is an issue which will be resolved very quickly and we will again see Stielike leading this team," said Hegaud.

Former West Germany and Real Madrid midfielder Stielike told Germany's SID sports news agency: "My son was taken into intensive care in hospital early on Sunday and is in a coma.

"I'll definitely miss the first two matches. Everything beyond that depends on my son's condition."

Former Olympique Marseille and Egypt coach Gili is no stranger to the national side, having acted as assistant to compatriot Henri Michel when the Ivorians reached the 2006 Nations Cup final and when they competed at the World Cup in Germany.

The Elephants are due to leave on Tuesday for a week-long training camp in Kuwait ahead of the start of the tournament in Ghana on Jan. 20

Ivory Coast, among the favourites for the Nations Cup, face Nigeria in their first match in Group B on Jan. 21. They also meet Mali and Benin in group matches.

Stielike, 54, has been Ivory Coast coach since October 2006. He put together an unbeaten run of six successive matches without conceding a goal at the start of his tenure which ensured the team qualified for the Nations Cup with some ease.



source: reuters

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post #7 of 95 (permalink) Old January 9th, 2008, 18:49
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post #8 of 95 (permalink) Old January 9th, 2008, 23:57
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Ivorian team is superior here. Nigeria is not as good as it used to be, just watch out for Martins.

Let our good thoughts be with Uli's son. Let the elephants play for him.

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post #9 of 95 (permalink) Old January 13th, 2008, 05:47
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In a Friendly today, Cote D'Ivoire beat Kuwait 2-0, with both goals from Chelsea players.

Kalou scored the first, and Drogba the 2nd.
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post #10 of 95 (permalink) Old January 13th, 2008, 12:10
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NIGERIA

Nations Cup finals facts and figures

PAST RECORD

* Winners: 1980, 1994

* Runners-up: 1984, 1988, 1990, 2000

* In the last three Nations Cup finals tournaments, Nigeria have been among the heavy favourites but were eliminated on each occasion at the semi-final stage.

RECENT FORM
* Nigeria have battled for consistency since missing out on the World Cup finals but did beat Euro 2008 co-hosts Switzerland 1-0 away in their last outing. They did lose 4-1 to Ghana in a London friendly at the start of the year.

COACH
* Berti Vogts will attempt to become the second coach to win the double of the European Championship and the African Nations Cup.

* The German was coach of his native country when they won the 1996 European Championship in England.

* Vogts, a World Cup winner in his playing days, took over as Nigeria coach at the start of 2007. The 61-year-old previously coached the national teams of Kuwait and Scotland and Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen.

LEADING PLAYER
* Portsmouth striker Nwankwo Kanu has yet to emulate his club form in the colours of the Nigerian team but will lead the Super Eagles in Ghana in what is likely to be his final fling at this level of continental competiton.

OTHER
* Nigeria will have several key players from the English Premier League, besides Kanu, including Everton's Yakubu and Joseph Yobo, John Utaka from Portsmouth, the Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel, newcomer Dickson Etuhu from Sunderland and Newcastle United's Obafemi Martins.

* Striker Peter Odemwingie was born in Kazakhstan but chose to play for Nigeria, where his father hails from.

* A recall for Israel-based goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama means there will be heavy competition to see who will be first choice in goal for Nigeria at the finals.



source: reuters

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post #11 of 95 (permalink) Old January 13th, 2008, 12:13
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IVORY COAST

Nations Cup finals facts and figures

PAST RECORD

* Winners: 1992

* Runners-up: 2006

* Apart from their two appearances in the final of a Nations Cup tournament, the Ivorians have also reached the semi-finals five times. They have qualified for 11 of the last 12 tournaments

RECENT FORM
German coach Uli Stielike put together an unbeaten run of eight successive matches without conceding a goal at the start of his tenure after the 2006 World Cup finals. Ivory Coast have lost recent friendlies to Angola and Austria.

COACH
* Ivory Coast have temporarily replaced Stielike after the German's son fell into a coma.

French coach Gerard Gili, who has steered Ivory Coast's under-23 team to their first Olympic Games in Beijing this year, will take over from Stielike.

"I'll definitely miss the first two matches. Everything beyond that depends on my son's condition," Stielike said.

LEADING PLAYER
* Striker Didier Drogba's participation in the finals depends on a rapid recovery from knee surgery at the start of December. He will be keen to atone for the penalty miss that cost the Ivory Coast in the post-match shootout that followed the 2006 final against Egypt.

OTHER
* Arsenal defender Kolo Toure is the force at the back for an Ivorian team that also includes his Barcelona-based brother Gneri Yaya Toure and the Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Didier Zokora

* The Ivorian Elephants have such a depth of talent in attack that Abdelkader Keita, who was the most expensive African signing when he moved to Olympique Lyon for 18-million Euros, cannot command a regular berth in the team.



source: reuters

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Nelson Mandela
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post #12 of 95 (permalink) Old January 13th, 2008, 12:15
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MALI

Nations Cup finals facts and figures

PAST RECORD

* Runners-up: 1972

* Mali have only played at four Nations Cup tournaments, but on each time reached the final four.

* They were semi-finalists in 1992, 2002, when the country hosted the tournament, and in 2004.

RECENT FORM
* Mali came through a tough qualifying group to emphasise their considerable progress. Defeats in friendlies against Senegal and Algeria in November ended a run of 12 matches without defeat stretching back to the end of 2005.

COACH
* Frenchman Jean-François Jodar takes charge at his first African Nations Cup finals as the coach of Mali, but has already won a world title.

* He was in charge of France's under-17 side which won the world championship in Trinidad and Tobago in 2001 and worked as an assistant to Raymond Domenech, current France manager when he was in charge of the country's under-20 side.

* Jodar, 58, previously worked in the United Arab Emirates as their national coach.

* In his playing career, the Frenchman played as a defender at Racing Strasbourg and Olympique Lyon. He was capped six times by France.

LEADING PLAYER
Frederic Kanoute was born in France and played for their under-21 side before switching his allegiance to Mali in late 2003. He is now fancied to win the 2007 African Footballer of Year award after helping Sevilla to a double cup success and a close run tilt at the Spanish league title

OTHER
* Mali's two other key players, the midfielders Mahamadou Diarra and Seydou Keita, also play in Spain. Diarra at Real Madrid and Keita at Sevilla, who signed him in the off-season.

* Veteran defender Sammy Traore has been brought back from the international wilderness to team up with the equally experienced Adama Coulibaly in defence.



source: reuters

"The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
Nelson Mandela
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post #13 of 95 (permalink) Old January 13th, 2008, 12:17
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BENIN

Nations Cup finals facts and figures

PAST RECORD

* Benin appear at the Nations Cup for only the second time, having lost all three of their matches on their maiden appearance in 2004.

* The small west African country scored once and conceded eight goals in their three matches at the 2004 Nations Cup finals.

* Benin were the last side to qualify for the 2008 finals, fiLling one of the three berths reserved for the best runners-up in the 12 qualifying groups.

RECENT FORM
* Their nine matches in 2007 returned three wins, three draws and three losses

COACH
* German Reinhard Fabisch was appointed coach of Benin in early December, just five weeks before the start of the tournament.

* The 57-year-old former Borussia Dortmund player returns to Africa after previous spells in charge of Kenya and Zimbabwe's national teams.

* Fabisch was approached after Benin failed to persuade Frenchman Philippe Troussier to take on the job, with officials determined to appoint a European coach despite the achievement of local Wabi Gomez in qualifying the team for the Nations Cup finals.

LEADING PLAYER
* Nigerian-born striker Razak Omotoyossi's aggressive style of play saw him finish as the joint top goal scorer in Sweden in 2007. He also helped Helsingborg into the knockout phase of the UEFA Cup.

OTHER
* French-based midfielder Stephan Sessegnon is earning rave reviews with a massive improvement in form this season with Le Mans in Ligue 1.

* The 37-year-od defender Alain Gaspoz is having a final swansong in Ghana. His career at FC Sion in Switzerland ended in May and he is now coaching at fourth division FC Bagnes.

* Winger Mouri Ogunbiyi helped Etoile Sahel of Tunisia to win the African Champions League in November, his third winners' medal in the last five years.



source: reuters

"The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
Nelson Mandela
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post #14 of 95 (permalink) Old January 13th, 2008, 15:28
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Oh, I forgot Kanoute is playing for Mali.
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post #15 of 95 (permalink) Old January 15th, 2008, 01:44
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Mali have some nice players but if they were as good as some make them out to be then why have they failed to qualify to the last edition of the ACN? They also struggled to reach the upcoming ACN. I think history and tradition will prevail, and honestly I want Nigeria to make it because I always had a soft spot for them, not to mention a certain Oba


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post #16 of 95 (permalink) Old January 17th, 2008, 08:24
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Cote D'Ivoire & Nigeria

" Blue Moon, You saw me standing alone
Whitout a dream in my heart
Without a love of my own "
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post #17 of 95 (permalink) Old January 17th, 2008, 08:25
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Quote:
I want Nigeria to make it because I always had a soft spot for them, not to mention a certain Oba
Oba look like hes gonna land on his head in that pic man lol

" Blue Moon, You saw me standing alone
Whitout a dream in my heart
Without a love of my own "
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post #18 of 95 (permalink) Old January 18th, 2008, 17:16
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Here's a interesting story about Razak Omotoyosi:

Benin Republic will shock Eagles in Ghana, says Omotoyossi

When the Super Eagles file out against the Squirrels of Benin Republic in the MTN African Cup of Nations in Ghana, Nigerian defenders will be battling to contain the forays of one of their own, Razak Omotoyossi, who has now changed nationality to that country.

Omotoyossi, was banned for five years by the Nigeria Football Association (NFA) in controversial circunstances in the 2003 season while playing for Sunshine Stars of Akure. In this interview with Gowon Akpodonor, Omotoyossi, now a top scorer in the Swedish league, promises to defend his adopted country (Benin) with all his might during the last group match with Nigeria. He also recalled the events that led to his ban, as well as Nigeria's chances at the African showpiece.

WITH Benin Republic gearing up for its second outing in the Confederation of African Football's (CAF) MTN African Cup of Nations later this month, Razak Omotoyossi has a lot of tricks up his sleeves. Banking on painful sentiments of the past, the striker would rather play the destroyer and sink the star-studded Super Eagles of Nigeria.

Beyond reveling in doing this as a way of paying back the NFA officials for the perceived injustice done to him barely five years ago, however, the Kwara State-born player says he owes his adopted country a duty to help her surmount stronger teams such as the Elephants of Cote d'Ivoire and the Eagles of Mali so as to secure a second round berth in the competition. And should he score goals, he said such would brighten his chances of getting mouth-watering offers when the curtain draws on the tourney.

"I always want to score in every game I play. I am not saying that I am the best player in the Benin national football team for now, but I am one of the best," he said.

"Playing against strikers such as Kanu Nwankwo, Obafemi Martins, Didier Drogba, Emmanuel Eboue and Fredrick Kanoute ,among others, in the Nations Cup will certainly be a thing of joy to me.

"Our target in the Nations Cup is to win the first match against Mali, which is a possibility. From there, anything can happen. The Super Eagles of Nigeria won't find my team easy in the last group match. That is one game I am going to play with all the strength I can muster. I have to prove a point to the NFA, telling them that what they did to me in 2003 was very unfair."


Born on October 8, 1985 in Lagos, Omotoyossi, whose father hails from Kwara State and mother from Edo State, started his football career with FC Ebedei, a professional division one team, in 2002 before moving to Sunshine Stars of Akure. But his dream of becoming a great footballer nearly faded away same year when the NFA slammed a five-year ban on him for allegedly beating up a referee during a Premier League game between his club, Sunshine Stars, and visiting Enyimba FC of Aba.

As one bent on taking his destiny in his hand, however, Omotoyossi quickly shifted base to nearby Benin Republic to continue his battle for survival after his several trips to the NFA in Abuja failed to yield fruits. His efforts at telling his own side of the story yielded no dividend as the officials brushed aside all he had to say, thereby threatening his career.

"The ban came in a manner nobody in my club expected," he recalled. "In the first place, I did not take part in any fight against the referee as claimed by the NFA. The video clip, which was shown later, revealed that a club mate of mine who was wearing jersey No.23 was standing beside the referee during the fracas.

"I wore jersey No.32 in that particular match, and I was never involved in any fight, but the NFA just refused to listen to my case. They mistook the jersey No.23 for jersey No.32.

"Throughout the period, it was like the entire world was against me. I traveled to Abuja over six times, borrowing money from friends and my relatives to sleep in hotels. In some cases, I spent nights on the road, but all my efforts to get the NFA to listen to my side of the story failed.

At the end of the entire episode, the NFA Disciplinary Committee found Omotoyossi and another club mate (Segun) guilty of assaulting the centre referee during the match which took place at the Akure Township Stadium, but even the club was not duly communicated to.

"It was like those NFA officials had made up their minds to terminate my football career, but God said no. At least, one should expect that the NFA would notify my club of the ban. Nobody did,"
he said.

"It was when I traveled to Abuja with Sunshine Stars for a Challenge Cup preliminary game against one amateur club that someone told my club officials that Segun and I had been banned for five years, meaning we can't play in that match. There was confusion at first, but it later turned out to be the truth."

He continued: "To make things worse for me, the management of Sunshine Stars refused to pay my sign-on fee and salary immediately it got confirmation from the NFA on the ban. Things were so difficult for me and there was nobody to cry to for any form of financial assistance.

"The club officials said that since I won't play football for five years because of the ban, there was no need wasting their money on me. I was practically begging for money to feed, but God said begging was not my portion in life.

"Look at the irony of things today. The same management of Sunshine Stars that said that they won't pay me because of NFA's unjustified ban in 2003 was the first to cry to FIFA for assistance when they wanted to claim money from Benin Republic national team because of me. They got about six million CFA, which is about (N1.2 million).

"When it dawned on officials of the NFA that the ban placed on me was done in bad faith, they decided to lift it, but that was after nine months of my suffering. I had already left the country for Benin Republic when I got the news that the NFA had lifted the ban.

"Again, there was no letter to that effect. Even if there was any, it wouldn't have made any meaning because I had already made up my mind not to play for Nigeria again."


Just like the story of Stephen Keshi, Henry Nwosu and others, who headed for Cote d'Ivoire for their football career shortly after their ban in 1985, Omotoyossi's first port of call in his adopted country (Benin Republic) was JS Poba FC, a premier division one club. Though he spent just three months with the club, Omotoyossi became the club's highest goal scorers before departing in 2004.

He left Benin Republic to sign for FC Sheriff, the top Moldovan club, in November 2005. The same year, he returned to Benin Republic to help the country qualify for the FIFA U- 20 Youth Championship, which took place in Holland. During the championship proper, he set a big record by scoring Benin Republic's first ever goal in any FIFA-organised competition. At the end of the tourney in Holland, FIFA picked Omotoyossi as one of the 13 most promising youth footballers, alongside the likes of Lionel Messi of Argentina and Mikel Obi of Nigeria.

From the Moldolvan league, Omotoyossi headed for Sweden, where he signed for Helsingborgs FC, a first division side. With just nine months with the club, he was able to find the net 14 times, which was enough for the 22-year-old striker to finish joint-top goal scorer in the Swedish league this season.

Omotoyossi has the benefit of playing alongside the Swede legend, Henrik Larsson, at Helsingborgs FC. But he is looking for a bigger opportunity to come from the English Premiership or the French league this new year.

"The best is to play in England because everyone wants to play there," Omotoyossi told The Guardian. "If it is not possible, I would like to go to France or Germany. I don't want to play in Sweden next season, but if I stay, I will try to do even better.

"The league in Sweden is a very difficult one. The game is man-to-man and strong. The first few months were very hard, but I had to get to understand their game. Playing together with Larsson helped me a lot. He is a good player with a good attitude. I learnt a lot from him."

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zoric man, do you have like 5 screens in your room streaming 7 channels while simultaneously following 10 livescore websites?

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ZORIC!!!


Feeling depressed about Kosovo? We still have ZORIC!!!

When someone asks for the most famous Serbian exports, you answer "Slivovica, Tesla i ZORIC!!!"
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post #19 of 95 (permalink) Old January 21st, 2008, 15:54
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post #20 of 95 (permalink) Old January 21st, 2008, 16:05
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