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Back where he belongs: Chelsea’s reformed ‘bad boy’ Jody Morris is Frank Lampard’s most trusted ally

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The excitement around Frank Lampard’s potential return to Chelsea from current club Derby County has generated a media frenzy but it is worth noting that another vital figure from the club’s recent past is also on his way back to Stamford Bridge.

Lampard’s assistant manager, Jody Morris, is Blue through and through and a well-respected coach in his own right, having played a pivotal role in helping Chelsea’s youth teams scale new heights before leaving his boyhood team to take up a role at Pride Park.

In his day, Morris was a technically gifted midfielder who became, and remains, the youngest player to play for Chelsea in the Premier League, at 17 years and 43 days old.

Unsurprisingly, Blues fans loved him from the off. However, he wasn’t just adored because he was a local boy; Morris was also a fine footballer, as he memorably underlined by getting the better of fellow wonderkid Xavi in a 3-1 win over Barcelona in April 2000.

Louis van Gaal’s team, which boasted superstars such as Luis Figo, Patrick Kluivert and Rivaldo, eventually got the better of the Blues, triumphing 5-1 in the return fixture at Camp Nou.

However, during that first leg in west London, Morris looked destined to achieve great things at Chelsea. Xavi even later named him his toughest opponent.

Morris himself has never hidden his disappointment at the way in which many of his proteges were forced to go elsewhere in search of regular football. His return should boost the first-team chances of the club’s numerous loanees and under-age prospects.

Jayden Bogle, Max Bird and Mason Bennett at Derby will tell you that this coaching team gives youth a chance. Former Blues captain Dennis Wise is also in no doubt that Chelsea’s players will respect Lampard and Morris’ frankness and meticulous approach to the game.

“I think they are both very honest,” Wise told Goal last season. “I think they tell people what they expect.

“I think they are very detailed on what they want from their players and then you always need a little bit of luck, always on your side. If they get the luck, they have already got the detail and understanding.”

They will also have the entire Chelsea crowd behind them.

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Tinubu Confers MON Honours on Super Eagles Players, Gifts Them Land, Flats

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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.

TheCable

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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: Glo Lauds Super Eagles, Urges Team to Go for Cup

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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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