Kanu, Cambiasso Honoured with Invites to FIFA U-17 World Cup Draw

first_imgSpeaking on his invitation to the Under-17 World Cup Draw in India, Kanu admitted that Nigeria’s victory at the cadet World Cup really spurred his career to the lofty heights he attained before calling it quits.“The FIFA U-17 World Cup 1993 really spurred my career – within years of winning the title, I won the Olympic gold and from there, as I would like to believe, there wasn’t any looking back,” stressed Kanu to FIFA.com yesterday.The former Inter Milan and Arsenal great stressed that the competition provides young players the opportunity to express themselves and develop.“This tournament provides youngsters the necessary stage for development and I believe this year’s edition (India 2017) will provide us all with exceptional talent – much like the previous tournaments,” concludes the two-time winner of African Footballer of the Year award.Africa is to be represented in India by the quartet of Mali, Ghana, Guinea and Niger Republic.Mali was the runners-up at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Chile 2015. The junior Eagles retained the CAF Under-17 Africa Cup in Gabon to be at the top of African representatives in India in October when hostilities begin.Interestingly, another past star of the competition, Esteban Cambiasso who played for Argentina at the 1995 edition was also invited to join Kanu at the Draw in New Delhi.Cambiasso who won the FIFA U-20 World Cup 1997 and was part of Argentina’s team at the 2010 FIFA World Cup will be joined by Indian local legends Sunil Chhetri and PV Sindhu, who will take part as draw assistants tomorrow.Chhetri is India’s national football team captain and all-time top goalscorer. Twenty-one-year-old badminton player PV Sindhu is one of India’s finest athletes at the moment and made waves after winning the Olympic silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, becoming the youngest Indian to make a podium finish in an individual event at the Olympics.A total of 52 games will be played to decide the winner of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Duro IkhazuagbeEven with the absence of Golden Eaglets from the defence of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup, the game’s governing body and Local Organising Committee (LOC) of India 2017 yesterday invited Nwankwo Kanu to attend the Official Draw ceremony scheduled for tomorrow, July 7, 2017.Nigeria is the back-to-back champion of the 2013 and 2015 editions held in UAE and Chile respectively.Kanu won the 1993 edition in Japan with the Golden Eaglets to set off a career that has made him a legend of the game today. Three years later, Kanu led Nigeria’s Dream Team to the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games to claim the men’s football gold for Africa for the first time.He played for the Super Eagles at the 1998, 2002 and 2010 editions of the FIFA World Cups before bowing out of the round leather game.last_img read more

UW fans should enjoy national ranking while it lasts

first_imgYou are told to appreciate life’s great moments because you never know how long they will last. Faster than an unnecessarily rushed 3-pointer while trailing late in the game or the Izzone flowing onto the floor like tears from Izzo’s own eyes, the luster of the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team owning the No. 1 spot in the national rankings faded away. The Badgers just didn’t execute down the stretch when they needed to most, something that has become characteristic (even after only three episodes) of this team when losing. But enough of the sour grapes. The Wisconsin Badgers are the No. 1 team in the country. Now there’s a sentence I never really believed I would type. Despite the loss, Wisconsin can lay claim to the top spot in the Associated Press poll until sometime next Monday afternoon. Although some of the excitement of Sunday’s first-ever game between two No. 1 teams may be gone, the game will still be played as such — Wisconsin will have a No. 1 next to its name (CBS uses the AP rankings). And when you stop to think about it, being No. 1 is really something special. Growing up in the Milwaukee area, I remember Badgers sports always being a big topic of conversation. I spent every Saturday in the fall playing youth-league soccer games before coming back home to watch Brent Moss, Terrell Fletcher, Lee Deramis, Ron Dayne and company play. In fact, I still own my 1999 Ron Dayne jersey and wear it to every game. My first real sports memory is of Wisconsin winning the ’94 Rose Bowl. I didn’t really know a whole lot back then, but I figured it had to be pretty good. Not No. 1, though. During basketball season, I would make the trip up to Madison a couple times every year, to go to the Plaza for dinner and bubble hockey, and then the Field House (later the Kohl Center) for basketball games with my uncle. In 2000, UW hoops made an improbable run — actually, it was more like a walk — to the Final Four under Dick Bennett. While that team was leagues better than many that came before it, and fans were genuinely excited about the team, there was really no sense that the team was anything more than an annual good-story tournament team. The point is, between football and basketball, Wisconsin never really stood out as being the best at either. The sports have always been just good enough for fans to get excited but not dominant enough to rise to the top nationally. As a lifelong Wisconsin fan, I was comfortable with it. The times are changing, though. Bret Bielema has openly discussed his desire to take the football program to the “next level” — something Barry Alvarez never did — and seems intent on following through. And Bo Ryan has put the basketball team in a position of national prominence for years to come. We are entering what should be a revival for UW athletics, and fans attitudes need to change right along with the expectations. So there I sat Monday afternoon, refreshing my browser every couple minutes and still staring at last week’s rankings. For the first time in my life the Badgers legitimately had a chance to be the No. 1 team in the country. Did I expect it to happen? No. I fully expected for Ohio State to grab the top spot, followed by a week of “We’ll show them; we get no respect” talk from Badgers fans. I even jokingly told my roommate Wisconsin was the No. 1 team in the country. Apparently I wasn’t too convincing, because he didn’t buy it. Then it happened. This time the browser refreshed and the following was printed at the top of the page: 1. Wisconsin (35) 26-2 1,747. This time, I convinced him. My roommates and I spontaneously broke out into “Hail! To the Victors” — a bad habit we acquired on a road trip to the Big House not because we like Michigan (we don’t), but because it’s catchier than the “Macarena” — before eventually settling back into the more true-to-our-roots “On Wisconsin.” We were excited, to say the least. But what happens now after Tuesday’s loss? I think that is a question that few really know how to answer. Still, after never holding a No. 1 ranking in the basketball program’s history, Wisconsin finally does. Make sure you appreciate this week: Cherish every graphic showing Wisconsin at No. 1, read every story and celebrate it like a true No. 1 team. Ben is a sophomore majoring in political science. You won’t find him crying like Izzo and he’s still excited for the Ohio State-Wisconsin game. He can be reached at bvoelkel@badgerherald.com.last_img read more