News Brief

It’s Been Tough Financially for Nigeria’s Football Team—So A Japanese Benefactor Has Pledged Some Dough

A Japanese plastic surgeon has offered $30,000 to each player of Nigeria’s football squad if they can win gold in Rio.

Rio 2016 has been a rough ride for Nigeria’s football team.


Financial woes have plagued the team’s gold medal ambitions. The football team had barely made it to Rio for their preliminary match against Japan over a flight payment mix-up. Then the Nigerian athletes showed up in track suits for the Opening Ceremony because their official outfits didn’t arrive in time, which caused Nigerian-American blogger Awesomely Luvvie to mtchew .

Just last week, Chelsea star and team captain Mikel Obi had to cough up $4,000 to to secure his team’s release from a Sao Paulo hotel that held them at ransom over unpaid bills. They barely caught their flight Salvador.

Now word is two alternate players Stanley Dimgba and goalkeeper Yusuf Mohammed alongside the team’s media officer and coordinator Timi Ebikagboro have been sent home Monday over the financial burden of housing and feeding non-essential players, which contributed to the Sao Paulo holdup.

"We said they should send them back home if they could not take care of them (players and officials)," a Football Federation spokesman for Nigeria says.

To boot, it’s been two long decades since Nigeria’s football squad made Olympic history as the first African team to win gold medal in Athens, Georgia.

Enter renowned Japanese plastic surgeon Katsuya Takasu who has taken pity on Nigeria’s team after hearing about its financial hardship. He has pledged $30,000 to each player if they can grasp gold, $20,000 for silver and $10,000. That’s quite a payday.

"I am not doing this for media attention but to motivate a team with an indomitable spirit. I fell in love with the Nigerian team because despite all these problems they are in the quarter-finals of the Olympics," Takasu tells BBC Sport. "Whether they win or not, I will still donate something to help alleviate the challenges in paying their bonuses and allowances."

Hopefully, Nigeria can triumph over Germany in Wednesday’s semi-finals, which would make all their financial woes worth the weight.

Interview

Kofi Jamar Switches Lanes In 'Appetite for Destruction'

The Ghanaian rapper and "Ekorso" hitmaker presents a different sound in his latest EP.

The drill scene in Ghana has been making waves across the continent for some time now. If you're hip to what a crop of young and hungry artists from the city of Kumasi in Ghana and beyond have been doing over the past year, then you already know about rapper Kofi Jamar.

Towards the end of November last year he dropped one of the biggest drill songs to emerge from Ghana's buzzing drill scene, the popular street anthem "Ekorso." In the December and January that followed, "Ekorso" was the song on everyone's lips, the hip-hop song that took over the season, with even the likes of Wizkid spotted vibing to the tune.

Currently sitting at over 10 million streams across digital streaming platforms, the song topped charts, even breaking records in the process. "Ekorso" maintained the number one spot on Apple Music's Hip-Hop/Rap: Ghana chart for two months uninterrupted, a first in the history of the chart. It also had a good stint at number one of the Ghana Top 100 chart as well, among several other accolades.

Even though he's the creator of what could be the biggest song of Ghana's drill movement till date, Kofi Jamar doesn't plan on replicating his past music or his past moves. He has just issued his second EP, a 6-track project titled Appetite for Destruction, and it would surprise you to know that there isn't a single drill song on it. Although drill played a huge role in his meteoric rise, he wants to be known as way more than just a drill rapper. He wants to be known as a complete and versatile artist, unafraid to engage in any genre — and he even looks forward to creating his own genre of music during the course of his career.

We spoke to Kofi Jamar about his latest EP, and he tells us about working with Teni, why he's gravitating away from drill to a new sound, and more. Check out our conversation below.

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