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USA refuge for Nigeria stars past and present

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Many Nigerian players who have found “refuge” in the United States of America never planned to quit active football when they did, but the experiences behind their move to America are better imagined than told.

No fewer than 50 Nigerian players and counting are currently eking out a living in the US and many more have not been lucky to continue what’s left of their chequered lives in the God’s Own Country due to lack of funds or visa denials.

The worst hit of this trend are the NPFL players – both active and retired – who have found relocating to the US tough, but still hoping to get on the move once the opportunity comes.

The Nigeria Professional Football League players have not kicked a ball since the last season drew its curtains four months ago and after several postponements, and action will return to the league venues today.

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The NPFL players’ pockets have been hit badly following the uncertainty sorrounding the resumption of the new season and lack of competitiveness has not also translated into moving abroad to further compound their woes back home.

Agents have scarcely been on the trail of NPFL players due to league inactivity and the players have hung on survival instincts to keep moving.

Many who have had opportunities with the national teams may have cursed their decisions to hang on in Nigeria, while their US or Schengen visas expired before the lure of bettering their lives outside Nigeria beckoned badly.

Attempts to lift their lives from the woods have not been helped with visa denials at the embassies leaving the players cursing their luck, while they refused to help their lives when they had better opportunities to move abroad at least to work for survival.

For those who succeeded to cross the Rubicon, they have savoured the new life in the US and counted themselves lucky to leave the troubled shores of Nigeria.

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One-time NPFL top scorer and former Orlando Pirates and Club Africain striker Ezenwa Otorogu is one of the former NPFL players who “escaped” to the US as the trend continues to grow among Nigerian players.

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The former Enyimba star has since settled down in US for a brand-new lease of life and put behind his harrowing experiences of his second return to the local league after he was released by his Israeli club.

The 2008 NPFL season top scorer is currently enjoying all the perks of his new American life as he’s settled in his new life as a worker, not even remembering what part of his home he hung his boots in Aba.

Otorogu endured the agonies of poor and delayed entitlements after he returned from Israel to put his career back together before US smiled on him to bring back a smiling face.

His ex-El Kanemi Warriors’ mate Ikechukwu “Mosquito” Ibenegbu had nothing to prove again in the NPFL with club and individual honours complementing his long NPFL sojourn, has also left the troubles of NPFL to join him in the US.
Ex-Enyimba star Rasheed Olabiyi has also stayed put in the USA

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He’s done this, done that in the local league and age was not on his side any longer to keep attracting mouth-watering figures from clubs hence his decision to better his life after football which Nigeria may not fully guarantee.

“Mosquito” could not secure a move outside the shores of Nigeria despite his superb outings for Enyimba and Rangers and with age catching up with the mercurial midfielder it wasn’t as good as it got for him.

“Mosquito” has since reunited with his long-time friend to bring their once lively El-Kanemi dressing room to Maryland where the duo have taken “refuge” after their tough times in Nigeria.

Otorogu isn’t the only ex-foreign based player who has sought new life in the US – a good number have put behind their bad experiences of securing clubs after being released from their foreign clubs to smile again in the US.

After painting India red and leaving no milestones to achieve, Ranti Martins found a new home in the US after winding up his career in Malaysia.

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Smart investor back home and in Ghana where he kick-started his hugely successful career, Martins also took his investment to US where he has since settled with his family.

Former Sunshine Stars’ striker Victor Kayode Igbekoyi had a very successful career in Azerbaijan, where he turned out for five clubs before he moved to US to play for North Caroline in the USL Champions in 2018.

The Ondo-born star, whose clearance to star for adopted Sierra Leone could not be finalised before he was withdrawn from the Leone Star’s team to play Tunisia in an AFCON qualifier, decided to permanently move to US after hanging his boots.

Still back home and hanging on the hope for a better life in the US, local players have also gone on the desperate route to get on the US escape route by looking for funds to pay agents for US visas.
‘Mosquito’ Ibenegbu chilling out in the USA

Not too many success stories have been told of this, but a few have succeeded and off they jetted out leaving their worries back home.

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Even the retired are not left out in the most sought after US succour – some of whom donned the national colours and played abroad.

Life in the US, according to them, is better than hanging on irregular wages and near endless league kick-off postponements and menial jobs over there can at least put food on the table and a few more dollars to send home.

With education alien to some of them, unskilled jobs keep body and soul together, while they work hard to obtain Green Cards through marriages to raise some bars for their lives.

The ageing ones in the NPFL appear to be the most desperate in this US survival story and more often than not they get a new lease of life leaving for the US through arranged marriages to US citizens organized by their younger more successful friends, who were lucky to “escape” to US.

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While the ageing and the clueless grope in the dark and waiting for miracles, a few still active have hatched up plans for their smooth move to the US when they finally call time back home.

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One of those is a NPFL veteran, who told SCORENigeria he’s garnered enough life experience playing in Nigeria and abroad to put his life in his desired standard.

Part of his post-career plans is to move to US and continue his life without having to hang on anybody or anything for crumbs.

He said he has kept his US contacts close to his heart for a smooth transition, while his US visas are regularly renewed.

“I have turned both mentor and financial adviser to younger players and to my greatest joy, I’ve succeeded in helping lots of players to move to US for better lives after football,” the veteran continued.
Ranti Martins in the USA

“I have read many books and gained lots of information about immigration and its requirements which many of my colleagues are ignorant of or poorly educated to know.

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“A few derailing players have had their steps redirected by my advice thanks to my timely advice and interventions.

“I’m so close to some that even their families rely on me to bring their heads home and a lot have succeeded.

“I have had friends who played in Europe that didn’t know immigration opportunities therein until I told them and thank God lots have succeeded.

“Several times, I’ve succeeded in advising players to shelve pleasure and put their future in the right direction.

“Some who were and still are based in Europe I have advised to move their families to US and quit coming home on holidays to show off.”

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The US trend seems to have caught up with the active foreign-based players currently as many of them have moved their families to US, while they remain in Europe to see off their careers with a view of moving over when their careers are ove

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Celebrities

“Let’s celebrate” Psquare mark 41st birthday

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It is the birthday of one of Nigerians favorite duo, Peter and Paul Okoye of Psquare.

The twins who turn 41 have taken to their Instagram pages to celebrate themselves.

Sharing the same photo, Peter and Paul sent birthday wishes to each other.

They also used the opportunity to promote their new concert at Eko Hotels and Suites.

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Peter Okoye wrote” Happy Birthday to us!! & See y’all this Sunday 20tb @EKO hotels and suites. Let’s celebrate

Paul Okoye wrote, “Yep it’s our birthday. See y’all this Sunday 20tb @EKO hotels and suites. Let’s celebrate”.

Psquare’s 40th birthday

For their 40th birthday last year, Peter and Paul Okoye had taken to social media to celebrate themselves in a sweet way.

This was their first birthday together after a long beef that spanned over four years before they reconciled and reunited on Wednesday night, 17th November 2021.

Taking to their respective Instagram page, the twin brothers shared a photo of themselves accompanied with happy birthday wishes.

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Paul Okoye wrote: Happy birthday to us and tagged his brother peter.

Peter Okoye wrote: It’s our birthday, alongside multiple love emojis.

Nigerian celebrities who were overjoyed with their reunion, had stormed the internet to celebrate them.

In a delightful outpour, some Nigerian celebrities like Daddy Showkey, Davido, Kate Henshaw, Destiny Etiko, Funnybone, Zubby Michael and many others had showered love and prayers on them via their Instagram page.

Paul Okoye opens up on Psquare’s split

Following their reconciliation, Paul Okoye, had explained why he crashed his relationship with his twin, brother, Peter for six years.

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Speaking during an interview, Paul said they fought for six years because of the “devil” but he said they are back for good.

He further emphasised that they are not just back for good together but also have shamed the “Devil”.

Psquare celebrates birthday
Psquare celebrates birthday

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Celebrities

“The journey isn’t that easy” Kwam1 admits in emotional note to wife, Emmanuella on their 1st wedding anniversary

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It is the 1st wedding anniversary of Legendary Fuji singer, Kwam1 and his wife, Emmanuella Ropo.

Recall that King Wasiu Ayinde tied the knot on this day last year to socialite, Emmanuella at a star-studded wedding.

Marking their first anniversary, Kwam1 ever the romantic lover owned a beautiful note to his wife.

He recounted how he started the journey with her and admitted that the journey hasn’t been easy for them.

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However, they will continue to weather the storm together.

Wishing her a happy anniversary, he rained prayers on their marriage.

“A year ago, I announce the beginning of a new chapter in my love life, with the arrival of my Angel sent from heavenly father, to love, adore and cherish for the easy because of side takes, but we weather the storm by the special grace of God Almighty. May we continue to enjoy the blessings as dictate by God the more. Happy Wedding Anniversary to us AYAMI…..Itesi Oroki Omo Olukojiya, same you Ojanimogun ara ijamo, Omo Epo N Pon roro. Aya Omoba Fidipotemole Ojusagbola Ogoji”.

Kwam1’s wife pens touching tribute to him

Months back, Emmanuella Ropo, had gotten many talking with her touching tribute and vow.

Emmanuella left many in awe of her sweet relationship with the singer despite numerous hearsay from critics and haters.

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Taking to Instagram, Emmanuella shared a lovely photo of herself and her husband, Ayinde Marshall, accompanied by a heartwarming tribute.

Emmanuella revealed how the singer made her happy even when she least expected it, stating every day with him is beautiful.

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She also made a strong vow to KWAM1, stating she would be with him until her very last day.

She wrote: Everyday is beautiful with you my man, you have this incredible way of making my heart happy, It’s so amazing when you come into my life, and I expect nothing out of it, yet suddenly, right in front of my eyes, is everything I ever needed. Until my very last day, I’ll be loving you”.

Kwam1’s wedding

In 2021, the internet was on a shutdown over the wedding of the Fuji singer.

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TheHeute News recalls that over 30 traditional monarchs, Nollywood stars, including friends and family, turned up for the wedding of the 64-year-old singer and the love of his life.

Kwam1 and wife celebrate anniversary

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Celebrities

It’s sarcasm – Netizens react after BBNaija’s Tega advised man whose pregnant wife was caught cheating

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Former Big Brother Naija housemate, Tega Dominic has come under fire for advising a man whose pregnant wife was caught cheating on him with a man alleged to be a pastor.

In the video making rounds on social media, a man caught his pregnant wife identified as Martha naked and another man alleged to be a pastor on their matrimonial bed. In what is described as an odd scene, the room was filled with lighted candles, red cloths and calabash; an indication that a sacrifice was taking place.

Tega reacts to viral video, advises man

Celebrities have reacted to the viral video as many of them urged the man to move on in order to heal. However, Tega urged him to pray to God to heal his wife as she is of the opinion that she is hypnotized.

She wrote: “Go down on your knees and pray, ask God to intervene and bring her back to her senses, its the work of the devil, so not giving the devil a chance, keep praying pls, don’t let the devil take what belongs to you pls”.

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Netizens react to Tega ‘s advice

Netizens have reacted after Tega advised the man whose pregnant wife cheated to pray so that she can regain her senses. Many noted that she is being sarcastic while others knocked her, reminding her that she cheated during the Big Brother Naija show.

Elmanngram wrote: I really don’t understand how people who couldn’t stay in a marriage now wanna give Marriage advice. Let the man do what he pleases.

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Your Fav First Lady wrote: She’s being sarcastic, the fact that you guys can’t read through it is something else.

Sandy Preneur wrote: Na so them dey talk if the tables are turned. “Pray for your home, go to God in prayer, enter the war room on behalf of your husband, don’t let the enemy win”

Charles wrote: She is obviously being sarcastic.

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Jane Iyke wrote: Tega is just being sarcastic una no understand. If it were to be a woman that caught her husband,she will be asked to fast and pray and take what belongs to her back.

Comedian Acapella wrote: This very sarcasm has been overused by the way.. No be una women dey give una selves those advice? Plus I’ve not seen womens comments saying “she’s the one that took the vow” you have no business with the side dude, Blame it all on the one that took the vow, abi how them dey talk am again if it was the other way round.

Tomisin wrote: you guys don’t get it … she’s clearly referring to the advice women get when they catch their men cheating .. women are also told to pray.

Olumide wrote: see pot calling kettle black. You cheated too.

Slim Linda wrote: A lot of you don’t understand humor, She’s being sarcastic, cos if the case is reversed, the world would be telling the woman to pray her husband out.

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Ella053 wrote: Madam, you did the same thing during the BBNaija show. Drop the sacarsm.

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Tega Dominic appreciates God as her son, Jamil recovers from illness

TheHeute news recalls that Tega Dominic penned an appreciation note to God for the healing of her son, Jamil.

The 30-year-old mother who trended over her alleged affair with fellow housemate, Boma Akpore in Biggie’s house shared a picture of herself and her son on the hospital bed as she pens a note of gratitude to God for healing him.

She wrote,

“Thank you lord for my son, I am grateful for the gift of life I am grateful, for the gift of being my peace I am grateful, who am I that you are mindful of lord, Thank you”.

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Her fans took to her comments section to wish her well.

Netizens Slams Tega Dominic

TheHeute  news recalls that Tega Netizens shaded her for advising parents on how to train their kids.

She tweeted: “Dear mothers, teach your boy and girl child about loyalty as they grow, teach them about relationships, it will open a million doors where money can’t”.

Reacting, some Netizens told her she is not in a position to advise mothers because she failed to prove she is a true mother. Others simply referred to what transpired with Boma during the ‘shine ya eye’ edition of Africa’s biggest reality TV show.

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