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INTERVIEW: Why I left Remo Stars – Gbenga Ogunbote

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Remo Stars stunned many football fans with their performances in the recently completed 2021/2022 season.

Last season, the Ikenne-based club went undefeated in its first 11 games. Aside from that, in their first season in the NPFL, they ended with a continental ticket.

But everyone could see that it was because of the experienced coach, Gbenga Ogunbote, who was hired before the season began.

Fans have lauded Ogunbote with accolades like “Oracle, Ancelotti, etc.” for his work and the results he helped the club achieve.

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Ogunbote, nicknamed Oracle for his exploits with Sunshine Stars, joined the Sky Blue Stars last year following their promotion to the NPFL after two seasons in the second tier.

Remo Stars did not expect Ogunbote to achieve a continental ticket when they offered him a year-long contract, but he achieved that spectacularly.

While many expected Remo Stars to replicate Sunshine Stars’ continental exploits under Ogunbote, the club surprisingly announced Ogunbote’s departure after completing his one-year contract.

Many thought the former Sunshine Stars’ coach was in for a long-term project only for him to announce his departure this month.

Premium Times reached out to Ogunbote to find out what could have transpired regarding his departure.
PT: Why did you leave after achieving so much success with Remo Stars?

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Ogunbote: To the glory of God, I had one football season with Remo and we parted amicably as family and diligent personalities who have respect for a contractual agreement.

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It had been a collective responsibility and effort and after that, we decided to part ways without quarrel; without anything.
READ ALSO: NPFL: Remo Stars announce Ogunbote’s departure

Like I said, it will be honourable enough for both parties to respect the agreement we had at the initial stage. Hence, we parted.

PT: Was it your plan all along to leave after your contract?

Ogunbote: Like I said before now, my duty with Remo is (was) to stabilise the team so that the team can sustain its premiership status, to the glory of God we didn’t just do that, we surpassed it and went ahead to get a continental slot.

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PT: What do you know of the new coach?

Ogunbote: The man (Daniel Ogunmodede) who had taken over I want to tell you understands Remo Stars inside out and I want to believe that with the support of the management will achieve success for Remo Stars.

PT: Where are you moving to?

Ogunbote: The truth of the matter is, since Ogunbote is a free agent, you should expect that clubs might show offers and Shooting Stars might be one of them.

Just like you said, all these are speculations. But whether speculations or not, in a short while, we would all see where Ogunbote will head to.”

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PT: What are you looking for in your new job?

Ogunbote: I would want to be part of any team that we can reach an agreement on ambition and development, and Shooting Stars isn’t my only option.

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Former NFL star OJ Simpson dies

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OJ Simpson, the former American football star turned actor who was controversially cleared of double murder, has died aged 76.

Simpson died of cancer on Wednesday “surrounded by his children and grandchildren”, a family statement read.

San Francisco-born Orenthal James Simpson rose to fame in college before playing in the NFL.

In 1995, he was acquitted of the murder of his former wife Nicole Brown and her friend in a trial that gripped America.

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In 2008, he was sentenced to 33 years’ imprisonment on unrelated charges of armed robbery. He was released in 2017.

In 1994, Simpson was arrested as a suspect in the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ron Goldman. The pair were found stabbed to death outside Ms Brown’s home in Los Angeles. Simpson became an immediate person of interest in the case.

On the day he was due to turn himself in, he fled in a white Ford Bronco with a former teammate, and led the police on a slow-speed chase through the Los Angeles area.

That chase engrossed audiences in the United States and abroad as it was broadcast live on “rolling” 24-hour news channels still in their relative infancy.

In the ensuing court case, dubbed the “trial of the century” by US media, prosecutors argued Simpson had killed Brown in a jealous fury. Evidence included blood, hair and fibre tests linking Simpson to the murders.

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The defence argued Simpson was framed by police who were motivated by racism.

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In one of the trial’s most memorable moments, prosecutors asked Simpson to put on a pair of blood-stained gloves allegedly found at the scene of the murder, but Simpson struggled to fit his hands into them. It led to one of Simpson’s lawyers, Johnnie Cochrane, telling the jury in his closing arguments: “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”

The jury ultimately sided with Simpson, who had declared he was “absolutely 100% not guilty”. The acquittal proved hugely controversial.

The families of Ms Smith and Mr Goldman did not give up – they pursued a civil case against Simpson in 1997 and a jury found Simpson liable for the two deaths. He was ordered to pay $33.5m (£25.8m) in damages to their families.

In 2006, Simpson sold a book manuscript, titled “If I Did It”, and a prospective TV interview, giving a “hypothetical” account of the murders he had always strenuously denied.

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Public objections ended both projects, but Mr Goldman’s family secured the book rights, added material imputing guilt to Simpson and had it published.

Simpson’s final disgrace came in 2008, when he was convicted of armed robbery for breaking into a Las Vegas hotel room with four accomplices, holding two sports memorabilia dealers at gunpoint and stealing items related to his NFL career.

He was sentenced to 33 years in jail, but was granted parole after serving the minimum of nine years.

Before his legal problems, Simpson was well-liked, known as an athlete, actor and the face of several major companies.

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He was a college football star at University of Southern California before signing with the Buffalo Bills in 1969, where he played until 1977.

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He became one of the greatest ball carriers in NFL history. In 1973, he was the first NFL player to “rush” – running to advance the ball for his team – more than 2,000 yards in a season.

He retired in 1979 to concentrate on a career in film and television. His credits include roles in the Towering Inferno, Capricorn One and the Naked Gun series.

Broadcaster Bob Costas, who worked with Simpson on NBC’s American football coverage, said that while he was not the first African American star, “he was the first to do it in a big way, an African American who broke through”.

The Heisman Trophy organization, which names college football’s player of the season, said in a tweet that it mourned the 1968 winner and extended sympathies to his family.

In a statement, the Pro Football Hall of Fame outlined Simpson’s achievements as an NFL player, and said records of those contributions would be preserved in its archive.

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Fred Goldman, Ronald’s father, described Simpson’s death as “no great loss”.

“The only thing I have to say is it’s just further reminder of Ron being gone all these years,” he told the NBC News network. “It’s no great loss to the world. It’s a further reminder of Ron’s being gone.”

Caitlyn Jenner, once part of Simpson’s social circle, echoed Goldman, posting two words on Twitter/X: “Good riddance.”

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PSG to pay huge buyout fee for Osimhen

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Both top French and Italian media outlets have reported that PSG is ready to pay the massive buyout fee set by Napoli for Victor Osimhen.

The fee is believed to be around €130 million.

Various publications from both France and Italy said Osimhen, whose valuation by Transfermarkt is put at €110 million, is the No 1 target for PSG to replace Kylian Mbappe.

Mbappe is widely expected to finally make his way to Real Madrid after many months of speculations.

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By meeting the buyout fee for Osimhen, PSG will therefore not have to negotiate with Napoli.

Osimhen has also been linked to several top Premier League clubs, but they would rather prefer to pay far less than the striker’s buyout fee.

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Liverpool back to top after thrashing Sheffield United

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Liverpool are back to the top of the English Premier League after thrashing Sheffield United 3-1 at the Anfield Stadium in London.

Liverpool took the lead in the 17th minute of the match. Keeper Ivo Grbic totally miss-kicked his clearance straight to Darwin Nunez, who rifled the ball back into the net from close range.

In the 58th minute, Conor Bradley scored an unlucky own goal. He deflects a shot into his own net to make it 1-1.

In the 76th minute, Liverpool made it 2-1. The ball rebounded and arrived at the feet of Alexis Mac Allister just outside the box. He fired a brilliant shot into the top right corner. His attempt was beyond the reach of Ivo Grbic.

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In the 90th minute, Liverpool made it 3-1. Andrew Robertson showcased his brilliant technique and produced a beautiful lofted cross into the box. Cody Gakpo got onto the scoresheet by heading it low inside the right post.

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