World Cup – Rio Ferdinand retires from International football

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The 34-year-old Manchester United defender made his debut in 1997, and had represented his country at three World Cups.

But the latter years of his international career were dogged by bitterness and controversy, following a falling out with fellow central defender John Terry and his strained relationship with manager Roy Hodgson.

Hodgson said, however, that he had been grateful for a phone call from Ferdinand to explain his decision.

“It is important to pay tribute to someone of Rio’s stature and the achievements he had in a senior international career with England over 14 years at the highest level,” Hodgson said.

“To have captained his country, to play at three World Cups and indeed score in one of those, marks him out amongst a very special group of players.

“I appreciated the call from Rio to inform me of his decision, which clearly he had spent much time considering before reaching this point.

Ferdinand is out of contract with Manchester United in the summer but is optimistic of penning a new deal at Old Trafford in the coming weeks.

He has not played for his country since June 2011. He was famously left out of Hodgson’s Euro 2012 squad for ‘football reasons’, though it came against the backdrop of Terry’s court case for a racially aggravated public order offence against his brother Anton.

Impressive form for his club earned Ferdinand an England recall in March – but the defender dropped out of the squad for the two World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro, and upset some fans by flying to Qatar to work as a pundit on the San Marino game instead.

Ferdinand said in an FA statement: “After a great deal of thought, I have decided the time is right for me to retire from international football.

“At the age of 34, I feel it is right for me to stand aside and let the younger players come through, which allows me to concentrate on my club career.

“The team looks in great shape and there is an influx of young, talented players coming through the ranks which bodes well for the future.

“I regard it as a great honor and a privilege to have represented my country at every level from U17s upwards.

“I have always been very proud to play for England. I would like to wish Roy and the team all the best for future tournaments.

“A big thank you to all the fans, Managers, Coaching Staff and players that I have worked alongside, the journey has been incredible.”

Heartland Defender To Be Discharged

njured Heartland defender Onyewuchi Onyechefula is expected to be discharged from the Federal Medical Center (FMC), Owerri in two weeks’ time.

Onyewuchi has been on admission at FCM, after his involvement in an auto accident last month on his way to his sides training session ahead of Nigerian Professional League (NPFL), match day seven against Lobi Stars at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri.

The Nigeria cup-holders strongman popularly called Bakassi sustained severe injuries on both legs but was lucky to escape with any form of fracture.

The Imo State government quickly moved in picked his medical bill when the Deputy Gov. Prince Ezemadumere visited him and ordered that he be moved to a special unite were the best medical attention will be given to him.

Onyechefule said he is on his feet once again but only waiting for the bandages on his legs to be removed for him to be discharged in the next two weeks.

“The wounds on my both legs are at advanced stage of healing, I’m feeling stronger already.

“There-after, I’ll start the rehabilitation for gradual return to active football. I don’t hope stay long off the pitch since I didn’t sustain any fracture.

I’m grateful to the state government and management of Heartland for their quick intervention in my plight”, said the former Gombe United player.

It is also reliably gathered that the state government will oversee his rehabilitation program until to competitive game.

NURTW Sure Of Traders/artisans Trophy

As the soccer competition organized by the Ministry of Youth and Sports to celebrate Gov. Rochas Okorocha’s two years in Douglas House continues, National Union of Road Transport Workers has vowed to lift the trophy.

In a chart with the team manager immediately after their first game at Nworieubi stadium, Mr. Lewechi Obike informed that his team’s mission in the competition is to win the first prize after winning their first game.

Obike who saw his team throw away a 3  1 lead in the dying minutes of their encounter with Fridge Workers fc but managed to win in the penalty shootout 7  6 assured that his boys will not allow such complacency in their next game.

“Yes we were a goal down after ten minutes but short into the lead after the equalizer, but the boys went to sleep at the dying minutes allowing them to get back 3  3.

“But we thank God that we overcame the scare in the shootout, and we will correct the lapses before our next game”, Obike stated.

The NURTW fc will today take on the  New Market fc in a second round knock-out game that will ensure their passage to the zonal final scheduled for Friday, 17th of May.

In the other games that were decided on Tuesday, 14 May, Furniture Makers fc  Weathral Road, Owerri piped Prefab Traders Association fc by a lone goal, while the encounter between Eziokwu K B Association fc and Timber Added Shops fc could not hold as the two teams failed to appear for their match.

Meanwhile the encounter between Okada fc, Umuowa in Orlu LGA and Timber Shade, Orlu also couldn’t hold as the venue Njaba LGA stadium was engaged and the game moved to the next day same venue by 1pm.

Today the last Knock-out games will be decided before the zonal finals as the zonal champions will proceed to the final stage which will be played at the Dan Anyiam stadium, Owerri.