Golden Eaglets victory over Ecuador, vital lesson in resilience — Buhari

first_imgRelatedPosts Nigeria dying under Buhari’s jackboot, by Tunde Odesola Edo poll: APC supporters commend Buhari for providing level playing field Buhari holds closed-door meeting with Ghana’s President President Muhammadu Buhari has applauded the performance of the Golden Eaglets on Tuesday in their second game at the ongoing Under 17 FIFA World Cup competition in Brazil, which saw them winning 3-2 after they had trailed Ecuador by 1-2, with five minutes to the end of the match. The position of President Buhari was contained in a statement late on Tuesday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina. According to the President: “The fact that the youngsters never gave up, and turned the table against their opponents, is a lesson in persistence and resilience.” President Buhari recommended the can-do spirit displayed by the young boys to Nigerians, urging them to display such in all areas of endeavour and in national development. While wishing the Eaglets well in their final group match against Australia, which may well be a formality, President Buhari pledged government’s support to the team as they strive to win the Under 17 World Cup yet again, thus confirming Nigeria’s position as a global power at that level.Tags: Femi AdesinaGolden EagletsMuhammadu Buharilast_img read more

Nick Mariano honors late childhood friend by wearing No. 23

first_imgEvery time Nick Mariano dresses for a game, he’s reminded of the person he plays for, the reason he wears No. 23 and that there’s more to life than the competitions he consumes himself with.Growing up, Nick always wore No. 13. His three brothers wore it too. Thirteen was the family number. But that changed on April 30, 2010, when Christian Federico, a childhood friend of Nick’s, died unexpectedly while jogging on the University of Maryland campus.In honor of him, Nick changed his number in lacrosse to No. 23, the number Christian wore. He began wearing the same undershirt that reads, “Always In Our Hearts” for every game.“After he passed away, that’s when I told myself I would try and be the best player and person I possibly can be because I wanted to follow his footsteps,” Nick said. “He was one of the most influential people I’ve had in my life.”Through 11 games this season, Mariano has continued making good on his promise. He leads No. 9 Syracuse (7-4, 2-2 Atlantic Coast) with 25 goals in his first year at SU after transferring from Massachusetts. The junior midfielder’s 2.2 goals per game rank fifth in the ACC. His lefty cannon shot from the outside has added a dimension to the Orange’s offense.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textNick, despite living in Yorktown, New York, met Christian when his father was an assistant football coach at Ossining (New York) High School. And in all of Nick’s success, Christian has always been right there. A bracelet dangles on Nick’s wrist with “C-FED” inscribed on it and the number sewn to his uniform is another constant reminder.“He’s still with us today and he pushes me to the edge,” Nick said. “He’s always by my side.” Shortly after Christian’s death is when Nick first received the shirt. And around the same time, late spring of his freshman year at Yorktown, it was time for seniors to pass down numbers. The original plan was for senior Remy Lieberman to pass down 13 to Nick. Lieberman knew Nick was “going to be something special.”But Nick had something more special in mind. He wanted to honor Christian. And before taking 23, which became available, he asked Christian’s parents if they would be OK with it.For him to feel that way about wearing Christian’s number definitely made us very happy and very proud. That he was doing that to honor him.Lou FedericoAt UMass, Nick requested 23 before any other freshman and easily laid claim to a number that means more than a number. At Syracuse, it appeared it would be a little harder.Goalie Parker Ferrigan had 23 for two seasons and Nick was scared he wouldn’t end up with it. But about two or three weeks before officially signing paperwork to join SU, he found out that Ferrigan was transferring.Director of operations Roy Simmons III texted Nick saying it was available. Nick immediately told his dad, Phil, and began tearing up.“‘You’re not going to believe this, Dad,’” Phil recalled Nick said in a text message. “He said, ‘I got 23.’ … I said that’s fate, Nick.”Then Phil texted Christian’s dad, Lou.“Guess who’s following him around?” Phil said.The same person who thanked him for water, was with him during a dramatic high school football win and has been stitched on his back since he first slipped on the jersey. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ That’s how he keeps Christian close to him. Once in high school, Nick wore a different version of the same undershirt since his dad had extras. But it didn’t feel right. It wasn’t as faded as the original. It didn’t have the same rip on the lower left side of the back of the shirt.“I didn’t play well in the game,” Nick said, “so I took that off, and I put the old one back on.” Published on April 17, 2016 at 11:10 pm Contact Paul: [email protected] | @pschweds But in Nick’s first time playing at Christian’s old high school as a varsity football player, Nick’s friend wasn’t there. He had passed away two and a half years prior to the September 2012 matchup against Ossining. Tears trickled along the face of Christian’s father, Lou, as he embraced Nick on the sideline minutes before kickoff.“I said I’m sure Christian’s going to be looking down on him,” Lou said.This was where Nick grew up before moving to Yorktown in third grade. This was where Christian served as a role model in Nick’s athletic career, which took Nick from Ossining water boy to starting quarterback for Yorktown High School as a senior.So on the bus to the most emotional game of his life, Nick panted. He was breathing as fast as he could. He hadn’t been this nervous before a game.When the bus pulled up to the field, he saw the athletic director he’d known since he was 3 years old. That’s when it hit him. Nick wasn’t used to being the visitor at Dilley Field. It was the grounds that fostered the bond between he and Christian.For the first and only time in his varsity football career, Nick was going to wear No. 23. Typically, he wore No. 1 in football, but to honor Christian, he requested the number change as soon as the schedule came out over the summer.It wasn’t all about the game. It was about life.Nick MarianoAnd that’s what Nick thought about as he held Christian’s crying father on the sideline, unaware that one of the most memorable games of his life was about to unfold.Nick scored the game-winning touchdown in overtime, minutes after the lights eerily went out before the extra period started. He knew there was some kind of “aura” around his team. But Nick still had to hold for the victory-clinching extra point. His pregame emotions came rushing back.His hands were shaking. His eyes were shut. When the ball went through the uprights, he sprinted toward midfield, then dropped to the turf and then starting crying.“That’s something that I can look back on when I’m 80 years old,” Nick said. “I can tell my grandkids that story.”As a water boy for the Ossining football team up until eighth grade, Nick got to know Christian, who was 5 years older than him. Any time Nick asked Christian to have a catch before or after practice, he agreed. During games, Christian would talk to Nick on the sidelines about what was going on.After Ossining won the 2007 Section I title, Christian ran over to Nick and hugged him while the rest of the team celebrated together. Then he thanked Nick for delivering the water to him during the game.“That’s really what made me think how special he was because not a lot of guys respect the water boys sometimes when you’re a little kid,” Nick said. “… I cherish that moment every day.”So when he had the chance to return to that same field with that same number, Nick’s athletic career came full circle. While he only wore No. 23 for that one football game, he’s worn an undershirt with Christian’s face on it in every game he’s played in since Christian’s death. And as a junior at Syracuse, he still wears the shirt.Courtesy of Nick Mariano Logan Reidsma | Senior Staff Photographer Related Stories OUT OF FOCUSNick Mariano shines, but not bright enough for Syracuse in loss to CornellNick Mariano leads balanced Syracuse attack with 3 goals in 15-4 winHow Nick Mariano is adjusting to playing midfield for first time since 2007Attack Nick Mariano details decision to transfer to Syracuse Courtesy of Nick Marianolast_img read more