Wilfred Ndidi has played down comparisons to N’Golo Kante as he helps to repair the damage caused by the loss of the box-to-box midfielder at Leicester.
Leicester City are the current Premier League champions, but the £17 million midfielder arrived at a club in turmoil, with manager Claudio Ranieri sacked shortly after he arrived as they languished near the relegation zone.
Craig Shakespeare has steadied the ship while Ndidi has become a key cog in Leicester’s first team, with some commentators suggesting he plays a similar role at the France international, who moved to Chelsea from the King Power in the summer.
“No, I have never put myself in Kante’s shoes,” Ndidi said. “I didn’t look to play like him when I arrived. I just came here to play my own game. I just feel like a different player to him.
“He is a good player, he has proved that he’s great this season. With the support of others, you can do anything you want and you can do it here.”
Kante left Leicester for £32 million in the summer and he has since helped Chelsea to a 10-point lead at the top of the table, while Ndidi’s Leicester still need points to ensure survival.
Ndidi is seven-and-a-half inches taller and five years younger than Kante, but he does hold some similarities in his style of play, as he covers lots of ground for his team. And the pair has comparable personalities, with the Nigeria international being both modest and softly spoken. “My parents are very, very happy.
Although, my dad never wanted me to play football. He wanted me to go to school instead but I didn’t listen. I was always just playing football. When you are in the game, you have great opportunities so I don’t really try to look where I want to be. “
JUST IN: Kano Pillars’ defender, Chinedu Udoji, is dead
Kano Pillars defender, Chinedu Udoji, is dead.
The erstwhile Enyimba of Aba skipper was reportedly involved in a ghastly motor accident in Kano on Sunday night.
The central defender starred in Pillar’s 1-1 draw against Enyinba at the Sani Abacha Stadium.
Udoji, 28, is survived by his wife and children.
Top athletes snub C’Wealth Games
- AFN battles to get best available
…may release team list today
There are strong indications that some of the country’s top athletes might snub the forthcoming Commonwealth Games scheduled to take place in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia from April 4 to 15. Reports have it that red-hot Divine Oduduru and Tobiloba Amusan are two major doubts due to engagement with their various schools in the USA.
Investigation by New Telegraph also revealed that more of these athletes had decided to concentrate on winning medals for their various schools. Some of them who spoke on the condition of anonymity with our correspondent said they would have loved to be part of the Games but it’s out of the calendar of the international athletics body. One of the athletes said: “I am on scholarship here and my school has already made it clear that the Commonwealth Games is not part of the International Association of Athletics Federations calendar.”
“It is the dream of every athlete to represent his or her country and I don’t want to be an exception, hopefully everything will be resolved soon” Another athlete, who also expressed her disappointment, said going to Australia would be a dream come true, but it was beyond her powers. According to the athletes, the Athletic Federation of Nigeria has a lot to do in convincing their schools to release them for the Games.
Meanwhile, the Technical Director of the AFN, Sunday Adeleye, has assured that the best legs will represent the country in Gold Coast. While expressing his happiness on the performance of the team at the just concluded trials in Abuja, Adeleye said the AFN was monitoring all the athletes doing well both internationally and locally. He said: “I don’t want to start thinking about who might be available or not; all we are doing now is to assemble the best athletes to represent the country. “The fact is we have to look at the athletes on the list and then follow up with their schools and clubs because we are aware of their importance to their schools too.
“We have noticed some top athletes during the trials and I am happy with what we were able to achieve during the three days. “On Monday (today), the final list for Australia will likely be out and the whole world can see who finally makes the team.”
NTF promises to develop wheelchair tennis
Nigeria Tennis Federation President, Dayo Akindoju, has assured the growth of the game in Nigeria. In the wake of outburst by a player that he turned his back on wheelchair tennis, following Nigeria’s inability to attend the ongoing African qualifiers in Kenya, Akindoju said there was no iota of truth in that stressing that the complaint of the player was misplaced.
Last week, an aggrieved wheelchair tennis player alleged the president had abandoned them since he assumed office last June. “I have always meant well for the game and it’s unfortunate that the player who accused me has not been following the trend since I became president of the tennis federation,”Akindoju said, in response to the report.
“For example, he should know that after the elections, I invited the secretary of the wheelchair tennis department of the NTF and two of their representatives to Abuja and the only item on the agenda of that meeting was how to take wheelchair tennis to the next level.
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