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Nissan signs rising tennis star Osaka as brand ambassador

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Nissan signs rising tennis star Osaka as brand ambassador

Japanese automaker Nissan Motor Co said on Thursday it had signed U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka as its next brand ambassador.

Nissan wants to tap the tennis star’s youth, drive and Japanese roots to appeal to younger customers.

Osaka, 20, shot to international fame on Saturday when she defeated 36-year-old American Serena Williams at Flushing Meadows to become the first Japanese player to claim a Grand Slam singles crown.

“Growing up, my dad drove a Nissan, so being able to be a brand ambassador now, it feels like I’ve come full circle,” Osaka said at a contract signing event at Nissan’s headquarters in Yokohama.

Nissan said the passionate video-game player and Beyonce fan would appear in global promotions and advertising as part of its three-year contract.

That contract will be something of a branding departure for a company whose popular GT-R sports car appeals mainly to men aged 40 and older.

Born in Japan to a Japanese mother and Haitian-born father and raised mainly in the United States, Osaka has won hearts on and off the tennis court.

She has done so much for her ferocious serve as her down-to-earth humility.

Asked how she felt being a high-profile, bi-racial athlete in a largely ethnically homogenous country, Osaka said the question “really throws me off.”

“It’s just who I am … I don’t think I’m a mix of three whatever, I just think I am me,” she said.

Nissan joins a growing number of companies which have enlisted Osaka for endorsement.

They include Adidas, Yonex, Nissin Foods Co, Wowow Inc, and Citizen Watch Co.

Osaka is the latest sports figure to lend her star power to Nissan, after Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt served as the automaker’s “global director of excitement” to promote the GT-R from 2012 to 2016.

Last year, it signed Australian actress Margot Robbie, who has been promoting its electric vehicles.

Having Osaka as a face of the company, Nissan can appeal to younger drivers as it aims to expand sales of its Leaf all-battery electric car, and promote its automated and connected-driving technologies.

But Osaka said her tastes veered towards Nissan’s sports cars. “For me, it’s the GT-R … Because it’s fast,” she said.

(Reuters/NAN)

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England wins Croatia to reach Nations League final four

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Harry Kane elevated England into the Nations League semi-finals as Gareth Southgate’s side scored twice in the last 12 minutes to seal a dramatic 2-1 victory over Croatia on Sunday.

England were on the brink of relegation to the second tier of the competition after Andrej Kramaric gave Croatia the lead against the run of play in the second half at Wembley.

But Southgate’s vibrant young side pulled off a stirring escape act in the closing stages to gain a measure of revenge for their World Cup semi-final defeat against Croatia earlier this year.

Jesse Lingard came off the bench to poach England’s equaliser and captain Kane was on hand to turn in the winner with five minutes left.

England’s fight back took them to the top of Group A4, above Spain and relegated Croatia, and they can look forward to playing in the last four in June next year.

It was a cathartic moment for England, who have made a habit of suffering painful defeats against Croatia, with this year’s World Cup woe following the 2007 loss that cost them a place at Euro 2008.

 

 

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Super Eagles qualify for AFCON 2019

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Super Eagles of Nigeria have on Saturday qualified for the African Cup of Nations, AFCON 2019.

Super Eagles clinched THE qualification for the 2019 AFCON, after drawing 1-1 with Bafana Bafana of South Africa.

It will be their first time at the continental championship since 2013.

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National Division 1 Basketball League To Kick off November 27

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The Nigeria Basketball Federation has announced that the Total National Division 1 League will start on the 27th of November 2018.

In a letter sent to the 20 teams by the Secretary-General of the Nigeria Basketball Governing body, Chimezie Asiegbu, Alake Sports Centre in Ijeja, Abeokuta will host teams in Atlantic Conference.

While 11 Teams in the Savannah Conference are expected to be at the Aper Aku Stadium, Makurdi in Benue State between 27th of November and 4th of December to battle for 2 available National Final 4 slots.

Teams competing in the Atlantic Conference are Base Hawks, O.S Lions (Osun), Raptors (Lagos), T. Joba (Akwa Ibom), Comets (Lagos), Police Bombers (Lagos), Impression Academy (Delta), Akure Raiders (Ondo) and Invaders from Ado Ekiti.

While Apa Flames (Benue), Dashon Mambas, Benue Braves, Kano Pyramids, Yobe Desert Warriors, Zamfara Shooters, Chip Giants, All Stars of Abuja, Nigerian Army, Jewel Bulls, and Kada Stars battle it out in the Savannah Conference.

Indoor Sports Hall of National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos will host the final between 17th and 22nd of December with the top 2 teams gaining promotion to the National Premier League for the 2019 season.

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