Excitement builds around campus as the Saint Mary’s community prepares for the first Notre Dame home game of the season, as the Irish prepare to square off against Purdue on Saturday. For many first-year students, this will be their first experience attending a Notre Dame football game and their first time in the student section. “It will be my first game,” first-year student Mary Margaret Artman said. “All I know is that I’m very excited … I’ve heard a lot of great things from the other students.” Even though she is from Georgia, Artman said she is prepared for game day. “There are actually quite a few people from where I’m from in Georgia who are Saint Mary’s College alumnae,” Artman said. “They gave me some advice on what to expect from the Notre Dame-Saint Mary’s connection.” Artman said she is prepared for an exciting game day. “I have jerseys, tattoos, all the decor for the football game,” she said. “I’m going to go all-out. I might look a little ridiculous, but it’s all for team spirit.” Some of the pre-game traditions Notre Dame has to offer are especially exciting to Artman. “One of my roommates’ parents are having a tailgate, so I’m probably going to stop by there,” she said. “Apparently Notre Dame tailgating is the best, so I’m very excited!” Artman is not alone in her enthusiasm on campus. Saint Mary’s senior Megan Lord said she is excited to cheer on the Irish with her friends. “I have six roommates, so I’m sure all of us will go together,” Lord said. “We have a large group in our section … It’s just fun, we all get out, cheer for [the] team … Usually we’ll end up dressing weird.” Lord, who grew up in the area, has a long personal history with Notre Dame football. “My family goes to the games,” Lord said. “I grew up around Notre Dame football. My first game was probably when I was six … The student section is always great; since I’ve been a [first-year] I haven’t missed a game. Everyone’s more into it!”. Football rivalries between Notre Dame and other colleges are something Lord said she understands very well. “Purdue versus Notre Dame is a big game around here,” Lord said. “I expect a great outcome.” In addition to the actual competition, Lord said she enjoys many pregame traditions. “My favorite aspect is the tailgating [and] getting to meet everybody’s family,” she said. After graduation, Lord said she plans to get season tickets and continue attending games, but she said it will be different from sitting in the student section. “The student section is the life of the stadium,” she said.
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The President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Alhaji Aminu Maigari, Thursday ordered the NFF Technical and Development Committee to intervene in the on-going war of words between Super Eagles’ Head Coach Stephen Keshi and Captain Joseph Yobo.An exchange of words between the two principal characters in the Nigerian squad has dominated the media in the past few days, with Yobo expressing unhappiness with the Coach over his exclusion from last month’s FIFA World Cup qualifier against Kenya in Calabar.Maigari ordered the Chairman of the Committee, Mr. Chris Green, along with his Committee, to look into the issue as a matter of urgency and restore harmony.“This is a highly untoward development and the NFF and entire Nigerian football family are disturbed,” he said. “Less than two months ago, we lifted the Africa Cup of Nations in a blaze of glory, and this was made possible by hard-work and team-work in an atmosphere of peace, unity and tranquility.“The recent exchange of words between Coach Keshi and Captain Yobo is worrisome, at a time that we have so many important matches and major competition (FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013) ahead of us.”The NFF President also cautioned the nation’s mass media against over-sensationalism of the matter, reminding them they are important stakeholders in the game. “Such issues attack the fabric of the team and tend to destroy team spirit, which is key to achieving set goals and objectives,” Maigari said. Nigeria, the champion of Africa, has a heavy schedule of about 10 matches in the six weeks between the end of May and the middle of July.The Super Eagles take on CONCACAF champions Mexico, who are rated 15th in the world, in a friendly in Texas, USA on May 31, and immediately travel to Kenya and Namibia for 2014 World Cup qualifiers.Two weeks later, they travel to Brazil to take part in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup where they could play a total of five matches if they progress beyond group stage. They will then face a 2014 African Nations Championship two-legged fixture against Cote d’Ivoire.