Yakubu extends deal to 2007

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The Independent Football

The Portsmouth striker Ayegbeni Yakubu accepted an international recall by Nigeria yesterday after being sent home in disgrace from the African Nations Cup -- on the same day he signed a contract extension at Fratton Park.

Yakubu's new deal will see the 21-year-old stay with Portsmouth until the summer of 2007 and the forward claims he is now looking forward to combining club and country responsibilities after his Nations Cup nightmare.

He was accused of breaking curfew by Nigerian officials and sent home from the tournament, held in Tunisia in January, along with Celestine Babayaro of Chelsea and the Schalke 04 striker Victor Agali.

Yakubu was adamant that he was in the hotel lobby having coffee with his team-mates and has resisted attempts by Nigeria to bring him back into international football.

In May, he turned down the chance to make his return in friendlies against Republic of Ireland and Jamaica after deciding to snub his nation in favour of helping Portsmouth's relegation fight.

But he has agreed to play in Nigeria's World Cup qualifier against Zimbabwe on 5 September and said: "My country needs me and I have accepted he call up for our game next weekend."

"I'm really happy to sign the contract and I'm very happy at Pompey as well. It is nice that the club appreciate me and what I have produced here."

The new Southampton signing Alaeddine Yahia is eager to make his Premiership debut - so he can start throwing his weight around.

The Tunisian international, who was born in Paris, has completed a £350,000 switch from French club Guingamp and has agreed a three-year deal with Saints.

Yahia's arrival has came too late for last night's match against Bolton but with Michael Svensson out for three months following knee surgery, he will soon win his first start.

The defender, who made three appearances for Tunisia during the Olympic Games in Athens, is relishing the opportunity to test himself against the Premiership's most physical players.

"I think I will be very suited to the Premiership because it's very physical and I like that," he said. "It has changed a bit with so many Continental players coming in but there is still the fighting spirit which is good.

"I'm strong and I like to defend by I'm still only 22 and I have a lot to learn. Southampton can help me improve my game."

Yahia also interested the French club Sochaux but he insists he was always destined for St Mary's when he discovered of Saints' interest.

"I have been very impressed by the club and the facilities and there are a lot of good players here. I'm delighted to be joining Saints," he said.

"I had the chance to link up with my former manager at Sochaux but it did not take me long to decide to join here."

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