Saturday, 28 February 2015

CAF CONFED CUP : Dolphins Swim Past The Vegetarians In Port Harcourt

After a pulsating ninety minutes of football, Dolphins scored one goal, took the game to penalty shoot outs and won 5-3 to edge past Leones Vegetarianos FC in the CAF Confederation Cup preliminary round.

 

Dolphins lost the 1st leg 1-0, and started the return leg the same way they did in Malabo by missing glaring chances.

 

As early as the 2nd minute Ifeanyi Egwim found space in the Vegetarianos area but his cross went way of mark and an overlapping Ayobami Asekunowo could not connect.

 

In the 16th minute it was the turn of Victor Alegbe to miss as some good passing moves by Dolphins completely split the Vegetarianos defence open but Alegbe who had just the post in front of him with goalkeeper Yannick out of the way blasted wide.

 

Fredor for the visitors had his chance to get a crucial away goal for his side in the 27th minute when they had a free kick after Jonathan Zikiye had fouled his man but his free header went wide after Sunday Rotimi had been beaten.

 

However, it was Emeka Atuloma who turned hero of the day a minute later as he curled a free kick from about 25 yards to put Dolphins 1-0 up and tie the game on aggregate.

 

On the hour mark, Stanley Eguma took off Ifeanyi Egwim for Omoh Johnson and then Isiaka Olawale replaced Chidiebere Okolie who had missed a chance just a minute before he was substituted.

 

Christian Pyagbara freed him and with just the goalkeeper facing him after beating the offside trap, he blasted wide.

 

With eight minutes left on the clock, Victor Alegbe shook off his marker and tried a shot that was spilled by the goalkeeper but Pyagbara failed to bury the rebound.

 

In the ensuing penalty shootouts, Tijani Adamu, Emeka Atuloma, Victor Ezuruike, Chigozie Ihunda and Christian Pyagbara all scored while Yumby Nicanor, Pendah and Esoto Ada scored for Leones but Sunday Rotimi saved Guy Yannace’s kick.

 

Start list
22. Sunday Rotimi, 6. Ayobami Asekunowo, 26. Jonathan Zikye, 8. Emeka Atuloma, 30. Victor Ezuruike, 5. Joseph Douhadji, 3. Chidiebere Okolie, 13. IFeanyi Egwim, 9. Christian Pyagbara, 20. Tijani Adamu, 10. Victor Alegbe

Subs
7. Isiaka Olawale replaced Chidiebere Okolie

24.  Omoh Johnson replaced Ifeanyi Egwim

14. Chigozie Ihunda replaced Victor Alegbe

Friday, 27 February 2015

Enyimba Arrive Benin Republic, Ayansi Lament Poor Reception

By-Adepoju Tobi Samuel Live from Benin Republic

Two times African champions, Enyimba Int'l has arrived the capital city of Benin Republic, Contonu ahead of Sunday's Caf Champions League fixture against Buffles du Borgu.

The team has been in a closed camping in Ota, Ogun state which is just two hours drive to Contonu.

An advanced team led by the club chairman and board member of the Nigeria Football Federation, Felix Anyansi on Friday ensure logistic was perfect, for the players and officials to be lodged at a comfortable hotel.

The advanced team fumes over poor level of logistic and accomodation their host offers them. 

"We are not satisfied with the reception of our host, we treated them like a King when they visited Nigeria. We invested alot of money making them comfortable, it is sad this is what we get from them," Anyansi fumes.

"We are more experience and such act is not enough to distract us, though we expect all teams in this competition to be professional, the rules are clear and it is important all teams respect the rules.

"We saw this coming, reason why the management decided to send an advanced team to make sure accomodation and other logistic are perfect before the full contigent arrive. Despite their antics, we are optimistic of reaching the next round." He said.

The other contigent consisting of players and the technical crew later arrived Contonu 7pm local time, after the advanced team had solved the logistic problems.

The team is lodged at Hotel GL, located at Akpakpa about twenty (20) minutes drive to the stadium. The players will train and have a feel of the pitch on Saturday morning.

Stade de L'amitié  Cotonou will host the game on Sunday at 4pm local time, same time with Nigeria.

The 2014 Federatiin Cup Champions won the first leg 3-0 in Aba.

Warri Wolves Set To Dismantle RC Bobo Dioulasso

Warri Wolves dynamic defender, Oke Ogagatewho who joined the Club last season from highly rated Sunshine Stars has declared that the players are battle ready for the second leg of the CAF Confederation C up match fixed for the Warri City Stadium on Saturday.

Speaking after the morning training on Friday from their hotel room where they are presently camped in Warri, Oke said they have made up their mind on this year's competition and will use RC Bobo Dioulasso on Saturday to tell the World that they are fully ready.

The diminutive defender who was on the bench in Bobo Dioulasso but may likely get a starting shirt on Saturday said to an extent, the Management have motivated them and that will spur us to victory.He however appealed to the fans to join them in this battle because they have a huge role to play.

" We are battle ready for this match. We have worked hard and what the management has done in terms of meeting our demand has really worked.

As they say in Warri" At all at all bad" but we are focused towards dismantling them on Saturday.  Our fans should come out and support us the way it is done in Europe. We need them to succeed and by the Grace of God, we will not let them down" said Oke.

Meanwhile,  RC Bobo Dioulasso arrived Lagos on Thursday and spent the night before connecting flight to Warri for the crucial encounter, while the Match Commissioner form Cameroon and Match Officials from Senegal  haves all settled down in Warri having arrived on ThursdayIn a related development, the gate to Warri City Stadium will be opened to fans at 12pm while the match proper will kick off by 4pm.

T'Joba Set To Rule Domestic Basketball In Nigeria

A respected basketball administrator and team coordinator of the Nation’s Men’s basketball National team ‘ D’tigers of Nigeria’, Skambo Morrison, has revealed that T-joba basketball club of Akwa Ibom state has recorded an unprecedented feat in basketball Division One Championship in the country during last season’s dunked off games. 

Skambo Morrison also canvassed support for the team, saying more than ever before they need to consolidate on their last season positions when this year’s domestic championship dunks off.

He opined that it is not to reach the top that is the issue, but staying on top, adding that for the team to remain numero uno in local basketball, they will require extra funding.

He commended the effort of the players and the coaching crew for their enthusiasm to excel which he hinted has been the primary factor for their excellent performance so far, he also advised followers of the game to support T-joba Basketball Club so as to bring more laurels for the state in the next season.

T-joba basketball team has already started preparations for this season basketball competitions with recruitment of talented young starts that can compete and win laurels for the club and the people of Akwa Ibom State.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Pinnick Appeals To The Media

 

President of Nigeria Football Federation, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick has made a passionate appeal to sections of the Nigeria media to stop heating up the football polity in the name of sensationalism.

 

Speaking in Abuja on Thursday, Pinnick charged media persons to make peace and tranquility in the football family their winning words, and to be careful with the words they use in conveying messages to the public because of the important role they play.

 

“I have immense respect for the media, because of the very critical role they play in the promotion of football, nay sports, as an instrument for peace and fostering of tranquility worldwide.  However, there is need for caution in the way and manner a section amplifies and celebrates what is negative.

 

“A minute section of the media feels that only the negative sells, which is an archaic belief. On Wednesday, someone wrote on a website that Stephen Keshi called the NFF and particularly my person all sorts of names. This is not true.”

 

Pinnick said he spoke to Coach Keshi on Wednesday and that the coach was exasperated that his words had been exaggerated.

 

“Keshi told me that his words were blown out of proportion. This is not good for Nigeria football and the imperative for harmony within the football structure. Keshi himself knows that using such words would not in any away endear him to the NFF.

 

“It is important that we all join hands to build a sustainable football culture for the country, and it is the job of everyone, not only the NFF.”

Manu Garba Releases Final AYC Squad

Flying Eagles’ Head Coach Manu Garba (OON) has released a list of 21 players who will represent the country at the 19th African Youth Championship in Senegal.

 

Skipper Musa Muhammed, who led the U-17 squad that won for Nigeria a record fourth FIFA U-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates in 2013, will lead the pack, supported by fellow U-17 world champions Akinjide Idowu, Izuchukwu Omego, Abdullahi Alpha, Dele Alampasu, Chidera Ezeh and Taiwo Awoniyi.

 

Nigeria play host Senegal, Congo-Brazzaville and Cote d’Ivoire in Group A of the tournament scheduled for 8th – 22nd March in the Senegalese cities of Dakar and M’Bour.

 

Ghana, Mali, South Africa and Zambia play in Group B. All four semi finalists will fly Africa’s flag at the FIFA U-20 World Cup finals in New Zealand, scheduled for 30th May – 20th July this year.

 

THE FULL LIST
Joshua Enaholo, Musa Muhammed, Mustapha Abdullahi, Akinjide Idowu, Saheed AbdulGaniyu, Izuchukwu Omego, Bernard Bulbwa, Alhassan Ibrahim, Christian Pyagbara, Abdullahi Alfa, Saleh Usman, Ifeanyi Ifeanyi, Samuel Okon, Obinna Nwobodo, Ifeanyi Mathew, Dele Alampasu, Chidera Ezeh, Taiwo Awoniyi, Bello Zaharadeen, Wasiu Jimoh, Olorunleke Ojo

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

NNL Super 4: Gabros Emerge As Champion of Champoins

Nigeria Professional Football League newcomers Gabros International of Nnewi emerged as the Nigeria National League Champions yesterday in Ilorin at the Kwara Township Stadium after they beat Shooting Stars Sports Club of Ibadan 2-0.

Having defeated Wikki Tourists of Bauchi by a lone goal in the opening match of the Super 4, Gabros proved to their critics that what they did in their first game was not a fluke with another convincing victory over the Oluyole Warriors.


Gabros opened the score sheet after eight minutes of play when 3SC defender, Izu Joseph deflected a cross from Nwaiwu Onyekachi from the flank into his own net.


Meshack Chukwubuikem efforts was stopped eight minutes after Gabros goal by the Nnewi based  defence line as he tries to draw level for Shooting Stars.

Okiki Afolabi 32-metre shot was punched away by Gabros goalkeeper Eze Chidiebere. Shooting Stars new signing Yinka Adedeji was close to getting an equalizer for Frank Howard's men but his well  struck free-kick went inches high above the cross bar. Meshack was a torn in the flesh for Gabros defence all his efforts didn't pay off as the first 45 minutes ended with Gabros taking a goal advantage into the second half.

The Oluyole Warriors began the second 45 minutes with more determination as they mounted pressure on Gabros defence after series of counter-attack.

Okiki Afolabi was substituted for Fuad Ekelojuti who came in to strengthen the attack, he added pace to the attack, he created a lot of problems for Gabros back line with his tricks and skills, although he missed a header which could have changed the fortune of the game for Shooting.

Thompson Emmanuel was sent off in the 89th minutes of the game but that couldn't stop the Nnewi Boys from scoring the second goal as they orchestrated a counter attack ,William Nemme freed himself and beat 3SC goal tender Kola Ige with the last minute effort.

2015 Federation Cup Competitions Begin March 7

This year’s Men and Women Federation Cup competitions will kick off with the State preliminaries on Saturday, March 7, according to NFF’s Head of Federation Cup Unit, Ruth David.

 

The preliminaries in the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory will end with the finals on April 4-5, before a Draw is conducted for the National finals, which begins with the play-off round April 18-19, before the Round of 64, May13-14.

 

This year’s Men and Women Federation Cups’ grand finale has been slated for August 16.

LSFA ELECTIONS 2015: Akinwumi, Azeez Returns


Pix  LSFA Exco being sworn in

NFF First Vice-President Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi was yesterday returned unopposed at the the Lagos FA Elections held in Epe, Lagos, under the supervision of NFF board member Barrister Chris Green.

Akinwunmi alongside newly elected president of the Nigerian Referees Association Tade Azeez where both returned unopposed as Chairman and Vice-chairman respectively.

Also making a return to the Exco of the State FA is the immediate past vice-chairman of Lagos Swan Mr Wale Joseph, Mojeed Adegbindin and Olatunde Green. Chairman of Lagos DFA Ifalade Oyekan also won a seat on the Exco of the LSFA, Oyekan was also elected unopposed from his zone.

The high point of the day however was the election of candidates from the Lagos west zone into the LSFA Exco.

Four candidates had successfuly scaled through the screening test and the three candidate with the highest number of votes were to be elected into the LSFA Exco. 

The four candidates from the Lagos west zone were
1, Liameed Gafaar
2, Dotun Coker
3, Prince Adeagbo
4, Moses Adebanjo.

Dotun Coker got 12 of the 39 votes available followed by Moses Adebanjo with 10 votes, Liameed Gafaar with 9 votes and Prince Adeagbo with 5 votes.So the trio of Dotun Coker, Liameed Gafaar, and Moses Adebanjo joined all the other Newly elected board members to take the oat of office administered by lawyer under the watchful eyes of the NFF representative Barrister Chris Green.

Speaking after the swearing-in ceremony the Chairman of the LSFA promised to improve on whatever achievements Eko Football had made in the past thanking the delegates for placing their trust in him and his team

Full list of the LSFA Exco:
1. Seyi Akinwunmi - chairman
2. Tade Azeez - vice chairman
3. Wale Joseph - member
4. Mojeed Adegbindin
5. Olatunde Green
6. Ifalade Oyekan
7. Dotun Coker
8. Liameed Gafaar
9. Moses Adebanjo

Eguma Look Up To Pyagbara To Replace Emem Eduok

 

Dolphins head coach, Stanley Eguma is already prepared for life without Emem Eduok in the coming football season as he tipped Christian Pyagbara to replace his goal machine.

 

As the club prepares for Saturday’s 2nd leg 1st round CAF Confederation Cup clash against Leones Vegetarianos FC in Port Harcourt, Eguma extols the virtues of Emem saying his departure is a big loss for the club.

 

“In football, players come and go and clubs eventually replace those who depart,” Eguma said.

 

“The thing is that Emem does not fall in the category of players that you can easily replace.

 

“We tried to get Peter Ebimobowei soon after his departure was confirmed but unfortunately for us and fortunately for Peter he secured another deal outside the country which was beneficial to him,” Eguma said.

 

Dolphins eventually settled for Christian Pyagbara who crossed from city neighbours, Sharks to team up with the duo of Ifeanyi Egwim and Omo Johnson who were with the team last season.

 

“Pyagbara is one player that can comfortably fit into the shoes Emem left behind and I’m happy about it.

 

“He has a knack for scoring goals and he did so last season so we hope will continue that way this season especially in the CAF Confederation Cup.

 

“Ifeanyi Egwim has been with us for some time and though he didn’t do too well last season we hope he will pick up this season,” Eguma said.

 

“Omo Johnson is another striker we have and I must say we are gradually getting to replace Emem and by the time these players click we may forget the name of Eduok,” Eguma said.

Ighalo Brace Returns Watford To Winning Ways


Two goals from Nigerian international Odion Ighalo and a strike from Hornets skipper Troy Deeney were more than enough for Watford to convincingly see off Rotherham United on Tuesday evening in a 3-0 victory at the Vicarage road.

Ighalo got himself back on goal trail when he capitalised on a slack defending and a slip from Arnason in his own half as he
opened the score sheet for his team after 18 minutes of play when he dispossesses the captain and kept his composure as he rounded off Collin the goalkeeper and slots home the ball into the empty net and handed the much need lead to Watford.

The first half period ended with the Hornets going into the dressing room with a goal advantage, the visiting team tried all they could but their efforts didn't result into a goal as Jokanovic’s men stood their ground and ensure the scoreline remains intact.

Hornets skipper Troy Deeney doubled the lead eight minutes into the second 45 minutes when after being fouled by Arnason,  Tozser fizzed the resulting free-kick straight at Collin, Ekstrand was quick to the rebound, he squared for Deeney,  and the captain knocks home the ball and give Watford the second goal of the day.

No sooner had they found a second goal, Ighalo then made it 3-0 for the home side. when Layun drove at the Rotherham defence down the right-hand side and forced Collin into action once more. For the second time in as many minutes, his shot was parried by the keeper and Ighalo was on-hand to tap in and grab his second of the evening and netted his 17th goal of the season and his 14th in 10 league matches.

Watford are now on 6th position in the Championship with 59 points from 33 games.they will be playing Leeds United this Saturday in match day 34 of the Championship.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

LMC Board Structure: My Fear

By- Mudashiru Shittu

When the inaugural meeting of the proposed change in the board structure of the League Management Company took place on the 8th of October 2014 which was well attended by LMC and the 20 clubs as reported.

I begin to fear for the continuity and stability of an institution who already has a strong bearing and positive impressions on fans and followers of the league in a short period.


The further ratification of Nigeria Football Federation to the change in the League Management's board structure on 23 November 2014 was based on carrying all stakeholders along in taking our league to the next level. A level in which the league should already have attained.


In this regards ,the introduction of seven board members is a welcome development but it is not celebration time yet because of the inclusion of some stakeholders who are obviously not in line with today's term of League management who will want business to go as usual, who are reputed  for strangling the further growth of the game beyond their locality.


All stakeholders must therefore wake up to the present reality of modern day league management practice.


The League Management Company since incorporation has taken the league half away to the mountain top through innovations and by strictly abiding to the rules that governs the game for all stakeholders and followers of the game to see the clearer view of the land being promised.


Even if the new league board structure is in accordance with global standard and practices, the peculiarities and precedent of our society should be highly considered in constituting who the board of directors of the league should be.


In the face of the faceless five man committee and presumably unreviewable and irreversible new board structure.


Will the league be taken back to the era that ended in 2011/2012 season now that the blood in the vein of our beloved LMC is now mixed?

My fear is obviously more than what my pen can write.

Monday, 23 February 2015

AAG QUALIFIERS,WOMEN FOOTBALL :Mali Confirms For Super Falcons

Mali will be the Super Falcons’ opponents in the final round of qualifiers for the Women’s Football Tournament of the 11th All-Africa Games, following the withdrawal of Gabon.

 

Nigeria’s Falcons, champions of Africa, have returned to camp in Abuja at the weekend and will also be preparing for the qualifiers of the Women’s Football Tournament of the 2016 Olympic Games, against the same Malians, as well as the 7th FIFA Women’s World Cup finals in Canada this summer.

 

The first leg of the qualifying fixture will take place in Bamako on March 22.

AAG QUALIFIERS: Dream Team To Play Zambia


Zambia’s U-23 side will be the Dream Team’s next opponents in the race to the 11th All-Africa Games after they must have seen off Gabon, following the withdrawal of Madagascar.

 

Siasia’s wards lashed the Gabonese 4-1 in Libreville on Saturday with the return leg set for Abuja on March 7. The winner of the two-leg fixture is billed to play the winner between Zambia and Madagascar, but the Indian Ocean islanders withdrew from the race, handing an automatic final round ticket to the Zambians.

 

The first leg of the final round fixture will take place in Nigeria only two weeks weeks after the return leg with the Gabonese. 

 

Also at the weekend, Burundi shocked DR Congo 1-0 in Kinshasa, Sudan edged hosts Ethiopia 2-1 in Dire Dawa and Uganda and Mozambique drew 0-0 in Maputo.

 

Zimbabwe, Mali, Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso have also reached the final round of qualifiers following the withdrawals of Swaziland, Tunisia, Guinea Bissau and Libya.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Amuneke Praises God, Commends Players

Golden Eaglets’ Head Coach, Emmanuel Amuneke has given thanks to God and commended his players for Nigeria’s ticket to the FIFA U-17 World Cup finals in Chile later in the year.

 

Speaking moments after Saturday’s convincing 3-1 defeat of Zambia, which ensured first-place finish for Nigeria in Group A, a semi final berth and automatic ticket to Chile, Amuneke told Team Media Officer Morakinyo Abodunrin that his boys fought hard on the day.

 

Can you describe your feelings tonight?

I'm very happy; and grateful to God. I'm grateful to the players because they fought so hard today. The condition of the pitch also enabled us to express ourselves much better but we are grateful to God that we have qualified for the semi final and also secured our ticket to the World Cup in Chile. We would enjoy the moment and focus on the next match but generally, I'm happy and grateful that we were able to achieve our objective.

To whom are you dedicating this victory?

How do I put this? This victory is for Nigerians especially those who believed in what we are doing from the first day. We played a very good side today (against Zambia) but we are grateful that the boys played to instructions; and they realised how important the match was. We continue to look ahead to our next game which is the semi-final and whichever team we are meeting; we have to look at those who have few knocks and see how we can have them back for our next game.

 

Everybody has been talking about the quality of the three goals your
boys scored against Zambia; what is your opinion about this?

The first goal was beautiful; the second goal is what we call, in Spain, a spectacle; and you look at Victor's second goal which was also a spectacle.

 

How will you ensure these boys don’t get carried away with this result?

We enjoy the moment and the moment we get back to our hotel, it is finished. The boys themselves have realized what we have been telling them and they have realized that to achieve in life, you must be humble and disciplined. We will continue to talk to them because we are like fathers to them and we would continue to inspire them to build upon it. I don't really pay attention to one particular player but if everybody can function and we all can carry out our duties, every player is important to us.

Nigeria U-20 To Name AYC Final Squad On Thursday

Nigeria’s Flying Eagles have to submit a final 21-man squad for the 2015 AYC to CAF by midnight of Thursday, officials have disclosed.

The Nigeria U20 currently have a 28-man provisional squad that includes Belgium-based defender Wilfred Ndidi and Dolphins new signing Christian Pyagbara.

Pyagbara joined the Flying Eagles training camp in Abuja on their return from two warm-up matches in Ghana, while the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) are waiting on Belgian club Genk over the release of Ndidi for the AYC.

In the meantime, the results of the scans on Musa Yahaya and Zaharadeen Bello are expected to be made known in the new week.


Yahaya suffered a knee injury during the Flying Eagles second test match against Ghana in Tema, while Bello is nursing a swollen calf.


The Nigeria U20s are due to fly out for a training tour ahead of the AYC, which kicks off March 8 in Dakar, Senegal.

Iorfa Bags Football League Young Player Award

Former Nigeria international son, Dominic Iorfa junior has been awarded The Football League's Young Player award of the Month January.


The Defender was rewarded for his impressive impact ever since he made his way into the first team set up of Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Championship in England.


The 19-year-old defender made his first team debut against Bournemouth on December 6 and stamped his authority and became an integral part of a Wolves back line that kept three clean sheets in the Championship in January, picking up two wins and two draws along the way. 


Iorfar’s rising into Kenny Jackett’s team was coincided with a run of form that saw Wolves close the gap on the play-off pack and take Fulham to an FA Cup replay in a 0-0 draw making it four shutouts during the month. 


The 6th 4 in tall defender can operate comfortably and effectively at centre half, right back with his high level of athleticism and composure on the ball which has endeared him into the heart of the fans which has also prompted them to create their own terrace chant for him. 


Speaking to the official website of his club after being named The Football League’s January Young Player of the Month Iorfa said: “I’ve seen some of the other players that have won it and they are all good young players who have been doing really well, so for me to be in that list of winners is very good and I’m very happy.


"It’s been a good few months for me and I just want to push on from here.


“The gaffer has shown that if you’re good enough, he’ll give you a chance, so that was one of my aims for the season - if I kept my head down and kept working hard, come the end of the season I might break into the first team. Luckily for me, that’s happened a lot earlier and I’m still in the team now so I’ve got to keep working hard.


 “The fans have been brilliant. I can’t believe I’ve got my own song already. I couldn’t believe it when it first started. I heard them singing and thought ‘that can’t be my name’. Then it went on for about another 20 minutes, and ever since then they’ve sung it at every game. It’s been really good."he concluded.


Dominic Iorfa made his senior debut playing for Shrewsbury Town last season before making a full Wolves debut at the end of 2014.

Iorfa has also represented England under-18s and is currently in the under-19 squad. 

Saturday, 21 February 2015

AAG QUALIFIER: Dream Team VI Pummel Gabon 4-1 In Libreville

 

The U-23 National Team, nicknamed Dream Team, threw a firm leg into the final qualifying round for the Men’s Football Tournament of the 11th All-Africa Games after hammering Gabon 4-1 in Libreville on Saturday.

 

Junior Ajayi scored in the very first minute before Warri Wolves FC striker Etebo Oghenekaro increased the tally from the penalty spot two minutes to half time.

 

Ajayi maintained his knack for quick starts with another goal in the 47th minute, but Gabon pulled one back through Axel Meye midway into the second half, but Nigeria ensured a handsome advantage going into the second leg when Enyimba forward Peter Onyekachi made it 4-1 in added time.

 

Members of the Nigerian community in Gabon made a good presence and cheered the Dream Team loudly at the Stade Augustin Monedan a Sibang.

                                                                                                         

The return leg will take place at the National Stadium, Abuja on Saturday, March 7.

LIKE MARRIAGE LIKE FOOTBALL PART 1 (Introduction)

Love is not just a feeling it is a decision we make and stand-by because feelings come and go but for you to stay in marriage as confessed during your wedding rituals for better for worst, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, it takes a great deal of decision making to overcome circumstances in marriage.

Arsenal football club readily comes to mind, they went 8years without winning any major trophy under coach Arsene “Baba Ijebu” Wenger yet when you go to the gunners home ground “D EMIRATE” to watch a match, you’d see a big bold banner “IN ARSENE WE TRUST” that shows great love from everyone involved with Arsenal club from the coach’s assistants, ex-players, management, and fans.

For them it is more than just a feeling, it is a decision they are ready to stand by and when Wenger finally delivered a trophy (The FA Cup last season, 2013/14) it was well worth the wait.

In marriages where love is based on feelings there are high possibilities of separation or divorce like we’ve seen with Chelsea down the years hiring and firing manager at the slighted hint of failure.

Life is beautiful when it is lived in the right way and sometimes situations revolve around things we can relate to, like politics in government or loyalty in the office to your boss.

Falling in love with football was easy because of the beautiful way it is played and the emotion it evolves, I know you’ll want to ask; does beautiful include teams like stoke, park the bus Chelsea of old or the very rough Italian league of old? Not exactly, but part of the whole I guess or like we say in Nigeria “all-join”.

I want to take you on a ride, of the similarities of Marriage and Football, now fasten your seat belts as we travel on this exciting journey:

Friday, 20 February 2015

FRIENDLY GAME: Future Stars Dim Remo Stars Light


Future Stars Football Academy on Wednesday defeated Nigeria National League side, Remo Stars Football Club of Sagamu in a friendly match to prepare both sides for the forthcoming football season.

Goals from John Udoh and Ayanfe Akingbule was all Future Stars need to claim victory against Remo based side.

Speaking after the match played at the Gateway International Stadium, Sagamu, Head coach of Future Stars, Jamiu Hamzat said the victory over the professional side is a sweet victory but was quick to add that there is still lots of work to be done on the team.

He stated that the friendly is one of the series lined up for the side ahead of the participation in the 2014/2015 Lagos FA Cup which will kick off early next month across Lagos State.

Coach Hamzat informed that the team will play more high grade matches between now and the commencement of Lagos FA Cup.

"The match against Remo Stars is not that bad, being our first major friendly since we resume for the new season, although we won but there is still a lot of gray areas we need to work on, by his grace we shall work on those areas noticed in this match and others areas that needed improvement on". He concluded.

Manu Says His Team Need To Work On Grey Areas

Flying Eagles coach Manu Garba has maintained his team still need to work on some weaknesses they noticed during the two test matches against Ghana this week.

The Nigeria U20 team beat their hosts 2-0 in the second friendly on Wednesday after both teams drew 2-2 in the first game on Monday.

“We hope to be ready when we have picked the final squad of 21 players for the African Youth Championship and have worked on some of the grey areas we noticed in Ghana,” said Manu.

“We therefore hope to soon begin our training camp in Gambia so we could concentrate on some of the lapses we saw in the team.”

The Flying Eagles returned to Abuja from Ghana on Thursday.

“Overall, the two matches were a good test for us and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) must again be give the credit for this,” Manu said.

The Nigeria youth team are drawn in a tough Group A along with hosts Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire and Congo.

The 2015 African Youth Championship kicks off March 8 in Dakar with the Flying Eagles tackling hosts Senegal, who have been training at the Aspire Academy in Qatar for several months, in the opening game.

Injury Worries Hit Flying Eagles Camp

The Flying Eagles are sweating on the fitness of star forward Musa Yahaya, who is nursing a knee injury he suffered in a warm-up match in Ghana.

The Tottenham Hotspur youth star is expected to undergo a scan to determine the extent of the injury he received when he was dangerously tackled in the Flying Eagles second friendly against Ghana on Wednesday.

The injury forced him out of the match in the 39th minute.

U17 world champion Yahaya, who scored in the Flying Eagles first match against the Black Satellites, did not join the rest of the squad at the gym at the FIFA Goal Project in Abuja Friday morning.

The other injury worry for the Nigeria U20 team is central defender Zaharadeen Bello.

Bello has been nursing a calf injury and as a result he did not feature in the second friendly against Ghana in Tema, which the Flying Eagles won 2-0.

“We will review their cases and see what can be done promptly,” disclosed Flying Eagles doctor Ozi Salami.

Amuneke Confident Of A Semi Final Berth

Nigeria's U-17 Head coach ,Emmanuel Amuneke,would be the happiest man on Saturday should his wards put up a spirited  performance to ensure qualification for a ticket to the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Chile later this year.

Amuneke is best remembered for his brace in the 2-1 defeat of the
Chipolopolo of Zambia in the Final Match of the 1994 African Cup of
Nations in Tunisia.Though the setting on Saturday between the Golden Eaglets and the Junior Chipolopolo is different, the 1994 African Footballer of the Year has said there would be no margin for errors.

He was optimistic his boys would do everything to gain a semi final berth at Niger 2015.

"Our expectations (against Zambia) is to win and secure our ticket for the World Cup in Chile," former Barcelona winger told thenff.com.

"We have to psyche up ourselves and forget about the draw against Guinea, we have to be optimistic to play much better."
 

Amuneke was of the view that the Golden Eaglets could play much better since the decider against Zambia would be played on the artificial turf of Stade Municipal.

"What we are doing is to lift their spirit and not being hard on them due to the last game and I want to believe they would be ready to play their usual normal game."

Since the hard earned 1-1 draw against Guinea, the coaching crew has impressed it upon the players the magnitude of the match against Zambia on Saturday.

"We are hopeful of a better performance against Zambia tomorrow," he said.

"We are going to evaluate the players and gauge their state of mind after our last training session and we can be able to know those who will be ready to go into battle against Zambia."

Siasia Charges Dream Team Ahead Of Gabon Clash

Head Coach of the Dream Team, Samson Siasia, has charged his wards to go all out for victory against their Gabonese counterparts in the first leg of the 11th  All-Africa Games qualifying game to be played at the Stade Augustin Monedan a Sibang, Libreville on Saturday.

After breakfast on Friday, Siasia said that from the calibre of players at his disposal, he is not expecting less than outright victory.

“Nigerians expect nothing short of victory from you guys. You guys should put in mind that you are the next generation of Super Eagles players, but for Nigerians to accept you as such, you must show that on the field of play. That is the only way that you can convince the nation that you have what it takes to take over."

Appealing to the players to play to instructions, the U-23 gaffer said, they should not bother about what the Gabonese have to throw at them, but to follow his instructions and the rest will be history, adding that they should not be expecting any favors from the match officials so should be brave.

Also on Friday, NFF’s Director of Technical, Dr. Emmanuel Ikpeme commended the players for the high level of discipline they have so far exhibited, remarking that the greatest undoing of their immediate predecessors was indiscipline.

He urged whoever is picked on Saturday to see the game as a war of pride that must be won for the nation, assuring that the NFF will always do everything within its limited resources to ensure the team is properly catered for in their pursuit of tickets to both the 11th All-Africa Games and Men’s Olympic Football Tournament of next year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

NIGERIA BEACH SOCCER: Supersand Eagles To Camp In Badagry Ahead Of African Championship Qualifying

Coach Audu Adamu Ejo and his Beach Soccer National Team, Supersand Eagles’ crew will head to Lagos this weekend as the camp of the team opens ahead of an African Beach Soccer Championship qualifying fixture against Libya, coming up next month.
 

Ejo, who led the team to a seventh –place finish at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Ravenna, Italy in 2011, has called 20 players for this exercise that will also prepare the team for the Power Horse Invitational Tournament in Durban, South Africa, March 6-8.
 

From the 20 players, Ejo and his assistants will select 12 players to represent Nigeria at the tournament in Durban, before the first round of the continental championship qualifier against Libya in Lagos on March 14. That match has already been fixed for Elegushi Beach, Lagos, with the return leg in Tripoli six days later.
 

It is the first time that Nigeria will be involved in qualifiers for the African Beach Soccer Championship, meaning there is growing awareness and interest in beach soccer on the African continent.
 

The qualifying fixtures also set Madagascar against South Africa, Senegal to play the winner between Mali and Tunisia, Morocco to face the winner between Djibouti and Sudan, Ghana to play the winner between Cameroon and Uganda, Egypt to trade tackles with the winner between Kenya and Tanzania and Cote d’Ivoire up against the winner between Mauritius and Mozambique.
 

ALL THE INVITEES:

Goalkeepers: Oladipo Olalekan (Owibeseb FC, Lagos); Ehibhi Festus (Bridge Boys, Lagos); Ndubuisi Maduji (Stationery Stores, Lagos)

Defenders: Chinedu Richard (Eko Abete, Lagos); Emmanuel Ohweferi (Owibeseb, Lagos); Victor Talle Shinene (Confluence, Kogi); Idowu Olatunbosun (Enyimba, Aba); Atiku Sulaimon Dayo (Leads United, Lagos); Lati Sani (Bridge Boys, Lagos); Ogunjobi Kamoru (My People FC, Lagos); Isiaka Lawal (Leads United)

Strikers: Bartholomew Ibenegbu (Warri Wolves FC); Abu Azeez (Warri Wolves); Emeka Ogbonna (Leads United); Badmus Babatunde (Owibeseb, Lagos); Jamal Akewusola (Badagry Beach Soccer Team); Samad Kadiri (Union Bank); Edwin Opawe (My People FC); Okeke Leonard (My People FC); Akintunde Idowu (Owibeseb)

Okocha Wins Delta State F.A Election

Former Super Eagles’ captain, Austin Jay-Jay Okocha has been elected chairman of the Delta State Football Association.

 

At the elections conducted in Asaba on Friday, and supervised by Member of the NFF Executive Committee, Alhaji Babagana Kalli, Okocha polled 26 out of the 27 votes cast.

 

One of only two Nigerian footballers to play at three FIFA World Cup finals, Jay-Jay Okocha’s club career took him through Germany, France, England and Turkey, and he is presently Head of the NFF Technical Study Group.

 

Okocha, who had served as vice chairman before the elevation, replaces Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick, who announced his intention to relinquish the post on the very day he was elected President of Nigeria Football Federation, September 30, 2014.

Women Football: Super Falcons Hit Abuja Camp On Sunday

Players and officials of the Senior Women National Team, Super Falcons, will storm camp in Abuja on Sunday, as preparations begin for their 11th All-Africa Games qualifying fixture against either of Mali and Gabon.
 

Coach Edwin Okon has already called 36 players, who are expected to arrive at the Serob Legacy Hotel, Abuja latest Sunday evening with their training kits, international passports and birth certificates, to kick –start the buid-up.
 

The camp will also set the tone for preparations for the team’s 2016 Olympic Games qualifying fixture against Mali in May, as well as the 7th FIFA World Cup finals in Canada in the summer.

ALL THE INVITEES:
Faith Ikidi (Pitea IF, Sweden);
Onome Ebi (FK Minsk, Belarus);
Osinachi Ohale (Houston Dash, USA);
Francisca Ordega (Pitea IF, Sweden);
Onyinyechi Okere (Edo Queens);
Alaba Jonathan (Pelican Stars);
Christy Ohieriaku (Osun Babes);
Ibubeleye Whyte (Rivers Angels);
Precious Dede (Ibom Queens);
Ugochi Njoku (Rivers Angels);
Mariam Ibrahim (Nasarawa Amazons);
Halimat Ayinde (Delta Queens);
Ngozi Ebere (Rivers Angels);
Onyinyechi Ohadugha (Rivers Angels);
Esther Sunday (Pelican Stars);
Chisom Henry (Sunshine Queens);
Cecilia Nku (Rivers Angels);
Desire Oparanozie (EN Avent De Guingamp);
Josephine Chukwunonye (Rivers Angels);
Asisat Oshoala (Liverpool Ladies);
Ngozi Okobi (Delta Queens);
Evelyn Nwabuoku (Rivers Angels);
Chikodi Amaefuna (Edo Queens);
Courtney Dike (Oklahoma State University, USA);
Chinwendu Ihezuo (Pelican Stars);
Patience Agbokadi (Sunshine Queens);
Osarenoma Igbinovia (Ibom Queens);
Blessing Edoho (Pelican Stars);
Yetunde Adeboyejo (Bayelsa Queens);
Uchechi Sunday (Belarus);
Sarah Nnodim (Delta Queens);
Ebere Okoye (Nasarawa Amazons);
Sarah Michael (Kif Orebro, Sweden);
Loveth Ayila (Rivers Angels);
Ini Umotong (Portsmouth Ladies, UK);
Okewole Funke (Sunshine Queens)   

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Club Owners Charges New LMC Boss Dikko To Make The League Attractive

Nigeria Premier League Club Owners have charged the in coming leadership of the League Management Company LMC led by Mallam Shehu Dikko to work acidiously to make the league an attractive brand that will cause investors to compete for sponsorship of the top flight league.

Mallam Shehu Dikko heads the newly constituted 7-man board of the LMC whose assignment kick starts with the 2014/2015 Glo Nigeria premier League which kick off March 7 across the Country.

The League Club Owners have therefore charged the new board to be proactive in their quest to better the League and bring back Nigeria football fans to embrace the league as well as bring more commercial values to the league system.

Speaking with Sports Writers at the Glo Premier League Draws held at Transcorp Hilton hotel in Abuja Wednesday, Acting Secretary of the Club Owners Alloy Chukwuemeka commended the out-going chairman Hon Nduka Irabor for the improvements and relative stability which the League has witnessed in the past two seasons under his care and
charged the new board to consolidate on it.

He said a lot still need to be done to make the Nigeria Premier league compete favorably with other organized leagues of the World even as he added that it is the sole responsibility of the League organizers every where in the world to give direction and improve its standard with the cooperation of other relevant stakeholders.

Chukwuemeka absolved the Club owners of any blame whatsoever on any negative issues arising from managing the League , stressing that the Clubs are ever ready to make their teams available to participate adding that the organizers should make rules and ensure that it is
implemented and monitored, including compliance with players/coaches contracts and wages.

According to him "for me to tell you of our expectations in the up coming season, let me first make a quick review of the last season. I must say that the last season was well above average and the climax was the Super 6. I must commend the out-going chairman of LMC Hon. Irabor for the improvements so far and the relative stability that we have enjoyed in the League" he said.

"Definitely we expect a better new season and with the calibre of the man in charge now Mallam Dikko and his board, iam confident that he will deliver, so I urge him to consolidate on the records so far and try to make the league an attractive brand for investors to compete for sponsorship and partnership"

"My personal observation of the workings of the LMC in the past seasons was that a lot of focus was on trying to decorate the container instead of building the content, and that was why despite the efforts our stadia still remain empty, so I advise Dikko to focus more on building the content which is the brand inorder to attract both fans and investors".

"Look, the Club Owners which we represent have no blame whatsoever in any negative issues which might have happened to the league. Let me tell you, ours is to organize our teams, play good football, improve the standard of our teams play and management as well as source for fund for our respective clubs. So the issue of security at stadium and better officiating and other organizational apparatus to make the league better and bring fans back to stadium resides with the organizers and their sponsors, so don't balme us".

"As a responsible and responsive leadership of the Club Owners, we have striven in all our policy decisions to engage in peer review mechanisms where we emulate positive styles of member-clubs which is aimed at improving our collective efforts as football administrators and so far so good we are more united as a common front in the interest of our member clubs".

NIGERIA ATHLETICS: 9 Days To African Junior Atletics Championship Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 2015. Is Athletics Federation Of Nigeria Ready?

The Athletics Federation of Nigeria recently named 34 Athletes who will be representing the country at the 12th African Junior Athletics Championship Addis Ababa 2015 in Ethiopia but the preparation towards this event remain questionable as the Athletes bemoan the state of their camp base in Sagamu Ogun State.


Having done well for Nigeria in the past Cadets African Athletics events, the Nigerian Athletes will be flying the Nation's flag in the capital city of Ethiopia from 4th to 8th of March as they aim to continue their glorious outing on the continent.



On Wednesday morning, I and a correspondent from one of the most sought-after leading Newspaper in Nigeria New Telegraph met at the National camp ground of the Athletes, what we witnessed was very hard on our eyes, the Athletes complained of no power supply for the past two days, camp allowances, kits, poor accomodation arrangement and below standard feeding system.



Some of the Athletes who spoke to us pleaded to be anonymous while claiming they have been in darkness for two days thus they were unable to fetch water for proper bathing and washing of their belongings, were unable to communicate with their family and loved ones because there was no electricity to power their phones and other gadgets.



"We have have been in this camp now for few days but the camping experience is not something worthwhile.



"As an Athletes we are suppose to take our bath at least twice a day since we train twice a day, that is in the morning and in the evening after the second training, but we find this difficult to do because there's lack of water, we have to trek a long distance before we can get water.



Another Athlete who also preferred to remain unknown talked on the poor accommodation and feeding system.



"As you can see some of the facilities in the hostel are not working, the mattresses are very flat, no water to flush, so we have decided to be using the bush for now till they find a lasting solution to this challenge.



"The feeding system is not palatable at all, I wouldn't like to mention or talk about the quality of the food we eat here, we just hope that something drastic is done", the athlete told olawalequadry.blogspot.com.



The Coaches Coordinator Seigha Porbeni and the Camp commandant Falilat Ogunkoya-Omotayo spoke on the steps they have taking to make the camp a home for the Junior Athletes.



Porbeni who shared in the Athletes pains calmly said that the issue of electricity in Nigeria remain a general problem but they are already trying to find a solution to the big challenge.



He said “When the president of the Athletic Federation of Nigeria, Solomon Ogba, and the minister, Dr. Tammy Danagogo, visited the athletes on Valentine’s Day, they promised to supply us diesel and we are trying to remind them to fulfill their promise. Hopefully it will be resolved soon,” he revealed.



The 1996 Atlanta Silver medalist, Ogunkoya spoke on other issues facing the athletes and she opined those issues would be sorted out in no time by the AFN, she further stated the visit of the minister of sports to their camp on Valentine's day gave room for the AFN to express their feelings on the challenges facing them.



She said “We have been getting food for the athletes and hopefully everything would be resolved soon.



“When the minister visited us, he was informed about our challenges because the competition must go on and the athletes must prepare. I
can tell you this is the shortest camping we have ever had, that is why we have been tasking the athletes to train twice a day to cover up for the lost time.” she concluded.



The 34 male and female squad Nigerian athletes and eight coaches will be participating in the following events, 100/200 m, 4 x100m relay boys and girls, 400 x 4 x 400m rely boys and girls, 110 m hurdles, 100 m hurdles , 400 m hurdles boys and girls, high jump, long jump boys and girls, javelin and shotput.

Training pix



Ogunkoya Falilat Pix



Powder milk and sachet Milo


Canteen

Hostel

Porbeni

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Barrister Green To Lead U-23 To Gabon

Barrister Chris Green, Member of the NFF Executive Committee, will lead the U-23 National Team delegation to Saturday’s 11th All-Africa Games qualifying match against the U-23 National Team of Gabon in Libreville.

 

A 35-man delegation, including 19 players, will fly out from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport on Wednesday aboard an Ethiopian Airline flight, to arrive in Libreville by noon on Thursday.

 

Already, the NFF has provided all details concerning the trip to the Embassy of Nigeria in Libreville, with Mission Staff to receive the delegation on arrival on Thursday, and to mobilise the Nigerian community in Libreville to support the team during the match.

 

The match will be played on the natural turf of Stade Augustin Monedan a Sibang in Libreville, starting from 3.30pm Gabon time (2.30pm Nigeria time) on Saturday, 21st February.

 

The second leg will take place in Nigeria on 7th March, with the winner to take on the winner of the Zambia/Madagascar fixture for a place at the Men’s Football Tournament of the 11th All-Africa Games, scheduled for Brazzaville, Congo, 11th – 21st July, 2015.

 

NFF Charges Golden Eaglets For A Crucial Win Over Guinea Tomorrow

The Nigeria Football Federation has called on the U-17 National Team, Golden Eaglets, to go all out for a win against Guinea’s Syli Babes in Niamey on Wednesday.

 

The top-of-the-table clash at the Stade General Seyni Kountche starts at 3pm and the winner will automatically become the first African flagbearer at the FIFA U-17 World Cup finals in Chile later in the year.

 

NFF’s Director of Competitions, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, who is in Niamey with the team, said a victory is non-negotiable as Nigeria look to book an early ticket to the finals in Chile to go and defend the world title.

 

“We are the champions of the world, and that we must underscore boldly here. The Eaglets did well to win their first match against the host nation despite all the odds against them. There is no way Guinea will stand up to our boys on Wednesday.

 

“The NFF has provided everything the team needs to succeed and we expect nothing but victory against the Guineans.”

 

A 2-0 win over host Niger Republic, courtesy goals by Victor Osimhen and Captain Kelechi Nwakali, took the world champions to the top of the table, and Guinea’s 1-0 win over Zambia put the Syli Babes in second place.

Pinnick To Meet Ravemaking Nigerian Players Parent In London

NFF President Amaju Pinnick has met with parents of some ravemaking Nigerian youngsters across the top rank in England.

 

On his way to an official meeting with FIFA President, Mr. Sepp Blatter at the Home of FIFA on Wednesday morning, the NFF boss stopped over in the England capital and watched Sunday’s FA Cup fifth round match between Arsenal and Middlesbrough at the Emirates.

 

“I was able to see Kenneth Omeruo and Chuba Akpom at the match. I am meeting the parents of a number of these youngsters this time and have plans to meet all of them and also their parents in due course.

 

“You see, some of them might have represented England at junior level, but they are willing to represent Nigeria at senior level, and that is what we are looking at. We are looking at strengthening our teams at all levels and these players are willing, once we can convince them that there is a new set-up in Nigeria football.”

 

Pinnick’s diary has 18 –year old attacking midfielder Alex Iwobi of Arsenal, who has joined up with the country’s Olympic Team ahead of their departure for an 11th All-Africa Games qualifying match against Gabon in Libreville on Saturday, as well as former Chelsea centre back Joshua Debayo, also 18, now on the books of another Premiership team, Southampton. Debayo is also an England U-18 international.

 

There are also Fejiri Okenabirhie, 19 –year old former Arsenal winger, now with Stevenage; 19-year old Brighton FC striker Chike Kandi, formerly with Chelsea FC and; Chelsea and England U-19 defender Ola Aina, 18.

 

Mayowa Balogun, 18, is a versatile defender with Wigan Athletic FC while Arsenal defender Semi Ajayi is getting better by the day.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Zikiye Accepts Blame For Dolphins Continental Loss In Malabo


 

Dolphins left full back, Jonathan Zikiye has admitted he must share in the blame for the goal in Malabo that cost his side a 1-0 defeat to Leones Vegetarianos in the CAF Confederation Cup.

 

Dolphins lost through a 57th minute goal conceded when the defence went ball watching and Zikiye says it all started from his position.

 

“It’s true. That goal was scored after a little slip from our part as defenders and it started from my side,” Zikiye said.

 

“It was a moment of loss of concentration but in every football match there are bound to be mistakes but the important thing is for us to learn from these mistakes.

 

“We are working hard for the second leg and we believe we will be able to turn it around,” Zikiye enthused.

 

It was Jonathan Zikiye’s first ever game on the continent and he spoke on what the experience was like.

 

“It was a good experience even though we lost the game. We went there to win but we lost.

 

It was a good experience and we hope to turn it around when they come to Nigeria.”

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Enyimba New Signing Onyekachi Celebrates Debut Goal

Enyimba Int'l and Dream Team VI forward, Peter Onyekachi can not but expressed his excitement after opening a goal account for his new team on his first appearance for the Aba Elephant.

Onyekachi joined Enyimba from state rival club, Abia Warriors opened his scorer sheet in the colours of the Elephant on Sunday.

Two times African champions spanked their visitors, Buffles du Borgou from Benin Republic 3-0 in the CAF Champions League primilary round in Aba.

Etor Daniel put the host ahead in the early minutes of the game, Kingsley Sokari made it two in the 83rd minutes, before Onyekachi sealed the victory with his debut goal in the 90th minutes of the game.

The former Abia Warriors star revealed to BFC Soccer App few minutes after the magnificent victory on Sunday in Aba saying "I'm excited for my debut goal, I have been away on National duties but the technical crew are always in touch with me, they have been feeding me about the team programmes and plans for the tournament," Onyekachi told BFCNews from his team base.

"I feel great when the coach selected me to start the game, I knew I have to work hard and prove my quality infront of the fans.

"It was a great game, the victory was sweet and my goal was the tonic for me. Many positive from this game, but we must not get complacent, its still a long fixtures ahead of us," Onyekachi said.

Enyimba will travel to Benin in a forthnight for the second leg fixture.

Pillars, Enyimba, Wolves Soar On The Continent As Vegetarianos Edge Dolphins

Nigeria Professional Football League teams on the continent began their 2015 continental quest on a high as three teams out of four representing the country, Kano Pillars,  Enyimba international Footba Club, Warri Wolves won their respective games, while Dolphins Football Club lost narrowly to Equatorial Guinean side Leones Vegetarianos.

The weekend continental football for Nigeria clubs saw three teams from the league scoring six goals, three out of which came from away ground in the encounter between Al Malaika FC and NPFL reigning champions, Pillars won 0-2, Warri Wolves also pipped Racing Club Bobo 0-1. The Peoples' Elephant netted thrice as they pummel Buffles Du Borgu of Benin Republic, Dolphins were the only Nigerian club on the continent that failed to record a decent result after loosing 1-0 away from home to Leones Vegetarianos.

Gambo Mohammed opened the score sheet four minutes into second half and gave the Sai Masu Gida the long awaited lead before red hot Christian Obiozor doubled the lead after 28 minutes of play in the second 45 minutes. The Nigerian side stood their ground and ended their first Caf Champions League preliminary match in 2015 away from home with a two goals advantage over Al Malakia FC of South Sudan on Saturday in the presence of their teaming fans.

2014 Nigeria Federation Cup champions Enyimba of Aba suffered Buffles Du Borgou with three nill win at the Enyimba international stadium. The trio of Daniel Etor, Kingley Sokari and new signing Peter Onyekachi scored a goal each to hand the convincing victory to the Aba Warriors on Sunday in front of their avid supporters in the first leg encounter of the 2015 CAF Champions League preliminary stage.

Paul Aigbogun's tutored side Warri Wolves edged Racing Club Bobo of Burkina Faso 0-1 in the Seasiders first leg tie of the 2015 CAF Confederation Cup preliminary round thanks to an 84th minutes strike from super-sub Abu Azeez who came into the game and registered the away goal that separated the two sides in a fiercely contested match.

As predicted by many pundits and football enthusiasts, the 2014 Nigeria Federation Cup finalists Dolphins FC of Port Harcourt fell to Leone Vegetarianos of Guinea after loosing 1-0 in a CAF Confederation Cup played on Saturday at Estadio De Malabo. Stanley Eguma's men showed some level of improvement in the match compare to their shambolic display at the NPFL Super 4 invitational tournament in Abuja.

The second leg of both the CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup games will see the light of the day in 14 days time.

Yobo Urges U-20 To Work Harder And Be Super Stars

Former Nigeria skipper Joseph Yobo has urged the Flying Eagles to work harder so they could be bigger stars than he and his contemporaries were.

Yobo met up with the Nigeria U20s at the Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos on their way to Ghana for two test matches against their Ghanaian counterparts.

“You can be bigger stars than we were,” Yobo told the players.

“I left this country for Europe when I was just 17 and before you know it, I was my family’s bread winner. You can also do same and even more, but you must be willing to work hard and make the necessary sacrifices.

“You have some great coaches and you only have to obey their instructions to make it in this game.”

Yobo, who has won a record 101 full international caps for Nigeria, also featured at the 1999 FIFA U20 World Cup, which Nigeria hosted.

Former Nigerian sports minister Bolaji Abdullahi also encountered the team at the airport and restated his belief that the Flying Eagles are the future of Nigerian football.

“I am delighted there is continuity in this squad, from U17 to now U20. This team is the future of Nigerian football, I have no doubt about this,” declared Abdullahi.

In the meantime, leader of the Nigerian delegation to the warm-up matches against Ghana Black Satellites, Emmanuel Ikpeme, has told the team he expects them to win in Ghana.

“We all know the rivalry between the two countries and so I expect you to ensure victory in these two matches,” tasked Ikpeme.

“A lot is now expected of you after your recent exploits in the Super 4 in Abuja.

“You cannot afford to relax, rather you have to be focused and professional so as to attain the height of your careers.”

The Flying Eagles had their first training at the Presbyterian Secondary School in Accra.

They trained for two hours with defender Zaharadeen Bello the only one who did not train fully with the rest of the squad on account of a swollen back foot.

The Flying Eagles will also train Sunday morning from 6.30am local time.

They will play against their Ghanaian counterparts on Monday and Wednesday before they return to Abuja on Thursday.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Nwakali: We Are Not Under Pressure Against Niger

Mercurial captain, Kelechi Nwakali, has stated here that the Golden Eaglets are not under any pressure ahead of their top of the drawer
encounter against host Niger at the 30,000 capacity Stade Général Seyni Kountché (SGSK) as the 2015 U-17 Championship gets underway.

As expected, the Golden Eaglets would be hard pressed by the home team for obvious reasons as their fore bearers defeated their host 4-1 at the same venue in one of the qualifiers towards Morocco 2013.

So it would be a case of Déjà vu on Sunday and Nwakali said he and hismteammates are ready for the encounter: "We are not under pressure of playing against the host Niger," said the attacking midfielder who is the junior brother of Chidiebere Nwakali who was a member of the 2013 World Cup-winning team.

"Rather, it is a great honour for us to start the competition against the host and we are ready to face the challenges."

He revealed that the coaching crew has updated them on what to expect playing in front of a partisan home fans, adding the onus is now on them to deliver the goods.

Nwakali: "They (coaching crew), have told us this is the most important match because if we win, it would boost our confidence for the other matches in order to qualify for the World Cup in Chile. Once we win our first game, we would be relaxed to play the other two group matches."

Nwakali has been the fulcrum of the team since he led his teammates to a third-place finish at the WAFU B Tournament in April 2013 and he reckoned that they are ready to go all the way in Niger.

"We came third the first time I led out the team to a tournament in Togo," recalled Nwakali. "The experience was a good exposure for us; we were disappointed in Togo but we are here in Niger to correct ourselves and do much better."

Amuneke Predicts Tough Test Against Host Nation Today

Golden Eaglets' Head Coach, Emmanuel Amuneke, has predicted a tough test for his wards when they open their 11th African U-17 Championship account against Niger at the Stade Général Seyni Kountché (SGSK) in Niamey on Sunday.

The former Barcelona star believed a win against the host would set a good omen as Nigeria push for the trophy yet again.

Golden Eaglets nearly won the championship the last time in Morocco but lost to Cote d'Ivoire in a dramatic 5-4 penalty shootout after a pulsating 1-1
draw.

"The first game is very important and we want to win irrespective of the fact that we are meeting Niger," said Amuneke who scored a brace in the 2-1 win over Zambia at 1994 African Cup of Nations Final Match.

"Of course, we know it is never going to be an easy match because both teams would like to win. "

He said he was not oblivious about the huge test of playing against the host in front of a partisan crowd, adding his wards must gird their loins:"We have told the players in clear terms that we want
nothing but victory against Niger," he said." It's never going to be easy but we must be tactically and psychologically sound for this match."

Golden Eaglets', who are drawn in Group A, would subsequently play Guinea and Zambia on February 18 and 22 respectively but Amuneke further stated that the focus of the team is Sunday's match against Niger: "Mentally, we must be prepared for the home team but if we win, it will put us on course for other matches."

Meanwhile, the Golden Eaglets have started their build up towards Sunday's opening fixture against Niger with impressive sessions at the practice pitch of Stade Général Seyni Kountché (SGSK) on Friday.

All the 21 players featured in the Morning session with players put under their paces in fitness exercises; passing drill; marking amongst others.

Amuneke psyched the players on the stiff test to expect on Sunday as the team fine tunes all the rough edges:"We need to psychologically prepare ourselves in all circumstances because in football, you can never neglect the inconveniences,"he said.

"Our idea is that we want to win though we don't know what the match can bring, we must be able
to resolve the issue."

Friday, 13 February 2015

NFF Charges Golden Eaglets To Go For Trophy In Niger

 

The Nigeria Football Federation has handed down a win-the-trophy mandate to the U-17 National Team, Golden Eaglets, as they begin campaign in the 11th African U-17 Championship in Niger Republic on Sunday.

 

Speaking in Abuja on Friday, NFF President Amaju Pinnick reflected that as champions of the world, the Eaglets have no business finishing lower than first place at the continental finals.

 

“The NFF is giving the Golden Eaglets total support to conquer in Niger Republic. Our belief is that we have a team to conquer Africa. As champions of the world, we have no reason not to win in Africa.

 

“Coach Emmanuel Amuneke and his assistants have been doing a great job. I watched the team a number of times and I could see in the players the hunger to achieve. “

 

The Eaglets start their campaign on Sunday, as they tango with host nation Nigeria Republic at the General Seyni Kountche Stadium in Niamey, starting from 3pm.

 

The Nigerian delegation of 21 players and 10 officials, led by NFF’s Director of Competitions, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, arrived in Niamey on Thursday amid pomp and pageantry, laid on by the Nigerian community in Niger Republic.

 

After playing Niger Republic on Sunday, the world champions clash with Guinea on 18th February and then with Zambia on 21st February. Their first two matches are at the General Seyni Kountche Stadium, while the third is at the Stade Municipal, which has artificial turf.

 

All four semi finalists at the championship in Niamey will qualify to represent Africa at the FIFA U-17 World Cup taking place in Chile, 17th November – 8th November, 2015.

 

Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali and South Africa contest in Group B.

Zikiye Remain Optimistic Ahead Of Continental Debut

Dolphins Football Club of Port Harcourt left full back Jonathan Zikiye has assured Nigerians that the Pride of Rivers will come back home with a good result as he look forward to making his first continental engagement.

The Port Harcourt based team we will be up against Leones Vegetarianos of Equatorial Guinea in their first encounter of the 2015 CAF Confederation Cup this Saturday at the Estadio de Malabo by 4pm Nigerian time.

Stanley Eguma's men didn't live up to expectations at the Super 4 invitational tournament held at the Abuja National Stadium but Zikiye who should be featuring for the 2014 Federation Cup finalists for the first time in his football career has boosted that his team will not disappoint Nigerians.

The former Nembe City player said" We are positive that something good will come out of our game at the end of the day.

"We have put the Super 4 outing behind us and have been working hard towards getting a good result and a better outing from this competition, we pray that God will grant us His grace,"he opined.

Zikiye further emphasised that his team must play as a unit and remain focus for the entire duration of the game if truly they really want something out the game.

"If we must have atleast a point on the road against Leones Vegetarianos then we have to play as a unit and keep our focus throughout out the duration of the game. I know it won't be that easy but we will give it our best,"he told olawale.blogspot.com.

Dolphins have featured in three CAF Confederation competition before now, this will be their fourth outing on the continent, they made it to the final in their first continental experience in 2005 and lost the final clash to FAR Rabat of Morocco.

The confederation cup campaigner returned back to continental football two years after their glorious experience, in 2007 and 2008 respectively but they bowed out from the group stage and in the second round in relative manner.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Captain Musa Leads U20 Squad For Ghana Tests

Nigeria U20 team, the Flying Eagles, have named 22 players for two warm-up games against their Ghanaian counterparts.

The team to be led by skipper Musa Muhamed is dominated by the players who won the FIFA U17 world Cup in UAE two years ago.

They include goalkeeper Sunday Alampasu, Akinjide Idowu, Abdullahi Alfa, Zaharadeen Bello, Samuel Okon, Musa Yahaya, Chidera Ezeh and Taiwo Awoniyi.

Others on the squad are goalkeeper Joshua Enaholo, Obinna Nwobodo, Ifeanyi Ifeanyi, Ifeanyi Matthew, Abdullahi Ibrahim Alhassan aka ‘Mu-azam’.

Both the Flying Eagles and the Black Satellites are preparing for next month’s African Youth Championship in Senegal.

The first test match between the two rival West African countries will be played on Saturday and a second match is fixed for Wednesday.

The Flying Eagles will depart for Ghana on Friday via Lagos and return to the country on Thursday, February 19.
 

The squad:
Goalkeepers: Joshua Enaholo, Sunday Alampasu, Olorunleke Ojo

Defenders:Musa Muhamed, Zaharadeen Bello, Izu Omego, Mustapha Abdullahi, Samuel Okon, Abdulganiyu Saheed

Midfielders:Ifeanyi Matthew, Ifeanyi Ifeanyi, Akinjide Idowu, Obinna Nwobodo, Musa Yahaya, Bernard Bulbwa, Abdullahi Alfa

Strikers: Taiwo Awoniyi, Abdullahi Ibrahim Alhassan, Usman Hassan, Chidera Ezeh, Abubakar Lawal, Wasiu Jimoh

Golden Eaglets Arrive Niamey, Ready To Tackle Host

Nigeria's Under-17 team, Golden Eaglets, Thursday arrived safely in Niamey for the 11th African Under-17 Championship and were given a royal welcome by members of the local-based Nigeria Football Supporters Club.

Flag-waving members of the NFSC led by their chairman, Sidney Sunday Ubanna, rode in a motorcade with the team to their  new abode in Niamey, Palace Royale Hotel , where accommodation have been reserved for the team.

The Nigerians assured the team of total support for the team throughout their stay in Niamey. A representative of Nigeria Ambassador to Niger, who was unavoidably absent, was also at the hotel to welcome the team.


"Some of us were actually in Sokoto yesterday when you played the friendly match against Fasbir and we were really impressed with the performance of the boys," said Sidney.

"We are also expecting more of our members and we are going to support the team all the way at this championship."

Meanwhile, Coach Emmanuel Amuneke on arrival, told the players to remain focused about the assignment at hand.

"We thank God we arrived safely here in Niamey and we have to remain focussed in the next two weeks in order to achieve our objectives," he said. "We are here for business and by the grace of God; it shall be well with us here in Niamey."

In the meantime, the team would train twice on Friday and once on Saturday to strategise for their first match.The Golden Eaglets would open their Niger 2015 account with the championship's opening fixture against the host, Niger on Sunday at the Stade Général Seyni Kountché (SGSK) multi-purpose stadium.


They are drawn in Group A where they would also play Guinea and Zambia on February 18 and 21 respectively. The Championship holds between February 15 and March 1 with the semi-finalists to represent the continent at the 2015 FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Chile in October.