Monday, 31 December 2018

Sanwo-Olu Promises Massive Sports Infrastructural Development If Elected


APC Gubernatorial Candidate, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu has promised massive Sports Infrastructural Development and upgrade in Lagos State when he is elected as Governor on March 2, 2019.

Sanwo-Olu made this known in Ajegunle area of Apapa Local Government of the State where he was the Special Guest of Honour at the Grand finale of the annual Mock Nations Cup which was renamed the Sanwo-Olu Mock Nations Cup in his honour and in recognition of his support for the tournament through the Sports Directorate of the Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu Independent Campaign Group (BOSICG).

Sanwo-Olu a sports lover himself was elated at the quality of the talents that abound in Ajegunle and Lagos at large and speaking at the end of the Final match of the Sanwo-Olu Mock Nations Cup, promised a total revamp of the Nigerian Navy football field (venue of the Final) as well as the popular, Maracana Football Field also situated in Ajegunle.


Also speaking at the final, Director of Sports for the Independent Campaign Group, Hon. Toyin Gafaar Bolowotan said that with Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu as Governor come 2019, Lagosians are set to experience the “Best Of Sports” touching on Infrastructure, Grassroots Sports Development as well as a more enhanced Fitness and Wellbeing regimen for the attainment of a Greater Lagos.



He further urged Sports fans in Lagos to look out for more Sports related initiatives and partnerships on the Sanwo-Olu campaign in the lead up to the elections in March, 2019 touching the nooks and cranny of the State and cutting across various Sports (and not just football).

Algeria defeated Uganda by a lone goal in the final of the Sanwo-Olu Mock Nations Cup which also had in attendance, the Director-General of the BOSICG, Mr. Tayo Ayinde, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro and other dignitaries.



Monday, 17 December 2018

Stranded Ogun State Athletes: Amosun intervenes, say it's the handiwork of his political enemies



Ogun state governor Ibikunle Amosun was shocked to read the disturbing news that the state athletes and officials were thrown out of their hotel rooms and seen loitering the streets of Abuja because the bus mearnt to convey the contingent back to Abeokuta developed serious fault and was withdrawn on Saturday.


Reacting through a very close confidant, the governor regrets this  unfortunate incident, stressing that his government values every Egba youth that is meaningfully contributing his/her quota to promoting and uplifting the image of the state.


"Governor Amosun is a man who rewards excellence and has been in contact with team Ogun from the first day of the festival to the very last day.


"He is shocked at this development, describing it as the handiwork of his political detractors. 


"Let me state here, that we are aware of various clandestine moves employed by the opposition to frustrate the good work of his excellency.  We are not going to allow this disturb or distract us going forward.
   

"As we speak, the governor  has acted swiftly as he has directed that the athletes and officials be accorded the best possible treatment  deserving of their heroic performance at the games where team Ogun won a total of 64 medals, comprising of 8 gold, 15 Silver and 41 Bronze medals.


"An official statement on a proposed state banquet in a yet to be decided date and venue will be made public in due cause the source said".

NFF Emergency Committee directs that Super 8 must go ahead



The Emergency Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation, chaired by the President of NFF, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick, rose from a meeting at the weekend to announce that it had directed the go-ahead of the Super 8 Tournament of the Nigeria National League to produce four teams to be promoted to the Nigeria Professional Football League for the 2018/2019 Season. This is, as enshrined in the NNL 2018 Rule Book and in line with the propositions of the expanded meeting of chieftains of the NFF, the LMC, the NPFL Clubs, the NNL and NNL Clubs, that the NNL should stage its statutory Super 8 to produce the four teams for NPFL.


The Emergency Committee said it took the decision after careful consideration of the relevant rules and regulations, contemporary best practice and what is obtainable and defensible in the international sphere.


Members commended the NFF President for the tremendous efforts he made to meet with the NNL leadership, the eight NNL Clubs qualified to participate in the Super 8 as well as the proprietors of the Clubs with a view to explaining to them the need to stage the tournament.


“I am imploring the various Club Owners and other investors, promoters and facilitators, as well as the administrators of the two Leagues, to see the current situation as a consequence of the special circumstances that we found ourselves and consider the best interest of Nigerian Football.
                                                                                                               
                          
“Nobody foresaw these special circumstances. Yet, it is only by obeying the rules and regulations, and being guided by global best practice, that we can move forward. Nigerian Football is operating within the international football community, and not an oasis in any desert. The NFF Emergency Committee endorses the resolution of the expanded meeting that the best eight teams in the NNL should contest the Super 8 Tournament, from which the best four teams will be promoted to the Nigeria Professional Football League for the 2018/2019 Season.”


Pinnick further stated that the decision to endorse the NPFL proposal of 30th August 2018 to end the League at Week 24, should be seen for what it is – a measure to deal with an exceptional circumstance to meet up with the deadline for submission of Nigeria’s flagbearer in the CAF Champions League, and the need to redraft the league calendar from August – May as directed by the Confederation of African Football. “We are calling on stakeholders to see these decisions as the only way of getting out of the special circumstances and forge ahead.”


It would be recalled that the meeting of the NFF Executive Committee, held in Asaba, Delta State on 20th November 2018, had mandated the NFF President to take a decision on the matter having considered the propositions/decisions of an expanded meeting of NFF chieftains and LMC leadership, after a meeting of Administrators and Club Owners of the NNL.


However, in his quest for wider consultation, Pinnick referred the matter to the NFF Emergency Committee for deliberation.


The Emergency Committee thus directed that teams contesting the Super 8 Tournament, scheduled for Aba, should arrive the Abia State capital on Wednesday, 19th December, and the tournament must be concluded by Sunday, 23rd December for the Nigeria National League to present teams to the Nigeria Professional Football League for the new season.


“The Super 8 Tournament must go ahead with all the teams arriving on or before Wednesday, 19th December. I enjoin all the eight qualified teams to endeavour to be in Aba for this tournament, in order to ensure that the LMC has the names of the four teams promoted from the NNL, and go ahead to conduct its draws for the new season.” The Committee also directed that the NNL must proceed with the tournament as scheduled with the Clubs that report to Aba while stating that disciplinary action would be taken against those who fail to honour their obligations to participate in the Super 8 and the directives of the NFF.


“At the same time, the League Management Company must make best efforts to ensure that all parameters, processes and procedures are set to commence the new Nigeria Professional Football League season before the first day of January, 2019.”


Gombe United FC, Remo Stars FC, Shooting Stars Sports Club, Bendel Insurance FC, Delta Force FC, Kada Stars FC, Real Stars FC and Kogi United are the teams qualified for the NNL Super 8 Tournament.

National Sports Festival Fallouts: Ogun State Athletes Thrown Out Of Hostel


....Athletes and officials seen loitering the streets of Abuja


It was sorrow,  tears and blood. Men and women mourning their ordeal after another major scandal broke out in 'Team Ogun' camp, one day after the 19th National sports festival ended in the federal capital territory, Abuja. 


Are you in the FCT and you really want to catch a glimpse of frustration and dejection? Then look no further than the camp of team Ogun. They came like paupers and will return like beggers. They struggled to feed all through their 11 days stay in Abuja.


The rickety team bus that brought them to Abuja has since packed up after a near fatal accident, yet the athletes gave their all to bring pride and honour to a state they love so passionately.


On Monday morning they woke up to yet another shocker as officials at the hostel where the team was camped, ejected them from the facility without a formal warning.

   
 With bags on their heads, they have littered the streets of Abuja begging for help. They are so helpless in pain. They have looked to the South where their flamboyant governor Ibikunle Amusun had to call off a state function to honour them on departure with peanuts. They struggled  to eat and drink in camp but they endured the suffering till the very end and amassed a total of 64 medals comprising of 8 gold, 15 silver and 41 bronze medals, to finish 12 on the overall medals table.


This is a feat worthy of celebration but instead, what they are getting is humiliation and frustration.


The tears have not stopped coming down, everyone is in a state of confusion not knowing where to go.


In a few weeks, it will be election time in the state and these youths, will be called upon by heartless politicians to vote for leaders who have never shown them love.

What a world!

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Box 2 Box FC stroll past Festac Young Stars to Emenike's Cup final



Enterprising Box 2 Box FC is one step away from lifting the Emmanuel Emenike Future XI football tournament trophy as they face Stihl FC in the final.


The final match of the maiden edition of Emmanuel Emenike Future XI football tourney will be played on Sunday by 4pm at the Legacy pitch of the national stadium Surulere Lagos.


Box 2 Box spanked Festac Young Stars 6–0 in the semi final match played Friday morning to book a place in the final phase of the football event.


Stihl FC on the other hand worked out a shocking 3-0 victory over Nath Boys to set up what promises to be an exciting final game.


Box 2 Box coach, Randy Reuben disclosed in an exclusive interview with sports247.ng  that his aim is to have the bulk of his players in the final XI and also win the tournament.


“Getting to the final to win it is what we want and also having our players in the first XI will make it an extraordinary achievement for us.”


The two sides stand a chance of winning the sum N300,000 as cash prize for the champion of the competition  while the runner up will bag N200, 000 as cash incentive.

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Sanwo-Olu throws weight behind Mock Nations Cup




The APC Gubernatorial candidate in Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu has thrown his weight behind the Mock Nations Cup, an annual Football tournament which holds in Ajegunle area in Apapa Local government of Lagos State.


The announcement was made by the Sports Directorate of the Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu Independent Campaign Group which confirmed that the tournament which is Grassroots sports oriented will enjoy full sponsorship from the APC gubernatorial candidate and will be renamed Babajide Sanwo-Olu Mock Nations Cup for this edition.


With this development, the Sports Directorate further confirmed that asides enjoying the frills and thrills of the football action, fans will also get an opportunity to relate with the representatives of the Sanwo-Olu campaign team and get to know more about his programmes for Lagosians when he’s elected as Governor in 2019.


You will recall that in an unprecedented move after he clinched the APC ticket and was to constitute his Campaign team, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu in a bid to touch on all sectors in Lagos, the Centre of Excellence during his campaign and subsequently in his administration set up a Sports Directorate under his Independent Campaign Group. The Sports Directorate will drive initiatives for the campaign in the sports sector and also create an avenue to show the relevance of sports in his plans for a Greater Lagos.


The Sports Directorate under the leadership of Mr. Toyin Gafaar Bolowotan based on this mandate has in turn enjoined Lagosians to prepare ahead as there are more sports activities lined up for them and called on all sports loving people to be part of the electioneering campaign and vote for Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu as the next Governor of Lagos State.

#ForAGreaterLagos
#Sanwoolu2019

Super Eagles defender Shehu launches foundation programs




Super Eagles and Bursaspor player, Abdullahi Shehu has revealed his Foundation programs which will take place in his native State, Sokoto, this December.

The Abdullahi Shehu Foundation will engage the Youths in Sokoto State in three events that will start with the Sokoto Governors Cup across the 23 Local Governments in the State.

"We have been doing a lot of programs over the years to empower the Youths in my state (Sokoto), but this year's events will be unique," said Shehu.

"We want to use football as a platform to revive the hopes of talented footballers in Sokoto, we are taking the Governors Cup across the Local Governments and we have the State Government support.

"We appreciate His Excellency Aminu Waziri Tambuwal for creating the enabling environment for the Foundation.

"There are many talents in Sokoto but they lack opportunities to compete, we want to use football to discover the hidden talents across Sokoto and give them hopes. We need to produce more of Shehu in Sokoto".


In addition, the Sokoto-born player talked about the two other programs lined up for this month.


He said; "We have two other programs this month, we want to run a massive campaign on drug abuse and educate our Youths. It's important we impact knowledge and guide our future leaders to live a positive and productive life, the Foundation want to inspire the Youths.


"We have been able to get Ahmed Musa involved in the third event, we have set our target to reach out to hundreds of school students. We want to support them with books, pens, bags and other school materials that will propel them to success in the future. We can't leave everything in the hands of government, we should also support them and empower the Youths," Shehu concluded.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Remo Stars FC pulls out from NNL Super 8


Remo Stars Football Club (RSFC) will not be honouring the upcoming Bet9ja Nigeria National League Super 8 competition scheduled to hold on the 15th of December, 2018, in Aba, Abia State.

On the 24th of November, decisions were reached by the NNL league board during the Annual General Assembly (AGA) held at NERA Hotel Jabi, Abuja indicating all eight (8) teams will be promoted to the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).

Following the earlier decision made, we (Remo Stars) have now noticed that the Nigeria National League (NNL) is no longer going by the earlier decision made to promote all eight (8) and we have therefore decided on our part not to honour the scheduled NNL Super 8 in Aba.



The Sky Blue Stars finished top of Group B2 in the Bet9ja Nigeria National League (Bet9jaNNL) with two (2) points ahead of Delta Force FC.

Monday, 10 December 2018

We must get past Norway to get into the knockout rounds – Dennerby


Coach Thomas Dennerby reflected on Monday that his African champions must scoop all three points against Norway in their first match of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup finals, to stand on a good pedestal of reaching the knockout stages.


The Swedish tactician made this observation as he inspected, alongside other members of the Nigeria delegation, the facilities for the Super Falcons’ first match of the finals, including the 21,000 –capacity Stade Auguste Delaune in Reims.


“In the early editions of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, Norway used to have outstanding teams. I am not saying they no longer have a strong team. But I believe that if we are able to use our power and pace to maximum effect, and we improve our marksmanship, we can get a good result against them.


“Certainly, we would need a fitness coach to put the Super Falcons in great shape so that we can have that power and great pace to work for us. We would also need to play friendly matches and invitational tournaments to try various formations and combinations.”


The inspection of the Stade Auguste Delaune was done alongside the delegations of Norway, United States of America and Thailand, who would also make use of the venue for matches during next summer’s World Cup.


The stadium was opened as Stade Municipal in 1934, but brought down entirely and rebuilt in 2008. It is named after a former Sports Minister of France who died in a concentration camp during World War II.


Nigeria and Norway go at each other’s jugular in the second match of Group A on 8th June 2019, a day after hosts France and Korea Republic would have opened the tournament at the Parc des Princes in Paris.


Incidentally, Norway’s coach, youthful Martin Sjogren, is also Swedish and is a friend of Dennerby.


“Our objective would be to get three points off Norway. We would then go hard against Korea Republic and then take our chances against France. For me, coming to the World Cup next summer should not be about Nigeria just making up the number.


“We should have the mission to come here and make an impact at the World Cup. Nigeria is ripe for that, but adequate preparation will be key.”


The delegation, which included NFF Director of Communications Ademola Olajire and Team Administrator, Mary Oboduku, also inspected the Mercure Hotel Reims where the Super Falcons will stay, as well as the training pitch.


After playing Norway on 8th June, the Super Falcons will move to Grenoble to play Korea Republic on 12th June before heading to Rennes to take on France on 17thJune.

Abu scores twice as Beach Eagles set gaze on FIFA World Cup


Nigeria’s Beach Soccer National Team is again on the threshold of qualifying for the FIFA World Cup, after a 4-2 defeat of debutants Tanzania at the ongoing CAF 
Beach Soccer Cup of Nations in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt on Monday.


Veteran Abu Azeez, who opened his goals tally for the tournament with a brace against Libya on Sunday, scored one of Nigeria’s four goals to take his tournament tally to three – same as Emeka Ogbonna. Another Nigerian player, Taiwo Adams, who netted twice against Senegal on the opening day, also has three goals, after he scored one against the Tanzanians on Monday.


Emmanuel Ohwoferia netted one against Libya on Sunday and made another against the Tanzanians to take his tally to two, while Tyson Ojukwu opened his tournament goals account with one against the Tanzanians.


In other matches on Monday, hosts Egypt defeated 2015 champions Madagascar 4-2 while Morocco edged Cote d’Ivoire 5-4.


The other semi finalists would be known on Tuesday afternoon as Egypt clash with Cote d’Ivoire and Madagascar are up against Morocco. Senegal, who edged Nigeria on penalties following a 4-4 draw after regulation and extra time on Saturday, whipped Tanzania 12-2 on Sunday, but must avoid defeat against Libya, 5-3 winners over Tanzania, on Tuesday to reach the last four.


Victory in their semi final match on Wednesday will see the Supersand Eagles pick a ticket to the 2019 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup holding in Paraguay, as the two finalists at the ongoing championship will be eligible.


Nigeria came close to reaching the semi finals of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup seven years ago, before they lost to Brazil in extra time in Ravenna, Italy.



Osun State Governor unveils Unuanel as Osun United Head Coach



State Government of Osun has charged the management and technical crew of Osun United Football Club to instil discipline in the team especially the players ahead of the commencement of the 2018/2019 Nigeria National League.


The state Governor, Alhaji Isiaka Gboyega Oyetola, stated this while unveiling David Samson Unuanel as Head Coach of Osun United.


Unuanel 54, was officially unveiled the Head Coach of Osun United by the immediate past Commissioner for Special Needs, Social Needs, and Sports, Comrade Biyi Odunlade, and Chairman Osun Football Association, Chief Taiwo Ogunjobi.


Governor Oyetola who was represented by Odunlade urged the technical crew to select the best players to prosecute the league and urged the team to be appreciative of good gesture by turning in good result.


Ogunjobi who was part of the committee that appointed Unuanel, said the coach was selected on merit after screening and the management of the club had made a right choice in his selection.


He assured the management would give the new tactician the needed and necessary support to achieve the club target, which is to gain promotion to the elite league in the country.


DSU as Unuanel is fondly called, while addressing newsmen said, he was thankful to the state government and management of the club for giving him the opportunity to coach and lead the club.


He however asked for the support of everybody in the state to deliver on the mandate given to him, to qualify the team to the Nigeria Professional Football League.


“We need everybody’s support to move the club to the elite league so, I need everybody to move with me in the right and same direction. I came back to this club to make a statement and deliver, I will give my best and I pray my best brings the required results,” he said


Unuanel who assisted Prime FC (now Osun United) to gain promotion to NPFL in 2006 expressed delight with the opportunity to work again with the Omoluabi Giants.


"I'm happy to be here again, it's a great opportunity, we don't have time to delay, we know our aim and target, it's to go to NPFL, because we're overdue for it. I'm soliciting everyone support and I'm open to advice that will help us achieve our goals," the former Sunshine Stars coach said.








Sunday, 9 December 2018

Supersand Eagles thump Libya 6-3, ready for Tanzania


Nigeria turned back Libya 6-3 on Sunday afternoon to brighten her chances of a place in the semi finals of the ongoing CAF Beach Soccer Cup of Nations in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. The win came about 24 hours after the two –time African champions lost 0-2 on penalty shoot –out to Senegal, after both teams ended it 4-4 after regulation and extra time.



Emeka Ogbonna, best player of the last edition of the competition held in Lagos in 2016, contributed two of the goals to add to the lone strike he secured against four –time champions Senegal on Saturday, to take his tally to three at this tournament.



Abu Azeez, another star player on the Nigeria side, also netted a brace, while Emmanuel Ohwoferia and Suleiman Ogodo got one goal each as the Supersand Eagles handed the North Africans the same treatment they got in the hands of the Super Eagles in two 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in October.



With the Supersand Eagles having regained their buoyancy and marksmanship, debutants Tanzania are in the firing line as they take to the sands against Nigeria on Monday starting from 2.30pm Egypt time (1.30pm Nigeria time).



Coach Audu ‘Ejo’ Adamu is likely to throw another star player Victor Tale into the fray on Monday to ensure a baptism of fire for the East Africans, while paving the Nigerians’ route to the last four.



The two finalists in Sharm El Sheikh will represent Africa at the 2019 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup scheduled for Paraguay.

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Governor Lalong, Pinnick, Akinwunmi receive awards of excellence in Johannesburg


Johannesburg – After the much-awaited clash between the Super Eagles and South Africa’s Bafana Bafana, the focus switched to the bright lights of Sandton where the African Football Alliance (AFA) bestowed recognition awards upon Governor Simon Bako Lalong of Plateau State who earlier led the Nigerian delegation to the match at the FNB Stadium.

Awards were also handed out to NFF President, Amaju Pinnick and NFF 1st Vice- President, Seyi Akinwunmi.

Governor Lalong received the much-coveted African Football Development Excellence Award for his long-standing and continued support to the beautiful game, not only in his State but also across the whole of Nigeria.



Lalong in his acceptance speech of the award indicated that the recent success of the Super Eagles is testimony to the fact that if Nigerian people have one common vision, anything is possible both on and off the field of play.

The Governor also recommitted himself and the State to continue focusing and prioritising support programmes for the youth and to create opportunities in all spheres of life and not only football, which in itself could be used as the cornerstone of Nigeria’s future development.

The NFF President, who received the African Football Leadership Award, was in full praise of the success of the Super Eagles reaching another AFCON tournament and insisted that they will not go to Cameroon to make up the numbers, but have already kick-started a highly focused preparation-plan to win the tournament.

Pinnick also commended Governor Lalong for his unselfish commitment to lead the process of football and community development and his vision to create a legacy, which will speak for itself when Nigeria is counted amongst the “best in the world” on all fronts of sports and society at large.

Pinnick also encouraged the AFA to continue finding ways to assist with the organisational development of football stakeholders through sustainable learning interventions, which will ultimately benefit the NFF since its future leaders would have been beneficiaries of such development programmes.

NFF 1st Vice-President, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi, received the African Football Development Recognition Award for his passion and commitment to grassroots programmes as well as his high-level contribution to the national affairs of Nigerian football at large.

Akinwunmi also praised the AFA for the initiative to give recognition to those who are making an indelible mark on the development of African football in general and the fact that only a few awards were handed out at the Ceremony, is proof that those who make sacrifices for the benefit of the sport, will ultimately be recognised for their contribution, irrespective whether it is big or small.

AFA Convener, Gerrit Davids stated that the Awards program is in line with the objectives of the Alliance to foster and encourage more people to take up leadership roles within football and to share knowledge on the best practice required to make African football great.

The Ceremony was impeccably hosted by Emeka Enyadike, a well known son of the Nigerian soil, who is a multi-dimensional consultant on digital sports technology, sports marketing, sponsorship, broadcasting and social media trends.

The next AFA Awards Ceremony will take place on 21 March 2019 in Nigeria during the African Football Forum, a day prior to the last AFCON’19 Group Match against the Seychelles.

Friday, 16 November 2018

Injuries, suspensions mean opportunities for others - Rohr


Technical Adviser Gernot Rohr rues the injuries and suspension that has robbed him of four of his regulars for Saturday’s crucial 2019 AFCON qualifier against the Bafana Bafana of South Africa, but is comforted that the situation has presented opportunities for some other performers to step onto the runway.


First choice goalkeeper Francis Uzoho, wing back Abdullahi Shehu and forward Odion Ighalo – top goalscorer in the 2019 AFCON qualifying race with six goals – are not in South Africa as a resut of injury, while lion –hearted midfielder Wilfred Ndidi is suspended after cards against Seychelles and Libya.


“Yes, we have a number of injuries and one suspension. But we cannot continue to talk about that. We must look at the personnel with us now and see the situation as opportunity for them to step up and prove what they can do.


“I am happy we have a young team determined to achieve. Everyone here is good enough to represent Nigeria and they will go in there and do the job.”


Nigeria’s 23 –man squad for this game includes former U17 World Cup winners Kelechi Iheanacho, Isaac Success, Victor Osimhen and Samuel Chukwueze – who, amongst them, must step up for the main striker’s mantle in the forced absence of Ighalo.


There are also France –based Samuel Kalu (good outings away to Seychelles and at home to Libya) and Henry Onyekuru who plays in Turkey, not to mention Musa, Nigeria’s highest goalscorer ever at the FIFA World Cup.


Arsenal FC of England’s impresario Alex Iwobi knows how to find the net, as Zambia would testify, and Spain –based Moses Simon is a tricky customer on his day.


While Rohr has to deal with the absence of four regulars, Bafana Bafana Coach Stuart Baxter is not better off, as Dean Furman, Bongani Zungu, Keegan Dolly, Sibusiso Vilakazi, Bradlet Grobler and Kamohelo Mokotjo are not available.


While Percy Tau and Thulani Serero are real threats, Tokelo Rantie – who scored three of South Africa’s last five goals against Nigeria – is out of the picture having been sacked in Turkey and presently nursing a new career as a farmer. 


NIGERIA’S 23 FOR BIG MATCH

Goalkeepers: Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Enyimba FC); Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United, South Africa); Theophilus Afelokhai (Enyimba FC)

Defenders: Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy); Adeleye Aniyikaye (FC IfeanyiUbah); Semi Ajayi (Rotherham United, England); Bryan Idowu (Lokomotiv Moscow, Russia); William Ekong (Udinese FC, Italy); Leon Balogun (Brighton & Hove Albion, England); Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Jamilu Collins (SC Padeborn 07, Germany)

Midfielders: Oghenekaro Etebo (Stoke City FC, England); John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel); Mikel Agu (Vitoria Setubal FC, Portugal)

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Al Nasr FC, Saudi Arabia); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Moses Simon (Levante FC, Spain); Victor Osimhen (Royal Charleroi SC, Belgium); Henry Onyekuru (Galatasaray SK, Turkey); Alex Iwobi (Arsenal FC, England); Samuel Kalu (Bordeaux FC, France); Isaac Success (Watford FC, England); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal FC, Spain)

SOUTH AFRICA’S 23 FOR BIG MATCH

Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs); Ronwen Williams (SuperSport United); Darren Keet (Bidvest Wits); Ramahlwe Mphahlele (Kaizer Chiefs); Motjeka Madisha (Mamelodi Sundowns); Siyanda Xulu (Maritzburg United); Thulani Hlatshwayo (Bidvest Wits); Innocent Maela (Orlando Pirates); S’Fiso Hlanti (Bidvest Wits); Lebogang Maboe (Mamelodi Sundowns); Buhle Mkhwanazi (Bidvest Wits); Thamsanqa Mkhize (Cape Town City); Vincent Pule (Orlando Pirates); Hlompho Kekana (Mamelodi Sundowns); Fortune Makaringa (Maritzburg United); Teboho Mokoena (SuperSport United); Samuel Mabunda (Mamelodi Sundowns); Thmebonkosi Lorch (Orlando Pirates); Thulani Serero (SBV Vitesse, Netherlands); Themba Zwani (Mamelodi Sundowns); Lebo Mothiba (Racing Club de Strasbourg, France); Dino Ndlovu (Zhejian Greentown, China); Percy Tau (Royal Union Saint, Belgium)

Super Eagles insist on three points against Bafana




Three –time African champions Nigeria flew into Johannesburg in the early hours of Friday with a commitment to picking all three points in Saturday’s Group E top-of-the-table clash with South Africa at the FNB Stadium.


Stand –in Captain Ahmed Musa, who is the last Nigerian player to score against South Africa at senior level, when both teams finished a friendly match 1-1 in Nelspruit in March 2015, told thenff.com that the Super Eagles are not thinking of simply gaining a point from the encounter.


“Our determination is to win and pick our ticket to the AFCON ahead of the final matchday next year. South Africa came to Nigeria to beat us and we are here to return the compliment.


“We will not be playing for a draw. We won in Seychelles and against Libya in Tunisia and we are here to win as well.”


The chartered MAX Air plane that flew the Nigeria delegation, led by NFF 1st Vice President, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi, landed at the Oliver R. Tambo International Airport around 3.30am South Africa time, with 23 players, team officials led by Technical Adviser Gernot Rohr, members of the NFF Executive Committee, some members of NFF Management and NFF Staff and a number of media representatives.


The delegation was met on arrival by President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Mr. Amaju Pinnick, who travelled 24 hours earlier for a meeting with a prospective commercial partner, as well as top officials of the Nigeria High Commission in Pretoria and the Nigeria Consulate in Johannesburg.


Ahmed Musa and team –mates will have a feel of the turf of the FNB Stadium (nicknamed Soccercity) as from 3pm on Friday.


Musa admits that Saturday’s encounter would not be for the faint –hearted. Nigeria has not beaten South Africa at senior men level in the last four encounters between both nations, though it was in South Africa that Nigeria won her third and last Africa Cup of Nations title in February 2013.


A 2015 AFCON qualifier in Cape Town in September 2014 ended scoreless, before the Bafana Bafana held their ground for a 2-2 draw in Uyo two months later to deny the Super Eagles a place at the 2015 AFCON in Equatorial Guinea.

Both teams tied 1-1 in a friendly in Nelspruit in March 2015 before the Bafana shocked the Eagles in Uyo 2-0 on Matchday 1 of the current qualifying series.

“They are a strong team and we will not under –rate them. But we are here for the three points,” Musa emphasized.

Monday, 12 November 2018

Pinnick, Fresh, Amokachi, others storm Kogi for Natasha's Soccer Talent Hunt

President of Nigerian Football Federation, NFF, Amaju Melvin Pinnick led other executive members of the federation as well as other top shots in Nigerian football to Ihima, Okehi LGA of Kogi State on Sunday to grace a soccer talent hunt organized by the Natasha Akpoti Foundation (NAF), to promote grassroot soccer talents in Kogi State.


The final of the talent hunt program organized in conjunction with the Soccer for Peace Foundation and Webster Group was held at the Ihima Township Stadium.


The unprecedented youth emancipation program was the first project of Amaju Pinnick since his re-election as president of the NFF.


The NFF supremo was glad to used the moments to relieve his long time desire to give Soccer opportunities to children at the grassroots.


He also appreciated the good people of the North Central Part of Nigeria for their massive support during his re-election and promised a greater attention towards the region.


"This event gives me relief to achieve one of my cardinal objectives of bringing soccer opportunities to the downtrodden.


"North Central is key to development of football in Nigeria and I want to appreciate every stakeholders for their continued support to our reelection success, this we will reciprocate with focusing more in developing football from this area", Amaju said.


Accompanying the president of the NFF, Mr. Amaju Pinnick to the venue were NFF Executive Members, Alhaji Yusuf Ahmed Fresh, Alhaji Mohammed Alkali who is also the chairman of Nationwide League One, NLO and Nasarawa State FA; Kogi FA chairman, Alhaji Suleiman Isah Umar, his counterparts from FCT, Alhaji Musa Talle, and Plateau State, Mr Sunday Longdap, Chairman of Kogi State Referees Council, Adams Ibraheem, FIFA Referee Abel Baba, Soccer geniuses like Daniel Amokachi who is the Technical Director of the JS Hercules team in Finland.


The event commenced last week with the screening of the 45 players from the three senatorial districts of Kogi state at the Kogi State Polytechnic field, Lokoja.


30 players were selected at the end of the screening with 10 players each from Kogi Central, East, and West district.


The 30 players were divided into 2 teams of 15 players each, making Team Natasha Akpoti and Team Amaju Pinnick.


The final stage of the Soccer talent Hunt saw Team Amaju Pinnick beating Natasha Akpoti 5-2 and smile home with a prize of one million naira and the runner up with five hundred thousand naira donated by Webster group.


The NFF President equally donated one million naira each to the two teams for their impressive performances just as he reiterated his federation's commitment in discovering future football stars in Nigeria.


Barrister Natasha Akpoti who was the chief host of the event attributed the initiative as a project to market the very best of not only Ebira but Kogi State’s soccer talent to the nation and world.


Barrister Akpoti, a Senatorial Candidate for Kogi Central District added that she decided to open this opportunity for the youths of the entire state.


“Football is a sport that brings unity amongst people and development to neglected communities, it would be only good to accord equal prosperous chances to our families from the East and West.


This is the first time in the history of Kogi State that a seating president, his board and NFF chairmen of 6 states are visiting, so sharing these opportunities of joy is the most humane thing I can do as a nation builder”, Akpoti said.


Daniel Amokachi who is an Ex Super Eagles' player gave hundred thousand naira to the best player Mr. Salihu Hamid who scored three goals during the march.


In their separate remarks, NFF board members and the FA Chairmen present promised to look into other career growth advantages in the coming weeks as such raw talents must be supported.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Gold Cup: Pillars begin title defence against Phoenix ASC

Kano Pillars, A list status in the domestic league will be put to test as they begin their Gold Cup Tourney title defence against 'giant-killers' Phoenix ASC when the pre-season event kicks off on November 15th in Ado Ekiti.


This is a second Group A tie billed for the Oluyemi Kayode Stadium with a kickoff time of 4pm.


In the first game of the Group, Kwara United and Rivers United who faced each other three times last season in the league and Group phase of the Aiteo Cup in Lagos will lock horns by 10. am. Remo Stars who hope put their Ilorin poor form behind them are drawn bye.


The Sky Blue Stars will aim for their first three point in the 10 days football fiesta when they host new boys, Phoenix ASC on Friday, 16th November.


Meanwhile, the opening fixtures of Group B will see CAF Champions League side and 2016 Gold Cup Champions, Lobi Stars open its campaign against FC Ebedei.


Coach Kabir Dogo who will be making his debut in the Gold Cup Tourney, will be leading his new look Sunshine Stars against debutant Cynosure FC of Abakaliki. Both matches will be played on Thursday 15th, November.


Fidelis Ilechukwu and his Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries FC lads will be resting ahead their first game against FC Ebedei on Friday, 16th November.

The top two teams from  two Groups in the mini-league will qualify automatically for the semis.


Leader of Group A and B will host runner-up of Group B and A respectively on 21st and 22nd of November by 4pm local time.


Winners from the two semi-final games will then lock horns for the ultimate prize in the epic final at the Oluyemi Kayode Stadium on November 24th.


The Gold Cup Pre-season Tournament is sponsored by distinguished Senator of the Federal Republic, Dr. Buhari Abdul-Fatai (BAF), and proudly supported by Nigeria Football Federation Executive Committee Member, Alhaji  Ahmed Yusuf Fresh, foremost betting company, Bet9ja, Nigeria leading sportswear firm, 'Owu', Play Sportswear, Ekiti State Football Association, Naija League Magazine, Seyi Akinwunmi Foundation, Phoenix ASC, Sportspro, New-Bell Global Investment, 11th Media Global Concept, Phreestyle Sports and Vomoz Mobile.

Monday, 22 October 2018

Senator Buhari, Fresh pledge support for Gold Cup Tourney


Distinguished Senator Federal Republic of Nigeria, Buhari Abdul-Fatai (BAF) has pledged his continued support for Nigeria's most organised Pre-season Tournament tagged "Gold Cup Pre-season".


The Senator representing Oyo North in the last three years have bank the tourney which is scheduled to come up at the Oluyemi Kayode Stadium, Ado-Ekiti from November 15 to 24, 2018.


Buhari, quoting his aide Alhaji Noah Bello (former Crown FC boss), "I want to express my  satisfaction with the tournament which has proven to be the best with teams playing in the tournament making appreciable performances at the end of each season.


"In the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) Lobi Stars broke the 19yrs no trophy jinx as they were crowned champions while Kano Pillars are at the verge of picking the continental ticket via the AITEO Cup once they overcome the Rangers hurdle in Asaba come 24th October.


"In the Nigeria National League   (NNL) Remo Stars have made a bold statement as they about making a return to the NPFL just after a year they got relegated.


"This is massive boost for the teams as well as the Gold Cup, so I'll continue to give my massive support to the organizers of the tournament."


Meanwhile, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Technical Committee Chairman Ahmed Yusuf Fresh did also inform of his continued support for the Gold Cup as he showered encomiums on the organisers of Nigeria's most prestigious Pre-season event led by  General Coordinator, Tunde Shamsudeen.


"The tourney is the best organised I have seen and I'm delighted to be associated with the organisers.


"In a nutshell the tourney has been the platform where top NPFL teams meet to compete, as a way to prepare for the new season.



"So in my little way, I will continue to support the Gold Cup project," Sarduana Kwallon Kafa as Fresh is fondly called by his admirers told Gold Cup Media.