Saturday 24 January 2015

Akwa Ibom Stadium nominated for global award

Nigeria’s most modern stadium, the Akwa Ibom International Stadium, Uyo has been nominated for the 2014 Stadium of the Year award.
According to a press statement from, which keeps a database of stadiums worldwide, the newly built stadium, also known as the ‘Nest of Champions’, is among venues nominated for the award.
Thirty-two major stadiums commissioned in 2014 have been shortlisted for the award, and a breakdown shows that eight are located in Brazil, three in the United States of America, while Hungary and Poland each have two stadiums nominated.

“It’s great to see a new stadium in Nigeria to be proud of. Its white outer cladding and illumination also makes it stand out globally and become a true landmark for Uyo,” stated Grzegorz Kaliciak, founder of, in a statement made available to New Telegraph. Officially opened on November 7, 2014 by President Goodluck Jonathan, the Akwa Ibom International Stadium hosted the Super Eagles’ 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against South Africa.

After losing wife to cancer, Agbonavbare battles same disease

For celebrated AFCON 1994 winner, Wilfred Agbonavbare, life has been unfair. Having played for Nigeria at different levels, comprising the Flying Eagles squad of 1983, which were the first to represent Nigeria at the FIFA U-20 World Championship in Chile in same year and the then Green Eagles squad of 1984 and later the Super Eagles team of 1994, before seeking the proverbial pastures greener to Europe, where he played and retired, the 48 years old Edo state native should at least be living well off above the middle income level. 
But like is the fate of many former super stars of Nigerian sports, that dream has remained a pipe-dream for Agbonavbare, who is not only unemployed right now but is bereaved and living on borrowed time because of the scourge of cancer, which has confined him to the hospital bed, seeking financial lifeline from compassionate Nigerians and the federal government, which in a way, is alleged to have an indirect hand in the goalkeeper’s precarious health and financial predicaments.
Born on October 5, 1966 in Lagos, Agbonavbare, who played for the famed New Nigeria Bank FC of Benin City and BCC Lions, before moving to Spain in 1990, where he spent the rest of his career, starting with Rayo Vallecano in the second tier of the Spanish league, is clinging on to his precious life in Spain and he is weak to the point that you could scarcely hear his voice sitting next to him.
His exploits in between the sticks for clubs and country are still legendary. He was a cat  that was always ready to spring to action. But in his battles to help Nigeria succeed, he is now paying the heavy price of neglect, owing to serious health issues affecting him.
In a brief chat with some of his former colleagues Agbonavbare recounted his grace to grass story thus: “I was relieved of my job after I was diagnosed with cancer. My wife died of breast cancer three years ago and when she was diagnosed with breast cancer I spent all the money I made playing professional football on her medical bills to keep her treatment uninterrupted. Consequently, I had to send my three children to Nigeria because of my lethal health condition”.
Soon after sending his kids back to Nigeria, he was relocated back to Spain after spending five months in a Tampa, Florida, hospital, to continue with his treatment, which requires money, an item that Agbonavbare can’t afford now.
For his former teammates, this situation could have been avoided had the Nigerian government redeemed its pledge to the Mexico ’83 Flying Eagles squad, who were promised scholarship to the tertiary level by the then Shehu Shagari-led government after they returned back to Nigeria from Chile.
According to Dehinde Akinlotan, who now resides in the USA, it was high time that the present government under the leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan bore the cost of the treatment of Agbonavbare, who he lamented was suffering because of government’s failed promise.
“We are using this medium to appeal to Mr. President to look back into our plea for the scholarship awards promised to the 1983 Flying Eagles as the first ever Nigerian national team to qualify for FIFA tournament and registered the country’s name on their map.
“This will go a along way to help out oAgbonavbare, who is plagued with a serious sickness and on the hospital bed, seeking financial support and also fighting for his life. We are hoping that our plea to Mr. President to redeem the pledge would be of great help to him. We have already lost three of our teammates to illness during our plea”
According to another worried teammate, Tajudeen Disu, it was high time that the President Jonathan came to the rescue of Agbonavbare, who he lamented was a problem of government’s neglect.
“ We are using this medium to thank President Jonathan for supporting all our sports men and women because his administration has been very supportive of sports participants more than any administration. I really want to go back to the 1983 promise made to us for being the first team to ever quality Nigeria for a FIFA tournament by the then government and up to date it has not being fulfilled. We have been calling for the redemption of the promise and I believe that he will do it because he is a president who genuinely cares for sports men and women and I have no doubt in his trust.
“It’s unfortunate that one of us is at the point of death struggling to pay hospital his medical bills and if your government redeems this scholarship pledge, it will help to save his life. I am talking about Wilfred Agbonavbare. We are also asking FG to find a way to put together a retirement plan so players have something to fall back to after retirement from active football.
“Those of our deceased teammates and coaches ought to be remembered as well. I have lost hope in the FG whereby it’s promises are never fulfilled that was why I relocated my family to US because I did not want a repeat of what happened to us to happen to my children”, added Disu.

Eagles begin 2017 AFCON chase in June

The Super Eagles will seek to qualify for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations starting from June 8-16, 2015, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has confirmed.
The African champions failed to make the 2015 edition currently going on in Equatorial Guinea, after only winning it two years ago in South Africa, but will start their quest to make the next edition starting from June.
“The draws for the groups shall be done on 8 April 2015, in Cairo, immediately after the announcement of the host country of the 2017 edition,” a statement from CAF read in part.
CAF also announced a change in the format of the qualifying series, with the host country participating in the qualifiers from the next edition.
“For the first time, the host country will participate in the qualifying stages; though the matches concerned will not be computed for points, they shall count as friendlies,” the statement also read.
Meanwhile, CAF also announced that the host country for the 2017 edition will be made known during their Ordinary General Assembly in Cairo on April 8.
The Super Eagles failed to qualify from a group that had South Africa, Congo, and Sudan, and have not been defending the title they won in South Africa in 2013 in Equatorial Guinea.

Siasia eyes victory against Tunisia

Dream Team VI coach, Samson Siasia says they want to win their preparatory games before taking on Gabon in the 2015 All Africa Games qualifiers.
The Nigerian U23’s will take part in two sets of preparatory games before starting the qualifying process for the All Africa Games.
The team have been divided in two, with one set playing two games against Tunisia in Tunis, while the other play in the Super Six tournament in Nigeria.
“We don’t just want to play these games, we want to win them because they are important to us and our preparation for the All Africa Games qualifiers.
“Winning will give the players the kind of mentality we want heading into the qualifiers and that is exactly what we want to achieve,” Siasia said.
The Dream Team will play the first leg of their qualifiers against Gabon on February 20in Libreville, before playing the second leg in Nigeria a fortnight later.

Oshoala: I joined Liverpool because of Suarez

Luis Suarez may have departed Liverpool, but he continues to play a part in shaping the club’s future.
Liverpool Ladies continued strengthening their squad for the forthcoming season with the prize capture of African Women’s Player of the Year, Asisat Oshoala of Nigeria
And the 20-year-old Super Falcons forward reveals the exploits of a certain Uruguayan meant she jumped at the chance of a move to Merseyside.
“In Nigeria, I always dreamed of coming to England to play, and Liverpool are a team I have liked a lot,” says Oshoala.
“I support the men’s team and have followed the results of the women’s team.
“When I got the deal from them I was very excited.
“I supported Liverpool when I was younger, especially when Luis Suarez was still here. He’s a player I have really admired.”
Oshoala arrives at Liverpool Ladies with a burgeoning reputation having packed much into a still formative career.
She was voted the most valuable player and top scored at the Under-20 Women’s World Cup in helping Nigeria finish runners up, and also helped club side Rivers Angels win the league and cup double in her homeland.
Such success led Oshoala to be named both African Women’s Footballer of the Year and Youth Player of the Year for 2014, and last September she was made a Member of the Order of the Niger by Goodluck Jonathan, President of Nigeria.
Having retained their title in dramatic fashion on the final day last season, Liverpool Ladies are determined to make an impact in the forthcoming Champions League.
And that proved a lure for Oshoala, who will star for her country in this summer’s World Cup in Canada.
“Moving to Liverpool is the next step for me,” she says. “I am looking forward to the next World Cup, Nigeria haven’t qualified from the group stages in a long time and that would be an aim.
“Individually, I want to be a better player than I was in 2014.
“The dream of every player is to play in the Champions League, both men and women. That’s what makes it even more exciting to be moving to Liverpool – to have that chance.
“This season, I want to make sure I work hard and help us retain the league. It’s going to be tough because there are a lot of good teams out there.”
While a fan of Suarez, Oshoala cites Dutch great Clarence Seedorf as her great inspiration and has even been nicknamed after the former AC Milan and Real Madrid midfielder.
“I like him so much,” she says. “I like players who work hard and give everything on the pitch.
“When you see a player like that, he is an inspiration. I love the way Seedorf played, everything about him.
“For the same reason, I admire Luis Suarez. He is ready to give everything and do everything for his club, and I love players like that.
“I’d like to think I play like that. In the under-20 World Cup with Nigeria, I showed what I can do if I try my best.”

Friday 23 January 2015

Eagles kick off Russia 2018 WC Qualifiers in October

Nigeria’s Super Eagles along with 51 other African teams will kick off their quest to make the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia in October, which is when the qualifiers will get underway; while the road to the next African Nations Cup finals gets under way in June, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) confirmed on Thursday.
The African nations expected to enter the World Cup qualifiers will go through three preliminary rounds starting in nine months time after the draw in St Petersburg on July 25.
That will narrow the field down to the final 20 teams, who will be spilt into five groups each containing four sides, with the victors of those round-robin pools claiming a place at the finals.
CAF also confirmed the format of the qualification campaign for the next Nations Cup in 2017 that has yet to have a host after Libya was stripped of their status due to ongoing civil unrest in the country.
In a change from past tournaments, the host country will participate in the qualifying stages, though their matches will be considered friendlies and no points awarded, reports Reuters.
The 52 nations will this time be divided into 13 groups containing four sides each, with the top team in each pool advancing to the finals, as well as the two best runners-up.
The exception will be the group of the host country, from which only one team will be eligible to advance.
The hosts for the 2017 finals will be known on April 8 after the CAF Ordinary General Assembly in Cairo. The draw for the qualification groups will be done directly after that announcement.

Assisat oshoala signs for Liverpool ladies...Congrats

English FA Women's Super League champions, Liverpool Ladies have secured the services of Super Falcons star Asisat Oshoala from Nigeria Women’s Premier League side, Rivers Angels.

The 2014 African Women Player of the Year inspired the Super Falcons to win the 2014 Africa Women Championship in Namibia as well as help Rivers Angel lift the Nigeria Women Premier League and Federations Cup titles.

Matt Beard's Liverpool are currently preparing for forthcoming WSL and Champions League campaigns, having retained their league title on the final day in 2014.

"Since I began my football career I have always dreamt of being a professional footballer, so to be able to join the reigning Women's Super League champions is absolutely fantastic,” Oshoala said of her move to Merseyside.

"Liverpool Ladies are a massive club, who have some fantastic players who I believe can help to develop my game to the next level.

"It was also a big incentive to be able to play in the UEFA Women's Champions League, which is a huge competition and one I'm confident we can do well in,” she concluded.

Ladies boss, Matt Beard also expressed her delight following the capture of the Nigeria youth prodigy.

"I'm absolutely thrilled to have signed Asisat as she is one of the world's top young footballers,” said Beard.

"Asisat proved in the U20 World Cup what a top-class talent she is and this signing is a big coup for us.

"The Women's Super League continues to improve year after year, so it is vital that we strengthen our squad following last season's successful title defence. This signing is definitely one that the supporters can be extremely excited about.”

Home Eagles: Dosu urges NFF to confirm Amokachi

  • Wants monthly matches for team

Former Nigeria international, Joseph Dosu, has called on the Nigeria Football Federation to confirm Daniel Amokachi as the official coach of the homebased Super Eagles to complement the ongoing rebuilding process. The home-based Super Eagles, under the tutelage of Amokachi, defeated Yemen 2-0 in an international friendly last week in Dubai, five days after losing by a lone goal to Cote d’Ivoire in an evenly matched encounter in Abu Dhabi. Goals from Mfon Udoh and Azubuike Egwuekwe were all the Eagles needed to bounce back to winning ways against the Yemenis following that painful 1-0 defeat to the Ivoirians. And Dosu said: “We used to have the Super Eagles Team B in the past but the project was scrapped. The introduction of the CHAN tournament by CAF for the development of domestic league players has revived the need for the team.
“The leadership of the NFF should confirm Amokachi as the coach of the home-based Eagles to be supported by (goalkeepers’ trainer) Ike Shorunmu and they can always work with Stephen Keshi if the NFF wants to retain him.” The former Super Eagles goalkeeper added that the development of home-based players started by Keshi a few years back should not be scrapped stressing that the project was instrumental to Nigeria’s triumph at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa where a substantial number of players in the squad were picked from the Nigerian league.
“Amokachi should be saddled with the responsibility of visiting league venues and local competitions to watch and identify players who will meet and play matches every month,” continued Dosu. “This will help the team to create cohesion as well as unity among the players because the homebased Eagles did well in their Asian tour against Cote d’Ivoire and Yemen.” The Atlanta 1996 Olympic games gold medallist went on to highlight the need for regular matches for the team. “The team can be made to play against the league leaders and other neighbouring countries every month to prepare the players for the CHAN qualifiers, as well as the main Super Eagles,” he said.

Jigawa hosts NOC President, Gumel

The government of Jigawa State will roll out the red carpet on on Sunday to honour its illustrious son and President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, Habu Gumel.
This recognition which holds at the NYSC Camp, will be bestowed on Gumel by the state governor, Sule Lamido, as a result of the giant strides that Gumel has made in sports administration, as well as engineering, in Nigeria.
According to a statement from Dutse, a dinner will also be held in honour of Gumel, who is also an executive member of the International Olympic Committee.

Since coming back as President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee after a keenly-contested election in Asaba, Delta State, where he beat former president Sani Ndanusa, Gumel has received congratulatory messages from international sporting bodies as well as stakeholders in Nigeria.

Quadri on the spot as ITTF Africa begins

International Table Tennis Federation Player of the Year, Aruna Quadri, will be the star of the show as the 2015 ITTF-African Championship serves off in Cairo today. Egypt is the leading team on the continent but Nigerians expect Quadri to lead a side that will finally overtake the North African country as the number one in Africa. Quadri is the highest ranked player in the tournament, 30th in the world rankings and was earlier in the year named the best player in the world a success that may put extra pressure on him but he has vowed to overcome that.
“It is true that the awards have somehow put me under pressure but working harder and harder will surely make me overcome the pressure. I just have to keep playing just like I have been doing without any fear.”

The tournament will open with women teams playing in the first round and experienced Funke Oshonaike is expected to inspire the younger players as they attempt to bounce back to reckoning in Africa

Celtic interest excites Oshaniwa

Super Eagles left-back Juwon Oshaniwa has expressed excitement about the prospects of joining Scotland’s Celtic FC during the current transfer window.
The former Sharks of Port Harcourt player, in an interview with the BBC, stated that the Scottish champions, who already have another Nigerian, Efe Ambrose, have contacted his Israeli club Ashdod to check on his availability. “A move to play for Celtic would be a dream come true for me,” Oshaniwa told BBC Scotland.
“My club has told me that Celtic have contacted them about me and said they were interested in me.” Oshaniwa who has eighteen months remaining on his existing contract at Ashdod added: “I would be so glad to meet up with my international teammate Efe Ambrose.
“I would love to play at Celtic. I have heard great things about the club and know how big they are.” The 24-year-old defender appeared in all of the Super Eagles’ World Cup games last summer in Brazil and has a total of 11 caps to his name.

Amelia Edet goes down memory lane

Former Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) head coach, Amelia Edet has reiterated the need to invest in the youth, sportwise.
“….There is no substitute for talent hunt. There is a limit to the recycling of athletes. It is about age and performance and sooner or later, if you don’t invest in the youth, failure catches up with you…..” she said.
In Lagos, Amelia was reacting to an invitation to be part of a coaching crew that will fine tune the over 500 students that will be involved in the grand finale of the 14th AKS/NNPC/MPN Schools Athletics Championships that will be held in Uyo on Feb 6 and 7.
Part of the same exercise in Calabar last year, the seasoned coach and holder of the IAAF Veteran Pin for “ long and meritorious service to the cause of athletics worldwide” said what happened in Calabar last year was an eye opener and proof that talent abound in this country.
“ Courtesy NNPC and MPN we took about 160 students to Calabar last year and after about two weeks of intensive coaching, there was no doubt that world beaters abound in this country.
“ I had pleaded with the Consultant of the programme Mr Paul Bassey to ensure that we have more of such. I have been told that this year will not be as intensive as last year, but it gladdens me that as many as 500 athletes will be given an opportunity to be exposed to the best of conditions in track and field” she said.
Amelia who was honoured by the International Athletics Federation (IAAF) during  her 47th Congress in Berlin for her commitment and service to Track and Field will want more companies and individuals to be involved in grass roots sports sponsorship.

Egwuekwe lands in London

Nigeria international Azubuike Egwuekwe is reported to have flown into London and is set to finalise a move to West Ham.
Sam Allardyce is looking to strengthen his backline as uncertainty continues to surround the future of Winston Reid who has yet to agree a new contract with the club.
Egwuekwe, 25, has been one of the star performers for Warri Wolves and is ready to showcase his talents in the Premier League.
gerian website is claiming that the talented defender is now holding talks with West Ham and could secure a £4m in the January transfer window.
Allardyce will not want to risk being left with just two senior central defenders at the end of the month if Reid secures a late move away from Upton Park.

Thursday 22 January 2015

Odemwingie wants goals from Victor Moses

Victor Ikepba
VICTOR Moses is under orders to bang in more goals now that he is fit again and shaping up for the final four months of Stoke’s season.
The order doesn’t come from manager Mark Hughes, however, but from injured team-mate Peter Odemwingie.
Moses has netted once in 13 appearances for Stoke and Odemwingie, running a sharp eye over proceedings from the sidelines, says that isn’t enough for a player of his ability.
“I’m delighted he’s back because he’s been instrumental in getting away points for us,” says Odemwingie.
“I just want more goals, personally. I told him that his crossing is good, but I want goals, however he does it, because he can score more.”
Odemwingie, who still hopes to feature before the end of the season after a cruciate knee ligament injury, admits to being frustrated at not being able to link up with this season’s newcomers such as Moses and Bojan.
But he is delighted to see Bojan scoring and everyone taking him to their heart.
“It is very helpful to settle in when you score, the manager speaks well about you and the players want you in every game,” he said.
“I felt that way myself and so I can relate to him for that and I hope he continues doing well.
“He is very hard working and even today he was in running by himself. He’s added a few kilos of muscle and so he’s also putting in the hours in the gym and we will all benefit from that.”
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Owolabi tasks nff over new eagles

A former international, Felix Owolabi, has called on the Nigeria Football Federation to boost domestic football in the country in it attempt to rebuild the Super Eagles.

Owolabi said going forward, there was need to properly evaluate the state of the game in the country with a critical look at the missing links. He argued that the domestic league and the Federation Cup were not enough to serve as feeders to the senior national team, the Super Eagles. He said: “The growth of the game domestically will always impact on the senior team.
The ideal situation is to bring in pros to fight for shirts but now it is the home-based that are fighting for recognition. “The NFF should get a very good coach who will raise a solid team from the domestic scene but the problem is that the two competitions the league and federation cup are not sufficient. We need at least three more. We used to have a football competition among the universities. We need players from higher institutions and secondary schools.
“Our National Sports Festival should also be taken seriously especially because those who are not in school but are talented will feature for their states in the NSF. The NFF should get sponsors to revive some of these competitions that produced many great players in the country.”
Owolabi argued that some player entered the Eagles straight from the secondary schools and the universities in the past but such things are no longer happening. He noted that it was wrong to only depend on just a few players abroad in a country of over 140 million people. “A coach who is ready to work will go round to discover hidden talents in the country.
We have a good chance now to raise a new team since we are not in the Nations Cup. This country is blessed with good players but we have to fish them out,” he added. The 1980 Nations Cup winner stressed that it was important to have a proper structure for the existing competitions.
“The salaries, the field of play, coaches and all should have the required standard. It we have a good template, there will be development in the game,” he said.

AFCON 2015: Fans clash with police before E’Guinea match

Supporters and police clashed before host nation Equatorial Guinea’s second game at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Fans threw stones and bottles outside the stadium in Bata, with police responding by firing smoke grenades.
The violence, involving hundreds of fans, occurred as supporters were trying to enter the ground through a single entrance before the match against Burkina Faso began.
Some supporters reportedly did not have tickets for the game, which ended 0-0.
Fans have faced delays getting into other venues being used in the tournament, with two group matches played back-to-back at a single stadium each night.
Riot police and fans also scuffled before the first games in the city of Ebebiyin on Sunday.

Equatorial Guinea are hosting the tournament after Morocco’s request to postpone the event because of the possible spread of Ebola was rejected by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in November, reports the BBC.

Supporters have their temperatures checked and are then asked to clean their hands with sanitising gel as they enter stadiums, which is also resulting in long queues.

Wednesday 21 January 2015

Refs killed Nigerian league, says Eboigbe

Sunday Eboigbe has laid the blame for the fall of the Nigerian league squarely at the doorstep of referees. The former Green Eagles defender argued that league football these days was so predictable as clubs only win at home while losing away. “It is the referees that killed our league.
Those days we frequently won matches away and lose at home, but that has since changed. It is corruption all the way now; they have spoilt the league for us,” Eboigbe said. “Now I defeat you when you come to my ground and when I visit your venue you beat me. Is that football? It is so predictable.
Is that the way it is in England? Nobody followed English football when we were playing because the fans believed in us; that we were even better than players in England, but after some time they spoilt everything. “We know what happens in those pre-match meetings where they do their deals; our football can’t improve like that. In Europe teams routinely win matches away, and if clean goals are scored nobody complains.”
The former New Nigeria Bank and Abiola Babes defence stalwart added that league football back in the ‘70s, ‘80s and up till the ‘90s, was so competitive and rivalry-driven that stadiums were filled to the rafters especially when the traditional clubs were in action. He said: “In the old Bendel alone we had four clubs. Beside Bendel Insurance and NNB we had Flash Flamingoes and another one I can’t remember now.
Back then fans would buy tickets one week ahead for matches between Bendel Insurance and NNB; the crowd was enough to intimidate the faint-hearted. “The year NNB started beating Bendel Insurance they didn’t believe it. Stephen Keshi, Franklin Howard, Henry Nwosu and the others were in the ranks of NNB then.

We beat them 2-1, they scored first but we leveled and went ahead, but now the crowd is gone, Ogbe is virtually empty. The referees are so deep in corruption, the fans know it and that is why they stopped going to the stadiums. I heard not long ago that the Nigerian league was the best in Africa, that is not true; as far as I am concerned our league is the worst in Africa.”

New Super 6 set for 'big bang' opening

Rather than the annual Super Four, this year's Nigerian Premier League Preseason tournament will be a Super Six and it will kick off this weekend in Abuja. Champions Kano Pillars are joined by first and second runner up teams, Enyimba and Warri Wolves while Confederations Cup finalists Dolphins were invited too. The fifth and sixth teams are the Nigerian Under-20 and Under-23 teams. Here are five things we expect to see at this year's Super Six Tournament.
Five things we expect to see at this year's Super 6 tournament.
1. Made in Naija Football at last: Since the league ended in November, we have tried to distract ourselves with some footballing action going on elsewhere in the world including the African Cup of Nations which we somehow could not qualify for. This is why for some local football lovers, this could not have come any sooner. Yes, it is only a pre season tournament and yes it is hardly a trophy to break one's head for but the reality is that football is back, our football is back. After this ten day tournament, the CAF Champions League and the CAF Confederations Cup follows soon after and then shortly after our League season starts. Our football, our own football is back.
2. How the new boys look: The big teams Kano Pillars, Enyimba and Warri Wolves have all been active in the market in the past couple of weeks, negotiating and snapping up players they believe will improve their teams as they embark on their domestic and continental tasks in the coming season. We will see Godspower Aniefiok and Tony Edjomareigwe feature for Pillars while Chima Uluocha one of the Federations Cup winners' new signings will be at the heart of the Enyimba's defence. Crown's Onyekachi Okafor most likely will be leading the line for 2nd runner up Warri Wolves with Gbolahan Salami having completed a move to Serbia last week and we even have the chance to see what Dolphins who have shut the world from their activities are up to. It is too early to tell how they will fare for their new clubs but we will be seeing them in their new colours as well as how the coaches hope to set them up.
3. Alex Iwobi: Alex Iwobi may not be a name that rings a bell among the Nigeria's footballing public but surely his uncle Austin Jay Jay Okocha does. The 18 year old opted to play for Nigeria despite representing England at the Under 17 and the Under 18. One of the key players in Arsene Wenger's Under-21 side and is believed to be near a first team breakthrough, Iwobi's pedigree has gone ahead of him and expectations are rocket high. We all would be watching to see this winger who is said to be comfortable on both flanks play for Samson Siasia's Under-23 Team. Whether he can dazzle and take the world by storm like his Uncle in the near future we shall see but we are eager for some foretaste beginning this weekend.
4. How ready the teams are: Each of the six teams invited for the tournament all have continental tasks ahead of them in the very near future. Premier League Champions for the third straight year, Kano Pillars will be hoping to transfer their dominance on the domestic front into the Champions League where they must overcome Al-Malakia of Sudan. The other Nigerian representative Enyimba of Aba face Benin side Buffles du Borgous. Wolves and Dolphins face RC Bobo of Burkina Faso and Leones Vegetarianos of Equatorial Guinea in the CAF Confederations Cup. The two junior teams, the Under-20 and the Under-23 sides also have tricky fixtures. Garba Manu's Under-20 side are getting set for the Africa Youth Championship in Senegal while Samson Siasia's Under-23 side are gunning for a place at the forthcoming all African games and these competitive fixtures will help access how ready these teams are and how much work needs to be done.

5. Our New Referees: While the rest of us were enjoying the holidays at our vacation spots, the NFF president, Amaju Pinnick sent two batches of Nigerian Referees to the UK for trainings and exposure. The referees are long back in the country but we are yet to see them demonstrate what they have learnt at these trainings and the Super Six offers an excellent opportunity. A lot has been said of the level of officiating in the league and we trust that this begins a new day for match officiating. The stakes are higher for them now especially after the efforts by the Football governing body to make these trainings happen.
Kano Pillars will face Dolphins of Port Harcourt in the first match while Enyimba play the flying Eagles and Warri Wolves tackle the Under-23 Team. All the matches are live on SuperSport.

Flying Eagles thump NDC Warriors

Nigeria’s under-20 team, the Flying Eagles continued their build-up to the Africa Youth Championship with a resounding 6-0 win over NDC Warriors on Tuesday at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna.
Prince Aggrey opened the scoring for the Flying Eagles in the 13th minute before Ifeanyi Ifeanyi scored from the spot after stand-in skipper, Taiwo Awoniyi, was upended in the box to give the Flying Eagles a 2-0 lead.
There were no more goals in the first half though Wasiu Jimoh had an effort come off the bar as the Flying Eagles cruised into the second half which saw a flurry of goals.
Jimoh turned provider for Usman Hassan in the 68th minute when his delightfully delivered free kick was nodded home.
Aggrey got his second of the game a minute later after being put through on goal by Abdullahi Alfa.
Ifeanyi Ifeanyi converted another spot kick after substitute Obinna Nwobodo was fouled in the box before substitute Gabriel scored the sixth goal in added time to complete NDC Warriors' misery.
The Flying Eagles who expect majority of the invited foreign-based players to arrive camp this week, will continue their preparation when they participate in the NPFL pre-season tournament in Abuja starting from January 24.
The tournament will include reigning Glo Premier League champions Kano Pillars, Dolphins, Warri Wolves, Enyimba and the national under-23 team, the Dream Team VI.
Flying Eagles starting XI vs MDC Warriors
Joshua Enaholo, Zaharadeen Bello, Mustapha Abdullahi, Akinjide Idowu, Abdullahi Alfa, Bernard Bulbwa, Ifeanyi Ifeanyi, Prince Aggrey, Wasiu Jimoh, Ya'u Hassan, Taiwo Awoniyi (capt)

Ohawuchi scores hat-trick in Egypt

Nigerian striker Stanley Ohawuchi netted a hat-trick for Wadi Degla as they romped to a 4-1 win over Al Masry in Match Day 17 of the Egyptian Premier League on Tuesday.
The former Flying Eagles forward also underlined his reputation as a pacy striker when he scored inside 41 seconds of the match and then celebrated with acrobatic flips.
On 51 minutes the former Heartland man pounced on a pass inside the goal area of Al Masry, whose defence was in sixes and sevens, to score with a half volley and give Wadi Degla a two-goal lead.
Two minutes later, Ohawuchi completed his hat-trick in a sweeping counter-attacking move that saw him round the Al Masry goalkeeper before slotting into the goal for his club's third of the afternoon.
But Ohawuchi was not done yet as his pace continued to unsettle the defence of Al Masry, and in the 65th minute he slipped through his teammate, Ahmed El-Merghany to put gloss on the score and give Wadi Degla a 4-0 lead.
Though Ahmed Yasser scored a late goal for Al Masry, Ohawuchi's performance had ensured that Wadi Degla moved into third position in the Egyptian league standings behind Zamalek and ENPPI SC.

Monday 19 January 2015

Next Goal Machine: First Eagles goal delights Udoh

Nigeria Professional Football League record top scorer, Mfon Udoh, is glad to have finally scored his first goal for the national team after three games.

The Enyimba International of Aba star netted the first goal in the 2-0 friendly win over Yemeni national team in Abu-Dhabi on Saturday. Speaking with our correspondent from the Super Eagles base in Dubai, the player said it was a great relief for him to finally score his first goal for the national team.
“People tend to underrate playing against Yemen, but finally scoring my first goal for the national team is a big relief for me as a player. “I have been putting in my best while playing for the national team, I hit the crossbar in the friendly game against Ghana in Uyo, played very well against the Elephant of Cote d’Ivoire and now I have scored my first goal, I am happy,” the striker said.

He however promised to continue to give his best whenever he has the opportunity to represent the country in future matches. On where he will be playing his club football in the new season, the player said he was currently concentrating on national team assignment.

Elegbeleye confirms April date for NSF

Director General National Sports C o m m i s s i o n , Gbenga Elegbeleye, has told New Telegraph that nothing will change the date of the National Sports Festival scheduled for April in Calabar, the Cross River State.
The NSF had already suffered a setback after the competition was postponed from its earlier date of October/November in 2014 to the new date in April. Reacting to insinuations in some quarters that there might be yet another postponement due to the change in government some states will experience immediately after the national elections, Elegbeleye said the states would surely have enough time to prepare after the elections.
“The elections hold in February and the sport festival will be coming up in April, we have a gap of two months between the two events, so I don’t see any reason why we have to postpone again,” he said.
Speaking further, he said there was the need to stage the NSF on time especially with the closeness of the All Africa games. Elegbeleye said with the coming of professionals for the NSF, it would be an opportunity to select the best athletes that would represent the country at the AAG.

He said: “It (the NSF) will be like trials for some sports to see which athletes are good enough to represent Nigeria at the AAG. “The nature of this year festival will afford us the opportunity of accessing some of our top athletes and the upcoming ones. “It is only from competitions that you will know those who are ready; those that excel will be called to camp immediately as there won’t be any break at all.”

Engaging the Youths through sports: 400 athletes for Gov. Ahmed U-17 badminton tourney

No fewer than 400 male and female athletes will compete for honours at the maiden edition of the Gov. Abdulfatah Ahmed U-17 Badminton Championships in Ilorin, which opens on Jan. 27.
The sponsor of the competition, Dr Abdulfatai Olokoba, disclosed this in an interview with Newsmen on Monday in Ilorin.
Olokoba, who is also the Chief Medical Director (CMD), of the Ilorin General Hospital, said the aim was to further develop the racket game in the state.
He said that the state had the potential to make history in the game.
The sponsor said athletes would be drawn from all the 16 local government areas of the state for the three-day event.
According to him, the closing ceremony would hold on Jan. 29, at the Indoor Sports Hall of the Kwara Stadium Complex, venue of the event.
He disclosed that prizes would also be given to deserving participants at the closing ceremony.

$10m for grabs at Afcon 2015

The 16 teams at the Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea will share a total of $10 million with the champions earning $1.5 million (1.3m euros, £990,000) the Confederation of African Football (CAF) said.
The beaten finalists will receive  a million dollars with the other two semi-finalists taking home $750,000 each.
A further breakdown of the prize monies will see quarterfinalists each guaranteed $600,000.
The third-placed teams in each of the first round groups will pocket $500,000, while the bottom teams get $400,000 each.
This year’s tournament will open on Saturday in Bata after Equatorial Guinea accepted to stage it following the late withdrawal by Morocco over fears of fans from abroad spreading the Ebola Virus  which has ravaged west Africa — Guinea are the only finalists to have been seriously affected — for more than a year.
Nigeria won the 2013 trophy in South Africa after they edged Burkina Faso 1-0 in the final — the Nigerians, though, failed to qualify for this edition.

Eagles too strong for Yemen

Nigeria’s home-based Super Eagles yesterday proved too strong for Yemen in the international friendly match played at the Sevens Stadium in Dubai.
Striker Mfon Udoh scored the first goal in the 25th minute, while Warri Wolves defender, Azubuike Agwuekwe completed the pipping of their lowly opponents in the 64th minute.
The Eagles were originally meant to play against Sudan who also failed to qualify for the the Africa Cup of Nations. They were in the same group with Nigeria.
The Super Eagles dominated the game with their ball possession, but failed to create scoring chances to finish off the Arab nation. The Eagles coached by Daniel Amokachi had lost 1-0 to AFCON favourites Cote ‘d Iovire in a previous game.

Ogunjobi Urges Oshoala To Return To School

-Ex-scribe congratulates her on CAF Award
Former Secretary-General of Nigeria Football Federation and erstwhile chairman of the body’s technical committee, Chief Taiwo Ogunjobi, has urged newly crowned African Women Footballer of the Year, Asisat Oshoala, to return to high school for her to be academically equipped for the future.
The chairman of Prime Football Club, opined that he was shocked when he knew the Rivers Angels goal-poacher is a Secondary School (SS2) drop-out.
“I was shocked the day I heard Asisat Oshoala is a Secondary School drop-out despite her level of intelligence,” the Pillar of Sports in State of Osun said.
Ogunjobi, while giving Oshoala a fatherly advice said now that her ovation is loud, she should return to school and further her education.
“Education is important, football is temporary and if you don’t leave football, football will leave you one day. I played football to the highest level (Green Eagles) but education was what I fell back on after my active football career.”
“We live in a society where the ability of an individual to be successful depends largely on their education. I am using this medium to appeal to Asisat Oshoala to return to school so as to get her future properly secured.”
Oshoala whose dream was to become a lawyer, incurred the wrath of her parents when she dropped out of school to pursue a football career.
Meanwhile, the former Sole Administrator of Shooting Stars Sports Club of Ibadan, congratulated Oshoala for emerging as the African Women Player and Young Player of the year 2014.


Segun Ajose is a Lagosian, even though my parents come from Ogun State. I was born and bred in Lagos, I schooled in Lagos and represented Lagos in the National Sports Festival, won a gold medal and joined the Nigerian Army. So all my life, most of my life, I’ve lived in Shomolu, before I started representing the country. I won gold at the All Africa Games in South Africa, went to the Olympics, won many international invitational tournaments in Europe and turned professional. I won the Nigerian title and the African title, won the Commonwealth title and the British title, fought for a world title and still going. So I went through my career stage by stage, I didn’t just burst on to the scene all of a sudden, it was a process.
Actually, I never wanted to turn pro , I disliked the pros in the past when I was growing up so I thought I was just going to do the amateur, then when I’m done, go to school then stop boxing. But then when I went to the Sydney Olympics, I was robbed against an American and when I got back, the Boxing Federation then wanted me to continue in the amateur ranks, but I was of the opinion then that if I wait in the amateur and I go to the Athens Olympics, there is no guarantee that I would also not be robbed in the Olympics and we weren’t really getting enough preparations here in Nigeria. So I thought you know what, I’ll just try to compensate for what I missed in the amateur, which is winning a gold medal in the Olympics because all the guys that won medals in the Olympics, I had beaten them on the international scene before the Olympics. The one who won a bronze medal, I beat him in the All Africa Games, the guy who won the second bronze medal, the Cuban, I beat him before the Olympics, the gold medalist was the most scared of me, the silver medalist was the one I was robbed against. So I was felt like, forget about it, maybe I would just try to compensate for it by turning pro and winning a world title in the process and that has been my goal so far, that’s what I have been working on achieving.
So you can please contact segun on his twitter handle @ajoseolusegun or his facebook page olusegunajose or through his agent, 

Chi Adz

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