NANPF, LMC To Tackle Players Welfare Issue

NANPF, LMC To Tackle Players Welfare IssueThe National Association of Nigerian Professional Footballers (NANPF) has vowed to keep up pressure on clubs to pay their players their wages and salaries.

The renewed commitment came after the association reached an agreement with the League Management Company to work together in ensuring backlogs are settled.

The 2016/2017 Premier League season begins on Saturday with many clubs yet to pay their players and coaches their salaries and bonuses from previous seasons.

NANPF General Secretary, Austin Popo, who expressed his disappointment with the refusal of the majority of the clubs to pay their players, said the body had decided to work with the LMC.

It was learnt that the players’ union and other groups had allegedly pressured the LMC to suspend the league until the players were paid their entitlements.

It was also learnt that the groups decided to make a U-turn after allegedly coming under pressure from some of the clubs and the LMC.

However, Popo said the players’ body would put defaulting clubs under pressure through the LMC for the players to be paid their entitlements.

The former Flying Eagles forward said that Warri Wolves, Taraba United and Heartland were among the clubs still owing their players.

According to Popo, “The painful thing about the debts owed these players by the clubs is that the managers and owners of these clubs are frustrating our efforts at retrieving the debts, hence we have decided to work directly with the LMC, who have assured us that the debts would be paid before the new season begins, to avoid a repeat of the past situations.

“These club owners have some recovered monies paid to them but they have refused to pay their players.

“Many club owners have these monies but divert them and conveniently owe these players knowing full well that the players would not want to go on strike when we call on them to do so.

“The players only speak out after leaving the clubs owing them for another one, hence they don’t help the cause.”

He added: “In the new season, players’ welfare is going to be our major focus as we have always done.

“We have met with the LMC and the list of players who are owed by their clubs and their account numbers have been forwarded to them (LMC). The LMC will pay them from the entitlements due to the indebted clubs.

“Some clubs have been responding. For instance, Bayelsa United and Gombe United have paid their players as of last week.

“Although the LMC have been doing a lot since they came on board, we have met with them and let them understand that the wages issue could cause disruptions in the league if not properly handled.”

FC Ifeanyi Ubah Win 2016 Federation Cup Final 

FC Ifeanyi Ubah Win 2016 Federation Cup Final FC Ifeanyi Ubah, have clinched a first-ever Federation Cup after they beat Nasarawa United 5-4 on penalties in the final after both teams failed to score in regulation time.

Fc Ifeanyi Ubah impressively converted all their kicks, while their keeper Uche Okafor saved one from Nasarawa United.

The Nnewi club, will now represent Nigeria in the 2017 CAF Confederation Cup.

It was the first time these two clubs would play in the final of the oldest football competition in Nigeria.

FC Ifeanyi Ubah defeated giant killers, Crown FC 2-1 while Nasarawa United shocked tournament favorites, Enyimba FC 1-0 to set the tone for an epic final.

Rivers Angels earlier emerged champions of the 2016 Federation Cup in the women’s final against Bayelsa United.

 Rafiat Sule got the opener in the 20th minute for the United but her celebration did not last long as Osinachi Ohale levelled the scoreline five minutes later.

Both sides were unable to break the deadlock in the second half.

The game consequently headed to penalties for the second successive year and Rivers Angels won the title 5-3 on penalties.

Both finals of the 2016 Federation Cup were played on Sunday at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.

Rivers Angels Are 2016 Federation Cup Champions

Rivers Angels, Bayelsa United, Federation CupRivers Angels have emerged champions of the 2016 Federation Cup in an entertaining final against Bayelsa United.

Rafiat Sule got the opener in the 20th minute for the United on Sunday afternoon at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.

However, her celebration did not last long as Osinachi Ohale levelled the scoreline five minutes later.

Both sides were unable to break the deadlock in the second half.

The game consequently headed to penalties for the second successive year.

Rivers Angels won the title 5-3 on penalties.

Meanwhile, FC Ifeanyi Ubah have expressed readiness to confront premier league rivals, Nasarawa United in the men’s finals at the same venue.

It is the first both two clubs would play in the final of the oldest football competition in Nigeria.

FC Ifeanyi Ubah defeated giant killers, Crown FC 2-1 while Nasarawa United stunned tournament favourites, Enyimba FC 1-0 to set the tone for an epic clash.

The Nigeria Football Federation has announced that the gates would be opened for fans watch the game for free.

Enyimba, Sharks FC Suffer Defeat In Nigerian League

npfl-enyimba-fcNigerian League leaders, Enyimba FC on Sunday evening suffered their fifth defeat of the season in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).

El-Kanemi Warriors defeated the Aba side two goals to one, with Benjamin Turba and Efe Yarhere getting the goals for the Maiduguri based team.

Enyimba got a consolation goal on the 88th minute through substitute, Nzube Anaezemba.

Meanwhile, Sharks FC dropped to the relegation zone, following a one nil defeat to Giwa FC, while another Port Harcourt based team, Dolphins moved out of the relegation zone after a 3-1 win against another relation threatened side, FC Taraba.

Wikki Tourists closed the gap at the top of the table after a 2-0 win over Bayelsa United.

In other matches, Abia Warrior beat Warri Wolves, FC Ifeanyi Ubah held Kano Pillars to a 1-1 draw 3SC beat Akwa United by a lone goal.

Bayelsa United Part Ways With Coach Ogenyi

ogenyiStruggling Nigeria Professional Football League side, Bayelsa United have parted ways with Head Coach, Evans Ogenyi.

Reports say the decision to relieve the former Lobi Stars handler of his job was reached after Sunday’s home defeat to fellow strugglers, Sharks Football Club.

The home defeat left the club in 19th position with 22 points from 25 matches.

Ogenyi became the club’s third coach this season after Solomon Ogbeide and George Ederekuomoh served in an interim capacity.

Bayelsa United’s management is yet to make an official announcement on Ogenyi’s replacement ahead of their trip to Ifeanyi Ubah FC.

Kano Pillars Stunned In Home Loss To Nasarawa After 12 Years

kano pillarsThe Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) defending champions, Kano Pillars have been beaten at home for the first time in 12 years, following a 1-2 defeat in the hands of visiting Nasarawa United at the Sani Abacha Stadium.

Mannir Ubale and Yaro Bature scored the goals for the Lafia-based club.

Sunshine Stars thrashed El-kanemi Warriors 5-nil to boost Coach Kennedy Boboye’s men chance of lifting their first domestic title.

In other games played on Sunday, Sharks FC beat Bayelsa United at home by a lone goal, while Akwa United and Giwa FC settled for a 2-2 draw.

Rangers International and Dolphins of Port Harcout played a 1-1 draw, as Warri Wolves edged out Wikki Tourists 1-nil.

Abia Warriors beat Heartland FC 1-nil, while Kwara United also defeated Shooting Stars by same score line.

NPFL: Enyimba Beat Rangers 2-1

npfl-enyimba-fcThe Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) has recorded an impressive 19 away victories this season, with Enyimba of Aba securing a 2-1 away win over Rangers.

Despite the victory, the Aba team are still second on the log and that is because Sunshine Stars battled to a 2-1 win over Taraba FC to maintain their lead.

Gbenga Ogunbote’s Shooting Stars returned to winning ways, beating El-kanemi Warriors 2-1 in Ibadan, while Kwara United kept their fine form with a 3-1 victory over Giwa FC.

Current champions, Kano Pillars, earned a vital point away from home after a hard fought 3-3 draw against Lobi Stars.

Also, Abia Warriors beat FC Ifeanyi Ubah by a lone goal; Nasarawa United also beat Dolphins 1-0; and the match between Akwa United and Bayelsa United ended 1-0 in favour of Akwa United.

I Will Not Congratulate Kano Pillars – Delta FA Chairman

The Chairman of Delta State Football Association, Amaju Pinnick, on Monday said that he would not congratulate the champions of the Nigeria Premier League, Kano Pillars, adding that he  respects the club but does not believe in “winning at all costs.”

Pinnick, who was speaking on Sunrise Daily, commented on a number of football-related issues particularly those involving poor media coverage of league matches, lack of credibility of Nigerian referees and Coach Keshi’s unpaid salaries.

The Kano Pillars have been celebrated for emerging winners at the recently concluded Nigerian Premier League.

Pinnick stated that although he respects the Kano Pillars for its huge investments in the players and entire club, he will not congratulate the club on winning the League and alleged that the club must have been involved in shady activities.

‘Winning must not come at all costs,” he said, adding that, there are a lot of dirty things in the league.

On the overall planning and execution of the League, the Delta FA boss commended the League Management Committee, LMC, for rescuing the league from a hopeless situation as there were no sponsors in its last two seasons.

He praised the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, leadership as well as the Sports Minister for assisting the committee to redefine the league but he raised issues of ‘hooliganism and terrible officiating.’

However, he averred that a functional synergy between the Nigeria Football Federation (NFA) and the LMC will bring a lasting solution to the problems facing the league.

He advocated that LMC be given more powers to enforce discipline in the league and in the teams which would stem the issue of hooliganism among players.

“The media coverage was also poor as up to 10 teams in a league do not have their games covered especially in the North, including Bayelsa United and Nembe City.”

“If Super Sports cannot go to those areas because of the security issues then it means players and officials cannot equally go to those places.”

Credible Referees

Pinnick also asked that LMC be given the authority to discipline referees as well because the questionable credibility of Nigerian referees is not only affecting the league but it reflects poorly on Nigeria’s image in the international football community.

“We are going to the World Cup. Nigeria will be struggling to bring one referee because of the credibility of Nigerian referees whereas countries such as Cape Verde, Burundi will have referees in such big games.

He disclosed that the President is keen on addressing the issue because it is also affecting him.

The committee will soon begin a ‘Friday Night Football,’ ‘Saturday Morning Football’ and ‘Monday Night Football’ programmes to encourage viewership.

On Keshi’s Salaries

He explained that a slash in the ministry’s budget may have resulted in the delay in Keshi’s salary and called on the National Sports Commission, Coach Keshi, as well as the leadership of the NFF to engage in dialogue as delayed pay will not motivate Keshi.

He also warned that such situation “can lead to other dirty things” such as players disrespecting coaches for collecting money from them.

“When you are not being paid, you must look for money to take care of your family,” he added.

He touched on other issues including the NFF President who he said should be commended for exceptional leadership.

UCL: Efe Ambrose’s Celtic to face Barcelona tonight

Nigeria international, Efe Ambrose was amongst the players of Scottish Premier League champions; Celtic who flew to Camp Nou from Glasgow airport yesterday for today’s showdown against Catalan giants Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League round which will resume today.

Celtic currently sit second in Group G behind Barcelona.

The Nigerian international has been in top form in preparation for the Scottish side’s Champions League encounter and it would also be recalled that Ambrose’s goal was part of what sealed the AFCON 2013 for Nigeria against Liberia after the latter was beaten 6-1 in the final round in Calabar  and after the National showdown his form continued as he his debut goal for Celtic in the 5-0 thrashing of St Mirren during the last weekend.

The former Bayelsa United has reiterated his interest in the games against Barcelona as he believed that his form will be tested further to know where he is lacking.