Lampard Says Cole Deserves To Captain England Against Ireland

England International and Chelsea player Frank Lampard has backed teammate Ashley for the captain armband in the clash against Ireland in Wembley after the defender was handed the captaincy in recognition of that achievement.

According to his football statistics, the game will pass as Cole’s 102nd cap for the Three Lions while it also passes as the player’s first home match since reaching a century of appearances.

Vice-captain Lampard expressed his delight over the decision during a news conference yesterday where he told news men that it was the right decision that was made.

The necessity to transfer the captaincy of the Three Lions squad was called for with Steven Gerard injured but it was supposed to be transferred to Frank Lampard by virtue of his position as the vice-captain to the injured captain Steven Gerard.

Lampard rooted for Cole’s captaincy not just to celebrate his 100th caps but for his noticeable performance throughout his caps England labelling the defender as the most consistent left back probably in world football over such a long period of time.

Lampard said it’s the perfect gesture and very much deserved for Cole and as a teammate of his at Chelsea and England he is glad for Cole.

 

And ahead of the friendly between England and Ireland, manager Roy Hodgson has written to English fans who will be attending the game live to forego any act of provocative attitude during the game, a match that the England manager sees as that which will boost Three Lions preparation for their World Cup qualifiers later in the year.

 

England will do all it can to qualify for the Brazil 2014 World Cup with four games left to play England lies on the second spot in Group H with 12 points, two points behind Montenegro.

 

Wednesday’s friendly will be the first time England and Ireland have played each other since a match was abandoned due to rioting at Lansdowne Road in 1995.

 

 

NFF Not Rescinding Decision On Backroom staff

[highlight]The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has reiterated that its plan on cutting down the backroom staff of the national team is a done deal as it is not rescinding its decision on that.[/highlight]

According to the chairman, media and publicity committee of the federation; Emeka Inyama, the planned downsizing is not to put a clog in the wheel of Stephen Keshi’s progress that is the Super Eagles head coach, as contrary to report, Keshi and the NFF are working hand in hand for the Super Eagles of Nigeria to get a slot in the finals of the 2014 World Cup.

Keshi himself denied the report that he will be resigning as the head coach of the Super Eagles some days back corroborating the statement made by Emeka Inyama that he is working hand in hand with the NFF to ensure the smooth and successful achievement of several targets for the national team which is his mission.

NFF has also denied the idea of bringing in an expatriate as the head coach saying it is not part of their plans right now as the federation will be working with Stephen Keshi and their support for the head coach is 100 per cent.

NFF Asks FIFA To Reschedule W.C. Qualifying Matches

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has requested for a reschedule of Nigeria’s World Cup qualifiers coming up in June.

Forwarding this request to the World Football Governing Body FIFA, the NFF stated that it wants the game in Nigeria’s group to be staged the same day for the sake of fairness.

According to the NFF General Secretary; Musa Adamu Malawi will have a better advantage over Nigeria if the request was not made by the NFF as Nigeria would have been engaged in crucial engagement as well as that of Malawi, so requesting for a reschedule is a right path.

“We make this request in the interest of fairness, as at the moment, Nigeria and Malawi have same number of points (five) and for Nigeria to play two days before Malawi in each of the two important qualifying games in June will give undue advantage to the Malawians,”.

“We see the FIFA Confederations Cup as a key tournament, but we also know we have to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals as priority.

“It is important to us to go to the FIFA Confederations Cup and then return to Brazil a year later for the FIFA World Cup finals.”

Come June the 5th, Nigeria will be taking on Kenya for the return leg in Nairobi after which they will engage Namibia in Windhoek on June the 12th before heading to Brazil for the FIFA Confederation Cup; they will now take on Malawi.

This schedule is what has prompted NFF’s action of lodging a formal complaint to the World football Governing Body, proposing that their Group F matches as well as those involving closest rivals Malawi is played on the same day. This would either be on June 5 and 12 or the original dates of June 8 and 15.

Kanu Rallies Support For Super Eagles Coach; Keshi

Kanu Nwankwo has called for support for Super Eagles Coach Stephen Keshi from Nigerians for him to excel.

Touted as one of Nigeria’s football legends, Kanu made this comments after the Super Eagles encounter with the Harambee Stars of Kenya last weekend, a game that ended in a 1-1 draw.

He said the Eagles did well against Kenya as the boys did well enough to get a draw out of a game that was almost lost and also the pressure was on the Super Eagles and not Kenya.

The Super Eagles were able to get a draw in their 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers clash against Kenya, a clash its return leg will holding in Nairobi by June.

A former Portsmouth and Arsenal star, who during his days was known for his deft moves and mouth opening goals, said even as it stands the Super Eagles will qualify for the Brazil 2014 World Cup because if they can get a draw with this performance and after so much improvement they get a good game plan to add to it before the return leg then the eagles will be unstoppable

Kanu said the Kenyans came with a mind-set of playing a defensive game and this was difficult for the players to break apart.

He said Stephen Keshi needs the support of Nigerians in terms decision making with regards to players either for call-ups or substitution.

Nigeria To Play Mexico, Jamaica Ahead Of Kenya Return Leg Clash

The Super Eagles will train in Germany ahead of a return leg World Cup clash against Kenya with warm-up games against Mexico and Jamaica confirmed.

The Super Eagles will be hosted by Kenya in Nairobi on June 5 in a crunch World Cup qualifier return leg after the Harambee Stars snatched a draw in Calabar at the weekend. They will also face hosts Namibia a week later in continuation of the qualifying series.

The Nigeria Football Federation have now concluded plans for the African champions to set up a training camp in Germany ahead of a hectic month of June, when they are also to feature at the FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil.

Super Eagles spokesman, Ben Alaiya, says the team will regroup at the Adidas camp site in Germany in the middle of May to prepare for  the two crucial World Cup qualifiers and the friendlies against Mexico and Jamaica.

The Eagles must win their next two World Cup qualifiers away to Kenya and Namibia to stay in contention for a place in the final round of the qualifying tournament for Brazil 2014 after they laboured to a 1 all draw with Kenya at home.

W.C. Qualifiers: Coach Amrouche Promises Nigeria A Tough Return Leg

Kenya’s coach Adel Amrouche has promised to make the return leg fixture of the 2014 FIFA world cup qualifier against the Super Eagles a very tough cracker as his team will make the match difficult for the Super Eagles of Nigeria.

This the coach confidently said as he rued his expulsion from the match on Saturday which to him was the reason why the Harambee Stars of Kenya  succumbed to the Super Eagles thereby settling for a 1-1 draw at UJ Esuene Stadium in Calabar.

The Harambee Stars stretched the African champion to their fullest on Saturday but were forced by the Super Eagles to conceding a goal in stoppage time thanks to Nnamdi Oduamdi’s brilliant strike.

Meanwhile in reaction to Saturday’s world cup qualifying clash, Nigerian football fans who spoke with Channels Television expressed confidence that the Super Eagles will usurp the Harambee Stars of Kenya in the second leg despite the 1-1 draw they could only record on home soil.

They also backed the Super Eagles of Nigeria on their performance on Saturday saying the team is improving, even though some still feel that the 1-1 draw is an indication that the pressure now lies with the Super Eagles and they are to raise their game and avoid complacency as every team will be gunning to earn victory against them in any game played so as to make a statement for they are the reigning African champions.

 

NFF Rules Out Long Camping Ahead Of Brazil 2014

The Nigeria Football Federation has told the chief coach of the national team, Stephen Keshi that it won’t be business as usual as he shouldn’t expect to have long camping ahead of the World Cup in terms of training, because the financial implication is not looking good for the federation.

In the run-up to Afcon 2013 in which the Super Eagles of Nigeria were crowned African champions, coach Keshi had the luxury of setting up training camps for at least four weeks before each qualifier, thereby giving local players adequate time to be in camp before the foreign players reported.

According to the NFF, these camps have had serious implications financially on the Federation’s revenue. Besides, coach Keshi, who is expected to forward his list of call-ups for the World Cup qualifier at home against Kenya to the Nigeria Football Federation this week, already has the master plan for his games and those players that fit into his game plan.

“Camping for the Eagles will not be like before where they stay in camp for like a month before a game, as the Super Eagles coach already has a clear picture of his team and as such we don’t expect him to have an extended camping like it used to be.”

The Eagles are expected to open camp next month with players from the domestic league before they are joined by their colleagues from Europe a week leading to the March 23 clash in Calabar.

Forget 2014 World Cup, Ethiopia Tells Bafana Bafana

Ethiopia has sent a very stern warning to the Bafana Bafana of South Africa to forget the thought of featuring at the World Cup 2014 which will be hosted by Brazil.

These were the words of the Ethiopian Captain; Gebreyes Debebe as he sounded his certainty saying the Walya Antelopes will finish the on-going preliminary stages on top of the group.

Presently, the Walya Antelopes are leading the group where South Africa is sitting in the third position with just 2 points only ahead of Botswana with 1 point while Central African Republic whom Ethiopia thrashed 2-0 through a brace by Saladin Seidi in June last year are occupying the second position with 3 points.

Debebe said the Ethipian squad are satisfied and happy with their level of achievement at the Afcon 2013 despite the fact they crashed out at the group stages.

“We may have not qualified for the quarterfinals of the 2013 Afcon finals, but we are happy with our performance overall,” said Debebe.

Making their first appearance in the Nations Cup in 31 years, Ethiopia had a chance to reach the quarterfinals on the last day of their group campaign.

He said Bafana Bafana will crash when they will be hosted by the Walya Antelopes come June 2013 as they dealt with CAR on home ground.

“Bafana Bafana will also fall when we meet in Ethiopia in June, as was the case with Central African Republic,”.

“We have laid a solid foundation at the Afcon finals; we will do well in the World Cup qualifiers. Gone are the days where Ethiopia only performed well in global athletics. We are going to shock many people.

“After qualifying for the 2013 Afcon finals, our next target is to go to Brazil in 2014.”

Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi commended the Ethiopian team which the Super eagles faced for the final group clash and analyst attested that the two- time African champions were given hard time by the Antelopes, the Super Eagles head coach confessed that if the team can be held together for over a period of time they will be unstoppable.

“If they can keep that team for two years, Ethiopia will be unstoppable,” Keshi warned.

“They gave us a tough time. I also saw them when they drew with reigning champions Zambia.” Keshi confessed.