Dalung Says VOA Interview Was Edited Out of Context

solomon-dalungNigeria’s Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung, has cleared the air on his interview with the Voice of America, Hausa Service where he was reported to have said the Super Eagles do not need to attend the 2018 World Cup since they can’t win the trophy.

Mr Dalung said that the interview which he granted four months ago was misinterpreted, insisting  he has total confidence in the team to pick the sole tick in their group for Russia 2018.

He said that the interview was edited midway into a more comprehensive conversation and the act has sent a misconception about his commitment to the ongoing World Cup campaign.

“The statement was taken out of context. It was part of a comprehensive interview I granted four months ago when I was reacting to the status of African nations in global competitions and also football administration globally. Where do we stand?

“The question also was that whether Nigeria or any African country is likely going to host the World Cup. My reaction was what was captured.

“Unfortunately, the interview did not avail those who listened the complete narrative so that they can benefit from the background with which the response was taken,” he explained.

He maintained that the Nigerian government and the Ministry of Sport remain committed to ensuring that Nigeria re-positions itself as a global player in football and lead other African countries to the top of the game.

He urged Nigerians to support the Super Eagles to ensure that they do not lose the momentum that is in their favour in the 2018 World Cup qualifying series.

He added that his selfless contributions so far in Super Eagles’s quest for qualification, particularly ahead of the away win in Zambia, contradicts the impression that he was not in support of the team.

Dalung Says Siasia Has Not Resigned, Gernot Rohr’s Appointment Unofficial

Solomon Dalung, Samson Siasia, Gernot RohrThe Minister of Sports, Mr Solomon Dalung, says he has not been officially informed of the appointment of a new foreign coach for the Super Eagles by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

The NFF had in early August, appointed a German, Gernot Rohr, to manage the Eagles, despite Mr Dalung’s preference for a local coach.

He claimed that Coach Samson Siasia, who led the Nigeria’s U-23 football team to win a bronze medal at the Rio Olympics, had not resigned, contrary to media reports, although his contract with the NFF had lapsed.

Siasia had told reporters that he had on August 27 resigned as the coach of Nigeria’s U-23 football team because of what he describes as “a disrespectful system”.

Mr Dalung’s frowned at the treatment meted to Siasia by the NFF, alleging that they withdrew his official car in Abuja while he was battling to secure a medal for Nigeria in Rio.

While hinting that he had met with Siasia on Monday, he said Nigeria needed him ‎in football development.

Samson Siasia
Coach Samson Siasia

The Sports Minister further pointed out that even if the NFF would not re-engage him, the Federation should at least, give him some peace of mind to enable him make his contributions in a personal capacity.

He noted that it would be sad to have such coach leave Nigeria for another country out of frustration, just like many athletes did as witnessed during the Rio Olympics.

Abysmal Outing Of Team Nigeria

Dalung also cleared the air on the $390,000 donation to Siasia and his team by a Japanese surgeon, saying that after he met the donor in Rio, he was convinced there were no strings like match-fixing attached to the donation.

He attributed the abysmal outing of the Nigerian Olympic contingent to late release of funds and inability to develop home-grown talents.

The Minister emphasised the need for the National Sports Commission which he said was unfortunately scrapped by a government committee that recommended merger of ministries.‎

He was at the State House on Tuesday in Abuja to brief President Muhammadu Buhari on Nigeria’s outing at the ‎just concluded Olympics in Rio, Brazil.

Since Team Nigeria were able to win bronze medal in football, Mr Dalung urged the President to host the team.

Nigeria’s Under-23 To Tour South Korea, Siasia Confirms

SiasiaNigeria’s Olympic team are set to depart the country for an invitational tournament in Seoul, Korea, by May 29, according to Coach Samson Siasia.

Coach Siasia has also decided that domestic league players will no longer be released for mid-week games.

He has therefore declared that from Monday, May 9, he would no longer release any player from training camp to play for their clubs during Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) mid–week matches.

“I must confess that it has not been easy for me and my technical crew; a lot of the players we need to work with won’t report to camp as at when due because their club chairmen will always call me to beg that these players stay back to play mid –week games.

“I understand their plight that they need these players to do well in the League, but then we must draw a line between national interest and club interest. I have always built the foundation of my team on the home based players, so it is players I have at my disposal that I will work and plan with,” he said.

The former Super Eagles star disclosed he would soon release the names of foreign-based professionals expected to be part of the preparation.

Siasia had led the team to win the Under-23 Africa Nations Championship to become African Champions for the first time in 2015.

The top two finish also ensured that Nigeria qualified for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Samson Siasia Criticises Eagles’ Defeat To National U-23

SiasiaCoach Samson Siasia is not pleased with the home-based Super Eagles’ defeat to the National Under-23 team in the second test game between both sides in Abuja.

The Nigeria U-23s avenged a 2-0 defeat they suffered on Tuesday by beating the senior team by same score line-width.

Siasia said that the players still need to work more ahead of the crucial two-leg qualifier against the Pharaohs of Egypt.

The home-based eagles are intensifying preparations for the African Cup of Nations qualifier against Egypt, while the Olympic team would face Brazil in a friendly, later this month.

Siasia Invites Balogun For Nigeria vs. Egypt Match

SiasiaCoach Samson Siasia has extended an invitation to FSV Mainz 05 of Germany defender, Leon Balogun, ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against the Pharaohs of Egypt.

The latest invitation brings to 21, the number of overseas–based players called for the games, including US-based Portland Timbers striker, Fanendo Adi, who has expressed delight at getting his first call-up for the Super Eagles.

Coach Siasia has also declared that only those who show guts and grit, and ability to adapt to conditions, would be selected to play against the Pharaohs.

The Super Eagles’ new boss stated that there would be no sentiments or consideration of previous ability as only the training sessions in Kaduna and Alexandria would be used to decide the 18 players on the roll for each game.

“These are two matches that we have to win. There would be no looking at what someone had done in the past, or current form at club level. If you are doing well at your club at the moment and you can’t show ferocious form in training and ability to adapt to the environment, then you would have no place.

“I am excited at the debate that has been generated by the team list. You can never satisfy everyone. The important thing is that we know the players we want for these big games and we have invited them, and we believe in them to deliver.”

The 1994 Africa Cup of Nations gold medallist gave the assurance that he has been speaking with all the players on the list and has received assurance that everyone is ready to give his all in both games.

“We continue to ask for the support of every Nigerian as we count down to the two matches. Our people should believe that we can do it, and we will do it.”

Nigeria host Egypt in Kaduna on Friday, March 25 and visit the Pharaohs in Alexandria on Tuesday, March 29 in two crucial 2017 Cup of Nations qualifiers. Egypt top the Group G table with six points, two more than the Eagles who are in second place.

Siasia Targets Defeat Of Egypt Home And Away

SiasiaSuper Eagles caretaker coach, Samson Siasia, insists his target is to beat Egypt both home and away in the African Cup of Nations Qualifiers later this month.

Coach Siasia, who was in charge of the team between December 2010 and October 2011, maintained that only the best players would be given opportunity in both matches from his 42 man list.

The home-based players are expected to arrive camp on March 6, before the overseas-based pros arrive from March 20.

The Lagos-born 48-year-old had invited 22 home–based professionals and 20 foreign–based players for the qualifying games against the Pharaohs of Egypt.

Siasia, who was named last week as Super Eagles’ Head Coach, passionately appealed to Nigerians, including the media, to support the team and show belief, as the Eagles host the Egyptians in Kaduna on March 25 and play away in Alexandria on March 29.

Siasia Invites 42 Players, Seeks Support For Super Eagles

SiasiaCoach Samson Siasia has invited 22 home–based professionals and 20 foreign–based players for Nigeria’s 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying games against the Pharaohs of Egypt this month.

Siasia, who was named last week as Super Eagles’ Head Coach, passionately appealed to Nigerians, including the media, to support the team and show belief as the Eagles host the Egyptians in Kaduna on Friday, March 25 and play away in Alexandria on Tuesday, March 29.

The 22 home boys are expected to hit camp in Abuja on Sunday, March 6 while the overseas –based players are expected to start arriving from Sunday, March 20.

“I want to passionately appeal to Nigerians, everybody, to show belief in the team and give us total support. It will not be easy, but if we stick together and present a united force to fight this battle, I believe we will triumph.

“I have absolute faith in the players. Nigeria is blessed with so many talented footballers across the world and I know that those we are inviting for this match will give everything for the six points in both matches. Personally, I will give everything that I have to offer for us to win both matches.”

The former Nigeria player, who was in the same position between December 2010 and October 2011, gave the assurance that only the best players who “showed ability to run and decimate the opposition” will be given opportunity in both matches.

Regulars Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Olufemi Thomas, Kalu Orji Okogbue, Austin Oboroakpo, Chima Akas, Ezekiel Bassey and Chisom Chikatara are in the home based mix, while Carl Ikeme, Efe Ambrose, Elderson Echiejile, Godfrey Oboabona, Kenneth Omeruo, John Mikel Obi, Ogenyi Onazi, Ahmed Musa, Victor Moses, Odion Ighalo, Moses Simon and Fanendo Adi are among the overseas –based legion.

Home–Based Professionals

Goalkeepers: Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Sunshine Stars); Olufemi Thomas (Enyimba FC); Emmanuel Daniel (Enugu Rangers)

Defenders: Kalu Orji Okogbue (Enugu Rangers); Chibuzor Okonkwo (FC IfeanyiUbah); Mathew Etim (Enugu Rangers); Austin Oboroakpo (Abia Warriors); Sincere Seth (Rhapsody FC); Segun Oduduwa (Nath Boys); Chima Akas (Akwa United); Chris Madaki (Kano Pillars); Oke Ogogatewho (Sunshine Stars)

Midfielders: Ifeanyi Mathew (Kano Pillars); Usman Mohammed (FC Taraba); Etebo Oghenekaro (Warri Wolves); Yau Hassan (Wikki Tourists); Stanley Dimgba (Warri Wolves)

Forwards: Ezekiel Bassey (Enyimba FC); Prince Aggrey (Kano Pillars); Bright Onyedikachi (FC IfeanyiUbah); Chisom Chikatara (Abia Warriors); Godwin Obaje (Wikki Tourists)

Overseas–Based Professionals

Goalkeepers: Carl Ikeme (Wolverhampton Wanderers, England); Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United, South Africa)

Defenders: Efe Ambrose (Celtic FC, Scotland); Abdullahi Shehu (Uniao da Madeira, Portugal); Elderson Echiejile (AS Monaco, France); Stanley Amuzie (Olhanense FC, Portugal); Godfrey Oboabona (Caykur Rizespor, Turkey); Kenneth Omeruo (Kasimpasa FC, Turkey)

Midfielders: Ogenyi Onazi (SS Lazio, Italy); John Mikel Obi (Chelsea FC, England); Kelechi Iheanacho (Manchester City, England); Azubuike Okechukwu (Yeni Matalyspor, Turkey)

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow, Russia); Moses Simon (KAA Gent, Belgium); Victor Moses (West Ham United, England); Aminu Umar (Osmanlispor FK, Turkey); Odion Ighalo (Watford FC, England); Aaron Samuel (CSKA Moscow, Russia); Alex Iwobi (Arsenal FC, England); Fanendo Adi (Portland Timbers, USA)

Nigeria Through To Semi-finals Of All Africa Games

Under-23Nigeria’s U-23 team has booked a place in the Semi-finals of the male football event of All Africa Games, after defeating Ghana with a 2-0 margin.

Two second half goals from Junior Ajayi and Kingsley Sokari gave the Nigerian side the victory.

The Wednesday game showed the football rivalry that has existed between Nigeria and Ghana.

Before the game began, Coach Samson Siasia had warned the Dream Team VI that they would need to take their chances if they would come out victorious against the defending champions.

The first goal of the tie came on the 55th minute when Junior Ajayi carefully tapped in a cross from the right flank, giving Nigeria the lead.

Ghana pressed hard for an equaliser, but they were caught flat footed when a defence splitting pass was given to Kingsley Sokari and the Enyimba star with what the commentator described as a fantastic shot buried the ball into the net to double the lead.