Stephen Keshi’s Funeral Rites Begin

keshiFuneral rites for former Super Eagles Coach, Stephen Keshi has begun with a requiem mass at St. Paul Anglican Church in Benin City, the Edo State capital.

Reverend Father Richard Ofere, during his sermon said that death is not the end of life for a good Christian rather it is a passage to eternal glory.

There was a lying-in-state ceremony which was followed by a novelty match involving football veterans at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, witnessed by family, friends and the public.

Present at the ceremony is a delegation of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), led by its President, Amaju Pinnick.

Former team mates of the late football strategist, including Austin Eguavoen, Peter Rufai, Mutiu Adepoju and Uche Okechukwu were also present.

Former Super Eagles coach, Fanny Amun, used the occasion to demand adequate compensation for national service.

Stephen Keshi passed on at the age of 54 in the early hours of Wednesday, June 8 in Benin City, the Edo State capital in south-south Nigeria.

In 2013, he became the second person to win the Africa Cup of Nations both as a player and a coach after Mahmoud El-Gohary of Egypt.

Sports Enthusiasts Pay Tribute To Stephen Keshi

Stephen-Keshi-SportsSports enthusiasts in Africa have paid tribute to late Super Eagles Coach, Stephen Keshi.

The sports fanatics gathered in Johannesburg at an event convened by former Nigerian goalkeeper, Idah Peterside, to honour the Nigerian football legend.

In their remarks, Bafana Bafana Head Coach, Ephraim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba, and a former Nigerian Goalkeeper, Willie Opara, decried the interference with the efforts of coaches put in charge of teams.

The duo called on the official football administration to ensure less inference as much as possible, saying it is detrimental to the development of African football.

Also present at the memorial ceremony were other sports legends and fans from Nigeria, Zambia, DR Congo and South Africa.

Stephen Keshi passed on at the age of 54 in the early hours of Wednesday, June 8 in Benin City, the Edo State capital in south-south Nigeria.

In 2013, he became the second person to win the Africa Cup of Nations both as a player and a coach after Mahmoud El-Gohary of Egypt.

Mali Beat Cote d’ Ivoire To Reach CHAN Final  

MaliMali scored a last-gasp winner to edge out Ivory Coast 1-0 in an enthralling encounter and reach the African Nations Championship final in Rwanda.

Yves Bissoouma struck in the 88th minute, slotting in after Hamidou Sinayoko had headed the ball down.

Mali will meet DR Congo in Sunday’s final, which will be played in Kigali.

However, the downside for Mali is the booking for inspirational midfielder, Sekou Diarra which rules him out of the final because of suspension.

DRC Coach Commend Team

DR Congo coach, Florent Ibenge, has hailed his team after advancing to the finals of the African Nations Championship.

Coach Ibenge admitted the Guineans were one of their toughest opponents in the competition describing them as the “Brazil of Africa” after giving them a torrid time.

However, Ibenge also praised his players for their resilience even after they conceded a late goal that almost demoralized them.

DR Congo won the inaugural African Nations Championship in 2009 and they are hoping to replicate the same form in the 2016 tournament.

FirstBank Unveils FBN Bank Senegal

FBN FBN Holdings is expanding its foothold in Africa with the unveiling of FBN Bank Senegal, formerly registered as International Commercial Bank (ICB).

According to the bank, this follows the agreement reached by FirstBank and International Commercial Bank Financial Group Holdings for the acquisition of a 100% equity interest in ICB Senegal.

FirstBank noted that the launch further consolidates its position as the largest corporate and retail banking financial institution in Sub-Saharan Africa with presence in DR Congo, Ghana, Guinea, Gambia, Sierra Leone and Senegal, as well as in the UK.

The GMD/CEO of FirstBank, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, explained that the unveiling of FBN Bank Senegal aligns with the company’s strategic ambition to steadily broaden and build a more diverse footprint across Africa.

CHAN 2016: Home Eagles Drawn In Group C

home based eaglesThe Home Based Eagles will face 2011 champions, Tunisia, Niger and debutant Guinea in Group C at the 2016 African Nations Championships to be hosted by Rwanda.

Host, Rwanda, have been drawn in Group A alongside Gabon, Morocco and Cote d’Ivoire for the tournament designed exclusively for footballers playing in their domestic leagues.

Winners of the maiden edition in 2009, DR Congo will play in Group B with 2011 losing finalists, Angola, Cameroon and Ethiopia.

Zimbabwe, Mali, Ugandan and Zambia will play in Group D.

Four stadiums across three cities will host the tournament which is scheduled to hold from January 16 till February 6, 2016.

The top two in each group will advance to the quarter-finals.

Two Nigerians Make CAF Award Nominee List

Two Nigerians Make CAF Award Norminee ListTwo Nigerian internationals have been shortlisted by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in a 37-man list for the 2015 African Footballer of the year.

Super Eagles striker, Ahmed Musa and goalkeeper, Vincent Enyeama, who recently announced his retirement from international football made the list released by CAF on Sunday.

The current African Player of the year, Yaya Toure is also on the list.

England-based players Riyad Mahrez from Algeria, Yannick Bolasie of DR Congo, Ghana’s Andre Ayew, Mame Diouf from Senegal, Kenya’s Victor Wanyama and Gabon skipper, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were also on the list.

Meanwhile, no Nigerian player plying their trade in the domestic league made the shortlist of 24 players shortlisted for the African player of the year based in Africa.

Vincent Enyeama Quits Super Eagles

EnyeamaVincent Enyeama has confirmed he is quitting international football with the Super Eagles of Nigeria.

Speaking to Channels Sports, Enyeama said that he does not want to disrupt the ongoing rebuilding process of Coach Sunday Oliseh.

Enyeama has checked out of the team’s hotel in Belgium and heading to his club in France.

On Tuesday, the Lille goalkeeper had a misunderstanding with Coach Oliseh and was asked to leave the camp of the team.

But after the intervention of the NFF, he was allowed to stay but it seems the goalie had already made the decision to quit.

Enyeama, who joined the team on Tuesday (October 6), had reportedly questioned Coach Oliseh’s choice of naming Ahmed Musa captain for the friendly games against DR Congo and Cameroon.

The coach did not like it and asked him to leave the team’s hotel and immediately made moves to call up Dele Alampasu.

President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, told Channels TV that evening that he had spoken with the coach and player and “the matter has been resolved and Enyeama would stay in camp”.

However, there were signs that the issues were still raging when on Wednesday, Vincent Enyeama took to his Instagram page to express disappointment.

Coach Oliseh Sends Enyeama Out of Super Eagles Camp

EnyeamaSuper Eagles coach, Sunday Oliseh, has expelled goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama from the team’s camp in Belgium.

Enyeama, who joined the team on Tuesday (October 6) had questioned Coach Oliseh’s choice of naming Ahmed Musa captain for the friendly games against DR Congo and Cameroon. The coach did not like it and asked him to leave the team’s hotel and immediately made moves to call up Dele Alampasu.

In September, the goalkeeper failed to report to camp in Abuja for the Super Eagles’ Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Tanzania, only for news to break that he had lost his mother.

Coach Oliseh has reiterated that indiscipline and poor show of commitment from players would not be allowed in his team, particularly during the rebuilding phase.

Speaking to Channels Sports, President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, confirmed that he had spoken with the coach and player.

“When I heard of the situation, I called Coach Sunday Oliseh and he confirmed he told Vincent to leave the team hotel. Yes, there was a misunderstanding but the matter has been resolved and Enyeama will stay in camp,” he said.

Gbolahan To Lead Home Based Eagles Training Camp

Home-based-eagles, gbolahanWarri Wolves striker, Gbolahan Salami, will lead an 18-man squad to a training camp for home-based players in Port Harcourt, ahead of a CHAN qualifier against Burkina Faso in October.

Reports say Coach Sunday Oliseh will stick with the players he worked with prior to the AFCON qualifier in Tanzania in August.

This means that the six players from the league who have been picked for the friendlies against DR Congo and Cameroon in Belgium, will join up with the rest of the players.

Others invited to camp include Ifeanyi Matthew, Tunde Adetunji, Usman Mohammed, Godwin Obaje, Ezekiel Bassey, Kingsley Sokari and Idris Aloma.

Nigeria will host Burkina Faso in Port Harcourt on October 18, with the return leg in Ouagadougou, a week later.

DR Congo Authorities Announce Rise In Ebola Death

DR CongoAuthorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo have announced that the death toll has risen from 13 to 31, from an outbreak of the Ebola virus in the Djera region of the DRC.

An expert on the epidemic and the current head of DR Congo’s National Research Institute of Biology, Professor Jacques Muyembe, who just came back from a fact finding mission in West Africa, as a representative of the Congolese Government, said that the virus in DRC can be contained much faster compared to the West Africa outbreak.

“What I saw in West Africa will go on for the next few months, at least for the next five months, especially in Liberia. But here at home, it’s an epidemic that would last between two to three months before it’s contained,” said Muyembe.

The outbreak in Congo’s Equateur province is thought to be separate from the epidemic in West Africa.

“The number of cases that we observed in Monrovia was much higher than anything we have had here in DRC, whenever we had an Ebola outbreak. The epidemic took them by surprise over there because they were not familiar with such a virus,” Muyembe said.

DR Congo’s infrastructure has been devastated by decades of corruption, conflict and misrule. The country, in 2013, came bottom of a United Nations development index.

However, despite these grim figures and the rise in the death toll, Muyembe believes with proper planning the virus can be contained.

“For the moment, everyone is panicking and they are trying to compare numbers with what’s happening in West Africa but these two epidemics are two different things because I was there and saw what was happening and it’s not going to happen here. We will be able to contain the epidemic much faster here. We will work in all transparency, so we shouldn’t really panic,” he said.

Ebola: Prof. Tomori Says Nigeria Must Improve Management, Border Screening

EbolaThe Regional Virologist of the World Health Organisation, Professor Oyewale Tomori, believes that the only way for Nigeria to check the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease is to maintain the standard with which it has handled its first set of Ebola cases.

While admitting the deadliness of the disease, and acknowledging that the Nigerian Government has done well in managing it, he noted that there was need to do more in helping the people to douse the fears created by the disease, as this could be more dangerous.

He advised that reducing the level of panic across the country would be helped by the quality efforts put into the management of every case of fever in all hospitals across the country.

Prof. Tomori, who is also the President of the Nigerian Academy of Science, maintained that Ebola cannot be transmitted from a patient who hasn’t fallen sick but warned that this may not be applicable between couples and there was need for people to be supplied with information about such details.

The spread of the Ebola disease in West Africa has been quite rapid and considering that there had been an outbreak before in East Africa, which never escalated into an epidemic, Prof Tomori said that this can be blamed on the aggressive nature of the average West African who is less willing to adhere to instructions about his movement.

He recalled his experience during a similar outbreak in Uganda and DR Congo (former Zaire in East Africa) and how it was contained within two weeks, despite the situation looking gory as at when he arrived the country as an aid worker.

He noted that their governments came out and took action immediately and more importantly, the citizens were willing to listen and follow instructions given by health officials. He added that as long as the Ebola Virus Disease remains in other West African countries, Nigeria would be dreaming if it thinks the Ebola threat would be over by September 2014.

The index case of Patrick Sawyer came to the fore and the Prof. frowned at the manner in which Nigeria had been complacent in managing the information that was coming out of the initially affected countries. He said that Nigeria’s membership of the West African Health Organisation, WAHO was “only on paper, we have not really come to work together”.

He said that Nigeria should have been more proactive, because if the Nigerian embassies in these countries had been proactive, the entry of Sawyer into Nigeria could have been prevented.

The Ebola outbreak has changed the attitude of Nigerians to sanitation and personal hygiene and there are hopes that the new lifestyle would be maintained by many Nigerians and Prof Tomori shares same hopes but not without expressing doubts based on the Nigerian approach to challenges.

He said that he had noticed that once Nigeria overcomes a challenge it forgets about it until another problem comes. Therefore, institutionalizing these new personal and border hygiene practices would be the best way to approach things when the Ebola fight is over.

Prof. Tomori also said that Nigeria would need to do more in its border screening.

A special report by Channels Television had revealed how the screening at the Seme Border was being carried out and he referred to the structure as “a joke” adding that he expected Nigeria to set up its sanitary borders with military men to provide support.

The effectiveness of the drug, Zmapp, was also discussed. Prof Tomori said that the strength of the individual patient and the stage at which ZMapp was administered would determine how well it would work, as vital organs of the body must still be functioning well for ZMapp to be effective.

The possibility of an indigenous solution was also brought forward and Prof. Tomori said that indeed Nigerians have the human resources to develop a cure for Ebola with several brilliant persons in the health sector but the environment was not favourable.

The former Vice-Chancellor of the Redeemers’ University stressed the lack of consistent power supply, and the quality of communication services among the factors that would frustrate the idea of setting up a BSL-4 facility in Nigeria.

A biosafety level is a level of the biocontainment precautions required to isolate dangerous biological agents in an enclosed facility and Prof. Tomori stated that he would be reluctant to work in such a laboratory in Nigeria as it would be a risk of his life, except Nigeria improves on all the basic issues earlier mentioned.

World Bank On Poverty: Finance Minister Attributes Nigeria’s Rating To Population

Okonjo-Iweala on WBNigeria’s Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has been explaining how the World Bank arrived at its rating of Nigeria among the extreme poor nations of the world.

Fielding questions from journalists at a forum in Abuja, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala explained that the rating was based on the large number of poor people living in the country, a phenomenon she said was peculiar to middle income countries, including Nigeria.

“India is a middle income country, one of the largest in the world, like Nigeria, is a big economy but the largest number of poor people in the world resides in India and China and other places.

“Most middle income countries, even Brazil have large numbers of poor people. That is the reality of today, Nigeria is no exception”, she said.

She explained further, “Today, if you go to the Chinese, they will tell you ‘let us slow down about praising China’ because we still have a substantial number of poor people; Brazil the same, that is why they started the safety net programme in Brazil and that is what President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has asked four or five of his ministers to get together and try to build this platform.

“So we should not try to single Nigeria out. What we have to do is focus on what is the answer, what are other countries doing that we can also learn from and do. Nobody says that everything is fine but we are learning and where we make some progress like other countries, we should also acknowledge it.”

Other countries also rated by the World Bank group as extremely poor are India, China, Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Pakistan, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Kenya.