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)

Super Eagles Beat Swaziland 2-0 In World Cup Qualifier

EaglesThe Super Eagles of Nigeria on Tuesday kept their hope of a place in the 2018 FIFA World Cup alive by defeating Swaziland 2-0 in Port Harcourt.

It was the second leg of the knock out duel between the two countries, after the first leg had ended in a goalless draw in Swaziland on Friday.

The Super Eagles coach, Sunday Oliseh, made three changes to the team that drew 0-0 in Swaziland. Sunshine stars’ Paul Onobi replaced Mikel Obi; Sharks’ Chima Akas came in for Elderson Echiejile and Austin Oboroakpo from Abia Warriors replaced Godfrey Oboabona.

The first half ended goalless with pressure mounting among the fans at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium but Moses Simon’s well taken free-kick in the 51st minute gave Nigeria the lead and calmed the nerves.

In the 75th minute, Obafemi Martins came in for captain Ahmed Musa and Ogenyi Onazi took the captain’s band as Nigeria went in search of more goals.

The Eagles’s improved attacking play eventually paid off but not from the expected source. Defender Efe Ambrose made it 2-0 for Nigeria in the 87th minute to send the Port Harcourt fans into jubilation.

Asides throwing open the gates of the stadium to encourage fans to fill the venue and cheer the Nigeria team to victory, the Eagles were also boosted by the Rivers State Government’s $20,000 per goal promise.

With the victory, Nigeria has now qualified for the group stage of the African qualifiers along with 19 other countries, who will be drawn into five groups.

The five group winners will represent Africa in Russia 2018.

 

 

 

Martins, Ambrose Confident Eagles Will Beat Swaziland

super eagles-Obafemi MartinsSuper Eagles striker, Obafemi Martins and defender, Efe Ambrose, are confident that the team will advance to the group phase of qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Both players told Channels Television in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital that the team had put behind them, the disappointing goalless draw against Swaziland in Lobamba.

They expressed optimism that the Eagles will go all out for victory in Tuesday’s return leg clash.

Martins said his side was ready to do their best as a team, adding that they do not want to lose or draw again on Tuesday.

“We do not want to play 0-0 and we do not want to loose. We are all ready to do our best as a team first and the attackers will do their best scoring goals as well. We are ready to win on Tuesday”, Martins said.

Ambrose also expressed confidence that the team would win the return game, playing hosts to Swaziland.

“When we are at home, I think with the fans, with everybody behind us, there is nobody that can stop us right here,” the defender said.

Nigeria Invites 23 Players For AFCON Qualifiers

AFCON QualifiersAfrican Champions, Nigeria, have called up 23 players for the 2015 Nations Cup qualifying matches against the Red Devils of Congo and South Africa’s Bafana Bafana.

The list released by the Nigeria Football Federation features goalkeeper, Vincent Enyeama; defenders, Kenneth Omeruo and Efe Ambrose; midfielders, Ogenyi Onazi and John Mikel Obi, and forwards, Ahmed Musa and Emmanuel Emenike.

Monaco of France defender, Elderson Echiejile, who missed the 2014 FIFA World Cup due to injury, Nosa Igiebor and Schalke 04’s Chinedu Obasi are all back for the qualifiers.

Home–based quartet, Chigozie Agbim, Azubuike Egwuekwe, Kunle Odunlami and Gbolahan Salami, who were part of Nigeria’s third place finish at the African Nations Championship in South Africa earlier in the year, would be making a return to Capetown.

Enugu Rangers’ topman, Christian Osaguona also add to the number of players from the domestic league.

Nigeria starts its AFCON qualifiers with Congo in Calabar on September 6, and later leave for Cape Town to take on the Bafana Bafana on September 10.

THE FULL LIST

Goalkeepers: Vincent Enyeama (Lille OSC, France); Austin Ejide (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel); Chigozie Agbim (Gombe United, Nigeria)

Defenders: Elderson Echiejile (Monaco FC, France); Juwon Oshaniwa (Ashdod FC, Israel); Efe Ambrose (Celtic FC, Scotland); Godfrey Oboabona (Rizespor FC, Turkey); Azubuike Egwuekwe (Warri Wolves, Nigeria); Kenneth Omeruo (Middlesbrough FC, England); Kunle Odunlami (Sunshine Stars, Nigeria)

Midfielders: John Mikel Obi (Chelsea FC, England); Ogenyi Onazi (SS Lazio, Italy); Ramon Azeez (Almeria FC, Spain); Joel Obi (Inter Milan, Italy); Nosa Igiebor (Real Betis, Spain); Omatsone Aluko (Hull City, England)

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow, Russia); Emmanuel Emenike (Fenerbahce FC, Turkey); Chinedu Obasi Ogbuke (Schalke 04, Germany); Uche Nwofor (Heerenveen FC, Netherlands); Nnamdi Oduamadi (AS Varese 1910, Italy); Gbolahan Salami (Warri Wolves); Christian Osaguona (Enugu Rangers)   

I Skipped Eagles Superstars Due To Personality Problems – Keshi

Coach Stephen Keshi has opened up on West Brom and Nigerian International Osaze Odemwingie, saying he skipped the player’s name from his squad selection because Osaze had personality problems which he felt cannot be permitted in the squad.

A lot of uproar was generated between the coach and the West Brom player before the Afcon 2013 tournament due to Osaze’s non-inclusion in the provisional squad to the Nations Cup in South Africa.

To a lot of football-loving Nigerians, it appeared as if Keshi didn’t have an idea of what he was doing. This perception continued into the tournament especially in the face of the abysmal performance by the Super Eagles in the group games, giving rise to many questioning why players like Osaze and others were dropped from Keshi’s provisional squad.

“We decided not to take some of these superstars to the Nations Cup because it is a long period of time and for the long period of time, you need characters that go together,” the former Super Eagles captain explained in an interview with Daily Trust.

“And if you have one or two who do not get along, forget about the superstars, the team will fall apart. I can bring a player in for a game. We can manage some of these players with a little bit of character problems, but when it comes to a long period of time, that’s difficult.

“Odemwingie is a very good player, a player I love to have in the team, but he wants to do what he wants to do.

“In the national team, where I was captain for 14 years, you are nothing but an individual in the team as you are not bigger than Nigeria. If you are not ready to give the green-and-white shirt the due respect, you are walking out of my team.

“We talked on the phone, I told him what I wanted from him, but he had his own notion and I said for now, I will skip you.”

Keshi also revealed that Obafemi Martins was not ready for the Nations Cup, but he has not shut the door against the Levante striker.

“He is still part of the group. If his name is in the next call-up, if he wants to come, we will see how it goes,” he said.

The Eagles coach admitted he missed Newcastle striker Shola Ameobi at the African Nations Cup, whose presence in the dressing room would have improved his team.

“Honestly speaking, I missed Shola Ameobi because in the game against Venezuela, he has a different presence in the locker room, he came in with this coaching ability and togetherness, when he talks to these boys they listen. This was the first time he was coming.

“This was what I was looking for on the pitch, somebody who could talk for me on the field, because I know what I did as a captain on the pitch.

“He was really, really ready to come, but his contract denied him from coming.”

Keshi’s Star Players

Keshi also said he will stick with Efe Ambrose at right back despite concerns the Celtic star is being played out of position.

Ambrose is best known as a central defender, but was played at right during the 2013 AFCON in South Africa with many raising concerns over his suitability in that position.

Keshi said the versatile Ambrose grew as a right back during the AFCON.

“He was growing during the tournament; he loves to play in the position. With every game Ambrose was just marching forward with a lot of confidence. If he were not growing, then that’s a different thing,” Keshi remarked.

“He is a very technical player. He loves playing this position and so we said go ahead.

“He can also play in central defence, as a defensive midfielder and at right back; same goes for Oboabona, Kenneth (Omeruo) and Onazi.

“An emergency could come up and we are blessed to have players who can play different positions. It’s a wonderful gift.

“This is what we are looking for in a team, like when Onazi came in and played right back for Efe Ambrose when he was suspended.”

Reds Willing To Bid For Celtic Defender Efe Ambrose

One of Nigeria’s defenders at the just concluded Afcon 2013 tournament where Nigeria’s Super Eagles were crowned champions of Africa is been the talk of the press in Scotland.

The Nigerian defender Efe Ambrose who plays for Celtics we hear is being wanted by Liverpool to add to its defence line.

According to Metro, the 24 year old Nigerian who is rated to be worth £6 million prompted Liverpool to up their game in their interest for the player after the player impressed scouts with his performances at the African Cup of Nations.

Scouts brought the name of the Nigerian international back to Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers after the tournament.

Liverpool representatives have been dispatched to watch the £6million-rated 24-year-old during the Hoops’ title procession in Scotland, as they ‘step up’ their interest in the player.

Manager Neil Lennon is well aware of the interest in his player, but revealed that there is yet to be a concrete offer for the player, who is contracted at Parkhead until 2015.

“I know a few Ambrose fans. There is nothing concrete, but I am aware of the interest,” he is quoted as saying by the paper.

Liverpool aren’t full of options in defence, with veteran centre Jamie Carragher announcing earlier in the month that he’s to retire at the end of the season.

That leaves Daniel Agger, Martin Skrtel and Sebastian Coates as the manager’s options at Anfield in the summer, and Rodgers already appears to be looking at his options on Merseyside.

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.

Eagles trash Liberia 6-1, qualifies for Nations Cup

The city of Calabar went agog with celebration as Nigeria’s Super Eagles emerged winner of the much awaited, much talked about and the much strategized game between them and the Lone Stars of Liberia this evening after walloping the Liberians 6-1 in the second leg of the 2013 African Cup of Nations qualifiers billed to hold in South Africa.

With this evening’s match outcome, Nigeria has successfully booked its ticket to feature in the finals of the AFCON 2013 with an aggregate of 8-3 after the first leg in Liberia produced a 2-2 draw.

A double from Chelsea new signing Victor Moses sealed victory for the Super eagles while goals from Efe Ambrose, Ahmed Musa, Mikel Obi and Ikechukwu Uche made sure Nigeria held onto the pathway of victory from kick-off.

Bitter memories of the Super Eagles’ dismal performance which denied them the ticket to the last edition of the Nations Cup held in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea early this year will be a thing of the past as football pundits can be rest assured that a Super Eagles squad that will produce impressive results has once again emerged as the evening’s game was the first game since Nigeria- Ethiopia match that the Super Eagles were able to produce a swell score line against an opponent.

Keshi not disturbed with Yobo’s absence

Super Eagle’s Coach, Stephen Keshi, said there is no cause for alarm at the absence of skipper Joseph Yobo just as Chelsea’s midfielder John Mikel Obi joined the team earlier on Wednesday.

Keshi revealed that the medical team at Turkish side Fernabahce have ruled Yobo out of the match against Liberia with a torn cruciate ligament and have put him on medical examination to determine whether he could travel to Nigeria to cheer the team to victory.

Yobo’s knee is reported to have swollen after he played 70 minutes for his Turkish side over the weekend

According to the Eagles Coach, Yobo, spent over one hour on phone with him to confirm he will not be available for this weekend’s crucial tie against the lone star of Liberia.

Yobo played in last month’s 2 all draw in Liberia but was later replaced by Efe Ambrose in the second half.

In June, he missed all three of Nigeria’s Nation’s Cup and World Cup qualifiers against Rwanda, Malawi and Namibia also on account of injury.

Meanwhile Chelsea midfielder Mikel Obi arrived the Metropolitan Hotel camp of the Eagles Wednesday afternoon, after his protracted battle to get a Ukrainian visa for his side’s UEFA Champion’s League game next week.

Mikel said he is fit for the encounter against Liberia to cool off speculations surrounding his availability.

The camp of the Super Eagles in Calabar is bubbling with activity as most of the invited Europe-based players have arrived ahead of the weekend’s 2013 African Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Spokesman of the team, Ben Alaiya, confirmed to Channels Sports that Ambrose Efe, Brown Ideye, Ahmed Musa, Joel Obi, Victor Moses and Ikechukwu Uche have all arrived the training camp. Other are Elderson Echiejile, Obiorah Nwankwo and Onazi Ogenyi have showed up in camp

Alaiya confirmed that only 3 players are still being expected.

Earlier goalkeepers Austin Ejide and Vincent Enyeama as well as Nosa Igiebor joined up with the 7 players from the Nigeria Premier League in a training session

Ambrose Efe signs three year deal with Celtic

Nigeria international; Efe Ambrose has signed a three-year deal with Celtic.

Ambrose, a 23-year-old defender, joins Celtic after a three-year spell with Israeli side FC Ashdod.

Efe said on the official website of his new club that it has been a long day, but it has been worth it and today is one of the happiest days of his life as he signed for one of the biggest clubs in the world, a club he has known about since he was a young man.

He said he can’t just wait to get started, to play in front of the fans, he said he would like to thank God for everything, the  manager and directors of Celtic, who placed their trust and confidence in him.

Efe said the move to Israel really opened the door for him and gave him his opportunity.

He also thanked the coaches and directors at FC Ashdod, his agent Dudu Dahan and his colleagues and fans.

Ambrose can play anywhere across the back line or in midfield and he said: “I am the kind of player who plays where it is of benefit to the team.

Celtic confirmed their place in the Champions’ League group stage this week with a victory over Helsingborgs and Ambrose is delighted to be facing some of the finest sides in Europe.