World Cup Opening Ceremony Was Flat – Analyst

Nnamdi Obanya,Nigerian Sports Journalist, Nnamdi Obanya, believes that the Brazil World Cup Opening Ceremony was bright, colourful but boring.

He was a guest on Channels Television where he spoke about the mundial less than 24 hours after it kicked off at the Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo.

He cited several factors that created the view that this was not a befitting opening for the competition of such magnitude. He said that while the theme song had failed to impress, the sound problem experienced during the performance also added to his disappointment.

“It was Brazil, we expected all the capoeira, and carnival atmosphere…It was a very flat opening ceremony.

“South Africa’s Opening Ceremony made this look like a high school play. It was fantastic and this was flat”, he said.

The compensation for him, however, was that immediately after the ceremony, “the real fireworks” started with the hosts, Brazil defeating Croatia in an exciting and tense opening match.

The Real Super Eagles

Obanya also responded to Nigerian Attacker, Ahmed Musa, who was quoted in the dailies to have promised that Nigerians would see the real Super Eagles when the competition starts in Brazil.

“They are just saying the right things. We’ve had Emenike and Mikel fight, we’ve heard that Ahmed Musa is not fit to play, there is a lot of news coming that is not too good.

“Perhaps they’re trying to keep their spirit up. They are doing the right thing and saying the right things, if they can translate that unto the pitch, all good for them, but we will wait and see if the real Super Eagles as they claim would show up.”

Obanya, who admitted that he had always maintained blind loyalty towards Nigeria, noted that if he would be analytical and pensive, he was really worried.

He also confirmed the unavailability the team’s regular left-back, Elderson Echiejile, whom he said had already been replaced by Ejike Uzoenyi, who has already landed in Brazil and taken over the number 3 jersey vacated by Echiejile after the injury that ruled him out of the competition.

“Realistically, we can qualify from the group; we’ll most likely qualify second behind Argentina and we’ll be immediately thrown up against France. That’s a free scoring, very fast and young France. I haven’t seen France this agile since France 98”, he feared.

Obanya also provided expert analysis of the opening match between Brazil and Croatia. He believes that while Croatia did well by taking the fight to Brazil, they played to the strength of the Brazilian defence.

He predicts a very difficult World Cup whose winner would be hard to predict as all past winners are present at the tournament and gunning for glory.

Echiejile Out Of World Cup, Uzoenyi Recalled For Nigeria

Ejike UzoenyiNigeria Coach, Stephen Keshi has recalled Enugu Rangers striker, Ejike Uzoenyi, to the Super Eagles camp on Saturday afternoon for the 2014 World Cup after injury ruled out left back, Elderson Echiejile.

It was reported that Echiejile, who suffered a muscle tear in Nigeria’s tune up friendly against Greece, would be side-lined for at least two weeks and the technical crew were not willing to risk him with the tournament starting in few days.

Coach Stephen Keshi, had earlier said that he would seek better medical opinion before deciding whether Echiejile would make it to Brazil or not.

However, the defender’s absence from the team’s training on Friday further fuelled speculation that the AS Monaco player might miss the Mundial.

Uzoenyi, who wept in the team bus on the way back to the hotel in Philadelphia after being informed that he did not make the initial 23-man team, would now have a chance to prove his worth.

The Super Eagles will face the United States of America in Saturday’s international friendly, as part of preparations for the World Cup which begins on June 12.

The World Cup in the last few days had been rocked by injuries to star players like Franck Ribery of France, Germany’s Marco Reus, and Italy’s Riccardo Montolivo, who have been ruled out of the Mundial.

Ejike Uzoenyi was named to Nigeria’s squad for the 2014 African Nations Championship and was selected the Most Valuable Player of the tournament.


Keshi picks 7 home-based players against Liberia

Super Eagles Chief Coach, Stephen Keshi has picked 7 home-based professionals that will join their foreign counterparts for the October 13th 2013 Nation’s cup final qualifier against Liberia in Calabar.

The 7 players are Warri Wolves duo of goalkeeper, Chigozie Agbim and Azubuike Egwueke, Sunshine Stars defender, Godfrey Oboabona and Enyimba’s Henry Uche.

Others are Benjamin Francis of Heartland, Kano Pillars central defender, Umar Zango and Enugu Rangers winger, Ejike Uzoenyi.

Keshi confirmed that the team will depart for Calabar, venue of the match on Monday, October 8th while the foreign-based professionals are expected to join them on Wednesday, October 10th.

Nigeria needs an outright victory to seal its place at the tournament billed for South Africa.

Amateur player gets call up for Super Eagles friendly with Niger

Super Eagles’ Head Coach, Stephen Keshi, on Wednesday invited 25 players from the Nigeria Premier League and one from the amateur rank for camping ahead of the international friendly against the Mena of Niger, billed for August 15 at the Seyni Koutche Stadium, Niamey.

Top of the list of invited players is Warri Wolves shot stopper and skipper Chigozie Agim, with Heartland FC’s Daniel Akpeyi and Moses Ocheje of CAF Champions League campaigners’ Sunshine Stars.

The surprise invitee is FAME Academy striker, Chibuzor Onyekwelu. A number of new faces in the defence include Enugu Rangers’ ace Osuchukwu Ogonna, Kwambe Solomon of Sunshine Stars, Heartland FC’s Francis Benjamin, Ezekiel Henry of Rising Stars and Umar Zango of high-riding Kano Pillars.

They join Azubuike Egwuekwe, Papa Idris, Juwon Oshaniwa and Godfrey Oboabona.

Midfielders and strikers include Kano Pillars’ boy-with-rising-profile Reuben Gabriel, Izu Azuka, Sunday Mba, Ejike Uzoenyi, Uche Kalu, Henry Uche and Obinna Nwachukwu. New faces are Christian Ofili, Solomon Jabason, Kabiru Umar, Chibuzor Onyekwelu, Sanusi Sani, Sibi Gwar and Philip Asuquo.

The players are expected to resume at the Bolton White Apartments, Abuja on Sunday, 5th August.

The invited players

Goalkeepers: Chigozie Agbim (Warri Wolves), Daniel Akpeyi (HeartlandFC), Moses Ocheje (Sunshine Stars)

Defenders: Azubuike Egwuekwe (Warri Wolves), Papa Idris (Kano Pillars), Juwon Oshaniwa (Sharks FC), Godfrey Oboabona (Sunshine Stars), Ezekiel Henry (Rising Stars), Francis Benjamin (Heartland FC), Umar Zango (Kano Pillars), Osuchukwu Ogonna (Enugu Rangers), Kwambe Solomon (Sunshine Stars)

Midfielders/Forwards: Ejike Uzoenyi (Enugu Rangers), Sunday Mba (Warri Wolves), Reuben Gabriel (Kano Pillars), Izu Azuka (Sunshine Stars), Uche Kalu (Enyimba FC), Henry Uche (Enyimba FC), Obinna Nwachukwu (Heartland FC), Christian Ofili (ABS FC), Solomon Jabason (Akwa United), Kabiru Umar (HeartlandFC), Chibuzor Onyekwelu (FAME FC),Sani (Gombe United), Sibi Gwar (Niger Tornadoes), Philip Asuquo (3SC).