FIFA U-17: Falconets Coach Blames Early Exit On Inexperience

falconetsFalconets head coach, Bala Nikyu, has blamed the early exit of his players from the FIFA U-17 world cup on inexperience.

Coach Nikyu told Channels Television that aside three players who featured at the 2014 edition of the tournament in Costa Rica all the girls featured at the championships in Jordan for the first time.

He, however, said the tournament was a good learning process for the U-17 side.

Nigeria crashed out at the group phase of the competition without scoring a goal in three games.

FIFA Clears Emmanuel Sarki To Play For Haiti

sarkiFormer Nigeria youth international, Emmanuel Sarki, has been cleared by the world football governing body, FIFA, to play for the Haiti national team.

Sarki, who has represented Nigeria in the Under-17 and the Under-20 categories in the past but has never played for the senior national team, the Super Eagles, has been summoned by the Haiti National Team for an exhibition game with Chile on September 9 at the Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, USA.

The Wisla Krakow midfielder was once thought to be on the payroll of Chelsea alongside John Mikel Obi, but he did not make the grade in England, forcing him to try his luck in Belgium and Israel before he finally settled down in Poland.

It has been claimed that the midfielder can turn out for the Haitian National Team because his great grandparents are from the Caribbean country.

In addition, he already had the nationality of the representative team when he featured for the Golden Eaglets and Flying Eagles of Nigeria.

Sarki, who featured alongside John Obi Mikel at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup hosted by Finland in 2003, was born on December 26, 1987 in Kaduna State.

Meanwhile, FIFA have rejected an application by Romania to cap former U-20 Nigerian striker, Kehinde Fatai.

Fatai, who has been a big hit since he moved to Romania from JUTH FC of Jos in the 2006/2007 season, when he joined Farul Constanta, told that the world governing body rejected the application on the premise that he had not gotten the Romanian citizenship when he played for the Flying Eagles at the time.





Iheanacho Scores As Manchester City Defeats Sporting Kansas City

IheanachoFormer Under 17 World cup star, Kelechi Iheanacho scored a goal in Manchester City’s emphatic win over Sporting Kansas City on Thursday.

Iheanacho played almost the full game as the English Premier League champions began their tour of the USA with a 4-1 victory over Sporting Kansas, scored a late goal with an accomplished finish.

The 17 year old, who scored six goals in seven matches for the Manu Garba tutored Golden Eaglets side at the FIFA Under 17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates last year, winning the Silver Boot as the second highest goalscorer and the Golden Ball as the best player, produced an eye-catching performance, earning praises from coach Manuel Pellegrini.

Pellegrini also hinted that Iheanacho has a bright future at the club and will be important in future.

“Kelechi is just 17 years old and he’s a very important player for us in the future. He demonstrated today what he can do in the future.

“It depends on the way he takes this profession, but I think he’s a good talent. He’s a very important player for the future for the club”, he said.

Iheanacho joined the squad on the trip to Scotland, alongside compatriot Chidiebere Nwakali, for games against Dundee and Hearts and was then invited into Manuel Pellegrini’s 23-man squad for the tour of the United States.

Other scorers for the EPL winners were Bruno Zuculini , Dedryck Boyata and Aleksandar Kolarov with CJ Sapong getting a consolation for Sporting Kansas City.

In the mean time, it is believed that he will be loaned out to a club outside England despite his impressive performance so far in the pre – season  as Manchester City are working really hard to secure a work permit for him which might take a while as he has not had a game for the Super Eagles of Nigeria.

Leadership Robbed Nigerian Football Of Success For Two Decades – Abdullahi

Nigeria’s Minister of Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi has stated that success or failure in sports is most times determined by what happens outside the pitch and not what happens on the pitch.

While appearing on flagship breakfast programme, ‘Sunrise’ on Channels Television, he did a review of the efforts of his office which has brought Nigeria notable sporting successes, especially in football with the country’s national teams; the Super Eagles and the Golden Eaglets winning the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) and the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in 2013.

“Before then (the AFCON victory), the entire leadership system around football especially had more or less collapsed. I recall that when I got into the office as Sports Minister, there were 26 court cases on the Nigeria Football Federation alone; all kinds of litigation…so the process of trying to rebuild that system I think played a very significant role in setting us towards that victory.”

“How many Nigerians for example would recall that there was a time we went for an international football competition and the federation did not remember to pack the kits, and they had to put scissors to the long pants to create the jersey for the players.”

“How many people would recall for example that when Nigeria goes for international competitions like that, another delegation from Nigerians would also be arriving at the same time for the sole purpose of sabotaging Nigeria, so that some people don’t take credit for what happens?”

“So the reason we were losing all those years was not because we stopped knowing how to play football, or we no longer had talents. It’s all about management and leadership.”

On what he injected into the system to achieve the success that had eluded Nigeria for 19 years, Abdullahi said that the football federation he has worked with is committed to achieving results. He has been able to envision what is possible and move everyone towards achieving the vision. He also identified the ability to minimize conflicts and friction among administrators, coaches and the players as having played a very huge role in the football successes.

He added that the National Sports Commission he met was working in opposite direction with the then Nigeria Football Federation due to election conflicts and different interests.

The Sports Minister agreed that funding has indeed been a challenge, claiming that he did not know of any government in the world that can fund sports alone. He however added that in Nigeria, even the funds released were not efficiently managed in a way to get the kind of results Nigerians wanted, a situation he said was part of the governance challenges his administration had to deal with.

According to him, after Nigeria’s woeful outing at the London 2012 Olympics, the Federal Government had to analyse the sports sector to identify the major problems and the issue of leadership became top priority, with funding coming next.

He said that the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was then asked by the President to head a team that had the Sports Minister and a representation of the private sector to work out an independent sustainable funding system for sports in Nigeria. They had the mandate to delink sports funding from the country’s annual budgetary system, and that they are working on.

Mr Bolaji Abdullahi also spoke about the Nigeria Premier League (NPL), the League Management Company (LMC), other sports, coaches’ unpaid salaries, private sector involvement in Nigerian sports and the efforts of his office at making the sector more attractive to sponsorship.

Unpaid Salaries: Keshi Has My Number, He Should Have Told Me – Sports Minister

Nigeria’s Minister of Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi has frowned at the decision of National Team Coach, Stephen Keshi to keep the issues of his unpaid salaries from him only to reveal it in the media.

He expressed this feeling while appearing on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, ‘Sunrise’ on Thursday.

He admitted, “The issue of the coach not being paid is wrong. It is still the same issue of managing resources efficiently.”

“I have said it on different occasions that the Nigeria Football Federation after the African Cup of Nations, AFCON became really seriously financially challenged. They had difficulties, but that did not explain their not paying the coach for 6 to 7 months.”

He however said that the media buzz around the issue did not have to be so. He wondered why the situation would remain for such a long time and the appropriate authority was not aware.

“I as a minister, I got to know about coaches not being paid on the pages of the newspapers. It was only after it was reported in the papers that I called the federation, what is going on here and of course I immediately issued them a query to explain why that happened.”

He said that this was when the NFF mentioned their financial challenges as the reason behind their owing the coaches. He assured that he has since intervened and the matter is being sorted with the help of the “higher authority” since he did not have a provision for it in the budget of the National Sports Commission.

He frowned at the decision of Coach Stephen Keshi to keep quiet until the situation reached 6 months. “People are making reference to (the fact that) if he was a white man, would he have been owed 7 months? A white man will not work for 6 months without being paid; he will see it as a breach of contract and he will complain.”

“Immediately I called the coach; you’ve not been paid? And you have my number? And you didn’t tell me?”

On the suggestion that the need to avoid a national embarrassment may be the reason behind Coach Keshi’s decision not to tell the higher authorities, Abdullahi said “in the end what did we achieve? National embarrassment or not, what I’m saying is that by the time you’re not paid month 1, month 2, you have the minister’s number, there are other people, the directors of federations are there, you could call them and say look, there is a problem.”

FIFA U-17 Champions, Golden Eaglets Arrive in Lagos

The Nigerian Golden Eaglets have returned to Nigeria on Saturday after an outstanding performance at the 15th edition of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

The Golden Eaglets defeated Mexico 3-0 at the final match of the championship to win the cup for the fourth time.

The champions arrived in Lagos in what has been descried as a ‘quiet entry.’

Reporters were denied access to the team on their arrival at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos.

The Golden Eaglets have received increased match bonus of 7,000 dollars after defeating the Mexican team on Friday.

Nigerian Leaders Congratulate Golden Eaglets

Nigerian leaders have expressed joy over the victory of the Golden Eaglets in the FIFA Under 17 World Cup, showering the young stars with amiable congratulatory messages.

The Nigerian team defeated the defending champions, Mexico, 3-0 to lift the trophy in the tournament held in the United Arab Emirates.

The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, congratulated the Golden Eaglets and described their display as “phenomenal, entertaining, and near perfect.”

He said that the trophy was a centenary gift Nigerians would never forget in a hurry.

“I am indeed proud of these boys for this superlative and emphatic victory. But beyond the euphoria that comes with it, I believe that this is God reminding us through these young men that “a united and one-minded Nigeria, where everyone is given the opportunity to do what he or she knows best to do without recourse to nepotism, ethno-religious discrimination, and political manipulations, is simply unstoppable.

“It has been quite long we saw a thing like this and for me it is a centenary gift that calls for sober reflections on what and where we ought to be as a nation.”

Senator Ekweremadu urged all Nigerians to roll out the drum to celebrate the boys and fatherland.

Commenting on the Eaglets’ performance, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, said that the young boys had taught the world the real essence of team work.

“With all hands working together, all challenges would be surmounted,” he emphasised.

He congratulated the players and their handlers, led by coach Garba Manu, for a job well done.

Tambuwal said that the House of Representatives would continue to play a leading role in efforts to take sports to greater heights.

Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State said that the Eaglets displayed the ‘can-do’ spirit of the Nigerian and the will to excel even in the face of excruciating challenges.

“The Boys represent a new generation of Nigerians whose faith in the country remain unwavering as they forged a formidable team to win the coveted trophy despite coming from different ethnic and religious backgrounds.

“I urge the authorities of the Nigerian Football Federation to keep this talented team together as the boys have the potential of even bringing greater honour to the country.

“The government and good people of Edo State give kudos to the Golden Eaglets for this great feat,” he said.

In Imo State, Governor Rochas Okorocha stressed that the victory was a pointer to the fact that with unity of purpose, Nigeria could rule the world in every facet of life.

Okorocha, however, called on all stakeholders and well-meaning Nigerians to encourage the team with commensurate reward on their arrival to Nigeria.

Yes! Yes!! Yes!!!

The Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, watched the final match in the company of some members of the State Executive Council. He said he had always had absolute confidence that the Eaglets would bring home the Cup.

“The Golden Eaglets have done it again. They have lifted the World Cup for the fourth time,” he said.

He urged the Eaglets not to rest on their oars, but see the victory as a stepping stone to greater heights.

The famous Golden Eaglets are known for their unique celebration of raised hands and a; Yes! Yes!! Yes!!! shout of victory.