Nigeria Settles For Draw Against Kenya

Nigeria’s Super Eagles survived a major upset to force Kenya’s Harambee stars to a 1-1 draw in the World Cup qualifier match for Brazil 2014.

Francis Nyambura shot the Kenyans into lead 9 minutes before the break.

Nyambura struck a fantastic free kick that threw Nigeria’s goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama off balance.

The Kenyans were on the verge of handing Nigeria a first home defeat until substitute Nnamdi Oduamadi crafted an equalizer to save Nigeria who is African Champions from recording a disgraceful one in the injury time.

Before the Nigeria –Kenya match which took place at the UJ Esuene Stadium in Calabar a lot of bad blood has been generated between the two African countries with accusation and counter accusation.

It went further with the involvement of fans of both countries on the social media network Twitter; however with the way it stands a return match will square things between the countries as to who conquers who.

NFF Drops ‘Foreign Coach’ Idea

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has finally rested the idea of contracting a foreign coach to head the National team the Super Eagles of Nigeria.

The football body made this announcement yesterday Thursday saying it has no plans to contract a foreign technical director for the national teams and denied ever conceiving such idea.

In interview with supersport.com, an executive committee member of the football body; Chris Green vehemently denied any such plans saying there nothing of that nature in the pipeline.

He went further to say that the NFF is work tirelessly to improve the sports sector in terms of development and with Nigeria’s Super Eagles emergence as the African Champions at the just concluded AFCON 2013, the football body is doing all it can to leverage on this and build the industry into a global brand.

FIFA RANKING: Nigeria Now 30th In The World

World’s football governing body FIFA has released its monthly ranking for national teams for February and African champions the Super Eagles of Nigeria climbed 22 spots on the ladder and are now ranked 30th in the world and fourth in Africa.

This is the best ranking of the Super Eagles since August 2010 and it is coming just as the Eagles claimed their third African title, ending a 19-year drought since they last won the tournament.

Ghana, Mali and Algeria make up the top five on the continent.

The Carthage Eagles of Tunisia and former champions Zambia are in sixth and seventh position while Central African Republic the stallions of Burkina Faso and South Africa make up the top 10.

Beaten finalists Burkina Faso is ranked 55th in the world, moving up 37 spots.

The host of the just concluded African Cup of Nations (AFCON); South Africa also enjoyed a significant leap of 25 places moving to the 60th position.

The Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire maintained their top spot in Africa but dropped two places in the world ranking which puts them in the 12th position.

Meanwhile world and European champions Spain retained the top position among football playing nations in the world, a position they have occupied in the last few years.

The German machines are in second position closely followed by South American giants Argentina, three lions of England and the Azzuris of Italy make up the top five.

Columbia, Portugal, Holland, Croatia and 2018 World Cup host; Russia are the teams that make up the top 10.

Five time World Cup winners Brazil are yet to make it back into the top 10.

FIFA Confed Cup Our Next Challenge — Eagles

Nigeria’s Super Eagles players are basking in the euphoria of their victory at the just concluded Afcon 2013 in South Africa where the Coach Stephen Keshi led squad lifted the African Cup of Nations trophy a record third time since 1994.

The players spearheaded by their captain veteran player Joseph Yobo who has been wearing the Super Eagles jersey as a defender for 11/12 years now saluted the head coach Stephen Keshi who has now won the African title as a player in Tunisia 1994 and as a coach in 2013 for the victory as he gave and showed some level of confidence in the squad.

Looking ahead, the players say they are moving forward and their next target now is the Fifa Confederations Cup which will taking place in Brazil come June 2013, they see it as a bigger event than the AFCON 2013 because it is a ‘Festival of Champions’ as it is also called and they hope to make Nigeria and Africa proud.

As African champions, Nigeria’s Super Eagles has been grouped with World Champions Spain, Uruguay and Tahiti in Group B of the Confederations Cup in Brazil.

AFCON 2013: NFF Says No Punishment For Ameobi, Shittu

Shola Ameobi of Newcastle United

An official of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Chris Green has said that Nigeria will not be pushing for sanctions to be taken against the two Nigerian players, Shola Ameobi of Newcastle United and Danny Shittu of Millwall for ignoring the invitation from Coach Stephen Keshi.

The Duo were invited to join the Super Eagle in the forthcoming African Nations Cup scheduled to take place in South Africa.

Mr Green said Nigeria has decided to focus on the players available for the Afcon 2013, so he sees no point causing further distractions despite the fact that Nigeria would have been favoured.

“We have decided to focus our energy on the players and officials going to the Nations Cup in South Africa.

“There’s no point creating unnecessary distraction or pushing for sanctions when we have capable players in the Super Eagles.

“We have the rules firmly on our side to seek punishment but that will not make any positive contribution to our preparations.

“There are players in the squad who can deliver for Nigeria, so we can only wish Ameobi and Shittu all the best in England.”

The managers of both Newcastle and Millwall decided to hold on to the English based pair even after Nigeria requested the players be released for national call.

On the part of Danny Shittu, he later requested to be excused from the 32-man squad while Ameobi refused to even honour the call.

NFF decided to go a step further by dragging the World Football Governing Body, FIFA into the call-up row so as to sanction the clubs for the non-release of the players.

The final 23 man list for the Afcon 2013 is yet to be released by coach Keshi who has decided to wait till the deadline date for the submission of the players to be fielded by Nigeria.

I Want To Avoid Creating Problems For Any Player — Keshi

Following the row going on between Nigeria and the club managers of Millwall and Newcastle; Kenny Jackett and Alan Pardew over Nigerian defender and Millwall’s Danny Shittu and Newcastle player Shola Ameobi, Super Eagle head coach; Stephen Keshi said he will be willing to let the players be, if the row will affect their careers as he is not out to let them lose favour in their various clubs.

“I would not want to cause any problems for any player over something like this because it is his career and eventually he will have to return to his club,” he said.

This is coming after Nigeria hit out at Newcastle United for not allowing Shola Ameobi to play at next month’s African Nations Cup in South Africa.

Nigeria has been drawn in Nations Cup Group C with Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and defending champions Zambia.

Pardew responded to the naming of the Nigerian player saying Ameobi cannot go to South Africa and the national team manager;Keshi knows the reason why which he is not revealing.

“The national team manager knows the reasons – which I am keeping to myself.”

The African tournament which will be holding from Jan. 19th- Feb 10th named Newcastle Ameobi in the provisional list but Alan Pardew whom Keshi claimed he has never met in his life has refused to let the player report to the Super Eagles training camp in Portugal.

“I don’t know what is in his head or what he is thinking about. I have never spoken to Alan Pardew in my life; I have only seen him on television.”

Keshi said during an interview on the Supersports channel that Pardew cannot stop Ameobi from reporting for National duties because the Afcon is a competition backed by FIFA; the World football governing body.

“Alan Pardew knows he cannot stop Shola from going to the Nations Cup because the competition is sanctioned by soccer’s ruling body.”

Pardew’s Newcastle is not sitting comfortably right now on the English Premier League table as the club is just five points above the relegation zone in 15th spot, hence the reason the manager is not letting Ameobi answer to national call.

Keshi also reacted to Kenny Jackett’s refusal to release Danny Shittu who was also named in the Eagles provisional list as the Millwall manager said Shittu would not be going to the Nations Cup.

Keshi said the English clubs feel they have every right on these players so they feel they can stop them from playing for their countries. He said they really have to understand the importance of the Afcon tournament.

“I don’t know why the English clubs are trying to stop their players from going. Do they feel these players don’t have the right to play for their countries?”

“Clubs have to understand how important this competition is.”

 

 

FIFA Bans Bin Hammam For Life

The world football governing body, FIFA has banned embattled former FIFA presidential candidate, Mohamed bin Hammam from all football related activities for life despite tendering his resignations from all his positions in football.

FIFA in a statement said the life ban is based on the final report by the chairman of the investigatory chamber of the FIFA ethics committee Michael Garcia.

The 63-year-old former Asian soccer chief was first banned by FIFA in July 2011 for alleged bribery during his failed bid to oust Sepp Blatter in the presidential race to head world football governing body.

In July, the life ban was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport but the Qatari has remained side-lined by continuous suspensions handed out first by the Asian football confederation for financial wrongdoing and then FIFA.

FIFA signs goal-line technology deals with GoalRef and Hawk-Eye

Finally, the resolve on seeking solutions from the goal-line technology is beginning to take proper shape as the World football governing body; FIFA took a positive step towards it as it signed licence agreements with two goal-line technology providers; GoalRef and Hawk-Eye.

The two technology providers were authorised to install their systems around the world after negotiations and final agreements towards the deal was over and according information the goal-linetechnology will be introduced in the English Premier League 2013-14 seasons.

It would be recalled that sometime in October 2011, the World football governing body began looking into the reliability of this goal-line technology systems due to series of high-profile controversies about whether or not shots had crossed the line.

And after these tests were done it came about that the two goal-line technology providers came out tops in that their systems were reliable in detecting whether the whole of a football had crossed a goal-line.

But some leading figures in football, including UEFA president Michel Platini, remain opposed to technology.

Platini is refusing to allow its use in UEFA competitions, instead preferring additional assistant referees, such as those seen at Euro 2012 and in the Europa League.

Platini said he will never be convinced on the goal-line technology as he will also not change his views on the matter saying that his idea is to help referees by putting up more referees.

FIFA in a statement released towards the deals signed said “Between October 2011 and June 2012, both companies passed a series of extensive laboratory and field tests, tests in simulated match situations, as well as tests in live matches.

“This milestone in the goal-line technology process, which began in 2011, means that the two companies now have official authorisation to install their respective goal-line technology systems worldwide.”

The International Football Association Board (IFAB), which makes the game’s rules, gave the go-ahead to the use of technology as calls for its introduction increased around the world.

The debate was intensified by incidents such as the goal scored by Frank Lampard for England against Germany in the last World Cup, when the referee failed to award a goal despite the ball clearly crossing the line.

But hurdles remain before the systems are in full use, and FIFA explained: “Once a system has been installed in a stadium, it undergoes a final inspection to check its functionality.

“This is carried out by an independent test institute and the results of this so-called ‘final installation test’ must be successful. Only a positive final installation test qualifies a system to be used in official matches.”

Both systems are due to be used in competitive games for the first time at the Club World Cup in Japan in December, with GoalRef installed at one of the tournament’s two venues and Hawk-Eye at the other.

FIFA ranking: Super Eagles drop to 13th in Africa

World’s football governing body, FIFA has released its rankings for the month of October, and the Super Eagles of Nigeria have dropped five spots on the rankings and are now 63rd in the world.

The team also dropped out of the top 10 to now occupy the 13th position in Africa, coming after Cape Verde and Central African Republic.

Elephants of Cote’ d Ivoire remain the highest ranked African team on the list; they occupy the 16th position in the world and number one on the continent.

Algeria, Mali, Ghana and Egypt follow in that order, making it up the top five, while African champions, Zambia are in sixth position and are 41 in the world.

Tunisia, Gabon, Central African Republic and Cape Verde are the other countries that are in the top 10 in the continent.

 

Flamingoes coach warns against complacency

Flamingoes have been warned by their coach not to get all laid back as the team will be going into the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup tournament holding in Azerbaijan later in the month of September.

Flamingoes are in Group A with Azerbaijan, Colombia and Canada in a tournament that will start from September 22 to October 13.

The Flamingoes Coach, Peter Dedevbo charged the team especially his strikers to deliver against any team they meet that is do magic in front of goalpost by scoring goals.

Presently, the team is in Portugal where their training tour was scheduled as the team is straining themselves out with warm-up matches, cooking up several strategies plus rigorous training but the coach is still insisting that everything still boils down to the tournament proper which the tournament holding in Azerbaijan.

The coach charged the team to take every chance at goal by making it count that he is confidence that the team will deliver.

Fabio Capello records first victory against N.Ireland

Russia won its first competitive match under new coach Fabio Capello, beating Northern Ireland 2-0 to open qualifying in Group F for the 2014 World Cup.

Victor Fayzulin opened the scoring from Alexander Kerzhakov’s cross into the box in the 30th minute. Roman Shirokov almost doubled the lead four minutes later, but goalkeeper Roy Carroll stretched his right leg to block the low shot.

Kerzhakov hit the right post from a free kick 19 metres (yards) out in the 75th before Shirokov converted a penalty three minutes later to make it 2-0.

On Tuesday, Russia is at Israel and Northern Ireland hosts Luxembourg. Azerbaijan and Portugal are also in the group.

Brave Falconets fall 0-2 to USA

Nigeria’s U-20 team the Falconets this morning fell against the USA team in the semi-final stage of the FIFA Women World cup as they were defeated 2-0 by the Americans.

Goals from Morgan Brian and Kealia Ohai in either half of the encounter sealed victory for the Americans.

The Falconets started well with Francisca Ordega latching onto a through ball, beating USA goalkeeper Bryane Heaberlin in a race to the ball in the seventh minute of the opening, but her effort went wide of the post.

Brian scored the all-important opening goal midway through the first half from a perfect header over goalkeeper Ibubeleye Whyte.

The Americans took charge of the game after the opener, creating several chances in the closing stages of the half.

Nigeria came back stronger after the break but Desire Oparanozie’s effort was ruled out for offside.

Almost immediately a skilful run from Ngozi Okobi set up Oparanozie for an equaliser only for her to blaze it over.

Ohai slotted in the second for the Americans which literarily ended the game as a contest midway into the second half.

Falconets will now meet Japan on Saturday to contest for the third place as Japan also fell to Germany.