Linus Mba Becomes First Casualty Of FIFA Suspension

Linus MbaFIFA Referees Advisor and Consultant to the Nigeria Football Federation on refereeing, Linus Mba, has become the first casualty of the FIFA Suspension order on Nigeria.

Mba, who was appointed three weeks ago as the Match Commissioner for the Sierra Leone and Seychelles African Cup of Nations qualifier in Freetown on July 19 has been replaced.

On Monday, the retired FIFA referee and former member of the CAF Referees Committee got a letter from CAF regretting his replacement.

The letter signed by Amr Fahmy Manager, Nations Cup said in part: “I regret to inform you that due to the suspension of the Nigerian FA, we had to temporarily suspend all appointments for any officials/referees from Nigeria, so we were left without any choice but to replace you for the above-mentioned match.”

Fahmy letter read: “…price that experienced men like yourself, good servants of African football, have to pay.”

Few hours before CAF’s decision, the referee consultant had received a mail from the General Secretary, Sierra Leone Football Association, Chris Kamara, that his tickets and other documents for him and the referees were to be sent by Wednesday.

This decision has come on the heels of suggestions that before Tuesday the Nigeria case would be normalized to allow FIFA lift the suspension order.

The Eaglets are expected to leave on Wednesday to Congo DR, while the Super Falcons are set for the African Women Championship draws in Windhoek, Namibia, this weekend, but that would only happen if Nigeria normalizes the relationship with FIFA.

The fate of Mba would further explain the powers of FIFA sanctions as adopted by Confederations and other Federations worldwide.

FIFA Suspension: Sport Journalists Say It’s Unjustifiable

deji omptoyiboRenowned sports journalists have reacted to the  suspension given to Nigeria by  FIFA, on what the governing body has termed as  ”government interference” in the country’s football administration.

The sports ambassadors,  Deji Omotoyinbo, Bimbo Adeola and Harry Iwuala, who were guests on Sunrise, on Saturday, agreed that the government will continue to have a say in the management of football in the Nigeria since it provides funds for the sport.

On the suspension, they believe the sport ministry and the football administrators should be blamed as the same scenario plays out every four years in which the country is embarrassed with the crisis that results into FIFA sanctioning the country.

‘’The thing is embarrassing because every four years we come to this circle as government and the people they use to topple themselves, don’t take any learning from this’’. Harry Iwuala said

‘’You get in there and begin to think you are well seated, not wanting any other person to come in which eventually invites the government to come in again to cause a lot of ruckus, embarrass themselves and the country’’.  Harry declared

On the interference, Iwuala said government must find a nicer way of   being in control, not the juxtapose style arrest basically with due process.

On his part, sports commentator, Deji Omotoyinbo, described the issue as a ‘’storm in a teacup’’ as the trend, unsurprisingly, is the same every four years and unfortunately for Nigeria it usually comes up after a World Cup year because the four year cycle of the NFF ends at the World Cup.

He is of the opinion that FIFA and CAF is not under any government as they are a government to themselves so they can say they don’t want any interference in the affairs of their affiliates from that perspective.

He, however, noted, that technically speaking, the affiliate bodies operate in countries that are governed by the rule of law and as such, are subject to the laws of the land.

‘’Take Nigeria for instance, where what is being done to other sports is criminal as football get a monthly subvention of a hundred and fifty million naira every month apart from what is derived from competitions’’.

While not defending the government that sometimes does things wrongly, Omotoyibo insisted that FIFA is saying that their affiliate bodies can be protected from any probe in their country even when they (the bodies) depend on their government for funds.

He said if FIFA does not want interference in certain parts of the world, then they should fund their affiliate bodies completely as anyone who wants to force themselves into the football body(ies) will still go back to the same government to collect money and they (the government) have a right to ask questions on how the money is used.

On if the NFF is autonomous, the sports journalists said there is no such thing as autonomy as they get their funds which is budgeted for and approved by the National Assembly and are expected to be accountable.

On the solution, Bimbo Adeola said the government should just hands off football if the obnoxious FIFA statute, as it relates to Africa continues, so that football will fund itself as so much money is not accounted for.

‘’Nigeria Football Federation is the only organization I know of in the world where US$90,000 develop wings and fly, where $250,000 is missing in their vault in their office and nothing happens, nobody goes to jail for it and they go to competitions with their cronies on the bill of Nigeria and nobody bats an eyelid ’’. Bimbo Adeola declared.

On if football can fund itself in Nigeria, Deji Omotoyinbo, said it is possible as the league attracts a decent sponsorship from corporate bodies adding that all the country ought to do is to develop domestic football.

They concluded that people who are professionals with a track record should be given the opportunity to manage the affairs of football in Nigeria effectively.

I Didn’t Abandon Flying Eagles – Obuh

Coach John Obuh; the Head Coach of the U-20 national team the Flying Eagles has finally opened to clear the air on the reports that made the rounds that he abandoned his team to send home his unhappiness over unpaid wages by the football federation; the NFF (Nigeria Football Federation).

Obuh explained that the reasons why he didn’t travel with the team to Egypt on Monday two friendly games against the junior Pharaohs was that he had pressing family issues to attend to as he couldn’t hide his disappointment over the reports that he abandoned the Flying Eagles at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja over unpaid salaries.

The Flying Eagles will engage the Junior Pharaohs on Wednesday and Friday at the Degla Stadium in Cairo ahead of the 2013 Africa Youth Championships.

Obuh described those who brought up such report as reckless and mischievous, stating that these kinds of motives are what is relegating Nigerian football.

ASOPADEC Under 15 Football Tournament Kicks Off

The Abia State Oil Producing Area Development Commission under 15 inter local government football competition has kicked off in Umuahia township stadium.

This is in line with the state government’s agenda in sports development to discover talent and keep the young minds busy.

Such talents would be duly rewarded after the competition and have a chance of being sponsored to professional levels.

Present at the opening match was the Deputy Governor, Sir Emeka Ananaba, Commissioner for Youths, Akujobi Nkoro, Chairman of the commission, Mr. Sam Nwogu, Commissioners in the commission, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Sports, Commissioner for Youths and other sport loving people.

Jerseys, flex, footballs and boots were distributed to the 17 local governments participating in the competition by the Sir Emeka Ananaba who expressed delight at the effort by the commission to discover young talents in football.

Also, the State Director for Sport, Ejikeme Ikwunze commended the commission and the state government on the need to empower the young Abians through soccer competition.

According to Sam Nwogu, the commission’s decision to sponsor the competition is to discover football talents from the grassroots.

The boys from Ugwunagbo LGA won the match with two goals against players of Isialangwa North local government.

The winning players were rewarded with a cash gifts.

Afcon 2013: Super Eagles Hitching For Action

Missing in action during the 2012 edition for the African Nations Cup which was co-hosted by Equitorial Guinea and Gabon, Nigeria Super Eagles are eager to go into action in the 29th edition of the Nations Cup hosted by South Africa.

Super Eagles will have a feel of the Afcon spirit today as they clash with Burkina Faso amongst other matches.

The Super Eagles will be aiming to win their third title having won in 1980 as Green Eagles and 1994 as Super Eagles.

The Super Eagles have been four time runner up and seven time third place.

The Super Eagles so far has graced the Africa Cup of Nations 16 times since the inception of the tournament, for 13 times the Super Eagles have been on top of the podium from winners to runners up to third place.

In 1963 and 1982 the Eagles got eliminated in the first round and in 2008, they were eliminated at the quarter final stage.

Although grouped along with defending champions, the Chipolopolo of Zambia, the Super Eagles are said to be favourites to win Group C which also has Ethiopia and Burkina Faso. Even as none of the teams in the group is a push over, the Eagles are favoured to top and progress from the group.

Those who have tipped Eagles to top the group ahead of Zambia have hinged their confidence on what they described as Eagles invincibility against the Southern Africa team. But this is not to say it is going to be a stroll in the park for the Coach Keshi-tutored lads.

Since he took over the team in 2011 after spells with the national teams of Togo and Mali, Keshi who was the captain of the 1994 victorious Super Eagles has embarked on rebuilding the team. With the support of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, Keshi’s team has played a couple of international friendly matches which provided ample opportunity for him to pick his players for the 2013 AFCON qualifiers and the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

At least 17 of the 23 Eagles in South Africa will be making their AFCON debut but that has not dampened their confidence. They are rearing to go so as to prove to their critics that the Eagles are back to its winning ways.

Nigeria as a football loving nation back home will be rolling their drums today to launch the Super Eagles to their victory in the Nations cup as the team hope to walk their way into the final and bring home the trophy.