UEFA Consider New Four-Team Mini-Tournament For Start Of Season

UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin arrives to address a press conference following an UEFA executive meeting on April 7, 2022 in Nyon, as UEFA is expected to adopt an overhaul of the Financial Fair Play (FFP) system introduced in 2010 to stop clubs piling up debts in their pursuit of trophies. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

 

 

UEFA are considering introducing a four-team mini-tournament at the start of each season, just before the Champions League group phase begins, European football’s governing body confirmed on Tuesday.

French sports daily L’Equipe reported that UEFA were weighing up the idea of a competition involving the winners of the previous season’s Champions League along with three other leading clubs.

L’Equipe reported that the idea was included in the invitation to tender for the broadcast rights for the new, expanded Champions League from 2024 to 2027.

When contacted by AFP, UEFA said “it is an idea mentioned in the call for bids, but nothing is decided”.

A source with knowledge of the proposal said the mini-tournament would not necessarily mean more games.

The Champions League group stage is being expanded from the 2024/25 season to feature 36 clubs, up from the current 32.

They will all be together in one pool with each team playing eight matches, all against different opponents, compared to eight groups of four teams playing six matches each at present.

Last month UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin told AFP that talks had taken place about transforming the UEFA Super Cup to make it a four-team competition rather than the current one-off match between the Champions League winners and Europa League winners.

“That is a possibility, for sure. Now, who will play exactly we cannot tell for sure yet,” Ceferin said.

“This is one of the ideas that we will do something more with that at the beginning of the season, or before the start of the season.”

Real Madrid will play Eintracht Frankfurt in this year’s Super Cup in Helsinki on August 10.

WAFU B U17 Tourney: Golden Eaglets Shoot Down Ghana’s Black Starlets In Cape Coast

Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets

 

Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets were imperious as they dominated and eventually overpowered hosts Ghana 4-2 on Saturday in the opening match of this year’s WAFU B U17 Championship taking place in Cape Coast, Ghana.

The five-time world champions started off from where the country’s U20 Boys, Flying Eagles left off against Ghana’s Black Satellites at the WAFU B U20 Championship in Niger Republic last month, where the wards of Coach Ladan Bosso hammered their Ghanaian counterparts in the opening match on their way to the title.

Wing back Emmanuel Michael set the Golden Eaglets on the way with a ferocious free-kick from some 23 yards in the 12th minute, which the Ghanaian goalkeeper, Ahmed Amadu Dembaram, had no answer to.

Nigeria doubled the lead just a minute before half time through forward Precious Tonye Williams, ensuring they went into recess on the ascendancy against the host nation in the coastal town.

Nigeria’s advantage was extended further in the 51st minute by Jubril Opeyemi Azeez, but the Starlets reduced the deficit seven minutes later when substitute Abdul Razak Salifu got the better of goalkeeper Richard Odoh.

The Eaglets would not relent and in the 77th minute, midfielder Ebube Wisdom Okere netted to make it 4-1 for Nigeria.

A momentary loss of concentration in the vital area led to Nigeria conceding a penalty with two minutes to the end, which was put away and cut Nigeria’s advantage to two goals.

With the victory, the Eaglets top Group A of the championship ahead of their clash with Togo on Tuesday. Victory over the Togolese will guarantee Nigeria a spot in the tournament semi finals.

Group B is made up of Cote d’Ivoire, Benin Republic, Burkina Faso and Niger Republic.

Fourth Edition Of Prosperity Cup Kicks Off In Yenagoa

Bayelsa State Governor, Duoye Diri, kicks the ball during the commencement of the 4th edition of the rebranded restoration cup at the Samson Siasia Sports Complex in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital on May 2, 2022.

 

The fourth edition of the rebranded Restoration Cup, now known as the Prosperity Cup has kicked off at the Samson Siasia Sports Complex in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.

Addressing participants on Monday, Governor Douye Diri charged the 206 teams at the grassroots football tournament to imbibe the spirit of sportsmanship, fair play and ensure they give their best.

While performing the official opening of the competition, Governor Diri described sports as an integral part of every society and expressed optimism that the tourney will not only curb youth restiveness, but create opportunities for exceptional players who may want to pursue a career in football.

READ ALSO: Zoning: Avoid Self-Inflicted Crises Before General Elections, Akeredolu Tells APC

The opening day action of the The Prosperity Cup lived up to expectation with a keenly contested match between the defending champions, Okolobiri Community, and newcomers, Bayelsa Medical University FC. The debutants eventually had the last laugh as they defeated their opponent by two goals to one, to pass a message to other participants that they are not in the competition to make up the numbers, but to make a mark on their debut.

Goals from Godwin Francis in the 32nd minute and Ebi James’s volley in the 66th minute, ensured that the Bayelsa Medical University students were victorious on the opening day, while Benedict Berekubo pulled one back for the defending champions.

The governor expressed confidence that the tournament will promote peace and unity in the state

“And I implore all of you who are participating, and as you know that the game is fair play. I wish all of you the participating teams, good luck,” he stated.

“This is a competition that you need to put in your all, you wouldn’t know those who are coming to watch you, you wouldn’t know those who are coming to scout for players. This is a competition that can expose you nationally and internationally.

“And for the ministry and the organisers, I will like to appreciate you and thank you for ensuring that this year did not pass us by. This competition should have been held last year, but for unforeseen circumstances, we could not commence it last year.”

In his remarks, the Commissioner for Youths and Sports Development, Hon. Daniel Igali, attributed the success of the sporting sector to the commitment and support of the governor to sports being a one-time Commissioner for Sport in the State.

The Director General of the Prosperity Cup, Mr. Ono Akpe, provided more information on the structure and format of the competition.

He said, “The tournament will run for six weeks and we anticipate that the final will be played on June 12. For now, we have 20 centres across the State. 16 teams will emerge from the centres and will play until the final at this very stadium.

“We expect a lot of national and international scouts in the last phase, the quarter finals, semifinals and final, while our own local scouts will be with us from the beginning of this match till the end of the tournament.”

Action will continue on Friday in the selected 20 match centers, across the eight local government areas of Bayelsa State.

WCQ Preview: Nigeria, Ghana Renew Rivalry For A Place In Qatar

Nigeria and Ghana share an eternal rivalry stretching beyond football.

 

The Super Eagles of Nigeria will battle Ghana for a place at the 2022 World Cup, renewing a long history of rivalry dating back several decades.

The rivalry between the West Africans stretches beyond sports. Both nations pride themselves as the best maker of jollof rice, the red and spicy cuisine. While the banters and debates over jollof rice would not be ending soon, at least one of the countries will be absent at the global showpiece later in the year.

Nigeria travel to Ghana for the first leg of the double-header as the Super Eagles seek to banish the disappointments of a shocking exit from the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in February.

The 1994 continental champions were eliminated by Tunisia in the Round of 16 despite an impressive start to the tournament. They had won all three group games –  the only team to do so – but in an anti-climax, slumped to the Carthage Eagles who struggled to finish as one of the third-best placed countries.

READ ALSO: Super Eagles Arrive In Ghana Ahead Of Crunch Tie

Nigeria Team News And Key Men

Although Nigeria went to the AFCON missing top players like Napoli’s Victor Osimhen and the experienced Odion Ighalo, barring the absence of influential midfielder, Wilfred Ndidi, the coaching crew has a full complement of players to pick from.

Ademola Lookman’s invitation is also expected to boost the attacking options for the three-time AFCON winners.  The Leicester City winger only recently switched nationality to Nigeria after playing for England at age-grade levels.

Rangers Leon Balogun and Dennis Emmanuel of Watford are also back on the team after they missed the AFCON. Former Arsenal star Alex Iwobi is suspended. Goalkeeper Maduka Okoye has been ruled out due to illness and was replaced by John Noble.

The continental powerhouse made it to the playoffs after topping a group that included Cape Verde, needing just a draw in their last game to book a date with Ghana. And following the AFCON ouster, Nigeria rejigged their backroom staff, adding ex-winger Emmanuel Amunike to the roster.

Ahead of the game, Nigeria’s coach Austine Eguaveon said his boys are ready to face Ghana, insisting that they will give their best.

“All we have as our goal now is to put in all efforts and cross the line, qualify for the World Cup in Qatar,” he told the CAF website.

“It’s a special game indeed, it’s the final game of the qualifiers, the first and the second leg determines our place in the World Cup in Qatar, but I guarantee we are well prepared, every member of the team is working round the clock as Ghana is not a pushover. They are a very strong team and our matches with them have been explosive, this time, we are bringing the game on again.”

Ghana Team News And Key Men

Having struggled in recent games, culminating in a horrifying AFCON outing where they crashed out in the group stage with just one point, Nigeria’s opponent will head into the tie expecting a reversal of fortunes.

The Black Stars qualified for the playoffs following a controversial victory over South Africa in the last game of the previous qualification round.

But a woeful outing in Cameroon ended in a humiliating loss to lowly-placed Comoros. In the wake of the crash, Ghana sacked their Serbian coach Milovan Rajevac and appointed former player Otto Addo. Otto, who is one of the second team coaches at Borussia Dortmund, is assisted by a former Newcastle manager Chris Hughton for the two games.

Several players who featured at the AFCON were not invited for the tie.  Instead, six players including AS Roma youngster Felix Afena-Gyan were handed their debut call-ups. Fulham defender Denis Odoi and Hearts of Oak star Dennis Korsah also got their maiden call-ups.

Ghanaian skipper Andre Ayew is absent due to a suspension. In his stead, Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey is expected to inspire the Black Stars to victory over their perennial rivals.

Despite the team’s poor run of form, Addo says Ghana can book a ticket to the competition. Games between Nigeria and Ghana are “difficult” but with support and “strategies”, the Black Stars will land in Qatar, the coach maintained.

“We all expect Ghana to qualify for the FIFA World Cup (Qatar 2022) but that won’t be easy as we need to do our best to make it to this tournament,” Addo said in an interview with the CAF website.

“Matches between Ghana and Nigeria are always difficult but we believe in our players, we believe in our strategies, and we believe in the unflinching support of all Ghanaians as we go into these two matches.”

Ghana Vs Nigeria: Head To Head, Team Form 

In their last five matches, the Super Eagles have drawn one, lost another but were victorious on three occasions. For Ghana, however, their last five games have resulted in three defeats, one draw, and a victory.

The four-time African champions have met Nigeria 56 times with the former triumphing in 25 games while their opponents have only won 12. There are 19 draws between the sides.

Nigeria have qualified six times for the World Cup, just one shy of Cameroon, the only African team that have participated the most in the competition. Ghana have played thrice at the World Cup but missed out on the 2018 edition in Russia.

Time For Nigeria, Ghana Match

The first leg of the fixture between Ghana and Nigeria will take place by 8:30 pm (WAT) at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi on Friday. Four days later, Tuesday,  the second leg will hold at the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abuja, Nigeria. This will kick off by 06:00 pm (WAT/Nigerian time).

‘World’s Worst Team’ Which Wanted To Sign Messi Ready To Win


Brazil’s Ibis players are seen at the Arena Pernambuco’s dressing room before their football match against Sport Recife in Recife, Brazil, on March 16, 2022.  LEO CALDAS / AFP

 

Their mascot is named “Little Defeat”. Their fans “protest” when they win. But after a notorious losing streak that earned them the nickname “the world’s worst football team”, Brazilian minnows Ibis are ready for victory.

Based in the city of Paulista in northeastern Brazil, Ibis Sport Club rose to infamy in the 1980s for going three years, 11 months and 26 days without winning a match.

But the regional club, who play in the Pernambuco state championship, have responded to decades of derision with good-natured humor, turning their mocking nickname into a badge of pride — and what is turning out to be a powerful brand.

With their penchant for self-deprecating tweets and Instagram posts that go viral, Ibis have drawn worldwide attention, including from Swedish online gambling firm Betsson, which signed the most lucrative sponsorship deal in the club’s 84-year history last June.

READ ALSO: Barcelona’s ‘Doors Are Open’ To Messi – Xavi

Now, flush with cash, the eternal losers are starting to do the unthinkable: win.

“Let’s leave our history as ‘the world’s worst team’ to the 1980s when Ibis really were the worst in the world. We’re not anymore — though we use it for marketing, so people know us,” said club president and passionate fan Ozir Ramos Junior.

Losers or not, Ibis have shown a knack for building their brand in the social media age.

When Lionel Messi left Barcelona last August, Ibis offered to sign the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner — on condition he not score “too many goals” or win a championship.

In the event, the Argentine superstar went to Paris Saint-Germain — whom Ibis now compare themselves to, given that neither team have had any luck winning the Champions League.

Lovable Losers 

“We’re known all over the planet as the worst in the world. But let’s not mix that up with our professional side. We’ve got highly competent people,” Ramos told AFP.

The sponsorship deal with Betsson has allowed Ibis to upgrade their sporting infrastructure and pay actual salaries to their footballers, who formerly played out of “love for the jersey”, Ramos said.

Last season, the club won promotion from the Pernambuco second division to the state’s top-flight league for the first time in 21 years.

The championship is the gateway to Serie D, the bottom rung of Brazil’s national league system — though Ibis, returning to form, have struggled for results, and risk being relegated again.

It is only a temporary setback, says coach Paulo Jesse.

“Today, we only work with winners. We’re going to ditch our reputation as the worst in the world,” said the coach, a school security guard in his day job.

Ibis have certainly come a long way since their worst ignominy, when they went from July 20, 1980, to June 17, 1984, without winning a match — racking up 48 losses and six draws, with 25 goals for and 225 against.

The losing streak was so bad sports magazine Placar wrote a profile of the club, declaring them “the worst team in Brazil” — a nickname that soon became more famous than the club’s official one, the Black Birds.

Ibis claim they even hold a Guinness record for the world’s worst losing streak — though there is no register of that.

Universal Appeal

Israel Leal, author of a book on the team, says Ibis have universal appeal.

“Ibis is resistence. It’s like any one of us who’s going through a bad time and then starts fighting to win,” he said.

“For many years the club did nothing but lose, and now they’re winning.”

Owner Ramos says Ibis have a way of conquering people’s hearts.

Among fans who support Pernambuco’s most popular sides, Nautico and Sport Recife, “Ibis are everyone’s second-favorite team”, he said.

Even the club’s best-loved legends tend to be everyman stars, such as Mauro Shampoo, a barber with a massive mane of hair who played as a midfielder for Ibis in the late 1980s.

He claims to have scored one goal, in an 8-1 loss to Ferroviario do Recife.

But there is no record of it.

The club president at the time said it was actually an own goal.

AFP

Sunshine Queens Goalkeeper Elizabeth Johnson Dies Hours After Training

The late Elizabeth Johnson.

 

Sunshine Queens goalkeeper, Elizabeth Johnson, has died, hours after she trained with the Akure-based side.

The team confirmed the development in a brief statement issued on Sunday.

READ ALSO[2022 WCQ] Nigeria Call Up Bonke To Replace Ndidi For Ghana Clash

“Very heartbreaking! Sunshine Queens lost one of its goalkeepers, Elizabeth Johnson (Janded) to the cold hands of death moments ago,” a statement from the club’s media officer, Femi Atolagbe, read.

“Johnson who was hale and healthy trained with the team yesterday at the Ondo State Sports Complex, Akure.

“She earlier in the day complained of feeling feverish and dizzy. She was being taken to the hospital when she gave up the ghost on the way.  Players, officials, and management are still in shock.”

Ballon d’Or Award Revamps Format

In this file photo taken on September 19, 2019, the Ballon d’Or trophy is displayed during a press conference to present the new Ballon d’Or trophy, on the outskirts of Paris. (Photo by Thomas SAMSON / AFP)

 

The Ballon d’Or, awarded to the world’s best male and female footballer, is revamping its format from next season, organisers France Football magazine said on Friday.

The award will now be based on performances across a whole football season, rather than a calendar year, and the jury that selects the winner will be reduced to around 100 journalists rather than the current 170.

The women’s award will have a jury of 50.

READ ALSOGuardiola Sympathises With Chelsea’s Tuchel After Sanctions

“It’s an opportunity to give it a new impetus,” France Football’s chief editor Pascal Ferre said at a presentation of the new format.

“Before we were judging based on two half seasons. This will be clearer.”

The next Ballon d’Or awards will be handed out in September or October 2022 and will be based on the season that ended in July with the women’s Euro 2022.

With the World Cup finals in Qatar not taking place until November and December this year, the stars of that event will have to wait until the 2023 awards.

The changes are also designed to prevent the Ballon d’Or becoming the equivalent of lifestyle awards.

This is in response to the criticism of the 2021 award given to Lionel Messi for the seventh time, following his transfer to French giants Paris Saint-Germain.

Many observers believed Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski deserved to win — the Pole did win the equivalent category in the 2022 Best FIFA awards.

Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas won both the Ballon d’Or and the Best Fifa award for women’s player.

In another change, former Chelsea forward Didier Drogba is joining the committee that picks nominees.

The criteria will also be clarified with “individual performances” given more prominence than factors such as the trophies won by a player’s team or an individual’s “sense of fairplay”.

“It is about avoiding ambiguities, being clear and coherent — the Ballon d’Or is an individual award based on individual performances,” Ferre said.

AFP

Man Utd Say ‘Thorough Process’ Under Way To Find New Manager

Manchester United’s Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes (L) and teammates react after conceding their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Sheffield United at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on January 27, 2021. (Photo by Dave Thompson / POOL / AFP)

 

Manchester United football director John Murtough says a “thorough process” is under way to find their next permanent manager, pledging the club remains focused on challenging for “top trophies” again.

United, who announced their latest financial results on Tuesday, have endured another difficult season despite the return of superstar forward Cristiano Ronaldo to Old Trafford.

A top-four finish is the best the best the English giants can hope for domestically, but they only managed a draw against lowly Watford on Saturday and are just two points ahead of West Ham and Arsenal — the Gunners also have three games in hand.

United have a tough set of fixtures coming up, including meetings with title-chasing Manchester City and Liverpool as well as the second leg of their Champions League tie with Atletico Madrid, which is delicately poised at 1-1.

READ ALSO: UK Relaxes Immigration Rules For Ukrainian Refugees

The club, who have not won a trophy since 2017, have been working under interim manager Ralf Rangnick since December, when the German succeeded Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after a poor start to the campaign.

Murtough said he had been heartened by the “improved results” as they look to secure Champions League qualification.

“We know that consistency is key as we strive for a top-four finish this season,” he said.

“I want to reiterate however that this is not the ultimate objective for Manchester United, and everyone at the club is focused on challenging for the top trophies.

“We are now conducting a thorough process for the appointment of a new permanent manager who will take charge this summer, with the objective to get us back to challenging for those domestic and European titles.”

Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino and Ajax coach Erik ten Hag are among the favourites to permanently succeed Solskjaer.

Richard Arnold echoed Murtough’s sentiments as the chief executive commented publicly for the first time since taking up the role on February 1, when executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward departed.

“We have a clear vision and we are implementing a strategy to win with an empowered leadership team to drive that forward,” he said.

“We will foster a culture of excellence through a world-class football environment, while strengthening the role of fans at the heart of the club.”

United’s second-quarter results for fiscal 2022, for the period ending December 31, showed the club paid £10 million ($13.4 million) in “exceptional items”, which included compensation to former manager Solskjaer and certain members of the coaching staff.

The results show an operating profit of £5.4 million for the quarter, with total revenue of £185.4 million — a 7.3 percent rise on the same period the previous year, with crowds back in stadiums after the coronavirus shutdown.

United’s net debt has increased to £494.8 million — up 8.6 percent — and wages rose 19.6 percent to £97.7 million “due to investment in the first team playing squad”.

AFP

PHOTOS: One Year After Postponement, AFCON 2021 Kicks Off

Dancers perform during the opening ceremony of the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2021 football tournament at Stade d’Olembé in Yaounde on January 9, 2022. Kenzo Tribouillard / AFP

 

Fifty years after last hosting the Africa Cup of Nations, Cameroon kick off the continental showpiece on Sunday targeting a sixth title while hoping the spectre of the coronavirus does not overshadow the tournament.

It was all shades of bright and colorful at the opening event of the games which had stalled for a year, over COVID-19 concerns.

[Read Also] FULL LIST: Date And Time For Nigeria’s AFCON 2021 Group Games

See photos from the opening day of the event below.

AFCON 2021: Cameroonians Ready For Football Fun


Theodore, 28, a vendor unwraps a scarf for a client in Yaounde on January 5, 2022. The Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) starts on January 9, 2022, in Cameroon after a postponement in 2021.
Daniel Beloumou Olomo / AFP

 

Workers are applying final touches to the fan zones in Yaounde ahead of the long-awaited launch this weekend of Africa’s biggest sporting event.

Beset by months of problems and uncertainty, the month-long Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) gets underway on Sunday when host nation Cameroon play Burkina Faso.

Preparations to get the giant screens, shops, restaurants, and fan space ready for thousands of supporters in the nation’s capital are definitely in a last-minute mode.

“We Cameroonians love to leave everything to the last gasp,” laughs Simon Atangana, a former national player who is part of an organisation setting up the fan zones.

“Everything will of course be ready. AFCON is going to be a huge party, and the pictures will be spread around the world.”

But a familiar foe — coronavirus — is a potential fly in the ointment.

The global pandemic forced the postponement of AFCON from last year, and fears of another delay were eased only last month.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has set down tough rules in a bid to prevent AFCON from becoming a super-spreader event.

Those wanting to enter the stadium must be completely vaccinated — in a country where just six percent of the adult population has been jabbed — and show a negative PCR test for the virus that is less than 72 hours old.

READ ALSO: Eagles Loss To Central African Republic + 12 High, Low Moments Of Nigerian Sports In 2021

Venues have been limited to 60 percent of capacity, although this is being raised to 80 percent when Cameroon’s “Indomitable Lions” take the field.

The rampant spread of the Omicron variant is casting a pall over team lineups.

Gabon’s Arsenal star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the latest player to test positive and may miss his country’s Group C open match against Comoros on January 10.

“We asked CAF whether we can replace some of our players who got infected with Covid-19 but the answer is no,” said The Gambia’s coach, Tom Saintfiet.

“If this still remains to be the case, it could be a catastrophe… but according to the current rules, we are not allowed to replace anybody in the final list of the 28-men squad.”

Waiting For The Party 

In Yaounde’s Warda Square, hawkers of flags, shirts, and vuvuzela horns say they have had a slow start in trade.

“Business hasn’t taken off yet as much as I would like, but I’m optimistic,” said Arnaud Medja, 29, dressed from head to toe in Cameroon’s national colours of green, yellow and red.

“It’s just taking more time than scheduled. It’s just the Covid rules which have come along and put a dampener on things.”

The cup and the tournament’s lion mascot Mola have been going around the streets of Yaounde, backed by dancers and musicians and escorted by motorbike riders bedecked with the flags of all the competing nations.

“AFCON is going to be fun — a party,” said Laurentine, a 33-year-old cosmetics saleswoman.

“It’s going to be great to see the town move and watch everyone get out again.”

Desperate For Tickets


Theodore, 28, a vendor, holds football accessories that he sells in Yaounde on January 5, 2022. The Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) starts on January 9, 2022, in Cameroon after a postponement in 2021.
Daniel Beloumou Olomo / AFP

 

On Wednesday, dozens of people lined up outside ticket outlets after AFCON said seats were being put on sale, although they waited in vain.

“I spent all day yesterday queuing. I went to the city hall, to the Ahidjo stadium, and now it’s the Palais des Sports,” said Karine Sunshine, 23.

“But there’s still nothing on sale. I am desperate to see the opening match.

“We’ve been waiting 50 years for this moment — that was the last time AFCON was staged in Cameroon. So I got my vaccinations, and now I am waiting a bit longer because the Cameroonians are going to win the cup. Just look at the atmosphere there’s going to be this weekend.”

But not everyone seemed to be aware of the tournament’s anti-Covid restrictions — or even to be particularly worried about the virus.

In Yaounde’s central market, hundreds of people, none of them masked, thronged the stalls as Cameroonian and international music blasted from loudspeakers.

“Yes, of course, I will be going to the stadium,” said Abdoulay, a water seller. “You have to get vaccinated (to get in)? Oh, in that case, I won’t go.”

“There’s no corona in Cameroon, and we don’t want the vaccine here. You don’t know what it contains and vaccinated people catch the disease anyway,” he said.

AFP

An Ex-Madrid Assistant Coach… Six Things To Know About New Eagles Manager

File photo:  Former Venezuela coach Jose Peseiro gestures during the Conmebol Copa America 2021 football tournament group phase match between Venezuela and Peru at the Mane Garrincha Stadium in Brasilia, Brazil, on June 27, 2021. EVARISTO SA / AFP

 

Following weeks of deliberations and consultations, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on Wednesday named Jose Peseiro as the new coach of the Super Eagles. 

The 61-year-old will be taking over from German gaffer, Gernot Rohr, who was dismissed earlier in the month after some unconvincing performances by the three-time African champions.

While his much-awaited appointment came when the senior national team’s camp had opened for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), the federation clarified that the Portuguese coach will not be taking Nigeria to the competition.

It instead explained that interim manager, Austin Eguaveon, will be in charge as the country pushes for a fourth continental crown in Cameroon early next year.

Despite a handful of names making the news in the quest for a new Eagles manager, fans are divided over the NFF’s choice.

READ ALSO: Osimhen Tests Positive For COVID-19 Again

Below are six things to know about the Super Eagles latest handler: 

A Spell With Real Madrid

Peseiro is reputed to have had spells with some top clubs in Europe including Real Madrid.

He was an assistant to compatriot Carlos Queiroz in 2003.  The Los Blancos finished fourth that season, leading to their dismissal from the job.

Quit Last Job Over Unpaid Wages

With less than two weeks to a triple-header of World Cup qualifiers, he resigned from his job as Venezuela’s coach in August 2018, citing unpaid wages.

President of the Venezuela Football Federation, Jorge Gimenez, admitted that Peseiro was owed “no more and no less than one year” of salary, adding that “he’s hardly been paid anything from his tenure.”

First Time Coaching African National Team

While the former FC Porto coach is not new to African football having managed the Egyptian side, Al Ahly, the Nigerian job is the first time he will be in charge of a national team on the continent.

At Al Ahly, he, however, did not last more than the 2015/2016 season with the African Super Cup holders.

Managed/Worked With High-Profile Teams/Coaches

Apart from Real Madrid, Peseiro has also had stints with some top clubs in Europe.

The coach has worked with top Portuguese sides like FC Porto and Sporting CP, playing in the Champions League with the latter. In addition, the new Nigerian manager at some point worked with Jose Mourinho and Carlos Queiroz.

Well-Educated

Nigeria’s new coach has a Master’s degree in sports science, a big plus for the Super Eagles.

Began Coaching In 1991

Having retired from playing football at 34, the Portuguese started his coaching career as a player-coach with Union Santarem in the Portuguese fourth division.

NPFL 22: Akwa United Spank Kano Pillars To Begin Title Defence

File Picture of Akwa United players celebrating a league win

 

Defending champions of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), Akwa United, have kicked off their title defence campaign with an impressive 3-0 victory over Kano Pillars in Uyo.

Opening day action against a decent Pillars team was the sort of test coach Kennedy Boboye was hoping to use in assessing if his team can continue the brilliant show they put up last season. And, oh yes, the champions showed class.

The first half was a cagey affair and just when the home fans thought there will be no celebration before the break, Ezekiel Bassey, broke the deadlock. The hosts took the lead into the break.

When action resumed, it didn’t take long before Stephen Chukwude opened his goal account for the Promise Keepers with a brilliant finish off Ubong Friday’s low cross.

In the 79th minute, the visitors had a chance to pull one back but Kokoette Udoh’s strike flashed across the face of goal and goes wide. That move reawakened the attacking prowess of the league champions. In the closing minutes of the match, Ubong Friday made a good run onto a long ball, dribbled Bassey Akpan cleverly, and finished calmly.

Good start to the 2021/2022 NPFL season for the Promise Keepers who showed their intent to defend the title they won in style last campaign.

READ ALSOGov. Udom Splashes N100m On Title-Winning Akwa United

Away Wins For Remo Stars, Rangers

MFM and Remo Stars clashed in the opening game of the new season. Photo: Remo Stars

 

Newly-promoted Remo Stars produced a stunning performance to beat MFM FC 2-0 at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena in Lagos. This is the first league win for the Sky Blue Stars over the Olukoya Boys since 2017.

Akanni Qudus gave the visitors the lead in the 55th minute, and Andy Okpe with an easy tap in at goal placed the icing on the cake. New manager, Gbenga Ogunbote, praised his team for not respecting the hosts and wants the team to continue the season-opening form in the next home match against Heartland FC of Owerri.

Enugu Rangers also got their league campaign to a flying start with a 1-2 win over Katsina United. The Flying Antelopes gave new manager, Abdul Maikaba the sort of experience he needed to get things going.

Ossy Martins is still on fire. He continued his impressive league form to score a brace for the visitors. The former Lobi Stars man opened the scoring in the 13th minute, Saliu Mustapha, scored to level up for the hosts. In the 54th minute, Martins scored again to give Rangers a vital away victory.

Shooting stars are making a return to the NPFL.

 

Shooting Stars of Ibadan, also making a return to the top flight held another newcomer, Gombe United to secure a vital away point on the road.

Enyimba Rules Abia Derby

Enyimba Football Club of Aba continued their dominant display in the Abia Derby with a 2-1 win over Abia Warriors.

The Peoples Elephant got the lead through Ekene Awazie’s goal in the 34th minute. Proceedings stayed that way till the second half when Paul Samson equalized for the visitors. Coach Finidi George made some useful changes to take control of the game and in the 77th minute, Chigozie Obasi, scored the winner.

Meanwhile, in Owerri, it was goals galore. Visiting Nasarawa United held Heartland FC to a 3-3 draw. Some familiar names in the goalscorers sheet include Chinedu Ohanachom and a brace by Otegbeyi Ajibola.

In Ilorin, Dakkada FC was no match for last season’s surprise package, Kwara United. Steven Jude’s brace and one from Junior Lokosa sealed a 3-0 win for the Harmony Boys who will be looking forward to repeating their impressive performance from the last campaign.

In Makurdi, Lobi Stars were held to a 1-1 draw by Rivers United, Niger Tornadoes beat Plateau United 1-0 while the game between Sunshine Stars and Wikki Tourists couldn’t hold because the Elephants failed to show up. The League Management Company (LMC) is yet to make an official statement on the situation