Mourinho Rules Out Top Four Finish For Chelsea

mourinhoChelsea manager, Jose Mourinho has ruled out the possibility of the club finishing in the Premier League’s top four after a 2-1 defeat at Leicester on Monday.

Mourinho’s side are 14 points behind fourth placed Manchester United with 22 matches remaining and even the Blues boss has given up on the crisis-torn champions’ hopes of making up that gap.

Goals from Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez condemned Chelsea to their ninth defeat in 16 league games and they are now just one point above the bottom three.

“The top four is gone, clearly,” Mourinho told Sky Sports.

“I don’t accept we are in a relegation battle.

“You look at the table and we are there but you think you are in a relegation battle if you think you are there for three or four months. I don’t think that.”

Chelsea’s latest flop in a dismal season left Mourinho admitting he was growing increasingly frustrated by an astonishing slump that could lead to his sacking.

“When some of your players don’t hit the levels they are capable of it is hard to see,” he said.

“This season we are doing so bad for some reason, although not all of them.

“We were the best team for 20 or 25 minutes, maybe for a maximum of 30 minutes. Then Leicester were the best team for an hour.”


NFF Task Flying Eagles To Win AYC Trophy

Sunday_Alampasu_Of_Flying_Eagles_TrainingThe Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) have asked the Flying Eagles to win the 2015 U-20 African Youth Championship in Senegal.

NFF Deputy Secretary General, Emmanuel Ikpeme, reminded the team that the entire country is looking up to them to win the continent’s championship in Senegal.

“On behalf of the president of the NFF, I wish to congratulate the players who made the final squad to the AYC in Senegal,” he said in a very passionate address to the team.

“The President is particularly delighted that the bulk of the squad to Senegal are from the team who won the U17 World Cup two years ago.

“The target to the team therefore is for the team to win the AYC and confirm that winning the U17 World Cup was not a fluke.

He added: “Your first match will be against the hosts country Senegal and do not expect it to be an easy match but we believe you are up to the task going by what you showed in your recent test matches in Ghana.

“We should not take any match or opponent for granted and so you should resolve as a team to make Nigeria happy and proud in Senegal.”

Flying Eagles coach, Manu Garba, assured that the team are fired up for glory in Senegal.

“We as a team always want to win every game we play and that is the attitude we will take to the AYC,” Manu said.

“We will not underrate any team in Senegal, but we are confident we will do the nation proud.”

Super Eagles Team Arrive Camp for Cote ‘D Ivoire, Sudan Friendlies

Super Eagles.Apart from Emem Eduok, who is in Tunisia and Igudia Godwin, who replaced Erhun Obanor, who is with the U23 national side, all invited Super Eagles players are in Abuja with technical crew comprising Dan “the Bull’ Amokachi, Houandinu Valere and Ike Shorunmu.

Amokachi who addressed the players after lunch on Wednesday, told them to brace up for the challenge of training only seven days for two grade A international friendlies against Cote ‘D Ivoire and Sudan in Abu Dhabi. He added that only 19 players from the 25 invited to camp will make the trip and that current form and not sentiments or past appearance in the team’s camp will be the yardstick for selection.

Meanwhile, Super Eagles Assistant Coach, Houandinou Valere, has cleared the air on talks that he intends to drag the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), to the Court of Arbitration for Sports in Switzerland, noting that even if he has outstanding salaries to collect he will never do such a thing.

People should stop causing unnecessary friction between myself and my employers through insinuations and false reports as I want to take the NFF to CAS. I don’t have such intention and will never do that because we are loyal employees of the NFF” he said in Abuja.

The Super Eagles had their first work-out at the mainbowl of the Abuja National Stadium On Wednesday evening.

2014 NTTF President’s Cup Postponed

Table tennis rackets and ballFollowing the political activities going on in Nigeria, particularly in Lagos State, the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) have postponed the maiden President’s Cup to December 17 and 18 at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium.

The change in date was inevitable, as the venue will also be hosting other events this week.   Top 16 players within and outside the country will feature at the tournament which will also be used to honour outstanding players and officials this year.

According to a release from NTTF, the tournament is aimed at inspiring the players as well as puting them in good shape for the major competitions in 2015. The players listed for the 1.8 million Naira prize money tournament are expected to arrive for the competition on December 16.
In the prospectus released by the organisers, the 16 men singles and the 16 women singles players shall be drawn into four groups of four players in each group.

The matches will be played in a round robin format with the top two players progressing to the next stage of the championship. The top eight players will also be drawn into two groups of four each with the top two from each group advancing to the semifinal stage.

On the eligibility of the players, the organisers said: “The NTFF Technical Committee shall determine the other criteria for invitation which shall include for each event, but not limited to available top four Nigerians in the current world rankings as well as performances during the year 2014. Only players registered by clubs which are affiliated to their state association and or the NTTF are eligible”.

They added: “All players shall hold the current NTTF Player’s License, which must be produced on demand. Invited players shall complete an acceptance form which shall be forwarded to the Secretary General on or before the close of acceptance which shall be 2.00pm on Tuesday December 9, 2014. All unaccepted invitations shall be extended to players in the ‘reserved List’”.

Every player listed for the competition will be receive cash reward while the star prize winner will go home with 250,000 Naira.

We Need FIFA Ban To Get Things Correctly – Ex International

Larry_KubenjeA former Nigerian international footballer, Mr Larry Kubenje, believes that Nigeria needs to be banned from participating in FIFA organised competitions for things to be done correctly.

Speaking on Sunrise Daily, on Monday, Mr Kubenje said: “People are already scared that FIFA will ban us; we need the ban to get it correctly. This problem will continue all the way in another ten years”.

He blamed Nigeria’s sports woes on former Ministers of Sports and didnt spare the present one either.

He said the minister, instead of rallying aggrieved stakeholders, “was pushing his interests”.

“Amaju’s coming wasn’t the making of the Minister; he had his own candidate. When people begin to push their selfish interest in front, Nigeria will never get it”.

Mr Kubenje, who also noted that the problem of Nigerian football started years ago, added that Nigeria had a bad football structure that has to be dismantled and restructured.

He argued that the premier league was a “mess”. “It is a battle between “the club owners, the NFF and the board”.

Justice Ambrose Alagoa of the Federal High Court in Jos had on Thursday annulled the September 30 NFF electionsiheld in Warri that produced Mr Amaju Pinnick as the President of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF).

He had also declared as null and void the NFF Elective Congress held on that day, thereby restoring to power the Giwa-led board which was elected in Abuja on Aug. 26.

The decision had meant the board led by Amaju Pinnick should vacate office.

The NFF Executive Committee, led by Amaju Pinnick, has filed for a Stay-of-Execution of the order at the same court, which the court said it will be hear on Wednesday.

However, unless there is change of cognisance in the leadership of the NFF, the world soccer ruling body, FIFA may suspend Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) today from international competitions and all football related activities.

This is even as the Super Eagles still have hope of qualifying for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations to defend their crown and the Golden Eaglets, the reigning champions of the world, ready to compete at the African Championship to be eligible to travel to Chile to defend their world title next year.

With the Super Falcons wining title for seventh time during the weekend, they may miss out on playing in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada.


House Summons Warring NFF Factions

House-of-Reps5The House of Representatives Committee on Sports has invited the warring factions of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) for an amicable resolution of the crisis rocking the Glass House.

Chairman of the Committee, Godfrey Gaiya, invited the factions after a closed door meeting with the Sports Minister, Tamuno Danagogo, at the National Assembly. Gaiya said that it had become necessary to meet with all warring factions to resolve the crisis.

Gaiya had last week pleaded with the stakeholders not to allow the crisis to escalate to the extent of attracting international attention and any sanction from the world soccer governing body, FIFA.

Hon. Gaiya noted, “After carefully watching and observing the recent happenings in the Nigerian football family vis-à-vis the crisis, the National Assembly wants to call on the warring factions to sheathe their swords in the interest of fair play and the development of the game in the country.

“We also noticed that the build-up to the election was among the issues causing ripples and we want to also appeal to the concerned committee to make the nomination forms available to all interesting persons. The concerned committee must also create a level playing ground and allow the electoral congress to take the final decision as the tradition in the past.”

The National Assembly further noted: “We urge the authorities concerned not to allow the crisis to escalate to the level of attracting international attention or result in FIFA setting up a harmonization committee, which certainly will not be in the interest of Nigerian football.

“The National Assembly will continue to follow up the development but may in due time invite all factions, if need be, to find an amicable solution to the crisis.”

Danagogo Passes Vote of Confidence On New NFF Board

DanagogoThe Honourable Minister/Chairman, National Sports Commission, Dr. Tammy Danagogo has expressed total confidence in the ability and capacity of the new Executive Committee of Nigeria Football Federation to make Nigerian football admirable.

Speaking during a courtesy call on him by the new NFF Board, Dr. Danagogo urged the new administrators to open channels of communication with all aggrieved institutions and individuals with a view to reconciling all parties and achieving lasting peace in Nigeria football.

“I congratulate you on your election and have confidence in you to take our football to where it should be. I have known some Members of this Board for several decades now, and some others for quite some time now. You are all people I can easily relate with.

“But the challenges ahead are huge. I want you to start reaching out to all persons who have issues and discuss with them, and find amicable solution to all matters. You must be ready to reconcile with all institutions and individuals of interest, such as government, FIFA, Members of NFF and stakeholders.”

New NFF President, Ambassador Chris Giwa thanked the Sports Minister for his continued support for the NFF, the National Teams and Nigeria football generally, and pledged that his Board would work hard towards meeting international practices and standards.

“The truth is that the NFF has been beset by crisis for a long time, for more than a decade. This new team is determined to bring these crises to an end. We will work hard towards bringing everyone together and reconciling in the interest of the Nigeria game.”

Present at the meeting with the Minister were Ambassador Giwa, NFF 1st Vice President, Chief Obinna Ogba, Executive Committee members, Chief Effiong Johnson (Chairman of Chairmen), Hon. Sani Fema, Chief Felix Amaechi Obuah and Mr. Adams Yahaya.

On Wednesday, the NFF president, in company with the new Executive Committee members, met with staff at the NFF secretariat, where he pledged to work with everyone and urged them to continue to give their best towards the development of football in Nigeria.

CAF Confirms Flying Eagles Qualification for 2015 AYC

Flying EaglesThe Confederation of African Football (CAF) has confirmed the qualification of Nigeria to the 2015 African Youth Championship in Senegal.

On Saturday, the Flying Eagles walked over Lesotho in a final qualifying match in Kaduna.

Lesotho refused to turn up for the match after they had expressed concerns over the outbreak of the dreaded Ebola Virus in Nigeria.

According Flying Eagles Secretary, Aliyu Auwal Ibrahim, “we have finally receive a letter from CAF informing us that we have qualified for the African Youth Championship next year in Senegal after Lesotho failed to turn up on Saturday.

“As a result of this decision, the team have been decamped on Monday and will resume in line with the coach’s build-up programme for Senegal 2015”, he said.

With this development, hosts Senegal and Nigeria have qualified for the eight-team tournament, while six other countries will book their passage in a fortnight after first leg qualifiers were played at the weekend.

The top four teams at the 2015 AYC in March will qualify for the 2015 FIFA U20 World Cup in New Zealand.

Glasgow 2014: Chika Amalaha Suspended For Failing Drugs Test

Nigeria's gold medallist Chika AmalahaNigerian gold medallist, Chika Amalaha, has been provisionally suspended from the Commonwealth Games for failing a drugs test.

The 16-year-old won weightlifting gold with a combined total of 196kg in the women’s 53kg category.

Her ‘A’ sample was found to contain both amiloride and hydrochlorothiazide, which are both prohibited as diuretics and masking agents. Amalaha will now have a ‘B’ sample tested on Wednesday.

The Commonwealth Games Federation Chief Executive, Mike Hooper, said: “We have issued a formal notice of disclosure to an athlete following an adverse analytical finding as a consequence of an in-competition test. That athlete is Nigerian weightlifter Chika Amalaha who was tested on July 25th. That athlete has now been suspended from the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.”

Hooper added that “the substances are diuretics and masking agents. In general terms, these substances are on the prohibited list for two reasons – firstly in weight category sports they can be used to unfairly aid weight loss … and secondly, their use has been reported in attempts to mask the presence in the body of other prohibited substances.

“The relevant processes, as detailed in our anti-doping standard for the Games, are now being followed and Ms Amalaha has pursued her right to have her B sample tested. This will take place at an accredited laboratory in London tomorrow, 30 July. Upon receipt of those results the process will continue.”

Amalaha won gold last Friday, as Dika Toua took silver to secure Papua New Guinea’s first medal of Glasgow 2014, with India’s Santoshi Matsa winning bronze.

FIFA Got It Wrong In Suspending Nigeria- Idah Peterside

Idah_petersideFormer Nigerian International, Idah Peterside, on Thursday expressed worry over the suspension of Nigeria from all football activities by the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA).

Peterside said, who said FIFA got it wrong this time around, read Article 13, par. 1 and article 17, par. 1 of the FIFA Statutes, which obliges member associations to manage their affairs independently and with no influence from third parties.

Peterside, making his argument, wondered who “the third party is?”, insisting that we have had instances where government interfered with our football and we refused and said this is wrong.

“But in this case, an individual (Victor Rumson Baribote) took the FA to court” noting however that the FA made a mistake by not sending the individual’s name to FIFA “because this is not government interference, this is an individual grievance”.

He said had the FA or Sports Ministry reported Mr Baribote to FIFA and secured a life or 30 year ban, he will be ineligible to engage in football activities even if the court decides to rule in his favour.

World football’s governing body had suspended Nigeria from all international competition, after a court order, instituted by the owner of Nembe FC, Mrs Ebiakpo Rumson Baribote, sacked the Aminu Maigari-led Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) and gave a mandatory injunction compelling the Minister of Sports to appoint a senior member of the civil service in the NFF to command, control and manage the affairs of Nigeria football.

FIFA banned Nigerian football teams from competing in any international competition, be it at club or national level, on a temporary basis on Wednesday.

The emergency committee of FIFA set a deadline of Tuesday, July 15, for Nigeria to resolve the issue.

FIFA said that Nigeria had ignored two key FIFA statutes that guarantee no form of government interference in the management of Nigerian football.

“During the period of suspension, the NFF may not be represented in any regional, continental or international competitions, including at club level, or in friendly matches,” a FIFA statement said.

FIFA said the suspension would be lifted once “the properly elected NFF Executive Committee, the NFF General Assembly and the NFF administration are able to work without interference in their affairs.”

Messi Needs To Be On Maradona’s Level

Peterside also praised the two teams that played in yesterday’s (Wednesday) World Cup semi-final for being careful and not opening the floodgates of goals as seen during the Brazil-Germany match on Wednesday.

The World Cup in Brazil would have seen an all European final but for two misses during the penalty shootout by Ron Vlaar and Wesley Sneijder, which handed a place in the final to Argentina.

Peterside noted that the game wasn’t fantastic because the players restrained themselves, failed to come out and play “because no one wanted to be hammered”, adding that “I am happy for Argentina because of Messi.

“Messi is a genius. We want him to be up there with the Maradona’s and Pele’s of this world because he deserves it and I think they will win it against Germany”, he said.

He further noted that final matches of competitions “always never have rules; it is just one game to the cup” adding that “we just play.

“In the history of the World Cup we have never had an entertaining final because you have 90 minutes to write your name in pebbles so it Is not always beautiful football” he said.

He however noted the strength of the German team describing them as a “rigid team that is just going for the kill”.

Germany had put seven goals past hosts Brazil in the first semi final of the competition played at the Estadio Mineirao.

Peterside Assures Nigerians Of A Semi Final Spot For Super Eagles

Fpetersideormer Nigeria International Idah Perterside,has commended  the Super Eagles for the game against Iran and expressed confidence  that the Nigerian team will not only qualify for the next round but would get to the semi-finals of the tournament.

 He however attributed the barren draw to technical flaws by the team’s manager, Stephen keshi.

The former player, speaking on Channels TV breakfast programme Sunrise Daily, asserted that the inability of the Super Eagles to get goals was due to  intense pressure. According to the  ex-player, the team was too anxious for goals making the Iranian team to go all defensive.

Peterside, explained that the inability of the players to bear the pressure from the Iranian team cost them a victory in the game. He also mentioned that the ability to manage and tackle pressure is the hallmark of a great team.

The ex-player, asserted that the coach should have changed the formation of  the game when he saw that the earlier plan was not yielding results. According to him, Keshi should have instructed the players to relax the tempo of the game and make the midfield more creative rather than concentrating on all attack strategy.

Peterside also attributed the lack of goals to the lack of respect for the Iranian team. Idah said if the Super Eagles had displayed respect for the Iranian team , the Iranian team would have come out to play its normal football, adding that the lack of respect made the Iranian team to go all defensive. According to Peterside, the mistake on the side of Keshi was his refusal to ask the players to relax the game.

The ex-Super Eagles player called for a change of tactics by the team’s manager in the next game against Bosnia. He also solicited for the understanding of all Nigerians. Speaking further the ex-player said a win against Bosnia in the next game would guarantee a place for the Super Eagles in the next round.

Consequently, Idah expressed confidence  that the Nigerian team will not only qualify for the next round but would get to the semi-finals of the tournament. According to him, the draw in the first game is not a setback rather a challenge for the coach and the players to come all out and prove  their worth.


If We Don’t Win Today, We Should Come Back Tomorrow – Peterside

vlcsnap-2014-06-16-10h46m59s81A former Super Eagles goalkeeper, Idah Peterside, on Monday predicted a win for the Keshi-led side in their opening FIFA World Cup game against Iran in Brazil and bury the ghosts of past World Cups by winning their first game at the football showpiece event for the first time since France 1998.

He, however, noted that “if we don’t win today, we should come back home tomorrow”, wondering how we will cope with Argentina and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, Peterside said: “Patriotism apart, we should win because I think we have grown over the years and we are African champions” insisting that we should win, not for Super Eagles per se but for Africa”.

He added that it was good to put the players under pressure or else they “won’t do well”, maintaining that that he has a problem with the team following the performance of the players during the build up to the competition.

He, however, noted that “Keshi has proved us wrong” citing the victorious outing at the African Nations Cup in South Africa. He made a lot of changes and “pundits started analysing his team; but he proved us wrong,” he said.

He also queried the overhauling of the players in the Super eagles stating that in a “normal society, you bring in 6 to 7 new players” within a period of four years, but “he has brought in 20 players and that means that it is after the first game that we will begin to assess our team”.

With 26 goals scored so far in the competition, the former media officer of the Super Eagles described the tournament so far as “great”, adding that top class goals by players like (Lionel) Messi and (Robin) Van Persie are the kind of things that make you happy”.

He further talked about the pressure players go through at World Cup and went down memory lane to state Argentina’s Diego Maradona’s reason for taking cocaine during his playing days as stated by the legend himself. According to him, Maradona had said that he needed something to calm him down.

Peterside insisted that the field has become level and no team should be underestimated. “If we don’t win today, we should come back home tomorrow.

“If we don’t beat Iran, what are we doing in Brazil”, he asked.

Coach Stephen Keshi will be looking to make history as the first Nigerian to captain and coach a Nigerian team to the World Cup finals by nicking a first win in six attempts as the Super Eagles look to lay a marker in Group F of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Nigeria is placed in Group F alongside Iran, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Argentina.