Golden Eaglets: We Don’t Need To Brag, We Just Want To Win – Amunike

The Golden Eaglets Assistant Coach, Emmanuel Amunike has warned that in football, it is not good to brag as the most important thing to focus on is how to win, even if it is by half a goal.

He said this on ‘Sports This Morning’ during the preview of the Golden Eaglets second group game against Sweden. He sounded a warning that the 6-1 score line of the team’s first game versus defending champion, Mexico does not mean Sweden will be easy.

While reacting to a question on how many goals Nigerians should expect in the game against Sweden, the former Super Eagles attacker who was speaking via the phone from UAE said:

“Sometimes you don’t expect to score a lot of goals, bearing it in mind that also these teams, what made them to be in this tournament, that means they’re good. The likes of Spain, France, they didn’t make it, and then Sweden, Croatia are here”.

He further said each game brings different challenges and plan, but the objective of the team is to win the game and consolidate their qualification for the next stage. He assured that the boys are in good mood, and even though everyone is expecting a very tough challenge, he expects victory.

The Media Officer of the team, Morakinyo Abodunrin, also speaking from UAE had earlier expressed optimism that the boys and the coaching crew are all in good spirit for the game but also warned that winning the tournament requires having to play 7 games, so it is too early to start celebrating just one victory even if it was 6-1 against the defending champions.

Sweden won their first game 4-1 against Iraq. Victory for either of the teams will make them top the group and guarantee qualification into the Round of 16.

Analysts Celebrate Kano Pillars, Back Eaglet’s Ihenacho To Shine

On Sports This Morning, analysts have thrown their weight behind the Nigerian Under-17 national team, Golden Eaglets to make great impact at the on-going FIFA U-17 World Cup in United Arab Emirates, after their demolition of defending champions, Mexico by a 6-1 scoreline in their opening game played on Saturday.

They have also identified the Eaglets’ 4 goal hero, Kelechi Ihenacho as a star for the future. They called on the Nigerian football administrators to nurture the team so that the boys can grow together rather than focusing on winning the competition.

Reviewing the just concluded Glo Premier League which produced Kano Pillars as champion, they commended the team for their feat of joining Enyimba FC of Aba as the only teams to have won the Nigerian Football League back-to-back.


Kano Pillars Defend League Title Despite Loss

Kano Pillars Football Club has won this year’s Glo Premier League title despite losing their final game of the season.

Playing away to Lobi Stars of Makurdi who needed a win to escape relegation, the defending champions were shocked by Barnabas Imenger who scored a brace to help Lobi to a 2-0 home win, and avoid relegation.

The let-off for Kano Pillars however came when their closest rivals to the title failed to capitalize on the opportunity as they also lost their final games of the season. Bayelsa United and El Kanemi Warriors lost 1-0 respectively to both Gombe United and Enugu Rangers.

Pillars have therefore successfully defended their league title, while Enyimba of Aba also snatched 2nd place and a continental ticket with a final day win.

Nigeria Thump Holders Mexico 6-1 In U-17 World Cup Opener

Three-time champions Nigeria opened their 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup campaign on Saturday with a 6-1 thumping of twice champions and title-holders Mexico in Al Ain City.

In the opening Group F match at the competition holding in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Golden Eaglets overcame a nervous start to go top of the group. Nigeria now lead the group with three points and a +5 goal difference from one match, ahead of Sweden and Iraq.

The Mexicans were unable to take advantage of their opponents’ trepidation, as striker Ulises Jaimes had a chance to score with his head after only three minutes.

But the Nigerian defence deflected the ball wide off danger to get a respite until after about 30 minutes when the Eaglets settled into their rhythm.

After 33 minutes, the Eaglets followed on a counter-attack for Success Isaac to race in and round the goalkeeper, before pulling the ball back across goal. Kelechi Iheanacho followed the play with a clever finish, hitting the ball high into the net over a pair of Mexican defenders.

Seven minutes later, the Eaglets scored again, after Isaac crossed from the left following a fast-break. Iheanacho kept his cool to cut inside, showing great patience to drift past two defenders and slam into the side netting.

But the Eaglets’ enthusiasm got the better of them as they conceded a goal a minute later, after failing to clear their lines. The ball fell kindly in the goal area for Jaimes who rounded his marker to score with a low shot to the corner.

However, Iheanacho claimed his hat-trick four minutes into the second-half, slamming home a low and hard shot at the near post after a flick-on from a long throw-in.

Chidiebere Nwakali made it 4-1 three minutes later with a shot from 25 yards out, while Isaac made it 5-1 on the hour mark when he raced on to a through-ball.

He slalomed through two Mexican defenders before firing inside the near post from 12 yards out. Iheanacho cut in from the right side after 70 minutes to strike from a long way out to make it 6-1.

Nigeria will face debutants Sweden in their next match on Tuesday, Oct. 22 at the same Khalifa Bin Zayed Stadium.

Lagos To Host 2013 GLO-CAF Awards

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has announced that the 2013 GLO-CAF Awards will take place in Lagos, Nigeria on the 9th of January 2014.

African sports personalities will compete for honours categories such as: African Player of the Year, National Team of the Year, Club of the Year, Coach of the Year, Women’s National Team of the Year, CAF Fair Play Award, Most Promising Talent and Africa Finest Eleven amongst others.

The Award ceremony has since been organized in five cities; the 2005 edition was held in Abuja (Nigeria), 2006 in Accra (Ghana), 2007-Lome (Togo), 2008-Lagos (Nigeria), 2009-Accra (Ghana), 2010 in Cairo (Egypt) and the last two editions in Accra, Ghana.

Ivory Coast and Manchester City midfielder, Yaya Toure is the current African Footballer of the Year,  winning the last two editions while Mohammed Abou Trieka of Egypt is the African Player of the Year – based in Africa.

Sports Review: Were The Golden Eaglets Unlucky In CAF-U17?

On Sports This Morning, we bring an exciting review of major sports events in Nigeria and around the world beginning with the performance of the Golden Eaglets at the CAF-U17 finals.

DEBATE: Did Keshi Disrespect Yobo By Excluding Him From Squad?

Super Eagles skipper, Joseph Yobo recently blasted Stephen Keshi and the officials of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), over his exclusion from the squad that played Kenya in a World Cup qualifier two weeks ago.

Yobo, who has made 96 appearances for the Nigerian national team, said he feels disrespected, as no one spoke to him about his exclusion from the team, before the list was made public.

“I’m disappointed nobody called me before the team list was announced,” Yobo told Brila FM on Tuesday.

“It’s disrespectful. I feel disrespected. I am the captain of the Super Eagles and I thought the coach should have put a call across to me.

“I have no problem being left out.”

Pundits, who were on Channels Television’s programme, Sport Palaver, debate if Keshi disrespected Yobo by excluding him from the squad that played Kenya in a World Cup qualifier.

Mba, Oboabona headline Nigeria squad

Sunday Mba
Sunday Mba

Africa Cup of Nations stars Sunday Mba and Godfrey Oboabona top a list of 24 local players called-up by Stephen Keshi for Nigeria’s March 23 World Cup qualifier against Kenya in Calabar.

Both players are among the six domestic league players from the Nations Cup squad making a return.

They are joined by goalkeeper Chigozie Agbim, Gabriel Reuben, Papa Idris and Azubuike Egwuekwe.

The players are expected to report to camp on March 10.

Keshi will name his European contingent on Thursday.

The Nigeria squad:

Goalkeepers: 1. AGBIM Chigozie (Rangers), 2. AKPEYI Daniel (Heartland), 3. AJIBOYE Dele (3SC)

Defenders: 4. Egwueke Azubuike (Warri Wolves), 5. Papa Idris (Kano Pillars), 6. Zango Umar (Kano Pillars), 7. Oboabona Godfrey (Sunshine Stars), 8. Kwambe Solomon (Sunshine Stars), 9. Chibuzo Okonkwo (Rangers), 10. Ezekiel bassey (Lobi Stars), 11. Benjamin Francis (Heartland), 12. Zubaru Muhammed

Midfielders and Forwards: 13. Mba Sunday (Nigeria), 14. Gabriel Ruben (Kano Pillars), 15. Gambo Muhammed (Kano Pillars), 16. Ubale Mannir (Kano Pillars), 17. Pius Samson (Ranchers Bees), 18. Onduku Gomo (Sharks), 19. Obinna Nwanchukwu (Heartland), 20. Saka Ayo (Enyimba), 21. Jiya Muhammed (Bayelsa Fc), 22. Emeka Ezeh (Rangers), 23. Anthony Okputu (Lobi Stars), 24. Adepoju Taofeek (3SC)

We Need More Prayer Warriors For Super Eagles – Senate President

The Senate President, David Mark has called on Nigerians to intensify prayers for the Super Eagles of Nigeria ahead of Wednesday’s semi-final encounter with Mali.

Mr Mark who made this call on Tuesday during the Senate’s plenary, attributed the Eagles’ victory over the Elephant of Cote D’ Ivoire to the fasting and prayers of the senators and other Nigerians.

The Senate President, who said the national team should be commended for playing well, added that the nation was proud of them.

“We thank God that our prayers were answered for the Super Eagles to defeat their Ivorian counterparts on Sunday. We need more prayer warriors because the battle ahead is more serious. Please, let us intensify our prayers for the Eagles so that they can play better and also win tomorrow’s (today’s) match”, Mr Mark said.

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.”



NPL Impasse:Sack of Baribote-led board the only option — Idoko

Mike Idoko; the Chairman of the six-man interim committee of the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) said the option for the way forward in the Nigerian Premier League was the sacking of the former board chairman of the league body, Chief Victor Rumson Baribote.

And this was the decision of the 20 Premier League clubs.

He said that the former NPL board had failed in the development of the league, stressing that the gains made over the years by previous boards had been eroded with the administrative style of the sacked board, thereby stagnating the progress of the NPL, during the inaugural meeting in Abuja yesterday.

“We had to do this in the interest of the league and Nigerian football. Clubs used to benefit financially from the title sponsorship money and at a point we were fighting for increment. But in the last two seasons or so, the clubs have been made to bear the brunt of NPL’s inability to source for sponsors,” he said.

“We don’t have any problem with Baribote as a person but it’s glaring that his board failed and we have to move forward. Clubs spent heavily on match indemnities due to the inefficiency of the board under Baribote, while the players suffer because the little the clubs had were being used in covering the glaring inefficiency of the board.

Idoko further described the Baribote led-board that it lacked transparency and accountability, hence a window for the inability of the league to attract title sponsorship for the past two seasons, as he cited the hard work and transparency of other boards before the Baribote-led board, it will be recalled that

Idoko was part of the glory days of the NPL under Chief Oyuki Obaseki.