Yaya Beats Mikel To Win 2013 African Player Of The Year As Nigeria Sweeps CAF Awards

Ivorian Midfielder, Yaya Toure, has beaten Nigerian Super Eagles and Chelsea FC midfielder, John Mikel Obi to win for the 3rd consecutive year, the coveted ‘African Footballer of the Year’ Award, at the Glo CAF Awards 2013 held in Lagos.

Mikel Obi was highly favoured by many Nigerians who saw his exploits and team successes with club and country in 2013 as the best credentials to claim the award which has eluded Nigerian footballers since Kanu Nwankwo won it in the year 1999.

While Nigeria confirmed its status as the number 1 footballing country on the African continent during the year 2013 by winning in five categories, the loss of the ultimate crown would cast a gloom on the other successes.

The Nigerian Super Eagles won the award for the ‘National Team of the Year’, while the national Under-17 team, Golden Eaglets, also won ‘Youth National Team of the Year’ at the Glo CAF Awards 2013.

Both teams had been expected by many pundits to claim the awards, having won major tournaments at continental and global levels during the year in review.

The Super Eagles won the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2013 for the first time in 19 years, while the Golden Eaglets won the 2013 FIFA Under-17 World Cup tournament in United Arab Emirates.

Golden Eaglets’ wonder kid, Kelechi Iheanacho, unsurprisingly won the ‘Most Promising Talent’ Award. Ihenacho was the most decorated at the 2013 FIFA Under-17 World Cup, winning the tournament’s Adidas Golden Ball Award for the overall best player, alongside the Silver Boot Award for being the second highest goal scorer, as he helped Nigeria to its 4th title to become the most successful team in the history of the age grade competition.

The Nigerian Super Eagles Coach, Stephen Keshi, was also named ‘African Coach of the Year’ for his exploits with the African Champions. Keshi became the first Nigerian to win the Nations’ Cup as player and coach, and only the second African coach to do so after Egypt’s Mahmoud El-Gohary.

Fair Play Award went to the Nigerian Supporters Club, globally popular for their constant playing of music and dancing while supporting the Nigerian national teams.

Other winners at the awards were Egyptian, Mohammed Aboutreika, who beat Nigeria’s African Nations’ Cup final hero, Sunday Mba, to win the ‘African Player of the Year based in Africa’, while the ‘Club of the Year’ went to Al Ahly FC of Egypt.

The ‘Referee of the Year’ award went to Algerian, Haimoudi Djamel, who officiated the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations Final between Nigeria and Burkina Faso, and also officiated the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup play-off for third place between Uruguay and Italy.

The African Team of the Year is made up of Vincent Enyeama (NIG), Ahmed Fathy (EGY), Mehdi (MOR), Kevin Constant (GUI), Mikel Obi (NIG), Mohammed Aboutreika (EGY), Yaya Toure (CIV), Jonathan Pitroipa (BFA), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (GAB), Emmanuel Emenike (NIG), Asamoah Gyan (GHA) Coach Stephen Keshi (NIG)

Five Nigerian players from the successful AFCON 2013 Eagles were nominated for the now lost ‘African Player of the Year’ Award; they include Emmanuel Emenike, Ahmed Musa, Mikel Obi, Sunday Mba and Vincent Enyeama.

Only Mikel Obi made the final 3 man nominees list alongside the 3rd time winner, Ivorian, Yaya Toure and his Ivorian counterpart, Didier Drogba.

Winners were announced in Lagos on January 9, 2014.

World Cup 2014: Q.Final Is The Realistic Target For Nigeria – Ochonogor

A Sport Analyst, Ochonogor Chimbiani, has cautioned that the pressure put on the Nigerian national football team; Super Eagles for the 2014 World Cup, however justifiable should be positively exploited.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Rubbin’ Minds on Sunday, Chimbiani gave an insight into her expectations for Nigerian football in the New Year, starting with the country’s debut appearance at the African Nations’ Championship, CHAN 2014 in January.

She stated that she expects that even as debutants, Nigeria should do well at the tournament, but she would not expect too much from the team. According to her although some key players like Nations Cup hero, Sunday Mba, can no longer feature for the team, Nigeria has enough talents, and coping without the likes of Mba would not be a problem.

She also expressed hope that 2014 would be the year when Nigeria gets its league management right, hoping that “good things will happen in 2014.”

Looking ahead to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Ochonogor believes that the pressure being put on Super Eagles Coach, Stephen Keshi is right and expected. According to her, the pressure was there when Keshi went to African Nation’s Cup and it inspired them to do better.

With Show Host, Ebuka arguing that the World Cup pressure is of a larger magnitude due to the expectations of Nigerians themselves, who want more of the AFCON success, Ochonogor admitted that the Semi-final target set for the team may be too much, but it is analytically realistic, as football is not mathematics and at the tournament anything can happen.

She advised that Keshi should pick the best of the players available to him and also get his preparations right. She encouraged that Africa can do something this time despite the presence of countries like Argentina, Brazil, and Spain who boast of fantastic players.

She also noted that the Nigerian team having no particular star player like Didier Drogba for Ivory Coast is not a problem but rather could be strength. According to her “team work is what is going for us in the Super Eagles”.

She added that a situation whereby the home based and foreign based players were willing to work together with a much disciplined Coach Keshi has been the key to the successes so far recorded; a system she expects to continue into the World Cup.

On the situation whereby many of the stand-out players of the African Cup of Nations, AFCON victory are not key players in their clubs, with the likes of Mikel Obi and Victor Moses not playing regularly and Sunday Mba just moving to a new club, Chimbiani said that Ivory Coast because of their major stars were tipped to win the AFCON but Nigeria won it.

She advised that Coach Keshi should open his doors to all players, including the ones he had abandoned like Chinedu Obasi, Osaze Odemwingie and Victor Nsofor to work with his AFCON team in order to pick his best squad.

On the possibility of Odemwingie returning to the team, Chimbiani said “I don’t think Keshi will (call him back) but I wish he does”.

Asked to give her verdict on Nigeria’s chances at the World Cup, she predicted a Quarter-Final finish as the realistic expectation.

Nigerian Super Eagles Intensify Training For CHAN

The Super Eagles technical crew have adopted a tougher training schedule as the home based team goes into the second week of camping in preparation for the African Nations Championship (CHAN), in South Africa.

From Monday, December 16, the team will train twice in the morning and evening time as coaches try to select the best men for the tournament.

Head Coach, Stephen Keshi said that there was little time left for the technical crew to trim the present squad from 30 players to 23, hence the need to intensify training and get the best out of the players in camp.

It’s expected that by the end of the week, the team would have been pruned down in preparation for departure to South Africa in the first week of January.

At the moment, not even the established players like Chigozie Agbim, Sunday Mba, Solomon Kwambe, Gambo Mohammed, Benjamin Francis and Azubuike Egwuekwe are sure of shirts, as Keshi made it clear that only the fittest and the best as shown in training and practice matches would be picked for the tournament.

The team has also shifted its training site from the FIFA Goal Project arena to the training pitch of the Abuja National Stadium, to get used to natural turf, which organisers of CHAN 2014 will use for the tournament.

The tournament holds in South-Africa from January 11, to February 1, 2014.

5 Nigerians Nominated For African Player Of The Year Award

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has released the nominees for the yearly awards.

25 players made the cut for the flagship African Player of the Year category, and 21 for the African Player of the Year based in Africa.

Five Nigerian players were nominated for the player of the year award; they include Emmanuel Emenike, Ahmed Musa, Mikel Obi, Sunday Mba and Vincent Enyeama.

The winners will be announced at the GLO-CAF Awards gala scheduled for Thursday, January 9, 2014 in Lagos.

Ivorian, Yaya Toure is the reigning African Player of the Year and Mohamed Aboutrika of Egypt is the African Player of the Year (Based in Africa).


No Transfer Negotiation Yet For Mba, Agbim – Warri Wolves

Warri Wolves has claimed that there has not been any negotiations or dealings whatsoever between them and Enugu Rangers concerning players Sunday Mba and Chigozie Agbim.

The duo of Sunday Mba and Chigozie Agbim were part of the Super Eagles team that saw off other contending ocountries against the Super Eagles,ensuring that Nigeria lifted African Champions title  at the Afcon 2013, and it can also be said that the same tournament brought about the saga presently plaguing the playing careers of the players.

One of the officials of the Delta based club confirmed that Warri Wolves haven’t had any dealing with Enugu Rangers as regards these players and that they are applying hide and seek as a tactic to deceive clubs anticipating to bid for these players and Nigerians as well.

The transfer saga got messy after Sunday Mba who happens to be under Rangers camp began to get bids from several clubs in Europe and Africa after the Afcon 2013 tournament and a lot was revealed concerning the process at which these clubs conduct transfers without proper documentation or verbal contracts and this was exactly the situation which Sunday Mba, Chigozie Agbim and Michael Egbeta got into, as this can also be said for several other NPFL players.

Reacting to the statement made by Warri Wolves, the chairman of Enugu Rangers claimed that  Rangers were about to pay  N12million to Warri Wolves, being the alleged amount wanted on both Mba and Agbim.

He further stated that the decision of the club on paying the said amount to Warri Wolves to finally end the saga is still in place so as for Rangers to begin to enjoy the full services of these two players before their all-important clash with Recreativo de Libolo of Angola in the CAF Champions League.

Keshi Invites 24 NPL Players Ahead World Cup Qualifiers

Stephen Keshi has released his list of players that will be invited to the camp ahead of the clash with Kenya in the World Cup qualifier coming up on March 23rd. The coach released a list of 24 players mainly from the Nigeria Premier League players, promising that the list of the foreign based players that has been invited will be made public on Thursday.

Coach Keshi will out of the 24 local-based players select those that will form part of the Super Eagles squad that will square up with Kenya in Calabar.

Out of the glorious Super Eagles squad at the Afcon 2013 in South Africa, local stars Sunday Mba and Godfrey Oboabona made the list released by Stephen Keshi today and they will all report to the Abuja camp on Sunday, the 10th of March at the usual camping site of the Super Eagles.

Invited Players:

Goalkeepers are Chigozie Agbim, Rangers; Daniel Akpeyi, Heartland and Dele Ajiboye, 3SC.

Defenders –  Azubuike Egwueke, Warri Wolves; Papa Idris, Kano Pillars; Godfrey Oboabona, Sunshine Stars; Benjamin Francis, Heartland; Solomon Kwambe, Heartland;  Chibuzor Okonkwo, Rangers; Ezekiel Bassey, Lobi Stars; Mohamed Zubaru, Niger Tornadoes and Umar Zango, Kano Pillars;

Midfielders & Forward: Adepoju Taofeek, 3SC; Jiya Muhammed, Bayelsa FC; Saka Ayo, Enyimba; Sunday Mba, Warri Wolves; Pius Samson, Ranchers Bees; Emeka Ezeh, Rangers; Obinna Nwachukwu, Heartland; Mannir Ubale, Kano Pillars; Gomo Ohanduku, Sharks; Gambo Muhammed, Kano Pillars; Anthony Okputu, Lobi Stars and Reuben Gabriel, Kano Pillars.



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)

Sunday Mba: Analyst Blames Ownership Dispute On ‘Nigerian Factor’

The Roving Editor for The Sun Newspaper, George Aluo has blamed the current controversy surrounding Sunday Mba’s ownership on lack of proper documentation, which he describes as the ‘Nigerian factor.’

Speaking on our breakfast programme Sunrise Daily, on Monday, Mr. Aluo attributed the cause of the dispute between two Nigerian Football Clubs, Rangers and Warri Wolves over which team owns Super Eagles’ midfielder, Sunday Mba, to the fact that the player’s movement was not properly tidied up.

Mba, who scored the winning goal that brought the AFCON 2013 trophy to Nigeria after 19 years, was sold to Warri Wolves by Dolphin, another club which had the player on loan from the Rangers, his (Mbah’s) original club.

“Things were not thoroughly done by all the parties involved,” Mr. Aluo said, blaming the clubs involved for ‘cutting corners.’

He also expressed surprise over the announcement made by the League Management Committee (LMC), Nduka Irabor, who declared that the player belonged to Warri Wolves.

Mr. Aluo, also pointed out that the whole brouhaha is as a result of Mba’s sudden success. He urged the LMC to invite the clubs for a round table discussion and that Mbah’s interest should be taken into consideration before a final decision is made.

Mbah has signed with the Rangers for the new season and is expected to play for the club as they will be representing the country in the forthcoming CAF Champions’ League.

NFF Sets Up Committee To Resolve Mba’s Ownership Saga

Despite the directive by the Nigeria Premier League on the tussle over the ownership of Afcon 2013 superstar midfielder, Sunday Mba, Nigeria’s football regulatory body, the Nigeria Football Federation, has ordered that a committee be set up to liaise with the Interim Management Committee of the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) on the ownership tussle.

This comes as another club has joined Warri Wolves and Enugu Rangers in laying claims to Sunday Mba. According to AllAfrica.com, Dolphins FC of Port Harcourt have claimed that Sunday Mba is their player.

The Nigeria Premier League (NPL) had ordered that the Super Eagles duo of Sunday Mba and goalkeeper Chigozie Agbim belong to Warri Wolves and the football body wrote a letter to that effect, which was signed by the Executive Secretary of the NPL, Tunji Babalola, and circulated to media houses by the management of Warri Wolves, where it was stated clearly that the players belong to Wolves and not Rangers.

Now, Dolphin FC claim they loaned the player to Warri Wolves while Enugu Rangers management are also insisting that Dolphins improperly loaned Mba to Warri Wolves.

Babalola, on behalf of the NPL in a letter dated February 13, 2013, addressed to Warri Wolves and copied to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) General Secretary and Rangers International FC, it said: “We are in receipt of your correspondence on the above subject. From our records, it is established that Chigozie Agbim and Sunday Mba are bonafide players of Warri Wolves FC.

“Consequently, the ownership of the players is not subject to controversy and any club that requires their services should contact the management of Warri Wolves for negotiation,” the letter stated.

But explaining his own side of the story, Mba claimed that he had been contracted to Enugu Rangers by Warri Wolves, a statement the management of Warri Wolves frowned at.

Sunday Mba: NPL Rules In Favour Of Warri Wolves

The Nigeria Premier League has waded into the on-going feud between Warri Wolves and Enugu Rangers over the ownership of Sunday Mba and Chigozie Agbim by ruling that the Super Eagles duo belong to Warri Wolves.

Enugu Rangers is laying claim to Mba, insisting he has always been their player and had been training with them before the 2013 Nations Cup in South Africa.

However, in a letter signed by the executive secretary of the NPL, Tunji Babalola, Mba and Agbim have been declared as players of Warri Wolves.

The league interim management committee has, therefore, asked any club interested in the players to contact Warri Wolves.

A tussle arose between Warri Wolves and Enugu Rangers over the ownership of the 24-year-old Eagles midfielder since foreign clubs started showing interest in the player after the Afcon 2013.

Spokesman of the Warri-based professional football club, Moses Etu, said on Sunday that the Delta State-owned team was not ready to join issues with Rangers on the player as Mba knew he had a two-year contract with Warri Wolves.

“Sunday Mba has only spent one year out of the two-year contract he signed with us. It is on the basis of this that we are giving him up till Friday, March 1 to return to our camp ahead of the new football season we are preparing for,” observed.

The Warri Wolves media officer hinted that the matter has been reported to the Nigeria Football Federation.

“We have absolute confidence in NFF believing that they will follow the path of justice. We have the documents signed by Mba and requests by Rangers for us to clear the players for them which we refused to do,” he said.

“We have also written the NFF to apply the relevant sanctions regarding inducement and misleading of the public by Rangers International on this matter.”

Etu further warned that Warri Wolves would not hesitate to report the matter to the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and the world football governing body, FIFA if need be.

“We have confidence in NFF but we won’t hesitate to take the matter to CAF and FIFA. Rangers can be banned from further participation in the CAF Champions League while the player faces the prospect of being banned for years,” stressed the club spokesman.

Although some foreign clubs are said to be making enquiries on how to sign the Super Eagles players, the current ownership struggle between the two NPL clubs may scuttle such moves. Warri Wolves last week placed a one million euro transfer tag on the player now under dispute.

The defender rose to stardom after he scored two goals for Nigeria at the Nations Cup, which put Nigeria in reckoning and ultimately claiming the 2013 Afcon trophy.

Now the hitherto unknown local player is now the talk of several transfers within European clubs.




Governor Uduaghan Hosts African Champions, The Super Eagles of Nigeria

The Delta State Governor; Emmanuel Uduaghan could not hide his happiness for the Super Eagles as they conquered fellow African countries to lift the Afcon 2013 trophy at the just concluded African tournament in South Africa.

Uduaghan decided to host the Super Eagles squad and compensate their hard work for bringing home the Afcon trophy after a long wait.

Sunday Mba; Super Hot Target For Clubs In Europe

Nigeria’s Afcon 2013 sensation; 24-year-old midfielder Sunday Mba he is being wooed by many Premier League clubs as he plots a move away from his Nigerian side Warri Wolves.

Mba’s exploits and performance at the just concluded Afcon 2013 where Nigeria emerged eventual winners of the competition in South Africa attracted a number of scouts to monitor his progression.

Though, still with his local club Warri Wolves, Mba revealed that he is open to a move from the club to Europe after being inundated with offers from several top clubs in Europe.

It is understood Andre Villas-Boas had a scout keeping a close eye on him, but the north-London club are expected to face competition from Everton and Reading for the £4million man.

“I won’t lie, I have been inundated with offers from England, Spain, Italy and some other countries but I will not be hasty in reaching a decision now,” Mba ended.