Super Eagles Performance To Be Reviewed, Says Sports Minister

The Super Eagles of Nigeria played a goalless draw against Sierra Leone in Freetown on November 17, 2020.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria played a goalless draw against Sierra Leone in Freetown on November 17, 2020.

 

The entire Nigerian Super Eagles team will undergo a performance review, according to the Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Sunday Dare.

Dare disclosed this in Minna the Niger state capital after he was hosted at a get-together ahead of the All Progressives Congress Youth Leaders Interactive Forum billed to hold on Thursday.

According to the minister the review had become necessary in view of the performance of the team in recent times which he said fell short of the expectations of football-loving Nigerians.

“First, let me apologise to football lovers in this country,” Dare said. “We believe in the skills and talents of our Super Eagles players. But also, the country also expects that when we hire a technical adviser, when we put out fate in the hands of some people, we expect some returns. If you are a manager for your company and you don’t get the return you want or expect, you have the right to do a review and take very critical and crucial decisions.”

Super Eagles Head Coach, Gernot Rohr, sits beside a Nigerian player in one of the dressing rooms at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City, the Edo State capital.

 

According to him, the review would cover the entire team including the players, the technical adviser, Gernot Rohr’s performance, and those involved in football administration in the country.

“We are going to sit back and review what has happened. We will review the entire team. We will look at our players, whether they are qualified or not, and whether they are ready for the team. We will also look at the technical adviser and the entire people involved in football administration and the Super Eagles. You see when you fail to do the necessary checks, then you run the risk of repeating the failures and the disappointments,” he said.

Asked if he was concerned about the allegations that he was interfering in the activities of the football team, Mr. Dare said the review was in the interest of the entire Nigerians.

“The Super Eagles represent which country? They wear which colour? What National Anthem is sung when they play? So, without Nigeria as a sovereign nation, they don’t represent anyone else. So, there is no interference. They represent this country. They don’t represent an association, they don’t represent an individual. They represent 200 million people. They carry our interests with them, and as a Minister of Youths and Sports Development, it is my responsibility to ensure that the interests of Nigerians are protected, to ensure that we have a football administration that serves the purpose and the need and vision of our country. So, it is a partnership and not interference,” the Minister explained.

Meanwhile, Dare called on youths in the country to come to the discussion table with the government to resolve the various issues of concern in the aftermath of the #EndSARS protests across the country.

The Minister who said the entire government was responding to the outcome of the protests, assured that President Muhammadu Buhari was interested in the growth and development of the youths.

According to him, the current administration has at least twenty-five youths related programmes that can benefit the youths.

How Super Eagles Ended 2020 Without Winning A Match

A combination of pictures of the Super Eagles’ arrival in Freetown, Sierra Leone on November 16, 2020. Photos: Twitter- @NGSuperEagles

 

The Super Eagles were on Tuesday forced to a barren draw by Sierra Leone in a 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier, a development that ensured the three-time African champions ended 2020 without a win.

In the reverse fixture of the encounter played at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City on Friday, Gernot Rohr’s men threw away a 4-0 lead, managing a 4-4 draw.

The Eagles did not win a match in 2020. Photo: [email protected] NFF.

 

“So we are doing everything in training and in the meeting, we will do, we will see again everything in the video, speak about the mistakes and I’m sure they will react because I know my team, I know what we can do, they showed it in the first half,” coach Gernot Rohr said in an interview on the Super Eagles YouTube channel.

Despite vowing to beat the Leone Stars, Nigeria’s attack could not breakdown the Sierra Leonean defence. A Kelechi Iheanacho goal was, however, flagged down for offside.

Super Eagles players listen as NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, addresses them after a 4-4 draw with Sierra Leone at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City, the Edo State capital.

 

Nigeria sit at the top of the Group L standing in the qualifier for the competition in spite of the draw.

An Unfruitful Year? 

The Sierra Leone game is the 2013 AFCON champions’ fourth match for the year. They lost one of them and drew three.

They began the year with back-to-back friendly matches against Tunisia and Algeria. Both games were played in  October at the Jacques Lemans Arena in Austria.

Borussia Mönchengladbach star Ramy Bensebaini scored the lone goal in the clash with Algeria on October 9th to hand the North African side their second consecutive win over Nigeria.

A few days later – 13th of October – Iheanacho’s 21st-minute strike proved inadequate as the Carthage Eagles forced Rohr’s charges to a 1-1 draw.

Nigeria’s next match will be against the Benin Republic in a 2021 AFCON qualifier. That game will take place in March 2021. They will equally play Lesotho the same month.

Super Eagles Back To Nigeria After Barren Draw With Sierra Leone

The Eagles remain top of Group L in the qualifying series with eight points. Photo: [email protected] Eagles.

 

The Super Eagles on Wednesday returned to the country after they were held to a barren draw by Sierra Leone in a 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier on Tuesday. 

“Update: We just arrived the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja,” a tweet from the Super Eagles handle read.

Hours later, a photo of team officials and players at the airport was equally posted on the Eagles handle.

“We are back in town!”  the tweet added.


The Nigerian side had on Friday thrown away a 4-0 lead with the Leone Stars drawing them 4-4.

Despite vowing to bounce back in Freetown with a victory, the Nigerian football team failed to do enough to breach their opponent’s defence and score.

The result leaves Nigeria at the top of Group L with eight points, just one point above Benin in second place with four games played.

Sierra Leone remain third with three points.

The Super Eagles, despite the two draws, remain favourites to finish first in the group and advance to the biennial competition scheduled to take place in Cameroon.

Super Eagles Fail To Score, Play Draw Again In Sierra Leone

The Super Eagles of Nigeria played a goalless draw against Sierra Leone in Freetown on November 17, 2020.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria played a goalless draw against Sierra Leone in Freetown on November 17, 2020.

 

Nigeria was unable to score as Sierra Leone held the Super Eagles to a draw for the second time in four days, as both team jostle for a place in the Africa Cup of Nations competition in 2022.

Four days earlier, the Sierra Leone team had come down from four goals down to clinch a draw in Benin-city against the Eagles.

But after vowing to bounce back in Freetown with a victory, the Nigerian football team failed to do enough to breach their opponent’s goalnet.

The result leaves Nigeria at the top of its qualifying group with eight points, just one point above Benin in second place with four games played.

Sierra Leone remain third with three points.

The Super Eagles, despite the two draws, remain favourites to finish first in the group and advance.

AFCON Qualifier: Rohr To Start Iheanacho, Etebo, Others Against Sierra Leone

Super Eagles Head Coach, Gernot Rohr, sits beside a Nigerian player at one of the dressing rooms at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City, the Edo State capital.

 

Super Eagles Coach, Gernot Rohr, has selected Leicester City forward, Kelechi Iheanacho, and Galatasaray midfielder, Peter Etebo, to start Tuesday’s match against Sierra Leone.

Both men and nine other players are on the first team for the second-leg of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier match against the Leone Stars.

The line-up of the Nigerian team was revealed via the Super Eagles’ verified Twitter handle.

According to the tweet, Iheanacho will play alongside Super Eagles captain, Ahmed Musa (Al-Nassr FC), and Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal CF), in the forward role.

They will be supported by the trio of Etebo, as well as Alex Iwobi (Everton) and Joe Aribo (Rangers), in the midfield.

Kevin Akpoguma (Hoffenheim), Leon Balogun (Rangers), William Troost-Ekong (Watford), and Ola Aina (Fulham), are on the defence, to support goalkeeper Maduka Okoye.

Those on the bench include Daniel Akpeyi (Kaizer Chiefs), Sebastian Osigwe (FC Lugano), Chidera Ejuke (CSKA Moscow), Jamiu Collins (SC Paderborn 07), and Shehu Abdullahi (Omonia Nicosia).

Others are Emmanuel Bonaventure (Club Brugge), Zaidu Sanusi (FC Porto), Paul Onuachu (KRC Genk), Chidozie Awaziem (Boavista FC), Tyronne Ebuehi (Twente), and Semi Ajayi (West Brom).

The match is scheduled to kick off by 5pm (Nigerian time) at the Siaka Stevens Stadium in Freetown, the capital city of Sierra Leone.

Read the tweet from the Super Eagles below:

PHOTOS: Super Eagles Travel To Sierra Leone For AFCON Qualifier Return Leg

A combination of pictures of the Super Eagles’ arrival in Freetown, Sierra Leone on November 16, 2020. Photos: Twitter- @NGSuperEagles

 

Nigeria’s Super Eagles have arrived in Freetown for the second-leg of their Africa Cup of Nations qualifier match against Sierra Leone.

Pictures of the players’ arrival were shared on Monday afternoon via the Super Eagles’ verified Twitter handle.

Following their arrival, the players are expected to train at the Siaka Stevens Stadium in Freetown, the capital city of Sierra Leone.

According to a tweet by the Super Eagles, the training session will kick-off at 5:45pm (Nigerian time).

[READ ALSO] Sierra Leone Draw: I Shed Tears For The First Time In A Long Time – Pinnick

The Nigerian team will take on the Leone Stars on Tuesday following a disappointing 4-4 draw at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City, the Edo State capital.

Striker Victor Osimhen scores a goal during the AFCON Qualifier match between Nigeria and Sierra Leone at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin on November 13, 2020. Credit: NFF.

 

In the first-leg match played on Friday last week, the Super Eagles had taken the lead by four goals to nil barely 30 minutes after kick-off, only for Sierra Leone to stage a dramatic comeback to share points with the Nigerian side.

Reacting to the outcome of the game, President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, said the Eagles had no excuse not to win after leading by four goals.

He described the result as the worst the country has recorded since he became the NFF president, adding that he shed tears after the Leone Stars scored their fourth goal.

Pinnick, therefore, challenged the Eagles to go beyond claiming all points in Freetown and make sure they win by a margin not less than four goals.

He also asked them to ensure they do not concede any goal from the host team when they meet on Tuesday.

See the photos of the Super Eagles’ arrival in Freetown below:

Photos of the players before the trip to Sierra Leone

‘They Will React’: Rohr Confident Eagles Will Beat Sierra Leone In Return Fixture

File photo:  Super Eagles Head Coach, Gernot Rohr, sits beside a Nigerian player at one of the dressing rooms at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City, the Edo State capital.

 

Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr is confident Nigeria will beat Sierra Leone in the return leg of a 2022 African Cup of Nations qualifier after the 1994 AFCON champions threw away a four-goal lead to draw the first leg of the match. 

“So we are doing everything in training and in the meeting, we will do, we will see again everything in the video, speak about the mistakes and I’m sure they will react because I know my team, I know what we can do, they showed it in the first half,” the German said in an interview on the Super Eagles YouTube channel.

READ ALSO: ‘We Will Correct Our Mistakes In The Next Game’: Musa Appeals To Nigerians

It Is Finished? 

While explaining why the Nigerian team drew the first leg of the match in Benin City on Friday despite a four-goal lead, he said the players did not maintain the energy they used in the first half of the game.

“I think at half-time they believed it’s finished but it was not finished,” the former Niger Republic coach added.

He stated that the surprising draw against the Leone Stars is a lesson to the side, reiterating that “we will react, if they will be lucky or not I cannot promise you but they will fight and go there to win the match.”

A Big Mistake

File photo: Super Eagles players listen as NFF President, Amaju Pinnick addresses them after a 4-4 draw with Sierra Leone at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City, the Edo State capital.

 

The team captain, Ahmed Musa had earlier apologized to Nigerians for the result, promising that the Eagles “will correct our mistakes in the next game.”

“We know we made a very big mistake in the game but there is nothing we can do, that’s football. Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose,” the former Leicester City star added.

The Super Eagles will travel to Freetown for the return leg on Tuesday, November 17, 2020.

Sierra Leone Draw: I Shed Tears For The First Time In A Long Time – Pinnick

NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, speaks with the Super Eagles in their dressing room at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City, the Edo State capital.

 

“After they scored the fourth goal, I shed tears for the first time in a long time,” an emotional Amaju Pinnick told the Super Eagles after Nigeria and Sierra Leone played a 4-4 draw.

Pinnick, who is the President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), shared how he felt with the players on Friday in their dressing room after the game ended.

The match, which held at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City, the Edo State capital, was the first leg of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier between the two teams.

He stated that the Nigerian team had no excuse to share points with the visiting side after leading by four goals.

 

What happened to us?

Pinnick believes football lovers are disappointed with the performance of the Eagles in the match, noting that it is the worst result recorded by the team since he became the NFF president.

Super Eagles players at their dressing room in the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City, the Edo State capital.

 

He said, “I will say it the way it is in my heart and the hearts of so many Nigerians; the truth is that we can’t be leading 4-0 to Sierra Leone and concede four goals for no reason, there is no reason.

“Since I became the president of NFF, this is the worst result I have seen in my life and in the next few days, I wonder how I’m going to sleep.”

“It’s not because of losing, it’s not because we won’t qualify for the Nations Cup, it’s certainly because this is towards the end of the year, you know the passion, the love Nigerians have for this game.

“It’s football, definitely, it’s football; it can go either way, but what happened to us? Were we complacent? Were we just so comfortable that we were leading 4-0 and all of a sudden, the goals started coming in?” the NFF president queried.

He stressed that the nation’s football governing body made sure it provided the necessary support to ensure Nigeria succeeded in the game.

 

Winning Is An Understatement

According to Pinnick, the blame will not be on the players but neither him nor the Super Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr was on the pitch.

He, however, stated that the only way for the Eagles to redeem themselves was to beat Sierra Leone in the return-leg by a margin of four goals.

Super Eagles Head Coach, Gernot Rohr, sits beside a Nigerian player at one of the dressing rooms at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City, the Edo State capital.

 

The NFF president said, “It is for us to go to Sierra Leone and beat them that 4-0. It is not winning, winning is an understatement.

“It is to give them that 4-0 and make sure they don’t score one. That is the only thing we will do from the blast of the whistle till the end of that game.”

“The beauty about falling down is the resurgence in us to bounce back, bounce back in a grand style because what you’ve done to them is that you’ve given them the confidence that Nigeria is beatable.

“We must re-engineer this team, we must go to Freetown and we must beat them in Freetown by those four goals so that we would know truly that the Eagles have landed,” Pinnick told the players.

Super Eagles players listen as NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, addresses them after a 4-4 draw with Sierra Leone at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City, the Edo State capital.

 

The return-leg is scheduled to take place on Tuesday next week at the Siaka Stevens Stadium in Freetown, the capital city of Sierra Leone.

‘We Will Correct Our Mistakes In The Next Game’: Musa Appeals To Nigerians

Super Eagles striker, Ahmed Musa. Credit: @Ahmedmusa718

Super Eagles skipper and forward, Ahmed Musa has apologised over his team’s  4-4 draw display against the Leone Stars in Benin on Friday evening.

The Super Eagles were quick to assert their dominance as early as the 4th-minute with a low strike from Iwobi and they followed it up with goals from Osimhen and Samuel Chukwueze in the 29th minute. The Leone sides managed to get one back in the 41st minute to give some glimmer of hope.

The second half was a different tale with the Leone stars coming from behind to get three goals in a space of 14 minutes with goals from Kamara and Mustapha Bundu; to get the much decisive draw.

In the 52 second video posted on the official Twitter handle of the Super Eagles, the Nigerian forward was in a somber mood admitting to the flaws shown in the match by him and his teammates.

He had this to say: “Dear Nigerians, on behalf of myself and my teammates we are really sorry for the disappointment of the game tonight,”

“We know we made a very big mistake in the game but there is nothing we can do, that’s football. Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose” he further added.

“We will correct our mistakes in the next game. By God’s grace, we will go there [Sierra Leone] and do our best to see we qualify for the Afcon and we know we can do it.

“We are sorry for the game tonight and we will make it up, thank you very much.”

The Super Eagles will travel to Freetown for the return leg on Tuesday, November 17, 2020, with victory over the Leone stars giving the Nigerian side a possible early ticket to the 2022 African Nations Cup in Cameroon.

‘It Is Achievable’: Osimhen Confident Of Equaling Yekini’s Eagles Goal Record

Osimhen was part of the Nigerian side that won a bronze medal at the 2019 AFCON, playing only one match. Photo: [email protected] Eagles

 

Super Eagles forward, Victor Osimhen is confident of equalling Rashidi Yekini’s goal record for the West African side even though he admits it is an arduous task. 

“I’ve always said it for me to fill in the shoes of a legend, the late Rashidi Yekini, is kind of heavy for me but I think I’m on the right path towards this direction,” Osimhen who features for the Italian side, Napoli, said on Thursday during a press conference ahead of Nigeria’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Sierra Leone.

“If I’m injury free I can achieve this feat but it’s never going to be easy and of course with the confidence, the coach has in me and the fans also supporting me, I think it’s achievable.”

Although he admitted equalling Yekini’s record is something he is looking forward to, doing well in his club side and with the national team are more important.

“For now I want to keep on helping the team, keep on doing well with my club and I’m really looking forward to achieving this feat but it’s never going to be easy,” the FIFA U-17 World Cup record goalscorer added.

Unbroken Record

Yekini who played 58 games for the 1994 African champions, netted 37 goals and remains Nigeria’s highest goalscorer.

On the other hand, Osimhen has four goals to show for his nine appearances for Nigeria since he debuted for the team in 2017 against Togo.

Although Osimhen was part of the Eagles team that won a bronze medal at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), he only managed one game – the third-place match – against the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia.

Rohr Invites Musa, Ekong, Etebo, Others For Sierra Leone Clash

A file photo of Super Eagles Technical Adviser Gernot Rohr during the African Cup of Nations qualification match between Nigeria and Libya in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State on October 13, 2018. PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP

 

Super Eagles Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr, has invited Ahmed Musa, William Ekong, Oghenekaro Etebo, and 21 others for the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying quick-fire double against the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone.

Defenders Kenneth Omeruo, Leon Balogun and Chidozie Awaziem, midfielder Alex Iwobi, and forwards Moses Simon, Samuel Chukwueze and Chidera Ejuke, were among the players invited.

Nigeria’s leading goalscorer in the series, Victor Osimhen returns after missing out of the friendlies against Algeria and Tunisia, same as midfielder Joseph Ayodele-Aribo, and South Africa-based goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi.

Switzerland –based goalkeeper Sebastian Osigwe will hope to earn his first cap for Nigeria, while defenders Kevin Akpoguma and Zaidu Sanusi, who impressed in the friendlies in Austria, have been handed opportunities to add to their caps.

There are seven players on standby, including defender Abdullahi Shehu, goalkeeper Francis Uzoho, midfielders Ramon Azeez and Samson Tijani, and forward Paul Onuachu.

The Super Eagles take on the Leone Stars at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City on Friday, 13th November before flying to Freetown for the return game on November 17 at the Siaka Stevens Stadium.

Players are expected to report in Benin City on Monday, November 9.

Victory in both encounters will guarantee Nigeria a slot at the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations finals scheduled to take place in Cameroon.

 See the full list of the invited players below:

Goalkeepers: Daniel Akpeyi (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa); Sebastian Osigwe (FC Lugano, Switzerland); Maduka Okoye (Sparta Rotterdam, The Netherlands)

Defenders: Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Leon Balogun (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Chidozie Awaziem (FC Boavista, Portugal); William Ekong (Watford FC, England); Olaoluwa Aina (Fulham FC, England); Jamilu Collins (SC Paderborn 07, Germany); Oluwasemilogo Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion, England); Zaidu Sanusi (FC Porto, Portugal); Kevin Akpoguma (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, Germany).

Midfielders: Oghenekaro Etebo (Galatasaray, Turkey); Tyronne Ebuehi (FC Twente, Netherlands); Frank Onyeka (FC Midtjylland, Denmark); Joseph Ayodele-Aribo (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland)

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Unattached); Alex Iwobi (Everton FC, England); Emmanuel Dennis Bonaventure (Club Brugge, Belgium); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal FC, Spain); Victor Osimhen (Napoli FC, Italy); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Chidera Ejuke (CSKA Moscow, Russia).

Standby: Francis Uzoho (APOEL Nicosia, Cyprus); Samson Tijani (TSV Hartberg, Austria); Abdullahi Shehu (Omonia Nicosia, Cyprus); Ramon Azeez (Granada CF, Spain); Kelechi Nwakali (SD Huesca, Spain); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Heartland FC); Paul Onuachu (KRC Genk, Belgium).

‘Reform The Police’: Eagles Legend Kanu Backs #SARSMUSTEND Protests

alausa-protest.jpg2
#SARSMUSTEND protesters in Alausa, Ikeja.

 

 

Former Super Eagles captain Kanu Nwankwo has endorsed the #SARSMUSTEND protests sweeping through the country, calling for the reformation of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF). 

The former Arsenal forward in a video on his Twitter handle on Tuesday, however, called on the protesters to be cautious and ensure they are safe.

“Please! Please!! Please!!! If you are on the street protesting, please be safe,” the Atlanta 1996 Olympic gold medalist and former Ajax Amsterdam player, added.

“No more lives lost. One love, one Nigeria. EndSARS and reform the police. God bless us all.”

 

Although the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu had dissolved the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), an arm of the force, the protesters have continued to take to the streets.

Obviously irked by the announcement of a new unit to replace SARS, the protests which began over a week under the #ENDSARS banner, have recently morphed into #SARSMUSTEND and #ENDSWAT.

A file photo: Demonstrators hold placards while they stand on the road to protest against abuses by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) at the Lekki toll Plaza in Lagos, on October 12, 2020. PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP

 

A presidential panel on Tuesday approved the demands of #SARSMUSEND protesters, including halting the use of force against protesters and the unconditional release of arrested citizens.

Five-Point Demand

The five-point demands of the protesters were okayed at a forum convened by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, and the National Human Rights Commission, with stakeholders, a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, said.

It was a multi-stakeholders’ forum attended by leaders and representatives of civil society organisations in Nigeria, activists from the entertainment industry, and the #ENDSARS movement and development partners.

Across several cities in Africa’s most populous nation, the protesters have blocked major routes, leaving many stranded.

In Nigeria’s commercial centre, the agitators blocked the ever-busy Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, the Lekki Expressway and other routes, vowing not to backtrack on their requests.

A similar situation is equally playing out in the nation’s seat of power, Abuja. They also assembled at the entrance of the Ministry of Justice and displayed placards demanding justice for slain victims of police brutality.