Nigeria Record Biggest-Ever Win, Thrash Sao Tome And Principe 10-0

The Super Eagles line up against Sao Tome and Principe. [email protected] Andrew

 

Napoli striker Victor Osimhen scored four goals as the Super Eagles walloped Sao Tome and Principe 10-0 in a 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier on Monday to give Nigeria their biggest win in history.

Osimhen opened the score sheet in the 9th minute of the tie, before adding one each in the 48th, 65th, and 84th minutes. This was his first hat-trick and haul for the senior team.

Terem Moffi netted twice, just as Oghenekaro Etebo, Simon Moses, and Ademola Lookman got one each in the tie.

Watford star Emmanuel Dennis, who was introduced in the later stages of the match, grabbed a goal to complete the demolition in the game played in Morocco.

READ ALSO: [AFCON 2023] Super Eagles Labour To Beat Sierra Leone In Abuja

Osimhen scored his first hat-trick for the Super Eagles in the game. [email protected]

 

Last week, Jose Peseiro’s men beat Sierra Leone 2-1 in Abuja to open their 2023 AFCON qualifier account. The Super Eagles now top the Group A standings with six points followed by Guinea Bissau on three but with a game at hand.

With five goals, Osimhen is now the top scorer in the qualification series for the competition billed for next summer. Nigeria’s next game in the race for the biennial showpiece is in September when they take on Guinea Bissau.

AFCON 2023: Super Eagles Touch Down In Agadir For Sao Tome Clash

A screenshot shows the Nigerian football delegation disembarking from a plane in Morocco ahead of their match against Sao Tome and Príncipe.

 

Nigeria’s Super Eagles have landed in the southern Moroccan city of Agadir for Monday’s 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match against ‘The Falcons and True Parrots’ of Sao Tome and Príncipe.

The Nigerian delegation touched down at the Aeroport Agadir Almarissa at exactly 8.15am on Sunday, with a total of 25 players as well as a technical and administrative crew.

The Super Eagles beat Sierra Leone 2-1 on matchday one at the MKO Abiola Stadium, Abuja on Thursday, and are hopeful for another three points against ‘The Falcons and True Parrots’ at the Grand Stade Agadir, also known as Adrar Stadium.

Head Coach Jose Peseiro said at the Aeroport Agadir Almarissa that the encounter against ‘The Falcons and True Parrots’ will bring the best out of his team as they seek to go top of the Group A table.

“We want to be the team at the top of the table, so we must fight hard against the opponents,” he said. “Every match, we must commit ourselves fully to winning it.

“As I said earlier in the week, Nigeria have huge pedigree and they also have both quality and quantity of players. It is important that we select the best all the time to win the big games.”

However, Defender and deputy skipper William Ekong and midfielder Innocent Bonke have returned to their respective bases in England and France to attend to injuries copped during the international break.

Bonke was injured in the friendly game against Mexico in Dallas on May 28, while Ekong suffered a groin strain in the 2-1 defeat of Sierra Leone in Abuja on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has appointed Liberian official Hassen Zinnah Corneh as referee for the encounter, with his compatriots Joel Wonka Doe, Ephraim Grant Whengar and Moses Forkpah as assistant referee 1, assistant referee 2 and fourth official respectively.

Alim Konate Aboubakar from Cameroon will be the match commissioner. The match will kick-off 1pm Nigerian time.

NFF 2nd Vice President, Shehu Dikko, led the delegation that also included the General Secretary, Dr Mohammed Sanusi, a number of board members, as well as some NFF management and staff members, stakeholders, and media representatives.

AFCON 2023: Super Eagles Labour To Beat Sierra Leone In Abuja

The Super Eagles did not qualify for the 2022 World Cup. [email protected]

 

Nigeria’s Super Eagles on Thursday achieved a 2-1 victory over Sierra Leone in a Day 1 encounter of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualification series at the MKO Abiola Stadium on Thursday.

The Leone Stars, who fought gallantly to come back from four goals down to tie the match 4-4 in an AFCON qualifier against Nigeria in Benin City in November 2021, showed they mean business as early as the 4th minute when a rasping shot from Mohamed Turay was tipped over the bar by Francis Uzoho.

Two minutes later, a good pass by Aribo was followed by a teasing cross from Calvin Bassey but Victor Osimhen’s header failed to find the target.  In the 10th minute, a brilliant pass from Sadiq Umar found Osimhen, whose shot drifted away.

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At the other end, just a minute after, Jonathan Morsay scored a stunning goal with a diving header from a beautiful cross by Musa Kamara.

Four minutes later, the advantage could have been stretched for the visitors when they hit the upright on another counter-attack.

However, in the 16th minute, Nigeria were level when an exchange of passes between Alex Iwobi and Moses Simon ended with the former emphatically finding the far corner of goalkeeper Mohamed Kamara’s post.

Three minutes later, Kamara saved a strong Moses Simon header, and in the 35th minute, Musa Kamara came close with a stinging grounder as the visitors swarmed forward once more.

Four minutes before halftime, Osimhen scored Nigeria’s second when he drove the ball into the roof of the net from a Simon header off Ola Aina’s cross from the right.

In the second half, the game flowed from one end to the other, but Nigeria should have made it 3-1 in the 58th minute when Iwobi ansd Osimhen carved open the visitors’ defence, only for Samuel Chukwueze to get too much purchase on his shot and drag it wide.

Aribo, Osimhen and substitute Ademola Lookman all missed chances as Nigeria pushed for another goal, but in added time, it took Aribo’s last-second intervention to deny the Leone Stars.

The Eagles pocket three points and are top of Group A, as they head to Agadir, Morocco for their Day 2 encounter against the ‘The Falcons and True Parrots’of São Tomé and Príncipe on Monday evening.

Nigeria Recall Osimhen For Africa Cup Qualifiers

Napoli’s Nigerian forward Victor Osimhen (C) shoots to score his second goal during the Italian Serie A football match between Napoli and Udinese on March 19, 2022 at the Diego-Maradona stadium in Naples. (Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP)

 

Nigeria has recalled Napoli striker Victor Osimhen for 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Sierra Leone and Sao Tome and Principe after missing out on a recent US tour.

The 23-year-old striker is one of several players who did not feature in the Super Eagles friendlies in the United States, but have now been selected for the Africa Cup qualifiers.

The others include skipper Ahmed Musa, Leon Balogun, Zaidu Sanusi, goalkeeper Adebayo Adeleye, Sadiq Umar and Shehu Abdullahi.

READ ALSO: Shakira, Pique Separate After More Than A Decade

Akwa United goalkeeper Adewale Adeyinka and Katsina defender Sani Faisal are the only players from the domestic league who made the final cut after they were part of the squad for the friendly matches against Mexico and Ecuador in the US.

Nigeria hosts Sierra Leone on June 9 in Abuja, before they travel to Morocco to take on Sao Tome and Principe on June 14 in another Group A tie.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (AC Omonia/CYP), Adewale Adeyinka (Akwa United), Adebayo Adeleye (Hapoel Jerusalem/ISR)

Defenders: Olaoluwa Aina (Torino/ITA), William Ekong (Watford/ENG), Abdullahi Shehu (AC Omonia/CYP), Zaidu Sanusi (FC Porto/POR), Chidozie Awaziem (Alanyaspor/TUR), Oluwasemilogo Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion/ENG), Calvin Bassey (Rangers/SCO), Sani Faisal (Katsina United), Leon Balogun (Rangers/SCO), Kenneth Omeruo (Leganes/ESP)

Midfielders: Joseph Ayodele-Aribo (Rangers/SCO), Alex Iwobi (Everton/ENG), Oghenekaro Etebo (Watford/ENG), Innocent Bonke (FC Lorient/FRA), Frank Onyeka (Brentford/ENG)

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Fatih Karagumruk/TUR), Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal/ESP), Moses Simon (FC Nantes/FRA), Victor Osimhen (Napoli/ITA), Cyriel Dessers (Genk/BEL), Ademola Lookman (Leicester City/ENG), Sadiq Umar (Almeria/ESP), Terem Moffi (Lorient/FRA)

Osimhen Wins Serie A U-23 Most Valuable Player Award

File photo of Victor Osimhen

 

Super Eagles striker Victor Osimhen has won the Italian Serie A Most Valuable Player (MVP) for U-23 footballers. 

The Napoli hitman beat Juventus striker Dusan Vlahovic and AC Milan’s Rafael Leao to the prize which was announced on Friday evening.

“Goals, goals, goals. A young striker with the experience of a veteran:
@victorosimhen9 is the best Under-23 of this #SerieA,” the league tweeted on its official handle while unveiling the former U-17 World Cup champion as the winner.

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Osimhen, 23, was out for two months due to a facial injury but managed 14 league goals in 26 games for Napoli who are set to finish the season under review in 3rd spot.

Four out of his 18 goals in 31 games in all competitions were scored in Napoli’s Europa League campaign.

The Nigerian’s future has been a subject of rife speculations for months. Reports are linking him away from the Italian side whom he joined in 2020 for a club and African record fee of €81.3m.

He has been linked to several sides including Arsenal, Manchester United, and lately, Newcastle United.

Three Nigerians Eye Historic Europa League Glory With Rangers

A photo collage of Aribo, Calvin Bassey, and Leon Balogun of Rangers.

 

Joe Aribo, Leon Balogun, and Calvin Bassey will be aiming for history when Glasgow Rangers take on Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League final on Wednesday.

The match could even be more historic if  Rangers’ manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst lists the Nigerians in the squad for the tie in Seville.

Wednesday’s match is another landmark game. It will be the first time three Nigerians will feature for a club that got to the European final. Finidi George and Nwankwo Kanu played for Ajax in the 1995 Champions League final against AC Milan while Mikel Obi and Victor Moses were part of the Chelsea team that won the Europa League in 2013.

READ ALSO: [WAFU B Tournament] Nigeria Reaches Final, Qualify For 2023 U20 AFCON

‘The Boys Are Buzzing’

Rangers’ Nigerian midfielder Joseph Ayodele-Aribo attends a team training session at the Rangers Training Centre in Glasgow on May 12, 2022, ahead of their Europa League final football match against Eintracht Frankfurt on May 18th. ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP

 

Rangers face the Germans in Seville aiming to add to their 1971/72 Cup Winners’ Cup success.

Victory for Rangers will be a huge compensation for the trio who featured as Nigeria failed to make the 2022 World Cup.

But Aribo is determined to banish the memories of the World Cup miss and Nigeria’s Round of 16 crash at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

“All the boys are buzzing. We know what an opportunity we have and we are ready to go, to be honest,” Aribo said.

‘It’s Just Crazy’

Leon Balogun scored in the team’s run to the final. [email protected] Balogun.

 

For Calvin Bassey, 22, playing in the Europa League final is a dream come true.

“When I look at it four years ago, I was just like an U18s footballer. I’m in the youth team and now four years on I can potentially play in the Europa League final,” he told Rangers’ TV.

“It is just crazy just looking at how far I have come and how happy I am every day for being here and just being a part of it.”

Balogun’s Role

Bassey’s compatriot, Balogun will be playing in his first European Cup final. The 33-year-old should be in the matchday squad if fit. Already, he has a goal to his name in the competition. He was on the scoresheet for Rangers against Crvena Zvezda.

Overall, he has played 10 games for Van Bronckhorst’s men in the Europa League this season.

‘Chance… To Be In History Books’

Giovanni Van Bronckhorst (R) during his time at Feyenoord Rotterdam. Credit: Van Bronckhorst/Twitter
File photo: Giovanni Van Bronckhorst (R) during his time at Feyenoord Rotterdam. Credit: Van Bronckhorst/Twitter

 

The game is also hugely significant for the club. When administration, liquidation, and relegation all blighted a broken Rangers in 2012, none thought they would be so swift in recovering.

But if the Rangers’ recovery was complete when they won the Scottish Premiership again last season, a final in Seville now offers them a shot at European glory too.

“We’re one game away from making history,” Rangers midfielder Aaron Ramsey said on Monday as the squad departed for Spain, the final leg of a journey that began eight months ago in defeat and disappointment.

With the chance to play in the Champions League on the back of winning the Scottish title, Rangers instead lost to Malmo in the third qualifying round, a result that set up a play-off to reach the Europa League with Alashkert from Armenia.

There were more prestigious opponents to come as Rangers, under Giovanni van Bronckhorst from November after Steven Gerrard left for Aston Villa, defeated Borussia Dortmund, Red Star Belgrade, Braga, and Leipzig in the knock-out rounds to reach their first European final in 14 years.

A victory would earn the club its first cup on the continent since Rangers beat Dynamo Moscow 3-2 in Barcelona to lift the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1972.

“This is a chance for them to be in the history books of this club and really get a historic win,” said Van Bronckhorst.

“Then the stories they will tell in years to come will be the same stories that the players from 1972 tell to my players.

“I’ve said it before you have to dream of something to really achieve it. You can work hard and really give everything to achieve your goal and that is beautiful.”

NFF Names Jose Peseiro As New Super Eagles Head Coach

In this file photo, former Venezuela’s Portuguese 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

 

Jose Peseiro has been named as the Super Eagles head coach, months after his initial deal with Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) collapsed. 

An NFF statement on Sunday said the appointment is “with immediate effect, subject to the signing of agreed terms” between the football body and the Portuguese.

“Peseiro is expected to lead out the Super Eagles for the first time during the upcoming tour of the United States of America, during which the three-time African champions will slug it out with Mexico and Ecuador ‘A’ Teams in prestige friendlies,” the statement added.

“The Eagles will tango with the El Tri at the AT & T Stadium in Dallas, the State of Texas on Saturday, 28th May before flying to New Jersey to confront Ecuador at the Red Bull Arena in Harrison on Thursday, 2nd June.”

The educationist with a degree in physical education/sports sciences will be assisted by former international George Finidi. Salisu Yusuf will now serve as the 2nd Assistant as well as head coach of the CHAN and U-23 national teams.

“Usman Abdallah is 3rd Assistant while Eboboritse Uwejamomere will be the match analyst and another former Nigeria international, Ike Shorounmu will be the goalkeepers’ trainer,” the NFF said.

Peseiro, 62, featured as a striker during his playing days and has a wide range of experience coaching several clubs and national teams across Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America.

He has coached at Sporting Lisbon, FC Porto, Panathinaikos, Rapid Bucharest, Sporting Braga, Victoria Guimaraes, Al-Hilal, Al-Wahda, Al-Ahly Cairo, Sharjah FC, and Real Madrid (assistant coach during the Galacticos era).

Aside from these, he worked as head coach of the Saudi Arabian and Venezuelan national teams.

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

Another ‘Opportunity To Work’

In this file photo, ex-Sporting coach Jose Peseiro gestures from the sideline during the Portuguese league football match between Sporting CP and Boavista FC at the Jose Alvalade stadium in Lisbon on October 28, 2018. PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA / AFP

 

Before Sunday’s confirmation, the Glass House had appointed Peseiro as the head coach of the three-time African champions following Gernot Rohr’s dismissal in December. Austin Eguavoen was handed an interim coach role to take Nigeria to the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

Peseiro was then expected to be an observer during the competition after which he would take over and lead the country to the ill-fated World Cup play-off with Ghana.

But the NFF backtracked on the move after the AFCON, citing the “positive performance” of the team at the competition where Nigeria crashed out in the round of 16 against Tunisia.

“We believe that perhaps in the future, there could be an opportunity to work with him,” the NFF said while announcing the reconstitution of the Super Eagles coaching crew in February.

In the wake of the decision, Peseiro refuted claims that he was confirmed as the Nigerian head coach.

The former Porto FC boss wrote on his Instagram handle that it was a “fact that I never confirmed and these (negotiations) did not materialize due to disagreement regarding contractual clauses and financial matters.”

Days after the Super Eagles of  Nigeria failed to pick one of Africa’s tickets to the 2022 World Cup, Eguavoen, however, quit his post.

FIRST 11: Serena Williams’ Chelsea Ownership Push+Top Sports Stories This Week

 

With the sanctions on Russian businesses biting harder, the quest for a new Chelsea owner has been ramped up. This time, tennis icon Serena Williams and F1 great Lewis Hamilton, are the ones pushing to own a stake in the Premier League club.  

The Super Eagles also knew their opponents for the 2023 AFCON qualifiers just as the team’s former coach Gernot Rohr awaits FIFA’s verdict over his sack.  These and more are some of the top sports stories covered in First 11 this week.

READ ALSO: Chelsea Bidders Set To Discover Their Fate

Condolences Pour As Ronaldo Loses Baby

We kick off from England where torrents of condolence messages have been poured in for Cristiano Ronaldo following his son’s death. The former Real Madrid star and wife confirmed their baby boy’s demise in a social media post.

Manchester United, his former clubs, players, and fans thronged social media to comfort the multiple Champions League winner over the sad incident.

The Portuguese star was excused from United’s tie with Liverpool earlier in the week. He, however, was available for selection as the Red Devils lost to Arsenal on Saturday.

Maguire Gets Bomb Threat

Still in Manchester United. Team captain Harry Maguire received a bomb threat but it was unknown who was behind it.

Cheshire Constabulary swept the 29-year-old’s home to ensure his safety. Maguire was up for selection against the Gunners.

The English defender, who stays with his fiancee and two kids, is having a turbulent campaign and has been the subject of stinging criticism from pundits and jeers from fans.

Man United Name Coach

Meanwhile, Manchester United has appointed Erik ten Hag as their manager next season.

The 52-year-old, who has signed a three-year contract, faces a huge task to revive the Red Devils’ fortunes after a fifth consecutive trophyless season. The Dutchman becomes the fifth permanent manager at Old Trafford since Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013 sent the 20-time English champions into decline.

Drogba, Others Inducted Into EPL Hall of Fame

Equally, Manchester United legend, Paul Scholes was in the news this week. The Englishman joined Didier Drogba and Sergio Aguero as the latest inductee into the EPL Hall of Fame.

Vincent Kompany, Ian Wright, and Peter Schmeichel alongside Wayne Rooney and Patrick Vieira are also in the “Class of 2022” inductees.

Serena, Hamilton Join Chelsea Bid

For Man United’s rivals, Chelsea, the sanctions on owner Roman Abramovich over Russia’s war with Ukraine are set to cause major changes in the team. The club has been up for sale and tennis icon Serena Williams as well as Formula 1 legend Lewis Hamilton have expressed interest in having a stake in the London side.

They will be investing about £20m into a consortium to buy Chelsea and both are part of a group of investors backing the European champions’ takeover offer spearheaded by Sir Martin Broughton.

Serena and Hamilton have each pledged £10m to the bid. Lord Coe is believed to be part of the British-led consortium.

Russia, Belarussian Players Banned From Wimbledon

Aside from football, the Russian-Ukraine war is creating ripples in other sports. Earlier in the week, Russian players were barred from Wimbledon. Belarussian players were also affected, the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC) said.

US Open champion Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev; Aryna Sabalenka, and women’s four Victoria Azarenka are some of the top players affected. The move drew wide criticism from players, fans, and others stakeholders in the tennis world.

But Russian officials have rejected the ban, describing it as “unacceptable”.

Nigeria Paired For AFCON Qualifiers

In Nigeria, the Super Eagles were paired with Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone, and either Sao Tome or Mauritius in the qualifiers for next year’s AFCON. The draws were held in Jo’burg, South Africa, and qualifications for the tournament will start in May.

The Super Eagles, who failed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, will also be aiming to make amends for their early exit at the last AFCON. The Super Eagles failed to qualify for the 2015 and 2017 editions and won bronze in Egypt in 2019.

Rohr Awaits FIFA Verdict

The development came as a former coach of the team, Gernot Rohr, awaits FIFA’s verdict over his sack. Rohr had reported the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to the football body for breaching contractual terms.

Reports suggest that FIFA had concluded their investigations and are set to deliver judgment on the $1m claims being made by former Niger Republic gaffer. The Franco-German had met all conditions in his contract but was sacked with one year left in the deal. While the NFF said it would pay Rohr his salary until the end of his contract, the ex-Niger boss took the NFF to FIFA. He is seeking compensation for his ‘unfair’ dismissal.

Kano Pillars Sanctioned, Banished

On the local scene, Kano Pillars were sanctioned for fans’ hooliganism. The former Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) champions were fined N9m and banished to Abuja for the rest of the season following the incident which took place last weekend. The club’s fans have, however, condemned the attack which led to the destruction of the visiting team’s bus.

Pele Hospitalised Again

Away from Nigeria, football great Pele was hospitalized in Sao Paulo as part of his treatment for colon cancer.

But the clinical condition of Edson Arantes do Nascimento is “good and stable, and he should be discharged from hospital in the next few days,” the Albert Einstein Hospital said on Tuesday.

Before his diagnosis of colon cancer, which led to Pele being hospitalized for a month last year, the former star of Santos and the Brazilian team was hospitalized in Paris in 2019 and transferred to Sao Paulo to have a kidney stone removed.

Five years before then, he was in intensive care due to a urinary tract infection that forced him to undergo dialysis on his left kidney. The right one was removed in the 1970s due to an injury when he was still a player.

Maradona Shirt Auction Opens

The auction for the jersey worn by Pele’s late friend, Diego Maradona, when he scored twice against England in the 1986 World Cup, including the infamous “hand of God” goal, kicked off with a bid of over $5 million.

Sotheby’s is selling the blue number 10 Argentina shirt in an online sale that runs until May 4. Hours after bidding opened, the site showed that the first offer of £4 million ($5.2 million) — matching the low end of the auction house’s pre-sale estimate — had been registered. That would set a new record price for a football jersey at auction.

The record for a game-worn shirt from any sport is $5.6 million, set in 2019 for a jersey Babe Ruth wore while on the New York Yankees.

2023 AFCON Qualifier: Nigeria Draw Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau And Sao Tome

Super Eagles Of Nigeria
A file photo of the Super Eagles Team. Daniel BELOUMOU OLOMO / AFP

 

The draw for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying groups were made in Johannesburg on Tuesday and put Nigeria in the same group with Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tome.

The matches are expected to begin in May.

Winners and runners-up in each group except H qualify for the 24-team finals in the Ivory Coast during June and July 2023.

READ ALSO: Guardiola Keeps Mum On Haaland To Man City Talks

Ivory Coast automatically qualify from Group H as tournament hosts, along with the highest placed of the other three teams

Kenya and Zimbabwe are suspended by FIFA due to government interference in the running of the sport and they will be allowed to compete only if the bans are lifted by mid May

Meanwhile, Mauritius have protested a 4-3 aggregate loss to Sao Tome e Principe in the preliminary round and the outcome of a disciplinary hearing will decide which nation competes in Group A.

See full outcome of the draw below

Group A: Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tome e Principe or Mauritius

Group B: Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Togo, Eswatini

Group C: Cameroon, Kenya, Namibia, Burundi

Group D: Egypt, Guinea, Malawi, Ethiopia

Group E: Ghana, Madagascar, Angola, Central African Republic

Group F: Algeria, Uganda, Niger, Tanzania

Group G: Mali, Congo Brazzaville, Gambia, South Sudan

Group H: Ivory Coast (hosts), Zambia, Comoros, Lesotho

Group I: Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Mauritania, Sudan

Group J: Tunisia, Equatorial Guinea, Libya, Botswana

Group K: Morocco, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Liberia

Group L: Senegal (holders), Benin, Mozambique, Rwanda

NFF Appoints Coaches For CHAN, U-20, U-17 Male National Teams

pinnick_1
File photo of NFF President, Amaju Pinnick.

 

The Executive Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation has approved the recommendation of its Technical and Development Sub-Committee for the appointment of Salisu Yusuf as the Head Coach of the Super Eagles B (otherwise known as CHAN team) as well as the U23 (Olympics) team.

The NFF also stated process of hiring a new Head Coach for the Super Eagles is ongoing and will be make an official announcement and unveiling when the engagement and contract signing is done.

The NFF Executive Committee has also approved the recommendation of the Technical & Development Sub-Committee for the new Head Coach to work with Coach Salisu Yusuf (whenever he is available from Super Eagles B/- Team duties) as 1st Assistant. Former Nigeria international Finidi George will be the 2nd Assistant, with Usman Abdallah as the 3rd Assistant. Eboboritse Uwejamomere will be the Match Analyst and another former Nigeria international, Ike Shorounmu will be the Goalkeepers’ Trainer.

Yusuf, who was Head Coach of the Super Eagles B when the team emerged runner-up in the African Nations Championship in Morocco in 2018, will work with Kennedy Boboye (Assistant Coach); Fatai Osho (Assistant Coach); Abubakar Bala Mohammed (Assistant Coach); Fidelis Ikechukwu (Assistant Coach); Eboboritse Uwejamomere (Match Analyst) and Ike Shorounmu (Goalkeepers’ Trainer) and Suleiman Shuaibu (Goalkeepers’ Trainer 2).

In other appointments, Ladan Bosso has been retained as Head Coach of the U-20 Boys. He will work with former U-17 Head Coach, Fatai Amao (Assistant Coach); Oladuni Oyekale (Assistant Coach); Jolomi Atune Alli (Assistant Coach), and; Baruwa Olatunji Abideen (Goalkeepers’ Trainer)

Nduka Ugbade will lead theb U-17 team, the Golden Eaglets. He will work with Ahmad Lawal Dankoli (Assistant Coach); Omoniyi Haruna Ilerika (Assistant Coach); Yemi Daniel (Assistant Coach) and; Mohammed Nasiru Isah (Goalkeepers’ Trainer). Ugbade captained Nigeria’s first cadet team that won the FIFA U-16 World Cup in China in 1985.

For the U-13/15 Boys known as Future Eagles, Patrick Bassey will be Head Coach and will work with Abdullahi Tyabo Umar (Assistant Coach); Mohammed Kalli Kachalla (Assistant Coach); Ifeanyi Uba (Assistant Coach); Alh. Mohammed Kwairanga (Assistant Coach) and; Abubakar Abdullahi (Goalkeepers’ Trainer).

Contract Termination: Huesca Threaten Legal Action, Says Nwakali’s Claims Lack ‘Veracity’

Nwakali is a former Nigerian youth international. [email protected]

 

Spanish side Huesca have threatened legal action against Super Eagles midfielder Kelechi Nwakali over his claims that the club terminated his contract for representing Nigeria at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) earlier in the year. 

The club terminated his contract on Tuesday, claiming the player reported 10 days late after the competition and gave “incredible stories” for his lateness.

Although Nwakali broke silence over the matter on Wednesday, accusing Huesca of intimidation, the Segunda side have dismissed the claims, describing them as lacking “veracity”.

“On the statements made by Kelechi Nwakali earlier today after [a] premature termination of the contract that bound him and SD Huesca, the club wishes to express its total repudiation given their complete lack of veracity,” Huesca said in a statement issued on their website, hours after Nwakali’s outburst.

“All of this is done in the conviction that the club has acted at all times with the utmost respect for the player.

“Nevertheless, in view of the seriousness of certain statements referred to in his notice, this club reserves for itself the right to take the appropriate legal action to defend its rights to protect their legitimate interests.”

READ ALSO: Nwakali Accuses Huesca Of Contract Termination For Representing Nigeria At AFCON

‘I Will Never Regret My Decision’

Nigeria won all group stage game at the AFCON. [email protected]

 

Before Huesca’s comment, the Spanish Soccer Players Association (AFE) had vowed to challenge the contract termination, arguing that the move violated labour rights.

“In the face of the numerous information that is appearing, some erroneous, AFE wants to clarify that the dismissal will be challenged – as it cannot be otherwise – before the courts of the city of Huesca with the aim of continuing to safeguard the labor rights of the footballer,” the association said in a statement.

“AFE understands that, with this unilateral resolution adopted by the club, the labor rights of Kelechi Nwakali have clearly been violated.”

Despite the debacle, Nwakali insists he does not regret representing Nigeria at Africa’s premier football competition.

Playing for the three-time AFCON champions is an honour, the former youth international said in a lengthy post in which he accused Huesca of delaying his wages.

“I will never regret my decision to represent Nigeria and all I want to do is get back to playing the sport I love,” he maintained.

“Lastly, I want to thank the fans and my teammates of Huesca who have been amazing during my time here. I have always given 100% for the club, despite my treatment over the past three years.”

Football authorities in Nigeria have not commented on the issue. FIFA and CAF have also not issued any statement on the matter as of the time of publishing this report.

Nwakali Accuses Huesca Of Contract Termination For Representing Nigeria At AFCON

Nwakali is a former Nigerian youth international. [email protected]

 

Super Eagles midfielder Kelechi Nwakali has accused Spanish side Huesca of intimidation, claiming the club terminated his contract for representing Nigeria at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON). 

The player made the comment in a post on his Instagram handle, hours after the Segunda Division side confirmed that his contract has been terminated even before it was due to expire in June.

Nwakali, who lamented the ill-treatment from the club, accused them of withholding his wages.

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A post shared by Kelechi Nwakali (@nwakali25)

“It comes with huge regret that I am writing this message after SD Huesca announced the termination of my contract,” the former youth international began in the lengthy post.

“I have kept silent out of respect for the Huesca fans and my teammates, but I will no longer suffer in silence. The time has come for people to know the truth and why these past few months have been awful for me and my family.

“In December 2021, I experienced the biggest honour of my life after I received a full international call up for my beloved Nigeria.

“But the joy of this moment quickly came crashing down when the club’s sporting director, Ruben Garcia, put extreme pressure on me not to go to AFCON due to it ‘not being an important tournament’. He told me that if I go to AFCON I will not play for Huesca again. This behaviour and the lack of respect shown to my country Nigeria was truly heart-breaking and it was just the latest example of the club attempting to bully me into getting their own way.

“For months the club has been abusing its power to bully me into signing a new contract. These tactics have included paying me late on numerous contracts.

“The breakdown in negotiations came when my mother fell ill and I asked Ruben for the wages the club already owed me in order to pay for my mother’s hospital bill and treatment. Ruben Garcia responded to my request by saying: ‘Sign this new contract and we will pay you what’s owed tonight’.

“But despite these actions, I was not going to allow the club to stop me from representing my country at one of the biggest international tournaments in the world and I was honoured to join my teammates in Cameroon.

“Before Nigeria’s last 16 game against Tunisia on 23rd January 2022, I began to feel unwell and was diagnosed with a respiratory tract infection. As a result, I was not fit enough to play in the game against Tunisia. After we were eliminated from the tournament I was unable to return to the club immediately as planned because of my illness following advice from the doctor.

“Throughout this time, Huesca have not paid my wages, yet I have remained silent hoping that a reasonable resolution could be found. But yesterday when I turned up at the training ground, a member of the club tried to force me to sign mutual termination papers which I refused to do. I have a family that depends on me, and no player should have to go through this inhumane treatment.”

An Unregretable Decision

(Top L-R) Nigeria’s goalkeeper Maduka Okoye, defender Kenneth Omeruo, midfielder Wilfred Ndidi, forward Taiwo Awoniyi, midfielder Joe Aribo, defender William Troost-Ekong, (bottom L-R) forward Kelechi Iheanacho, defender Ola Aina, defender Zaidu Sanusi, forward Samuel Chukwueze and forward Moses Simon pose prior to the Group D Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2021 football match between Nigeria and Sudan at Stade Roumde Adjia in Garoua on January 15, 2022. Daniel BELOUMOU OLOMO / AFP

 

Despite the treatment, he maintained that he does not regret playing for Nigeria at the competition.

“I will never regret my decision to represent Nigeria and all I want to do is get back to playing the sport I love,” he wrote.

“Lastly, I want to thank the fans and my teammates of Huesca who have been amazing during my time here. I have always given 100% for the club, despite my treatment over the past three years.”

Meanwhile, the Spanish Players’ Association (AFE) has pledged to wade into the matter and challenge the decision in court.

“In the face of the numerous information that is appearing, some erroneous, AFE wants to clarify that the dismissal will be challenged – as it cannot be otherwise – before the courts of the city of Huesca with the aim of continuing to safeguard the labor rights of the footballer,” the association said in a statement.

“AFE understands that, with this unilateral resolution adopted by the club, the labor rights of Kelechi Nwakali have clearly been violated.”