Alampasu Returns As Osimhen Leads Eagles Invitees For Ivory Coast, Tunisia

A file photos of Super Eagles of Nigeria during a training session.

 

Dele Alampasu, Kelechi Iheanacho and Victor Osimhen are among players invited for the Super Eagles friendly games against Ivory Coast and Tunisia. 

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) released the list of invitees for the matches – billed to hold next month –  on its verified Twitter handle, Thursday.

Alampasu, 23, returns to the Eagles for the first time since the team played out a 1-1 draw with Cameroon in a 2018 World Cup qualifiers in Yaounde, 2017.

Maduka Okoye who made his debut for Nigeria in a 2-2 draw against Brazil in October 2019, and Matthew Yakubu, are among the three goalkeepers invited for the games.

Expectedly, Napoli forward Victor Osimhen, Moses Simon, Samuel Chukwueze, and captain Ahmed Musa, were also handed a call up for the tune-up fixtures.

World Cup Live: Nigeria Chase Victory Against Iceland
File photo: Iceland’s midfielder Aron Gunnarsson (C) vies with Nigeria’s forward Kelechi Iheanacho (L) during the match at the Volgograd Arena in Volgograd on June 22, 2018. NICOLAS ASFOURI / AFP.

 

Leicester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho is also among the players invited for the matches after he was dropped for the Nigerian team that came third at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt.

Tyronne Ebuehi who is back after a long injury lay-off is on standby alongside AS Monaco’s Henry Onyekuru and others.

Tyronne Ebuehi featured for Nigeria at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Photo: [email protected]

 

FULL LIST OF EAGLES INVITEES FOR TUNISIA, IVORY COAST GAMES

Goalkeepers

Dele Alampasu (FK Ventspils, Latvia); Matthew Yakubu (SKF Sered, Slovakia); Maduka Okoye (Sparta Rotterdam, The Netherlands)

Defenders

Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Leon Balogun (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Chidozie Awaziem (FC Boavista, Portugal); William Ekong (Udinese FC, Italy); Olaoluwa Aina (Fulham FC, England); Jamilu Collins (SC Paderborn 07, Germany); Oluwasemilogo Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion, England); Zaidu Sanusi (FC Porto, Portugal)

Midfielders

Mikel Agu (Vitoria Guimaraes, Portugal); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Frank Onyeka (FC Midtjylland, Denmark); Oghenekaro Etebo (Galatasary SK, Turkey); Samson Tijani (TSV Hartberg, Austria)

Forwards

Ahmed Musa (Al Nassr, Saudi Arabia); Alex Iwobi (Everton FC, England); Victor Osimhen (SSC Napoli, Italy); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal FC, Spain); Cyril Dessers (KRC Genk, Belgium); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Samuel Kalu (Girondins Bordeaux, France); Chidera Ejuke (CSKA Moscow, Russia)

Standby

Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor, Turkey); Ramon Azeez (Granada CF, Spain); Joshua Maja (Girondins Bordeaux, France); Henry Onyekuru (AS Monaco, France); Tyronne Ebuehi (FC Twente, Netherlands).

Two-Step Forward

The Eagles recently moved two places to 29th in the latest world rankings. This is the first time FIFA will be releasing the rankings in six months.

In the latest rankings released by the football governing body on Thursday, Nigeria got 1493 points even though they did not play a game within the period under review.

Gernot Rohr’s men are now third on the continent, trailing Senegal (20th) and Tunisia (26th) in first and second respectively.

Nigeria Move To 29th In FIFA Rankings As Ronaldo’s Portugal Join Top Five

A file photo of Super Eagles. AFP photo

 

The Super Eagles have moved two places to 29th in the latest world rankings. This is the first time FIFA will be releasing the rankings in six months. 

In the latest rankings released by the football governing body on Thursday, Nigeria got 1493 points even though they did not play a game within the period under review.

READ ALSO: Neymar Banned Two Matches As League Opens Racism Probe

Gernot Rohr’s men are now third on the continent, trailing Senegal (20th) and Tunisia (26th) in first and second respectively.

Algeria (35), Morocco (43), Ghana (46), Egypt (51), Cameroon (53), Mali (57) and DR Congo (57) in that order, make up the top ten on the continent.

Nigeria last played November 2019 against Lesotho in an African Cup of Nations qualifier.

Although they were billed to play a double-header against Sierra Leone in a 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier, the match was, however, moved due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

READ ALSO: Liverpool Reach Agreement With Bayern Munich For Thiago Alcantara

In October, the 1994 African champions will take on Ivory Coast and Tunisia in two tune-up games in Austria.

A file photo of Super Eagles of Nigeria during a training session.

 

On the global scene, Portugal joined the top five, moving from seventh to fifth on the back of their spectacular UEFA Nations League games played earlier in September.

Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo (L) shoots past Sweden's defender Filip Helander (C) and Sweden's defender Pontus Jansson during the UEFA Nations League football match between Sweden and Portugal on September 8, 2020 in Solna, Sweden. Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP
File photo: Portugal’s forward Cristiano Ronaldo (L) shoots past Sweden’s defender Filip Helander (C) and Sweden’s defender Pontus Jansson during the UEFA Nations League football match between Sweden and Portugal on September 8, 2020 in Solna, Sweden. Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP

 

Belgium are still number one in the world, followed by France, Brazil and England respectively.

Uruguay, Spain, Croatia, Argentina and Colombia make up the first 10 from sixth respectively.

FIFA will release the next rankings on October 22nd, 2020.

 

Super Eagles To Play Ivory Coast, Tunisia In October

A file photo of Super Eagles players onfield. AFP photo

 

The Super Eagles of Nigeria will play friendly matches against the Ivory Coast and Tunisia in Austria next month.

In a tweet on Wednesday, President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Amaju Pinnick said the Super Eagles would face the Ivory Coast on October 9 and four days later take on Tunisia in another tie.

 

Due to postponements caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Nigeria last played in November 2019, a 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match against Lesotho in Maseru, which they won 4-2.

The Eagles are scheduled to also take on Sierra Leone in two qualifying matches for the 2021 Cup of Nations in November.

The matches were to have been played in March, but were rescheduled due to the virus.

Nigeria leads its qualifying group for the continental tournament, which will now be played in 2022 in Cameroon, with six points from two matches.

Benin, Lesotho, and Sierra Leone are the other teams in this group with the top two teams advancing to the tournament finals.

Premier League Side Crystal Palace Sign Super Eagles Prospect Ebere Eze

Ebere eze
Ebere has represented England at U-20 and U21 levels. Photo: [email protected] Palace.

 

 

Eberechi Eze became Roy Hodgson’s most expensive signing in his time as Crystal Palace manager on Friday, joining for a reported £20 million ($26.5 million) from second-tier Queens Park Rangers.

Hodgson saw off rivals West Bromwich Albion and West Ham to secure the signature of the 22-year-old forward, who penned a five-year contract.

Eze, who scored 20 goals in 112 appearances for QPR and has been capped at Under-20 and Under-21 level by England, said Palace offered the chance for him to develop as a player. he

“As a football club, I feel like there are great players here and it’s a brilliant opportunity for me to come and be with these players, to link up with them and to really push on,” he said in a club statement.

Palace succeeded at the third time of asking after having bids of £8 million and £12 million rejected.

“Eberechi is a player whose development we have followed closely,” said Palace chairman Steve Parish.

“We are delighted he has chosen to sign for us over the other clubs that were interested and we feel that this is the right club for him to continue his development.”

QPR manager Mark Warburton had stipulated Eze would only leave if the club’s £20 million valuation was met.

The deal is reportedly for £16 million upfront with £4 million in potential add-ons.

Belgium striker Christian Benteke remains Palace’s most expensive signing, bought for an initial £27 million in August 2016.

AFP

Former Eagles Captain Mikel Obi Joins Stoke City

Mikel Obi won the Champions League with Chelsea in 2012. Photo: [email protected] City

 

 

A former Super Eagles captain, Mikel Obi has joined English Championship side, Stoke City ahead of the 2020/2021 season. 

The team confirmed the signing of the former Chelsea star on a free transfer on Monday.

“The [ex]Nigerian international midfielder joins Morgan Fox, James Chester and Steven Fletcher in checking in at the Bet365 Stadium ahead of the 2020/21 Championship season,” the club said on their website.

 

 

EPL Dream

Mikel had in March left Turkish Super Lig club Trabzonspor and becomes the fourth signing for Michael O’Neill’s team.

According to O’Neill, Mikel has invaluable experience which would help the team, explaining that he was impressed with the Nigerian when he first met him.

“We spent four hours talking and he made it clear he wants to get back into the Premier League and finish his career there and hopefully he can do that with Stoke City,” the coach said.

‘Winning Mentality’

For the player, joining the Potters is the beginning of a new chapter in his life, one he hopes will bring a winning mentality.

“If I can bring that experience and winning mentality here, then I will be happy,” Mikel said.

 

During his stint with Chelsea, the former Lyn Oslo midfielder made 370 appearances for the Blues, and won three FA Cups, as well as landing the domestic league twice.

He also won the Champions League and Europa League with the London side before he left for Chinese Super League outfit, Tianjin TEDA in 2017.

The 2016 Olympics bronze medalist was to later return to England in a short-term deal with Middlesbrough in January 2019.

File photo of Mikel who featured 370 times for Chelsea.

 

Mikel had 91 caps for the Super Eagles before his retirement from international football in 2019.

Aiyenugba Returns To NPFL, Wants Matches Back On TV

A file photo of former Super Eagles goalkeeper, Dele Aiyenugba.

 

Former Super Eagles goalkeeper, Dele Aiyenugba, is excited to return to the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) after a successful career in Israel.

Aiyenugba rejoins his childhood club, Kwara United from Israeli side Hapoel Afula ahead of the 2020/2021 season which is expected to start in September/October subject to the Federal Government’s approval due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an interview with Channels Sports, Aiyenugba says he is extremely happy with the reception and attention his return is generating and intends to use the opportunity to develop young goalkeepers at the club and also bring more followership to the league.

“I started from Kwara and want to give back to the state. I think in Nigeria, we have a lot of young goalkeepers and I want to give back to the fans and add colour to the league.

“I’m so happy coming back home and didn’t expect the kind of reception I got from fans; the way people received me coming to Nigeria league, I felt so great,” the goalkeeper stated.

Aiyenugba started his career with Kwara United in 1998 and moved to Enyimba in 2001 where he recorded more success, winning the league title four times in 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2007.

He was part of the historic squad that won the CAF Champions League back-to-back in 2003 and 2004, as well as the African Super Cup in 2004 and 2005. In 2007, he left Nigeria for Israeli side Bnei Yehuda.

 

Israeli Football Reflection

After spending nine years with Bnei Yehuda, making 294 appearances, Aiyenugba joined Hapoel Ashkelon where he made 62 appearances in two years.

The former Enyimba goalie also played for Hapoel Iksal in 2018, and later joined Hapoel Afula in 2019.

Reflecting on his playing career in Israel, Aiyeugba believes the perception of black players, especially goalkeepers have changed in recent times.

He said, “Before now, they don’t consider blacks as good goalkeepers but things are changing now, when I moved to Israel, you need to be extraordinary good with great talent. When I first travelled, it was very difficult but I needed to adapt to fit in.

“Israel is a fun place to play football, people always think that they are fighting wars, but it doesn’t affect the football aspect because the security there is very tight; people love football.”

“You will see a kid, between four to five years old knowing all the names of players, including the foreign players.

“So, it’s a good place to play football but not for the young ones to stay long, you can play there for two-three years and move to Europe,” he stated.

File: NPFL logo

 

Bringing Quality To Kwara United

Armed with success and experience from the Israeli league, Aiyenugba is keen to make Kwara United a title-winning team again and will also want to contribute to the club’s academy known for producing top stars.

The goalkeeper said, “My second child is already a goalkeeper in Kwara United academy and he is currently on a scholarship, I’m so excited to train him, to support him and other kids and make them great.

“The officials, the management are very ready to bring something back to Kwara State because it’s been a long time that the state won a trophy.

“They really want to win something and I want to be part of it and make the fans come back to the stadium.”

 

League Matches On TV

The suspension of the NPFL since March due to the COVID-19 outbreak has provided an opportunity for the League Management Company (LMC), to come up with rules that would ensure the enforcement of club licencing.

Ayenugba, therefore, advised clubs to use the period to upgrade facilities and comply fully with all necessary measures before the start of the season.

He also commended the changes the LMC has brought to the league but charged them to do more, particularly in televising live matches and make it more glamorous and secure endorsements for players.

The goalkeeper said, “They are really trying, league football has really changed. I just want them to do more advert, more endorsement for the players because you can ask a kid who is your best player in the Nigerian league; I don’t think they will give you an answer.

“So, they need to do more for top players and put the game on TV, it is very important and I know they can do it.”

“The health and financial aspect is changing and that’s good but the most important thing is for them to televise the game, put it on air and people should come out to the stadium, you know it will be very nice,” he added.

Dele Aiyenugba made 17 appearances for the Super Eagles and his last outing was in November 2011 in the 2-2 draw against Guinea in Abuja.

Eagles Forward Kalu Beats COVID-19, Resumes Bordeaux Training

samuel-kalu
Samuel Kalu was part of the Nigerian side that won a bronze medal at the 2019 AFCON. Photo: [email protected] Girondins Bordeaux

 

 

Super Eagles forward, Samuel Kalu has recovered from COVID-19 and has resumed training with his French team, Girondins Bordeaux.

Kalu, 22, rejoined his teammates in training on Sunday after testing negative to the virus.

The Ligue 1 side tweeted a photo of the Nigerian winger to announce his return to full training.

On July 6, Kalu confirmed he had tested positive to the virus which has ravaged the world, including football.

 

 

Immediately he tested positive to COVID-19, he went on a compulsory 14-day self-isolation with his next test coming out negative.

 

 

 

The Nigerian’s return comes as the club continue their preparations for the 2020-21 season after a  4-2 defeat to Saint Etienne on Saturday.

 

File photo: Nigeria’s midfielder Wilfred Ndidi (L) and Nigeria’s forward Samuel Kalu (2nd-L) attend a training session in Alexandria, northern Egypt, on June 21, 2019, on the eve of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) football match between Nigeria and Burundi. / AFP

 

Although he scored twice in 19 games for the French outfit, he is attracting a lot of interests from top teams in Europe and will be seeking for an improved performance this coming campaign.

Kalu played in Nigeria’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) bronze-medal winning team and was taken to the hospital on the eve of the Eagles opening game in the competition after he slumped in training.

About two weeks ago, his compatriot, Paul Onuachu, had tested negative for coronavirus, after he was confirmed to have contracted the virus on July 8.

 

 

 

Napoli Sign Super Eagles Striker Osimhen

Osimhen
Osimhen won the 2015 U-17 World Cup with Nigeria. Photo: [email protected] SSC Napoli.

 

Italian side, Napoli have signed Super Eagles striker, Victor Osimhen, the club confirmed in a statement on Friday. 

“Welcome to Napoli, Victor, ” the club said on their Twitter handle while confirming the arrival of the Nigerian from the French side, Lille.

 

“Can’t wait to put on this iconic jersey, thank you for the warm welcome @sscnapoli #forzanapolisempre,” the player tweeted following the confirmation of his switch.

 


Although no official fee was announced for the signing of the 21-year-old striker, several sources claim the deal is worth over $96 million (81.3m Euros) which makes the forward one of the most expensive African player of all time.

READ ALSO: Arteta Hopes FA Cup Win Convinces Aubameyang To Stay At Arsenal

Osimhen’s move to the Gli Azzurri trumps the prize Arsenal paid for Ivory Coast forward, Nicolas Pepe last year.

Last term, the former Charleroi (from where he moved to France) man scored 18 goals in all games for Lille and has been linked with a move to Naples in recent times.

His stellar showing for the French side saw him winning the Lille Player of the Season just as he made it to Ligue 1’s team for the 2019/2020 campaign.

 

Osimhen
File photo of Osimhen playing for Nigeria at the 2015 U-17 World Cup.

 

The Edo-born footballer came into limelight after he helped the Nigerian U-17 team win the 2015 World Cup in Chile, scooping the Golden Boot and Silver Ball awards.

During the competition, he struck 10 times after which he bagged Africa’s Youth Player of the Year for 2015.

 

 

He immediately joined German side, Wolfsburg following his exploits in the cadet competition, turning down Arsenal of England.

Thereafter, he teamed up with Charleroi in Belgium, initially on loan, after a barren spell with the Bundesliga outfit.

Since his debut for the senior national team in June 2017, he has played 10 matches and bagged four goals.

 

 

West Brom Nominate Super Eagles Star Semi Ajayi For POTY Award

Semi-ajayi
File photo: Super Eagles defender, Semi Ajayi. Photo: [email protected]

 

 

Newly-promoted English Premier League side, West Bromwich Albion have nominated Super Eagles defender, Semi Ajayi, for the club’s Player of the Year award for 2020.

Ajayi, 26, teamed up with the Baggies in the summer of 2019 from League Two side, Rotherham United, going ahead to becoming a mainstay in the side’s defence.

The Nigerian scored five goals in 43 league matches for Slaven Bilić’s side to help them gain promotion to the English topflight after they finished second behind Leeds United.

“One historic campaign. Promotion to the Premier League secured. But there are still important matters to wrap up from the memorable 2019/20 season,” the club said on its website.

It added, “Voting is now open for the Ideal Boilers Supporters’ Player of the Season award – your opportunity to crown Albion’s star man in this promotion-winning year.”

Ajayi, alongside 14 others, will be vying for the prize with the shortlist including players who featured in at least 23 matches for the Baggies in the Championship.

They include Sam Johnstone, Darnell Furlong, Hal Robson-Kanu, Kyle Bartley, Filip Krovinović, Jake Livermore, and Matt Phillips.

Other contenders for the award are Matheus Pereira, Conor Townsend, Charlie Austin, Romaine Sawyers, Kyle Edwards, and Grady Diangana.

 

Ultimate Team

In April, Ajayi was included in the FIFA 20’s Ultimate Championship Team of the Season alongside Super Eagles prospect, Ebere Eze who plays for Queens Park Rangers (QPR).

Semi who narrowly missed out of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) where Nigeria clinched the bronze medal, took to his Instagram handle to celebrate the feat.

“Humbled to have been included in the EFL Team of The Season So Far Thank you for all of your support this season,” the Baggies defender wrote on the social media platform.

Super Eagles Can Challenge For World Cup Trophy – Coach Egbo

ndubuisi-egbo-tirana
Ndubuisi Egbo played for the Super Eagles between 1999 and 2002. Photo: Tirana website

 

The first African coach to win a European league title Emmanuel Ndubuisi Egbo believes the Super Eagles of Nigeria can challenge for the FIFA World Cup trophy.

Coach Egbo who won the Albanian top-flight league title with KF Tirana with two games left and qualified the team for the UEFA Champions League, made history by becoming the first from the continent to achieve such feat.

The 46-year-old who was a guest on Channels TV’s Sports this Morning described his success as a celebration for all Africans.

READ ALSO: Former Arsenal Coach Unai Emery Joins Villarreal

“I believe it’s not just a celebration for me, it’s a celebration for all Africans, all Nigerians, all the black race everywhere.

“They are responsible for this wonderful amazing feat we succeeded in doing far away from my home country in a foreign land.

“It is still sinking down because I was doing my job just to train my team to try to win the league after 11 years away not winning the league and I didn’t know until when we won the league that when the news open and then I got to know that I am the first African, the first Nigerian to do this feat and it has been a wonderful time,” He said.

After winning the title, coach Egbo says he is hungry for more success and his attention now is to win the last two league games of the season and also clinch the FA Cup, a title KF Tirana last won in 1999.

“We are not celebrating yet; we still have two games in the league to finish and then we will receive the medal and the trophy on the 29th of this month and then we have the finals of the FA Cup on the 2nd of August so I’m still in a celebratory mood but I want to win the doubles,” he said.

The former Super Eagles goalkeeper took charge of KF Tirana when the club was in eight position after two managers failed to turn around the fortunes of the club.

Prior to his appointment, the Nigerian has been with the club for six years as an assistant coach and goalkeeper trainer.

Having won the league title, league cup and super cup with the team as a player, his desire was to win a title for the team.

He revealed, “ I know how I felt winning it as a player though it was not an easy task; the team was in the relegation zone, we were down and out psychologically and otherwise, our turnaround was winning the derby and went on to win 16 games with just a draw, a record in the league.”

He is now looking forward to extending his contract with the club.

“I was given three games in December pending on the appointment of another coach, normally that’s what I do anytime a coach is sack I come in as a caretaker. When I won all three games, they said it can’t be possible to bring another coach since none of their previous coaches have won three consecutive games and so I was given the job until the end of the season.

“We are now in discussion for a new contract before the end of the season we will hear another news about renewing or extending the contract.’’

Coaching is a very tasking job and doing it in a foreign country comes with many obstacles, as a result, former players are more comfortable with taking a coaching job with the national teams but for coach Egbo, overcoming the challenges must come with sacrifice, hard work and belief.

“It is not that they won’t have problems or issues, but they need to believe in themselves because that’s very important. The more they try to stop you, you have to give more confidence to yourself to do more,” he added.

“That’s exactly what happened to me, it was not an easy task for me, being a foreigner and also being a black coach. Though I had wonderful support from the fans, but as they said in every 12, there is always a Judah.

“There are people who don’t want you to achieve anything or succeed but those are the people that help you more if you take the positives out of their criticism you don’t need to allow it to bring you down, fight more to prove that you can do it. If I can do it, then any African coach can do it.”

Coach Egbo represented Nigeria 12 times and was part of the team that featured in the 2000 and 2002 Africa Cup of Nations where the Super Eagles won silver and bronze respectively.

He is open to coaching the national team and feels the Eagles should go to the World Cup with the aim of winning the trophy.

“I’m 100% Nigerian even though I have a European passport. I got everything in Nigeria and I played at the highest level so anytime I’m called upon to come and help, to raise the football of my country up, I will be here because I want us one day to be challenging to win the World Cup.

“I’m always open; we can never say never to our country, it’s like a military service that anytime we are called, upon we have to do it for our country,” he explained.

I’m Open To Coaching Nigeria In The Future, Says Ndubuisi Egbo

 

 

KF Tirana coach, Ndubuisi Emmanuel Egbo, says he would not turn down a chance to coach the national team.

Egbo recently made history in the Albanian league when he led Tirana to win the domestic title, the first Nigerian and African to achieve such feat in Europe.

Speaking on Thursday during his appearance on Channels Television’s Sports This Morning, he described coaching the national team as a call to service.

READ ALSO: We Did Not Receive $100M From IOC – Nigeria Olympic Committee

The former Super Eagles goalkeeper also thanked the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and Nigerians for their messages since his team emerged champions of the European country.

According to him, though he has spent much time with in Albania, he is still a Nigerian and would welcome any opportunity to help in developing the nation’s football.

‘Like Military Service’

“It is beginning to sink; the massive achievement we made over there,” he said.

He added:  “I’m 100% Nigerian even though I have a European passport. I got everything in Nigeria and I played at the highest level so anytime I’m called upon to come and help, to raise the football of my country up, I will be there because I want us one day to be challenging to win the World Cup.

“I’m always open; we can never say never to our country, it’s like a military service that anytime we are called upon we have to do it for our country,” he explained.

Domestic Double

KF Tirana who are celebrating their 100th anniversary this month, can also claim a domestic double on August 2, 2020 when they face Teuta Durres in the Domestic Cup final.

 

tirana-fans
Tirana fans may have more reasons to celebrate if the team wins the domestic cup on August 2. Photo: Tirana website.

 

Coach Ndubuisi retired from football in 2011 and went into coaching, becoming the goalkeeper coach of Albanian team, Bylis before he rejoined Tirana in 2014 in the same role.

The Nigerian, was, however, promoted as the Head Coach of the Albanian side in 2019 and, has remarkably, led the club to a league triumph in his first season in charge.

 

Nigerian Coach Ndubuisi Egbo Wins Albanian Title, Qualifies Tirana For Champions League

ndubuisi-egbo-tirana
Ndubuisi Egbo played for the Super Eagles between 1999 and 2002. Photo: Tirana website

 

 

Coach Ndubuisi Egbo has made history as the first Nigerian to win a European league after he led KF Tirana to victory in the 2019/2020 Albania season. 

“Tirana is officially declared the champion of Albania after the end of the 34th week,” a Google translation of a post on the club’s website read.

Coach Ndubuisi’s club will also be featuring in the UEFA Champions League for next term following their 25th league title.

The 46-year-old who had 12 appearances for the Super Eagles – between 1999 and 2002 when he was a goalkeeper for KF Tirana –  is also believed to be the first African to achieve that feat.

 

tirana-fans
Tirana fans may have more reasons to celebrate if the team win the domestic cup on August 2. Photo: Tirana website

 

KF Tirana who are celebrating their 100th anniversary this month, can also claim a domestic double on August 2, 2020 when they face Teuta Durres in the Domestic Cup final.

The club’s fans are already in celebration following the decade-long wait for the domestic title.

Coach Ndubuisi retired from football in 2011 and went into coaching, becoming the goalkeeper coach of Albanian team, Bylis before he rejoined Tirana in 2014 in the same role.

The Nigerian, was, however, promoted as the Head Coach of the Albanian side in 2019 and, has remarkably, led the club to a league triumph in his first season in charge.

Tirana are the most successful team in the European country and had reached the last 16 of European competitions four times.

Taking Ownership 

Ndubuisi’s feat comes few days after a Nigerian entrepreneur, Nneka Ede became one of the few Africans to own a European club when she bought Portuguese side, Lusitano Ginásio Clube, Futebol, SAD.

Mrs Ede’s ownership of the 108-year-old team, which is in the Portuguese third division, began in June, 2020.

The development also makes her the first African woman to own a European side.