President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Amaju Pinnick said he consulted Portuguese gaffer Jose Mourinho and French manager Arsene Wenger in the search for a new Super Eagles coach.
The NFF boss said this in a media parley on Wednesday in Lagos State, noting that the football body will bring a coach that is “hungry” and “ready for the challenge” of tutoring the three-time African champions.
“I also spoke with Arsene. Arsene is our technical director at FIFA. I had an interface with him about some of these coaches. And of course [we spoke to ]Mourinho. I am not going to tell you that we did not speak to Mourinho,” Pinnick explained, less than two weeks after Gernot Rohr was dismissed as the team’s coach.
“These are some of the best coaches in the world. And there is nothing wrong with it because he [Wenger] is equally concerned just the way we are.”
Pinnick, who also noted that the NFF has held talks with a former Real Madrid assistant coach and FC Porto head coach Jose Peseiro; Serbian Mladen Krstajic, said the body will stick to its recruitment process in hiring a new manager for the Super Eagles.
“The emphasis on the new coach is discipline. We will look at his antecedents on discipline,” he added.
“Secondly, we will also look at how hungry he is to win trophies because if they are hungry it supersedes so many things and if he wants to win, he will instill discipline. We will look at all these things but I cannot make a pronouncement emphatically because I will be undermining my executive committee.
“So, until my executive committee comes out within the next week or so to say this is the name because the technical committee has to bring their presentation to the executive committee. It is going to be a seamless movement to the current team headed by Eguavoen.”
Mikel Arteta hopes to bring former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger back to the Emirates in some capacity after revealing on Thursday that initial talks had taken place.
The 72-year-old Frenchman won three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups during his 22-year spell in charge of the London club, which ended in 2018.
One of his most striking achievements was completing the 2003/04 Premier League season unbeaten — the last time Arsenal were crowned English champions.
Current manager Arteta, who played under Wenger, is keen to have the former manager’s expertise available to him and confirmed the pair had a conversation on the matter when they met at the premiere of “Arsene Wenger: Invincible” — a documentary about his ex-boss, who now works for FIFA as chief of global football development.
The Spaniard was asked at his pre-match press conference on Thursday if a formal offer had been made.
“There has been communication,” he said. “I saw him and talked to him when we went to see the film. It was incredibly pleasant to see him and chat to him — and hopefully we can bring him close.
“Because I think he will have a great time just seeing the environment that he can create around him (and) around this place. Because of the respect and admiration that everybody at the club has for what he’s done — and as well for what he represents as a person in this club.”
Arteta declined to elaborate on what kind of role Wenger could play, but added he would “like him to be much closer personally to me”.
“Because I think it would be a great help — and it would be a great help for the club,” said Arteta.
“Things take time, and I think he has to dictate those timings. What I can say is from my side, and I can talk I think on behalf of everybody, that we would be delighted to have him much closer.”
Arsenal, who face bottom side Newcastle on Saturday, are fifth in the Premier League table after 12 games this season.
Arsene Wenger has criticised the “emotional” response to his controversial proposal to hold the World Cup every two years.
Former Arsenal manager Wenger, now working as FIFA’s head of global development, caused dismay in many quarters by suggesting the World Cup should be played more often.
The tournament is currently held every four years, with the next edition set for Qatar in 2022.
Wenger’s idea to stage the World Cup once every two years led to widespread criticism from managers, while UEFA issued a scathing response.
“There are real dangers associated with this plan. The dilution of the value of the No.1 world football event, whose quadrennial occurrence gives it a mystique that generations of fans have grown up with,” European football’s governing body said.
UEFA urged FIFA to stop “promotional campaigns” for the scheme before they have consulted the relevant stakeholders.
But Wenger believes those who study his suggestion properly begin to see the merit in it.
“I’m confident, but I do not know the forces who are for or against. I just make that proposal because I think it’s good for the game,” Wenger told the BBC’s Sports Desk podcast.
“After the proposal for the World Cup every two years sometimes (there is an) emotional response.
“I’m not surprised. Many people who were completely against it changed their mind after having seen my proposal.
“Some people have judged only based on every two years of World Cup and it was more emotional because ‘we’ve all grown up in that cycle’, and I can understand that.
“But many responses who were negative came out because they had not completely seen the whole concept.
“This concept of course, every two years a World Cup makes only sense if you see the whole proposal and if you regroup the qualifiers.”
The passing week has been a very eventful one globally with the world still battling COVID-19 and trying to adjust to the new reality.
Nigeria is never left a week without drama, as events continue to take different turns, leading the authorities to take certain drastic actions that got tongues wagging.
Having reviewed most of the major stories from the passing week, both locally and on the foreign scene, here are top quotes that tend to paint a vivid picture of what transpired and perhaps give us a hint of some things we must expect in the coming days:
1. “If I follow APC for this length of time, and they don’t give the Southeast an opportunity, I will feel bad.”
Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, says he will feel bad if the All Progressives Congress (APC) does not give the South-East a chance at the presidency, come 2023.
2. “I remain committed to his agenda for our great Nation and shall continue to support him in any way possible.”
Former Minister of Power, Sale Mamman, declares his support for the Muhammadu Buhari administration following his sack by the President.
3. “Today at the executive meeting, (party) president Suga said he wants to focus his efforts on anti-coronavirus measures and will not run in the leadership election.”
Secretary General of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Toshihiro Nikai, reveals that Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will not run for re-election as party leader in September.
4. “The sooner the Taliban will enter the family of civilised people, so to speak, the easier it will be to contact, communicate, and somehow influence and ask questions.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin says he hopes the Taliban will behave in a “civilised” manner in Afghanistan so the global community can maintain diplomatic ties with Kabul.
5. “I am the landlord, I didn’t give myself, the constitution gave me that power.”
Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaku issues a stern warning to residents of the Mambilla Plateau, urging them not to sell lands to “selfish politicians” who storm the area in order to benefit from compensations meant for the Mambilla hydroelectric power project site.
6. “The report of the audit committee showed that there are over 13,000 abandoned projects in the Niger Delta and even before the submission of the report, some contractors have returned to site on their own and completed about 77 road projects.”
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio says the Forensic Audit Report of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) indicates that there are over 13,000 abandoned projects within the coastal region.
7. “Nigeria has 10.6 million cannabis users, this is the highest in the world, isn’t it sad?”
9. “This is to confirm to you that suspected kidnappers at about 06:45hrs along Lagos-Benin expressway, by Isuwa, kidnapped five unidentified persons and in the process shot to death one Sowore Felix Olajide, male, a pharmacy student of Igbinedion University, Okada.”
The Edo State Police Command confirms the murder of Olajide Sowore, brother to Sahara Reporters Publisher, Omoyele Sowore by suspected kidnappers.
10. “The trajectory into the future is bright. If you see some of the things we have been able to do under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari to exit recession in record time, most established democracies are still battling with the recession.”
Despite the current challenges facing Nigeria, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, is optimistic that the nation’s trajectory is good.
11. “For us to reach the level of development that we need in our country, every part, segment and strata of the society must have a developed, deliberately focused leadership, so that what we do at the local level compliments what we do at the state level and from there, terminating at the apex – at the Federal level.”
Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, attributes leadership deficit as one of the factors preventing Nigeria from achieving sustainable economic growth and development, and addressing insecurity and other socioeconomic problems.
12. “We apologize to anyone who may have seen these offensive recommendations.”
Facebook apologizes and disables its topic recommendation feature after it mistook Black men for “primates” in video at the social network.
13. “The committee is to identify grazing routes and work with states and map them. It is not to recover grazing routes, it is to identify the scale of the problem.”
Kebbi State Governor Atiku Bagudu, argues that mapping out grazing routes will help to identify the scale of the herder-farmer crisis.
14. “Police have located the man and he has been shot. He has died at the scene.”
Authorities in New Zealand speak after police shoot dead a man who wounded six people in an attack at an Auckland supermarket.
18. “If you look at the President’s statement, in no place will you see that; not at all. In no place will you see those words that performance was weak, he didn’t say that.”
President Buhari’s media adviser, Femi Adesina, makes clarifications regarding the sacking of two ministers.
19. “Well, it happened because, perhaps for the first time in the history of the country, and of the NNPC, there is a President who is not using the place like a personal Automated Teller Machine (ATM).”
The Media Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari, Femi Adesina, explains why the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) recently declared profit.
Wenger said he would like to see a single international window, perhaps in October, with fewer qualifying matches.
“For the players, there will be no more matches, and there will be compulsory rest after the final stages, at least 25 days,” said Wenger who sees his proposed new format coming into action in 2028, two years after the 2026 World Cup in North America and Mexico.
“What people want today are high-stakes, easy-to-understand competitions,” he said, insisting there is “no financial intention behind it”.
“It’s a global project, for men’s football, but also for women’s football and youth competitions,” he added.
Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger returned to football on Wednesday after being named FIFA’s chief of global football development, ending any chance of a move to managerless Bayern Munich.
FIFA said the former Arsenal and Monaco coach would be responsible for the growth of the game “for both men and women around the world”, and would also be the “leading authority on technical matters”, including potential changes to the sport’s laws.
It added that Wenger, 70, would also be tasked with coach education and aiding a programme designed to help former players enter management.
“I very much look forward to taking on this extremely important challenge,” Wenger said in a statement.
“Not only because I have always been interested in analysing football from a broader perspective but also because FIFA’s mission as world football’s governing body is truly global.”
Rumours of Wenger making a shock return to coaching had intensified over the weekend after Wenger denied claims by Bayern Munich that they had turned down his offer to take over at the German champions after the sacking of Niko Kovac.
Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge then said there had been a “misunderstanding” and that the Bundesliga giants would speak to Wenger “in the near future”.
However it is the new FIFA role that brings the Frenchman back to the game for the first time since 2018, when he left Arsenal after 22 years in charge.
Wenger made the Gunners one of the strongest sides in Europe, winning three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups and taking his team to the 2006 Champions League final.
His also won the French league in 1987 with Monaco, adding the French Cup four years later before departing for Japan in 1995.
“I am delighted to welcome him to the team. Since I arrived at FIFA, we have placed football at the centre of our mission, striving to learn from those who know the sport inside out,” said FIFA president Gianni Infantino.
“Arsene is someone who, with his strategic vision, competence and hard work, has dedicated his life to football.”
Bringing in famous faces has been a key part of Infantino’s tenure at the head of FIFA. Wenger arrives following the departures of technical chief Marco van Basten last year and former deputy secretary general Zvonimir Boban, who became AC Milan’s “chief football officer” in June.
Arsene Wenger has promised he will be back in football management at the start of 2019, but the Frenchman does not yet know at which club.
The 69-year-old veteran boss ended his 22-year reign at Premier League side Arsenal at the end of last season but insisted at the time he was not yet finished with football.
Asked when he would be back in management, Wenger told Sky Sports on Wednesday: “At the beginning of the year.
“It will seem odd to go somewhere else but I can’t tell you (where) because I don’t know where I’ll be. I’ll be somewhere — but I don’t know where.
“I have had a good rest and watched football a lot. I have many good memories, so I miss them.”
Meanwhile, Wenger, whose final seasons in charge of Arsenal saw the once mighty Gunners struggling to contend for the English title, was pleased by the North London giants’ start to this season.
Under new manager Unai Emery, Arsenal is currently fourth in the table, just four points behind Premier League leaders and reigning champions Manchester City, despite losing their first two league games this term.
“When Arsenal win I am happy,” said Wenger. “I felt I worked very hard and I think I left it (the club) in good shape.
“After that, I’m a supporter like anyone else — I want them to win football games.”
Arsenal announced former Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery as their new boss on Wednesday, handing him the daunting task of revitalising a club that has slipped well behind their Premier League rivals.
The Spaniard, who won the domestic treble with PSG this season, emerged as the shock favourite to replace Arsene Wenger earlier this week after it had appeared former Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta was in line to land the job at the Emirates.
Wenger departed at the end of the season following a 22-year reign, with the club finishing sixth in the Premier League — 37 points behind champions Manchester City — and failing to qualify for the Champions League.
Arsenal will be wary of the turmoil at Manchester United after the departure of long-serving manager Alex Ferguson in 2013 but said the choice of Emery was unanimous.
“I am thrilled to be joining one of the great clubs in the game,” Emery, 46, told Arsenal’s website.
“Arsenal is known and loved throughout the world for its style of play, its commitment to young players, the fantastic stadium, the way the club is run. I’m very excited to be given the responsibility to start this important new chapter in Arsenal’s history.”
Chief executive Ivan Gazidis said the decision to appoint the former Valencia and Spartak Moscow boss had been unanimous.
“Unai has an outstanding track record of success throughout his career, has developed some of the best young talent in Europe and plays an exciting, progressive style of football that fits Arsenal perfectly,” he said.
“His hard-working and passionate approach and his sense of values on and off the pitch make him the ideal person to take us forward.”
Emery left PSG this month after winning Ligue 1 and four domestic cups in two seasons in the French capital.
The Spaniard, who will be unveiled at a press conference at the Emirates later on Wednesday, will work in a head coach capacity at Arsenal.
It follows the appointments of Raul Sanllehi as head of football relations and Sven Mislintat as head of recruitment over the past year
– Europe League wins –
Before moving to France in 2016, Emery had a significant track record of success in Spain, winning three successive Europa League titles with Sevilla.
Arsenal have won three FA Cups in the past five seasons but have consistently failed to mount a credible title challenge since they were last crowned Premier League winners in 2004.
Wenger won three Premier Leagues and a record seven FA Cups during his time in charge, his crowning glory coming in the 2003-04 season when Arsenal won the league without losing a single game.
Arsenal legend Ian Wright, part of Wenger’s team which won the double in 1997-98, has warned Emery he must change the mindset of a complacent squad if he wants to hit the ground running.
“Trying to replace Arsene Wenger after 22 years with what he has done is a massive job in itself. It is not something which is going to be done overnight,” Wright said.
“We need to get our players competing, fit and with a different mindset to what they have had in recent years.
“If he comes in, can coach our players and find a couple of gems, then slowly but surely hopefully we will start getting back to where we want to be.”
Defeat to Atletico Madrid in the Europa League semi-finals earlier this month meant Arsenal missed out on Champions League qualification for a second consecutive season.
Emery has earned a reputation as one of Europe’s most studious coaches, demanding relentless effort on the training ground.
He has flourished within a structure similar to the one now in place at Arsenal, working well with recruitment director Monchi at Sevilla.
But according to reports, he will have just £50 million ($67 million) to spend on new players to revitalise his squad, putting him at a huge disadvantage compared with the cash-rich Manchester clubs.
Emery will have a handful of top stars to call on, including Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mesut Ozil, but the future of many of the squad members is uncertain, with the club in need of defensive reinforcements.
Arsenal great Bob Wilson believes Arsene Wenger is destined to manage France one day as his reign at the Emirates draws to a close.
Wenger announced on Friday that his 22-year stay as Arsenal boss will conclude at the end of the season but Wilson, who made more than 300 appearances for Arsenal between 1963 and 1974 and worked as a goalkeeping coach under Wenger, does not believe the 68-year-old Frenchman will quit football.
“I know before that France has asked him (to become a manager),” Wilson told BBC radio.
“I have got this thing that he may go back to his home country and really bring around change in the French national side.”
David Seaman, another former Arsenal goalkeeper, agreed that Wenger will not call time on his career.
“I hope he goes on holiday, he looks like he needs a good break,” Seaman said. “But he has a passion for football, he’s totally obsessed with it.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he turned up at another club or in international football.”
A host of names have already been suggested as possible candidates to succeed Wenger at the Emirates Stadium.
Former Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira — head coach at New York City — ex-Barcelona boss Luis Enrique, Germany manager Joachim Low, Celtic’s Brendan Rodgers and Italian pair Carlo Ancelotti and Massimiliano Allegri are among those who have been linked.
“I wouldn’t think we’ll know before the end of the season, I don’t think that’s the Arsenal way,” Wilson said. “But hopefully it will be early in the close season so the players are understanding.
Seaman said: “I want a manager to come in who is tried and trusted and already proven. He needs a big statue to go in there and make demands.
“If he doesn’t get them he has to say ‘right, I’m not coming’ because the team needs a big overhaul.”
Arsenal Manager, Arsene Wenger, said Wednesday he hoped “complicated” political relations between Britain and Russia would not spill onto the football field when his side face CSKA Moscow in a European tie in London.
Britain has suspended high-level diplomatic contact with the Russian government after a former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with a nerve agent in the southern English cathedral city of Salisbury on March 4.
UK authorities have said the Skripals were poisoned with the Soviet-designed nerve agent Novichok and that it was “highly likely” the Russian government was behind the attack.
The crisis has led to a further deterioration in already strained relations between Russia and western nations, with both sides expelling scores of diplomats.
Even before the poisoning incident, concerns had been raised over the safety of England fans at this year’s World Cup in Russia.
Russian hooligans were involved in several clashes with rival supporters during the 2016 European Championships in France, with both England and Russia threatened with expulsion from the tournament because of their fans’ violence.
North London club Arsenal are at home to CSKA Moscow in the first leg of a Europa League quarter-final tie at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday.
Wenger, speaking to reporters at Arsenal’s training ground in London Colney, north of the capital, on Wednesday said the overall state of Anglo-Russian relations had not been a talking point for his squad.
“No, it hasn’t honestly. Nobody knows really what’s going on,” Wenger told a news conference.
“It looks more as if diplomatic relations between England (Britain) and Russia are a bit complicated.”
The veteran French manager added: “I just hope it won’t affect both ties (the second leg is in Moscow) and that it will not affect the supporters. Nor for the Russian people who come over here and not for English people who want to travel there.”
Recent diplomatic tensions increased last month when British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson compared Russia’s promotion of the World Cup to the way Adolf Hitler tried to manipulate the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
During an appearance before Britain’s Foreign Affairs Select Committee, Johnson agreed with a lawmaker’s suggestion that Russian President Vladimir Putin would use the World Cup, which runs from June 14 to July 15 “as a “PR exercise” to gloss over a “brutal, corrupt regime” in the same way Hitler used the Olympics as propaganda for his Nazi regime. ”
“I think the comparison with 1936 is certainly right,” Johnson said.
“I think it’s an emetic prospect, frankly, to think of Putin glorying in this sporting event.”
The Kremlin labelled Johnson’s remarks as “offensive and unacceptable”.
Arsene Wenger may have lost his voice before Arsenal’s home match with Stoke City on Sunday but the discussion over his future is unlikely to be silenced just yet.
At the end of the season, Wenger will be halfway through a two-year contract many Gunners fans felt should never have been handed in the first place to a man who had not won the Premier League since 2004.
The 68-year-old declared during the international break that many of his critics were simply guilty of age discrimination rather than a genuine unhappiness with Arsenal’s current position.
North London giants Arsenal will kick off in the sixth position, 13 points adrift of fourth-placed local rivals Tottenham Hotspur, and therefore in danger of missing out on the Champions League for a second successive season.
Yet the Gunners can still pin their hopes on emulating Manchester United and qualifying for Europe’s elite trophy next term by winning the Europa League.
The visit of second-bottom Stoke is the third in a five-game sequence of home fixtures, with the first leg of the Europa League last-16 clash with CSKA Moscow following on Thursday.
Wenger’s throat problems saw assistant manager Steve Bould hastily thrust into media duties, and the former Arsenal defender, who also played for Stoke, his hometown club, was reluctant to take on the Frenchman’s mantle of providing intelligent yet often controversial commentary about all aspects of the game.
The only game Bould wanted to talk about was the Stoke one, but he did offer an insight into how Arsenal fans’ unrest was perceived from the bench.
“I admire him immensely,” Bould said of Wenger. “He takes unbelievable stick off an awful lot of people and he’s just one of the great managers. It’s a pleasure for me to sit next to him.
“He’s remarkable. Behind closed doors, I’ve never known someone who’s as hungry and determined to win football games. It’s as big as I’ve ever seen. He’s doing a great job, as far as I’m concerned and has done a great job for an awfully long time.”
There are many Arsenal fans who feel Wenger, appointed Arsenal manager in September 1996, has overstayed his welcome for an awfully long time, or that the title drought has been both awful and prolonged, but Bould was confident there would be plenty to cheer about before the end of the season.
“The more games we can win now the better the season becomes and what happens, in the end, is what happens,” he said.
Jack Wilshere has recovered from the knee problem that forced him to miss England’s friendlies with the Netherlands and Italy and striker Alexandre Lacazette is also back in full training following injury. The pair are more likely to be on the bench than start, however.
Meanwhile, Stoke manager Paul Lambert believes midfielder Joe Allen is so full of energy he could still star against Arsenal after rushing back from China.
Allen has been hugely influential in midfield since Lambert took over in December and recently featured in Wales’ 6-0 win against the hosts and their 1-0 defeat by Uruguay in a tournament in China.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if Joe Allen ran back from China and is still fit as a fiddle. He’s really brilliant — a manager’s dream,” said Lambert.
“I don’t know how he does it. I spoke to him after his long flight and it was a breath of fresh air talking to him — he looked great and he was in a good mood.
Relegation-threatened Stoke are three points shy of safety and go to the Emirates bidding to end a run of nine straight defeats at Arsenal.
At least Lambert knows how to win there, having guided Aston Villa to a 3-1 success in August 2013.
“For me, it’s fresh so I’m not thinking we haven’t won there — I don’t have anything in my head… just try to win,” he said.