Linus Mba Becomes First Casualty Of FIFA Suspension

Linus MbaFIFA Referees Advisor and Consultant to the Nigeria Football Federation on refereeing, Linus Mba, has become the first casualty of the FIFA Suspension order on Nigeria.

Mba, who was appointed three weeks ago as the Match Commissioner for the Sierra Leone and Seychelles African Cup of Nations qualifier in Freetown on July 19 has been replaced.

On Monday, the retired FIFA referee and former member of the CAF Referees Committee got a letter from CAF regretting his replacement.

The letter signed by Amr Fahmy Manager, Nations Cup said in part: “I regret to inform you that due to the suspension of the Nigerian FA, we had to temporarily suspend all appointments for any officials/referees from Nigeria, so we were left without any choice but to replace you for the above-mentioned match.”

Fahmy letter read: “…price that experienced men like yourself, good servants of African football, have to pay.”

Few hours before CAF’s decision, the referee consultant had received a mail from the General Secretary, Sierra Leone Football Association, Chris Kamara, that his tickets and other documents for him and the referees were to be sent by Wednesday.

This decision has come on the heels of suggestions that before Tuesday the Nigeria case would be normalized to allow FIFA lift the suspension order.

The Eaglets are expected to leave on Wednesday to Congo DR, while the Super Falcons are set for the African Women Championship draws in Windhoek, Namibia, this weekend, but that would only happen if Nigeria normalizes the relationship with FIFA.

The fate of Mba would further explain the powers of FIFA sanctions as adopted by Confederations and other Federations worldwide.

FIFA Suspension: Sport Journalists Say It’s Unjustifiable

deji omptoyiboRenowned sports journalists have reacted to the  suspension given to Nigeria by  FIFA, on what the governing body has termed as  ”government interference” in the country’s football administration.

The sports ambassadors,  Deji Omotoyinbo, Bimbo Adeola and Harry Iwuala, who were guests on Sunrise, on Saturday, agreed that the government will continue to have a say in the management of football in the Nigeria since it provides funds for the sport.

On the suspension, they believe the sport ministry and the football administrators should be blamed as the same scenario plays out every four years in which the country is embarrassed with the crisis that results into FIFA sanctioning the country.

‘’The thing is embarrassing because every four years we come to this circle as government and the people they use to topple themselves, don’t take any learning from this’’. Harry Iwuala said

‘’You get in there and begin to think you are well seated, not wanting any other person to come in which eventually invites the government to come in again to cause a lot of ruckus, embarrass themselves and the country’’.  Harry declared

On the interference, Iwuala said government must find a nicer way of   being in control, not the juxtapose style arrest basically with due process.

On his part, sports commentator, Deji Omotoyinbo, described the issue as a ‘’storm in a teacup’’ as the trend, unsurprisingly, is the same every four years and unfortunately for Nigeria it usually comes up after a World Cup year because the four year cycle of the NFF ends at the World Cup.

He is of the opinion that FIFA and CAF is not under any government as they are a government to themselves so they can say they don’t want any interference in the affairs of their affiliates from that perspective.

He, however, noted, that technically speaking, the affiliate bodies operate in countries that are governed by the rule of law and as such, are subject to the laws of the land.

‘’Take Nigeria for instance, where what is being done to other sports is criminal as football get a monthly subvention of a hundred and fifty million naira every month apart from what is derived from competitions’’.

While not defending the government that sometimes does things wrongly, Omotoyibo insisted that FIFA is saying that their affiliate bodies can be protected from any probe in their country even when they (the bodies) depend on their government for funds.

He said if FIFA does not want interference in certain parts of the world, then they should fund their affiliate bodies completely as anyone who wants to force themselves into the football body(ies) will still go back to the same government to collect money and they (the government) have a right to ask questions on how the money is used.

On if the NFF is autonomous, the sports journalists said there is no such thing as autonomy as they get their funds which is budgeted for and approved by the National Assembly and are expected to be accountable.

On the solution, Bimbo Adeola said the government should just hands off football if the obnoxious FIFA statute, as it relates to Africa continues, so that football will fund itself as so much money is not accounted for.

‘’Nigeria Football Federation is the only organization I know of in the world where US$90,000 develop wings and fly, where $250,000 is missing in their vault in their office and nothing happens, nobody goes to jail for it and they go to competitions with their cronies on the bill of Nigeria and nobody bats an eyelid ’’. Bimbo Adeola declared.

On if football can fund itself in Nigeria, Deji Omotoyinbo, said it is possible as the league attracts a decent sponsorship from corporate bodies adding that all the country ought to do is to develop domestic football.

They concluded that people who are professionals with a track record should be given the opportunity to manage the affairs of football in Nigeria effectively.

World Cup 2014: Nigeria’s Exit Caused By Poor Selection – Hart

Anderson-HartThe exit of Nigeria from the World Cup has been attributed to poor selection and use of ‘peripheral players’ in the biggest football event.

A Sports Editor with the Weekly Star Newspaper and Director of Sports, Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce, Anderson Hart told Channels Television on Tuesday that the players selected by coach Stephen Keshi were not the best the country had, insisting that players like Ikechukwu Ucha and Sunday Mba should have been given a chance to play in the world cup.

Heart pointed out that most of the players were not regular players in their various clubs.

“Right from the first day I saw the selection I told people that we didn’t have a team.

“We went to the World Cup with players that are peripheral in every respect. Most of them do not feature in their teams. They come in as subs and because of that I am not surprised with what I saw yesterday.

“It is unfortunate that Yobo made his exit from international football with an own goal. I for one, I would not have gone to the World Cup with Yobo.

“There were better players but I think Keshi was trying to replicate the consideration he was given in the USA 1994 world cup.

“Why must people like Sunday Mba be dropped, why must Ikechukwu Uche be dropped?

“Nigeria never went to the world cup with their best players. Ikechukwu Uche, highest goal scorer in the World Cup qualifier games and 14 goals for the Yellow Submarine, and you drop him?  You don’t sacrifice public interest on the altar of personal sentiments,” he said, insisting that Nigerians’ interest should be first in consideration of players.

No Technical Depth

Analysing the performance of the Super Eagles in the match against France that ended in 2-0 in favour of the French team, resulting to the exit of the Nigerian side from the tournament, Hart said that the team tried their best but could not take advantage of the respect that France showed them in the first half of the game.

“There was no attack and technical depth in the game,” he said.

Nigeria scored a goal in the first half but it was ruled out by the referee for an offside call and the sports editor said that Emenike was slightly offside, but that the referee reserves the right to either uphold the goal or disallow it.

“The goal that was disallowed by the referee could be disallowed or allowed by discretion. Just by the whiskers, Emenike was offside and the issue of bonus row also affected the players,” he said.

According to Hart, several issues also contributed to the ouster of the Eagles from the World Cup one of which, he said was the controversy and agitation surrounding the non-payment of the players’ bonus.

“Yobo told his team mates that it takes four months for players to get their bonus after World Cup. This is not normal and this should be addressed by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF),” he said.

The sport journalist insisted that the Super Eagles were playing for self and not for the country.

“They were playing to get attention from clubs and not committed to the country’s interest”.

After the Super Eagles lost to the French side, coach Stephen Keshi resigned, saying he needed time for his family.

His exit has created a vacuum that the NFF would need to make a choice of a new coach to replace him and Hart said that as much as he supports the appointment of a local coach, a technical adviser should also be employed to handle the technical aspect of the team.

“I believe in local content but I think NFF needs to put their house in order to ensure that there will not be distractions of internal wrangling and bonus row because such issues have its toll on the team,” he said.

On individual performance of the players, Harts pointed out that the removal of Onazi due to injury weakened the midfield left in control of Mikel, who he said proved to people that the likes of José Mourinho who keep him on the bench were right .

“Mikel in this World Cup proved to most of us that he is not an attacking midfielder. He was a shadow of himself in the World Cup. He was like a Hummer jeep with a Jetta engine.”

For him, Vincent Enyeama made 23 saves in the World Cup, a record that no keeper could beat, stressing that he is the only player in the team that is featured on regular basis in his club.

He insisted that there were other players that could have performed better than some players that made the World Cup list.

“In every major tournament, we should always aspire to go with our best. There is a way the NFF can work out something to ensure that we get the best for major tournaments,” he said.

 

World Cup Opening Ceremony Was Flat – Analyst

Nnamdi Obanya,Nigerian Sports Journalist, Nnamdi Obanya, believes that the Brazil World Cup Opening Ceremony was bright, colourful but boring.

He was a guest on Channels Television where he spoke about the mundial less than 24 hours after it kicked off at the Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo.

He cited several factors that created the view that this was not a befitting opening for the competition of such magnitude. He said that while the theme song had failed to impress, the sound problem experienced during the performance also added to his disappointment.

“It was Brazil, we expected all the capoeira, and carnival atmosphere…It was a very flat opening ceremony.

“South Africa’s Opening Ceremony made this look like a high school play. It was fantastic and this was flat”, he said.

The compensation for him, however, was that immediately after the ceremony, “the real fireworks” started with the hosts, Brazil defeating Croatia in an exciting and tense opening match.

The Real Super Eagles

Obanya also responded to Nigerian Attacker, Ahmed Musa, who was quoted in the dailies to have promised that Nigerians would see the real Super Eagles when the competition starts in Brazil.

“They are just saying the right things. We’ve had Emenike and Mikel fight, we’ve heard that Ahmed Musa is not fit to play, there is a lot of news coming that is not too good.

“Perhaps they’re trying to keep their spirit up. They are doing the right thing and saying the right things, if they can translate that unto the pitch, all good for them, but we will wait and see if the real Super Eagles as they claim would show up.”

Obanya, who admitted that he had always maintained blind loyalty towards Nigeria, noted that if he would be analytical and pensive, he was really worried.

He also confirmed the unavailability the team’s regular left-back, Elderson Echiejile, whom he said had already been replaced by Ejike Uzoenyi, who has already landed in Brazil and taken over the number 3 jersey vacated by Echiejile after the injury that ruled him out of the competition.

“Realistically, we can qualify from the group; we’ll most likely qualify second behind Argentina and we’ll be immediately thrown up against France. That’s a free scoring, very fast and young France. I haven’t seen France this agile since France 98”, he feared.

Obanya also provided expert analysis of the opening match between Brazil and Croatia. He believes that while Croatia did well by taking the fight to Brazil, they played to the strength of the Brazilian defence.

He predicts a very difficult World Cup whose winner would be hard to predict as all past winners are present at the tournament and gunning for glory.

Roundup On ‘Sports This Morning’ – April 4, 2014

Sports This MorningThis is the Friday edition of ‘Sports This Morning’ on your award winning Channels Television.

Yemi Adebayo takes us on a trip starting with top stories in the world of sports.

The countdown to FIFA World Cup, Brazil 2014 continues with 69 days to the biggest football event on the planet; we look at the readiness of Brazil to host the world and also focus one of the teams that the world would be expecting to make clear statements at the tournament, the Azzurri.

Meanwhile, the question on everybody’s lips is who wins the Women’s FIFA U-17 World Cup? Is it going to be Japan or Spain? You may have found out the winner but the analysis on this edition of the show would be a delight.

In the Nigerian Glo Premier League, the League Management Company has granted Nembe City FC provisional admission into the league after the club met conditions set by the body.

We also bring you some analysis of the great boxing match-up that promises to be a classic. Timothy Bradley says he is ready to prove doubters wrong by beating Filipino boxer Manny Pacquaio in their scheduled rematch.

Let’s also take you to South America, Argentina to be precise, as Boca Juniors takes on River Plate.

 

Brazil: Rio Protest Over Transport Fare Rise Ends In Violence

Hundreds of people in Brazil have clashed with Police during a protest against increased fares for public transport.

Commuters were caught up in the violence at Rio de Janeiro’s central station during rush hour.

Riot Police fired tear gas and tried to disperse the crowd, while activists hurled stones and petrol bombs.

A cameraman was in a serious condition in hospital after suffering a head injury.

Six other people were also injured and at least 20 protesters were arrested.

In 2013, similar protests grew into a nationwide movement against corruption and excessive spending ahead of the football World Cup, which Brazil will host in June and July.

Santos To Sue Neymar’s Father

The controversy surrounding Brazilian star Neymar’s move to Spain is yet to stop as his father is to face legal action from Santos over his refusal to show the club details of the deal he made with Barcelona in 2011.

The club is furious that Neymar’s father would only verbally tell them details of the deal and are taking legal action against him, while criticising Barcelona’s tactics in the transfer saga.

Another unhappy party involved in the complex transfer is the DIS Group, which claims that the 21 year old had broken the terms and conditions of their deal by not telling them about Barca’s offer in 2011.

The Catalan giants paid Neymar’s father 10million pounds  up front over two years ago – with the other 30milion  pounds  to be paid following an eventual transfer – to ensure that he helped ease through the deal at the expense of other interested clubs, such as Real Madrid.

 

Luis Suarez Signs New Long-Term Liverpool Contract

Liverpool striker, Luis Suarez has signed a new four-and-a-half-year contract at Anfield.

Twenty-six year old Suarez joined the Reds in January 2011 and has scored 17 goals in 11 Premier League starts this season. Suarez, whose original deal was set to expire in 2016, will reportedly earn around £160,000 until the end of the current 2013/2014 season and then £200,000 per week over the final four years of the contract.

“I believe I can achieve the ambitions of winning trophies and playing at the very highest level with Liverpool. My aim is to help get us there as quickly as possible.” He said.

In the summer transfer, Suarez was close to joining Arsenal, but Liverpool rejected the Gunners club record offer of £40 million plus £1 in an attempt to trigger a release clause in his contract. Since the new season started, Suarez’s relationship with leading figures at Anfield has improved significantly.

Suarez joined Liverpool from Ajax for £22 million and his time at the club has often been controversial as he has previously served two long-term bans.

In December 2011, the Uruguayan was banned for eight games  for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra and again received a 10-match ban in April 2013 for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic.

Suarez who is widely regarded as one of the most talented footballers in the world paid tribute to the supporters, citing the ‘special relationship’ he has with them as a key factor in reaffirming his commitment to Liverpool.

Presidential Reception: Golden Eaglets Get Financial Rewards

The Federal Government is to give each player in Nigeria’s Under-17 team, the Golden Eaglets the sum of 2million Naira each.

President Goodluck Jonathan made the announcement at a reception in the presidential villa in honour of the Golden Eaglets.

The Golden Eaglets won the just concluded FIFA Under-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates by defeating defending champions Mexico by 3-0 in the final on Friday, November 8, and The President had promised them a heroes’ welcome “in appreciation of the great honour and glory they have brought to their fatherland.”

The financial reward is not limited to the players; the head coach of the team would be given the sum of 3million Naira, while the assistant coach gets the sum of 2.5million Naira.

Speaking at the reception, President Jonathan said this is a golden era in Nigerian sports and assured that his administration would provide the enabling environment for the Golden Eaglets to thrive and be the best in the world.

President Jonathan To Host Victorious Golden Eaglets On Sunday

President Goodluck Jonathan has congratulated the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria on their 3-0 triumph over Mexico in the final match of the 2013 FIFA Under-17 World Soccer Championship.

President Jonathan joins other proud and happy Nigerians in saluting the glorious achievement of the Eaglets in winning the Under-17 Soccer Championship for an unprecedented fourth time.

In a press release signed by Special Adviser to the President on Media & Publicity, Reuben Abati, the President commended the young Eaglets for the exemplary commitment, dedication, resilience, determination, patriotism and unity of purpose they displayed through-out the tournament to make Nigeria the World’s Under-17 Football Champion once again.

In fulfillment of his promise of a heroes’ welcome for the triumphant Golden Eaglets on their return home, President Jonathan will host a grand reception for the team at the Banquet Hall of the State House at 7PM on Sunday, November 10.

“This is in appreciation of the great honour and glory they have brought to their fatherland,” he said.

The President also urged the leadership of the Nigerian Football Federation to strive to ensure that “the world-conquering Eaglets, who have shown such immense potentials as youngsters, are  properly nurtured, trained and developed to represent the nation at higher levels in future international football competitions.”

He wished the Golden Eaglets and their handlers a safe journey home.

History: Golden Eaglets Win FIFA Under-17 World Cup

The Nigerian Golden Eaglets have won the 2013 FIFA Under-17 World Cup tournament in United Arab Emirates.

Nigeria became the most successful team in the history of the tournament as goals from Erick Aguirre (own goal), Kelechi Iheanacho and Musa Muhammed secured a 4th title for the Golden Eaglets.

The Manu Garba boys announced their presence to the football world at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup with a convincing 6-1 victory over the same Mexican team in their opening game.

The second match was however tougher for the team as they had to come from behind twice to record a 3-3 score line against Sweden.

Next came Iraq and their Asian counterparts Iran but both could not withstand the firepower of Nigeria.

With victory over Uruguay in the quarter-finals, and a surprising 3-0 revenge over Group F foes, Sweden in the semi-final, Nigeria booked a place in the final, as well as a chance to make history against defending champions and their opening game victims, Mexico.

The 3-0 final victory has denied the Mexicans a chance to retain the trophy they won in 2011.

Worthy of note are the individual honours won by the Nigerian players. Kelechi Ihenacho unsurprisingly became the most decorated, winning the tournament’s Adidas Golden Ball Award for the overall best player, alongside the Silver Boot Award for being the second highest goal scorer.

Nigerian goalkeeper, Dele Alampasu also won the Adidas Golden Gloves Award while the entire team won the FIFA Fair Play Award.

Nigeria has now become the most successful team in FIFA Under-17 World Cup history.

Jonathan Sends Delegation Led By Mark To Cheer Eaglets To Victory

President Goodluck Jonathan has constituted a high-powered delegation headed by the Senate President, David Mark to represent the Federal Government at tomorrow’s FIFA Under-17 World Soccer Finals between Nigeria and Mexico in the United Arab Emirates.

Other members of the delegation who President Jonathan has charged to ensure that the Golden Eaglets receive all necessary support and motivation for victory include the Minister of Special Duties, Alhaji  Tanimu Turaki, the Minister of Labour, Chief Emeka Wogu, the Minister of Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe and the Minister of State, FCT,  Olajumoke Akinjide.

The President told the delegation to reassure the Golden Eaglets and their handlers of his personal confidence and expectations that they will maintain their excellent track-record in this year’s Championship, and crown their winning performances with another victory against the Mexicans tomorrow.

President Jonathan also conveyed to the Eaglets, through the delegation, the best wishes of all Nigerians for their victory and promised the team that together with all other patriotic Nigerians, within and outside the country, he will be cheering them on to victory during the match.

He looks forward to receiving them at the Presidential Villa and showing them the full appreciation of the nation when, as expected, they return in triumph to Nigeria.