Friday 26 February 2016

Wenger ready to play Giroud as a goalkeeper

Arsene Wenger would use Olivier Giroud as a goalkeeper in an emergency, the Arsenal boss has revealed.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed Olivier Giroud would likely end up wearing the goalkeeper gloves in an emergency.

Petr Cech has been superb for Arsenal this season, but Wenger feels France striker Giroud could go in between the sticks if the former Chelsea keeper got sent off and he had used all his substitutes.

"Who would go in goal if we got a goalkeeper sent off? That would give me a big problem, because I haven't thought about it. Usually it's the central defenders or the strikers," Wenger told Arsenal's official website.

"I had George Weah at Monaco and he was a fantastic goalkeeper in training. Maybe a guy who has played basketball in his youth would be good, he would be used to using his hands.

"In our team I don't know what I would do, it was more of a problem before when you didn’t have a substitute goalkeeper. It can still happen late in a game though. I would have to make an instinctive decision, maybe it would be Giroud."

Wenger has been delighted with Cech's impact at Emirates Stadium, adding: "The peak age for a goalkeeper is 28 to 36 or 37.

"That is where you can absorb the bullets, you have the experience and you still have the physical quality to perform.

"For a footballer it is always important to have that balance between experience and physical potential. Unfortunately we need our body to express what we know. Our body allows us to perform more in a goalkeeper's position compared to a striker's.

"Experience is probably the most important quality for a goalkeeper. The problem is that to get the experience, you need the quality, it’s a vicious circle You need to play.

"Cech played when he was very young, and [Gianluigi] Buffon too was playing at 17. They had the luck to get into the first team, to gather the experience and be good enough to stay there."

MFM can shock 3SC in Ibadan, Says Obinna

Mountain of Fire Ministry (MFM) Football Club (FC) coach Alli Suleman Obinna has told SportingLife that his side can spring a surprise when they confront Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) in the match day three Nigeria Professional Football League game on Saturday at the Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba, Ibadan.

MFM defeated Rivers United 2-1 on Wednesday at the Agege Stadium to move to the top of the summit with six points, having secured back-to-back victories.

Obinna admitted to SportingLife that he has not seen 3SC games this season but he insisted that his young lads are not losing focus and will maintain their perfect record against Oluyole Warriors in Ibadan.

“God has been faithful to our team since the beginning of the season. This is our second victories and we thank God for that. We have been improving game after game and I hope we will at our best for against 3SC in Ibadan,” Obinna told SportingLife.

“MFM vs 3SC clash is like a derby game and it is going to be a war in Ibadan on Saturday. I have not watched 3SC matches this season but I know we do well when we meet this weekend. 3SC is a big team when you are talking about Nigerian league but I know MFM can push a surprise in Ibadan. We have young team and the unity is among the players and officials of the team.”

Meanwhile, 3SC General Manager, Rasheed Balogun was among the spectators at the Agege Stadium during Wednesday’s MFM versus Rivers United game.

Balogun watched the encounter to study MFM style of play ahead of Saturday’s clash against his team in Ibadan.

3SC’s match day two league game against Enyimba was postponed due to Peoples Elephants continental engagement.

No cause for alarm, Bosso insists

El Kanemi Warriors Technical Adviser, Ladan Bosso is confident that his team will soon bounce back despite losing its opening two league matches.

The Borno Army lost 1-0 to Wikki Tourists in the matchday one in Katsina on Sunday and suffered another 2-1 defeat to Abia Warriors in Umuahia on Wednesday.

The former Flying Eagles told SportingLife that it is too early for the clubs at the top of the summit to celebrate as he insisted that his boys would soon turn things around for the good of the team.

“When I checked the table I can see that we are last in the log, no shaking about that because I am very confident that we would bounce back despites losing two matches. It is too early for clubs in front to celebrate,” Bosso said to SportingLife.

“I am too confident in my ability and caliber of players I am parading in the ongoing league. It is not too far to remember what happened last season, when FC Taraba were leading the log at beginning in the first six games and ended up relegated to the lower division.

“I know that we are battling blending of players for them to understand themselves in the entire departments. Very soon the link between the defence and the midfield to the attack will be very invincible.

“Our first good test was against Wikki Tourists, during pre-season we were not opportune to play any premier league clubs nor were we involved in pre-season tournament before the start of the league. My confident came at the wake of our game against Abia warriors and we played far better than what we played against Wikki Tourists at home. Abia Warriors were just lucky to get three points in that match. It was 50/50 situation.”

El-Kanemi finished the game with 10 men following the expulsion of their defender, Aghoha Otakho after receiving a second yellow card in the 35th minute.

The former Kano Pillars managers said Otakho’s red card distabilised their initial plans.

“The red card given to Otakho distabilised our option one game’s plan. The card was genuinely given to him. The officiating was fair and I have no quarrel against officiating. And I am taking responsibility for what is happening now. I am assuring our fans within and outside that El-Kanemi will soon bounce back. Moreso, that we are getting the attention of the sponsors; government and management. I have believed that our fans are behind us. I congratulate Abia Warriors for luckily clinching the three points in the game.”

‎ FRIENDLY GAME: Nigeria, Brazil confirm March 24 date

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and the Confederacao Brasileira de Futebol (CBF) have confirmed that their U-23 squads will play an international friendly match in Brazil on Thursday, March 24.

“The CBF is happy to host the champions of Africa, Nigeria Olympic team on the 24th March FIFA date at 7pm at the stadium of Kleber Andrade in the city of Cariacica, Vitoria, Espirito Santo.

“The match will serve as preparation for both teams for their participation in the Olympic Games Rio 2016,” the statement from CBF read.

NFF’s FIFA Match Agent, Jairo Pachon of Eurodata Sport told “The match is sealed. We are happy to be able to swing this one and it will serve as good preparation for the Nigeria Olympic team ahead of Rio 2016.”

Both teams were involved in one of the most memorable matches in the history of the men’s football tournament of the Olympics, back in 1996, when the Dream Team came back from 1-3 down to eliminate Brazil in the semi finals. Nigeria beat Argentina 3-2 in the final to claim Africa’s first –ever Olympics football gold.

Siasia invite 30 players for Brazil friendly

Coach Samson Siasia has listed a total of 30 players for the international friendly match against Brazil coming up in Brazil on Thursday, March 24.

The list is a mixture of old faces that Siasia has worked with over the course of the qualifying matches for the All-Africa Games and the Games proper and the qualifying matches for the Africa U-23 Cup of Nations and the championship proper, as well as new faces he intends to take a close look at.

Siasia told on Friday: "For now, I want to assume that I don't have a team, as every Nigerian player within the age bracket that is good get a chance to fight for a place in my team to the Olympics. I intend to use friendly games like this to try out as many players as I can, so that as we get closer to the games I will have a mental picture of the players I will be taking for my final training camp before the Games.

"For now, I invited this large number of players because I know not all of them will be able to make it even though we have sent out invitation letters to all of them. My major concern now is for them to come with letters from their clubs indicating that if they are eventually selected for the Games, their clubs will allow them report to camp when needed."

Siasia added that as a lot of overseas-based players have shown interest in playing for the country at the Olympics, he intends to utilize all FIFA free windows so as to enable him and his assistants assess as many of them as possible.

"For now, we are concentrating on those players we have no picture of how they will adapt to our playing pattern.‎ We intend to invite more of such players as we go ahead. We already know some of the overseas –based pros we intend to work with, so we will be inviting those known faces as we progress in our build up to the Games."

Among those invited from the domestic scene are goalkeepers Emmanuel Daniel and Yusuf Mohammed and defenders Erhun Obanor, Sincere Seth, Segun Oduduwa and Ndifreke Effiong. The overseas -based legion includes Captain Azubuike Okechukwu, Dele Alampasu, Stanley Amuzie, Saviour Godwin, Aminu Umar and Etebo Oghenekaro.


Home Based
1. Emmanuel Daniel
2. Yusuf Mohammed
3. Segun Oduduwa
4. Erhun Obanor
5. Sincere Seth
6. Ndifreke Effiong
7. Ubong Ekpai
8. Bright Onyedikachi
9. Stanley Dimgba

Overseas Based
10. Dele Alampasu
11. Stanley Amuzie
12. Usman Mohammed
13. Azubuike Okechukwu
14. Sadiq Popoola
15. Etebo Oghenekaro
16. Saviour Godwin
17. Aminu Umar
18. Alex Iwobi
19. Iyayi Believe
20. Junior Ajayi
21. Taiwo Awoniyi
22. Peter Olayinka
23. Theophilus ‎ Solomon
24. Godswill Ekpolo
25. Sergio Uyi
26. Ovbokha Agboyi
27. Nathan Oduwa
28. Musa Mohammed
29. Saturday Ekiego
30. Victor Osimhen

NFF name Fatai Amoo as U-23 interim coach

Former Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) of Ibadan coach, Fatai Amao is to tinker the Nigeria U-23 team in the interim.

The Nigeria Football Federation named Amoo as Dream Team VI coach following the appointment of Samson Siasia as the Super Eagles interim coach.

Siasia moved up to the Super Eagles after Sunday Oliseh resigned as team’s coach on Friday.

Amoo will be in charge of the team when Nigeria’s Dream Team VI confronts Brazil in an international friendly match on Thursday, March 24.

Gianni Infantino elected as FIFA's ninth president

On Friday morning Gianni Infantino was voted the new FIFA president by the FIFA Congress.
The UEFA General Secretary took home 115 votes in the second round of voting. A total of 104 votes were needed to win the election during the second round of voting.

The 45-year-old Swiss football administrator has been UEFA's General Secretary since 2009, serving under Michel Platini, who was UEFA's President until he was banned from the sport in December. The length of that ban was recently reduced from eight years to six years after an appeal.

Infantino oversaw the expansion of the European Championship to 24 teams and currently serves on FIFA's Reform Committee alongside Canada Soccer Association president Victor Montagliani.

Infantino, who earned the Canadian Soccer Association's vote, took home 88 of the 207 votes during the first round of voting, edging out Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa by three votes. Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, US Soccer's pre-election choice, finished third with 27 votes while Jerome Champagne finished with seven votes.

The second round of voting was necessary since no candidate reached the 138-vote threshold for election during the first round. This is the first time that a FIFA presidential election has gone to a second round of voting since 1974.

Earlier in the day, sweeping reforms were also approved by the FIFA Congress, including greater transparency and term limits.

Candidate                                              Vote Total
Gianni Infantino                                        115
Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa       88
Prince Ali bin al-Hussein                           4

Jerome Champagne                                  0

Gianni Infantino elected as FIFA's ninth president

On Friday morning Gianni Infantino was voted the new FIFA president by the FIFA Congress.
The UEFA General Secretary took home 115 votes in the second round of voting. A total of 104 votes were needed to win the election during the second round of voting.

The 45-year-old Swiss football administrator has been UEFA's General Secretary since 2009, serving under Michel Platini, who was UEFA's President until he was banned from the sport in December. The length of that ban was recently reduced from eight years to six years after an appeal.

Infantino oversaw the expansion of the European Championship to 24 teams and currently serves on FIFA's Reform Committee alongside Canada Soccer Association president Victor Montagliani.

Infantino, who earned the Canadian Soccer Association's vote, took home 88 of the 207 votes during the first round of voting, edging out Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa by three votes. Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, US Soccer's pre-election choice, finished third with 27 votes while Jerome Champagne finished with seven votes.

The second round of voting was necessary since no candidate reached the 138-vote threshold for election during the first round. This is the first time that a FIFA presidential election has gone to a second round of voting since 1974.

Earlier in the day, sweeping reforms were also approved by the FIFA Congress, including greater transparency and term limits.

Rivers United now to travel by air

Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) club, Rivers United will no longer embark on road trips for domestic matches.

This follows the successful talks between sponsors of the club, the Rivers State Government and an Airline operator .

Explaining the rationale behind the move, Rivers State State Sports Commissioner, Honourable Bom Iyaye said it is in line with the blueprint of making the club the foremost Nigerian side in the country.

“It's now official. Rivers United will now travel by air for all away matches to Northern and Western regions of Nigeria (United are based in Port Harcourt, Southern Nigeria).

“This is courtesy the Rivers State Government as we strive to become a truly professional football club.

“It is also a form of motivation for our players in the shape of reducing fatigue of as a result of long road trips to honour league fixtures,” Iyaye said.

The Commissioner of sports, while addressing the players encouraged them not to disappoint rivers citizens in their quest to be the foremost football club in Nigeria.

United are currently in ninth place in the NPFL standings with three points from two matches in the two-week old season.

NFF appoints Siasia, Yusuf, Amuneke for Egypt tie

Nigeria has re-appointed Samson Siasia as Head Coach of the Senior National Football Team, Super Eagles. He will work with respected tactician Salisu Yusuf, FIFA U-17 World Cup –winner Emmanuel Amuneke and Alloy Agu for the upcoming 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Egypt.

The combination was recommended by the NFF Technical and Development Committee following Sunday Oliseh’s resignation on twitter in the early hours of Friday.

Siasia served as Super Eagles’ Head Coach between December 2010 and October 2011, before his contract was terminated following the team’s failure to qualify for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.

Amuneke led the Nigeria U-17 boys to a fifth FIFA World Cup title in Chile last year and was hailed for his excellent comportment and maturity, as well as the tremendous skills of his players.

Salisu Yusuf and Alloy Agu were in the immediate past crew led by Oliseh and will serve as the bridge with the new team as Nigeria gets set for a potentially –explosive double date with the Pharaohs in March.

Siasia and Amuneke are among few ex-Nigeria internationals who boast impressive track record in coaching. Amuneke, who has a UEFA Pro licence, was assistant to Manu Garba when the Nigeria U-17 squad won a fourth FIFA World Cup title in 2013, and then headed the crew that successfully defended the trophy last year.

Siasia steered the Nigeria U-20 team to the African title in 2005 and led the team to runner-up spot at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in The Netherlands the same year. He also led the U-23 to silver medal in the men’s football tournament of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, and two months ago, led the U-23 to win the Africa U-23 Cup of Nations in Senegal, in the process qualifying the team to this year’s Olympics.

Both men scored as Nigeria achieved an impressive debut at the FIFA World Cup in the USA in 1994. Amuneke scored against Bulgaria and Italy and Siasia scored against Argentina.

Amuneke also scored the two goals as Nigeria edged Zambia to win the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time on away soil in Tunis in 1994, and also scored the winner as Nigeria defeated Argentina to win Africa’s first Olympics football gold in USA two years later.

Contrary to claims by Oliseh that he was being owed wages and did not receive support from the NFF, top officials confirmed to that he was this week paid the sum of N20 million, being salaries for three months (December 2015, January 2016 and February 2016) and half-year rent for July-December 2015. He was signed on in July 2015. The only money he is owed is the bonus for the World Cup qualifier against Swaziland in Port Harcourt in November 2015, which the NFF had promised to pay players and officials on resumption of camping for the matches against Egypt.

Chairman of the NFF Technical and Development Committee, Chris Green told “The new crew has the mandate to reach out to the very best Nigerian players anywhere. The matches against Egypt would not be picnics and we need our very best for those contests.”  


Dear General Secretary of NFF,

Object: Letter of Resignation.

Due to incessant Violations of our signed agreement (Contract) I am hereby informing you of my decision to terminate our working collaboration signed in July

The most important objective is for the Super Eagles of Nigeria to qualify to the next AFCON and the World Cup 2018.

Since so little help is being rendered me in getting the players to give their best and very vital conditions and advantages to the team play are also being sacrificed coupled with non redress of the aforementioned despite my several e mails and others, seeking your aid to effectively carry out my duties were ignored.

These unconducive working conditions that my coaching crew and myself have to live with, your contractual violations and the interest of the nation necessitates that I tender my resignation and recourse to the termination of our working agreement.

Many thanks for the opportunity to serve my fatherland.

Sunday Oliseh

Chief Coach Super Eagles of Nigeria


Sunday Oliseh has said he quit as Nigeria coach in the interest of the country.

The former Nigeria World Cup star sensationally turned in his resignation letter, which was addressed to general secretary  of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Mohammed Sanusi, and dated February 25, 2016.

“Your contractual violations and the interest of the nation necessitates that I tender my resignation and recourse to the termination of our working agreement,” the resignation letter read in part.

A rented apartment in Abuja promised he and his two assistants after he was appointed in July 2015 has yet to be fulfilled.

He is also owed four months’ salary, while his assistants are also being owed for several months.
He further accused the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) of not giving him enough support to prepare the team for next month’s all-important AFCON qualifiers against seven-time champions and qualifying group leaders Egypt.

He said he received “so little help” from the NFF and has been soldering on under “unconducive working conditions”.

After his team failed to go past the group stage of the recent CHAN in Rwanda, Oliseh said they were not motivated enough to do so, he described the team as "a  car driving on an empty tank".

Thursday 25 February 2016

Danladi expects victory against Generation Foot

Nasarawa United FC chairman, Barrister Isaac Danladi has reiterated that his team has not traveled to Senegal to fail, as the Solid Miners prepare for a showdown with AS Academie Generation Foot in a CAF Confederation Cup preliminary round, second leg encounter on Sunday.

An 89th minute goal was all that Nasarawa United needed to overrun the Youthful Generation Foot 2-1 in the first leg encounter in Nigeria.

The match played at the Abuja national stadium saw the solid miners taking the lead in the seventh minute through a goal scored by Tayo Fabiyi.

Attempts to increase the tally failed as the visitors frustrated every move of the home boys to increase the tally.

With a one goal deficit conceded in the first half, the visiting generation foot football club of Senegal changed the pace and tempo of the game upon resumption of the second half and their efforts paid off in the 47th minute with an equalizer from Ibrahim Niane.

A foul within the penalty area of the visitors in the 88th minute saw the Nasarawa boys taking the lead in the 89th minute as Sogbeso Seun converted the spot kick to end the game at 2-1 in favour of Nasarawa United.

“We are expecting nothing short of victory from the game. I want to truly appreciate officials of the Embassy of Nigeria in Dakar, officials of Generation Foot and the Senegalese Football Federation for receiving our delegation at the airport,” Danladi said.

Pinnick, Akinwunmi, Sanusi in Zurich for FIFA congress

Top officials of the Nigeria Football Federation have arrived at FIFA’s headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland ahead of Friday’s extraordinary congress of football’s world governing body.

 NFF President Amaju Pinnick, 1st Vice President Seyi Akinwunmi and General Secretary Mohammed Sanusi flew out of Nigeria on Wednesday morning for the congress, which highlight is the election of a new FIFA President among five men of varying ages and comportment.

 The world’s media have continued to underscore Sheikh Salman bin al-Khalifa from Bahrain and Italian-Swiss Gianni Infantino as favourites ahead of South African Tokyo Sexwale, Frenchman Jerome Champagne and Prince Ali bin al-Hussein from Jordan.

 Al-Khalifa, 50, appears in good stead after securing the backing of the Confederation of African Football, whose supremo, Issa Hayatou, is acting FIFA president. Al-Khalifa will also expect total support from the Asian confederation, which he heads.

 However, Infantino, 45, expects support from the European bloc, and sympathy from a few other places. The youngest of the quintet is 40-year old Prince al-Hussein, who secured over 70 votes in a clash with former president Blatter last summer before opting out of a second ballot.

 The oldest is former South African anti-apartheid campaigner and Government Minister, Tokyo Sexwale, but the 62 –year old, having failed to secure his own confederation’s backing, is making himself open to ‘alliances’.

Former FIFA deputy secretary general Jerome Champagne, 57, stormed out of the CAF meeting in Kigali last month after the African chiefs opted to back Salman al-Khalifa.

Wikki Tourists shift focus to Pillars game

        Wikki Tourists chairman Hon. Isa Matori has urged the players and technical crew of the team to put behind them the goalless draw against Heartland FC of Owerri in the match day two game at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Stadium, Bauchi on Wednesday.

   Matori advised them to accept the result as professional as he encouraged them to take inspiration in their last weekend's away win over El-Kanemi Warriors in Katsina.            
   "We should be grateful to God that we did not completely lose the points and we were not disgraced as you guys played very well to the admiration of the spectators," Matori said.
   The Chairman, therefore, enjoyed them to appreciate God for the result and focus on their next away match against Kano Pillars.

   He expressed confidence that his side will tear and destroy Pillars at the Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano on Sunday considering their fitness and technical abilities.      

   Matori furthered commended the match officials for their magnanimity and courage for fair officiating that satisfied the spectators at the stadium and urged them to continue.

   He also congratulated the LMC for successful take off of the league as expected.


The Management of Rangers International of Enugu has said it is not leaving anything to chance towards beating Niger Tornadoes FC Mina in the match day three of the Nigeria Premier League slated for Sunday at the Nnamdi Azikwe Stadium, Enugu.

 The Clubs' Media Officer, Foster Chime said that the Management have resolved not to leave any stone unturned in their quest to ensure the club picks the maximum three points and three goals on Sunday against Niger Tornadoes to secure a total of six (6) points in their two (2) straight Home matches to be at pole position in contesting for the first three Position at the end of the first stanza of the League.

 The Management has said that Rangers Players will not make any mistakes against Niger Tornadoes FC on Sunday, stating that the Management is working towards encouraging the players and officials in sustaining the success recorded so far in subsequent matches.

 The General Manager of the club, Ozor Paul Chibuzor was very elated with clubs' victory on Wednesday over Plateau United in Enugu thanking the Fans, Supporters and other stakeholders for coming out to support the team to victory.

 The GM believes that the team will get better as the season progresses, expressing satisfaction with the team’s performance in the last two matches, hoping that the Technical Crew will correct observed lapses in their subsequent games for improvement.

  He assured of continues motivation and support for the players and officials of the team to give their best.

  Meanwhile, The Technical Director of the Club, Chairman Christian Chukwu (MFR) says that Niger Tornadoes will not be taking for granted ahead of Sundays' match in Enugu after their Wednesdays' 3 - 1 spanking of Plateau United FC.

  Chukwu said that the players will approach Sundays match with all seriousness and has advised them against any form of complacency.

  The Rangers players have also resolved after Wednesdays' victory to sustain their winning on Sunday against Niger Tornadoes while urging the State Government and Rangers Management to encourage them more financially.

  However, the club's branded Jerseys, White and Red with storckins arrived in Enugu on Thursday, 26th February 2016 from select sports of Holland aboard Airik Air through Abuja.

Watford coach Flores unconcerned by Arsenal interest in Ighalo

Watford coach Quique Sanchez Flores insists he is unconcerned by reports linking Arsenal with a move for Nigeria international striker Odio Ighalo.

Former Udinese frontman Ighalo has enjoyed a superb first season in the Premier League, where he has scored 14 goals as well as one in the FA Cup, and his contribution to his club’s efforts to retain its top-flight status has not gone unnoticed.

Indeed, he has been linked with a summer move to the Gunners, something which has come as no surprise to his manager.

Flores said: “Speculation about Ighalo is very normal. He has been one of the best strikers of the season, so it’s very normal.”

Ighalo, who has scored just twice in his last 10 games, has formed a deadly partnership with Troy Deeney, although he too has endured something of a barren spell in recent weeks.

Deeney’s double in a 2-1 league win at Crystal Palace on February 13 ended a six-game wait for a goal, although Flores is adamant he was never unduly concerned.

He said: “I know that other players need to support the goals of he and Ighalo, of course. We have a very good second line with [Etienne] Capoue, with [Almen] Abdi, with [Jose Manuel] Jurado, with other players who can score.

“But the situation is that we create attempts, but the players who score are Ighalo and Deeney. But the most important thing is that when we finish the match – we shoot maybe 12, 14 times and have other players shooting also, but the evidence is it is Ighalo and Deeney.”

I wasn’t at my best against Ikorodu Utd, Chikatara confesses

Abia Warriors striker, Chisom Chikatara has said that he wasn’t at his finest form during his side’s 1-1 draw against Ikorodu United in the match day one of the Nigeria Premier league clash on Sunday at the Onikan Stadium, Lagos.

The African Championship (CHAN) four goals star was the cynosure of all eyes on Sunday as spectators expected to see a repeat of what he displayed at Rwanda.

But the Kolanut Boys as he is fondly called by his admirers performed below the expectation.

Ikorodu United defenders, Fransis Nnedun and Kabiru Moshood were at their best as they shut out Chikatara out of the game and he could be hardly noticed during the encounter before he was substituted with Michael Olaha in the 63rd minute.

In an exclusive chat with SportingLife after the game, Chikatara hopes to raise his game as the league progresses.

“This is the first league game after a long break. One could expect things like that to happen but it is one game out of many matches to be played in the league. I was not at my best form during the match and I will pick up again match after match,” Chikatara told SportingLife.

Ikorodu United head coach Edema Benson after the match said he instructed his defenders to mark Chikatara out of the game.

But in a quiet manner, Chikatara disputed the claim and responded: “I don’t think they marked me out of the game. It was just not my day as I told you before. If I was at my best Ikorodu United defenders cannot stop me.”

Abia Warriors beat El-Kanemi 2-1

Abia Warriors football club of Umuahia recorded its first win of the current season with a hard fought 2-1 victory over visiting El-Kanemi Warriors of Maiduguri in a week two encounter decided at the Umuahia Township Stadium on Wednesday.

Youngster, Michael Olaha came off the bench to net the winner in the 81st minute after scores stood at 1-1.

Spectators were still making their way into the arena when CHAN 2016 revelation Chisom Chikatara raised the curtains with a spectacular goal in the 4th minute but the visitors equalised seven minutes after through Mustapha Ibrahim who capitalised on a sloppy defending by the Warriors to make hay.

After the first two goals, Abia Warriors had the opportunity to kill off the game but poor marksmanship denied them on several occasions but Olaha's entry made the difference as the left- footed striker scored from close range to hand Kennedy Boboye his first league win of the season after drawing 1-1 with Ikorodu United in Lagos last Sunday.

El-Kanemi Warriors  finished the game with 10 men following the expulsion of their defender, Aghoha Otakho after receiving a second yellow card in the 35th minute.

In his reaction, Boboye expressed gratitude to God for the victory pointing out that Abia Warriors will continue to get better in subsequent matches.

Cuper: We might call up new players for Nigeria game

Egypt’s Argentine manager Hector Cuper has revealed the possibility of calling up new players for Nigeria’s clash other than those called up for Burkina Faso’s friendly next Saturday.

Cuper said in a press conference ahead of Burkina Faso’s Friendly match, that he is delighted to meet all the players again.
“I am happy to meet with the players again in order to explain my thoughts and therefore increase the harmony between them and the coaching staff,” Cuper said.

“The exclusion of some players from this training camp, doesn’t mean they won’t be called up for Nigeria’s clash. They just have to work harder and prove their worth. Therefore new players might get called up for Nigeria training camp.

He also made it straight that Egypt’s giants current form doesn’t worry him.

“I’m not worried by Al Ahly and Zamalek’s inconsistent form, this is the the time for new teams and players to shine.
“I hope we beat Nigeria or at least maintain the two-point difference between us, in order to qualify to the African Cup of Nations,” Cuper concluded.

It is worth mentioning that Egypt is set to face Nigeria two time in March, while Egypt occupies first spot in the table with 6 points, Nigeria stays second with four points.

Tuesday 23 February 2016

Victor Makalala joins Lobi Stars

Lobi Stars FC of Makurdi have completed the signing of Victor Makalala on a year deal.
Makalala completed his move on Saturday after his former club, Igho FC of Sapele submitted his clearance to Lobi Stars and both parties agreed on the contractual terms.
The 22-year old star, who went on trials with Georgia FC of Atlanta Georgia, United States of America returned back home to join Lobi Stars and he is ready for the mid-week home match against Sunshine of Akure on Wednesday at the Aper Aku Stadium in Makurdi.

Cuper: Burkina Faso's friendly will be best preparation for Nigeria tie

Egypt's Argentinean manager Hector Cuper beleives Pharaohs' February 27 friendly clash against Burkina Faso will be the best preparation for the anticipated match against Nigeria in the 2017 Cup of Nations qualifiers in late March. 
The Egyptian team will host Burkina Faso in Alexandria and Cuper said he will use the game to examine the local players in the absence of foreign based players.
"The Burkina Faso match will be the best preparation for the Nigeria clash despite the absence of foreign based players. It will be a good opportunity to examine the local players- the best in the league at the time being," Cuper said in a press conference ahead of the camp launch on Tuesday.

"The national team's door is still open for any new players ahead of the Nigeria encounter. The selected players must do their best to prove their worth and cement a place in the starting line-up," he added.

West Ham ‘good enough’ to win FA Cup, says Emenike

Nigerian international striker Emmanuel Emenike believes that West Ham are good enough to win the FA Cup.
Emenike scored a brace in his first start for the Hammers since joining on a six-month loan from Fenerbahce last month.
Speaking after the game Emenike was quoted as telling the official West Ham website: “It’s a really special one for me that I played on Sunday and scored in the FA Cup.
“I think we are good enough to go all the way. We work hard for each other and we have good players.”
The powerful striker also thanked the fans for showing him support after his shaky start. Eminence made two brief appearances before his first start for the club and missed a golden opportunity to win the game against Norwich with a last-gasp effort last weekend in the Premier League.
“I just want to say a big thank you to the fans for their support,” he added.
“Last week was a tough week for me, because I missed a chance to give us three points, but thankfully I made up for it on Sunday and made the fans happy.”
West Ham have the option to sign Emenike on a permanent deal at the end of the season as they have a release clause option in his contract.

The Hammers have yet to decide if they will keep the 28-year-old striker on at the club next season.


Rangers International FC Technical Adviser Imama Amapakabo has revealed that some of the club’s new signing would be paraded against Plateau United FC of Jos in Wednesday's match day two League clash at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu.
Amapakabo said players like Brights Esieme, Koku Donou from Maranater FC of Togo, Mories Enete, Ochieme and few others that did not play in Kano are now available for selection after the club secured their clearances. 
The Blues Angels lost 2-1 to Kano Pillars in their first league game on Sunday at the Sanni Abacha Stadium, Kano.
Amapakabo said the team has intensified training and preparation for Plateau United’s match and called for massive support from fans.
The team captain, Okay Odita has promised their fans that the players are ready to make up for their loss to Kano Pillars with Victory against Plateau United.

Odinta said the players have put Sundays' loss behind them and perfecting strategies towards beating Plateau United by 2 goals to nil.

LMC shifts Enyimba, Nasarawa, Akwa matches

The League Management Company (LMC) has rescheduled match day 2 fixtures involving three clubs on the continent to Wednesday, March 16, 2016.
The fixtures are the ties between Cup winners Akwa United and Ikorodu United, Enyimba v 3SC and FC Ifeanyiubah v Nasarawa United, earlier billed to be held on Wednesday, February 24.
The Chief Operating Officer of LMC, Salihu Abubakar, explained that matchday 2 fixtures were put on hold at the instance of the clubs involved in continental competitions. Match Day 3 fixtures involving the three clubs will accordingly be played on March 23, 2016.
“The clubs were already not in the matchday 3 fixtures due to their continental fixtures on the weekend of February 26-28 but we have received representations from officials of the three c
lubs pleading to be allowed to focus on their continental fixtures,” said Abubakar to
Nasarawa United are already billed to fly out on Tuesday to Dakar, Senegal for the second leg of their Caf Confederation Cup tie against AS Academie Generation Foot.
The first leg saw the Lafia side in a narrow 2-1 win in Abuja on Sunday, February 14.
NPFL champions Enyimba will host Vipers of Uganda in the second leg of the CAF Champions League after losing the first leg 1-0 in Kampala. The match will be held at the Adokie Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt.
Akwa United will also play their second leg tie of the CAF Confederations Cup against Vita Club de Mokanda of Congo.
Abubakar said the adjustment in fixtures did not affect other clubs whose games will be held this Wednesday as previously scheduled.


Nigeria will know their first round opponents for this year’s Rio Olympics on April 14 at the famous Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.
Dream Team VI, as the Nigeria Olympic team are known, will represent Africa alongside Algeria and South Africa.
Nigeria won the 1996 Atlanta Olympics Gold and were beaten by Argentina in the final of the 2008 Beijing Olympics in China.
Hosts Brazil and defending champions Mexico will be among the 16 teams to be drawn into four groups of the competition,which will be staged in August.
Only one spot is left in the men’s football event – Colombia and USA will play off next month to decide that final spot.
The tournament will be played in six Brazilian cities including Rio, Sao Paulo, Brasilia and Belo Horizonte.

Monday 22 February 2016

Mikel prefers Hiddink to Mourinho

Nigerian international John Mikel Obi has launched a series of thinly-veiled jibes at Jose Mourinho, indicating the players were more relaxed ‘from day one’ of Guus Hiddink taking over and that the Dutchman ‘doesn’t get into people’s business'.
The squad feel respected again, the midfielder explained after their 5-1 FA Cup mauling of Manchester City, and the atmosphere at their Cobham ground has completely changed since Mourinho was sacked in December.
Mikel claims that the majority of the team would like Hiddink to continue as Chelsea manager beyond his short-term deal which ends in the summer.
The 29-year-old struggled under Mourinho, who preferred the partnership of Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic in central midfield, but has become a regular under their interim boss.
‘From day one, since Guus has come in, the atmosphere has changed,’ the 29-year-old said. ‘The players feel more relaxed, people know what their jobs are and people are getting on with their jobs in a more relaxed way. And a way they can perform very well.
'He has given responsibility to people and expects them to thrive on it and make sure they do it in way where they feel comfortable. I think that is what the players are showing now.
‘When you come into the training ground, the players are more relaxed, he doesn’t get into people’s business, he gets on with his own thing and players feel very comfortable and know exactly what to do so when he gets on the training pitch, he doesn’t need to speak.
'We all know what he wants and it is the same when we go into a game.’
Mourinho’s approach of often publicly berating his players for the poor performances which resulted in his sacking was met with disapproval by many of them.
Towards the end, he described John Terry and Kurt Zouma’s defending against Leicester City as a ‘betrayal’ and he had a fractious relationship with Diego Costa, who launched a bib at him after he was left on the bench against Tottenham.
Costa has struck nine goals in 12 games since the Portuguese left, while he had only four in 24 before that.
The team have displayed a notable revival under Hiddink, winning six, drawing six and losing just one of his 13 games in charge.
The Premier League is out of reach, but he is still in the Champions League and the FA Cup — the competition he won in his previous interim spell at the club in 2009 — and Mikel insists the players would like Hiddink to remain at the club beyond the end of the season.
‘I want him to stay,’ he said. ‘It is the choice of the owner, the club and the board. They will have to decide. But if you speak to the players, 98 or 99 per cent of them want him to stay so I mean, we are very happy, we are performing well and let’s hope this continues.
‘It depends on the board and it depends on Guus if he wants to continue. He has said that he is here until the end of the season but you never know, he might change his mind. If the club want to appoint him fair enough. His record speaks for itself.’

Testimonial Game: Why Yobo dumps Lagos for Port-Harcourt

Former Super Eagles captain Joseph Yobo will now play his testimonial game in Port Harcourt, at the end of the European season in May.
The coordinator of the event and ex-international Waheed Akanni said that the organisers chose Port-Harcourt because most of the players expected at the event would prefer to play on the grass than artificial turf.
Akanni said players like Wayne Rooney, Samuel Eto, Yaya Toure and other friends of Yobo are expected to feature in the testimonial match.
The former Lagos State Football Association (FA) chairman said Yobo’s testimonial match would be the best ever.
He also added that the former Everton of England defender will also be launching his foundation officially on that day, the programme he kicked started in 2007 to help under-privileged children in Nigeria.
“The story of Yobo playing his testimonial match was not from us. I don’t even think that should be an issue now. The person they are celebrating is from a town and his people want to do it from him. It is not as if the story of Lagos was wrong or something, it is just that his state wants to do it for him,” Akanni said.
“”There is no quarrel about that. It is just a small changing of venue by reason of where the man is from. I don’t think that should be an issue.  It is not that Lagos is fighting Port-Harcourt.
“Again, most of the people that will come will love to play on the grass and Lagos has only astro turf pitch. And facility is number one when you are hosting this kind of event. Even, when Kanu testimonial match was played in Lagos, a lot of stars did not play because of the artificial turf and people coming for this match will have to go and play a week after the event and they will not want to play on the astro turf.
“It is not as if Lagos is not good to host the event. By the grace of God we will make sure that we host the best testimonial game ever in the world.”

Salisu Yusuf joins Gombe United as T.A

 Gombe United Football Club has signed Super Eagles assistant coach, Salisu Yusuf as the team's Technical Adviser.
The former Enyimba and Kano Pillars gaffer is to take charge of the Savannah Scorpions for the whole season in the Nigeria National League (NNL).
Yusuf will be assisted by Oladuni Onyekali who will serve as the Chief Coach. 
The club said Yusuf's appointment was motivated with the drive toward returning the team to the elite League next season.
Similarly, the Club has recruited ten, retained twenty and released five players.
The newly recruited players according to the team are as follows:
1. Kenneth Ahis, defender from Kano Pillars
2. Shehu Mai Jama'a, defender from Wikki Tourists
3. Buhari Musa Wing Attacker from Mighty Jet
4. Timothy Akila striker from Plateau Utd
5. Morris Chigozie from Ifeanyiubah
6. Faruk Hussaini striker from Adamawa United
7. Mikel Zaruma defender from Ammel Academy
8. Obinna Akuchei goalkeeper from Heartland
9. Chinedu Kawawa goalkeeper from FC Taraba.
The management of the club has, however, expressed gratitude to the State Government, His Excellency Alh. Dr Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, OON, Talban Gombe, for his relentless support to the Club despite the dwindling economic condition in the country, and the teaming fans for their undiluted support during joyous and trial moments.
It also extended its appreciation to print, radio and TV sports writers as well as bloggers for giving the Club positive publicity and prayed the relationship will continue to wax stronger.