Wednesday, 24 December 2014
Former Nigeria international midfielder, Dickson Etuhu, has moved to Swedish Allsvenskan side, AIK Stockholm, on a two-year contract.
Etuhu, 32, has played for English sides like Sunderland and Fulham, and was part of Nigeria's squad to the 2010 World Cup and has had over hundred appearances in the Barclays Premier League.
"I do not know much about Swedish football but I learn very quickly. I have good friends in the Swedish national team and Martin Olsson has said that it is a good league that is making steady progress," Etuhu told Soccer Channel.
"This is the best club to play for."
Etuhu, who started out at Manchester City's academy, also said he is ready for his latest challenge and wants to help the team regain the league title from Malmo FF who were able to get into Uefa Champions League group stage this season.
"I know there is great passion at the club, it's a great club. We can absolutely win the league, I think so.
"I'm looking forward to getting started, this is special, it's better than England," the former Preston North End and Norwich City midfielder said.
Etuhu reportedly turned down offers from English club to seal a move to the Stockholm club on Tuesday.
It has been revealed that El-Kanemi Warriors goalkeeper, David Obiazo, has joined Nigeria Professional Football League rivals, Heartland.
Obiazo was outstanding in goal for the Maiduguri side and earned an invitation to the Super Eagles during the 2013/14 season
Interestingly, the goalkeeper was initially linked to champions, Kano Pillars since his side adopted Kano as their home ground during the home concluded season.
Obiazo expressed satisfaction with his move to Owerri.
"I accepted the offer from Heartland for football reasons. I want to play first team football like every ambitious footballer and I'm looking forward to an exciting time at Heartland," he told supersport.com.
Obiazo joined El-Kanemi from lower division side, Plateau United on the eve of the 2012/13 season and worked his way to become number one in goal under Kelechi Emeteole and later Salisu Yusuf during the 2013/14 season.
Enyimba technical adviser, Kadiri Ikhana has said his side have nothing to worry their heads over the preliminary round Caf Champions League opponents, Buffles du Borgou of Benin Republic.
The two-time African champions will open their title account against the Beninese side on the home front in the weekend of February 13,14 and 15.
Ikhana said what his side need in the coming year campaign is adequate preparations in order to attempt recreating the glory days of 2003 and 2004.
“That’s fantastic pairing as I’ve always believe that there is no more small team in the round leather game as the side are certain to field 11 players same as ours when football hostilities commence.
“They could be dangerous if we overlooked or underrated them so we’ve vowed to go to work immediately to prepare the players so that there won’t be any slip in our campaign.
“I’m confident we can progress quite far in the Africa biggest club competition even do better than our recent outings.
“Everything however depends on adequate and timely preparations, I’m sure if we put our acts right we could recreate as well as recapture the glory days of 2003 and 2004.
“The former governor of the state, Orji Uzor Kalu and the entire Abia people were crucial in the side victory in 2003.
“It has been quite long the Abia people tasted the Caf Champions League trophy, I believe with every hands on deck we can go as far as winning the title once again,” said the coach who guided the Peoples Elephant to break the Caf Champions League jinx in 2003 to supersport.com.
The NPFL runners-up and 2014 Federation Cup winners who are due to resume camp for the upcoming season on December 29 and Nigerian champions, Kano Pillars will campaign in the Caf Champions League competition. Pillars have been handed South Sudan opponents, Malakia.
Ranchers Bees management has said the side are not worried over the Nigeria National League (NNL) board decision to award the abandoned replay match day 30 clash to Kwara United.
The Afonja Warriors were freed by the NNL board to join Wikki Tourists to head to the Nigerian topflight next season after both sides beleaguered final day match was further abandoned in the dying minutes of the replay 28 minutes after the llorin-based side were awarded a penalty. The encounter was initially discontinued with score at 2-2 in Kaduna.
An official of the Kaduna-based side, Vincent Akinbami said his side have formally lodged a complaint with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Organising and Disciplinary Committee with the aim of upturning the NNL board three points and three goals decision to Kwara United.
“We played the 28-minute replay match against Kwara United in Abuja under protest because we’re not comfortable with the choice of the centre referee for the grudge match.
“However, we’ve summarily lodged a complaint with the NFF Organising and Disciplinary Committee against the decision of the NNL board to award three points and three goals to Kwara United following the discontinuation of the clash.
“We’re quite hopeful that the right thing will be done by the NFF O&D which will see to the upturning of the NNL board early decision.
“We’ve good case and at the end of the day justice will surely prevail so we’re not losing sleep over the NNL decision nor our chances to play in the Nigeria elite league next season.
“It’s not yet over we’re keeping our cool certain that darkness won’t outshine light no matter how hard darkness fights to keep a stolen mandate,” said Akinbami to supersport.com.
A favourable decision from the NFF O&D will see Ranchers Bees secure their passage to the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) next season together with Wikki Tourists, 3SC and Gabros FC.
Nigeria's Golden Eaglets have decided to shelve aside the Christmas to continue their preparation ahead of the 2015 African Under-17 Championship in Niger Republic.
The Nigerian under-17s are currently the only national team in the country still in camp. They trained on the Eve of Christmas as players were made to focus on physical drills that included athleticism and abdominal exercises at the Goal Project in Abuja.
Golden Eaglets head coach, Emmanuel Amuneke, who turns 44 on Christmas Day, believes that "the only magic in football is fitness."
The former African Footballer of the Year is ready to drill his team throughout the holidays to ensure that they achieve that feel of being "a winner."
"The only magic in football is fitness and not any fetish thing; and without fitness, we can't be a winner. By the grace of God, we would train once on Thursday because we need to keep ourselves very fit for the task ahead.
"We are quite impressed with the response of the players but we are going to push them even harder. The players need to regain their fitness level because some are still rusty since we went on break after the qualification in September.
"For us to function well, we must be ready to work well because apart from your skill, you have to push yourselves very hard and that is why the like of Messi and Ronaldo are still the best in the world," said Amuneke.
The Nigerian under-17s have been drawn in Group A of the African Under-17 Championship alongside hosts Niger Republic, Guinea and Zambia.
Janet Effiom has said her victory at the just concluded Nigeria Table Tennis Federation President’s Cup will propel her to success at next year’s All Africa Games slated to hold in Brazzaville, Congo. The player emerged champion in the women’s category of the year-ending competition after defeating the more illustrious Portugal-based Atinuke Olaide.
And in an interview with our correspondent the player said that she was happy to have won the tournament and was looking forward to helping the country win at the All Africa Games.
“I am happy to have won this tournament because it was tough for us. I am so happy to have ended the year with this victory because it will help me next year. We have some tournaments in 2015 both locally and internationally including the All Africa Games and I hope this will serve as the tonic for me to do well.
“I have been part of the Nigerian team for some time now, I was at the Commonwealth Games and although I did not win anything in the women’s category, the All Africa Games will be better. I will work hard to achieve something great,” she said.
Coach of Nigeria’s U-20 team, Manu Garba, has called up nine overseas-based players, as well as 21 Nigerian-based ones for a training camp in Kaduna.
The training camp gets underway on Saturday. This followed a screening exercise earlier this month, which also took place in Kaduna. The overseas-based players include Manchester City’s duo of Kelechi Iheanacho and Chidiebere Nwakali, Granada CF’s Isaac Success, as well as Kalmar FF’s Taiwo Awoniyi. The Flying Eagles have been drawn in a tough Group A of the 2015 African Youth Championship along with hosts Senegal, Congo and Cote d’Ivoire.
They open their AYC campaign on March 8 against Senegal in Dakar before battling Congo on March 11, and Cote d’Ivoire on March 14. The top four teams at the end of the AYC will qualify for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup taking place in New Zealand.
Coach of Nigeria’s Flying Eagles, Manu Garba, has told New Telegraph that he is adequately prepared for the possibility of not having at his disposal the full array of his overseas-based players at next year’s CAF African Youth Championship. The tournament, which will serve as the qualifying tournament for next year’s FIFA U-20 World Cup, holding in New Zealand, takes place from March 8 to 22 in Senegal.
The Flying Eagles will compete in Group A consisting of Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire and Congo. But the tournament falls out of FIFA’s international window and clubs are not obliged to make their players available.
Manu is not expected to have problems securing the release of his Nigeria-based players for the AYC but with European clubs having shown unwillingness in the past to make their players available for the tournament, he might have a problem of securing the release of star players like Manchester City’s pair of Kelechi Iheanacho and Chidiebere Nwakali, Granada of Spain’s Isaac Success, and Tottenham Hotspur’s Musa Yahaya.
But the former Golden Eaglets coach, who led Nigeria to a record fourth FIFA U-17 World Cup success in 2013 in the United Arab Emirates, insists he won’t have any problems raising a formidable side capable of securing a ticket to New Zealand 2015, with or without his retinue of overseas-based players.
“My goal has always been to raise a very strong team that Nigerians would be proud of. That is what I promised Nigerians when I took this job and nothing has changed,” Manu said. “I have envisioned the possibility of that happening and that is why we have been working on having more than one good player for every position in the team. “No player is indispensable in this team, so Nigerians don’t have to worry about whether some of these players will be available or not.”
Monday, 22 December 2014
Nigeria's Under-17 national team, the Golden Eaglets, have been drawn alongside hosts of next year's African Under-17 Championship, Niger Republic as well as Guinea and Zambia.
The Golden Eaglets will play in Group A of the championship.
But the Nigeria under-17s were not seeded for the draw procedures of the tournament as they were losing finalists at the last edition in Morocco two years ago when they lost on penalties to Ivory Coast.
It was, however, the Ivorians and hosts, Niger Republic, who were seeded for the draw which took place at the Caf headquarters in Cairo, Egypt on Sunday.
The Golden Eaglets will be meeting their Guinean counterparts for the first time at the African Under-17 Championship in 13 years. The last time both countries crossed paths at this level of football was in 2001 in Seychelles and that group stage match ended 2-2.
Nigeria last won the African Under-17 Championship in 2007 in Togo when they defeated the hosts 1-0.
The 2015 African Under-17 Championship will hold from February 15 to March 1.
Lobi Stars vice chairman Dominic Iorfa has expressed grief over the death of their striker Seriki Audu as well as former referee Michael Abeda.
The two men passed away in the past week, and Iorfa has described their demise as huge losses for Lobi Stars.
The camp of Lobi Stars was thrown into mourning on Saturday morning when news filtered in that Audu has passed away after an automobile accident.
Audu was driving in the company of his family, his wife and daughter, from his home town in Yobe State to Bauchi State when the accident occurred. His wife and daughter are still in hospital.
The former Queens Park Rangers striker expressed sadness and shock over the passing away of Audu.
"I'm really in shock to hear of this very sad news. He was one player who was professional on and off the pitch and was always ready to learn. Whenever he got the chance to play for Lobi Stars, his impact was always felt. It's a big loss for us and also his family. I want to send my condolence to his family and pray God grant his soul rest," said Iorfa.
Audu joined Lobi Stars from Yobe Stars and scored in the Federation Cup quarterfinal against Dolphins and against Bayelsa United in the NPFL last season.
He was a corporal until his death after attending the Police Training School in Minna for his promotion course.
His promotion course with the Nigeria Police was a major reason he had limited playing time with Lobi Stars last season.
Meanwhile, retired referee and retired DSP, Abeda, died after a brief illness in Katsina-Ala, the home town of Lobi Stars for the past two seasons in the NPFL.
Iorfa said Abeda's support for Lobi Stars since moving to Katsina-Ala as been "enormous".
"His death has thrown Benue football into mourning. Pa Abeda officiated when I played for clubs in Gboko. He was of enormous support to Lobi Stars since we moved to Katsina-Ala. We shall miss his presence and moral support at our home matches," he said.
Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) clubs Kano Pillars, Enyimba, Dolphins and Warri Wolves now know their opponents in the 2015 Caf Champions League and Confederation Cup.
NPFL champions Kano Pillars have been drawn to face South Sudan club Malakia in the preliminary round of the Caf Champions League while Enyimba go up against Benin Republic side Buffles du Borgou FC.
The Nigerian champions will start their campaign in Africa's biggest club competition on the road to Malakia. Enyimba will play hosts to Buffles in Aba before heading to the Benin Republic for the second leg.
In the Caf Confederation Cup, 2014 Federation Cup finalists Dolphins have been handed Equatorial Guinean opponents in Leones Vegetarianos in the preliminary round.
Leones Vegetarianos will host Dolphins before the second leg is held in Port Harcourt.
Nigeria's fourth club in the Caf Interclub competitions, Warri Wolves, have the toughest draw of the NPFL sides. They will confront former Burkina Faso champions Racing Club de Bobo-Dioulasso (RCB) in the preliminary round of the Confederation Cup.
Wolves are going to have to start well on the road before they return to Warri two weeks later to seek a place in the first round of the Caf Confederation Cup.
Interestingly no Nigerian club were exempted from the preliminary round of the Caf Champions League and Confederation Cup following recent poor showing in both club competitions.
Coton Sport, Esperance, CS Sfaxien, AC Leopards, Al Ahly, ES Setif and TP Mazembe are the clubs who have a bye in the Caf Champions League while ASEC Mimosas, Zamalek, Djoliba, FUS Rabat, AS Vita, Orlando Pirates, Ahli Shendi, Club Africain and Etoile Sportive du Sahel will have byes in the Confederation Cup.
The first legs in both club competitions for the preliminary round will take place on the weekend of February 13, 14 and 15. The return leg will be held on February 27 and 28 as well as March 1.
The Nigeria National League (NNL) has mooted stiff penalties for anyone found wanting in the marred rescheduled match day 30 tie between hosts, Ranchers Bees and Kwara United.
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Appeals Committee had ruled for the 28-minute of the clash to be replayed on Friday in Abuja but the beleaguered tie ended abruptly almost at the death as irate fans invaded the pitch after the referee awarded a penalty to Kwara United.
NNL secretary Lawrence Katken said the body is determined to go to the root of the fracas to ensure nothing like the show of shame in the encounter rears its ugly head anywhere in the domestic league.
"It's not only me that's unhappy, I'm certain nobody is happy over the ugly scene at the replay match between Ranchers Bees and Kwara United in Abuja on Friday.
"It's unfortunate that the encounter once again failed to produce an undisputed winner on the field of play.
"We've been studying what happened on match day aimed at handing the required punishment to the offenders.
"Of course, the rules are there and it'll be applied to the latter no matter who is involved.
"We've received the match report though the chairman is yet to see it as he has not been around but rest assured that a decision will be taken as quickly as he is able to go through the report.
"We're already in the thick of weekend so I can't say outright that a decision will be taken today (Saturday) or tomorrow (Sunday) but a decision will be taken as quickly as possible.
"We want to get the matter sorted out quickly so as to enable us to concentrate on the upcoming league season," said Katken to supersport.com.
The winner of the expected boardroom decision will pick the fourth promotion tickets to the Nigerian top flight. The trio of Wikki Tourists, 3SC and Gabros FC have booked their passage to the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
Former IICC Shooting Stars of Ibadan defender, Moses Otolorin is dead, Completesportsnigeria.com can report.
Otolorin died in a private hospital in Ilorin, Kwara State capital in the early hours of Monday, December 22, 2014.
Otolorin retired in 2010 as head coach, football, Kwara state polytechnic. He died at the age of 62 years.
He had a running battle with postrate and anus cancer, an ailment he could not survive.
Otolorin was a member of the then IICC Shooting Stars team that won the 1976 African Cup Winners Cup, now CAF Confederation Cup.
Reputed for his long throw-ins, Otolorin started his career with Tate/Lyle FC Ilorin before joining IICC Shooting Stars in 1975, winning the African title a year after.
He quit IICC Shooting Stars in 1984 after an illustrious 10-years career with the Ibadan side that is now known as 3SC of Ibadan.
The family is yet to make an official statement as regards his burial arrangement, Completesportsnigeria.com gathered.
Super Eagles and Rizespor defender Godfrey Oboabona has undergone a successful knee surgery in Turkey.
According to the club’s official website, the surgery which took place at the Acibadem Fulya Hospital, saw Oboabona being operated on his meniscus and cartilage.
And in a statement, Rizespor wished the former Sunshine Stars defender quick recovery and looked forward to his return to action for the club.
Oboabona has appeared eight times for Rizespor prior to his injury and has a goal to his name.
He was part of the Super Eagles squad to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil but only played in the game against Iran as his tournament was cut short due to injury.
More accolades are coming the way of African champion, Aruna Quadri, as he was named the Player of the Year by the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation.
Veteran ping ponger, Funke Oshonaike, also bagged the Woman Player of the Year award. Quadri has been phenomenal this year; the 26 year-old Portugal-based athlete leapt from 237th position in February to 30th in October in the International Table Tennis Federation world rankings following his scintillating outing at the World Cup held in Dusseldorf, Germany.
According to the secretary general of the NTTF, Chinedu Ezeala- Ogundare, the award which was held during the final of the President’s Cup was staged to motivate the players as well as to inspire the upcoming ones to aim high in their careers.
Similarly, Oshonaike, who has been a role model for young players with her conduct on and off the table, was adjudged the senior female player of the year. Olasunkami Oginni and Ajoke Ojomu won in the junior player of the year category, while Abayomi Animashaun and Muyibat Bello claimed the cadet of the year awards. The coach of the year went to Olawale Ajetunmobi of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), while Opeoluwa Osoba is the match official of the year.
New Taekwondo sensation, Abubakar Isah Adamu and Shola Olowookere, repeated their excellent feat at the last Commonwealth Taekwondo Championships by bagging gold medals in the just concluded Lagos Opens, held at Rowe Park, Lagos.
The tournament, organised by the Lagos State Taekwondo Association and sanctioned by the Nigeria Taekwondo Federation, attracted a total of 195 fighters from across Nigeria, and had in attendance most members of the historic Taekwondo National Team to the 2014 Commonwealth Taekwondo Championships, where Nigeria Taekwondo got its biggest medal haul records since 1987 All Africa Games.
It could be recalled that Adamu and Olowookere, who are both 17 years won the first Gold medals in the Kyreougi [fighting] during the Commonwealth Taekwondo Championships, and have been touted by Taekwondo pundits as the future of the sport in the country.
Sunday Onofe, who narrowly missed out on a medal in Edinburgh, won the gold medal in the -87kg Middleweight division, and Chiamaka Onumonu who also narrowly missed out on a medal in Edinburgh defeated her fellow bronze-medal winning commonwealth teammate, Uzoamaka Otuadinma, in a keenly contested final of the +67kg Olympic weight division.
The League Management Company (LMC) has commiserated with Lobi Stars on the death of their player, Audu Sarki. He died from injuries sustained in an automobile accident. Sarki was driving with his wife and child from his home state, Yobe to Bauchi when the accident happened. Chairman of the LMC, Hon. Nduka Irabor, described the death of the player as sad and prayed that his soul would find peace. “It is a sad loss to the League and we commiserate with his family, club and teammates. Most importantly, we pray that his injured wife and child recover fully and have the fortitude to bear this loss of their bread winner,” Irabor remarked.
Flying Eagles coach Manu Garba has said he is confident his team will triumph at next year’s African Youth Championship even though they have been drawn in a tough first round group that has hosts Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire and Congo. “Our group seems to be tougher than the other group which has Ghana, Mali, Zambia and South Africa, but I believe we will qualify for the semi-finals along with Cote d’Ivoire,” said Manu.
“But this is not to say that all the eight teams are not good enough to win the competition and so we will expect no favours from any of them.
“There will be no easy groups or matches. We therefore have to prepare very well and be motivated to achieve our targets.” The Flying Eagles class of 2015 is built around the country’s U17 team that won the FIFA U17 World Cup last year in the United Arab Emirates. The African Youth Championship will be played between March 8 and 22, 2015.The semi-finalists will qualify to represent Africa at the FIFA U20 World Cup in New Zealand.
Ex-international, Friday Ekpo, has challenged the Nigeria Football Federation to expedite action on their turn-around plans for football now that world football governing body, FIFA, has given the federation a clean bill of health.
Ekpo said that the Amaju Pinnick-led board must now prove critics wrong by doing the right things, saying distractions are minimal now after FIFA endorsed the report of the Election Appeals Committee that authenticated the September 30 poll that brought in the board. Ekpo said that the only way Pinnick and his members could enjoy the support of Nigerians was to work hard in the interest of the game.
“I think the time has come for NFF to sit down and work. Let us thank God that FIFA has endorsed their elections and that will give them the chance to concentrate and work. Nigerians are looking up to them, they want them to change the face of football in this country after everything that has happened,” he said. He said the crisis that erupted after the last FIFA Word Cup caused so much damage to the country’s football including the failure of the Super Eagles to qualify for the 2015 Africa Nations Cup.
“The way people who have no business in football come around to cause confusion always baffles me. The crisis was needless. It is sad that Super Eagles failed to make it to the Nations Cup and I can tell you it was due to the crisis. We lost everything to the problem, Nations Cup and even the Adidas sponsorship deal. I don’t know why these people cannot just leave us alone, we love our game, they should not come again and cause more confusion,” he said.
Nigeria international Ikechukwu Uche has expressed happiness after his team ended the year with a resounding victory over Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday. The Nigeria international was on for 46 minutes before he was replaced by Giovani Dos Santos in Villarreal’s 3-0 thrashing of Deportivo La Coruna. Villarreal are now fifth on the league table with 30 points from 16 games.
“This is the best way to finish 2014! Thank you teammates, staff and fans! @VillarrealCF #EndavantVillarreal,” Ike Uche tweeted. The 30-year-old Nigeria striker, who has scored four goals in 14 games this season, only recently extended his contract at Villarreal till 2017. The Spanish La Liga will resume on January 3, when Villarreal will play away at Elche.