…as Rohr, NFF make efforts to bring him back
he highest goal scorer of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, and Super Eagles striker, Odion Ighalo, has announced his decision to quit the national team and concentrate on his club career.
Ighalo cooped an injury in the third place match win against Tunisia after scoring his fifth goal of the championships in Egypt to win the Golden Boot.
The 30-year-old, Shanghai Grenland Shenhua of China star, had scored seven goals to qualify the Super Eagles for the AFCON as he also emerged the top scorer during the qualifiers.
Ighalo started his career as a youth player in the U-20 team and later made his senior debut during an international friendly match against Uganda in March 2015.
After playing 35 matches and scoring 16 goals, which ranks him as the seventh all-time highest goalscorer in national team history, he joined Mikel Obi to announce his retirement after completing their Egypt 2019 duties.
“This is one of the most difficult career decisions I have had to take,” he wrote on his social media platforms.
“It’s been an amazing five-year journey, but after due consultation and extensive discussion with my family I have decided it’s time for me to retire from the national team.
“It has been an eventful and most memorable opportunity to serve my country with pride, passion and to contribute my quota to the development of our football, the memories would stay with me for a long time and I’m immensely grateful.
“It is now time to concentrate on club football and give the younger players chance to learn and grow. I would love to thank the NFF, coach Gernot Rohr for believing in me against all odds, to my teammates for their professionalism and team spirit, without you guys I wouldn’t have achieved so much with this team.
“To Nigerian football fans all over the world, I say thank you, you were always there to cheer us on and our 12th player every time we step onto the pitch. I will be watching and cheering the Super Eagles from this side. Thank you… Signing out.”
Meanwhile, Super Eagles coach, Rohr, and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President, Amaju Pinnick, are both making frantic efforts to get him to rescind his decision.
AFN crisis: You can’t be autonomous, Ministry cautions faction
The Ministry of Youth and Sports has said the Athletic Federation of Nigeria cannot declare itself independent, insisting it has statutory responsibilities to supervise over all sporting association including the AFN.
The AFN, on Wednesday, at an Extra-ordinary Congress in Awka, Anambra, declared its autonomous from government, saying its action was backed by the statutes of the World Athletics.
The Awka Congress provided a new twist to the crisis rocking the federation after the AFN President Ibrahim Gusau, who had earlier been purportedly suspended by a faction of the board, superintended over the General Assembly Meeting.
Seven members of the board had on Tuesday met in Abuja where they announced the suspension of Gusau for misappropriation of funds and abuse of power. It also set up a probe panel to investigate the culpability of the embattled administrator.
However, in a dramatic twist to the development, a day after his suspension, Gusua led the Congress to declare the federation autonomous of government.
In a release made available to New Telegraph and signed by the Permanent Secretary, Olusade Adesola, the ministry said it approved the decision of the AFN board which suspended Gusau and advised the embattled administrator to cooperate with the investigative panel.
It said that the Abuja meeting was duly convened and its decision is binding on the federation.
The sports ministry also insisted that the AFN must comply with the rules which puts it and its operations under the supervision of the ministry.
“Following from the above, the Ministry cautions the erstwhile President to subject himself to the outcome of the proceedings. We also encourage the Board to continue to carry out the affairs of the Federation in accordance with extant rules and regulations.
“The FMYSD hereby reinstates that it has statutory responsibilities for the formulation, supervision, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes on Sports administration in the country.
“In the discharge of these responsibilities, the Ministry through the 38 National Sports Federations under its supervision ensures the compliance with laid down Rules and Regulations of the Code of Governance, which the constitution of the National Sports Federations recognizes.”
Pinnick blasts Rohr for publicly demanding for salary
Nigeria Football Federation President Amaju Pinnick has criticized Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr for publicly demanding for his salary.
The football administrator denied that the Nigerian Federation is owing the Franco-German despite claims he is being owed salary for three months.
Rohr’s public request has led to the Nigerian Federation issuing him a query over his utterances.
Pinnick said : ”We don’t owe you, you cannot come out to say that we are owning you salary. We pay you, an employee, and you must respect the employer because we pay you salary religiously.
”If they pay you, you don’t come out to say they pay you. There are some things you don’t say.”
Rohr has a contract with the Nigeria Football Federation until June 2020 and can begin discussing with interested clubs or countries next month if his contract is not extended.
The former Bayern Munich defender reportedly earns approximately $50,000 every month as coach of the Super Eagles.
Rohr unveils plans for Eagles’ next friendly game
Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr, has revealed his plan to include new players to play in next friendly game.
The manager, believed with the new plans Nigeria will experience skyrocket changes in their gameplay and style.
According to the 66-years-old, he expect the request should be done for the Super Eagles upcoming international friendly match during the international windows of 2020.
“With the next FIFA window, we will be in the qualifiers for the (2022) World Cup, so it will not be the moment to try new things with players we have never seen before,” Rohr said on Brilla FM.
He further stated, “You never know what can happen, we will see because I think before the FIFA [World Cup] qualifiers, we would have perhaps a friendly, this is the moment to test new players.”
Curtain falls on Senforce Insurance Tennis Masters
Today is the final day of tennis hostilities as the ongoing first edition of Senforce Insurance Brokers Tennis Masters comes to an end at the Ikoyi Club 1938 in Lagos.
The tennis competition began on Monday and it is staged for the top eight players in the club as part of year-ending events for the tennis section led by Bimbo Okubena.
After the round robin prelims, Nishant Abbi, Gbenga Familoni, Labisi Abayomi and Ezomo Imokhuede were the last four players in Group A of the singles while Sesan Dada, Emeka Azinge, Bola Ayorinde and Charles Mozie emerged from Group B.
Number one seed, Azinge and second seed, Dada are some of the smashers to watch out for as final round of games began last night to precede today’s Grand Finale.
Tennis Section Chairman, Bimbo Okubena, said the tournament was explosive from the very first day.
“There is no easy game because it is an event meant for the top players in the club. We have had so much fun in the past few days and I believe the final will be very entertaining as well,”Okubena said.
Everton boss slams Iwobi, teammates
Everton manager Marco Silva has criticized the display of Alex Iwobi and his club teammates following Wednesday’s 5-2 thrashing against Liverpool in a Premier League clash at Anfield.
Iwobi and his teammates went into the 235th merseyside derby against local rivals Liverpool following their poor run of results which has seen them pickup just four wins from 14 games.
The Toffees however could not cope with the intensity of Jürgen Klopp’s side as the 5-2 loss saw them drop into the relegation zone, thereby piling more pressure on Silva.
The under-fire Portuguese coach didn’t hide his frustration, hence,labelling his players not good enough after the loss.
“We cannot concede goals in the way we conceded. The way we conceded was not good enough, we should be more brave,”
“It is really tough for us to be in the relegation zone but if you are there you are making the same mistakes. I’m not here to talk about the fight of the players, our opponent was more brave than us. We should do better, of course, we were not good enough.”
“We are making some mistakes which put us under big, big pressure. The type of mistakes we are making is because the players are playing under big pressure because of the position in the table.
“They are making some mistakes that are not normal for the level we are.”
Landmark book on Super Eagles out
The long anticipated book on Nigeria’s lead sports brand, the Super Eagles, will be available to the public later this month.
The book titled: “Super Eagles @70…Soaring on the Wings”, is written by Kunle Solaja and it is endorsed by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) which also acquired the title rights.
The book is a compendium and is written in lucid and infographic manner offering virtually every information that a football follower, researcher or reader may desire about the Nigeria’s national football team since its inception through the composition of the famed “UK Tourists” in 1949.
The book expectedly traced the history of the team from the days of UK Tourists through the Red Devils, to the Green Eagles and then to Super Eagles. It is a literary celebration of 70 years of the Nigeria’s senior football squad.
The book at the same time celebrates 60 years of the nation’s supreme football –governing body, the Nigeria Football Federation’s affiliation with the continental body, CAF and the world body, FIFA in 1959.
ValueJet plans big for Remo Ultra-Marathon
The historic city of Sagamu will be agog this weekend as top athletes from across the world converge to participate in the maiden edition of the Value Jet Ultra Modern race .
Speaking ahead of the race, ValueJet Head of Operations Mrs Yewande Cole, said the race is one of the company’s numerous ways to create bond among Nigerians and the world at large. “The Ultra-Marathon is first of its kind in Africa and we are elated that our company is responsible for bringing youths together to harness their talents. I’m confident that we all are in for a good time on Saturday.
“Our chairman, Kunle Soname, is a sports inclined personality who is very passionate about the race, so participants and fans alike would witness a world class event.”
On whether the race would be sustained, she assured that adequate plans are in place to stage the marathon yearly.
The winners of the 50km ultra-race in both foreign and local categories will pocket 2,000 dollars, while the second and the third placed runners will get 1,500 dollars and 1,000 dollars respectively.
For the Nigerian local 5km run, the winner will receive N500,000, runner-up N300,00,00, while the second runner-up will take home N150,000.
Meanwhile, rave of the moment and hip hop artiste Afeez Fashola, a.k.a. “Naira Marley” along with other top music artistes will perform live at the 50km race in Sagamu.
According to the Project Director, Seyi Johnson, Naira Marley would perform alongside the winner of “City People Music Award” Slimcase.
About 4,000 athletes from 35 countries are expected to participate in the 50km road race which is reputably the largest in the series.
Johnson, said Naira Marley, Slimcase, CD Q and others would spice up the event as part of the side attraction at the Sagamu International Stadium.
“The marathon will be spiced up with lots of entertainments because we don’t want it to be boring.
“Artistes such as Naira Marley, Slimcase, CD Q and others will be performing and everybody will be greatly entertained because we are expecting a full house.
“The race will be plug and play starting from the stadium with the marathoners rounding the route five times.
“We are look forward to seeing athletes conquer the 50km race because the route is different from what we are used to” he concluded.
How I will trounce Ruiz –Joshua
- Ruiz: I’ll die protecting my titles
Anthony Joshua has opened up on his gameplan to prise the world heavyweight titles back from the clutches of Andy Ruiz Jr on Saturday.
Joshua is in Saudi Arabia for his rematch with the Mexican after June’s incredible upset in the USA.
The 30-year-old has opened up on his tactics for the fight, in order to nullify Ruiz’s power, and he even admitted asking his opponent for any tips on how to get the better of him.
‘For me, take centre. If I’m six inches in front of Ruiz, all takes for a man to miss a punch is six inches,’ he told reporters. ‘So sometimes you haven’t even got to be running around the ring.
‘I asked him upstairs, I said: “How do I beat you, then?” He says: “Mate, you should move around a little.”
Meanwhile, Joshua insists that he won’t be celebrating should he regain his belts on Saturday evening.
‘This time, I am not here to put on a show, just to win,’ he told reporters.
‘Look at the undercard – I fought most of those guys and won. I have been around the block in a short space of time. I am definitely experienced and I know what I am doing.’
World heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr has said he fulfilled a lifelong dream when he triumphed over Britain’s Anthony Joshua in June and he would “die trying” to defend his belts in the title rematch in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.
Mexican-American Ruiz produced one of boxing’s biggest upsets when he dethroned the previously undefeated world champion Joshua with a seventh-round stoppage at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
“I have been doing this since I was six and it is finally paying off,” Ruiz told the BBC. “There is no way I am going to let these belts go, I will die trying.
“It has been a roller-coaster and now that I made the dreams come true there is no way I will let these go.”
Ruiz, however, said he would not ‘underestimate’ Joshua and that he had his own strategies to counter the former Olympic champion.
“I know he lost weight and that he will try and box me around,” Ruiz added. “So it’s my job to prevent that.
“(In the June bout) I was the one who had the strength, the one backing him up. When I jabbed I pushed him away.”
Rainoil Tennis Open: Imeh, Emmanuel, Quadre power into quarterfinals
Men’s singles defending champion, Joseph Imeh and Nigeria’s number one player, Sylvester Emmanuel continued with their impressive runs at the on-going Rainoil Tennis Open, recording victories in their respective games to coast into the quarterfinals.
Playing in yesterday’s third round fixture against his doubles partner, Christian Paul, who is seeded 13, Imeh had to dig in deep to win at 7/6 (3), 5/1(rtd) to move closer to the title race. It was a tight first set, however, Paul’s level tailed off in the second set as he retired due to injury.
Imeh’s opponent in tomorrow’s quaryer-final fixtures will be Godsgift Timibra, who advanced at the expense of Clifford Enosoregbe. Enosoregbe had carved out an early break against Timibra in the third game of the first set at 1-2.
However, while serving in the fourth game, the former national champion double faulted for 40-40 and reacted quite angrily, hitting the ball to the other side of the court where it met Timibra.
It was a different ball game for Emmanuel as had an easy game playing against Paul Emmanuel who he outplayed in two straight sets of 6/3, 6/2, to keep his hope of adding the Rainoil Tennis Open crown to the CBN title he won in June.
Also through to the quarter-finals are Chima Michael and Thomas Out. Chima rallied sensationally from a set down to knock out 3rd seed, Uche Oparaoji, 3-6, 6-0, 6-4, while 4th seed, Otu outclassed Joseph Iyorovbe 6-0, 6-2 to remain in the title chase.
In the ladies’ singles, tournament number one seed, Oyinlomo Quadre produced a near-perfect performance to beat Loveth Donatus as she moved into the quarter-finals.
Bidding for her third straight national title, the 16-year-old surrendered just a game in a comprehensive 6-0, 6-1 victory. The supremely talented youngster will next take on 5th seed, Patience Onebamhoin, who advanced following a 6-1, 3-1 (rtd) win over Bukola Olowu, who retired due to injury midway through the second set.
Fourth seed, Christie Agugbom defeated youngster, Oiza Yakubu, 6-4, 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals.
The contest – a repeat of their quarter-final encounter here last year, which Agugbom won – began with Yakubu breaking in the opening game of the first set, but Agugbom broke back immediately for 1-1. Both players would again trade breaks, before staying on serve until the 10th game, where Agugbom broke to take the set.
Also 2nd seed Aanu Aiyegbusi kept up her fine form as she eased past Toyin Asogba 6-3, 6-0 to also join the quarter-final train, while Ibironke Oladipo made light work of Amala Nwokolo, winning 6-1, 6-0.
Abuja hosts NOC AGM Dec12
The Nigeria Olympic Committee will stage its Annual General Meeting on December 12, 2019 at the Starview Palace Hotel, Gwarimpa Estate in FCT, Abuja.
Coming on the heels of hosting the Internattional Olympic Committee President, Dr Thomas Bach and his entourage for the commissioning of the Association of National Olympic Committee of Africa (ANOCA), secretariat, the NOC will discuss amongst other issues the level of preparedness for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The AGM will also feature a Patrons forum where the NOC will interact with distinguished Patrons and further highlight their roles and responsibilities.
According to the notice of meeting signed by Olabanji Oladapo, Secretary General of NOC, the Patrons Forum is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, December 11, 2019 by 2.00pm at the same venue of the AGM while the Congress comes up on December 12.
In view of the above, all members of the Executive Committee are hereby invited to be part of the Forum as delegates arrival date is December 11 and departure December 13, 2019.
BREAKING NEWS18 hours ago
JUST IN: Titi Ajanaku, ex-presidential adviser, dies at 73
Sports20 hours ago
Joshua v Ruiz II: ‘I’m punching like a horse kick’
News23 hours ago
FG slams N135bn fraud charge on Senator Ubah, Capital Oil
Sports19 hours ago
Ballon d’Or: Messi sends message to Sadio Mane
Politics23 hours ago
Balarabe: Nigeria risks a social revolution if…
BREAKING NEWS18 hours ago
JUST IN: Articulated truck falls on another truck in Lagos
News23 hours ago
Edo Assembly declares vacant seats of 12 members-elect
News23 hours ago
Court orders AGF to recover pensions from senators, ministers