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Musa out of Ukraine friendly game

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Musa out of Ukraine friendly game

…as Ekong, Etebo lead Super Eagles to Dnipro

 

 

Saudi Arabia-based Super Eagles captain, Ahmed Musa, will not be part of the Super Eagles friendly game against Ukraine scheduled for Dnipro on Tuesday due to injury. The former Leicester City winger pulled out of the trip on Thursday night as a result of injury that has failed to heal as quickly as he expected, adding to the earlier forced withdrawals of defenders Kenneth Omeruo and Tyronne Ebuehi, midfielder Wilfred Ndidi and forward Henry Onyekuru.Meanwhile, Italy –based defender William Ekong and England–based midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo are expected to lead the Super Eagles playing to Ukraine on Saturday.

It is the first outing for the three –time African champions since they finished third at the first– ever 24–team Africa Cup of Nations which took place in Egypt June/ July this year. Goalkeepers Francis Uzoho and Ikechukwu Ezenwa, defenders Olaoluwa Aina, Chidozie Awaziem, Ekong, Leon Balogun and Jamilu Collins, as well as midfielders Alex Iwobi and Etebo and forwards Victor Osimhen, Moses Simon, Samuel Chukwueze, Paul Onuachu and Samuel Kalu were in Egypt.

But there would be excitement about a rash of new faces alongside a couple of returnees. Defenders Bryan Idowu and Oluwasemilogo Ajayi, and Leicester City’s Kelechi Iheanacho are back after being overlooked for the Africa Cup. Germany–based goalkeeper Maduka Okoye, midfielder Joseph Aribo of Scottish club Glasgow Rangers and forwards Joshua Maja (France) and Emmanuel Dennis (Belgium) are hitting the camp for the first time.

The Dnipro Arena, which is home ground to top club, FC Dnipro, is a 31,000 –capacity facility that was opened in September 2008 and situated in the city of Dnipro, the third largest city in Ukraine after the capital city Kyiv and Kharkiv. Ukraine is rated number 25 on current FIFA rankings while Nigeria is 33rd.

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Eaglets lose 2-1 to Sao Paulo in friendly

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Five-time world champions, Golden Eaglets of Nigeria lost 2-1 to Sao Paulo U17 side in a friendly game played at the Sorocaba Sports Complex in the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil on Monday evening.

The Nigerian boys approached the game with confidence and were in control at the opening minutes of the game, with Olakunle Olusegun missing the target narrowly when he should have scored.

It was Sao Paulo FC that drew the first blood with the first chance they created. A beautiful lop from the midfield was well –controlled by Danilo Silva with his left foot, beating Simon Omon in the process, and he ran into the box with a perfect finish in the 18th minute.

Thereafter, the Eaglets unleashed series of attacks in search of an equalizer. Unfortunately, Ibrahim Mohammed and Olusegun failed to convert the chances that were created from the midfield.

Peter Ukeme, who appeared not physically fit was replaced after 35 minutes by Akinkunmi Amoo and the introduction of the stocky attacking midfielder presented a big threat to the Brazilians even as the first half ended with Nigeria trailing 1-0.

It was a different ball game entirely in the second half as the Eaglets came in full-blast search for the equaliser. Monsuru Abdulsalam’s left footed shot inside the box was parried by the Sao Paulo goalkeeper for a corner kick. The resultant corner kick was not well-connected, but there was a glimpse of hope that the equaliser was lurking around and it came few minutes later when Monsuru dribbled three defenders, surged into the box and was hacked down for a penalty kick.

Olusegun converted the opportunity to make it 1-1. The Eaglets continued piling pressure to break the defence of Sao Paulo for a second time but the goalkeeper came severally to the rescue of the Brazilians.

As time ticked away, Sao Paulo’s attackers pounced on a loose ball from the midfield, launched a counter attack and a cross from the left side of the midfield was neatly jabbed into the net by Enrique Santos in the 85th minute.

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Rohr: Draw with Brazil is big booster for our AFCON race

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Super Eagles’ Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr, has landed his playing body a huge pat on the back for a gutsy performance in Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Brazil in a friendly match in Singapore.

Five-time world champions Brazil had to dig deep into their arsenal before securing the equalizer as the Super Eagles had them on the back foot following Joseph Ayodele-Aribo’s 35th minute goal.

“This result is a good confidence booster for the team. We now have to prepare for the more competitive games next month.

“I am happy we stayed organised even when the Brazilians mounted a lot of pressure on us in the second half. The only negative thing is the injury to (Francis) Uzoho,” the Franco-German said minutes after the final whistle at the Singapore National Stadium in Kallang.

Aribo’s goal, his second in as many matches in the colours of the Super Eagles, was an eye-catching finish as he received a pass from Moses Simon and then waltzed his way through a number of outstretched Brazilian legs to shoot past goalkeeper Ederson.

Brazil drew level three minutes after the restart but the three-time African champions held firm in the face of onslaught after onslaught, and could have won in the end had Thiago Silva not upended a marauding Aribo with the South Americans exposed.

Goalkeeper Francis Uzoho, who horribly twisted his knee as he went for the ball from a corner kick, will be out for a minimum of six months, according to team doctor Ibrahim Gyaran.

Nigeria host Benin Republic on November 14 in the opening day of the 2021 AFCON qualifying campaign, before flying to Lesotho for a Day Two match on November 19.

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Eagles’ blow, Uzoho out for six months

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The injury that Nigeria’s first choice goalkeeper, Francis Uzoho, had in Sunday’s friendly match with Brazil has ruled him out for six months.
The Nigerian goalkeeper in an attempt to save a cross in the 60th minute landed awkwardly and thus got his ligament torn.
He was subsequently replaced by Germany-based Fortuna Düsseldorf goakeeper, Maduka Okoye who thus made his debut for Nigeria.
Of late, since the international retirement of Vincent Enyeama and the illness of his replacement, Carl Ikeme who also had to retire, Super Eagles have had to contend with goalkeeping headaches.
Ikechukwu who stepped in in a World Cup qualifying match with Cameroon two years ago turned to be a mere flash.
Daniel Akpeyi has not also fared better as a substitute to either Enyeama or Ikeme.
Theophilus Afelokhai who sidelined Ezenwa in Enyimba and subsequently forced his exit from the club has also not proven a major contender for Nigeria’s number one spot.
The four times he had to pick the ball from his net in the African Nations’ championship duel with Togo last month put serious doubts on his credentials in the national team.

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Aribo has great Eagles’ future, says Aghahowa

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Aribo has great Eagles’ future, says Aghahowa

Former Nigeria international, Julius Aghahowa, has made glowing remarks about Glasgow Rangers midfielder, Joe Aribo, saying he is a promising player that needs all the support and backing to excel for the Super Eagles.

Aribo scored a fantastic goal in the first half of the friendly against Brazil on Sunday and Aghahowa believes the former Charlton Athletic central midfielder has a bright future with the Super Eagles only if he gets the required support to excel and shine.

“Aribo did very well against Brazil from his central midfield position. I believe he has what it takes to wear the number 10 jersey and do well. He scored a brilliant goal which was his second in as many games for Nigeria. He has the heart to go very far representing Nigeria,” Aghahowa said.

Aghahowa also gave kudos to the likes of Samuel Chukwueze, Victor Osimhen and Alex Iwobi who didn’t disappoint in the game, pointing out that the future is very bright for Nigeria with this array of wonderful talents.

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Tokyo 2020: Team Nigeria kick-starts preparation today

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Tokyo 2020: Team Nigeria kick-starts preparation today

…to camp for five months across various centres

 

  • Minister meets with federation bosses

 

Team Nigeria will kick-starts their preparation for the 2020 Olympic Games today according to the Minister of Youths and Sports, Sunday Dare.

The Minister, who was in Lagos on another working visit where he visited the training of a private track and field club, the Making of Champions, said his ministry was ready administrative wise to begin preparations.

“The journey from the administrative aspects starts on Tuesday (today), when we bring all the key stakeholders together,” he said.

“The preparation for the Olympics actually starts immediately after the completion of one, so beyond what we see in Morocco and Doha, these athletes have been going for different tournaments and competitions.

“Individually, they have been training so hard, that’s the preparation, they only come to championships as a group to compete and from what we saw in Morocco, which is a benchmark, same thing as what happened in Doha.

“It took us seven years to get another medal at the World Athletics Championships in Doha, but there were lessons learnt from the competition. This time around, we are not starting too late and not so early, we have about nine months to go, and we will be ready.”

The minister also revealed that there would be at least five months of camping as the country looks forward to winning medals.

Dare said he was optimistic of the athletes competing for gold, silver and bronze medals in various sports at the Olympics.

He added: “We are going to start that process;we are going to have camping in three or four different locations depending on the sports.

“We are going to be focusing on sports that we can really compete and then we go there and do well.

“Basically, if we have the funds, we are going to have six months of camping, in the past we usually have three months, but this time around we are looking at five.”

Meanwhile, the minister said he would be meeting with all the federation presidents so as to be on the same page ahead of the Tokyo 2020 preparations.

“I have a meeting with the NOC (National Olympic Committee) and all the federation presidents and the secretaries in Abuja on Tuesday so that we all will be on the same page.

“We are going to be professional about this, so Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, Nigeria will not be going there to try, but we are going there to compete for the gold, bronze and silver.”

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Stage friendlies with African teams, Lawal tells NFF

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Stage friendlies with African teams, Lawal tells NFF

Ex-Super Eagles midfielder Dimeji Lawal has advised the Nigerian Football Federation to organise friendly matches with African teams for the Super Eagles.

The former international however prefers the team to play more African opposition than teams from other continents.

He was speaking after Nigeria was forced to a 1-1 draw by Brazil in an interesting friendly encounter decided in Singapore on Sunday.

Lawal , 48 is of the opinion that the Eagles will benefit from playing with neighbouring countries as they still have a lot to learn from confronting such opposition.

“Now that we have learnt something from Brazil, we should go to another continent and see what their football is like and maybe we should come back to Africa and see what we can benefit from playing against our counterparts,” he told New Telegraph.

“it’s not about the names alone sometimes you play against a team that you think is low in category but they give you things to learn. For people to think that after playing against Brazil they should fix a friendly match with another big team like Germany is wrong  , football  doesn’t work that way; a team should learn from every cadre.”

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GOtv Boxing Night Mini debuts

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GOtv Boxing Night Mini debuts

mini version of the hugely successful GOtv Boxing Night, tagged GOtv Boxing Night Mini, is set to start. The inaugural edition will hold on November 16 at the Rowe Park, Yaba, Lagos. This was announced yesterday by the organisers, Flykite Productions, at a media sit-in in Lagos.

Jenkins Alumona, CEO Flykite, explained that GOtv Boxing Night Mini was conceived to provide more frequent opportunities for boxers as a means of ensuring that they get requisite number of fights to make them eligible for sub-regional, continental and international title bouts.

“Our boxers have, despite the best efforts of GOtv Boxing Night, inadequate opportunities to fight and build their fight records, which they need to become eligible for international titles. GOtv Boxing Night Mini, which will be staged with more frequency than the main event, will address this challenge,” he said.

Alumona also explained that the 20th edition of GOtv Boxing Night, which was planned to hold last Saturday, has been fused into the mega edition of the event slated for December. The development, he said, was imposed by the injury suffered in training by Oto “Joe Boy” Joseph, African Boxing Union (ABU) lightweight champion, who was scheduled to defend his title against Rilwan “Real One” Oladosu, West African Boxing Union  champion in the much-anticipated headline bout.

He added that hopes that the injury would heal on time proved misplaced, as sports medicine experts advised that the injury-a shoulder breach-be allowed a longer recuperation period to avoid aggravation.

Some of the other boxers slated to fight at GOtv Boxing Night 20 will, however, feature at GOtv Boxing Night Mini. These include Rilwan “Baby Face” Babatunde, Kabiru “KB Godson” Towolawi and Cynthia “Baby Girl” Ogunsemilore. Also lined up to be in action is Waheed “Skoro” Usman, former ABU featherweight champion.

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Rohr predicts good future for Eagles

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Nigeria national team coach Gernot Rohr believes the Super Eagles have ‘good future’ after they played out a 1-1 draw against Brazil in Sunday’s international friendly in Singapore.

The 66-year-old German tactician paraded a young team against the five-time world champions, following a spate of withdrawals by some of his experienced players, including captain Ahmed Musa.

The team, however, gave a good account of themselves with Joe Aribo – making his second appearance for the Super Eagles – scoring the opening goal in the 35th minute before Casemiro’s second-half effort saved the South American champions from defeat.

Rohr is impressed with the performance of his side but admitted the three-time African champions still have to improve.

“It was tough for us as the second game because Brazil would not have wanted to leave Singapore without winning, and it feels very good to know that we can play so well against some of the biggest names in football,” Rohr said in a post-match press conference.

“We didn’t have our best team here, but our wingers gave Brazil a lot of problems on the counter-attack and I am proud of our players. They can have a good future.

“We can still improve in defending set-pieces. We have height, with players as tall as two metres, but we have to be better in the air.

“It is not enough just to have good size, they need to jump well with good timing.”

Rohr believes African football is improving after both Nigeria and Senegal avoided defeat against the world number three.

“These results are good for African football when Senegal and Nigeria did not lose to Brazil, one of the strongest teams in the world,” he added.

 

 

 

Nigeria will hope to secure good results when they take on Benin Republic and Lesotho in Africa Cup of Nations qualifying games in November.

 

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Barca target Osimhen as Suarez’s replacement

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Barca target Osimhen as Suarez’s replacement

Super Eagles striker Victor Osimhen’s rising profile has caught the attention of European giants Barcelona who have viewed him as a long term replacement for their talismanic forward Luis Suarez.

 According to a report by Spanish sports newspaper AS which was monitored by our correspondent, Osimhem top the list of youngsters that have been scouted as ideal replacements for the Uruguayan striker.

Osimhen has set Europe on fire after netting seven league goals for Lille in his debut season in the French Championat. The former Wolfsburg forward also scored his first UEFA Champions League goal against Chelsea last month.

The striker has also solidified his place in the Nigerian team after great showing against Ukrainse and Brazil.

Other players on the shopping list of Barcelona are Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan), Donyell Malen (PSV) and Rafael Leao (AC Milan).

Lille sports director Campos has already hinted that Osimhen is poised for “a big move” soon.

Osimhen has a contract with Lille till 2024.

He has previously been linked with a transfer to AC Milan before he finally joined Lille from Belgian club Sporting Charleroi.

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2019 ANOC Beach Games: Gumel charges Team Nigeria’s athletes

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2019 ANOC Beach Games: Gumel charges Team Nigeria’s athletes

The President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, Habu Gumel, has charged Team Nigeria athletes participating at the 1st edition of 2019 ANOC Beach Games in Doha, Qatar to be worthy ambassadors.

Gumel, an IOC member, gave this charge at the weekend during the opening ceremony of the games stating that good name is better than gold.

“It is a thing of joy that Nigeria is participating at the 1st edition of this Beach Games just like we participated at the Winter Games last time out but the most important thing is for you to compete and win well because a good name is better than any silverware won unjustly. Our great nation is proud of you and solidly behind you on this great task as we wish you well here in Doha,” the ANOCA Treasurer concluded”.

The World Beach Games which is scheduled to end October 16, 2019 is an international beach multi-sport event organised by the Association of National Olympic Committees  and Nigeria is competing in Beach Volleyball and Beach Wrestling in 70 and 50kg respectively.

Meanwhile, the board and the executive members of the NOC felicitate with the President, Nigeria Judo Federation, Prince Timothy Nsirim, on his appointment as the Chairman, Rivers State Road Maintenance Agency by His Excellency, Governor Nyesom Wike.

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