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Tammy Abraham highlights case for Super Eagles ‘imports’



Tammy Abraham highlights case for Super Eagles ‘imports’


he recent surge in form of Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham has revived an old debate in Nigerian  football.

The football fraternity is divided between those who feel the Nigeria Football Federation should do everything possible to get foreign-born Nigerian footballers to switch allegiance and those who believe these players are not worth the trouble.


Abraham once turned Nigeria down and it all went quiet. But the young striker is back in the headlines after his stunning start to the new Premier League campaign where he is currently top scorer with seven goals in five games.

Now, after unequivocally rejecting Nigeria’s advances back in 2017 with a spot in the Russia 2018 squad almost guaranteed, Abrahami has said he is open to a Super Eagles switch.


The NFF has reportedly made a fresh approach while England manager Gareth Southgate is considering giving the 21-year-old (he will be 22 on 2 October) another shot at the senior squad.


When he first rejected Nigeria two years ago, Abraham rode on the back of good form, while on loan at Swansea, to win two England caps in friendly games against Germany and Brazil. But he was soon back in the U-21s and was not anywhere near the senior squad for the Russia 2018 World Cup.


I’m sure he will have that at the back of his mind as he considers his options once more. If he plumps for England, would they stick with him when he inevitably hits a rough patch?


Besides, even if he keeps this form up, which is highly improbable, it would take an injury to Harry Kane and a severe loss of form for Marcus Rashford before Abraham starts as England’s No.9 in an important match.


He is at least third in the England pecking order and he still has Callum Wilson to contend with. Abraham’s only real competition in the Super Eagles, following Odion Ighalo’s retirement, would be Victor Osimhen at the moment.


There is a strong case for him to choose Nigeria but he really has to want to play for his country of heritage.

My take has always been that it does not matter where a player was born or where he grew up, so long as he has Nigerian blood, has special talent and is WILLING to play for the country, we should give him a shot.


It is important that we do not have to go down on our knees before an athlete with Nigerian blood agrees to wear our colours. We should present our case, make him a good offer; if he accepts great, if not we move on. No hard feelings.


Even when Nigeria is second choice to a player, he has to make a quick decision on his allegiance when he is still in his prime. Because, if we’re being honest, very few players would opt for Nigeria over England, Germany and the like.


Fortunately for Nigeria, the country has benefited greatly in recent years from players with dual nationality. While it was a trickle 20, 30 years ago with the likes of Reuben Agboola and George Abbey coming along every few years, it has been an absolute deluge in recent years.


In the last seven years alone, Nigeria has had so many overseas-born or raised players that they could almost form a Super Eagles XI.


Led by Victor Moses, there have been Leon Balogun, Alex Iwobi, William Troost-Ekong, Ola Aina, Tyrone Ebuehi and Carl Ikeme.

Every single one of them has contributed positively to the team, Moses vital in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations triumph while Balogun, Iwobi and Troost-Ekong were practically indispensable during the qualifying campaign for the 2018 World Cup. Ikeme was so good he is still being missed two years after his enforced, health-related retirement.

Aina and Ebuehi are supremely gifted young defenders who will be useful to the team for years.


This present NFF board has clearly identified the recruitment of exceptional Nigerian players born and raised in Europe as a path to Super Eagles success.

This policy has opponents who insist that the direction will not help grow domestic football. While they may have a point, national team success or lack of it doesn’t necessarily have to do with how you develop your local football.

The simple fact is no matter how strong the Nigeria Professional Football League grows, for instance, it’s never going to reach the level of the top European leagues. Therefore, players who are exposed to football in these countries from childhood already have a head start  over the ones who learnt their trade here in Nigeria.



The best footballers from all over the world aspire to play in the big European leagues. And any country’s national team is made up of its best footballers.

For example, although Algeria has a very strong league and decent grassroots developmental system, they won the last AFCON with several players born or raised in Europe, including the French-born Riyad Mahrez. Only one player in the 23-man squad was based in Algeria.



There is nothing wrong in trying to persuade Abraham to consider playing for the Super Eagles, but he also has to make a quick decision.



If he chooses Nigeria now when he is in red-hot form, then he really wants us. If he dallies for too long without making a commitment, then he should be left alone.

Hopefully, he will not go the way of Gabriel Agbonlahor, Nedum Onuoha, the late Ugo Ehiogu and Jordon Ibe who all turned down Nigeria only to have non-existent international careers.

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Zenith Bank Basketball: First Bank, Air Warriors record wins as competition takes shape



Zenith Bank Basketball: First Bank, Air Warriors record wins as competition takes shape


elta Force slumped to their first defeat at the ongoing Zenith Bank Women Basketball League National Final 8 with a 42-67pts loss to First Bank.

Delta Force tried all they could against First Bank but their offensive prowess was put under check from the determined First Bank players who had a total of 25 defensive rebounds.

Okoro Ifunanya with 14 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds and Regina Iornumbe with 14 points provided the platform on which the Elephant Girls built their success.

In the second game of the day which was a local derby between two Abuja based sides – Air Warriors defeated Black Gold Queens by 87-58points.

The score line did not reflect the stiff competition between the two sides due to the wastefulness of Black Gold ladies inside their opponent’s paint.

Experienced Blessing Kasham was the highest scorer for the Warriors with 31 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists.

As expected, the game between MFM and Dolphins went down to the wire which was decided in the last few seconds of the game.

At the end of the third game of match day two at the ongoing 2019 Zenith Bank Women Basketball League National Final 8, Dolphins won 56-51 points in what seems to be a revenge following their bitter 1point loss at the conference phase in Ibadan.

With the victory, Dolphins have won their 2nd game on the trot as MFM continue the search for their first win of the 2019 Zenith Bank Women Basketball League National Final 8

Gbihi Cynthia once again came through for Dolphins with 17points, 2 rebounds and 3 assists.

Odiowei Susan managed 10points and 1 rebound for MFM which was not enough to secure a win.

It was a blow out for Custom as they recorded 69-34 points victory over Plateau Rocks in the last match of the day at the ongoing Zenith Bank Women Basketball League National Final 8.

Last group games will be decided on Sunday starting by 12noon.

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EPL: City trounce Palace, Chelsea battle past Newcastle




hampions Manchester City narrowed the gap on Premier League leaders Liverpool with a comfortable victory over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

Two weeks on from a surprise defeat by Wolves, Pep Guardiola’s side made a blistering start to proceedings but had to wait until the 39th minute for the breakthrough to arrive, as Gabriel Jesus met Bernardo Silva’s cross with a clever, flicked header.

It took just 93 seconds for David Silva to double the advantage, the Spaniard allowing Raheem Sterling’s delightful chipped pass to drop over his shoulder before volleying past goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey, reports the BBC.

Meanwhile, Chelsea have climbed into the top four of the English Premier League table courtesy of a hard fought 1-0 victory over Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge.

After an even opening 45 minutes, the Blues dominated the second half but had to wait until the 73rd minute for their breakthrough, which arrived courtesy of Marcos Alonso’s low strike.

Newcastle rarely looked like threatening Chelsea’s second clean sheet of the season as the hosts picked up their fifth successive win across all competitions – the best run of form in Frank Lampard’s fledging managerial career.

The Magpies held their own throughout a relatively uneventful first half, offering sporadic threats on the break and largely keeping Chelsea at bay despite the hosts enjoying the lion’s share of possession.

The best chances did fall to Lampard’s side, though, and Willian should have done better with the first of those when he was picked out by Callum Hudson-Odoi only to get his header all wrong and steer it off target.

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Eagles B team beat Togo, fail to secure CHAN ticket




espite winning the second leg of the CHAN qualifier 2-0 against the Sparrow Hawks of Togo at the Agege Stadium, Lagos yesterday, the Super Eagles Team B failed to secure qualification for the competition scheduled for 2020 in Cameroon.

Nigeria lost the first leg 4-1 in Togo, but the Eagles lost the game 4-3 on aggregate.

Sikiru Alimi scored a brace in the game with a goal in each half.


The Eagles started the game with urgency and got the first goal as early as the eighth minute through Alimi.


Despite getting the early goal, the Eagles continued the onslaught but were undone with poor finishing and resolute defending by the Hawks.

Alimi and Ibrahim Sunusi missed some half chances as the first half ended 1-0 in the favour of the Super Eagles.

Nigeria started the second half like the first but failed to get the needed goals until the 72nd minute when Alimi completed his brace.



The Togolese continue to put men behind the ball to protect their advantage, while also resulting to time wasting leading to the referee giving 10 minutes of additional time.

Despite the additional time, the Eagles failed to get the third goal that will give them qualification.

Speaking after the game, the coach of the team, Imama Amapakabo, expressed his disappointment on the outcome of the game but happy with the input of his players.

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Sancho dropped, fined by Dortmund




adon Sancho has reportedly been fined by Borussia Dortmund after returning back late from international duty with England.

The 19-year-old played in both of his national team’s Euro 2020 qualifiers over the international break – starting against the Czech Republic before entering as a second-half substitute against Bulgaria.

Sancho has been left out of the squad for Dortmund’s Bundesliga clash with Borussia Monchengladbach, though, and according to Sky Sports News, the attacker has also been fined for his late return.

The teenager has been in fine form for BVB this season – scoring four times and contributing seven assists in 11 appearances in all competitions for Lucien Favre’s side.

Manchester United continue to be linked with a move for the former Manchester City youngster, and it is thought that the Red Devils will attempt to complete a deal at the end of the 2020-21 campaign.

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Augsburg’s Finnbogason nets stoppage-time equaliser to shock Bayern



Augsburg’s Alfred Finnbogason scored a stoppage-time goal to snatch a 2-2 draw against a wasteful Bayern Munich on Saturday and deny them the top spot in the Bundesliga.


The Bavarians had only themselves to blame for failing to win for the second straight matchday, having squandered a bagful of chances and hit the woodwork in what was largely a one-sided affair against their lowly opponents.


Bayern remain in third place on 15 points but could drop further behind leaders Borussia Moenchengladbach, on 16, who play Borussia Dortmund later on Saturday.


VfL Wolfsburg remained second, also on 16, after Wout Weghorst scored an 82nd-minute equaliser that rescued a 1-1 draw against RB Leipzig, who are fourth on 15.

Schalke 04, on 14, can also overtake Bayern, if they beat Hoffenheim on Sunday.

Augsburg shocked Bayern with a goal after 28 seconds with Marco Richter volleying in from a Rani Khedira header.


To make matters worse, central defender Niklas Suele had to be taken off a little later after suffering what looked to be a knee injury.

Yet Bayern forward Robert Lewandowski continued his stellar scoring run to bring them level in the 14th minute.

He headed in a perfect Serge Gnabry cross for his 12th league goal. He has now scored in each of their eight league games to equal the record set by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang four years ago.


Gnabry, who also hit the post late in the first half, curled a superb left-footed low shot past Augsburg keeper Tomas Koubek in the 49th to give Bayern, who travel to Olympiakos in the Champions League next week, the lead.

Koubek then made a string of superb saves to deny Kingsley Coman, Lewandowski as well as Philippe Coutinho.


Substitute Thomas Mueller could also have sealed their win in the 90th minute but he fired wide from 13 metres.


They were punished for it in stoppage time as Finnbogason tapped in from a cutback to earn a point for his team and make it two league matches without a win for the Bavarians.

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JUST IN: Eagles out of CHAN



JUST IN: Eagles out of CHAN

Nigeria’s home-based Super Eagles have failed to qualify for next year’s African Nations Championship (CHAN) despite beating Togo.

However, the 2-0 result they got at the Agege Stadium, Lagos on Saturday was not enough having lost the first leg 4-1.

The ouster from the tournament for local players in Africa is coming on the heels of the failure of the Super Falcons to qualify for next year’s Olympics in Tokyo, Japan after being beaten by Cote d’Ivoire.

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2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup watched by 1. 12bn viewers



2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup watched by 1. 12bn viewers

The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup held from June 7 to July 7 in France was watched by 1.12 billion viewers across all platforms.

According to world football governing body FIFA, linear TV accounted for the majority of the global audience.

It said 993.5 million viewers watching at least one minute of coverage on a TV set at home.

This was an increase of 30 per cent on the audience for the 2015 edition held in Canada, which reached 764.0 million.

An estimated 481.5 million people accessed coverage of France 2019 on digital platforms, equivalent to 43 per cent of the total audience reach.

The digital audience, which overlaps with the linear TV audience, was up considerably on the estimated 86.0 million in 2015.

The final match between the US and the Netherlands was the most watched FIFA Women’s World Cup match ever.

It had an average live audience of 82.18 million, up by 56 per cent on the 2015 final audience of 52.56 million.

This reached a total of 263.62 million unique viewers (one-minute reach), which accounted for 22.9 per cent of the overall tournament reach.

Over the 52 matches played in nine host cities across France and broadcast in 205 territories around the world, the average live match audience was 17.27 million viewers.

This is more than double the 8.39 million average of Canada 2015 and this can be attributed to the greater distribution of matches on higher profile broadcasters in many countries.

With the distribution of matches, many participating teams’ matches drew record audiences in their home territories, such as Brazil, France, Italy and the UK.

“More than a sporting event, the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 was a cultural phenomenon attracting more media attention than ever before and providing a platform for women’s football to flourish in the spotlight.

“The fact that we broke the 1 billion target just shows the pulling power of the women’s game and the fact that, if we promote and broadcast world-class football widely, whether it’s played by men or women, the fans will always want to watch,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Publicist Sport Entertainment (PSE) compiled the consolidated audience figures for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019.

It was based on audience data and scheduling gathered from official television auditing agencies in markets around the world.

It also came from FIFA’s Media Rights Licensees (MRLs), and from non-captured (out-of-home and digital) audience data provided by Nielsen.

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England beat Australia 40-16 to make Rugby World Cup semis



England beat Australia 40-16 to make Rugby World Cup semis

England are into the World Cup semi-finals for the first time in 12 years as they ruthlessly dispatched old rivals Australia.

Two first-half tries in four minutes from Jonny May on his 50th cap helped establish a 17-9 half-time lead before a sensational score from Marika Koroibete brought the Wallabies to within a point.

But prop Kyle Sinckler smashed through from Owen Farrell’s flat pass as England regained control, the fly-half landing 20 points with his boot to crush Australian hopes before Anthony Watson applied the coup de grace with a late interception try, reports the BBC,

It was England’s best performance of a World Cup when they have seldom been tested, the decision of coach Eddie Jones to start Farrell in place of George Ford vindicated by a seventh successive win over his home country.

Four years ago England were sent packing at the group stage from the tournament they were hosting by Michael Cheika’s side.

But with the young back-row combination of Tom Curry and Sam Underhill outstanding, this was sweet revenge, a last-four meeting with New Zealand or Ireland in a week’s time the rich reward.

Australia came out fast and battered away at the England defence, the men in white forced into 30 tackles in the first three minutes, Christian Lealiifano’s penalty reflecting the early balance of power.

But after England had twice wasted overlaps in the opposition 22, they struck twice in quick succession to stun the Wallabies.

First Farrell went left after Watson had made inroads down the right, and with the defence stretched Curry committed the last man before putting May into the corner.

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Mandzukic: Man Utd target not training with Juve



Mandzukic: Man Utd target not training with Juve

Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic is not training with his team-mates due to an agreement he has with the club, says head coach Maurizio Sarri.

Speaking ahead of Juventus’ Serie A match against Bologna on Saturday, Sarri said: “In this moment Mario Mandzukic is not training with the group due to an agreement he has with the club.”

Mandzukic, who is a target for Manchester United in the January transfer window, attends Juventus’ training centre but works apart from the first-team squad, reports skysports.

Sky in Italy say Mandzukic, 33, who is yet to make an appearance for the Italian giants this season, will be available for transfer in January.

United made a late move for the Croatia international at the end of the summer transfer window, after a move for his team-mate Paulo Dybala collapsed, but ended their pursuit on Deadline Day.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the United manager, has this week told Sky Sports pundit – and former team-mate – Gary Neville that he is “sure” the club will bring in new a signing in January “at the right price”.

And speaking last month, Solskjaer made clear bringing in a striker was a priority after United’s failure to replace Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez.

“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know it’s a forward we’re going to try to recruit next time,” Solskjaer said. “We’re looking for some creativity and goals, but they [potential signings] have to be the right one.

“There were strikers available [in the summer] but not the ones we wanted. We couldn’t get the one we wanted.”

United considering Can bid in January

United are considering a move for former Liverpool midfielder Emre Can in January, Sky Sports News understands.

The 25-year-old Germany midfielder spent four seasons at Anfield before leaving on a free to join Italian club Juventus at the end of the 2017/18 campaign.

It is understood Juventus would want in the region of £35m for Can, who is yet to start under Sarri this season.

Can, like Mandzukic, was omitted from Juventus’ Champions League squad – despite receiving assurances he would be included.

“The fact that I am not in the Champions League squad is extremely shocking for me, mainly because I was promised something different last week,” Can said in September.

“I had talks with other clubs [in the summer] and one of the conditions for me to stay was to be part of the Champions League squad. Then they phoned me and told me, in a conversation that didn’t even last a minute, that I was not on the list and they didn’t give an explanation.

“That makes me angry and furious, they haven’t been honest with me. If I knew about it earlier, I would not have stayed at Juventus.”

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Musa, Etebo, Aina to return for Benin



Musa, Etebo, Aina to return for Benin

Super Eagles captain Ahmed Musa, Oghenekharo Etebo and Ola Aina will return for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against the Squirrels of Benin in November. Musa, Etebo, and Aina missed out from Nigeria’s 1-1 draw against the five-time World Cup champions, the Samba Boys of Brazil, in an international friendly game at the weekend, due to various injuries. The team coach Gernot Rohr who seems to be worried about the injuries to some of his key players, told Brila Fm that he hoped they would be fit for the big task ahead of the team.

“Now what will happen with all these injured players back? “If Musa can come back, if Aina can come back and if Etebo too can come back, so we will see what can happen with the top players for these impactful games,” Rohr added. The three-time AFCON champions will host Benin on November 11 before facing Lesotho on November 19.

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