Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr says he’s happy with how they have prepared so far ahead of the 2018 World Cup qualifier against Zambia on Sunday in Ndola.
The Super Eagles beat local side Plateau United 3-0 in a test match in Abuja on Wednesday, and with all invited players now available, Rohr is excited.
“Yes I am happy because the players have arrived,” he said.
“We are happy because we’ve had good training conditions and we have the local players that have replaced the ones that couldn’t make it.
“It’s a new group, a new team and a young team and I am happy to work with them.”
Anderson Esiti opened scoring for the Eagles in the 38th minute, in an underwhelming first half which saw the fringe players feature.
Arsenal youngster Alex Iwobi then came off the bench to feature for what looked like Nigeria’s starting eleven against Zambia this weekend, scoring a brace to seal the win.
Nigeria are in group B of the qualifiers along with Algeria, Cameroon and Zambia, with the Super Eagles hosting Algeria’s Desert Foxes next month after visiting Zambia for the first round of games this weekend.
They will travel to Zambia on Saturday aboard a chartered flight and will return back to Nigeria immediately after the game on Sunday.
Nigeria‘s Group Worse Than Group Of Death- Pinnick
Nigeria’s World Cup qualifying group is worse than ‘Group of Death’ according to the president of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
The three-time African champions will have to go past Algeria, Cameroon and Zambia to qualify for a sixth World Cup.
“Nigeria has been drawn in a group beyond ‘Group of Death’,” said NFF boss Amaju Pinnick.
“Algeria are Africa’s leading team, Cameroon has won the African Cup of Nations four times and has featured at the World Cup seven times, and Zambia have also proved themselves.”
The Eagles, under a broke NFF, will begin the final stage of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers away in Zambia on Sunday.
Both teams last clashed at AFCON 2013 hosted by South Africa and it ended in a 1-1 draw.
In November, they will welcome Algeria to Uyo in continuation of the series.
Musa Seeks Fans Support
Erstwhile captain of the Nigeria national team, Ahmed Musa has made a passionate appeal to fans to stay behind the Super Eagles as they begin their quest for qualification for another Mundial this weekend.
The Super Eagles will be away to the Chipolopolo on Sunday and for Musa one vital thing the Eagles will need to get to the Russia is the maximum support of all.
“One thing I will want from the fans is that they should keep believing in the team, by the grace of God we will not disappoint” Musa stated.
Musa who now stars for English Premier League side, Leicester City has not being a regular and that was evident in the play of the dashing winger during Wednesday’s friendly against Plateau United.
Musa was not in his usual element but the former CSKA Moscow is still expected to come good for Sunday’s cracker between the Super Eagles and the Chipolopolo of Zambia which is billed for the Levy Nwanawasa Stadium.
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Oshoala To Encourage Young Footballers
Nigeria international Asisat Oshoala has reiterated her determination to encourage young women footballers in the country after she was named the ‘Face of the 2016 women’s Federation Cup’.
At the unveiling ceremony held in Lagos, the Arsenal Ladies star expressed delight at her new responsibility and resolved to provide more support the game in Nigeria.
“It has always been my desire to encourage younger footballers in Nigeria,” said Oshoala.
“I am prepared to join hands with the NFF to rekindle the passion and bring back the crowd for this age-old competition in Nigeria.”
Before her departure to Europe, the former Africa Women’s Player of the Year won the women’s Federation Cup back-to-back in 2013 and 2014.
As part of her deal, Oshoala will feature and hand out branded football materials to fans at this year’s final between Rivers Angels and Bayelsa Queens.
Umar Return To Training With Bologna
Nigeria’s Olympic bronze medallist Sadiq Umar has returned to training with his Italian club Bologna after spending 32 days on the sidelines owing to a bruised ankle.
Umar, whose four goals helped the Dream Team VI win the 2016 Rio Olympics bronze medal, is yet to make his debut for the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara outfit since his move from AS Roma on loan in August.
The Nigerian expressed his happiness to team up with Roberto Donadoni’s men in training after being out of action for over one month.
“Happy to step out after recovering from an injury #lhamdulillah,” Umar wrote.
Bologna are placed 11th on the Serie A with ten points from seven games.
CY Unity Cup Fifth Edition Holds Weekend
Organisers of the annual CY unity tournament has said that plans has been concluded for the fifth edition of the CY unity cup which will begin this weekend in Oshodi, Lagos state.
Revealing this to SportsDay, initiator of the competition, Cyprian Ukpai, said the tournament will not only give room for young players to showcase their talents, but will also be a means of bonding among members of the various communities in the state.
He added that the primary target of the CY Cup is to make sure they build a lasting structure that will produce and nurture great stars for the country.
The tournament which is expected to kick off this weekend will see teams from all parts of Lagos state battle for honours.
“Like I said earlier, our major aim is to build a structure that will produce stars for this country that will replace the likes of Mikel, Okocha, Kanu and other players in the National team,” he said
“This tournament we have been organising for the past years is a platform to take young boys off the streets and make them future stars
“This fifth edition will be a great one, because we want to make it a high standard and make sure we leave a lasting legacy,” he added
“This Organisation will not only help young people in sports, we will make sure we empower them with basic skills in every aspect that will equip them to be better persons”, he added.
“We know it’s a huge task, but with the help of everybody and God almighty we will achieve our goals,” he concluded.
FC Ifeanyiubah, West Ham Seal Remarkable Deal
FC IfeanyiUbah and English Premier League side, West Ham United, have sealed a world class partnership deal. The remarkable deal was formally signed on Wednesday at the Eko Hotel and Suites, VI, Lagos.
The deal signed by both clubs will see FC Ifeanyi Ubah going to England to play friendlies with West Ham United, players transfers, amongst others benefits.
Speaking to SportsDay Dr. Ubah said that this partnership will be world class and all that is done in UK and Europe will be applied.
“Our aim is to work with best world practice. Whatever that you see in London, I am sure in the next couple of months, you will start seeing the same thing in Nigeria.
“We’ve taken a good step by having a formidable team. A club (Ifeanyi Ubah) that just two years old in the NPFL and last season we finished 11th position and in the just concluded season, we ended 4th.
“Like they say, a journey of a million mile starts with a step, but it must be a good one. We are bringing a lot of innovations into the industry. You can see some of our foreign players, our different coaches from Brazil, Bulgaria as well as Nigerian coaches. But the most passionate part of our business is grassroots development.
“We should not forget the days of little beginning. Our business is to start getting our children to have football consciousness, have passion for football, play football and let us see how a country like Nigeria will not produce at least 10 Messis and 10 Ronaldos in the next four years.
“This deal we have with West Ham is multi-dimensional. And at the end of the day we are promoting a very strong Nigerian brand in England.”
Meanwhile Managing Director of West Ham United, Angus Kinnear said: “When West Ham go into partnership, we are very careful. We only want to partner with people that share our vision and values. In Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah and Capital Oil and Gas, we found that. We found a group of companies with extraordinary vision and a real pioneering experience.
“Our vision is only limited by our ambition. We believe this partnership will be truly a landmark one. As Dr. Ubah said, the partnership is very extensive.”
Those present at the event included Proprietor of FC Ifeanyi Ubah, Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah; Managing Director of West Ham United, Angus Kinnear; Nigeria Football Federation president, Amaju Pinnick; Chairman, League Management Company, Shehu Dikko and Chairman senate committee on sports, Obinna Ogba.
Also present were Peter Rufai, Friday Elahor, Julius Aghahowa, Joseph Yobo, and other ex- internationals.
Nigerian Sports Awards Hail Rangers On NPFL Title
Unmissable Incentives Limited organisers of the Nigerian Sports Award has congratulatesEnugu Rangers International Football Club for winning the 2015/2016 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
In congratulating the Club after breaking a 32-year jinx to win the League Trophy, they last won in 1984, the Executive Director, Unmissable Incentives Limited, Mr. Kayode Idowu hailed their perseverance and doggedness throughout the season.
The newly crowned champion finished the league with 63 points, three points ahead of second-placed Rivers United who defeated Akwa United 2-1 in Uyo.
Idowu further commended the players, coaches and management of Rangers for their hard work and tenacity which has seen the club rise once again to the pinnacle of the country’s domestic league League, adding that the team should make football loving Nigerians happy by going all out to win the next edition of CAF African Champions League.
“We call on the management of Rangers International to start serious preparation in earnest for the CAF Champions League in order to perform brilliantly well in the continental championship,” Idowu Said.
Idowu also commended the League Management Company (LMC) for its focused organization of the league, urging them to keep the flag flying.
“We congratulate the LMC on the successful completion of the 2015/2016 league season, we look forward to a more competitive 2016/2017 season as the LMC has been working very hard to restore the glory of the Nigeria Professional Football League,” he said.
Idowu afterwards used the medium to urge sports lovers to nominate the team and other teams of their choice into the ‘Team of the Year’ Category for this year’s edition of the Nigerian Sports Award.
“The just concluded Nigerian Professional Football League season has provided us all with a platform through which we can evaluate the performances of all the participating clubs and nominate them into the ‘Team of the Year’ Category for the upcoming Nigerian Sports Award. They can visit the official website of the award (www.nigeriansportsaward.com) or go through other social media platforms to nominate their sports personalities in the different categories” he said.
Amapakabo: I Will Stay If Rangers Want me
Coach Imama Amapakabo says that the management of Enugu Rangers must show a lot of seriousness if they want him to rejoin the club.
“I have ended my contract with Rangers after the Sunday’s league tie and I am hoping on God’s direction for the next step. Rangers must show that they are willing to have me for another season. I am not short of offers but I must take my time before deciding on any of them,” Amapakabo said
“Enugu Rangers still retain a special place in my heart but the owners of the club must show genuine interest that they want me to continue with them.”
The tactician’s contract elapsed after helping the club win their first Nigeria Professional Football League title for the first time in 32 years.
Though he confirmed there are series of offers from other clubs in the Nigeria elite division, he claims he would be willing to work for the Flying Antelopes if they show enough resolve to have him.
Salihu Eyes Top 5 Finish Next Season
Niger Tornadoes goalkeeper Mustapha Aliko Salihu believed there was an improvement in the just concluded Nigeria Professional Football League season, but admited more work needed to be done.
“I think this season we did well but if we work hard more on our defence I’ll be happy, and we need to also work more as a team when it comes to the latter,” Salihu told Goal.
“And there’s no doubt that next season we will be in the top five. I’m delighted that we survived relegation but this now means that we have to work even harder in the next season and we need to collect points very early because fighting relegation is an uncomfortable feeling.”
Tornadoes scored 40 and conceded 42 goals in the 2016 NPFL season to place 11th on the log.
The Minna-based outfit drew 1-1 with Kano Pillars in their final match of the season at the Sani Abacha Stadium on Sunday.
Maikaba Dumps Wikki Tourists
Abdu Maikaba has become the latest coach in the Nigeria premier league to quit his post despite making history by leading Wikki Tourists to play in next year’s CAF Confederation Cup.
Maikaba said he now wishes to pursue a fresh challenge, according to a close confidant.
Mohammed Babaganaru (Kano Pillars) and Fidelis Ilechukwu (MFM FC) have already resigned, while the future of championship-winning Rangers coach Imama Amapakabo is very much up in the air.
“Maikaba is done with Wikki. He has left his mark and now wishes to take up a fresh challenge in the league,” said the coach’s confidant.
Despite operating a shoe-string budget and parading a team of unheralded players, shrewd Maikaba guided Wikki to finish third this past season ahead of bigger clubs like Enyimba, Kano Pillars and FC IfeanyiUbah.
Last season, Wikki, under Maikaba, were only beaten to third place by Nasarawa United on goals difference.
The former Kano Pillars coach has already been contacted by several top clubs like IfeanyiUbah and Enyimba, who he has already enjoyed a stint with.