The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has revealed that they have made “tremendous” progress in talks with Stephen Keshi over a new contract as coach of the country.
Talks got underway at about 4pm Nigerian time on Wednesday with Keshi, his brother and manager Emmanuel Ado and his lawyer in attendance, while the NFF had their technical committee chairman Felix Anyansi-Agwu, technical committee member Ahmed Fresh, NFF head of legal department Okey Obi, NFF director of marketing Idris Adama and Emmanuel Ikpeme , NFF deputy secretary general in attendance.
“It was a very good meeting and we have made tremendous progress,” stated Anyansi Agwu.
“The meeting still continues and in days to come we would inform you of our position but all I can say now is that we have made progress and things are looking good.”
Keshi, on his part, declined any comments after the meeting.
The technical committee is expected to further meet on Thursday to put together its recommendations to the board of the NFF.
Keshi is said to have raised concerns over some of the clauses, complaining that the clauses were put there to paint him in bad light before Nigerians.
The NFF executive committee are expected to meet next week to take a decision on this long-drawn matter.read more
Flying Eagles defeated hard-fighting Congo 4-1 on Wednesday at the ongoing African Youth Championship in Dakar, Senegal to book their passage to the 2015 FIFA World Cup scheduled to hold in New Zealand.
Despite playing one-man short, the Manu Garba led team proved too strong for the Congolese to cope with. The victory thus earned Nigeria maximum six points from two matches in Group ‘A’.
Ifeanyi Matthew opened Nigeria’s goal haul with his fifth minute strike. He latched on a pass from Bernard Bulbwa to slot home past Congolese goal keeper, Pavelh Ndzila. That goal sent Nigerian fans inside the Stade Léopold Sédar Senghor in Dakar into a frenzy.
Series of efforts by Nigeria’s two-goal hero from the first game against Senegal, Taiwo Awoniyi, to increase the tally few minutes later failed to yield dividend.
However, it was the same Awoniyi that was brought down in the box for captain of the Flying Eagles, Musa Mohammed, to fire into the net for Nigeria’s second goal.
Muhammed made it 3-0 again from the penalty spot after 54 minutes of play when Awoniyi was again fouled inside the box by Cosme Mavoungou.
Congo reduced the tally after 62 minutes, when Silvere Mboussey connected home a long ball beyond Olorunleke Ojo who replaced Joshua Enaholo who got sent off for a professional foul on Constantin Bakaki. The Congolese was clear on goal after the Flying Eagles defence was caught napping.
Man-of-the-match Awoniyi however got his name on the scorers’ sheet when he scored a beauty goal in the 87th minute. He controlled a pass by Ifeanyi before smashing past the Congo goalkeeper almost in the same manner he did against Senegal in Nigeria’s first game against the host country.
He is now the leading scorer at the biennial championship with three goals.
The Flying Eagles last group match is against Cote d’Ivoire on Saturday at the Stade Caroline Faye, M’Bour. A win will put Nigeria as winners of the group into the semifinal.read more
Nigerian sports minister Tam Danagogo has cautioned the Nigeria Football Federation not to employ a lesser coach than Stephen Keshi should the “Big Boss” decline to lead the Super Eagles.
Keshi has been given till Thursday this week to revert to the NFF over the contract offered him.
“What I have urged the NFF to do is makes sure that should Keshi not be given the job, a coach with a lesser pedigree than Keshi is employed. I have said we should encourage our local coaches,” said the country’s top sports official.
“Many have argued that presently Keshi is the best we have for now, while others are of the view that he has done his best.
“What I am saying is this, if Keshi declined the job, let’s look for another competent hand from the home front. But if we must get a foreign coach, then we must get the best hands not just any foreign coach.”
He added: “And when we say the best hands, we should be looking at coaches in the class of the Jose Mourinho’s of this world, Pep Guardiola… Those are the kind of coaches we should be looking at.
“But if we say Keshi is the best hand locally, I am not saying we should give him the job, but what we can do is help our local hands get better by sending them to refresher courses to make them better.”read more
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) will “make a pronouncement on Stephen Keshi in a matter of days” according to the federation’s President, Amaju Pinnick.
Pinnick made the disclosure when he appeared before Nigeria’s senate committee on Sports to defend the NFF’s budget for 2015.
Keshi has uptill March 12 to decide whether to accept the new contract he has been offered by the NFF or seek his greener pastures elsewhere.
The NFF chief explained that the seeming delay is borne out of the NFF’s desire to avoid “mistakes of the past” when offering coaches of the senior national teams, contracts.
“After I was elected (President of the NFF), I went through a lot of documentation and I found out that in the past, coaches are employed and some issues are not sorted out.
“So I made sure that all the committees that had (anything) to do with the employment of a coach (sat for meetings).
“From the legal committee of the federation, to the technical committee, and because we will not want any form of issues after a coach would have been (appointed),” Pinnick said.
The NFF has proposed to pay Keshi an monthly salary of N5 million, the same amount he earned as coach of the national team between 2011 and 2014.
Pinnick said there was no increase because the federation had to consider the “reality on ground.”
“And again, taking into cognizance that the reality on ground, (dropping prices of oil), I told them what realistically the federation could offer to pay the coach.
“Because of all these it took some time to come up with a contract but I can assure you that the contract that we offered Stephen Keshi, went through a lot of processes which will show that we did a very thorough job.
“In terms of the finance, we have offered to pay him N5million monthly. We also have provisions for housing, and some other ancillary and very realistic benefits which are all enshrined in his contract.
“The contract has been forwarded to him. We have been hearing all sorts of stories in the media since then but we will take those with a pinch of salt until we receive official correspondence from him.
“A few days ago, I ordered that a reminder (as regards his reply to the contract proposal) be sent to him (Keshi). I even made a personal phone call to him and he told me he was travelling.
“I did this because we cannot (keep waiting indefinitely). We have two international friendlies against Bolivia and South Africa (later this month).
“We will face Bolivia on March 26 in Uyo and South Africa on March 29. We are looking at getting the team into camp from (this week).
“We are in the process of rebuilding the national team so we can take the challenges up. We have upcoming World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations qualifying matches.read more
Coach of the national Under-20 team, the Flying Eagles, Manu Garba, says he is sure his team would come good at the on-going African Youth Championship (AYC) in Senegal because he has a good squad.
Speaking Monday from Senegal, where his team recorded a 3-1 win over the host country, Garba said: “The first match of every tournament is usually a very difficult one and most important match. We are sure of making it to the semi final stage, which is the ultimate chance of qualification for the World Cup and I believe we are going to have a very good game against Congo, which is our next game.
“The Congolese are not a bad side but we are not going to underrate them. We will do all we can to get the maximum three points. The boys did very well against the Senegalese, as we all know that every opening match is always very tough.
“I believe the boys gave a good account of themselves, as it is not easy to thrash the host country at their own backyard. But by and large, we have a good team with a blend of wonderful players.”
Also speaking on Nigeria’s chances in Senegal, the team’s assistant coach, Nduka Ugbade, who disclosed that the players complained over the tedious training they go through in camp, said the win on Sunday has justified the rigour.
He said: “The physical fitness I engaged the boys is paying dividend now. This is what we agreed upon that we will push them beyond limit to back up the tactical training given them with their full fitness.
“We are not disappointed that the match didn’t end on a wide margin. As you know, it’s a transition from the Under-17 to Under 21 and we are about the youngest in the tournament. One thing that we saw was that the Senegalese were older, stronger and bigger, but because we had enough information about them, we told them to calm down and take their chances which we succeeded in achieving at the end of the day.
“I am happy that Taiwo Awoniyi was able to score those goals while Chidera Ezeh was supporting him. We could easily have scored four to five goals more.
But we thank God that we were able to get the three maximum points which is enough to separate us from the rest team in our group.”
Meanwhile, Congo coach, Paolo Berrettini, has boasted that his team do not fear Nigeria and will fight to win tomorrow’s Group A match against the six-time champions.
On Sunday, Congo forced Cote d’Ivoire to a 1-1 draw in the second Group A match at the Leopold Sedar Senghor Stadium in Dakar.
“I will focus on my team against a big team from Nigeria. We must play to win and qualify for the semifinals,” said Berrettini.
“Against Cote d’Ivoire, we did not have a good first half, as we did not play as well as our opponents. But in the second half we came back into the game.”
Congo, who eliminated defending champions, Egypt, in the qualifiers, boast five full internationals, led by striker, Georges Bidimbou, who were at the recent AFCON in Equatorial Guinea.read more
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), has received an allocation of N1,242,523,749 in the 2015 Budget.
According to reports, the football house expected three times that amount, to enable it run its affairs, which includes the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The U-17 have also qualified for the FIFA World Cup, while the U-20 side is battling for one of four tickets in Senegal.
Only N6,664,642,867 was given to sports this year, while the National Sports Commission pocketed the biggest share of N4,942,634 and the Nigeria Institute for Sports received just N479,489,038.
“2015 is fully packed with so many tournaments and qualifiers. Our Super Eagles will be taking part in both the Nations Cup and the World Cup qualifications just as the other national teams are expected to take part in other qualifying matches and competitions,” an NFF official stated.read more
Senator Heineken Lokpobiri has described the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) decision to offer Stephen Keshi a new deal, as “celebrating failure”.
The two-term senator, who represents Bayelsa West, blasted the football house for playing politics with the vacant role.
Keshi is yet to accept the terms on the fresh contract, but Lokpobiri said he should suffer the same fate that befell Samson Siasia.
“I was the former chairman of the Sports Committee between 2007 and 2011 and I know the politics and intrigues which have been playing out in the country’s football house,” Lokpobiri said.
“Are we trying to celebrate failure?
“I’m aware that Siasia was sacked after he failed to qualify the country for the 2013 Nations Cup.
“Keshi was given all the support even more than Siasia, yet he failed to qualify the country for Afcon.
“So I don’t see any reason why NFF should be talking about giving Keshi another contract”.read more
The Nigeria U20 team, the Flying Eagles, recorded a 3-1 win over hosts, Senegal, in the opening match of the 2015 Africa Youth Championships, AYC.
Two goals from Taiwo Awoniyi and another form Ifeanyi Ifeanyi ensured that the Coach Manu Garba-tutored side start their campaign at the AYC on a bright note.
The Flying Eagles hit the ground running from the blast of the whistle with Awoniyi getting the first real chance of the encounter, but he failed to make the most of the opportunity.
Awoniyi soon made amends for his earlier miss as he put Nigeria in the lead in the 8th minute after benefitting from a mix-up in the Senegal defense.
Awoniyi was again on hand to slot the ball into the net in the 11th minute after a nice partnership with teammate, Chidera Ezeh, who gave him a through ball.’
The Nigerian striker before heading to Senegal said he would be chasing the highest goals scorer award and he has effectively began the chase.
Having gone two goals down early in the game, hosts Senegal were taken aback and so they began frantic efforts for a possible comeback.
Their efforts soon paid off when in the 27th minute Sarr pulled one back for the hosts to make scores 2-1.
From then it was Senegal all the way as they stepped up their attempt to get an equaliser before the break.
Unfortunately the equaliser never came for Senegal as it was Nigeria that increased their tally when Ifeany Ifeanyi fired in a shot to restore the Flying Eagles’ two-goal cushion going for the half time break.
The second half did witness fierce contest as Senegal were not willing to go down in front of their fans, and in like manner, the Flying Eagles were not willing to relinquish their lead.
However unlike the first half when four goals were scored between both teams, the second half was barren.
At the end of the game it was the Flying Eagles that smiled away with the 3-1 win and would next face Congo in their next group game.read more
Taiwo Awoniyi and Chidera Ezeh will lead the Flying Eagles attack for today’s AYC opener against hosts Senegal.
Both strikers featured at the 2013 FIFA U17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates, where Nigeria clinched a record fourth championship.
Bernard Bulbwa will play from the right side of midfield with Ifeanyi Matthew behind the twin strikers.
Zaharadeen Bello has fully recovered from a calf injury to pair Prince Izu Omego in the heart of the back four.
Holding midfielders are Ifeanyi Ifeanyi and Akinjide Idowu with skipper Musa Muhamed and Mustapha Abdullahi the fullbacks to cover for goalkeeper Joshua Enaholo.
Kick-off time is 5.30pm Nigerian time.read more
Super Eagles striker Ahmed Musa scored twice to help his team CSKA Moscow beat Terek Grozny 2-1.
The Super Eagles forward scored the game’s opening goal on the dot of half time to send his team one goal up into the break.
However Grozny level things up just a minute pass the hour mark through Igor Lebedenko but Musa ensured his team had the last laugh when he popped up with the winner 15 minutes from full time.
In the build up to the game Musa admitted he was feeling the weight of responsibility following the departure of Seydou Doumbia in January to AS Roma.
The brace will undoubtedly take off some of the pressure he talked about as CSKA Moscow aim to put pressure on league leaders Zenith St. Petersburg.
For Ahmed Musa the brace takes his season goal tally to 10 from 19 games one goal short of his best ever tally in Russia in the 2012/2013 season.read more
Dolphins goalkeeper, Rotimi Sunday has expressed disappointment with the barren draw against newcomers, Kwara United.
The Garden City side were forced to a barren draw by the Afonja Warriors in the 2014/15 Glo Premier League opener on Saturday at the Liberation Stadium, Port Harcourt.
Sunday said his side entered into the match up against the llorin-based side with clear intention to record their first home win of the season.
“It was a sad result for us pulling a barren draw before our supporters on match day one of the new season.
“We’re not happy with the result but hopefully we’ll correct our mistakes before the next league match.
“Thank God the encounter is a league match and not a Cup final as we still have many matches to play.
Right now we’re going to work on our mindset to get everything up and working again before Friday’s Caf Confederation Cup match in Tunis against Club Africain.
“The Caf Confederation Cup tussle is more crucial as it affects the entire country so we want to have a good lift prior to the duel.
“Today’s (Saturday) league encounter is gone but I’m positive its outcome will count for nothing in the game against the Tunisian champions.
“At least we didn’t concede any goal to Kwara United that’s the mentality we’ll be taking to Tunisia to confront Club Africain.
“Kwara United are good side and equally played very well only that they couldn’t convert the chances that came on their way in the course of the match.
“We equally had our own catalogue of misses but I know as time goes on we’ll perfect every leakages noted in the early stage of the league,” said the side’s captain and former Plateau United shot stopper to supersport.com.
Dolphins will be on duty in Africa on Friday at the Tunisian giants, Club Africain in the second round first leg fixture of the Caf Confederation Cup competition.read more
Nigeria U23 team, Dream Team VI, defeated their Gabon counterparts 2-0 to advance to the next round of the All Africa Games qualifier on a 6-1 aggregate.
Nigeria will now battle Zambia, who enjoyed a walkover against Mozambique in this round of the qualifiers.
However, it was not a walkover for the Samson Siasia-led team as they had to wait till the second half before they will get on the score board in Abuja.
Defender Seun Oduduwa gave them the lead in the 68th minute with a long-range shot, before Junior Ajayi wrapped up the victory for the home team three minutes to the end of the match.read more